Thursday, July 28, 2016


Peter made it a point to stir up his readers by reminding them: 
  • They had the true knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord
  • The deeper their relationship with the Lord, the more grace & peace
  • They had everything they needed for life and godliness 
  • They had been granted God’s precious and magnificent promises
  • They were partakers of the divine nature
  • They had escaped the corruption that was in the world by lust
  • If they continued to grow and increase in their faith, moral excellence, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love -- they would be fruitful and make an eternal difference
  • They would never stumble if they continued to grow in these graces
  • Their entrance into the kingdom of God would be abundantly supplied
  • They should never forget they had been purified from their former sins

2 Peter 1:12-13 “Therefore, I will always be ready to REMIND you of these things, even though you already know them, and have been established in the truth which is present with you. I consider it right, as long as I am in this earthly dwelling, to STIR YOU UP by way of REMINDER...”

 “Remind Me Dear Lord” by Dottie Rambo
The things that I love and hold dear to my heart
Are just borrowed they're not mine at all
Jesus only let me use them to brighten my life
So remind me, remind me dear Lord
Roll back the curtain of memory now and then
Show me where you brought me from
And where I could have been
Remember I'm human, and humans forget
So remind me, remind me dear Lord
Nothing good have I done to deserve God's own Son
I'm not worthy of the scars in his hands
Yet he chose the road to Calvary to die in my stead
Why he loved me I can't understand
Roll back the curtain of memory now and then
Show me where you brought me from 
And where I could have been
Remember I'm human, and humans forget
So remind me, remind me dear Lord; So remind me, remind me dear Lord

                                              God is good.  Mr. Steve

The Good Life: What is it?  Let me guess... It’s having all the money you need, with a nice house, financial security, travel, and friends (you will surely have people around you with all that money!)  It’s health and little to no worries.  It’s having a voice where people stop and listen.  It’s sounding good, looking good, feeling good, but.... is this really the good life?  How much would you give for this kind of life?  Most people I believe would say “Everything!”

Jesus had no place to even lay His head. He was financially dependent on others -- supported by several wealthy women and friends. He didn’t look good and probably didn’t smell very good either.  He spent most of His growing up with at least six siblings in a disrespected poverty-laden village learning how to work with wood.  He had a voice at first but later was disrespected, left alone, betrayed, persecuted, and murdered. How many want a life like this?

Who taught you about living?  Where did you learn how to live? When did you buy into how you are living now as the way to live out the rest of your life?  What have you discovered about life and it’s meaning and purpose?  What is (to you) true living?

Dallas Willard in his book “The Divine Conspiracy” believes that the Sermon on the Mount can be divided into two parts, answering the following 2 questions: 
  • 1)What is the Good life?  (Matt 5:1-21)
  • 2)Who has it? (Matt 5:22-7:24)
Christians, he says, for the most part consider the primary function of Christianity to be admittance to heaven.  Willard refutes this "fire escape" mentality by exploring the true nature of the teachings of Jesus, who intended that His followers become His disciples.  He taught that we have access now to the life we are only too eager to relegate to the hereafter.

Consider what is missing in this Good Life:
Pride; wrath; lying; lust for more and more and....; life of misery; animosities; bad will for others; jealousies; grudges; evil desires; uncleanness; covetousness; shame; guilt; hypocrisy; filthy language; fornications; inward frustrations; controlling spirits; fear of being different; fear of being persecuted; fear of death.

Consider what is included in this Good Life:
Joy; humility; love; hunger for good; freedom from the rat race, self, & other’s expectations; purity; desire for your fellowman’s highest good; rejoicing and serving even in the midst of suffering; and experiencing THE FLAVOR OF GOD AND THE LIGHT OF GOD ON THE EARTH!

Consider these Good Life promises:

Partaking of the kingdom of heaven (now); comfort; inheritance (now); satisfaction; mercy; having a personal, indwelling, transforming, and empowering relationship with God (now)!                                                   

Do you have the Good Life?  Are you pursuing Jesus and HIS lifestyle?  

God is good.  Mr. Steve

I began this Mr. Steve article on Friday, July 15, 2016, at 2:10 a.m. out of concern for men and women, brothers and sisters, families of all nationalities, and anyone in authority, who were said to be in harms way on the so-named, “Nationwide Day of Rage.”  I’m thankful to God that almost all of what was predicted (37 nationwide protests in 37 major cities across America) was, for the most part, a hoax -- albeit, a reminder of the power of a "single" voice.

Over 2,000 years ago, one silversmith had such a voice!  Workers in Ephesus and the surrounding area were losing their businesses, and their way of life was being severely threatened. The leader of the protest, Demetrius, made a very emotionally stirring speech and the following events transacted:
“When they (the crowd) heard this and were filled with rage, they began crying out, saying, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” The city was filled with the confusion, and they rushed with one accord into the theater, dragging along Gaius and Aristarchus, Paul’s traveling companions from Macedonia. And when Paul wanted to go into the assembly, the disciples would not let him. Also some of the Asiarchs (political or religious officials) who were friends of his sent  to him and repeatedly urged him not to venture into the theater. So then, some were shouting one thing and some another, for the assembly was in confusion and the majority did not know for what reason they had come together.... (later) a single outcry arose from them all as they shouted for about two hours, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” Acts 19:28-32, 34 

Interestingly enough, years later, Paul wrote to Timothy, who was living in this same city of Ephesus, and reminded him of the great truth we need all rally around!

These things I write to you, though I hope to come to you shortly; but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness
God was manifested in the flesh
Justified in the Spirit
Seen by angels
Preached among the Gentiles
Believed on in the world
Received up in glory.”    1 Timothy 3:14-16

What is Paul saying to Timothy?  Others can rally around themselves, their rights, their injustices (great as they are), and/or their gods of fame & fortune, pleasure, health, degrees, etc.  But the Christian's conduct and lifestyle must be centered on JESUS AND HIS HOLINESS ... Our Banner is The Incarnate One; The One shown to be true -- Justified in the Spirit; The One Seen by angels; Preached, Believed and Received up in glory!  Without question -- Without controversy -- GREAT IS JESUS -- CHRIST IN YOU, OUR HOPE OF GLORY (Colossians 1:24-27).  
Be encouraged.

God is good all the time.  Mr. Steve

“But My servant Caleb, because he has had a different spirit and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land which he entered, and his descendants shall take possession of it.”  Numbers 14:24
I  -- IDENTITY IS IN ____________
 “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me...” Galatians 2:20
F -- FULL OF THE ___________  ______________
“Therefore, brethren, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task.”  Acts 6:3 
F -- FORGETFUL OF ____________
 “If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.”  Mark 9:35
E -- EXCLUSIVE _____________________
“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”  Matthew 6:24
“Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond servant...”  Philippians 2:5-6
E -- __________________ WHEN SERVING
“...when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.’”  Luke 17:10
N -- NOT A COMPARER OR _____________________ 
“The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged...” 2 Timothy 2:24
T -- TRUSTS IN GOD AND _________ ___ SERVING

“... whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”  Matthew 20:26-28   


God is good.  Mr. Steve

The following 26 Allelon (Greek word for “one another”) assignments are commanded by God for the building up of the Body of Christ. See #4 & #17!                             

God is good! Mr. Steve

  1. Edify one another (Romans 14:19) 
  2. Love one another (John 13:34)
  3. Through love serve one another (Galatians 5:13)
  4. Be devoted (kind affectioned) to one another (Romans 12:10)
  5. In brotherly love, give preference to one another in honor (Rom 12:10)
  6. Be of the same mind toward one another (Romans 12:16)
  7. Be at peace with one another (Mark 9:50)
  8. Judge not one another (Romans 14:13)
  9. Receive one another (Romans 15:7)
  10. Admonish one another (Romans 15:14)
  11. Salute one another with a holy kiss (Romans 16:16)
  12. Tarry for one another (1 Corinthians 11:33)
  13. Have the same care for one another (1Corinthians 12:25)
  14. Bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2)
  15. Forbearing one another (Ephesians 4:2)
  16. Speak the truth/lie not to one another (Ephesians 4:25; Colossians 3:9)
  17. BE KIND TO ONE ANOTHER (Ephesians 4:32)
  18. Be subject to one another (Ephesians 5:21)
  19. Bearing and forgiving one another (Colossians 3:13)
  20. Comfort one another (1 Thessalonians 4:18)
  21. Consider to provoke one another to love & good deeds (Hebrews 10:24)
  22. Speak not against one another (James 4:11)
  23. Confess your sins to one another (James 5:16)
  24. Be hospitable to one another (1 Peter 4:9)
  25. Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another  (1 Peter 5:5)
  26. Wash one another’s feet    (John 13:14)

    Sam Holdeman died a faith hero to many.  In the past two years, he suffered through heart problems, multiple surgeries, at least six amputations (hands, feet and lower legs), legal blindness, a broken hip, regular dialysis, and more.  Yet through it all, Sam’s faith just got stronger, his spirit kinder, and his love for praising God, deeper.

     Sam loved to sing.  As was pointed out in last month’s Christian Chronicle, Sam served in their Mississippi congregation as a deacon and song leader.  Regular dialysis and other complications, however, left Sam weak and in need of air, unable to sing and lead as before.  But these setbacks didn’t detour Sam from praising God in “word and deed.”  I will forever cherish the memories of Sam lifting his holy arms to heaven in praise to our God during times of worship.

    Several months ago, when I asked Sam how he was handling all the changes in his life, Sam shared that he felt God wanted him to “suffer well” as an encouragement to others and to bring glory to our Lord. The apostle Paul could have easily been talking about Sam when he wrote,“And they were glorifying God because of me (Galatians 1:24).”

    The following are some of the comments about Sam, recently posted on his wife’s (Tracy) FB page: 
  • “I remember Mr. Sam was always so kind to me. He was such a sweet man.”
  • “His smile, sweet spirit and gentle voice are what I will remember most.”  “Sam was a wonderful Christian man.”
  • “Only by the Grace of God could he have endured what he did.”
  • “He was an awesome man, dad, nurse and friend.”
  • “Sam was such a man of peace.  ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.’”

    God’s orchestration of Sam, Tracy and the entire “Holdeman” family coming into our lives has been encouraging, convicting & inspirational. We continue to grieve with all of them and pray for their strength and comfort in the days ahead.  

God is good. Mr. Steve 
                              TRANSFORMED TO TRANSFORM  

“When Abraham Lincoln was shot at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C. on April 14, 1865, he was carrying a pocketknife, a linen handkerchief, a sleeve button, a fancy watch fob, two pairs of spectacles, a lens polisher, a tiny pencil, and a brown leather wallet (one section was engraved "U.S. Currency" and another section was engraved "Notes"). The wallet contained a Confederate five dollar bill, and nine old newspaper clippings. Included among these clippings were two articles of praise and five others dealing with the issues that were on Lincoln's mind during his final months. These items are now in the Library of Congress.”

Did you get that?  In the midst of great opposition and strain, President Lincoln carried on his person TWO ARTICLES OF PRAISE!  

Years ago, I came across information stating that these articles of praise revealed much handling, reading, folding, unfolding, re-reading, etc. by Lincoln. I still don’t know the author or authors of these articles of encouragement, but I do understand the strength renewed by words of grace. 

Over eight years ago, I received a card from a high school student that ministered to me again and again for several years.  Indeed there is something about the grace-scripted word that makes a person feel loved and appreciated.  In fact, I have a stack of encouraging letters and cards stashed away at the head of my bed specifically to be re-read for just this reason, God knows we need more words of encouragement -- even Presidents!  
“But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called "Today," lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end (Hebrews 3:13-14)…”

As Christians we are all indwelt and gifted by the Holy Spirit.  Why?  For one reason, of many, for God to transform us from the inside out, changing us more and more into His likeness (image) for His glory!  And as He transforms us, He works through us to aid in the transformation of others.  Being Spirit- transformed into more of an encourager is a huge blessing because it definitely aids in the Holy Spirit transforming those around us! To God be the glory.

He is good.  Mr. Steve
                                                             My Shepherds                                                                                                   
(The following is an article I wrote on March 27, 2011, about my six New Jersey shepherds when Jessica and Patti and I were with the Pitman Road church.  I pray the spirit of this feature will depict our soon-to-be shepherds for years to come.)
My shepherds are not perfect and they’ll be the first to tell you so.  Sometimes they get caught up in deacon work because they’re all servants at heart.  But most of the time they major in the majors and look after souls more than buildings, budgets and business.
My shepherds love the Lord and love their sheep.  They are passionate about unity yet very dissimilar in many of their views and perspectives.  Five of my six shepherds are first-generation Christians and all come from different walks of life.  Behind the scenes, my shepherds feel safe to disagree with one another and readily allow their flock to share any disagreements.   
My shepherd’s decision-making is – many times – the result of the work of the Holy Spirit!  Repeatedly, I have witnessed the Holy Spirit bind them together, smooth out their rough edges and create a decision unlike any one shepherd’s thoughts.   It is as a group of shepherds, God does His best work! 
My shepherds do not micro-manage.  They do not focus on the negative.  They do not put themselves first.
My shepherds have encouraged me, challenged me, exhorted me, and prayed over me.  I’ve been fed, led, forgiven, and given more love, trust and respect than ever before by a group of Christian men.  I’m a better sheep, teacher, counselor, and preacher because of my shepherds.  

"As a shepherd cares for his herd in the day when he is among his scattered sheep, so I will care for My sheep and will deliver them from all the places to which they were scattered on a cloudy and gloomy day (Ezekiel34:12).“                        
God is good.  Mr. Steve 
Distractions happen.
  • Ask a carpenter using a table saw who now has one less finger
  • Ask the driver who was texting on his cell and hit a pedestrian 
  • Ask a parent who turned their back on their 2 year old for 1 sec

Distractions are all around us.  Life is fool of them.  Indeed, you will probably bee distracted several times while wreading this article.  (misspellings?) I got distracted multiple times while just writing this one paragraph!

The Hebrew congregation was definitely distracted.  Many had lost their focus. Some were looking back at judaism and the way things used to be before their New Testament conversion.  Some were focusing on their troubles and trials, while others were just worn out and considering quitting christianity all together. 

  • Ahh, remember when we celebrated the feast days, sang on the way to the temple, observed the morning and evening sacrifices, recognized the old law as the ultimate authority?
  • Or....Is being persecuted for becoming a christian worth it?
  • Or....I need a rest from all this; I’m just so tired and weary....

FOCUS PEOPLE!  The Hebrew writer begins and ends with Jesus. His letter centers on the Christ, His promised redemptive accomplishment, the better covenant -- while at the same time filling his book with exhortation after exhortation.  His crescendo exhortation on keeping a Jesus focus resounds in Hebrews 12... 
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith...God is good.  Mr. Steve

“For years, I struggled with understanding his tears... tears of a broken man... hearing the stories that he would start, but could not finish telling... Then, there was seeing his deep faith/dependence in GOD... every evening he would sit at the dining room table and study his Bible... he prayed about almost everything... he served others... he gave liberally, yet was very frugal... he expected everyone to give 110% of themselves, like he did... it wasn't that he was a melancholy personality... I'm now sure he suffered from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) most of his life.  

My dad, Clayton Klein, was 9 years old when he was sitting on the front porch of the country store and witnessed his dad, Gus Klein, burn to death. Over the next 10+ years, my dad witnessed death again and again and again... tuberculosis and meningitis taking one family member after another.... WW2 taking one buddy/comrade after another... he was a witness of death... again... and again... and again... Yet, my dad modeled for me again and again and again: "Life is sooo hard, but GOD is soooooo good." I am eternally grateful for my heavenly FATHER and my earthly Father.”
  Patti Klein Sikes

After all he had been through, Patti’s dad, Clayton Klein, chose courage... again... and again... and again!!
Joshua, who was bent toward fear, chose courage.  And because of that choice, Joshua later made the following choice: 
Joshua 24:15 “And if it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve… but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."                                                           
After listening to Paul, I believe “timid” Timothy also chose courage.  
2 Timothy 1:6-7 “For this reason I remind you (Timothy) to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.  For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” 

  • CHOICE:  Believe it or not, COURAGE IS A CHOICE. And the choice to allow the Holy Spirit to lead us in courage, is a courageous choice! Richard Burgess, who passed this a.m., chose courage.  He fought the good fight to the end!  What about you?  God is good.  Mr. Steve
     I have never heard anything like I did Friday at Mike Wiebusch’s retirement celebration.  After 42 years & 2 months of work, both of Mike’s bosses got up and delivered messages in Mike’s honor that were truthfully overflowing with love, appreciation and respect... for his servanthood!  Here’s a small sample of one of the speeches: 

“I have learned so much from Mike Wiebusch over the years.  Not just his work ethic and knowing almost all there is to know concerning decades of surveys, but other things as well.  Such as: when I would hear him talking sweetly to his wife over the phone, I would say to myself, “you can learn to talk more like that to your wife.”  When I would see Mike come in to work, day after day, month after month, year after year with a smile on his face and a warm greeting, I would say to myself, “you can be a lot more like that when you come to work.”
When I would observe Mike being so kind and serving to a customer, I would say to myself, “you need to work on being more kind and serving like Mike.”

     Are you hearing what I’m hearing?  CHARACTER -- JESUS STYLE!

“So don’t lose a minute in building on what you’ve been given, complementing your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness, and generous love, each dimension fitting into and developing the others. With these qualities active and growing in your lives, no grass will grow under your feet, no day will pass without its reward as you mature in your experience of our Master Jesus.” 2Peter 1:5-8

Mike Wiebusch, we are so proud of you!  
                                                                                                               God is good.  Mr. Steve
“Making A Difference”

My nephew, James, had a severe seizure a couple of weekends ago in Canyon, TX and took a hard blow to the back of his head. The CT Scan in Lawton, OK showed a skull fracture and pressure being put on his brain.  He was also bleeding outside the brain and quickly taken to OU Medical Center. 

When I heard the above, I remembered a time when James (and his parents) came to visit Patti, Jessica and me in NJ.  At that time, James was only 13 years old but even then he was making a positive difference in my life. Such joy and purity of heart!  He tried to teach me yodeling but it didn’t take! 
  • He sang to me.
  • He prayed for me.
  • He spoke Scripture to me.
  • He thanked me, hugged me, laughed with me, held my hand, and saved me from being run over by a bus! 
James is from Quito, Ecuador.  He has strong glasses because his eyesight is failing him.  Other special needs and body ailments may be more obvious, but he loves to sing, help where and when needed, and spill out the most honest comments, whatever situation he’s in – such was the case on the Wednesday night of his visit.  After yodeling for us, one of our elders told James what a good job he had done to which James quickly replied, “I speak two languages and usually get paid for this.”  Complete honesty!
Ephesians 5:18-21 is a scripture text that “we” generally enclose a church building around, but I found it both refreshing and encouraging to witness this passage come to life through a 13 year-old – wherever he was!              “… be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father…” 

This week James was released from the hospital and is now resting.  Thank You, God; I praise You because of James (Gal 1:24)!  God is good.  Mr. Steve

  • Prepare your minds for action
  • Keep sober in spirit 
  • Fix your hope completely on the grace 
  • Do not be conformed to the former lusts
  • Like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
  • Conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth
  • Fervently love one another from the heart
  • Put aside all malice 
  • Put aside all deceit and hypocrisy 
  • Put aside all envy 
  • Put aside all slander 
  • Long for the pure milk of the word
  • But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession
  • Abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul. 
  • Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles
  • Be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable...When you do what is right and suffer for it and patiently endure it, this finds favor with God.

                                                   God is good. Mr. Steve

Wednesday, July 27, 2016


“Have you not heard?  Has it not been declared to you from the beginning?”
“Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?” 
“It is He who sits above the vault of the earth,
and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers,
who stretches out the heavens like a curtain 
and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.” 

“He it is who reduces rulers to nothing, who makes the judges of the earth meaningless.  Scarcely have they been planted, scarcely have they been sown, scarcely has their stock taken root in the earth, but He merely blows on them, and they wither, and the storm carries them away like stubble.” 

“To whom then will you liken Me that I should be his equal?” says the Holy One.  “Lift up your eyes on high and see who has created these stars, the One who leads forth their host by number, He calls them all by name; because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power not one of them is missing.”

“Why do you say, O Jacob, and assert, O Israel, ‘My way is hidden from the LORD, and the justice due me escapes the notice of my God’"?

Do you not know? Have you not heard?  The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired.  His understanding is inscrutable.” 

“He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.”           Isaiah 40:21-31
*****After meditating on Isaiah 40 this week, and in the midst of today’s needs and unrest, I couldn’t help but take Isaiah’s words of wisdom and declaration personally:
  1. Steve, do you not know?  The only God, who is Creator and sovereign of all – is in control!  HE IS ALL POWERFUL!
  2. Steve, do you not know?  Your God is The Ruler of all the nations!  It is God who judges all the earth! HE IS ALL KNOWING; ALL PRESENT!
  3. Steve, do you not know? Has it not been declared to you from the beginning?  It is God who gives you your strength; it is God who gives you your hope and power!                                    GOD IS GOOD ALL THE TIME!

          Mr. Steve