Tuesday, August 28, 2012


At Crossroads, for the next seven weekends, we will be developing a theme from the Word of God that seems totally out of sync with where things are in our world today.  The theme is ‘The Good Life Now.’  Come on…. is this even remotely possible?  With the war against terrorism raging in both Iraq and Afghanistan?  Or, the national debt close to the breaking point at over $16 trillion dollars?  Or, unemployment stuck at over 8%?  Or, a morally divided nation on the issues of abortion and same sex marriage?  Or, a politically divided nation during an election year?  Or, you fill in the blank….

I submit to you that experiencing the good life now has more to do with the inner life of the believer than the outer circumstances of life in the world in our generation, or any generation for that matter.  The epistle of James [the half-brother of Jesus…. same mother, different fathers] has a powerful message that can open up a whole new approach to processing whatever daily life deals us.  I will explain and apply scripture in the following ways in this series:

The Good Life Now: Blessed in Our Trials

The Good Life Now: Victorious in Our Temptations

The Good Life Now: Controlling Our Tongue

The Good Life Now: Controlling Our Temper

The Good Life Now: Living With Patience

The Good Life Now: Living With Wisdom

The Good Life Now: Faithful in Prayer

Pray with me…. Father, we need to first understand and then be empowered to life a life without limits…. the good life you desire for us to live abundantly now and eternally with You one day.  Lead us to hear and know and obey your Truth so we may live life to the full.

In the Name of the Good Life-Giver…. Jesus, we pray, amen.

Pastor Ken

Monday, August 20, 2012


Related to our sermon on the family, I want to recommend a book titled, Revolutionary Parenting by George Barna.   The book explores ways that parents can raise ‘spiritual champions.’  Here are the bullet points that reveal the content:

-Revolutionary parents know you can’t pass on what you don’t possess.  Kids become Christ-followers largely because they see it being lived out consistently by mom and dad.

-Revolutionary parents know godly parenting is their primary full time job eclipsing all other responsibilities.

-Revolutionary parents have a constantly developing and maturing faith.

-Revolutionary parents focus on instilling godly character as a priority.

-Revolutionary parents know that they are not called to be their child’s best friend, only his/her best parent.

-Revolutionary parents know the distinction between quantity time and quality time is a myth.  There is just time.  Spend all you can on your kids.

-Revolutionary parents trust the Bible as their family guidebook and sourcebook.

-Revolutionary parents engage in Biblical living, not just Bible knowledge.

-Revolutionary parents know their children were created in God’s image, not theirs, and they want to raise them to be imitators of God as loved children.

Pray with me… Our loving Heavenly Father, we cannot fully take it in…  The fact that we can create living, eternal souls…our own offspring…our own children.  Thank you for the gift of life that we enjoy as we seek to raise our children to know you, love you and serve you above all else.  We pray for these priorities to be evident in us and we pray that we will be successful, above all else, to plant and nurture these priorities in our kids, who are really Yours, on loan to us.  In Christ, amen.

Pastor Ken

Monday, August 13, 2012


I Peter 4:1 says, “If anyone serves…do it…with the ability…God supplies.” When God gives you an assignment He gives you all that’s needed to fulfill it. In fact, by studying your core competencies you can actually discern your calling. You can’t always be what you want to be, but you can be everything God wants you to be. That’s because He assigns and directs us “each according to one’s own ability” [Matt. 25:15]. What do you love doing and do consistently well? Is music your forte? Crunching numbers? Working with children/middle-schoolers/teens/senior adults? Paul says, “The Spirit has given each of us a special way of serving” [I Cor. 12:7]. That means some of the things other people find boring, will actually energize and enrich you.

The Bible teaches us that God is building a “spiritual house” [I Peter 2:5]. And there’s a place for each of us in it. Knowing this dispels the misconception that you’re not valuable because you don’t have the same talents others do. It also defines your actual responsibility by doing away with the myth that you’re supposed to doeverything. No, your goal should be to stay within the boundaries of God’s plan for you. So instead of apologizing for the skills you don’t have, discover the gifts God has given you and put them to work for His kingdom. I find it tragic that the most fulfilling experiences of the Christian life seem the most daunting and demanding when in fact, they are the most pleasurable and rewarding: giving our resources, serving others and sharing our faith. Try it, you’ll love it!

Pray with me…. Father God, You have provided ways to bless us in the deepest parts of who we are. When we are most like You, we are the most fulfilled inside. Thank you for building into us the abiding satisfaction that is the by-product of entering into people’s lives in ways that meet their needs and elevate them to higher levels of living. And Lord, thank you for giving each of us gifts that we can use to bless others in your name. And it is in Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Pastor Ken


Just a few weeks ago now, Illinois’ U.S. Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. fairly disappeared from sight.  A few days later, a carefully crafted statement came out of his office explaining that he had been admitted at an undisclosed facility to undergo treatment for a ‘medical condition,’ which was later identified as clinical depression.  His personal life has been in upheaval since he admitted to a sexual dalliance with a blonde-haired, blue-eyed hostess at a Chicago area restaurant, devastating his wife and disrupting his family.  He is also being investigated for setting in motion a plan to raise $6,000,000 to ‘buy’ the vacated senate seat of Barak Obama from, [then] Illinois governor, Rod Blagojevich [now serving a 14 year prison sentence for corruption related charges – 12 years mandatory].  Early reports are that Jackson’s condition will require long-term treatment and hospitalization.

During the first part of the 20th century, J. C. Penney presided over an empire of 1700 stores nationwide, each one bearing his name.  But, although incredibly wealthy, J.C. Penney’s personal life was plagued by setbacks and troubles.  Then came the Great Depression of 1929.   Penney was exposed because he had borrowed heavily to finance many of his business ventures.  Constant and unrelenting worry began to take a toll on his health.  Eventually he checked himself into the Kellogg Sanitarium in Battle Creek, MI.  Penney would later recall ‘a rigid treatment was prescribed, but nothing helped.’  He was constantly tormented by periods of hopelessness and despair.  His will to live was rapidly eroding.  In his words, “I got weaker day by day. Nervous and physically broken, I was filled with despair, unable to see even a ray of hope.  I had nothing to live for.  I felt that I hadn’t a friend left in the world, that even my family had turned against me.”  After taking a sedative, he was sure he was living the last night of his life.  So, he got out of bed and wrote farewell letters to both his wife and son, saying that he did not expect to see the dawn.  The next morning he was surprised to find himself alive.  Making his way down the hallway of the hospital, he could hear singing coming from the little chapel where a devotional service was held each morning.  The words of the hymn he heard being sung spoke deeply to him.  Going into the chapel, he listened to the singing, the reading of the scripture lesson, and the prayers.

“Suddenly something happened,” he said.  “I can’t explain it.  I can only call it a miracle.  I felt as if I had been instantly lifted out of the darkness of a dungeon into a warm, brilliant sunlight.  I felt as if I had been transported from hell to paradise.  I felt the power of God as I had never felt it before.  From that day to this, my life has been free from worry and the darkness of depression.  The most dramatic and glorious 20 minutes of my life were those I spent in the chapel that morning.”  The words of the hymn that Providentially lured Penney into the chapel service that morning were these:

Be not dismayed whate’er betide, God will take care of you;

Beneath His wings of love abide, God will take care of you.

God will take care of you, through every day, o’er all the way;

He will take care of you, God will take care of you.

Pray with me… Our loving Father, we praise you for your patient love and your faithful grace that lift us out of our rebellion and our waywardness and catapult us into your comforting presence.  There is no limit to the peace which passes understanding that will fill our lives when we decide to stop, to stand still and to seek you in the stillness.   In the Name of the Prince of Peace, Jesus, we pray, amen.

Pastor Ken


Former Republican presidential candidate, Mike Huckabee, has declared August 1st as National Chick-fil-A Support Day.  I think I will plan to lunch at one of their restaurants on Wednesday of this week.  It is something I can do to express my personal advocacy of CFA president Dan Cathy’s outspoken validation of Biblical marriage.  Here is what he said, word for word, “We’re inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, ‘We know better than You what constitutes a marriage.’  And I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude; that has the audacity to redefine what marriage is all about.”

The knee-jerk response from the liberal community has been predictable, dramatic and reactionary.  Elliott Spitzer [and everyone knows what a credible source he is] was one of the first calling for a boycott of Chick-fil-A…. so much for freedom of speech and ‘tolerance’ from the left.  Then the mayors of Boston and Chicago jumped in and took turns vowing to keep Chick-fil-A out of their cities.  Big talk.  Of course, this restriction of commerce, based on Dan Cathy’s honest expression of a personal conviction, cannot be supported legally.  Even the ACLU came to the defense of Chick-fil-A on this one!  It is strange indeed when the ACLU defends someone who has made a statement of Biblical conviction.  I was encouraged that even after the back-lash from some Hollywood ‘celebrities,’ Cathy pled ‘guilty as charged’ and continued to be very ‘supportive of the family – the Biblical definition of the family unit.’

The core issue here is the difference between those who believe in the Lordship of Jesus Christ/the authority of the Bible vs. those who do not.  Jesus said in Matthew 19:4, “Haven’t you read that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and the two will become one flesh?’  So they are no longer two, but one.  Therefore what God has joined together [male and female], let not man separate.” There is clearly an assertion here about what constitutes marriage in God’s sight; and there is also included here a warning about changing it.  Can we disregard the teaching of Jesus?  Sure.  Can we disobey it?  Certainly.  Will there be personal and societal consequence?  Yes, as there always is with all sin.  Am I an unloving person for saying so?  No.  In fact, the true-lovers are always the truth-tellers.

Same-sex marriage is a ‘hot-button’ issue only because it is the current ‘lightening rod’ for the two fundamentally different worldviews: the Biblical and the carnal, Christian and pagan.  Here is the thing…. Gay activists, politicians and the media have succeeded in making the definition of marriage a political issue.  It is not a political issue.  It is a moral issue.  It is not a question of rights.  It is a question of right and wrong.  But, as a nation we are quickly retiring words like sin/righteousness, moral/immoral, truth/lies, good/evil.

I am called to be a pastor, and I am also called to be a prophet….  A pastor, trusted to gently apply Word of God as a healing balm; but also a prophet, trusted to wield the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, in contemporary spiritual warfare.

Pray with me…. Our Father, it has always been the responsibility of your people to contend for the truth and walk in the truth, in a world of lies, under the control of the Father of lies.   Help us to be wise about when to speak and when to be silent.  We want to know how to truly love our generation into the Kingdom of God while upholding the Word of Life.  In the name of the One who is the Living Word and the Life we pray.  Amen.

Pastor Ken


I recently heard a true story of incredible forgiveness.  A young man named Tom McGee, got drunk, lost control of his car and ran into a 16 year old teenager by the name of Ted Morris, the only son of Jack and Liz Morris.  Ted died as a result of his injuries.  Jack and Liz were devastated by the death of their son.  They were so bitter against Tom McGee, they prosecuted him to the full extent of the law and saw him sent to jail.  And they were gratified.  They were disappointed that his sentence was not longer.  When they learned he was out on parole, they dogged his steps, waiting for some infraction, some violation of his parole, so they could report him.  They succeeded in getting him re-incarcerated.  But Jack and Liz Morris became Christians, members of a non-instrumental Church of Christ, and they began to read/study the Bible for the first time.  One day they read these words in Hebrews 12:15, “See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.” And they were honest enough to both realize and admit that a bitter root had grown up in them. They read Ephesians 4:32, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

And as they grew in the grace and knowledge of the Lord, they were able to will themselves to forgive.  Jack Morris went to the prison to visit Tom McGee.  He told him, “My wife and I have become Christians and we want you to know that we forgive you.  And we are not going to prosecute you further.  You are free.”  On a return visit, Jack took some cookies.  When McGee was eventually released on a weekend, the Morris’ invited him to come to their house for dinner and to visit their church.  Tom McGee and the Morris’ sat in the same row.  Several weeks later, Tom McGee stepped forward and gave his life to Jesus Christ and was baptized in their church.  Incredibly, the Morris’ have now actually adopted Tom McGee as their son and he stands in line to inherit their estate.

Does this sound familiar?  It should.  That’s like our Lord Jesus who said, “I was killed because of your sin, but I forgive you and I will adopt you into my family.  You stand in line to inherit my eternal riches.”

Pray with me… Our Father in Heaven… Freely we have received Your forgiveness; freely we will forgive.  In our better moments we are resolved that no one misses the grace of God.  So may Your grace flow out of us to others even as Your grace has touched us in your Son and our Savior Jesus, in whose name we pray, amen.

Pastor Ken