Words of Encouragement

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What is wrong with the local church?

March 26, 2015

What is wrong with the local church?

Jesus choose four businessmen to be His frontline disciples and future leaders of the Church, the Bride of Christ. These men were the brothers Peter and Andrew and brothers James and John. He choose them immediately following the torments of a very challenging forty days in the wilderness, and post a full onslaught from the Son of Perdition, the most devious sinister instrument of evil the world has ever known.

Our Lord responded to this satanic onslaught with a plan. A focused plan of attack to rebuild the world according the Plan of His Father. A plan that had to include certain critical members of the human race. These Divinely chosen men were not academic scholars, most likely they would have not passed the early stages of an entrance application to an Ivy League school.

Their resume would not have qualified them for the MBA program at the Harvard Business School or Carnegie Mellon University, yet these fishermen were the first disciples to enter into a three year extensive leadership training session with the Lord of the Universe.

Jesus had a master plan to overthrow the Kingdom of Darkness, break the curse of sin and death, and at the same time fulfill His Heavenly Mandate to recapture the sons of men by introducing them to the wonderful reality of inheriting eternal life and immortality.

Today the modern day evangelical community forms a church or carries on the mission of a local church ideally from a list of academically trained seminarians or with competent teachers from other successful churches arming them with an underpaid staff and with a good number of volunteers. In the end the criteria would seem to involve leaders who are typically good motivators and that have a great plan for adding numbers to the flock.

I'm not sure that academia offered what Jesus was looking for when He chose these four businessmen/fishermen, not that it disqualifies a person that is academically trained.

I would never claim to have a full understanding of the mind of God but I’m confident that His plan to change the entire landscape of the religious world was not based on human intelligence or religious scholarship, all of which was available to Him.

Notice with me the account of the selection of these men:

Four Fishermen Called as Disciples

(Mark 1:16–20; Luke 5:1–11 )

18 And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. 19 Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 They immediately left their nets and followed Him.

21 Going on from there, He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets. He called them, 22 and immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him.

 

I have written in the past on the type of call that Jesus offered these four unpretentious men. Today I want to simply point out the fact that they were chosen to be the first line of the eventual 12 trainees in His Kingdom building plan.

I want to note what each set of brothers were doing when they were summoned to follow Jesus:

1.     Peter and Andrew were fishing in the sea of Galilee

2.     James and John were mending their nets preparing to fish with their father.

What did they do upon receiving the invitation from Jesus?

“They immediately left the boat, and their father and followed Jesus”.

These men did not have any time to run an overview of the business plan, as they were naturally wired to care about. They did expect a detailed outline of challenges of following someone of which they had no prior knowledge. What was it about these men that made Jesus pick them?

Dealing with the items that are on the surface we can see that in the first place they were brothers. In the second place He chose them in twos. And in the third place they were professional fishermen busy with their work.

What can we glean from this account to understand the kind of folks that Jesus is looking for in church leadership?

We can immediately gather that their education was not the primary reason, nor their religious affiliation, also we can see that their current title or position in society had no impact on the choice of Jesus. We learn from our history books that God’s best leaders are taught in the some of the most difficult and strangest of places.

From biblical history we can gather that great leaders can be found in the fields’ isolated, working as shepherds or farmers, as in the case of Moses, David, and Jacob. While other great men in the Bible had their character developed in a prison as was the case of Joseph and Jeremiah, and one famous prophet spent time in the belly of fish.

God sees our heart like no one can. His choice is based on many factors most of which are not visible to us, this is true since a man’s true character is typically developed outside the limelight of human observation.

So what is missing from the local churches we try to piece together today?

Having visited many different kinds of churches I have observed that the first thing that is missing is a true and godly leadership team that has been molded and put together by the Hand of the Living God. Leaders who have had their character developed in the recesses of broken dreams and huge setbacks.

The second problem is the issue of listening to the Holy Spirit and responding without fear. Most men and women have this natural inclination of self-protection, a mechanism that hinders them from making positive and quick decisions. The hardest being stepping away from a higher position to a lower one in public perception.

An example would be a pastor who struggles with preaching to the lost, one who lacks the gifting of an evangelist, who has all around him potential evangelists but because of his pride and insecurities he maintains control of the pulpit and or microphone.

Another example would be responding to God’s move in a particular geography and season.

Sometimes the Holy Spirit wants to move fast, so what are you to do when that happens? Hang back and try to slow the process down? That would be a big mistake.

What if the early church took this approach?

Think of Peter’s call to Joppa, or Paul’s dream that led him to Philippi and a jailhouse. How often did we see the church in Jerusalem coming together and asking the Holy Spirit to help them make a decision on who to send and where.

I know the key to answering the difficulties of this kind of challenge we face today in the American church. The answer to this call is simple, faith, a brand of faith that seeks to “learn” the Voice of the Spirit of God and the process of waiting on God’s timing.

But here is the basic issue.

If you don’t know what the house looks like after it’s completed how then you will build it?

Jesus spent His early days watching and learning. His ministry was launched on top of the foundation of a wilderness experience that none of us could endure without the supernatural Hand of God holding us all the way through. Jesus had to go through each arduous step in order to properly connect with the next step.

The launch of His earthly Kingdom started with the selection of His leadership team. The first four were not seminarians but businessmen. That thought and reality forces me to take a step back, and I believe all of us should be taken back by this Divine order.

If we learned how to wait on the Lord (this personally has been my toughest challenge) and if we honestly studied His leadership training methods, and the kind of people He selected, we would have better local congregations.

The biggest challenge we face is the issue of loyalty to faithful members and leaders. Listening to the board of deacons or elders, the establishment, drives decision making in most local churches. So you can learn from observation that the hardest thing to change in any season of human history is leadership.

But this is where God has to step in and shake things up. He does so by taking a few men and women aside and in a place of isolation He walks them through a tediously slow process of development. Each lesson is taught in a manner that enforces each important lesson. Human pride is dealt with in full way so that after God’s leadership team is installed they know who is qualified to be sent to minister to a lost and dying world, and most importantly, when their time is complete.

 

A Believer's Position on Climate Change

October 1, 2014
It's been a good while since I last deposited a word or two on this page. Since my last post I have come to learn more about how the Lord is calling us to serve Him. 

We moved back to Pilot Mountain this past February following a period of much struggle and searching for direction in my calling and career track. It was in Northern NJ that I found solar energy and fell in love with the idea of clean energy. The thought that my four boys could live in a world where they are not "called" up (draf...

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This is Personal

August 5, 2014

Have you ever heard someone say, “this isn't personal, just business!”?  This they say after they just robbed you blind.

Honor. Money. Promotion. All come from the Lord, but we live in a fallen world and a fallen church.  Does the fact that unscrupulous business people use this oft quoted moniker really bring you any comfort after you been cheated by their wicked schemes?  In turn, do these words really salve their guilty conscience?  Do these words in any way absolutize them of wrong doin...

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Spiritual Declension Defined / Renewal Explained

June 8, 2014


Over the last few years I have come to realize a measure of decline in my determination and drive to take the message of the cross to our lost and dying world. At the outset of my call to preach I had so much fire in my belly I could not but preach, sadly, as the Word predicts, decline comes and the passion fades.

Back in 2012 I asked the Lord to reveal to me the state of my heart. We had moved back to NJ, I was tired physically and emotionally, and I knew I was spiritually sleepy to the n...


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Origin of Jesus - Part 3

January 16, 2014

Origin of Jesus – Part 3

Read parts 1 and 2 by using search bar on this website

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As sons of the Living God, we are summoned by heaven to boldly witness to all the things that we have seen or heard.  Any man or woman of God, prophet, and apostle, upon their occasion of witnessing something of the glories of heaven, will agree that heaven's glory eclipses any glory we see on the earth.

All attest to the same reality of the sheer magnitude of the glory of God, those who have wrestled with rea...


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Adversity - Are we ready?

December 16, 2013

Adversity – Are we ready? 2014

Repost from 2008

If you faint in the day of adversityYour strength is small. Prov. 24:10

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In Psalm 91:14-16 we have a beautiful account of God's faithfulness to protect a saint, one who has sanctified the Lord always in his heart. A man, woman, or child that has made the Lord of Heaven his love and his refuge.  The Lord is able even at the latest hour to save those who have put their trust in Him.  Let's read the words of Ps. 91 with great care, 

Because ...


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Overcoming frustration in the way of faith

August 27, 2013

Dealing with opposition in the way of walking by faith!

Any human who spends any amount of time on this planet will experience suffering of some type or sort. Such is the result of the mother of all living making that fateful decision to take of the visibly beautiful fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good AND evil.

When any man puts his mind and in turn his fingers to writing on the topic of suffering, he must first have experienced something of the uniqueness of the kind of suffering that ...


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Soul Crucified with Christ

May 13, 2013

Can you and I ever get to the place of living in a way where we are constantly winning against the evil on the inside of us and in the world around us?   

Is it possible to begin a new life where we are consistently overcoming the seductive temptations that confront us every day in our very fast paced, tempestuous and very pagan society?

The kind of temptations that capture control of our redeemed mind and put us in a mind-numbed 
temporally based state of being. 

What and where do these sinful t...


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Come & See

January 16, 2013

What if church goers could actually see and feel the glory and presence of God in the sanctuary?  

What we know of anyone who has seen or felt His Glory in real time reveals to us a sense of a greater intensity of emotion than the modern user friendly church goer currently is ready to accept. 
 

Historical encounters of men meeting God, whether angelic, or booming voices, or direct theosophic encounters on the order of Abram's tent meeting announcing the birth of Isaac, and especially of Moses...


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LLI Fellowship Hope for 2013

January 1, 2013

Loving friction makes for true unity

The spoken word of G-d uttered at the dawn of creation did not create man a boring kind of bland, and so simplistic a substance without each man or woman owning the glorious addition of individualized uniqueness, what we commonly see in the face of human beings everyday. This reality clearly reveals in the heart of Our Creator in making diversity of people and of gifts in people.

The more we study the micro-substance of human cell structure and the DNA o...


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Kingdom Support Services


Jonathan Keener Our call is to be true "christ" ians. Those little christ's who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. Who spread God's fame by proclaiming His message of reconciliation to our world. Playing our part in the epic work of the regathering of the Body of Christ in the Last Days. livinlattes@gmail.com

Mike Thompson

A Now Word for 2016 and the next few years

One of the most powerful words I have ever heard that we must hear and incorporate into our thinking and spiritual planning for this season

What does a modern day prophet do?

The calling on my life is to walk in a path similar to all those called as messengers of God's revelation. This job or assignment is not for the pulpit, many times this call leads me to connect one on one with pastors, business leaders, divinely selected individuals, and public forums which the Lord opens up to me to proclaim His Message of Reconciliation


LLI Mission & Values

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All of our signs are hand-crafted by Sharon Keener and her children

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The Path of Restoration 


The testing of the Lord takes time

This is a teaching where are forced to wrap our hearts and minds 
around God's method of training His servants.

The Life and Times of

The Keener Family - 2016

Scattered Israel to be regathered


Jer. 31:10

"Hear the Word of the Lord, O you nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say: He who scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd does his flock." 


 Reader, in touching on this point, I would not have you for a moment suppose that the future gathering of Israel depends on anything that man can do. God's counsels and purposes are independent of human strength. The sun will set tonight at its appointed hour, and neither Queen, Lords, nor Commons, Pope, President, nor Emperors — can hasten, prevent, or put off its setting. The tides of the sea will ebb and flow this week in their regular course, and no scientific decree nor engineering skill can interfere with their motion. 

And just in like manner, the promises of God concerning Israel will all be fulfilled in due season, whether we will hear, or whether we will forbear.


Bishop JC Ryle 1879

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Photos that tell our story

26 years of learning agape love!

The place where many a sincere conversation took place, the place where our family served our  community the very best coffee and smoothies we could deliver.

The crazy day of living on faith in 2007

Livin Lattes event downtown Pilot Mtn, NC

We felt the Power of His Presence in an alley

A most cataclysmic life event...2001

little did I know that witnessing this single event from the banks of the NJ side of the Hudson would be such an integral part of launching the LLI ministry

 The night that revealed that the Holy Spirit could use any 

kind of music to bring glory to His Name

Swing Low Sweet Chariot 

Baptizing McKenzie in Tom's Creek

back in NC - 2008

 Waterfall in En Gedi

Israel trip early 2007

A Time of Remembering

In our very brief time on the West Coast in 2011 

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We ask you to pray for the Living Water of Zion to flow to our world, to all our cities, and to every unique people group, that all would seek the power of His Spirit and be saved!


Our Eight Spirit-Wrought Children

Our little baby girl - 5

Zoe Hannah Grace Keener

Who knows.... 

Zachariah - 9

4th boy - a chaser 

Taught himself how to ride a bike and swim, we didn't know he wanted to do these things without us


Steve - 10

A good kid - God made him that way

lover of people 

Matt - 12 

athlete - winner loves the good things of life 

Seth - 15

Athlete - Baseball player

just wants to fix everything that is wrong with the world 

 Kayla - 18

loves finance and business

Attending Appalachian State fall 2016

Becca - 21

Attending Princeton University to solve world peace, global warming, better government, and cancer... 

Jenna - 24

Film Maker - Artist - Can do anything

The best Starbucks barista in NC

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Our kids actually showing love to each other...

quick take the picture!