Our Father #121

Welcome to Hank’s Place

In the Old Testament, God appeared distant, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. A cloud by day, pillar of fire by night in Moses’ day. Many churches, pastors, preachers present God this way still. Suggesting you have to have a prophet to hear from God, a pastor to shepherd you, apostles to lead you to new ground and so forth.

It’s as though you were deaf or God was talking to His best people and all the rest of us, well, get things second hand if at all!

BUT, when they asked Jesus how to pray, He said, “Pray this way,” and He began a prayer with these astonishing words, “Our Father….” Sixteen times He used the expression our father or your father.

Such a breakthrough! The Old Testament had many names for God, Healer, Provider, our Righteousness, but Jesus gave us a new name, precious, intimate, passionate: “Abba! Father!” Father loves you. He delights in FAVORING Y O U. Because He loves you!

Many know God as well, “God.” Many know Him also as “Lord;” but few know Him as FATHER. If you see Him as distant – or worse, as dead, you are likely to act like a little god – of your own little world, trying to control things and make things work our ‘your’ way. But God is NOT DEAD! Nor far away!

Remember Jesus has revealed Him: Heb 1:3 “He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature;” John 14:9 “He who has seen Me has seen the Father.” And He went about doing GOOD, healing all those bound by the devil, Acts 10:38. A friend of sinners and outcasts, tax collectors.

Love is unconditional, at least God’s love is. We do not need to do stuff, to get it right, to check off all the boxes before God will love us. He so loved the world that He gave His son. He loved us before we were born. If you are listening to preaching that says God’s love comes with conditions; I suggest you — stop listening!

What does God —YOUR FATHER expect from you, want from you, desire from you, my friend? Simply to receive His love. To flourish in His grace. To spend your time exploring His extravagant, limitless love. And — COME ALIVE!

NEW BLOG NOTIFICATION

Be notified when a new blog posts

Thanks for joining Hank's Place!

One of those days: Storms #120

Welcome to Hank’s Place

This world has STORMS! Got one going on in your life right now? Well, check this out.

Luke 8:22 begins, “Now on one of those days….” That could be one of OUR days, my friend. The disciples are crossing the lake, Jesus is with them, asleep in the back. Then BOOM! A MEGA-squall descends upon them. The boat is being swamped! And Jesus? He’s asleep on the job! No, wait — He’s not — He knows you can handle it, by faith. Oh, wait, apparently you can’t for I hear you screaming for help. (Laugh)

The disciples are screaming: ’Don’t you care that we are perishing?’ Hmmm. I’m not comfortable in boats; I would probably hear me screaming right along with those disciples!

Jesus ACTED — because He was ASKED! After hushing the wind and waves He asks them, “Why were you afraid? How is it that you still have no faith?” Apparently, NOTHING is impossible to those who believe (in God). Mk 9:23

Then in Matt 14 there is another stormy lake incident. They were busy crossing over. It was God’s will, they knew it, and were busy doing it. But the wind was contrary. Circumstances were tough! It says Jesus came to them a bit before dawn. Have you been struggling to accomplish in the dark dark night what you know God has told you?

GREAT NEWS: Jesus sees you and will come to you. Oh wait! He’s walking on by! What to do, what to do! Keep struggling to do God’s will in our own strength? Struggle harder, to keep up with Him? How about, maybe, invite Him into the boat?

Hmmmm? Well, it says in John 6 that after Peter got to walk on water, both Peter and Jesus got into the boat and “…and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.” I like that, don’t you?

Friend, have faith in God. When life is stormy, Jesus has not forsaken you; He is there. He might be walking by right now! INVITE HIM INTO YOUR BOAT! If you ask Him for help; He WILL help. Friend, He will help you — COME ALIVE!

NEW BLOG NOTIFICATION

Be notified when a new blog posts

Thanks for joining Hank's Place!

So Many Jesus’ #119

Welcome to Hank’s Place

I have a question for you – in which Jesus are you believing? The reason I ask is that people may say they believe in Jesus, but have quite a different understanding of who Jesus is from you and I. To make today’s point, let’s boil all the Jesus’ down to two categories.

There is Jesus ‘the man,’ who walked the earth 2,000 years ago. He was a great teacher. He pointed out the way we should live. He died upon a cross at Calvary. 

Then there is Jesus much more than that. Jesus the ‘son of God,’ actually, God Himself, who became a man (Emmanuel, God with us). Who died on a cross at Calvary for our sins, was raised from the dead; who now sits upon the highest throne of heaven where everything has been placed under His feet. 1 Cor 15:27

In both views, Jesus died upon the Cross. In the latter, the Son of God died there for our sins. But now think about this: Jesus on the Cross cannot save anyone. (Pause) Thankfully our second view continues, hallelujah!

OUR Jesus, after being place IN the tomb, left that tomb, being RISEN from the dead. ALIVE forever! Seated at the right hand of the Father, with ALL authority. THIS JESUS SAVES FOREVER, and will save –> whoever dares to believe in Him!

Friend, don’t settle at the Cross. Don’t camp out at Calvary, marvelous as this is. Continue to the RESURRECTION! See yourself united with Him in His death. Crucified with Christ as Paul says in Gal 2:20. And see yourself united with Him in His resurrection, Ro 6:5. See yourself alive from the dead — with Jesus — seated with Him in the heavens, NOW. Today. Eph 2:1-7.

Friend, this is the TRUE reality. Catch hold of it and you will COME ALIVE as never before! The fullness of the blessings of God’s grace come to those who believe in the RISEN JESUS!

Proclaim Jesus as LORD over your life, TODAY. As Lord over any and every issue, any and every sickness, distress, disappointment, depression, failure. EVERYTHING bows to Jesus. Proclaim it. Rejoice in this truth — and COME ALIVE!

NEW BLOG NOTIFICATION

Be notified when a new blog posts

Thanks for joining Hank's Place!

Abraham BELIEVED #118

Welcome to Hank’s Place

Throughout Scripture there are blockbuster statements! They can become giant bedrocks in our faith. Try this one on. Gal 3:6. It declares, “Even so Abraham BELIEVED GOD, and it was counted to Him as RIGHTEOUSNESS.” That’s having God’s approval – in everything – without having to do anything. Whoa!

In context, Paul is reminding the Galatians that they received the Spirit of God by FAITH – NOT by anything they did, not by praying, fasting, memorizing bible verses, sacrifices, observing feasts. He explains they started that way and God is providing them with His Spirit and performing miracles in their midst by hearing with faith, period.

Sadly, many people – many pastors and preachers even – believe a person gets saved by faith in Christ Jesus, and having been saved, then things change. Now it is up to us to walk the straight and narrow. Up to us to do good works, to sacrifice, pray, fast, maintain perfect church attendance and participation in order for the blessings, the favor, the miracles and presence of God to be rich, real, and full upon us. Sound familiar?

Paul points us back to Abraham, Father of the faith, as someone who had to believe, and only believe – just like us. It is in believing in God that Abraham, and us, are counted as righteous, FULLY approved. Having God’s approval is beyond awesome – and if you are a believer in Jesus, YOU HAVE IT! Shrug off those doubts and condemning thoughts, my friend, that would get you looking at yourself instead of Jesus!

As Gal 3:11-14 tells us: a person can only be justified in God’s eyes by having faith in Him, and not by keeping any kind of laws, even those laws spoken by God. That is mind-blowing! God sent His son. He kept the laws, than become a curse for us, that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham, adoption, the promise of the SPIRIT, would come to…us!

By grace, through faith, you have received the Holy Spirit! Learn to walk in Him, demonstrating that YOU – have COME ALIVE!

NEW BLOG NOTIFICATION

Be notified when a new blog posts

Thanks for joining Hank's Place!

Jesus our JUBILEE #117

Welcome to Hank’s Place

In the book of Leviticus, that’s the book with all the jots and tittles of the Law, we read something amazing! In Lev 25:10-12 it reads, ‘You shall thus consecrate the 50th year and proclaim a release through the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a JUBILEE for you, and each of you shall return to his own property, and each of you shall return to his family.

Then it repeats, in the 50th year, DON’T WORK! No sowing, reaping, harvesting. Rest, rejoice, eat what’s there and receive all your property back.
At the sounding of the trumpet, LIBERTY was proclaimed. Property restored. Debts forgiven. Working ceased. Those who had to become slaves to live were made FREE! Yep, PERSONAL LIBERTY restored. PERSONAL POSSESSIONS restored. And a SIMPLE life with faith in GOD to provide the food a person needed was decreed.

But you know what? Tradition, historical records, and the Old and New Testaments make no mention that it was ever observed! Think about that. It was just TOO MUCH for people to believe God would have them release their slaves, restore properties, and to live abundantly and simply, with food He provided, that they did not work for!

Thankfully, this JUBILEE YEAR was a foreshadowing of JESUS. He began His ministry reading from Is 61 – it’s found in Luke 4:18-19. Vs 19 speaks of the Favorable Year of the Lord: that’s the Jubilee year. Jesus said, “That’s Me! I’m your Jubilee.” Not every 50 years, but all day, every day! And the people tried to kill Him! Can you believe?

Just to be clear, in Jesus our debts to God’s justice are paid! Those who had become slaves to sin and Satan were set free to be sons of God, joint heirs with Jesus. Heaven, the Kingdom of God, our forfeited inheritance, is restored. Without money, without price, without our working for it. That’s Jesus our Jubilee, dear friend!

Celebrate Jesus your Savior today. And tell others the Good News, that they may COME ALIVE!

NEW BLOG NOTIFICATION

Be notified when a new blog posts

Thanks for joining Hank's Place!

Thirsty – Living Water #116

Welcome to Hank’s Place

In Jeremiah 2:13, it reads, “For My people have committed two evils: they have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, to hew for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water.”

What a picture! And religious people are still doing the same thing today. Rejecting the Living God with His Living Waters, and making their own religious cisterns – full of stagnant water IF they could hold water at all, but they are broken! Are you dry? In a place without water – is church so dry and you feel trapped in a DIY religion where your “to-do” list is off the charts? 

In Jn 7:37-38 it reads, “Now on the last day, the great day of the feast (of Tabernacles), Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being (that’s YOUR innermost being my friend) will flow rivers of living water.’”” When you come to Jesus you get to drink from living waters, true refreshment, and you become a conduit for those rivers of living water.

So let me ask you again, is your religious life dry, drier, the driest ever? Come back to Jesus! Religion, religious thinking and practices may have turned you toward their cracked and empty cisterns of promises based upon works and performance, but just come back to JESUS!

In John 4, we see Jesus resting at a well in Sychar, when a Samaritan woman approaches. Jesus asks her for a drink. Jews did not talk to Samaritans, and it was not proper to speak to a woman in public. But Jesus breaks through tradition, religion, custom and prejudice. The woman is shocked. Jesus go on saying, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” He adds, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” 

Jesus is giving this Samaritan woman, an outcast, the same message He would later give to the crowds in Jerusalem at the Feast of Tabernacles. John 7. No one is left out. All are invited. 

 Dear friend, are you thirsty? Then you are qualified! Come afresh to Jesus and drink from the Living Waters of the Spirit – and COME ALIVE!

NEW BLOG NOTIFICATION

Be notified when a new blog posts

Thanks for joining Hank's Place!

Green—or Roasted #115

Welcome to Hank’s Place

Today we have – Illustrations.

Here we have a bowl of coffee beans. (point to beans) Green. Unroasted. 100% the genuine article plucked from the coffee bushes. When the beans are subjected to high temperatures, they transform into this: (point to bowl of roasted beans). Into something wonderful. Having aroma. Flavor. Taste. Desirable. The heat was external and it transformed those beans.

Can you see that there is no going back for those beans? A coffee bean may continue to think, if it could think, that it is the same old green bean it always was from inception, without flavor, aroma, taste—but it is not! It has been transformed. That bean needs to have its coffee bean mind renewed to the truth of what it has become. To put off the old thinking and think according to the truth. 

It is the same for you and I – we have been transformed by a power external to ourselves: the Holy Spirit! And it is permanent. Friend, if you are in Christ, you are a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 2 Cor 5:17. What once was true about you is no longer true. Renew your mind to God’s truth. You are a new creation and there is no going back!

But we do not yet appear as who we really are! Recently I was in the Franklin, NJ Mining Museum. It holds the world’s largest collection of fluorescent rocks. Here they are. (rocks in regular light). They look like everyday rocks. Completely ordinary. But in ultraviolet light they are gorgeous! Incredibly beautify! (photo)

The world might tell these rocks that they are still ordinary. But something has happened with these rocks! Like YOU! A geologist might ‘find fault’ with my example, but I’m sure you get the point! 

Dear Christian, you may look plain and ordinary on the outside, but Christ is IN you and makes you to shine! Maybe not to everyone but to those who can see in the spirit — they will see: that you have COME ALIVE!

NEW BLOG NOTIFICATION

Be notified when a new blog posts

Thanks for joining Hank's Place!

Classics – Throne of GRACE #114

Welcome to Hank’s Place

Please—stop striving to prove yourself worthy of God’s favor, blessing, eternal life. Believe the GOOD NEWS. Salvation is FREE, thanks to Jesus’ matchless sacrifice at Calvary. Ah, but each Sunday, messages are preached that add another component to the Good News: YOU. How you better act like a Christian. Perform. Produce. Pay God back in installments when the offering plate comes by – or those blessings will stop!

How ludicrous my friend. He who began the Good Work in you will complete it. Phil 1:6. Not you— JESUS will complete it! You – HOLD FAST your CONFIDENCE in Him. Heb 3:6. He WILL see you through every trial.

Believe the GOSPEL. Enter His rest – in fact Heb 4:10 says ‘be diligent’ to enter His rest. That word has its root origin in “diligere” to love, take delight in. Take delight in entering His rest, dear friend. In John 14:2-3 we learn there are many dwelling places in heaven; and Jesus has gone to prepare a place for US, will return to receive us to Himself, so we can all be together. There is no struggle in that – this is ALL JESUS. Start rejoicing!

Afraid you are too weak of faith, too frail in the face of temptation? Well, HOLD FAST your CONFIDENCE in – yourself? Your abilities? Ha! Our confidence is in JESUS! He knows our weaknesses and has sympathy for us – Heb 4:14.

That great while throne of judgment in Rev 20:11 – has become a Throne of Grace for believers, a place to receive mercy, and receive grace to help in time of need. Keep rejoicing!

Mercy – not getting what we deserve. GRACE – God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. Getting what we do not deserve. God is love. He made a way of salvation for mankind. Sending Jesus. That He could shower us with grace, and grace, and more grace: goodness lovingkindness at His expense.

Friend, got issues? Messed up? RUN to the throne of grace right now. Receive mercy. Got big needs? Hurts? RUN to the throne of grace right now!  You will find grace to help you NOW. In fact, you will find grace to COME ALIVE!

NEW BLOG NOTIFICATION

Be notified when a new blog posts

Thanks for joining Hank's Place!

Classics – no RULES #113

Welcome to Hank’s Place

The Gospel means Good News. Crafted by God. God is GOOD, and His news is ALL Good News — not mostly Good News with some Bad News thrown in. There is no price tag found in God’s free gift of salvation — unless you are hearing a counterfeit gospel.

Does the God of the gospel you hear remember a wrong suffered? Does your forgiveness come at a price you pay? That’s not God’s true love found in 1 Cor 13. It is not the genuine Gospel.

Some preachers thunder from the pulpit: “Beware of greasy grace and those who preach it! We have got to have rules to obey. Guard rails on the roadway of life to keep us on course.” “Greasy grace is nothing more than a license to sin,” they bellow.

Going back to the rules is – wrong. Don’t you remember, friend?
• the Law is not of faith – Gal 3:12. No faith in it. Following the rules is not of faith.
• the Law inflames sin. Rather than HELP you be godly, it promotes ungodliness!
• the Law was designed to lead us to Christ – Gal 3:24. A tutor. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor – Gal 3:25.

Don’t go back to rule keeping. ”Follow all the rules, all our rules, and you’ll be blessed of God” is a counterfeit gospel! It’s rubbish! “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” Gal 5:1.

Adding rules to the Gospel means you have fallen from GRACE — you attempt to be justified by the law. It’s a counterfeit gospel, and you have become estranged from Christ.

The Counterfeit Gospel is the one with the RULES IN IT. Jesus gave us the Gospel of Grace! Walk by faith. Walk in the Spirit – don’t worry, just do it!

Adding rules to the Gospel means you are saying Jesus Christ did NOT DO ENOUGH at Calvary, and there remains “your part” to perform. Rather than experiencing the joy of the Lord, you live in a shadowland where you have never done enough.

Friend, if this has been you, has been your life, it’s time to stand in the liberty, in the GRACE given you in Christ Jesus – firmly, and  — COME ALIVE!

NEW BLOG NOTIFICATION

Be notified when a new blog posts

Thanks for joining Hank's Place!

Classics – Union #112

Welcome to Hank’s Place

Jesus IS the Vine, we ARE the branches. Happened when we said YES to Jesus. Now Father, Son and Holy Spirit abide in us: they make their HOME in us. And they are not going anywhere.

Ro 6:3 says when we believed we were baptized into His death – we have died to sin and are alive to God. Ro 6:11. In this baptism, we went into those spiritual waters looking like Adam and came out looking like Jesus. Close your eyes and see that, my friend!

There is no longer any separation between God and a believer. We are JOINED to the Lord and ONE SPIRIT with HIM. 1 Cor 6:17. Consider Ro 7:4 where Paul says we have died to the Law, all those do’s and don’ts, and have been JOINED to another: JESUS. Now we serve in newness of the Spirit.

Sadly, so many Christians have trouble understanding this JOINING, this UNION that has been accomplished. If we used marriage as an example, they would be acting like they were single despite the fact that they were married. Someone who lives this way will miss out on most all of the benefits that marriage brings.

In the Old Covenant, unholy things would make whatever they touched unholy. Lepers. Keep away from me! Bleeding people. Keep away! Gentiles! Etc. But Jesus cleansed the lepers, the bleeders, the Gentiles, Samaritans and tax-gatherers. Jesus cleanses you. He has made you holy, sanctified. Forever. So now live that way. Stop thinking and acting as though God is far away and you have to sacrifice to get closer.

We are already joined to Him, one Spirit with Him. How about marveling at the wonders of the CROSS and what our loving God did for us there? What we could never do, He did, and took the punishment for all our wrongdoing. And offers us UNITY with Him for all ETERNITY. Pretty good, eh?

Stop with doom and gloom thinking; just STOP IT. Stir up your faith in God. He IS with you and wants to make your life a wonderful testimony. A good one.
He is the LIVING GOD and He is here to help us: COME ALIVE!

NEW BLOG NOTIFICATION

Be notified when a new blog posts

Thanks for joining Hank's Place!

Classics – Hold Fast #111

Welcome to Hank’s Place

Hebrews 3:1 reads, “you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession.”  Consider Jesus! He’s the one who brings life to the dead; who causes us to come alive!

He is the awesome Apostle, the messenger of this Good News of the New Covenant. He is our high priest, the one who enters God’s Presence for us. He enters with our confession: this Good News that is the Gospel. He is the One who has made the perfect sacrifice and has sat down – making perfect purification of our sins.

Atonement for our sins has fully, totally, perfectly, completely, been accomplished, for all eternity, friends! That’s why Jesus could sit down! Therefore, HOLD FAST your confidence in Jesus Christ – it’s OK to boast in the Lord and to keep on boasting; no matter what the world may say.

Israel in their wanderings, Heb 3 & 4 tells us, carcassed in the desert (that’s Heb 3:17). They rebelled, they refused to believe in God’s provision and insisted upon their own way. And carcassed. Well, don’t you carcass, my friend. Hold onto Jesus. Find rest in Him. Rest from your own efforts at improving yourself, of trying to be a better person, of trying harder, of climbing up to God. Efforts at self-improvement are not the answer. Believe, and find rest in His salvation.

More on Jesus, our Great High Priest! High Priests mediate, and Jesus is mediator of a better covenant, founded upon better promises! Check out Heb 8! The Old Covenant, instituted through Moses on Mt Sinai, had tons of requirements for us to fulfill. The New Covenant, instituted through the blood of Jesus, has one condition for us: believe upon Jesus and keep on believing. Even then, if we are faithless, 2 Tim 2:13 tells us He remains faithful, for that is who He is.

Some might say, “But it’s up to you, to prove to God that you believe through good works and sacrifice, Bible reading, prayer, and such” No, God sent His son to save us. Believe it. Enter His rest. You don’t have to ‘prove’ anything to anyone.

Jesus does tell us to love one another, and we can love one another, for that is the nature of God within us. Yes, love is of God, and those who love are born of God and know God. 1 Jn 4:7.

As one who has been born of God, 1 Jn 5:4, you are an overcomer in THIS world; rejoice, knowing you are someone who has COME ALIVE!

NEW BLOG NOTIFICATION

Be notified when a new blog posts

Thanks for joining Hank's Place!

Classics – the SPIRIT #110

Welcome to Hank’s Place

Did you know John the Baptist is recorded in each Gospel as saying there was One coming after him who would baptize in the Holy Spirit? 4 times! 4 times! Must be important, don’t you think? Just listen….

In Acts 8:15-17, Peter and John were sent by the church leaders down to the new believers in Samaria, to pray for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, for He had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. It says they laid their hands on them and the Samaritans received the Holy Spirit. A professional magician named Simon was so impressed that he offered them $$ to have the same authority; think about how impressive that must have been!

On Pentecost a few years earlier, only Jews and proselytes were baptized in the Holy Spirit. But now the Good News was being shared even with Samaritans.

So who were the Samaritans? Samaria was capitol of the Northern Kingdom, begun by Jeroboam following Solomon’s death. 1 Ki 11-12. It was capital of the 10 tribes. Jeroboam made 2 golden calves for the people to include in their worship. Ahab built a temple to Baal there. Genuine worship became a memory. In 721BC Sargon of the Assyrians conquered them and carried off 27,290 inhabitants, replacing them with conquered foreigners – who brought along their gods. So Samaria was a mixed race of people, mongrels, with a heathen core. You might say they were very low on the Jewish totem pole, try: at the bottom. Racist? Yes indeed.

But these ‘inferior people’ as far as the Judaean Jews were concerned, were hearing the Gospel and believing it! And truly amazing: the leadership in Jerusalem, upon hearing this, actually SENT Peter and John down to them to get the Holy Spirit baptism! It was so important that the Jewish church leaders sent apostles to them, overcoming all the centuries of antagonism, to be sure they were filled with the HS. Today I invite you to grasp this truth: God does not care about your breeding or background: He wants you born again, part of His family, and filled with power from on high. So why delay – be filled today – and COME ALIVE!

NEW BLOG NOTIFICATION

Be notified when a new blog posts

Thanks for joining Hank's Place!

Classics – John Speaks #109

Welcome to Hank’s Place

John 3:16 is truly awesome! The Gospel in a verse. But did you know the verses that sandwich it are also awesome? Yes! In John 3 Jesus is speaking to the Pharisee, Nicodemus. Jesus admonishes him – if you stumble over my words, Jesus tells him, when I’m speaking earthly things, what will you do when I share with you heavenly truths? Then Jesus unloads blockbuster spiritual truths on Nicodemus!

In verses :14 & :15, Jesus says that Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness and in the same way, the Son of Man must be lifted up. In Moses’ day, there was a time when serpents were biting and killing the grumbling, rebellious, hard-hearted Israelites. BUT – if a bitten Israelite would look to the serpent that Moses had placed upon a staff, he would not die, but be healed. Sin was the issue. Could the Israelite see his sin – in the form of that serpent – upon that pole? If he did, he got healed! Faith! And God’s mercies!

It’s the same with us today, my friend. If we can see Jesus bearing OUR sin upon Calvary’s cross, then we too will be healed from our sin and enter eternal life! This truth is stated in :15 and repeated in :16 – it is super important!

More of the sandwich – in :17 Jesus tells Nicodemus that God sent His son to SAVE us, not to judge us, and if we believe in Jesus we are not judged.

Ominously, Jesus then goes on to say he who does NOT believe in Him has been judged already. Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. God is not their judge, but they have judged themselves, choosing the darkness and evil over the Light of the world.

God does not send people to Hell; they judge themselves. And send themselves to the destination created for the devil and his angelic followers. O my friend! Help others to see Jesus bearing their sin to Calvary – that they may not die – but COME ALIVE!

NEW BLOG NOTIFICATION

Be notified when a new blog posts

Thanks for joining Hank's Place!

Classics – Stairway Rules #108

Welcome to Hank’s Place

Watch the video! See Hank speak about going up/down the tower. (He really did—I know—because I’m Hank.)

Hank had a blast being free to go up/down. Until he found all the rules about tower usage. Where was the fun then, eh?

Life’s like that: live by the rules and there isn’t much life to your life. On the other hand, walk/live by the Spirit of the Living God and there are oceans of life to enjoy. Personally! And don’t worry about getting into the flesh and making a scene. When you are walking in the Spirit there’s no room for the flesh to mess things up.

And remember, as you walk in the Spirit, you will COME ALIVE!

NEW BLOG NOTIFICATION

Be notified when a new blog posts

Thanks for joining Hank's Place!

Classics – ANALEPSIS #107

Welcome to Hank’s Place

Recently we focused on Romans 6, citing 10 verses that ALL pointed to our OLD nature being dead, and the NEW man, our new nature, being alive to God – Hallelujah!

Unfortunately, sin doesn’t like having you dead to it, and hammers so many of us, deceiving to get us believing that the old man is still alive! And Romans 7 seems to say it’s true. Is it?

In Ro 7:4-6 Paul declares we were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ. We have been joined to Jesus – not ‘going to be’ but JOINED in UNION when we believed.

The sinful passions in us were aroused by the Law, but WE HAVE DIED to the Law to serve in newness of the Spirit. The Law was good, because it revealed, in fact inflamed, the sin that was within us. The Law said ‘this is the way to life’ – but was a fault finder; we were never good enough. In fact, Paul declares that the Law was a real killer – because of the sin that was within us.

Beginning with verse 14, Paul employs an ANALEPSIS – today we would say FLASHBACK – to a time when he was trying to obey the Law. Many commentators and preachers forget all about Romans 6 when they read 7, the truth that in Christ Jesus we ARE dead to sin, dead to the Law, and alive to God. They forget Paul just said we are IN UNION with Jesus–that means as righteous as He is righteous, and they make incorrect statements, like the Old Man Sin Nature is still there in us, fighting for top dog status.

Not true! Paul is simply explaining what it was like for him as old Paul the sinner, not as New Creation Paul. He found that even when he knew what “good” was, and even when he tried to do it, that he kept failing. There is no hope in the Law, friends. Trying your best to do what is right and good is never good enough!

But if you turn to Christ: BOOM! Along comes Romans 8 – “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death”

You do NOT have old and new natures duking it out within you. You are not a wretched person but a righteous new creation. Now is the time to renew that old man mind of yours into new man righteous thinking — and COME ALIVE!

NEW BLOG NOTIFICATION

Be notified when a new blog posts

Thanks for joining Hank's Place!

Classics – Raining Grace #106

Welcome to Hank’s Place

A decade or so ago Todd Agnew had an awesome revelation of God’s amazing grace and wrote the song, “Grace Like Rain.”

Here’s a snippet of the lyrics:
And I once was lost but now I’m found
Was blind but now I see so clearly

And Hallelujah, grace like rain
Falls down on me
And Hallelujah and all my stains
Are washed away, they’re washed away

Do you see that holy rain? Well, read John’s first chapter: we find the Word became flesh, lived among us and we saw His glory, full of GRACE and TRUTH.

Of His fullness we have all received, and GRACE upon GRACE. You may wonder what God is like—well, look at JESUS! JESUS is God revealed! And He is GRACE upon GRACE!

GRACE: when the free favors of God profusely abound. In the Jubilee Year of the Old Covenant, every 50 years Israel got to cease from their labors and enter God’s rest. But we are living in the New Covenant, where God’s GRACE is falling like rain continuously! Not in times, seasons, or portions like before, but continuously! It is a NEW DAY in the NEW Covenant.

No condemnation—ever!
Sins washed away—eternally!
God’s GRACE falling like rain—continuously!

There is never a Dry Day in Jesus—
Believe this GRACE is for you, dear friend.
It is time for you to come out of the desert of your own efforts.
It is time for you to come out of the desert of judgement and condemnation.

Receive His GRACE—it’s as easy as stepping out into the rain, and COME ALIVE!

NEW BLOG NOTIFICATION

Be notified when a new blog posts

Thanks for joining Hank's Place!

Classics – Water #105

Welcome to Hank’s Place

Mary and I recently visited Medicine Park, OK. Population 400. Having a history dating back hundreds of years, the Plains Native Americans visiting to find refreshment in the waters of Medicine Creek which they believed had healing and life giving powers.

We’ve been sharing about the New Covenant and how much BETTER it is than the Old. Jesus shared with a Samaritan women at Jacob’s well. He offered her Living Water that would quench one’s thirst forever, and for those who partook it would become a well of water springing up to eternal life.

And on the great day (eighth day) of the Feast of Booths, while the priest was pouring out an empty pitcher on dry ground (for the previous 7 days he would have poured out a pitcher filled with water from the pool at Bethesda), Jesus was shouting nearby, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” John 7:37-39

God never intended for you to live life apart from Him. Since Pentecost (Acts 2) the Holy Spirit has been ‘poured forth’ to indwell and empower us to live life to the full, in joy, the joy of Jesus. Friend, don’t delay, receive the Holy Spirit today—and COME ALIVE!

NEW BLOG NOTIFICATION

Be notified when a new blog posts

Classics – Stones #104

Welcome to Hank’s Place

Here is a stone: petros, or Peter to you and me. In Jn 1:42 when Andrew brings his brother Simon to Jesus, Jesus says to him, “…you shall be called Peter — a stone.” Then in Matt 16:18 we find Jesus saying to him, “…you ARE Peter…,” but remarkably Jesus never calls him by that name! Perhaps he had to grow into it.

Listen to Mt 16:13-18: Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” He *said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.”

Stones: Jesus calls Peter a small stone, Petros. Then He says upon this R O C K I will build my church — the word for rock is petra, a huge stone. At this time the Nabataeans were thriving in the city of Petra in Jordan, population over 20,000 people, carved from a single huge rock! What imagery for the church!
30 years later when Peter is writing his first letter, he refers to Jesus as a Living Stone, and those who believe as living stones being built up into a house for God. This moment was cast in stone for him!

Peter was given a revelation by the Father: he heard it. Then he spoke it. Could this be the spiritual rock Jesus was referring to: the Church triumphant, comprised of those who have received a revelation of Jesus Christ, who declare it and in so doing become part of the living stones of this Church that hell cannot overcome!

My wife states she grew up in a Christian home, did all the church and Sunday school stuff, was even a theology minor in college, but it was not until, as Paul says in 
Gal 1:16, that God was pleased to reveal the Son in her, that she truly saw Jesus for who He is. She spoke it out — and CAME ALIVE!

How about you, friend? May our God reveal Jesus to you today — make that confession: Jesus Christ, God’s Son, your Savior, and Come Alive!

NEW BLOG NOTIFICATION

Be notified when a new blog posts

Thanks for joining Hank's Place!

New & Living Way part b #103

Welcome to Hank’s Place

Last time at Hank’s Place we asked, “How do we get close to God?” We found out there are no do’s and don’ts, for God has made a New and Living Way through the BLOOD of JESUS. Heb 10:20.

Through the blood of Jesus we have been perfected, made complete, and can enter God’s most holy presence without being burdened about “getting it right!”

Human nature enjoys the outward trappings of religion. Consider Israel who did not submit themselves to the Righteousness of God.  Ro 10:3. They clung to the Law but Christ is the END of the LAW for righteousness to everyone who believes. Like you!

The presence of the Lord was in the Ark. Under the Law. After Joshua conquered Canaan, the Ark came to rest at Shiloh. Joshua 18:1. It remained there through the times of the Judges and days of Samuel the priest; then was captured by the Philistines; and returned 7 months later, passing through Beth-Shemesh to Kiriath-Jearim, where it stayed for 20 years. Interesting, the Elvis American Diner, with a 16 foot tall statue of Elvis outside, called ‘the king,’ now resides there. Does God have a sense of humor or what?!!

1 Sam 7:2 says the people lamented after God those 20 years. But not King Saul. You didn’t find him at worship in Kiriath-Jearim. He was happy with OUTWARD RELIGION, with appearance, empty ritual — not the real deal, the actual presence of God. He never went and got the ark. But it was David – a man after God’s own heart, who got the Ark shortly after becoming king.

David brought it to Jerusalem. He placed it under a tent, 2 Chron 1:4. Then Solomon placed it in his temple. The Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem in 587 BC and the ARK has been missing ever since.

But that didn’t stop Herod from building a huge temple in Jerusalem. No ARK? No problem! We got religion where just doing the ‘best we can’ in worship and serving God should be enough, right? NO! Not for us, dear friend!

See the precious blood of Jesus making the New and Living Way directly into God’s presence! Then enter His presence — worship like you were made to —and COME ALIVE!

NEW BLOG NOTIFICATION

Be notified when a new blog posts

Thanks for joining Hank's Place!

New & Living Way part a #102

Welcome to Hank’s Place

How do we get close to God? What are the steps? What are the Do’s and the Don’ts? Human nature if you think about, simply LOVES RULES. Lots of rules. Rules keep others out. Rules keep you and your friends IN, if your the one making the rules. Ha-Ha. Some people just like to keep rules; it gives them a sense of accomplishment. Others like to BREAK RULES – it gives THEM a sense of accomplishment. Go figure.

Back to approaching God. Under the Old Covenant there was the blood of bulls and goats Heb 10:4. Animal blood could not take away sin, but God allowed that it to cover sin. It was all the Old Covenant people had! Once a year, on the Day of Atonement the high priest would enter the holy of holies and sprinkle that blood, hopeful it would be accepted and the nation’s sins would be covered for another year. He was the only one who could enter God’s presence. Talk about exclusive!

Thankfully, oh hallelujah, Heb 10:9-10 says He, GOD, “takes AWAY the first covenant to establish the second.” By His will (not our efforts) we have been sanctified — through the offering of the body of Jesus, once, for all. Then Jesus sat down – IT IS FINISHED. By one offering He has perfected (made complete) those who ARE sanctified. That’s Heb 10:14, and that’s you and me, dear believer.

Now, as Heb 10:19-20 state, “We have confidence to enter the holy places (ESV plural) BY THE BLOOD OF JESUS. His blood is the NEW and LIVING WAY. So, by the sacrifice of Jesus, the way is open for us to be instantly in God’s most holy presence. Without becoming a cinder, toast or charcoal!

Most Christians still think the ‘old way.’ They believe that God will not show up until they ‘get it right.’ What is “it?” Is it worship? 3 fast songs and then 3 slow songs? Is it prayer through the night? Fasting? Soaking? Sending out the praisers first like Jehoshaphat?

NO! It is not through the perfection of our performance. Not us at all. His love. His grace. His BLOOD at Calvary. Consider this New and Living Way, my friend. Don’t delay, come as you are. Enter God’s presence —and COME ALIVE!

NEW BLOG NOTIFICATION

Be notified when a new blog posts

Thanks for joining Hank's Place!

RENEW part d #101

Welcome to Hank’s Place

Where we are receiving and becoming ROOTED and GROUNDED in the amazing love of Christ. Dear friend, may YOU become rooted and grounded in God’s love.

Everywhere I go it seems Christians, precious saints, who are unconditionally accepted in the Beloved, are struggling with conditional acceptance; they are rooted and grounded in performance based religion rather than the UNCONDITIONAL love of God. And why not? The entire world, and all other religions, base a person’s approval, acceptance, honor, blessings, upon their performance.

In Christianity it’s often disguised as ‘obedience’ – if you obey God you will be rewarded. But you never know if you have fully obeyed, or if you could have done more, given more and so on – you live under a cloud of uncertainty – are you approved, accepted? You feel God has a bit of a disapproving frown, when He considers you.

There’s nothing wrong with obedience – but FIRST: receive the LOVE OF GOD which is UNCONDITIONAL – and walk in it. Obedience to the Holy Spirit will follow.

Remember Col 1:27— the mystery hidden for long ages but now revealed, “how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Obedience? Did they obey? Obey what? Jesus Christ came to live in Gentiles, that means anyone, who believed in Him. That’s all they did: believed in Him. They did not obey the rules. They did not know the rules. They did not have the RULE BOOK. They were excluded from such knowledge by those who had the rule book; the Jews.
Yet, when they believed on Jesus Christ, Jesus, the Anointed One, the Savior of the World, came to live in them. Unholy vessels? Not any longer! The Holy One had sanctified them, transformed them in an instant of time! Hallelujah!

Friend, Christianity is not about obeying the rules – that was Old Covenant at Mt Sinai through Moses. At Calvary it was replaced by the New Covenant. Who says so? God says so – read Hebrews!

Yes, dear friend, open up your heart, be afraid no longer. Receive His love, His favor, and His blessings that are contained in being accepted in the Beloved —and COME ALIVE!

NEW BLOG NOTIFICATION

Be notified when a new blog posts

Thanks for joining Hank's Place!

RENEW part c #100

Welcome to Hank’s Place

We are so excited how Paul in Eph 3:17 prayed that the Ephesians become ROOTED and GROUNDED in love, that amazing love of Christ. We ALL have this inherent need: to comprehend, to experience, the love of GOD, and to become rooted and grounded in it.

When we believed on Jesus we were immediately ‘accepted in the beloved’ – Eph 1:6 KJV. That is NOT conditional acceptance my friend! Jesus did not say, “I did My personal best, what you get from God now is up to you, try hard, real hard!”

“Acceptance” here in the Greek means “to make graceful, charming, lovely, agreeable, to surround with favor and to honor with blessings.” Oh  My  God – He is so wonderful! You believed, and it is His good pleasure, His grace, to make you grace-full, charming and lovely. Agreeable in every way, surrounded with His FAVOR and honoring you with His blessings! That’s the REAL Gospel.

You might want to rewind this video and hear that again! It’s true! ALL OF IT! Dear friend, I pray you become rooted and grounded in the love of God and come to really grasp it. After more than 20 years of performance based Christianity, I began to discover that God’s love, God’s acceptance, is based on Jesus and Calvary, not me. I began to receive His love — and you know what? I had enough love to give some away! I couldn’t begin to give it all away! My dear wife began telling me she felt loved and was experiencing love through me like never before. And you know what? I wasn’t even thinking about it, about purposing to love her – Mary was experiencing the love of God through me – and it was just spilling out from me effortlessly. 

Cool, very cool, and all God’s doing. Friend, begin receiving the love of God today – and DO NOT STOP receiving! It’s past the time to let go of performance based religion. Let go of rejection, and unworthiness, too. We HAVE BEEN ACCEPTED in the Beloved, in Jesus. STOP focusing on your performance; receive His love and become that graceful, charming, lovely, agreeable, surrounded with favor and honored with blessings person Jesus has made you.

Yes, let go of the lies, receive His love, and COME ALIVE!

NEW BLOG NOTIFICATION

Be notified when a new blog posts

Thanks for joining Hank's Place!

RENEW part b #99

Welcome to Hank’s Place

Last time I pointed out in Eph 3:16-21 that Paul prayed the Ephesians would become ROOTED and GROUNDED in love; able to understand and to know the amazing love of Christ. My friend, we ALL have this inherent need: to KNOW, to UNDERSTAND, the love of GOD, to become rooted and grounded in it. I recommend you pray this for yourself – and everyone you know!

When I first stepped out of the pew of the little church in Oakmont PA in 1976, I was immediately FLOODED with the LOVE OF GOD – the unconditional love of GOD! My years of struggle (and failure) to measure up to other people’s standards, even my own, was swept away by this OCEAN of God’s love! I knew He loved me! I knew I was accepted in the beloved! I cried tears of joy for hours.

While I had experienced the love of God, I was certainly not rooted and grounded in it. I did not understand it at all! Well meaning but misdirected church people pointed me back to CONDITIONAL ACCEPTANCE! I experienced the love of God they said, because I was obedient to walk down that aisle declaring Jesus my Savior. And IF I continued to do everything God wanted me to do I would continue to experience His love. 

Friend, they meant well, but they were off base! They missed the glory of Calvary! So the next 20 or so years of my Christian life I spent still rooted and grounded, not in the love of God, but in conditional acceptance, in performance – I believed if I did right in God’s sight, if I performed well, He would bless me; if not, I would miss His best. THIS WAS A TERRIBLE WAY TO LIVE – and it’s the way MOST Christians are living today – perhaps even yourself!

I was also rooted in rejection and unworthiness. Since I wasn’t measuring up to God’s standards, I lived a life of Christian rejection and hung my head down as an unworthy son of God. Dear friend, there are NO UNWORTHY SONS OF GOD! There is hope for all of us, for God’s love is unconditional!

More next time; for we want everyone — to COME ALIVE!

NEW BLOG NOTIFICATION

Be notified when a new blog posts

Thanks for joining Hank's Place!

RENEW #98

Welcome to Hank’s Place

Where we LOVE the GOOD NEWS! The word today is RENEW “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is.” Ro 12:2. You ARE a Christian, complete in Him already. Col 2:10. You look and act more and more like who you really are, as you renew your mind: replacing the world’s thought patterns with heavenly, faith in God thinking, which leads to speaking and doing that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

Paul tells us to put off the old and put on the new. Not just put off the old – there is a new that is waiting to be put on; so put it on! It’s the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.”

“You have received Christ Jesus the Lord, He’s already dwelling within you, so walk in Him.” Col 2:6.

Some people struggle with the truth. They say, “I guess God is far away, and doesn’t care for me.” They are not seeing Calvary! So they focus upon their performance, doing the best they can. Friend, can you see that’s an affront to God and His mercies?

So how can we help such people to walk in Him? How can we help people put off the old man and put on the new man? How can we help people grow in Jesus and say NO to the thoughts from the dark side, when they think God does not care and their focus is — themselves? 

They need to know the love of God! So, LOVE THEM. And let God do the impossible – How? By praying for them as Paul did in  Eph 3:16-21 that the Holy Spirit would strengthen their inner man, that Christ would dwell in their hearts through faith; that they become rooted and grounded in love, and able to understand and to know the amazing love of Christ — which surpasses knowledge.

Friend, we are asking God to help someone — COME ALIVE!

NEW BLOG NOTIFICATION

Be notified when a new blog posts

Thanks for joining Hank's Place!

All Good News #97

Welcome to Hank’s Place

Where there is never any bad news in the GOOD NEWS! “Gospel” means GOOD NEWS. Matthew says of Jesus in Mt 4:23, that He “was going throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming THE GOOD NEWS of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people.” The next verse says “The news about Him spread throughout all Syria (those are Gentiles, like you and me, outside the covenant, outcasts, dogs); and they brought to Him all who were ill, those suffering with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, paralytics;   and   He   healed   them.

Dear friend, anybody, everybody, who came or was brought to Jesus was getting healed. That’s GOOD NEWS, right? No one is ill in the Kingdom of Jesus, then – or now – or ever! Understand?! Good! 

Heb 1:3 says Jesus is the exact representation of the nature of God – all He said, all He did: exactly what God is like. He is God and He has revealed Him. So how many people did Jesus hurt? Break their legs? Put sickness on? Refuse to cast out demons? Give leprosy? Leave them in their distress?

Acts 10:38 tells us, “You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.”

True, there are Old Testament verses that would appear to say otherwise. But God appeared dimly in the Old Testament, and prophets saw only in part and their understanding was affected by the Old Covenant Law. NOW, it is Jesus who is the revelation of God to us. 

Job said in 1:21, “The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away.” Later on he admitted he didn’t know what he was talking about. Hannah in 1 Sam 2:6 states, “The Lord kills and makes alive.” He has absolute power it’s true, BUT Jesus, our Jesus, came that we might have LIFE and that life abundantly. Jn 10:10. Not mostly life but kill a few people here and there.

Yes friend, God IS Good, and the news about Him is all GOOD. So be encouraged, believe in Jesus, the God who is GOOD, and COME ALIVE!

NEW BLOG NOTIFICATION

Be notified when a new blog posts

Thanks for joining Hank's Place!