Biblical Living, Lessons for my crew

NOT FROM AROUND HERE

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Where are you from?

Is that one of your go to questions when you’re first getting acquainted with someone also?

It’s one that we use to establish commonality and, sometimes, to learn something new and interesting.
I’ve met people from around the world with that simple question and it always amazes me the places I’ve met people and where they’re from. It also amazes me how, at times, I’ve met people in various parts of the world that are from the same places I have lived.
The world isn’t as big as we thought it was!

You see, I grew up in the Western half of these United States. I say it like that because we moved so much.

I was born in Cody, Wyoming. We moved from there around ’87-’88 and headed south to Flagstaff, Arizona. We lived there just one year, that was when I accepted Christ as my Savior. From there, we headed down the highway a few hours to Albuquerque, New Mexico and its surrounding areas. I can’t remember how long we lived there but we lived in 5 different houses during our time there. Following that, we headed back further west to Las Vegas, Nevada for 3 years. That needs its own post for my time in Sin City. I would have been 12 years old by then and we finally landed in the Midwest in Wichita, Kansas where I would spend the rest of my time living with my parents before launching out on my own. Since then I moved another 7 times in different countries and states to finally land here in South Central Pennsylvania where, Lord willing, we will stay for the duration of our days.

So when I say I grew up out West, you can see why!

I remember so vividly as a kid whenever we would show up at a new city/state, people would undoubtedly ask us, where are you from and it became such a joke to us because my dad would always tell people we were from Cody, Wyoming. We always laughed at that because he was still telling people that 10, 12, 15 years after we moved away from there!

The reality was we really weren’t from anywhere!

The same is true when it comes to our Christianity. You’re not from this place. You’re from another place and that’s most of the reason why so much of what you feel and face here doesn’t make sense–it’s because you’re not from around these parts.

Built inside you is a desire for something different, something better that literally nothing on earth has the capacity to occupy.

Do you have a favorite vacation spot?

Right now ours is Raystown Lake. Our boat is up there and every once in a while, we’ll escape to the lake for a day or a weekend to experience some heaven on earth.

You have a place like that too don’t you!?

The place you go to get away from it all, to appease the tension of life by surrounding yourself with as much peaceful tranquility as possible. We are all looking for a slice of heaven on earth because deep down we all know there’s something yearning inside of us for more, better, deeper, more profound.

That’s because you weren’t built for permanent life at this campground! We’ve become sanctified snowbirds, flocking from one area to another hoping that what we experience there will fill the void of what we seem to be missing.

When Jesus was teaching his disciples to pray, he gave them this next category in which to realign their thinking.

When we pray, your kingdom come, it literally is a realignment of the logic that we aren’t from around these parts. It’s an almost vocal validation to ourselves God help me remember that what I experience day after day is not my final place. Help me make decisions that reflect that where I’m currently laying my head is just a temporary situation to a more perfect permanent place.

When I consider this phrase it really gives me a sense of relief! I look at the days, the situations we endure, the obstacles we are faced to overcome, and what I see is that we move from tension to tension. There is rarely a perfect peace anywhere in life. Your mind is always, on some level, worried or working on something.

But in heaven…

That will never again be the case. When we get home, everything will be different. Everything will be better and everything will be at a perfect peace. One that you can’t even begin to explain.

Biblical Living

Explosive Power

Years ago, when we lived in Mexico, we were attending a team gathering in Guadalajara. We were there to do some learning from some of our missions team who had been serving in Mexico for decades and had done some amazing work among the Mexican people.
It’s been a long time since this took place but from what I can remember, we were driving from their home to a place where we were going to do some house church stuff and on the way, we came upon a taco truck that was engulfed in fames!
Like anyone in the moment, it totally took us by surprise and we stopped in our tracks, middle of the road, staring at this sight, wondering what to do. We had just turned down the road where this truck was on fire and had little choice but to back up and get away from it.
People were screaming on the street cautioning people to get away, as far as they could, because just in front of the trailer was a huge 100 gallon propane tank that was ready to blow at any minute.
This experience was terrifying to say the least, and we were able to get away from it without trouble. I don’t think anyone else was hurt in the process either, but my heart goes out to all those lost tacos.

A moment of silence…

Biblical Living, Purpose

Worth The Wait

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Do you ever wish you would have come built-in with the ability to be super patient?
Frankly, I can’t say that I do. I’m not a very patient person, but than, I’m not sure I know many very patient people to compare myself too. Maybe that’s wrong and I’m just confused, but no matter, the reality is that we all struggle in the area of patience.

Biblical Living, Grand Point - Ship, Lessons for my crew

Heaven on Earth

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In 2013, Crystal and I renewed our wedding vows with a few friends and family. It was supposed to take place at our home in Chambersburg, but the weather was less than cooperative and we ended up having it at our Church.

It was a great ceremony. Simple, profound, memorable and very special for the both of us. In many ways, it was more special than our wedding day 10 years prior. With this day came 10 years of memories, stories, experiences and situations that we had endured together. We had life together and we were more committed to our unity than ever before.

The day after our vow renewal, we went on a second honeymoon. It was way better than our first and we felt that we were in heaven on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico on Captiva Island, Florida. It was exquisite and every bit of the relaxing togetherness we wanted to have at this point of our lives together.

Biblical Living, Lessons for my crew

BREAK THE BOTTLE

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Are you a stingy person?

Sorry that was abrupt. Didn’t mean to force you into the icy deep end of the pool before you were ready!

Warm up a bit, grab a cup of something steamy and settle in for a read worth your consideration.
Stoke the fire while you’re at it, and get all cozy inside.

Now, back to our consideration. Do you consider yourself a stingy person?

Biblical Living, Grand Point - Ship, Lessons for my crew, Purpose

Who are you?

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I get the privilege of meeting so many people. It’s become such a treasure to me to connect with people and learn some of their story and how the Lord is revealing himself to them. I’ve learned that when someone comes up to me in public and introduces themselves to just roll with it. I may not have met them yet, but they have met me through Grand Point. Every time it takes place I immediately go the same place you would–Stretch out my hand and say, my name is Kevin. Who are you?

You wouldn’t think that a question of just three words would produce such a difficult issue, but there it is. As it stands staring you in the face, you have to immediately come to a place where you can effectively articulate the depth of just who you are.

Typically, the answer that comes back is something predictable- I’m Kevin and I the Pastor at Grand Point Ship.

Do you see what I did?

And do you make the same fatal flaw?

You see, I’ve just tied who I am to what I do?

Why do we do that?

I wonder if it’s because we are still yet unsure of exactly who we are.

Think of it, of the last time you answered that question. The answer to who you are becomes your name and, without even having to be asked, we can launch into hours of what we do.

But what happens when what you do can no longer be done?

It rarely happens by your choice but nonetheless.

A simple accident, and the very trajectory of your life has changed because what you do can no longer be done and has become what you did.

You begin to find yourself living in the past and everything seems to be falling apart in your world because all you can think about is who you were.

In John 1, John captures the story and events around John the Baptist. He’s not rushed onto the scene, but has been working his angle for probably years up to this point. He’s gained a large following and because the climate, the culture is charged with the thought and anticipation of the pending Messiah’s arrival.

Here’s what the Author John captures about those moments:

“Now this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” Then they said to him, “Who are you, that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?” He said: “I am ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Make straight the way of the Lord,” ’

John 1:19-23 NKJV

When it comes to the discovery of who you are, it’s really important, also, to know exactly who are you are not.

In response to their questions JTB first mentions, “I am not the Messiah.”

Can I just relieve you today from the areas where you feel you need to be the Savior!?

You don’t need to be the Savior. He’s One of a Kind and irreplaceable.

He doesn’t need your help at His saving and in fact, is there a chance that you’re just making the Saving more complicated?

When it comes to your marriage that in trouble- Let Him be the Messiah.

About that really troubled relationship you are in panic about- Let Him do the saving.

After preaching through this concept, a man came up to me and let me know that he heard the message and connected it to his troubled marriage. He left with a sense of victory now realizing that he didn’t have to be the Savior of his marriage- it was the Lord’s job to do the saving.

Who are you?

Are you mom?

Are you dad?

Are you son?

Well, what you’re not is Messiah.

You’re more than employed. You’re worth so much more than just a job you do, a role you fill and a position you occupy.

Somebody testify to this truth!

Biblical Living

Just Believe

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My greatest downfall is my skepticism. I really struggle to just believe. Do you?

I’ve always been that way. Maybe it’s because I’ve learned through life that there are many who just want to take advantage of you and they play to your easy belief. If we can become super trusting they can easily take us for what we are. See!? Right there in my statement, my skepticism is emerging. I struggle with trust in people!

Or I used to.

The older I get, the more I see that it doesn’t matter if people are worth trusting or not, if we lose in the end, what really have we lost? Even in the loss we are learning and learning is highly valuable and beyond that there’s a special grace that is found in the element of simple trust.

Recently, on a short trip out of town, the Lord really struck me with this simple phrase – Just believe. I really felt He was telling me to stop making Him prove everything over and over again and to learn to just take Him at His word.

Just trust me!

I felt Him impressing on me.

It scares me to think of what He is telling me to trust Him with and what might be coming that I need this impression and encouragement.

It came through a reading in Luke and it came with repetition.

Luke 1, the story of Zacheriah and Elizabeth. For context and so you don’t have to grab a Bible for the quick read, Zacheriah has been chosen for his once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to enter the Holy Place and be the one that offers the sacrifice for the people. What an incredible honor! One for which He’s been waiting literally for years. I’m sure with every step he’s thinking, don’t screw up it, don’t screw it up!

Once he’s there and doing his duty, to his amazement, an angel appears next to the alter and freaks him out so so bad. He offers Zach a promise, your prayer has been heard. Your wife, Elizabeth, is going to have a baby. Count on it!

Now what happens next just blows my mind but I can totally relate because Zach and I both share the same skeptic brain.

His simple response that came through his cocked smile, you expect me to believe this!?

And there it is, the struggle of belief.

How is it that when we pray, we can do so with such fervor and expectation but only while we believe that God is able to answer in the season that we think is perfect?

As soon as we think that season is past, we believe that God has already answered with His quiet indifference and we are left hopeless and empty.

I bet you can identify with that, can’t you!? Your mind immediately races back to the last place, or most significant place, where you’ve been asking, pleading, begging and your heart is most tender and filled with belief, but day after day continues with no answer, no change and no hope that He even heard.

We have to understand that the Lord works in perfect precision and precision means timing.

Ours is just to believe that He can.

Even with this supernatural occurrence of an angel coming to him to reveal the hope-filled news of the answer they have been looking for, he cannot bring himself to face the possibility that this might be a hoax. And in that, we see ourselves standing there at the corner of that alter facing an angel and thinking I can identify with Zach. The hurt of empty hope is too much, it’s better to just not believe!

And because of that, something was stripped away from Zach that day. He left without the ability to speak. The angel had removed something from him until the truth would be found. And I’ve found that truth to be real as well. When we fail to follow with belief, with trust, we lose something in the process.

For so many today, the struggle to believe that Jesus would and could come to this earth to pay for the sins of all man is too much to bear and so they don’t believe. They are losing their eternity with Jesus. They are losing the actual presence of the Spirit of God in their lives every day.

Rest assured, you might not feel it, but you are missing something very significant because of your refusal to believe!

FF to the end of Luke and we find another occurrence of the same. Jesus, having just been raised from the dead, is walking on a road leading to nowhere. Isn’t it strange the places that we find Jesus? This is really another story for another time but as He’s walking on this road, He encounters two men who are going over the events of His death and His bodies disappearance on that very day as they walk that dusty road to nowhere.

As they encounter Him along they way, they don’t recognize Him and share their struggle to believe what has happened that day. Here’s Jesus response to them

So thick headed! So slow-hearted! Why can’t you simply believe all that the prophets said?

Luke 24:25 The Message

And then, He shared with them, as proof, from Moses through the Prophets all that they needed to believe.

What do you need to just believe today?

I get it, the struggle is real! With all the garbage we deal with today, there is a clear and evident struggle to believe the simplicity of the message of hope that comes through Christ. But what if today, we just chose to believe?

What if you took that thing you are looking at, that thing that you simply cannot figure out and just believed the Lord over that thing?

Maybe for someone reading this message today, it’s the thing you needed to just believe in the hope-filled message of salvation.

Whatever the case may be, it’s time to Just Believe.