Thoughts from Pete’s Message December 22, 2017

Outrageous Love

At Christmas what’s on peoples’ mind? The world is looking for peace, love, comfort and joy.

The scripture says, Jesus did not come to condemn the world but that the world through him might be saved. When Jesus comes into a person’s life, they are born-again with new life. There are many types of love in this world. However, there is only one true love that will set a man free. “”Agape” is the unconditional, eternal, never ending love of God. This true love of God is not because of who we are but because of who he is. Loving kindness and tender mercy is the nature of God himself.

Men are often sin-conscious. They believe that they will never be good enough to enter into the presence of a Holy God. Most people think that heaven is for those who’ve done enough good deeds to enter in. Paul said, some may dare to die for a righteous man. However, Jesus said, “there is none good…no not one.” The love of God will make a way where there is no way. Salvation is the gift of God, not because we’re good enough but because his son Jesus Christ is good enough…only Jesus the perfect lamb of God can pay our debt of sin.

The agape love of God is radical, spontaneous, dangerous, and outrageous. A radical love goes to extreme measures to restore the Lord’s grace and mercy which will expose the corrupt state of worldly affairs. It is said that absolute Power in the hands of men will corrupt absolutely. However, Jesus Christ himself represented God’s absolute power. Contrary to worldly power, Jesus humbled himself and became of no reputation and took upon himself the form of a bond servant…one who serves from a heart of love. He carried this love to his death upon the cross as the offering for our sins.

God looks into the heart of a man, not just his actions. He’s interested in the motive behind the action. Men act from a heart that has been wounded by the affairs of this world. However, the love of God begins with a grateful heart.

The love of God is amazing, astounding, and jaw dropping. It exceeds description. It’s spontaneous and is shed abroad by the Holy Spirit. It transcends the bounds of earthly reason and logic. Jesus said, if you abide in me and I abide in you you shall bear much fruit. Apart from me you can do nothing.

According to Psalm 1, the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly is like a tree that is planted by the stream of living waters, his leaf shall not wither and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. This man is blessed by giving to others from a heart of unconditional love. He doesn’t resent and seek retribution. Rather, his heart says, “what can I do to bless others?” When we abide in Him, the fruit of the spirit will squeeze out when we’re pressed by pain and trials of this world.

The love of God is illogical according to the world’s perspective. However, the world’s definition of success is different from God’s definition of success. The world says, in order to get ahead, I have to put you down. It’s dangerous to follow Jesus Christ when the world says it’s “politically correct” to persecute and despitefully use Christians. However, it’s even more dangerous to succumb to the standards of the world. In our culture, it’s becoming more dangerous to proclaim the truth of the Word of God and to stand on biblical principles. The love of God is a dangerous love. It’s putting our faith in the Lord as our provider instead of the world’s promise of power, prestige, and material riches.

Joy does not depend on our circumstances. As Suzan often said, Joy is not the absence of pain. Rather joy is the presence of the Lord. Joy springs from a heart of dangerous, illogical, radical and outrageous love. This is the love that our Lord had for us… For Christ came not to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved. This is the radical love of God…. For he who was without sin became the perfect sin sacrifice on our behalf that we may be made the righteousness of God in him.

The greatest gift this Christmas season, is to give away the message of the good news of the saving grace of God through Jesus Christ our lord. For now abideth faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

May God richly bless you!
Your brother in Christ,

Thoughts from Pete’s Message December 20, 2017

Radical Love

When you chose a grateful heart, God will give you joy. In this world, joy is a difficult thing to come by. Christmas reminds us of all that we have to be grateful for. The things of this world will steal our joy. However, Joy is not the absence of pain. Rather Joy is the presence of the Lord. The greatest Christmas present is the presence of the Lord.

The birth of Jesus reminds us that unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given. As Mary said, “My soul doth magnify the Lord and my spirit doth rejoice in God my savior.” Christmas is the greatest gift of God’s love. For God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten son so that whosoever believes on him should not perish but have everlasting life.

The love that our Father gave us is radical and revolutionary. The love of God is designed to remove the root of the disease of sin. Sin is separation from God. Sin is the root of the problem. God removed the stain of sin through our Lord Jesus Christ… For though your sins be as scarlet, you shall be as white as snow. A heart of awe and gratitude is rooted in the knowledge of our Lord.

The love of God is outrageous. It’s love that exceeds the limits of the usual. Agape, the love of God is unlike any other type of love. It’s different from love of family. Broken relationships are normal in immediate and extended families. Other types of love are conditional on the other party’s response. However, the love of God does not love because of our response. He loves because of His nature not ours. God loves because he is gracious and merciful.

The outrageous love of God says turn the other cheek. It says, first humble yourself, forsake your pride, and then you can approach the throne of grace with a humble and a contrite heart. This type of love lacks reason and logic. Love begins with surrendering our rights and looking unto Him. The love of God lives in the grace and mercy of His divine nature. As Psalm 1 said, blessed is the man whose delight is in the law of the Lord and in his law doth he meditate day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water. His leaf also shall not wither and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

The love of God is genuine and spontaneous. Love bears all things, hopes all things, endures all things…love never fails. Love is the heart’s response when our Joy is in the Lord.

The love of God is dangerous. This type of love is illogical and crazy according to the world’s standards. The love of God rejoices in the Lord not in the works of man and the power of pride. The love of God frees us from seeking our own “human rights.” As Jesus said, “blessed are you 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.”

The love of God is to love the unloveable. It is the pure act of giving from a heart that is grateful for God’s grace and mercy. This is the love that Jesus Christ himself had for us. He humbled himself and became obedient even unto death on the cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and given him a name that is above all names…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.

Agape love makes no sense according to the world’s standards. Because of the love that our savior had for us, even while we were yet sinners, Christ died for the ungodly. Even though we were dead in trespasses and sins, He paid in full our debt of sin. He for the joy that was set before him endured the cross and is set upon the right hand of God. His joy was your salvation and mine.

The love of God is the greatest love of all. The best Christmas present is the presence of God in Christ in us the hope of Glory. He gave us his son and the good news of reconciliation so that we can give it away… May our prayer be according to 2 Corinthians 5, we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he who was without sin, became the perfect sacrifice for sin on our behalf that we may be made the righteousness of God in Him. This is the radical love of God.

May God richly bless you!
Your brother in Christ,

Thoughts from Pete’s Message December 15, 2017


Through the journey of life, our Heavenly Father will prepare us for the path that he’s foreordained that we should walk. The reason we assemble together as like minded believers is to encourage and lift up one another as we journey together according to the way that he has prepared for us. Life is only difficult when we struggle to give up our pride. When we give up ourselves we allow the Lord to help himself to our lives.

Mary was an example of humility. She said, “be it unto me according to thy word.” What was God thinking when he called this humble virgin girl? God’s ways are not our ways and his thoughts are not our thoughts. God said, “As high as the heavens are higher than the earth, so far are my thoughts higher than your thoughts and my ways than your ways.” Therefore, humble thyself under the mighty hand of God that he may exalt you in due time.

Luke 1:46-50 is the account of Mary’s “Magnificat.” This is her out pouring of her heart of joy and gratitude because of the message she heard from the Angel Gabriel.

46. “And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, 47. And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
48. For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
49. For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name.
50. And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation.”

Mary’s “Magnificat” was a song of joy to God for counting his humble handmaiden worthy to bear God’s son. Her heart had been revolutionized. Mary’s son Jesus Christ himself, was a revolutionary. He came to make fundamental changes and to revolutionize society, governments and world orders. A revolution is a sudden, radical and complete change. According to Corinthians, Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things have passed away, all things are become new.

Revolution starts with a revolution in hearts and minds. It’s only by the grace of God that we’re called to repentance…to turn our hearts to the Lord. 2 Timothy 3: 1-5 is about the “perilous times” that Jesus talked about. Cultures will rise and fall. Our own culture is disintegrating and world orders area changing.

Sometimes material abundance is a curse. Abundance in our society promotes “choices.” Because of multiple choices, many in our society pursue the wrong choice. They chose the wisdom of this world which is earthly, sensual, and devilish. We need the holy spirit’s help to chose the wisdom from above. This true spiritual wisdom is peaceable, approachable, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Regarding material abundance, we need the holy spirit’s help to chose to be good stewards of that which he’s entrusted to us.

Jesus came to bring about three types of revolutions. Christianity is death to pride. According to Philippians 2, God resists the proud and gives grace to the the humble. Mary identified herself as the Lord’s humble handmaiden. Jesus Christ humbled himself and made himself of no reputation and took upon himself the form of a bond servant…one who serves others from a heart of love. His ultimate act of love is that he was obedient even unto death. On the cross he became God’s perfect sacrifice for sin on our behalf. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

When we were born we were subject to our sin nature and ruled by the world’s system of the natural desires of the flesh and the devil. The devil will appeal to selfishness, vengeance, pride, anger, and bitterness. He will tell you “take revenge because you’re morally justified to seek retributution.” However, lies and deceit are the language of the devil. Lies are the native language of those who follow the doctrines of the world.

God delivers us from the law of sin and death. “To those who fear, love honor, and respect him, he will satisfy their hunger with good things.” As Jeremiah said, “Thy words were found and I did eat them…and they were the joy and rejoicing of my soul.” God will satisfy the appetite of those who are hungry for the word of the Lord… And they shall know the truth and the truth shall make them free.

Jesus Christ, the “hound of heaven” will pursue us to want to be a “man of God.” Jesus’ question to Peter was, “do you love me?” He came not to condemn the world but that the world through him may be saved. He came so that we would “hunger and thirst after righteousness”…. To bring us to the point that our prayer is. “Lord make me the man you created me to be.”

The revolution starts with a revolution in our hearts and minds. It begins with the power of the Holy Spirit.

The second revolution is economic. A secular economy is an economy of “scarceness.” The world’s economy says, “my riches at your expense.” It’s “survival of the fittest.” However, God’s economy is one where no one dares to have too much while our brother has too little. God’s economy says, let him that stole steal no more but rather let him labor working with his hands the thing which is good that he may have to give to him that needeth. The need is for the power of God’s Holy Spirit. The blessing is in giving by grace. God’s economy is an economy of abundance… Of abundant blessings. As the scripture says, take heed and beware of covetousness for a man’s life consists not in the abundance of things that he possesses. The irony is that we’re richest when we give it away…no one can out give God. As the scripture says, “give and it shall be given unto you pressed down, shaken together and running over. When we give, God will abundantly bless us back.”

The third revolution is a social revolution. Social norms will pit social factions against each other. Factions are political, economic, educational, racial, and religious. However, the ground is level at the foot of the cross. Jesus was the revolutionary because he came to make peace. Peace is the result of reconciliation. Reconciliation means to “bring back together that which has been separated.” You can’t have peace until you have the prince of 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.”

Ye are slaves to whom you obey. Whose slave are you? As we celebrate the birth of Christ, May this Christmas season be a celebration of new birth within our hearts…. That we may desire to become a “man of God.” His calling is to “take my life and let it be, consecrated Lord to thee.” Fundamental change starts with a revolution. Jesus Christ living in our hearts is the revolution.

May God richly bless you,
Your brother in Christ,

Thoughts from Pete’s Message December 8, 2017

We Are the Plan

Oswald Chambers said that if you look to Jesus regardless of the age in which you live, the world will call you an impractical dreamer. If we did according to what Jesus said in the sermon on the mount, we would be radically different from the World. Jesus said, “when someone slaps you on the cheek, turn the other cheek with a good attitude.” Sometimes when we’re slapped across the cheek, the Holy Spirit will convict us. When we’re wrong, God will allow the world to reprove us.

According to Isaiah 55 beginning in verse 6: “Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:
7. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
8. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
9. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

We’re in trouble when we try to protect our “rights.” Any fool can claim his rights and any demon will make sure he gets them. Human “rights” are often godly “wrongs” according to the standard of the Word. Rights are what God says is right. The priority when we’re wrong is to allow the Lord to reprove and correct us, to restore us to an upright position.

God and his Holy Spirit messes with us and woos us to return our hearts back to him. To come to him we must forsake our ways and repent… Do and about-face and change direction. It’s rare when a sinner repents. Thank God when he gets our attention with a word of reproof. He always has our best interest in mind. He has supernatural authority over our lives. Supernatural means that which is above usual and normal…that which transcends th the laws of nature. God is Sovreign over all. The natural realm is subject to his word. Nothing is too difficult for God.

God always allows our freedom of will. He will not force us to turn to him with a heart of meekness and humility. However, pain, tribulation, reproof, chastisement and corrections are our friends. They show us that we are on a path that is contrary to the path that he’s foreordained for us to walk in fellowship with him.

There’s a book called “Voices from the Edge of Eternity.” This book contains death bed confessions from many famous people. One of the stories is entitled, “it’s too late.” This person was prosperous and well regarded. However, he was an infidel who rejected the gospel of Christ. On his death bed, his uncle prayed for him but the man finally cried before he died, “it’s too late.” Many on their death bed say it’s too late to turn to Christ. This man had a lifetime of opportunities to be saved. Many who attend church have never really accepted Christ. Jesus said, “there is a narrow gate and a narrow way and few there are who find it.”

When hearing the gospel of salvation, there are four categories of people. The first are those who reject the gospel message outright. The second category are those who attend church regularly. They walk down the aisle at the altar call but have never completed the transaction for salvation. The third category are those who think they’re saved but they are really not. They’re on a works-based false understanding of Salvation. These are those to whom Jesus said, “I never knew you.” They have never really come before the Lord to forsake their own lives and turn to him as Lord and Master. The forth category are those who know that they know that they have been saved. As the Apostle Paul said, “I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which he’s committed unto me against that day of righteous judgement.”

To turn to Him we must forsake our wicked ways and approach His throne of grace with a broken and contrite heart of meekness and humility. God is waiting with grace, mercy and love to abundantly pardon. If we knew what were at stake, we would run to return our hearts to him.

God’s ways are not our ways. His thoughts and ways are much higher than ours. What is God’s plan? The irony is that WE are God’s plan. We who have been saved are God’s plan for redemption through our Lord Jesus Christ. According to 2 Corinthians 5, we are His Ambassadors. We represent a foreign land…the kingdom of heaven. An ambassador is the highest ranking official sent from his Sovreign Lord as a representative of his homeland. God has given us a mission…the ministry of reconciliation… He has committed unto us his word. Therefore we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.

We are God’s plan. We are God’s message. We’re his living love letters, his living epistles known and read of all men.

May God richly bless you!
Your brother in Christ,

Thoughts from Pete’s Message December 1, 2017

The Heart of the Matter

The matters of the heart are the heart of the matter. Joy is not the absence of pain but the presence of God. The bible says, “in everything give thanks.” Nine out of the ten lepers whom Jesus healed were ungrateful. Most people don’t think about being thankful. It’s difficult to maintain a heart of awe and gratitude unless we focus on God’s goodness, grace and mercy. It’s only hard when we harden our hearts. Grumbling and complaining is the language of the World… However, it’s not the language of heaven. Sarcasm, and complaining will kill a heart of awe and gratitude. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. What’s the condition of your heart?

It’s easy to remember words that hurt us…when we’re scolded, reprimanded and humiliated. However, God expects extreme obedience with no complaining or questioning on our part and no explanation on His. Our challenge is to “keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of the heart are the issues of life.” It’s not how we endure hard times that matters, but rather how we react to the trials of life. When we’re wronged, forgiveness means to forgive the unforgivable. Love means to love the unloveable…. This is the example of Jesus Christ himself, for in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for the ungodly.

Whenever we sin, God will give the world permission to rebuke us. These are difficult lessons to learn in life. According to Philippians 2:12-15, “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
Do all things without murmurings and disputings:
That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;”

As men of God, through the journey of life we need “adjustments.” This is why we go to church and fellowship with likeminded believers. In the presence of other men of God, “if the reproof fits, wear it.” In order to be blessed, we must humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God.

How do we work out our own salvation with fear and trembling? First we must humble ourselves under the Lord. We were not designed to fight the troubles of this world and the spiritual power of the adversary. Our strength is only in Him. According to Isaiah 40, they that wait upon the lord shall renew their strength; they shall rise up on wings as Eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.

It’s easy to be consumed by so-called “righteous indignation.” However, righteousness is only in him. To make progress in our salvation we must work out the spirit of Christ in us. Working out the spirit means to walk according to the Word of truth. Work means that we must make a deliberate, purposeful, and intentional effort to walk in proximity with our Lord Jesus Christ. “Blessing those who persecute you” is working out our salvation.

There’s a lesson from the scene in the movie, “The Pink Panther.” Inspector Crusoe asked the man at the hotel, “does your dog bite?” The man answered, “no.” When Crusoe reached down to pet the dog, the dog growled and bit his hand. “I thought you said your dog didn’t bite,” said Crusoe. The man replied, “He’s not my dog.”

The adversary uses this same ploy. He says, “go ahead and find pleasure in sin.” He won’t tell you that Sin always bites back. The devil will promise the world and everything in it. However, what doth it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul.

God loves to help us to be patient, kind, and merciful. Our heart will be restless until we find our rest in him. We cannot begin to seek him until he’s already found us. He’s the hound of heaven who will pursue us until we’re ready to turn to him. He will cultivate in our heart a hunger for the fruit of the spirit. The beginning of working it out is “I have been crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I but Christ liveth in me and the life that I now live I live in the flesh I live by faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.”

Jesus said, there is none good, no not one. However, Jesus Christ himself who was without sin became the perfect sin sacrifice on our behalf that we may become the righteousness of God in him.

Do all things without grumbling and complaining. The language of heaven is encouragement. According to Ephesians 4, 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.

An attitude of gratitude is the secret to living the abundant life. All God requires is that we fill our hearts with awe and gratitude… That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world. May our prayer be according to Psalm 19: “Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable unto thee O Lord my strength and my redeemer.”

May God richly bless you!
Your brother in Christ,