Former LAPD Cop on Reigniting Calling for Christians’ Lives
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WHAT’S THE POINT?
By age thirty, Ken felt rather disillusioned by his faith. He had prayed to receive Christ when he was twelve, knew the Bible quite well, attended Christian schools and college, and was happily married with two kids. He had no doubt about his salvation. “But what was the rest of my life for?” he questioned. “I often wondered what the point was. The point of dying to self, giving to the poor, standing for justice – even when it costs me,” he says.
These thoughts came to a head in 1997, when Ken was on a jet ski and collided with a WaveRunner. “The impact threw me several yards from the jet ski I was on, breaking most of the ribs on my right side and rupturing some organs. Through the fog in my brain, I was still able to process that if I passed out in the water, even with a life vest on, I’d drown. Somehow I climbed around the lip of the jet ski and waited to pass out.”
When his friends got him to the nearest ER, Ken was told that he had ruptured his liver and if it was more than a 40% rupture, he had just five hours to live. While doctors waited on a scan to determine the extent of the injury, Ken lay on a gurney, wondering if his liver was poisoning itself, unable to filter out toxins. “Mostly, though, a thought struck me deep and hard. What would I say to Jesus when I was standing in front of Him? Wondering that in theory is one thing; wondering it when it may be four hours away is another. I was thirty years old and had no answer. I was a good guy. I never cheated on my wife. I was a police officer. That rang hollow.”
After an hour, a young doctor returned and told Ken he had ruptured his kidney (and lung), but only lacerated his liver – which meant he was going to live. Then these thoughts filled his mind: “I wasn’t thinking of the teaching of Dr. So-and-So, or Pastor What’s His-Name. God’s Spirit was making it clear: ‘You’re going to get another chance. Don’t miss it. I told you everything I wanted you to know in My Word, and it clearly says that you will be judged for what you did with the gift of life and salvation I gave you.’”
WHAT MEN SEEK
“Hope and identity,” Ken answers without hesitation. Then he explains that those are found only in a life of seeking Christ above all else. He points to Ephesians 2:10 to show us where hope and identity can be found:
“For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.”
There is much more to the Christian walk of faith than our salvation, Ken believes. “Why were we created? For good works. Not good works that lead to our salvation, but good works after our salvation.” Not everyone is willing to fulfill the good works ordained for them, he says. “Most people will never discover God’s plan for themselves because they will not take the narrow road of hard work and suffering, which are the requirements of doing so. They won’t risk the criticism of their family and friends. They won’t deny themselves the pleasures of this world that get in the way of a relentless pursuit of God’s will.”
Ken says that’s cowardly, and we need to have daring faith, for which we will receive great eternal reward. “But the message isn’t for you to do more – it’s for you to fall in love with Jesus. Then the things that now seem like impossible chores will become things of great delight.” He continues. “The difficulty of living the life God called us to is in direct proportion to how much we love Him.
CALLED TO MORE THAN SALVATION
Ken has observed that people are leaving churches in droves. All kinds of churches. “If life is pointless once a person has prayed the magic prayer, why wouldn’t they?” he asks. “If the only reason to go to church, help the poor, give generously, sacrifice our rights for others, and seek holiness is because Jesus would really like us to, then we’ll get what has been growing within the church for decades now – people trying to do nice things in their own power without complete surrender to God’s Spirit. We’ve taught a weak and feckless Jesus who runs a weak and feckless religion.”
Our great enemy, the devil, Ken reminds us, would like nothing more than to render us unable to accomplish the good works to which we’ve been called. “If you have given your life to Christ, you are lost to Satan. The best he can do now is to convince you not to be effective in building God’s kingdom.”
Good works are not a foregone conclusion for the believer, Ken explains, but depend on his or her seeking God’s grace, strength, and direction. “The Spirit will not grow because you choose selfishness, pride, and sin, and you won’t accomplish the tasks He predestined for you. Make no mistake about it, we will be rewarded for completing the tasks God gave us at the beginning of creation, and we will suffer loss for those we didn’t.” To encourage us, Ken points us back to God’s Word and fellowship with other believers. “Therefore, we must be diligent every moment of every day to guard our souls and to gather regularly with godly brothers and sisters who will sharpen us and hold us accountable.”
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