The Jewish people have been referred to as the “chosen.” This concept is derived from God’s declaration in Exodus 19, “you will be my possession.” To further emphasize the matter, centuries of prophetic pronouncement declared that the Messiah would be born into the house of David, having a lineage tied to the Abrahamic Covenant. This message was imprinted in the minds of the Jewish people so much that they believed no one outside of their heritage could qualify to be Chosen. The Gentile was reviled and dismissed. The Gentile had no heritage; no truth; no scripture. Even on the day of Pentecost this thought prevailed as the Holy Ghost was first poured out on the Jews, which had traveled to Jerusalem for the feast of first fruits. It seemed like an exclusive salvation that would only serve those who considered themselves the children of Abraham. Ten years after Pentecost something happened that changed the narrative. A new branch was grafted in as salvation was opened to the whole world and it came through the house of Cornelius, a Gentile.
Consider the Word: Acts 14:27 “And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles.” A new thing happened and it came through the Will of God, Who would that all be saved and come to the knowledge of the Truth. God opened the door of faith to people outside of the original. From that time to this, the message of Acts 2:38 has been preached in every country; to every people in every generation. The Gospel: His death, burial, and resurrection has been broadcast throughout the earth.
New Life is but a part of the greater whole. We are privileged to be counted in the elect of God. Our faith is rooted in the scriptures, which has made us “wise unto salvation” 2 Timothy 3:15. Today we are endeavoring to reach our community, our nation, and indeed the world with this great Gospel. While we cannot all travel to do this mission, there are men and women who have been called to the field beyond our borders to spread the message. To that end, we are making our commitments through prayer and finances to send missionaries into the field to reap the harvest. We pray for a world harvest and the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy that God would pour out His Spirit upon all flesh.
Pastor Jeffrey Harpole
Luke 12 recites the parable of a wealthy man who did not understand the priority of life. In his accumulation he built bigger barns to store more things. In the end, God said to him, “Thou fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own all the things you have prepared?” In a related biblical version the words are, “You Fool! What then?”
The prodigal spent all that he had, but he never considered the question, “What then?” His inheritance was going to run out, but he lived for the moment never considering what might happen next. In a rage, Judas betrayed the Lord, but he never considered what would happen afterward; what would they do with Jesus? I wonder how many have lived life without ever asking, “What then?” Okay, so you won the argument. What then? Okay, you’ve shared your grievance. What then? Many have raced to the finish line only to discover that there was something beyond the checkered flag. Accomplishments are all brief and then comes the next day. Moments of bitterness might also be brief and then comes the next day.
Both success and failure; blessing and sufferings are not forever. As I have often taught, words are like bullets, once they are spoken they can never be retrieved. So before I speak I must ask, What then? Our human existence is temporal and then comes Eternity. What then? Where will we spend Eternity?
The rich man squandered his opportunities to do good to Lazarus. He passed by him without ever considering how his present neglect might affect his future existence. The one-talent servant buried his gift, but never thought about the response of the master. These are momentary decisions without any consideration to the consequences they bring. It’s the flagrancy of youth to do without thinking and not consider the effect. God said, “Thou fool. You’ve done all this but what then? You’ve spent your life doing what pleased you, but you’ve given no thought for the next day.”
I say we must Worship, Serve and Pray as seed offerings, knowing that they will be harvested in the future. We must work in the Kingdom knowing that this world is not our home and that we must do whatever we can to make it to heaven. I’m working on building the Kingdom; seeking for revival; and searching for God’s wisdom and truth. These things matter to my today and my tomorrow.
Pastor Jeffrey Harpole
John 6:12 When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.
As you may know, the Feeding of the 5,000 was the number of men only. In reality the actual number of people hearing was about four times that amount. The deep and long wilderness place overlooking the Sea of Tiberias was what many called the perfect place for an echoing voice to drift from the bottom to the top. Jesus stood on the shoreline which made it a natural chamber to house His voice. Hours of teaching will pass as the crowd becomes restless and hungry. The disciples will consider their lack of resources without ever considering the Creator that stands with them.
Andrew finds a solution, howbeit small, and brings it to Jesus. It’s a lunch made for one boy. Even the smallest thing in the Hands of the Master is more than enough to bring about a great thing. These are lessons that must sink deep into our hearts: The failure of self-sufficiency; the obedience factor; the consideration of the Who we stand with; the power of the insignificant in the Hands of the Omnipotent. I write of the depth of these truths. Among the many lessons given to us in this scene is the lesson that comes in the aftermath. The fish and loaves have been given. The blessings have been passed out and everyone has eaten. The last lesson of the day comes in the final command found in John 6:12: “Gather the fragments so that nothing is lost.” It is the critical point of the Lord which displays His heartbeat. He contends for the fragments. Paul wrote of Him, 1 Timothy 2:4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
Jesus wants the fragments. He is concerned about fragmented lives and the broken pieces just as much as He is about those who are whole. While we normally discard the broken things, Jesus was teaching His disciples, and us, that in His Kingdom everything is valuable and fragments are just as important as all the rest. Jesus doesn’t belong to a throw-away society. He came for the sick. He came to rescue and restore. It is His nature.
I submit that the greatest revival to come will be those who are imperfect; stained by personal failures and wounded by life. The masses are broken. So many are fragmented with no hope and no help. In this house there is healing. We care about the broken and wounded. We are after the fragments because nothing and no one should be lost.
Pastor Jeffrey Harpole
Ironically enough it seems that Hurricane Harvey has eclipsed the eclipse. The tragedy of the current has pushed last weeks news off the front page. August 21, however, was an incredible event when America experienced a total eclipse. The moon covered the sun. Flowers closed their petals and animals responded negatively. A host of things occurred that disrupted the flow of the creatures and plants of the earth which are too numerous for me to mention. I suppose that I can find a spiritual application for everything, but this I cannot pass up.
Think of the audacity the moon must have to totally block earth’s most needful aspect for life. The moon gives no light in and of itself. It offers almost nothing of significance to the earth. Without the sun we wouldn’t even know it exists. The sun provides light, heat, and the necessary ingredients for photosynthesis. The sun is the constant in measuring our times, years and days, not the moon. The moon only reflects what the sun allows. It’s not even that unique. Planets of all sizes have moons, but no planet has a sun like ours.
The “moon” is everything (or anything) that blocks our view of Jesus, the Son. The “moon” is the care of this life; the ambitions of the flesh; the fads and trends of our society. Jesus is speaking and things are getting in His way. The Lord is shining and something is blocking His message of Truth. He said, John 14:6 “I am the way, the truth, and the life:” By His own admission, He is exclusive. The Shema of Dueteronomy 6:4 reads exactly like Paul’s writing in Ephesians 4:5: “There is One Lord,” i.e., nothing is and should be before Him.
The challenge of our days is to keep things out of the way. This endeavor is never accomplished in a moment; meaning it is never completed. Keeping our hearts clean and our minds uncluttered is a daily task. Crucifying our flesh is a constant thing. Paul died daily because something, even his own attitude and spirit was standing ready to eclipse the mission. Job took control of his mind when he determined to “take into captivity every thought” because our minds can hinder His voice.
I submit that somebody or something will try to block you from what the Spirit is saying and the vision of the church. Someone or something will always be standing in the way of the Light. There is a wedge designed to deter you from worship and the Word. We must endeavor to clear the path and remove every obstacle that would eclipse His light.
Pastor Jeffrey Harpole