Tuesday, July 29, 2014


He was ostracized from his hometown.  Although everyone knew him, no one wanted to speak to him or have any business dealings with him.  He was shunned for collecting taxes from his own, the Jewish people.  And to make matters worse, he did it for the Romans, who turned right around and oppressed the Jews.  He enriched himself, by charging the general public a collection fee in addition to their tax bill.  Things were ‘going good’ for Zacchaeus… but, to tell the truth, they got even better.
One day Jesus passed through Jericho.  His reputation had preceded him.  People were waiting by the roadside.  Zacchaeus was among them, sitting up in a tree near the road rather than try to excuse himself to the front of the crowd.  What a shock when Jesus said, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately.  I must stay at your house today.”  He slid down the trunk and welcomed Jesus gladly.  And before Jesus left, Zacchaeus stood up and said, “Look, Lord!  Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”  Jesus said, “Today salvation has come to this house…”
This tax collector became a disciple of Jesus and the evidence is in how his priorities were realigned… almost instantly!  In one day, Zacchaeus’ love and devotion to Jesus restructured his values.  He committed to give away half of his accumulated wealth plus pay restitution to all those whom he had cheated.  In only one day he got it… that when you are devoted to Jesus, you lose your attraction to money and you demonstrate compassion for others.  You begin to release your hold on money and you tighten your grip on Jesus.  This was the first commitment that Zacchaeus made. 
What is puzzling to me is that for so many disciples in our generation, the stewardship piece, the giving piece, is the final one, instead of the first, to be put into place to complete the picture of a mature disciple of Jesus.  Non-believers give little or nothing… and without a conscience about it.  But new disciples know that the location of the heart is tied to the location of their treasure. So, they immediately want to relocate their ‘coined life.’
Pray with me… Father, give us the values of Zacchaeus.  Help us to make reckless decisions about our life priorities and assets once we have made Jesus Lord of our lives.  In His name, amen. 

Pastor Ken

Monday, July 21, 2014


At a purely practical level, one of the hardest teachings in scripture to put into practice is revealed in Romans 12:21, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”  Although it is challenging, obeying this command can have truly amazing results when it comes to healing damaged relationships.  Case in point… In
I Samuel 24, David is running for his life and hiding in a cave to escape the jealous wrath of King Saul when, one day, Saul shows up in said cave to relieve himself.  [Saul had wantonly chased David, bent on killing him for no other reason other than his own paranoia.]  Rather than capitalize on the opportunity to do away with an avowed enemy, David chose only to cut off a piece of his garment.   When he let Saul know he could havetaken his life, but did not, and then produced the swath of Saul’s robe as proof…
Saul wept aloud and said to David, “You are more righteous than I.  You have treated me well, but I have treated you badly.  You have just now told me of the good you did to me… you did not kill me… When a man finds his enemy, does he let him get away unharmed  [rhetorical question]?  May the Lord reward you well for the way you have treated me today.”
Do you see it? Love has amazing power.  It doesn’t always have the kind of immediate results we see here, but over time it has tremendous power to break down dividing walls between people who belong together!
Pray with me… Heavenly Father, David overcame evil with good.  We have the same power available to each of us as your children.  May we tap that power today by initiating loving-kindness with everyone and improve the prospects of reconciliation with a new beginning for more than a few.  In the Name above every name, amen.

Pastor Ken

Monday, July 14, 2014


It’s true… One of the best things our Heavenly Father does is keep us from knowing what will happen in the future.  Just think of all the bright surprises you have especially enjoyed because you did not know they were coming.  On the other hand, think of all the bad experiences you haven’t had to dread because you did not know they were coming.  God is good not to show us tomorrow!  Our wise Lord gives us His grace one day at a time.
And what is true for us was also true for David in the Old Testament. David was anointed by the prophet Samuel to be the next king in Israel.  Then he lead out in a decisive victory over the Hebrew’s perpetual enemies, the Philistines, by bringing down their greatest warrior.  But if you think David ascended quickly to the throne, you would be wrong.  It didn’t happen that way.  In fact, the euphoria of being anointed king and being victorious over Goliath ushered David into one of the deepest, longest and darkest valleys of his life.  He became outcast, fleeing from King Saul, who became resentful of David’s favor in the sight of God and the people.  So David moved from a season of celebrity into a season of despair, from being a hero to becoming a fugitive.  Yes, God was good not to tell David all that was coming his way.  
But David presses hard into the protective care of the Lord.  He pursues God’s heart through it all. He seems unaffected by either overnight success or by undeserved shame.   It is a rare person who can handle the ups and downs of life with such resiliency.  When surprised by joy or slammed with disappointment, David seemed to thrive because of his pursuit of God’s heart through it all.  May we do the same!
Pray with me… Father God, you are our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble.  We praise you for the good times and we praise you in the bad times.  In the strong name of Jesus, amen.

Pastor Ken