Thoughts from Ryan Van Deusen’s Message January 27, 2017

Who’s Right?

Do you need to be right? It’s a good thing to be right, however, what is the standard for what is right? The problem is that when we seek for others to recognize that we’re right, then we’re wrong. It gets worse when we think to ourselves that there’s no possibility that we’re wrong. Strife and contention result when we demand that others recognize that they’re wrong and that we’re right. The question to ask ourselves is, “have I died to myself in order to live to Christ?” If we seek the praise of men and recognition for our actions, then we have not died to ourselves.

In Israel, Ryan met with an Israeli to understand why Israel stands alone in the Middle East against the other nations surrounding them. Ryan understood that to minister in this region of the world, you need to minister both to the Israelis and the Arabs. The Israeli said, “We’ll start thinking about forgiveness when we get our rights and justice.” According to the Word, this is not forgiveness. Forgiveness is when we’ve been wronged, to release the other party from that wrong. Jesus Christ himself is the picture of forgiveness when he prayed while hanging on the cross, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”

In the midst of an argument, even if we perceive that we’re right, God will show us that our argument is not with the other party but with God himself. Jesus was right about everything but he never begged others to acknowledge that he was right and they were wrong. Rather, he died to give them his righteousness. In that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for the ungodly. 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. By his actions, Jesus proved that he loved them by giving his life on behalf of sinful men.

When Jesus confronted the woman who was caught in adultery, he told her, “go and sin no more.” His advice is to forsake the evil which is ready to devour us. This is the purpose of the cross: to connect God to his people through Christ’s full payment for our transgressions.

Real theology is to keep our mouth shut and to let the Holy Spirit do the speaking through the the power of the Love of God. They don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care… for it is the love, mercy, and grace of God that calls a man to repentance. We are called to be a sweet smelling fragrance to those who are called to be born again of the spirit of the living God.

The way to bring others to Christ is to pray for those who persecute you and despitefully use you, for great is your reward in heaven. We’re called to deliver the message by being the message. Our opinion does not matter, only God’s opinion matters.

EM Bounds said that the vital urgent truth is one our age of machinery is likely to forget. What the church needs today is not more machinery or new or novel organizations and methods, but rather men of prayer. The holy spirit does not work through machinery and technology but through men who pray. We don’t need another strategy plan. We only need men of prayer who are on fire with the Holy Spirit to speak the truth in love.

Jesus called us to be a living sacrifice, to die to self so that we can live to him. For I have been crucified with Christ, nevertheless it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me and the life that I now live in the flesh I live by the faith in the son of God who loved me and gave himself for me. Who’s right? He’s right, for we have been made the righteousness of God in him.

May God richly bless you!
Your brother in Christ,

Thoughts from Pete’s Message January 20, 2017


The journey to come to Christ starts with God disturbing and arousing us from sleep. The night is far spent the day is at hand… He has awakened us by removing the blindfold from our eyes and the veil from our faces so that we can see him clearly. Our second journey is a journey of sanctification… To become just like Christ. Sanctification is to live according to the purpose for which the Designer designed us, for we are his workmanship, his masterpiece, created in Christ Jesus unto good works which he has before ordained that we should walk in them. The new man must be renewed day by day by walking in the newness of life. The journey to become like Christ is the journey to overcome the darkness of this world. Jesus said, “I am not alone because my father is with me.” When the crisis comes and courage is required God expects those who are the reliable ones to be faithful according to his word. Persistence and steadfastness is the key to becoming the Reliable Ones… Those on whom God can rely to be faithful. Jesus said, “In this world you shall have many trials and sorrows, but take heart because I have overcome the world.” Our courage and assurance is not because of our circumstances, but because our strength is in him. We have been called as overcomers of the sin which does so easily beset us. The biggest obstacle to overcome is our selfish pride. We must get the better of ourselves. In Matthew 24, the disciples asked Jesus what would be the signs of the end times. Jesus said that there would be division and strife. Nations and kingdoms would turn against each other and the love of God would grow cold. When we lose the love of God we will lose the love for our brothers and sisters in Christ. The light of the fire of Christ in us needs to be fanned in flame of fellowship with others within the family of faith. The one who overcomes and endures to the end shall be saved. Endure means to continue to exist in the same situation: with the peace of God steadfastly without complaining and without giving in. Endurance is to accept unpleasant circumstances with a joyful heart. When we obey his word from a heart of joy, the Lord will rejoice with us. Jesus’ example is his enduring the cross for the joy that was set before him… His joy was your redemption and mine… That because of his suffering and death, our names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

Psalm 112:4-9 is the description of a Godly man… Generous, compassionate, and righteous and fair in business dealings. Therefore, be not overcome of evil but overcome evil with good. A godly man does not let his love of the Lord run cold. A righteous and godly man does not fear bad news. God is still on the throne. Our times are in thy hands. The shield of believing faith will quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. Trusting and praising the Lord with a heart of joy will defeat the bad news of the enemy. My life is to glorify God regardless of the situations and circumstances of this life. The journey is to become like Jesus, confidently trusting in the Lord…. To cast all our cares upon him for he cares for us. The journey is to face our fears with confidence in the Lord to overcome trials and tribulations of life. Joy is a deliberate attitude of the heart as we focus our attention on the presence of the Lord. We rejoice in knowing that he is the one who causes us to triumph in Christ. Generosity in faith and rejoicing brings influence and honor.

God has called us to be overcomers, to have such confidence in him that we will be the reliable ones. When we are forgotten and neglected; when our good is evil spoken of and our opinions ridiculed and we take it all in patient loving silence, that is true humility. When we can stand face to face with folly and endure it all as Jesus endured, that’s true humility. When you never refer to yourself or record your good works in conversation, nor seek after commendation and seek not to be known, then you’re an overcomer. As Kipling said, “If you can look Disaster and Triumph in the face and treat those two imposters just the same, then you shall be a man, my son.”

May God richly bless you!
Your brother in Christ,

Thoughts from Pete’s Message January 13, 2017

Two Journeys

Men often have a problem living what we say we believe.  That’s the problem about living the Christian life.  However, there is no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus for the law of the spirit of life in Christ has made me free from the law of sin and death.  Our challenge is to live according to the spirit of Christ in us instead according to the law of the flesh.  There are two separate journeys in a Christian’s life.  The first is a journey to know Christ.  The second journey is to learn to become just like him.  The Christian’s first journey is to know him.  To know Christ is to realize the love that he had for us:  for he who knew no sin became the perfect sin sacrifice on our behalf that we may be made the righteousness of God in him.  Love begets love.  Do you love Christ?  To know him is to love him.  We love him because he first loved us.  Jesus said, “If you love me keep my commandments.”  If our identity is in Christ our foundation is built upon the rock:  the foundation is Jesus Christ himself, the chief cornerstone.

A Christian’s second journey is to become like him.  A disciple is a disciplined follower of Christ.  In this context, 2 Corinthians Chapter 3 talks about the hope we have in Christ.  God did not call us to deliver the message. Rather, he called us to be the message:  Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared too be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.

We can speak with boldness because we know him.  We’re not like Moses who had to put a veil over his face when he came down from mount Sinai after receiving the law of the Ten Commandments.  Israel didn’t know Christ because the vail still covered their hearts so they could not perceive God.   However, we who have been born again of the spirit of the living God have the veil lifted.  Those born again can see clearly from the spiritual perspective of the Holy Spirit.  The old man has passed away and the new man is renewed in the spirit of Christ in us.  We need to fellowship with others within the body of Christ.  They will show us where we need to grow to become just like Jesus.  If we live in denial and say “I’ve arrived and achieved perfection in the flesh,” the Holy Spirit will convict and convince us to become more like Christ.  A loving brother in Christ will show us where we fall short of the glory of God.  The word of God is profitable for reproof and correction.  God gave us his word so that we can walk in fellowship with him…so that we can turn from darkness and toward the light of the truth of the Word.  When we by the freedom of our will turn to the Lord, the veil is taken away.  In my flesh dwells no good thing…however in the spirit of life in Christ, he has made me a new creation.

Now the Lord is that spirit and where the spirt of the Lord is there is liberty…there is freedom.  The freedom is that we are no longer bound by the chains of sin and death.  We have changed lords…I’m no longer lord of my selfish self.  To be a man of God is to be God’s man.  Freedom is to be his possession, bound by his boundless love.  Every moment is a moment of decision…to walk according to the flesh or according to the spirit.  The challenge is to surrender my will to his will… To make his will my will.

Staying secure in the fellowship with the Lord is to live free without a guilty conscience.  To live with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory God to change from the image of the flesh to the image of the spirit of God in Christ in us.  The image of the Lord is the glory of the Lord reflected in us as we are transformed by God’s spirit according to our new nature.  When we set our affection on things above instead of the things of this world, we become transformed.  Our challenge is to turn our eyes upon Jesus and to reflect his nature in our relationships with others.  We progressively become more like the man he designed us to be.  Sanctification is to be set apart, separated for the purpose intended by the Designer.  We are progressively sanctified as we grow up into the purpose, the calling for which he designed us.  For we are his workmanship, his masterpiece created in Christ Jesus unto good works which he has foreordained that we should walk in it.

The key to turning from sin is to turn to Him.  Repentance starts with a broken and a contrite heart.  The devil will tempt us to look at the things of the flesh instead of the things of the spirit.  He is the deceiver and the accuser.  His ploy is to distract our attention away from the things of the spirit of God in Christ in us.  When we fall, God by his grace allows us to repent and return to fellowship with him.  For if we confess our sin, he is faithful and just to forgive our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

God expects us to be “fully lit” for him… Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your father which is in heaven.

Upon the journey of life, walking and stumbling is part of the journey.  God understands that we are weak in the flesh so that our strength can be in his power alone.  When troubles come our way, consider it an opportunity of great joy, for when trials arise, we can face those trials in the spirit of Christ…the spirit of faith and boldness in his strength as men of God.  Adversity proves the power of God who infuses his strength into us so that we can overcome.  For it is God who worketh in us to will and to do of his good pleasure.   The victory is not in our power but in his…we must decrease so that he may increase.

The adversary will attempt to divide the body of Christ.  He does this with a critical spirit of judgement, criticism, and condemnation.  For where there is strife and contention there is confusion and every evil work.  The devil rejoices when brothers and sisters in Christ criticize and condemn each other.  However Jesus Christ came to reconcile us back to fellowship with him.  We must meet each other at the foot of the cross.  Then we can respond to his calling to “let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”  This is the way to defeat the critical spirt of judgement of and condemnation.  God has called us to be salt and light in a world of darkness…  Therefore do all things without murmurings and disputing so that ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation among whom ye shine as lights in a world of darkness; holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither labored in vain.

May God richly bless you!

Your brother in Christ,


Thoughts from Pete’s Message December 30, 2016

Three Questions for Such a Time As This

Many of us are interested in seeing 2016 in our rearview mirror. However, the word of God encourages us to finish strong. For the Lord’s strength is made perfect in our weakness. God is the one who empowers us as we make his will our will and his word our word. He has called us as men of God for such a time as this.

A man of God asks himself three questions. The first is “Do you love God above all?” According to 1 Corinthians 16:22, “Let him that does not love the Lord Jesus be accursed.” Without God we are without hope in this world. The default condition is God’s righteous judgement for sin which leads to death. However, 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.

Many people followed Jesus as the “rock star” of his day. They wanted to see a miracle and the power of God in manifestation. They were not committed to follow him because of a broken and a contrite heart: because they were lost, without peace, without purpose, without direction, and without hope. Jesus needed to separate his true disciples from those who followed him just to be “entertained.”

Jesus taught his disciples and raised the bar when he said, “Unless you hate your father and mother, brother and sister, you cannot be my true disciple.” Compared to the love of God, everything else must take second place. The first commandment is “Thou shalt have no other Gods between your face and my face.” Those who do not follow him get used to “living in the darkness.” However, the darker the night the brighter the light shines. There is no greater time than now to live in the light of the gospel of truth. Jesus said, “in this world as my disciples you will have persecution, however, be not dismayed for I have overcome the world.” Living the more abundant life means that you need to have your doctrine, your “right believing” in order according to the Word of God. How you respond to life’s challenges depends on where your heart is. Persecution means that there is a price to pay for aligning our hearts with his heart.

The culture continues to marginalize those who stand for the righteous standard of the Word of God. In many circles, to quote scripture is defined as “hate speech” worthy of prosecution. Political Correctness is the devil’s ploy to silence the truth of the Word of God. The adversary can put up with anything except the word of God rightly divided on the lips of a believing believer. We must be willing to die to self in order to live for him. We must also be willing to suffer persecution in order to declare the righteousness of God in Christ in us. As God said to Joshua before he entered into the promised land: “Therefore, be thou strong and of a good courage for the Lord thy God is with thee withersoever thou goest.”

The job of the Holy Spirit is to comfort the afflicted and to afflict the comfortable. We must be prepared for the spiritual battle by “putting on the lord Jesus Christ.” Clothed in his righteousness alone, “faultless to stand before the throne.” We don’t need to “run to the battle lines.” The adversary has already moved the battle lines to encroach on God’s righteous standards. When the pressure is on, are you willing to forsake the comforts of the world to stand within the comfort of the Holy Spirit, upon the righteous standard of the Word of God? Persecution will come. However, Jesus said, “Bless them that persecute you and despitefully use you and say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake, for great is your reward in heaven.”

Matthew chapter 24 is about the dark days before the end times. Those who stand up for Jesus, standing in his strength alone are prepared for the spiritual battle ahead of us. Jesus Christ didn’t come to make peace with the world, he came to bring a sword against the powers of darkness. One of the signs of the end times is that men of this world will fall away. The only way to remain in communion with God when severely tested and confronted about our faith is to put on the whole armor of Christ. The preparation is to love God above all, having our feed shod with the preparation of the gospel of Peace, for Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace. Maranatha means “come quickly Lord Jesus.”

Jesus confronted Peter after Peter’s three denials and asked him, “Peter, do you love me?” Jesus asked this question because he already knew Peter’s heart. A man of God needs to ask himself, “Do you love your Lord above all?”

The second question is, “Do you find your identity in Christ?” In him we live and move and have our being. Will the real you please stand up? The real you is Christ in you the hope of glory. For we all with open face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord are changed from the glory (of the flesh) to the glory of the spirit, even by the spirit of the Lord. Am I my earthly father’s son or am I my Heavenly Father’s son? The truth of the word of God tells us not only “who we are” but more importantly “whose we are.”

The final question is “do you want to spend the rest of your life becoming just like Jesus?” A disciple is a disciplined follower. Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling… We don’t want to be those who said, “Lord, Lord did we not do miracles and cast out Devils in your name? These are those to those whom Jesus said, “I never knew you.” To those called of God, persecution and trials prove the power of God to overcome, For His strength is made perfect in my weakness.

God hasn’t called us to “keep the rules.” May our prayer in this new year be, “Lord I know I’m not the man I knew to be. Lord make me that man.” This is a prayer that God yearns to answer. Our challenge in this new year is to “make every day opening day.” On opening day with your first at-bat, your batting average is a perfect 1000. He has called us up to the plate and has given us an opportunity to knock one out of the park to glorify him. For me to live is Christ and to die is gain. For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation.

God has closed the books and settled our debts for the past year. He has given us a clean slate. We have been made a new creation in Christ. All things have become new… Morning by morning new mercies I see. Therefore forgetting those things that are behind I press toward the upward calling of God in Christ Jesus.

May God richly bless you!
Your brother in Christ,