Monday, March 31, 2014


This past week I read a post on Facebook by our son, Kyle Idleman.  It is heart-warming and worth-sharing.

“I asked an 8 year old her favorite thing about God.  Without missing a beat, she went on and on.  Here were the first four things she said word for word:

He loves us no matter what.
He helps us in really hard times.
He sees us even when we are far away and he can still help us.
He gives rich people at church a lot of money so they can give it away to help people all over the world.

Well, there it is.  I might start letting 8 year olds take over my Face- book posting.  Matthew 21:16, “Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him.  “Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read, ‘From the lips of children and infants you, Lord, have called forth your praise’?”

It is so true isn’t it?  We get older, but not necessarily wiser.  We mature in years, but not in humility.  We increase our assets, but we do not enlarge our hearts.  We become more self-assured, but not more self-sacrificing with the passing years.  It is good for us to occasionally ask, “Am I Smarter Than an Eight Year Old?”  Or, do I need to be led by a little child to see God more clearly as a Lover of my soul, an all powerful and ever present Helper in my struggles, a Blesser who blesses you and me to be a blessing to others here, near and far away.

Pray with me… Father, give us the heart of faith so often seen in and heard from believing children.  In Jesus name, amen.

Pastor Ken

Monday, March 24, 2014


A 2013 Harris Poll shows that 75 percent of Americans believe in God.  This is a significant number, but down a bit in recent years.    According to the same survey, 68 percent believe in some concept of the deity of Jesus, and 65 percent believe in His resurrection.  In addition, 68 percent believe in heaven, while only 58 percent believe in hell.  This recent objective research demonstrates that America is indeed a predominantly Christian nation, regardless of what politicians, movie stars or the media ‘talking heads’ may say.

Kirsten Powers is a Democratic Party strategist and political commentator for various news outlets.  She spent much of her adult life as an atheist.  In various interviews she has recounted her journey to Christian faith.  She had always considered evangelical Christianity in particular to be anti-intellectual and directly related to a particular political ideology.  Then she began dating a man who asked if she could keep an open mind about Christianity.  She prided herself on her open-mindedness, so she started attending Redeemer Presbyterian Church, listening to the preaching of Tim Keller.  Little by little she came to faith.  The relationship with the boyfriend didn’t last, but her faith in Christ did.  She described her conversion as changing her perspective and bringing her a sense of great joy.

This story has been replicated time and time again.  General Lew Wallace, 11th Governor of New Mexico Territory, set out to disprove the Gospels and wound up writing Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ… A best selling book since its publication, it has been called the most influential Christian book of the nineteenth century.  Lee Stroebel, columnist for the Chicago Sun Times, began studying the Bible to undermine his wife’s newfound Christian faith.  Instead, he became a Christ-follower and pastor.  He has also written 3 best selling books defending the Christian faith…The Case for Faith, The Case for Christ and The Case for a Creator.

Pray with me…Father, I thank you that no one has to turn off his/her brain to be a follower of Jesus.  I thank you that when we truly love you with our minds, it will resolve our doubts and deepen our confidence that your Word is true.  I pray for a more honest quest by unbelievers everywhere to investigate your truth. And I pray that as believers, we will live lives that demonstrate the difference Jesus makes so they will want to know, love and serve him too.  In His name I pray…amen.

Pastor Ken

Monday, March 17, 2014


The story of Nathan Barlow is remarkable.  He was a missionary doctor to Ethiopia who dedicated his life to helping the people deal with a miserable condition known as ‘mossy foot.’  This disease, caused by fungi spreads as tumorous, cauliflower-like lesions, beginning with the foot; but can spread to the leg or even the upper regions of the body.   Use your imagination.  It sounds awful.

When Dr. Barlow had to leave the mission field for a short time because of a tooth infection, he instructed his dentist to pull all of his teeth and fit him for dentures because he didn’t want to leave his life’s work again, not even long enough to deal with something as minor as a toothache.  Later in his life, his adult children tried to get him to retire and return from the field in Ethiopia.  He chose instead to die among the people whose physical and spiritual suffering he was committed to relieve in the name of Jesus.

It’s amazing that one who would make such heroic sacrifices would live his life in obscurity.  He is the example of one who was willing to do whatever he had to do to reach people for Jesus Christ.  And so reviewing his biography, we measure our own willingness to make personal sacrifices to bless people in the name of Jesus. Nathan Barlow did what he could, where he was with what he had.  We must do the same.

Pray with me…. Father, our sacrifices of time, energy and resources to serve others in Your Name pales into insignificance when we hear the stories about what others have done.  Thank you for the reminder today of how high the bar has been set… especially by the sacrifice of the One whom we serve and in whose Name we pray… even Jesus.  Amen.

Pastor Ken

Monday, March 10, 2014


Ever since I was a sophomore in college I have been giving regular financial offerings to God.  I praise Him for the older Christian Brother who took me aside and taught me this vital discipleship principle… over 4 decades ago now.  I am confident that much of the heart for The Lord and His Church that I have developed through the years has been the result of investing my ‘treasure’ in God’s kingdom as a priority [Matthew 6:21].  I was convicted then that either my kingdom or His would be my primary focus.  I decided it should be His [Matthew 6:33].  When I started taking my giving seriously, I had an income of $35/week.  I started faithfully giving $5 each Lord’s Day as an expression of worship.  Something good began to happen in my head and heart that I trace back to that Spirit-led decision/commitment.

It grieves me that most Christians do not give to God first.  It is more predictable today that a person subtracts their bills from their income to see how much is left over; then determines what can be given to the Lord’s work out of the overflow, without going into debt.  So rather than a ‘first fruits’ offering, it becomes a ‘leftover’ offering.  But, taking our offering off the top, so to speak, is evidence that we acknowledge God’s authority over us.  It is an act of gratitude to God for his goodness and it’s trusting Him to provide the best for us.  Bill Hybels wrote that most of us look at giving like paying another bill; but instead we should look at it as seed we sow.

Pray with me… Father, truly everything we have belongs to you.  We came into this world naked and dependent, empty-handed, and that is exactly how we will exit.  Forgive us when the bright lights, the fast moving crowds, or the good times lure us into a preoccupation with money and the material world.  We want to love what You love and sacrifice what we have for the only kingdom that ultimately matters.  In the name of Jesus, amen.

Pastor Ken

Tuesday, March 4, 2014


This past weekend I shared the true story of how little Hattie May Wyatt’s gift of 57 cents inspired the construction of a 3,300 seat mega-church, and eventually, the establishment of Good Samaritan Hospital and Temple University in the city of Philadelphia.  Sunday evening I heard from Rodgers Greenawalt, one of our faithful Crossroads men.  With permission, I am sharing his testimony:

“Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed hearing about Hattie May Wyatt.  It is so inspiring and a great reminder of the impact our lives and giving today can have on future generations.  I first heard her story about 15 years ago, and it so touched me that I decided then that every week I would add 57 cents to my weekly offering.  I have been doing that so long that I often did it without reflecting on why I was writing 57/100 instead of 00/100 on the check.  The timeliness of your story this week was just as inspiring and spoke to me personally that we can make a difference.  The angle you took on her story about giving ALL, similar to the poor widow [Mark 12:41-44 and Luke 21:1-4], was something I had never thought about.  You taught me that it wasn’t the poor widow’s 2 coins or Hattie May Wyatt’s 57 pennies that inspired everyone, as it was the powerful influence of seeing someone willing to give ALL that has moved and touched people through the years.”

I could not have said it better…

Pray with me… Father, when we sing, “All to Jesus I surrender,” may we sing the truth.  When we pray and teach and testify and preach about surrender, may it be the truth.  May we experience the deeper joys of total surrender to your loving Lordship each day.  In the name of Jesus, amen.

Pastor Ken