Thoughts from Pete’s Message December 23, 2016

Christmas: Good News – Bad News

Jesus was born into a dark world that did not understand or welcome him. He was born behind enemy lines, for we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against spiritual wickedness from on high. Jesus came to bring a sword against the powers of darkness. Light always defeats darkness. Jesus came to bring the light of the gospel of good news: unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given. He also came to bring bad news to the powers of darkness for the thief cometh not but to steal kill and destroy. However, Jesus came that we might have life and have it more abundantly.

Many religions are not secure in their faith. They are so insecure that they believe that they have to kill those who disagree with their theology. However, Jesus said, “when someone (motivated by evil intent) slaps you on the cheek, turn the other cheek.” In other words, “be not overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good.” Even our culture will coerce us to compromise our Christian values. The secular business world expects us to steal, cheat, and take advantage of others in the name of the “profit motive.”

The question about the advent of our Lord is, “Is there room at the inn inside your heart?” Does Jesus Christ fit the bill as your Savior, your Messiah? The Light came into the world and the world did not receive it because their deeds were evil. If there is no God, then those living in the darkness of sin are not accountable to him. However, if there is a God, we have a choice to live according to the light of his righteous standard.

There are four categories of people, the first is those who reject the gospel outright. The second is those who think they deserve righteousness because of their good deeds. A third category is those who hear the gospel of salvation and make a “profession of faith.” However, they do not know how to deal with their sin. No one is in the dark so deep as those who think they are in the light but they are really in the dark. These people say, “lord we cast out Devils and prophesied in your name.” However, Jesus said, “I never knew you.” These are those who think they’re saved but they are really not. Category four is those who know whom they have believed and are persuaded that he is able to keep that which he’s committed to them against that day of righteous judgement. These are those who have been saved by grace and have committed to follow their Lord Jesus Christ with reckless abandon and absolute trust.

We have been called as “men of God.” A man of God is one who has made Jesus lord of his life. The world is a world of paradoxes. We must die to self in order to live to him. We are no longer clothed in the filthy rags of our sin nature. When we confess Jesus as Lord and ask him to forgive us our sins, he will cleanse us from all unrighteousness. We are now clothed in his righteous robes. What is it worth to you to walk in fellowship with Him? Is our walk with him contingent on the things of this world: riches, accolades, praise of men, and worldly accomplishments? Our sacred responsibility is our response to his ability.

As we consider practicing the presence of the Lord, we have three things to remember: We are faith based, Christ Centered, and Grace driven. We may not understand the destination, however we trust that he knows. Our responsibility is to trust and obey for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey. He said take my yoke upon thee, for my burden is easy and my burden is light. We need rest, not from this world, but rather rest for our souls. Jesus said, “come unto me all ye who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” Men and brethren what shall we do? What offering shall I bring to my Lord and King? He expects nothing of us except our hearts, our lives, and our all. A merry Christmas every day is the Christmas present given from God our father. The Greatest Christmas present is the presence of God in Christ in you the hope of glory. Practicing the presence of God is the gift that keeps on giving. Therefore, we fellowship with likeminded men whose heart’s desire is to “choke in the dust” of those in hot pursuit of their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Those whose pursuit is to press toward the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. The true meaning of Christmas is “Christos mas”… More of Christ and less of me. I must decrease that he may increase.

Merry Christmas and may God richly bless you!
Your brother in Christ,

Thoughts from Pete’s Message December 9, 2016

Peace, Good Will Toward Men

The Christmas message starts with the angel’s proclamation: Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace good will toward men. Jesus came to bring peace to a world that was dead in trespasses and sins… A world without dignity, honor, and righteousness. Jesus came to a fallen world without God and without hope.

A world of darkness is a difficult place to develop relationships. There is so much ill will in a world of darkness that it breaks trust among men. The world promises peace, but it’s only a fleeting and temporary peace. In a fallen world, peace based on circumstances is as fragile as the next unkind word.

Isaiah had prophesied many years before the birth of Jesus that “He shall be called the Prince of Peace.” Peace is the end of all strife and contention between God and man. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. The angel’s Christmas proclamation was that Jesus came to bring a peace treaty from his Heavenly Father.

In the midst of the raging storm Jesus said, “Peace be still.” Even the winds and rain obeyed him. Jesus came to bring peace by reconciling God to man. Peace is the result of bringing opposing factions together based on a common bond of unity. Jesus said, “you won’t have peace unless you are men of good will.” In order to have peace, we must subjugate our will to his will… Ultimately peace is the result of making his will our will.

The peace of Jesus Christ is different from the peace offered by the world. Peace according to the world is the absence of war. However peace according to the Word of God is the result of making the prince of peace lord of your life. This is the type of peace that Jesus prayed about in the Garden of Gethsemane, “not my will but thine be done.” Peace is the result of reconciling our will with his will.

The peace of God transcends circumstances and situations. Peace comes not from external things, rather peace comes from the inside because it is Christ who dwells in us. God sent his son Jesus Christ to bring a peace treaty from the kingdom of heaven. Jesus came to reconcile the separation between God and man, 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. Jesus said, “Come to me all you who are weary and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” He 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 prophesied about the advent of our Lord: 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, Counselor, the Mighty of God the everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. The message of the Christmas season is for us to deliver the same message of peace that the Angels said on that first Christmas… For unto you is born this day in the city of David a savior, which is Christ the Lord. Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace good will toward men!

May God richly bless you,
Your brother in Christ,

Thoughts from Pete’s Message December 2, 2016


God calls men of God to influence others for Christ. We are Christ centered, faith-based and grace-driven. For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast. Men don’t know how to “work out their own salvation with fear and trembling.” How can we who were born in sin work out our own salvation? The answer is only by the grace of God. Our justification is in the perfect payment Jesus made on our behalf that we may be made the righteousness of God in him. Thy grace is sufficient for me… He has given us everything there is to give. We have been given life in Christ.

Even we who have been born again often feel unworthy. As Paul said in Romans 7, “who shall deliver me from this dead body?” In Romans 8, Paul received his answer: There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus who walk not after the flesh but after the spirit. In our flesh, the reason we feel guilty is because we are. In my flesh dwelleth no good thing. However, the grace of God through the full payment for my sin by the righteous payment of the innocent blood of Jesus Christ has made me worthy. Therefore, turn around, repent, change your mind… Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in his wonderful face, and the things of the world will grow strangely dim in the light of his glory and grace.

God honors a broken and a contrite heart. As King David said, “create in me a new heart O Lord. Cleanse me from my unrighteousness.” The grace of God bestows his divine favor on men who don’t deserve it. We’re saved by his grace, not because we are deserving but because God is gracious. Our responsibility is to receive his gracious gift. Receiving the gift requires us to forsake our pride and accept his gift with a heart of humility and meekness.

According to John 1, the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. Jesus Christ who knew no sin bore sin on our behalf. His prayer in the garden of Gethsemane was “if there be any other way, let this cup of separation, suffering and death, pass from me. Nevertheless, not my will but thine be done.” The answer to Jesus’ prayer is in the book of Hebrews: “He who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross and is set down upon the right hand of God.” God revealed to his son the joy of salvation: That 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. We were the joy that was set before him. He died and shed his innocent blood because of his love for us. In that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for the ungodly. What amazing grace!!!

As men of God, we become what we think about. Therefore, our exhortation is to set our affection on things above and not on the things of the world. If we have anger, bitterness, fear, and resentment in our hearts, we will become angry, bitter, fearful and resentful men. However, the gracious gift of God allows us to set our affections, not on the things of this world, but on the things of the spirit of life in Chrst. Grace is God’s unmerited favor. We by the freedom of our will can choose to focus our minds and hearts on God’s gracious gift. God never honors fear, but he always honors faith. For by grace are you saved through faith. Therefore my beloved brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue and if there be any praise, think on these things.

The greatest weapon is love which works by faith. Those who gladly choose to serve God, serve him by serving others. Grace is received by those who give grace. God has blessed us to be a blessing to others. Therefore, be ye kindly affectioned one to another, tender hearted, forgiving one another even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you. Anyone can love others who love them in return. However, the love of God gives unconditionally. Therefore, bless them that persecute you and despitefully use you for great is your reward in heaven.

Our reward is not because of our performance. Rather, our reward is in obedience to his Word from a heart of love. Love motivates believing that appropriates God’s blessings in manifestation. For it is God who works in you to will and to do of his good pleasure. Our exhortation is to bless God by blessing those whom God has called us to minister his grace…. Therefore, Lord lead me to some soul today and teach me lord just what to say. Only by your amazing grace am I worthy to lead others to your gracious gift of salvation. Thank you for calling us as laborers to your harvest…

May God richly bless you!
Your brother in Christ,