Coming Home

There was always something special about coming home to my Granny’s house. I can still remember the smell of her house; the scent dances in my nose as I write and think of it. I can’t really explain it but if I were blindfolded and brought inside; I would know exactly where I was. Home!

When I was young; Sundays meant dinner at Granny’s house. She was an amazing cook. She single-handedly shaped my diet for the remainder of my life. Some things are just timeless, like Granny’s recipes. The smell of Sunday dinner takes me back to a much simpler time. A time of carefree living, no time clock, no calendar. Just family, food, and fun! Oh, how I miss her and those times. If I had realized then that the time was short, I would have lingered in those moments longer. I treasure those memories.

I am sure that many of you share fond memories of home as I do. Times that we gathered with our family around the table and shared life together. Some of you are making those memories as I write this. But as awesome as these memories of coming home are; they pale in comparison of the homecoming that is to come for the followers of Christ!

Jesus says in John 14:2-3 that He is going to prepare a place for us and that He will come again to take us home to Heaven.

What a glorious homecoming that will be. We have something to look forward to as we trod through this present world. One day, when this life is over, we will be in the presence of Jesus! Heaven will be so much more than we can even imagine. Our mind cannot fathom the beauty and splendor of Heaven! Heaven is a place without fear, hurt, shame and sin. Built by God Himself in total perfection; Heaven will be our reward for trusting Christ as our Savior and Lord.

For some, the memory of home does not illicit good thoughts or memories. To you, Heaven will be the home you so long for. A place of eternal rest and comfort surrounded by the majesty of God. You will finally have a place to come home to.

As you look for meaning and purpose in this life; look no further than Christ to fulfill your deepest longings. He promises to walk by your side through the trials and tribulations of life and to give you the gift of eternal life. Nothing we can do will make us worthy of salvation. Sometimes folks work to be accepted and strive for perfection. Thankfully, my salvation does not depend upon how good I am or how righteous I am on my own. Jesus covers me with His righteousness. Only Faith in Jesus can save us and give us life eternal.

As perfect as my Granny’s house was, Heaven, will be so much greater. Jesus tells us not fret but rather look with excited anticipation of His glorious return. So we can finally come home!

I have taken Jesus up on His free offer of salvation and I truly hope you have placed your faith in Jesus. Because if so, we will meet in the sweet by and by. And I look forward to meeting you there!

Until He comes again; Pastor Kavin

The Lord is My Banner

No doubt, Christians are in the midst of battle every day. A battle of epic proportions. A battle that we can’t possibly win. Left to ourselves we will lose this battle; and lose it quickly and decisively! The battle we are in the middle of is spiritual in nature. Paul says in Ephesians 6:12 (ESV)  For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. By God’s grace we do not fight this battle alone. How could we? God Himself fights on our behalf. As we look to Him and follow Him where He leads us; He will fight our battles!

One of my favorite names of God is Jehovah-Nissi. Which means The Lord is my banner. We see this name for God used in Exodus 17:15. As Moses held his arms up God’s people prevailed in battle. When he lowered his arms the enemy prevailed. In other words, when Moses focused upon and depended upon God instead of his own ability or the ability of their army, the Israelite’s won. And won in a huge way! After the battle was won, Moses built an altar to worship God for His power and supremacy in the battle. They overcame the enemy because their attention was fixed on the only one who could fight this battle; God Almighty!

Banners are used in battle to allow soldiers to identify with their respective units. It serves to give the unit an awareness of not only themselves but also the location and identities of the units around them. It gives soldiers something to follow into the battle. The Israelite people, traveling in the wilderness, had a pillar of smoke by day and a pillar of fire by night to follow. These represented the very presence of God in their midst. With their eyes fixed upon God’s presence they knew they were traveling in the right direction.

What does this mean for Christians who are following Jesus? It means that every day we focus on our banner, The Lord Jesus Christ, as we march into battle! It means that we surrender to His Lordship over our lives. It means we pray before and during the battle for Jesus to be glorified. Whether He delivers us, or has us to continue fighting, we follow His commands and seek the outcome He wants, not necessarily the outcome we desire. Throughout the battle, God assures us that He is our Banner. He wants us to focus upon Him; not our circumstances.

When you find yourself in the throws of war; God is in control. The enemy will use any number of things to cause us to lose focus on our Banner. Satan will use your family; especially the broken and strained relationships to draw your attention away from God. He will use your broken past to tell you you’re worthless or useless. He will remind you of all the poor decisions you have made that led you to this exact spot. But to quote a friend of mine “the Devil is a liar!” You may not believe God can fix the situation. You may not believe that God wants to be “your” Banner. You may not even believe in God at all. But here is the good news. In Christ we have a Lord that has already defeated death, hell, and the grave! We serve a risen, living, and mighty Savior and Lord. God’s word tells us that everyone who calls upon the Lord will be saved (Romans 10:13)! Not only that but Jesus said in John 10:10 that “the thief comes to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

I don’t know what your specific struggle is today but Jesus does. It could be your family, your faith, your sin, your past, or your current lifestyle that is out of tune with God’s word. I don’t know how long you have been battling this particular problem. Maybe you have been struggling with the demons of childhood, poor decisions as a young adult, or current sinful behavior that holds you in bondage. I can only imagine how weary you must be from fighting a battle you cannot win. The Devil wants you to give up and admit that you are defeated. Remember what I said about the Devil being a liar. John 8:44 says that the Devil is a liar and the father of lies. Don’t you listen to Him!

There is an answer to whatever you are facing right now. His name is Jesus and He wants you to put your trust in Him for your eternal and your physical life. Turn to Him in repentance and accept His free gift of salvation. Then surrender to His Lordship as He leads you; and discover the abundant life He promises. When the enemy strikes again; keep your focus on the Lord who is our Banner and watch how the enemy flees from you. Are you ready to let Jesus fight for you? Lay it in His hands and let Him fight for you.

Jesus I pray for those that are at the end of their rope; the ones that are on the brink of giving up and giving in to the enemy. I ask that as believers we set our focus upon you as our Banner, and you teach us that you are faithful to fight on our behalf. Thank you Jesus that you fight for us!

Let us fix our gaze upon our Banner;

Pastor Kavin

Conformed or Transformed

When something malleable is placed in a mold and pressure is exerted, the final product is something that looks exactly like the mold used. This was the idea that The Apostle Paul had in mind when he penned these words in Romans 12:2 (ESV) “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Paul was writing to people of his time as well as to people of all generations. Just like then, the world system of today has a message for us; conform. Conform your moral code, conform your world view, conform your opinions, conform, conform, conform! But, conform to what?

Society says, conform to a mindset and way of life that is devoid of Jesus. Christians are told to mind their business and stay out of politics, the lives of others, and any thing that is in the public arena of discussion. In a world where people are allowed and even encouraged to identify as anything that makes their heart happy, Christians are told to keep their opinions to themselves. It is easy to see why the world pedals this when we read 1 Corinthians 1:18 (ESV) 18  For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. Sadly some Christians have bought into this line of thought and prefer not to offend anyone with Jesus. They keep their faith to themselves. The issue with this whole conforming thing is that I do indeed identify as a Christian, a follower of Christ. Not only do I self identify as a Christian; I am undergoing a daily transformation process authored by none other than The King of kings, The Lord of lords, Jesus Christ The Messiah, and He identifies me as one of His very own!

Because of my identity in Christ I refuse to conform to this world’s way of thinking. My opinions, my politics, my moral code and my world view will be grounded on my faith in Jesus! Jesus commands me to be about His Father’s business! His business is saving souls, changing lives, and transforming people into His image. His salvation is freely offered to whom ever will profess that Jesus Christ is Lord. Until my last breath I will spread the message of the Cross of Jesus. He came to draw sinners to Himself. He died to pay the price of that sin and set them free. He was buried. And on the third day He rose again to live forever more. I serve a living Savior.

He wants to transform your life. How can I be transformed you may be asking; by accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior, renewing your mind with His perfect unchanging word, and seeking His purpose and will for your life. Salvation is instantaneous when you ask God to save you. The transformation of your life is a daily process as you learn to walk in the path Jesus opens up before you.

The world has stolen joy and corrupted morals for far too long. Walking by Jesus’s side I can look this world in the face and not back down. He is my strength and my refuge (Psalm 46:1). So the next time Satan comes accusing you of all of your passed faults and failures; tell him you have been washed by the blood of Jesus and you are being transformed by God’s grace and mercy! And watch as he flees from you.

So do not be conformed but rather be transformed by Jesus. What are you waiting for? If you have not professed Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, please do so now! He is just waiting for you to let Him come into your heart. If you are already a Christian, but you have bought the lies that say keep Jesus to yourself, be encouraged be bold as you spread the Gospel to this sin sick world. Jesus is Lord and Jesus saves!

Until next time, be transformed into the image of Jesus

Pastor Kavin

We were made to worship!

God created us to worship. He created us to worship Him and Him alone. Left to ourselves, though, we will worship all sorts of useless gods or idols; idols of this world, such as, money, wealth, power, status, education, intellect, sex, etc. We are all to willing trade true worship; which has as its center a Holy God for a worthless imposter. The Hebrew children did this very thing. Moses went up the mountain to speak with God and while he was gone they fashioned a golden calf to be their god. They even gave this useless idol credit for leading them out of slavery in Egypt! Can you even imagine something so ludicrous? Ask yourself the question; what or who am I worshipping? Be honest in your estimation of your spiritual life. You may be saying, I would never do something as awful as that. This is a spiritual checkup. Only you and God knows the answer to the question. This speaks to the condition of your heart.

Through worship, we come into the presence of God. We are told in the Bible that God inhabits our praises (Psalm 22:3). What a beautiful picture of the closeness we can have with God. When you worship God, yours is the only voice He hears. What do I mean by that? If you have children or, like me, grandchildren, then you know what it sounds like when they run up and just say I love you. Man, what a feeling! God loves you and wants your worship. Only you can give God “your” worship. As you worship God, He embraces you and begins to fill your heart with gladness and joy.

Now before someone asks; yes God can hear all of our voices at the same time. God knows all, can be everywhere, and has the power to do any and all things at once. We worship a God who is beyond anything we can comprehend with our limited minds. The smartest person on earth, the largest fastest supercomputer we could build, nor the combined intellect of all the Nobel prize winners could ever fathom the deep things of God. With His infinite resources why bother offering your worship? What do you have to give that God needs? That’s the great thing about God. He does not need you and me to fulfill His needs. He has all He could ever need. As crazy as it sounds, He wants me. He wants you. He wants a relationship with us. He doesn’t want to be our acquaintance. He wants you and me to know Him deeply as He knows us. Just look at what John 4:23 (ESV) says, 23  But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. Notice that last part if you will. He is seeking people to worship Him. He is seeking people to enter into a relationship with Him. His promise is to inhabit their praises.

So the question is still on the table. How is your worship? What or who does your worship focus upon? What do you spend your money, time, or talent in pursuit of? Often, where we invest these resources becomes a god or idol in our life. These questions are not meant to belittle you, they are meant to help answer the question; what am I worshipping?

I would like to challenge you to an honest evaluation of your spiritual life. I also want to challenge you to spend time in prayer and reading God’s word to connect with Him on the intimate level He desires. I promise, you will not regret one moment spent in His presence. But you will regret neglecting your relationship with God.

In His service

Pastor Kavin

In good times and bad

Life is filled with ups and downs. It ebbs and flows. Job was a man who suffered great loss. Though heart broken; Job leaned on God for understanding. Job says that God gives and God takes away (Job 1:21). Job gives us his philosophy concerning God and suffering, he states “Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” Job never showed anger towards God for the loss he endured. Job could have blamed God for the bad in his life. Think about it. It’s easy to praise God in the when our bank accounts have a little extra, the refrigerator is packed, and the gas tank is full. It’s a whole other story when there isn’t enough to go around; when there is more month that money and mayonnaise sandwiches are on the menu because there is nothing else to eat. I’ve been there too.

We are tempted to say in the lean times “If God cared…”, “If God is so loving…”. Here is the fallacy of such thinking; God IS caring, God IS loving, and God IS sovereign over all things. Now swallow real hard and reread that last line- God is sovereign over all things and situations. Jobs, finances, resources, time, health, etc. You name it; God is in control of it. So, why does it seem like God is silent in the midst of our chaos and calamity?

Maybe the reason we don’t have what we need is because you haven’t asked. Jesus said in Matthew 7:7-8 (ESV) 7  “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8  For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Now we are getting to core of the matter. The Bible tells us that our hearts are desperately wicked. Left to our own devices; we are self centered and care only for what makes us happy and secure with no regard for the will and purposes of God. In order to be in harmony with the heart of God we must let God reprogram our hearts. I don’t mean like some robot without our own free will. We can all change our behavior; but I’m speaking of something much different than ‘acting’ different. I’m speaking of being transformed from the inside out into a new creation. When a person accepts Jesus as their Lord and Savior they become a new creation by the grace of God! The grace and love of God is the key to transformation. As with any key; you have to put the key in the keyhole and give it a turn to unlock the door. Lucky for us, God does the work if we allow Him to.

When God saves us, He gives us the Holy Spirit to live inside us. As the Holy Spirit leads us we are transformed more and more every day into the likeness and image of Jesus Christ. We become new creations! Now, as we allow ourselves to be transformed by God’s power we unlock the door that leads to His presence and blessings in our lives.

A disclaimer is in order here . By blessings I mean the presence of God in your life. A peace that surpasses human understanding in hard times. A right standing before God. A new heart and a new outlook on life. An eager excitement and anticipation for the return of Jesus. A joy to God’s will and fulfill His purpose here on earth. These are permanent blessings bestowed by a loving and caring God! I do not mean by blessings that you will receive money, wealth, material possessions as these things are temporary.

If you are attempting to follow Jesus for the material blessings your heart desires you will miss the greatest blessing; His closeness with you. The material things you chase after under the guise of following Jesus will consume and control you. Make no mistake; God knows your heart. God will not nor can He be manipulated to fulfill our sinful desires. His only desire is to have a close personal relationship with us. A relationship based upon love and a desire to know Him fully as He knows us.

Back to prayer for a minute. By allowing the Holy Spirit to transform your heart and mind into the likeness of Jesus; you will pray with your heart inclined to the heart of God. As you pray this way; you will see the power of God explode in your life. You will see God work things out that you thought were hopeless. Lost loved ones will come to saving faith in Jesus. God will open doors for you that were previously locked. He will show you that there nothing is too big or too small for the Sovereign God of all things.

So, in good times and bad, God is still in control. Praise God in the good times and bad. When bad times come, and they will, pray for God to show you what He wants you to learn through it. God has ways of stretching our faith. With each rough time God is teaching us to rely upon Him. Someday someone will ask you “how in the world did you get through that?” and you will be able to say “only by the grace of God!” If you allow Him to, He will build something in you that nothing will be able to destroy. The Apostle Paul encourages us in Romans 12:2 (ESV) 2  Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

My prayer for you is for God to show His wondrous power in your life as you seek His heart and allow your heart to be transformed to look more and more like your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen

In His name;

Pastor Kavin

Called out

There are obvious divine interventions in my life as I reflect on the path that has led me to where I am today. The road has not been smooth at times. Rolling down a steep embankment describes some of the memories from years gone by. The feeling of being out of control; the kind of out of control that led me into less than optimal situations. I was born out of wedlock to a drug addicted mother. She shared with me in my teenage years that she actually tried to miscarry me several times by living recklessly. She told me this, not with remorse, but with the most nonchalant attitude. As you may well imagine; I have felt unwanted and unloved for most of my life. The world is supposed to stand against you, not your mother. She is supposed to love, support, nurture and protect you.

There were bright spots I remember as a child. Because of my mom’s lifestyle, I was raised by my grandparents until I was about five years old. My Granny and Papa were my best friends. Those early years that mold the rest of a young child’s life are as important as any. I am thankful for my grandparents stepping up for me.

As a teenager and young adult, I live a harmful lifestyle. Caring only for myself; not caring about anyone or anything else. I was bent on destroying every good thing in my life. Failed marriages and children living in broken homes. Trust me when I tell you, I live with deep scars that only Heaven will cover. Sadly, I have not always been the father my kids need. Not because I didn’t love or care for them; but because I didn’t know how to show it.

Through the grace and mercy of God, He sent my wife to me. Her faith and love of God was something I had never seen before. I remember telling her that I wished I could believe in God with the capacity she did. She was more than patient with me as she tried to introduce me to the Lord. She chose her battles with me, but she would take every opportunity to speak truth and love into my life. Then in 1999 we were sitting in church, I was there reluctantly to make her happy. I don’t remember what the sermon was about, only that I heard the voice of God speaking directly to me. I’m sure He had spoken to me before, but this time it was different! I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior that day.

There was still a lot of work God needed to do in me. I floundered for several years trying to live in the flesh and in the Lord. I was still struggling with the demons that haunted my dreams and my pride kept me from seeking help. We fell out of church and didn’t look back. Fast forward several years, our two youngest sons were attending private Christian school. The providence of God amazes me. Our youngest son accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior. Well, we get a visit by a deacon in the church who asks if our son can follow through with believer’s Baptism. Our answer was of course. So the day of the Baptism service came and we attended in support of our son. This church was different. We were greeted, accepted and made to feel as though we had always been there. We kept coming back, week after week, and before we knew it we had “church friends”. This was a big deal for me. I had men who cared for me and through them I learned what a man of God looked like. To my surprise, I really enjoyed God’s church and His people.

It was in this church that I found the true Jesus. I found God’s people and learned to care about more than myself. I learned how to be a godly husband to my wife, godly father to my kids and a man of integrity. Don’t get me wrong, I am still a work in progress, but praise God He never gave up on me! Sitting in the pew one Sunday morning, God impressed upon me that He was calling me into the Ministry. I surrendered to His call in short order. I am still in awe that not only did God not leave me to my own destructive devices, but He saved me, restored me, transformed me and called me to His service.

I am humbled when I tell you that all glory goes to God for how he chooses to use each one of His children. If any part of my story resembles your story; remember God is still in the business of transforming what the world says is useless into His masterpiece. Let Jesus rewrite your story!

In His service;

Pastor Kavin

A little about me

I haven’t always been a pastor, or even a Christian for that matter. God knew my story before I had one. From the unlikeliest of places, God showed up and gave my pages new ink. Through our time together I hope to share my story with you and show you that Jesus can take the most hopeless of lives and use them for His glory. I want to encourage you to follow Jesus and trust Him with your entire being. If you are anything like me, you have been battered and bruised by this world. You may have bought the lies that you are useless and worthless. Just maybe satan has convinced you to stop trying. He keeps reminding you of all the wrong you have done. His whispers sound like screams in your soul; saying you’ll never be good enough, smart enough, or just plain enough to amount to much of anything. If there is one thing I know; the devil is a liar! you do not have to listen to his accusations any longer. Turn to Jesus in faith as your Lord and Savior and He alone can set you free. I will begin to share my story in the next installment. But for now I want to remind you that we have a friend in Jesus. A friend who desperately wants us to be free and follow Him!

Until next time;

Pastor Kavin