Tuesday, May 29, 2012


I once heard preacher Tom Ellsworth tell of visiting the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.   He stopped at a souvenir stand across the street to check out the wares.   He picked up a little bronze replica of the flag raising memorial to the Marines who fought at Iwo Jima in WW2.   The disinterested man behind the stand suddenly perked up, sensing a potential sale. “Cheap!” he said with a smile.  “Only $10!”   Tom nodded, put the bronze replica back and walked on, thinking to himself, “No, not cheap…. not cheap at all.”   In 36 days of fighting, the Marines sustained over 25,000 casualties on Iwo Jima—including 7,000 fatalities.   More Marines received the Medal Honor for their service at Iwo Jima than for any other battle in U.S. history.   There was nothing cheap about it.

On Memorial Day, we as Americans remember such sacrifice.   Though we enjoy our freedom at no cost, we remember that others paid a great price.   Our freedom is free, but it is not cheap.   So we value our freedom.  We do not take for granted the privileges it provides…. we can worship without fear, we can speak openly without reprisal, we can choose our vocation and share in the rewards of our labor, we can have a voice in our government, we can go visit our family without driving through a war zone.  Today we pause to remember these blessings and to say thank you to those who made them possible.

Every week, we as Christians also pause to remember another sacrifice—the sacrifice of Christ.   Though we enjoy our salvation at no cost, Jesus paid a great price.   Yesterday I held in my hand the communion bread and remembered Jesus’ body, broken for me.   I held the communion cup and remembered Jesus’ blood, shed for me.   God’s grace is free, but it is not cheap.   So we value our salvation.  We do not take for granted the privileges it provides…. God’s forgiveness for our past, His powerful presence in our lives, joy and peace, the ability to begin to live more like Christ, a supernatural strength to endure trials, a new and living hope.   I value that hope highly.   Our salvation is free, but it is not cheap.  It is the most valuable thing we shall ever possess.  So today, we pause to say to the One who made it possible:  Thank you.

                                                        Matt Proctor
                                                        Ozark Christian College

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Are you ready to be shocked?  The Southern Baptist Council on Family Life recently discovered a gut-wrenching statistic: “88 percent of children raised in evangelical homes leave church at the age of 18, never to return.”  Perhaps this is due in part to these additional factors: The Barna Group found that 45 percent of those who profess to be born-again Christians believe that gambling is morally acceptable, 49 percent believe that living with someone of the opposite sex without being married is morally okay, 49 percent are comfortable with enjoying sexual thoughts or fantasies about someone and one third of those professing to be born again think it is morally acceptable to kill an infant while it is still in the womb.  According to an article titled ‘Porn Nation’ in World Magazine, of the men belonging to the Christian organization Promise Keepers [who make a promise to be committed to practicing spiritual, moral, ethical, and sexual purity], 53 percent visit porn sites every week. 

In 2009, the Barna Group found further evidence that all is not well in the contemporary Church: Among individuals who describe themselves as Christian, close to half believe that Satan does not exist, one-third contend that Jesus sinned while He was on the earth, two-fifths say they do not have a responsibility to share the Christian faith with others, and one-quarter dismiss the idea that the Bible is historically accurate and truthful in all of the principles it teaches.  BINGO!

The basic reason for ‘easy believism’…. that is, ‘accepting Christ’…. without a renewed mind and a transformed life [Romans 12:2] is Biblical illiteracy!  Dads who don’t/won’t read the Bible, let alone study it and teach it to their children…. Moms who are too busy to find a quiet place, under a good light to internalize the Word of God…. Kids who are hypnotized by video games and I-pods and MTV.  And if parents and grandparents do not take seriously the responsibility to be discipled and to disciple their children, the results will be catastrophic for the next generation.  We are seeing it right before our eyes now…. Our nation is accelerating its descent into the abyss of self-eradication. Listen to the words of a prayer in Exodus 33:13, “…. Teach me Your ways so I may know You and continue to find favor with You.  Remember that this nation is Your people.”  Listen to the warning in Deuteronomy 4:9, “Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live.  Teach them to your children and to their children after them.”

Okay, I just proofread the text of this ‘Speaking the Truth in Love’ piece.  It is heavy on the side of truth this week.  What can I say?  This is what God has impressed on my heart this morning.  I have had a ‘sudden awakening.’  I am being ‘brutally honest.’  [Remember Kyle’s sermon from last weekend at Crossroads?] Is God speaking to you about your own heart and your responsibility to teach your children and grandchildren?  If Biblical illiteracy is perpetuated in the church, the church as an agent of salvation for the lost world will be increasingly ineffective and hell will be more populated in the end.  Does that sound extreme?  Read God’s Word, especially the words of Jesus about heaven and hell, and realize in fresh ways how high the stakes are for us and our posterity.

Pray with me…. Loving Father…. save us from self-deception.  Save us from shallow commitment.  Save us from our mediocrity.  Save us from our luke-warmness.  Save us from our failure to teach our children Your Word.  Save us from our careless living before their eyes.  Save us from ourselves for Yourself.  In the Savior’s name, amen.

Pastor Ken


Are you aware that there is an all-out assault on Biblical marriage and the traditional family in our generation?  It was the ‘free-love’ movement of the sixties when war was first declared on the value of sexual purity in the United States.  [And when there is wholesale sexual indulgence in the name of sexual freedom, marriage and the family will always take the hit.]  Communal living was in vogue, college campuses initiated new open dorm policies, the plague of venereal disease was spreading and number of unplanned pregnancies began to escalate.  Something had to be done, so ‘sex education,’ including condom distribution, was introduced into many public schools, taught by teachers, many of whom had personally participated in the sexual revolution.  Then the Supreme Court stepped up and imposed a humanistic solution to the growing problem of unwanted pregnancies, passing Roe v. Wade on January 22, 1973, to make abortion legal as an alternative form of birth control.  Since then, we have performed in- womb executions, equivalent in number to one third of the population of the United States.  Now, the due bill is coming in with the economic reality that there are not/will not be enough employed workers in the workplace to perpetuate the Social Security system for the growing population of baby boomer retirees!  The impact on families is being felt already, a prelude to what is looming on the horizon.

With the rejection of Biblical absolutes [which are from God for our protection and preservation] the wheels began to come off.  The baggage of sexual regret being carried into marriages began to take its toll in the form of a growing number of divorces.  Pornography has gained acceptance, moving our society from ‘Playboy’ magazine to hardcore Internet porn as a multi-billion dollar industry.  Skyrocketing statistics on child abuse and victimization, the proliferation of sexual predators with offenders living in virtually every neighborhood, the scandalous sexual exposes of the entertainment, sports, business and political ‘glitterati,’ as well as high profile ‘televangelists’ and the priestly clergy, have rapidly taken us down a path of self-destruction.

Now, our Vice-President and President have come out, in the same week, with statements of unqualified support of same-sex marriage.  So, the wall of protection around Biblical marriage has officially been breached.  And, I predict that we will be overrun in the years ahead with the barbaric hoard of spin-off consequences in the lives of real people.  The patience and tolerance of our Holy God has been stretched to the breaking point.  His judgment will be inescapable. God’s wrath against sin is built into the human system.  We have never been here before as a nation. The protection of the innocent unborn has been eliminated by the state.  The protection of Biblical marriage and the traditional family has been eradicated by the state.  As a pastor, I will witness the carnage up close and personal.  As a father and grandfather, I am deeply concerned about the nation my children and grandchildren will inherit and the price they will have to pay for the sins of my generation.  More than ever before in my lifetime, I identify with the closing prayer of Revelation 22:20-21, “He who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon.’  Amen.  Come, Lord Jesus.  The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people.  Amen.”

Pastor Ken


The book of Job acknowledges the reality of pain and suffering in the world, but it also represents the deeper reality of the God who transcends the fallen world, who was there before sin and brokenness entered the picture and who will still be there when sin and brokenness are no more.  The book communicates the deep grace of God to bring us to a future time of endless joy in His presence.   Now you could read the final chapter of Job in a karmic way [put good in and you’ll get good back – eventually] or in a sentimental way [just let go and let God] or a religious way [if you push the right behavioral buttons, you’ll get the desired blessings].

But it is far better to read it devotionally.  That is, we should read Job and see ourselves more honestly.  We should see God more authentically.  We should see life more hopefully.  If we read it devotionally, we will get it…we will get the facts that:  1] We will have pain and trouble in this life.  2] Only God has answers/solutions.  Only He can heal and help.  Without Him we are fundamentally, philosophically and practically at the mercy of whatever life deals us.  3] With Him we are more than conquerors, and nothing can take that ultimate victory away…not death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God.

What Job tells us is that our loving God will fix what’s broken, heal what’s wounded, rebuild what’s destroyed, cure what’s diseased, mend what’s torn, and raise what’s dead.  Just keep hanging on to the God who is hanging on to you.

Pray with me…. Almighty God, you never let go of us and we will never let go of You.  For time and eternity You are ours and we are yours.  In the name of Jesus, the One who secures this hope.  Amen.

Pastor Ken

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Charles “Chuck” Colson, age 80, died in northern Virginia on April 21, 2012….just a little over one week ago.  In the days that have followed, he has been eulogized in newspapers around the world….remembered as a former captain in the Marine Corps, a ruthless political insider, special counsel to the President of the United States and the evil mastermind of the infamous Watergate Scandal.  But many more of us have known him as the brilliant, proud man who experienced a defining moment in his life when he knelt down in the office of Christian businessman, Tom Phillips, to accept Jesus Christ as his Savior and Lord.  Describing his own water baptism as a funeral service in which he buried the old man he used to be, Colson sealed the greatest commitment of his life.  And, with that commitment, Colson began his Christian journey.  In short, the man was changed!  No longer living the life of a greedy power broker, Colson has been described as the most thoroughly converted man who ever lived, except for [perhaps] the apostle Paul.

So, write the words of Jesus in John 5:24 over the life of Charles Colson: “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.”  Charles Colson started his life over when he accepted Jesus.  He was born again and wrote about the experience with sincerity and rare eloquence in his book titled, Born Again.  For the first time, his ears were unstopped….he began to listen to the Word of God.  For the first time, his heart was open….he began to obey the Son of God.  And although some in the world have never forgotten the man Colson used to be, he had received the promise that he no longer faced the condemnation of heaven.  He changed sides.  He crossed over from death, because of his sin….to abundant and eternal life, because of Him who had no sin.

Every person on earth stands condemned because of their sin, sentenced to eternal separation from God by their choice, until and unless they have the same defining moment Colson had.  And, once that commitment is sealed and permanent, everything changes.  We all know so many who need to change, to be forgiven, to have the highest good begin to surface in their lives….so they can come to the end and hear from the God of heaven, “Well done!”

Pray with me…. Our Father, we bless the day our ears were unstopped and the scales fell from our eyes and our hearts experienced the love and grace that you made real to us in the person of your Son and our Savior.  Life change is what you are all about.  Thank you for the life and spiritual leadership of Charles Colson.  You changed him!  You want to change us and as many people as we can influence while we live out our short time on this earth.  Empower and energize us for being a Tom Phillips presence in someone’s life today.  In Jesus’ Name, amen.

Pastor Ken