Beautiful Feet

The prophets wrote about the beautiful mountains of Israel. The cascading sunlight spilling over the mountain’s crest . . . it warms the soul. One of the gates to the Temple was actually called Beautiful. We can only imagine its architectural display. From garments to crowns, the scripture points to the beauty of things that surrounded them. They were layered with gold; woven with purple; or reflective of nature’s bounty. Beautiful.

The Bible also introduces another subject rarely included in things so defined: The beauty of feet. Isaiah 52:7 “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!”

The primary feature is the feet of the person who brings these “good tidings.” Paul follows suit; Romans 10:15 “And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!”

Our missionaries have given up so many things for the sake of this Gospel. How beautiful are their feet. They are searching for people throughout the world. Their children join them in this mission to spread the Gospel. There are no travel sports programs; no weekday softball; no Saturday picnics. The very least the American church can do is give to support those who publish peace. If we would simply reduce just one of our conveniences per week, we would all be able to give. The challenge is in our reduction. We are not given to such things. However, I am asking you to make a sacrifice for the sake of the Gospel. The New Birth experience must find a place in locations we will never go.

Our purpose today is to focus on those who preach the Word and our responsibility to them. We have so much. Nations are reached and lives are changed through the financial support given. Destinies are determined because we invested in preachers and teachers. The greatest need is not food, education, or healthcare. The world’s greatest need is Jesus and the Gospel! And for those who have offered their lives for The Cause, we are honored to pray for them and to offer the means to make that possible. This is our time, our duty, and our obligation to send the Message.

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

New World Order

Matthew 26:54 “But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?”

The prophet Daniel pronounced a truth applicable in our time: Daniel 2:21 “And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings… God orchestrates the seasons. It is the Lord Who has designed the times according to His own will.”

America is likely living under a shadow government. The New World Order is obviously in play. The World Bank; World Court, and other universal counsels have long since been set up. Even the management and manipulation of information has been exposed. Nation is rising against nation in economic and geo-political ways. Knowledge has increased. God has changed the times.

The response of the church is three-fold:
First, we must serve the Lord with our whole heart. No games or half-hearted lifestyles will suffice. Jesus decried lukewarmness as a reproach. Our homes must reflect holiness. Our devotion to prayer, worship, and the Doctrine are our primaries. What good is any gain if we lose our families?

Secondly, we must seek the Lost. The fields are ripe, but the laborers are few. Please tell me that we will not just be church members. It is our individual calling to teach a Home Bible study. Religiosity is a plague in the Pentecostal church and we must move beyond just having “good church.” To know the Truth and not share it is the sin of omission. We must reach people.

Finally, our voices should be heard in the public arena. We vote through the prism of the holy scriptures. If the world can boast of their abhorrent lifestyles, surely we can seek leaders who support the nuclear family, pro-life measures, freedom to worship, and all manner of purity.

Having offered these directives, just know, the world will not stay as it once was. My grandfather’s days are gone and these “things must be.” The scriptures must be fulfilled. Peter rebuked Jesus for saying that He must die, to which Jesus said, “You do not understand the things of God.” So too, the times are in His hands and He will allow the change in order to usher in the “son of perdition” – the antichrist. I lend my voice, but I confess that God is in control and it is He that sets up and takes down. I am neither discouraged nor afraid, because I know that He holds the keys to the times and the future is in His Hands.

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

Our Heritage

2 Timothy 1:5  When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.

Thirty years after Pentecost, Paul was able to reflect on the original saints and those who followed. Eunice and Lois were among those who saw the foundation of the early church. Timothy came afterward and was considered the second generation of the Apostolic age. In his exhortation to Timothy, Paul honored the elders, the mothers who labored for the cause.

Something was handed down to Timothy that cannot be fully explained. It was more than a testimony or an example. It was the root; the basis for the Church to come. Paul made mention of their perseverance which he called “unfeigned faith.” The description points to persecution or trial that they withstood. Those mothers held fast to the doctrine delivered by Jesus Christ and it became their strength. It became our heritage.

The pillars of the first church blessed all who would follow, even us today. The two disciples walking on the road to Emmaus, Cleopas and his wife, established something that the church world sees as a pattern. They were witnesses to the mystery and then recipients to the revelation. Silas saw the wonders of God move in the second half of the early church and so many more. They stood strong and gave their lives for something greater.

Our heritage is the Holy Ghost. The apostle called it that “Holy Spirit of promise”

Ephesians 1:14  Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

We honor our elders who have labored in the Lord; stayed faithful to the church; and exhibited unfeigned faith. They have kept the exclusivity of the doctrine and contended for the faith and embraced a standard of holiness. New Life is blessed to have elders who loved the Truth more than tradition. Our history is deepening and our resolve is rising. Tami and I honor all of you who have been loyal and consistent; who have lived a life worthy of following. Our children are blessed to have a witness before their eyes.

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

Remembrance

Exodus 13:3 Moses is standing on the other side of the 10th plague. His instruction is consolidated: Remember.

History repeats itself in the most severe fashion, thus Moses speaks in an effort to confront the human fault line so often seen among the nations. He said, “Remember this day that you came out of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, for the Lord brought you out.”

The tenure of Moses was followed by prophets, kings, judges, and spiritual leaders reminding them of the Red Sea. Even still, the people forgot. Worldly influences clouded God’s deliverance. They forgot the nature of their enemy. They did not recount the days of their oppressors, but openly negotiated with them. The “viper” was filled with venom regardless of their compromise. Your Bible declares it so. Sadly, and perhaps predictably, Israel fell back into the iron grip of those they sought to please.

Forgetting has caused countless to backslide. Individuals and congregations have failed to remember the goodness of God’s grace and the character of the enemy. Both are paramount. The downfall of any church or nation begins at the dismissal of holiness and the acceptance of the enemy’s offer.

These truths lead me to great concern for our nation and the plight of so many corrupt political leaders. They have rebuked God out of our public forums; banned the name of Jesus from our congressional halls; and denounce anyone who might raise the standard of Holiness. We better remember where we came from.

This weekend marks a moment that must be remembered. 9/11 was the day when our nation suffered its most devastating attack since Pearl Harbor. Twenty years ago we were attacked on our mainland. People gave their lives trying to save those trapped in a burning inferno. Police officers and firefighters were joined by a multiplicity who risked their lives; many died in their effort. While the moment is two decades old, we can ill afford to forget. The account of the tragedy is the first step in making sure that it never happens again.

When we forgot, we forfeit our safety and future. The failure of such a thing leads us to repeat the same mistakes as before. Remembrance is the first step.

I offer these words to you in light of the ongoing global conflicts. The very least we can do is thank God for our freedom and vote for men and women who share our biblical beliefs, as closely as possible. We must make known His Name and protect the freedoms that afford us the opportunity to worship without limitation. If we do not, they will be taken from us. Do not forget. This is not some hyperbolized word: There is bondage and suffering on the other side and our window to preach the Gospel is closing. Remember.

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

Heaven our Home!

Warren Beatty once based his directing debut on the screenplay by Harry Segall called “Heaven Can Wait.” The comedy was based on a mistake: Beatty’s character was mistakenly sent to Heaven in place of someone else. The year was 1978, but I suppose not much has changed. The entertainment world still cannot grasp the reality of Heaven. Craig Campbell joins the chorus of this misplaced thought. His song, “Outskirts of Heaven” asks for a place outside of Heaven. For some reason he thinks that a country setting would be just as good as a mansion within the heavenly realm. The saga continues with a host of writers/singers who cannot see the wonder of what shall be. Ultimately, it is both foolish and fleshly to compare any earthly pleasure with the wonder of Heaven.

Paul wrote: 1 Corinthians 2:9 “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”

John gave us a glimpse: Revelation 21:21 “And the twelve gates were twelve pearls: every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.”

Heaven transcends all that we have ever known. All fear and doubt will be gone. Every tear shall be wiped away and there shall be joy forevermore. The Lord has promised it. Heaven cannot be captured by a filmmaker regardless of their talent. Songwriters far and wide have struggled to depict the depth of its glory. Even among the great painters of centuries past, none have framed the beauty of such perfect peace.

To consider that place is beyond the telling. However, this is what we are living for; to make Heaven our Home! We are not living this life to make money or reach some status. We are the Bride of Christ and one day we shall sing around the Throne. This life is temporal, but that life is eternal. Heaven, the City where the Lamb is the Light, is where I am longing to be.

Jesus gave us this promise. These are the propelling words for every believer for all of eternity. John 14:2-3 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

“stillness”

Psalm 46:10 “Be still, and know that I am God…

According to national surveys, the average work week is 35.5 hours. Forbes found Americans spend roughly 1,300 hours per year viewing media, not including time spent on their phones. Add in outings, sporting events, and sleep and there is no time left for “stillness.”

David and Paul both presented meditating on the things of God, virtuous things, and godly endeavors. The problem is that we are consumed with trivial pursuits, politics, and speaking. The Internet, Facebook, Instagram, etc, has given people an outlet to share things that should not be shared. From grievances to common feelings, posts are made that either hinder or detract from the Great Commission.

I have stayed away from most of those forums for my mind’s sake. I know that if I do not have a boundary around my thoughts, my spirit will be drawn away which will convolute my faith. The objective is to “Be still . . .” which allows me to recognize the sovereignty and omnipotence of God. The goal is to reach the lost with the only saving Gospel of Jesus Christ!  Yet, many are caught up with the latest post or news story, which results in them neglecting the cause. There is no time to pray or serve.

While I decry these things, I fear the warning often falls on deaf ears. The result is a drift from faithful church attendance, prayer, and serving. I am convinced that clutter is not just things that pile up in bedrooms and basements. Activities of all kinds clog up our emotions. Sports have stolen a thousand weekends and wiped out as many Holy Ghost experiences. To date, I have never seen a family actively engaged in soul-winning and Kingdom work while missing Wednesday Bible study and Sunday services. It’s time to Be Still.

World knowledge and conflicts will never end. There will always be another disaster. All of it leads away from knowing God. For those who declare themselves sufficiently capable of indulging in all these things, I ask, “when was the last time you taught a Home Bible study or took an hour in the prayer room?”

I do not know how many will take this communique to heart, but the time is too short for me to stroke the religious crowd and ignore the hour. We must become serious about our walk with God and this Holy Ghost experience that the Lord has given us. We are indebted to the Cross and it is imperative that we are constrained for the Gospel. And finally, we must learn to Be Still and take knowledge of God.

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

…“flapper” girl…

The year was 1922 when “flapper” girls emerged. They bobbed their hair and wore short skirts. Though they were not in abundance, Hollywood, California accommodated their new “alternative lifestyle.” Silent movies and then technicolor showcased this “edgy look.” World War II introduced another lifestyle as wives and mothers entered the factory. By necessity, the global conflict opened new doors that the family unit had never seen before.

History records a shift in the home environment birthed by the 60’s sexual revolution. The Beatles and Elvis brought about a more suggestive and open sensuality that knows no boundaries.  The alternative lifestyles were becoming more mainstream.

The 2000’s featured a full-on attack against the nuclear family.  The Beaver Cleaver image has been decried by those who despise the former definition of normalcy. American culture no longer considers deviations as abnormal. Today, Christianity is the new alternative lifestyle.

Isaiah wrote that the “vineyard” belonged to God, but by virtue of lawlessness, God removed the hedge. It was a forecast of things to come. The people rejected a standard of holiness and God left them to their own demise. Ultimately, Isaiah issued a grave warning due to their hedge-less society. He wrote in Isaiah 5, “Woe to them” six different times. The most glaring warning is found in verse 20, “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”

Isaiah pointed out the change in definitions. The things once considered impure would be called pure: Sinful actions would be rewarded, while righteousness would be scorned. Bitter for sweet. Isaiah may not have seen our day with his own eyes, but the Spirit had the view. He said, “woe to the those who justify the wicked and give them an award for being wicked.”

This small excerpt will not tell it all, only to say that we must be prepared to face the final spirit of the age. So hear the word of the Lord: Jesus is coming soon! Keep your light shining. Be sober and aware so you will not be overtaken by the darkness. Serve! Be committed and know that by virtue of His Name and His Word, you are living the alternative lifestyle.

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

God’s Turnpike

Some years ago we traveled from the north to the south. Those winding roads, turns, and twists all culminated into extra hours spent on the road. Over time, authorities built turnpikes that circumvented small town stop signs and the various small highways. I was so thankful the first time we discovered the newly built expressway. The new road erased hours from our trip and allowed us safe travel.

The turnpike still had demands: Speed limits, passing lanes, and signs for road construction hazards. While the path provided a much easier journey, we were still subject to the confines of the law.

The Bible has described the way of Salvation. Peter preached the first message which began the first church. Jesus came to build His Church and Peter was given the “keys to the Kingdom.” He delivered those Keys in Acts 2:38. It was the exact reflection of Paul’s description of the true definition of the Gospel, I Corinthians 15:1-4. The Bible also describes a “set-apart” people. We know this as the Way or the Highway of Holiness. We are commanded not to be conformed to this world. The church should be spotless; not worldly or lustful. Thus, a standard of Holiness is critical to our spiritual walk.

The scripture demands our obedience and observance. We are to be Born Again of the water and the Spirit -John 3:1-8. We are to be different from the world’s lifestyle “come out from among them and be ye separate”  -I Corinthians 6:17.

However, with all of those necessary and pertinent commands, just know:  We came by way of Grace. God has given us what we could not give ourselves. Ephesians 2:8 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.”

After doing all that we are required and commanded to do, just remember, God paved a way called Grace. He did not remove His commands, nor did He negate the Salvation message. He just gave us a road that transcended human failure. Peter called it “manifold grace” and “true grace” and “multiplied grace: the grace that brought the revelation of Jesus Christ” and so much more. Peter wrote: 2 Peter 3:18 “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.”

We must do all we can do and all that we should do. That is called Obedience. And then, at the end of it all, we must also know that we came by way of Grace.

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

Hierapolis

In the ancient city of Hierapolis resides a wonder of water. The natural springs cascading downward are unmatched throughout the world. The white travertine terraces embrace her thermal pools which speak of their rarity. While the image of those cascading waters captivate my attention, they also lead me to the greater story of the city that once was.

Revelation chapters two and three depict the seven churches of Asia. The words of Jesus are recorded with a personal message to each one. Yet, none of those churches exist today. All have disappeared from the original account.

Passing by a grand old building, a pastor told me that it used to be a powerful Pentecostal church. He said that it held a mighty revival with miracles confirming their every move. Today the place is empty. Whatever life existed is gone; just a dusty floor with the outlining marks where pews once stood.

Jerusalem was the city of the first great outpouring of the Holy Ghost. It was a hotbed of supernatural works. Antioch was the next place of wonder. Both are now missing in action. Tourists take pictures of places where Paul preached and established churches, though convening congregations cannot be found.

Perhaps a church has an expiration date. Maybe it’s not up to the Lord which church survives and which waste away. Maybe it’s up to the people. Can the church survive a sinful society? Can the people resist the forces of darkness; demonic spirits and spiritual oppression? Will we become divided by ethnicity, politics, or outside influences? Will the church remain focused and unified in a world that boasts of individualism, subjectivism, and private faith?

All of these questions bring weight to the words of Jesus: Matthew 24:13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

The devastation of division and the blessing of unity seem to be borne from the same root. It comes from a conscious decision of the people. Trouble, distress, or other external things are not the reason for the expiration of a congregation. We make the decision to be The Church and remain in one accord. If we will not grow weary in well dong; if we remain vigilant and consistent, there will be sustainability and growth. The choice is ours.

Otherwise, someone may very well be taking pictures of a place where revivals were once held and miracles, signs, and wonders used to take place. And all the cascading waters will not be able to cover the church that once was.

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

“In the last days…”

“In the last days…” These words seemed so far away from us just a few months ago. Today, we are watching a demonstration of how the Mark of the Beast will be implemented. We once wondered how people would accept the “mark” of the beast. Yet today the path is clear:  It will be “for our own good and for the good of others.”

Mass consciousness simply means that the greater majority of people believe in a particular thought. The result of this “thought” is more than just a coercive nudge by the majority. It is a demand to submit to the “thought.” When the majority rules or makes demands, the republic ceases to exist. Perhaps the last great barrier between the antichrist and religious freedom has been crossed. As Christianity becomes more diluted, the pathway to a One World Church is clear.

The times have rapidly changed thus fulfilling the Word. 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: This shift in times is melding the world, which will in turn usher in the antichrist, 2 Thessalonians 2:3  Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;  2 Thessalonians 2:4  Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.

Think of it! Born Again believers will fall away! People will backslide and walk away from truth. They will abandon what was first delivered to the saints! Then the antichrist will rise and rule the world. He will demand obedience:  Revelation 13:17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

Instead of reaching for the lost and serving in the church, there are groups of people entangled with emotional pursuits and career ambitions. There is a host of trivial conversations taking place which lead us away from our purpose of teaching the Gospel! It’s akin to a group of people standing on the deck of the sinking Titanic complaining about the food. We are at the end. It’s time to put away menial endeavors and become focused on prayer, praise, worship, giving, and Bible study. The Kingdom is all that matters!

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole