Friday, August 30, 2013

Running Ahead Of God

I made a joke once during one of my live messages about a particular butter substitute that defies me to tell the difference between it and real butter. 

I said I can believe it's NOT butter.

Why? Because IT'S NOT BUTTER! Sheesh.

I have used enough butter in my life so that I can tell by the taste, consistency, and color, the difference between the two.

Those of us who accept that it tastes like butter do so probably because of a lack of comparison.

In other words, we haven't had real butter for so long that we have forgotten what it looks and tastes like.

We have accepted less. We have accepted a substitute.

It's as if our taste buds have become "dumbed down"!

It never works when we accept less of what we are accustomed to.

Remember the 1994 Major League Baseball strike?

Remember how pathetic it was watching a game with "replacement" players?

It's just not the same.

It's not the same when we are less than we need to be to others.

It's not the same when we are less than what God has created.

He designed us to be His handiwork.

We in turn end up as a cheap knockoff.

Often the world looks at the precious gift of His Son Jesus Christ and replaces Him with a false idol.

Even some factions of the church transform Him from a mighty Savior of the world, into a cheap pimp for their own interests.

I think that we have been bombarded so thoroughly in every facet of our lives with cheap imitations, from politics, to sports, to religion, that we struggle with what is real.

This is why it is important for us who follow Christ to make sure we do not get our noses turned upwind at the first whiff of a better "savior".

The person who coined the phrase "build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door" knew what he was talking about.

We are a fickle and conniving people, and left to our own carnal desires, we will run after what even remotely resembles a better deal.

People will trade their very soul for a leg up on the next guy.

Even Jesus is for sale or trade on the open market.

This is why it is important to stay connected.

Staying connected to the church, the hearing and reading of the Word of God, spending time in prayer and fellowship with other believers, discussing the events of the world with each other through a Christ-like perspective.

Remember. Religion says to be a follower of Christ you HAVE to go to church, read your bible, pray, and act right.

That's the watered down substitute.

Jesus says you will do those things BECAUSE you are His followers.

John says:

2 John 1:9 - "Anyone who runs on ahead [of God] and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ [who is not content with what He taught] does not have God; but he who continues to live in the doctrine (teaching) of Christ [does have God], he has both the Father and the Son."

There's the danger. Are you running ahead of God today?

Are you not abiding?

Are you living IN the doctrine of Christ?

You don't get this by acting religiously.

You get it by being His disciple.

Disciples want to be around Jesus and other disciples as often as they can.

The hunger and thirsting for righteousness becomes insatiable.

Accept no substitute today!

Run it all past Jesus first.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Thursday, August 29, 2013


What's the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word?

I think of a car wreck.

Lots of negatives.

1929.  Crash.

2006. High times on Wall Street, tough times on Main Street. Crash.

The best I can think of is the fact that my drum kit has two "crash" cymbals.

Some folks may not think that's such a great thing either.

Yesterday I thought of the day the twin towers collapsed.


Not good.

How about when people's lives crash?

Happens everyday. Exponentially. People crash.

Sometimes it is so profound that I can hear it.

I can hear it in the sobbing of their loved ones.


Jesus has instructed us in the gospels to heed His advice and be wise as we build our lives.

He likens our life construction as the very wise builder who built his home on bedrock, and not on sand.

He said that when the great storms come that house on bedrock would be able to withstand the rains and winds and remain standing. (Matt.7:24-25)

He also warned us of the contrary.

If we are to be a careless or ignorant builder and build that home on sand, when the storms come the sand would shift underneath and the house would...

Crash. (Matt.7:26-27)

One common thread that runs through both scenarios.

The storms will come.

It's during those moments that we start to assess our life decisions and the errors and mistakes come rushing to the forefront.

"Everything is crashing down around me because I made a poor life decision and I am weakened because of it and I cannot withstand."


Jesus has a simple solution.

Yes, I said simple.

Jesus said in the beginning of verse 24, "Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man... ."

Hear His words. Put them into practice.

There's my prayer.

Hear His words.

Put them into practice.

Avoid the crash.

Save your life. Save your marriage. Save your health. Save your finances. 

Save your life.

Run it all past Jesus first today!

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <>

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

I Don't Have A Bucket List

No, I don't have a "bucket" list, or things I want to do before I "kick the bucket".

I've thought about this to some extent.

I think from someone else's perspective this might come off as being dull or unexciting.

I've never felt the desire to jump out of an airplane.

I don't even like getting into an airplane.

I've never wanted to run with the bulls in Spain.

I wouldn't run to the corner for a paper.

I've never wanted to climb Mt. Everest.

You can't get me on a ladder to change a light bulb.

I'm just pretty content with my unassuming quietly led life.

Yes, content. Contented.

How many can say that this morning?

I am content.

I didn't say everything is perfect.

I said content.

Content, in my opinion, means that one does not have to search far and wide for the joy in their life.

They already have it. And they know that they have it.

Having it and knowing you have it.


No need or desire to look any further.

You have the right spouse. The right family. The right job. The right church.

Whatever you's just...right.

Content with the content. Ah...that confusing English language.

Matt. 6:31, 33 - "Therefore do not worry and be anxious, saying, What are we going to have to eat? or, What are we going to have to drink? or, What are we going to have to wear?"
(33) But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right), and then all these things taken together will be given you besides."

I believe (and you can feel free to disagree with me if you want) that I have found contentment because I have Jesus Christ in my life. 

I didn't read the above passage BEFORE I came to know Jesus.

I discovered it afterword and was amazed at how true it was for myself.

I found my entire life, fully, holistically if you will, in Jesus Christ and His Kingdom.

I am a better person physically, mentally, spiritually, because of Him.

No question about it in my understanding.

I sought first the Kingdom of God, and everything I had been lacking my entire life was given to me and then some.

I didn't become rich by the world's standard. My teeth didn't straighten or receive gold fillings.

I did however, become delivered from my drug and cigarette habit, which in my opinion saved my physical life.

The signs of aging are upon me. 

Yet, I cannot think of a single solitary thing that I lack which would make my life more fulfilled.

I am content. And it's because of Jesus Christ.

If you are discontented, He may just be the answer you have been hoping for.

I do know this much. Sitting around wallowing in discontent is the fast track to an early grave. Or at the least a very unhappy looooong life.

If you were to trust me on anything, trust me on this. Jesus has answers for you.

I pray today that those in the season of discontent would first seek the Kingdom of God so that Jesus could add all the things you need to be content in your life.

If you have a bucket list today, let Jesus be the first thing on it.

Run it all past Jesus first!

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

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Tuesday, August 27, 2013


Dreams are biblical.

In fact it may be one of the most common topics in all of scripture.

Dreams are different than hopes, but may intersect often.

My dreams tend to be while I am awake and perhaps more in the form of visions.

They are almost always spiritual, most always concern the church and people, and hardly ever concern myself or my own personal life.

My dreams are a longing to see the desires of Christ fulfilled in His Church.

I dream of the day when the Kingdom work is supported so fully that the Church makes a difference in the community it serves.

I dream of the day when the Church overflows with lives so changed that four walls will not contain them.

I dream of the day when men will man up in Christ and take their proper place in the plan of God and stop passing off that responsibility to their wives.

I dream of the day when people will gather around the study of the Word of God in great numbers not just when it is convenient for themselves, but because they recognize how vital and necessary it is to their spiritual health.

I dream of the day when people stop talking about being #2 to Jesus and actually step down and relinquish that spot to Him.

I dream of the day when people realize how badly they are missed when they routinely disregard church for other activities.

Why the opening of the heart today?

It's biblical. Even though it rubs against the grain for me, it's biblical. I MUST share.

Jeremiah 23:28 (Amplified Bible) - "The prophet who has a dream, let him tell his dream; but he who has My word, let him speak My word faithfully."

It's a package. It's a responsibility. It's a burden.

I speak His word.

I fail to tell the dream.

I'm always afraid I'll hurt someone.

God tells me to let Him worry about that.

After all, I am starting to qualify for "...your old men shall dream dreams." (Joel, Acts)

Well oldER men anyway. lol!

The joy is in Him and I long to see that manifest for everyone.

Hey, I can dream, can't I?

Run it all past Jesus first.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

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Monday, August 26, 2013

Who Dat?

"Who dat"?

I borrowed that from the fans of the New Orleans Saints football team.

New Orleans of course being the "home" of "When The Saints Go Marchin' In".

Who are the "saints"? Really.

Plaster statues arranged in ornate cathedrals?

Plastic figures on your dashboard?

Nominated and processed dead people by particular religious organizations?

None of the above?

Correct if you picked "none of the above".

The bible says that believers in Jesus Christ are the saints.

We don't have to be nominated for it.

We just are.

We are objects of the intentions of Jesus Christ.

Eph. 4:12: - "His intention was the perfecting and the full equipping of the saints
(His consecrated people), [that they should do] the work of
ministering toward building up Christ's body (the church)".

Inanimate objects can't accomplish this.

Dead people (spiritual as well as physical) can't accomplish this.

Disciples of Jesus Christ are consecrated people who's work it is to
build up and encourage each other in the faith.

One of the problems in the Body of Christ today is that some people are
resistant to being perfected and equipped.

Too often the "saint" in Christ doesn't want to stop being ministered
to and begin ministering to others.

The Church is designed to operate on take and give, not take and more take.

Sometimes it seems like the Church crawls along rather than briskly
walking. Stoop shouldered rather than shoulders back. Defeated rather
than victorious.

Recognizing who we are in Christ and a willingness to acquiesce to it
would transform the work of Christ on earth.

Who dat?

You're a saint. Be a saint. Perform like a saint.

Who da saint? You da saint!

In all you do today be blessed and be a blessing to others!

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Death Of Everyman

This just in: 

(RP) "Beloved Hollywood movie character George Bailey was discovered to have died recently. No time or place of death was reported, other than that it appears to have coincided with the recent colossal failure of the American banking, insurance, and savings and loan system. Since there was no actual body found, it is assumed that Bailey simply dissolved along with the rest of the hopes, ideals, and dreams of the once great nation he loved so dearly. Bailey was known for being the iconic role played in the classic Christmas film, "It's A Wonderful Life", by the beloved late American actor, James Stewart. Known for not being a failure his entire life simply because he had friends, there was no one else to contact for a statement other than a "Mr. Potter", who while being old and very sick, issued the statement: "Bailey was always a fool, and remained a fool until he died. His biggest problem was that he trusted people. In the end it was the people and system that failed him."

"Lord, Lord, they cut George Bailey down.

Lord, Lord they laid him in the ground." (Adapted from the song "George Jackson, by Bob Dylan)

"No man is a failure as long as he has friends."

"If it wasn't for George Bailey, I would have never gotten my wings." (Clarence)

Ah, I'm going to miss that guy.

George Bailey. American icon.

He was "Everyman".

The standard of decency created during a time of recovery for America.

Post WW II America. The great payoff for five years of sacrificial living.

America had taken it on the chin, even on the heels of a crushing and debilitating Great Depression, it bounced back and weathered the storm of war and loss.

America survived, and we have people like George Bailey to thank.

Oh sure, Bailey was a fictional character, but we all knew a George Bailey in real life.

People of unswerving optimism. Folks that said "we can do it!", and were the first ones to lead the way.

It's just not the same anymore. Mom, the flag, and apple pie just doesn't cut it today.

No friends, I'm afraid George Bailey is dead. 

And there ain't no resurrection forthcoming.

This doesn't bother me so much.

Maybe it's time for Bailey to die.

There really wasn't much he could do for us except encourage us anyway.

But he did remind me of another.

Is it accidental that his film has become the most beloved Christmas movie of all time?

George Bailey pointed us toward Jesus.

And now he has stepped out of the way. George Bailey cannot save us anymore.

Like an Old Testament prophet he never really could.

Thanks anyway George Bailey, for all you have done for the American Dream.

It's time for us to move out of Dreamland now, and step into a much darker, much more insidious and uninviting place called reality.

We need a real Savior.

Fantasy Hollywood land used to be a comforting place we could get lost in, but alas, even it has gotten darker and seedier and threatening.

We really need a place to turn.

Enter stage right.

Hebrews 13:5 - "...I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!]

Thank you Jesus. We need you more than ever. Our country. Our world. It's all being torn apart.

We are a dying junkie in need of an intervention. We are sick and don't realize it.

Help us who see where our hope lies. Help us to help others to have hope.

Help. Hope.

This is an S.O.S. Lord.

My prayer this morning is that we will not fall into despair. In the face of mounting failure by our leaders, in the face of people losing hope in their country, in themselves, and maybe even in You Lord, we need a miracle of hope. We need help. Your help. It's a storm that cannot, will not, be weathered without You. We seek Your face today Lord, and we hold to Your promise of healing our nation.

With God all things are possible.

Jesus is our Blessed Hope today!

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Where Is Your Mind?

Your head will collapse if there's nothing in it 
And you'll ask yourself 
 Where is my mind?
 ~ The Pixies ~

Popular humor from the nineteenth century:

"What’s the matter? Never mind. What is mind? No matter." 

I pretty much never really concerned myself with my mind. It was "no matter".

For at least the first 33 years anyway.

In my post conversion experience I suddenly became aware of it.

Sometimes we don't know that things were wrong until we look back on them. 

I suppose that could be deemed a blessing of sorts.

I never realized just how dysfunctional I was.

My mind was riddled with rampant narcissism, sleeplessness, anxiety, fear.

I was in trauma. I was very fortunate that Jesus came along.

Where was my mind?

It was in the clutches of what was normal for me.

Normal was just being a living being without Jesus.

My mind was "in the gutter".

We don't see it while we are in it.

This is why there is such a great gulf, or gap, between believers and non-believers.

We never know what we really are until we are exposed. We never knew we were living in darkness until the Light shined.

Paul says we were exchanging truth for lies. We were fools professing wisdom. Worshiping the creature and not he Creator. Exchanging the natural for the unnatural.

It was a great exchange, and we got shortchanged.

Romans 1:21-22 - Because when they knew and recognized Him as God, they did not honor and glorify Him as God or give Him thanks. But instead they became futile and godless in their thinking [with vain imaginings, foolish reasoning, and stupid speculations] and their senseless minds were darkened. (22) Claiming to be wise, they became fools [professing to be smart, they made simpletons of themselves]."

I had lost my mind.

I found it in Christ.

What's scary to me is how many believers are willing to go back there again.

At the root of most Christians who are in turmoil in their lives is this insidious desire to get caught up with vain imaginings, foolish reasoning, and stupid speculations.

The willingness to enter into flat out sinful relationships for instance is staggering.

It's an exchange of carnal desire for the will of God.

It won't work. It will cause anxiety. Physical problems. Unsettledness.

When our desire is not in line with God's will it will throw everything out of synch.

You will be asking...

Where is my mind?

You were once smart, but now you have made a complete simpleton out of yourself.

Yes, it was that easy.

You made a simple exchange.

You did what you wanted to do even though you knew it would offend God.

You cannot even feign ignorance.

You knew. You know.

Where is your mind?

My prayer is for those who are struggling in life today. You have lost your way. You may even think you are losing your mind. You made an exchange that left you on the short end, and now it's all just a jumbled mess. You can make it right. Go back to the source. Regain the ground you have lost. Let me give you this today.

Jesus says: "If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:31-32).

I hope today is the most blessed day of your life!

You can get there from where you are.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><