Bunker Hill

Who would have thought that a loss would be the catalyst for a victory? That is what happened in a place called Breed’s Hill, more commonly known as the Battle of Bunker Hill. The colonists lost, but it propelled them to a greater triumph. Their momentary defeat gave them confidence to win the war.

The colonists fell in defeat, but they proved that the British were not invincible. The British general, Howell, saw the passion of the colonists and he said that they had done more work in one night than his whole army had done in a month. The colonist had built a 6ft high dirt wall and used it to protect their knoll.

The British fired cannons at the wall from their ships and then marched up the hill only to be slain by the masses. The colonists were told, “Don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes.”

In the end, the colonists lost, but they killed 226 British soldiers and wounded 828. It was a defeat that gave them confidence that they could defeat the enemy.

Confidence is a curious thing. Its fibers are not always made up of trophies and finish lines. Immediate success is not always the firm ground where life is built.

In fact, trouble is often the ingredient that produces patience, long-suffering, kindness, and the attributes of Jesus Christ. Even defeat, as devastating at it might be, teaches far more than our cumulative successes. A mistake provokes an apology – humility is borne out of repentance. A misstep helps us to reevaluate our journey.

The early church was grounded by tribulation and it became the birthing place of prayer. The Gospel’s cost drove them to recognize its value.

There is a Bunker Hill in the lives of men and women. It’s the place where your temporary defeat becomes the foundation of your confidence in God. It’s the proving ground where your faith leads you toward greater victory. Rejoice not against me O my enemy for when I fall I shall arise… Micah 7:8

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

Atmosphere …

Atmosphere is more than just what surrounds the earth’s firmament. It’s also that intangible ambiance, feeling, or mood that exists in a room or some fixed location. I’ve felt it the moment I walked in to my pastor’s home many years ago. Sister Stark greeted us with open arms and a warm smile. We felt peace and love, because their house was filled with prayer and devotion.

David announced his desire to dwell in the house of the Lord “all the days of my life.” Even though his palace was offered with luxuries and convenience, David desired to be in the Presence more than any other place. He loved the atmosphere where the Lord was worshiped. Solomon saw it when he completed the Temple. The Cloud entered and he said, “the heaven’s cannot contain the Lord, how much less this house that I have built!” Jesus set the atmosphere the moment He stepped into this world. His presence was known to both believer and unbeliever. Even the demons felt the power of the incarnate God.

The world knows this fact. Bars and drinking establishments understand this concept. From the lights to the music to the placement of tables, atmosphere speaks to the condition of the stronghold. Amusement parks follow a similar pattern with aromas of popcorn and cotton candy. There is an aura in every place we enter. The spirit of the place or the spirit of the person permeates the room wherever it may be.

To that end, we look to the Word, which declares that the Lord inhabits the praises of His people. While many have tried to add to that phrase; waxing long in description and finding nuggets that do not exist, the simple truth is that praise allows the Lord a place to dwell. Praise sets the atmosphere where His holiness and goodness can take up residence. When we bring our worship, i.e., sacrifice to the Lord, there is a furthering of His available favor. Worship sets the tone for the miraculous.

Powerful, life-changing church services hinge on the atmosphere we set that allows the Lord to be Who He already is. Prayer, praise, worship, and the preached Word are all elements that must surround the firmament of this house. When we come with expectation that He is able and willing to do what only He can do, we will see Him in all of His glory.

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

“Freedom”

The King James Bible uses the word “freedom” once in the New Testament. The scene is painted with a careful brush as Paul states his case for life and consideration according to the law of the land. The Roman Empire had extended it’s mighty hand across the globe; building aqueducts, bridges, and a transit system unmatched before its time. Rome was the conquering nation causing people far and wide to walk tentatively, bound by Caesar’s rule.

A Jew was the lowest class, even in Israel. Rome used Jews to exercise authority among their own. However, to be a Roman citizen was the ultimate pursuit. Nations could buy Roman citizenship, but the price was costly and almost always out of reach. A man could serve in the Roman army to gain citizenship, but those who served were placed on the front line and subject to certain death.

Paul was about to be treated like the Jew he was, until he declared himself to be a Roman citizen also. Suddenly, the attending centurion stopped and told the chief captain, Acts 22:26 “Take heed what thou doest: for this man is a Roman.”

They knew the value and privilege placed on Roman citizens. Tully even extolled, “Verres, O nomen dulce libertatis, O jus eximium nostrae civitatis! O lex Porcia! O leges Semproniae; facinus est vincere Romanum civem, scelus verberare.” i.e., “O Liberty! I love thy charming name; and these our Porcian and Sempronian laws, how admirable! It is a crime to bind a Roman citizen, but an unpardonable one to beat him.“

The chief captain had bought his freedom, but Paul said, “I was born free.” Paul’s parents paid the price and thus Paul entered this world with a Jewish heritage and the rights of Rome. It was the very best of both worlds.

I was born into the greatest country the world has ever known. Freedom and liberty was my birthright, because America is my homeland. While millions have yearned to taste the fruit of liberty, America has given me the opportunity to choose my own words, religion, thought, and plight. Men and woman paid a great price to offer me such things too lofty to explain.

However, I have another freedom and that afforded by the Church, the Blood, and the Name of Jesus Christ. I have been born into the Household of Faith and I have a heavenly home. It is the very best of both worlds. Having recognized this position, we have an awesome responsibility to exercise our natural freedom to preach the spiritual freedom found in Jesus. I believe this to be the call of our lives and the purpose of our time.

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

I must be saved …

Perhaps to know the purpose of any one thing is key to understanding it. If we are absent or unknowing of the purpose we might also be absent of the meaning. In light of this premise, it is easy to see how Jesus has been misunderstood and misused over the years. I wonder how many think of Jesus as the “fixer” of their problems instead of the Savior of their souls? How many consider Him as the One who solves their current issues, but fail to see Him as their Redemption and Hope?

The purpose of Jesus was never more in question than it was in Matthew 9.
A sick man is lying on a bed. His illness has obviously crippled his movement. As soon as Jesus saw him, He said unto him, Matthew 9:2 “Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.” It is quite apparent that the Lord would have moved on had it not been for certain of the scribes who murmured at His statement. They said, “this man blasphemes.” Jesus knew what they were thinking and said to them, “what is easier, saying ‘thy sins are forgiven; or ‘arise and walk?”

Now comes the grand finale. Jesus said, “I’m going to heal this man just so all of you will know that I have the power to forgive sins.” In a swift motion, the Lord established His earthly purpose. He came to redeem mankind from the bonds of sin. He came to pay the price that sin demanded. His purpose was the Cross and Golgotha’s Hill. Healing was a byproduct of His goodness and compassion, but redemption was His purpose.

I want there to be healings and miracles among the people of God. I believe that He can remove every sickness and disease from our physical bodies. However, the healing of the soul is far greater than the mending of the body. We will all die. It is an appointment that everyone will keep. The soul will live forever and that part needs to hear the words of the Savior, “Thy sins are forgiven.”

While I am grateful for a healing in my physical body, it means nothing if I am still lost and blind. If every disease is removed and every ailment mended, I am still undone unless my sins are washed away. His purpose was to “Seek and to Save that which was lost.” He came to be The Sacrificial Lamb, the atonement for our sin. He came to pay the price and offer Himself a ransom for the world.

I want to be healed, but I must be saved.

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

Build the Temple

In consideration of a tribute to my own father, I am reminded of David’s direction to his son Solomon concerning a permanent house for the Lord. Though there were many accomplishments in David’s life, his great desire was to build a temple for God. The enemies of Israel were defeated; giants fell; the nation’s economy was secured; the kingdom was subdued. David set up a government of peace where even the prophets and priests were welcomed. The scripture details David’s great passion for singing and dancing. Worship in all forms set the precedent in the most beautiful way.

Yet the Temple was his main focus though David would not live to see it come to pass. That task was given to his son Solomon, who built a glorious temple. However, I submit that one would not have occurred without the other: Solomon built what David saw. Solomon completed the vision of his father. They worked in tandem to offer God something of enduring value.

The attributes and actions of David are that of my own father. Dad was and is a worshiper. He danced on regular occasions. He sang and led songs continually while we were growing up. In fact, his singing always made it’s way into our church services. My father’s great desire was always centered around building a church for the sake of the Lord. In those early years of his ministry, dad promoted a revival church where miracles, signs, and wonders occurred. The outpouring of the Holy Ghost and baptisms in Jesus’ name were the high priority. And finally, Worship and the Word became the blueprints of everything we did.

Dad fought many battles and when he retired, he left me and my siblings something greater than gold. He left us a vision of the House of God. This house, New Life Fellowship, is based upon that vision filled with singing, dancing, worship, and giving. This house hosts baptisms in Jesus’ name and the outpouring of the Holy Ghost; miracles of healings of all sorts; healthy families and lives and so much more. We are a generational church positioned for revival.

This is the heritage of my father, or as the scripture said, 1 Kings 7:51 So was ended all the work that king Solomon made for the house of the LORD. And Solomon brought in the things which David his father had dedicated; even the silver, and the gold, and the vessels, did he put among the treasures of the house of the LORD.

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

Where are the Jeremiahs?

It is said that Jeremiah prayed so much his knees were like camel’s knees. He was known as the weeping prophet, always interceding on behalf of the people of Israel. For 40 years, he served though few listened to him. In the natural world, Jeremiah was a failure. He was poor; thrown into prison; rejected by his friends and family; and stood alone declaring God’s message. There were no accolades given to him. However, in God’s eyes, he was one of the most successful men in human history.

The difference in a macro sense was Jeremiah’s world view. He did not see life in a temporal way. Jeremiah was more concerned with pleasing God than having friends. His strength was spent on an eternal mission irrespective of the cost to his person. He was a true prophet who stood for a holy God.

World views have shifted over the last few years. Our governmental leaders and business organizations have a view that demotes anything holy or godly. People are concerned about being accepted by the world and our secular culture. There is an all-out assault on godliness and moral absolutes.

Unfortunately, there are a significant amount of Christians who have chosen to blend in with the world rather than take a stand for the scripture. Even prayers are now offered with the intention of leaving out the name of Jesus at the end. This way there is no push back or criticism for being an exclusivist. Praise and worship is being redefined so that no one is offended or made to feel left out. Songs are being written that talk more about us than about Him. Worship is being promoted as a way to heal yourself; talk about yourself; and get connected with the inner you. I tell you that this modern religious world view is unsettling and far from God.

I ask you, where are the Jeremiahs? Where are the people who would rather please God and speak truth than to be welcomed by people with vain philosophies? David once said, “I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.” He said that he would rather serve in an isolated place, with little recognition in God’s house than to be given high honor in a worldly environment.

I write because God is coming for a “Called-Out” bride. He’s coming back for a church that is unspotted by the world and its carnal agenda. He’s looking for a people who live their entire lives wrapped around His purpose and His mission. And I say to all who can hear it, the Bible is the only truth in this world and His name is the only name that can save.

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

to struggle or fight …

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.

In context, the word contend means “to struggle or fight.” It is both a defensive and offensive position. Contend means to grapple, or to argue on behalf of something. Jude is using all of the above when he commands us to “contend for the faith.” Nevertheless, Jude’s command is not merely subjective. We are to contend for the faith “which was once delivered to the saints,” implying to fight for the already established Word.

To keep the faith often requires a struggle. Standing up for the Bible’s commands necessitates action: some defensive, some offensive. The name of Jesus itself will make a demand on us as Jesus said we would be hated of all nations for His name’s sake. The Bible might in fact cost you friendships. It might alienate you from others in ways you cannot imagine. Standing for what is right, whether it be His name, the Gospel, or any other part of the Bible, will come at a cost! Defending what is wholesome will not garnish a reception from those who oppose it.

I wonder how many have walked away from a conversation they knew was wrong? How many have stood up and said “No” to accusations against the brethren; wrong conduct; or carnality even at the risk of losing a relationship? How many have refused to watch something because it was sinful?

My concern is that contenders are few and compromisers are many. Compromising is simply diluting truth for the sake of acceptance. Compromisers will not speak up or stand up because they don’t want to stir up the ire of the backbiter or the falsehood. Some will not defend holiness because they don’t want to be shunned or shut out. Others even invite poisonous concepts into their thinking rather than making a wave and losing a friend.

However, I submit that we must become Contenders: aggressive, bold, and courageous. We must stand up for each other and for the doctrine of Jesus Christ. We must defend and promote the church and the tenets of our faith. It is time for us to use our voice and to pronounce ourselves. Standing for truth today is not complicated; it’s just rare. Standing for what is right has never been popular, but it is the only thing that matters. The Scripture is the basis of our faith, because it comes from the Author and Finisher of our Faith. And to that end I ask you; Are you contending?

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

Business As Usual

The economy seems to be doing well these days. In the world of real estate they say it is a seller’s market. Precious metals are holding steady. People are building, buying, partying, playing, and the list goes on. Regarding religions and worldliness, there are both perversions and purities depending on which side you live. I suppose that it’s Business As Usual.

Business as usual is the interpretation that most give to the words of Jesus found in Luke 17:28, “Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded.”

People were going about the daily duties of life. They were living from paycheck to paycheck; vacation to vacation; putting in time and enjoying the accumulation of things. Sin, of course, was the order of the day as they followed the whims of their carnal nature. It was all typical until the day that Lot left Sodom. Jesus made a comparison in verse 30: “the world will be going about their lives. It will be business as usual right up until the day, the moment, when the Messiah returns.”

Jesus said that right before His coming there will be an unawareness. Few will be watching for His return. Many will be engrossed in their daily grind and chores; filled up with personal ambitions and goals. Politics and entertainment will fill every empty moment of the day. Making money and paying bills will dominate the thoughts of people. Getting over the next hurdle; a birthday party; a deadline to make; an interview to prepare for… life will consume the mind of believers and sinners alike.

It will all be the same as the day before UNTIL the Trumpet sounds and Jesus is revealed. Then everything will stop. The change that is coming will be so profound that nothing else will matter. The entire world will shift in a single second of time. It will be so extreme and overwhelming that no one will be able to explain it or dismiss it. All that is typical will be transformed into abnormal. The Righteous will be gone and their preserving power will be removed. Like a rotting meat, society will instantly begin to decay. The Church is the Salt of the Earth and when that preserving salt is taken away, the world will abruptly devolve into chaos and confusion.

I write to say: Be sober, be vigilant. Don’t allow the cares of this world or Business As Usual cloud the soon coming of the Lord. Flee the lusts of the flesh. Find friends that love truth and reject anyone who leads you away from commitment and consecration. Stay faithful to the House of the Lord. Finally, give away what you cannot keep to gain what you cannot lose.

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

What Did Jesus Do

There may not be much conflict among the greater Christian population, but I’ve never personally been interested with the WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?) Campaign. Having watched the devaluation of holy things and holiness in our society, it seems odd to superimpose the Savior onto automobiles, foods, and houses. The WWJD crowd went from asking about His nature to His preferences, e.g., “what would Jesus drive?” or “what would Jesus eat (meat? dolphin?)” or “what would Jesus wear?”

These speculations have clouded our intent to be like Him. I would rather ask, “What Did Jesus Do?” and “What Did Jesus Say?” The beautiful part of these questions is that they don’t call for opinion or hypothesis. They don’t depend on cultural settings or the outcome of a religious focus group. The Bible tells us exactly what He did and exactly what He said. Matthew 9:35 And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.

Jesus went about doing good. He loved people; rebuked the self-righteous; and commanded us to be born again of the water and the Spirit (John 3). Jesus fellowshipped with the low class and the high class. He was a friend to the friendless and was the self-proclaimed Door of Heaven. He made bold statements to repent or perish. He prophesied of the end of the world and ordained a Church that the gates of Hell could not penetrate. Jesus loved people from every walk of life and He promoted His Kingdom above all other things.

The amount of scripture devoted to Him in both testaments is so rich there is no need to reinterpret Him. He needs no explanation, just an introduction. A few Greek men revealed this in John 12. They came to a festival and approached Philip saying, “Sir, we would see Jesus.” John 12:21, i.e., “Don’t tell us what you think about Him. Just lead us to Him.”

They were not there for a social event. They were not interested in a commentary or opinion about what He might do. They simply wanted to see the Master, Teacher, and Healer for themselves. In doing so, they removed speculation and found out Who He was.

I cannot tell you what kind of car He might drive if He lived on earth today. Who knows what His recycling habits might be or what type of food He might eat. What I do know is what He did. He came to build a church. He came to set the captives free. He gave liberty to them, which were bound. He was the Perfect Lamb of God sent to take away the sins of the world. I’m after His nature, not a presumption.

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

Protect the Promise

The first chapter of Exodus seems so far away. The world was in chaos. Spiritual leadership had been drowned out by the plethora of lifeless gods. Egypt was both a powerful economy and a hedonistic civilization. The leaders of Egypt had forgotten the blessing of Joseph and were now firmly set against anything that might include Yahweh. The people of God had been marginalized and then enslaved. There was all-out oppression toward anyone who might confess their beliefs in the God of Israel. In light of all of it, I suppose that maybe the commencement of Exodus is not so far removed from us.

The second chapter, however, features the heart of Jochebed, the mother of Moses. If for a moment, I wish we could forget about the Red Sea-parting Moses or the Rock-striking Moses. He was none of those things when Jochebed decided to save him. He was a baby with an unknown future, born into a whirlwind of confusion and death. The Nile had already boasted of a human graveyard to thousands. Pharaoh was moved by fear and hate, resulting in the murder of the Hebrew male offspring. It was a dangerous time to have a son.

Nevertheless, Jochebed decided that Moses was worth the cost of her own life, even though she had no knowledge of his future. Moses would become Israel’s greatest leader. He would communicate with God in a way unknown to common man. Even God would one day say, “I speak to others in visions, but to Moses I speak face to face.” Yet Jochebed knew none of it. She wasn’t saving the future leader of Israel. She was just saving his potential. She wasn’t preserving a prophet; she was preserving the possibility of the anointing.

We cannot always predict what the future may hold, but we can preserve the potential. The Church is the mother of us all and it is incumbent upon us to protect the future of each other. God is not finished with us yet and that is enough for each of us to show mercy and grace upon one another. Our potential is the thing held in the balance. The possibility of a great revival; tangible miracles; blessings of every kind are all held in that realm of potential.

The heart of a mother knows what I speak of when I say, “We must Protect the Promise.” Who knows that what we build through mercy, grace, kindness, and love might actually save the one who will lead us into a mighty promise land.

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole