Dec 18

Get an App for the Bible on your Phone and Tablet

I like technology, but I only recently upgraded to a smart phone.  I got an iPhone 4s on Straight Talk.   I really enjoy it.  It has been great for our family and for my ministry.  We have had an iPad2 for the last year.  I am not going to call names (Seven Oak’s folks), but I have been surprised by the people who want a Bible on their phone or tablet and they resort to some type of a book reader app for the Bible.  That is, they use the Kindle reader or iBooks app to either purchase or get free a Bible.  So they have for example the KJV or ESV as a book on the device.  Typically this is cumbersome for searching text and going to references during a lesson.  What I recommend doing is getting an APP for the Bible.  There are many out there.  Here are two of the most popular and both are FREE.

My favorite and the easiest I have found to change verse references is the ESV Bible App.  It is sleek, easy to use, simple, and allows you to take notes.  It is available on whatever platform you have.

ESV app

Visit the Crossway Website to Download the ESV App for your device.  Of course you can also search in the iTunes or Android store.

My next favorite Bible app is also a well-known one and it is called: You Version.  This one has an incredible amount of versions and even different languages on it.  You can either download the given Bible version to your device or simply use it through being connected to the internet.  This program has lots of possibilities.  One of my favorite features of this APP is that it has many audio Bibles.  So it will read you the Bible by using the recorded program, which are really well done.  You need to be on WIFI or data network to listen to these.  HINT:  Through StraightTalk I have unlimited data, so I enjoy streaming the audio Bible when exercising or riding in the car.  It is an easy way to listen and learn the Bible and rotate between versions.  

Visit the You Version Website to Download Your App for your device.   Of course you can also search in the Itunes or Android store.

you version Bible app

I will share more in future posts on technology.  But these two apps will help you tremendously in reading and listening to the Bible through your smart phone or tablet.  You will enjoy it much more than using a book reader to find verses.


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Dec 18

Mass Shootings on the Rise — Why and What are we to do?

Our nation has been in shock and unbelief since Friday when our nation witnessed the unthinkable in the mass shooting at the Newtown elementary school.  Others have written well about it (Dale Jenkins has a great post on humanism and Steve Higgenbotham speaks to the anger we feel.)

These shootings got me wondering,  “Are the shootings really more common than they used to be?”  In some brief internet research I discovered that mass shootings have been around for a long time.  As you might expect there was a rise of them in the 1920s and 30s.  Most experts and others focus on the last three decades.  Many point to the increase as beginning in the mid-1960s.  Yet, 2012 has been the worst year ever.

Here are some exerts from an article by Amy Sullivan at The New Republic.

“With more than 140 casualties (injuries and deaths), the toll from mass shootings in 2012 has been nearly twice that of any other year.”

“As of today, there have been 70 mass shootings in the United States between 1982 and 2012, leaving 543 people dead (assuming the reports of 27 fatalities from today’s shootings are correct.) Seven of those 70 shootings occurred this year. Sixty-eight of those 543 victims were killed this year. If the scenes of horror and heartbreak are now familiar, it’s because the past six years have been particularly bloody. Fully 45% of the victims of mass shootings in America over the past three decades were killed since 2007. That is a crisis.”

A mass shooting is defined by the FBI as one when at least 4 people are killed, not including the gunman.  So the problem is getting worse.  That leads to two obvious questions:  Why? and What are we do do about it?  I certainly do not have all the answers but here are my thoughts, feel free to share yours?


  1. This is yet another moral failure that we are seeing across our nation because we have deserted our core beliefs in God and His Word.  Our secularized culture where basic accountability and responsibility to God is not taught must be a factor.  The basic institution of the family has broken down and plays directly into this issue. 
  2. We have a mental health crisis in our country.  Though we have made tremendous technological advances, we are becoming more disconnected.  The weak, sick, and hurting amongst us do not get the protection, care, and love they need.  We must be a more connected and community based culture.  How many do you know in your own neighborhood?  Christians should be leading the way in this area.
  3. This is pure evil.  Satan loves to hurt, harm, and destroy.  This is like the evil of Moses’ time when Pharaoh had Hebrew babies killed.  The battle of good and evil is so visible.


  1. While much attention will focus on gun control, and there may need to be more limits set on high-powered assault weapons, this issue in my opinion cannot be fixed in the halls of congress.  The issue is a society and community issue that must be addressed by our citizenry.  We must turn away from increased individuality, privacy, and return to caring, loving, and protecting others from those who have problems.  We have to look out for the hurting and seek to help.
  2. We must return to teaching and speaking publicly about God.  Not just when there is a crisis, but living in our communities with the understanding that God exists, His Word gives moral laws for our following, and there is a day of judgment coming.
  3. Finally, this is another incentive for Christians to pray and work for God’s kingdom and reign to become more evident in this world.  We need more light than darkness!  The church must lead the way in demonstrating godly homes, concern for the needy (physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually), and teaching regarding the foundations of society and mankind being based on God.

These are the thoughts of this preacher;  and really they are a call to action.  The battle is raging.  We as the church are God’s soldier’s.  We must act.  This blog is called “Life in the Kingdom,”  this is the exact opposite of life in the kingdom of Christ.  These actions call for citizens of His kingdom to rise up and act in prayer, love, teaching, and hope.

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Dec 14

The Gift Your Spouse Really Wants This Year

Copyright - istockphoto Purchased

Copyright – istockphoto Purchased

Have you got your Christmas gift for your spouse this year?  What are they wanting?  Is it a new set of diamond earrings or a new tech gadget?  While it is important to give your spouse a gift,  I want to suggest that what they really want this year is your adoration and love.  Men want to be respected, admired, appreciated, and built up for what they do for you.  Women want to be treated and viewed as special, lovely, and precious in your eyes.

We don’t often admit it, but all of us have insecurities and constant questions in our hearts.  We look to those most close to us to validate our questions with affirmations of our worth and value.  Paul said we are to “encourage one another and build one another up” (1 Thess. 5:11).  He also said there should be a “sanctifying” love in marriage wherein each spouse sets the other apart as special and unique (Eph. 5:26).

Here are five ways for husbands and wives to give their spouse what they really want in their hearts this year.

For Husbands:

  1.  Write her a card, note, or letter expressing what she means to you and how precious she is to you; just list some reasons of why you love her, you can do this!
  2. Compliment her on her physical beauty everyday.  Notice her hair, clothes, etc.
  3. Go spend time with her doing something she enjoys doing (that might mean holding down a bench at the mall.)  While doing it, be sure and listen and be fully present with her (i.e. not on your phone all the time.)
  4. Reflect and consider what you could do to make her feel special today.  It might be a text during work, a stop by McDonalds for a Frappe, or doing a chore for her.
  5. Ask her to pray with you, and then sincerely tell God how thankful you are for her and the blessing she is to your life.

For Wives:

  1. Tell him you respect and appreciate what he is doing for you and your family.  Make a list of several things you respect about him and share that with him verbally or in a note.
  2. Brag on him when in the company of others for some ability or achievement he has done.
  3. Snuggle up to him and watch some bowl games this holiday season or a guy show with him.
  4. Be thoughtful of how you can make him feel special.  You want to be the queen of the house, so treat him like the king.
  5. Initiate intimacy with him.  For most men the sexual relationship is a primary language in which love is communicated (i.e. it makes them feel loved and secure).

Paul said that husbands were to “nourish and cherish” their wives (Eph. 5:29).  Wives are to love and respect their husbands (Eph. 5:33, Titus 2:4).  We live in a world that is constantly pulling down our self-image and self-esteem.  Determine to be the one to build your spouse’s self-worth and self-esteem.  You treat them as special, lovely, and respectable.  It is godly and it will reap a great marriage.

What other ideas would you add to these lists?

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Dec 12

Eating Together on Sunday Nights, A Good Ministry??

All Rights Reserved by Marion Brite - Flikr

All Rights Reserved by Marion Brite – Flikr

Developing friendship amongst members of the church is so important for a strong church.  In our busy world where families are struggling, this is a key factor in getting families connected to the church.  Churches need to take a comprehensive approach to developing close fellowship, so I am not suggesting this is all it takes.  However, after trying several different approaches with our young adult group at Seven Oaks, a simple plan of eating together on Sunday nights has worked as well as anything in building friendship and involvement.

Here are some ways we do this:

1.  Theme dinner fellowship meal at the church;  we try to do this about once a month, though it is typically more sporadic.  We will pick a theme and folks bring food to go along with that theme and we eat at the building.

2.  We go to a local restaurant.  This is our most common approach.  We either announce or decide in class that morning, or just gather up after church and decide.  We try to rotate places, which isn’t hard in our small town!   We like to go to a nicer place when the kids have devo!

3.  We go and pick up food and bring it back to the building and eat it.  This is easier and sometimes faster with families.  The kids like playing better at the building.  We try to order pizza regularly too.

Why has this approached worked:

1.  Because there is no commitment and pressure!  We told folks early on not to feel pressure to come.  We are just going to eat if you want to come, then do so.  This relieves people and is better for the ministry leader because you are not disappointed when no one shows up to a big event you worked on for days.  (We still do periodic “big events,” and they are better attended now!)

2.  Because the time slot is open for most folks.  Families are busy, but Sunday night is a pretty open time.  And this encourages Sunday night church attendance.

3.  Because we vary the approach.  We make the theme dinner or going out to eat at a better place once a month. I will put these in the bulletin and make a bigger deal out of these times.  The weekly eating is more low key and fluctuates with the number.

4.  Because Sunday nights are tough for families to go back home and have to get out food to feed kids.  We decided to do this for our family because it was easier and just invited others to come along.

What ideas do you have for fellowship, service, or evangelism with a young adult group?  What have you seen work?

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Dec 09

I am not Enslaved to the Fear of Death

This has been a tough week for the church Mayfield and our area community.  We lost a sweet 17 year old Christian lady in a terrible automobile accident.  She came from a strong Christian family who has deep roots in the church.  Our young people have been devastated by this event.

This week ended with the news that one of my first cousins who is only a few years older than me died with a heart attack.  This brought back many emotions from other times in my life when death came close to me personally.  Like when some dear friends lost a child, or when we lost our good friend Amy Glass in 2000, or burying a 38 year old man last March, or when dad had a heart attack in 2003 (but survived), or Amanda’s dad having a health scare in Nashville.

When death comes close, even though I work with death regularly through ministry, I can get fearful and insecure.  Death is our enemy (1 Cor. 15:26).  As I watch and pray for the families involved in losing a close family member, I can’t help but internalize that loss and wonder what it would be like if it was me in their position.  I guess we all do this to a degree.  This is why death is our enemy, b/c it is a tool of satan to rattle and shake our faith — to cripple our productivity.  Yet, close times with death should teach us so much about life and help keep our priorities straight.

This week I have been thinking about Hebrews 2.  In verse 8 the writer says, “we do not see everything in subjection to Jesus.”  This is an incredibly true statement, and raw with reality.  The world has great chaos, problems, death, and suffering.  At present everything is not in subjection to Jesus, but  “we see Him” (Heb. 2:9).  Our focus and faith must be on Him and His suffering.  He suffered and paid the price of death for us all that he might “destroy the one who has the power of death” (Heb. 2:14).  He has stripped death of its power.  It still reeks havoc on our families, stealing our joy and loved ones.  But the key is that we do not have to live all our lifetime enslaved to the fear of death.  It seems that we will naturally fear death.  I fear my kid’s deaths, my wife’s death, parent’s death, in-law’s death, my own death, etc, but here is the key I need to remember this week — I am no longer enslaved to that fear.  I have been delivered and death has been overcome.  We have the victory over death b/c of our faith (I John 5:4).  We sorrow when our loved ones die, but we sorrow with a great hope (1 Thess. 4:13-18).   We are not enslaved to death’s power, b/c it has been stripped of it by Jesus Christ (John 11:25-26).

                  I need this reminder when I get to fearing and feeling death’s insecure feelings, that I am a freedman!  Will you join me in being determined to not be enslaved to the fear of death?  Live boldly, courageously, confidently, and with joy.  Don’t let the enemy cripple you with fear!

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Dec 05

Help with Marriage Retreat

We have the privilege of doing a marriage retreat in Feb. of 2013 in Marshall County, KY.  We have done the Dynamic Marriage classes for years and attended various seminars, but this is the first time we have done a marriage retreat as the speakers (I will do the main sessions, but we will have one or more split sessions with Amanda speaking to the ladies).  We have a passion for helping marriages and have been able to work with numerous ones through the years and are thankful for this opportunity.

I need some help from you as I plan this event.

1.  What has been the best type (lecture, interactive, group, etc) of marriage retreat you have attended?

2.  We have four one-hour sessions.  What are the most important and needed topics to be covered?

Please leave any helpful advice in the comments.





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Dec 04

Your Story


Some rights reserved by jjpacres - from Flickr

Some rights reserved by jjpacres – from Flickr

I like good stories and hope to share meaningful stories occasionally on this blog.  Each of us are writing our own story.  Our story is important because it helps shape our self-identity and influences others.  I like to think about it as if we are writing two stories.  The first, I call the facts;  this is what happens to us.  The second, is the choices we make based upon what happens to us.  Peter and Judas are a great example of this point.  They both shared many of the same experiences, yet in the end, they chose much differently.  We are made up of our experiences — the facts of our life.  We must plumb our facts to know our story and seek to understand other people’s story.  We need to listen and learn from the facts.  But that is not the sole story of our lives.  Each person has the power to determine how they will perceive the facts and react to them.  This is why our mental perspective and right thinking is so important.  We must process the events, learn from them, and gain inspiration.  This leads to the final step of acting or writing our own story.  This is about what you do in the present.  You can only control what you can control.  Peter wept bitterly, prayed, found forgiveness, and went on to do great things for Christ (Luke 22:61-62, John 20:1-8, 21:7-19, Acts, 1 and 2 Peter).  Judas was overcome with guilt and committed suicide (Mat. 27:5, Acts 1:16-19).

What is your story?     Consider your facts, reflect and process the emotions from them, and then choose how you are going to write your story through your life and actions.  This is the greatness of the gospel of Christ, we get a fresh start and a new beginning (Rom. 6:3-6, 8:1-8).  The past shapes who you are, but it does not have to define who you are today.  


(To listen to a sermon on this topic go here)



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Nov 27

Life in the Kingdom


Library of Congress Image

[Kidwelly Castle, Carmarthen, Wales]

I chose the name “Life in the Kingdom” for this site, because it captures my purpose.  The kingdom of God has always been an intriguing topic to me.  In its essence it involves the rule or reign of God.  It has reference to the dignity and power of the King.  Jesus came and took the familiar concept and announced its coming during his ministry (Mat. 4:17, 23, Mark 1:14-15, Luke 4:43).  Chiefly, the kingdom is God’s.  Our purpose is to “seek the kingdom of God” (Luke 12:31), or as Matthew recorded, “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.” (Mat. 6:33).  God’s realm of reigning, though He is the God over all creation, is our hearts and minds.  Our purpose as Christians is to submit to His lordship.  The church may be defined as those who have come under the reign of God and accepted His rule in their lives. The church is the present physical manifestation of the kingdom of God.  The kingdom is tied to redemption (Luke 21:28, 31), righteousness (Mat. 6:33), salvation (Mat. 21:9, John 12:15, Rev. 12:10) and forgiveness of sins (Col. 1:13-14, Mat. 18:23-35).  The kingdom is active and present whenever Jesus is present.

To me the concept of the kingdom is bigger and larger than the concept of the church.  It is personal and direct, because it involves personal submission to Christ as king in my heart.  The theme captures the struggle, myself, and every Christian faces each day of “my will versus Thy will.”

Thus, I titled my blog and this site “Life in the Kingdom” because everything that is written here will hopefully have to do with living our life in submission to HIs Will.  It will be about the breaking forth and expansion of the Kingdom of Christ.  it is about life lived within the kingdom.  There will be articles on the church, family life, parenting, ministry, mission, technology, Bible study and much more.  My aim is for me to submit more each day to the rule of God in my heart, while encouraging others to do the same.  This task is grand and involves many different areas.

Won’t you join me on this journey?  Subscribe to the blog by email or through the RSS feed.  Visit the site regularly and leave some comments to bless me and others.  I hope to post around 3 times a week.

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Nov 27

Why I Am Blogging!

Some rights reserved by vandinglewop - Flickr Creative Commons

Some rights reserved by vandinglewop – Flickr Creative Commons

I am finally taking the plunge.  I have thought about blogging and felt like I should blog for years now.  In fact several years back I started a site, but never posted the first blog.  But I have been reading blogs for years, have read some instruction on doing blogs by Michael Hyatt and others, and now I am ready. All I needed for the final push was Amanda, my wife, to encourage me and say she wanted to blog too.  So we purchased a domain name – and made a 3 year commitment through Bluehost.  Her blog will be at  I will also be giving family tips, trips, and other information out at the Ketchum Klan site on its blog, though much more sporadic.

Why do I want to do this?

  1. I need to do this for myself.  I need to improve as a writer.  I need another outlet to share my Biblical and life discoveries that I make to a larger audience.  I need to be challenged to think, clarify, and share on various topics and themes.
  2. I want to contribute to others.  I am doing this as a part of my stewardship to God as a minister in the church.  This is a popular form of communication and teaching today, and I need to use it to further increase my teaching scope and share resources that I am mining through work with the local church.  I hope to contribute to my fellow brethren and to the world.  I have taken so much wisdom, lessons, and encouragement from other blogs, I feel a need to join the community, and contribute.  I hope I can be a blessing.
  3. I want to add value to others while glorifying and representing Christ.  I want this to be a place for my thinking, hopefully my best thinking.  I hope it will be a place that can be a storehouse of my thoughts, faith journey, church and family philosophy.  I want it to be a site that will add value and be helpful to all types of folks.

This is why I am blogging.  I hope that you will read and give me feedback and suggestions along the way.  I hope for a conversation and dialogue along the way as we all seek to learn and grow in the Kingdom.



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