Friday, December 30, 2011

Living A Cliche

I wonder if all who were involved in the making of the movie "Jerry Maguire" realized that the sum total of the picture would boil down to being remembered for basically two lines.

One line was "Show me the money!"

The other was "You complete me."

These are the lines that snag our heart and soul.

How many water cooler conversations have included the words, "I can't believe she used that 'you complete me' line." Or, how many underpaid workers have waited for the day when their boss would say "What's it going to take to keep you working for me?", so they could reply, "Show me the money!".

You know life has become a cliche when you start throwing around famous movie lines therapeutically.

We start to actually think that our lives can be improved in some way by using what "worked" in a Hollywood movie.

If that were the case then Hollywood would be the role model of stability.

We love to search for what we can become rather than trying to simply be who we are.

Be who you are. Only perfected.

James 1:4 - "And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."

Perfect and complete. It's the way God wants us.

Did I mention lacking in nothing?

James says it all flows from steadfastness.

He also says that steadfastness come from tests and trials like we looked at yesterday.

When we are tested and we survive, we become more firm and steady, more rooted , less easily swayed and shaken.

We want the "full effect" lest our trials be in vain.

It's bad enough we have to suffer a bit in life, but when those tests of suffering produce nothing but a cycle of pain, it's no picnic.

The kind of perfection and completeness that James is insinuating is not superficial, but heart and soul changing.

It's much more tempting to stay the same no matter how bad things are.

The trade off is to lack everything, from knowledge, wisdom, and understanding, down to the base necessities of good health and financial stability.

I much more prefer to be moving toward completeness in Him.

Steady. Firm. Solid. Real.

You can get there from here.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Welcome To Your Nightmare

Most of us go through minor trials and difficulties on any given day.

Sometimes we hit a real snag which turns our life upside down and causes us real pain or sorrow.

At times it can seem like a real nightmare.

What do we do with that? How do we respond? In what way do we allow it to affect us?

Probably counting it as a joyous occasion doesn't come to mind first.

This leads us into that particular area where the Word of God meets real living.

It's a tough spot at times, particularly when it hasn't been practiced much.

Life happens. We tend to find little difficulty applying biblical principles during the smooth times.

However, when our snow globe gets shaken up a bit, it seems like we scramble for answers.

James gives us an interesting admonition today.

James 1:2 - "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds."

"Various kinds" leave the field wide open. It could mean anything.

"Hello, allow me to introduce you to your worst nightmare...keep smiling."

I think this passage has been grossly misinterpreted over the years.

Visions of wide eyed stark raving mad Christians jumping up and down giggling uncontrollably at the news of a tragedy is probably not what James had in mind.

I don't even think he envisioned so much as a smirk at the news of the death of a loved one.

I think "count it as joy" was more of a backdrop than a foreground display.

I think it is more of the easy deep down assurance that is present in all experiences.

Steady as she goes, Everything is going to be fine. Jesus is in control.

In the third verse James says, "for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness."

That very steadfastness is strength. While it doesn't cause over the top displays of raucous joy during the inappropriate times, it does allow for calm assessments of situations under pressure.

I think the joy comes in a bit later. In my opinion it's not speaking of outward expressions of joy, but an underlying and steady attitude of joy that our Savior is always there.

Therein lies the heart and soul of the steadfast Christian. Faith in Christ produces steady, joy filled, and faithful disciples.

Joy, true God sent joy, is something we have all of the time. Even when things are not going so hot.

So, how about you today?

Got joy?

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Well Meaning But Useless Advice

We say them to people all of the time. Our intentions are good. We are only trying to help.

They are words we say that we either think will really help, or they are words that just take up awkward moments of time when we really don't know what to say.

I'm talking about advice. Not necessarily bad advice, but should I say it... generic advice.

I've narrowed it down to three simple phrases in the interest of time and space.

"It's probably nothing." "Don't worry, everything is going to be OK." "Maybe it will just go away."

It's generally "something". It's probably not just going to be "OK". It never just "goes away."

That is unless the advice is given in the power of Christ and the Holy Spirit.

That changes everything.

Matthew 6:33 - "But seek ( aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness ( His way of doing and being right), and then all these things taken together will be given you besides."

Yes indeed.

I wouldn't phrase the advice this same way, and in fact, it could be scaled down to a more concise declaration.

How about, "Jesus Never Fails!"

My friends Charlie Rizzo, who pastors the Maranatha Church in New Jersey, has that very passage on the front of his pulpit so that it is constantly before everyone who looks that way. Jesus never fails.

Generic advice turned into powerful words of truth.

All because of Jesus.

So, if (or I should say "when") the storm hits and the weak advice starts to flow, accept it all in the spirit given, as folks only mean well in those moments.

However, keep ever before you that as you continually strive after Jesus and His methods for righteousness, He is forever meeting your needs and more (continually adding more things to you).

Jesus never fails.


Be blessed as you implement His Word into your life.

Dispense the Truth always.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

First Be Established

Those who know me well understand that I am not a fan of making resolutions during the popular time of the year to do that.

New Years has become almost a pagan festival of change in behavior. People will resolve to lose weight, stop drinking, stop smoking, be a better anything one can become better at...etc.

Two weeks into the resolution they had been so passionate about changing they are folded up like a wet noodle, and more saddened and depressed because now they have an added failure to the list.

I don't do resolutions in the classic sense. I don't have the power in myself alone to do or be anything. I have the power of Christ who changes me to become.

There is a difference.

Take these examples from Jesus.

This one on marriage:

Matthew 19:5 - "Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh".

On the turn of a word the entire success or failure of a marriage can rise and fall on whether a couple actually "becomes as of one flesh", or simply just goes through the motion of trying to mimic that and "do" marriage. When a couple "becomes" the marriage and are absorbed into each other the marriage is a bond that is unbreakable and lasting.

How about this one:

Matthew 18:3 - "Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."

Jesus is not saying we need to "act" like children, which would mean to "do" childlike things. He is saying we need to "become" like children, to take on the persona, the trusting nature of a child. To "do" would be to pretend. He wants us to "become".

One more:

Matthew 19:28 - "Jesus said to them, Truly I say to you, in the new age [the Messianic rebirth of the world], when the Son of Man shall sit down on the throne of His glory, you who have [become My disciples, sided with My party and] followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones and judge the twelve tribes of Israel."

Jesus is describing the reward of discipleship. It was reserved for those who had actually "become" His disciples, not those who claimed to "be". Remember the words of Jesus when He slices through the separation of the posers from the truehearts. "Many of you will say "Lord, Lord...". Saying doesn't necessarily translate over as "becoming".

Simply put, the declaration of the voice needs to be first established in the heart.

Posers don't make it. Fakes don't make it. Liars don't make it. Jesus sees through them like an X-Ray.

Those of us who "become" make it. We become His disciples. We become the Living Stones in the foundation of His Church. We become Fishers of Men.

We become His. We belong to Jesus.

Resolve to become, and don't present a cheap knockoff.

Happy New Year!

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Monday, December 26, 2011

Ghosts, Fears, and Future Dangers

These are the things that people battle. Most are classified as "intangibles".

They are not even real, or have not manifested yet, and we are all ready expending precious energy battling them.

Sleeplessness, irritability, inflexibility, nervousness, anxiety, melancholia, etc. Many times just the result of a suggestive thought or a word taken the wrong way.

Understanding the mind (or soul) to be the battlefield of the Body and Spirit, it is no surprise why mental torture is really at the foundation of many things that ail us.

Get your mind (soul) right and the rest of you will be much healthier.

Paul says in Romans 12:1 - "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. (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].

Yes, you can know the PERFECT will of God for your life. What is sad is that many do not know this "secret", or more sadly is they just don't care enough to implement it.

Read the passage and read it carefully. It is the pathway to change.

Paul is basically giving us steps to a productive and peaceful joyous life.

First, get born-again by accepting Jesus Christ into your life and relinquishing control over to Him by making a conscious dedication of your life to Him.

Second, bring your mind into alignment with what happened to your Spirit. Your Spirit is born-again, not your mind and body. You are responsible for what you think as a born-again man or woman. You have not become an automaton or a robot of God. He is not pushing your buttons or controlling you remotely.

Paul says you must TRANSFORM not CONFORM. You used to CONFORM to the world, now you must TRANSFORM to God's way.

This applies to every aspect of your life. Your physical world. Your finances. Your marriage. Your business. Your parenting. Everything.

If you are born-again and still thinking in the carnal, sensory oriented way, then you will be confused and your life will be disastrous. You are being led by your appetites, not the Spirit of God.

You must ALLOW the Holy Spirit to lead you. Walk after the Spirit not after the flesh! (Rom. 8:1)

If you are being haunted by your past ghosts, fearing every little thing that you think can go wrong in your life, and already fearing things in the future that may not ever happen, then you are unconsecrated to God and living in the flesh.

Think about this: Your fears are carnal. If you are affected by fear than you are not living according to the Spirit. Why is this true? Because God has not given us a spirit of fear, but a Spirit of Power! (2 Timothy 1:7).

As the New Year approaches, how about making a conscious effort to take charge of your mind (soul) and bring it into subjection to the Holy Spirit?

My dear loved ones, I am giving you the great secret of a happy life here. No...really. Do not blow this off. This is it. It can be found nowhere else so any future searching anywhere else will be futile.

It really is your only option for a serene and peaceful life in Christ.

Would I lie? C'mon, who loves you? Jesus does and so do I.

Be blessed.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Friday, December 23, 2011

God In An Earthsuit

There's a lot contained in a word.

It may be more weighty when it is a proper noun.

When that proper noun is Word, and it pertains to Jesus' pre-incarnate status as the Logos (Greek for Word), then it reigns supreme as the most important Word in the universe.

That might be a little heady for a morning devotional, and that's even trying to keep it bare bones minimally simple.

The average Christian doesn't contemplate the subject much. It falls under the category of "Christology", which is one of the many, arguably the most important, branches of theological study.

Basically it explores the question, "Who is Jesus?". Not just the cradle to the empty tomb Jesus, but the Jesus of eternity past, present, and forever.

Where did He come from? When and how did He appear?

The Bible answers those questions adequately I believe.

While Matthew and Luke were content to offer the much needed earthly beginning, John introduces us to the Jesus before the Incarnation, and how He became incarnate.

First, John makes a statement of fact, much like Moses did in Genesis 1:1 (In the beginning...).

John 1:1 - "IN THE beginning [before all time] was the Word (Christ), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God Himself."

There you have it. The quintessential and most definitive statement in all the Word of God about the Deity of Jesus Christ.

Jesus is God.

John goes on to say that Jesus is the Creator of everything in the universe, that there is nothing that exists in this vast expanse that He did not create.

Then John moves on to explain how this ever existing God of the universe named Jesus introduced Himself to our planet and the entire human race.

John 1:14 - "And the Word (Christ) became flesh (human, incarnate) and tabernacled (fixed His tent of flesh, lived awhile) among us; and we [actually] saw His glory (His honor, His majesty), such glory as an only begotten son receives from his father, full of grace (favor, loving-kindness) and truth."

I like that expansion on the word "tabernacle". Jesus pitched His earth tent (His body) among us for just enough time so that we would get to know God. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. The complete and total God.

That my friends is a miracle. The miracle of Christmas.

It's a little deeper than the no room at the inn, swaddling clothes stuff most get to hear at Christmas, but after all, it's a deep event.

Jesus has earned the right to minister to us, to require our love and dedication to Him.

He experienced what it is like to be us for 33 years, and packed in a lot of pain, suffering and controversy in between.

In the end He loved us enough to suffer the final cruelties of the cross, defeated death, and now sits at the right hand of the Father in Heaven interceding for us day by day.

Where would we be without Jesus?

Many of you know the answer to that. Some have an inkling. Some haven't a clue.

Simply put, we would be lost in our selfish, self-righteous, pathetic existence. And we would be that way eternally.

Eternity is a long time to be lost.

Give Jesus some thought today. Explore who He is.

He is right there. He is as near as your skin.

Just say, "Jesus, I'd like to have a little talk with you today if you don't mind."

He won't mind at all. In fact, you will find Him to be most engaging.

Merry CHRISTmas!

Pastor Kevin <><

Thursday, December 22, 2011

No Vacancy

I remember as a child being upset about the part of the Christmas account where Mary and Joseph could not find lodging to birth the infant Jesus comfortably and safely.

Of course the facts became a tale embellished with visions of ancient hotels and inns with "No Vacancy" signs and mean irascible inn keepers happily shooing the desperate couple away to their final destination of a smelly stable complete with all of the barnyard inhabitants.

OK, maybe it wasn't exactly that way, but one thing is for sure, and that is there simply wasn't any room in the world for Jesus. That's what it is about.

Here, look:

Luke 2:7 - "And she gave birth to her Son, her Firstborn; and she wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room or place for them in the inn."

BECAUSE ties it together. They had to endure whatever it was they endured BECAUSE there was no room for them. No room for THEM means no room for JESUS.

The entire Christmas saga boils down to that one simple truth.

Jesus came from heaven to be born into human flesh (Incarnation), and was NEVER welcomed from that day until the day He went to the cross.

He was run out of towns. He was pursued by angry mobs. He had various attempts made on His life. He was plotted against. He was betrayed by His closest confidants.

He was resurrected three days after His crucifixion and has still never been accepted into the vast majority of the human race.

He takes His acceptance where He finds it.

In the manger of the believer.

In the worlds eyes, we who truly worship the Christ (I say truly to differentiate from the hypocrite who praises Jesus on Sunday but uses His Name as a cuss word the rest of the week), are basically guilty of harboring a criminal.

Jesus knew that was coming and warned us in John 16. He was hated. We will be hated.

I can live with that. Jesus knew what rebel He was getting when He came for me.

I could give a rip what opinions are directed toward me behind my back or to my face.

The love of Christ endures in my heart and carries me on waves of joy through it all.

When we get to that place forgiveness and understanding for the worst offenses by others flow automatically.

I hope your "Vacancy" light is on this season. I hope you have prepared a comfortable and easy access for Jesus to find His way to you. If you have then perhaps you can help someone else find their way.

There is a lot more room for Him in you than you realize.

My hope for you all is that Jesus becomes very large in your life.

Be blessed!

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Twelve Days Of Christmas

I thought it would be nice to publish this today. What is
traditionally a popular Christmas song, it may well have been created
as a sort of Christian "code" written during a time when there was not
a lot of freedom to express one's faith in Christ.

In any event, it is an encouraging meaning to a song that never made a
whole lot of sense anyway. Now it might actually mean something to

The 12 Days of Christmas

The 12 Days of Christmas refer to the twelve day period that starts
with Christmas day and ends on Epiphany (6th January). The song
begins, On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me... The
'true love' was meant to represent God, the true love of the world.
The 'me' in the carol is the Christian man or woman who receives these
presents. The meanings given to the 12 Days are:

The 'partridge in a pear tree' is Jesus who died on the cross. In
ancient times a partridge was often used as mythological symbol of a
divine, sacred king.

The 'two turtle doves' are the Old and New Testaments of the Bible -
another gift from God. Doves also symbolize peace.

The 'three French hens' are faith, hope and love - the three gifts of
the Holy Spirit. (See 1 Corinthians 13 ). The French hens can also
represent God the Father, His Son Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

The 'four calling birds' are the four Gospels in the New Testament of the Bible.

The 'five golden rings' are the first five books of the Bible also
called the Pentateuch, the Books of Moses or the Torah.

The 'six geese a-laying' are the six days of creation.

The 'seven swans a swimming' are the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit.
(See 1 Corinthians 12:8-11, Romans 12, Ephesians 4, 1 Peter 4:10-11)

The 'eight maids a milking' are the eight beatitudes, Jesus' teachings
on happiness. (See Matthew 5:3-10)

The 'nine ladies dancing' are nine fruits of the Holy Spirit. (See
Galatians 5:22)

The 'ten lords a-leaping' are the Ten Commandments in the Bible. (See Exodus 20)

The 'eleven pipers piping' are the eleven faithful disciples of Jesus .

The 'twelve drummers drumming' were the twelve points of the Apostles' Creed .

I hope you enjoyed it, and perhaps it will help you to sing it with a
new fervor!


Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

How Did You React?

This is not a philosophical question. I didn't ask how "would" you react, I am asking how you actually reacted.

It's a litmus test. It has a pass/fail.

Oh yeah...sorry...I guess you need to know what I am asking you reacted to.

Well...any "incident" from mildly upsetting to tragic.

What was your first reaction to the most recent trial or disturbance in your life?

"Well pastor, I immediately was conscious of the fact that I have no real control over the situation at hand so as always, I found myself immediately turning it all over to the trust and care of God."

*Woot, woot* Applause! Whistles! Bells!

"Tell them what they've won Johnny!"

That is a passing grade for sure.

Now, I didn't say life was a pass/fail. I just said that in instances of how the average Christian trusts God with their daily living, and for purposes of reaching an understanding of how that balances out one way or the other, that there would be a pass/fail.

Trusting God to the fullest at all times is an obvious "pass".

I also do not want to trivialize failure.

There are far too many admonitions in the bible to trust God for us to even remotely think that anything less than that would result in anything but failure.

I don't like the term "failed God". In reality we fail ourselves. We bear the suffering from the results of not trusting Him fully, and not because He punishes us for it, but simply because we are not receiving the full benefit due us.

There are tons of scenarios throughout the bible where we have been encouraged to trust God but were sidetracked by other details.

Fear. Pomposity. Arrogance. Unbelief. Grief. Sin. All are things that run us off the rails of a solid trust in God to be able to deal with every facet of daily living.

"In God I will praise His word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me." (Psalm 56:4 KJV) (PASS)

"Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek The Lord!" (Isaiah 31:1 KJV) (FAIL)

1 Tim. 4:10 - "With a view to this we toil and strive, [yes and] suffer reproach, because we have [fixed our] hope on the living God, Who is the Savior (Preserver, Maintainer, Deliverer) of all men, especially of those who believe (trust in, rely on, and adhere to Him). (PASS)

Is it always "I'm so glad I trusted God with this one."? No. However, in the long run it will be better to trust God than not to.

Sometimes the immediate situation does not change, nor does it appear to change for the better. It might even bring further reproach or difficulty. It may not reveal the benefit until way down the road.

We are not trusting God so that we can be more comfortable, or that we could gain riches or favor with others. Or to feather our nests. Or to be healthier. Or...

We trust God because we love Him and have found Him to be our eternal Way. We love Him because He has first loved us.

We trust Him because it is the right thing to do.

However, a funny thing happens when our hearts are right with Him.

We find it easier to place our trust in Him. We can do no other thing.

Back to the original question. How "did" you react?

It is indeed a true litmus test because it will reveal contraindications.

People who do not proceed along the path of trust, and at the end of a long life have not trusted the Giver of Life any more than they did at the very beginning of that relationship, are people who have become a tragedy of living by their own ways and means.

Living tragedies.

Nervous. Afraid. Arrogant. Sleepless. Joyless. Worried, etc. All symptoms of trusting everything else but God. did you do?

How will you do today? Forever?

I hope you passed today. I hope everything you do, every decision you make, every trial that comes your way, will be placed in the hands of the One who is worthy and proven so.

It's as Keepin' it Real as it gets.

Pastor Kevin <><

Monday, December 19, 2011

How Much Faith Is Enough Faith?

On my property I have various types of tress and plants. Some were there when we bought the property, some we added later. I am even reminded of the bible by our Rose of Sharon's and Burning Bushes.

One tree however was a pleasant surprise. We actually have several Sycamine trees. Of course they are not called Sycamine anymore, which is why I never made the connection to the bible.

The Sycamine is what is more commonly referred to as the Black Mulberry Tree.

I suppose that is somewhat exciting.

Luke 17:6 - "And the Lord answered, If you had faith (trust and confidence in God) even [so small] like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, Be pulled up by the roots, and be planted in the sea, and it would obey you.

Then it dawned on me.

We recently had to have several trees removed because they threatened our home and the power, phone, and cable lines. It is an expensive problem to have. Unless one has faith that God has an answer.

In our case God did. We believed for a solution and He provided. The power company removed the trees for free. In essence those trees "obeyed" us according to our faith that God would provide.

They were a conflict. A detriment. A problem that needed to be uprooted. We saw no way out of it in the natural. God provided a way.

Just like what happens in our personal lives. I mean, what was Jesus really raling against when He said even the smallest of faith would uproot the mulberry tree and replant it in the sea?

An actual mulberry tree?

No. It would make no sense to do that. In fact, He wasn't trying to suggest that it could.

Why? Because it would go against the natural order of things. Trees are meant to be grown on dry land, not under the sea.

However, He was meaning that when it comes to the difficulties of life, some so difficult that they actually seem to be as impossible to solve as "transplanting a tree from its natural habitat to one foreign to itself", that even the smallest belief and understanding that God could accomplish it simply because He is God would be sufficient.

Following me here?

It's not about the tree. It's about you.

Jesus is trying to establish the fact that there is no trouble, problem, irritation, or catastrophe that is too difficult for Him to handle.

Jesus is also pulling us into the reality that it's also not about us having faith in our faith.

Listen to me carefully here. It's not about what YOU can do by faith. If that was the case then we would be able to take literally that we could actually uproot a tree and replant it in the ocean just by believing that we could.

News Flash! can't.

But...God could. Although He probably won't do that any more than deciding to make the sun rise in the west and set in the east.

But He could if He wanted to.

One thing He will do, and that is respond to your even infinitesimal faith IN HIM!

Still with me?

The verse is about you having faith in what God will do, not in some ridiculous notion that we could actually confound the forces of God's nature by literally moving a mountain or uprooting a tree.

It's also about the amount of faith we have. In my opinion we shouldn't get caught up in "levels" of faith. Either we have it or not. In comparison to the faith of God it's all small faith. But it's enough.

That's where I think we are. Jesus is saying we have enough faith.

You have enough faith! That's great news! You have enough faith! Not small faith, but enough faith to direct it toward your problems IN THE NAME OF JESUS for whatever need you have today!

It's a comfort that our God doesn't sit on His throne and determine who gets what by assessing who has the most faith or not.

He says essentially that if we are followers of Jesus Christ we have enough.

He gives us the right to use the Name of Jesus to move what needs to be moved. Just's always Him, not you, that is making it happen. a "mountain to move? A "tree" to be uprooted? Right now, if you are a believer, you can "speak" to the issue in the name of Jesus to solve it and know that it will happen.

Luke 10:17 - "Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name!"

Now that my friends, is...

Keepin' it Real.

Pastor Kevin <><

Friday, December 16, 2011

Here Is Your Answer For A New Anxiety Free Life!"

I am going to give you the key to a worry free life today.

There is only what I know. What I have learned from Jesus. I can't give you any more than that.

Yes. It has worked for me. I have also seen it work in many others who heed the Word.

I am 100% confident it will work for you.

Not because I say it will. Not even because it has worked for me.

But simply because it just will when applied in faith.

In faith. In faith. In faith.

This is where it breaks down if there are some who will say it didn't work.

This is not a mantra. This is not humanistic psychology.

This is the supernatural ministry of Jesus Christ extended to you when you reach out to Him in faith.

1 Peter 5:6-7 - "Therefore humble yourselves [demote, lower yourselves in your own estimation] under the mighty hand of God, that in due time He may exalt you, Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully."

Often the sixth verse is left out and just the advice to throw off your cares upon Jesus is taught.

That's a setup for failure.

You see, there are reasons for being anxiety ridden. They are associated with your behavior.

In other words, you bring it on yourself by your actions.

If you think you are more than you are that is going to bring with it some baggage that will grow heavy over time. Simply put, you must stop exalting yourself before God will exalt you.

After all,

Matthew 16:24 (AMP) - "Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone desires to be My disciple, let him deny himself [disregard, lose sight of, and forget himself and his own interests] and take up his cross and follow Me [cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying, also]."

You must stop deluding yourself. Self-delusion brings false expectations that will never be fulfilled, which brings feelings of failure and inadequacy, which breeds anxiety.

"Nothing is working out for me." Sound familiar.

You must stop lying. To yourself and to others. Abraham's lies kept breeding more lies and more anxiety and fear. The more fear, the more lies. Perpetual fear cycle.

If you think you have anxiety now, wait until people find you out. And they always will.

So, Peter explains to us the "key" to freedom from worry and anxiety.

Be humble. Cast it off onto Jesus. The reason you have to first become humble is because we think we are failing by dumping our problems, that we can't handle our own lives.

Well, the news for you today is you need to get over that, because you can't handle your own life. No one can. We all need to become humbled and ask Jesus to rescue us.

So do that. First go to Jesus and confess your inadequacy, admit you can't handle life alone, and toss the entire gigantic package of stress and anxiety upon Him. It's ok. He wants you to. Just do it.

Stop right now. Pause, and do it. Right now.

Feel His love and concern for you at this moment. If no one else in the world cares for you, know that at this moment Jesus loves you very much and wants to help you in your stressful time.

No one's watching. Don't feel foolish. Don't be afraid. He will not fail you.

There. Did you do it? You will feel lighter in your mind. Relieved.

Do you? Take a breath. Let the smile cross your lips. Lift your hands to praise Him. Thank Him. Feel giddy. Feel joyful.

It's gone. Really, really gone.

Now, don't you dare try to take it back. What you give Jesus leave with Jesus. Trust Him the rest of the way. Don't build new stress and worry. Learn to give it over before you ramp it up into a crisis.

The "casting the whole of your care" indicates continuity, that you will live in a perpetual state of release of anxiety to Jesus. This happens when you let Him order you life.

Let me know how this works out for you. If you are really trusting and believing in Him, it will be a life changing miracle. This I promise.

This IS...

...Keepin' it Real.

Pastor Kevin <><

Thursday, December 15, 2011


Matthew 5:48 (KJV) - "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."

There it is. Direct from the Word of God. The esteemed King James Version. The "Textus Receptus".

You my friend, MUST be as perfect as God. That means no wiggle room for error. Get it right and get it right the first time. Anything less than perfection will not be tolerated.

I can almost HEAR the shorts getting bunched up over this! lol!

Now that I have your attention.

Relax. Let's look at it another way.

Let's try the Amplified Version.

"(48) You, therefore, must be perfect [growing into complete maturity of godliness in mind and character, having reached the proper height of virtue and integrity], as your heavenly Father is perfect."

That's a little better. It goes into the more proper understanding of "Perfect".

Perfect simply means "complete". It's from the Greek word "teleios".

Some won't even like that explanation, but at this point I'll have to ask you to take it up with Jesus.

We are expected to reach a level of completeness in God.


Stay with me to the very end here...

Jesus gives us a series of explanations in His sermon on the mount from Matthew, chapter five.

For instance, He says that we have heard it taught that we should love our neighbors and hate our enemies.

Uh...that's been changed. Jesus revised it. We are not complete when we believe that way.

Instead, now we are to love our enemies, and actually do good for those who actually hate us and even seek to harm us.

He goes on to say that what good is there in loving those who love us and treat us well? Anyone can do that. That's easy!

Easy, but without reward. We are incomplete in God when we believe that way. In other words...imperfect.

Ever see the bumper sticker, "I'm not perfect, just forgiven!"? It's a lie.

If you're forgiven you are expected to no longer live imperfectly as far as obedience to God's plan is concerned. You are expected to be complete.

There is a level of godly integrity and morality you are expected to achieve by God, and if God expects it then that means it can be achieved and if we are refusing to reach it then we are being disobedient!

We can't cop out with "Ho-hum, I'm not perfect, just forgiven".

Where did we adopt this concept of one trip to the altar and then comfortably retire to your pew?

Brother and sister there is a responsibility that comes with your admission into the family of God.

God expects great things from you just as any earthly father would from his own children.

There is a "proper height" we are called to by God. Don't worry, He gives us the tools to get there in the Holy Spirit.

It is not however, a "gimme" or automatic. (Paul says we need to renew our minds in Romans 12)

It is also neither legalistic work and toil in our own strength. It does however, take desire.

It is simply by staying close to Him in fellowship, worship, and prayer. Our completeness is in Him.

Note that it says " your heavenly Father is perfect."

It's partaking of His perfection that makes us perfect and complete in His eyes.

It's a very misunderstood verse.

I hope I've made it clearer for you in my attempt at...

...Keepin' it Real!

Pastor Kevin <><

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Things That Are Out Of Place For $1.000, Alex

Ever watch the game Jeopardy on television?

If you answer incorrectly you can "jeopardize" all that you have.

Life can mimic that sometimes.

Check out something that John says in his first epistle.

1 John 2:15-16 - "Do not love or cherish the world or the things that are in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. (16) For all that is in the world--the lust of the flesh [craving for sensual gratification] and the lust of the eyes [greedy longings of the mind] and the pride of life [assurance in one's own resources or in the stability of earthly things]--these do not come from the Father but are from the world [itself]."

Note the buzz words here: craving, lust, gratification, greed, longing...

This is jeopardy for the believer.

John is specific. This is not to say that there are things of the world we cannot have. On the contrary. There is nothing wrong with having a nice home, car, good paying job, nice clothes, etc.

There is a difference between liking or even needing something, and loving it and lusting and craving after it.

The believer never has to cave to any of that. God knows what we need and desire and willfully and graciously provides (Matt. 6).

In fact, all of the things described are "Things That Are Out Of Place" for the believer.

These are the things that will run the believer off the rails and wreck their faith.

Lust of the flesh is coveting. We know God hasn't liked that one since the beginning. It's Number 10 on the Big Ten Sin Parade.

Pride of life? That one sunk Lucifer's (Satan) high hopes. He and 1/3 of the angels of heaven. It precedes a fall. The serpent talked Adam and Eve into that one as well.

I could sit here and rattle off probably fifty different varieties of the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.

All of them would be out of place in the life of the disciple of Jesus Christ.

John didn't issue this warning for us to have to keep a checklist of what to do or what not to do. He was making a comparison so we could make a an informed assessment of our lives.

If we find ourselves living closer to the world than God wants for us, we should recognize that fact and make the proper adjustment.

The adjustment is not to purposely decide in our own strength and power to make changes. That doesn't work. It didn't work before we knew Jesus and it will not work now.

Thats' a hard concept for some folks to wrap their brain around.

It's never what we can do.

It's always what the power of the Holy Spirit can do in us. When we allow Him to.

It's about yielding to Him, not fixing it ourselves.

Closeness to the world means further from God. Grow closer to God, and the world and its lustful cravings shrink.

Think of Abraham and Lot. When they split up and went their separate ways, Lot chose to pitch his tent in Sodom. Abraham chose the fertile lands of the Jordan area. We see the tragic results of craving what the world offers in the choices Lot made.

When you pitch your tent too close to lustful sinfulness God will be offended.

When things are out of place that means things are in disorder and disarray.

A life in disarray is not a sign of a life consecrated to Christ.

It might come as a rude awakening today...but...'s essentially...

...Keepin' it Real.

Pastor Kevin <><

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Part-Timers, Half-Steppers, Comer's and Goer's

I was going to throw in "Once-In-Awhiler's and "Never Arriver's", but it would have been too long a title. lol!

They come and they go. The people we sometimes call "church goin' folk".

Some are hardly there. Some aren't really there when they are there. Some come in late. Some leave early. Some stay a season, but we never really had them.

All would be first to say "Lord! Lord!" on cue and at the drop of a hat.

Jesus is never fooled.

Matt.7:21 - "Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father Who is in heaven."

The impact of that verse is not so much that there would be some who will not enter heaven, but rather why they won't.

The failure to do the will of God.

What exactly is that anyway?

Well, there's a few and they're all clearly delineated in His Word.

Love God. Love your neighbor. Love yourself. Walk in the Spirit and not the flesh. Take up your Cross daily, etc.

We tend to get our shorts all bunched up over trying to "do" them all. Well, sure they are activities that require physical motion and mental response, but the motivation is often wrong.

This is why Jesus said what He said above.

Some think merely doing these things will suffice. They think that BY doing them they will have great favor with God.


It's because you have great favor with God that you will do these things. We do because we are. Not to become.

Don't forget. Jesus thought you were "to die for".

Often the "Lord! Lord!" people have gotten it backwards. That's why their entire heart, soul, mind and strength isn't into it.

That's why they are...half-steppers. It's all merely religious to them. They have mistaken schmoozing with grace.

See...this church thing gets a lot of folks riled up. Let's face it though, Paul has indeed told us that we need to do it (Heb. 10:25).

Of course he didn't say we needed to erect cathedrals and multi-million dollar wonderamas.

He just said that we should assemble together as believers and warn and encourage each other as we look toward the Day of Jesus' return.

I choose to do that in a building. It can be done anywhere. Under a tree. In a home. A coffee shop. With music. Without music. Standing. Sitting. Hands raised. Hands lowered.

The Church is not contained by physicality.

One thing has to be however. Truth.

When the people of God open their mouth and say "Lord! Lord!", it had better mean something.

If not it's no different than a Rotary Club meeting.

So...what's "church" to you? A place to express your love and worship to God among your fellow believers?

Or a drop-in (drop-out) social club?

Friends...these are times to draw near to each other as believers and look to the sky together. Things are happening at such a rapid pace these days that many just might get caught unaware if we let what we do slide into a casual gathering.

Wherever your sanctuary is...get there as often as you are not hindered.

Be a sponge. Soak it in. Squeeze it out. Soak up some more.

We...together...must be...

Keepin' it Real.

Pastor Kevin <><

Monday, December 12, 2011

Sometimes The Wrong Way Looks Like The Right Way

Choices. They come up every day. Even moment by moment.

What to do? Where to go? How to do it? When? Why?

Use the blue pen or the black pen? Looking fast ball or slider? Take this route or that one?

Most are insignificant and benign decisions that will bear little if any consequences past a minor annoyance or a fleeting joy.

The wise man of Proverbs however, has struck a key note on one decision that is made at least once in a lifetime by everyone.

Proverbs 14: 12 - "There is a way which seems right to a man and appears straight before him, but at the end of it is the way of death."

Sometimes our decisions are not so clear cut. They require great thought and even some travail.

Even then we might make the wrong choice.

Sometimes it seems like a slam dunk.

It looks so right. So perfect. So clear. It's straight. No curve balls. No obstructions.

Hey, it seems like a no- brainer.

Who'da thunk it would have led to death?

Solomon is speaking of the road to the death after death. The second death. The one that counts. The final disposition of man's soul. The eternal forever.

I'd say that's the Big Kahuna of decisions. It's the one you want to be sure to get right.

Even then man is swayed by what looked good, rather than what was right.

Sometimes the wrong way seems like the right way.

But it isn't. Instead it kills you.

Some even think by making no decision at all keeps them neutral.

Silly rabbit.

God requires a decision. A non-decision is your default decision against God.

Sin often looks like the way to go. The party is over there. Clowns. Rides. Stuff to make you feel good. Dog and pony shows. Magicians. Baubles. Balloons. Shiny objects. Something that appeals to every carnal sense of the body (the natural).

It's generally a very easily accessed path. In other words, straight before us.

Everything is perfect about it. Except for one thing. It's a pathway to death.

Notice that Solomon says that it's "in the end" that we find out we have been on the wrong path all along.

Uh-oh. You went too far. You're in too deep.

It's a long road back if you're fortunate enough to find you were in the wrong place after all.

I was on that road for many years. Man, it's a long stretch. Took me over 20 years to get to the end of it.

Some even take multiple trips back and forth, confused about which path they want to be on.

Fortunately I only made one in and one out.

There's only one right Way. All the other choices are wrong ones.

It's Jesus. He is THE WAY (John 14:6).

Follow Him. All the time. Every day. Look to the Cross. It's easy to spot. It's smack in the middle of the Right Way.

Discernment is built into that.

You actually have to miss it on purpose.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Revealed Plan Of Jesus Christ, Pt. 3

Jesus began His revelation to the world at the Sermon on the Mount, which we looked at yesterday.

Understand that I believe this is different and set apart from anything else Jesus taught or preached. While Jesus taught about salvation throughout the gospels it is explained in its fullest sense here.

It was so important that He gave it to the Apostle Paul so many years later, even perhaps as long as a decade after Paul's Damascus Road experience.

What is the culmination of this revelation? Indeed, what IS the heart of the revelation?

Jesus pointed out the condition and needs of the human heart and the result of the saved soul, but He reserved the one special element that was the most critical. He has to leave it out because it had not yet been concluded when He conducted the Sermon on the Mount teaching.

The critical element is The Cross.

Yes, we need the acknowledgement of the bankrupt spirit, the mourning of our dead sinful state, the meekness of His righteousness, and certainly the hunger and thirsting for more of Him, but...

None of that comes to any conclusive victory without the Cross. Without the Cross it's all just Law.

This is what He gave to Paul.

Paul gave it to the world.

1 Cor. 1:23 - "We preach Christ (the Messiah) crucified, [preaching which] to the Jews is a scandal and an offensive stumbling block [that springs a snare or trap], and to the Gentiles it is absurd and utterly unphilosophical nonsense."

Gal. 3:13 - "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: 'Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.'"

1 Cor. 2:2 - "For I resolved to know nothing (to be acquainted with nothing, to make a display of the knowledge of nothing, and to be conscious of nothing) among you except Jesus Christ (the Messiah) and Him crucified."

Gal. 6:12 - "Those who want to make a good impression and a fine show in the flesh would try to compel you to receive circumcision, simply so that they may escape being persecuted for allegiance to the cross of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One)."

And perhaps the greatest testament from Paul of all:

Gal. 6:14 - "But far be it from me to glory [in anything or anyone] except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah) through Whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world!"

Clearly this is THE most important thing that Paul felt he could share with the world.

Nothing. Nothing but the Cross of Jesus Christ by which mankind is saved to God and from his sin and worldly ways. Nothing but the Cross of Christ for his freedom from sickness and disease. Nothing but the Cross of Christ to effect even our Holy Ghost baptism.

The Cross is the central event in all of biblical and world history. There has never been anything greater or more effective than what Jesus did on the Cross.

This is THE revelation of God to man. Within it holds the secret and power of successful living for anyone who merely says "YES!" to it!

How about you today? Have you said "Yes!" to it? Have you appropriated all the blessings that are contained in it?

You know if you have or not. Perhaps only you and Jesus know this.

You cannot get anywhere with God until you deal with Calvary. You can't live on the Incarnation, and you can't leapfrog over the Cross to the Tomb.

You have to first deal thoroughly with the Cross.

Personally, I think this is what is weakening the Church today. The Cross is no longer popular. It is systematically being replaced by new emergent theologies and doctrines.

Why don't you have a conversation with Him about it today? Seriously. Why not?

If there is anything that lives up to "Keepin it Real", in my humble opinion, it doesn't get any more "real" than this people.

Be blessed,

Continuing in...

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Revealed Plan Of Jesus Christ, Pt. 2

The "Master Plan" of Jesus Christ was begun during what has become known as the Sermon on the Mount.

In my opinion it is the greatest Word that God has ever handed to the human race.

The first four "beatitudes" sets the foundation and an order to the elements needed for salvation.

Matthew 5:3-6 (KJV)
3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

The poor in spirit: this is crucial for it means that man must recognize his own moral bankruptcy in order to make way for the control of Jesus in their life.

They that mourn: the mourning is for the individuals lost life in sin. This MUST occur if one is going to repent and be forgiven.

The meek: This occurs when one admits their personal inadequacy, turns to Christ in repentance, and receives His life. The exchange of self righteousness for His righteousness occurs. "Inherit the earth" means that the believer reigns with Christ. The true disciple always sees following Jesus as more important than anything else. This will never happen properly until one becomes "meek". Meekness is not weakness. It takes courage to become less so Jesus becomes more.

They which hunger and thirst: this is the proof in the pudding so to speak. Every born-again believer will exhibit this spiritual hunger and thirsting for more of Jesus and His righteousness in the same way the physical body craves food when experiencing hunger pains. If one is not exhibiting this then there is something wrong that needs to be fixed. Something has not been yielded to Christ. Something has broken down elementally in the first two. Generally it is in the lack of fully yielding of oneself to Jesus.

These are NOT meant to be perceived as "steps" to be followed religiously. They are elements which are incorporated into the what occurs instantly when one gives their life to Jesus and becomes born-again. It's grace through faith, not working a system.

This is the Jesus "side" of His revelation. Tune in tomorrow for the Paul "side" of the Revealed Plan of Jesus Christ. Something still needed to happen to make this revelation complete for us to experience.

Together we are...

...Keepin' it real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Revealed Plan Of Jesus Christ, Pt. 1

There really is a plan you know. It is an ordered plan of Jesus Christ that was first partly revealed by Jesus Himself in the flesh upon the Mount of Olives during what has become known as "The Sermon on the Mount".

I say "partly revealed" because Jesus was not able to reveal all of it until it was completed. It would only be completed when He went to the Cross.

This is where the Apostle Paul enters into the revelation.

Jesus needed to complete His revealed plan to the human race by providing it to a person of His choosing. That person is Paul.

Look at how Paul explains it:

Galatians 1:11-12 - "For I want you to know, brethren, that the Gospel which was proclaimed and made known by me is not man's gospel [a human invention, according to or patterned after any human standard]. (12) For indeed I did not receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but [it came to me] through a [direct] revelation [given] by Jesus Christ (the Messiah).

This leaves absolutely no question to the fact that what Paul has revealed to the Church through the Word of God has been directly taught to Paul by Jesus Christ.

It was not given to him by the other apostles, nor by any other man.

Let's be clear here. This is what has made Paul unique. Paul was singled out by Jesus to be converted and to serve Him by direct physical confrontation on the Road to Damascus AFTER Jesus died and was resurrected.

"(16) To reveal (unveil, disclose) His Son within me so that I might proclaim Him among the Gentiles (the non-Jewish world) as the glad tidings (Gospel), immediately I did not confer with flesh and blood [did not consult or counsel with any frail human being or communicate with anyone]. (17) Nor did I [even] go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles (special messengers of Christ) before I was, but I went away and retired into Arabia, and afterward I came back again to Damascus."

The four gospel accounts are more historical accounts of Jesus rather than revelation. John of course, was later in life given the same type of revelation that Paul was given. Paul was given revelation about how to live in the present, John was given revelation about what would happen in the future.

Stay tuned as to what exactly this combined revealed order of the plan of Jesus Christ and Paul for living successfully for Him is .

You will not be disappointed. In fact, you will be surprised, pleased, and relieved.


...Keepin it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

Clint Eastwood movie? No, the inside of the Church of Jesus Christ.

Right from the very beginning of the established Church of Jesus Christ was there great grace and beauty. There was also deception, sin, and ugly behavior.

In fact, two of its earliest participants were literally named after Grace and Beauty.

They were the husband and wife team of Ananias and Sapphira.

Acts 5:1 - "BUT A certain man named Ananias with his wife Sapphira sold a piece of property, (2) And with his wife's knowledge and connivance he kept back and wrongfully appropriated some of the proceeds, bringing only a part and putting it at the feet of the apostles."

Grace and beauty giving in to greed and avarice. Consecrated Christians of the earliest formation of the apostolic church headed up by the apostles themselves. You had to be saved and sanctified to be a part of that.

Sin and greed can break through all barriers once man's heart turns cold and grieves the Holy Spirit.

(3) But Peter said, Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart that you should lie to and attempt to deceive the Holy Spirit, and should [in violation of your promise] withdraw secretly and appropriate to your own use part of the price from the sale of the land?"

Once the heart grew cold with selfish scheming, and the Holy Spirit fled them, A & S were easy pickin's for Satan.

It's basically the Adam and Eve story all over again. Once pure, now sidetracked by the temptation of shiny objects.

Satan knows his prey. He's been picking losers for centuries. Losers, by the way, are good for Satan.

Once Peter confronts the husband (Ananias) about his grievous sin against God ("You have not [simply] lied to men [playing false and showing yourself utterly deceitful] but to God."), Ananias is overcome and drops dead on the spot.

When Peter confronts Sapphira with the same rebuke, she drops dead too.

Satan + 2. Church -2.

(11) And the whole church and all others who heard of these things were appalled [great awe and strange terror and dread seized them].

I don't think the Church is appalled enough today. Not enough "great awe" or "strange terror".

It's been replaced by laziness, avarice, lying spirits, disinterest, hitmen evangelists doing the dirty work for pimp preachers, greed, false neo-emergent philosophies, watered down gospels, etc., ad nauseum.

You can't lie to God, or lie to people using God.

I'm actually surprised more people are not just flat out dropping dead. Especially at the pulpit.

I guess it's all collecting compound interest and will be P.O.D. (Payable On Death).

It's all certainly something to ponder.

Most of us can't comment on the state of the Church overall.

We can however, see what is really going on around our little corner of the Church.

Open your eyes. Examine your hearts. Clean out your ears.

Don't are responsible for your actions. When God calls you up you won't be able to cop out with "I was just doing what the preacher said!"

Adam tried that and...well...look at the mess he made.

Wake up O Ye Born-again, Spirit-filled Child of God. If it could happen to Grace and Beauty, it can happen to you.

Don't let your Grace be cheapened and your Beauty turned ugly.

Hey, it might be unpopular, but I am simply...

...Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin

Monday, December 5, 2011

Your Holy Boldness Changes Your Environment

Pharisees (authoritarians, legalists, religionists), then and today, always look to the carnal, fleshly, base, earthly, natural, and sensory oriented attributes of a person when drawing conclusions about them. They will weigh a persons looks, the style of their clothing, the way they speak, the way they act, how many degrees they have, what kind of title they have before and after their name, and maybe even what kind of car they drive.

Now granted, if the person being scrutinized is after a secular job then certainly one has to expect to be put under a microscope.

However, I'm not talking about a job interview here. I'm talking about how the brethren is treated within the confines of the Church.

Take a look this morning at how Peter and John were being perceived, keeping in mind that they were on the spot for DOING SOMETHING RIGHT AND GOOD!

Acts 4:13 - "Now when they saw the boldness and unfettered eloquence of Peter and John and perceived that they were unlearned and untrained in the schools [common men with no educational advantages], they marveled; and they recognized that they had been with Jesus."

The rich, powerful, and educated Pharisee could not comprehend how common uneducated fishermen could speak as well as they did, could rally a crowd like they did, or could handle themselves in a desperate situation like they did.

It didn't make sense in their carnally controlled natural minds. It is a clear example of the natural being confronted by the supernatural. The supernaturalness of God will always confound the natural state of those living apart from the influence of the Holy Spirit.

Holy boldness which comes from Spirit-filled believers will always change the minds and attitudes of those who are being exposed to it.

I said it would change perceptions, but sometimes it could swing either way. "They" are either going to love you or want to kill you, but one thing's for certain, they won't be able to ignore you!

You will find acceptance or resistance, even within the walls of the Church, the Body of Christ!

You will be loved and appreciated, or you will be reviled even by those you consider the "brethren".

Don't forget, you who are blood washed and Spirit-filled, sin and evil comes in subtle forms. Be wary of strong opinions that charge you openly with false and non-biblical accusations. Your boldness may be changing perceptions. Remember that gate swings both ways.

Again, your Holy Spirit filled boldness will change perceptions both positively and negatively.

Stay the course. The Holy Spirit knows what He is doing. Stand strong in faith that you are right where God wants you and stay the course.

The bottom line is that whatever the situation, whether in or out of the Church, is that you would be known for having been with Jesus.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Friday, December 2, 2011

There Is Only One Way

Some folks don't like their choices narrowed down too much

They would rather eat at a buffet than at a place where the menu was limited.

They would rather bank at an establishment that offered varied savings and interest plans.

They would rather search for a new car at a dealership which offered multiple brands of autos.

They would rather believe in polytheism, believing there are many gods not just One God.

It's the last one which will take you down.

This is one area where the believer must be bold and not back off one tiny bit.

There is one God. He is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He is revealed in the flesh by the Incarnate Jesus Christ, born of a virgin and Who died upon the Cross for our sins. He was Resurrected on the third day, and now sits at the right hand of the Father in Heaven interceding for us. He awaits the time when He will come and gather His Church, subsequently followed by His Second Advent where He will establish His reign on the earth once again.

This is indisputable. It's written in His Holy Word, and anything left to be fulfilled will occur as everything was before it.

Allah, Mohammed, Buddha, Confucius, the multiple Hindu deities, the pantheistic earth worshipers, and hundreds of other false idols created by men and the devil are NOT God.

The Bible is clear:

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

John 14:6 - "Jesus said to him, I am the Way and the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except by (through) Me."

This we must know, and know it well, if we are to be disciples of Jesus Christ.

This we must know, and know it well, if we are going to reap souls into the Kingdom before the appointed time of His return.

Jesus is Lord!

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Silence Of The Sheep

After the big rage that followed the healing of the crippled beggar, which we have been looking at all week, the Sanhedrin was faced with the dilemma of what to do with Peter and John.

The two disciples were creating a popular front against the corrupt religious system in place at the time. It was the same "whitewashed sepulchre" that killed Jesus.

After hastily conversing about the "issue" (hard to believe that healing someone would be an issue), they decided to let them off the hook with a stern reprimand.

Are you ready?

Acts 4:18 - "[So] they summoned them and imperatively instructed them not to converse in any way or teach at all in or about the name of Jesus."

"Never, in any way, shape, or form, mention, pray about, pray to, pray in, or preach or teach in or about the Name of Jesus!"

That'll teach them.

Or will it?

(19) "But Peter and John replied to them, Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you and obey you rather than God, you must decide (judge). (20) But we [ourselves] cannot help telling what we have seen and heard."

In the Pastor Kevin paraphrase: "Sorry,"

Boldness and confidence. You need this to be the rank and file Christian. You particularly need this if you are called by Christ into leadership.

Friend, it's not easy being a servant of Christ. He warned us of this on His way to the Cross. He said that people hated Him, and they will also hate us.

If you haven't been surprised yet at just exactly where you will find your enemy, trust me, you will be sooner or later.

Be wise. Be alert. Do not be moved off of who you are. Operate within what Jesus has given you...

...and never, never be silenced.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Are You One Of The Usual Suspects?

The healing of one insignificant wretched figure of a man causes a tremendous furor among the people and the religious leaders.

Familiar names of people who we last read about when Jesus was arrested and crucified pop up on the scene again.

Caiaphas and Annas. Two names that can make a person break out in a sweat.

Why the ruckus?

Peter and John used the opportunity of healing to preach the gospel, and that just ticked them off.

Acts 4:2 - "...vexed and indignant through and through because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in [the case of] Jesus the resurrection from the dead."

So the usual suspects ordered the rounding up of the usual suspects.

(3) "So they laid hands on them (arrested them) and put them in prison until the following day, for it was already evening."

It was a bit too late however, as 5,000 more people were led to Christ before they were stopped!

Not a bad kettle of fish for one healing.

After cooling their heels in the hoosegow overnight, the hit squad returns to grill them.

What they really wanted to know was if their arch-nemesis Jesus Christ was in any way involved. They still hadn't put to rest the dilemma of the empty tomb.

(7) - "And they set the men in their midst and repeatedly demanded, By what sort of power or by what kind of authority did [such people as] you do this [healing]?"

The new found Pentecostal Power makes another grand entrance!

(10) ...[it is] in the name and through the power and authority of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, Whom you crucified, [but] Whom God raised from the dead, in Him and by means of Him this man is standing here before you well and sound in body."

There it is.

This is why I always say that this crippled beggar's healing was the beginning of something new, something great in the foundation of Church history.

Built upon needs, not upon avarice.

It was the testing. It was the testing of the use of the Name of Jesus Christ by the believer.

It is yours today as well.

Read this next verse and make no mistake: this is one of the top ranked verses in all the bible in order of importance. The only reason I hesitate to name it as THE top verse is because there are too many others that qualify alongside of it. But make no mistake: this one is powerful, life changing, and indispensable!

(12) "And there is salvation in and through no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by and in which we must be saved."

No other way. No other method. No other Name. No other gods.

The Name of Jesus.

It always gets the desired result. Salvation and healing. Healing and salvation.

(13)...they recognized that they had been with Jesus."

Out of all of that, the healing of the beggar, the ensuing excitement, the night in jail, the desired result was ultimately achieved.

They were recognized as having Jesus all over them!

How many of us can say that today? What do people see in you? Who do they see?

In your petty arguments. In your angry retorts. In your unkindness. In your quest for selfish gain. In your incessant whining and complaining. In the shirking of your duties as first and foremost a disciple of Jesus...

...what is being seen and said of you?

Do they recognize you as having been with Jesus? Do they see Him all over you?

"I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live."

To get to that place. Yes, that is a worthy endeavor.

Tell someone you love them today. Tell someone your sorry. Tell someone about Jesus.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Acts 3: (All verses from Acts 3 and the Amplified Bible. Brackets below the verse are my comments).

(1) "NOW PETER and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour (three o'clock in the afternoon)."

{This was something the disciples continued to do after Pentecost}.

(2) "[When] a certain man crippled from his birth was being carried along, who was laid each day at that gate of the temple [which is] called Beautiful, so that he might beg for charitable gifts from those who entered the temple."

{This was a man who probably had been at this "usual" spot begging for many years. Perhaps Peter and John had passed by him hundreds of times before while on their way into the Temple. Maybe even Jesus had passed him by knowing this day would be beneficial (God's timing for healing to accomplish His purpose) to the Church}.

(3) "So when he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked them to give him a gift."

{Nothing spectacular about this. He begged everyone}.

(4) "And Peter directed his gaze intently at him, and so did John, and said, Look at us!"

{Peter wanted his full attention upon himself and John. Something powerful was about to occur. Peter absolutely knew this. This indicates that there was great faith and zero doubt present}.

(5) "And [the man] paid attention to them, expecting that he was going to get something from them."

{Does not indicate faith of any sort. He was expecting a financial gift, but he probably saw and felt the intensity of the Spirit about them}.

(6) "But Peter said, Silver and gold (money) I do not have; but what I do have, that I give to you: in [the use of] the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk!"

{One of the powerhouse verses in the entire bible! The first healing by Peter and John in the Book of Acts! See what the Holy Spirit has accomplished by the Baptism? This is the model for the Spirit-filled Church! Peter shifted the man off of financial gain and onto them and the fact that he was going to receive something different. Peter never expected the man would not receive as he was pronouncing the healing by USING THE NAME OF JESUS}.

(7) "Then he took hold of the man's right hand with a firm grip and raised him up. And at once his feet and ankle bones became strong and steady."

{Peter was simultaneously pulling the man to his feet leaving no doubt that the man would walk. Peter never once thought the man wouldn't be healed or he would have collapsed under his crippled legs. Instead, the opposite happened and the man's legs grew strong}.

(8) "And leaping forth he stood and began to walk, and he went into the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God."

{He was healed the moment Jesus pronounced it in Jesus' Name. There was never any doubt}.

The crippled man wasn't expecting a healing, but he wasn't NOT expecting it either.

Healing is a wonderful form of evangelism, perhaps Jesus Himself's favored method.

Many people were healed in the NT by Jesus and the disciples. Many were unbelievers before, and believers after they were healed. The cripple in this passage is a perfect example.

The message of the gospel and the task of the newly formed Church was to heal and save, save and heal.

It's the same message and task for today.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Monday, November 28, 2011

It Might Get Worse Before It Gets Better

Looking once again at Exodus and Moses' battle with the Pharaoh of Egypt (who was the most powerful ruler on earth at the time), and the struggle to have him release the Israelites from slavery, we find many similarities that is applicable today.

We have seen how it is God's desire for us to be delivered. We have seen that the devil and dark forces are not just going to roll over easy sometimes.

We will also see that not only can evil be obstinate but that it may also turn the heat up stronger and actually make it worse than it was when we started confronting it!

After going back and forth with Pharaoh, it seems to have made him more irritable. Not only has he refused Moses and God Himself, but he has decided to punish the Israelites and make it worse for them in their captivity!

He knew this would perturb the people and cause them to curse Moses and God and maybe put an end to this talk of freedom.

If you thought making bricks all day was hard, try making them without a decent supply of straw.

The end result is Moses confronting God:

Exodus 5:22-23 - "Then Moses turned again to the Lord and said, O Lord, why have You dealt evil to this people? Why did You ever send me? (23) For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has done evil to this people, neither have You delivered Your people at all."

(Why did I listen to you? It's worse then before! Now my [husband, son, daughter, friend] has become angry and abusive toward me!)

It's easy for us to side against Moses here because we have the end of the story. However, put yourself in his sandals at that time.

Maybe you have even experienced this first hand. Maybe even right now.

Who are you interceding for? A wayward son or daughter (I can personally attest to being in that position and actually watching their life get worse before they gave in to God)? An unsaved husband or wife, where arguments about the subject have now erupted and bad behavior has increased?

The passage speaks to being in the place where it was just a desire to get a loved one or friend into the Kingdom of God but has now increased into a complete critical meltdown to the point where you have even questioned God.

"OK Lord, you're telling me to come against the one who has blinded my ________so they can't hear the gospel (2 Cor. 4:4), but now it's 10 times worse than before!"

I know. I know. Be patient. The dark forces of evil principalities are trying to dissuade you.

Sometimes it gets worse before it gets better.

It actually indicates a good sign. Satan's last hurrah. He doesn't like to lose quietly.

Just remember one thing. In confrontation with the goodness of Jesus Christ and the power you have at your disposal in His Name, evil loses.

Stay the course. In Christ you already have the victory. Be reminded and encouraged by that today. Keep hammering away at the god of this world. Break him down in the Name of Jesus! Keep telling him, "Let my _________GO!"

Jesus NEVER fails!

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Friday, November 25, 2011

He Will Never Leave You Hanging

Looking again at Pharaoh, who is typical of Satan himself.

God told Moses back in Exodus 4:21 - "And the Lord said to Moses, When you return into Egypt, see that you do before Pharaoh all those miracles and wonders which I have put in your hand; but I will make him stubborn and harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go."

Let's not make a common error here. This verse does not indicate that God caused Pharaoh to be stubborn and unrelenting on purpose. Rather, Pharaoh's heart was already naturally obstinate and anything God threw at him would only make him more angry and determined.

Just like Satan.

Think of it this way: As the sun hardens clay but softens wax, so it is with truth. The results reveal the nature of the materials.

The nature of Pharaoh was evil so he could only respond with evil.

However, we see the nature of God and His willingness to be our advocate in the most difficult of situations.

The end result will always be the same. Even if the demons of hell are chasing you down, God will lead them into the trap they never saw coming.

He will deliver you. Case closed.

If you know someone that says they have been forsaken by God you may openly call them a liar.

The Word is clear. "I will not, I will not, I will not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let you down (relax My hold on you)! Assuredly not!" (Heb. 13:5 AMP).

Can't get any clearer than that.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Sometimes It's Going To Take A Real Battle

The world has become accustomed to getting what they want when they want it.

Christians often expect the same results. A lot more of the world rubs off on the Church than we expect.

We looked yesterday at how the Word instructs that the god of this world (Satan) blinds people to the light of the gospel so that they cannot even see or hear it, let alone respond to it. Paul said there is a literal veil over them so they cannot see clearly the message of Christ. (2 Cor. 4:4)

The answer is to use the authority we have in Jesus Christ and His Name to command the powers of darkness to loose them from the veil.

Here in Exodus we see Moses in a "type" of battle with darkness to loose the Israelites from captivity.

Exodus 5:1 - "AFTERWARD MOSES and Aaron went in and told Pharaoh, Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, Let My people go, that they may hold a feast to Me in the wilderness."

Notice that first it is the Name of God that Moses and Aaron are invoking. "Thus says the Lord"! This is how every Christian should do battle today with the evil forces. Instead of "Thus Says The Lord", it should now be "In The Name of Jesus Christ!" Then, as Moses did, make known the demand.

Let My People Go! Let My Loved Ones Go! In the Name of Jesus, I command you to Let My ______Go!

However, while sometimes the demonic spirits will roll right over, more times than not there will be obstinacy and resistance. We are not dealing with dull minds. We are dealing with ancient well trained and wise agents of Satan himself. They will often test and resist you.

Make no mistake or be fooled. They all know who Jesus is!

Like Pharaoh (who in this case is a "type" of Satan), they may question your "credentials".

Vs. 2 - "But Pharaoh said, Who is the Lord, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I know not the Lord, neither will I let Israel go."

As the passage wears on we know that it was a true battle of back and forth before Pharaoh actually released them. Even then he had second thoughts and chased them down to the edge of the Red Sea where his armies were drowned and the Israelites escaped.

So friends, let me say, do not lose hope in the battle for your loved ones. Keep challenging hell with the Name of Jesus Christ in the effort to win their minds back from the power of darkness. Eventually the Name of Jesus will prevail!

Don't forget that God may well use this as a faith building exercise for you as well to get on the front line of the battle. Often people wonder of what use they can be to the Kingdom. Well, here is a great use! Be an intercessor in winning captives from the devil. Perhaps someone else may get them to hear the gospel, but you can free their minds to receive it!

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Lost Need You

It can be frustrating sometimes. Believe me I know. I see people often make poor choices, uninformed choices, ignorant choices, and even no choice at all, and it can wear you down if you do not know the reason behind it.

We can find it mind boggling how we could see the truth of God and apply it to our own life, yet have to sit back and watch others become swallowed up in the darkness we left behind, even becoming hostile toward what we love and embrace.

It's like being thrust from a dark abyss and when we turn to grab someone's hand behind us to bring them through the portal closes up around them.

Many of us have left friends, loved ones, co-workers and others behind in order to follow the clear leading of Jesus Christ in our life, and we are concerned, even mourn the loss. Sometimes it's so painful it's as if they died.

The bible gives us an answer to this issue. It might not make you feel any better, but it will at least give you a direction by which to pray and form a battle plan.

2 Corinthians 4:4 (Amplified Bible)
"For the god of this world has blinded the unbelievers' minds [that they should not discern the truth], preventing them from seeing the illuminating light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ (the Messiah), Who is the Image and Likeness of God."

If you think about it, this was you before you knew Jesus. I know I can go back to a time when I scoffed, ridiculed, and denied anything to do with Jesus. I could have been saved close to 15 years sooner had I not been so enslaved by the enemy and blinded to the truth.

All of those people you tell about Jesus or pray for to see the light cannot do anything about it. They are like being physically blind and told to read the bible. They just can't.

As bright as the truth of the gospel is, they cannot see it. They can't even see the Glory of Christ, and that is pretty illuminating.

So, that leaves a great responsibility up to us. This is why being a soul winner is important.

The desperate soul, the unbeliever, is not capable of getting there alone. There is too much of an obstacle. They need help.

They need us.

They need us to pray mightily against the powers of darkness that keep them blinded. They need us to fight for them. They need us to intervene and intercede for them. They need us to come against Satan in the Name of Jesus Christ and demand Satan release them to Jesus! As hard as Moses fought against Pharaoh for the nation of Israel, we need to fight much harder for the release of captive souls over to Jesus Christ!

We must learn that we are confronting the wrong party. Stop haranguing your loved ones to do this or that. It's like trying to teach a pig to sing. You waste precious time and annoy the pig!

No, the way to your loved ones release from captivity is to attack the jail! You must break down the power that Satan wields over them and tear the veil from their eyes in Jesus' name!

Then and only then will your words make sense to them.

First confront and defeat the Master Deceiver, the Blinder, then speak the gospel truth to those who now have been freed from the interference to hearing it.

Once they were "prevented from seeing" the truth, now they will be capable of receiving it.

It is a shame this is not taught and preached more. It is the biblical method of spiritual warfare which has been used for centuries to great effect. People pray to God for the salvation of their loved ones as if He is the One who has them captive! No! We must use the Name of Jesus as the Body of Christ to break through the darkness of evil and rescue those who are spiritually blind and helpless.

Take the authority Christ has given you and fight!

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Living The Cross Style

Luke 9:23 (ESV)
"And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me."

Don't worry. This verse sounds more ominous than it is. Jesus has already been crucified. The believer has already been crucified with Him as well (Gal. 2:20). So, this is not speaking of picking up a heavy cross and lugging it around. In fact it's more about getting rid of a heavy burden ("For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.").

This about conforming to His way each and every day. It's living the Style of the Cross.

It's different from the way we have been taught to live by the world and its philosophies.

It's a radiating force generating outward rather than a self attracting force inward.

We are always better because of Jesus. We are never better as a result of self no matter how much we think that is true.

Become subtracted from the Cross and you will die. Sorry. It's blunt I know. It doesn't make it less true.

Apart from the Cross and us embracing it (taking it up) every day, we will become less than God's desire.

If we become less than God's desire we will shrivel up and be devoured by self.

Remember, without God you won't be able to stand yourself. Don't think for one moment that egoism and narcissism is love. It's really self loathing wrapped up in a facade.

Our being able to stand our own self is all wrapped up in knowing that God loves us. When we turn from the Cross toward vain philosophies that elevate self, we throw up a shield against the love of God and turn the human heart back to stone.

It's the Cross. Stop looking in the mirror for two seconds and recognize it's ALL about Jesus.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Monday, November 21, 2011

Now You Will See What God Will Do To The Devil!

God has established a covenant with the believer in Jesus Christ as sure as the one He made with Israel.

God said to Moses in Exodus 6:1 - "THEN THE Lord said to Moses, Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh; for [compelled] by a strong hand he will [not only] let them go, but he will drive them out of his land with a strong hand."

What God promises and gets behind comes to pass!

He will do this very same thing for you when you obey Him and stand up to the devil in the Name of Jesus Christ!

Here it is, from the mouth of Jesus Himself, it's all right here:

Luke 10:17-19 - "The seventy returned with joy, saying, Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name! (18) And He said to them, I saw Satan falling like a lightning [flash] from heaven. (19) Behold! I have given you authority and power to trample upon serpents and scorpions, and [physical and mental strength and ability] over all the power that the enemy [possesses]; and nothing shall in any way harm you."

"I have given you authority and power!"

"Nothing shall harm you!"

"Demons are subject to us in YOUR NAME!"

Praise God!

Friends, when I got a hold of this great truth some many years ago it changed my personal life and ministry to others. I found that in His strength and delegated power to me in His Name, I had nothing to fear and did not have to leave my life up to random good days and bad.

I learned that demons, devils, and even Satan himself is subject to me by the power of the Name of Jesus Christ! It is not us he is afraid of but Christ in us as His Body (The Church).

"Resist the devil and he will flee from you!" (James 4:7)

"So that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth". (Php. 2:10)

"And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour." (Acts 16:18)

"And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues." (Mark 16:17

"By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus." (Acts 4:30)

Simply put, be a disciple. Be what Jesus has called and empowered you to be!

In this great truth is the answer to all of what comes against us in the course of daily living, from sickness, to personal attacks, to financial problems, to the salvation of loved ones. Whatever it is, it is satisfactorily handled by applying the power of the Name of Christ as the result of His sacrifice on the Cross!

It was at the Cross where Jesus defeated Satan, and he remains defeated today!

Remind the devil of that. Satan hates the Cross and Jesus, but he trembles at the very thought of it!

"You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!" (James 2:19)

So, there you are. From the beginning God has been casting evil out for those who would listen to and obey Him. He has never failed or let anyone down. Those who faithfully utilize His instructions ALWAYS gain the victory!

Be blessed in every endeavor you go forth to conquer in His Name!

Jesus NEVER fails!

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Friday, November 18, 2011

What's Waiting At Your Door?

Heb. 11:4 - "[Prompted, actuated] by faith Abel brought God a better and more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, because of which it was testified of him that he was righteous [that he was upright and in right standing with God], and God bore witness by accepting and acknowledging his gifts. And though he died, yet [through the incident] he is still speaking."

Abel was blessed. As far as we can tell he was the first to be blessed after the sin of his parents in the Garden.

Abel was blessed because he did the right thing. The testimony concerning him says he was a righteous person because he maintained a right relationship with God. His sacrifice of a lamb was typical of what God would present to us in the future as the once for all spotless Lamb of God, Jesus Christ.

Abel was so righteous and concerned about pleasing God that he was going to do that even if it killed him.

It did. Yet, his testimony of faith is so strong that the Word says he is still speaking today!

After 6,000 years, Abel's faith still instructs us!

His brother Cain, who would become his executioner, still speaks to us as well. He is the epitome of instruction about failing to please God. He is Abel's unrighteous opposite.

After he failed to please God by his paltry sacrifice he became depressed and angry.

God addressed Cain and asked him why he was so angry.

God then counseled Cain and said, "If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it."

Cain's response to God was to plot against and kill his brother Abel.

When faith is the motivator in our life it spurs us onward to seek to honor and please God. We rise to goodness not descend into degradation.

This is why we are constantly being disappointed by the people we rely on to lead us in our government, in our educational system, and yes, even in our churches. While they may be educated, motivated, and even dedicated to the task at hand, they cannot develop and maintain mastery over the spiritual and moral structure of their lives.

Simply put, they have no faith in God so His power and goodness is negated in them. They are morally and spiritually bankrupt. They would like to do good but they don't know how. Eventually their carnal desires override their intelligence and self established goodness and they fail.

"If you do well will you not be accepted?"

It is true. If we accept Jesus Christ we will indeed do well. We will flourish. We will excel.

We will live beyond and above what the mere flesh is capable of.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Friday, November 11, 2011

Where Faith Enters In

Heb. 11:3 - "By faith we understand that the worlds [during the successive ages] were framed (fashioned, put in order, and equipped for their intended purpose) by the word of God, so that what we see was not made out of things which are visible."

It was easy for me to believe.

I spent my entire life previously not being an unbeliever necessarily, but just simply not caring.

I was ready to believe. I didn't have to "see" something to believe it. After all, there are plenty of things we do "see" that are not real at all.

I never had to actually see God hang the stars in the sky to believe that He put them there. Or that Jesus went to the Cross for me.

What I have come to witness over the years is that there are some folks who are gullible and will believe anything anyone tells them (non-critical thinkers). There are some people who don't really think about issues on a deep level and simply don't care (self absorbed). There are some who will listen to any convincing argument and weigh the evidence before making a decision (critical thinkers)). There are some who will listen but who are always skeptical (conspiracy theorists).

The point is, just because we can't apply the five senses to a fact or truth doesn't make it less a fact or truth.

Neither does the smell of smoke need to evoke a panic response. It could just be the neighbor barbecuing.

Hannibal crossing the Alps on elephants. William Wallace defeating England. Grant accepting Lee's surrender. None of us were there yet we accept it all as historical truth.

Jesus on the Cross.

I wasn't there, but I was on His mind.

There is one factor that is present in the story of Christ that may not be present when discerning and learning any other historical fact.

The supernatural element of the Holy Spirit that can bring a truth to the heart and make it as real as if we were standing in the middle of the actual event.

I am a pastor, teacher, and student of the Word of God for over 20 years and I could not give you a good enough explanation as to how that happens.

That my friends is where faith enters in.

" that what we see was not made out of things which are visible."

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><