Monday, September 24, 2012


I do love the four Gospels.  Speaking personally, they are my strongest spiritual vitality ‘lifeline.’  I am especially blessed by the eyewitness accounts of the synoptic Gospel writers [Matthew, Mark and Luke] about their experiences with Jesus.  One of these is the dramatic parallel narrative found in Matthew 8, Mark 4 and Luke 8, as they tell about Jesus calming the storm – I said, “What!?”  Yes, that’s right… and the disciples’ response on that occasion is just like ours when we read about it.

A furious squall came up, the waves were breaking over the boat, so that it nearly swamped it.  Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion.  The disciples woke him and cried, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”  He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet!  Be still!”  Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.  He said to the disciples, “Why are you so afraid?  Do you still have no faith?”  They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this?  Even the wind and the waves obey him!”

I am sure that the Holy Spirit prompted the Gospel writers to record this moment for some important reasons.  I cannot think of a more reassuring passage for us to internalize for life… so many great lessons:

-       Storms happen, even to the disciples.
-       Fear is the ‘knee jerk’ reaction to storms.
-       If you belong to Jesus, he is in your boat.
-       The fact that he is asleep should help you keep your perspective.
-       Panic may be predictable, but it is not admirable.
-       Jesus has the authority to calm any storm.
-       Faith should ‘trump’ fear if you are a disciple.
-       There is always going to be peace and calm after the storm.

When Job’s trial ended, God removed his affliction and returned to him twice as much as he had lost [Job 42:10].  Joseph, after years of slavery and imprisonment, reached the highest levels of government, all the riches of the country at his disposal [Genesis 41:39ff].  When Christ’s confrontation with the devil in the desert had ended, angels came to minister to Him [Matthew 4:11].  When the storm is over, He restores and multiplies His blessings to us.  As the psalmist observes, “His anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.”  [Psalm 30:5]

Pray with me… Father, Lord Jesus, Holy Spirit thank you for the many places in scripture we are reminded that the strength of our faith will sustain us in the storms of life.  Forgive us for the way we nibble around the edges of faith instead of internalizing its substance and experiencing the kind of strength to be able to enjoy the ride when the storms come, knowing that with Jesus asleep in the boat, the storms are powerless and the calm is just ahead.  In Jesus’ strong name, amen.

Pastor Ken

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


The “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” code was broken recently when someone partying with Prince Harry snapped cell-phone photos of the naked royal in a hotel suite after a game of ‘strip billiards.’  The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority [LVCVA] isn’t taking this violation lightly.  “Las Vegas is about adult freedom,” is LVCVA spokeswoman Courtney Fitzgerald’s response.  “It’s important for friends to know what activities can be shared publicly and what activities are protected by the code.”

The city tourism arm has launched an ad campaign condemning the person or persons who took the photos of Harry that wound up being video-cast and viewed around the world. The ad urges defenders of “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” to sign a pledge to keep Vegas indiscretions in Vegas and to report offenders who share embarrassing Vegas pictures on Facebook.  Britain’s Daily Mail reports that Virgin Holidays is seeing increased demand for Sin City air/hotel packages since Harry cavorted around pool tables and cued up in the buff.

But before these faddish/impressionistic types book their reservation, they should think deeply about the reality behind a short-lived hedonistic romp in Las Vegas… Here it is:  Psalm 90:8, “You [God] have set our iniquities before You, our secret sins in the light of Your presence.”  Hebrews 4:13, “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight.  Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to Whom we must give an account.”  2 Corinthians 4:2, “We have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the Word of God.” Proverbs 15:3, “The eyes of the Lord are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.”

Does it really matter who else does not know where you were or what you did whether in Vegas or anywhere else on earth?  The fact is, we must all give an account to the only One who truly knows and the One who truly cares about the character of your life on earth and your destiny in the greater life to come.  It was the young Scottish preacher Peter Marshall who offered this counsel: “When asked about whether or not to engage in a questionable activity, ask yourself this question: Of what shall I think of such a thing in my dying hour?”

Pray with me… Father, there is no escaping Your watchful eye.  Your Word reminds us that Your eyes are upon us from the beginning of the year even until the end of the year.  And that is not threatening to those of us who know Your love and grace in Jesus Christ for we are your children by Your choice and ours.  Mature love for You has cast out all our fear.  We have no secrets from you Lord.  You are not only the silent Observer of our daily activities; you are the Discerner of the thoughts and intents of our hearts.  We are secure in You.  In the name of Jesus our Lord, amen.

Pastor Ken

Monday, September 10, 2012


Nineteen-year-old Liu Shih-Kun was an esteemed concert pianist in China until the Cultural Revolution banned all things related to Western influence.  Refusing to renounce his beloved music, Liu was deemed an enemy of the people, beaten and imprisoned.  There he languished in a tiny cell with no books, no paper, and even worse for Liu – no piano.  Six years later, for propaganda reasons, he was asked to play in Beijing with the Philadelphia Orchestra.  After years without an instrument to practice on, he performed brilliantly.  And eighteen months later when he was finally released, he again played flawlessly.  His secret?  Stripped of everything musical, for seven and a half years Liu disciplined himself to shut out negative thoughts and practice hour after hour on an imaginary piano.

We don’t realize the extent to which our disciplined thinking contributes to our performance in life.  If we are able to be thoughtful moment by moment day after day, it will elevate our quality of life.  Our thoughts have power to direct our lives and determine our destiny.  That’s why the apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 10:5, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ.”

Pray with me… Father, we want to exercise discipline… self-discipline… In the single most important area for us to use it… our thought life.  Jesus told us that ‘as a man/woman thinks in his/her heart, so is he/she.’  Nothing defines us more than our thought life. We pray we would seek to honor you there, in that vitally important space between our ears.  Lord, deliver us from ‘stinkin-thinkin’ and move us, by the Holy Spirit, to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ.  In His strong name we pray, amen.

Pastor Ken

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


The most famous story about lying in American history is the one about George Washington chopping down a cherry tree.  When his father asked him who did it, George supposedly replied, “I cannot tell a lie; I did it with my little hatchet.”  That story was in a biography written by a man named Weems in the nineteenth century.  But listen… he later admitted to making the whole story up!  Can you believe it?  The most famous illustration in America about not lying was itself a lie!  And truthfulness is still in short supply.  Politicians spin promises and facts during an election year, telemarketers scam the elderly to make more in commissions, job seekers pad their resumes to gain an advantage in the competitive marketplace, repair shops shamelessly inflate their bills, college students steal essays from the internet to pass classes and spouses lie to each other about money and infidelity.

And did you know that the IRS maintains what is informally called a ‘cheater’s account,’ to which people with guilty consciences can send money they know they owe?  There is a story about one letter the IRS received that read, “My conscience is bothering me because of cheating on my taxes, so I’m sending $10,000.  If my conscience doesn’t clear up, I’ll send in the rest of what I owe.”  Now some think that since most everybody seems to lie and cheat, it’s no big deal.  Wrong!  God’s Word says: in Proverbs 12:22, “The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in men/women who are truthful.”

Pray with me… Help us to be ‘in the moment’… living the truth, every day so it can be said of us as Jesus said of Nathanael… ‘Behold an Israelite in whom there is no deceit/no false thing.’  Lord, in this world of lies, distortions, half-truths and propaganda, we want to walk in the truth, because we know that you have no greater joy than to know that your children walk in the truth.  In Jesus’ Name, amen.

Pastor Ken