Seasons Change

There are comforting words which I have embraced through these many years. I’ll offer a few of them here. “Seasons change.” “This too shall pass.” In moments of triumph or trouble, I have come to recognize the temporal moment in which I am in. This awareness has helped me recover and rejoice; rest and take confidence. Regardless of the moment, there is a blessing in knowing that all things change.

Daniel gives an insight into the Lord. Dan 2:21 And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding:

At His command, God brings all things into light. We do not always know when, but in His domain, which is beyond comprehension, the Lord changes the times. He moves us in and out of seasons as it suits His purpose and His Kingdom. God does not answer to us, but rather, He orchestrates our lives for the sake of our eternal soul.

While the natural seasons are known, life is far more varied. Solomon wrote of 28 seasons, found in Eccl 3:2-8. Solomon began: Eccl 3:1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: Times and seasons change, but they do so according to God’s design.

The admonition is that whatever season we are in, we must learn. We first must learn of God and about God. Secondly, we learn about ourselves and perhaps what we must do to adjust ourselves. Lastly, our times and seasons teach us about those around us: about compassion and understanding. All of these things are borne from years of living and paying attention to the voice of leadership. God speaks through various means. He speaks through the seasons of our lives.

Winter, spring, summer, and fall are mere periods depicting the earth’s rotation. They attend to the natural inclination of the earth’s axis and our location juxtaposed to the sun. These are far too shallow to depict the human journey. Natural seasons are mostly predictable, but the seasons of life demand far greater focus. Paul said, Phil 4:11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. He said, 1 Tim 6:6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.

Whatever season or time you find yourself, know that there are lessons to learn; understandings to gather; and adjustments to be made. However, in all of those times, learn to be content. The season will change. The Lord never changes, but the times will. Our part is to rest in Him and know that He is God.

Latter Times

1 Tim 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
1 Tim 4:2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
1 Tim 4:3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.
1 Tim 4:4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:

The attributes of the “latter times” of which Paul wrote mirror the exactness of our days. In a recent study, more people are rejecting marriage. Paul wrote: “forbidding to marry.” Live-ins; Tinder hook-ups; and casual relationships are more preferable than long-term unions. The study also shows a decline in the length of marriages. The 5 to 8 year span is about the length of time a marriage will last. Europe, Japan, and Canada are showing lower statistics. Young adults would rather have a car, cellphone, and a nightlife than a fixed home with a spouse.

Paul wrote of “seducing spirits” – akin to sensuality, which is rooted in our American culture. He categorized the last days with a culmination of false doctrines, lies, and the rejection of morality. Lastly, Paul wrote against vegans, which is the refusal to eat meat. Paul was dealing with the false belief that cattle, sheep, goats, etc, deserved the same treatment as humans. The early church was dealing with gross darkness.

While sin prevails, I believe that we are poised to see things we have never seen. The Latter Times are here! The darkness of this world is both prevalent and invasive. This is not a ‘live and let live” environment. The spirit of the age is aggressive. We are not to tolerate sexual perverseness; but we are told to celebrate it or be fired.

However, the Greater the Darkness, the Brighter the Light. We, you, are a city set on a hill which cannot be hid. To be an Apostolic Pentecostal in doctrine, worship, lifestyle, and conduct is a light unto itself. It is and will be impossible to be hidden! We are Salt and the Light, which means that no one is going to look past you. Our calling is to speak Truth and Life to a world lost in sin. We have the answer! His name is Jesus! We have the soul-saving Gospel found in Acts 2:38. We know the way: it is the Way called Holiness. It is time for each of us to speak the Word to everyone we meet. These are the latter times!

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

First Love

Historically we know that the church at Ephesus had suffered many hardships, yet they persevered and stayed faithful to the Doctrine. Jesus even commended them for their “intolerance of wicked men.” Ephesus was a solid congregation on many levels. It appears they had structure, rules, protocols, and fortitude. However, what was missing could not be ignored. Jesus said, Rev 2:4 “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.”

Faithfulness is important. Giving and returning tithes and offerings are biblical directives. Church order and family structure which include Bible devotion and conduct are essential. Yet, if we lose our “first love” then all is lost. Religious activities never make up for a lack of passion. The problem exists after years of doing right, but forgetting how much the Lord has done.

When we were first saved, or when we first found the Lord, we could not wait to get to the church. We wanted to be the first in the altar; first to find our favorite seat. We did not care what other people thought about our worship. When we first began, we believed anything was possible. We expected something miraculous every time we gathered.

However, as the years drifted by, so did the pathos. First Love is precious. I’ve felt it so many times in my own life. A little waning of hunger; a little apathy for praise. It happens so subtly that it’s hard to tell, but First Love is a fragile thing.

The great danger comes from Paul’s admonition written 2,000 years ago. He wrote: Rom 13:11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.

If Paul thought he was close to the second coming of the Lord, how much closer are we today? We may be standing on the brink of the Last Trumpet! I feel it to be true, which means, emphatically, that we cannot lose our First Love. If the signs of the times are not enough to recapture our passion, pathos, and purpose, then nothing will move us. The times demand a return to our First Love!

So if you have not cried, pray until you are moved to tears. If you have not worshiped, do it until it invades your pride. If you have not danced, or shouted, or fallen on your face at a the altar, climb over your inhibitions and get there. Keeping our structure, order, and faithfulness is important, but we must not lose the heart we had when we first found Him!

It Takes Time

To no fault of her own, Hagar, the handmaiden, was cast out of the house of Abraham and Sarah. Jealously borne from disobedience led her to this moment. Abraham did not wait on God and took unto him Hagar. Together they had Ishmael. This son was not the promised son because he did not come through Sarah. When Isaac was born, the conflict intensified and it has never ended. Hagar found herself alone, desperate for direction and comfort. It is here that an angel of the Lord appeared to her and showed her a fountain of water; giving her the path toward provision and help. Hagar called God, El Roi, The God Who sees me.

However, this was not the name of God. His name was not revealed until the archangel Gabriel spoke it to Mary and Joseph in Matthew chapter 1. All of the Old Testament “names” were designations or descriptions of Jehovah. He was the God Who Heals and the God Who Provides. He was called, Our Banner, Refuge, and the God of Our Peace. But His name is Jesus!

We recognize this as progressive revelation. God offered insight, but not the whole. David wrote, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet” meaning, “just enough light for the moment.” Jesus completed this truth when he touched the blind man in Mark 8.

Mark 8:23 And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when he had spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw ought.
Mark 8:24 And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking.
Mark 8:25 After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly.

Jesus had the power to completely heal the blind man the first time He touched him. Yet, the lesson is found in a progressive healing. Day by day we are healed, delivered, and made whole by and through His presence. Our lives are first saturated with His Word and Spirit, which in turn changes the constitution of our thought.

The quantum leap is counter to the making of a disciple. It takes time to learn and time to grow. Understanding is developed over time. Spiritual maturity is found in study, patience, and persistence. Thus making it critical that we stay connected to the Word, the preaching and teaching while our change comes.

The end of it all is that we are planted and grounded. The Lord will reveal His Truth, but it is found in the process. So let us not get weary in well doing. He is guiding our steps and revealing Himself as we learn to lean on His strength and learn from His Word.

The Battle Within

A distressed wife once said that every time her family began to “see success” it was destroyed. She said, “life was good and then it was blown up.” Her description is the definition of implosion; meaning damage from the inside out. I’ve lived long enough to see the same thing happen in churches. Struggle, followed by growth, followed by division, and then implosion. This happens when members whittle away at the core fabric of leadership and doctrine. It happens when small gossiping groups tear away at the good being done.

Paul addressed this issue: 1 Cor 12:25 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. He said, If you bite one another, you will devour one another.

Paul’s admonition has been experienced by a thousand congregations over. Divisions crippled even the healthiest of church bodies. Thriving revivals have been cut short; growth thwarted by the selfish ambition of a few. Remember, it only took one man, Achan, to cause Israel to be defeated. It doesn’t take much to implode the whole.

My concern is that those who need to read this will not and those to whom this applies will disregard it as a message meant for someone else. “After all, it’s just another bulletin with some words meshed together to fill a page.”

I pray you will heed this writing: We are standing on the brink of an Endtime revival. However, this is also a crossroad of decision. I’ve seen it before both here and beyond. If we miss this moment, it could take us years to recover. Some churches never make it back.

It begins with too many opinions about trivial things; too much flesh and not enough submission; and too little honor for pastoral leadership. The result is damage from within. For those who might wonder, “Yes, the world is fighting against the church,” and “Yes, there are demonic spirits which resist us.” But the real battle is from within.

The question becomes, Can the church love the church? Can we stay humble enough for God to use us for His glory? Can we stay obedient enough to follow spiritual authority? Is it possible for us to crucify our flesh and keep our attitudes pure? These are questions our lives will answer. These are the decisions which will lead us in or out of Spiritual endeavors and numerical growth. I can only hope that each person will comprehend this critical juncture and make whatever adjustments needed to see the revival God has prepared.

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

The Price of a Soul

What is the price of a man’s soul? With inflation eating away the family budget and the economic conditions wrecking retirement accounts, cost is front and center. People are talking prices, value, and worth. However, these conversations, concern, assets and their counterparts are temporal. What is the worth of something that never dies? What about our soul?

Jesus asked “if a man gained the whole world and lose his soul, what does it profit?” The answer is clear; there is no profit. Even the whole world; all the money and wealth of ages gone by cannot compare to the worth of one, never-dying soul. And yet, many have given away their salvation for very little. Some have traded their walk with God for worldly pleasure or offense. Others have forfeited their eternal mansion for human ambition. Esau traded his entire birthright for a bowl of soup. He did so because he did not value what he held. We also have a birthright, but ours comes from a spiritual birth. The fact is that all who are lost will look back and see their “profit” as pitifully insignificant.

In review of the Great Commission, it is only fitting that we see the souls of our community as critical. People need Jesus and we have the answer. They need His name applied to their lives, Acts 4:12, Col 3:17, Rom. 6:1-4. They need to hear the message of salvation and feel the love of God. If we knew how close we are to the coming of the Lord, we would run to bring people the message. If we could see the worth of their soul juxtaposed against eternity, we would shake off our pride and fear of rejection and cry out in the street.

Mordecai tore his clothes and cried out because he understood the severity of the hour. He was in pursuit of saving his people, even though so few of them realized the moment. Mordecai was interceding, pleading, and calling for action. Ultimately he gave the Endtime Church this word: We are here for such a time as this!

This is our time. All who read this must know that we were placed here by God for this season to reach the lost. Our mission is His mission and the souls of men and women are held in the balance. The only question is whether we will move into the field; reach the harvest of lost souls and bring them to Christ. That question is best answered when we realize the price of a man’s soul.

Carry Offense To The Cross

2 Cor 11:29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not?

Above is a small excerpt from Paul’s presentation. In context, Paul offers a commonality to the church in Corinth that he too has been weak; he too has been offended. However, the result of those offenses never deterred him from serving people. He did not allow the wound to keep him from ministering or serving. In fact, he once returned to the same city that stoned him and left him for dead. Paul was kingdom-minded enough to love those who hated him and serve those who hurt him.

Offense is often a two-way street. Life is filled with such wounds which come from rejection or words. We have all been subject to false accusations which impugn our character. Many have been subject to truth without love which cuts the heart. These things are part of life, but we know that what happens to us or against us is not nearly as important as how we respond to it.

The question is whether an offense will keep you from the work of the Kingdom. Joseph was wounded in the house of his brothers and he was healed in the same company. He was spitefully used and maliciously maligned, and yet, he embraced those who hurt him. This is the pattern of Jesus Christ, but it is not always welcomed among Christians. Many embrace those infractions and then rehearse them, even posting them on social media. They feel it is their right to declare who offended them and what they are doing to recover. This is a far deviation from the path of Jesus Christ.

The reality is that all of us will suffer. The secret is how we handle hurt.

I submit that all of our offenses must be carried to the foot of the Cross. Calvary is the final resting place of every wound, hurt, ugly word, and hateful thing that has ever happened to us. To speak of the offense is to reject the work of the Blood of the Lamb. To spread the offense means that no real forgiveness has occurred. Ultimately, and sadly, there will be people who miss the rapture because they failed to offer what Jesus offered them. That is why it is incumbent upon us to remember what the Lord has done for us.

John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

I Give You Power

Luke 10:19 Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.
Luke 10:20 Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.

Read it carefully. Jesus emphasized the last line. He said, “Rejoice, because your names are written in Heaven.” We must not dilute the primary. The last line is the premier of all primaries! Heaven is the goal. This world is not my home. There is a mansion prepared for me, just over in the glory land.

Now, after I catch my breath from the awesome thought – “O Lord, let it be that my name is written in Heaven!” – there is gifting from Jesus to the saints. It is power to tread on all the power of the enmeshed. We have authority through the name of Jesus to overcome the demonic spirit world. Jesus was leading His disciples toward the ultimate end, but He included an authority in the spirit world. True Apostolic authority is exercised through the power of the Holy Ghost. It begins with the power to be a witness and the power to live a new life. It also includes power to overcome the enemy which would disrupt and destroy the Faith of the Believer.

These subjects are often lofty thoughts. They seem spiritualistic in some sense; perhaps from some other time. However, if you will pause for a moment, you will know that the world is changing quickly. America itself is in a cultural crisis. Christianity is being redefined in a way that distorts the holy scripture. We are being ushered into the age of the antichrist as “serpents and scorpions” advance against the holy things of God. These are part and parcel of what we know as the “spirit of the age.” They are powerful, corrupt, and altogether evil. The wickedness of this world will grow worse and worse. It has been prophesied in the Bible. However, we have been given power to tread. While our priority is Heaven, Jesus has allotted to the Church a distinct power to overcome the spirits which are poised against it.

This is a spiritual battle. It demands unity in the church; Submission to spiritual authority; Intercessory prayer and sacrificial steps. This is no time to live half-hearted or on the peripheral. This is the time to be consumed with the work of the Kingdom, the church, and with worship.

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

The Human Element

If the Bible has taught us anything it must include this axiom of truth: Never underestimate the human element! Jesus said, Mark 10:18 “There is none good but one, that is, God.” Self-reliance, codependency, and governmental issuants continually fail.

In regards to self: Jer. 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” To trust in yourself comes with built-in pitfalls. Passions, ambitions, and lust are always lurking. Flesh declarations sound good in the moment, but are mostly suspect. Peter proclaimed, “I will never deny you, Lord.” However, the answer changed when accusations arrived from the shadows. Paul revealed the struggle: Rom 7:23 “But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.” Rom 7:24 “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”

In regards to friends or family, we must remember that the world is filled with broken relationships. While we hope for lasting relationships, failed friendships and dysfunctional families are much more common. All of us have held confidence in people who turned against us. We have all been broken and experienced painful, severed relationships.

In respect to the government, it ought to be clear that most politicians are working for their own good. The prophet Samuel warned Israel of this very thing. He said that a king-ruler-government, would enlist your sons and daughters. They would tax you and take the best of your life. No truer words could be spoken. In the name of universal good, all governments take what they want. Therefore, to trust in government, political parties, or any elected official is to put your life into the hands of those who are often corrupt.

Our Faith is not in economy, health, education, or any element of this world. The human element has always been in conflict with the Divine Will of God. All have sinned. All have come short of the glory of God. There is no one righteous, no not one! It is only by the Blood of Jesus Christ that we are able to stand before Him blameless. Unredeemed humanity will fail, but Jesus never fails! Let us guard against the confidence/trust of the flesh. We will set our affections on things above, not on the things of this earth.

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

Landmarks

Deu 19:14 Thou shalt not remove thy neighbour’s landmark, which they of old time have set in thine inheritance, which thou shalt inherit in the land that the LORD thy God giveth thee to possess it.

Hundreds of years after Moses gave this commandment, Solomon reiterated it twice. The issue of landmarks became more prevalent as unscrupulous men demanded more land. However, it was critical to keep the inheritance intact as they were previously measured. The marker established the property line and its value. Even more critical was the assumption that every generation after the first, knew their inheritance and the boundaries of their homes.

In regards to the Doctrine, Jude wrote: Jude 1:3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

The Faith for which we are to contend for was established long ago. Inward and outward holiness was never an option for the first church. The infilling of the Holy Ghost, evidenced with speaking in other tongues as the Spirit gives the utterance, was part of the original Gospel. Jesus said that we would be baptized with the Holy Ghost and fire. Water Baptism in Jesus’ name, which Acts 4:12 declares as the only way to be saved, was and is the only mode and method of scriptural baptism.

This is the “faith once delivered.” Not only are we to honor these settled landmarks, we are also encouraged to honor those who have given them to us. Our senior saints have kept the Faith. They have invested their lives in delivering the Doctrine of Jesus Christ to this generation. They have given of their time, money, prayer, and sacrifice.

When a body of believers, a church, fails in honoring those who deserve such honor, they in turn disobey the Scripture and set in motion the devaluing of the biblical tenets upon which the body is established. Our future revival is tied to our past sacrifice. They that sow in tears shall come again reaping in joy. Thus, our vision is founded in the faithfulness and commitment of those who came before us. In light of these truths, we must not move the landmarks. They guide us, direct us, tell us when we are off course, and lead us back to God’s Word. We must let the landmarks stand!

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole