Monday, December 28, 2015


Scott Peck participated in a conference for Christian therapists and counselors in which Harvey Cox told the story of when Jesus was asked to heal the daughter of a synagogue ruler named Jairus.   As Christ went to Jairus's house, a woman who had been hemorrhaging for twelve years reached out to touch his robe.  After asking who touched him and receiving her response, Jesus healed her and then continued to the house where the little girl had died.
After telling this powerful story from the Gospels, Cox asked six hundred "Christian professionals" with whom they most identified.  When asked who connected most with the bleeding woman, about one hundred people raised their hands.  A few others indicated that they identified with the anxious father.  The highest number of hands were raised when Cox mentioned the curious crowd.   But when Harvey Cox asked who identified with Jesus, only six hands popped up.  Scott Peck reviewed the incident and wrote about it:
"Something is very wrong here.  Of six hundred professional Christians, only one out of a hundred identified with Jesus.  Maybe more actually did but were afraid to raise their hands lest that seem arrogant. But again, something is wrong with our concept of Christianity if it seems arrogant to identify with Jesus.  That is exactly what we are supposed to do!  We're supposed to identify with Jesus, act like Jesus, and be like Jesus.  That is what Christianity is supposed to be about – the imitation of Christ."
The essence of Christian discipleship is following Jesus.  Boil down all the theological explanations for how we should live, and one truth remains: We follow Jesus Christ.  Disciples seek to understand and emulate His values, his behavior, and His view of reality.  Let's keep our faith that uncomplicated and profound in 2016.
Pray with me…Our dear Father in Heaven, thank you for the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, to conform us to the likeness of our Savior and Lord.   On the threshold of 2016, we renew our commitment to live like Jesus.  Regardless of what the months ahead hold for us, we pledge our love and loyalty.  We pray that by the end of this calendar year we will look to You and to others more like Him.  In Jesus' name, amen. 

Pastor Ken

Monday, December 21, 2015


Most of us are familiar with the painting by Holman Hunt  [the original hangs in the British National Gallery in London]: Jesus standing there at a doorway, gently knocking on he door.   Light falls around the entrance in the shape of a heart. There is no latch on the outside of the door.  It must be opened from within. But the door remains closed.
One afternoon a little boy stood beside his father, pondering the image of Hunt’s painting.  “Daddy,” he said, “why don’t they answer the door?”  The father responded absently without looking away from the painting, “I don’t know why.”
There was a moment’s pause.  Then the youngster said, “Maybe they’re making too much noise to hear him knocking.”  And that might well be true.  It is likely that there is not willful inhospitality inside, but rather just too much going on to notice the presence of the special Visitor on the threshold who desires to enter.   
It is probably never more true than at Christmas with its hustle and bustle, it’s hurrying and scurrying, that the gentle knocking of the Savior at the heart’s door is drowned out by the din and throng.  Let’s do ourselves a favor and find a quiet time and place to reflect in solitude and Biblical meditation on the one who came to gain entrance to our hearts with His love and grace at Christmas.
Pray with me…. Lord Jesus, we want our hearts to be your home.  We do not want the sights and sounds, the bright lights and the crowds, keep us from hearing your gentle rapping at our hearts door.  Come to us, abide with us, our Lord, Immanuel.   Amen. 

Pastor Ken

Monday, December 14, 2015


The three-inch, bold-faced type used for the headline on the front page of the New York Daily News, in the wake of the most recent mass shooting by Muslim extremists in San Bernardino, CA, caught my eye and shocked my sensibilities as a pastor.  It read, “God Isn’t Fixing This!”  The article was an expression of frustration by the editorial staff at – politicians’ habit of offering, what the writers called, ‘banal thoughts and prayers’ to the victims while opposing any kind of policy response [like gun control].  The words of Ted Cruz, Lindsay Graham, Rand Paul and Paul Ryan were all quoted… encouraging prayers for the victims and their families.  Even Hillary Clinton tweeted similar lines after the church shooting in Charleston, SC.  She wrote, “Heartbreaking news from Charleston – my thoughts and prayers are with you all.”
Now to be fair, I imagine the angry headline was not prompted so much because of tacit disapproval of the encouragement of ‘thoughts and prayers’ for victims and their families as much as it was exploiting yet another opportunity for a strong push by ‘liberals’ for gun control.  But clearly, the headline is humanistic.  It puts the solutions for our problems entirely on us.  It communicates that we the people have to fix it… if it is going to be fixed.  The assumption is that if we propose, pass and enforce the right laws, we can keep these bad things from happening… that submission to God, as evidenced by our humble prayers, is a waste of time and energy… so let’s keep God confined to our temples, cathedrals and churches.  The implication is that He isn’t willing or able to intervene in such matters… that the way we fix this is independent of God… that God is irrelevant. 
But, the truth is that God is both willing and able to fix anything that is wrong in our nation and in our personal lives.  However, He is a Gentleman.  He seldom intrudes where He is not welcomed.
God can and will move to bring order where there is chaos, peace where there is conflict and unity where there is division.  But, the healing He can bring is conditional upon humility [admission that we cannot do it without Him], prayer [asking Him for answers and guidance] and repentance [turning from our sin and walking in righteous obedience].  Here is the precept and precedent straight from the Bible… 2 Chronicles 7:14, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”  The key word in this text is the first one in the verse… ‘If...’  His capacity to bless us is only limited by our unbelief and our un-brokenness before Him.
Pray with me… Father God, we are finite and You are infinite; we are fallible and You are infallible; we are impotent and You are omnipotent.  We confess our ignorance and we acknowledge your wisdom.  We know that our human wisdom is foolishness.  And so we come before you in humility, asking for healing for our land and in our lives, committing once again to renounce unrighteousness and walk in Your truth and life.  In Jesus, amen.

Pastor Ken

Monday, December 7, 2015



Well friends… we Idleman’s are celebrating our 9th Christmas with a church family we have come to love deeply.  Although we had been through Evansville/Newburgh a few times before 2007, we had never been to the twin cities.  So often we have thanked God for His calling on our lives… to be able to give our full time and attention to the health and growth of His kingdom in general and His church at Crossroads in particular.

In September of this year, Kaylene and I attended the annual City on a Hill banquet in Louisville, KY.  They snapped a picture of us that she thought we could transfer to an electronic Christmas greeting card.  [It certainly looks like a father-daughter photo to me, but I have deferred to her judgment.]

This greeting is sent with our prayer for you to draw near to the Lord and your loved ones in this holy-day season… so you can live abundantly in the year ahead.

All because of Jesus -

Monday, November 30, 2015


Both my undergraduate and graduate degrees were earned at Lincoln Christian University.  I was well served and have tried to serve well through the years, which have become decades! As we recently came together to another Thanksgiving, our family reflected on the following piece...Pastor Ken
Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done.  Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts.  Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.  Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always. - 1 Chronicles 16:8-11

In 1863, during the height of the American Civil War, Abraham Lincoln noted the following:

"We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us. It has seemed to me fit and proper that [the gifts of God] should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged with one heart and one voice by the whole American people.”      
Thus, a day was set aside as a reminder to acknowledge the gracious work of Almighty God.  And as a community united by the Gospel, let us humbly give thanks.                

Almighty God and Father, we praise you for  all the blessings of this life...but above all for your amazing love in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ, the source of grace, and our hope of glory. 

We pray, give us such an awareness of your mercies that with truly thankful hearts we may show forth your praise, not only with our lips, but in our lives, by giving up ourselves to your service, and by walking before you in holiness and righteousness all our days, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, to whom be honor throughout all ages. Amen.

Monday, November 23, 2015


In order to have a grateful heart you must learn to be thankful for flawed people and imperfect gifts.  Be grateful when your daughter helps set the table for Thanksgiving Day, even though she does it imperfectly.  Be grateful when your son attempts to make his bed in the morning before school, even though he does it imperfectly.  Be grateful for your spouse’s expression of affection, even if it is done in a way that you may not fully appreciate.  Be grateful your body is responsive enough that you are able to get around, even if it is showing its age.  Don’t postpone thankfulness.  Just do it today, because a ‘grateful’ expression or act will lead to a ‘great-full’ feeling.
I Thessalonians 5:18 says, “Give thanks in all circumstances.”  This is a command to be obeyed, not a feeling in the gizzard!  It calls for a decision, an act of the will, not an emotional response.  It’s why we American Christians call this upcoming holiday Thanksgiving – not thanks feeling!  Paul writes in Ephesians 5:14, “Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”  Every once in a while we do wake up.  And when we do, what we sometimes wake up to is gratitude for the things we take for granted.
There are many positive spin-offs for us when we exercise our will by expressing thankfulness and appreciation for others. They will be attracted to us, because we all love to company with positive people.   We will be lifted out of self-pity and negativism.   Remember Debbie Boone’s big song, “You Light Up My Life?”  This is the way others will feel about you if you are thankful for the flawed people and imperfect gifts in your life.
Pray with me…Father God, I pray for the self-discipline to give thanks in all circumstances…to wake up…to experience all the good you have for me and all I can do in the lives of others with my expressions of thankfulness.  In the name of Jesus, amen.

Pastor Ken

Monday, November 16, 2015


The sinking of the Titanic in 1912 was one of the most gripping tragedies of the 20th century.  There were worst disasters, but none so dramatic as the sinking of that huge vessel on its maiden voyage.  When the list of passengers was posted at Pier 54 in New York Harbor, they were placed in one of only two categories…saved or lost
The Bible says that on Judgment Day there will be only be two kinds of people, the saved and the lost.  When the Bible refers to the ‘lost’ it means those who are separated from God by sin.  But, Jesus is a friend of the lost because he came into the world to rescue those who were perishing in sin. [Luke 19:10] Now when the Bible uses the term ‘saved’ it means simply rescued from the consequences of sin.   Salvation is made possible because Jesus Christ came to earth and died on a cross for our sins.  [Ephesians 2:8 & 9] 
The people who perished in the icy waters of the Atlantic Ocean in 1912 could not save themselves by swimming hundreds of miles to America.  People who are lost in sin cannot save themselves by their own goodness.  They can be saved only by putting their trust in Jesus Christ.  In Mark 16 Jesus said to his disciples, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.  Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.”  So, why would not everyone receive this truth and be saved?  According to the teaching of Jesus in the parable of the seed and the soils in Luke 8 there are three reasons:
1] They are hard.  2] They are shallow.  3] They are busy.  And, of course the answer is they need to be cultivated, deepened and refocused.  And this is our mission as Christians in this world as the salt of the earth and the light of the world…to help all people come to a knowledge of the truth and be saved.
Pray with me…Our Father, the good news of the Gospel is so simple and yet so profound.   We thank you that it is so simple it can be understood by a little child; and yet it is so profound that it can boggle the mind of the seasoned scholar.   Father, we thank you that you desire for all people to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth…that your choice is for every man, woman and child to be forgiven and heaven bound…but that you give us the choice of whether it will be a reality in our lives…you let us choose whether we will be saved or lost.   We choose you Lord, to be our Savior.  In Jesus’ Name, amen.

Pastor Ken

Monday, November 9, 2015


I have great compassion for people who have a distorted view of God.  I want to help them ‘see Him more clearly, love Him more dearly, follow Him more nearly day by day’ as the old worship chorus intones.   If I could get the attention of the unbelieving/unreached world for 30 seconds, here is what I would want them to hear about God, our Heavenly Father:
God is for us – Romans 8:31 – This is good, because if He is for us, who can be against us?  A rhetorical question indeed…. Bottom line, no evil from without can harm us; and no evil from within can condemn us.  Nothing can separate us from His love. 
God is with us – Hebrews 13:5 – This is even better, because if He will never leave us and will never forsake us, whatever we go through in this life, we experience with His power and presence.   He will walk with us through it all and He will carry us when we are too weak to go on.
God is in us – Colossians 1:27 – This is the best, because if the same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead dwells in our mortal bodies also, we are able to prevail in life and even in death.   Life abundant and life eternal are ours by the power that is at work in us.
Pray with me…. Father, only in Your omniscience could such wonderful revelations come to brighten our days and illumine our ways.  We are so blessed to not only believe, but also actually know that You are for us, You are with us and You are in us.  The fact that You have made Your home in us makes us long to be at home with you in the place that you are preparing.  We worship You today and everyday from our hearts.  In the name of Jesus, amen.

Pastor Ken

Monday, November 2, 2015


Happy people spend much of their time socializing, going to church, and reading.  Somehow I think that there is probably a lot of overlap here.  That is, many of the same people are doing these three activities:  1] mixing socially with others in small groups and one on one, 2] going to church more often, and 3] reading books and newspapers as sources of insight and information. Unhappy people watch a lot of television.  Although people who describe themselves as happy also enjoy watching TV, that is the single activity they engage in less often than unhappy people, according to John Robinson, a professor of sociology at the University of Maryland and the author of a study published in the journal Social Indicators Research.
The study relied primarily on the responses of 45,000 Americans collected over 35 years by the University of Chicago’s General Social Survey, and on published ‘time diary’ studies recording the daily activities of participants.   “We looked at eight to ten activities that happy people engage in, and for each one, the people who did the activities more….were more happy.”  TV was the one activity that showed a negative relationship.  Unhappy people did it more, and happy people did it less. 
Researchers could not answer the chicken-and-egg question of whether unhappy people watch more television or whether watching television is what makes people unhappy.   Even so, people who spend the most time watching television are least happy in the long run, he said.   Robinson also pointed out that since the major predictor of tube time is whether someone works or not, rising unemployment may lead to more TV time. 
So what are our take-a-ways today?  I think the implication of this research is that if we want to enjoy our lives more, we will celebrateGod in worship and study His truth, whether in His Word or in the text of good books/articles, connect with people in small groups and contribute to people’s lives in measurable ways through giving and serving.  This sounds to me a lot like the happy family of God at Crossroads….
Pray with me…. Great God in heaven, you have given each of us a life to live and a lifetime in which to steward it.  May our leisure-time be as purposeful and constructive as our work-time.  Help us to invest our days and years, our minutes and hours, in activity that will honor You and build Your loving reign into the lives of others.   And may our accountability to you for the life we live only fill us with the anticipation that we will one day have a servant’s joyous report to His Master.  In the Name of Jesus, who made Himself our Servant, we pray, amen.

Pastor Ken

Wednesday, October 28, 2015


There is a particular verse in the Bible that never fails to convict me, and, at the same time, motivate me.  It is found in the Book of Romans, chapter 12 and verse 11: Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.” [NIV] The Living New Testament is a little more common and confrontational in the way it says it: Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.”
I am grateful for the work ethic instilled in my by my parents.  They set the example with their ‘early to bed and early to arise’ approach to daily life.  As a rule, my little brother and I were not allowed to sleep in, even on Saturday mornings.  And, we were not allowed to stay up late, even on Friday nights.  We had ‘chores’ to do. [Now that’s a word you don’t hear much anymore!]  When the basement flooded, Dave and I were the ‘drop and mop’ brigade.  When the green beans and strawberries were ready, we were the two-man picking, snapping and stemming crew.  In the summers I could play Little League baseball in the evenings as long as I worked during the daytime cutting corn out of the beans and weeds out of the corn for a farmer in our church.  But I have to say, as a result of the diligence and persistence by my parents, I got it… probably too well.  My problem has been achieving balance from the other direction.  I used to feel guilty for taking a day off.  I used to think I was a ‘shirker’ when I would take a vacation.  Through the years I have mellowed some.  I have no problem now, taking a Sabbath day once a week and a Sabbath week at least once a quarter every year. 
But, here’s the thing: For me, serving the Lord has never felt like work.  There is something that is regenerating in the process of working hard for God purpose.  And I am thankful that there is no mandatory retirement age for doing ministry.  I can do it voluntarily even after I have ceased to do it vocationally.  In fact, there are always positions open to anyone and everyone.  My 97-year old mother is in a retirement facility, but she has a prayer ministry, a teaching ministry, a reading to the visually impaired ministry, an encouragement ministry that she discharges daily for the benefit of the other residents.  I am still, to this day, challenged by her example of selfless service.
Pray with me…Father God, Jesus is the Lord of the harvest.  Help us to resolve never to be tired in or retired from His service as along as we live… because He is working with us as we make ourselves available to Him.  In His name we humbly pray, amen.

Pastor Ken

Friday, October 23, 2015

Special Message 10/23/15

Last weekend [10.17-18.15] at Crossroads Christian Church there was a disruption toward the conclusion of the 10:45 AM worship service created by a vagal episode [fainting] experienced by a man seated in the rear south section of the Worship Center.  It appeared to his wife and daughter that he was having a heart attack, which was understandable since he grabbed his chest and passed out.  They cried out for help and several responded, among them… a heart surgeon, an orthopedic surgeon, an emergency room doctor, an EMT and a registered nurse! The worship center was packed for the 10:45 service, so many others who were justifiably concerned also responded.  Pastor Ken redirected our attention to the front and finished the teaching which was [providentially?] on the topic… God Works The Night Shift: “He is Helping Me So I Can Help Others.” 
Here is an update from the wife’s Facebook page: “Dear friends and family, thank you so much for praying! Jeff had an episode at church this morning that scared us. He passed out, became unconscious, and caused quite the stir! I called for a doctor in the house and they were jumping pews to get to us. He even had a string of external chest compressions for good measure! He awakened and was transported to the ER via ambulance. They believe he had a vagal response causing the episode. His heart was checked, blood work and EKGs all normal, praise God! He is home and we will continue looking into this. We have seen the hand of God so much the past 2 weeks. This morning was no exception. Our "big" church became small as people stopped and prayed, took my upset daughter and prayed, and drove my car to the ER. The church stopped and prayed. That's right; the whole church! I love my church home, and my friends who stopped wherever they were today on a whim to pray…And, I'm so thankful. 
Some ‘learnings’ from this event:
-Crossroads is blessed to have both medical people and law enforcement people in every service, who are trained and authorized to intervene in the event of an emergency.
-When a disruption in a service happens in a room as large as our worship center, the most helpful thing you can do is to remain seated and quiet, allowing our response personnel to do their jobs most effectively.
-Silently pray for the person/persons who have been affected.  More often than not, a pastor will stop and lead out in prayer… immediately, IF the nature of the situation is known, and otherwise before the conclusion of the worship service.

Pastor Ken 

Monday, October 19, 2015


A good friend recently asked me to condense Kaylene’s and my marriage of 47 years into a series of succinct ‘charges’ that he could share with his daughter and soon-to-be son in law during their upcoming wedding ceremony.  I gave it my best shot.  I needed 7… that’s God’s perfect number.  My qualifier here is that no marriage between two flawed people can be perfect!  But even though it can’t be perfect, it can still be great!  So…
Love each other…I am talking about a rare commodity these days.  I am talking about committed love.  This is a love that closes off any escape hatches with the dogged determination by both that one day ‘we will die in each other’s arms’ [or, at least, each commit to pushing the other’s wheel chair].
Tell the truth to each other…It is easy to tell the other person what they want to hear or what makes you look good in their eyes.  But love requires respect, respect requires trustworthiness and trustworthiness requires telling the truth.  There should not be secrets between soul mates.
Forgive each other…Hurting your husband or wife may be unavoidable, but it should never be intentional.  And, when an offense happens, whether accidental or on purpose, whether a little slight or a big disappointment; extending grace is vital.
Pray for each other…Bonding cannot help but happen in the process of thanking God for all that you love about your mate or interceding before the throne of grace for all that you would like to see change in your mate. 
Be patient with each other…Allow time and room to grow in the years ahead.  Before marriage, opposites will often attract.  After marriage, opposites will often attack.  Don’t let it happen to you!
Serve each other…Life will have hard passages that are unseen/unknown to you both on your wedding day.  In the little ways and through the big trials, think of the other first.  Home is where each lives for the other and both live for God. 
Have fun with each other…Christian marriage is called the ‘grace of life’ in I Peter 3:7.  In other words, God’s will is that the deepest and best experiences in life be experienced in the context of a God-honoring marriage and a Christian family.  That has to include enjoying life together.  Play nice and play as often as you responsibly can. 
Above all, love Jesus above all.  This is a ‘top-button truth.’  If you get it right, the other things in your life and marriage will line up as they should to honor God and bless you both!
Pray with me…Father God, sometimes Christian marriage and family life is an unsurpassable joy; sometimes it is just a lot of hard work.  But in whatever season, and in whatever circumstances, we want to both bring our best and submit to Your best.  Give us your grace in our time of need.  We pray in the Name of Jesus, the Bridegroom of His Bride, the church, amen.

Pastor Ken

Tuesday, October 13, 2015


A few years ago I had a personal frontal assault by the Freedom From Religion Foundation.  It did not distract me in the least since I have the strong conviction that if you are criticized/opposed by certain individuals/groups it actually carries the force of a compliment.  Your character is revealed as much by who your enemies are as by who your friends are.  And if you are opposed by the FFRF, believe me, you are in good company. This anti-Christian organization becomes more militant with every passing year.  Their most recent assault is to file a federal lawsuit against Concord Community Schools in Elkhart, IN demanding an injunction that would forbid the school from the presentation of a live Nativity Scene in telling the story of the birth of Jesus at Christmas!
The FFRF has, in recent years, waged a relentless campaign of fear and intimidation against churches and schools across America…all for the purpose of eliminating Christianity from the public marketplace.  But, unlike many educators, the Concord School Boardhas decided to stand up to the out-of-town bullies and has refused to comply.   They have drawn a line in the sand to say, ‘No further!’  Finally!  A school district unwilling to retreat, willing to fight these liberal Wisconsin bullies in open court.  Thousands have rushed to the school district’s defense.
Pray with me…Father God, You are our ultimate defender and vindicator.  We confess it is sometimes hard to know when to stand down and when to stand firm.  We pray for Your wisdom to be ours as we try to balance extending grace and contending for truth in our witness for Jesus our culture and in this generation.  We are jealous for Your name and cause.  At the same time, we know it is not by might or by power, but by Your Spirit we will overcome.  In the Name of Jesus, amen.

Pastor Ken

Monday, October 5, 2015


I have an app on my cell phone that I use almost daily.  It is called ONE PLACE.  It is loaded with incredible inspirational content.  It includes a long menu of preachers, Bible expositors and Christian talk show hosts.  I typically feed my mind/soul in the mornings or in the watches of the night when I awaken and can’t get back to sleep.  Some of my personal favorites are James Dobson, Rick Warren, Stuart and Jill Briscoe, Adrian Rodgers, Ravi Zacharias, Ann Graham Lotz, Andy Stanley, Tony Evans, Greg Laurie, Emerson Eggerichs and, of course, Kyle Idleman :0].
I love listening and learning… filling my own uplifted cup so I can fill the uplifted cups of those who depend on me to be a channel of God’s grace and truth to their lives and families.   There are men and women I trust to speak into me.  And there are men and women into whom I am trusted to speak as their pastor teacher. 
But, although I am well fed by the availability of such highly valued resources, I have found that there is no substitute for hearing from God as He speaks directly to my heart when I open His Word and in the times when I open my heart to Him in solitary prayer.  I am sure it is because He has put His name on the line, guaranteeing that He will be found when we seek Him… Jesus said, “For everyone who asks, receives.  Everyone who seeks, finds.  And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.” [Luke 11:10] And the letter of James makes it clear, “Come near to God and he will come near to you…” [James 4:8]
Pray with me… Father God, the truth that you desire us, that you love us, that you want to meet with us and communicate to us, is too wonderful for comprehension!  You are our Creator and our Father.  We find all we need in You.  In Jesus’ Name, amen.

Pastor Ken

Tuesday, September 29, 2015


My father lived a very full life of 94 years.  He started out as the youngest of four boys [not an enviable place in terms of ‘pecking order’].  He grew up in a two bedroom, one thousand square foot house located just 30 yards from five sets of railroad tracks in the little village of Tolono, IL.  His father, my paternal grandfather, was a section boss for the Illinois Central Railroad where my dad swung a pick alongside his older brothers – 8-10 hours a day for a dollar during the Great Depression [which, believe me, was not ‘great’].  He learned Morse code and applied for an Operator’s license.  He succeeded and was later promoted to train Dispatcher [think… air traffic controller for trains].  He married my mother and they raised a daughter and three sons.  I was the middle son. His wife, his children and his work were my dad’s world until he was introduced to Jesus as a 38 year old.  The Lordship of Jesus changed my father from the inside out… and a good man became a great man [as God measures greatness].  Ken Idleman Sr. became a Christ-follower, a churchman … and, as a result, an even better husband, father and provider.

I spent the last 48 hours of his life beside his hospital bed.  Dad’s lungs and heart were worn out.  But he was lucid right up to the last night of his life… as he fell asleep… and awoke in the presence of the Lord.  He taught me three vital life lessons in his last 48 hours:
  1. Legacy matters.  It is the one thing you leave behind that will survive.  You will quickly be forgotten after you die.  Just as you cannot remember the names of your great great grandparents, your posterity will not remember you.  But your influence will survive you… IF it is a legacy of unpretended devotion to what is right and true in God’s sight. 
  1. Love until the very end.  I remember how my dad looked at my mother as she left the hospital room on the last night of his life.  My own eyes took a picture of the expression on his face. He knew it would be goodbye for a while.  He would have to go on alone, without her, after 77 years of being with her, nearly every day.  And I remember the look on his face as he turned up on his side, managed a weak smile and said, ‘Good night K.D.’ It was his nickname for me.   It was the unmistakable look of love.
  1. Leave well.  I remember some of his last words to me… “ I would like to live longer [!]… But if it is my time to cross over, I am ready.  I am not afraid.  It is well with my soul.”  That testimony was absolutely the best gift my dad ever gave me.  In his hospital room he wanted it quiet.  No TV, no cell phones, no laptop computers. [I tried to get some work done as he quietly rested.  But he said, “K.D. I am going to need you to turn that off.”  It was so uncharacteristic for Dad to be that assertive.]  Curtains open, light on in the bathroom, door open to the hallway.  When on that last night I asked, “Dad, don’t you want to take your teeth out?”  He simply said, “Not tonight Son.” He knew. I pulled the sheet up over him and read part of Romans 8.  He labored for breath as he softly sang a verse and chorus of Great Is Thy Faithfulness.  I laid my hand on his and prayed.  He said good night and fell asleep… and as I reflect today I am thinking… what a way to go! 

Pray with me… Father in heaven, You have truly given us everything we need for life and godliness.  And we praise You for being our all- knowing, all-seeing, all-loving, ever-present, all-powerful God.  We want to praise You while we live and we want to praise You on the day mortal life slips away… giving way to the life without limits in Your presence that you have always wanted for us Your children.  In the Name of Jesus, the One who makes it possible, we pray, amen.

Pastor Ken

Monday, September 28, 2015


I have great compassion for people who have a distorted view of God.  I want to help them ‘see Him more clearly, love Him more dearly, follow Him more nearly day by day’ as the old worship chorus intones. If I could get the attention of the unbelieving/unreached world for 30 seconds, here is what I would want them to hear about God, our Heavenly Father:

God is for us – Romans 8:31 – This is good, because if He is for us, who can be against us?  A rhetorical question indeed…. Bottom line, no evil from without can harm us; and no evil from within can condemn us. Nothing can separate us from His love.

God is with us – Hebrews 13:5 – This is even better, because if He will never leave us and will never forsake us, whatever we go through in this life, we experience with His power and presence. He will walk with us through it all and He will carry us when we are too weak to go on.

God is in us – Colossians 1:27 – This is the best, because if the same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead dwells in our mortal bodies also, we are able to prevail in life and even in death. Life abundant and life eternal are ours by the power that is at work in us.

Pray with me…. Father, only in Your omniscience could such wonderful revelations come to brighten our days and illumine our ways.  We are so blessed to not only believe, but also actually know that You are for us, You are with us and You are in us.  The fact that You have made Your home in us makes us long to be at home with you in the place that you are preparing.  We worship You today and everyday from our hearts.  In the name of Jesus, amen.

Pastor Ken

Monday, September 14, 2015


One of the valuable insights I have retained from my study of logic in college is that there are certain  ‘logical fallacies.’  One of them is called the ‘argument to moderation.’  It asserts that given any two positions, there exists a compromise between them that must be correct.  The form here is that… Person #1 says ‘A’ and Person #2 says ‘Z’… therefore, somewhere around ‘M’ must be correct.  But the argument to moderation is a logical fallacy.  It cannot be applied when it comes to ethics and morality. 
Because there is no compromise possible when it comes to truth.  Truth is truth.  If there are angels, demons, and God, then there are angels, demons, and God.  If there aren’t, there aren’t.  Compromise and splitting the difference work fine in some cases, but not in determining what is true.  Many people today are searching for the ‘land in between’ or the ‘middle ground’ when it comes to truth.  But it does not exist.  They want to believe that compromise is possible, but it is not.  You have to choose what you believe is true and stand by it as a conviction. 
So… Pre-marital sex…sin or not?  Adultery…yes or no? Abortion…right or wrong?  Homosexuality…moral or immoral?  Same sex marriage…acceptable or unacceptable?  Terrorism…evil or good?  Child abuse…okay or not okay?  These issues are frontpage news today.  And many people are trying to decide where they stand.  Some would like to believe there is some argument to moderation.  But, there is not.  There is only the answer of secular humanism or the answer of scripture. The ethical road has forked in front of us.  The middle ground has disappeared.  A choice must be made.  There are but the two options.  It is a logical fallacy to think that some kind of compromise is possible.
It is reminiscent of the day the road forked in front of Joshua in Joshua 24:15, “…Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

He would either serve the idols of the non-existent deities of the Egyptians or the Lord God, maker of heaven and earth.  He made the right choice.  He embraced true truth.  He made it clear to Israel by his example; there was no middle ground, no land in between.  They would either be all in or all out. 
Pray with me… Father God, our life of faith comes down to choosing.  Choosing You.  Choosing to believe You.  Choosing to believe You sent Your Son Jesus, who was the very embodiment of truth, to save us.  We believe and here we stand… In His Name, amen.

Pastor Ken

Tuesday, September 8, 2015


For as long as I can remember I have been conflicted about whether I am a prophet or a pastor.  There is one part of me that wants to be in the vanguard…out in front, holding up the standard of God’s Word, calling people to, and rallying people around, that standard.  Then there is another part of me that wants to be in the rearguard…coming along behind, picking up the fallen and helping them recover their feet to be able to move forward in their faith journey.  Years ago, when it came time for me to settle on a major in seminary, I could not resolve the tension.  I had to declare a double major…in preaching, to satisfy the prophetic calling in me…and in counseling, to satisfy the pastoral calling in me. 
But, underpinning both the prophetic call and the pastoral call is an even deeper, more foundational commitment.  It is the commitment to be an evangelist, to win souls, to make disciples, to see people changed by the power of grace, revealed in the cross and the vacated tomb of Jesus Christ, God’s only Son.  What kept me at Ozark Bible/Christian College for 34 years was knowing that year after year we were producing a growing army of global evangelists.  Now, in this season of life, I have been fulfilled by the knowledge that I am serving a local church in Southwest Indiana that is committed to a singular mission…to be Disciples Making Disciples…in our city, in our area, in our nation, in our world.   I am yoked with leaders who are sacrificially investing in the only work that will survive into eternity, serving a church that is giving and stewarding millions of dollars for God’s eternal purpose.  On this Labor Day weekend, I am savoring the deep and abiding joy of doing a work through the church, with like-minded people of faith, that matters in eternity.
Pray with me…Father God, You have entrusted the Gospel message to us, your people…to labor faithfully to rescue your people.  We will!  In the Name of Jesus,  Amen.

Pastor Ken

8/31/15 launched a web site in 2001 as a place for people, in ostensibly committed relationships, to go if they wanted to cheat on their spouse or significant other.  Their marketing slogan… “Life is short.  Have an affair.” The additional allure was the promise of anonymity/secrecy.  But alas, once again the things done in secret have been shouted from the housetops.  The Ashley Madison database was hacked.  Their records have been distributed in the public domain.  But this time the national expose of secret sins has not resulted in the shaming of anyone who is particularly well known. [I think Josh Duggar is the only person ‘outted’ of whom I had heard.  And I would not have known his name except for his public confession, a few weeks earlier, to the molestation of his little sisters during his teen years.]  Rather, this time the dark shroud of immorality has been stripped away exposing the sad lies and secret lives of a staggering 30,000,000 individuals… mostly regular folks.  The population of the United States is only 310,000,000!  This means one in ten people in our country have been implicated in this scandal. It means that no matter who you are, you probably know someone who has pursued this course to marital or relational unfaithfulness.  For some it is but a fantasy you say?  They would never act on their fantasy you say?  Listen… if you shop, there is no guarantee you won’t buy.  If you flirt, there is no guarantee you won’t be seduced.  If you chase a fantasy, you will likely capture it… whether sooner or later.  And for many today, their secret life of shame is now common knowledge. 

During the same week as the Ashley Madison hack, an Old Dominion University fraternity made the news by welcoming new female students and their fathers to the campus with garish black letters scrawled on white sheets hanging from balconies… “Freshman daughter drop off” and “Drop off mom too”… An ominous harbinger of the very real danger faced by college girls, 25% of whom, according to a survey of graduating seniors girls done by the University of Iowa, were subjected to sexual molestation, sexual abuse or date rape during their four years of college.  So, dads… entrusted with the protection of and provision for your daughters… what do you think of these odds?

I remember the late 60’s and the ‘free love’ movement in the culture.  It was dubbed the ‘sexual revolution.’  And Ed Stetzer is right… “A revolution means that a war is being fought. In revolutions, bombs are dropped, attacks are launched and there are thousands of casualties. Sadly, today the war is being waged against the way of Jesus… that marriage is between a man and a woman, becoming one flesh, in one marriage, in one sexual relationship, for one lifetime.”  And for those who have failed to follow His way… the cross of Christ stands as a reminder that a way has still been made.

So, if you are on the list, or know someone who is… four words in order: brokenness andforgiveness and righteousness and wholeness.  And here is an infinitely better slogan than Ashley Madison’s: “Teach us how short our life is, so that we may become wise.” Psalm 90:12 

Pray with me… Lord, we are ashamed of and sorry for our culture.  But we rejoice in the fact that Jesus is full of both grace and truth.  In our better moments we know His way is the supreme way.  Help us to live with the end, our end, in mind.  Life is short.  Help us to become wiser with every passing day.  In the name of Jesus, amen.

Pastor Ken

Monday, August 24, 2015


In the content of the very personal letter of 3 John there is a confrontation in the form of a warning about a man in the early church named Diotrephes.  He is described as someone who ‘loves to be first.’  He is described as someone who is standoffish and critical… John says he ‘will have nothing to do with us’ and that he is ‘gossiping maliciously about us.’  In fact, John said, Diotrephes ‘refuses to welcome any of the brothers… He also stops those who want to be welcoming and puts them out of the church!’ 
Wow, so this guy, Diotrephes, has some major spiritual blind spots! He is self-serving and self-projecting.  He loves to be pre-eminent, the center of attention, occupying a place of power.  He is what we might call a ‘control freak.’  He wants to call the shots.  He expects people to defer to him.  He is aloof.  He is an armchair general.  He uses his verbal skills to manipulate and intimidate others. He does not want the church to grow.  He is not a welcoming presence to say the least.  He even actively opposes those in the church who want to be welcoming of others.  He excommunicates people who are hospitable!  Diotrephes is the furthest thing from a Spirit-filled disciple of Jesus… and he is wreaking havoc in the life of the early church.
Thankfully church people with attitudes like Diotrephes are few and far between.  They are the exception, and certainly not the rule.  However, when they do surface, they need to be firmly, but lovingly, confronted.  As the apostle John promised, “If I come, I will call attention to what he is doing.”  [This is a former ‘son of thunder,’ so I’m pretty sure he can handle it.]  But, without an apostolic presence in the contemporary church, this task of loving, but firm confrontation falls on the elders/pastors.  It must be entered into with a spirit of humility, but it must be done.

Pray with me… Father in heaven, we know that people seeing Christ in us and hearing about Christ from us is the hope of the world.  May we never have a down day or even a moment of weakness that would cause us to identify with the alien spirit of Diotrephes.  As Jesus was, may we be ‘full of grace and truth.’  In His Name, amen.

Pastor Ken

Monday, August 17, 2015


"A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity." Proverbs 17:17
Clark Bentall once headed the Bentall Corporation, a construction company headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia.  Five downtown office towers in that city bear his family's name.  But, late in life, he found himself in disagreement with his brothers, who leveraged Clark out of the day to day operations and eventually out of the business altogether.  Shortly thereafter, his wife of 57 years lost her battle with cancer, and Clark himself was stricken with Alzheimer's disease.   Now he was alone with no work and no wife and losing his ability to grasp what was going on around him.  A man who once had everything now had nothing.  But, in the years before the fog of Alzheimer's engulfed him, Clark Bentall had invested thoroughly and genuinely in his friendships.   And, now, in his time of need, every Tuesday and Thursday morning, some of his best friends would come over for breakfast, just to talk and say thanks…. for everything.  Even though Clark had less and less to contribute to the conversations and shared memories, they still came…For over four years. 
And, that could be any one of us one day.  Alone, Dependent on the obligations of family members and good will of neighbors and friends.  Will you have invested enough in people's lives to make them want to come and see you, even when you are out of touch and not as much fun as you used to be?  Now is the time to pour your hear into others, making a difference in their lives today and looking ahead to the future.
Pray with me…Our Father in heaven, we are humbled that you call us your friends.  We who have been far away from you, alienated from you because of our sin, have been brought close because of the cross of your son and our Savior.  We are forever debtors to your grace.  We pray that we will be less self-aware and more aware of others in our circles of acquaintance, especially those in whom we should invest our time, energy, prayers and service.  May literally seek to be a friend to everyone we meet.  For Jesus' sake.  Amen.

Pastor Ken