Pastor’s Blog

We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Cor. 10:5

Last night at church we had a great time with a Christian evangelist/magician/ mentalist. If you weren’t here that may sound confusing or odd, so let me explain. We had a Christian man come to the church to use magic, comedy, and questions to trick the mind. He used these tricks to bring about moments where he could share truths about Christ And help us make right choices for our lives. Now I say this to let you know there is an enemy out there who uses circumstances and situations to trick our minds, however his desire is to get us to believe lies and make wrong choices with the intent of ruining our lives.
God has a word for us in this battle. Jesus said you should not only worship God with all your heart, but that you should worship him with your whole mind (Matt. 22:37). But how can you do that if your mind’s running all over the place? You have to gather your thoughts. You have to capture them and make them obedient to Christ. The Greek word for captive in this verse means “to take prisoner”.
Would you say your thoughts are under control or are they untamed? Is your mind used to glorify God with right thoughts or does it run free in the gutter of life? If you know God says forgive others, when someone wrongs you, does your mind tell you to comply with God or does it run with one hundred ways to pay them back?
No matter what king or imagination you were born with or how creative you might be that still gives you no free pass to let your mind be an amusement park for the devil. We are told to control our thoughts, and we can through the power of the Holy Spirit— but we need to be aggressive.
Learn the practice of taking your thoughts captive, drag them into the light of God’s Word, and only allow those thoughts that would glorify God to live—Be done with anything that is not of God!
In His Service,
Eric Barnes

So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. (Gal. 5:16)

So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. (Gal.5:16)
There is a difference between utter depravity and total depravity. I was never utterly depraved. To be utterly depraved is to be as morally corrupt as you can possibly be. Utterly depraved people are the ones who have little or no moral conscience.
Even after becoming a Christian, we discovered that the capacity to do a sinful thing always lurks just on the flip side of my new nature. Whether it is lust or pride or losing our temper, we have the capacity to commit any particular sin at any time. This is total depravity. Utter depravity is to continuously sin; total depravity is the ever present capacity to sin. Total depravity is not that we are as wicked as we could possibly be, but that we are capable of wickedness at any time.
A Christian’s good character is the character of Jesus breathed into each of us by the Holy Spirit. Once we stop allowing the Spirit to fill us with power, sin leaks in from our old nature. Accepting our total depravity (our capacity to sin) is essential to living a victorious Christian life. If we presume that when we become Christian we are now good, we have missed the point. Jesus Christ shed His blood to forgive our sin, not to remove our sin. We have a continuing sinful nature which requires us to guard our heart and mind. We must post a twenty-four-hour guard at the gate to our mind.
We are not essentially good in the temporal world. Until we are glorified with Christ in heaven, we have a dual nature. Like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, these two natures coexist in our minds. When we became Christians, we received a new spiritual nature, but we also kept our old sinful nature. Each day, even each moment, we make the choice to live by the Spirit or the sinful nature. (reread the verse above) Two natures beckon us to their way of living. By the Spirit, the disciple lives according to the new nature. And unless we continually walk in the Spirit, constantly appropriating His power, our spirit will shrivel up like a grape.
The key is to focus on the positive instead of the negative. “Live by the Spirit.” That is the positive, and then you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. God did not say, “Do not sin, and you will live by the Spirit.” He said, “Live by the Spirit and you will not sin.” This is a huge difference. The action point for the Christian is to focus on doing the right thing, not on avoiding the wrong thing. The former is living by grace; the latter is living by law.
Every Biblical Christian has the desire to be obedient. But how do we pull that off? Our effort must be Spirit-aided, not in our own strength. You cannot keep from sinning, but you can rely upon the Holy Spirit to produce His fruit in you. Have you focused on not sinning, or living by the Spirit? We are not utterly depraved, but we are totally depraved. No part of our character is without capacity to sin. Only the Spirit can strengthen us to overcome the desires of the sinful nature which constantly beckon.
In His Service,
Eric Barnes

“Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8

Right now the devil and his demons are waging war against you. Job 1:7 reminds us that our enemy does not rest. “The LORD said to Satan, “Where have you come from?” Satan answered the LORD, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.”” The battle is constant, that’s why Peter reminds us to “be sober-minded and watchful.” Satan not only waits to devour us but also tries to out smart us. (2 Corinthians 2:11 He constantly is scheming and plotting on how to deceive us.) The Bible therefore encourages us in 1 Peter 1:13 “Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming.” We must understand the battle is to use situation or circumstance to exhaust our mind, defeat our heart and dominate our will.
The Battle is to Overwhelm and Wear You Down in Your Mind.
The devil’s biggest scheme against you is to exhaust your mind. Imagine all the ways in which the enemy tries to do that on a daily basis. Our mind is drained from work both in your career and home, from petty fights and vain arguments, !red from failures, weary from anxiety, overwhelmed with depression, distracted with temptations, and most of all absent or unfocused from God.
The Bible over and over again commands God’s people to “stand strong”, “fear not”, “stay alert”, and “guard your mind”! Yes, its a command, because your greatest battle is not in your surrounding, it’s in your head. James 4:7 says “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” Alert minds are those that are washed and refreshed in God’s Word daily, that believe God’s Word over the lie of the enemy and those that don’t let their circumstance determine their relationship with God.
Now is the Time to Fight.
If you are fed up, exhausted, tired, letting temptation get you, running away in fear, then probably the lion has got you on the run! So this message is God’s Word to your soul = rise up and fight back! You cannot wage war if you have given up in your mind or are always fighting the past. You must wake up. “The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray.” 1 Peter 4:7
Stop trying to make things happen on your own and instead lean on Him. Know who you are in Christ and the great purposes you have in Him, and stand in the truth and Pray! (Ephesians 6:14) “So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober.” (1 Thessalonians 5:6)
It’s time then, to worship like never before, to seek and knock like never before, to love Him like never before. Wage War like never before, don’t give in or quit— Fight!
In His Service,
Eric Barnes

Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men…

Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does. Ephesians 6:7-8
Yesterday in the service we talked about how all members of the church are to be servants. God set it up this way, that all members serve God and others. God has even given us leaders in the church to help us grow in this way. We are given servants in the church who lead and in doing so breed other servants. But then many times we as servants stop serving as we should. Have you ever wondered why?
Why do Christians shrink away from serving others with zeal? Every time the Christian gives of himself in service and the recipient still isn’t satisfied or when He serves faithfully and one time drops the ball then receives criticism, his spirit withers a bit more. We wonder, “Why bother?” The ingratitude is harsh and only the bad is magnified.
The issue is to clarify why we serve, not whimper over ingratitude from whom we serve. Our motive must be to please God, not men. The key is the personal relationship with Christ. The focus must not be on serving others or on being served. The focus must be on Jesus, on becoming so absorbed in the relationship with Him that every other thing is a response to our relationship. We don’t serve men; we serve God. Have no expectations of men. Focus on the personal relationship with Him, and there will be an overflow available for others.
Look to Christ alone for gratitude. If you serve Christ, then you will remember to look to Him for your approval, not to the applause of human sympathy. He will reward you for serving others; in fact, He is the reward. When someone feels you let them down, you can surrender that relationship to Christ. You are serving Him only; He will give you the strength to serve that same person more. You may want to flee from the ingratitude but Christ will empower you to be a servant if you take on His attitude.
It can only come by devotion to the personal relationship. The personal relationship with Christ is the restoring power for our relations with others. When people begin to wear you down, let it remind you that you are not in the overflow. It is time to go back to the well of Christ. Are you beat down because your service has not been appreciated? Go to Him and be filled to overflow. Then you can serve with gratitude. Your expectations will be supernaturally provided and your reward will be growth in the relationship with Christ.
In His Service,
Eric Barnes

The fear of the Lord leads to life: Then one rests content, untouched by trouble. Proverbs 19:23

What is the fear of the Lord? And how can we get it into our lives? The fear of the Lord is to love what God loves and to hate what God hates. The fear of the Lord is both positive and negative.
Love Wisdom: The positive is to love what God loves—wisdom. The fear of the Lord is to love wisdom. “My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding…then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom” (Proverbs 2:1-2,5-6) To love wisdom is to fear the Lord. “‘The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom’” (Job 28:28). The person who would understand the fear of the Lord will love what God loves. So he will love wisdom. Wisdom comes from God alone. Many want to add their own unique theories to the wisdom of God. When we add to the wisdom of God, it does not become the wisdom of God plus something, but the wisdom of God minus something. Can we lead a rebellion against the eternal God? Can we be His teacher? Let us learn to love the wisdom of God, and then we will understand the fear of the Lord.
Hate Evil: The negative is to hate what God hates—evil. “To fear the Lord is to hate evil” (Proverbs 8:13). “Through the fear of the Lord a man avoids evil” (Proverbs 16:6). “To shun evil is understanding” (Job 28:28). The person who would understand the fear of the Lord will hate what God hates. What differentiates the person who understands the fear of the Lord from the one who does not? The person not gripped by the fear of God tolerates evil. The person gripped by godly fear cannot tolerate evil because God does not tolerate evil. He hates evil with the intensity that God hates evil, or at least he tries to. He is a reformer, and his hatred of evil does not allow him to tolerate sin.
This is the an!dote for disobedience: “Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13). Though we have lost the fear of the Lord, our duty is to find it again. The fear of the Lord is the andote for disobedience. The Hebrew people pledged obedience to God when Moses declared the ten commandments to them. God responded to their pledge: “Oh, that their hearts would be inclined to fear me and keep all my commands always” (Deuteronomy 5:29). God links obedience to the fear of the Lord—it is the andote for disobedience. Learn to understand the fear of the Lord. Surrender to it. Love wisdom and hate evil.
In His Service,
Eric Barnes

Helps for Spiritual Growth

Not many people when they are saved ever have anyone to explain to them how to spiritually grow. Some never learn to grow in grace. Yet Peter instructs believers to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (1 Pet. 3:18) the Bible helps us with some guidelines.
1. We are responsible after salvation to renew our minds (Rom.12:2) = God saves us and gives us a new Spirit but we are responsible for meditating on the Bible. Meditation on the word transforms us by renewing our mind. Meditation involves thinking about what the words mean and then applying the truth we discover.
2. Throughout our growth process we must admit and take responsibility for our sin. = Whenever we deny our sin we delay our spiritual growth. Whenever we confess our sin growth becomes inevitable. James (5:16) “Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed”
3. After confession always repent = Repent means make a turn around and head in the opposite direction, from sin, back to God. Paul made it clear to new converts “that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance” (Acts 26:20).
God’s goal is for all believers to become more Christ-like. These steps will help us move in the right direction.
In His Service,
Eric Barnes

For God has not given us the spirit of fear…

“For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”  2 Timothy 1:7

Many of us struggle with how we should respond to people or situations that bring us fear. Paul had advice for Timothy on how we should respond to these moments or circumstances in life.
1.Ask for God’s strength, power, or help= When fear grips you ask for God’s help. Tap into His power. That means keeping your focus and trust in His strength to be able to accomplish what you can’t on your own. God alone makes us capable to do all He is asking us to do in this life so look to Him for empowerment.
2.Ask for God’s love to fill your heart= When God is asking you to serve Him in this life. You Ask him to give you His heart for others and trust He will give you the love and tools to accomplish His will in your ministry. Personally, I am scared every time I am going to visit the sick or dying, every time I do a funeral, and every time I preach. So I ask for God’s power or strength but then I ask for God overwhelming love for that individual, family, or sinner to drive my actions. It is God’s overwhelming love for those in need that drives me to do what must be done. His love replaces my fear which is what we are told in 1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love; for perfect love cast out fear”
3.Ask God to help you body and mind operate according to His will and His Word= Paul says we have a spirit that brings us a sound mind or self control. I can be honest I don’t possess either of those without God’s spirit possessing me. The more I give my will over to His and just follow His leading the less I fear the results or consequences. I don’t fear because I know things will turn out exactly as God intended.
So the next time you face anything that brings you to the point of fear, ask God for His power, love, and will to take over then do whatever the Spirit leads– you will be amazed at how strong and of good courage you can be!
In His Service,
Eric Barnes

Why do we go through valley’s in life?

Adversity, trials, and heartaches can be the place for great lesson and growth, a school of experience. They can bring us to a place of insight and understanding; they can alter our view of the world and God. Ultimately it can lead to changed behavior. God is the one who can teach us through adversity so it is to Him we should look for answers in our time of adversity.
1.God uses adversity to get our attention. = adversity is not the only way God can get our attention but it is one way. The reason is when adversity strikes we are more apt to look to God for help or answers. So don’t delay in responding to the Lord when He moves to get your attention, respond quickly, humbly, and patiently in the midst of adversity. Get very familiar with Psalm 25 “O my God, I trust in you… Show me your ways. O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation, on you I wait all day.
2.Attention to area leads us to personal examination= Adversity forces us to look at areas in our life in a more focused and serious way. We start to see things as they really are, the chinks in the armor. Paul tells us in 1 Cor. 11:28 to “let a man examine himself”—- take a close look and see what is real! God desires us to have a clean and usable vessel so he wants us to see the areas that need fixed or removed. The Lord may allow adversity to lead us to those areas and desire fixing.
3.Ultimately God uses this adversity to lead us to changed behavior= The lessons that the Lord teaches us through adversity are ultimately for the purpose of change in belief and behavior. It isn’t enough that the Lord gets our attention or that we self-examine, or even that we see our problems or needs. Unless it results in change we will never fully grow as intended.
If you are willing to allow God to reveal the trash of your life, and if you are willing to change what needs to be changed, you will emerge from adversity closer to Christ, more mature as His child, and with much greater potential for kingdom use in the world.
In His Service,
Eric Barnes

The meaning of the word redemption…

You know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. (1 Peter 1:18-19)

The meaning of the word redemption would have been much clearer to the apostle Peter’s readers than it is to us today. Back in his time, there were millions of slaves who could have been redeemed from slavery if someone had been willing to pay the stipulated price to buy their freedom. Then, if they had been redeemed, they could have not only have been brought out of the slave market, but they would also have been free to serve their new owner.
Just the same, we are born into the slave market of sin, and as we grow up we prove our sinfulness by personally sinning, and we compound our guilt by justifying our sin to ourselves and to others. We cannot pay our own purchase price of redemption, for, spiritually speaking, we are bankrupt, hopelessly indebted and unable to change our current standing.
Praise Jesus who came to do what we could not. Listen to His own job description: “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). He paid a price that we could not, and He did it to set us free from our slavery to sin and Satan. Redemption, then, is the means by which salvation is achieved—namely, by the payment of a ransom. To redeem is to “buy out of a marketplace.”

In the above passage Peter (1:18-19) stresses two facts:

1. He details our need to be bought out of the slavery of sin, which he describes as an “empty way of life” handed down from our forefathers. Our predicament is that we cannot redeem ourselves because we do not have a perfect payment that God would accept.
2. Peter stresses the awesome nature of the payment made for us. Silver and gold are usually thought to be among the safest investments for preserving our money. Peter calls even these valued assets “perishable things” in contrast to the incomparable value of “the precious blood of Christ.” Which also means we are indeed valuable, for we have been bought at high cost.
What are the implications of our redemption? Most importantly we now belong to God and are no longer subject to our former masters—namely sin and the devil. In the words of Paul, “He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:13-14). Thanks to Jesus, who paid the ransom, we have now officially switched owners, and both our identities and destinies have been forever changed. Redemption means that someone loved us enough to buy our freedom. To Him we should gladly give our deepest loyalty and praise.
In His Service,
Eric Barnes

But now the Lord says

But now the Lord says: Far be it from Me; for those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me shall be lightly esteemed. (1 Sam. 2:30)

The question is how can I be the kind of faithful person God honors? If you are a person who desires the favor of God Hebrews 6:11-12 has some advice: “show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”


In order to understand this we need to look at a guy like Abraham. He displayed great faith and patience. Remember when God called Abram to leave his homeland for a place unknown Abraham displayed great faith and diligence: “So Abram went forth as the Lord had spoken to him.” (Gen 12:4)
Remember when God told Abraham that he would have a son, even though his wife Sarah was already 90yrs. old. (Gen. 17:17-19) Abraham believed and God rewarded his trust and displayed his own faithfulness a year later by giving Isaac to Abraham and Sarah.


Remember when Abraham heard God tell him to sacrifice the son for whom he had waited? Abraham faithfully obeyed God and was blessed for his devotion (Gen. 22:1-18)


If we desire God’s favor and blessing we need to mirror Abraham’s patience, faithfulness, and diligence. God desires to bless us and looks for reasons to do so— so let’s give Him ample reason.


In His Service,
Eric Barnes