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