Monday, October 31, 2011

Are You A Spiritual Failure?

Stuff indeed does happen.

Stuff happens when we let our stuff run our lives.

"Stuff" in my opinion is anything that interferes with the work of Christ in our life.

It could be possessions that require too much energy to maintain, and therefore prevents us from praying, studying the Word, and worshiping like we should be.

It could be allowing subversive attitudes and habits to take control over what we know we should be practicing.

It could be laziness and sloth that dictates and takes command over the very things that would improve our lives.

In any event it is a surrender of what belongs to God over to whatever forces you have surrendered to.

It has been said that familiarity breeds contempt. Indeed it does. In this case what you are most familiar with breeds and strengthens contempt against either God or the sworn enemy of God.

For your sake it should not be God.

My heart breaks for those who continually make poor choices in their lives. I have seen the "successful" and the "failures" be subject to the very thing that will bring them down in the end.

When Christ is not the center of everything you are or hope to become then there is really only failure.

Luke 14:33 - "So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple."

A horrible and tragic forfeiture if one chooses against Jesus.

It doesn't matter how nice a person you are, how much money you give, how much you pay lip service to God. If your actions and associated results of your actions do not bear witness or "fruit", then you are a failure.

Some of the epic failures I have ever known were the most energetic toward carnal (self, flesh) improvement. Health nuts, financial wizards, social advocates, etc. Not that those things alone are bad, but often they push out Jesus and lead to spiritual failure. Being the most caring, healthy, or richest person in hell is not an improvement. You're still in hell.

A spiritual failure bears rotten fruit. A spiritual failure puts their entire family at risk. A spiritual failure is renounced by God. Spiritual failures care only about themselves.

Spiritual failures pile up so much junk and stuff in front of Jesus that they are actually farther and farther away from Him as the days grow.

The spiritual failure becomes as vomit in the mouth of Christ.

Check yourself. What do you talk and think about more than Jesus? That "thing" will be your undoing.

Rev. 3:15-16 - "I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! (16) So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth."

James 1:7-8 - "For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; (8) he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways."

The gospels say it. The epistles say it. Indeed all the Word of God says it.

There is only one cure.

James 4:7-8 - "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (8) Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you."

So, instead of making excuses start prioritizing what is of utmost importance.

Run toward everything that will strengthen your relationship with Christ. Feed your spiritual need instead of your carnal appetite. Turn your laziness into energy and hunger for His Word and Spirit.

Put aside your agenda and make worship, the study of His Word, and the fellowship of believers the utmost priority in your life. These are indeed the times where we should be looking up together with hope and joyfulness as the Holy Spirit prepares us.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Friday, October 28, 2011


John 5:40 - "And still you are not willing [but refuse] to come to Me, so that you might have life."

Who are the unwilling?

In this verse Jesus was speaking to the religious. In fact some were the religious leaders. The very ones we would expect to be among the eager and willing to receive Jesus.

We will find the unwilling in the most unexpected places.

The unwilling could be sitting in the pews of your church.

The unwilling could be preaching from your pulpits.

The unwilling could have seemingly successful media ministries.

The unwilling could be among the ones you would least suspect.

Unwillingness is a matter of the heart. The true purposes of the heart can be masked by outward actions and appearances.

We can be fooled. Jesus is never fooled.

It's never about what we do, what we say, even how we may act.

It's about what we have purposed in our heart.

Does your heart belong to Jesus? The very essence of your being? The center of who you are?

Have you been changed in your heart? Or are you just acting religious?

Does your church preach Jesus as the only way? Has He become your "all-in-all"?

Have you placed everything before Him? Have you learned to be satisfied with Jesus?

Do you place others before yourself? Are your prayers filled with what you want from God for you?

How you answer those diagnostic questions would indicate whether you are a disciple of Jesus Christ or simply religious.

Religion never saved anybody. Theology never saved anybody. Churches never saved anybody.

Jesus saves. Period.

Be sure you are alive in Him.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Thursday, October 27, 2011

"Help Someone To Come Forth"

In the eleventh chapter of the Gospel of John, there is an account of Jesus raising his friend Lazarus from the dead. He had already been entombed four days, and in the face of much wonder and disbelief Jesus miraculously gave him back his life and he walked out of that tomb still wearing the grave clothes he was wrapped with a few days earlier.

There are many factors and facets we can gain from this event. It shows us the power that Christ has over death itself. It shows us the compassion Jesus has toward people. It shows us an example of the resurrection of the body that is available for believers when Jesus comes to gather His Church.

However, for today's intentions, and as an example and encouragement for believers right now, we can look at the story as metaphorical.

Prior to knowing Jesus we were spiritually dead. We were as good as in our graves.

Upon giving our hearts to Christ we were spiritually joined with Him in His death and resurrection.

In essence we died to sin and were made alive to God.

We literally walked out of the tomb of our own sin and degradation, complete with the rags of our shattered and frayed lives falling off of us as we "resurrected" from our former deadness!

This is not just some dry, worn out, dead religious exercise.

This is taking advantage of shouting to the world around us, "Hey, this is what Jesus did for me!. It's what He can do for you too!"

Look at the Scripture for today:

John 5:28-29 (Amplified Bible) - "Do not be surprised and wonder at this, for the time is coming when all those who are in the tombs shall hear His voice,(29) And they shall come out--those who have practiced doing good [will come out] to the resurrection of [new] life, and those who have done evil will be raised for judgment [raised to meet their sentence]."

Wow! Yes indeed! This passage points to the day when the literal graves of those who have died in Christ physically will be opened and be raised in new glorified bodies to join Jesus in the air at the rapture of His Church.

But it also may be used to show what has happened to us first in our spirit.

For in order to take part in the grand resurrection of the body, we first have to have this happen to us in our spirit!

This is why it is important that we give our heart to Christ, and that we makes sure others have the opportunity as well.

This indeed a time for rejoicing in what Christ has done for us, and what He is still willing to do even today for those who are dead in their spiritual lives.

Tell someone today what Jesus has done for you!

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

All Guts, Little Glory

Imagine you had a talent that would attract great amounts of attention. Imagine your life ending up making a positive impact in the world so magnanimous that it would be remembered for over 2,000 years. Imagine not receiving any compensation for this great task other than a promise.

Imagine your only reward as being your own head severed from its body and served up on a platter for a king.

Not exactly a job many would apply for on

Tough job, but somebody had to do it.

I am speaking of John the Baptist. The last real prophet of the bible in the Old Testament sense of the word.

Perhaps the job description would go something like this:

*Wanted* - A person with a tenacious spirit willing to work hard for little wages. Must be outspoken and not shy and able to work with large crowds of people in extreme circumstances. Candidate should be an expert communicator who can be heard loudly and clearly. Very basic food and clothing needs will be provided. Job scope is narrow and person must be willing to see it through to completion which will in all likelihood culminate with imprisonment and death.

Line forms at the right. What, no takers?

God had the right man for the job.

Mark 1:1-2 - "The beginning of the Good News of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. (2) As it is written in the prophets, "Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way before you."

I'm not sure if John realized it or not, but he was a trendsetter. He was the first one to show us what it could be like being a disciple of Jesus Christ.

Few of us will be required to make the sacrifices John did, but the tension is always in the willingness.

There is something about doing great things for little earthly reward that is not natural.

We are not wired that way from birth. In fact we are the opposite. If we are going to promote anything vociferously it will generally be about something that will benefit us individually.

In other words, what's in it for me?

Could you be a John the Baptist? Could you adapt to that job description?

John had the attitude of "I must decrease so that He will increase."

He had built up a large personal fan base and turned them all over to Jesus.

Could you unselfishly, fearlessly, and exhaustingly tell the story of Jesus as often as possible for little if any tangible material reward, and never taking any credit for yourself?

Would you if the slightest chance of dying for the cause of Christ was possible?

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a true 20th century martyr and preacher of the gospel, who was hanged in a Nazi concentration camp, wrote in his book "The Cost of Discipleship", "...when God calls a man He bids him come and die."

First and foremost it is to die to self and to live for Christ, but sometimes we will die physically as well.

What happens is not as important as what we are willing to have happen.

There is no more important a task on earth than expressing and exposing Jesus. It's starting to get to the place where it takes some guts again to be outspoken for Jesus.

If you're OK with all the glory going to Jesus then God has picked another winner.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Do You Know Him, Or Just Know Of Him?

Have you contemplated who you are? Where you have come from? Where you are headed?

Is your view of life strictly confined by your own human point of view?

We are certainly all human. However, we are also supernatural. We have bodies that will eventually turn back to dust, but we have spirits and souls which will live forever.

Each of us are creations of God. Our finite bodies will pretty much stay the way they are save for aging, weight gain or loss, sickness, etc. They serve the purposes of God which is to carry around our infinite spirit and soul (mind).

The finite and the infinite. We are walking talking paradoxes.

So, what and how we think effect our view of Jesus Christ.

How do you understand Jesus today? From a finite human viewpoint, or a supernatural infinite viewpoint.

I submit to you this morning that you cannot really ever get to know Jesus until you get out of the flesh way of thinking and into the supernatural spirit way of thinking.

Read what Paul says about knowing Jesus:

1 Cor.5:16 - "Consequently, from now on we estimate and regard no one from a [purely] human point of view [in terms of natural standards of value]. [No] even though we once did estimate Christ from a human viewpoint and as a man, yet now [we have such knowledge of Him that] we know Him no longer [in terms of the flesh]."

Powerful, life changing stuff right there in front of you.

I strongly suggest that you read and then re-read that verse as many times as needed to ensure you get it deep down in your spirit.

How you view and understand Christ effects every part of your daily existence.

You have to train yourself to see everything through the supernatural side of your born-again life. Resist strictly seeing things through your sensory oriented carnal (flesh, human) side.

Practice living and walking in the supernatural spirit side of who you are, which is essentially the real you.

The body is a transport vehicle. Your eternal infinite soul and spirit is who you are and that is going to live forever.

For an intimate relationship with Christ you have to get past "estimating" Him in your human finite way.

You have to move to "contemplating" Him in the spirit.

That's essentially what Paul is saying. We once only knew Jesus in a historical context.

Now we need to know Him intimately and personally and it must be done in the spirit.

I think that's where people get hung up. They are trying to forge a typical human relationship with Someone who is not typical.

The very next verse explains why that is:

17 - "Therefore if any person is [ingrafted] in Christ (the Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come!"

We who have accepted Jesus have become changed. We are a brand new (not reconstituted) creation.

Since that is the truth it stands to reason that we must act according to our new spiritual nature.

In other words, you are changed. Act like it.

Maybe this is too deep for you today. That's okay. Start slow. Meditate on the verse prayerfully. Contemplate quietly the possibilities. Act upon the revealed knowledge that the Holy Spirit gives you.

Do this and I personally guarantee you will step to a higher level of living with Jesus Christ!

Be blessed!

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Monday, October 24, 2011

Lost And Found

Luke 15:32 - "But it was fitting to make merry, to revel and feast and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and is alive again! He was lost and is found!"

There's a different kind of reveling going on here.

This is not the riotous living the prodigal experienced when he blew everything he had.

This is a reveling on earth and in heaven.

This is the rejoicing of a soul coming home to the Father.

There is a grand party in heaven when a person returns to God.

I was lost. You were lost. Perhaps you are reading this and are still out there apart from God.


The good news is that I was found! Many of you were found! If not, the greatest news you will ever hear is that you don't have to remain lost either.

God wants you back!

John Newton was so excited that he wrote a song about it:

Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind but now I see.

Lost and found.

The Soul Recycling Center Of The Universe.

The return deposit is the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.

Bought and paid for by Jesus.

Amazing grace.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Your Plan "A" Was Never Going To Work

Luke 15:18 - "I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight."

Good plan. Excellent strategy. You've screwed your life up and now you want to make it right.

Straight from the pig sty of failed schemes and plans.

I will get up and go to God. I will tell Him how sorry I am and how I have come to recognize my faults. I will recognize how I have forced Him to grieve over a diminished wretch.

I will simply present myself as an object in need of His grace and forgiveness.

And I shall receive it.

That might be the most important part. Know that you shall receive it.

"If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness [everything not in conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action]." (1 John 1:9)

There's a lot of freedom in that verse. Perhaps the greatest passage in the bible. Certainly up there in the Top 10.

What happens in the sty stays in the sty. That is until we decide to change. No one crawls out of the slime until they say "Enough!".

Freely admit. Of your own will and accord.

We first have to break free from our own nature of sin and evil and God will then be true to His nature.

We need forgiveness. He will forgive.

How's that for simple?

Now, mix in your desire to change and the process is complete.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Devil's Buffet

Luke 15:15-16 - "(15) So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. (16) And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything."

Promises of greener pastures. Lured away from the comfort and security of his father's house by the lust of the flesh.

Wine, women, song. Eat, drink, be merry. The world, the flesh, the devil.

All the buzzwords fit.

The Prodigal Son was feeling his oats and he felt he needed to sow a few wild ones.

Bottom line? He blew it. Big time.

Nothing worked out. He satiated his carnal desires and like it often goes, when the money runs out so do all of your so called "friends". One can hear Satan chuckling in the background.

The young man secures a position as hog slopper at a local pig sty and reaches the final degradation.

The true bottom however is when the muddy, feces covered corn husks start to look good enough to eat.

A real devil's buffet. Down home cookin' from the way down. Southern cuisine from as far "south" as you can get.

Sin, selfishness, self-aggrandizement, will always eat your lunch. The pig sty is always the alternative to Kingdom living.

I don't know how many corn husks you have to eat before God's house looks good to you.

I feasted at the trough of despair for too many years before I fell on my knees.

I know which side of the bread is buttered now. I'm not going back. Never.

Someone dear to me once said she was "all in" when it came to serving Christ.

Yeah, that's it...I'm all in. Lock, stock and double barrel, I am ALL IN.

Are you "all in"? Everything you are? Everything you own? Everything you hope to be? All in?

If not, remember...when you are not all in for Jesus Christ you are all in for something lesser, and something lesser is never as good.

Be blessed today! Look down and make sure both feet are where they should be.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Monday, October 17, 2011

"To Defy, Perchance Defile"

Genesis 3:4 - "But the serpent said to the woman, You shall not surely die".

There it is. A statement as old as humanity itself.

We could call it the first bad advice ever given and acted upon.

The first sin.

The first lie.

The first time man exercised his own free will negatively against God.

After all, Genesis is the "Beginning" of everything.

God said if Adam and Eve did the one thing He told them not to, that they would die, first of all spiritually, and eventually mortally.

The Serpent said "Not so. You will not die. Go ahead and challenge God."

Not a good choice for them, and not good for the rest of the human race that followed.

If we survey the past history of our existence and the present climate, it's been a rough few thousand years.

Since that fateful day:

There has never been complete peace on this planet. Never.

There has never been freedom from the threat of sickness and disease. Never.

There has never been prosperity and financial freedom for all. Never.

There has never been enough food and shelter for the masses. Never.

Instead, the perfect plan of God for peace, harmony, joy, wealth, health, etc., has all gone awry.

It has been replaced with war, pestilence, disease, poverty, racism, hatred, greed, jealousy.

This is why we need Jesus.

He brings what we lack to the human condition.

Even as the world may seem to be disintegrating around us, the heart of the follower of Christ is at peace and has joy.

Any goodness that can be found on this planet today is the direct result of the presence of the Body of Christ.

If it was not for that goodness there would be no true goodness at all.

We have not really ever gazed upon the face of true chaos and anarchy. Remove the influence of Christ and the Holy Spirit as the "Restrainer", and it would all become too unbearable to exist.

It should heighten our awareness and give fuller meaning to "Thank God."

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Friday, October 14, 2011

"Come Out, Come Out Wherever You Are!"

Most of us recall those innocent words from childhood games.

"Come Out, Come Out Wherever You Are!"

"Where are you?" seems innocent enough as well.

I've been asked that from time to time by members of my own household as to inquire of my whereabouts. Am I upstairs? Downstairs? Hiding from my wife? (lol!).

I would not want to hear "Where are you?" from God.

He asked the very same question of Adam way back when Adam and Eve were the only two people on earth.

Genesis 3:9 - "But the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, Where are you?"

Adams response?

"I was hiding from You."

The question of "Where are you?" becomes a very serious spiritual issue because if God has to ask you that question then it indicates a breech, a separation between you and Him.

That's exactly what happened to Adam.

He sinned and immediately was consumed by guilt and fear so He attempted to hide from God.

He tried the impossible.

The question should not be interpreted this morning as to ponder that God could possibly lose track of us, or that we could fall off His radar.

Along with the question of discussion today we also see that God followed up the question with two more.

"Who told you that you were naked?", and "What have you done?"

He already knew the answers to all of those questions.

He was trying to get Adam and Eve to face their wrongdoing.

What ensued was the first installment of "the blame game."

Adam blamed Eve, Eve blamed the serpent, and they both blamed God.

This is why the question of "Where are you?" in my opinion, has less to do with geographical location than it does with the spiritual state of Adam and Eve. It is also designed to help them diagnose where they went wrong and why.

"Where are you?" can be applied to ourselves this morning.

Where are you with God? Have you become separated? Are you trying to hide from God? Are the lies and excuses building up so high that you are running out of people and things to blame?

You see, God knows exactly where you are today. The question is designed for you to make the discovery.

Make the discovery and rectify. Make the discovery and build on it.

That's why God sent Jesus. Paul called Him "the second Adam". He is the "cleaner". He makes it all ok.

We have that luxury. Adam didn't.

You have an Advocate.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Thursday, October 13, 2011

"King Of Useless Information"

That's me.

I have a storehouse of what I refer to as "useless information" rattling around in my brain, and I am able to regurgitate it in a moments notice solicited or not.

Over the course of 58 years I have read the equivalent of a public library in books, watched thousands of hours of television, and the advent of the internet is an info nut's dream.

Somehow it all got stuck in my head.

I'm sure it's really not all useless. It might even be useful at the right time for the right purpose.

I say anything is useless that does not profit a person in some fashion.

But even then what we have sought after as profitable may serve to be the very thing that stands in the way of the most important thing in our life.

Jesus spoke about this in the gospel of Matthew.

Matthew 16:26 - "For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life [his blessed life in the kingdom of God]? Or what would a man give as an exchange for his [blessed] life [in the kingdom of God]?"

If we were able to "have it all", and to enjoy great wealth and exceeding knowledge and wisdom, but lost or not gained our salvation in the Kingdom of God, Jesus says it would actually be considered not profitable.

Material or intellectual profit is not a fair trade for one's soul.

Since many view it as an intangible, the things we touch, smell, see, hear, and speak about is all the reality the common man, the unregenerated sinner, is ever really going to know.

It is the epitome of sensory oriented living. It's all we've ever known until we discovered life in the Spirit.

I think it may very well be the hardest truth to to get across to folks.

I'll expand on this at a later time, but for now the critical message is to stop selling your eternal soul for temporal earthly profit.

There's nothing wrong with living comfortably, but not if the reality of your eternal life has to be sacrificed.

If you are faced with a choice between fleeting momentary comforts or ill gotten gain and Jesus, always choose Jesus.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

"Flat, Filled, Or Just Plain Leaking"

There may be some things that are good flat. Like bread.

I can personally attest today that tires are definitely better inflated than flat.

Basketballs are no good when flat.

Soda tastes bad when it goes flat.

Followers of Jesus Christ who go flat in their spiritual life is not very good either.

Luke 14:34 - "Salt is good [an excellent thing], but if salt has lost its strength and has become saltless (insipid, flat), how shall its saltness be restored?"

Jesus likens us to salt. Once the saltiness is gone (or goes flat) what good is it?

The insinuation that it may not be able to be restored is disturbing.

Basketballs and tires can be pumped up with air.

Unless they are full of holes.

Some folks are full of holes. They can't retain the Spirit of God. He blows through them instead of filling them.

They get "pumped up" for a bit and then deflate and go "flat" after a season.

I find that this happens when our desire to follow Christ is more of a fad. Or when one turns to Jesus only during times of stress and difficulty.

There is no steadiness. No spiritual good health.

Jesus spoke often in the gospels of leaving the things that kept us bound and useless spiritually and never looking back.

He said we will leave our mothers and fathers.

He said we would not even allow the death and burial of a loved one interfere with following Him.

He said we would walk away from even the largest fortunes to be His disciple.

He said we would put our shoulder to the plow and never look back on the ground we already have turned.

There is only Him before us. Our eyes are ever upon Him.

Do you have holes? Are you leaking? Deflated? Flat?

What let the air out of you?

I think there is a danger zone we can reach where the flatness cannot be restored.

I also think that there are many opportunities along the way where we are given chances to achieve spiritual health.

Maybe this is your wake up call this morning?

Be blessed! Be filled!

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

"Is It Really Always The Butler?"

One of the great cliches in the long history of the mystery novel and movie is "the butler did it".

I would like to know exactly how many times the butler was the culprit in all of the thousands of mystery novels written and movies produced.

I'll guess it was only a few. Yet, people have been trained by that to look past the deeper likelihood that someone else committed the crime because the "butler" is the most obvious suspect.

One thing we know is that in all mysteries, even the great mystery of life and death, it's seldom the obvious.

It's that way also in the study of the Word of God.

People shy away from the study of the Word because they don't understand it as written sometimes, and they are unwilling to put any effort into unraveling the mystery.

It takes discipline and desire and many people want to live vicariously off of the desires and disciplines of others.

Ephesians 1:17 (AMP) - "[For I always pray to] the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, that He may grant you a spirit of wisdom and revelation [of insight into mysteries and secrets] in the [deep and intimate] knowledge of Him."

Yeah, that's what I pray for too.

Spiritual dullness takes the intrusion of the Holy Spirit in a very supernatural way to transform a person from thinking "the butler did it" to getting deep into the mystery of the revelation in order to discover the secrets.

Everyone needs to "solve for X" in their life, especially when X = upside down.

Should one always just throw their hands up and yield to defeat?

Yielding to God is not a sign of defeat or giving up.

Yielding to God is refusing to not solve the mystery and settle for a pat solution.

Yielding to God is opening the mind to a higher intelligence and having it filled with wisdom and revelation.

If you pray for it and yield to it God will build it into you.

Insight. Revelation. Deep knowledge into the mysteries, secrets, and knowledge of God.

This is the stuff that Adam tried to get illegally and which has now become available through the sacrifice and intervention of Jesus Christ.

Yeah, and you thought it was all just about some cute bible stories. The good stuff lies below the surface like any real treasure does.

Start mining for it.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Monday, October 10, 2011

"The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Disciple"

God speaks.

Do you hear Him? Do you listen for Him?

Or is your life a quiet and desperate situation where you feel you are guessing on making your decisions?

No one is more alone than the person who is not hearing from God.

Even the oldest book in our bible addresses the issue.

Job 33:14 - "For God [does reveal His will; He] speaks not only once, but more than once, even though men do not regard it [including you, Job]."

Including you (fill in name).

There it is.

God speaks.

So the problem is not on God's end.

The problem is in the hearing. The problem is in the listening.

Am I expecting audible sounds? No.

I expect people to stay close to the study of the Word of God and allow God to "speak" to them through the timeless passages He recorded expressly for that purpose.

It is shocking to find that the level of dedication to the study of God's Word, the very instrument of revelation between God and man, is not only treated lackadaisically, but often completely ignored.

And you say you're not hearing from God? Feeling estranged from God? Not getting what you need from God? Feeling abandoned by God?

There is an exchange of the study of His Word for just about any other "better thing to do".

I am a big supporter of being "impressed" in our spirit by the Holy Spirit. It is another way God has conversation with us, often in the midst of praying. I hear it so loudly sometimes that it almost sounds like a physical voice.

That's because I am never too far from prayer and the reading and study of His Word.

Prayer unfortunately, has also become somewhat a rarity except for when we realllllllly need something from God.

So in my estimation, from what I see and hear from the midst of the "sturm und drang", is that there is a critical stage outage in the Church of Jesus Christ as far as connectivity to God is concerned.

God is communicating but His Church is not receiving.

God reveals His will. He speaks and He speaks often.

He yearns to reveal His secrets of life to you. Yes...even you.

Life is only a mystery when we ignore the message from the Author.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Friday, October 7, 2011

"A Revelation In Every Cup!"

I happen to own a certain coffee maker that uses individually sealed containers called "K-Cups". I am pleased with it more than any other coffee maker I ever owned. Not only does it provide the best tasting cup of coffee I ever had, but also a little something extra added.

I noticed on the side of the box that it says, "A Revelation In Every Cup!"

I wonder if that has been an effective marketing hook to attract consumers?

A revelation? Of what? Has caffeine now been found to contain supernatural qualities that aid in the revealing of the secrets of the universe?

I must have missed that episode on the Discovery Channel. I think it aired after "The Search For Jesus' Spacecraft."

It did however cause me to ponder the Word of God. I don't think that was the intention, but I won't argue with it. Cause and effect is often contained in strange packages.

Mark 4:22 (Amplified) - "[ Things are hidden temporarily only as a means to revelation.] For there is nothing hidden except to be revealed, nor is anything [temporarily] kept secret except in order that it may be made known."

There it is. Things are hidden from us for a time and eventually revealed at the moment the most beneficial to us.

In other words, God knows exactly what we need to know and when we need to know it.

Our task is to be open for the revelation. Our task is to be expectant.

God is the originator of the "Revelation In Every Cup".

Open the pages of your Bible this morning.

There is a revelation awaiting you.

It just might change your life.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Thursday, October 6, 2011

"At The Core"

On the top shelf of my desk is a small odd looking round ball. Its surface is rough and dimpled, it has a strange weight and texture to it, and at first glance would appear to have no useful purpose.

While it looks useless for anything, its value and purpose is essential and mighty.

It is the inside of a baseball.

When we hold a regulation Major League baseball in our hand it fails to tell the whole story.

What we see is leather and stitching on the outside, but the entire picture is what is going on in the inside of this finely engineered dynamo.

I used to love to unravel old baseballs. It's actually very relaxing and somewhat therapeutic.

First you pick away at the stitching on the outside and peel away the leather cover. Next you find an endless mass of miles of elastic type threading which goes on forever. If you do it correctly you can get a bunch of it off in one continuous piece without breaking the thread.

Finally you get down to a composite material which must be cut away if you want to get to the very core and center, the actual power plant of the baseball, which is a very small and very hard rubber ball.

It's on my desk because I need to be reminded that it is what is at the core that provides my strength and power.

1 Peter 1:21
"Through Him (Jesus Christ) you believe in (adhere to, rely on) God, Who raised Him up from the dead and gave Him honor and glory, so that your faith and hope are [centered and rest] in God."

If it wasn't for that small hard rubber core at he heart of the baseball, it would never get too far out of the infield when hit with a bat. It would not have what's necessary to provide a fearsome fastball from the hand of a power pitcher.

What's at the core of the believer is the same principle. We may look somewhat impressive on the outside, but it is what is at the core of a person that counts, and if that core is not Jesus Christ then that person does not perform at the level God has designed.

Where are we, even in all of our splendor and successes, without faith and hope?

Success lasts a mere 70-80 years. Faith and hope bring us through eternity.

Any success I ever achieve is a result of my faith and hope in Christ.

When I am unraveled someday, all that will be found is Him.

Everything else will turn to dust.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

"Humbled Not Humiliated"

Woe to you if you mess up in this world. People will not simply say "I told you so", but they will go out of their way to ridicule and make an example of you. Humiliation is a a valid weapon and tool in the business world and is often used to ensure a competitor never makes it farther up the ladder than you do.

It's also used by those who suffer deep insecurities and need to make others look bad so they can feel good about themselves.

We don't find humiliation in the methods of God. Instead we find humility.

Humility is not humiliation. Humility is a tool for growth.

James 4:10 - “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”

Lift you up not knock you down.

Encourage you not squash your spirit.

God cannot accomplish His plan for you if you think more of yourself than you should. He cannot use you to boast upon His Son Jesus Christ if you are busy boasting about your accomplishments.

When Paul was in danger of his head swelling with accomplishments, God made sure he was humbled.

The verse says "humble yourself".

If we ignore the Word on this issue God will perform the task for us.

Humility does not mean wimpy. Humility does not mean doormat. Humility does not mean timid.

Christ was humble and He is the strongest character we have in all of human history.

Be blessed today! Stay humble.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

"Living A Cliche"

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

One line was "Show me the money!"

The other was "You complete me."

These are the lines that snag our heart and soul.

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

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

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

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

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

Be who you are. Only perfected.

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

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

Did I mention lacking in nothing?

James says it all flows from steadfastness.

Steadfastness come from tests and trials.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Steady. Firm. Solid. Real.

You can get there from here.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Monday, October 3, 2011

"Welcome To Your Nightmare"

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

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

At times it can seem like a real nightmare.

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

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

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

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

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

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

James gives us an interesting admonition today.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, how about you today?

Got joy?

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><