Thoughts from Pete’s Message January 29, 2015

Humility Part Three

Humility won’t get you into heaven, but you can’t get there without it. Humility is the prerequisite to Repentance. Humility is the opposite of Pride. To come to salvation through Christ, we must first empty ourselves of ourselves in order to come humbly before the throne of grace. A prideful heart cannot turn from self. Repentance is to turn from self and to turn toward God to seek God’s salvation, forgiveness, and deliverance. But what doth the Lord require of thee but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God.

Two men came into the synagogue to pray. One prayed, “God thank you that I’m not like those sinners over there… that tax gatherer and that prostitute.” The other man, the tax gatherer prayed, “God have mercy on me a sinner.” Jesus said, “Which of those prayers do you think God heard? For every one that lifts himself up shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” Humility is an ironic concept… as soon as you acknowledge that you’re humble, you’ve lost it because at the point you you’re no longer humble, you’re lifted up with pride. In the spiritual battle, whose side are you on? When you’re lifted up with pride, you’ve switched sides in the spiritual battle. Our prayer is not that God is on my side, rather my prayer is that I am on God’s side. Humility is the key to staying on God’s side in the midst of the spiritual battle.

There is a sin of “false humility.” Men of this world are stuck in the world’s criteria for success: accomplishments, accolades of others, money, materialism, fame and power. On the other extreme is false humility… men who acknowledge that they are without merit and without worth. These men condemn themselves and are acutely aware of their sin nature. When Moses was called by God with the voice from the burning bush, Moses said, “I can’t speak to Pharaoh as you’ve commanded me. I can’t speak and I’m not worthy.” The choice is to make decisions based on fear or based on believing in the Word of the Lord.

God called Gideon to lead the army of Israel against the Mideanites. God called Gideon a mighty man of valor. Gideon said, “who me? I’m from the least tribe of the house of Israel. I cannot do the assignment that you’ve called me to do.” Either Philippians 4:13 is true or it’s not. Is God at work within you to will and to do of his good pleasure? Are your decisions fear based or faith based?

Caleb and Joshua were the only two of the twelve spies that gave a good report after seeing the promised land of Canaan. They were the only ones willing to make a faith based decision. Are the giants in your life bigger than the God you profess to serve? The antidote to fear is to keep your eyes focused on the Lord. Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in his wonderful face, and the things of this world will become strangely dim in the light of his glory and grace. Not by our own might, but by God’s power alone will we will defeat the Lord’s enemy. God alone is worthy and sufficient. In my own strength I can do nothing. Fear based decisions result in defeat. However, to trust in the Lord, I must humble myself under the mighty hand of God because my God is able. Therefore, casting down imaginations and every high thought that exaulteth itself against God, bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.

Our battles belong to the Lord… our families, our jobs, our relationships. We have been called not in our own strength, but in his strength alone. As the Apostle Paul said, “Thy grace is sufficient for me.” Thy strength is made perfect in my weakness. Not that we are sufficient of ourselves, but our sufficiency is of God. Humility according to Jeremiah 9:23 says, “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, let not the mighty man glory in his might; neither let the rich man glory in his riches; but him that glorieth, let him glory in this: that he understandeth and knoweth me… that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, and judgement, and righteousness in the earth; for in these things I delight says the Lord.

May God richly bless you.
Your brother in Christ,


Thoughts from Pete’s Message January 22, 2016

Grace to the Humble

Pete’s friend Buck Murphy was a man who was successful by the standards of the world. He started a popular and practical magazine called the Pennysaver. Buck also built and staffed dental centers as a profitable business venture. He decided to dedicate his life to Christ and became involved with Junior High children’s ministry directing camps at Hume Lake for about 10 years. After many years in ministry, Buck moved to Hawaii to start dental practices. He did not plug into a church and instead bought a Penthouse and joined a local tennis club. At the club he started dabbling in the use of cocaine. Once someone came up to him and asked Buck if he would get him a bag of cocaine. Buck was eager to please and hated to say no, so he sold a bag to the person that asked him. The buyer turned out to be a narcotics officer. Although this was his first offense, Buck was convicted and spent two years in prison. Before his conviction, people perceived Buck as the life of the party… gregarious, engaging, and an easy conversationalist. Buck wrote, “please hear what I’m saying… you think that I’m confident and self assured, but I’m hiding behind a mask so that you won’t think of me what I think about myself. In reality, I’m insecure, hiding behind a facade of false bravado… I’m afraid that if you laugh at me, I’ll be devastated because I need your validation. You alone can break down the wall and the mask behind which I’m hiding. However, a lifetime of building strong walls is difficult to penetrate.” Buck used his prison time as a time of solitude and reflection… to set his heart upon the things that really matter in life. He found deliverance in an Alcoholics Anonymous twelve-step program at Pete’s church and by returning to fellowship with other men who knew that they were sinners who were broken. Shame and humiliation produces humility to turn from from darkness to the light of the Word and the fellowship of believers.

Men in times of introspection, understand that “in my flesh dwelleth no good thing.” Men who profess to believe often are burdened beneath a load of guilt and shame. Even though the Bible says we’re worthy, our own hearts often condemn us… However, according to 1 John, “even if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart and knoweth all things.”

Humility results from the brokenness in the flesh. God has made us as jars of clay, vessels that need to be broken in order for God to mend us and reconcile us back to himself. Therefore be sober, be vigiliget for your adversary prowls about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. The question is not whether we will fall but what we allow God to do in us and through us when we fall. God will allow the devil to bring us down when we allow pride to lift us up. Pride goes before the fall. God resists the proud but gives grace unto the humble.

O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from this dead body? The answer is that there is no pit so deep, but that the love and grace of God isn’t deeper still. Therefore, because of the debt Jesus paid with the price of his innocent blood on our behalf, there is no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus who walk not after the flesh but after the spirit. For the spirit of life in Christ has made us free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin condemned sin in the flesh that the righteousness of the law may be fulfilled in us who walk not after the flesh but after the spirit.

According to Philippians 2, put ye on the mind of Christ. The mind of Christ is the mind of humility, for Jesus humbled himself, took upon himself the form of a servant and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God has highly exalted him and given him a name that is above every other name. That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the father.

The prayer of the humble says I must decrease that he may increase. Not that we are sufficient of ourselves but our sufficiency is of God. A humble heart allows us to be not conformed to this world but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds that we may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

May God richly bless you.
Your brother in Christ,


Thoughts from Brian Craig’s Message January 15, 2016

Why Influencers?

Brian Craig is the new executive Director of Influencers. Influencers is a Christian mission organization that started 16 years ago in Arkansas. It started as a fellowship of executives and workers from companies in western Arkansas including Tyson foods, Walmart, and Hunt-Wesson. Rocky Fleming had a heart for fellowship but did not see fruit and increase in men’s lives. God revealed to Rocky, “you need to connect men’s hearts with my heart.” We’re all nodes in the network of God’s fishing net as he has made us “fishers of men.” God is raising up men in distant places who will stand up under the pressure of this world to be men of God… faithful men who will rise to the occasion for such a time as this. Influencers is not an organization but an organism whose DNA is Christ in us the Hope of Glory, whose identity is in him.

Rocky’s question to God was “how do I become the man you want me to be?” God answered, “you need to abide in me.” For apart from me you will not bear fruit. Outside of my presence you think you’re following me but unless you surrender yourself and abide with me and within me through personal abandonment and absolute trust, you’ll never be the man you knew to be. God will remake us only after we have been broken through trials and tribulation when we surrender to him totally and absolutely. We cannot be a disciple until we make disciples… that which thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men who shall be able to teach others also. You teach what you know but you reproduce who you are. Biblical transformation in a man’s life comes only by close proximity with Jesus Christ. The organism is the body of Christ… in whom the whole body fitly framed together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth according to the effectual working of every part unto the edifying of itself in love.

Brian’s message

Many men find their purpose in their work. However, what is the real purpose and meaning of life? Most men are “refugees” upon the road of life. In moments of introspection as we reflect about our lives: our families including our wives, our sons and daughters; our work and our possessions, one question emerges: “what really matters as I’m living this ‘American dream?’ Why do I do what I do and for what purpose am I living? Why are some men in the crowd a little different? They seem to have a peace and a genuine caring about me. These guys are refreshing to be around instead of the guys at work who are concerned only about money, success, and pleasure. Where can I find real fulfillment in this life? I’m a refugee in this life looking to be rescued. Even though I look successful on the outside, I’m really desperate inside to find something meaningful.

There is a process for changing men’s lives and rescuing them form the bondage of this world. Influencers is designed to bring men into proximity with their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We’re here to pick up other men so that they can become self-feeders on the true word of life… so that they can develop a hunger and thirst after righteousness… so that they can press toward the mark of the hight calling of God in Christ Jesus. Influencers and the Journey groups are ways to connect men’s hearts with God’s heart. The Journey Groups are a process to transform men’s lives… According to Romans 12:1-2, I beseech you therefore brethren by the mercies of God that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice holy acceptable unto God which is your reasonable service of worship. And be not conformed to this world but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Influencers is a ministry that enables men to draw closer to God as they draw closer to one another. According to 1 John 1:3-4, That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship iswith the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.

May God richly bless you as we Influence one another to press toward the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus along the Journey of this life which our Lord has foreordained that we should walk us as his disciples.

Your brother in Christ,

Thoughts from Pete’s Message January 8, 2016

Oh Lord It’s Hard to be Humble

The world’s definition of success says “be all that you can be.” The American ideal is to be “self sufficient.” However, the Bible says, “not that we are sufficient of ourselves, but our sufficiency is of God.” The devil uses the same tactic today that he used to seduce Eve in the Garden of Eden: “You don’t need God. Go ahead and indulge your flesh, disobey God’s commandment and eat of the forbidden fruit. Then you shall be as God knowing good from evil.” The fall of man was when Eve believed the devil’s lie that “God’s not God, you are.” Mankind has had a problem with pride ever since the fall. The antidote to pride is humility.

Let’s review the five reasons to be excited about Jesus Christ. The first is forgiveness. The second is purpose: for we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works which he has prepared in advance for us to walk in them. The third is character: when we became Christians we were born again not of the flesh but of God’s holy spirit… we have received a new nature. Jesus Christ is the vine and we are the branches… He in me and I in him. The fourth is security, 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 of judgement. The fifth is peace for Jesus said, “My peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you, not as the world giveth give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled neither let it be afraid.”

Humility is the prerequisite to forgiveness. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Before we can be forgiven, first we must realize that we are poor, broken, and unworthy in light of his righteousness. Sin is the nature of the carnal flesh that we inherited from Adam… However, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for the ungodly. Even you hath he made alive who were dead in trespasses and sins… for Jesus Christ who was without sin became the perfect sin sacrifice on our behalf that we may be made the righteousness of God in him.

Humility means that we maintain a spirit of deference, willing to place ourself in a lowly position so that we can put others before ourselves… ultimately so that we can receive from God, that which we are lacking. Humility is giving up the right to ourselves… we must decrease that he may increase. Jesus Christ himself was an example of humility. He was born, not in a palace, but in the stall of a lowly barn. He was not esteemed of men. He had none of the worldly credentials that normally accompany greatness. Humility is freedom from the need to impress others and freedom from the need to compete. Humility never puts itself first. Jesus said that the one who is in the deepest darkness is the one who mistakenly thinks he’s in the light but is really in the dark. Jesus said, blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth. The world tells us that our goal is to be “self actualized” with the emphasis on self. However true humility is the opposite of the world’s definition of success. True humility says “blessed are they when men shall revile you and persecute you and say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake, for great is your reward in heaven.” As Rudyard Kipling said in the poem “If”… If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster and treat those two imposters just the same… then you shall be a man, my son.

First Corinthians 13 is often referred to as the “love chapter.” Love is also the character of Jesus Christ himself. Love is patient, love is kind. Love behaveth itself not unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked. Love beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Love never fails. Love and Humility go hand in hand. Humility never takes advantage of others to get ahead. Humility is the opposite of pride. According to Proverbs 16:18, Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.

According to the world, revenge and retribution is our “right” to recompense those who have wronged us. However the scripture says, bless them that revile you and unjustly accuse you and despitefully use you… for great is your reward in heaven. To follow the Master means to give your heart to him in a fresh new way. Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. The Lord is at hand. The Lord gives us grace to ask forgiveness for those to whom God has called us to minister. Father, forgive them for they know not what they are doing. If any man comes to bring his gift to the altar and has anything against his brother, Jesus said, “first go forgive your brother and then come and bring your gift to the altar.”

Jesus Christ himself set the example of humility. According to Phillipians 2:7-11, Jesus Christ made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he 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 which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ isLord, to the glory of God the Father.

The prayer of the humble says, “Have thine own way, Lord. Have thine own way. Thou art the potter, I am the clay. Mold me and make me after thy will, while I am waiting, yielded and still.

May God richly bless you,
Your brother in Christ,


Thoughts from Pete’s Message December 31, 2015

Raising the Bar

Wherefore God has highly exalted him, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. The politically correct of this world always attempt to silence the gospel of Jesus Christ. The leaders of the temple in Jerusalem commanded Peter not to speak in the name of Jesus. Peter and John answered and said, “whether it be right in the sight of God to harken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” As Jesus said, “if we don’t speak, even the rocks will cry out.” The devil can stand anything except the gospel of the Word of God rightly divided. Even the demons fear and tremble at the truth of Jesus Christ the living Word.

Many aspire, but few attain. Many begin well, but few end well. Paul said that I buffet my body to keep it under control, so that I might run well and then finish well. In the disciplined walk, we need to condition ourselves to follow after Christ and not be distracted by the things of this world. Paul saw all things in light of eternity. In Phil. 3:14 he said, “I press toward the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” The path to the heart of God begins with total abandonment and absolute trust.

The mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus is a high bar. The Christian church in America has lowered the bar to appeal to the “average guy.” What is the characteristic of the “average” guy? Average means “typical of the group.” By this definition the average guy is lukewarm, neither hot nor cold. The church at Laodicea was lukewarm. They were an “average” church. Because they were neither hot nor cold, God said that he would spew them out of his mouth. Church is an easy target for the adversary when their “target demographic” is the “average guy.” If a church is focused on donations, age-specific outreach programs, missions, and attendance, then its members miss the mark of the high calling. There is nothing wrong with serving and giving to the “work of the ministry.” However, God does not want your money or your obligation, rather he wants your heart.

God did not call his men to be “Casual.” Casual Christians become casualties in the spiritual warfare. “Casual” means feeling little or no concern, indifferent, and lacking a high degree of emotion. A casual person is spiritless, careless, reckless, and apathetic. To the Casual Shepherds of the flock of Israel God said in Ezekiel 34, “woe to you shepherds who feed yourselves but not the flock. You have not bound up the broken, nor healed the diseased, nor sought those who were lost. Rather, you have forcefully and cruelly ruled over them. In Ezekiel 22 the people of the nation of Israel had turned their backs on the truth of the Word of God. God said through his prophet, “I look for a man who will stand in the gap and build up the hedge wall so I would not have to destroy Israel but I found no one.”

Isaiah 6 describes Isaiah’s vision when he saw the glory and the majesty of God filling his holy temple. He beheld in awe the seraphims worshiping God saying “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty and the earth is full of his glory.” Upon witnessing this spectacle, Isaiah, overcome with shame and unworthiness, said, “Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.” The angel took a hot coal “And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.” The angel touched a hot coal to Isaiah’s lips so that he would be purged to speak forth the Word of the Lord.

According to Jeremiah 1, God had called his prophet to speak on his behalf no matter what the audience of unbelievers thought about the message. We, like Jeremiah are called to deliver the message and to be the message. We’re no longer independent agents keeping our options open. For him to live in us, we need to relinquish our wills to his will by delighting ourselves in the Lord. As Jesus said to Peter, “lovest thou me more than these?” Do you love me more than these fish, this fishing business, your fishing buddies, your livelihood, your paycheck and your worldly influence? Your love is your delight.

God did not call us to “be delighted in Him.” Rather he said, “Delight thyself in the Lord.” This is a command from our Commander in Chief. We must deliberately focus our minds to intentionally, deliberately, and purposefully, actively delight ourselves in the Lord. Only when we obey his command to delight ourselves in him will we receive the promise of God… Delight thyself also in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. When our delight is his delight, and his desires our desires, then he will give us the desires of our heart.

The focus this year is to raise the bar of the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Our first priority is to raise the bar in our own lives. We do not have the luxury of being casual. O Lord, make me the man I knew to be… totally devoted, not to the things of this world, but totally devoted to you. Jesus said, abide in me and I in you and you will bear much fruit. Pressing toward the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus is to blaze a trail to God’s inner chamber. Those who dare enter into God’s inner chamber of the holy of holies must enter in with total abandonment and absolute trust… Nearer my God to thee, nearer to thee.

May God richly bless you.
Your brother in Christ,


Thoughts from Pete’s Message December 24, 2015

Peace, Good Will Toward Men

We need to be reminded that Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace. We must keep our mind’s eye focused on the target that he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him.

There are four reasons to keep excited about walking in fellowship with him. The first is that we have been forgiven. We have been wrapped in the righteous robes of Jesus Christ. The second is character. His Character is the power in our lives to do that which he has called us to do for he has infused us with his spirit… the spirit of God in Christ in us the hope of glory. The third is purpose… we have been called holy, set apart for the purpose intended by the designer. Our life is significant because of what he made us in Christ Jesus to deliver the message and to be the message. The fourth is security… for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which he’s committed to me against that day of judgement. The fifth is Peace. Jesus said, “my peace I leave with you my peace I give unto you, not as the world giveth give I unto you… let not your heart be troubled neither let it be afraid.”

Isaiah 9 says, “Unto us a child is born and his name shall be called… Prince of Peace and of his kingdom there shall be no end.” There is no peace without the prince of peace. This world is full of chaos and confusion, turmoil, tribulation, strife, and contention. For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace. Peace is the solution to confusion… it is the absolute end of strife and contention between God and man. We are no longer at war with God and his righteousness. For God sending his own son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin condemned sin in the flesh that we may be made the righteousness of God in him. On the first Christmas day, God sent his only begotten son, born of a virgin so that we could be reconciled to our heavenly father. According to Ephesians 2:14-18, “For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.”
Each moment in time is a point of decision… either to trust God and allow his peace to reign in our hearts, or to succumb to the confusion of the world.

Jesus said, “I have not come to bring a peace treaty with the evil spiritual powers of this earth, but to bring a sword to separate belief from unbelief… to set believing members of a household against the unbelievers. For the word of God is alive and powerful, and is sharper than a two edged sword to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and is a discerner between the thoughts and intentions of the heart. The Word of God separates righteousness from unrighteousness and believing from unbelieving. The sword of the word of God must first separate the wretched sinful nature of the flesh from the righteous nature of the spirit of God in Christ in us. If we live in the light as he is in the light, the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all unrighteousness.

God’s purpose for trials is to drive us away from the world and back to Christ. Our hearts must first be broken in order for God to heal us by reconciling us back to himself through the righteous payment of the blood of Jesus Christ. Sin convicts us for he who knoweth to do righteousness and doeth it not, to him this is sin. Like the prodigal son, the point of repentance, of turning around, is when we realize that we are living in the pig pen of this world and say, “I will arise and go unto my father.” Every moment is a point of repentance: to turn from the sin nature of the flesh and the illusionary enticements of the world and to run back to our Father’s loving embrace. He has called us to live “in the eye of the hurricane.” Our comfort is that in the midst of the storms of life, Jesus says, “peace be still.”

To maintain the peace of God, blessed is the man who 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. And he shall be like a tree that is planted by the rivers of waters. His leaf also shall not wither and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. Jesus said, “I am the vine, ye are the branches… abide in me and I in you and he who abides in me shall bear much fruit.”

Therefore, be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God which passes all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus our Lord. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye have been called in one body, and be ye thankful.

As the angel said to the shepherds on a Judean hillside on that first Christmas day, “unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior which is Christ the Lord”… And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly hosts praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

May God richly bless you.
Your brother in Christ,