Crossroad Community Church featuring speaker Pastor Rick Betts
When Integrity Speaks...People Listen
Hi, this is pastor Ken and these are my thoughts on a Thursday…When integrity speaks people listen.
From the mid 1970’s and into the 1980’s there was a well-known advertisement campaign for the Wall Street brokerage firm, Hutton. Most of the commercials were set in busy places such as bars, restaurants, or concert halls. An actor playing the founder of the company, Edward Francis Hutton would lean over to say something to someone nearby. As he began to speak the entire room, noisy a second before would go quiet and everyone would lean toward him to try to hear what he was saying. The narrator of the commercial would then say the line that became famous…”When E.F. Hutton talks, people listen”. The idea of course was that the Hutton firm was so successful that everyone wanted to know what E.F. Hutton thought.
Do you know who everyone is always interested in hearing from? A person of unwavering integrity. Pastor Rick was speaking about just such a person this past week. In Mark 6:14-20 we read: 14 Now King Herod heard of Him, [Jesus] for His name had become well known. And he said, “John the Baptist is risen from the dead, and therefore these powers are at work in him.” 15 Others said, “It is Elijah.” And others said, “It is the Prophet, or like one of the prophets.” 16 But when Herod heard, he said, “This is John, whom I beheaded; he has been raised from the dead!” 17 For Herod himself had sent and laid hold of John, and bound him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife; for he had married her. 18 Because John had said to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” 19 Therefore Herodias held it against him and wanted to kill him, but she could not; 20 for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just and holy man, and he protected him. And when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly.
King Herod was not a godly man, but the Bible tells us that he liked to listen to John the Baptist. He didn’t like listening to him because John would only tell Herod things he wanted to hear, in fact the scripture says quite the opposite was true. John was incredibly candid with Herod. Herod had married his brother’s wife, and John couldn’t have been more clear that this was an ungodly thing to do, he didn’t hold back the truth at all. He called sin what it is…sin, and if we know anything about John, he most certainly implored Herod to repent and get right with God. This passage points out, as did pastor this weekend, that though Herod apparently wasn’t willing do what was right in terms of his marriage, He did like to listen to what John had to say and as a direct result of some of those conversations, Herod made quite a few adjustments in his life. The bible says And when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly.
In Mathew 11:11 it is recorded that Jesus said of John: “Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist…”. John wasn’t perfect, he was a fallen human being just like you and I, but he did have unwavering integrity. What I mean by that is that when John was confronted with evil he called it what it was and made the remedy (repentance and godliness) known to the offender. His entire ministry surrounded repentance, and he couldn’t have had a ministry of repentance if that ministry hadn’t included calling out unrighteousness when he saw it. John didn’t decide who he would call on the carpet for their sin based on the repercussions to him. He once told off a group of Pharisees for their hypocrisy. We know from the account above that is recorded for us in both Matthew and Mark that John did not waver from telling King Herod of his sin. Sin was sin to John and he was going to point it out and the way to repentance and a renewed relationship with God regard
Blowing Our Minds
Hi, this is pastor Ken and these are my thoughts on a Thursday…Blowing Our Minds!
Have you ever had your mind blown? If you are like me, it has happened countless times. Some of those you recall others you do not. Some were likely categorized as positive experiences, while others were filed in the not-so-much receptacle. Sometimes when our minds are blown it is such a powerful experience we want to go share it with somebody…anybody that will listen. Other times it leaves us a bit shell-shocked and we really just want to be alone with our thoughts.
Just uttering the term ‘Having our mind blown’ conjures up all kinds of mental images. There is even a well-used emoji to express to someone that what they have just shared with us has had that effect. What does the term mean? Certainly we are not trying to say that a literal explosion has just happened between our ears. That would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience and we have already agreed that it has happened many, many times. So what do we mean? When I use the term, I mean that I wasn’t ready to consider whatever I find myself having to consider. That was a mouthful. What I mean is that if one of my grandkids ‘blows my mind’ they probably just did or said something I would not have expected them to say or do. If Pastor Rick ‘blows my mind’ he has likely revealed a truth or a concept from God’s word that I have not yet considered and would not have considered if Pastor hadn’t offered it up for thought. If my sweet wife has just ‘blown by mind’ she simply entered the room, or answered to a call of “Mrs. Brown…” It still ‘blows my mind’ that woman said yes when I asked her to marry me!
When people ‘blow our minds’ they have caused our mind to stretch beyond its normal limitations because they have said or done something beyond the expected. Though not a literal one, an explosion of thought has just taken place inside the realm of our consciousness. As Christ followers these “explosions” should be happening with regularity. In fact, I would say taking into account the after-shocks, our minds should be under a continual state of bombardment.
I believe there are two premises we need to get settled if we are to allow God to ‘blow our minds’ on a regular basis. First we have to understand that we don’t understand. What I mean by that is that we have to start from the position that we have not, do not, nor will we ever be equipped on this side of heaven to fully comprehend the word of God. God says of Himself in Isiah 55:9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts. Did you hear that? As much higher as the heavens are than the earth…which part of the heavens is He talking about? Is He referring to the Troposphere that extends heavenward about 12 miles? Perhaps instead He is referencing the Stratosphere with goes farther upward to nearly 30 miles above the earth. Maybe God meant His thoughts were higher like the Mesosphere which reaches 53 miles above the planet, or perhaps it was the Thermosphere He had in mind when He made this statement to Isiah which would extend 372 miles above the earth. Maybe it was the exosphere or outer-space He was thinking of. Is your ‘mind blown yet’? The truth of the matter is the full depth God’s thoughts are out of reach for you and I. And yet, we are instructed to seek to know Him above all else. Jeremiah 9:23-24 tells us: Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, Let not the mighty man glory in his might, Nor let the rich man glory in his riches; But let him who glories glory in this, That he understands and knows Me, That I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight,” says the Lord. To whatever level we are able we are to seek to know
Just Do it
Hi this is pastor Ken and these are my thoughts on a Thursday…Just Do It
This slogan used by the Nike footwear company for many years was a very successful ad campaign. These three simple words sold a lot of shoes over the years. Why? Perhaps it was because most of us carry in our hearts and minds dreams of things we would like to do. Nike was able to use the presence of some of those dreams, and the often accompanying thought that we just don’t have what we need to make those dreams come true, to increase their sales. If you had a dream…and bought their shoes…you could ‘Just Do It’.
I am a bit of a woodworker and have built many pieces of furniture over the years, in fact as I have mentioned in past podcasts I actually did that as my vocation for a while. Though that business has been closed for many years now, I still carry the dream of building something I never have before…Windsor chairs. In preparation for the undertaking I did what I often do…I went to YouTube University. There I became familiar with one of the premier Windsor chair makers in America today. He is a gentleman by the name of Curtis Buchanan. Curtis has graciously documented on video every step of making a chair from choosing the trees all the way to applying the milk paint finish and lacquer. He not only describes the necessary actions one must take to build a chair, he also talks about other topics of interest to him as he instructs how to duplicate his craft. He is self-taught, and yet viewed as one of the best chair makers in the industry. During an interview I watched he was asked, “How did you go from being self-taught to being one of the most well-known chair makers of our time. His answer was simple, yet profound. In his southern drawl he said, “I don’t know if I am…but if it’s true I guess it’s just because I kept at it the longest”. In other words, Curtis didn’t let anything stop him…he just did it.
We all have dreams in our hearts and minds. I’m not talking about me making Windsor chairs or some young kid dreaming of being the next star running back in the NFL. I’m talking about those dreams of ministry, those dreams of ways you and I can love people. Some of those dreams are big ones and will require many resources to accomplish, some of them smaller in scope, but still requiring investment to make them come true. What makes some people able to realize their dreams while others never get past the drawing board? I know this…It’s not the shoes.
I think what differentiates those who see dreams fulfilled from those who don’t is ownership. Who owns the dream? Is it in your heart and mind because it is yours? If so, you need to find all of the resources to make it happen. You are responsible for setting all of the necessary steps in motion to see it come to pass. If I want to build that chair, I need to attain the knowledge, I need to buy the tools, I need to collect the wood, I need to dedicate the time and effort, I need to solve any problems that arise. If I do all of those things and stick with it as Curtis Buchanan suggests, then I can build my very own hand crafted Windsor chair. However, if I am not the owner of the dream, most of those aforementioned steps are someone else’s responsibility. So, if the dream’s author and owner is God’s Holy Spirit then all of that is on Him. I only have to…Just do it!
Pastor Rick says often, “If God has said it, it’s like money in the bank.” What he means is that if God puts a dream in your heart, on your mind, of a way to love others…Just Do It. God doesn’t ever simply drop a dream into our minds and then leave the logistics up to us…He has already made the preparations, all He needs from us is to…Just do it! Ephesians 2:8-10 in the New King James Version read as follows: 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yoursel
And The Good News Is...
Hi, this is pastor Ken and these are my thoughts on a Thursday…”And the good news is”
My paternal grandfather Ed Brown, was an amazing man. He was an eternal optimist. There were times when I worked with him and at the end of a long day when I know he was as tired as my dad and I, he would push his chair back from the dinner table and say in his booming voice, “Boys, I think I have my second wind!”. Dad and I would look at each other in disbelief, though I don’t know why…he said those words all the time. The problem was the old guy meant them…and it was back to work some more that evening for the three of us. That man really believed he would always have a second wind to propel him forward. Another phrase he was well known for and that was born out of that sense of eternal optimism was, “And the good news is…” He wouldn’t say ‘But’ the good news is…that would indicate there was something initially to be ungrateful for…and grandpa was a lot of things, but never ungrateful…at least never in my hearing. No, he said “And the good news is…” He would then go on to tell whoever was listening how they needed to be even more grateful because there was always a good way of looking at any situation. Grandpa dealt with some very difficult things. The loss of a young son to a lifelong illness. A failed business that led to a personal bankruptcy…back when that was still looked at a shameful thing to experience. He even had an illness that made him very sick for many years and left him stone deaf. All of these life experiences and other difficult ones to be sure, but he was always ready to tell you, “And the good news is…”.
Grandpa loved my grandma almost more than anything. In fact, the only thing he loved more than her was Jesus. Their intense desire to follow Jesus and give God the glory for everything in their lives did much to shape the way I think about my own walk with the Lord. As I said a few moments ago, grandpa was an eternal optimist. He did look at things in this world with optimism, gratefulness, and a surety that whatever it was…would work itself out. But he truly was an ETERNAL optimist. What was really on his mind, heart and often his lips was, “and the good news is…Jesus loves me!” or “And the good news is…God will see us through this!”, whatever “this” might be, this time. Yes, grandpa was an Eternal optimist!
1 Peter 1:3-9 read as follows and if you’ll allow me the freedom, I’ll quote it as I imagine I hear grandpa would from his front row seats with grandma at the throne of the almighty King Jesus they both love so much.
And the good news is…Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in Heaven for you who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen, you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory receiving the end of your faith – the salvation of your souls.
What grandpa would want all of us to know is this…There is great reason for everyone who loves Jesus to be an ETERNAL optimist!
I don’t know what you may be going through today. My life has taught me that there are often things we have to endure, and many of them I’m afraid are unpleasant. Each day we deal with loss of loved ones, illne
Hi this is pastor Ken and these are my thoughts on a Thursday…Thank you
In our home we have an assistant who will do whatever we ask. She is diligent, rarely does she rest, most if not all of the time, she completes every task we assign to her. She wakes us up every morning exactly when we tell her to. Not a minute earlier or later than we want…exactly when we say she should. She checks on the weather for us. She plays the music we want to hear when we direct her to. She keeps a watchful eye on how long something has been cooking and lets us know to remove it before it burns. If I want her to, she will even check on the internal temperature of my steaks on the grill while I am inside enjoying the air conditioning which she turned on for me before I got home. She runs around the house turning off all of the lights that I instruct her to from the comfort of my bed before I go to sleep. I never have to say please or thank you to her, she owes it to me, after all I allow her and her twins to stay in nearly every room in my home…rent free.
Sometimes I wonder why the creators of Alexa didn’t require that we say please before each request and thank you after each task was carried out. I have mentioned to my wife before that as our grandchildren grow up with such technologies as a regular part of their existence that their generation is losing out on many opportunities to learn the correct ways to respond to real-live-people. I am convinced it plays a part in the total lack of decorum in the world today.
I remember when I was raising my children when they were toddlers. I would give them something or be nearby when someone else would give them something and I would almost always ask a question you have undoubtedly asked nearly a million times yourself. What’s the magic words? Their responses were some cute version of the words they would eventually learn to say clearly and without provocation…please and thank you.
Why do we use these words when we desire something or have received what we wanted? Is it simply because it is the right thing to do? Is it good etiquette, and nothing more? Hopefully it is more than that. Far more than that.
I have noticed something. When I want something that I am about to provide for myself, I do not say please prior to receiving it, nor do I thank myself for getting it for me. With that in mind, why do I ask others prefaced with a please and follow their provision with a thank you? Clearly it is because I am requesting someone else use their time, money, resources or power that I might benefit. In response I recognize the need to be grateful they have met my need at their expense in one form or another. Often times that gratefulness is extended because I know I was completely unable to meet the need myself.
Have you ever noticed that when someone is asking you for something they cannot do for themselves that their requests become more like sincere pleading? Has it struck you sometimes as it has me that when someone thanks you for doing something for them that they recognize was beyond their own ability their thanks are especially heartfelt or given profusely? It feels good to be asked for something in such a manner or to receive such earnest thanks, doesn’t it?
Are we that careful or even more so with God or have the conveniences of our time caused us to become far too cavalier? Do we see Him as the all-knowing, all-powerful, unchangeable, ever present ruler of Heavens Armies, or is He our Alexa in the sky? Do we approach Him as the only one who can meet our needs that we are powerless to affect ourselves, or do we tell Him what we need or want Him to do? What is the last thing God did for you that you could not do for yourself? I’ll tell you. He caused your heart to continue to beat and your chest to rise and fall drawing in the oxygen He replenished with his green creation which wil
Its All Greek To Me
Hi, this is pastor Ken and these are my thoughts on a Thursday…It’s all Greek to me!
Many of you may know my wife Lynn. Some of you know her because she has lived in the communities of Seaford and Bridgeville practically all her life. With the exception of a few very short stints in other places, albeit close by, she has called these two towns and the surrounding area home all of her life. As a result, some of you are familiar with her because you too have been a part of those communities for many if not all of your years. Some of you know her because she is a part of the Crossroad family and you have seen her here at church or at church activities for more than a decade now. Some of you know her because of her career. She has worked for the Woodbridge school district in one capacity or another for many years. When we met she was a brand new teacher. 10 years later she left the classroom to become a school administrator. She is now back in the classroom, privileged to get to spend the remaining years of her profession doing what was always the desire of her heart…teaching children. One of the things I hear her talk of often and have for the entirety of our marriage has been teaching strategies. Some better than others, some highly successful with some students while other strategies seem to resonate with different students. I find it highly interesting to listen as she tells me of all of the various ways children learn. In light of that, I was intrigued by something I read in a book that has captured my attention lately.
In his work The Book of Mysteries by Jonathan Cahn, the author speaks about a Greek word, Hupogrammos. Grammos means writing and Hupo means under, so the literal interpretation of the word is underwriter. In our vernacular that term refers to a person or persons who accept the risk of a fiduciary relationship, such as a mortgage or an insurance policy. They are the entity that determines that the risk is one worth taking for the financial institution involved. But in ancient Greek times it meant something much closer to the literal meaning of the term. It was actually a teaching strategy not unlike some of those employed by my wife today as she teaches kindergarten students to write. The hupogrammos was a small, shallow box containing a layer of soft wax. The ‘Teacher’ would write a word in the wax with a stylus made of wood and then the ‘Student’ would take their own stylus and allow the point to follow along in the groove of the word written out by the teacher. In this way the student would learn the shapes of the letters and the words they formed when linked together.
My new understanding of this Greek word hupogrammos became more interesting yet when Cahn linked it with a specific scripture. 1 Peter 2:21 says For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps. The Greek word that Peter wrote that we have translated into the word ‘example’ was hupogrammos. Kahn points out that what Peter was saying was that Jesus left us a learning strategy to act as we should as His followers. We are to literally allow our lives, our words, our actions even our thoughts toward others be patterned after or be tracings of the life, words, actions and thoughts toward others Christ chose. John wrote that God is Love. John also recorded for us that Jesus said He only did and said what the Father told Him to. Ergo…Jesus’ life, words, actions and thoughts toward others were those of love. Ephesians 5:1-2 say this; Therefore, be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God, for a sweet smelling aroma.
If we are to be good imitators, if we are going to follow the hupogrammos that is Christ with the stylus that is our life, then it seems to me ther