Monday, June 24, 2013


A friend recently asked me about a verse he considered to be out of character with the message of God’s grace in the New Testament. I Corinthians 16:22, “If anyone does not love the Lord – a curse be on him.” 

Granted, it is pretty succinct and direct. And this kind of ultimatum is becoming more and more distasteful in our post-modern society.  It is involuntarily resisted these days.  We don’t like straight talk; we like politically correct speech.  We don’t like limited options; we like choices.  We don’t like truth; we like opinions.  We don’t like One Way talk; we like to believe that there are many paths to God/heaven.   But, like it or not, God’s Word says that the road forks in front of each and every one of us and we determine the life we will live in the flesh and the destiny of our souls.  Pretty simple: Love the Lord or not? If, not…you will bring down a curse on yourself.

But to love the Lord begs the question… How?  How do I demonstrate my love for Jesus Christ?  There are 5 simple ways to show our love according to the book, The Five Languages of Love.  These apply not only to our horizontal love for one another, but also our vertical love for the Lord.  They are: 
  • Acts of service – Serving others in his name…the primary channel for this service is in and through His church.
  • Affirming words – Praise/worship and prayer…Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks [or sings]. 
  • Gifts – Investing at least the first 10% of our income in building His kingdom, instead of our own. 
  • Time – Having some margins in our lives to be in His presence. 
  • Touch – Drawing near is a privilege and blessing.
 Pray with me… Father, You know our hearts.  You know that we love you imperfectly, but truly.  We pray the evidence of that love will be demonstrated to You and to all who know us.  We desire to see Your Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.  We know that can only happen as more and more people come to know and love You, coming under your loving Lordship, coming under the canopy of Your grace.   In Your majestic name, amen.

Pastor Ken

Monday, June 17, 2013


I was recently questioned by a well-meaning, mega-church pastor friend about a statement he overheard me make in stand up conversation. I had been asked to recommend a particular leader for a ministry position.   I replied that I could not, in good conscience, give the man an unqualified recommendation because of his history as a serial adulterer, coupled with his unwillingness to be truly confessional and accountable.  I was sure of my facts.  I read the startled expression on the face of the brother asking for my endorsement and added, “I will not keep the secrets of the unrepentant.  I believe it is the equivalent of a cover-up.  I cannot withhold from the church information that may enable a man with a history of victimization to perpetuate his weakness in a new location.”  It is the reason the Roman Catholic Church has paid out hundreds of millions of dollars in punitive damages to boys and girls previously molested by priests, some of whom perpetuated their sin with the knowledge [and tacit consent] of their spiritual overseers.

Jesus said in Matthew 18:15-17, “If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you.  If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.  But if he will not listen, take one or two brothers along, so that every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.  If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.”  This should not be misunderstood.  It is crystal clear.  Jesus made provision for confidentiality.  If you confront someone overtaken by a sin, one on one, and he/she listens [repents], you have won that person over…case closed.  But, if there is defensiveness or denial or defiance… step two – take one or two along with you…and step three – tell it to the church.  In other words, “Do not keep the secrets of the unrepentant.”

Pray with me…Father, we want to be ambassadors for Christ, ministering Your amazing grace in the lives of the lost.  And, we want to be agents of Your truth, ministering Your loving discipline in the lives of the saved.  Help us be faithful to look to the fields that are ripe for harvest and to keep watch over the souls of our family of faith.  In the name of Jesus, our Savior and the Good Shepherd of the sheep we pray, amen.

Pastor Ken

Monday, June 10, 2013


Have you noticed that our lifetime is lived in seasons… and that seasons have a beginning and an ending?  Spring gives way to summer, summer to autumn, autumn to winter and winter to spring in a perpetual cycle.  Successful farmers have learned how to rotate their crops in order to capitalize on the changing seasons.  They plant corn in one field; then when it is out of season, they plow the harvested stalks under and let that field rest.  At the same time, they may be busy planting and harvesting alfalfa in another field to make hay for the livestock… and so on.

The Psalmist compared the blessed person to “… a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither.  Whatever he/she does prospers.”  [Psalm 1:3]

As we move through the ever-changing seasons of life let’s remember that God is more concerned with the depth of our roots than the height of our branches; more interested in the quality of the life we live than the quantity of our years.  As we move from childhood [spring] to adolescence, from adolescence [summer] to adulthood, from adulthood [autumn] to maturity [winter], let’s be sure we submit our wills, make our choices, order our lives… yield the kind of ‘fruit’… that would bring honor and praise to our loving Heavenly Father.

Pray with me… Father God, those who have just read these words are likely in various seasons of life.  Convict each of us today that we are daily progressing forward toward the time when we will crossover into a timeless, season-less existence where You dwell in unapproachable light, a day when we will be alone in Your presence to account for the life lived in the flesh.  May it be a day of ultimate celebration and endless joy and peace… In Jesus’ name, amen.

Pastor Ken


Ross Douththat recently pointed to a disturbing trend in American life… suicide is increasing.  Since 2000, it has risen… up sharply among the middle-aged.  The suicide rate for Americans 35-54 increased nearly 30 percent between 1999 and 2010; for men in their 50’s, it rose nearly 50 percent.  To put this in perspective, more Americans now die of suicide than in car accidents and gun suicides are almost twice as common as gun homicides. 

Sociologist Brad Wilcox asserts that there is a strong link between suicide and weakened social ties.  In other words, the more we retreat into our jobs, our busyness and our electronics/media, the more estranged we are from one another.  He said that men are more likely to kill themselves ‘if/when they get disconnected from the God-ordained institutions of marriage/family life and church life.’  The isolation resulting from this retreat from meaningful community has a devastating effect on the relational, emotional and mental health of men [in particular] and women. 

As Christians, we understand that we were created to live in communion with God and in community with one another.  It is our hope that, as the Lord’s Church, we can make a life-and-death difference in the lives of people in our area today and everyday.  We live in a county with a very high suicide rate.  Let’s determine we will do something to make a difference for someone before it is too late.

Pray with me… Loving Father, to live apart from You is to miss the abundant/eternal life You want for us.  So we want to draw near to You every day and feel You draw near to us, as You have promised You would.  And let us not forget to draw near to our families and our Christian friends who mean so much to us and who sustain us in our dark days of despair.  In the Name of Jesus, amen. 

Pastor Ken 


There were twin brothers from a small town in Texas.  The two brothers grew up in extreme poverty.  Their father was an alcoholic and their mother was a domestic worker.  They grew up with perpetual dysfunction and deprivation.  Then, one day on the way home, their parents were involved in an auto accident and died at the scene.  The brothers’ situation worsened.  By age 17 they had separated and gone their separate ways.  Years later, an aunt decided to find the boys and bring them together for a family reunion.  One of the brothers had become a wealthy engineer who owned a construction company.  He had a sweet wife and three bright kids.  They were deeply involved in a Bible-based, Christ-centered church. The other brother had himself become an alcoholic with a history of unemployment and broken relationships; a man who lived his life without a thought of God.   At the reunion, the aunt first asked the engineer, “How did your life turn out like this?”  His response…  “What would you expect with a childhood like mine?”  Then she asked the other brother the same question… “How did your life turn out like this?”  His response to the question was identical to his twin brother’s… “What would you expect with a childhood like mine?” 

Someone has said, “Men are not destined by the things that happen to them, but by their response to the things that happen to them.”  A wise proverb says it this way, “The same sun that melts wax hardens clay.”  A difficult life experience will either make you more submissive and devoted to God or more resistant and hostile to Him.  The next time you are faced with a difficulty, remember that you have a choice about how it will affect you.  You can allow this problem to soften your heart toward God or you can allow it to harden your heart with bitterness.  If a person chooses the latter path, they have only themselves to blame for how it will play out in his/her life on earth as well as the greater life.  
Bottom line: We all have our choices and we will live with the rewards or the consequences of those choices.

Pray with me… Our Loving Father, from the beginning you have made us like Yourself, with the power to think, reason and choose. 
This freedom resulted in the first pair, in their time, and all of us, in our own time, to sin.  But, you did not abandon us.  In Your great love, personified in Jesus Christ, your Son, you sought us and saved us.  We praise and worship you for the choice we can make that is more significant than all others.  We choose the Jesus way again today.  In His great Name we pray… amen.

Pastor Ken 


There is a debt that all Christ-followers owe that should be paid in a timely way.  It is described in Romans 13:7, “Give everyone what you owe him: …. If respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.”  This past Lord’s Day, my wife and I journeyed to Taylorville, IL to celebrate the 47th anniversary in ministry and the 27th anniversary in ministry at the Taylorville Christian Church of my lifelong friend, Dick Wamsley.  Here is why he is deserving of both respect and honor at this mile-marker in his life:

He was born the eldest of five children in Wamsley household.  While Dick was still in his early teens, his father was driving drunk and caused an accident, which resulted in the death of his best friend, who was a passenger in the car.  Later, out of guilt, his father began seeing his deceased friend’s wife.  Soon he moved out of his home, abandoning the wife of his youth and his five children, moving in with the other woman.  Consequently, Dick, as the eldest child, had to work at Dog and Suds as a carhop to help provide basic necessities for his mother, 3 brothers and sister.   He often slept on a cot in the back room of the bar his father tended.  Dick became the father figure for his younger siblings.  At age 17 he sensed God’s calling on his life to go into the fulltime Christian ministry.  He enrolled in Christian College and paid his way through undergraduate and graduate school, graduating with academic honors.  He married a good Christian girl and they raised two sons who are now married and faithfully engaged in the life of the church served by their father for over 25 years.  Dick wrote his doctoral thesis on, “Adult Children of Alcoholic Fathers.”  His church has more than doubled in size over the years.  He has served as a college trustee and has been instrumental in establishing the K-8 Vision Way Christian School.  There is more, but suffice it to say….

Last Sunday, the church was full; there was a standing ovation concluding a 2-hour service giving respect and honor to Dick for his life and leadership, his family and ministry.  I was so glad to be present and to raise my voice in tribute to my friend and coworker in the Lord.  So, who is it that you need to respect and honor in your life?  Do not let them go unappreciated…. unthanked…. unrecognized.  You don’t need to have a formal service.  Just a personally spoken word, a note, an email, a card, a phone call will make a difference.  Give what you owe.  Pay this debt.  You will be glad you did.

Pray with me…. Father, You Word is light and life to us.  The counsel of Your Word is the source of blessing and encouragement through us to others.  May we never take for granted the yielded lives of our brother and sisters in the Lord.  May we look for that which we can commend, and then take the initiative to commend it.  We pray in the name of Jesus, amen.

Pastor Ken 


We are immersed in the theme of marriage and family life at Crossroads during these 6 weeks spanning Mother’s Day and Father’s Day 2013.  The New Family Structures Study, out of the University of Texas, compared thousands of young adults [ages 18-39] who were reared in different types of family arrangements.  Those who knew their mothers had had a lesbian relationship fared significantly worse on measures of educational attainment, household income, depression, marijuana use, sexual encounters, feeling close to their biological mother, feeling secure in their family of origin, pleading guilty more often to criminal offense and being on public assistance.  Those who knew their fathers had had a homosexual relationship were more likely to have been arrested, to have thought recently about suicide, to feel depressed, to report sexually transmitted diseases and to have experienced forced sex. 

This data should not be dismissed.  It was generated, after all, by academic leaders at major universities and published by an esteemed journal with no political agenda and an advisory board with representatives from about three dozen universities.  What we should avoid at all costs is silencing such research and such discussion because it is seen as ‘politically incorrect.’  Where optimizing the well-being of innocent children is involved, no stone should be left unturned.  Dr. Keith Ablow testified that he always hesitates to publish such data because of the amount of threats and hate mail [by post and email] that he receives from the liberal [?] and tolerant [?] left.  Romans 1:25 speaks of those who, on this subject, ‘exchange the truth of God for a lie.’  This is not just a poor trade, it is a tragic trade when the price for perpetrating the lie is the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health of children.

Pray with me… Father God, in this generation that calls evil good and good evil, help us to stand for what is right and true with a spirit of compassionate love for those who have not, cannot or will not embrace Your truth… which is for our highest good always.  In the name of Jesus, amen.

Pastor Ken


Eleven years ago, Brenda Heist dropped off her young kids at school—drove off and never returned.  The family thought she was dead.  Surely something dreadful had happened to her.  What else could explain the sudden disappearance of a woman whom her daughter, then 8, described as a ‘great’ mom.  But last week, after more than a decade, Heist turned up in Florida, revealing to police that she had not been kidnapped.  She had, she said, been stressed… 

Most mothers are familiar with the feeling—for some it’s more fleeting than for others—total exhaustion, frustration, a sense of being overwhelmed by duty and the responsibility of raising children.  Some actually run away and some only indulge in a momentary fantasy of running away.  It is a fact that the number of those who are running away is increasing.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of single fathers is up from 600,000 in 1982 to over 2 million in 2011.  There are even support groups now for women who decide to leave their children.  So what is happening to motherhood in our generation?  There is more to say about this than I have time or space today, but I do have a couple of ideas:

1] The narcissism epidemic is a contributing factor to walk out moms.  The culture encourages feelings of entitlement.  There is  decreased commitment to the values of duty, self-denial and self-sacrifice today.  These are requirements of parenthood in general and motherhood in specific.  If a mother subscribes to the ‘take care of ‘numero uno,’’ ‘be true to yourself’ and ‘never compromise your needs’ mentality, she will keep the option of abandonment open.  Titus 2:3-5, “Teach the older women to… train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind… So that no one will malign the word of God.”  There is little room for narcissism [self-worship] in this charge to homemakers.

2] Husbands/dads aren’t stepping up at home.  The rise of working women, imposed in part by the economy, is not making much difference in the load moms are expected to carry at home.  There is an imbalance of responsibility.  Men need to realize that their passivity at home is contributing to their wives having to manage elevated levels of stress.  Guys, make this Mother’s Day a new beginning in caring for your wife and the mother of your children in practical ways.  I Peter 3:7, “Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so nothing will hinder your prayers.”  Someone has said that the discouraged sighs of an over-burdened, under-appreciated wife/mother will come before a man and his God.  So men, let’s refocus!

Pray with me… “Dear God and Father, once again in this week before Mother’s Day, we are impressed with the wisdom of your Word to bring us back to a place of self-discipline and a place of self-sacrifice as we seek to honor you by conforming our family life to your eternal truth.  The family is a reality because of your creation and design.  You know what makes it bless and what enriches us from the inside out.  We submit to You.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

Pastor Ken