Thursday, March 31, 2011

"What's In A Name?"

Isaiah 26:4 (AMP) - "...the Lord God is an everlasting Rock [the Rock of Ages]."

He is the Undefeatable One. The Eternal Strong One. 

He is the All Sufficient Lord and God. The Everlasting God. The God of The Covenant.

He is our:


He is my:

Shining Sun of Righteousness. Wonderful Counselor. Mighty God. Everlasting Father. Prince of Peace. Ancient of Days.

He is:

Emmanuel. My King. The Angel of the Lord. The Alpha and Omega. The First and the Last.

The Great I AM. 


He is mine.

He is Jesus.

He is my REDEEMER!

Is He yours?

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

"The Shalom Of God"

How about a little peace this morning? Perhaps there is some anxiety. A little bit of uncertainty over something. Perhaps even some dread. All of these and much more are enemies of peace. In fact, when we ponder all of the things that we go through which virtually eliminates peace from our midst, that alone can be daunting enough.

We should read the bible as it is without much more than Holy Spirit enlightenment. I'm a fan of leaving it as uncomplicated as we can. It's supernatural state is one of simplicity. Like this verse:

Isaiah 26:3 (AMP - "You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You."

Here is a great promise this morning. Note how it says that He will do wonderful things for you to lighten your load and bring peace into your life. He will guard you and keep you.

So what happened? Where is all of that peace? The "shalom" of God.

Did you read the entire verse? Or just the parts where it says what God will do for you?

What about your responsibility?

Is your mind centered and focused upon Him? Have you committed your entire life and everything in it to Him? Do you lean upon Him as your strength? Are all of your hopes and dreams for this life and the next confidently found in Him?

I hear answers to this all of the time, and they are usually along the lines of "Well, perhaps not in the same way as you do Pastor."  As I do? Like my position of leadership affords me some sort of express peace. Like it's automatic? Or that it comes more easily?

In other words the answer is no, and who I am offers no additional dispensation or comfort. We are all in the same boat here. I have to be sure I am exercising my relationship with Him as much as the next person. In fact, because of my great responsibility, maybe even moreso. My peace, as does yours, relies on how much God I allow in my life.

The perfect peace He speaks of is ours when we cultivate it. Our level of peace is in direct correlation to our level of desire for more of God.

This is not works. It has nothing to with righteousness or your salvation. It has to do with how you live out your salvation.

I choose the peace and shalom of God. I choose not to allow the cares of the world to infiltrate and make my life no better than the non-believer.

I choose "on earth as it is in heaven". And since heaven is full of peace, so am I. So will you.

Keep it all upon Him.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

"Have You Tried Everything?"

When I say "have you tried everything", I mean it in the biblical sense. I don't mean "tried" in the sense of sampling things, or testing out new items or ideas to see if you like them.

I'm talking about weighing out your life and seeing how it balances.

It's the difference between a carnal person and a supernatural spiritual believer in Jesus Christ.

It is what God has designed us to be.

It is normal. The carnal world majority would disagree. It still does not change what God considers normal.

1 Corinthians 2:15 (AMP) - "But the spiritual man tries all things [he examines, investigates, inquires into, questions, and discerns all things], yet is himself to be put on trial and judged by no one [he can read the meaning of everything, but no one can properly discern or appraise or get an insight into him]."

See, the born-again, supernatural spiritual man puts the world and its ways on trial. This is the biblical sense of the term "tries". While the disciple of Jesus Christ is in the position to weigh and try the things and behaviors of the world, we will never come under the trial and judgment of the world when it comes to spiritual matters. That's because they are the tried and judged, not us.

John 5:24 (AMP) - "I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, the person whose ears are open to My words [who listens to My message] and believes and trusts in and clings toand relies on Him Who sent Me has (possesses now) eternal life. And he does not come into judgment [does not incur sentence of judgment, will not come under condemnation], but he has already passed over out of death into life."

Those of us who are living in etrnal life will never have to stand judged by Christ when we pass from this world into our heavenly home. We entered into eternal Kingdom life the moment we accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior. While the rest of the world is being judged, we will be welcomed!

Guard the Jesus life all of your time here on earth. Test and examine, investigate and discern all things to be sure they are of God so as not to fall into a snare. Avoid the shiny objects meant to lead you to what might seem to be greener grass.

Remind yourself today that you are spiritual men and women of God, followers and disciples of Jesus Christ. Do not get hung up on things that separate, but what unites you in the Body of Christ.

Be the strong foundational stones placed in support of the Church, and do not be moved from the King's Dominion.

Know who you are!

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Monday, March 28, 2011

"Supernatural, Natural, Unnatural"

Pick one. I choose to live in the supernatural. Far too many choose the alternative, particularly just staying in the natural.

1 Corinthians 2:14 (AMP) - "But the natural, nonspiritual man does not accept or welcome or admit into his heart the gifts and teachings and revelations of the Spirit of God, for they are folly (meaningless nonsense) to him; and he is incapable of knowing them [of progressively recognizing, understanding, and becoming better acquainted with them] because they are spiritually discerned and estimated andappreciated."

This is the importance of being born-again. Until that happens man in his natural state cannot receive the teachings and counsel of God. The Word of God says that it is actually all mumbo-jumbo to those who cannot discern it.

Makes perfect sense to me. I remember being on the other side of supernatural. Both the natural and the unnatural.

The unnatural is even farther away. It is a perversion of even the things of the natural.

Look at it this way. In our natural state from birth, and being born not with a propensity to do good, but actually evil (in other words, we will eventually commit sin), we are still designed to follow a natural order. For instance, it is God's plan that mankind procreate and multiply, so God's natural order of things is for a man to marry a woman. In the unnatural, extreme sin causes things to go haywire. Mankind will then try to change God's universal law by enacting laws for men to marry men, and women to women. It's unnatural even for unredeemed mankind.

Another example is that God has designed within the confines of the natural joining of a man and a woman, for the woman to become pregnant and carry that child through to birth. In the unnatural, mankind has now enacted laws to intervene and abort that process and kill the already formed child in the womb before birth.

Man even in his natural state will often make poor choices and slip into the unnatural.

The only cure for this is to live in the supernatural. I know it might sound space age or like science fiction, but it perfectly describes natural man becoming united with a supernatural God. When that happens we become supernatural as well.

It just means that we are now empowered to live above the natural state. We have a heightend awareness now due to the Holy Spirit regenerating our natural spirit.

Let's face it, the entire process is completely supernatural, so why would we shy away from understanding that it effects every part of us?

"Spiritually discerned and estimated". I have seen some real blunders committed even by alleged Spirit filled believers that has had disastrous results just because they abandoned their supernatural estate and reverted to operating in the natural. Some have even slipped away further into the unnatural. It's the carnal flesh in all its perverted, anti-Christlike attraction. Shiny objects lead astray.

Living under the open heaven. Understanding our relationship and function in the King's Dominion. Receiving with glory this unsurpassable and limitless joy that comes with the supernatural release from obsessive religious "doing", and simply resting in the peace that is not discerned in the natural state. Being.

How wonderful to allow God to just have His way!

Do you know what happens when you ask God for more?

He gives it to you!

Have Your way Lord, have Your way. More of You Lord, less of me. We want more. Pour it out today.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Friday, March 25, 2011

"Never Tire, Never Stop"

Laziness. Apathy. Discouragement. Restless spirit. Contrary spirit. Argumentative spirit. Prideful attitude. These are just a few of the things that can tire and wear a person out and make them less effective in proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ. How are you going to proclaim it if you can't even live it? 

You cannot quench another persons thirst when drawing from an empty well.

Acts 5:42 (AMP) - "Yet [in spite of the threats] they never ceased for a single day, both in the temple area and at home, to teach and to proclaim the good news (Gospel) of Jesus [as] the Christ (the Messiah)."

They never ceased. Where is that mind of Christ today? Today believers think they deserve a day off from God.

Is church really such a chore that you think you need a vacation from it? If so, then a). Your church is doing something wrong, or b). Something is wrong with you. It could be "a", but generally it's a wrong spirit. If you get enough people with the wrong spirit, then an entire church could falter.

The Word says "in spite of the threats". 

Do you think your situation from day to day is on the level of what Peter and John faced? Are you fresh from a scourging and feel you need to rest and patch up your wounds for a few weeks? Probably not, but those little rascals of yours can certainly try one's patience and just make you throw up your hands in defeat. Same thing, right?

No. It's not the same thing. Neither is the mild head cold. Or your iron broke and you don't have a fresh shirt to wear. Or you are a little stressed out from work this week so you decided to sleep in a few dozen Sundays. Or your love life is on the fritz and you feel depressed and lonely.

Don't worry. God understands. Right?

Wrong. He doesn't understand.

Here's what He understands. He has made you more than a conqueror in Christ. He has made you an overcomer. He has empowered you as a spiritual dynamo (dunamis). He expects you to act like the NEW creation He has made you, not like the OLD feeble and whiny shambles you used to be! No! He doesn't understand! Is it so hard to believe that what He bled for He is not so willing to compromise? Take it up with Him. I'm just His messenger. I'm speaking prophetically. While this is coming right from God, and is designated to spread to the masses, I have to admit that I have more than a few faces in front of me at this moment. Yes, I actually know people like this. Too many in fact. It is what's known as the pastor's heartbreak.

Nothing shall get in the way (barring hospitalization, sickness, occasional unavoidable conflicts). There is no excuse to compromise the work of the proclamation of the good news of God's provision in Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit for the salvation, healing, and deliverance of mankind (sozo).

This is way beyond mere church attendance. Poor attendance is a symptom, not a cause. There's a lot more scary stuff going on in a persons life when they start missing church regularly. It's no longer "in spite of the threats they never ceased", but has now become "because of the threats they feared and drew cold".

Maybe your church is different. Maybe it doesn't matter when folks don't show up. In my church we view it as a ministry center. Things happen beyond the prayers, worship, and offering. It's a repair shop for the broken human spirit. We strive for "every person a minister", and when someone "no shows" it leaves a hole. It's not so big that we don't notice you were even gone. When someone doesn't show in my church it's like a child not showing for dinner. We get concerned. It's family. True members of God's family has those kind of strong bonds in love.

Is that not how it should be? Is that not normal Christian living? Has it gotten so modernized now that this model seems strange? Sorry if I don't jump on the popular neo-church bandwagon. I still believe that church matters. I also still believe in hell, as well as a slew of other biblical doctrines that are being jettisoned in this post-modern era..

Our life is never more important than the gospel we preach if we are a true child of God and a disciple of Jesus Christ.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Thursday, March 24, 2011

"If You're Going To Insist On Suffering..."

I wonder how many disciples of Jesus would admit they were if the threat of 40 lashes plus 1 was staring them in the face?

We have it so easy in the post-modern, civilized era. At least here in the USA and other "enlightened" and intellectually, and technologically advanced nations.

Acts 5:40 (AMP) - "So, convinced by him, they took his advice; and summoning the apostles, they flogged them and sternly forbade them to speak in or about the name of Jesus, and allowed them to go."

That was condsidered getting off lightly. They could have crucified them. They would have too, if not for the sound reasoning of Gamaliel the Pharisee and Rabbi.

Most folks would have counted their blessings, licked their wounds, and shut their mouths about Jesus for the rest of their lives.

Well, they rejoiced alright, but not the way we might think.

Acts 5:41 (AMP) - "So they went out from the presence of the council (Sanhedrin), rejoicing that they were being counted worthy [dignified by the indignity] to suffer shame and be exposed to disgrace for [the sake of] His name."

They rejoiced in the beating they took. Not exactly the Church model that I have been exposed to. 

They wore their suffering with honor just because they took it for Jesus. They were tried and tempered, and proven worthy.

However, please note that I do not condone or believe in suffering just for the sake of suffering. The passage here is very clear. It was for their connection to Christ as their Lord and Savior that they were beaten. It was for that and that alone they rejoiced in it.

No one should believe that sickness or disease somehow glorifies God. In fact, it's clear from the Word that the opposite is true. Healing and deliverance from sickness and disease is what glorifies Jesus!

See how diluted the Church has become? How watered down is the gospel when people think they are doing something for Jesus just because they have cancer? This is a gross perversion of the Word, and actually detracts from the glorious message. It interferes with believers putting themselves at risk for the furtherance of the Kingdom if they think they can warm a pew and play the victim, all the while erroneously identifying with what the disciples went through in this passage.

God help us if any believer should ever think they have done God a favor by suffering with cancer, diabetes, heart disease, etc. If we believe that then we are charging God with a gross injustice and violation of everthing the Word says He is!

It is the devil who has come to seek, kill, and destroy.

It is Jesus Christ who saves, heals, and delivers (sozo). It is Jesus who has come to give life abundantly and overflowing.

It's imperative to get that straight if we are going to be the Church.

Suffering for the furtherance of the gospel is one thing.

Suffering needlessly is another.

One is glorious, mighty, and powerful.

The other is needless and sad.

I think we should strive to know the difference.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

"What In The World Just Happened Here?"

I have seen it happen time and again. In my own personal life, and in the life of the church.

God will move in with amazing healings, signs, wonders, miracles, fresh revival, comfort, peace...

...all following some of the worst possible times of your life. I'm talking about times of great discouragement, treachery, deceitfulness, plots, sickness, injury, and anything that can make you wonder "what in the world just happened here?".

Take the incident in Acts 5. Anananias and Saphira plotted to deceive the early church by agreeing to sell some property and give the proceeds to the church. They reneged on that promise TO GOD, and both paid the price of being struck down stone cold dead for their thievery (it's thievery once you give it away and then take it back). Needless to say, it got the attention of the church.

Acts 5:11 (AMP) - "And the whole church and all others who heard of these things were appalled [great awe and strange terror and dread seized them]."

It doesn't even have to be that dramatic to shake a church. It could be more subtle like someone systematically pilfering from the church, or people abruptly and angrily leaving without explanation. Integral parts of the church breaking down and leaving behind in the wake, confusion, anger, disruption, and a general sense of stunned wonderment. "What in the world just happened here?"

Something has to fill the gaping hole, both in the church and in the heart.

Having lived through various scenarios over the 20 years I've been a pastor, I have found one thing. God has got it covered. Rather than change (even tragic and forced change) being the end of the world as we see it, God swoops in and often with a stunning plan, absolutely transforms the church and its people with a supernatural love bomb that revitalizes the injured atmosphere.

Look what happened when Ananias and Saphira weren't even cold in their graves yet (and I am serious friends, I have seen God work as quick).

Acts 5:12 (AMP) - "Now by the hands of the apostles (special messengers) numerousand startling signs and wonders were being performed among the people. And by common consent they all met together [at the temple] in the covered porch (walk) called Solomon's."

This is the good side of "What in the world just happened here?".

Is it possible that God could restore His people and His church to even greater strength and proportions than before?

Read below and know that I am personally witnessing this happening even now!

Acts 5:13-15 (AMP) - "13 And none of those who were not of their number dared to joinand associate with them, but the people held them in high regard and praised and made much of them. 14 More and more there were being added to the Lord those who believed [those who acknowledged Jesus as their Savior and devoted themselves to Him joined and gathered with them], crowds both of men and of women."

More and more. From less and less to more and more practically overnight. That's God. This is what I'm seeing. This is what I am living. More of everything. People, finances, miracles, healing, love, joy, peace, ministry.

I'm on that train for keeps. Here's what I am believing for:

Acts 5:15-16 (AMP) - "15 So that they [even] kept carrying out the sick into the streets and placing them on couches and sleeping pads, [in the hope] that as Peter passed by, at least his shadow might fall on some of them. 16 And the people gathered also from the towns and hamlets around Jerusalem, bringing the sick and those troubled with foul spirits, and they were all cured."

Do you know what this is? It's the face of revival. It's what it looks like. The elusive revival that escapes the searching by so many for so long when it is hovering over us under the open heaven. 

What you have just read in the verses above is what church should be. It's normal church environment.

How long have we functioned abnormally? How much longer will we sit and tolerate weak religious meanderings, never seeing the power of God at work in us or others? How long will we subject ourselves to believeing that the abnormal is normal?

If it really is "on earth as it is in heaven" then either God or us has it wrong. If the Church as we know it is "as it is in heaven" then something is wrong in heaven!

Well, I happen to know it's us, not heaven. Since I have been on both sides of it I am painfully aware of lost years of thinking this is the best it can be.

Let me encourage you. There's more and it's better! Reach up and take it and bring it down around your ears! Don't ask God for His Kingdom to come. It's been all around you for 2,000 years!

How in the world have we missed it?

What in the world just happened here? I'll tell you. We finally recognized what revival is. It comes with being revived.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

"Who Changed The Rules?"

When you were a child you played childish games. Freeze Tag, Flashlight Tag, Hide and Go Seek. There were rules that governed those games, but they seemed to change every time you played it. Someone would always try to invent a new rule or change and existing one to suit themselves in any given situation.

Religion does the same thing. Just as childish.

Acts 4:29-30 (AMP) - "29 And now, Lord, observe their threats and grant to Your bond servants [full freedom] to declare Your message fearlessly, 30 While You stretch out Your hand to cure and to perform signs and wonders through the authority and by the power of the name of Your holy Child and Servant Jesus."

When did this change? Who changed the rules on this deal? Who usurped the authority of God? From power to powerlessness in 2,000 years.

Entire religious systems who allege to remain Christian, are teaching at seminary and denominational levels that this method of how Jesus and His disciples operated in the early church is no longer valid.

On what authority? Certainly not God's. Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Acts 4:31 (AMP) - "31 And when they had prayed, the place in which they were assembled was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they continued to speak the Word of God with freedom and boldness and courage."

 Boldness? Courage? Holy Ghost shaking? I know a few places that need that desperately!

However, instead of adhering to God's Word, they change the rules and say that this is no longer necessary. It's simply good enough to read about it.

Yikes. God help us. Really.

Is it any wonder that we have spawned generation after generation of tight fisted, miserly, spiritual weaklings, who'd rather lavish themselves with trinkets, baubles, and toys, as they are distracted by every shiny object Madison Ave. can throw in their path?

Acts 4:32-34 (AMP) - "32 Now the company of believers was of one heart and soul, and not one of them claimed that anything which he possessed was [exclusively] his own, but everything they had was in common and for the use of all. 33 And with great strength and ability and power the apostles delivered their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace (loving-kindness and favor and goodwill) rested richly upon them all. 34 Nor was there a destitute or needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses proceeded to sell them, and one by one they brought (gave back) the amount received from the sales."

 Strength. Power. Ability. No lack. Supernatural generosity.

What happened to that Church?

It's been swallowed up in a vortex of carnal social atmosphere. Church is a club for many, not a living organism. People go to church for program, not praise. Religion, not relationship.

Praise God it's not that way all over. I think there is a long way to go, but I believe it is starting to change. It seems that more and more are coming out of the glitz and the glimmer of the post-modern neo-cathedral, and returning to the simple basics of the God designed, Jesus led Church. 

Simplicity with a soul. Truth with signs and wonders. No confusion. No distraction.

Receive everything that God gives you and recycle. Feel the power of God coursing through your veins as it leaves you and enters someone else. 

May the Living Breathing Body of Christ breathe its Fire into everyone we come into contact with!

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Monday, March 21, 2011

"I'm Sorry, I just Can't Help It""

How in the world could anyone deny the extraordinary miracles concerning Jesus? Even when they happen right before their eyes, and there is no possible grounds for denial?

Acts 4:16-17 (AMP) - "16 Saying, What are we to do with these men? For that an extraordinary miracle has been performed by (through) them is plain to all the residents of Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it.
17 But in order that it may not spread further among the people and the nation, let us warn and forbid them with a stern threat to speak any more to anyone in this name [or about this Person]."

This is the row that was caused by Peter and John healing a crippled beggar.

If it wasn't written down in the Word, and if I hadn't actually confronted it myself personally from time to time, I wouldn't believe it based on hearsay.

That attitude can grow and spin out of control.

Acts 4:18 (AMP) - "[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."

"In or about" the name of Jesus.

Do you have children in the public school system? Work in, or know someone who works for the government? How about a hospital? Certain private businesses? All of these and more have restrictions about openly talking to others about, or promoting in any way, Jesus Christ.

He's not very popular among the majority you know. Neither are you if you openly follow Him.

People will go so far as denying the extraordinary even if they have proof in front of them.  The name of Jesus becomes a hot button.

What to do? Sit back and just let it ride? Confront them with the truth?

I can only tell you what I do. I can only point you to the biblical response.

Acts 4:20 (AMP) - "But we [ourselves] cannot help telling what we have seen and heard."

That's how Peter and John responded. And they did so in the face of grave danger to life or limb.

Was it because they were extra brave men? Did they not weigh the risk and just shoot off their mouths before they realized the consequences?

No. They did it according to the Word because "they could not help it."

They could not help it.

It was beyond themselves and the power of their carnal mind. 

It was a supernatural response by the Holy Spirit through and within them. 

There simply was no other choice, no other possibility. The old Peter would have ran for the hills. The new Holy Spirit filled Peter was bold and confident. He was changed. He was different. A new person.

Are you a new person? How do you know? Is it because I tell you that's what the Word says you should be? Or is it obviously lived out in you?

How do you respond when people tell you to shut up about Jesus? Would you do it to save your job? Would you tell your children to shut up because they could get in trouble at school? 

What you honestly believe would be your response is a "tell" about just how real your relationship with your Master is.

This ain't Vegas. What happens in church should never stay in church. Get it out beyond those walls and never let anyone shut you up regardless of their threat. He watches over and honors those who stand up in Him!

Matthew 10:32-33 (AMP) - "32 Therefore, everyone who acknowledges Me before men and confesses Me [out of a state of oneness with Me], I will also acknowledge him before My Father Who is in heaven andconfess [that I am abiding in] him. 33 But whoever denies and disowns Me before men, I also will denyand disown him before My Father Who is in heaven."

 There are far worse consequences for shutting up than facing the wrath of man. Peter and John knew it and responded correctly.

What would you do?

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><