“Get This” for June 24

From Pastor Ken

I was introduced to Jake Pratt along with millions of others, courtesy of ESPN video footage. Jake was a high school senior with Down syndrome. Jake’s family and his school did not see limitations in his life, but only possibilities.

Jake was given an opportunity to leave the sideline roll of manager for the football team that he had held throughout his high school career; on a very special Friday night, he was allowed to suit up with the rest of the players. My heart was overwhelmed as he was dressed out in a team uniform on the sideline. But Jake’s story doesn’t stop there.

When the footage showed Jake going into the game, I watched in amazement as the tears began to flow. As the play was called, everyone on both sides of the ball supported number 90 as he ran for a touchdown. The entire stadium erupted in joy, and I sat tear soaked and speechless.

I will never forget the sound of the fans as Jake was cheered on to what must be one of the most memorable occasions of his life: contributing to a football team he has loved and served for many years. Off the sideline and into the game! Jake did not have to be given the desire to play. He only needed the opportunity.

As I viewed this powerful real life expression of “team,” my mind raced to Romans 12:5, wherein we are told that in the church each member belongs one to another. This indicates that we are responsible for how each member of the body of Christ should be in the play; there are no sidelines in the Kingdom of Christ.

So, church member and church leader, in the spirit of being an equipping church, who are you trying to get into the game? Do you desire to see someone running for the end zone more than yourself? Are you willing to do what it takes to give that “someone” an opportunity to be trained (by this, I mean discipleship), encouraged, and involved in becoming one who ministers and leads. I am so glad Jake’s coach put Him in the game.

Can we as a people of God make our priority to disciple someone until he or she is truly making an impact in the church, and through the church to the world? This becomes our opportunity to create leaders within the church. Let’s not just create good church members, but rather equip active ministers. Let’s put Jake in the game!

“Get This” for June 17

From Pastor Ken

“What does fatherhood mean to me?” This question touches my life deeply, as I am sure for every dad.

My wife and I are blessed with three daughters, all adopted. So, immediately I realize that “fatherhood” is not limited to genetic progeny. In fact, fatherhood is not even limited to proximity. A man can offer his physical heritage and his domestic closeness and yet miss being a father. So, what genuinely constitutes fatherhood in the life of a man? I believe this can be answered in 3 ways: (1) a physical covering, (2) a relational covering, (3) and a spiritual covering. This perspective became real to me as I engaged in studying the Scriptures that reveal Jesus as the Good shepherd. So, I would like to explain these three truths of fatherhood in the light of the truth of Jesus as the Good shepherd.

I really want you to get this!

  1. Jesus identified Himself as the good shepherd by laying down His life for His sheep (John 10:11) – a physical covering, especially against the dangers of wolves (the darkness of this world). He carried this out ultimately on the cross, praise His name!!
  2. Jesus identified Himself as the good shepherd by knowing His sheep (John 10:14) – a relational covering; He emphasized this relationship by the significance of the sheep knowing His voice, thus demonstrating that the relationship is very close and personal.
  3. Jesus identified Himself as the good shepherd by stating (John 10:29) that His Father is greater than all. Jesus was always interested in His followers knowing that they truly belong to God – a spiritual covering.

Jesus truly cares about family. So, would it not make sense to measure one’s fatherhood by the heart of Christ?

Dads, how closely do you resemble the good shepherd when you love your children?

Do you provide physical covering, laying yourself down daily – making sacrifices – so that you are protecting them from the evils of this world. Do you care about what they are watching, who they spend time with, etc. Do you provide a relational covering? Do you take the time to truly know your children, and for them to truly know you? Do you let them into your life, into your space, and into your heart? And most of all, do you provide a spiritual covering? Is your greatest concern for them spiritual? How do you encourage them to truly dedicate themselves to God, Who is greater than all, including us dads?! Are you nurturing your children spiritually by allowing them to hear you pray; are they encouraged by your own walk of faith? Can you pour into them out of the abundance of your daily experience with Christ.

Dad’s, today I ask you a simple question: are you willing to shepherd your children and your home (your precious bride included)? Let’s be real men! Let’s live and love like shepherds!

For every man of any age (and for that matter, every person), shepherd someone’s life today by living in obedience to the Great Shepherd, Jesus Christ.

Join the community of faith at King’s Grant Baptist this Sunday, June 17, to celebrate Father’s Day, and to engage in a study from the Gospel of John, Chapter 10: “How Jesus impacted lives as the Good Shepherd.”

“Get This” for May 27

From Pastor Ken:

I was speaking with a member of our church family yesterday who has walked through some medical challenges within his own family. He commented that when people learn what he and his family have recently gone through, they usually respond with, “wow, I don’t know how you are dealing with this.” He then replied, “I just tell them, ‘IT’S JESUS’.”

I love his story, for this defines the difference between religion and a relationship with Jesus. Not once has religion ever given someone that sweet presence of a loving Heavenly Father when going through an unimaginable crisis. Not once has religion caused the spirit to rest well in the midst of life’s storms. But a relationship with Jesus? Absolutely! There is no other way to walk through life than with Jesus.

This Week’s Quote: “A religion that gives nothing, costs nothing, and suffers nothing, is worth nothing.” – Martin Luther

I really want you to get this! – Today, don’t fall into the trap of simply practicing religion. Discover afresh and anew the powerful reality of living daily in a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Jesus said, “I am the Light of the world.” He said this to demonstrate to a very religious crowd a truth that is just as significant today as when Jesus first spoke these words: Jesus is the light of the world because He openly reveals God to us, leads us from the darkness of sin, and provides an opportunity to walk in the light (the truth) of His love. Only through Jesus can we really live. Religion may help someone demonstrate faith, but religion should never be understood as equal to faith. Placing your total trust in a relationship with Jesus is indeed the only definition of Christian faith.

One’s religion is only as good as one’s faith in Jesus Christ. Today, cherish a relationship with Jesus more than the simple practice of religion.

This Sunday, May 27, I will share a message from John, Chapter 8, titled, “Jesus Argues Against the Traps of Religion.” (This Sunday will also offer a moment to pause as we commemorate Memorial Day by thanking God for those who have laid down their lives for the freedom of our nation.)

I look forward to seeing you Sunday.

“Get This” for May 20

From Pastor Ken

Have you ever felt guilt and shame?

A woman is caught in sin, used as a pawn in religious games by the religious leaders of Jesus’ day. She is paraded before a crowd and before Jesus with her sin and condemnation announced publicly. (John 8:1-11)

This one episode from the Scriptures exposes the brokenness of mankind in two ways:

  1. A life of religious pride, which sees no need for personal change (as demonstrated by the Pharisees and Scribes);
  2. A life of guilt and shame which feels unworthy of love and forgiveness (as demonstrated by the woman caught in adultery).

Jesus responded to the pride of the religious leaders by reminding them in one simple statement that they too have sinned: “let he who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”

Jesus responded to the woman caught in adultery by asking a very important question: where are your accusers? When she realized that those who had previously held a condemning sentence against her had walked away, Jesus then spoke those words that announce freedom to us all: neither do I condemn you.” It is as if Jesus said, I am the only one who stands over you as judge, but I say you are not condemned. Jesus then sent her forward to live a life free from sin.

I really want you to get this!

While the Scriptures remain silent on how the woman responded, we know that several days later, when Jesus died on the cross, forgiveness of sin and a life made brand new became possible through faith in Jesus Christ.

Lewis Smedes, in his book Shame and Grace, recognizes the distinction between shame and guilt: a person feels guilt because a person did something wrong; a person feels shame because a person thinks he or she is something wrong. Smedes will admit that these two actually overlap at times. But, the point is this:

if you feel you are something so wrong that Jesus cannot help, or if you feel you have done something so wrong Jesus cannot help, I announce to you today that Jesus came to take away your guilt and shame.

He didn’t just make them vanish; He died to take away your guilt and shame. Although He was completely perfect and innocent, He bore your sin and shame on the cross. And He gladly did this so that you and I could be forgiven, freed and made new.

Don’t allow guilt and shame to get the best of you. Trust Jesus.

Can you imagine living everyday free from the burden of regret, the oppression of shame, and the perpetual struggle against the condemning feeling of guilt?

This is what Jesus desires for you; I will be sharing a sermon on this reality this Sunday, May 20th, at the outdoor service at King’s Grant Baptist. I look forward to seeing you there.

“Get This” for May 13

From Pastor Ken

Jesus’ words, “He who believes in Me, from his innermost being will flow rivers of living water” (John 7:38), represent a beautiful invitation to lay aside doubt and fear, and to come to Him for forgiveness, cleansing, and renewal…to come to Him for LIFE! Do you trust in Him to the point that His life flows liberally from you. Sometimes, negative emotions, frustrations, and expressions of a sinful heart seem to flow more readily. But, the more that you trust Him and the more that you cling to Him daily, the more His life flows from within you like rivers of water… living water that spiritually satisfies your deepest longings, cares, and needs.

Today, remember why you can trust Him with absolute abandon to your own fears and doubts. Today,remember a very fundamental and inarguable truth: Jesus cares! He truly cares, and desires that you come to Him to lay your cares down. He carried the cross, and He will carry you.

From the truth of John 7, fast forward to John 19, where we encounter the words of Christ from the cross.

I really want you to get this! Jesus spoke from the cross to Mary, His earthly mother, words of care and comfort as He placed her well being into the provisional and protective hands of His beloved disciple, John. There is something significantly moving in the fact that Jesus, in the agony of the cross, with the salvation of the world on His shoulders alone, thought of the need of His mother. (John 19:27) In the midst of the greatest love every shown, Jesus cared for the personal life of His mother.

As I reflect on this scene, the passion Jesus has for one solitary life is overwhelmingly reinforced. (He also demonstrated such a passion with the thief on the cross beside Him). At this crucial moment, Jesus cared for the individual life.

The Cross of Jesus!
What an amazing sacrifice offered to the world! What a personal and passionate expression of love and care for one life!

Today, take a moment to realize that He cares for every detail of your life; He desires that you trust Him with every detail. I realize this is a basic truth of Christian faith, but how easily forgotten this truth becomes as we attempt to solve our own problems and deal with life in our own strength. Trust Him. He cares.

This Sunday, Mother’s Day, (May 13), I will share a message from John 19:26-27 on this radical love of Jesus toward his mother, toward the world, and to you and me. Join us as we discover 5 ways to love radically from the example of Jesus’ love for others, including his own mom.

“Get This” for May 6

From Pastor Ken…

Have you ever considered that we look for satisfaction in other places than in a relationship with Jesus because we really don’t know Him as we should?

A Moment in the Life of Jesus

After the feeding of the 5,000, the crowd continued to look for a convenient blessing of physical bread. Jesus redirected their superficial desires by teaching that He himself is the “bread of life” that alone satisfies man’s soul (John 6). Jesus then revealed Himself even more personally during a popular Jewish festival (the Feast of the tabernacles). On the last day of this event, after the priest had given a visual reminder of when God provided water for Israel during the wilderness years, Jesus cried out, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink” (John 7:37). Wow! At the very moment when Israel was looking back to when God provided physical needs, Jesus invited everyone to have a deeper need satisfied: the need of the human heart.

I really want you to get this!

Jesus gave this invitation to an audience comprised primarily of those who doubted Him (the Jewish Leaders, the crowd at large, and even the disciples). To overcome the doubt that constantly swirled around Him, Jesus simply gave an invitation to believe that He alone can satisfy the deepest longing of the heart. In fact, Jesus actually promised that through faith in Him, life will be as rivers of living water flowing from within (John 7:38). Now,that’s a full life.

JESUS WANTS TO MOVE YOU FROM A LIFE OF DOUBT TO A HEART THAT TRULY OVERFLOWS WITH LIFE!

But, maybe you feel anything but rivers of life coming from within. Maybe bitterness, discouragement, regret, or fear seems to flow more readily. If so, remember the invitation of Jesus: come and drink, which means, come and receive by faith Jesus’ love and forgiveness that alone can satisfy your soul.

  • Jesus gives you this invitation today. Isn’t it time you RSVP?
  • What doubts swirl about your mind and heart today?
  • Do these doubts keep you from desperately thirsting for Jesus?

I will be preaching a message this Sunday, May 6 on why we doubt and why we shouldn’t (from John 7). Please join us!


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