Tuesday, January 31, 2012

What Do You Really Need To Know?

"For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified." (1 Corinthians 2:2)

The reflection upon the final earthly days of the ministry and suffering of Jesus Christ is a worthy endeavor for successful daily living.

Paul was so absorbed into Christ that he stated that the Crucified Christ was the center of His focus and lifestyle.

Adam Clark describes the verse this way in his commentary:

"I determined not to know any thing among you - Satisfied that the Gospel of God could alone make you wise unto salvation, I determined to cultivate no other knowledge, and to teach nothing but Jesus Christ, and him crucified, as the foundation of all true wisdom, piety, and happiness. No other doctrine shall I proclaim among you."

Let me make an emphatic statement here.

The foundation of all Scripture is based upon the doctrine of the Cross of Christ. Jesus is the Lamb "slain from the foundation of the world" (Rev. 13:8).

There is no purpose, no validity, no power in the Word of God unless we first understand that every book within it's covers are squarely and foremost centered in Christ and His selfless act of sacrifice for the sin of the world.

Allow this event to permeate every fiber and facet of your being, spiritually, physically, mentally.

What Jesus did in His blood covenant with us provides healing for body, soul, and spirit.

Without what Jesus did, we have no chance. Zilch, nada, zero, nil.

Simply put, we are not made whole until we recognize and take upon ourselves the great provision of God for the human race.

Get to a quiet place. Pray and meditate on what Christ did for you. Ask the Holy Spirit for fresh revelation in your soul and spirit.

Allow the wonder of it all to cascade over you like a flood and be blessed by it today!

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Monday, January 30, 2012

Stuff Happens, But It Doesn't Have To Ruin Your Day

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.

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.

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, January 27, 2012


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 being last and Jesus first?

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, January 26, 2012

What Goes Around Does Not Have To Come Around

I'm a contrary. Sometimes because I think I was just born that way, but also that God in His infinite wisdom knew that before He saved me, and has made me a born-again contrary, haha!

Actually I think we all become contrary in our new nature when we receive the Spirit of Christ in us.

Jesus was a contrary. He was contrary to popular religious thoughts and ideals. He was contrary at times to His own surrounding culture. He was contrary to pervasive evil.

He saw things differently, and He has shown us how to look at the world the same way.

So, I always try to test and to see and hear the opposite of what is being portrayed before me. Of course I measure that along the Word of God just to be sure I am being contrary, and not just "difficult".

One of the popular thoughts I always challenge is the negative connotation attached to "What goes around comes around".

If love is going around then I think it will also return and come around.

If it's hatred, sickness, poverty, despair, anxiety, insomnia, addiction, violence, disharmony, and other associated curses, and yes, I mean curses, then no. What has gone around does not have to come your way.

I think all of the above are indeed curses from hell, and they have no place in the lives of the child of God!

This is not to say the enemy will not continue to fire them at us, and with perhaps even one getting through once in awhile. However, we need to renew our minds as Paul told us in Rom. 12, so that we change our thinking to be more according to the work Christ has performed in our spirit.

Rom. 12:2 - "Don't be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what is the good, well-pleasing, and perfect will of God."

The way we think is critical as to how we will live. The mind is our soul and it is the ground upon which all battles begin.

Remember that. The mind is the place where the battle begins. If you do not take that ground early you risk losing everything. Satan and all the demonic forces need to be confronted and repelled even preemptively before the gates of hell can prevail.

This means our prayer life must be active, our bible study must be in full swing, and our fellowshipping with each other in Christ as often as possible must be prominent.

There is no time better to begin than right now.

Pray with me:" Lord Jesus, thank you for your provision for me today. I do not have to fall victim to the forces of the one who seeks to destroy me. I stand firm today upon the rock of Jesus Christ and I take full authority over my present condition in the name of Jesus Christ! I will not be defeated"! Amen!

We are in this battle together friends, and we will prevail!

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

All Guts And His 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 Monster.com.

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, January 24, 2012

Finite Or Infinite

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, January 23, 2012

Smell What The Devil Is Cooking

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.

Let's not forget that back in that day a young Jewish man slopping hogs is quite a defilement.

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. Just a tad too far "south" for my taste. Remember that the buffet of Hell is brought to you by The Lord of the Flies (Beezlebub). He's runs it and the "flies" are the patrons. I don't have to tell you what the fare is. Suffice it to say it draws lots of flies. Oddly enough it is often the most packed in the neighborhood.

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 20 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! Always remember the table of the Lord is still the best menu in town.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Friday, January 20, 2012

Be Assured AND Understand

James 1:2-3 (AMP) - "Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations. 3 Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience."

I always have felt uneasy about how some people may interpret this passage.

I often have felt that it is misinterpreted to insinuate that God somehow makes it tough on us so we can experience the joy and subsequent results of being immersed in difficulty.


First of all...

James 1:13 (AMP) - "Let no one say when he is tempted, I am tempted from God; for God is incapable of being tempted by [what is] evil and He Himself tempts no one."

So we can strike that notion right off the bat.

No one ever said we would always have it easy. I thank God that since I have followed Jesus, there have been many, many good days. There has also been times of great trials and challenges. I give Him the glory for leading me through successfully each time. I have learned something during each one. I have learned to even have "joy" through trials knowing that He is going to do something great in the outcome! Forgive me if this sounds kind of weird, but I have come to find that EASY IS BORRRRRINNNNG!

1 Corinthians 10:13 (AMP) - "For no temptation (no trial regarded as enticing to sin), [no matter how it comes or where it leads] has overtaken you and laid hold on you that is not common to man [that is, no temptation or trial has come to you that is beyond human resistance and that is not adjusted and adapted and belonging to human experience, and such as man can bear]. But God is faithful [to His Word and to His compassionate nature], and He [can be trusted] not to let you be tempted and tried and assayed beyond your ability and strength of resistance and power to endure, but with the temptation He will [always] also provide the way out (the means of escape to a landing place), that you may be capable and strong and powerful to bear up under it patiently."

This we must learn to know and expect. Unfortunately, we generally cannot know the fullness of this until we have been through a few battles.

There is something to say for battle toughness.

Listen, let's not be fooled here by the wiles of the enemy. I don't know about you, but for me the toughest trials early on in my pastoral calling has been the gates of hell trying to topple me or persuade me away from being who God has called me to be. There are continual attacks against me all of the time, even right up to this present moment. I have learned how to battle the devil. I have learned to kind of like a good dust up with Satan's flunkies.

Curses have been attempted to be placed upon me, spirits of various kinds have tried to bring me down. Some have been exotic, but the most insidious, and often the most powerful, have been the familiar spirits. Fortunately, I now have become more familiar with them so that I usually spot it a mile before it arrives. I have JOY in battling them and watching them recoil in defeat. In Christ I always win.

I'm not sure where your particular joy will come from, or what will be the most satisfying to you. Mine is when I win in Jesus and am able to give all glory to Him for the Victory! See? That brings joy!

I have learned steadfastness and patience. I have served Him now 26 years, and almost 20 of those years as a pastor. You don't survive that long in the Kingdom unless you are steadfast and patient, and having learned how to have joy in the battle.

Something wicked this way comes, and it will at some point turn down your street.

Be ready. Be joyful and not willing to give one inch. God has a great victory for you. Maybe even today.

We are the Church! Jesus said the Gates of Hell will not prevail against us!

Amen? Jesus never fails!

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Because He Went

Jesus is the answer.

Mark 10:51 (AMP) - "And Jesus said to him, What do you want Me to do for you? And the blind man said to Him, Master, let me receive my sight."

Let's understand something about this passage as it apllies TODAY.

Things have changed since that meeting between Jesus and the blind man.

Not long after that, Jesus went to the cross and died. He was resurrected, ascended to Heaven, where He now sits at the right hand of God interceding for God's children (the born-again believer).

We as The Church, now act on His behalf. He has passed His authority to us.

This doesn't mean we order Jesus around. It simply means we don't have to ask for what He has entrusted the believer to perform and accomplish. Our praying now becomes not a begging or wishful exercise, but an act of faith and partnership which knows that what we are proclaiming will come to pass!

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."

We don't have to keep asking for something He has already given us.

John 14:12 (AMP) - "I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, if anyone steadfastly believes in Me, he will himself be able to do the things that I do; and he will do even greater things than these, because I go to the Father."

What do you think is the most important part of this verse? Well, it all holds importance, but at the very end Jesus says, "Because I go to the Father."

See that? Right there! "Because I go to the Father". That changed everything! Because of what He did changed everything from that point onward. We now have to interpret everything through that understanding. Not doing that has been a huge failure of the Church over centuries. It is the reason for its weakness in the world. The Church has failed to properly interpret the Scriptures by not recognizing that the post-Resurrection/Ascension Jesus changed all the rules.

There is a great power, authority, and responsibility the believer has access to. It's nothing short of tragic that many fail to appropriate it. Too many voices get in the way. They are all used of the enemy. No one knows that power better than Satan, because he knows how it wrecks his day when believers utilize it. It behooves him to do everything to interfere with it if he can.

You need to make sure he cannot. Not just for you, but for everything around you, everything and everyone you connect with every single day!

YOU my friend, may be the only anointed person at any given time standing between life and death for everyone you come into contact with. YOU may be the only one in your workplace, school, shopping plaza, even your own home, which is preventing hell from reaching up and dragging people into itself.

YOU need , yes NEED, to be aware of this every moment. The Serpent is crafty and he is watching for your moment of weakness. He will swoop in, steal your lunch money, and shove you down the stairs, every single time he sees your failure to ever not acknowledge who you are in Christ.

Sobering? I hope so for your sake. YOU are the Authority in Christ over every work of the Devil. If you are a believer.

Jesus never fails.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Where Are You?

Come out, come out wherever you are.

Most of us recall those innocent words from childhood games.

"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!).

In fact, I can hardly see any negative connotations to the question.

Except one.

I would not want to hear that question 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 <><

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

King Of Useless Information

I joke about that often as I apply the title to myself.

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 not all useless. It might even be mostly 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 <><

Monday, January 16, 2012

When It Goes Flat

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

I can personally attest today that tires are definitely better inflated and round.

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?

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 <><

Friday, January 13, 2012

Did The Butler Really Do It?

One of the great cliches in the long history of the mystery novel and movie is that "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 wager 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 <><

Thursday, January 12, 2012

God Speaks

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 <><

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

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.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

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 <><

Monday, January 9, 2012

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 <><

Friday, January 6, 2012

Trust God And Seize Your Opportunities

How many opportunities have you passed over in the course of your life? Perhaps it was a job change, a position that would have made you more money, or a move to a completely different locale. Maybe it was a chance to serve God in a unique fashion.

I remember back in 1991, and the decision for Joan and me to sell our home, for me to quit my well paying job of 17 years, and to pack up the four kids and move across the country to Colorado to attend bible college. When we left the house hadn't even sold yet, and the moving van was less than a week behind us. We had no place to live and no jobs lined up. We just trusted God and went.

It's a decision I never regretted. It was an opportunity, and even though it posed some real concerns, we trusted God and followed the lead of the Holy Spirit.

We were rewarded in many ways by that choice. We stayed with another student for a weekend while we looked for a home. We found one within several days, and shortly after that Joan found a great job. Our home church back in New York even called one evening to let us know that the church board voted to pay the cost of my entire education.

That's God. By seizing the opportunity provided by Him we grew in our faith by leaps and bounds.

How about the opportunities we never test? How many things have gone less than the way they should have because we allowed fear and trepidation to control our lives?

It can all go so terribly wrong.

Take for example this passage from Paul:

Acts 13:46
"And Paul and Barnabas spoke out plainly and boldly, saying, It was necessary that God's message [concerning salvation through Christ] should be spoken to you first. But since you thrust it from you, you pass this judgment on yourselves that you are unworthy of eternal life and out of your own mouth you will be judged. [Now] behold, we turn to the Gentiles (the heathen)."

Paul was speaking of the Jews response to the message of salvation in Christ. Their decision to reject the gospel would result in a catastrophe that has followed them through the centuries. The very salvation which had been engineered by God Himself for them was rejected and subsequently presented to the Gentile and heathen.

One group of people's missed opportunity resulted in opportunity for others.

It still happens on a smaller scale today. Every day people are faced with the opportunity to accept Christ into their life and reject and refuse to do so.

Every day lived apart from Jesus is a missed opportunity for many things. Peace, joy, happiness, love, and ultimately eternal life, is all by the boards at the end of a life lived.

It's sad. Downright heartbreaking really.

Why forfeit everything? Why allow fear or ignorance to dictate our life path?

We can have a good life here and an even better one later.

It's all in Him. Live the adventure. Seize the moment. Dare to do things that you never considered simply because you can.

The possibilities are endless when we are guided and protected by the hand of God.

Be blessed today!

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Anytime...And The Livin' Ain't Easy

Living isn't easy, no matter how cushy a life you may have had. There should be some sort of reward for any person who has ever lived and died. They deserve a parade.

Many people live long years in quiet desperation and will depart this planet without so much as a wink and a nod.

Well, some of us will be appreciated at the end of the road.

Matt. 25:21 - "His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!' "

Matthew 25:34 - "Then the King will say to those at His right hand, Come, you blessed of My Father [you favored of God and appointed to eternal salvation], inherit (receive as your own) the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world."

It's the great reward. It's what we who have attached ourselves to the Vine have looked forward to our entire life with Jesus.

Living is easier when you know what awaits in the next transition.

Hope beyond the grave. Acknowledgement of a life lived.

The ability to see the groveling after superficial and short lasting accolades as futile and folly in light of the eternal reward that even the great Hollywood cinematographers could not come close to.

I am sad for anyone who doesn't know Jesus. They have built their own little "bio dome" of self security. Job, family, Rotary Club, Little League...

What's left when the job says buh-bye? Or the spouse passes on? Or the children leave the nest?

Who will tell you the much needed "I love you"? Or, "Great job"!

For some...no one sadly.

For others? Jesus.

He's always there. He always has been there. He always will be there.

He's the lover of your soul.

Remember. Jesus has never rejected a single person. It was Jesus who was rejected by many.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Believing Goes A Lot Deeper Than Knowing

Believing (in the biblical sense of the term) is not just simply knowing that something is there.

It's deeper. And going deep is at a premium in the Kingdom of God (in the here and now).

This is particularly true where the study and understanding of the Word of God is concerned.

1 Thessalonians 2:13 - "And we also [especially] thank God continually for this, that when you received the message of God [which you heard] from us, you welcomed it not as the word of [mere] men, but as it truly is, the Word of God, which is effectually at work in you who believe [ exercising its superhuman power in those who adhere to and trust in and rely on it]."

Man, that is one beautiful passage. It contains so many elements of truth about God and His Word.

First of all, the study of the Word of God aids in believing.

When I say believing I do not mean the superficial understanding that there is such a thing, but moving way past that.

Certainly we must first realize that there is a Word to be studied and ingested. Then we are to move quickly further along into adhering, trusting, and relying.

That's what it means to "believe". Adhering, trusting, relying. We apply that rule over the entire scope of biblical understanding.

The Word of God is "supernatural in it's ability, and superhuman in it's foundation."

There is nothing superficial about it.

So, when we commit to studying it we can expect a supernatural impact upon our hybrid nature. By that I mean we are a trichotomy (body, soul, and spirit) in our makeup commonly known as "human being." In reality we are 2/3 supernatural, as our soul and spirit will return back to God. The body stays in the ground.

If you have studied the Word diligently you already know all of that.

You will know many more things. You will gain wisdom and secrets of the ages which are known only to those who have become disciples of Jesus Christ. No spiritually stunted person knows the things a good student of the Word of God knows. Knowing Christ unleashes the "Helper", who is the Holy Spirit.

This is why we fare better in life. This one and the next.

Do you want to fare better in life? Do you want to be an instrument in God's hands for the well being of those who suffer for a lack of knowledge and wisdom?

I hope so.

It's at your fingertips. It's at your ear. It's within your spirit.

Commit to allow yourself to be changed. Adhere to, trust in, and rely upon His Word today.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Reapers

"Soon and very soon, we are going to see the King! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! We are going to see the King!" ~Andre Crouch~

Matthew 13:38-39 - "The field is the world, and the good seed means the children of the kingdom; the darnel (weeds) is the children of the evil one, (39) And the enemy who sowed it is the devil. The harvest is the close and consummation of the age, and the reapers are angels."

Someone has tried to destroy God's crops.

An evil, despicable enemy has sneaked into the perimeter and planted weeds designed to choke out the good seed and crop of God.

There are sappers on the wire.

This has resulted in conflict. Good crops (disciples) surrounded and intertwined with evil. Children of the devil in cohabitation with the children of God.

Sometimes we are mingled into the same neighborhoods, the same city, the same culture, the same workplace.

Sometimes it's right under your own roof.

Along the way of biblical instruction it has become erroneously assumed that the job of the good seed (the children of God) is to eradicate the children of the devil.

Not so. That's the job of Jesus Christ and He will dispatch angels to take care of that at the culmination of the ages.

The Reapers.

You see, as Spirit filled and pious as we can get, we are not equipped to deal with plucking out evil from our midst. We are qualified to plant good seed and help it grow into a good crop, but we have no control over the eradication of evil. We can control it to an extent by the Holy Spirit, but we cannot eradicate it.

This is why things have gotten progressively worse in the big snow globe over the centuries.

The more good seed we plant the more the devil sprinkles in weeds. Sometimes the weeds seem to outnumber the good crop. It seems that way because I believe it does.

One could start to feel like General Custer at Little Big Horn.

Even the disciples asked Jesus to reap the harvest.

Verse 28: "The servants said to him, Then do you want us to go and weed them out?"

Jesus' response?

Verse 29: "But he said, No, lest in gathering the wild wheat (weeds resembling wheat), you root up the [true] wheat along with it."

I believe it's because we are dealing in a different realm of the supernatural that we can't cross over to until we revert back to being completely a spirit being. Our flesh gets in the way.

Some things we just have to trust over to God while we continue to obey and be sowers .

He will take care of the weeding and harvesting.

He will someday send the Reapers.

We are not to speculate on dates and times. We are to patiently wait.

I believe it is not far off.

We may only have to contend with evil for a just a little while longer.

In the meantime. Plant and water. The more good in the garden the better. As numerous as the weeds may be they will never choke out the beautiful flowers that God is growing, and someday the culmination of the age will be at hand.

Revelation 14:16-18
(16) "So He Who was sitting upon the cloud swung His scythe (sickle) on the earth, and the earth's crop was harvested. (17) Then another angel came out of the temple [sanctuary] in heaven, and he also carried a sharp scythe (sickle). (18) And another angel came forth from the altar, [the angel] who has authority and power over fire, and he called with a loud cry to him who had the sharp scythe (sickle), Put forth your scythe and reap the fruitage of the vine of the earth, for its grapes are entirely ripe."

Your responsibility as part of God's great Vineyard is to be sure you are ripe for the harvest!

Look to the sky each morning. Pray to the Lord of the Harvest to return quickly.

The scythes and sickles are being honed.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Monday, January 2, 2012

Time Rolls On

Time rolls on. It waits for no one. Not Princes nor Presidents. Not the noted or the notorious. Not you and me.

It will not pause one hour. Not one minute. Not one second.

It will not even slow down just long enough for us to catch a breath.

It rolls and it rolls hard.

It will roll on today. At just a blink past Midnight the calendar changed.

We like to think something magical happens.

Wouldn't it be nice if we really did have a clean and fresh start?

If we had bills at one second before 2012 we would no longer have them one second after.

If we were ill... If we were unhappy... If we were out of God's grace...

That's the one we should be concerned about ultimately. Being out of God's grace.

No one knows the date and time, but there is coming a day when Jesus returns and rearranges the furniture.

In a moment. In the blink of an eye, at the sound of a heavenly trumpet, at the parting of the clouds and the breaking of the plane of heaven, all of earth will see Him return.

What will be your first thought about the God who has not lived by our clocks and calendars, but who has only been concerned with His creation? Who had left us with a clear set of explanations, warnings, and instructions? Not to mention a Real Presence of His Holy Spirit. The God whom many have ignored, slandered, and yes...even crucified.

What will you think?

Will it be, "Oops"? Or perhaps, "Wow, Pastor Kevin was right after all!" Or, "I'm sure it will all be OK if I just say I'm sorry"!

Happy New Year.

Rich or poor, sick or healthy, brilliant or dull witted, time will roll on and you will face tomorrow the same way.

We learn no great lesson by the tick of a clocks second hand. Unless we understand there is no break in the action.

Some of you will make your resolutions. Overwhelmingly most of you will break them within days.

More importantly we should be concerned about God's time.

On the continuum it is unlike how we tick off the moments and days.

He will be ready when He is ready.

Psalm 75:2 - "When the proper time has come [for executing My judgments], I will judge uprightly [says the Lord]."

The proper time. Fair and equitable for all. Never based on a whim, but completely upon how we have responded to Him, the Prime Mover of all that is.

I don't know when that is. If I was God it would have been a long time ago. I am glad He is patient.

I, like James and John before me, would have asked Him to call down fire and brimstone long ago.

I would offend the offenders. I would be the Dean Wormer of the Universe and mete out advice like "Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son." ZAP!

No, even if we don't know when the "proper" time will be, one thing we can be sure of.

We can't be sure the banks will not fail. We can't be sure the health care system will run right. We can't be sure the housing market will stabilize.

We can be sure that one minute before and as many minutes after until He comes back, Jesus Christ is the lover of our souls.

That is the one sure thing in the universe today and it will be tomorrow.

Hebrews 13:8 - "Jesus Christ (the Messiah) is [always] the same, yesterday, today, [yes] and forever (to the ages)."

He is the constant. The sun has a better chance of going dim than Jesus has of not loving us.

Take that into the New year with you. It's the best news you'll hear. I'll guarantee it.

Be safe. Be renewed. Be happy.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><