Thoughts from Pete’s Message July 24, 2015

Tough Questions… Tougher Answers

Jesus took three years of his precious life to disciple twelve men. They had the honor of walking with him to witness up close and personally the way the truth and the life. You’re most like the ones with whom you spend time… the ones with whom you associate. Who are your three and who are your twelve? Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful, but his delight is in the law of the lord and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

When Jesus taught his disciples, he asked them the hard questions… penetrating questions to see if they understood the walk and the talk. The lesson of Matthew Chapter 8 is that when the crisis comes, and courage is required, God expects his disciples to be his reliable ones who stand strong in the Lord in the face of the storms of life. This is the essence of life in a fallen world. The crisis reveals our character and our faith. The crisis is our training to test our faith so that our faith may grow. Adversity and failure prepare us to trust not in the power of our own might, but rather in his strength alone. The man of God is the one who is faithful to rise to the challenge and to learn from the lessons of adversity. The account of the storm in Matthew 28 occurs after Jesus healed the Centurion’s servant. Jesus marveled at the faith of the Centurion because he said to Jesus, you don’t need to come minister to my servant, just say the Word, and he will be healed. In Matthew 8:23 Jesus was asleep in the boat while the storm raged across the Sea of Galilee. The disciples were terrified and awoke Jesus. Jesus said, “why are you so afraid, O ye of little faith?” Is the storm you confront, bigger than the God whom you profess to believe? God always proves himself in the midst of the storms of life. Don’t tell God how big your storm is, rather, tell the storm how big your God is. The more helpless we are, the more God’s grace and mercy covers for our weakness. We must become child-like in our believing: Jesus said, “Suffer the little children to come unto me for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” On our own there is no way that we can approach the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Turning from my own strength unto his strength is the meaning of repentance. I must decrease that he may increase. One of the hardest questions is, “do you want to spend the rest of your life learning to become just like him?” If the answer is yes, you will be tested by trials and tribulations. Crisis and calamity strike suddenly and without warning. Our hearts must have been prepared in advance. Jesus rebuked the waves and the raging storm when he said, “peace be still.” Who is this man that even the winds and sea obey him? The crises in life ask the great questions of life. Little crises are the tests for the bigger crises. He that is faithful in that which is least shall be faithful also in much. According to 2 Timothy 3:16, The Word of God is profitable for reproof and correction once we have heard the doctrine of how to believe rightly. The purpose is that the man of God may be perfect… perfected through and through unto all good works.

There are two types of storms: Storms of correction and storms of perfection. The disciples had already obeyed Jesus who had said, “let’s get in the boat and go to the other side.” They were within the will of God when the storm came. When God asks us to follow him, there are four levels of obedience: 1. I’ll do what God wants me to do if it lines up with what I want to do. 2. I’ll do what God wants me to do if he’ll do what I want him to do. 3. I’ll do what he wants me to do as long as I’m comfortable and it’s convenient. 4. I’ll do whatever you want me to do Lord, because I want to be just like Jesus. If you choose door number four, the storms of life will rage. These are the storms of perfection. According to James 1:3-4, “Knowing this, that the trying of your patience worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” Jesus said, “You must take up your cross daily and follow me.” Wide is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction. However, Straight is the gate and narrow is the way that leadeth to life, and few there be that find it. Only Jesus Christ is the way the truth and the life. He said, “no man cometh to the father except by me.” Those who choose to follow him are a peculiar people, a royal priesthood, an holy nation. We’re outliers from this world as citizens of heaven. Nations of this world will come and go but the our heavenly homeland abideth forever. We’ve been redeemed from the bondage of this fallen world, having been reconciled to God through the finished work of his son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

What is the storm raging in your life today? My times are in thy hands… God’s question to his men is, “no matter the storms of life, will you still purpose in your heart to love me and to serve me?” Are you a man of God absolutely? I beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice holy (and wholly) acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. Are you all in? Take my life and let it be consecrated Lord to thee…

May God richly bless you.
Your brother in Christ,

Thoughts from Ryan’s Message July 17, 2015

Get Real

Are you living in reality, or are you just holding on to your possessions? Are you playing with fake “Monopoly money” or are you investing in eternity? He is not a fool who loses what he cannot keep to keep that which he cannot lose. What endures? Jesus said, “He who loses his life for my sake shall find it.” For that which is seen is temporal, but that which is unseen is eternal. According to Ephesians 5, “let no man deceive you with empty words.” Galations 6:7 says, “Be not deceived, God is not mocked, for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” Are we able in our own power to access God’s throne of grace? There is a fine line between empty words and confession of our Lord Jesus Christ which gives us access to God’s holy of holies only through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

Many men major in “theology.” Theology is the study of God. However, who am I to study God? Henry could study the Ford but the Ford could not study Henry. From God’s perspective, it is He that hath made us and not we ourselves. Therefore, beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the cunning craftiness of this world and not after Christ. We are not here to “study God,” Rather, we’re here to live by the believing faith of the gospel of Jesus Christ which is the power of God unto salvation. Jesus said, the gospel is the good news –that the kingdom of God is at hand. There is a battle raging between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of the prince of the power of the air. Jesus said, “Upon this rock (of truth) I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” The devil is the father of all lies. However, Jesus is the Truth of the Word of God in manifestation. If you know the truth, the truth will set you free. Our authority in Truth is the same promise that God gave Joshua: “be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed, for the Lord thy God is with you whithersoever thou goest.” According to Romans, we are more than conquerers through him who loved us.

God has called us as his emissaries to represent his kingdom in a foreign land. This world is not my home, we’re representatives of our heavenly homeland, for we are citizens of heaven. Now then, we are ambassadors of Christ, walking in this world according to the authority we have been given by our Lord to represent our homeland in a crooked and perverse nation among whom we shine as lights in this world. Therefore, we are called not only to deliver the message, but also to be the message: We pray you in Christ’s stead, be reconciled to God. We have not been called to overcome the world. We have not been called to condemn the world, but to deliver the message of reconciliation. This is the message of salvation by grace alone through faith alone through Christ alone. For he who knew no sin was made the perfect sin sacrifice on our behalf that we may be made the righteousness of God in him. According to Romans 8, “who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? Shall tribulation or nakedness or famine or peril or sword? Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us… for I am persuaded that neither life, not death, nor Angels, nor principalities,nor powers, nor dominions nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Our challenge is this: get real. Reality is not in the things of this world. It is not in the physical battles of this s present life. Reality is only in Him… the things of this world will soon be passed, only that which is done in Christ will last. Therefore be thankful into him and bless his name. For the Lord is good, his mercy is everlasting, and his Truth endureth to all generations.

May God richly bless you.
Your brother in Christ,


Thoughts from Pete’s Message July 10, 2015

Needful Things

We live in a finite world where there are many losses in a lifetime. The older we get the more losses we experience… we lose loved ones, houses, friends, possessions, and jobs. While there are many things that cause us to suffer in this life, all things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to his purpose. We can either look back on our lives with regret or with thankfulness for the lessons we have learned. And not only so, but we glory in tribulation also, knowing that tribulation worketh patience, and patience experience, and experience hope because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the holy spirit which is given to us. Sometimes the times of greatest loss are the times of the greatest deliverance. In Matthew 10:39 Jesus said,”He that loses his live for my sake shall find it.”

In John Chapter 6 the question is, “is Christ sufficient?” Needful things… If we’re needy, what is it that we really need. The context of John 6 changes the upbeat mood of the story from those who followed Jesus as the “rock star” of his day, to a more somber mood that Jesus’ true purpose was to be crucified and for God to raise him from the dead. Your attitude about life will determine the flag under which you serve. What is the cost of following Jesus and what will life be like as a follower of Christ? Many of his followers forsook him when Jesus told them about his suffering and death. Jesus warned about the impending crises that his followers would face. In Matthew 24:9 when his disciples asked Jesus about the signs of the times, he answered that they would have to pay a heavy price… they would be persecuted and martyred for being his disciples and hated by all nations because of Christ. There is always a spiritual battle behind the earthly battle. The flame of the spirit of the church of God has been fueled by the blood of Christian martyrs throughout the history of his Church. What’s important is that the gospel of deliverance is spread. However, in the last times, many shall fall away from the faith and false prophets shall deceive many. The one who stands firm to the end shall be saved… He who endures shall be delivered. Jesus set the bar so high that no one could follow… that salvation would not be through our own futile efforts, but only by his grace alone by faith alone through Christ alone. The key to deliverance is that even though there is suffering in this life, Jesus Christ who knew no sin sacrificed his life on our behalf so that we may be made the righteousness of God in him. For I have been crucified with Christ nevertheless I live, yet not I but Christ liveth in me… therefore, my life is hid with Christ in God.

What endures in this life? If you attach your identity to things that are here today and gone tomorrow, life will be an exercise in frustration. Where are your going in life? If you have no destination, you’re never lost. Jesus said, “I am the way the truth and the life, no man cometh to the father but by me.” As the Apostle Paul said, “I press toward the mark of the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

After Jesus spoke to his followers in John 6, and many of his followers left him, Jesus said to his disciples, “are you all-in?” Many said, “I’d rather follow the world and my own comfort than give up everything to follow you.” The hard questions expose the idols in life. Are we really willing to trust in God by following our Lord Jesus Christ? Are we willing to endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ? In the sermon on the mount, Jesus said, “lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth where moth and rust corrupts, but rather lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, for where your treasure is, there shall your heart be also.”

Is anything in your life too precious to give up to follow Christ? The first of the ten commandments says, “Thou shalt have no other Gods before me.” Literally this verse means that God said “you shall have no other gods between your face and my face.” Do your children, your wife, your job or your possessions come between you and God? Jesus said, whosoever loses his life for my sake shall find it. The most penetrating question is “Would you worship and praise me no matter the consequences in this life?” In order to worship God, we must put our most valuable possession upon the altar. Lordship means that all I have is thine. To confess that Jesus is Lord means that I am his and he is mine. My times are in thy hands. Life is much easier when you give up and give it away… Despite the trials and tribulations of this world, take my life and let it be consecrated Lord to thee… Needful things: are you all in? As John the Baptist said, “I must decrease that he may increase.” You can have all this world, just give me Jesus. All I need is thee…

May God richly bless you,
Your brother in Christ,

Thoughts from Pete’s Message July 3, 2015

The Battle Belongs to the Lord

There is always good news and bad news. The bad news is that Christians in America are losing the culture wars. The good news is that when you’re surrounded by enemies in the battlefield, you can shoot in any direction and hit an enemy. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against spiritual wickedness from on high. Though many Christians are disappointed by the recent Supreme Court rulings, the world doesn’t define who we are, the Word does. We are Christians first who would rather obey God rather than men. Ours is not the first nation to remove the right to worship God freely and conduct our lives according to his righteous statutes. We know from whence we came as a Godly nation and the biblical foundations for which our forefathers fought and died. God has blessed our nation with prosperity and abundance. However, our greatness is not in America’s prosperity and materialism. Rather America’s distinction has been her liberty in law to seek the Blessor and not the blessings. We who have lived through the destruction of this liberty, find it difficult to separate our values as citizens of Heaven and citizens of America. Historically these values were one in the same, with unity of purpose as one nation under God. Our historical constitutional liberty of the “free exercise of religion” is being lost in the name of personal freedom to do what “feels right” and the “right of the individual not to be offended.” It’s no longer about biblical virtues that underpin the constitution, rather it’s about the fleeting feelings of popular secular carnal opinions. The world view in America has changed over the last 70 years and American values have been decoupled from God and his Word. As Americans, we are now polarized and cannot tolerate opinions that do not agree with our own polarized views. The free exercise of religion according to God’s righteous standard has been redefined and restricted by the Supreme Court who has acquiesced to the god of this world who is the author of the prevailing religion of secular humanism. America used acknowledge itself as a Christian nation founded on biblical precepts. We may have just witnessed the death knell of our historical biblical freedoms and the birth of Secular humanism as the prevailing religion that underpins American justice.

Our prayer needs to be, God don’t take sides, just take over… take my life and let it be consecrated Lord to thee. The spiritual battles underlie all secular and earthly battles. Though we live in the physical, fleshly and carnal world, this world is not our home, we’re just a-passing through. We’re not winning the physical battle. However, the spiritual battle is in God’s hand. The battle plan is the Lord’s and the final victory is in his hands. Or times are similar to when Jesus came to minister to the house of Israel. Jesus was diametrically opposed to the Pharisees, the religious leadership of his day. He did not come to minister to the religious leaders who thought they were self-righteous. He came to heal those who knew they were sick, broken, and living in sin. He came to deliver the prostitutes, the poor, the sinners, the sick and the down and out. Repentance, turning from sin and to the Savior from sin, is the first step in receiving Christ. God often gives us opportunities that we think are curses. The darker the night, the brighter the light shines. You have to pick your battles judiciously, for we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against spiritual wickedness and rulers of darkness from on high. We need to understand the spiritual enemy and the spiritual weapons of our warfare. For the weapons of our warfare are not physical, but spiritual to the pulling down of spiritual strongholds. Casting down imaginations and every high thing that exaulteth itself against the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive to Christ.

Like Abraham’s brother Lot, when you’re living next to Sodom, it’s easy to allow the doctrines of Sodom to influence your attitudes and beliefs. However, according 1 Peter Chapter 3, Recompense no man evil for evil but repay with a blessing. Turn from evil and seek good. Seek to make peace for the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous and the Lord is attentive to their prayer. When we see evil in another person, the response of a man of God is to pray for him and for God’s grace and mercy to deliver him from evil. Pray for them who persecute you and despitefully use you, for great is your reward in heaven. God has called us to be a royal priesthood. A priest’s calling is to pray to God on behalf of the people and to intercede for them, standing in the gap. This is evangelism, to reflect Christ’s nature, not to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved. Like Moses who prayed on behalf of sinful Israel for God not to destroy them for their wickedness, we need to plead for God’s mercy upon this land to which he has called us to minister.

God has called us to stand in the gap in our place on the wall… Our family, our marriage, our workplace, our neighborhood, our community, our state, and our nation. Our prayer is, Father forgive them for they know not what they do. We’re not defined by what we’re against but rather were defined by what we stand for… Stand up stand up for Jesus ye soldiers of the cross… For we wrestle not against flesh and blood. Greater is he who is in you than he who is in the world. Therefore be not overcome of evil but overcome evil with good. God has called us to be salt and light… To call them out of darkness and into his marvelous light. In the midst off the darkness of this fallen world… Give ’em Heaven!!!

Your brother in Christ,