Friday, March 29, 2013

Embracing The Cross

John 19:17 - "...and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha."

Jesus started out carrying His own cross.

By the time He got to Calvary someone else was carrying it.

There are many scenarios surrounding the short walk from the Praetorium to the Place of the Skull.

I saw yet another rendition of the Passion story the other day. It was a well acted out scene where Jesus just arrived at the place of crucifixion. Exhausted and beaten bloody raw He was thrown to the ground a few feet away from the Cross.

Most every other crucifixion scene shows Jesus being manhandled onto the Cross.

This version took a very long moment and making it pregnant with anticipation, shows Jesus crawling in the dirt, with every last ounce of strength He could muster, dragging Himself up onto the Cross, rolling over on His back, and stretching Himself out to await the driving of the nails.

It was for me the most stirring visual of the idea of Jesus embracing His Cross I have ever seen.

Whether that's the way it happened exactly or not, it got the truth across. 

The truth is that Jesus did indeed embrace His Cross willfully. He gave Himself over for our behalf.

This is why the death of Jesus Christ is a sacrifice and not just a murder, assassination, or execution.

Jesus indeed embraced what had been traditionally observed as being a torture machine, and made it an object of our faith.

Jesus made the Cross an object of reverence, not fear.

Jesus made the Cross something we are to unite in with Him as we follow Him daily..

The Cross of Jesus Christ is central to our faith as believers and followers of Christ.

The Cross of Christ is central to all of biblical history both Old and New Testament.

The Cross of Christ is what God planned from before the foundation of the world itself to be the instrument upon which the very salvation of the human race would be won back from Satan.

Never cheapen the Cross. Never theologize or philosophize it away into pop liberal doctrine.

Never shy away from the Cross, but embrace it as an altar of grace and an an instrument of God's Righteousness.

The Cross is the instrument by which Christ secured the salvation of humanity.

Nothing of any truth or value works for us if we do not pass by the Cross first.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Real Jesus

Matt. 27:39 - "And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads...".

Matt. 27:40 - "...and saying, 'You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.' " 

Here we see the casual dismissal of Christ.

"Those who passed by." The basically uninformed. Those with just enough knowledge of a situation to hurt themselves but not ever do any good.

They paused to mock Jesus and deride Him based upon a misunderstanding of His words.

He never said He would destroy the temple of Jerusalem and rebuild it in three days.

He was referring to Himself as being the Temple of God and that He would be destroyed upon a cross but be resurrected in three days (all of which came to pass). (John 2:19)

He also compared Himself to Jonah and the whale..

He said, "For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." (Matt. 12:40).

Even the religious Jewish leaders, the Pharisees and Sadducees, should have known exactly what Jesus was saying when He claimed to be the Chosen One, the prophecied Messiah.

What's changed in 2,000 years?

Not much. Even with the knowledge we have gained, and the presence of the Church in essentially every part of the world, people still take issue with Jesus and accuse and reject Him without knowing the facts about Him.

Jesus' name has been attached to many self help gurus and organizations. This dilutes His true Person and portrays Him to the ignorant falsely.

We should make our own assessment based upon seeking Him personally. Anything else is pure ignorance and speculation.

Want to know if Jesus is who He says He is? 

Ask Him to reveal Himself personally to you.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Jesus Now

Mark 14:62 - "And Jesus said, 'I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.'"

They tortured and crucified Jesus simply for saying who He is.

Not who He was. Not who He will be.

Who He is.

He is the great "I AM".

That statement means He is God.

God said it in Exodus 3:14: "And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you."

I AM is God's name.

Try to explain God. He has many attributes. In His simplest form He just IS. 

We get our shorts in a bunch feeling overly compelled to define that.

It's an interesting concept taking in the entire scope of the Cross and Resurrection.

What Jesus has done for us is never in the past as far as God is concerned.

He is not bound by our clocks and calendars.

The Cross is efficacious for the sinner because it is fresh when needed. 

Jesus said in John 8:58: "Before Abraham was, I AM."

That's either poorly constructed English grammar, or Jesus was saying something that defies and transcends the King's English.

He was saying, "Before Abraham even existed I AM God in the universe." The term "was" just doesn't fit when "explaining" God.

They didn't know who they were messing with.

Pompous self-gratifying religious stiffnecks.

They couldn't see God standing right in front of them.

No different today.

There are people who cannot see the God of the Universe standing right before them.

For them it's the historical Jesus. The Jesus who "was".

The God of the Universe, the great coming again Jesus, the God we will stand before is...... I AM.

For the believer He is always now. He is always I AM!

Is Jesus your I AM today?

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The King

Luke 19:38 - "...saying, "Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!"" 

The King?

He's not adorned like a king.

He's not riding the finest horse.

He really doesn't look like much of a king. 

Yet, multitudes are treating Him as if He is one.

He was identifying.

Into the City of David He comes. Lowly in appearance and riding on the back of a donkey.

That's my King alright. He just confounds everything and everybody.

He shows us the true Kingship of the universe.

He reviles the haughty and proud. He lifts up and encourages the low in spirit and stature.

He has toppled more than one evil regime, and He stands between good and evil in our lives today.

He is Jesus Christ. Lord of Lords. King of kings. The soon coming again Savior of all.

He wants to be your friend today.

He wants to ease your suffering today.

He wants to heal your diseases today.

He wants to take your addiction today.

He wants to relax your anxiety today.

He wants to cancel sin in your life today.

He wants to empower you to destroy the works of the destroyer.

He wants to save your marriage.

He wants to open the eyes of those who have been sandbagged by the devil today.

He wants to be sure that when He comes soon to gather His Church you will be among them.

If there is any chance, any chance at all, of that not happening, today is a good day to get it straightened out.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Monday, March 25, 2013

Life In The Barnyard

Mark 14:72 - "And the second time the cock crew. And Peter called to mind the word that Jesus said unto him, 'Before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice'. And when he thought thereon, he wept." 

How could Peter do it?

Headstrong? Impetuous? Yes, those and more. But to deny Jesus?

Not once. Not twice. Three times.

Cocka-Doodle-Doooooo......You just can't mistake that irritating sound.

Jesus had him pegged.

Jesus had said all would desert Him.

John showed up at the Cross. The only one. 

He must have had doubt in his heart or else ALL doesn't mean ALL.

Strike the Shepherd and the sheep will scatter.

How easy it is to step away from Jesus and pretend we don't know Him.

How easy to harbor doubt and denial in our heart even while sitting in church listening to the preacher.

Actions, even subtle acts of non-committal often tell all that needs to be told.

Be careful with that.

There is no middle ground. 

Matthew 10:33 - "...but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven."

Lukewarmness doesn't sit well with Jesus.

Rev. 3:16 - "So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth."

Straddling a fence is very uncomfortable and it doesn't work with Jesus.

Yes or no. In or out.


This is a good season to become refreshed in committal. To be renewed in spirit.

This is a good season to show up at the Cross.

A wishy-washy Christian is on no better ground than the rank sinner.

The only solid ground is around the Cross. 

Heavenly choir or barnyard crowing?

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Friday, March 22, 2013


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 <><

Thursday, March 21, 2013


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 <><

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


When you are a disciple of Jesus Christ there is a lot that goes with the territory.

You become a light. A shining beacon.

It emanates from you and lights the paths of darkness for others to follow.

You act differently than you were before you knew Christ.

Good works flow from you, yet they point to the Heavenly Father and glorify Him and not you.

"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." (Matthew 5:16)

Could you possibly be okay with that?

I am. After a life of selfishness and self-gratification (which harnessed me NOTHING), it is a joy and pleasure to have people see Christ and not me.

My all time favorite bible verse ever is: 

Galatians 2:20 (Amplified Bible)

"I have been crucified with Christ [in Him I have shared His crucifixion]; it is no longer I who live, but Christ (the Messiah) lives in me; and the life I now live in the body I live by faith in (by adherence to and reliance on and complete trust in) the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself up for me."

People have asked me over the years how to do that.

It's not in the doing, nor the performing.

It's in the being.

"I have BEEN crucified with Christ".

Done. Finished. It's the Cross. It's always the Cross. I have died with Jesus yet I am more alive, and when people see me I pray they see Jesus. If they will never remember my name to put on my gravestone it would suit me just fine. As long as they remember Jesus.

Run. Walk. Crawl. But let your destination be the Cross. BE crucified in all of your fleshly, carnal desires. Let your need for attention and recognition be absorbed completely in Him to the point where you disappear and all that's left is Jesus.

If you desire that then you have come to a great place of understanding. It will all be settled for you and peace and joy in Christ will reign in your life.

You will become transformed. No more struggle to accomplish. 

All things added to you. 

A state of BE.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The God Way

It's not our way. It's never our way. 

"There is a way which seems right to a man and appears straight before him, but at the end of it is the way of death" (Proverbs 14:12 - Amplified Bible).

We can really mess things up if we are not careful. We sometimes shoot ourselves in the foot, bruise our fragile egos, paint ourselves into a corner, trip over our own tongue, stick our foot in our mouth, open up a can of butt whoopin'...none of it good.

Our way can leave us overturned in a ditch upside down and staring up at the sky wondering..."OK, at what point did it all go horribly wrong?"

It was the moment you turned from (or never got on) the High Way...the God Way.

It's not really "my way or the highway". It's God's Way or your way.

One works. The other doesn't.

I can understand running off the rails in light of no direction.

But...Jesus said, "I AM THE WAY" (John 14:6).

"There is no other NAME under heaven given among men by and in which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12)

Jesus doesn't merely point the way so that we can try to follow Him. 

Jesus IS the WAY!

Try to remember that today. When you're tempted to be impatient, or you're feeling superior, or itchin' for a change...remember He is the Way and His path is straight and leads to life.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Monday, March 18, 2013


People deal with their problems differently. Some enjoy, even thrive, on confrontation. Others are more willing to try to wait things out and see how they develop.

Some just can't rest in Jesus and allow Him to work.

Nervous Nellie's and Jumpy Jakes.

Begging God is always quite unbecoming. Neither is upheaving your life trying to "help" Jesus.

Jesus appears to be a person who went right to the source of the problem and hashed it out as soon as possible.

Perhaps even preemptively.

Check out the verse from Mark 1: 12-13:

"Immediately the [Holy] Spirit [from within] drove Him out into the wilderness (desert), (13) And He stayed in the wilderness (desert) forty days, being tempted [all the while] by Satan; and He was with the wild beasts, and the angels ministered to Him [continually]."

Jesus has just embarked upon His earthly ministry, and has just been baptized by John, and then filled with the Holy Spirit.

The verse says "immediately" He was driven into the desert.

Driven. Holy Spirit driven.

He was driven and He did not resist.

He would spend the next 40 days and nights being tempted and harassed by Satan himself.

It was a reckoning. It needed to happen. Jesus was just the person to do it.

He was always the One. He still is the One.

He won't stand for injustice and sin.

When He found the temple turned into a flea market He immediately confronted and reckoned with it.

He has been our role model. He attacked and conquered sinfulness and unrighteousness the same way we are supposed the power of the Holy Spirit.

This is how we live. 

Our temple is our body and we are to keep it righteous. Not religiously in our own strength, but through the power of God.

By submitting to Christ we are allowing all the power of God to be released into us by the Holy Spirit.

Don't waste any time. Don't think things are just going to straighten out on their own. Don't think YOU can fix it.

If God's not at work in you, if you have grieved the Holy Spirit away by your poor choices, it isn't happening for you.

Grace works as God pours it out. It fails as we refuse to receive it.

Perhaps you need a reckoning. Maybe you need to have your desert experience where you confront and conquer all your demons and temptations the same way Jesus did.

The Holy Spirit is a mighty force and power whom we cannot afford to live without.

He was the power in Jesus and He is the power in us today!

Why prolong it? How much more will you stand for? Draw your line in the sand.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Friday, March 15, 2013


The throne of God is the highest authority in the universe, and always has been, is presently, and always will be eternally. 

From the earliest ages even before the world was formed, principalities and powers have tried to ascend to equality with God, and even launch a concerted effort in the form of a spiritual "coup" to try to usurp and even wrestle away that authority.

Isaiah 14:13-14 (Amplified Bible) - "And you said in your heart, I will ascend to heaven; I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will sit upon the mount of assembly in the uttermost north. (14) I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High."

Where do you think the human element of God's creation takes its cue from?

The unenlightened sinful nature of man will always try to ascend past where it is capable or allowed.

It will always want to be like God in some form.

You will see it in your home. Your job. Your government. Your neighborhood.

Your church.

It is one of the most evidential proofs we have of a persons true nature.

Self must never be allowed to ascend past the God ordained limitations that are in place to keep order.

Self must always yield to God, or it will trample over goodness like a wild boar tearing up a vineyard.

Saul (Paul) almost destroyed the Church that way.

Find your place in Him and let Him lead you. When we do that we will never allow self-grandizing ways to overstep God's plans.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><