Friday, May 31, 2013

Who Do You Follow?

Who do you find yourself identifying with? 

Want to know something? While essentially every born-again believer initially claims Jesus as Savior, many eventually act more like they are following Moses.

We are to NEVER follow Moses. Moses represents the Old Testament. The OLD Covenant.

Following the customs and admonishments of Mosaic and Levitical Laws presents a problem.

2 Corinthians 3:13 (AMP) - "Nor [do we act] like Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze upon the finish of the vanishing [splendor which had been upon it]."

Following the legal letter of the Old Covenant places a veil over our faces and our hearts. The glory of the New Testament cannot shine into or out of that. People cannot see Jesus through the veil.

Verse 14 - "In fact, their minds were grown hard and calloused [they had become dull and had lost the power of understanding]; for until this present day, when the Old Testament (the old covenant) is being read, that same veil still lies [on their hearts], not being lifted [to reveal] that in Christ it is made voidand done away."

Did you catch that? "Until this present day, when the Old Testament is being read...".

And further...Verse 15  - "Yes, down to this [very] day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies upon their mindsand hearts."

It means not just when we read Moses, but when we read it as our "authority". Adhering to the laws and views of the OT is like having a veil covering your mind (soul) and heart! Wow.

This does not mean that we cut off the OT from the rest of the Bible, but that we read it now in the light of the new revelation of the NT. There are a great many wonderful truths in the OT, but our authoritative Scripture is now in the New Testament Gospel of Jesus Christ. He is the fulfillment of the Law.

We have a NEW Covenant in Jesus Christ. The Old has been absorbed into the New.


Verse 16 - "But whenever a person turns [in repentance] to the Lord, the veil is stripped off and taken away."

See? Jesus took all of that stale religious legalism away. Why then do so many choose to go back to what Jesus has freed us from?

Verse 17  - "Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (emancipation from bondage, freedom)."

Hebrews 8:13 (AMP)  - When God speaks of a new [covenant or agreement], He makes the first one obsolete (out of use). And what is obsolete (out of use and annulled because of age) is ripe for disappearance and to be dispensed with altogether.

You have been freed. You are emancipated from the chains of religion and legalism.

Verse 18 says that we who are born-again are people of the unveiled face. We are ever being transformed into the very image of Jesus Christ!

This is what the Church needs to realize today. It's not about doing as much as being. When we believe we are who the Bible says we are, we will begin to act like who we really are. The "doing" has to emanate from the "being".

If we are not acting out from who we are in Christ than it is all useless religion. The Church will simply be numbered among the countless "self-help" groups who have people ensnared to their philosophies. Never gaining a victory, but being kept barely alive on life support.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Spiritual Triage

Sometimes we look at things in the natural when in reality it needs to be viewed in the supernatural.

Let me give an example here from the gospel of Matthew.

Jesus, Peter, James, and John have just come down from the Mount of Transfiguration and they walk smack into a problem the other nine disciples are having concerning the healing of a young man. In the absence of Jesus it appears they were not able to secure what was needed to relieve the boy from his problem. It also appears that there was some confusion as to what was actually wrong with the boy.

The boy's father thought it was epilepsy. 

Matthew 17:15 (AMP) - "Lord, do pity and have mercy on my son, for he has epilepsy (is moonstruck) and he suffers terribly; for frequently he falls into the fire and many times into the water."

Apparently the disciples believed it was too.

vs. 16 - "And I brought him to Your disciples, and they were not able to cure him."

 In the natural, and not discerned through spiritual eyes in a supernatural Holy Spirit manner, it would very well look like epilepsy. It did then, and it would also today.


...Jesus intervened.

vs. 17 - "And Jesus answered, O you unbelieving (warped, wayward, rebellious) and thoroughly perverse generation! How long am I to remain with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him here to Me."

"Bring him here to me."  Jesus preferred they would have handled it. This is why He gave us the authority to heal the sick and cast out demons. He wants US to deal with it! Particularly since He is now seated at the right hand of the Father in Heaven. We are His Body (The Church). We need to sharpen our discernment. We need to see between the two realms of the natural/supernatural because we live in both as believers.

18 - "And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and the boy was cured instantly."

It wasn't epilepsy! The boy wasn't a "lunatic" (effected by the moon phase). 

It was a demon! Jesus knew it immediately, and He rebuked the disciples for not knowing what it was!

They were not operating in the gift of discernment. They were not using their supernatural authority.

In Jesus' eyes they failed. Failure brings rebuke. None of us want to be there.

Jesus also accused the disciples of not being prayed up, and perhaps not fasting. He says that the type of demon the boy had was best dealt with by those who were sharp in their spiritual discipline (vs. 21).

If we are going to be The Church (instead of just "doing" church), then we have to learn to discern, and be mindful at all times of who we are, where we are, and what we are doing. 

If we are going to shake the gates of hell and proactively disallow hell to prevail against us, then we need to be sharper than what we have seen in this passage.

We have an advantage. We have the Spirit of the Living Christ in us, which was something the disciples did not have at that moment.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Catch On Fire

I really believe how the believer thinks makes a huge difference. Think weaker than what God supplies and you will always be operating from a deficit. 

Read carefully the verse below. It doesn't get any more supernatural than this.

Hebrews 1:7 (AMP) - "Referring to the angels He says, [God] Who makes His angels winds and His ministering servants flames of fire."

I am a man on fire. I am one of God's ministering servants. Left up to my own natural instincts and abilities I would be nothing more than a smoldering campfire doused by a bucket of water.

Instead, I am a man who relies on God's provision daily, Who supplies my needs and encourages me by sending angels to fan my flame.

Yes, I believe this verse is literal. I don't just believe it, I expect it and marvel in it. I am awed by it daily from the time I awaken to the time I retire.

No matter how hot the fire burns I cry out to God, "MORE!" 

The fire is not hot enough if it doesn't catch others on fire. I want the embers from my flames to burn up and consume everything and everyone around me.  People are either going burn with me, or run from the heat.  I have experienced folks doing both. 

That's my idea of Holy Fire. 

People don't need the smelly, smoldering wisps of the last vestiges of what used to be a fire. That's dead religion.

They need Holy Fire. The Glory.

Where will it come from if not from God? How will it engulf you if not supernaturally?

Don't settle for anything less and even think for a moment it is God's best. Don't confuse even the best and most powerful efforts of the flesh as being adequate. It's not. It pales in comparison. In fact, it will be burned up by God with the rest of the dross if you allow it.

If you can just see into the King's Dominion (King-Dom).  If you can just believe enough to get it down around you.

The angels are the fan of my flames. What God ignites, God will keep burning. Contemplate that. Let it stun you. Be excited...catch on Fire...

...and never, never doubt.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Have It Now!

Some have grown to believe that the latter part of the verse below pertains soley to the end times or the final disposition of the human spirit. While there is surely that great day when we will all enter into the place where we will spend eternity, we have in essence already enterered into it (or not) right now. If you are a believer you are in the Kingdom. 

Why do so many miss it? Why do so many see it as a far off future event?

Why is the Kingdom of Heaven being missed right now in so many lives, in so many churches?

It's because we are not child like enough to believe everything our Father teaches and Jesus says.

Mark 10:15 (AMP) - "Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive and accept and welcome the kingdom of God like a little child [does] positively shall not enter it at all."

Receive. Accept. Welcome.  

He is speaking about now.

This is the reason so many keep chasing after revival like a dog chasing it's tail. They never catch up to it because they have failed to realize that it is always here. 

There's no reason to try to "have" the elusive revival. It's looming large over the Church.

Receive it. Accept it. Welcome it. Enter into it.

Oh yeah, first you have to believe it. It might take becoming less of a grownup to do that.

He did say welcome the Kingdom of God like a child.

Most of us adults have found that if we take our adulthood too seriously, and not trust over everything to God with the faith of a child, we will not have a good go of it. In fact, it will be somber, sour, and sorrowful. It will cause us to live like we don't really want to.

Do you think Jesus wants you unhappy? Anxiety ridden? Sad? You are of little use to Him in that condition. Don't forget you are a billboard for the Kingdom of Heaven. When people see you does it make them want to know Jesus?

Do you think you are trapped in your present situation? If so you are not thinking like a child. Children see no end to possibilities. Children have no reason to doubt. They run with it.

Maybe you need to run with it this morning. Maybe you see possibilities, but in your heart you are believing they will never come to pass. You are afraid to just take the greatest leap of faith in your life. 

I could walk away from anything if it was for Jesus. I know. I have done it. Jesus didn't fail me.

If you don't do this NOW, you might never do it. It (whatever IT is for you) will always remain so far in the future that for you it won't happen until the final judgment. 

In the meantime, you will have passed up an entire lifetime of beautiful Kingdom living.

That would be tragic.

Keepin' it Real

Pastor Kevin <><

Monday, May 27, 2013

Give It Away

Matthew 10:8  - "Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give."

I have noticed over the years that not only is this admonition being widely ignored, but just flat out rejected. Sometimes it even raises up anger, rebuke, and strong antagonistic sentiments.

I never stopped to consider that perhaps all the negative response is coming from folks who haven't received.

You just can't give from an empty account. You can't.

We have heard it said that it is better to give than to receive.  Not quite accurate.

Actually the Word says in Acts 20:35, "It is more blessed (makes one happier and more to be envied) to give than to receive." I have to say that I was pretty blessed when I first received my SOZO (salvation, healing, deliverance), but my initial joy was eclipsed by the far surpassing ecstasy I receive when I participate in someone else getting saved, healed, and delivered. It just gains steam as it continues to roll forward.

You still cannot give away what you have not received.  It's kind of like a chicken or the egg thing. In this case it's the chicken.

Once a believer receives they are generally ecstatic to give it away.

Judging by how many sickly complainers there are in the Body of Christ (somewhat of an oxymoron), there just ain't a whole lot of receiving going on, ergo, not much healing either. Nothing coming in, nothing going out. Math is math. It applies in the Kingdom. Billy Preston was right. Nothing from nothing leaves nothing.

This is how God designed it. We get healed, we heal others. We get saved, we get others saved. It's a beautifully simple concept that completely breaks down when its principles are not being followed. It's not an Einsteinian formula. 

Got SOZO? Then give it away! Of course if you really had it I wouldn't have to be telling you to give it away.

I wouldn't be able to stop you.

To the unsung quiet heroes who are laying their hands on every sickness they come into contact with, shaking the gates of hell just by waking up each morning, and proclaiming the gospel every chance they get, I say thank you! The Kingdom of Heaven advances and is made real and present on earth because of your obedience.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Friday, May 24, 2013

Victim Victorious

No one is going to stop you from seeing yourself as a victim.

In fact, no one can.

Not all the hours on the psychiatrists couch, not all the pills from all the pharmacies in all the world.

No one can stop a person from seeing themself as a pathetic victim of life if that's what they choose to believe.

Not even God Himself.

If you are not willing to believe God you certainly won't believe me. But I'm willing to give it a shot.  

In fact, a very interesting phenomenon occurs within the ranks of the self-proclaimed "victim".

Surrounding themselves with likeminded victims who feed off each other under the guise of support and encouragement, they will end up turning on the very people who have pointed them to God and the only true solution.

They have to if they are going to sustain their self perpetuating role as "victim". It doesn't take long for the victim to realize that God will not allow them to remain that way, and they will pull a disappearing act faster than Houdini out of handcuffs.

Or...they will submit to God.

God says you're NOT a victim. God says the opposite. God says you are a VICTOR!

1 Corinthians 15:57 (AMP) - "But thanks be to God, Who gives us the victory [making us conquerors] through our Lord Jesus Christ."

Romans 8:37 (AMP) - "Yet amid all these things we are more than conquerors and gain a surpassing victory through Him Who loved us."

God doesn't say you have to believe Him.

He just states the condition of those who really believe and trust in Him. Believers live in victory.

Victims believe the cacophony of "other voices". Other voices that encourage them in their role of victim. Other voices that tell them to do the opposite of what God says.

Sometimes it's the voice from hell. Sometimes it's the voice of close friends, spouses, co-workers. They can make you sell your house and move, divorce a spouse, leave a church, quit a any event it's usually not the right choice. 

So... Victim or Victor? Which category do you fall into this morning?

God never said there wouldn't be difficulties. But rather, God gives us victory over our difficulties. Do you believe that not only has He made you a conqueror, but even MORE than a conqueror? 

Notice that everying is in the present tense. It's not something He is going to do, but is actually DOING!

You ARE a victor. You ARE more than a conqueror.

The struggle is not with whether this is God's truth or not. hat's been established.

The struggle is whether you will choose to live it.

The victor in Christ ALWAYS believes Him. The victim ALWAYS believes everyone else.

You can become Victim Victorious!

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Does Jesus Speak To You?

The Word of God speaks to and about you. This might seem like an odd reminder.

What if I told you that far too many believers, perhaps even most, do not perceive the Scriptures as being directed toward themselves personally? And I'm speaking of course about the ones who actually crack open the bible on a regular basis.

The source of spiritual weakness within the Church is directly related to the lack of Scriptural understanding. 

Luke 9:1-2 (AMP) - "THEN JESUS called together the Twelve [apostles] and gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases, (2) And He sent them out to announce and preach the kingdom of God and to bring healing."

Do you think Jesus is talking to you in this passage? Do you think this is the reasonable expectation of Jesus for all believers today?

Some will say,  "No, this was meant for the original twelve apostles only."

Well...then how do we explain these next verses?

Luke 10:1 (AMP) - "NOW AFTER this the Lord chose and appointed seventy others and sent them out ahead of Him, two by two, into every town and place where He Himself was about to come (visit).  

Vs. 9  - "And heal the sick in it and say to them, The kingdom of God has come close to you."

Vs. 19 - "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."

Only for those seventy disciples?

Why in the world would we think that? How are we to believe that the Kingdom of Heaven has perpetuated itself all of these centuries without the charge Jesus gave His first disciples continuing through the ages? How is the Word of God personal to us if it doesn't include us? How does the Church even survive if we are not taking the Words of Jesus personally and seriously?

Matthew 10:7-8 (AMP) - "And as you go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand! (8) Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, drive out demons. Freely (without pay) you have received, freely (without charge) give."

 If we are not fulfilling this then the Kingdom of Heaven does not advance! It is not "at hand" but distant and far away.

No longer could we say with conviction, and with the original intent of Jesus,"Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven."  It just becomes part of the rest of the repetition muttered countless times without meaning or understanding. Religion pure and simple.

I live in these passages. I live in them and I act them out. No one leaves my church without the opportunity to be saved, sanctified, healed, and delivered. We see people healed and delivered almost every single week. We have seen many come to Jesus week after week.

Has this been your experience? It should be. It should be because it is the gospel. If we are going to call ourselves true disciples of Jesus Christ then we should be carrying out His charge in the authority He has given us.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

What Is The Obstacle You Can't Get Past?

It looms large. It overshadows everything in your life. Even when you're not thinking about it you're thinking about it. It's there when you go to sleep and it's waiting for you when you wake up.

It's the one dominant issue amidst all of your other issues.

It's a mountain. It's Goliath. It has to be removed. 

Many reading this will know EXACTLY what I am talking about.

I could write a laundry list of what that mountain is for many people.  I don't want to go down the path of money woes, relationship difficulties, addictions, chronic illness, etc. Those are all very real, but I have to say, if you're pretty far down the road in serving Jesus and haven't conquered that stuff yet, then there might be greater issues that you need to deal with first.

I'm talking about the struggles of the wilderness. The awakening from the slumber of the religious status quo and seeing for the first time that everything has been for the most part...well...just plain wrong. It's a dry and uncomfortable place to be. 

The problem, the actual "mountain" is not what you've been "operating" in for perhaps years, but what to do about it.

That's the MOUNTAIN, and it's really big.

I've confronted the mountain so let me give you a bit of advice from one who has tried every failed method.

You cannot: climb over it, go through it, go around it. You cannot decorate it and make it look nice, you cannot live with it. It never becomes comfortable. If it is not conquered, it will conquer you. Eventually it will fall on you and bury you.

Jesus addressed it thoroughly.

Mark 11:23 (AMP) - "Truly I tell you, whoever says to this mountain, Be lifted up and thrown into the sea! and does not doubt at all in his heart but believes that what he says will take place, it will be done for him."

What do you think He was talking about on the heels of cursing a fig tree which represented the spiritual failure of Israel?  He looked for fruit on a tree that was barren. It was useless.

The barren fig tree was as useless as a believer who is stuck in the shadow of the mountain of gospel ineffectiveness.

There is only one way. It must be uprooted. It must go away. It must be removed. 

Only when we can get out from under dry religious exercise and begin to react and respond to the gospel according to the authority that Jesus has given us, will we ever truly BE the Church of Kingdom Authority.

If your mountain is looming over you today, it is time to respond. How long are you willing to live in its shadow while Kingdom living seems to become more distant?

Are you the believer who has the signs following you? Or are you doomed to be one who will always be chasing the signs?

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

When Does A Church Stop Being A Church?

I can draw this out or I can make it short and sweet.

The short answer is, "When the importance of program replaces the importance of people."

But I never do anything short and sweet, so I'll expand and expound a bit. lol!

I've been on both sides of this over my years pastoring. I've only been the senior pastor of one church in my whole life, but I've been here for eighteen years. I really do believe in growing where planted if possible.

Believe me, when I was new at this I tried every scheme that came down the pipe that the church growth gurus were selling. Books, tapes, video series, events, speakers, methods, etc.  Basically they all achieved one common end: they failed in the long run.

I got wise pretty quick and decided to just have church. If the people didn't support a program, then we did away with the program. One thing that is constant and we can't do away with is people. Another is Jesus and His Word.

Jesus, the Word, and people. How very New Testament.

Today if you ask someone what makes a church they will more than likely tell you "a great children's program". Or a "nursery for the little ones". Or, a "slammin' teen group". Some will prefer a senior adult ministry of some sort, or perhaps a program to feed and clothe the poor. Others would never put up with anything but the best music program with the largest choir.

Don't get me wrong, none of those things are bad, in fact they can be rather helpful.

They just don't adequately define what "Church" is. 

I feel sorry because often many churches who boast of these programs are allowing hundreds of people to come and go each week without ever giving them the opportunity to respond to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Program has replaced the gospel. Who's Church is it anyway? And Who is building it?

Matthew 16:18 (AMP) - "...I will build My church, and the gates of Hades (the powers of the infernal region) shall not overpower it [or be strong to its detriment or hold out against it].

Church, in the true sense of the word (ekklesia), is a ministry to the soul and spirit of man. Physical comforts and freedom from minor annoyances are not the top priority. The condition of man's body, soul and spirit are.

Yet, people will opt for not having to sit next to their own children in church over being a part of a gospel experience of seeing souls saved, healed, and delivered. Oh yes, indeed they will. 

They will be convinced that after years and years of attending a church that catered to every physical whim they had, from fresh coffee before service, to plenty of handicap spots in the parking lot, to never having to lay eyes on their kids during service, that their "Church" experience was a real blessing. 

Yet...they never laid hands on a sick person to be healed. They've NEVER BEEN TAUGHT! In fact they may never have SEEN a sick person healed. They have never SEEN a miracle unfold in the midst of a church service simply because God decided to move upon them. They never LED a person to Christ because they never HEARD it preached or SEEN a person saved in church.  They have never SEEN a person delivered from drugs or alcohol right before their eyes. They will tell you, "I presume the pastor takes care of those things."

How sad is it when those of the comfort oriented churches take a Sunday off to "slum" over to my church to get their healing? Or ask others to "have your pastor pray for me". Their pastor "doesn't do that sort of thing." 

That church stopped being a church the minute they decided to stop taking the focus off the unsaved, sick, and infirm, and placed it on the external comforts.

A church stops being a church when the pastor and people literally cannot remember the last time a person was gloriously saved, sanctified, healed, and delivered, but they can tell you how many came to the potluck and what was served. They can't tell you what the pastor preached, but they remember if the coffee was weak.

All the time heaven surrounds us with great expectation of somehow and someday allowing God and His angels access to what we call "church" and relinquishing control to the revival Spirit that is at the very threshhold. "On earth as it is in heaven?" Not likely in far too many places

Oh, that we would just get out of our own way. Wouldn't it be great to just "have church"? I will tell you, yes...indeed it is!

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Monday, May 20, 2013

Got Pride?

Prideful people pay a price. They may do well by outward appearances for a bit, but generally they are not well liked, have few real friends (if any), and die lonely and bitter people. What they did manage to amass in this life is essentially "stuff" and stuff doesn't translate into the Kingdom of Heaven.

Got pride?

Proverbs 16:18 (AMP) - "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall."

Pride will take you down. I didn't invent the saying. God says it. It will take you down. All the way down.

Pride is thinking that you and everything you own or touch is better than anyone else.

You think you are the best. You think your kids are the best looking. You think your car is the fastest. You think your home is the most decorative. You even think your church has the most "goin' on". You drip pride from every pour of your body and it drips onto everything you own. Your own children and relatives and friends start acting just like you. It starts to self perpetuate and grow like a wild weed with tentacles that infect everything around you and none of it positively.

God doesn't like it.

"But pastor, what's wrong with being proud of one's achievements?"

What's wrong? I'll tell you. They are not "YOUR" achievements.

You, and everything about you, right down to the smile on your childs face, is God's achievement in and through you.

When you do not give glory and recognition to God for what He has done it usurps authority and recognition from Him.

You are claiming credit for something that was done for you out of love and claiming you did it yourself.

You are plagiarizing your own life. You are a fake. A liar. An imposter.

You lack the humility that God requires in all of us. You have upset the biblical order of things.

How do you right the ship you may ask?

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

See? It can be fixed!

Break a knee and bow to your Creator.

We call that getting before God.

Be a loyal subject and stop taking credit for what your King has done.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Friday, May 17, 2013

Is Your Heart Broken Enough?

How precious is our relationship with God? I think about it often. I am saddened about those who don't know Jesus. I rejoice and am elated over the many beautiful relationships I have made over the years within the fellowship of the Church.

I cringe over how Adam and Eve could just throw it all away.

Genesis 3:23 (KJV) - "Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken."

The sad end to a once son of God. Estranged by his willful rebellious actions against the Father.

He placed us all in the same precarious position generationally from then to now.

How much God loved us to send Jesus to right the ship and make sure that we all have the opportunity to be accepted into His House as His children once again.

I hope you are in touch with that today. It's a driving force behind the broken heart for the lost.

Once we were lost, but then we were found.

There are so many others that are still lost.

Is your heart broken enough today to do something about it?

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><