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May 2008 entries

War of World Views

Happy Memorial Day! As I sit at my laptop the world around me is silent. Rather un-nerving for a Monday morning as I am accustomed to street noise in abundance on Monday's even in my rural neighborhood. I'm about to hop on my bike and seek out a cup of coffee and a bran muffin. Before Id od I thought I would share a few thoughts from the talk I gave at DBBC yesterday. It's been a while since anything I said solicited such positive response.

First of all, let me say that I do not have a problem with celebrating freedom and honoring our fallen heroes at church. If any one understands sacrifice it is our Heavenly Father. He also sent His Son off to battle, as have many of our families, only to see Him lowered from the cross limp and lifeless. Thankfully, He was raised to life and will never die again and so is the case for all believers who die on the battlefield. As long as we honor His sacrifice first and foremost I whole heartedly honor our fallen.

Secondly, I said, that the freedom these men and women have died to protect is in jeopardy. Our founding fathers did not assemble a constitution capable of governing immoral people. At its center is the idea that Americans would continue to be a people who always recognize that our freedoms are God given and are the rightful privilege of a moral and religious people. Over and over the statesman of early America would express our dependence on God and not government to attain success and perpetuate freedom. Now immorality is honored by an unbelieving America and those with Christian values and who acknowledge absolute truth are narrow minded and politically and socially incorrect. Our laws were not written to govern such a world view. Our role in the world is diminishing in importance as our belief in a sovereign God wanes. The nations influence in world affairs has greatly suffered as we have presented a nation divided to others who have looked to us for strength and leadership.

We are in a social conflict that may have greater consequences that any civil disorder in our history. We are divided along two world views. One is the "God is" camp and the other "God isn't." If God is ...then human life is sacred, morality is right, partnerships between a man and a woman are forever and God's Word is still as relevant as the day it was written. If God isn't... human life is accepted in greater degrees of importance and sacredness based upon age or ability, partnerships between men and women are for the convenience and pleasure of each until someone else more suitable is encountered, and the Bible is at best a book of myths and folklore of an ancient people but not relevant for modern man.

Because the conflict and its results are so incredibly important I will continue to speak to the issues. In this year of electing national leaders I believe those who are in the "God is" camp should be involved and in prayer. I had more to say yesterday, but I'm longing to hit the road on my bike and enjoy some of my day off before reality sets in again tomorrow. If you want to hear the whole talk go to www.dbbc.org and scope out the pastors talks section. It should be posted in a couple of days. Have a great week.  

Born to ride,

Pastor Ken     


Are We Afraid of Numbers?

I was listening to a show about the stock market this morning when the subject of oil prices came up. It seems that "up" is the operative word now-days when it comes to oil and gas prices. They were trying to lay blame on someone for the skyrocketing prices. Then I turned to a station that covers sports exclusively. They were bantering about the high salaries being demanded by today's athletes. After discussing pay they got into batting averages and era's as related to the worth of a player during an off season or during a slump. Numbers...numbers....numbers!

Why is it the church thinks it is ok and even beneficial to talk about numbers as a way of measuring effectiveness but when it comes to the body of Christ it suddenly becomes "non-spiritual." Is there something carnal about measuring giving, new members and baptisms? Should we concern ourselves with year to year or quarter to quarter trends in the local church? According to some of my colleagues the answer is yes to both of these questions. A fellow minister recently chided me for saying that we will resign as a staff if we do not achieve at least 52 baptisms each year at Dallas Bay. His argument was "it is hard to measure spiritual growth" and "numbers are too easily inflated."

I want to offer other explanations. Maybe churches are too accustomed to doing nothing when it comes to winning unbelievers to Christ. It is easier to throw stones at those who are. Maybe some ministers are uncomfortable with the personal accountability that comes with numbers. Could some churches be hiding behind "we're too spiritual to count" than to man-up to the possibility that much more could be done for the kingdom if were less comfortable and a little more committed. Recently someone told me that big churches were too impersonal. Maybe so. Perhaps big churches having to conduct multiple services each weekend should take Pastor Johnny Hunt's advice and place this statement on the sign out front of their buildings, "Sorry we're full, go to hell!" Leave it to Johnny to say what we are all thinking.

Just venting...can you tell?

Pastor ken       


The End Is Coming! The End Is Coming!

When I began to preach at 17 I was fascinated with the study of end time events. I read every book I could about the end of the world and the second coming of Christ. The Late Great Planet Earth was one of the first religious books I bought after becoming a follower of Christ. I hung on every word Hal Lindsey wrote about Armageddon and the great white throne. Every catastrophe around the world was an indication that the end of time was near. I remember going to bed wondering if the Lord would come before I awoke.

Then came years of waiting with no trumpet sound. Then years of seminary where every position as to the rapture of the church was debated and assigned equal credence. More years of waiting and studying and teaching....still no trumpet. Eventually I lost interest in the subject (I actually wrote my doctoral thesis on the Book of Revelation) and read less about and even criticized most every book and author who wrote about the subject. Brother Lindsey became the "paper book writer" the Beatles sang of and my seminary professors labeled a fundamental nut. Still no trumpet.

So recently as I read of earthquakes in China, cyclones in Burma and record weather related deaths in the Midwest. Something ancient and primal began to burn within me. It was the old fire I had when I was a new believer in Christ. I was reminded of all the "signs in the air" and earthquakes that Jesus said would herald His return. Could it be that this chapter in man's history is about to close and a new era begin? Paul had to deal with skeptics like me who were once excited about the Lord's return but who became doubtful when years passed and their faithful friends began to die. Their mis-givings caused him to pen these famous words, "I would not have you to be ignorant my brothers concerning those who sleep (have died) or to grieve like those who have no hope...For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and the trumpet of God." ( I Thessalonians 4:15 - 16) While years of waiting and hoping maybe, just maybe, we may be the most privileged generation of believers since the incarnation. As the late Adrian Rogers said, "I've stopped looking for the signs, I'm just listening for the shout!"

Anxiously waiting...Pastor Ken   


Time Travel

How many of us have been intrigued by the concept of time travel. Most of us have either read H.G. Wells "The Time Machine" or seen a screen adaptation of his novel. The thought of it being a possibility has captured our imaginations. Who wouldn't like to see the ancient pyramids of Egypt before the eons of persistent sandblasting by desert winds have scored their surfaces and rounded the edges? Or does anyone else have an itch to meet Abraham, King David, Paul or even Jesus? Unfortunately, while space travel has become a reality time travel still remains a fantasy. Or is it?

Time travel is actually a reality. As much as we would like sometimes to believe it were not so, we are all time travelers. Every moment takes us deeper into the future. Every second our past grows and our earthly future diminishes. Now, that isn't so troubling to a child. It is actually exciting to a teen who still has dreams to realize and worlds to conquer. But to an adult, this voyage can become frustrating. The older we become the more keenly aware we are that opportunities we missed are lost forever. See moments can be re-created to some degree, but they can never be recaptured. For example, my oldest son, Adam, and I were preparing to play one of the most beautiful golf courses in America on the last Sunday of my sabbatical. I had endured the most horrible round of golf the day before of my life. The course we played was new and the ground was so hard the ball would bounce of the green and into bunkers on every side. The play was so slow in front of us that it took more than 5 hours to play 18. By the time we were nearing the round all I wanted to do was get back to the room and shower then go to dinner. Now, sitting at breakfast with my son, I was dreading the day ahead.

It must have been the look on my face, but the waiter was extremely happy. Almost obnoxiously so to someone like me who was bent on having a miserable day. He asked if we were going to play that day after breakfast. I tried to muster a smile and say that we were. He said that a man was in there a day or two before and was miserable complaining about the course we had such a bad experience on the day before. Our waiter went on to tell the man, and indirectly me, that he wished that he could afford to play that course. Instead he had to serve breakfast each morning to golfers who were about to go out and play one of the most beautiful courses in the U.S. He had to pour coffee and take orders while others, just outside the panoramic windows, were beginning their day of golf. He said if they just knew how lucky they were they would not be complaining. That's when it hit me. My son is 21 and I'm 51. I didn't know how many times, if ever, this opportunity would come again. It was a beautiful day and I was making it out to be a drag. I decided to enjoy the day of golf and the company of my son.

Throughout the day I kept thinking how many times my own father would have enjoyed a day like this with one of his sons. I was thankful that on this day of time travel I was reminded that I would never pass this way again. You see you can try and re-create a moment in time, but you can never re-live it. We are all time travelers. We can live our lives looking in the rear view mirror with regret or we can live every moment to its fullest. It really is your choice. Talk to you in the future.

Pastor Ken            


Back in the Saddle

I'm back. Today was officially my first day back at church. (I've actually been working all this week at home on messages.) I want to thank every body who made this month of relaxation possible.

Thanks, to Marilyn, my wife, who kept blogging while I was gone. I read all of your comments concerning her entries. You were very encouraging and I thank you for reading her thoughts. She is the real brains in our family.

Thanks to my staff who kept things intact while I was gone so I didn't have to worry about a thing.

Thanks to Brent Brady who took me fishing. On a beautiful day in April we managed to land 40 bass. Not too bad given Brent spent half of his time untangling the knots in my line. Thanks Brent!

Thanks go out to Greg Atchley who took me turkey hunting, not once but three times. For all of you who are not hunters you will be glad to know that no turkeys were harmed during our outings. We had a great time none the less. Thanks Greg!

A great big thanks to the congregation of Dallas Bay who stayed committed during my sabbatical. The only way I could enjoy the time off was to know you guys were not taking time off from the Lord in my absence.

Finally, thanks to the members of our personnel committee who gave me the time off with pay. They were gracious to allow me to be a way for a month.

So tomorrow we start our service called "The Refuge at Dallas Bay." Then the next day there are three Sunday morning messages to deliver. Sunday night I begin DB101 for all of our new and prospective members at 6. All good things must come to and end, but I learned a lot while I was off that I want to share with you over the next several entries. But for now, it is sufficient to just say thanks. Talk with you soon!

Pastor Ken