Tuesday, April 24, 2012


John Tiller’s life was going along according to his plan.  He was thankful for many things, especially his healthy and energetic three-year-old son, Eli.  But, in a single day, everything changed.  Little Eli was left alone in an upstairs playroom when he pulled a chair up to the window, lifted himself up onto the sill and pushed out the screen.  A few moments later, when John’s wife went to check on Eli, she found the room empty and the window screen missing.  She looked out the window to see the body of her only child unconscious on the asphalt driveway thirteen feet below.   Eli had suffered severe head trauma and was med-flighted to a university hospital.  He lingered between life and death for three weeks.  And although Eli did live, the Tiller family would never be the same.  John has spoken about the three lessons he learned through this life-changing event:

-Determine your values before a crisis hits.  In crisis, you act on instinct.  You default to what you truly believe.  Crisis creates defining moments because it reveals the decisions we have already made.  When John met his wife in the hospital that fateful day, she was understandably distraught.  He looked her in the eyes and said, “No matter what happens, we will NOT let this come between us.”  She agreed.  They hadn’t made that decision that day.  They were simply affirming a commitment they had already made in the presence of God and witnesses on their wedding day…. ‘For better or for worse,’ and it doesn’t get any worse than the prospect of losing a child.

-Work like it depends on you and pray like it depends on God.  The Tiller’s did everything humanly possible to make their son well.  They invested tens of thousands of dollars in uninsured therapy equipment.  They received training to administer home-based therapy.  For three years, eighty percent of their waking hours were spent doing physical therapy on their son.  In addition, they prayed constantly, because they needed supernatural help.

- Be willing to burn your old vision and embrace a new one.  Despite years of prayer and the best treatment available, Eli’s brain injury left him with significant disabilities.  Now, at 12 years old, he walks with a cane and talks with a severe stutter.  His sight and memory are seriously impaired.  One of the hardest things the Tiller’s had to do was to accept, several years after the accident, that it was time to live life going forward with Eli’s disability.  It was a reality they could not change.  They embraced new realities and are experiencing the blessings that come from a new vision, as Eli plays Miracle League baseball and participates in races that he seldom wins, but always finishes!  He also sings and speaks to raise money for organizations that help kids with special needs.

God can redeem our trials.  Our choice is either to grieve our losses indefinitely or to move forward in dependence on Him and partnership with Him to see how he can redeem our suffering to bless us and reveal His grace.

Pray with me…. Dear Father, we have seen it a thousand times…. how you can strengthen and comfort us in our trials…. how you can use our pain to deepen us and equip us to minister to others…. how you can redeem our suffering and use our weakness to reveal your presence and power to save.  We are secure in your care.  We have Your peace that passes all understanding, no matter what life brings.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

Pastor Ken

Monday, April 23, 2012


I have vivid memories of a Sunday morning 20 years ago. As Kaylene and I were getting ready for church, we had the television in our bedroom tuned to the ‘Old Time Gospel Hour,’ a weekly telecast of the worship services of the Thomas Road Church in Lynchburg, Virginia.   The preacher that particular morning was David Ring, which was a new name to me.  It turned out that he had been born with cerebral palsy.   I thought as I was shaving, “This will be interesting.”  It was much more than interesting; it was totally captivating as he shared his convicting message, “Don’t Ask Why; Ask What!”

Being born with cerebral palsy, Pastor Ring could not walk normally and he could not talk clearly.  His hand and arm motions were not coordinated.  He had facial ticks.  In his testimony, he told about his father abandoning him and his mother shortly after David was born.  Then, at age 15, his mother died, leaving him without a nuclear family.  He was alone, except for the Lord in his young life.  He often awoke in the night to cry out to God for answers and for mercy. After graduation from high school, he sensed God’s calling to the vocational preaching ministry.  People were not encouraging.  They told him, “You can’t even enunciate the name of ‘Jesus!’  During his college years he was told he would not be married or have a family because no one would want to go out with him.  

But David Ring did not ask, ‘Why?’  He asked ‘What!’  He did not ask why God allowed him to suffer so much trial in his young life.  Rather he asked what can God do with my unique experience and disabilities…. what can God do with my yielded life?  Longer story shorter…. Today David Ring is in demand as an international evangelist.  He is married to a beautiful Christian woman that he met in Bible College, and with whom he has reared 6 children.  If you ever hear him, you will never forget it.

That Sunday morning, after he preached, Pastor Ring sang ‘Victory in Jesus’…. a-cappella.  It was the most awful…. the most beautiful thing I have ever heard in my life.  Kaylene and I both just sat down and wept.  [And I don’t cry that often.] Our unexpected emotion was because of the truth of his message and the powerful application of it in his life.

Is it not amazing what God can do with our tragedies and trials?  When we stop asking ‘Why?’ and we start asking ‘What?’…. God can and will work his wonders in our lives!  Can you get excited about what your future holds knowing God can take your worst and bring about His best for you.

Pray with me…. Father, You have made us for Yourself.  Our dependence on You is the source of our ultimate strength to handle the worst that life deals us.  We pray You will deliver us from the self-absorption that causes us to constantly question why bad things happen.  Empower us by Your Spirit, when we experience trials and troubles, to ask what You can do through it all.  In the name of Jesus we pray, amen.

Pastor Ken

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Here is my axiom today: Professing love is over-rated. Showing love is under-rated. I remember the first time my father told me that he loved me. I was 18 years old. I had been in Bible College for six weeks. I traveled home for a visit after being gone that long for the first time in my life. My dad drove me to Champaign, IL on a Sunday night to meet my ride back to college. As I started to get out of the car, he embraced me and said, “Son, I love you and I am so proud of you.” I was stunned. I had not heard that from him before. It was surely a bonding moment between us. I was speechless.

For many men in my dad’s generation, love was not something you verbalized; it was something you demonstrated. My dad gave evidence of his love by working the third shift [12 midnight to 8 AM] for 30 years. He slept during the day when I was in school so he could watch my practices and go to my ball games in the evenings. He volunteered as a scoutmaster when I was in Boy Scouts and Explorers. This involved several lost weekends when, in occasional freezing temperatures, he had to sleep on the ground in a tent and cook on an open fire. When he and I were both initiated the same night at Camp Drake, into the ‘Order of the Arrow’ we had to take a vow of silence, be dropped separately in the woods in the middle of the night without anything but a sleeping bag and find our way back the next day. The initiation also involved a fast from food for 24 hours and an entire 12-hour day of backbreaking work. My dad did that for me. I know that now. I was clueless at the time. I didn’t get it then. I get it now.

In John 21, the risen Lord Jesus met Peter on the seashore. He gave Peter the opportunity to profess his love three times, in part to atone for the three times Peter had denied him during the night of his illegal trials. Three times Jesus asked, “Peter, do you love me?” Three times Peter professed his love for the Lord, “Yes Lord, you know that I love you.” After each of the three professions Jesus gave Peter an imperative, indicating that Jesus is more interested in the evidence of love than the expression in words. Lip service takes a back seat to a life surrendered. Love must be observable. Love must be measurable. Love must be seen.

Jesus said, “Feed my lambs [21:15], take care of my sheep [21:16], feed my sheep [21:17],” if you really love me. There you have it. The demonstration of love matters more than the verbalization of love. Hey, it’s nice if you have both, but if you have to choose between the two…. Don’t just say it; show it!

Pray with me…. Our Father…. a simple and yet profound lesson from your Word today…. Our words come so easily. Talk is cheap. Praise can be performed while we are on autopilot. But, we want to act, move, serve and align our practical priorities with your life-transforming mission in this world. We want to be yoked with you to show you our love is real. In the name of Jesus we pray, amen.

Pastor Ken


Have you noticed that we live in a society that likes to label people? If someone makes a certain mistake in their lifetime, some will brand them for the rest of their lives, even though the person is much different than one single event of many years previous. Labels are unwise and unfair because people change, people grow, people can become something great, even if they have a flawed past. Of all the people who have ever had a bad label, it is Thomas, the disciple of Jesus. He isn’t even called Thomas by many who refer to him. He is called Doubting Thomas. But, the fact is, Thomas was not vacillating and weak. He actually became a tremendously influential Christian leader, a missionary with few peers and eventually a martyr for his faith in Jesus Christ. He evangelized the geographical area that is called India today. He lived his last days on the top of a mountain where he constantly prayed over the cities below. One morning he was seized by enemies of the Gospel and thrown to his death. So, the legacy of Thomas is not one of doubt, it is rather the salvation of hundreds of thousands of East Indians through the years, who have referred to themselves as ‘Thomas Christians.’

In the past few months we have experienced several dramatic conversions at Crossroads…. people whose past life stories might cause them to be labeled by others as ‘Profane Paul’ or ‘Addicted Alice’ or ‘Suicidal Sam.’ But their heads and hearts are under new management. The Lordship of Jesus has regenerated them, renewed them, and refocused them for a God-honoring future. There is nothing like being part of a ministry that is changing lives for time and eternity. This coming weekend at the Ford Center, we will go deeper in our study of John 20 and the life-changing personal encounter that ‘Faithful Thomas’ had with the Risen Lord.

Pray with me....Father God, with all my heart I seek to belong to you and be transformed by Your grace and the power of the Holy Spirit. In the name of Jesus, amen.

Pastor Ken