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


AshleyMadison.com 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