Sep 19

Jesus Cares When . . .

Love Message by Naama y.m. at freeimages.com

Hurricanes are destroying our cities!  Cancer is ruining our health and stressing our families.  Mental illness issues are plaguing our communities.  Churches are struggling with discord and division.  In the midst of these trials we must remember God invites us to cast all our care upon him because he cares for us (1 Pet. 5:7).

We need to be reminded that Jesus cares!  He is not unsympathetic to our plight and struggles.  He knows, loves, and cares.  In Luke chapter 7 we see Jesus interacting with humanity in four stories, each of which demonstrate how much Jesus cares.

1.  Jesus cares when sickness invades our homes (Luke 7:1-9).  A Centurion’s servant is sick and at the point of death.  He sends elders of the Jews to Jesus asking him to come and heal his servant.  Jesus responses to his request and admires his faith as he has great respect for Jesus’ power and authority.  The servant is healed!  Sickness can bring tremendous stress and anxiety upon us.  Jesus doesn’t want us to go through sickness alone.  He knows and cares for our pain.

2.  Jesus cares when death breaks our hearts (Luke 7:11-17).  In the next story Jesus enters the village of Nain.  He sees a widow who has lost her only son.  Jesus interrupts the funeral procession to bring the boy back to life.  Jesus’ heart went out to this widow.  He showed his love of her and his power over death.  Remember the shortest verse in the English Bible;  “Jesus wept” (John 11:35).  He wept out of compassion for humanity as we deal with death. Jesus cares when we lose our loved ones to death.

3.  Jesus cares when doubt clouds our minds (Luke 7:18-23).  The third story involves the famous preacher John the Baptist.  John was the forerunner for Jesus preparing people for his coming.  But he begins to doubt if his life mission has been correct.  He begins to doubt the Messiahship of Jesus.  He sends some of his disciples to ask Jesus if he is really the Christ. Jesus answers by pointing to his miraculous signs.  He then will compliment John as being “more than a prophet” and a great man.  Jesus didn’t belittle John’s doubt.  He gave him evidence.  Jesus cares when we struggle with doubt.  He offers us proof and encouragement to keep on keeping on!

4.  Jesus cares when sin overwhelms our lives (Luke 7:36-50).  The final story of Luke 7 involves a sinful woman who has been overwhelmed with love and gratitude for the forgiveness Christ offered her.  She comes while Jesus is eating a meal.  She washes his feet with her tears and hair, while anointing his feet.  Christ tells her she is forgiven.  He says she loved much, because she was forgiven much.  Jesus cares when sin ruins our lives.  When we feel  guilt-ridden and unworthy, Jesus cares.  He offers us grace, love, and forgiveness.

So whatever you are going through today, be reminded that Jesus cares.  This should give you hope, strength, and perseverance.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.joshketchum.com/jesus-cares-when/

Sep 09

Our Outdoor Sink

I enjoy cooking outside and have long wanted a sink to help in the preparation.  Also with four kids and all of our outdoor activities a fully-functioning sink would come in handy.  So while it never worked out in our old house, we planned to put one in our new house.  I planned it for the back porch right beside a smoker, grill, and two-burner outdoor gas cooker.  Amanda came up with the design idea of having it directly in line with the main kitchen sink.  So we can easily pass things through and talk as need be.  Also this worked out well with the plumbing.

Like a few other things this did not get done when we were building the house in 2015.  The plumber plumbed it with two outdoor water faucets and a drain.  It has stayed like that since 2015.  We just haven’t made the time to do the project.  Well we were able to tackle it over the last couple of weeks.  Thanks to a donated counter-top and sink from Wes and Ashley (Amanda’s sister) who took it out for their remodel, we saved a lot of money and had a ready to go sink and countertop.

Enjoy the pictures of this project as I take you through our building of it.

We started with a countertop!

We began by building the frame out of 2x4s.

Austin was my sidekick through the whole project. He was a great helper.

Caleb like to hammer!! He is pretty good for a 4 year old!

 

 

I bought the stainless-steel door back in 2015.

 

We covered it in 1/4 inch cement board.

We bought this weathered-barn wood plywood at Lowe’s.

 

We bought this faux stone back in 2014 before we ever started building the house on clearance at Lowe’s for this outdoor sink. We got it at 1/6th of the current price.

Austin loved laying the stones.

We used a glue to attach the stones to the        cement board.

 

I cut them on a wet saw.

Amanda was the chief designer and block-layer. She did great!  She also painted the inside wood grey.

The mostly finished product. I put on the faucet and plumbed the sink.  We have to buy a medal stool to complete it!

The top view!! I also made a cover for the sink with some extra countertop. This helps it not get as dirty and allows it to serve as a larger countertop.

 

 

We are proud of the way it turned out.  The stone looks great.  We love the Corian CounterTop and sink.  We are looking forward to using it for years to come.  I love it when a dream becomes a reality.  We dreamed about it and planned it for years and finally brought it into fruition.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.joshketchum.com/our-outdoor-sink/

Sep 06

Your Purpose Is Not About You!

Posse by Rubenshito at www.freeimages.com

You know the question!  You have asked it in various forms.  It goes like this:  What am I here for?  What is my purpose?

This is a good question.  Most all of us have asked this question.  We are exploring the purpose and meaning of our existence.  But let me suggest that this is not the best question.  This question focuses on ourself!  What am I here for?  What is my purpose?

When we come to understand purpose, we understand that purpose is a means to an end that is not ourself.  We want to be a part of something bigger and more important than our own self.  We want to be a difference-maker in a larger movement.  Ultimately, finding our purpose begins when we realize we must lose the focus on our own glory and become a servant to a larger cause.

People that spend their lives focused on their own pleasure, achievements, and glory end up lonely, bitter, and disillusioned.  This understanding of purpose fits in perfectly with Scripture.  Scripture teaches us that we are created in Christ Jesus for good works (Eph. 2:10).  We are to do good works so that the world will give glory, not to ourselves, but to our Father in heaven (Mat. 5:16).  The defining call of Christ to anyone who would follow after him is to deny themselves, take up His cross, and follow Him (Luke 9:23).  Christ wants us to take up his purpose as our own.

What this means is don’t spend all your time talking about how you want to change the world.  Don’t tie your purpose to getting the perfect job, inventing a new solution or medicine, or becoming rich and famous.  Instead focus on causes you are passionate about that are bigger than yourself.  You see a much better question than “What am I here for?” is “Who am I here for?”  When you realize that you are here for God and to serve your fellow man, than you find a passion and purpose that will make a difference in your life and in this world!

—————-

Idea came from Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast – Sept. 2017

 

 

Permanent link to this article: http://www.joshketchum.com/your-purpose-is-not-about-you/

Aug 30

Speaking for Those Who Can Only Cry

Crying Baby at freeimages.com by Ariel Camilo

Abortion is not the only problem Christians should be speaking out against when it concerns the womb.  There is another epidemic increasing rapidly across our nation, that most Christians rarely encounter.  It is not as severe as abortion in numbers or consequences, but our faith should demand us speak to this issue of pre-natal development as well.

I am speaking about the rise in drug-addicted babies.  The problem is different today, than it was in the 80s with crack-babies.  Though we still have many babies affected by illegal drugs, there is also a tremendously alarming trend in babies born addicted to pain-killers.  The CDC released a report in August of 2016 that said, “the number of babies being born in the U.S. addicted to opioids has tripled in a 15 year stretch.”  Pain-killer addiction is a real problem for our culture.  But it affects an innocent life when expectant mothers remain addicted.

When a baby is born, they are shut-off from the drugs that their mother had been taking.  Their body goes through neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS).  They suffer from gastrointestinal dysfunction, temperature instability, and central nervous system problems, such as tremors, high-pitched crying, and seizures. In 2012, over 1.5 billion in charges were made for treatment of opioid withdrawal.

I have spoken to neo-natal nurses who share their eyewitness tails of watching newborn babies suffer.  Imagine a baby shivering and crying  out in a painful pitch!  The scene is unnerving and filled with sorrow and compassion.

God admonishes Christians to “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed.” (Prov. 31:8 NLT).  We need to realize that the prescription drug epidemic in our country is not only affecting millions of adults but it is also affecting our next generation.  They begin life in pain with their health already jeopardized.  We need to encourage those who are struggling with an addiction to get help!  Those using prescription drugs should take care to protect their pills and properly dispose of them when no longer needed.  It is our responsibility as Christians to love the hurting and addicted of our present generation, but also to speak up for the oppressed and innocent who are suffering like these precious babies.

Let us pray and speak up for those who can only cry in pain!

————–

Source – https://www.statnews.com/2016/08/11/babies-opioids-addiction/

Permanent link to this article: http://www.joshketchum.com/speaking-for-those-who-can-only-cry/

Aug 23

You; a Pharisee? Surely Not!

copyrighted Photo – purchased from istock

Most Bible students are familiar with Jesus’ famous parable about the Pharisee and the tax collector who went up to the temple to pray (Luke 18:9-13).  We have read it and heard it preached many times.  Jesus gave the parable to those who “trusted in themselves” and “treated others with contempt” (Luke 18:9).  The Pharisee prayed in a showy manner.  He exalted himself listing his righteous and good deeds.  He thanked God he was not like the sinful tax collector.  It was a prayer of comparison!  He was far superior to the tax collector.  He did all these great deeds and didn’t do all those sinful things.

In stark contrast the tax collector was convicted and broken-hearted.  He was so humiliated before God he refused to lift his eyes upward and beat his breasts as a sign of grief.  He pleaded for the mercy of God because he was a sinner.

Familiar story; right?  You have heard it before and know the main thrust is for sinners to come to God humbly and surrendering their pride in open sorrow and conviction.  So it isn’t really about you?  Well, let me ask you which person in the parable are you more like?  Are you more like the tax collector who has a long history of extortion, greed, and selfishness?  Or are you more like the Pharisee?  Remember the Pharisees were the religious elite of the day.  They took the law of God seriously, so serious in fact they made up a whole bunch of rules to ensure they didn’t even come close to breaking any of God’s rules.  They went to “church” every time the doors were opened. They fasted regularly.  They paid their tithes.  They debated and discussed the Scriptures.  Hummm . . . Which one are you more like?  I am just going to guess here and say if you have stayed with a preacher this long reading an article  about the Bible, then you are probably closer to the Pharisee.

I don’t mean to offend you, but help you realize that this parable is to you!  Most Christians are more similar to the Pharisee than the tax collector.  What this means is we have to heed Jesus’ parable!  We must be aware of the temptation to compare ourselves with others who are living sinful lives.  We can easily uplift ourselves in prayer and view others with contempt.  We may even act to God like we deserve this request we are making in prayer.  We may get angry when God doesn’t answer like we feel he should.  After all, doesn’t God know who we are!

Let’s hear Jesus’ closing line with an understanding that it is given to help us avoid this sin, “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted” (Luke 18:13).  There should never be a place for pride or contempt of others in our prayers!

Permanent link to this article: http://www.joshketchum.com/you-a-pharisee-surely-not/

Aug 21

The End of Total Solar Eclipses!

by evgenij kursai at free images.com

Today is the day of first Total Eclipse to travel the length of the United States since 1918.  Eclipses where you live are rare events.  Researches who have studied the orbits of the earth and moon believe the moon is moving 3.8 centimeters away from the earth each year. The effect of such movement means that over time the moon will get farther from earth so that it will not create a total eclipse anywhere on earth.  So enjoy the total eclipse now, because they won’t happen forever. “When will this happen?,” you ask.  Scientists estimate this will not occur until 650 million years from now.  So I don’t think you have anything to worry about!

You may be thinking, “This is really, pointless and trivial knowledge.”  And I agree, with the exception that I want to make a spiritual point to your life with this knowledge.  What did you think when you read 650 million years.  That number seems unfathomable.  You probably thought the world will not even be in existence that long from now.  You likely just dismissed it because there is no way it has any relevance to your life now.  But here is the thing–you will be around 650 million years from now.  You likely won’t care much about solar eclipses.  You will be in eternity.  Abiding with God or cast from his presence.  And while that number seems unfathomable and super far away, in the spectrum of eternity, it is still short!

When you really stop and consider it, you realize the import of the short time you spend on earth.  It determines your eternal destiny!  Enjoy the eclipse today!

—————————-

Source –

https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/what’s-very-last-solar-eclipse

 

Permanent link to this article: http://www.joshketchum.com/the-end-of-total-solar-eclipses/

Aug 16

How We Can Eclipse the Son!

The so-called Great American Total Solar Eclipse will darken the skies across the continent on August 21st.  This is the first time in 99 years a solar eclipse has covered the continent of America.  Here in Western Kentucky we are blessed to be in the “path of totality” that will travel across the U.S.  A solar eclipse happens when the moon creates a shadow upon the earth.  Literally, the moon blocks the rays of the sun and covers it up.  Total eclipse conditions only lasts for a couple of minutes.¹

This will create an unforgettable and unique celestial event.  But contrary to what some have said, there is no Biblical evidence to support any prophetic significance to the solar eclipse.  The eclipse doesn’t mean Jesus is any nearer returning than he was in 1918 when a total solar eclipse travelled the length of our continent and WW1 was raging on.  No one knows when Jesus will return, and thus we should always be ready for his return (Mat. 24:36).

by evgenij kursai at free images.com

The face of Christ is said to shine like the sun (Rev. 1:16).  He is the “Light of the world” (John 9:5).  We are to reflect his light to the world as Christians.  Our work is often compared to the typical role of the moon.  The moon doesn’t produce light, it only reflects the light of the sun upon the world.  But on Monday, the moon will actually block the sun’s light.  How do we do the same with our lives?  How do we eclipse the light of Jesus with our actions?

  1. We eclipse the light of Christ when we focus on our own glory.  There are thousands of competing stars in the sky.  But none shine upon earth with the splendor of our sun.  We don’t need to be a competing star in this world!  The disciples argued about who was the greatest, and Jesus rebuked them (Mat. 18:1-4).  Arrogant and haughty Christians that want glory and recognition for their good deeds and accomplishments block the light of Christ.  Jesus said we are to do good deeds so that people can give glory to our Father in heaven; not to ourselves (Mat. 5:16).
  2. We eclipse the light of Christ when we inaccurately represent Jesus to the world.  All Christians are going to struggle in measuring up to the stature of Christ (Eph. 4:13).  But when we play the role of a hypocrite to the world we block Christ being seen in us.  A hypocrite is simply an actor who pretends to look like a Christian outwardly and in certain groups, but truly is far from God.  Jesus strongly rebuked the Pharisees for their hypocrisy (Mat. 23).  The world needs to see sincere believers, rather than hypocrites who claim to follow Jesus, yet actually live like the world.
  3. We eclipse the light of Christ when we bring darkness into the world.  Christians are to be “children of light” (Eph. 5:8).  We are commanded not to walk in darkness (1 John 1:5-6).  When Christians spread hatred, bigotry, greed, lies, and lust into the world we block the light of Jesus.  We join Satan’s team, rather than being a light in a twisted world.  When we give into evil thoughts, malicious actions, bitter words, and jealous feelings we yield to darkness.  We must “cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light” (Rom. 13:12).

The eclipse this coming Monday is a rare event.  But shamefully, it is not a rare event for Christians to block the light of Christ.  We block his light because of our arrogance, hypocrisy, and sin.  Let’s repent and let the light of Christ shine through in our hearts and lives.

——————–

¹  https://www.space.com/33797-total-solar-eclipse-2017-guide.html

 

 

Permanent link to this article: http://www.joshketchum.com/how-we-can-eclipse-the-son/

Aug 15

Our Trip Back to Roan’s Creek

It had been five years.  Yet, when we returned it seemed like we had never left.  I held a Gospel Meeting with the Roan’s Creek Church of Christ in Clarksburg, Tennessee.  My whole family got to attend the meeting.  It was a wonderful week for us.

The Roan’s Creek church traces its history back to 1825.  I hold the distinction of being their first full-time minister.  I originally started on a five-month trial period from August of 1998 to January 1999.  I passed the trial and would begin working full-time with the church after getting married in January of 2000.  I started dating and married Amanda during my time at Roan’s Creek.  We left Roan’s Creek in August of 2002 to pursue going to Asuncion, Paraguay with a mission team.  That didn’t work out for us, but thankfully we ended up in Mayfield, Kentucky where we have been ever since.

We showed the kids our first home.  We stayed at Natchez Trace park by Pin Oak lake.  We used to go out to this site regularly to ride bikes, walk, and let our dog Rebel run free.  It was a time of reflection and refreshment for us.  A break from the busy schedule of home, home-school, and farm chores.

Here is a list of thoughts I had during the meeting:

  • I am grateful the elders in 1998 took a chance on me.  I wasn’t much of a preacher yet.  One lady reflected on the first sermon I preached as feeling sorry for me, because I was so nervous and shaking.  But they tried me and my life is different today because of the experience I had with Roan’s Creek.  The older I get and now understand better what I probably looked like as a young 22 year old to these seasoned elders, I am thankful for their love and the risk they took.
  • I am grateful for faithful brethren.  It is so encouraging to return almost exactly to the date 15 years later and see so many of the same faces faithful in the Lord’s work.  These are dear friends who mean so much to us.  Of course, numerous ones have passed, some have become unfaithful, new ones have come, but it is so encouraging to see the “old faithfuls.”  Faithfulness is special and should not be taken for granted.
  • I am grateful for the early years with Amanda.  Kids are great and a middle-aged stable life with a house and farm are nice, but sometimes we miss the simple bliss of the early years.  I enjoy going back to FHU and Roan’s Creek area because they are special spots for our courtship and marriage.  It is where we fell in love!  We had wonderful times growing up together and learning what it means to be married and be adults.  The brethren at Roan’s Creek were great to us as a young couple.
  • I am grateful for Mark and Lori Simons.  I am so grateful that God brought Mark and Lori to the work at Roan’s Creek as we were leaving.  They have done a tremendous job with the church.  They are special friends and very respected servants of God.  The growth, stability, and continued success of Roan’s Creek is due in large part to their wise, hard-working, and dedicated efforts.  I am thankful he has continued a legacy of preaching the Word of God in love and truth.
  • I am grateful my wife and kids can go to gospel meetings with me.  Going to a gospel meeting is a special thing for our family.  It isn’t easy, as it requires lots of packing and leaving home, but it is so worth it.  My kids especially love going to Roan’s Creek.  A big reason for this is the tremendous home-cooking you get every day of the meeting.  The family enjoys meeting new people and add so much to my work.  Brooke had the quote of the trip when she said late Sunday night, when I asked her about my sermon, “Dad it is a good thing we are the only ones that follow you around, because you preach the same thing every gospel meeting.”  I got a kick out of her quote and hope they will have fond memories of attending meetings with Dad.  Being that I preached on heaven and hell Sunday which prompted Brooke’s statement, I really hope that repetition causes it to go down deep into their hearts.

Thus, we left Roan’s Creek once again grateful for the opportunity to return to one of our homes.  It was just like home should be–familiar, good food, warm embraces, God-centered, and sad goodbyes.  Lord willing, we will do it again in four years Roan’s Creek!

Permanent link to this article: http://www.joshketchum.com/our-trip-back-to-roans-creek/

Aug 03

School Supply Reminders!

istock Photo

It is back-to-school time in our area. The many activities and loose schedules of summer are replaced with the rhythm and schedule of school.  Many parents have been purchasing school supplies for their kids.  The kids are excited about new items.  As kids return to school, I would like to give them some reminders of what they should be for Christ in the school.  By looking at their desk each day, their school supplies can remind them of some valuable lessons.  

  • Scissors remind us to cut the harmful influences out of our lives. The Bible teaches “bad company ruins good morals” (1 Cor. 15:33).  The friends you choose to associate with will directly impact your life.  Be assured if you are going to be successful in school and life you will have to cut some harmful influences out of your life.  It is not easy, but it is necessary.
  • Glue reminds us to stick closely to the Word of God.  The Bible calls us to “shine as lights” in the midst of a “crooked and twisted generation” (Phil. 2:15).  The way we are able to do this is by “holding fast to the word of life” (Phil. 2:16).  Be glued to the truth of God’s word and it will be a light to your path (Psalm 119:105).
  • Rulers remind us to measure our words.  Paul gives some great advice for our students when he says, “let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear” (Eph. 4:29).  When you see a ruler let it remind you to control your words, and limit them appropriately, or they will get you in trouble.
  • Clocks on the wall remind us to make the best use of our time.  Clocks regulate the school day.  They tell us when to begin, how long each class lasts, and when to end.  But what clocks don’t tell you is how to use the time in the middle.  We only have a limited amount of time in each day to use.  Clocks remind us to make the best use of our time (Eph. 5:15-16).
  • Paper and pencil remind us we are writing our own story each day by the choices we make.  Teachers will require students to do a lot of writing this year.  But the most important story that is being written may never make it to paper.  It is your life story.  Each student is writing their own story by the choices they make, the attitude they present, and the love they share.  When you are using your paper and pencil, remember you are writing your life story everyday.  Make it a best-seller!

I pray for our students, teachers, and administrators as school begins again.  May these school supplies be a reminder of what God calls us to be as students and teachers.

——————————-

Idea came from Adam Faughn Podcast in 2014

 

Permanent link to this article: http://www.joshketchum.com/school-supply-reminders/

Aug 02

Small-Thing Faithfulness!

Bible by Steven J. Sullivan at www.freeimages.com

We admire the big-thing faithfulness. We laud it in decade anniversary celebrations, 40-year retirement parties, and in funeral eulogies about the person’s lifelong faithfulness to Christ.  Big-thing faithfulness is what all of us want and desire.  Christians want to be faithful until death (Rev. 2:10).  People get married intending to celebrate a 50th anniversary one day.  We go to work and save our money intending to store up wealth and retire comfortably years in the future.  We intend to be regular worship attenders and actively involved in our home church.  This is the big thing faithfulness.  I have premarital couples fill out a goal sheet for their future.  It always includes these big-thing faithfulness items.

Yet, we are seeing a tremendous failure in our culture with faithfulness.  God desires faithfulness (1 Cor. 4:2).  Faithfulness involves being trustworthy, dependable, and committed.  It doesn’t just happen.  It requires commitment and intentionality.  Our problem lies in the fact that we desire the big-thing faithfulness, but are not willing to do the small-thing faithfulness.  

Jesus taught us, “One who is faithful in very little is also faithful in much” (Luke 16:10).  Here is the key!  We accomplish the big-thing faithfulness through doing the small-thing faithfulness everyday!  This is what Jesus meant in Luke 9:23, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”  We have to deny ourselves and take up our crosses daily!  This daily part is where it is difficult.  How many of you started an exercise program with great intentions and goals in January that has long been cast aside?  The tough part is choosing to do the program daily.

So if you want to accomplish the big-thing faithfulness, then you have to do what may seem small or trivial now.  To be faithful to Christ until death you have to choose to read your Bible regularly, pray daily, and attend worship.  To be faithful to your spouse over 50 years you have to choose to enrich your love each day through seemingly small acts of love.  To be faithful to your career you have to show up to work and put forth an honest day’s work.  We accomplish the big through doing the small everyday.  

So start today by being faithful!  Do it everyday!  And in the end you will hear the sweet words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Permanent link to this article: http://www.joshketchum.com/small-thing-faithfulness/

Older posts «