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 -