Wednesday, August 31, 2011

"Who Was That Masked Man?"

A fiery horse with the speed of light, a cloud of dust and a hearty Hi-Yo
Silver … the Lone Ranger!

A legendary hero and no one ever knew his name.

We never even knew what he looked like.

He didn't care. It wasn't about him.

It was about everybody else.

He was the Lone Ranger.

Ever notice that anytime we have a figure like him it's always fictional?

Batman. Superman. Green Hornet. X-Men.

It has to be fictional.

Nobody real is willing to labor in obscurity. Everybody wants their 15 minutes of fame.

Everybody wants the warm fuzzies and the slaps on the back.

Everybody want to be sure they aren't being cheated out of their share of fame.

Everybody but Jesus.

When we create a figure we can admire we label it a "superhero".

Not Jesus. He rejects any such notoriety or labels.

We tried naming Him the "Superstar" once.

It probably made Him nauseous.

The kicker is, who do we think served as the original concept for what has become every child's fantasy?

Most of the superheroes we have created are Christocentric. They are generally "types" of Christ.

They are the beacons of hope in the midst of hopelessness, generally indestructible, good and pure through and through, always there in the nick of time, and at the end evil is defeated and all is well again.

Sounds kind of like Jesus to me.

There's just one twist.

We make movies about Batman and Superman.

We revile and crucify Jesus.

We don't believe He is who He says He is.

(We) being society in general.

Yet, the consequences for the disbelief of the only One who actually has the power and the willingness to make a difference in society is a suffering so great that it will last far beyond when the last action hero is drawn in a comic strip.

Here's what Jesus says in His straightforward and truthful way:

John 8:24 (AMP) - "That is why I told you that you will die in (under the curse of) your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He [Whom I claim to be--if you do not adhere to, trust in, and rely on Me], you will die in your sins."

Superman can't get us out of that one. Even Batman needs to hear this. Wolverine can just tuck in his claws and pack it in.

The real hero is in town.

And He's for real.

We know His name. He doesn't wear a mask.

He is available and accessible.

Everyone else is a cheap knockoff.

So Lois, who are you going to call?

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

"I Can Handle This"

I like famous last words.

"It's cool. There's only a few of them." (Gen. George Armstrong Custer)

"That doesn't look too bad. How big can it be?" (Captain Edward Smith, RMS Titanic)

"That hemlock tea recipe you gave me is absol......." (Socrates)

"I can handle this." (Anyone who ever thought they could handle "this")

Whatever "this" might be, if you find yourself even thinking that "it" needs handling, chances are you probably can't.

Things that need to be "handled" generally need to have help in doing so.

I think that probably the most often repeated famous last words are "I can handle this."

Imagine if everybody heeded my response to that this morning.

Them: "I can handle this."

Me: "No you can't."

I could embellish that a bit, but then it would become advice.

Maybe some long, drawn out advice like Jerry gave George on Seinfeld:

"You know you really need some help. A regular psychiatrist couldn't even help you. You need to go to like Vienna or something. You know what I mean? You need to get involved at the University level. Like where Freud studied and have all those people looking at you and checking up on you. That's the kind of help you need. Not the once a week for eighty bucks. No. You need a team. A team of psychiatrists working round the clock thinking about you, having conferences, observing you, like the way they did with the Elephant Man. That's what I'm talking about because that's the only way you're going to get better."

That's called "advice without substance". Or, suggestions that don't work, but make us feel like we have helped.

But hey! Why worry? You can handle it. Right?

I could hope that someone at their computer this morning is reading this and taking a deep sorrowful breath saying to self, "No, I can't. I really can't handle it. I need help."

There's all kind of difficulties that can arise that we cannot, absolutely cannot handle ourselves.

Sudden health crisis, financial burden, job loss, relationship strain, substance abuse, depression.

Crisis in faith.

You don't need poor advice. You need supernatural intervention.

You don't even need much faith.

You just need to be desperate enough to finally see that your needs are beyond your own fixing.

That your needs are beyond anyone fixing them for you.

Yes, that's right. There is no knight on a white steed. No magic bullet. No mantra. No talisman. No shaman.

The bottom line (which oddly enough is generally recognized when we hit bottom) is God.


I chuckle when I hear some "unchurched" folks say, "My problems need the wisdom of Solomon to solve."


Proverbs 3:5-6 (Amplified Bible) - "(5) Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. (6) In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths."

Remember I said you don't even need faith (should yours be waning this morning)?

All you need is desperation, desire, and determination. Not to solve your problem, but just to turn to God.

Just make up your mind to seek God.

Faith gets built or restored later.

Remember, Jesus died for you when you were a sinner, not a faith filled believer.

God doesn't ask your mouth to write checks your soul can't cash.

He just asks to give Him a shot.

If you're honest you will recall that you have placed your confidence and trust in a lot more ridiculous things than the concept of God helping you.

So, why not God?

Really. Why not?

You have another hot prospect cooking to solve your problem this morning?

No matter how good and promising it might look you don't.

All you really have is a God who loves you and will help you if you give Him the chance.

Stop counting on yourself to deal with it. You can't.

God can. God wants to. God will.

Jesus never fails.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Friday, August 26, 2011

"Why Is That Caged Bird Singing Anyway?"

The singing bird in the cage.

What does it have to sing about anyway?

Maya Angelou claims to know why (metaphorically speaking).

Paul Lawrence Dunbar claims to know why in his poem "Sympathy".

It almost begs a person to go deeper than they need to and wax philosophical.

It's a bird. It's in a cage. It sings.

I know why.

It doesn't know it's not free.

It doesn't know there is life beyond the cage.

It doesn't know any better.

Stupid bird. It doesn't know any better. What does it have for a brain? Matter the size of a pea?

The human brain is much, much larger...

Moe to Curly: "Quiet, birdbrain!"


There's a point in here somewhere. Trust me.

A lot of us human like characters are no better off than the bird in the cage.

Remember the movie "Animal House"? Dean Wormer's advice to the student "Flounder"?

"Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son."

Yet we do, maybe not in that exact description, but variations of the theme.

Billy Corgan wrote, "In spite all my rage, I am still just a rat in a cage."

Sing or be filled with rage.

Ignorant of the cage, we sing. Awareness of the cage brings rage.

The cage can be a 5X5 prison cell...

...or 10,000 acres of Montana ranch land.

Freedom can exist within the same dimensions.

It all depends on how you define freedom.

Americans get all wrapped up in the Constitution.

Freedom on paper.

More Americans have lived and died in the cage believing they were free having never tasted a morsel of real freedom.

So where is it?

Real freedom?

John 8:36: "So if the Son liberates you [makes you free men], then you are really and unquestionably free."

Gal. 5:1: "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free."

All of that before Thomas Jefferson and the boys were even a blip on the radar screen.

It transcends circumstances. Or politics. Or human and civil rights.

In the cage of rage. In the cage of song.

The freedom Christ supplies is one of the human heart, soul and spirit, which is essentially only really free when free in Jesus Christ.

Even when the flesh is incarcerated or confined, limited or confounded, by situations self-imposed or forced, Jesus changes things.

It's the one time the caged bird can sing even while knowing there is life beyond the cage.

You may never be rich, but your desire to be rich no longer confounds you.

You may never be healthy, but you are no longer confined just because you are ill.

You may never fulfill your dream to become this or that, but you have become satisfied by a more realistic hope.

Jesus is the fulfillment of all things. Life happens in spite of it all.

He is the Song.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Thursday, August 25, 2011

"How To Live Through Hurricane Irene"

There's a huge storm bearing down on the east coast of the USA today.

Let the begging begin.

"O God, spare your children the loss of life and property and move this storm away from us. Forgive us whatever it is that has caused You to turn your wrath against us."

I'm not going to get into all of the reasons why that kind of "prayer" is off the rails.

I just know that the first order of business is usually to assume God is behind it and to blame Him. Satan usually gets a free pass.

I'm just going to point you to Jesus this morning.

First of all, Jesus is the calmer of storms, not the cause.

He called those who freak out over such things as those of "little faith".

Mark 4:37-41 (AMP)
37 And a furious storm of wind [of hurricane proportions] arose, and the waves kept beating into the boat, so that it was already becoming filled.
38 But He [Himself] was in the stern [of the boat], asleep on the [leather] cushion; and they awoke Him and said to Him, Master, do You not care that we are perishing?
39 And He arose and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, Hush now! Be still (muzzled)! And the wind ceased (sank to rest as if exhausted by its beating) and there was [immediately] a great calm (a perfect peacefulness).
40 He said to them, Why are you so timid and fearful? How is it that you have no faith (no firmly relying trust)?
41 And they were filled with great awe and feared exceedingly and said one to another, Who then is this, that even wind and sea obey Him?

Let me suggest that when you pray about this storm that you do so with the authority that Jesus has given you.

Utilize the Scriptural Promise and Truth:

Luke 10:19 (AMP) - "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."

Have faith and use the authority you have as a believer to drain the power of the storm and send it back out to sea.

It works. I have no fear or concerns that in any situation, my family and home is fully protected by all the benefits of Heaven.

Never blame God. He is not the Author of sickness, storms, or poverty. Satan is the "god of this world" (2 Cor. 4:4), and he has powers to conjure up destruction. However...

...Jesus is greater than Satan. If you are a believer and a disciple of Jesus Christ, SO ARE YOU.

Join me today. You do not havew to be a VICTIM today, but instead you can be a VICTOR!

"In the Name of Jesus Christ, I take authority over this storm and bind its power. Father, You know what we need before we ask, so I loose Your peace and calm to take its proper place here on earth AS IT IS IN HEAVEN (Matt. 6:8-10)."

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

"Big Party At The Animus Domus!"

Animus Domus. The "Soul Dome".

It's the it's the center of your character, intellect, memory, consciousness.

Your very mind.

It is accessible to spiritual matters and beings.

Good and evil can enter in.

You have control although many do not realize this.

The mind of the unsuspecting and ignorant becomes a revolving door party zone for evil spirits.

Jesus addressed the issue most adequately and succinctly.

Matt. 12:43-45: "But when the unclean spirit has gone out of a man, it roams through dry [arid] places in search of rest, but it does not find any. (44) Then it says, I will go back to my house from which I came out. And when it arrives, it finds the place unoccupied, swept, put in order, and decorated. (45) Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and make their home there. And the last condition of that man becomes worse than the first. So also shall it be with this wicked generation.

This is the picture of the person not completely dedicated to Christ.

The person could even be described as largely religious (there is a vast difference in being a follower of Christ and being religious).

In any event it appears that there was some kind of reckoning of sorts where unclean spirits were deposed.

However, as the spiritual life of the overtly religious or spiritually dead (the terms are interchangeable) often runs, the evil spirit sensed that the Soul Dome was open for business again, returns to the previously vacated digs and finds it in a neat and orderly condition.

Seeing that there is no conviction which would prevent the spirit from re-entering, it decides to call a few friends and announces a party at the Soul Dome.

Now, as Jesus explains, the host of this demonic soiree ends up in a far worse condition then he was when there was only one demon to contend with!

Makes perfect sense. Do the math. There are more to contend with. What happens when those eight invite seven more each? A real motel where demons check in but never check out.

The demonic realm senses weakness in the flesh. They know who's an easy mark and who's not.

Demons/unclean spirits are intelligent spirit beings (NOT fallen angels), but since they are spirits without bodies of their own they need to inhabit warm blooded creatures. According to the bible, animals and humans fit that bill nicely.

Only the true born-again disciple and follower of Jesus Christ filled with the Holy Spirit are protected.

Pretend or "play" Christians have no such guarantee. In fact the scenario described by Jesus fits that category perfectly.

The pretend Christian. The Christian who plays church. Always in a bad way. Always trying to kick something unclean out of their life, and once it appears they have gained the victory, are plunged back into darkness again, each time sinking deeper into more desperate situations.

Until you just don't see them around church anymore.

The evil spirits come to your Soul Dome to steal your Soul. They are often successful.

A casual relationship with Jesus, and you thinking He rubber stamps your sins, is a perfect setup for the Soul Stealers.

Only a transformation of soul and spirit by Christ Himself is the answer.

You can't fight this battle in this evil realm on your own.

Listen to me and trust me on this. You can't. You will fail. You will lose.

You will be lost forever.

Jesus is the answer. Jesus never fails.

The Soul Dome must become the domain of Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

Give it some thought today.

Be blessed!

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

"The Word On The Street"

The "word on the street". Things we "hear" and often act upon or believe.

For instance.

You have heard it said that Craigslist is a great way to sell stuff.

But I tell you that over 2/3's of the responses you get are scams and you have to be very careful.

I don't know but I've been told, living in an igloo sure is cold.

In reality I have also heard that they are actually quite warm.

Jesus addressed the word on the street, and countered with the Word of Truth.

Matt. 5:21: "You have heard that it was said to the men of old, You shall not kill, and whoever kills shall be liable to and unable to escape the punishment imposed by the court."

Sounds reasonable. Who wouldn't believe that?

In essence it's the truth. However, sometimes what we know as the truth is superseded by a greater truth.

Many things we "have heard" is the truth, but it doesn't mean we shouldn't heed the greater truth.

Listen to Jesus' response to the issue of murder.

Vs. 22: "But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, 'You fool!' will be liable to the hell of fire."

Notice how Jesus tweaks it a bit?

He's not disputing that killing someone is bad, and deserving of punishment, but He takes it up a notch.

He raises the stakes. He holds our feet to the fire. He insinuates that we murder in our thoughts and words, and in our attitude towards others.

If we do not act out of the purified center of the transformed heart, we are liable to judgment as sure as if we plunged a knife into our fellow man.

Matthew 5 is full of those "You have heard... but I tell you."

Here's one a little more down to earth and more relative to a greater number of people.

vs. 27: "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery'."

vs.28: "But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart."


See what I mean?

We thought we were off the hook as long as we didn't do the dirty deed.

Jesus comes along and while not denying the previous truth reinforces and cranks it up a bit.

Thinking about committing adultery with someone is as bad as actually committing adultery.


Swallow hard only if you have no intention of believing and adhering to the truth, which in actuality is really all contained in believing and adhering to Jesus.

No checklists to keep. No zillion laws to worry about breaking.

Jesus says in Matt. 5:17: "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them."

Jesus is the fulfillment of the Law. Keep Jesus and you keep the Law.

No more guess work. In Jesus you are washed by His sacrifice. Purified. Regenerated. Given a new nature (2 Cor. 5:17). In the eyes of Jesus we are what is called "justified".

Get in touch with that today will you?

You'd be surprised how many Christians are living under bondage to their old ways and to the O.T. Law, not realizing they have been freed from that.

It's like being thin and always seeing yourself as obese.

It's the disease of not seeing yourself as you really are.

If you are a disciple of Christ today then see yourself as Jesus sees you.

He sees you as the object of His affection. He is the Lover of your soul.

Be blessed! Run everything past Him first!

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Monday, August 22, 2011

"Hot Chili For The Brain"

Hot chili? Brain?

I don't know, I guess I always thought "Chicken Soup For The Soul" always sounded kind of wimpy.

I need something more spicy. Something that will engage the sensory motor synapse of the soul/mind/brain.

Something that will snap us out of our complacency. Cold water to the old gray matter. A bracing aftershave for the cerebral cortex. A real kickstart to the medulla oblongata.

I need brain engagement to keep me running up to speed with the Word of God. The fluff is good, and we need it for it's truth, but sometimes we have to move from bland redundancy to breaking up some fallow brain cells.


Okay! Wake up call for this morning....

There are people in the Kingdom of Heaven whom Jesus loves and died for!

There are people in the Kingdom of Hell whom Jesus loves and died for!

We call that paradoxical.

A seemingly contradictory statement that may nonetheless be true.

Go ahead. Let it sink in a bit. Mull it over with your morning coffee and nosh.

Tinker with it as you sit in traffic this morning (not when driving, please!).

Add some scripture to it.

John 3:16 (Amplified Bible) - "For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life."

The paradox is actually built into that verse.

If Jesus died for the world (and all in it), and not everyone goes to heaven (maybe all dogs do according to the gospel of Disney, but not all people), then the saved and condemned share a common denominator.

There will be people in heaven and in hell who have stood on common even ground.

The ground around the Cross is even and common.

All have received the same, yet the outcome is vastly different.

Wrestle with this if you will, but I warn you, you will get injured a bit.

Remember Jacob? He got his hip dislocated when he wrestled with the Word, the theophanic presence of Christ Himself (Genesis 32).

You'll come out of it with a limp, albeit a spiritual limp, but it's a good thing.

It's better than having your nose out of joint.

The common factor is Jesus' love and willingness to unselfishly die for the chronically selfish (us).

The grand separation within the commonality (hence the paradox), is that only some actually believe it.

" that whoever believes in shall not perish..."

Yes. You can be loved and died for by Jesus and still suffer eternal perdition.

It was all about if you believed it or not.

You never introduced yourself to the one who loved you the greatest.

He will quizzically look upon you someday, and I believe painfully say, "I'm sorry but I have never been acquainted with you."

There's the limp. Truth has to hurt, it really does, but it should go farther and leave a lasting reminder so we do not forget.

Jacob walked a little funny for the rest of his life so he would remember the truth he learned in his encounter with the angel.

Our "limp" should be that while the benevolence of Christ has been extended to the entire human race, there will be some who accept and some who reject. All equal in God's eyes, but restricted by our own foolhardiness.

I hope you have decided to believe in your life. I hope that you are counted among those who reap the benefit of believing. I hope you will not be counted among the tragic today, who never can wrap their brain around what Jesus has done.

It's Him. It's all Him.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Friday, August 19, 2011

"When You Need A GREAT Peace"

There's peace, calm, serenity, and the general sense of well being that we all need and crave.

And then there comes a time when we need something bigger. Larger. Greater.

We need a great peace.

I sense that today.

I sense it in what I see going on around me.

I sense it in myself.

Something bigger than just "less stress" needs to prevail.

Philippians 4:6-7 (Amplified Bible) "(6) Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. (7) And God's peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."

Yeah, that's it.

That tranquil state of the soul at rest in Jesus.

A complete absence of fear (calm enters when fear leaves).

Contentment in the midst of attack (big medicine there).

I need a "garrison of guards" surrounding my mind and heart (acknowledge the angels dispatched to you).

I need Jesus (Come to Me if you are heavy burdened, and I will give you rest).

You know the feeling. It sometimes come with disturbing news overload.

When corroboration comes in the form of others saying "Pastor, what's going on?"

An offensive mounted by enemy forces aimed at believers.

That's when the need for GREAT peace comes in.

I'm already feeling it. I have to let it wash over me, and start sending it out to others.

Paul says "God's peace shall be yours".

I want you to receive that today.

God's peace is yours today.

If you're in that place today where the scale is tilted a bit toward the downside, heavy laden with cares and woes, take joy and comfort that God's great peace is yours.

Be blessed. I am in it with you.

Jesus is in it with us together.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Thursday, August 18, 2011

"What's A Person Have to Do To Get Accepted Around Here Anyway?"


Depends by whom.

You can do things to win affection and attention.

To get noticed by a supervisor or a person in charge, I suppose you have to do your job well.

To gain notoriety as an entertainer you need to perform well.

To be accepted into a circle of friends you have to become a good friend yourself.

How about by God?

What's it take to be acceptable in the eyes of God?

One would think that it would be the most difficult to accomplish.

Paul says quite the contrary.

Romans 14:18 - "Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men."

To be acceptable to God you must accept His Son Jesus Christ.

Everything that God finds in us that is acceptable and good, is filtered through Jesus.

If we have received Him as Lord and are serving Him, that's what God sees and accepts about us.

We have no righteousness in and of ourselves except self-righteousness, which conflicts with God.

Those of us who serve Christ have exchanged our self for Him, and that is what pleases God and makes Him look upon us with pleasure.

Pretty simple actually.

A lot less hoops to jump through to be acceptable then your boss might make you do.

Or your spouse.

Or your friends.

Or your church (some churches might impose more stringent qualifications to get into heaven than God does).

God just looks to see that Jesus is all over you.

So how about you today?

What does God see when He looks at you?


Or Jesus?

Your alleged good deeds?

Or Jesus?

Your wealth?

Or Jesus?

Need I go on?

Feeling like your the odd person out today?

Don't fit in?

If you have Jesus in your life you are loved and accepted by God.

I hope you can feel that today.

Perhaps you need to get honest with yourself and with God if you're not.

I know it's been said to death, but Jesus really does have the answer.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

"The No Excuse Zone"

"I don't have my homework because the dog ate it."

"I'm late because I grabbed the Ben-Gay instead of the toothpaste."

"I wasn't sleeping, I was just just checking the inside of my eyelids for holes."

"I can't bear up and do the right thing because_________."

Excuses are like noses. Everyone has one.

We've trained for a lifetime to become adept at using them.

Many of us have left that craft behind in light of God's instructions.

Other people who are inclined to use them have become master level deceivers.

Adam used it. Eve used it. The devil uses it.

And to us, as He did to Adam and Eve, God essentially says:

We are without excuse.

God doesn't like it when we make excuses to get out of something, or to duck a responsibility. Or to twist the truth. Or to flat out lie.

Romans 1:18-20 (Amplified Bible)

(18) For God's [holy] wrath and indignation are revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who in their wickedness repress and hinder the truth and make it inoperative.

(19) For that which is known about God is evident to them and made plain in their inner consciousness, because God [Himself] has shown it to them.

(20) For ever since the creation of the world His invisible nature and attributes, that is, His eternal power and divinity, have been made intelligible and clearly discernible in and through the things that have been made (His handiworks). So [men] are without excuse [altogether without any defense or justification].

This is the "No Excuse Zone".

God's anger is kindled against those who know full well what to do and yet refuse to follow through.

The excuse makers.

People without any defense or justification for their unrighteous actions.

Particularly those who bring suffering and pain down upon those who are innocent and unsuspecting by their callous and selfish actions.

Ever notice how the most caring and trusting people are the most victimized by the philandering excuse maker?

No excuse means just that. NO excuse. None. Zilch. Zip. Nada.

How does bringing this to light serve our purpose today?

Well, it just might save your soul if you happen to be a chronic excuse making liar (By the way: excuses and lies often are intertwined).

It may serve as a warning for:

a). Our own selves should we be tempted to duck and run on what's right.

b). Serve to alert us to people of that persuasion using their "skills" against us or others we love.

c). Help us to discern and look out for "wolves in sheep's clothing."

I am glad that God has more patience than I do, although I have become pretty patient on this issue.

There are limits however, and that's when I have to be smarter than my first instincts and turn it over to God.

Do that today will you? Turn it over to God.

If you happen to be an excuse maker, turn it over to God and pledge to change.

If you know someone who is being taken advantage of by an excuse maker, turn it over to God and pray His direct intervention.

Remember. In issues of doing the right thing or the wrong thing, and when the wrong thing is clearly and actively being performed, and PARTICULARLY when it effects a brother or sister in the Lord, God says there is absolutely and positively no justification for it whatsoever, and that we have the responsibility to stand upon the clear spiritual and moral ground of interceding for the right thing to be accomplished.

God will take are of it. Just be willing to leave it with Him and let Him do His work in His time and His fashion.

This is the No Excuse Zone. Where excuses get swallowed up into the overwhelming presence of God.

Step outside of that Zone and you enter into the place where truth is hindered.

Out there you are a game bird. You are prey.

God's ways are clearly defined and able to be seen. It's why He says we are without excuse.

Be blessed today. Run it all past Jesus first!

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

"Can You Get There From Where You Are?"

I've labored over this message this morning and finally...

I have to allow the Word to speak.

John 14:6 (Amplified Bible)

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

There are some people who are just not going to get there from where they are right now.

They are not going to get there using their road map.

Their TomTom needs a tuneup. Their Garmin is garbage. Their NorthStar needs to be replaced by the Morning Star.

That saddens me more than anyone but Jesus could ever know.

It shatters me. It leaves me in pieces.

I'm not sure I can measure up to Jesus in searching for the one lost sheep.

That's because it's never just one.

It's those who can't say "Jesus or nothing."

There's too much "Something else and maybe Jesus."

There is really nothing besides Jesus.

It's a constant.

Remove Jesus from the equation and there is much less than zero.

There it is.

All - Jesus = << 0 (double "less than" sign signifies "Double less than zero")

What's your equation for life today?

Whatever + Jesus = Maybe?

We at Real Life Church say, "You + Jesus = Real Life".

"Real Life" not being church membership, but real living because Jesus is a part of you.

Are you "all in" as far as Jesus is concerned?

Or is He just an ideal? A philosophy? An after summer replacement?

It's THE question of the ages my friends. There is no more important one.

It begs to be answered today.

Luke 11:23 (Amplified Bible) Jesus speaks...

"He who is not with Me [siding and believing with Me] is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me [engage in My interest], scatters."

Who are you gathering with today? What are you gathering today?

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Monday, August 15, 2011

"A Stop At Willoughby"

"This is Gart Williams, age thirty-eight, a man protected by a suit of armor all held together by one bolt. Just a moment ago, someone removed the bolt, and Mr. Williams' protection fell away from him and left him a naked target. He's been cannonaded this afternoon by all the enemies of his life. His insecurity has shelled him, his sensitivity has straddled him with humiliation, his deep-rooted disquiet about his own worth has zeroed in on him, landed on target, and blown him apart. Mr. Gart Williams, ad agency exec, who in just a moment will move into the Twilight Zone— in a desperate search for survival."

Any die hard Twilight Zone fan would recognize that classic Rod Serling intro to one of the most famous episodes ever: "A Stop At Willoughby".

Remember? The burned out ad exec who keeps waking from his nap on the commuter train to envision a simpler, less stressful life outside the train window in a town called Willoughby?

The conductor tells him there is no such place or stop, but the man is convinced. He decides that the next time he wakes from his nap and sees it, he is going to get off the train. Well, he does, and he enters into this place called Willoughby, a "peaceful, restful place, where a man can slow down to a walk and live his life full measure."

Back on the train we find that at the moment the man decided to get off the train, it was actually his demise, as he fell and was crushed under its wheels. The camera shows him being loaded into a hearse belonging to...yup...Willoughby & Son Funeral Home. (insert Twilight Zone theme here)

Great stuff late 50's and early 60's sci-fi. It always seemed to teeter between truth and fantasy.

I think this episode is probably more pertinent today than it was back then.

How many people in armor suits do you know "held together by one bolt"?

I know plenty. You probably do too.

Maybe you're one of them.

"Willoughby! Next stop, Willoughby!"

Who doesn't need Willoughby? Who wouldn't appreciate Willoughby?

Brother, you would be surprised.

That Twilight Zone episode is less like the Twilight Zone and more like life than we might care to ponder.

Certainly the pressure cooker existence is real.

But what of Willoughby?

Ok, there is no such Eden or Nirvana lost paradise we can hop a train to...

...but... what if we could transform where we are now, our own place, our own little world, our own private existence, into a better place?

Well, isn't that what Jesus promised? No, really, isn't it?

John 10:10 - "I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows)."

This Twilight Zone character...Gart Williams...saw something he wanted, which contained the elements of joy and peace and comfort. It was life out of the pressure cooker. It was a less stressful environment where the frog could jump out of the kettle.

You know about the frog and the kettle, right?

Put a frog in a cold kettle on the stove and turn the heat up and he will not detect the gradual changes in temperature until it's too late.

That's what stress and being overwhelmed by life does. It slowly cooks us until by the time we realize we are in trouble....well...we just never heeded the signs along the way. Kaput.

If you don't believe the Word from Jesus today, well, I guess there is nothing I can do about that.

You can gaze off on life's train, napping and awakening from a fantasy vision of life perhaps getting better "someday", and hold onto that until the grave. Hopefully you're in "Willoughby" when you wake up. Unfortunately, today's Willoughby is a winning Powerball ticket. Or a pill bottle. Or a bottle of Jack...or... can recognize the fact, as many of you do, that Jesus' words are true and efficacious for your life right now.

Jesus...Powerball...Jesus...drug induced Willoughby...Jesus..............

It's a fairly safe conclusion that out of all the people who will read this devotional today none of them will ever win a large lottery. Amazing isn't it? That's how the odds are stacked against you. That's why they call it "gambling".

Yet the one safe venture on a life changing course will be ignored while the search continues for Willoughby.

I hope it's Jesus for you today. I really do. I couldn't tell you any of this with a clear conscience if it hasn't been the greatest decision I ever made in my life.

I love you all today, and praying for you! Willoughby is not real. Jesus lives. He is Real.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Friday, August 12, 2011

"Where Summer Goes To Die"

"Fall is the place where Summer goes to die." (not sure if I just made that up, or it's been rattling around in my head with other useless!)

Either way, the end of Summer definitely harshes some peoples lifestyle.

Fall. Interesting enough, it's my favorite season.

However, did you ever contemplate the name?

I mean, why "The Fall"?

Someone told me once that it's because the leaves "fall".

I personally find irony in the name.

Stuff dies in The Fall.

And it happens on the heels of the joys and fun of Summer.

The irony is in the reminder of a dark time in man's history called "The Fall".

Adam and Eve were living a lifetime of summers. Carefree. Off the fat of the land.

Eve took what she thought might be a better deal from the Serpent, in turn convinced Adam to do the same, and "Summer" ended.

Enter "The Fall".

Genesis 3:23-24 - (23) "Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the Garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. (24) So [God] drove out the man; and He placed at the east of the Garden of Eden the cherubim and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep and guard the way to the tree of life."

Stuff died.

Innocence died. Trust died. Summer died. The spirit of man died. All generations to follow were born into spiritual death. "All inclined to be sinful and that continually."

I suspect that at that moment the fruit trees shriveled. The grass turned brown. The lion began to see the lamb as food. Fresh water stagnated. Mosquito bites. Bee stings. The entire Edenic habitat became hostile.

The snow globe burst.

Fall. Stuff died.

There's the irony for me. Right at the height, the very zenith of what could be called the most beautiful season, when the trees are vivid with bright colors and the temperatures are all starts to die.

The leaves shrivel and the trees become unadorned and divest of their beauty.

The cold winds start to blow. The sky turns gray...everything turns gray...

...and then...Winter. Hibernation. Like the soul does sometimes.

Spring of course is right around the corner! The seasonal Resurrection of life!

Stuff starts to grow...the bleakness disappears...and then..YES! Summer!

All is restored. We can really let it all hang out and live it up in the...Summer.

I think God planned it this way as a reminder for us.

He wants us to see how man has been given everything, and how we have mistreated it...disregarded it...even to the point of our own demise...but that God has made a way of restoration...has saved us from our destructiveness by providing a Savior in Jesus Christ!

God lets us enjoy the beauty of the planet for three seasons and then suffer through the darkness of Winter. He lets us see the planet thrive, die, become depressed, and then live again.

The seasons of this planet reveal to us the spiritual seasons of mankind. Where we have come from, and where we are headed.

Had Adam not traded off his legacy of planet earth for a cheap imitation, there would only be one season on earth, and also only one "season" for man spiritually.

I suppose we could say it would always be "Summer". There would be no death, no pain, no sickness, no poverty, no ravages and fears of life whatsoever. Spiritual Eden. What I refer to as the "Snow Globe". Perfect. Protected.

Well, Jesus brings us back to that. Paul called Him the "Second Adam", the One who has come to "reverse the curse." And He has.

One by one people have had the curse of Eden overturned in their life and have come alive spiritually, and are on a continuous path to the place where it will all be perfect once again!

Be blessed today my friends. I love each one of you. We are on this path together, and come what may in this life, we will see each other someday in the next.'s true...

...Jesus is preparing our place.

So, run everything past Him first and you will never be taken by surprise!

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Thursday, August 11, 2011

"Don't Worry, He Hasn't Gone Anywhere"

Think of the abandonment issues we have in society.

Spouses walking out on each other.

Children being abandoned to shelters.

Even our animal rescue societies are overloaded.

Think as well of the excuses.

"I just don't love her anymore."

"The animals were ruining my furniture."

I can't even fathom the excuse that was used to stuff a newborn down a storm drain the other day.

How about this one:

"Oh God, what have I done to deserve this?"

That's generic blame shift #397, which says basically, "I screwed my life up, but I don't want to accept the responsibility, so I'll conveniently blame the only One who can really help."

It's old. I mean Genesis Chapter 3 old. And that's really old.

There's a bunch of old ones. How about this one:

"I called out to God, and I prayed and prayed, but He didn't answer."

Well...let's not beat that horse too badly.

Let's get to the truth and the solution.

The truth is that God never leaves us. Period. He is always there.

Equally true is the fact that at times, we feel He has left us or is very far away.

The solution is to believe the truth and not our faulty perceptions.

Think about it. Generally it's not an initial feeling of abandonment that cause our anxiety over God not being there.

It's generally a slow buildup of life's challenges over time that overcome us.

But in truth, when we look honestly at the situation, we would find that we had not been spending the time all along the way cultivating our relationship with God as we should have been.

The phenomena that occurs here is that it is always us abandoning God. Not vice versa.

Our coping mechanism, as was Adam and Eve's, is to blame the One who has stuck closer than a brother through it all.

David found it out, and wrote it down in Psalm 23:4 (Amplified Bible):

"Yes, though I walk through the [deep, sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I will fear or dread no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort me."

Three things we need desperately in life that God fulfills.

We need to know we are safe and protected. We need to be guided in life issues. We need to be comforted.

We need them from birth to the earth. From the cradle to the grave.

And our God provides them. Always. Never a gap. Never faltering.

Yet, we spit in God's face and try to tell Him it's raining.

So, the solution.

James says in James 4:8:

"Come close to God and He will come close to you. [Recognize that you are] sinners, get your soiled hands clean; [realize that you have been disloyal] wavering individuals with divided interests, and purify your hearts [of your spiritual adultery]."

It's tough. It's not sugar coated. It bites a little.

But it's just God saying to come clean on the issue. Be honest. Face the situation and issues.

Don't blame God. Embrace Him! toward Him, not away from Him!

That's my prayer for you today. Put your life... spirit, soul, and body into your relationship with Him and you will always have the sense of His loving, protective, guiding, comforting Presence with you. Always.

I love you all today. More importantly, so does Jesus.

Run it all past Him first!

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

"Grace Under Pressure"

In Acts chapter 11, we find that the gospel is being spread in a very unusual way.

People who believe in Jesus are telling other people about it, and they in turn are becoming believers as well.

No huge expensive evangelistic campaigns.

No television huckster "Praise-A-Thons".

Simply pure unadulterated Holy Spirit excitement.

Unusual by today's standards.

It was so amazing that even the Gentiles were receiving the message.

When the rumors to this effect was heard in Jerusalem, the disciples there decided to send Barnabas to Antioch to check it out.

Acts 11:23 - "When he arrived and saw what grace (favor) God was bestowing upon them, he was full of joy; and he continuously exhorted (warned, urged, and encouraged) them all to cleave unto and remain faithful to and devoted to the Lord with [resolute and steady] purpose of heart."

Sometimes I think we fail to read the scriptures properly.

The process appears to break down at times.

I see several culprits that could be the cause.

1. We read the Word with a predisposition. It is as if there is an auto-translation program of some sort running in the sub-conscious of our mind, which makes the Word appear to say what we want it to mean, or what we have heard from others that it means, and we miss the proper meaning and context.

2. The enemy fills our brain with meaningless noise and distractions so that we cannot properly discern the Word.

3. We are too lazy or rushed to really care what the Word is really saying and we miss at least half of it.

I think all three, and more even, could be the cause at any given time.

Take today's passage for instance.

Where is the importance in context to the theme "Grace Under Pressure"?

I think the major weight of that verse is in the first few words.

"...he arrived and saw what grace (favor) God was bestowing upon them...".

Did you catch that?

The grace that GOD was bestowing upon them.

And if we go back and read contextually, we find that it was purely God.

No hooks. No tricks. No programs. No cajoling. No arm twisting. No charge.

Grace. Free. Without pressure.

And that's the way Barnabas left them.

In a pure state of grace. In the good hands of God.

He simply encouraged them to keep doing what they were doing. Trusting God.

When did it all get complicated?

When did it turn into a pressure cooker?

When greedy and avaricious people crept in and put the free gift up for sale.

Once they convinced us that we have to "pay to pray", the Church was turned downhill.

A great portion of the energy expounded today is to convince the Church of something that we already have.

Ephesians 1:3 (AMP) - "May blessing (praise, laudation, and eulogy) be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah) Who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual (given by the Holy Spirit) blessing in the heavenly realm!"

See that? He HAS (past tense) blessed us already with every spiritual blessing.

You don't have to chase after anything. Just receive.

No pressure. Just His grace and your faith.

Be blessed today, and run everything past Jesus first!

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

"Who's Your Daddy?"

"Who's your daddy?"

A term of derision. One that denotes absolute domination of one individual over another.

"Slam. Dunk. Game! Who's your daddy?" I own you.

Funny how Paul chose his words in Romans 8:15:

"For [the Spirit which] you have now received [is] not a spirit of slavery to put you once more in bondage to fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption [the Spirit producing sonship] in [the bliss of] which we cry, Abba (Father)! Father!"

"Abba" is the "daddy" of Paul's time.

It's not a derisive term, but one of endearment.

In contrast with the world, it exclaims the joy of being released from the bondage of sin into the freedom of being adopted by our heavenly Father.

Once we were enslaved, now we are free! Thank you Abba Father! Thank you Daddy!

Yes, we can express those types of endearing emotions to our Father.

I love seeing the closeness lived out between God and His children. It warms my heart.

Conversely my heart grows sad, and a type of spiritual nausea (if that makes sense) overtakes me when I see the chasm grow between many people and God.

I call it the great rejection. The great division. The Chasm. Separation.

I understand ignorantly skipping through life without any affiliation with God.

I don't understand knowing that there is One Who longs and waits for the Prodigal to return, only to suffer disappointment at seeing the object of His affection continuously reject His offerings at reconciliation.

I don't understand knowingly choosing another god over Abba Father.

I say I don't understand, but it's just a coping mechanism.

I really do understand. And that just compounds the sadness.

I do understand but I really wish I didn't sometimes.

It's tough to watch. I see it played out in the eyes of their loved ones who long for them to make the right choice.

Their sadness becomes my sadness.

Is this what Paul meant when he said, "Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ."

I also am able to comprehend Jesus as being the "Rock of Offense" a bit better as well.

I have found that people are either going to lean on the Rock, or trip over Him and skin their nose.

I really would like to get in some people's faces and cry out "C'mon, really now, who's your Daddy? You know you know better, so why the runaround?"

But then I become a small stone of offense, and I would rather have Jesus do His work than me do my botched impression. Even it it means watching some unpleasant bloodletting.

So, the best I can do today, in partnership with the Holy Spirit, is to simply ask you to answer this in your soul and spirit:

Who is your Daddy today?

Can you lift your eyes up to Him at this moment and say "Abba! Father!? Daddy!" Can you sense the warmth, the love that just flows from Him to you?

Do you know that you know that you know that you know?

If so I say YAY! In my strongest display of Spirit filled emotion I say YAAAAY!!!! for you!

And for those who have chosen another, far lesser god, I say there is a great hope for you (if your reading this). I want you to know that in my imperfect and flawed self, I will not abandon hope for you.

How much more will Abba Father continue to wait patiently for you to return?

I love each and every one of you today!

Run it all past Jesus first!

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin

Monday, August 8, 2011

"Stay Salty"

Stay edge.

Be cool.

Retain the saltiness.

Matt. 6:13 - "You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste (its strength, its quality), how can its saltiness be restored? It is not good for anything any longer but to be thrown out and trodden underfoot by men."

Salty Christians.

The world rank and file use the term "salt of the earth" without realizing who said it, to whom, and how He applied it.

Only true and faithful disciples of Jesus Christ can rightfully receive the compliment of being the element that provides the flavoring of all that is good in the world.

Sorry if you're reading this and are offended by that.

Take it up with Jesus. He coined the phrase.

There may be other flavorings in the world population who might be musicians, artists, poets, or statesmen, but unless they are disciples, they are not "the" salt.

Salt is reserved for His followers.

This is why Jesus has charged us with protecting our saltiness.

When we lose it, or go "bland", there is a lot at stake.

The entire world loses.

The worst however, is that God's glory is reduced in the eyes of man.

We become useless and ridiculed, and in the eyes of the mocker, so does God.

Our testimony is more precious than we sometimes think.

How we speak, how we act, where we find our pleasures, are all under scrutiny, and every time we tarnish His image by our indiscretions or sin, we lose a little saltiness.

It's no accident that Jesus used salt metaphorically.

During His time wars were being fought over salt. People died over salt.

It was the most important commodity to be traded and fought over on earth.

It was coveted to make the simple pleasure of eating more palatable. It was coveted for it's healing components. It prospered entire communities. It made life more tolerable.

Jesus has done that for us. He is like salt for this drab, angry, sinful planet.

He has brightened our lives. He has healed our wounds. He has prospered us.

He wants us, as His followers, to continue to do that as His Body until He returns.

Being the salt is an honorable task. It keeps alive the Promise.

Run it all past Jesus today!

Stay salty!

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Friday, August 5, 2011

"Accept No Substitute!"

I made a joke once during one of my live messages about a particular butter substitute that defies me to tell the difference between it and real butter.

I said I can believe it's NOT butter.

Why? Because IT'S NOT BUTTER! Sheesh.

I have used enough butter in my life so that I can tell by the taste, consistency, and color, the difference between the two.

Those of us who accept that it tastes like butter do so probably because we have simply accepted it due to a lack of comparison.

In other words, we haven't had real butter for so long that we have forgotten what it looks and tastes like.

We have accepted less. We have accepted a substitute.

It's as if our taste buds have become "dumbed down"!

It never works when we accept less of what we are accustomed to.

Remember the 1994 Major League Baseball strike?

Remember how pathetic it was watching a game with "replacement" players?

It's just not the same.

It's not the same when we are less than we need to be to others.

It's not the same when we are less than what God has created.

He designed us to be His handiwork.

We in turn end up as a cheap knockoff.

Often the world looks at the precious gift of His Son Jesus Christ and replaces Him with a false idol.

Even some factions of the church transform Him from a mighty Savior of the world, into a cheap pimp for their own interests.

I think that we have been bombarded so thoroughly in every facet of our lives with cheap imitations, from politics, to sports, to religion, that we struggle with what is real.

This is why it is important for us who follow Christ to make sure we do not get our noses turned upwind at the first whiff of a better "savior".

The person who coined the phrase "build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door" knew what he was talking about.

We are a fickle and conniving people, and left to our own carnal desires, we will run after what even remotely resembles a better deal.

People will trade their very soul for a leg up on the next guy.

Even Jesus is for sale or trade on the open market.

This is why it is important to stay connected.

Staying connected to the church, the hearing and reading of the Word of God, spending time in prayer and fellowship with other believers, discussing the events of the world with each other through a Christ-like perspective.

Remember. Religion says to be a follower of Christ you HAVE to go to church, read your bible, pray, and act right.

That's the watered down substitute.

Jesus says you will do those things BECAUSE you are His followers.

John says:

2 John 1:9 - "Anyone who runs on ahead [of God] and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ [who is not content with what He taught] does not have God; but he who continues to live in the doctrine (teaching) of Christ [does have God], he has both the Father and the Son."

There's the danger. Are you running ahead of God today?

Are you not abiding?

Are you living IN the doctrine of Christ?

You don't get this by acting religiously.

You get it by being His disciple.

Disciples want to be around Jesus and other disciples as often as they can.

The hunger and thirsting for righteousness becomes insatiable.

Accept no substitute today!

Run it all past Jesus first.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Thursday, August 4, 2011


What's the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word?

I think of a car wreck.

Seldom is there a good association with anything.

The best I can think of is the fact that my drum kit has two "crash" cymbals.

Some folks may not think that's such a great thing either.

Yesterday I thought of the day the twin towers collapsed.


Not good.

How about when people's lives crash?

Happens everyday. Exponentially.

Sometimes it is so profound that I can hear it.

I can hear it in the sobbing of their loved ones.


Jesus has instructed us in the gospels to heed His advice and be wise as we build our lives.

He likens our life construction as the very wise builder who built his home on bedrock, and not on sand.

He said that when the great storms come that house on bedrock would be able to withstand the rains and winds and remain standing. (Matt.7:24-25)

He also warned us of the contrary.

If we are to be a careless or ignorant builder and build that home on sand, when the storms come the sand would shift underneath and the house would...

Crash. (Matt.7:26-27)

One common thread that runs through both scenarios.

The storms will come.

It's during those moments that we start to assess our life decisions and the errors and mistakes come rushing to the forefront.

"Everything is crashing down around me because I made a poor life decision and I am weakened because of it and I cannot withstand."


Jesus has a simple solution.

Yes, I said simple.

Jesus said in the beginning of verse 24, "Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man... ."

Hear His words. Put them into practice.

There's my prayer. Hear His words. Put them into practice. Avoid the crash.

Save your life. Save your marriage. Save your health. Save your finances.

Save your life.

Run it all past Jesus first today!

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

"I Don't Have A Bucket List"

No, I don't have a "bucket" list, or things I want to do before I "kick the bucket".

I've thought about this to some extent.

I think from someone else's perspective this might come off as being dull or unexciting.

I've never felt the desire to jump out of an airplane.

I don't even like getting into an airplane.

I've never wanted to run with the bulls in Spain.

I wouldn't run to the corner for a paper.

I've never wanted to climb Mt. Everest.

You can't get me on a ladder to change a light bulb.

I'm just pretty content with my unassuming quietly led life.

Yes, content. Contented.

How many can say that this morning?

I am content.

I didn't say everything is perfect.

I said content.

Content, in my opinion, means that one does not have to search far and wide for the joy in their life.

They already have it. And they know that they have it.

Having it and knowing you have it.


No need or desire to look any further.

You have the right spouse. The right family. The right job. The right church.

Whatever you's just...right.

Content with the content. Ah...that confusing English language.

Matt. 6:31, 33 - (31) "Therefore do not worry and be anxious, saying, What are we going to have to eat? or, What are we going to have to drink? or, What are we going to have to wear?"
(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."

I believe (and you can feel free to disagree with me if you want) that I have found contentment because I have Jesus Christ in my life.

I didn't read the above passage BEFORE I came to know Jesus.

I discovered it afterword and was amazed at how true it was for myself.

I found my entire life, fully, holistically if you will, in Jesus Christ and His Kingdom.

I am a better person physically, mentally, spiritually, because of Him.

No question about it in my understanding.

I sought first the Kingdom of God, and everything I had been lacking my entire life was given to me and then some.

I didn't become rich by the world's standard. My teeth didn't straighten or receive gold fillings.

I did however, become delivered from my drug and cigarette habit, which in my opinion saved my physical life.

The signs of aging are upon me.

Yet, I cannot think of a single solitary thing that I lack which would make my life more fulfilled.

I am content. And it's because of Jesus Christ.

If you are discontented, He may just be the answer you have been hoping for.

I do know this much. Sitting around wallowing in discontent is the fast track to an early grave. Or at the least a very unhappy looooong life.

If you were to trust me on anything, trust me on this. Jesus has answers for you.

I pray today that those in the season of discontent would first seek the Kingdom of God so that Jesus could add all the things you need to be content in your life. If you have a bucket list today, let Jesus be the first thing on it.

Run it all past Jesus first!

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

"There's No Credit Check In Heaven"

We are private people. I think more by design than by choice, though many cherish and protect their privacy.

I wonder why that all goes out the window at church?

We pass the basket so that everyone can see who is giving and who is not (although it really does not tell the whole story).

I even know for a fact that some churches require that a prospective member submit their W-2 forms so that the pastor can review that they are "tithing" according to their income. This is of course so that the pastor can gauge the spiritual health of his flock ( 'm too speechless to comment on that).

Some churches are even performing credit checks.

I'm glad Jesus doesn't perform any of that. I wouldn't have made it.

Neither would you.

We were bankrupt and Jesus "paid it forward".

In fact, some of the "stuff" we do at church, appears at least on the surface, to actually conflict with what Jesus requires (as I scratch my head).

For example:

Matt. 6:3-4

"(3) But when you give to charity, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, (4) So that your deeds of charity may be in secret; and your Father Who sees in secret will reward you openly."

Jesus says that we are to be so private in our giving (for one thing) that even even our left hand wouldn't know what our right hand is doing. That's pretty private.

Of course that can't really happen, but He is trying to show us that we are to keep some things intimately between us and God.

But why? What's the big deal? Wouldn't it be better if others know who the high rollers and the skinflints are?

Not in God's methodology.

He knows that if we set our eyes on what people give or don't give, the truth of who's doling out the rewards would be at the least shaded.

He wants us to know that He is the Giver. Of everything.

In fact, any other process is called hypocrisy by Jesus in the first two verses of this same chapter.

He says that if we do contrary to how God has designed it, we will get NO reward!

Hmmm...wouldn't it be funny if all the church's woes hinged on that simple oversight?

He wants it His way so that regardless of how much we give or how often, people would see the results rather than the actions.

He doesn't want us to focus on the flesh. Just the supernatural reward.

That way people know and witness the power of God free from any distracting interference of the possibility of "good works" being involved.

All Him. None of us.

I think we have a long way to go on that one. Humanity loves it's slaps on the back.

We'll hide our shame, but we'll flaunt our pomposity.

God will have none of it.

So, be a giver in what you have decided in your heart to give (2 Cor. 9:7). And God will not forsake you.

In fact He will reward you in such a fashion that others will know, but they will know that God has done it, and He will get all the glory!

That's really evangelism without all the hokey programs.

All people need to see is God blessing His people, and they will want to "get some a dat"!

My prayer today is that we will give as our heart directs, and that our purpose will be to edify Him, not ourselves. Put this principle into effect and watch how God rewards!

Run it all past Jesus first today! Strive to be second!

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

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Monday, August 1, 2011

How Well Is Well Enough?"

Jesus says He knows.

He knows your heart.

He knows your dedication, your depth of love for Him, your appreciation.

He knows your failures, your inabilities, your good intentions gone awry.

He knows you better than you know yourself.

This would include any pathetic attempt to pacify Him with your feeble excuses.

Trust me. They are paper thin. They do not even fool the mortal.

Jesus knows. He always knows. He always has known.

He knows when your love starts to grow cold.

Check it out: (all verses from Revelation, Chapter 2)

"I know your industry and activities, laborious toil and trouble, and your patient endurance."

See. Nothing gets by Him.

"I know you are enduring patiently and are bearing up for My name's sake, and you have not fainted or become exhausted or grown weary."

See. He knows. He acknowledges.

"BUT I have this [one charge to make] against you: that you have left (abandoned) the love that you had at first [you have deserted Me, your first love]."

There it is. You have abandoned Him. You have deserted Him.

You have failed Him.


I bet you're thinking, "I was doing so well."

Depends on "how well is well enough".

The church at Ephesus probably never saw it coming. Little by little other "stuff" crept in.

They were industrious. Probably had good programs. They were patient and steadfast in doing "stuff". They just ignored Jesus, that's all.

I love when people tell me how great they are doing with Jesus, as if I can't see right through it. They are looking me right in the eye and telling me how good everything is and all I see is a flame being extinguished.

Is well enough popping into church a couple of times a month, without ever really becoming a part of the community of Christ?

Is well enough blowing off basically every opportunity to study His Word and spend time in prayer?

Is well enough invoking His presence during a crisis only?

Is well enough obstinately or carelessly refusing to support the work of His hands?

None of this is without consequence.

We tend to think of God sometimes as being so loving that He's squishy soft and cuddly.

Not so. The Risen Christ is still the Christ who bristles at the injustice of His people neglecting Him!

Read on:

"Remember then from what heights you have fallen. Repent (change the inner man to meet God's will) and do the works you did previously [when first you knew the Lord], or else I will visit you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you change your mind and repent."

"I will visit you and remove your lampstand."

The lampstand is the local church. Remove it and a light goes out.

Kind of like writing the word "Ichabod" (the glory of God has departed from this place) over the front door.

They say Nero fiddled while Rome burned.

Christians have the tendency to "fiddle" with other things while the flame in the lamp dims until it is nothing more than a dying ember. They fiddle while their sandy foundations shift until they collapse.

I'm sick to death of hearing how the struggling church is simply a result of a struggling economy and government.

What's the word I'm looking for here? Oh yeah...BALONEY!

It's not the struggling economy, it's the individual struggling with believing that their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is capable of doing all that He says!

Good Lord! We need a rescue today, and it ain't from petty problems and difficulties.

We need a rescue from a heart that's growing cold.

My prayer is that our hearts would be warmed and the flame of our lamp would grow stronger! That we would not forsake our first love, and that we would conform our inner self to the will of God.

Are you really running it all past Jesus first? No...really...are you?

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin

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