“You all know,” said the Guide, “that security is mortals’ greatest enemy.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Pilgrim’s Progress
Fleeting is the life that we all share. Like a gust of wind, our days are swift and often unnoticeable. To most of the population, even congregations, as long as people feel secure there is no need for concern. Striving usually ends when complacency sets in, and complacency sets in when people feel “secure enough.” Carnality dominates when the yearning is wrung out; when security in this world is achieved. At some junction we witnessed prayer being regulated as a tool for the needy. Some only use prayer when there are issues they cannot solve on their own, but that was never its intent. Prayer was and is our communication with God. Our relationship with Him comes via prayer: talking and conversing with the Lord; speaking of His Word. We must not wait until trouble or conflict comes to employ this most critical aspect of the Christian walk.
Think of it… When the laws of the land became contrary, Daniel opened up his window and prayed louder. When David found himself pressed by the enemy, prayer became his weapon. When the early church faced a tyrannical government, prayer shook the house where they were assembled. Talent and intelligence are meager utensils in this life compared to prayer. Great insights pale in the face of fervent prayer. If we think that we are secure then we lend ourselves to becoming obsolete. There is never a time when we should go without seeking the face of God. Not even for a day. Decisions are tainted and corrupt without prayer. I am urging you to gain the footing that only time on our knees can bring. Time with God. Time spent in prayer.
Pastor Jeffrey Harpole
Hanukkah is not a part of the Christian Christmas observance. Many probably do not notice it’s time or reason with the date falling near the winter solstice, Dec. 22. It’s also called “The Feast of Lights”, but in the Bible it was noted as “The Feast of Dedication” John 10:22. While it was not an O.T. feast, The Feast of Dedication served as a memorial for the dedication of the temple by Judas Maccabaeus in December, 165 B.C., after Antiochus Epiphanes desecrated it in 167 B.C. Dan. 11:31. The Temple was then reopened, restored and dedicated. The Jews wanted to remember the moment when this place of worship was dedicated, thus Hanukkah began. The temple, however, has long since been destroyed; only remnants and outer walls mark its perimeter. The artifacts and tools of sacrifice are also a faint memory. So why retain the Feast of Lights? Why keep up the observance of a place that no longer exists? The answer is found in Who is being dedicated; not in What. No one can dedicate a building without being dedicated themselves. It is a wasted endeavor to consign credence to stone and mortar without purposed people that give their lives to the cause. Lifeless structures of every age sit idle if the people are not dedicated along with them. Dedication of any church is a temporal transaction unless the people are dedicated to the purpose behind it.
My prayer is for a greater dedication of our lives for the sake of the church. Our building is a blessing from God, and yes we have dedicated it to the Cause of Christ. Yet the church house is only as good as the desire of those who call it their place of sacrifice and worship. The building is an empty relic without prayer echoing off the walls; without worship and singing within its boundaries. I’m returning to David’s heart cry: “To behold the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in His temple.”
Pastor Jeffrey Harpole
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once used Victor Hugo’s phrase in a speech when describing the urgency of his plight. He said “What we are seeing now is a freedom explosion, the realization of ‘an idea whose time has come.’” Since that day every group has tried to tie their personal beliefs and ambitions to King’s cause. The wave has become so great that politicians and sub-groups often attempt to redefine him and his pursuit in order to identity their message with his. Yet if we look beyond current commentaries and see the times of his life, his story entails a single focus to which he gave his own description: “Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever. The yearning for freedom eventually manifests itself.” He was self-described, not by the profiteering media of this century, but by his own words to be after the footsteps of Moses seeking to find equal ground.
His was not a complex ambition. He was after the respect for people of all kinds. While his message was clear and concise, the complexities of the times which he faced were many: international war; a national insurrection against morality; a proliferating drug culture; corrupt politics infused with tainted monies; poverty-driven angst; mounting inequality and divisions, and so much more. King was leading in the midst of chaos which caused his light to shine even brighter.
It took work and sacrifice to achieve this leadership. The tens of thousands of miles that he traveled combined with thousands of speeches are a testimony in and of themselves. Most of those speeches were cast in cramped, air conditioned-less rooms with insufficient lighting. It wasn’t a glamorous path covered with fanfare and adoring fans. Even the core of his message didn’t immediately resonate throughout the world as some might lead us to believe. It took time, sacrifice, and dedication unlike the modern concept of immediate notoriety. He joined hands, both white and black, in an all out effort to form a unity among people, often at great personal risk. It has been noted that he knew, as well as others, that his life was in danger. Revolutions always come at a personal cost.
He was a preacher; pastor; a father and a husband. Among the awards and degrees, both honorary and achieved, King was doing something that he knew would reach beyond his years. It wasn’t just for his time. Though he didn’t live long enough to know if it was ultimately effective or how far it would reach, he knew that what he was doing was worth the price.
There is a summarization that extends to all who walk that path. It is the same encapsulating sum of those who give their lives for a greater cause.
- Sacrifice is the price paid for principles
- Truth is the sword that demands a strong hand
- It costs to take a stand
- The greater the value the greater the resistance
There are a dozen more that could spill out of me if I had the space to do so, but for today, I simply pause to consider the demand of the Gospel and what it will really take to fulfill the call of God in our lives. I pause to consider the value of men and women joining hands in worship and then reaching for lost souls that need to be found and set free. Oppressed people must not remained oppressed forever.
Pastor Jeffrey Harpole
Peeling away the layers of insignificant things, I’ve found the most common pursuit of us all. Ultimately, the main thing is to make it to Heaven. All discussions of life and living end at Eternal Life. Next comes our Purpose for life, followed by our Identity in Christ, but the primary still remains; Our Destiny.
A rich man asked the right question: Luke 18:18, “…what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He had followed the Law, but knew there was something else that had to be accomplished. Jesus told him to sell all and give it away, and then to take up his cross and follow Him. The man left sorrowful because he counted the cost and was unwilling to part with his life’s possessions. All those years following the Law now lay empty on the premise of self-interest.
Still, the question remains which prods men and women to seek the Lord. ‘Where shall I spend eternity?’ is at the core of the human consciousness. Even those who claim there is no God must deal with that question and it frightens them. Some are privileged enough to have a forewarning of the day when they transition from this life to the next, but many are not. Some are allowed time to put their spiritual house in order and make wrong things right. Yet we must not live thinking that we can “fix” ourselves when we grow a little older. Paul wrote, 2 Cor. 6:2 “now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.
Heaven is our desire; to be with Jesus, our passion. Eternal Life; to rule and reign with Him is the heartbeat of the people of God. Nothing must deter us from this point. All the beauty and treasures of this world will one day look so empty compared to that day and the place that He has prepared for us. Heaven. It’s on my mind. John 14:2 “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.”
Pastor Jeffrey Harpole
Gen 11:6 The LORD said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. (NIV) Standing on that mountain of handmade boulders, the architects of that great tower must have seen the vision. Babylon was the greatest progressive city the world had ever known. They were organized and purpose-driven. They were building a city to captivate the minds of men. They would place a tower, like a skyscraper, in the middle of it all as a witness to their greatness. The people relied on human engineering emanating from a hierarchal approach. It was unity at its finest moment: One Language, One Goal; all without the hand of God. The scene will arrest the Lord’s attention, provoking the Almighty to make a transcendent statement. God declares that what they have begun to do will be accomplished. He said, “If as one people… nothing shall be impossible for them.”
If we can be as one, speaking the same vision; believing the same doctrine; then nothing shall be impossible for us. If we begin disjointed or disconnected then it will be more difficult to join together and see the revival that God desires to pour out. Much of this work depends on how we begin. Therefore it is imperative that we begin with Love, Burden, and Fervency. Love for each other. Burden for the lost. Fervency for the Doctrine. God gave Joshua the land but it didn’t come at once. In fact, Deuteronomy 2, God told them to “Begin” to possess it. He wanted them to commence the operation of gaining new territory as a united people. It mattered to God how His people began. Reconnecting after months of division is more difficult for the human will. Habits become lifestyles and lifestyles become generational patterns. Our path must begin with Prayer It must begin with Unity. The revival of our life depends on it. Let us begin…
Pastor Jeffrey Harpole