… Set Apart …

Matthew 24:38-39 “For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.”

While checking my online American Express account, I was welcomed by a smiling face and a directory of options. The woman’s face seemed a little unusual and somewhat unnerving. I quickly moved away from the opening page until I realized that Amex had hired a man posing as a woman. Today, you will find these images in almost every corner of commerce.

Taylor-Francis reports that there is a growing acceptance of gay activity in advertisements. Meta-Analysis states that homosexual imagery will soon be as common as all activity. Large companies including Johnson & Johnson, Amazon, Calvin Klein, H&M, Levi’s, Spotify, Volvo, and Jared’s feature men kissing men and various affectionate moments between same-sex couples. Disney Corp. has become a safe haven for the transgender movement. Theme parks have been searching for more gays/lesbians to join their workforce as they promote what they call the Conventional Life.

Media and music have perfected the presentation depicting the LBGT lifestyle. As one activist writes, “the goal is to remove the stigma by making alternative lifestyles ordinary.” The pathway is said to “promote sexual behavior as routine while redefining outdated traditional constraints.” Another advocate said that showcasing the rising divorce rates among heterosexuals gives ample support for all other unions to be justified. He said, “The sanctity of marriage is what we make it.” The confusion over genders is rising and stands must be taken.

The word is “Normalization.” The days of Noah entailed sinful activities as common. The people removed all semblance of God’s order as moral law was replaced by subjectivism. They were “eating and drinking”, meaning they were consumed with pleasure. They were unholy in all manner of living.

Hebrews 12:14 “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.”

Holiness means “Set Apart.” Yet knowing the aforementioned conditions, some believers still argue against Holiness Standards. The allowances believers give to themselves has diluted their authority to speak to the world. Our authority is founded in Holiness! We are called out and commissioned to be a holy nation. The light that we should show forth depends on our separation. So I say, rise up! Be separate and let your light shine!

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

Not Our Home

Proverbs 21:1 “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.”

Politics: It sounds like mire to me. There is a shifting taking place that will usher in the final season of time. Regardless of our political leaning, there is no doubt that the world has changed forever. The American way of life, which was once so convenient and predictable, is collapsing in rapid pace. While some boast of advances, Christianity is now seen as terrorism.

We should not see these changes as merely dreadful, but necessary. In the last days. . . 2 Timothy 3:1-5 says, people will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.

The Last Days are displayed in all of the aforementioned attributes. Furthermore, I submit that these things must be. There must be chaos, economic upheaval, wars and rumors of wars, political unrest, and the need for a unifying figure. The stage for the antichrist has been set. The world is looking for a leader to unite the earth and bring order to the nations. The “son of perdition” will oppose all that is holy and will exalt “himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped.” He is called the “little horn” that mandates his number, without which no one can buy or sell. Rev 13:17

I write to remind you that this world is not our home. I pray that you will not get buried in the countdown of time, but rather that we will be about the Father’s business. We have a window of time and Jesus said we must work while it is day, “the night cometh when no man can work.”

National conflicts are necessary for the scripture to be fulfilled. However, the “king’s heart” is still in God’s Hand. The Lord is directing the river. He is in control because the times and the seasons are in His Hand. Our job is to be ready; pure, committed, and consecrated. Our call is to serve and our purpose is to reach the Lost with the Gospel. Nothing else matters.

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

Maharashtra’s Lonar Lake

When God spoke the worlds into existence, the galaxies shimmered with stars and stones. Astrotnomists confess that the innumerable planets are far beyond their grasp. Most hypothesize about the distant realm. The Earth stands alone in the measure of this time. All that it was meant to be was ordained by the Voice that spoke it into existence. Then upon it came outside forces which created natural scarring which we see today. The great flood of Noah reshaped the tectonic plates; meteorites left other marks. The Earth holds the impressions of both internal and external trauma. Such is the case of life.

Lonar Lake is a mystery to the natural eye. A meteorite from some other time crashed into the Earth’s surface. The depth of water reaches 500ft. casting a pink/blue hue to the water above. The lake has drawn thousands of tourists. The fiery meteor made its impression; the water came second. Whatever lived died upon impact and the scar was set for centuries to come.

I write in reference to our lives. Age and time bears out this truth concerning the wounds of life. No one is exempt. Jesus said that offenses shall come, i.e., you cannot avoid the scar. Hezekiah saw the advancement of the enemy and cried, “This day is a day of trouble.” Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 2:8-9  “Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel:  Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound.”

No one escapes the stones or the floods. We are all subject to loss. I submit that our response to the trouble tells the real story as to who we are and on Whom we depend. Life is not fair. Being born again of the water and the Spirit (John 3:1-8) is a necessity for salvation, but it will not keep you from trouble or pain. Trials shall come. Loss is inevitable. Therefore, my resolve is to say, The Lord is my Helper. Whether the trouble is something external or if I caused my own conflict; The Lord is my Keeper. Whatever has come our way, we must resolve to Press for the Mark for the Prize of the High Calling in Jesus Christ. We will not die with every crisis, nor be arrogant with gain. Psalms 37:28  “For the LORD loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever:

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

… Joy …

In a small three-part verse, Paul relays a powerful truth. My many youthful years of Bible quizzing memorizing this book made an indelible imprint on my spirit: 1 Thessalonians 1:6 “And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost:”

First, the scripture reveals the necessity of being a follower. The people followed the Lord as they obeyed and were guided by the voice of the apostles. It is the pattern which denotes a voice; some pastoral counsel and spiritual direction. Those who reject such authority are out of sync with the scriptures. No one is their own pastor. Someone will give an account for your soul. 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.”

Secondly, Paul commends the Thessalonians for receiving the Word. It is one thing to hear, but another to receive. Sadly, many hear sermons and lessons, but do not receive what is being delivered. We can ill afford to dismiss The Bread in our lives. Our very days demand adherence to the preached Word! Paul appreciated their sincere acceptance.

The aforementioned truths are certainly worthy attributes of true Christians. However, it was the context of the commendation that grips my spirit. Not only did they follow and receive the Word, but they did it in “much affliction.” It is always easier to accept the Word and follow the Lord in times of plenty. Life is good when there is no resistance, But when affliction comes, so comes the test.

What I love about this verse is that Paul noticed something beyond the typical attributes of their commitments. He highlighted their disposition. He called out how they received the Word. They received it with the Joy of the Holy Ghost. Yes, they were followers, and yes, they followed in the worst of times. However, they did it all with the Joy of the Holy Ghost.

To this end, we put in practice Joy! It is a decision to make regardless of the conditions which surround us. We shall rejoice in the Lord for He is good. We have decided to receive the Word without consideration of the times. All for the Joy of the Holy Ghost!

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

Beautiful Feet

The prophets wrote about the beautiful mountains of Israel. The cascading sunlight spilling over the mountain’s crest . . . it warms the soul. One of the gates to the Temple was actually called Beautiful. We can only imagine its architectural display. From garments to crowns, the scripture points to the beauty of things that surrounded them. They were layered with gold; woven with purple; or reflective of nature’s bounty. Beautiful.

The Bible also introduces another subject rarely included in things so defined: The beauty of feet. Isaiah 52:7 “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!”

The primary feature is the feet of the person who brings these “good tidings.” Paul follows suit; Romans 10:15 “And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!”

Our missionaries have given up so many things for the sake of this Gospel. How beautiful are their feet. They are searching for people throughout the world. Their children join them in this mission to spread the Gospel. There are no travel sports programs; no weekday softball; no Saturday picnics. The very least the American church can do is give to support those who publish peace. If we would simply reduce just one of our conveniences per week, we would all be able to give. The challenge is in our reduction. We are not given to such things. However, I am asking you to make a sacrifice for the sake of the Gospel. The New Birth experience must find a place in locations we will never go.

Our purpose today is to focus on those who preach the Word and our responsibility to them. We have so much. Nations are reached and lives are changed through the financial support given. Destinies are determined because we invested in preachers and teachers. The greatest need is not food, education, or healthcare. The world’s greatest need is Jesus and the Gospel! And for those who have offered their lives for The Cause, we are honored to pray for them and to offer the means to make that possible. This is our time, our duty, and our obligation to send the Message.

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

New World Order

Matthew 26:54 “But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?”

The prophet Daniel pronounced a truth applicable in our time: Daniel 2:21 “And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings… God orchestrates the seasons. It is the Lord Who has designed the times according to His own will.”

America is likely living under a shadow government. The New World Order is obviously in play. The World Bank; World Court, and other universal counsels have long since been set up. Even the management and manipulation of information has been exposed. Nation is rising against nation in economic and geo-political ways. Knowledge has increased. God has changed the times.

The response of the church is three-fold:
First, we must serve the Lord with our whole heart. No games or half-hearted lifestyles will suffice. Jesus decried lukewarmness as a reproach. Our homes must reflect holiness. Our devotion to prayer, worship, and the Doctrine are our primaries. What good is any gain if we lose our families?

Secondly, we must seek the Lost. The fields are ripe, but the laborers are few. Please tell me that we will not just be church members. It is our individual calling to teach a Home Bible study. Religiosity is a plague in the Pentecostal church and we must move beyond just having “good church.” To know the Truth and not share it is the sin of omission. We must reach people.

Finally, our voices should be heard in the public arena. We vote through the prism of the holy scriptures. If the world can boast of their abhorrent lifestyles, surely we can seek leaders who support the nuclear family, pro-life measures, freedom to worship, and all manner of purity.

Having offered these directives, just know, the world will not stay as it once was. My grandfather’s days are gone and these “things must be.” The scriptures must be fulfilled. Peter rebuked Jesus for saying that He must die, to which Jesus said, “You do not understand the things of God.” So too, the times are in His hands and He will allow the change in order to usher in the “son of perdition” – the antichrist. I lend my voice, but I confess that God is in control and it is He that sets up and takes down. I am neither discouraged nor afraid, because I know that He holds the keys to the times and the future is in His Hands.

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

Our Heritage

2 Timothy 1:5  When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.

Thirty years after Pentecost, Paul was able to reflect on the original saints and those who followed. Eunice and Lois were among those who saw the foundation of the early church. Timothy came afterward and was considered the second generation of the Apostolic age. In his exhortation to Timothy, Paul honored the elders, the mothers who labored for the cause.

Something was handed down to Timothy that cannot be fully explained. It was more than a testimony or an example. It was the root; the basis for the Church to come. Paul made mention of their perseverance which he called “unfeigned faith.” The description points to persecution or trial that they withstood. Those mothers held fast to the doctrine delivered by Jesus Christ and it became their strength. It became our heritage.

The pillars of the first church blessed all who would follow, even us today. The two disciples walking on the road to Emmaus, Cleopas and his wife, established something that the church world sees as a pattern. They were witnesses to the mystery and then recipients to the revelation. Silas saw the wonders of God move in the second half of the early church and so many more. They stood strong and gave their lives for something greater.

Our heritage is the Holy Ghost. The apostle called it that “Holy Spirit of promise”

Ephesians 1:14  Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

We honor our elders who have labored in the Lord; stayed faithful to the church; and exhibited unfeigned faith. They have kept the exclusivity of the doctrine and contended for the faith and embraced a standard of holiness. New Life is blessed to have elders who loved the Truth more than tradition. Our history is deepening and our resolve is rising. Tami and I honor all of you who have been loyal and consistent; who have lived a life worthy of following. Our children are blessed to have a witness before their eyes.

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

Remembrance

Exodus 13:3 Moses is standing on the other side of the 10th plague. His instruction is consolidated: Remember.

History repeats itself in the most severe fashion, thus Moses speaks in an effort to confront the human fault line so often seen among the nations. He said, “Remember this day that you came out of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, for the Lord brought you out.”

The tenure of Moses was followed by prophets, kings, judges, and spiritual leaders reminding them of the Red Sea. Even still, the people forgot. Worldly influences clouded God’s deliverance. They forgot the nature of their enemy. They did not recount the days of their oppressors, but openly negotiated with them. The “viper” was filled with venom regardless of their compromise. Your Bible declares it so. Sadly, and perhaps predictably, Israel fell back into the iron grip of those they sought to please.

Forgetting has caused countless to backslide. Individuals and congregations have failed to remember the goodness of God’s grace and the character of the enemy. Both are paramount. The downfall of any church or nation begins at the dismissal of holiness and the acceptance of the enemy’s offer.

These truths lead me to great concern for our nation and the plight of so many corrupt political leaders. They have rebuked God out of our public forums; banned the name of Jesus from our congressional halls; and denounce anyone who might raise the standard of Holiness. We better remember where we came from.

This weekend marks a moment that must be remembered. 9/11 was the day when our nation suffered its most devastating attack since Pearl Harbor. Twenty years ago we were attacked on our mainland. People gave their lives trying to save those trapped in a burning inferno. Police officers and firefighters were joined by a multiplicity who risked their lives; many died in their effort. While the moment is two decades old, we can ill afford to forget. The account of the tragedy is the first step in making sure that it never happens again.

When we forgot, we forfeit our safety and future. The failure of such a thing leads us to repeat the same mistakes as before. Remembrance is the first step.

I offer these words to you in light of the ongoing global conflicts. The very least we can do is thank God for our freedom and vote for men and women who share our biblical beliefs, as closely as possible. We must make known His Name and protect the freedoms that afford us the opportunity to worship without limitation. If we do not, they will be taken from us. Do not forget. This is not some hyperbolized word: There is bondage and suffering on the other side and our window to preach the Gospel is closing. Remember.

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

Heaven our Home!

Warren Beatty once based his directing debut on the screenplay by Harry Segall called “Heaven Can Wait.” The comedy was based on a mistake: Beatty’s character was mistakenly sent to Heaven in place of someone else. The year was 1978, but I suppose not much has changed. The entertainment world still cannot grasp the reality of Heaven. Craig Campbell joins the chorus of this misplaced thought. His song, “Outskirts of Heaven” asks for a place outside of Heaven. For some reason he thinks that a country setting would be just as good as a mansion within the heavenly realm. The saga continues with a host of writers/singers who cannot see the wonder of what shall be. Ultimately, it is both foolish and fleshly to compare any earthly pleasure with the wonder of Heaven.

Paul wrote: 1 Corinthians 2:9 “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”

John gave us a glimpse: Revelation 21:21 “And the twelve gates were twelve pearls: every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.”

Heaven transcends all that we have ever known. All fear and doubt will be gone. Every tear shall be wiped away and there shall be joy forevermore. The Lord has promised it. Heaven cannot be captured by a filmmaker regardless of their talent. Songwriters far and wide have struggled to depict the depth of its glory. Even among the great painters of centuries past, none have framed the beauty of such perfect peace.

To consider that place is beyond the telling. However, this is what we are living for; to make Heaven our Home! We are not living this life to make money or reach some status. We are the Bride of Christ and one day we shall sing around the Throne. This life is temporal, but that life is eternal. Heaven, the City where the Lamb is the Light, is where I am longing to be.

Jesus gave us this promise. These are the propelling words for every believer for all of eternity. John 14:2-3 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. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

“stillness”

Psalm 46:10 “Be still, and know that I am God…

According to national surveys, the average work week is 35.5 hours. Forbes found Americans spend roughly 1,300 hours per year viewing media, not including time spent on their phones. Add in outings, sporting events, and sleep and there is no time left for “stillness.”

David and Paul both presented meditating on the things of God, virtuous things, and godly endeavors. The problem is that we are consumed with trivial pursuits, politics, and speaking. The Internet, Facebook, Instagram, etc, has given people an outlet to share things that should not be shared. From grievances to common feelings, posts are made that either hinder or detract from the Great Commission.

I have stayed away from most of those forums for my mind’s sake. I know that if I do not have a boundary around my thoughts, my spirit will be drawn away which will convolute my faith. The objective is to “Be still . . .” which allows me to recognize the sovereignty and omnipotence of God. The goal is to reach the lost with the only saving Gospel of Jesus Christ!  Yet, many are caught up with the latest post or news story, which results in them neglecting the cause. There is no time to pray or serve.

While I decry these things, I fear the warning often falls on deaf ears. The result is a drift from faithful church attendance, prayer, and serving. I am convinced that clutter is not just things that pile up in bedrooms and basements. Activities of all kinds clog up our emotions. Sports have stolen a thousand weekends and wiped out as many Holy Ghost experiences. To date, I have never seen a family actively engaged in soul-winning and Kingdom work while missing Wednesday Bible study and Sunday services. It’s time to Be Still.

World knowledge and conflicts will never end. There will always be another disaster. All of it leads away from knowing God. For those who declare themselves sufficiently capable of indulging in all these things, I ask, “when was the last time you taught a Home Bible study or took an hour in the prayer room?”

I do not know how many will take this communique to heart, but the time is too short for me to stroke the religious crowd and ignore the hour. We must become serious about our walk with God and this Holy Ghost experience that the Lord has given us. We are indebted to the Cross and it is imperative that we are constrained for the Gospel. And finally, we must learn to Be Still and take knowledge of God.

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole