Monday, October 27, 2014


This headline out of Tulsa, OK caught my attention over the weekend past: “Christian Church Offering Beer to Congregation During Service.”   At first I was stunned, and then disappointed, that a Christian Church would pursue such a potentially damaging methodology.  This accommodation is wrong on several levels, not the least of which is the source of stumbling it will be to the 12 million alcoholics and problem drinkers and their loved ones in our nation. 
Every year, 1400 American college students between 18 and 24 die from alcohol related injuries… 150,000 develop health problems that are alcohol related.  Every day 13,000 children and teens take their first drink.  26% of alcohol abusers are underage.  [I could go on and on.  There is so much more to indict the poor judgment employed by Eastside Christian Church.]  Here’s the thing: According to Alcoholics Information, the entry level for a future of alcoholism is beer consumption. 

Upon further investigation I discovered this strategy is the latest attempt by the Disciples of Christ Christian Church denomination to be rescued from 20 years of decline.  Two-thirds of their congregations have been in decline for ten years, both in average attendance and in income.  63 percent have been in decline for 20 years or more.  Only one out of six of their congregations are able to sustain full time ministry today.  Giving has declined by 52 % in the last 20 years.  Giving to missions has decline by one third.  And most of their remaining income is spent on buildings and pastoral salary and benefits.  Their churches are dying and closing at the rate of more than one a week.  It doesn’t take a Harvard PhD to see the direct ‘cause and effect’ relationship between their cultural accommodation in methodology and their demise?  It’s sad to me.
Father God, renew your people who have lost their way.  Revive in your church the desire to reflect your holiness and to resist the lure of the world, the flesh and the Devil.  We pray for a dynamic witness of the good news that Jesus saves and keeps and satisfies.  In His name and for the sake of His mission in this world we pray, amen.

Pastor Ken

Monday, October 20, 2014


My inbox has been full the past few days.  Family, friends, coworkers and Crossroads members have been alerting me to this headline and the accompanying article…“City of Houston demands pastors turn over sermons.”  Then, as I began to read, I thought to myself…“Now it begins…”I knew it could probably come in my lifetime, given the politicizing of moral/Biblical issues in recent years, but I honestly did not expect it this soon. 
The city of Houston has issued subpoenas demanding a group of pastors turn over any sermons dealing with homosexuality or gender identity.  Those ministers who fail to comply could be held in contempt of court according to Annise Parker, the city’s first openly lesbian mayor, and the city council.  These subpoenas are just the latest twist in an ongoing saga over Houston’s new non-discrimination ordinance.  The law, among other things, would allow men to use the ladies room and vice-versa.  The city council approved the law in June.  The Houston Chronicle reported the ordinance launched a petition drive that generated 50,000 signatures – far more than the 17,269 needed to put a referendum on the ballot.  [However, the city threw out the petition in August.]  So, the opponents of the bathroom ordinance filed a lawsuit.  The city attorneys responded by issuing the subpoenas against the pastors.  Mayor Parker refuses to explain why she wants to inspect the sermons. 
400 Houston-area churches, representing a number of faith groups, have gone on record as opposing the ordinance.  Among those slapped with a subpoena are mega-church Pastor Steve Riggle of Grace Community Church and Dave Welch, Executive Director of the Texas Pastor Council.  Both have refused to forfeit their first amendment rights and have said they will not be intimidated by this abuse of civil authority.

Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council, warned about this very thing in his book, “God Less America.”  He predicted that the government would one day try to silence American pastors under the guise of ‘tolerance and diversity’ in order to deconstruct religious liberty.
Pastor Welch compares this battle in Houston to the 1836 Battle of San Jacinto, in Harris County, Texas…a decisive battle in the Texas Revolution.  “This is the San Jacinto moment for the traditional family,” Welch said.  “This is the place where we stop the LGBT [lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender] assault on the freedom to practice our faith.  If we don’t, the government might come after your pastor.”
Gulp!  Personally, because of my love for and loyalty to God’s truth and my love for and loyalty to God’s people, I cannot help but take all this seriously.  Although this kind of ethical and social change may take years to become reality, it has indeed begun.  The issue has been raised.  The camel’s nose is officially under the tent.  The United States of America continues to walk, zombie-like, down the path of walked by Western Europe. We will not like where it leads us or our children or our grandchildren…if the Lord tarries.
Please pray with me…Father God, we are truly sorry and often very sad that, in our generation, we, as Christians, have been unable to stem the tide of unbelief and rejection of absolute truth in our nation. Neither have we finished the mission You have given us of taking the Gospel to the world.  We plead for Your forgiveness and Your patience as we balance grace and truth in our preaching, teaching, witnessing and Kingdom building until Christ returns.  In His dear name, amen.

Pastor Ken

Monday, October 13, 2014


In 1929, the Berlin Municipal Council recognized Dr. Albert Einstein’s 50th birthday by awarding him a country villa with a lake view.  But on visiting the house, his wife found it was already occupied and the occupants unwilling to move.  An embarrassed Council discovered it had given the previous inhabitants an ‘inalienable’ lease.  That is, the property could not be sold, surrendered or transferred to anyone else. 
To compensate, the Council presented Einstein a nearby acreage without a house.  AFTER he accepted, it was discovered that adjoining properties had been leased with the stipulation that no further building permits would be allowed in the vicinity.  Oops!
In desperation, the Council granted Einstein a third plot – only to discover AFTER publicly announcing the bequest that they didn’t own it and therefore could not donate it.  [Einstein finally purchased other property and built on it himself.] 
Don’t confuse our Heavenly Father with the Berlin Municipal Council.  God has a comprehensive knowledge of our sin problem and what sacrifices on His part are necessary to resolve it.  He has done everything required and marshaled all the powers needed to accomplish it.  Indeed, He has left nothing undone in preparing…and Jesus has left nothing undone in securing our salvation.  However shortsighted or incompetent the Church may be in administrating God’s grace, He has delivered everything we need for life and godliness.
Pray with me…Father, I thank you that there is no disappointment in Jesus and that His promises of forgiveness, new life now and eternal life evermore are dependable.  I thank you that with You, a thing promised is as good as a thing done.  In the name of Jesus, amen.

Pastor Ken

Monday, October 6, 2014


I have been reflecting lately in the Biblical record on how God almost always sent a warning before His judgment fell.  In Genesis chapters 6-8, the preaching of Noah went on for 120 years before the global deluge.  The core of his message was confrontational, calling people to repent of their wickedness before God shut the door of the ark and then it would be too late.  Literally everyone turned a deaf ear except Noah’s wife, his sons and their wives.  Only 7 conversions in 120 years…and then it was only his family?  Ouch! In Genesis 18-19 angels visited the city of Sodom with a warning about its wickedness shortly before it was destroyed by fire and brimstone.  Again, the people of the city were universally resolute in their rebellion against the loving ethical reign of a Holy God.  Abraham had personally negotiated with God.  They had mutually agreed that if 10 righteous persons could be found in Sodom, the city would be spared!  Didn’t happen.  They could not find 10.  So again, it’s pretty much Lot and his family; sadly, minus even his own wife as it turned out.
Then in Exodus it’s the plagues, which should have served as a warning to the Pharaoh about what kind of disaster he was in store for unless he relented and released the Hebrew slaves.  By contrast, in the book of Jonah there is something of a success story.  The sobering influence of his time spent in the belly of the great fish got Jonah’s attention and then his preaching got the attention of the city of Nineveh.  So, here we have a warning heeded and a response that saved the lives of thousands.
All this to say, how do we interpret all the ‘stuff’ that has happened in the last 20 years or so?  The AIDS epidemic, war-fueled PTSD, alcohol and drug addiction and now Ebola…the political chaos and human suffering of 9/11, the Middle East War on Terror, ever-escalating wars and rumors of wars…the natural disasters like tsunamis, earthquakes, droughts, floods, fires, pollution and nuclear meltdowns…the global financial implosion in 2008 and the looming disastrous economic impact of our national debt…the breakdown of the contemporary family through easy divorce, government subsidized abortion, weekly school shootings, the redefinition of marriage as no longer only between a man and a woman, growing gender identity confusion…
People are sensing our world is coming unraveled.  Something is drastically wrong.  Even honest unbelievers will admit that the wisdom and wealth of this world don’t provide hope.  So, where do we go?  The Psalmist said it this way in Psalm 119:114, “I have hope in You [Lord].  You are my refuge and shield; I have put my hope in Your Word.”
Pray with me… Our Loving Creator, we come to you in brokenness and humility.  Like the residents of Nineveh long ago, we want to heed Your call for us to repent both personally and as a nation.  We want to pay attention to Your hand of discipline moving in this world in our generation.  We commit to realign our priorities and recalibrate our hearts.  As Your people, we know that is the place where you want to be loved and worshipped first.  Take that throne God, and establish your loving eternal reign.  In the name of Jesus, the one who makes it possible we pray, amen.

Pastor Ken