Monday, November 30, 2009

"Hurt And Hindered", by Pastor Kevin Lynch

Mark's gospel gives us the account of when Jesus went back to his hometown of Nazareth and was rejected by all of the people who knew Him when he was a boy and a young man.

They just couldn't get past the fact of who he used to be as a carpenter.

They couldn't accept Him in His present role as Messiah.

The Word says that Jesus "marveled" at their unbelief.

The tragic part of the passage is contained in Mark 6:3 - "And they took offense at Him and were hurt [that is, they disapproved of Him, and it hindered them from acknowledging His authority] and they were caused to stumble and fall."

It says they were hurt and hindered. They disapproved of Him. They were offended by Him.

They couldn't put away the image of perhaps a runny nosed little kid trampling over their rose bushes.

They couldn't get past the fact hat the guy who once fashioned their tables and chairs was now claiming to be the Son of God.

Can you identify?

How about when you get saved and in your exuberance evangelize your family and friends and co-workers only to be met with a lesser exuberance than your own?

How about when they start to avoid you because you are just going to start talking that "God stuff" again?

How about under you own roof when you hear Sunday after Sunday, "You go to church honey, I'm just not really into that religious stuff".

Jesus relates.

Jesus doesn't like being limited, which is what He was as a result of unbelief.

Mark says that Jesus could only do a few minor acts of healing at Nazareth because the level of unbelief was so high.

The one place where perhaps He wanted His greatest triumph became the place of His greatest failure: His own hometown.

"A prophet is not without honor except in his own hometown."

From what I can ascertain from that passage the culprit really is stubborn unwillingness to submit to the authority of Jesus Christ.

It's typical, but not insurmountable.

Those of us who are His disciples today have done it.

We are healed and assisted instead of hurt and hindered.

Many are puzzled by our testimonies of miracles and God's providence in our lives.

It confounds the stubborn who refuse to yield.

The Rock of Offense becomes a tripping stone instead of a place of refuge.

I would like to say this is all about "the others".

However, I have seen it right in the very place one would least expect.

I have seen it in the churches.

Time and time again.

There are people in the pews who have never submitted it all to Jesus.

Not in 5 years. Not in 10 years. Not in 50 years.

The rising tide of problems and difficulties always sits just below the nostrils, not quite consuming and drowning them, but never allowing for deliverance into the full flow of grace.

I call it treading water.

Jesus wants us to swim, not merely tread water.

So how about yourself today?

Fully submitted?

It might cause some rejection from your own household, but Jesus has disallowed any excuse for not following Him fully.

Become all of His. Every fiber. Sold out lock, stock, and barrel.

The decision carries eternal benefits.

Be blessed today!

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Friday, November 27, 2009

"What Will You Exchange For A Deal?", by Pastor Kevin Lynch

Today is "Black Friday". The day when all of your area stores will offer deals on merchandise that is hard to resist.

It has become known as the "kickoff" of the Christmas season.

What a way to start Christmas, huh?

Talk about jumping off on the wrong foot.

I participated once many years ago.

Once. That's all it took.

I witnessed the behavior of people transformed by greed treating each other rudely, literally bordering upon physical confrontation, all for the almighty "deal".

What is the old, now politically incorrect term again? Oh yeah, Merry Christmas.

Not me. I made up my mind after being horrified by the rampant, even violent commercialization of Christmas, that I would never subject myself to that again.

The exchange rate is too high. I don't care how much of a deal I might think I'm getting. It doesn't balance out with feeding the beast of "faux X-mas".

Of course it's not just the one day. It's the entire season commencing with "Christmas light" which we celebrated yesterday.

I think the word "consumer" has taken on an entirely different connotation.

Who (or what) is consuming who?

I conjure up a vision of approaching two people having a hairpulling contest over the last Transformer toy on the shelf, and calmly asking, "So, what does Christmas mean to you?".

Or maybe stand at the business end of a very long checkout line, reading the faces of frustration and shouting out, "Everybody who is born-again raise your hands!".

Even though yesterday is a secular national holiday, it is good to use the premise of thankfulness to launch us off into the next phase.

Christmas. Not "X-mas", not "Happy Holidays". It's Christmas.

It means something real.

The incarnate Son of God has taken His place in the human race to introduce us to the Kingdom of God.

It would proceed on to the real "Black Friday", and which would culminate with the glory of the Christ we have become familiar with in our life as His disciples.

Be strong out there today my friends. Particularly those of you who have developed a "strategy". Hold onto your soul. Don't exchange what is precious for a deal.

Luke 2:14 - "Glory to God in the highest [heaven], and on earth peace among men with whom He is well pleased [men of goodwill, of His favor]."

Be at peace. Be of good will. Be mindful of His glory today.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

It's my prayer for all the readers and supporters of this daily devotional and your families, that you all have a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving today.

God bless all of you!

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

"This Body Of Death", by Pastor Kevin Lynch

The apostle Paul makes an passionate plea in Romans 7:24: "O unhappy and pitiable and wretched man that I am! Who will release and deliver me from [the shackles of] this body of death?"

He makes that statement after pouring out his heart about the struggles he has had with sin, and how there had been times when he wanted to do the right thing only to fail miserably and be overtaken by the urge to commit sin.

Every human struggles at some point in their life. Whether remedied or continuing, unless a person is completely devoid of even a base conscience, they have been where Paul was.

I had a noted biblical scholar explain the choice of Paul's words to me once.

He claimed that Paul was using a physical example to explain a spiritual one. Since we know that Paul did that regularly (armor of God metaphorically linked to a Roman soldiers armor, etc.), and that Jesus did so as well throughout the gospels, it is feasible.

The example may be taken from Paul's observation of how the Romans treated their prisoners by "shackling" them together. Unfortunately, when one of the prisoners died, the Romans would often leave the body chained to the remaining live prisoner, hence the term "shackles of this body of death" that Paul uses.

When we contemplate the coincidence it makes perfect sense.

Sin is like a rotting corpse attached to us when we are consumed and overcome by it.

Maybe that's where the term "dead weight" comes from. We are carrying spiritual dead weight when living in sin. In fact, we ourselves become dead weight to those around us.

I think Paul was essentially volleying for effect here.

You see, there is a remedy and Paul sets us up nicely to receive the full effect of it.

Who will rescue us?

"O thank God! [He will!] through Jesus Christ (the Anointed One) our Lord!" (vs.25)

Thank God indeed for Jesus Christ.

Many use it simply as an excuse to escape the flames of hell.

However, when we contemplate fully the effect the salvation of Christ has had upon us holistically, (physically, mentally and spiritually), the full impact of Paul's statement is enormous!

Yes, we escape the flames of hell in the stretch, but the impact upon us is immediate and translates us into better people now!

From useless to useful.

So how about you today?

In your mindset of thankfulness as Turkey Day approaches what are you really thankful for?

I am first and foremost thankful to Jesus Christ for releasing me from the chains of death.

Anything else I have or ever will have that is worthwhile for me to be thankful for all stems and flows from what Jesus did for me.

My prayer is that you share the same sentiment.

Be blessed my friends, and have a joyful gathering of thanks wherever you are tomorrow!

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

"Our Toxic Environment", by Pastor Kevin Lynch

Your earth suit is compromised.

What we breathe and what we consume is killing us.

I'm not overly concerned about that however. This jar of clay turns to dust in the long run anyway. My goals in life have changed from worrying about staying alive as long as I can, to ensuring my spirit is secure for the long haul.

Eternity is the long haul. Not the mere 75-80 years we might be "lucky" enough to survive on this spinning marble.

We are essentially spirit beings, yet we neglect taking care of our spirit.

It's as spiritually a toxic environment as it is physical.

Or haven't you been paying attention?

Just watching what was once an innocent form of entertainment like a music awards program, has degenerated into a social statement promoting every conceivable form of toxic spiritual perversion.

How's that you may ask?

Because there is some truth to the old adage that "the eyes are the window to your soul."

What you see will affect your mind and spirit.

Scenes of male homosexual bondage during the prime time hour may not shake your foundation, but are your children watching?

How about a compromised partially attached to the Vine "Christian"?

If you are not affected, if you are not "wounded" in your soul when you witness such perversions, then something is amiss.

Paul knew what it would take, and that there was work ahead for the born-again Christan.

He says:

Romans 12:1-2:

"I APPEAL to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship."

All of your "members and faculties", which is the entire trichotomy of your being, spirit, soul, AND body.

Verse 2: "Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you]."

If you have been born-again you have been changed. However, only your spirit is born-again. You have to make provision for the rest of yourself to catch up with what Christ did in your spirit.

You need to align your thinking with how Christ thinks. Your mind (soul) needs to be renewed. Notice Paul is laying that obligation upon you, not Jesus. Yes, YOU have a part in this as well! You have a great responsibility. We have not become spiritual robots.

We are children of God who need to learn how to obey our Father.

We are charged with knowing and understanding the perfect will of God.

Too tough?

Not if you follow it closely. First the submission to His will. Then the renewal of the mind.

Jesus is really laying it all out as to which side of the fence are we going to stand on.

Unfortunately for many there is no straddling position.

You can't watch American "Idol" Adam Lambert lead a man around on a leash like a dog and enjoy it, and think that God is pleased about that. Or take pleasure in "Lady GaGa" parading around in a flesh colored body suit with a male appendage sewn into it.

The lines are getting blurry again. It's Sodom and Gomorrah blurry. It's build an Ark blurry.

I hear the hoofbeats in the clouds. They may be a ways off yet, but I'm hearing a rustling in the heavens.

Come quickly, Lord Jesus.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Monday, November 23, 2009

"When The World Hates You", by Pastor Kevin Lynch

Did you think when you came into this relationship with Jesus Christ that you would be able to keep the status quo and just add Jesus to the mix?

Did you think it would be business as usual and Jesus was going to be along for the ride? That perhaps He was basically just fire insurance?

Or did you weigh the full consequences of following not only the most beloved character to ever grace the world stage, but also the most hated?

Did you consider that you would become just as hated as Jesus, perhaps even more, just for being associated with Him?

It's all there in the Word. You have to love Jesus for His honesty and straightforwardness if not for anything else. He laid it all out there plain as day. He didn't flower it up. He didn't mince words.

Jesus has let us know exactly what we are in for as the price for following Him.

John 15:18-21 - "If the world hates you, know that it hated Me before it hated you. (19) If you belonged to the world, the world would treat you with affection and would love you as its own. But because you are not of the world [no longer one with it], but I have chosen (selected) you out of the world, the world hates (detests) you. (20) Remember that I told you, A servant is not greater than his master [is not superior to him]. If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word and obeyed My teachings, they will also keep and obey yours. (21) But they will do all this to you [inflict all this suffering on you] because of [your bearing] My name and on My account, for they do not know or understand the One Who sent Me."

Detested. Persecuted. Hated. Afflicted.

Did you really expect that when you signed on with Jesus?

Are you going to hold or fold?

It's not going to get better. It never has. Not from the very beginning to the present. It won't in the future.

Not until Jesus returns.

My question today is, can you hang in there?

Things can be expected to even ratchet up a bit. It might even get worse.

Some people in the world are being killed just for being a Christian.

Or perhaps you are scratching your head at all of this and thinking "I'm not experiencing anything like that. Life is great! I go to church and live my life. Everything is fine. I don't know what you are talking about."

If that is the case then I advise you reevaluate and check the solidity of your relationship with Christ.

You may find that you are more of a friend of the world then a friend of Jesus.

Verse 19: "If you belonged to the world, the world would treat you with affection and would love you as its own."

So there it is. Perhaps as cold water in face.

Who loves ya baby?

Jesus does.

Who do you love?

If the world is treating you well there should be way more concern than if you are suffering some persecution for your faith.

As for me, I'm stickin'. I'll take whatever the world dishes out in hatred and persecution and do so with a smile. I'll do it because I know that Jesus took worse for me.

I'm in with Jesus. I'm all the way in. I'm all the way in until the end.

Be blessed today and know that I am praying for you.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Friday, November 20, 2009

"Ignorance Is Not Bliss", by Pastor Kevin Lynch

Ignorance is dangerous. Ignorance will kill the soul, and may even kill the body at times.

I have discovered there are at least two types of ignorance.

There is the dull, bewildered, unaware type of ignorance where some people just really don't realize what is going on spiritually.

Then there is the smug, intelligent, purposeful ignorance that sets a person steadfastly against God. This type of ignorance is punishable and hellbound.

This is what Paul is speaking about in the following passage:

Romans 10:3 (Amplified Bible)

"For being ignorant of the righteousness that God ascribes [which makes one acceptable to Him in word, thought, and deed] and seeking to establish a righteousness (a means of salvation) of their own, they did not obey or submit themselves to God's righteousness."

The difficulty is in the "establishing of a righteousness of their own", and where they do not "submit themselves to God's righteousness".

That insinuates a calculated, well though out, premeditated plan that is contrary to God's.

"Claiming to be wise, they became fools [professing to be smart, they made simpletons of themselves]." (Romans 1:22)

Some of the statements by simpletons professing to be wise in things concerning God wold be downright hysterical if not so downright sad and tragic.

Friends, stay true to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Remember this from Paul:

2 Cor. 2:13-14 - (13) "And we are setting these truths forth in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the [Holy] Spirit, combining and interpreting spiritual truths with spiritual language [to those who possess the Holy Spirit]. (14) But the natural, nonspiritual man does not accept or welcome or admit into his heart the gifts and teachings and revelations of the Spirit of God, for they are folly (meaningless nonsense) to him; and he is incapable of knowing them [of progressively recognizing, understanding, and becoming better acquainted with them] because they are spiritually discerned and estimated and appreciated."

You who are filled with the Holy Spirit have an enlightenment others do not. It makes the difference between wise and being a simpleton. Even if one claims to know the bible backwards and forwards, it means nothing if they have not read it with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. They might as well be reading "Gone With The Wind." The "understanding" they will receive by their own interpretation will be incomplete, even perverted.

They are literally incapable of achieving anything from the Word without the Holy Spirit.

You who have the Holy Spirit on the other hand, will continue to be amazed at the things He brings forth into your mind and out of your mouth during the moments you need them.

Be blessed today in all you do! Go with the Holy Spirit today, and run it all past Jesus first!

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Thursday, November 19, 2009

"Pillar Of Strength, Or Pillar Of Salt?", by Pastor Kevin Lynch

Which one are you?

Interesting concept about the "Pillar of Salt". The Bible says it is what happened to Lot's wife as their family fled the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.

I think it has been often misinterpreted as to what that exactly means.

First of all, there is no mention that Lot's wife was the victim of some sort of personal judgment by God just because she turned around to catch a glimpse of the destruction. I mean it wasn't like "Zap! You are now a pillar of salt".

However, it does appear that she most definitely suffered her fate because she paused and looked back.

She paused and looked back. Most probably long enough for the ash, brimstone and particles from the large salt quarries that were known to be in the area rained down upon her and buried her where she stood.

From then on she has been known as Lot's Wife: The woman who stopped to look back.

When we head out from the past destruction of our previous lives before knowing Christ we are to keep going in that direction.

We are never to look back in wonderment of whether we made the right choice. We are never to mourn the "old life".

When or if we do, there is a good chance that it will "catch up to us" and bury us in our past.

There may be no coming back out again. It would be is as if we have been turned into a stone monument of our sins.

What does Jesus say?

He says in Luke 17:32 - "Remember Lot's wife!"

Not as as a question, but as an emphatic exclamation!

"Remember what happened to Lot's Wife!"

Don't go there! Stay the course!

Be a Pillar of Strength, not a Pillar of Salt!

When does Jesus bring up the remembrance of Lot's wife? During his message on the day He will appear to us again.

He says in the previous verse 31: "On that day let him who is on the housetop, with his belongings in the house, not come down [and go inside] to carry them away; and likewise let him who is in the field not turn back."

Be alert. His return is imminent. There will be no time to gather up your stuff or to make up your mind. Once you are on the road with Him there is no room for looking back.

There never has been. There never will be.

We are either all in, or we are all out. We cannot straddle the fence. There is no gray area. No DMZ.

Matthew 12:30 - "He who is not with Me [definitely on My side] is against Me."

Lot's wife wasn't sure.

You need to be sure.

Today and every day.

Be assured that you are in my prayers today.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

"The Shadow People", by Pastor Kevin Lynch

Psalm 39:6 (Amplified Bible)

"Surely every man walks to and fro--like a shadow in a pantomime; surely for futility and emptiness he is in turmoil; each one heaps up riches, not knowing who will gather them."

There's a portrait of a life that needs to change.

Shadow People. Living life as a pantomime of reality.

Filled with emptiness. How's that for a paradox? A true oxymoron.

An exercise in futility. Always in some sort of turmoil.

Some people live their entire lives in that fashion.

It's the life of self-control.

How can you tell if someone has not given themselves over completely to Christ?

Simply look at the outward signs.

How one lives is how one is.

How a person prioritizes their life is a big clue for me.

Hey let's face it, everybody has their difficulties. Christians are not immune.

It's when those difficulties are self inflicted because of a simple misalignment of priorities that cause some to walk among the shadows mimicking life instead of living life.

Did you catch that? I said some mimic life rather than living life.

Order your life.

God ALWAYS comes first. In everything.

Blow off this simple advice (and I have seen it firsthand), and watch how life dissolves from a tangible solid into a shadowy, vacuous mist.

Shadow People are selfish and therefore are oblivious until it's too late when (or if) they realize that they have sucked everything and everyone around them into their black hole of nothingness.

The children do not need Shadow People for parents. With no direction and Godly example, they will become Shadow People too.

Dad's what are you doing to your children by choosing against God?

Mom's what example do you set with your unhappiness and self-anesthetizing?

Shadow People need to step out of the ethereal darkness and materialize as Children of God.

There is a lot more at stake than what most think.

Future generations are relying upon you to take your place and be counted among the brethren.

Bound in the dark shadows of a living tomb, Jesus says today, "Come forth!"

Know that I am praying for all of you.

Run everything past Jesus first!

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

"Friends Don't Let Friends Go To Hell", by Pastor Kevin Lynch

If there is one major disturbing factor in the "post modern Church era" (whatever that really means), it's the casual indifference to the truth of God.

It's as if the "fire insurance" has been paid, so people feel they can breathe easier.

Unfortunately that's not the way God has set it up.

God has intended that we care for each other during our time on this planet.

It makes perfect sense.

Contemplate this for a moment:

WE are "The Body of Christ". That is what the Church is. The Body of Christ. Literally.

We are the hands, eyes, feet, voice, of Jesus Christ.

Since He physically sits in His present (resurrected) physical body at the right hand of God, then He is not making regular commutes from the Throne to Earth.

He is spiritually present through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit in each living stone (us) which is placed in the foundation of the Church.

Following me so far?

Jesus has endowed us with power through the Holy Spirit and the use of His Name. Think of it as us having power of attorney through His name to conduct His business here on earth. He has told us we can (in fact should) evangelize and heal people, cast out demons, etc., all through His mighty name.

So, it is without question, from both the OT and the NT, that we have an accountability and a responsibility to carry on the work of God here on earth.

The most chilling moment I ever had was when I first found this out early in my Christian experience.

Ezekiel 3:18 - "If I say to the wicked, You shall surely die, and you do not give him warning or speak to warn the wicked to turn from his wicked way, to save his life, the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood will I require at your hand."

(20) "Again, if a righteous man turns from his righteousness (right doing and right standing with God) and some gift or providence which I lay before him he perverts into an occasion to sin and he commits iniquity, he shall die; because you have not given him warning, he shall die in his sin and his righteous deeds which he has done shall not be remembered, but his blood will I require at your hand."

Wow. Or "Yikes" might be a better term.

I really am my brothers keeper.

See, that's where Cain went wrong. He never thought he was (Am I my brother's keeper?).

He was out for himself, and it is obvious that there is no room in Kingdom living for such a person.

Cain was banished for his murderous action, but I think it was more of his callous indifference to humanity that was what God saw in his heart.

Word of advice: it's often not what we do that is the threat against our right standing with God, but what we fail to do.

God doesn't like it when people drive themselves up to the gates of hell. He doesn't like it for numerous reasons, but one reason is that He realizes they had help getting there.

What's going on around you today? How many people do you know are short circuited in their faith? How many do you know that you used to see in Church on Sunday and you are wondering about where they went? How's your neighbor? Your co-worker? Your own spouse?

Well, God understands that we all have our own free will, so for every scary charge in those two previous verses, there is a coexisting verse that is converse to it. In other words, when we have done what is required and they still choose against God, it is not held against us if we have warned them.

Simply put, tell someone about Jesus. Let them know that God requires us to acknowledge and accept what Jesus has done for us.

Friends don't let friends go to hell.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Monday, November 16, 2009

"The Pilgrim's Regress", by Pastor Kevin Lynch

Bunyan's great allegorical work from 1678 has proven to be a timeless classic. "The Pilgrim's Progress From This World To That Which Is To Come."

The protagonist character is "Christian", who begins his journey from "The City of Destruction" (this world), to the "Celestial City" (heaven). The burden he carries is the weight of the awareness of his own sin.

Along the way he meets "Evangelist" who points him toward salvation, and immediately he leaves his own wife and children to venture to attain it.

This book, where once revered and a staple in any Christian library, would be at the least ignored today. It would be banished as irrelevant.

It's clear message straight from the Word of God is easier to rebuke and refute without fear.

People don't like to come right out and debunk the Bible because they fear it if not anything else.

They won't pay heed to it, but they'll fear it.

Peripheral oxymoron.

I'm finding it harder and harder for people to be convinced about their life in Christ.

Oh, they jump at Christ fast enough. They just don't want to live like Him.

I have to be reminded of the mentoring of Paul to a young Timothy:

"I can’t impress this on you too strongly. God is looking over your shoulder. Christ himself is the Judge, with the final say on everyone, living and dead. He is about to break into the open with his rule, so proclaim the Message with intensity; keep on your watch. Challenge, warn, and urge your people. Don’t ever quit. Just keep it simple. You’re going to find that there will be times when people will have no stomach for solid teaching, but will fill up on spiritual junk food -- catchy opinions that tickle their fancy. They’ll turn their backs on truths and chase mirages. But keep your eye on what you’re doing; accept the hard times along with the good; keep the Message alive; do a thorough job as God’s servant." (2 Timothy 3:14-4:5, The Message)

Wow. Spiritual junk food. Catchy options. Chasing mirages.

It's unraveling right before my very eyes.

The "options" for a Christan today are so many. They are shiny and pretty and inviting.

But they are a mirage as far as being fulfilling in one's life.

Here today. Gone tomorrow.

For goodness sake, Jesus is being swapped off on any given Sunday for "appointments" and "other commitments".

Bunyan would be amazed. Christian doesn't just fall into the Slough of Despond anymore. He swan dives into it.

The By-Ends have formed a party and are gaining strength.

Good Lord, we are finding more pillars of salt along the way than we are crosses.

I am starting to understand Jesus' fearful parable of the wide and narrow gates more thoroughly as I go.

So many have one foot in the Kingdom and the other in the grievous losing of their past sinful life that it is sometimes horrifying to me.

When one considers the stakes...and the way some so carelessly, even ignorantly place themselves and their family at risk...

Fight people. Fight for your self. Fight for your spouse and family. Fight for your church.

This is not the time to start pondering whether you had it better in the old life.

This is the time to run full speed toward Jesus. This is the time to chase the demons from inside your brain and embrace what you KNOW is right.

Be blessed today my friends and know that I am praying for all of you.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Friday, November 13, 2009

"If You're Waiting For Bubbles...", by Pastor Kevin Lynch

I'm not sure if any of the great painters of religious art ever captured the scene of the angel of God stirring the waters for healing at the Pool of Bethesda.

The picture in my mind is a pathetic one. I see hundreds of people waiting for the water to be stirred and then trying to be the first one in the pool to get healed.

That had to be a sorry, if not somewhat disconcerting sight.

John 5:3: "In these lay a great number of sick folk--some blind, some crippled, and some paralyzed (shriveled up)--waiting for the bubbling up of the water. (4) For an angel of the Lord went down at appointed seasons into the pool and moved and stirred up the water; whoever then first, after the stirring up of the water, stepped in was cured of whatever disease with which he was afflicted."

I'm not going to speculate about whether this actually happened, or it was a local tradition, or a myth of some sort. The bible is very specific and gives no indication that it is anything but the truth.

I do know this: it grabbed Jesus' attention. Particularly one man's plight.

There was one crippled man who never seemed able to get into the water fast enough to be the first one in. Someone else always beat him to it.

It appears he was a failure at this for some 38 years.

He was bitter. Angry. Disgruntled. Some would look at him and think he was cursed.

Now, my read on this might be a bit different than some, and I can't say I have a leg to stand on other than my own speculation, but it seems to me that this guy must have blown a good chance a time or two in 38 years.

Me personally? I think he likes being a victim. I think he likes complaining.

I think he doesn't really want to get into the pool.

Why do I think that?

Mainly because of Jesus' reaction to his complaint.

Jesus asks him, "Do you REALLY want to get well?"


The response? More complaining.

"No one wants to help me." "Someone always beats me to it!" "I try and try, but I always come up short."

You know what? I know people like that guy!

Always around the action, but never in it.

I actually have known people who have lived and died and lived their entire existence out of the loop. They heard the message. They knew WHAT to do. They just never made it happen for themselves.

Jesus' reaction and response to the man was simple and concise: "(8) Jesus said to him, Get up! Pick up your bed (sleeping pad) and walk!"

That's it?

Yes, apparently so.

Because when the crippled man heard this "He became well and recovered his strength and picked up his bed and walked." (vs. 9)

Need something in your life you have been waiting a long time for?

A healing? Of some sort?

Yet, you sit there and "wait for the bubbles...".

News flash!

Get on with it. Get it to Jesus. Give it over. Listen to His words today and heed them.

Whatever it is today that has been defeating you, holding you back, depressing you, keeping you from being what God has intended you to become, stop lying around and waiting for the bubbles.

The angelic whirlpool is out of order.

Jesus has the plan.

Assess your situation. Listen to the voice of Christ. Obey.

The old hymn says, "Trust and obey for there is no other way."

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Thursday, November 12, 2009

"What Do You Think You Are Worth?", by Pastor Kevin Lynch

It's sort of a trick question.

I'm not speaking in material or financial matters.

I'm talking about as a member and contributor to the human race.

It's a little unfair to ask I suppose, because in my estimation, if you pause to actually entertain the question, then you probably have missed it.

Matthew 23:12 - "Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted."

Our worth, our influence, our importance, our effect, whatever we associate with what we think we are worth is of no gain to us or others.

To sit back and even try to estimate what our impact is to our sphere of influence reeks of the fact that we have not rested in and trusted God with our lives and the details.

Even in it's most contrite and humblest form it has an element of self-righteousness attached to it and it spoils the handiwork of God.

Even Jesus, who had the most right to speculate shrinks in the face of self-exaltation.

John 5:31 (Amplified Bible)

"If I alone testify in My behalf, My testimony is not valid and cannot be worth anything."

We don't validate our own parking in this world.

Who we are, what we have or ever will become, who we have impacted and influenced or ever will, is completely contained in the words and testimony of what and whom we have left behind.

We must recognize that had it not been for the direct confrontation and ensuing impact upon our lives by the Gospel of the Kingdom of Christ, we would simply be vessels of whatever we had become and enslaved to heaping and receiving our thanks on and by the wrong people.

We become part of the great Backslapping Society, heaping false and rosy platitudes upon each other with the culmination being the lengthy obituary in the New York Times.

You have to be pretty important to have your obit on file just waiting for you to die. Too bad you'll never get to read it.

Ah, Scarecrow. My old friend. There's more there than a child's fantasy.

Scarecrow: Oh joy, rapture! I've got a brain!"
How can I ever thank you enough?

Wizard of Oz: "Well, you can't."

And the world will never let you forget that you can't.

The greatest people I have ever known never achieved notoriety past a small circle of acquaintances, yet their profound influence upon me changed my life forever. They all went to their graves hoping they had fulfilled God's calling upon their lives, and died in awe of our Great God Jesus Christ.

Nothing more. Nothing less.

Some say that ain't living.

I say it's thriving.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

"How's Your Soil?", by Pastor Kevin Lynch

I have to admit that I am not much of a gardener, or a farmer, etc. I have been fortunate to have thrown some seed down and watch grass grow where it hadn't before, but over the years I have come to realize by trial and error that for stuff to grow, whether it be flowers, veggies, or grass, it needs good fertile soil to start with.

Jesus unloaded a rather lengthy and somewhat cryptic parable on the disciples, and the result was sort of a collective "Huh?", followed by blank stares and head scratching.

Jesus knew He had overshot His audience.

He had to back up, simplify, and restate.

Without going through the entire parable here this morning, the place we need to start is to understand the terminology.

The Sower is Jesus (or perhaps any preacher of the gospel), the Seed is the gospel, the soil is the heart of man.

That said, look at Matt. 13:19 - "While anyone is hearing the Word of the kingdom and does not grasp and comprehend it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the roadside."

This is seed sown into poor soil.

Next look at Matt. 13:23 - "As for what was sown on good soil, this is he who hears the Word and grasps and comprehends it."

There it is. Don't blink or you'll miss it.

Seed in bad soil reaps a failed crop (no gospel understanding, unsustainable Christlike attitude).

Seed in good soil reaps a healthy crop (understanding, comprehension, and love of the gospel).

So what do we do with that? The issue of responsibility crops up (no pun intended).

Who is keeping your soil fresh and fertile and receptive to the gospel on a continual basis?

Who's responsibility is it?



Jesus (and His chosen sowers) will continue to sow.

What kind of soil will it fall upon year in and year out?

Were you happy six months ago, but now are unhappy?

Has church gotten boring? Hum-drum? Ho-hum?

I'll bet you think something has happened to "IT" or to "THEM"...

Have you checked your soil lately?

Is your heart drying up?

Have you made steady paths to the sower of the seed?

Are the ravens stealing your seed before it can even take root?

Soil check people.

It should smell fresh and free from putrefying anger and discouragement.

It should be moist and soft and ready to receive a fresh seed when planted.

It should be healthy and nutritious and well fed and watered, not dry and dusty from neglect.

Jesus said we are prepared when we "perceive and comprehend by hearing" (vs. 9).

Don't just hear with your ears today. Hear with every fiber of your senses, both flesh and spiritual.

Filter out the negative voices. Some of he most negative voices can be coming from the place you least expect.

Listen to Jesus. Receive the Seed into fertile ground.

Stay spiritually healthy. Stay spiritually focused. Stay spiritually fertile.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

"It Doesn't Come Off With Cheap Grace And Water", by Pastor Kevin Lynch

Cheesy religious words like "May God have mercy on your soul" just before they pull the switch.

They don't mean that. They are hoping you burn in hell. Cheap grace in a cheap suit.

Pilate washes his hands and says to the crowd of angry Jews, "I am not guilty of nor responsible for this righteous Man's blood; see to it yourselves."

He saw a riot was about to break and got scared and tried to slither out from the responsibility. They say Pilate later drowned himself in the Mediterranean.

This stuff does not come off with cheap grace and water. No matter how high your position is.

Guilt is guilt and the remedy is forgiveness.

You must be forgiven.

Cheap redundancies and repetitive circuitous paths around a string of beads won't do it.

There aren't enough coins for the wishing well. Not enough wax to make enough candles.

You will run out of saints to venerate before God runs out of mercy.

Hoo-doos and mojo hands make for great blues lyrics.

But if you want what it takes to get "out from under it" then you will have to humble yourself before the Lord God Almighty and receive from Him what is forgiveness wrapped in peace and mercy.

Forgiveness that carries us into eternity. Forgiveness that secures.

Forgiveness that manifests in the peace we don't know we never had until we finally get it.

It's high quality and lasting because it's not cheap. It comes with a high price tag attached.

If it came off with water John the Baptist would have been the Savior instead of Jesus.

The Blood of the Son of God bought your forgiveness on Calvary.

Don't cheapen it, nor think that anyone else can either.

Wherever your "foot of the Cross" is today, get there. The struggle ends today.

Get there.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

"Jack In The Box", by Pastor Kevin Lynch

It's got to be tight in there.

Hot, stuffy, cramped.

In the box.

I was infatuated with that as a child. The little clown was stuffed in a musical box and I would eventually allow him out.

He would pop out with such joy and excitement.

Who wouldn't?

You'd be surprised.

The box we may have chosen is much larger, less physically confining...

...but a box nonetheless.

It's restrictive, and the sad part is that it is predominantly self imposed.

God hasn't designed it that way, but we often credit Him with the patent.

Listen to Jesus here:

Mark 2:27 (Amplified Bible)

"And Jesus said to them, The Sabbath was made on account and for the sake of man, not man for the Sabbath."

I happen to think that Jesus wasn't JUST talking about the Sabbath day here, but of everything man does associated with his relationship with God that self imposes him to doing things in one religious fashion.

In the box.

Think of how many millions of people all over the world drag themselves off to church on a Sunday thinking that it HAS to be Sunday, when in all actuality Jesus taught the complete opposite.

I'm not arguing against church, I'm arguing against that we think it has to be done one particular, stringent, unchanging way.

Jesus instructed that the Sabbath day was important, but that it was created as a time where man could take time to worship and praise God without restriction from other encumbrances, particularly religious ones (which is really what He is addressing here).

If you're really a true disciple of Christ, every day becomes a special day of honor to God anyway.

One "day" a week we should gather together and share that with each other.

You have seven. Pick one.

Let's stop all forms of religious constriction of any type.

Let's put the Sabbath day, and any other function we do in the name of Jesus to work for us, not against us.

Jesus said it was made for our good use, not the other way around.

One way is freedom, the other is confinement.

Be blessed today in all you do.

This may be my last message for a few days until I see how well I do with one hand for awhile.

I am praying for you every day!

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Monday, November 2, 2009

"Don't Limit The Whatevers", by Pastor Kevin Lynch

I'm talking about God here.

About when He responds to a need, especially those needs we have already rubber stamped "Impossible".

About when you walk into the doors of the church thinking one way, and by the time you leave everything has changed and a victory has been achieved.

All because we have asked God to do something.

Hey, why not?

Matt.21.22 - "And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”

Sometimes we limit the "whatevers".

When God gets moving in response to His children having a dire need, we might have to find ourselves getting out of the way because look out, He might just take it further than we ever expected.

I am often amazed and I'm glad I am.

If I didn't still get amazed I would be bored. If I was bored I might look outside the circle.

God doesn't bore me. He excites me.

Does He still excite you?

Do you get butterflies in His presence?

Does your heart rate increase in anticipation of Him doing something powerful?

I pray all of that for you today.

These are tough times, but they are also fertile times ripe for God to do some real miracles in people's lives.

Live in that expectation.

It's not all about what we see, or what we can do, or how sharp we are.

It's about what Jesus Christ can do through a willing vessel still excited to be used by Him!

Keepin' t Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Sunday Morning Scripture

2 Timothy 1:7 (Amplified Bible)

"For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control."

Everything we need God has given us.

What He hasn't given us is cowardice and fear in the face of trial and adversity.

So if you have that kind of paralyzing fear today for any reason, know that it is coming from the bowels of hell and not from God.

It's a package at your door waiting for you to take delivery of it. You decide.

Do something about it.

Resist! (James 4:7)

Invoke the power of the name of Christ and command the dark forces to depart immediately.

Acts 4:12 - "And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved."

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><