Monday, November 24, 2014


As I was reading through the book Contagious Generosity, I was struck by a quote from famous author John Grisham. Here it is: “My wife and I measure the success of the year on how much we give away. The bulk of it goes to chuch and related activities.”  Being a Grisham book fan, [reading being one of my two favorite pastimes… the other one is ‘hanging’ out with grandchildren], I meditated on these two statements and John Grisham’s stock rose several points in my estimation. His brief testimony here tells me a lot about him. Taking him at his word, I learn something of his values, hisapproach to life and his elevated view of the church.
His values…Grisham measures success differently than most well published authors. I am sure that he is a multimillionaire, but this view of success is not related to getting published or selling more than a million copies of one of his many courtroom novels. He looks at achievement with the eyes of a mature Christ-follower. He is not caught up in the value system of the literary capitalist. Success means something more to him than having a book on the New York Times Bestseller list.
His approach to life…He is not as concerned with the receiving as he is giving. He sounds like he does not keep as close an eye on his income as he does his outflow. He has apparently embraced the ethic of Jesus that ‘it is more blessed to give than to receive.’ You rarely hear of this in well-known people; but when you do, it is refreshing. Grisham has made the transition from success to significance, from wealth to generosity, from achievement to service, from status to relationships.
His view of the church…The fact that the bulk of his giving is to and through the church is a huge statement about his spiritual maturity and wise judgment.  Giving through the church insures that the missionary and benevolent work you support has been pre-qualified and is recommended after due diligence by the elders.  It also means that you are balancing your giving, spreading it between both local outreach and global missions, and as well as various benevolent works. You trust the wisdom of the people who will be held accountable by God for their decisions about where the church’s financial support is distributed. But, most of all, when you give to and through the church, your giving is done for the glory and in the name of Jesus. Christ and His church are the places that people will look in gratitude for the faith they have embraced or the help they have received.
“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” [Colossians 3:17 NIV]
Pray with me…Lord, this morning I am thankful for the testimonies of people known and unknown, celebrated and overlooked, who demonstrate the rock solid values of a life well-lived according to Your values and priorities. Thank you Father, for the examples in your word and in contemporary life that inspire and encourage your best in us. May we always be discerning, not just about what is right and wrong, but about what is good and best. And, may we never get to the place we think we know it all. Keep us teachable…In Jesus’ dear name we pray, amen.

Pastor Ken

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


Do you want to hear a great verse from the New Testament that I almost never hear quoted?  It is Philippians 4:1, "Therefore, my brothers, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, that is how you should   stand firm in the Lord, dear friends!"  This statement that comes toward the close of Paul's letter to the church in Philippi is a very telling statement.  It reveals the heart of the apostle of Christ for his brothers and sisters in the family of God. He openly professes his love for them and the fact that he misses them. He openly refers to them as his 'joy and crown.'  I am struck by the easy way that he speaks of his feelings for the community of Christ-followers.  He goes on and actually names the names Euodia and Syntyche and Clement.
Do you know how rare it is for people to be in a church that has this kind of open verbal expression of affection?  The atmosphere of affirmation is often lacking in the very place where it should be breaking out, certainly much more than at an Amway rally or a Herba-Life convention.
What is it that causes us to restrict ourselves from speaking words of appreciation and affection to one another?  Some kids never hear it from parents at home.  Some coaches never learn that building confidence through affirmation produces more winners than constant intimidation, belittling and manipulation ever will.  Some students get criticism and correction from teachers, but they seldom get compliments.
In Hanz Finzel's book, The Top Ten Mistakes Leaders Make, the number two mistake he identifies is the 'absence of affirmation.'  I long ago decided that will not be the case as I lead my family, nor will it be the case in my leadership in the community of the Christian college or the church. Are there times for correction and confrontation?  Indeed there are such times.  But, those times are fewer and farther between if there is openly expressed friendship and praise.
So, leave nothing encouraging unsaid to those in your circle of family and friendship because, as Paul said, 'This is how you ought to stand firm in the Lord.' There is something about genuinely caring and expressing affection for others in the church that strengthens your own spiritual life.
Pray with me.... Lord, we do not find it hard to love, praise and thank you for all you mean to us and all you have done for us.  Help us to put a higher priority on doing the same for those to whom we are bound by your cords, which cannot be broken in the family of God.  
In Jesus' name, amen.

Pastor Ken

Monday, November 10, 2014


Author Mark Batterson cites the illustration of 16th century Renaissance astronomer Nicholas Copernicus who challenged the belief that the earth was the center of the universe.  He argued that the sun did not revolve around the earth, but rather that the earth revolved around the sun.  The Copernican Revolution turned the scientific world right side up by turning the universe inside out.  We all need to experience a spiritual Copernican Revolution.  The paradigm shift happens when we come to terms with the fact that the world doesn’t revolve around us.  Now when we are born the world revolves around us.  We’re spoon fed on the front end and diaper-changed on the back end. It’s as if the entire world exists to meet our every need.  And that’s okay at 2 months old, but if you’re 22 years old, it’s a problem.
One of the things that has been impressed on me during our study of Revelation the last couple of weekends is how small and insignificant I am.  Looking into the courts of heaven through the eyes of the Apostle John in Revelation 4 & 5 and seeing the truly indescribably wondrous scenes… Looking at life on earth from God’s vantage point without time or geographical limitations in Revelation 6 - 9, I have been renewed in my commitment to be All In.  When we understand that we are not the center of the universe, but that Jesus the Lamb of God is the center of it all, it should be an All In moment. 
Noah had it when he was told to build an ark and preach to a people whose thoughts and imaginations were continually evil. Abraham had it when God told him to offer his long awaited son of promise on an altar.  Moses had it barefoot in front of a burning bush. Elijah had it under a juniper tree.  Peter, Andrew, James, John had it on the shore of Galilee.  Matthew had it at a tax-collectors table.  Saul of Tarsus had it while traveling on the Damascus Road.
So, have you ever had an All In moment?  Have you had such a moment lately?
Pray with me…Father God, You are so good to give us regular reminders that You are God and we aren’t.  We pray for a posture of genuine humility every day as we live and move and have our being in this life.  By Your Spirit, perfect in us unqualified commitment that we may be All In.  In the name of Jesus, amen.

Pastor Ken

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


I love this scripture passage in the Pastoral Epistles…Titus 2:11-14.  It consists in a short declarative sentence followed immediately by one of the longest recorded sentences in the New Testament.  Are you ready to focus?  Here we go: “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.  It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope – the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.”
One of the first words we learn to say as toddlers is the word ‘No.’  You and I probably don’t remember it from our childhood; but if you have reared toddlers, you know very well that they have it down!  ‘Time to go to bed.’…‘No!’  ‘Brush your teeth.’…‘No!’  ‘Eat your carrots.’  ‘No!’  ‘Clean up your toys.’…'No!’  Of course, our job as parents is to teach our children the meaning of the word, ‘No!’  And it can actually be a good word.  In fact, ‘No’ can be used in a very positive way if it describes God-honoring boundaries for your life.  Learning to say ‘No’ is a capacity that can be honed and directed; and when it is… it’s a good thing.  To say ‘No’ to some things is actually a virtue.  Saying ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions is a prelude to living a self-controlled, upright and godly life.  ‘No’ defines your values.  It shapes your ethical and moral development.  It shapes your future.  It insures your destiny.  We all need more practice at saying ‘No.’
Pray with me… Father God, we want to be your people.  We want to be identified with you in how we think, what we say and how we live our lives.  We want to become more and more eager to do what is good in Your sight!  Walk with us and we draw near to you.   In Jesus’ Name, amen. 

Pastor Ken