Friday, June 29, 2012

Don't Even Think About It!

Ever say that to somebody? "Don't even think about it!" It's a modern day admonition to head off at the pass something that you anticipate someone trying to inflict upon you.

"Hey dad, Jimmy's mom let him paint his bedroom purple and I was wondering...". This could be a spot for a "Don't even think about it!"

Or it could be used in a more serious situation.

Romans 6:12 - "Let not sin therefore rule as king in your mortal (short-lived, perishable) bodies, to make you yield to its cravings and be subject to its lusts and evil passions."

Paul is giving us his version of "Don't even think about it!", as he strongly urges us to avoid sin.

Don't consider it. Don't yield to it. Reckon yourself dead to it. Refuse to allow it. Stay away. Keep it out. Don't entertain it.

I always find myself scratching my head as I find more and more Christians in the world making excuses for sin rather than obeying the clear teaching to avoid it like plague.

Somewhere over the centuries teachings about sin being unavoidable and inevitable have replaced the clear teaching of Paul in the Word.

When did "Let not", "Consider yourself dead to sin", and "Don't continue to allow", turn into "You have to", You can't help it", and "You must every day"?

Well, I do know when, but that's not important right now.

What's important is that sound biblical teaching proceed.

Paul says that when we become born-again, the power of sin is broken in our life. We are now to live in unbroken fellowship with Christ.

Listen to me here very carefully. While I realize that sin is forever lurking at the doorstep, we must realize that we are not bound to obey it.

The relationship we once had with sin is broken when we begin our new relationship with Jesus.

Why is that such a difficult concept? Most of us who are married have had other relationships before we met our spouses. We had to break off and forget any such previous relationships before we solidified our present ones, did we not?

The problem, I believe, is with a religious spirit. Many people cannot see Jesus as a relationship, and sin as the home wrecking former love interest.

We used to be in love with sin. Now we are in love with Jesus. Paul says we must consider ourselves dead to the old flame which was sin, and alive now to the new relationship with Jesus.

The two are as incompatible to each other as any former flings and your new spouse. 

Picture this: "Honey, guess who I just ran into at the grocery store? We haven't seen each other for years, so I thought I'd bring him/her home for dinner!" Do you think that is going to fly?

Picture this: "Lord, I got to thinking about some stuff I used to do before I met you, and realized how much I miss it, so I'm going to be spending some time in it from time to time." Do you REALLY think that is going to fly?

The biggest lie from hell is that we have no control over our actions and that Jesus somehow just winks at it.

The fact is that you do have control as a new creation in Christ. If the new nature you have received in Him cannot conquer the issues of your old nature, then you really don't have a new nature at all, do you?

This is the reason why Paul said we must have a renewal of our mind after we become born-again (Romans 12:2). God has done His part in us by creating a new spiritual being through Jesus Christ. Our response to that is to live according to the Word (Jesus), to be doer's of its instruction. We are no longer to conform to previous sinful patterns of living.

Romans 6:14 - "For sin shall not [any longer] exert dominion over you, since now you are not under Law [as slaves], but under grace [as subjects of God's favor and mercy]."

Get this deep down in your spirit this morning. Grace does NOT override free will. Grace is there to lead us and to restore us if we fail, but Grace never gives us an excuse to fail.

Jesus says in Revelation 3:20 - "Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me." 

Dining (having relationship) with Jesus is one on one and personal. Don't invite SIN to the table.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Thursday, June 28, 2012


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

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

We need a great peace.

I sense that today.

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

I sense it in myself.

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

Philippians 4:6-7 (Amplified Bible)

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

Yeah, that's it.

That tranquil state of the soul. 

A complete absence of fear (Faith, calm, peace, displaces fear).

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

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

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

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

When corroboration comes in the form of others saying "What's going on?"

An offensive mounted by enemy forces aimed at believers.

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

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

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

I want you to receive that today.

God's peace is yours today.

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

Be blessed. I am in it with you. 

Jesus is in it with us together.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Dieting is like boot camp. Discipline and results through repetition. Ever eat those packaged WW's meals, or Lean Cusiines? They taste pretty good... for awhile. After a week or so you are reduced to an Israelite in the desert complaining about the manna God keeps sending.

Yes, there were years of complaining from the Israelites as they walked in circles for 40 years. God even sent them quail and they still complained. Have you priced out quail in a fancy restaurant lately? It's a treat for the price, but if you had to eat it everyday you'd get sick of it.

John 6:31(Amplified Bible) - "Our forefathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as the Scripture says, He gave them bread out of heaven to eat."

They had every need met in the desert. BUT...they WANTED more.

It's easy to point the finger at them and get all self righteous over their audacity.

*Caution! Honesty Check Ahead*

Don't fool yourself. You've done your fair share of whining and complaining.

Considering that it's no longer manna or quail, but Jesus Christ, which of us has the least leg to stand on?

(35) "Jesus replied, I am the Bread of Life. He who comes to Me will never be hungry, and he who believes in and cleaves to and trusts in and relies on Me will never thirst any more (at any time)."

This verse speaks of the potential satiated hunger and thirst of the believer. It's only potential due to our part of accepting or rejecting it.

If we are feeding so sumptuously off of Jesus (alluding to the fact that we believers are continually being fed) then why are we always looking past what we have for more (insert head scratch here)?

Let me make it more plain. If Jesus said we will neither hunger nor thirst anymore, why are so many in a perpetual state of hunger and thirstiness?

He is saying He is our Provider for everything we need and that we will never lack.

In spite of that, people will sometimes THINK that they lack. 

There is a difference between wanting and needing. One can have all of their needs met and still WANT more.

Sometimes the want will supplant the need and create more need. In other words, don't spend the mortgage money on fancy new clothes and expect Jesus to foot the bill. 

This is the secret of successful Christian living. Learning to be satisfied with the Bread of Heaven. If your heart isn't in Jesus, then your perceived treasure will be found in something less satisfying.

Matthew 6:19-21 (Amplified Bible) -  "(19) Do not gather and heap up and store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust and worm consume and destroy, and where thieves break through and steal. (20) But gather and heap up and store for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust nor worm consume and destroy, and where thieves do not break through and steal; (21) For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."

Do you think this doesn't happen today? Ask some of the Wall Street fat cats who greedily accumulated great wealth while never giving a dime to the poor or to the Church. Perhaps even some of you have deteriorated 401K's and pensions that you were relying upon for an easy retirement. Maybe you had more of your eye on your portfolio than you did on Jesus?

Where is that "treasure" today? The "moths" ate it.

I didn't lose anything. Why? Because my investment is in the Kingdom of Heaven. My needs are met and my wants are aligned with what He wants for me with. I'm not bragging, just establishing the fact that it is possible to live as God wants us to. I lost no treasure because my Treasure is Jesus and eternal life.

Successful living is living in Christ. 

Don't trust your "gut". Trust Jesus.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Real Comfort

Some foods are said to be "comfort food". I have heard meat loaf described as being such a food. Also, macaroni and cheese. 

I suppose for me it used to be pizza. Or perhaps Chinese delivery. Yes, definitely Chinese. That could be dangerous. Finding yourself in a position where you feel you need to be "comforted" by food, and your favorite being just a phone call could hurt!

I'm not sure if "comfort" is the best way to describe any relief that comes from food. Maybe "feel good" food. Or "satisfying".

But are we really being "comforted"?

Probably not. At least not at any deep and lasting level.

In fact, nothing measures up to that task.

Except one.

Jesus describes it.

John 14:16 (AMP) - "And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, and Standby), that He may remain with you forever."

Jesus knows about these things. He is a Comforter Himself. He was while He walked the earth up until He had to leave and take His place at the right hand of God in Heaven.

This is why He said He would ask God to send "another" Comforter back to us.

This is real comfort. Not a fleeting and momentary respite from a bad day or trying experience. Not a Haagen-Daz pigout that will produce more guilt later than any comfort it provided presently.

Not temporary pill or liquor bottle comfort. Not a funny looking ciggy, or a quick snort of a magic powder.

Not a quick fling with the office secretary, or an out of control night out with the girls.

I'm talking real comfort here. Comfort that lasts. Comfort that heals. Comfort that strengthens, intercedes, and is ALWAYS at the standby.

Comfort that Jesus says will last for all the days we will ever spend upon this earth.

Forever Comfort.

I said, "Forever Comfort".

Could you use some of that today?

He's there. The Holy Spirit. He's within. Listen to His Voice. He doestn't merely have the solution...

...He is the solution.

Let Him do His work and stop confounding it with artificial means which keep leading to failure.

The Holy Spirit is your Comfort today and everyday.

Give Him a chance to do what He is waiting to do.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Monday, June 25, 2012

Got Jesus?

How many people have you met in your life who lay claim to being a follower of Jesus Christ?

For me it is probably somewhere in the thousands.

"Oh yes, I'm a Christian." Or, "I was raised a Christian". Or, "Yes, I believe in Jesus Christ."

There are literally millions of people in the world who could (and do) make similar statements.

Many of them either have no clue about Jesus Christ, have never associated themselves with Him purposely (nor ever intend to), or are "closet Christians" who recognize their "faith" as something they inherited from their parents.

The tragedy is that none of those categories, and some others, are disqualified in the eyes of Jesus Himself from being a disciple of His. 

Disciples...true disciples...act like they know Him.

1 John 2:4 - "Whoever says, I know Him [I perceive, recognize, understand, and am acquainted with Him] but fails to keep and obey His commandments (teachings) is a liar, and the Truth [of the Gospel] is not in him.


If you are a "marginal" believer in Jesus Christ this morning, than this is a verse to be very concerned about.

By 'marginal" I include all of the above categories, plus the part-timer, the stay-homer, and the C&E'rs.

"But pastor, which teaching of Jesus am I violating?"

I guess you would know which ones if you knew Him. This is why you are in trouble.

His disciples don't have that problem and never will.

(5) But he who keeps (treasures) His Word [who bears in mind His precepts, who observes His message in its entirety], truly in him has the love of and for God been perfected (completed, reached maturity). By this we may perceive (know, recognize, and be sure) that we are in Him.

Are you one of the "he who keeps"? Then you have nothing to worry about today. Your relationship is secure in Him. You are trusting Him in all you do and reaping the benefits of God's grace according to your faith.

(6) Whoever says he abides in Him ought [as a personal debt] to walk and conduct himself in the same way in which He walked and conducted Himself.

We who follow after the Master act like Him. It's not an accident. We strive for that. Sometimes we fall short of that ideal, but we never stop trying. We are picking up our Cross daily (putting into effect each day what HE did upon His Cross), and following Him. Following means more than just retracing His steps. Following means we emulate His actions and put into effect His teachings.

We do this because we are indebted to Him for taking our place and dying for what we deserved to die for.

So, if I seem a tiny bit testy about the casual use of Jesus when it is convenient to claim that one is a "believer", it's because it is not something to be tossed around loosely.

There is a great tragedy attached to those who are deceived into thinking they are something they are not. Apart from Jesus Christ there is a tragic destination awaiting. Some folks think they are safe when they are not. Some folks think they have the truth but their actions (or lack thereof) insinuate the Truth is not in them.

To "know" Him is to become fully acquainted with Him. To become immersed in Him. To trust, obey, and cleave to Him.

Is that you today?

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Friday, June 22, 2012

Are You Worth A Plugged Nickel?

How much do you think you are worth? I'm speaking strictly in terms of the composition of the human body including the skin. Considering we are mostly H2O, with some other chemical elements like magnesium, calcium, iron, etc. thrown in, we can arrive at a ballpark figure on the open market (not as a cadaver for medical university studies).

So, how much? $10,000? $1,000? $500?

How about $4.50.  That's right. Four dollars and fifty cents.

I hope I haven't deflated any egos.

Would it re-inflate you if I told you a good cadaver (you dead) is worth about $8,000? For many people on this planet that would constitute being worth more dead than alive.

Well, all of that is just a flat rate for sale like good horse flesh. One really can't put a price upon personality, wisdom, love, kindness, benevolence, and all the things that make up who a person is over the course of their life. A life well lived is priceless, while a scoundrel isn't worth a plugged nickel.


Well, not according to God. God has loved all of His creation, regardless of how they turned out.

Jesus died for them all without favoritism. In fact, it could be said that He died for us when we were at our worst (Romans 5:8).

In the framework of the Cross and His sacrifice, Jesus "bought and paid" for us. The cost was His blood and His very life.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (Amplified Bible) - "(19) Do you not know that your body is the temple (the very sanctuary) of the Holy Spirit Who lives within you, Whom you have received [as a Gift] from God? You are not your own, (20) You were bought with a price [purchased with a preciousness and paid for, made His own]. So then, honor God and bring glory to Him in your body."

"You are not your own."

I hope some folks wake up to that reality today. Whether you serve Him or reject Him, He has bought and paid for you.

This is why honoring and receiving Christ is the all important decision of a persons life.

He has the power to nurture and cultivate us into worthy sons and daughters. Or...He has the power to dispose of us.

John 15:5-6 (AMP) - (5) I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in Me and I in him bears much (abundant) fruit. However, apart from Me [cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing. (6) If a person does not dwell in Me, he is thrown out like a [broken-off] branch, and withers; such branches are gathered up and thrown into the fire, and they are burned."

Sorry if that bums you out today, but it will only bum you out if you are living in rejection of the Savior of the World.

If you have accepted and received Him then you are bearing abundant fruit and are at peace with it all.

Know this today. There is no price tag. You are worth EVERYTHING to God. He has given His only Son to purchase your very soul and spirit.

He wants you with Him. He longs for your acceptance. He wants to be your Father.

I wrote something the other day which said that Jesus thinks that I am "to die for."

He thinks that about you too.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Cause Or Consequence?

The exact polar opposite of what comes natural. That's what God asks us to perform when we deal with this necessity called "repentance".

Sin is what comes natural. We are born into it and eventually will commit it. It has remained true for every person who ever lived. Except Jesus.

Romans 3:23 - "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God."

Romans 3:10 - "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one."

God asks us to step into the realm of the supernatural. There is nothing natural about it. It goes against our sin nature.

He asks us to takes a step toward forgiveness.

Frequently a Greek verb for sin occurs in the NT. It is "metanoeo" and it means simply "to change one's mind". It always means to do so for the better.

An example would be from Acts 3:19 - "Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out."

However, then there is the noun of the same word. Spelled slightly different it is "metanoia". 

Here's the kicker, and where people get turned around if not properly directed.

"Metanoia" means a "real" change of mind and a complete attitude change toward sin itself...(here it comes)...

...AND the CAUSE of it and not merely the  CONSEQUENCES of it.

CAUSE or CONSEQUENCE...which one have you reasoned with?

A real change of mind against sin constitutes a person going to the root cause and dealing with it, and not because of what the penalty is. We do it because God requires it of us to become adopted into His Family.

If you have played around with this thing called sin and have not gotten to the root cause of it, you will be trapped into a cycle of sinning and repenting, sinning and repenting...etc. Sin will still rule as the dominant lifestyle when God has required that a life of conformity to Him is what pleases Him.

It is no fun living before God sinning, fearing consequences, repenting, and doing it all over again.

It is "natural" to sin because it is our human, carnal nature to do so from birth.

It is supernatural to opt for Jesus when given the choice between serving Him or sin. That ability comes only through the born again and Holy Spirit experience. It comes to the TRULY penitent believer.

This is what is meant by true "repentance toward God".

So what about it? Cause or Consequence? How does God feel about it?

Well, how would you feel about someone using you just for what they could get out of you and then dropping you like a hot potato until they needed something from you again? Not good, right?

That's how God feels when someone commits a sin, gets scared they will pay a penalty, and then whines to Him to please forgive them and they won't do it again. It indicates that there has been no "metanoia", no actual change of mind because of who God is to them.

Think about it in context of your experience.

It might just change your relationship with God in a dynamic way!

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Thank You Jesus

What's to know? You go though your day and you will say, "Thank you doctor", or you may praise the bank manager for spinning you a loan. You might marvel at the taste of the pastry the local bakery has prepared for you. You will tip the waiter, the bag boy, and the person who pumps your gas. You will giggle with glee as you find a sale at Walmart. Or that raise you have been hoping for has appeared in your paycheck. At the end of the day as you reach past your dust collecting bible to get to the remote, you will marvel at how smooth everything went and how blessed you are in this life.

As good a scenario as that portrays it lacks. By all intents and purposes it was a failure.

You just think it went well.

Days like that will happen. It will all seemingly fall into place in spite of the lack of a critical element.

Acts 4.

Peter, filled and inspired by the Holy Spirit, lets a crowd of people know that the reason they are celebrating a good fortune is because of one thing and one thing only:


In this daily scenario you had failed to recognize Jesus. You praised and tipped your way through the day without even once considering that you owe everything and much, much more to Jesus.

Acts 4:10 - "Let it be known and understood by all of you, and by the whole house of Israel, that in the name and through the power and authority of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, Whom you crucified, [but] Whom God raised from the dead, in Him and by means of Him this man is standing here before you well and sound in body."

It's all in the Name and the Power. The Crucified and Risen Jesus Christ.

How did you manage to forget Him?

Acts 4:11-12 - "This [Jesus] is the Stone which was despised and rejected by you, the builders, but which has become the Head of the corner [the Cornerstone]. (12) And there is salvation in and through no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by and in which we must be saved."

Despised and rejected.

How does one actually despise and reject Him today?

By ignoring Him. In fact, if He is not remembered in the small things then it could be said that He is mistreated. 

Jesus is not to be pulled off the shelf on Sunday and forgotten the rest of the week.

Have you introduced your doctor to Him? Your bank manager? Your baker? The waiter, the bag boy, and the pump jockey?

Have you thanked Him for something as simple as 15% off? The little extra something in your pay?

People who think highly of something let everyone else know about it.

I'll bet everybody knows about your windfall and the sale event at Walmart.

Do they all know equally about your Jesus?

Your very salvation, as well as your sound mind and body, depend fully and exclusively upon the Name above every other name.

Today, tomorrow, and every day from here on out...'s Jesus.

Php. 2:10-11 - "That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, (11) and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Trust. Where, and in whom, do we place it? It's a fragile commodity within the human race. No honest and true relationship will last or flourish without it.

Not between husband and wife. Not between parents and children. Not between workers and supervision.

Not between Man and God.

The void left by a lack of trust will always be fulfilled by suspicion, fear, and anxiety.

Picture a marriage operating in that fashion. One spouse or both will never be able to be apart from the other without wondering if the other is being faithful. One business partner will always wonder if the other is raiding the till. One will always morbidly fear that harm is coming to someone they care about.

Many, even professing Christians, cannot (which is actually "will not") trust the One which makes them a Christian.
How's that for a paradox?

All of our trust issues flow from a major lack of trust in Christ.

C'mon. Don't be offended this morning. Fess up. Get it out on the table in the light of morning and allow Jesus to help you deal with it.

Most likely you will find that it's not so much that you distrust Jesus, but that it's your own phobic inability to release your control and anxiety over things you have no control over anyway.

It is rather silly, but also very, very harmful. Actually, it's quite devastating.

If you do not learn how to trust Jesus with everything, you will live a sub par life directed by a myopic faith.

Sorry to be harsh today, but you MUST do this. Heavy accent upon MUST. The alternative know what it is. You're suffering with it right now (insomnia, fear, anxiety, worry, headaches, pain, short temper, argumentativeness, etc.).

Romans 15:13 says, "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him."
"As you trust in Him."

Followed by, " that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."

There it is. That's the stuff that lets you lay your head upon your pillow at night and allows you to sleep soundly and awaken refreshed the next morning.

Notice... You trust... God fills...the Holy Spirit empowers.

The more you give to Jesus the less you have to worry about.


1 Peter 5:7 - "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you."

All of it! Do not hold on to a single fragment!

Matthew 6:27 - "Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?"

In fact, we know today that anxiety and worry may very well shorten your life!

Jesus knows what He is speaking of. He is your Creator (John 1:3).

I revisit this theme fairly often. Why? Because I see good Christian men and women crippled by fear, worry, and anxiety.

It's not God's plan or desire for you.

It's a subtle way for the enemy to steal your joy and wreck your life.

Come out of it! You can do it! Look to the Cross daily. Focus upon and follow Jesus not your troubles.

Give it all over to Jesus and leave it with Him!

Keepin' it Real,
Pastor Kevin <><