Thursday, January 31, 2013

What Goes Around Doesn't 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!

"Contrary" to popular belief, you are empowered with authority. Nothing happens by chance or fate.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

All Guts, No 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, January 29, 2013

The Human Point Of View

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 28, 2013

Sometimes It Just Doesn't Seem Fair

Who served God better than Moses? I mean the guy was steadfast and solid for about 80 years in leading the Israelites out of captivity, wandering through the desert for 40 of those years listening to and trying to appease the whining and dissatisfaction of the Israelites. He fought battles and risked life and limb, and it could be said he was one of the most successful leaders in all of world history.

Yet, the one thing he most desired, and that at the end of a very long life of 120 years, was to walk freely into the land God had promised would belong to Israel.

Yes, the one thing he desired more than anything was to see Canaan land and it was the one thing that God denied him.

One little minor infraction during the wandering years in the desert kept him from his hearts desire.

What did he do? He failed to trust God and tried to produce something on his own.

He tapped a rock with a stick looking for water. 

Pretty insignificant sounding, huh?

Not to God it wasn't. God was trying to build faith in hundreds of thousands of people in a critical situation and he was using Moses to accomplish it. When Moses failed to obey God it made God "look bad". It made it look like Moses had more power or more knowledge about taking care of the people than God did.

When we disobey God, when we show off and make Him look bad or foolish there will be repercussions.

There may be forgiveness forthcoming, but forgiveness often does not revoke the punishment or penalty.

We are held responsible for our actions.

Sometimes it just doesn't seem fair.

Deut. 32:51 - "Because you broke faith with Me in the midst of the Israelites at the waters of Meribah-kadesh in the Wilderness of Zin and because you did not set Me apart as holy in the midst of the Israelites. (52) For you shall see the land opposite you at a distance, but you shall not go there, into the land which I give the Israelites."

Moses' punishment was exactly what God told him it would be. You will see the land from afar, but you will never walk on it.

You may look, but don't touch.

Moses died on that mountain top, and the privilege of leading the Israelites into Canaan was given to Moses' right hand man and main military leader, Joshua.

Perhaps he died from old age. More than likely his broken heart was a contributor. However, in all of that Moses remained true to God and we can be assured that he is with God today in His Paradise. Moses was such a strong figure of faith in God that the devil and Michael the Archangel struggled over his body (Jude 1:9).

We struggle over the harshness associated with what appears to be a minor infraction. However, God knows better than we do all of the time.

I believe God did not get any pleasure out of punishing Moses. I do believe that there was much at stake and it went beyond Moses. God was trying to establish a much needed authority and if he had to sacrifice Moses to accomplish that then so be it. God knew Moses could handle it.

Could you handle it? Or would you stomp your feet and cry and whine? Would you pull up the stakes of your tent and move to greener pastures? Or would you accept the penalty maturely and still love and serve God?

It happens sometimes in our lives and we may not even recognize it. God will chastise us. He will discipline us. He will deny us pleasures and shiny objects. He will see far down the road for us and deny us the things that we may not see as harmful.

He must. That discipline is a sign of love and caring.

Sometimes it just doesn't seem fair. We must rest assured that God knows what is fair and what is best.

His grace must be sufficient, and when we recognize that and abide by it we advance strongly.

Be blessed!

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Friday, January 25, 2013

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 soundThat 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.

Take that into your weekend and change a life.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Thursday, January 24, 2013

A Prodigal Plan

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.

Who ya' gonna call? (Hollywood cliche #1)

Well, who loves ya', baby? (Hollywood cliche #2)

There it is. 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 <><

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Buffet From Hell

Luke 15:15-16 - "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 and feces covered corn husks start to look good enough to eat.

A real devil's buffet. Down home "southern" cookin' from the way down.

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! 

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

It Doesn't Have To Be That Way

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 <><

Monday, January 21, 2013

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 <><

Friday, January 18, 2013

King Of Useless Information

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. My wifes jokingly refers to me as the "King of Useless Information", as I spit out fact after trivial fact that has been locked into my brain for God only knows how long.

Over 59 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 <><