Influencers, Pete’s Message December 18, 2015

Oh Holy Night

Jesus Christ is the reason for the season. It’s hard to keep our minds focused on the things that really matter amidst the distraction of the festivities around us. However the Word of God says, thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee because he trusteth in thee. According to Isaiah 9:6 “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” and of his kingdom there shall be no end end…

Some people don’t look forward to the Christmas season because broken relationships bring back painful memories. When we understand that in this life we will have tribulation, then life will be less difficult. We have but one life… Jesus said, “in this life ye shall have tribulation. Be not discouraged, be of good cheer for I have overcome the world.” Jesus came so that we would be clothed not in the filthy rags of our sin nature, but that we could be clothed in the robes of his righteousness… for though your sins were as scarlet, ye shall be as white as snow.

Christmas is a painful time for many people because it forces them to associate with “friends” and relatives they haven’t seen during the year. They feel uncomfortable when they think that they have not lived up to the expectations of others. However, when the crisis comes God expects his men to be the reliable ones who rise to the occasion to prove his power in their lives… for it is God which worketh in you to will and to do of his good pleasure. Our peace is in fellowship with the prince of peace. For surely our fellowship is with our Father, his Son Jesus Christ and one with another in the household of faith.

God wants us to spend time in his presence and in the presence of Jesus Christ so that our hearts will be pure as he is pure and so that our focus would be on him and not on the things of this world that come to nought. He said if we confess our sin, our broken fellowship, he is faithful and just to forgive us of all unrighteousness. He came to give us his character… therefore Jesus said, “abide in me and I in you, then shall you bear much fruit.” When we abide in him, his character will influence and infuse our character… that we may become the righteousness of God in him.

God doesn’t count righteousness to us by what we’ve done. Any man can claim his human “rights” and any demon will make sure he gets them. Righteousness is not of the flesh, but only in him… there is none righteous (in the flesh) no not one. He did not come with a mighty whirlwind… rather, he came like winter snow falling softly. Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given… he came that we would be reconciled to God. 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.

The lyrics of a popular Christmas song says “Mary did you know that one day your baby boy would walk on water?” This is the theme of the paraphrase of an essay “One Solitary Life” by Dr. James Allan Francis:

He was born in an obscure village…
The son of a peasant woman espoused to a lowly carpenter.
He did none of the things that usually accompany greatness.
He had no credentials but himself.

Nineteen centuries have come and gone…
Of all the armies that have ever marched,
all the navies that have ever sailed,
of all the governments that have ever ruled…
Nothing has changed the course of the history of mankind as much as this one single solitary life.

For he who knew no sin humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him and given him a name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow… and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the father.

That in everything he might have dominion over the sin that separates us from the righteous judgement of almighty God. For Jesus Christ, who knew no sin, paid the price for our sin nature when he became the sinless sacrifice on our behalf, that we who were dead in trespasses and sin, may receive life and become the righteousness of God in him.

In him all things hold together… in the unity of the spiit in the bond of peace. For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life. There is always hope in this world. He is our hope. The love of God beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

May God richly bless you as we celebrate the birth of our Lord. Oh Holy night… Christ the Savior is born!

Your Brother in Christ,

Thoughts from Pete’s Message December 11, 2015

Why are you excited about being a Christian? When the storms of life rain on our parade, our challenge is not to hunker down during the storm but to dance in the rain. We’re excited because Jesus Christ came to rescue men like us.
He came to build our character by using every trial in this life to develop and nurture his character in us. The great commission is that our lives would model the life of Jesus Christ himself. He called us not to deliver the message, but to be the message. Therefore preach the Gospel, when necessary use words.

Jesus Christ is the Rock of Ages. He is our sure foundation. Our Security is only in him. We’re either missionaries or a mission field. We’re either influenced by Him to influence the world, or we’re influenced by the world around us. God called us to give and not to take. To know the security we have in him we must first know insecurity. Insecurity is to rely on the things of this world and to understand that they can be gone in an instant. The things of this world will take wings and fly away. They have a short shelf life in light of eternity. However, Jesus said, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth where moth and rust doth corrupt and where thieves break through and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven… for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” For that which is seen is temporal, but that which is unseen is eternal. We need to learn to keep a light touch on the things of this earth. Jesus said that whosoever saves his life shall lose it, but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake shall save it.

God created man to rely on something. For many it is their material possessions, their money, their families, their prestige, their worldly credentials, and the accolades of others. In John Chapter 2, when the crowds tried to exalt Jesus and to follow him like the rock star of his day, he did not commit himself to them. He “knew what was in the heart of man” and that the only reason they followed him was because they were entertained by the miracles that he had done.
Men often ask “Lord, why have you allowed pain and suffering in my life and in this world?” Those who don’t know God always question God’s motives. They judge God and his Word by the corrupted culture of this fallen world. Isaiah and Jeremiah preached about idols. The people had created gods after their own fallen natures. They judged the true God by their own corrupted view of the Gods of their own making.

Those who do not know God’s security think that God’s commands are “negotiable.” Some say “God, I’ll do what you want me to do if you’ll do what I want you to do.” Others say, “I’ll do what you want me to do if it agrees with what I want to do.” Still others say, “Lord, I’ll do what you want me to do as long as it’s comfortable and convenient.” For those who are secure in the Lord, the only response to God’s command is: “God, I’ll do what whatever you want me to do. Thy wish is my command. Here am I, Lord send me.“ God is still in control. There is nothing that God can’t handle… God was not made for man… man was made for God. According to Psalm 100, “It is he that has made us and not we ourselves. We are his people and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving and into his courts with praise. Be thankful unto him and bless his name. For the Lord is good, his mercy is everlasting, and His truth endureth to all generations.”

If you don’t have a trusting relationship with God, you may not really know God. Either Jesus Christ is Lord of your life or he’s not. We have to decide whether or not our confidence is really in him. The things of this world are fleeting. They are here today and gone tomorrow, but God and his Word are always faithful. The Lord is our refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble. Our security is in God himself. According to Joshua 1, “Be strong and of a good courage. Be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed, for the Lord thy God is with thee withersoever thou goest.” God encourages us to remember that he is the source of our security.

The things of this world of “Vanity Faire” are insecure: my job, my paycheck, my spouse, my family, my bank account, my assets and material possessions. If ye the Lord returns today, a pile of earthly treasure will be worthless. You can’t take it with you. How can we serve God with our material possessions? We can honor him by giving back to God’s work, a portion of that with which he has blessed us. In giving, we acknowledge that God is the source of our sufficiency. The act of giving is an act of joy… to abandon the things of this world to focus and to rely on his great and precious promise that he himself is our provider and that he is our provision. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves, but our sufficiency is of God.

Jesus said, abide in me and I will abide in you to the point that you will be the dependable ones in the time of crisis. All things work together for good to those who are called according to his purpose… When we delight ourselves in the Lord, it is God who works in us to will and to do of his good pleasure. In him we live and move and have our being.

The Christmas season reminds us that “Christos mas” in Spanish means more of him and less of me. Therefore rejoice not in Christmas presents, but in Christmas presence… the presence of God in Christ in you the hope of glory. Our security is in him, for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that spiritual deposit which he’s committed unto me against that day.

May God richly bless you,
Your brother in Christ,


Who’s Going To Help?

One of the reasons for being excited about Jesus Christ is that he has given us Purpose and Meaning for life. Many people think that their purpose is to accomplish something significant. Meaning means “that which is significant.” What is meaningful? How do you know whether or not you’ve done enough, meditated enough, studied enough, and prayed enough? Meaning also means “that which is important.” How do you define that which is “significant” and “important?” Are significance and importance defined by the popular culture? What is worthy of significance? “Holiness” is a biblical term that encompasses God’s meaningful purpose for our lives. Holiness means “to be set aside for the purpose intended by the Designer.” God did not create us “at random.” Rather he created us intentionally for his holy purpose, “for we are his workmanship, his great work, his poem, his masterpiece… created in Christ Jesus unto good works which he has foreordained that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10

Men need focus. Otherwise they don’t know what’s important, significant, and meaningful. “Focus” is the main point of concentration. Men need a focal point for their lives in the midst of the chaos of this world. The silver lining in the midst of confusion is that the world’s chaos causes men to look for order by turning their hearts toward God. Focus also means intent… that which we set our hearts on doing. We need something on which we can focus our attention, intention, and our resolve. Resolve is to make a commitment to accomplish what we have resolved. Resolve focuses our decision to do that which is significant in light of eternity. A legacy is to hand down from generation to generation that which is meaningful in the context of this life. We cannot be distracted from our purpose by a crumbling culture. The most important thing is that we leave a legacy so that those who come after us will inherit eternal life.

Matthew 28:19-20 is Christ’s “great commission” for his followers. “Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you, and Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” This is God’s mission for our lives as men of God and as believers within the household of faith. All men are either missionaries, or a “mission field.” Jesus said of those who would follow after him, “the works that I do shall they do, and greater works shall they do also, because I go unto my Father.” When God calls us to move out, our mission is to move, not to understand the destination. Our focus is to be in the center of God’s will and to walk one step at a time according to the path that he has prepared for us. He may not reveal the destination, but he will reveal the next step. A true disciple is one who is excited and committed to “eat his master’s dust” by following in his master’s footsteps. The purpose for our life will be revealed one step at a time for the Word of God is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. According to John 15, Jesus Christ has called us for a purpose unto himself… that we should abide in him and he in us and that we would bear much fruit. Our purpose according to Ephesians 1:6 is “That we should be to the praise of the glory of his grace wherein he has made us acceptable in the beloved.”

Is your purpose defined by your worldly credentials, material prosperity, accomplishments, and the praise of men? According to Ecclesiastes, these are all vanities of vanities. All are emptiness… These worldly purposes will come to naught… for the things of this earth are temporal. They are here today and gone tomorrow. According to Matthew 6, “lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth where moth and rust doth corrupt, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Our spiritual treasure allows us to know him and to spend time in his presence. He has called us to walk in fellowship with him and with our band of brothers, committed to the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the significance of his crucifixion, resurrection, and his soon return. For in Him we live and move and have our being.

Our purpose when we give ourselves to Jesus Christ, is to bring many Sons of God into God’s glory and that God’s glory will be manifest in our mortal flesh… that we will be the message of God in Christ in us the hope of glory. The purpose of a Man of God is that we who were dead in trespasses and sins have been made righteous because of the sinless sacrifice of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for sin on our behalf. 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. Our purpose is to be in the middle of the will of God. It doesn’t matter where we are or what we do, as long as we abide in him and he in us. For I was crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I but Christ dwelleth in me, and the life that I now live I live by faith in the one who loved me and gave himself for me.

What is the significance of our lives? Our purpose, our value, and our significance is Jesus Christ himself… He is the way, the truth, and the life. Our significance and value is not in who we are but in whose we are… in him we live and move and have our being. According to Ephesians 4:1-3, “Therefore… walk worthy of the calling wherewith we have been called; with all lowliness of mind, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavoring to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace.” As Ecclesiastes 12:13 says, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear (lovingly reverence, respect, and honor) God, and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.”

May God richly bless you.
Your brother in Christ,