… living this Holy life …

Perhaps Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe do not strike a cord in our memory. These cities hosted numerous miracles occurring via Paul, Barnabas, Luke, and the apostles. Yet, in each place the miraculous signs were not greeted with joy by all who witnessed them. The unbelieving Jews of the synagogue, the Pharisees, and men of the mystics were angry with the healings that took place. In each of these places, the Bible says that the disciples “escaped” from being stoned. Can you imagine? Doing good resulted in death threats insomuch that they had to run for their lives.

Jesus found Himself at these same crossroads of jealousy and religious preservation. The Pharisees hated His miracle power. They called Him Beelzebub or a sinner. They even claimed that He performed the wonders through the power of the devil. The business men of Gadarea in Mark chapter 5 asked Jesus to leave their city even though He had delivered the possessed man from a legion of demons. The very maniac who made their lives miserable was sitting, clothed, and in his right mind, but the cost of his healing outweighed their desire for the presence of the Healer.

If the response of the crowd dictated our Gospel message, we might never preach again. If we were hoping for acceptance by the world’s standards, we would never engage in this spiritual journey. I caution you, do not think that you will be received just because you love the Lord. Don’t buy into that false nothing that doing good or helping people escape a life of addiction or turmoil will garnish the approval of carnally minded people. Darkness does not want the Light to invade its space. If the disciples based their prayers and preaching on the affirmation of the crowd, nothing would have been done.

It might even be said that opposition itself is positive proof that you are on the right track. While I would not prescribe that filter in every situation, it is true that the godly steps we take will find resistance from the devil and the world. This might have always been true, and yet, I am confident in this: From here on out, living this Holy life; teaching the scriptural plan of salvation; and taking a stand for Biblical Truth will come at a cost. We will not be accepted.

Ultimately, our response to this call of God upon our lives reflects the answer that Peter and John gave when they had to give an account for the healing of the lame man. Acts 4:19 But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

“I will build my church”

Matthew 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

When Jesus spoke these words to Peter there was no doubt as to both ownership and eventuality of the coming Church. Jesus was going to build His Church and He was the Rock. While Peter played a role in preaching the first sermon on the Day of Pentecost, the Church belonged to the Lord.

Throughout the coming days, Peter would struggle with the preordained death of Jesus Christ. He had no comprehension of the significance of the Cross until Jesus rose from the grave. The birth of the Church, however, was not contingent upon Peter’s understanding. He was but an instrument in the Hands of the Master.

If time has taught us anything, it has shown us that the Church belongs to the Lord and that we are privileged to be a part of it. The Lord would love to use us for His glory, as He so desired with the Jews in the days of the apostles. However, when the Jewish people rejected Jesus, a new door opened in the house of a Gentile. And why? Because God will have a Church. There will be a Church. With or without us, He has proclaimed that upon the Rock, “I will build my church.”

To think the Kingdom rests on any one person is the height of human arrogance. God will use us if we are obedient, but if not, He will find someone. The troubling thought here is that some believe the church cannot survive without their talents, money, or presence.

Jesus refuted that notion when He said, “if these do not praise me, the rocks will cry out.” He will have praise and there will be a church. His Church is not contingent on my ability, talent, or attendance. He will have a church. He is not waiting on me to join; rather, I am thankful to be a part.

At best, we are the grafted in branch. The parable of Jesus clearly indicated that if the invited guest will not attend, He will find someone to sit at His table. There will be a Church.

I write about The Ordained, Unshakable, Unmovable, Predestined Church of the Most High God. The Church that I speak of is greater than a finite geographical location. It has spanned the ages of time and it shall be the Bride of Christ at the close of this dispensation.

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

Speak

It happened in a nondescript field somewhere just beyond Juno Beach. With more than 150,000 troops landing on the Normandy coastline, it would have been easy to miss a few men here and there. Soldiers stumbled over their fallen brothers as they made their way into the occupied zone. One foot at a time, they took back control from the entrenched Germans. Soldiers made their way into the open fields to fight the occupied forces. A few of them, barely past their 19th birthday, breathed their last breath as they were caught in a sudden crossfire. They fought briefly, but they fought. The liberation of the world was said to rest on that overcast day of June 6th. It was the principal aim of the Allied forces, but it came at the greatest costs. Freedom always comes with a cost.

We are living in the blessing of a “post” era. While our educational institutions routinely abandon historical facts, it should be noted that the sacrifices of our military men and women have allowed us the freedom we enjoy. Every protest, sit-in, and march is made possible by those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. The irony of kneeling or burning the Flag is protected by construct of the Flag itself. Free speech, which is under attack, has been afforded to us, not by Congress or convention, but by those who fought and died.

It should be noted that fighting for ourselves is very different than defending the freedom of another. Personal prayer and intercession follow suit. It is far easier to seek for our own need. In like fashion, protecting the homeland and defending another is rarely seen in the same way. The greater challenge is to stand up for people who are unable to stand up for themselves. We pause today to honor those who gave themselves for the cause of humanity, not just for the homeland.

For those who denounce such burden, perhaps we should consider the words of Martin Niemöller. Though born in Germany, Niemöller challenged the actions of his own country. He eventually emerged as a critic of Hitler which resulted in living out his life in a prison camp.

He said: “First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionists. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me.”

That field beyond Juno’s beach may be silent today, but those who died there still speak. The echo can be heard if we seek to hear.

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

… come in the wait …

The Construct of Impulsivity may seem like a lofty word, but the reality of it is quite basic. Behavioral science has spent years researching impulsive natures in regards to motor functions and rash responses. The advertisement/product world has relied upon this research in the study of consumer spending habits. In a broader view, emotional decisions are being made everyday in relationships, jobs, and church affiliation that often lead to regret. Marriages are taking place with almost no forethought. Large purchases are made without considering the ongoing cost. Movements are taking place with the promise of something better, many of which never materialize. The impulsive nature of mankind has been an affliction since the beginning.

Our problem is that we spend too little time inquiring of the Lord. Constraint is not a popular subject and prayerful consideration is a lost art. Many listen to friends’ advice, but never hear the Voice of the Lord. They rely upon their need instead of God’s direction. To seek God seems like a foreign subject to the modern believer. I grieve to think of how many times such choices are made: Tables filled with sympathetic counsel while prayer rooms remain empty.

Jehoshaphat showcased the need for a Word from the Lord. He could have joined the battle with his well-equipped army, but he knew that human ability could never supplant spiritual counsel. His question was profound: 1 Kings 22:7 “Is there not here a prophet of the LORD besides, that we might inquire of him?”

The nation of Israel had already established the need for the Voice of God. 1 Samuel 9:9 Beforetime in Israel, when a man went to inquire of God, thus he spake, Come, and let us go to the seer: for he that is now called a Prophet…” Even David, when he pondered the highest priorities of life, sought to inquire in the Lord’s temple (Psalms 27:4). He said, “One thing have I desired…”

The answers that come from God do not always come in a single moment of time. Sometimes they come in the wait. Sometimes they come in the seeking. Instead of our impulsive natures ruling our lives, we should be seeking the Voice of God which comes through contemplation, prayer, and time. Life decisions should never be made without prayer and fasting.

And for those who do pray, let it be known that prayer is not a one way street. We speak and then we wait for God to answer. Prayer is not a tool to get what we want. Rather it is a petition to be offered and then an open-ended offering for God to reply when He so chooses, any way He chooses. I submit the Scripture as the benchmark for our lives:

Luke 21:19 In your patience possess ye your souls.

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

Whispers and shadows … the sum of our lives

I was young the first time I heard a choir sing, “Only What You Do For Christ Will Last.” The song invaded my ambitions; most of which did not include preaching. The prevailing thought among my peers was to make our mark. Tangible success was the goal. The lyric became a roadblock to those ambitious ideas. Being a part of the Kingdom was all that mattered. Not notoriety or position.

Justus did not win the casted lot in Acts chapter 1. Matthias won and it was he who took the seat of Judas Iscariot. History records Justus as a disciple long after the first chapter. Jonathan was credited with defeating a garrison of Philistines, but his unarmed and critical armor bearer was never mentioned by name. The identity of most of the disciples are lost in the annals of time; we do not know their stories or their exploits. Their lives were about the Call and the Kingdom.

There is a picture taken in the mid-1900’s of men in White Way Tabernacle. They were Apostolic intellectual giants. They were young, many still in their mid 30’s and 40’s. Their names are unfamiliar to most of us. I only know a few of them. Their stories are profound and their faith and work still ripple through time. Whispers and shadows is all that is left. Those men established the Apostolic structure used today. So much of our directives have come from them. One hundred years from now we will all be hidden in the same frame. Our names will fade – only what we do for Christ will last.

People spend their lives building homes, careers, businesses, and experiences. We are often consumed with the things of this life. I do not fault us for being temporal; it is the common human flaw. However, I write in pursuit of something beyond inheritances and personal achievements. I write with the Kingdom in mind. Maybe our names will be forgotten; our faces a blur to those who come after us, but I pray that we will leave a sure foundation that the next generation of believers can stand upon. I pray that we would make Kingdom work; Kingdom giving; teaching the Gospel; and prayer our main priorities. And in the end, if the sum of our lives fade into oblivion, so be it… just let Kingdom prevail.

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

Giving Mom

The prevailing thought of motherhood has taken some odd turns in the last few decades. While the traditional definition still holds true, current culture has included a host of other descriptions that are far from the original, biblical model. These distorted views have caused a disruption regarding the call of God in the lives of many would-be ministers.

In some circles, the Giving Mom has been limited to the work, time, and energy given on behalf of her children. We see her as the selfless one cooking, cleaning, and working long hours without complaint. This description is the common view of the Giving Mom.

The Bible will offer us a deeper view of the Giving Mom which deviates from the modern thought. The Book of Samuel describes such a mother. Hannah was not known for what she gave to her son or what she did for him, but more so because she gave him to the work of the Temple. This “giving mother” gave her son away for the sake of the Kingdom.

I submit that our society’s concept of a giving mother entails the aforementioned tangibles without any consideration of the call of God. Perhaps many parents are more concerned with keeping their children rather than offering them. Our Apostolic founders trained their sons and daughters to pursue the work of the ministry. They thought of the Kingdom first and family second. It was always about The Call of God. While there was geographical separation and sacrifices, the work of the Kingdom came first.

The more modern pentecostal parent often seeks to keep their family; the giving of them is rarely mentioned. The result is a lack of missionaries, pastors, and evangelists. The result is an empty harvest. Had Hannah thought this way, Samuel would have never entered the Temple and the kings would have never heard his guiding voice or felt his anointing oil. Hannah was the ultimate Giving Mom. Her gift allowed the nation of Israel to find their spiritual footing.

The example of Hannah aught not be unique, but because so many have shifted away from the Biblical model, her actions are now profound. If we return to the scriptural path we must note that the spiritually-minded Giving Mom thinks Kingdom first. While this word might be foreign to some, it is critical to the ongoing effort of the Great Commission and the final days of time. To this end, Giving Moms are still in high demand.

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

Disciplines of a Godly Home

It happened in a season when kings would go off to war. Perhaps the trophies and treasures of past victories had spoiled David’s desire to lead his army into yet another battle. Instead, David remained in Jerusalem while his faithful men journeyed to confront the enemy.

A series of missteps and broken roadblocks led this passionate king to move outside of his God-appointment. David wandered aimlessly atop his palace where temptation took the lead. The tragedy of his undisciplined life resulted in adultery, murder, the death of a son, a fractured kingdom, and a pointing prophet. Like the falling of dominoes, we do not know where the boundary-less life might lead. The disciplines of a godly life have not changed since that day. It has always featured limitations that even kings must obey.

I present these godly disciplines which entail the elements of routine, conversation, order, and adherence to a law higher than the individual. A godly home and a disciplined life can be achieved, but as we have discovered, a purging must occur.

The infiltration of worldliness has been an infection in many Apostolic homes. It has turned comfort into chaos. The unstructured home has a difficult time instituting Biblical principles because the Scripture has little room to take root and grow.

Daily duties, howbeit mundane, lead us to a peaceful environment. When home-life is erratic or unstructured, temptation takes the lead. We become bound by the limitless life which in turn leads us away from contentment in the Holy Ghost.

2 Timothy 1:7 “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

Perhaps a predictable life that features daily Bible time; daily prayer; and a host of other orderly customs is the way to develop a strong family and a clear conscious. I am calling for us to return to the Simple Life. I submit that God time, Corporate worship, and Family structure are the necessary elements found in the Disciplines of a Godly Home.

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

CORE: These Two

Peeling away the outer layers of almost any subject, it is most likely you will discover the motive or the reason. Within this thought resides “The Heart of the Matter” or The Core.

Ishmael was born because of Abraham’s root problem of patience and trust. David’s issue came about through lust and displacement; Saul fell through pride. All were exposed when they dismissed their Core Principles and God’s directives.

The healing of the nation comes about through a return to the Law of the Lord. Psalms 33:12 “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD.” The world looks to governments or prominent leaders. Celebrities of all kinds join the ranks of misguided voices. These groups are in constant pursuit of influence and power.

Yet, the Core lies within the family and the Church. At the center of both of those God-given institutions is the relationship of husband and wife; parents and children. “These Two” constitute the family, which is the basic building block of all societies. When the family is disjointed or emotionally unhealthy, all other aspects are the same. If the family is spiritually weak, the Church is spiritually weak. Ultimately, the nation is a reflection of the condition of “These Two.”

If you will notice the ‘spirit of the age’ you will see an attack against the home and the marriage. Definitions are being rewritten; roles of fathers, mothers, and children are being redefined; and image has usurped substance. Of the myriad of deficits lies disrespect which is derived from improper boundaries and the absence of limitations.

We begin today in the Garden of Eden which was God’s original design. Within the framework of God’s first order lies the answers, though not complex, for our lives. Our continual issues and subsequent answers can all be found in the scripture.

Paul said that 2 Timothy 3:15 “…the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”

1 Corinthians 10:11-13 “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

‘spirit of the age’

This may be bold, but it is apparent that the ‘spirit of the age’ has infected a host of Pentecostal homes. The root of the matter lies in what is called postmodernism. The thought here is subjectivism. Israel experienced this calamity: Judges 17:6 “every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” Many are developing the fleshly habit of thinking scripture and spiritual authority can be negotiated based on the circumstance. The end of that road is the exclusion of biblical doctrines. We were once emphatic that there was only One Lord, One Faith, and One Baptism (Ephesians 4:5), but now, some believe there to be allowances of varying degrees based on understanding. Yet, these allowances have eroded the Bible’s plan of salvation as well as a host of other necessary directives.

It was about a year ago that the U.S. Senate convened to questioned a Supreme Court Justice nominee. Within those hours of query, there arose this statement, “her truth” meaning, what she believed to be true. Truth became an individual matter; a personalized feeling rather than a settled fact. “Her truth” or “his truth” has now entered our grammar as a common reply to any subject.

Because of this postmodern thought, sin has been redefined as a personal preference or commonly accepted norm. It is one thing for the carnal mind to excuse such behavior, but the issue resides in the lives of the believer. This leads me to the question, “What does it mean to be a believer?” I thought that a believer was first obedient to the already established-forever settled Word. Proverbs 30:5 “Every word of God is pure.” Luke 4:4 “It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.”

While I cannot convince the hardened heart by a simple writing, it is incumbent on me to say: Sin is not subjective. There is no such thing as “personal truth.” A believer is someone who follows the Bible and not the ideas of an ever-shifting society. Cultural ideologies, if outside the boundaries of holiness and regardless of how many people find them appealing, will lead to eternal judgement.

While we reach for the lost, we must not dismiss the practices that have brought us to this point. The Church must remain The Church. We are called to be a holy nation and a royal priesthood. We are not called to blend in with the precepts of people whose destinies are of destruction. Light reproves the darkness. It does not conform to it. Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

Balance

In respect to the time, it is apparent that our western culture has seen its most violent shifts in the last few years. Governments, debt, divorce, crime, and a host of other factors make our generation a stark contrast to those before us. The American way of life has become disheveled. While there is a difference between the saint and the sinner, I have found that what exists in everyday life often makes its way into the mindset of the Church Body.

One of the issues is that of Balance – I am not speaking of a steady equilibrium. I speak of the equal scale of encouragement and correction; of giving and saving; of faith and works; of church involvement and family time. Our spiritual lives are often out of sync with the Spirit, because our natural lives have no room to hear Him. The early church balanced their gatherings by being present in the Temple and from house to house. They believed both were necessary as disciples of Jesus Christ.

Consider the critical substance of water. Oddly enough, drinking too much water can be deadly. Over-hydration occurs when a person drinks too much water. It’s called water intoxication or hyponatremia. In 2002, Boston Marathon runner, Cynthia Lucero died from drinking too much water as she threw her body out of balance thus losing the necessary chemicals to live.

Overindulgence of fun, entertainment, and media affects our spiritual health. Nonstop work with no Bible reading or prayer time might garnish more money, but it removes us from The Bread of Life. All of these things, if they are out of balance, cause the spiritual body to suffer. Time spent can never be recovered and when those hours are gone, they tell the story of our priorities and passion.

Jesus saw it in Israel – their striving for land, goods, and gain. He told them to seek first the Kingdom. He addressed the out-of-balanced religious sects concerning their indulgences. He said, Matthew 23:23 “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe… and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.”

Jesus presented Balance.

I urge you today to take note of your life. How do the scales read at the end of your day? And finally, what shall you answer when God asks you about the way you spent your life?

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole