Monday, March 30, 2015


Through the years I have conducted a number of funerals.  They were all very important moments in the lives of the family and friends who had experienced loss.  But one funeral is particularly vivid in my memory...  It was the funeral for two 15-year-old boys who had been struck and killed by a fast moving freight train on a railroad trestle just outside of Joplin, MO.  A double funeral service was held in the chapel at Ozark Christian College.  A large group had assembled that day to grieve with the loved ones of these two young men.

I looked out on Shawn’s family, seated on the left side of the chapel, and David’s family, seated on the right side.  I could not help but notice the difference in how the two families were dealing with their heart pain.  Shawn’s family was inconsolable.  Shawn was from a racing family.  His was not a Christian family and Shawn himself was not a Christ-follower.  The members of David’s nuclear family all wore what I would describe as ‘bittersweet’ expressions.  David had committed his young heart and life to Jesus Christ.  His father and mother and sisters were all involved in Bible Bowl and faithful in church. 

There is a significant difference between a non-Christian and a Christian funeral.  The difference can be defined in one word: Hope.
There is a huge difference between those at a funeral who feel they are saying ‘Goodbye’ to a loved one forever and those who are confident they are saying, “So long… until we meet again in the greater life.”  Standing at the casket after a funeral service, as people pass by their deceased loved one, it is sometimes heart-rending and sometimes heart-warming to hear what people say to a departed loved one in such a time of intense grief.

A pastor friend said he once watched a woman in her 60’s lean over the body of her mother, in her 80’s.  Both were deeply committed Christians.  They had been close.  Fighting back tears, the daughter kissed her mother on the forehead, and whispered, “Nighty-night Momma.  See you in the morning.”

This calls to mind I Thessalonians 4:13, “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep [have died], that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.”

Pray with me… Thank you Heavenly Father, for the promise of Easter… that whoever lives and believes in Jesus, Your Son and our Savior, will never die.  Thank you that when we, or our loved ones, come to the end of this life; there is life eternal because of the empty cross and the vacated tomb.  Thank you for our blessed hope. 
In Jesus’ Name, amen.

Yoked with you for Him who rose on Easter!

Pastor Ken

Monday, March 23, 2015


It was 23 years ago, on February 27, 1991, at the height of Desert Storm, that Ruth Dillow received a very sad message from the Pentagon.  It stated that her son, Clayton Carpenter, Private 1st Class, had stepped on a mine in Kuwait and was killed.

She later wrote, "I can't begin to describe the shock.  It was almost more than I could bear.  For 3 days I wept.  For 3 days I expressed anger and grief.  For 3 days people tried to comfort me, to no avail because the loss was too great.”

But 3 days after she received that message, the telephone rang.  The voice on the other end said, “Mom, it’s me. I’m alive.”  Ruth Dillow said, “ I couldn’t believe it at first.  But then I recognized his voice, and he really was alive.”  The message she had received was all a mistake!  She said, “I laughed, I cried, I felt like turning cartwheels, because my son whom I thought was dead, was really alive.  I’m sure none of you can even begin to understand how I felt.”

Just as we cannot fully identify with the depth of emotion experienced by this mother in the true story, it is difficult to identify fully with the news that swept like a tsunami across the city of Jerusalem the morning of the third day after the crucifixion of Jesus.  The stone was rolled away.  The tomb was empty.  Neither the Roman officials nor the Jewish leaders had a believable explanation for what had happened to the missing body of the Nazarene.  Except this one…“He is risen!  He is risen indeed!”

In the Ford Center on Easter morning, just two weeks from now, we have the opportunity to awaken our city and area to this, the supreme reality of history.  Jesus Christ is alive evermore!  Since we do this service year after year, and it seems to get easier each time, if we are not careful, we can merely go through the motions…plan, promote, execute, evaluate.  But wait!  It is not human engineering that will make it live!  It is the mystical power and presence of the One we celebrate.  So, how do we invite and embrace His presence?  By the size of our heart for it: the size of the physical, emotional and spiritual investment we make.

Will you join me in going all out again this year?!…attending the Service of Darkness…being present for the prayer meetings during Holy Week, the prayer walk at the arena…thinking evangelistically…using your influence in your ministry areas and with your small group…taking ownership of the remaining promotional pieces…giving two hours in the next two weeks to grab an accountability partner and creatively distribute invitations.  

If our hearts are large for it, we will receive the first fruits of gratification and joy from the experience!

Yoked with you for Him who rose on Easter!

Pastor Ken

Thursday, March 12, 2015

3/16/15 -Special Edition: EASTER @ FORD CENTER

We are less than one month away from Easter at the Ford Center!  This is one of the two ‘holy-days’ in the calendar year that we celebrate BIG time.  Easter is the day we unite to witness with our presence and testify with our voices that ‘Jesus lives!’  We assemble to celebrate the most important truth of our Christian faith: the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

I just read an article that quoted seven ‘famous’ atheists about why they were not believers.  You can’t imagine the mindless [“The fool has said in his heart there is no God.” Psalm 14:1] comments from such pseudo-theologians as Brad Pitt and Cameron Diaz.   One quote from the article was, “There is no proof!”  But, of course there is undeniable proof!  In Acts 1:3 we read, “… Jesus showed Himself alive after his passion [crucifixion] and gave them [people] convincing proofs that He was alive.  He appeared to them over a period of 40 days and spoke about the kingdom of God.”  The miracle of Easter has never been credibly undermined.  That is why it has endured for twenty-one centuries.  It is true!  The greatest mystery of the ages is: “What ever happened to the slain body of Jesus of Nazareth?”  And the only reliable answer is, “He has risen.  He has risen indeed!”  If you won’t/can’t believe it, if you think Jesus is just an ordinary man, you are on your own in this life and alone forever in the life to come by your choice.  If you believe it, it will change your heart, your character and your destiny. 

Because Jesus rose from the dead, Paul writes, “… sin, guilt and death are gone, the gift of our Master, Jesus Christ.  Thank God!” [The Message]  This is the best news ever and it is worth celebrating.  With this in mind here is how you can get ready to celebrate Easter @ Crossroads:

 1] PRAY!  And look at these opportunities…
           - Prayer prompts during Holy Week [the week before Easter]
            -Holy Tuesday – 2 Prayer Meetings in the Student Theater
                        7-8 PM & 8-9 PM
            -Holy Thursday – 2 Prayer Meetings in the Student Theater
                        7-8 PM & 8-9 PM
            -Prayer Room open during Holy Week – CH 103
            -Good Friday - Prayer Walk at the Ford Center
                        5-5:30 PM

2] Make plans now to attend at the Ford Center, Sunday, April 5th at 10 AM. [Come at 9:30 AM for music that will make ‘the hair stand up on the back of your neck.’]

3] Invite a friend, neighbor, coworker or family member.  Pray about whom you will invite and let me know whom you’re planning to bring…at  These names will become part of a larger prayer list for our elders and pastors between now and then.

4] Sign up to help.  An event of this magnitude is a huge challenge, which means there are plenty of opportunities to help make it happen.  Register at the Connection Center this weekend…

Let’s make Easter 2015, our 48th anniversary as a church, a dynamic demonstration of Christian unity and community outreach! 

Pray with me…Father God, we have confessed with our mouths that Jesus is Lord.  We believe in our hearts that You raised Him from the dead.  So, we receive Your salvation.  We know we cannot achieve it.  By grace, through faith we belong to You for time and eternity and we thank you.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

Pastor Ken

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


The town of Edmond, Oklahoma, has a hole in its city seal.  There used to be a cross in that spot, reflecting their Christian heritage.  But, according to World Magazine, after losing a lawsuit that cost the city nearly a quarter of a million dollars, that significant part of Edmond’s history was expunged from the record.  Rather than replace the cross with a more ‘politically correct’ symbol, the city leaders opted to leave its place in the seal empty… a silent witness to the court’s foolish and unnecessary decision to divorce itself from a Christian past. 
You know, there are some today who are militantly opposed to the cross.  They see Jesus as a threat to their belief system, their immoral life choices, their secret ambitions and their unrestrained freedom; so they are taking extreme measures to eliminate the cross from public life.  In so doing, they are undermining the foundation of our heritage and our hope. 

The Apostle Paul wrote, “I say this now with tears: Many live as enemies of the cross of Christ.  Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame.  Their mind it on earthly things.  But, our citizenship is in heaven.  And we eagerly await a Savior from there.”  The cross is a tangible symbol of our past sins being forgiven and our future hope of heaven.
When John Browning saw a great bronze cross towering over the ruins of a cathedral that had been destroyed by a deadly typhoon, he wrote these words: “In the cross of Christ I glory, towering over the wrecks of time.  All the light of sacred story, gathers around its head sublime.”
Pray with me… Father God, help us Lord to never, ever lose our submission to the Christ of the cross of Calvary.  In His name, amen.

Pastor Ken

Friday, March 6, 2015


Theodore Clarke Smith tells the story of a crowd gathered in New York City on April 17, 1865.  The news of President Lincoln’s assassination had inflamed emotions, and the mood was angry toward those in the city who had been critical of the President.  As the crowd threatened to become a mob, suddenly a strong clear voice rang out: “Fellow citizens!  Clouds and darkness are around about Him.  His pavilion is dark waters and thick clouds of the skies.  Justice and judgment are the establishment of his throne.  Mercy and truth shall go before His face.  Fellow citizens!  God reigns, and the government in Washington still lives.” 
These words immediately calmed the crowd, averting violence.  The speaker was Major General James A. Garfield, congressman from Ohio.  Garfield was also a Christian Church preacher, eventually becoming the only clergyman to ever serve as President of the United States.  His word from God on that historic day was that GOD STILL REIGNS!  Whether the news from day to day discourages or encourages you, remember that above the ‘kings of the earth...the One enthroned in heaven laughs.’  [Psalm 2:2]  ‘He makes the clouds his chariot and rides on the wings of the wind.’  [Psalm 104:3]  And it is to Him we pray today and in the days ahead as we continue our quest for deeper life during this Easter Experience season.
Pray with me...Mighty God, will you hear us from heaven and grant our prayers for Crossroads to be a prevailing church in this region, especially in these days as we prepare to herald your Name in Ford Center on Easter Lord’s Day in just 5 more weeks?  We do not want to do a work of the flesh, but a work of the Spirit as we share the good news that Jesus reigns, and saves and keeps and satisfies and that He lives evermore.  In His Name, amen.

Pastor Ken