“Counterculture”

To rehearse, “Counterculture” is simply any idea that opposes the culture. This concept has been widely panned by those who demand conformity to the philosophies of mass consciousness. However, the “resistance” has multiple sides. John wrote against embracing a worldly point of view: 1 John 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. The church is commanded not to conform to this world or the precepts of godless mandates. In every respect, the Apostolic Pentecostal Church is Counterculture!

However, there is another issue to address: Modern Church Culture. This particular idea is rooted in cultural relativism with tenets of subjectivism and human experiences. Modern Church Cultural-ism embraces lessons of grace, but rejects messages of holiness, i.e., worship without boundaries. It speaks of inclusion, while ignoring the words of Jesus: Mat 7:14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. The modern church parcels out the scripture to fit into a selective view. Yet, this type of theology is contrary to living a set apart life. Moreover, it leaves out the entirety of the Truth which leads to a fleshly lifestyle.

To this end, I submit Modern Church Counterculture. I rise against the modern church thought, which is secular in nature. The Bible is the inherent Word of God. Real Christianity is rooted in the exclusive Doctrine of Jesus Christ, which the Bible calls “The Apostle’s Doctrine.” It is neither validated by popularity or disqualified by the opinions of the majority. When Christians bow to secular beliefs, they are left with a diluted religion that appeals to the vain sensibilities of the American life and not to the scripture.

The Bible promotes self-sacrifice; self-denial; daily dying to the flesh; and being hid in Christ. All of these are contrary to the modern church. Furthermore, the apostles and prophets set the precedent for spiritual living, which was never measured by societal approval. Right and wrong; holy and corrupt… these are not subject to personal opinion.

Peter and John rebuffed the religious council, Acts 4:19-20 Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. Paul wrote: Galatians 1:10 For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.

We embrace a Holy God and the purity of the Scripture. It is the only thing that will lead to Eternal Life.

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

Unity

2 Thessalonians 2:1-3 “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. 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;”

Consider the two major subjects in 2 Thessalonians chapter 2. Paul writes of the antichrist; “the son of perdition.” The Lord shall consume the Wicked one with the spirit of His mouth.” The imagery is profound. The day of this moment is quickly approaching. Everything that exalts itself against God shall be torn down. There will be deception in the world with (vs 9) “signs and lying wonders.” It will be a cloudy mix, mirroring the wonders of God.

The subjects are clear: the antichrist and the saints. We see the antichrist from afar but soon he, the man of sin, will be revealed. While the first image is unsettling, the second is far more troubling to my spirit. Paul wrote of believers… (vs 3) “for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first.” Deception, sin, gossip, divisions, false doctrines, angst, and so much more are rising. The day of the Lord’s return is imminent! There will be a falling away and it will happen first.

In the most simplistic terms, people who believed themselves to be Christians will depart from the truth. There will be a dismantling through a “shakening.” Paul told us not to be shaken in mind, or be troubled by things we feel or words we read. His warning reveals that some will be shaken. They will be confused, disenchanted, and altogether separated from the Body; the church.

They will declare themselves saved, all the while living lost. They will justify themselves by their works, past, or internal feelings about God, but they will not be obedient to the written or preached Word or their God given authority. They will be consumed with political positions, offenses, and personal ambitions, while the Great Commission collects dust in their hearts.

The spirit of this age brings confusion and diversions. It speaks to the necessity of UNITY among the Body. The greatest priority is before us: Salvation for ourselves and for the lost. Everything else is immaterial. It is a waste, laid on the heap of human thinking. To be saved or lost is the only thing that matters or will matter. Not your friends or family. Not your job or money. Success or failures; offenses and afflictions; all these things will pale in the light of “the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him.”

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

Endure

The Bible’s own description of our final salvation is often overlooked for more lofty things. While Jesus was not dismissing His message of the Born Again experience found in John 3, Jesus made this overarching statement: Matthew 24:13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

Endurance is perseverance. It is keeping your head when chaos surrounds you. It is battling through hardships and bewilderment, all of which are now common to our walk of faith. While I hesitate to offer such words, knowing that some would find them adverse, it should be known that our nation has turned her back on God. Secularism and humanism now rule the day. Media, governments, and public educational systems aggressively attach the Church and the name of Jesus. This confrontation will not stop until the Lord returns. So if you are going to make it, you will have to ENDURE.

Perseverance is much more than tolerating something. Jesus was not submitting that we should “hang on” or scrape by until the end. Jesus was telling us to have resolve, determination, and “staying power.”

When I consider the words of the Lord, I am reminded of Paul’s admonition to Timothy: 2 Timothy 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

Paul was not talking about the sinner who never knew this Way called Holy. He was writing about believers who reject the boundaries of the scripture; of the exclusivity of the name of Jesus; and of righteous living. Paul wrote that people who were once saved will hire teachers who tell them what they want to hear and not what brings conviction. To that end, conviction is almost extinct. The modern Christian calls all things they do not agree with condemnation so as to remove themselves from the message.

Yet, those who believe in the infallible Word of God know that we must embrace strong preaching that convicts our flesh and brings us to an altar of repentance. In the end, only those who are embracing the unfettered Word will be able to stand. In the last days, our days, we must seek to crucify our flesh and run the race set before us, clinging to “faithful words” (Titus 1:9) so we may be able to reach the world with the

Gospel of Jesus Christ. I submit, Endure.

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

Inquire after the Lord

Just a single line of scripture details the end of Israel’s first king: 1 Chronicles 10:14 “And inquired not of the LORD:” While King Saul had every opportunity to find the Lord, his heart was divided and he did not seek after the Lord. Not only did he not pursue the missing Ark of the Covenant, but the bulk of his reign featured self-preservation and personal ambition. Maybe his position caused him to think that he was above submission to the prophet. Perhaps the scepter was too heavy in his hand: he held all the power . Whatever the cause, the end result was death and the loss the monarch.

Remember, Saul had been anointed. He was chosen and established. Yet, all of those initial elements, both coveted and precious, were not enough to overcome his independent spirit. Herein lies the fault line of those who have been called. The post-modern church saw the rise of self-sufficiency through material gain. Conveniences blanketed daily life as they made their way into the church. Real measures of sacrifice were removed as vain philosophies were propagated leading people to think that their gifts or positions removed them from submission and accountability. While our national independence is woven into the American mind, the state of spiritual autonomy has been our undoing.

Saul needed the voice of the prophet, but he rejected it. He needed to hear “thus sayeth the Lord” from an authority other than his own. He was not meant to be sovereign or self-determined. In the end, all those who join Saul will crumble. It is set in stone. The biblical account has declared it so: Hebrews 13:17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

I offer these words for your benefit. To ignore them would only lead us into humanistic thoughts cloaked as spiritual enlightenment (which it is not). At the end of it all… we must inquire after the Lord. His book allows us to do just that. The preached Word ushers us into the same. Therefore, I write to remind you to consider the need to inquire of the Lord. Of all the voices and things we pursue, nothing rises higher than to inquire of the Lord.

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

Endtime revival

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;”

Paul wrote prophetically concerning “the falling away” (apostasia, Gk). The translation is apostasy, meaning to stand away from or to be removed. Paul states that before the antichrist comes, believers will leave the truth. They will reject what they have been taught. This apostasia will be a marked difference in the lives of those who were once faithful.

Joel wrote about a great Endtime revival. He said that in the last days God would pour out His Spirit upon all flesh. Both of these prophecies are happening today. Africa and South America have seen great Holy Ghost revivals. Baptisms in Jesus Name are flourishing in China. The Philippines have also experienced a massive influx into the Apostolic doctrine. The Endtime Revival is happening around the world.

As world revivals are occurring, America is turning away from the Bible. The irony is seen as Christians reject biblical principles, even among Pentecostals there is a shaking. Many who once sought purity of living and biblical adherence have diluted their faith with worldly concepts and self-justification. Everything that can be shaken is being shaken. “Wedges” of all kinds are separating churches and families. Fear and politics; backbiting and position seekers… the list is long, but the result is the same. There is a falling away.

My admonition is to Keep the House… “If The House Be Lost.” Return to the teachings that have been delivered. Remove yourself from tables and conversations that wound your spirit and destroy your confidence. Keep Kingdom work in your mind; the Doctrine in your heart. Return to Philippians 4:8 “whatsoever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, are of good report …think on these things.” The only way to think on these things is to talk about these things. Kingdom words come from Kingdom thoughts. This is a law that cannot be changed.

In the end, there will only be two groups of people: Saved and lost. There will be those involved in the Endtime revival and those “standing away.” I am urging you to contend for the Faith that has been delivered. It is time.

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

Leading by Example

Within the famed speech by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. resides a single statement that has long been forgotten. He said that we should be judged on the content of the heart not on the outward appearance. Dr. King was speaking of character versus skin color.
However, it seems we have drifted far from this truth.

Solomon commanded us to, Proverbs 4:23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. The Bible often speaks of the matter of the heart; integrity and purity. The prophet Samuel toiled as he considered who would be anointed the next King of Israel. Samuel would have chosen Eliab because he looked the part. David did not fit the profile. In fact, David wore the attire of a shepherd and was the youngest of eight brothers.

Samuel saw Eliab, the eldest, and deemed him fit for the throne by birth order and stature. 1 Samuel 16:7 But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart. The heart is where we understand a person. No one is inherently good or evil by genetic code.

As millions pause to celebrate Dr. King’s life, I am concerned that they have rejected his message. Let it not be so with us. Our actions, words, and deeds matter. Jesus said that by our own words we are either condemned or justified. The Church must set the example for a superficial world. We represent a higher law and a deeper truth which is the basis of the New Birth experience found in John chapter 3. Paul said that “if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore, it is only by the Cross that we find our value. Birth order, stature, and countenance do not constitute salvation. We are chosen and set apart by the Blood of the Lamb. This is our message. The Gospel of Jesus Christ has changed our lives. We were not a people, but now we are the children of God. So if we are to be judged, let it be by the Cross of Calvary and our pursuit of Him Who died for our sins and gave us New Life!

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

Guard Your Memory

Oscar Wilde wrote, “Memory is the diary we all carry about with us.” The chorus who concur with Wilde have written the same. However, memory can be easily distorted. At times we remember what we want to be true, even though it is not. Some recall partial events from a perspective that doesn’t tell the real story. In more recent days we have seen historical revisionists. These are people who twist the annals of history to fit into their preconceived narrative or political opinion. Historians, which was once a noble profession, has become a cloudy mix of motivated activists.

This is nothing new. The Children of Israel said: Numbers 11:5-6 “We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and the garlic: But now our soul is dried away: there is nothing at all, beside this manna.”

The memory of the Children of Israel was a lie borne from their disgruntled spirit. They spoke of the “good life” before they followed Moses. They saw his leadership as inept and the food from Heaven unsatisfactory. Egypt was a land of torment. The people were slaves; living without freedom. And yet, after years of eating manna, they remembered things that never happened so they said, “it was better in bondage.”

If memory is the diary, then we must maintain its truth. Regardless of our struggles living for the Lord, the world is not better than the church. Lost in sin is not better than being found in the Lord. Even if the “manna” tastes the same, -same sermons and similar lessons – it will always be better than living bound by the elements of a godless society. Spiritually minded people understand the value of the church. Those who are carnally minded complain about the House of the Lord; the very place where the Word of Life is sown.

I caution you to guard your memory. While we are moving through these uncertain times, we must remember where God has brought us from. I urge you to recall the goodness of the Lord and the value of the church house for all it has brought to you. Do not rewrite the history of your past. It was not better elsewhere. It was darkness. God brought you out and He set up this place for our benefit. I’m leaning on the old song, “When I look back and see where He brought me from…”

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

The failure of “seeking”

A research team was commissioned to report on the transition of college graduates into the workforce. One of the findings disturbed the administration and it was buried in the back of the document. It appears that job placement, though generous in nature, has caused a lack of pursuit among the graduates. They are told that it is the university’s responsibility to help them find the right career path, i.e., a job. Ultimately, the failure of “seeking” or searching has caused a stir, especially when the transition does not occur.

I submit that there is a value in the search, all by itself. Seeking makes a demand of us. It takes focus and effort. We rearrange our time and energy during the pursuit. That effort alone can be the catalyst for other disciplines. When the “thing” we are searching for is found, a spirit of thankfulness also emerges, perhaps even a relief.

Remove the seeking and we also remove desire, expectation, and discipline. The psalmist commissioned us to “seek the Lord” on multiple occasions. Solomon wrote that they that Prov. 28:5 “seek the LORD understand all things.” Amos gave a glimmer of hope to Israel when he said, Amos 5:6 “Seek the LORD, and ye shall live.” Paul even wrote that God ordained the times just so men would “seek the Lord and find Him.”

The concern is that the modern day believer often thinks that it is God’s obligation to find us; that we have no part in this relationship. Millions have been misled, thinking that prayer is nonessential and fasting is out of date. Daniel prayed three weeks without an answer. He never stopped seeking. I wonder how many have given up too soon or became discouraged because the answer did not come when they prayed. Jesus’ parable pointed to the unjust judge who answered the desperate mother: “because of your importunity I will grant your request.” It was her continual coming and persistence that brought the answer.

If we are to find what we need; see the miracle that we desire, then we must press forward in seeking the face of God. The best things in this spiritual walk come through pursuing and searching. There is no transition team handing out answers to prayers. The Kingdom demands our focus, time, and energy. What we find along the way is a rearranged life; a new set of priorities and a desire for God Himself.

My prayer for you is that you find Him. My prayer is that while you are seeking for the “thing” that you want, you will draw close to the Giver of the gift and the gift will be far less important.

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

Focus

Photography John Watson wrote, “focus is more than simply sharpness or being able to see what you are looking at. Focus is enhancing the subject by making it stand out from its surroundings.” The famed Caravaggio thought the same. Caravaggio used dark shades of color to pull his subjects to the forefront. Some artists/photographers forget this principle, leaving the viewer with no central figure. Watson noted that without focus, the picture or scene is devalued.

Consider the environment around the birth of Jesus. A virgin brings forth a child; a guiding star and a choir of angels are present. Bethlehem fulfills the prophecy of old; subsequent chaos ensues in the courtyard of King Herod. There is so much background, all of it significant in its own right. Even still, the focus is The Eternal taking the form of the mortal. God comes as a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes. He is the Consolation of Israel and a Light to the Gentiles. There is so much to see that the focus can easily drift from His purpose. He came as a sacrificial lamb, born to die for the sins of the world.

Decorations are temporary. “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” has but a few verses. “Joy to the World” will be a brief melody sung by the choir and our decor will soon be replaced. His purpose was far greater than our momentary celebration: His sacrifice more significant than the season in which we find ourselves. Besides, seasons change, His Blood remains.

I offer more than just a holiday. I present the “Logos” conceived in the dimension of the heavenly long before His arrival. Redemption demanded a blood sacrifice. Paul wrote that we were redeemed with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish and without spot.

We sing and give gifts in honor of His birth, but we know that He is the reason for our salvation. Jesus said that he gave his life as a “ransom for many.” However, if we keep Him as just the “reason for the season,” then we might miss the purpose of His coming. He came to die for and take away the debt levied against us. I urge you to pull Him to the forefront and make all other things obscure.

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

“Heart Transplant”

Truth be told, the prophet Jeremiah cried more than he preached for the majority of his ministry. The people of Israel had abandoned their faith in God which activated the prophet’s burden. Israel had devolved into a backslidden nation and Jeremiah became the weeping prophet. He preached and prayed for 40 years without a single convert. The pleasures of life had consumed the people, along with the trappings of carnal living – too much to relate in this small communique.

The problem was the heart of the people. Israel had a heart problem. Even still, the Lord’s intent was this: Jeremiah 24:7 I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the LORD. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart. God followed it up with these words: Jeremiah 29:13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Are you getting this? The people had heart issues. They were consumed with things that led them away from God. The fact is that no one can serve two masters. Divided hearts always end in tragedy and God is the first to opt out. He is a jealous God and will not share your heart with other things beside Him.

Our hearts are like limited reservoirs: They can only hold so much emotion and love. We are not able to love the things of the world and still have passion for the things of the Lord. When we are consumed with the things of the world, God has no place to dwell. It takes a “Heart Transplant” for us to connect with His Kingdom. If not, our lives become cold and indifferent. Even the most basic things can lead us away from the feet of Jesus.

Ask Martha and Mary. One is busy about the task while the other has chosen the one needful thing. Ask Amaziah, who at 25 years old became the king, but was defined this way: 2 Chronicles 25:2 And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, but not with a perfect heart.

I urge you today to give God your entire heart. Don’t be consumed by the things of the world. They fade so fast. They never satisfy the never dying soul. Learn to serve, to give, and to worship. Give God the best of your days, and in return, He will give you a heart to know Him. The promise of total commitment is the most profound words you will ever hear. In the end, He will give you life everlasting.

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole