There is more to the story of Easter…

THERE IS MORE TO THE STORY OF EASTER….
There’s an unnoticed part of the Easter story that I think is important. At every Passover festival the governor would free one prisoner that the crowd wanted. When Jesus went before Pilate, a man named Barabbas was also on trial. Barabbas was a well-known criminal who was in prison for rioting and murdering. This was no coincidence. It was a divine setup.

The name, Barabbas, is a combination of two words, Bar, which means “son of” and abba, which means “father.” But, “abba” also shows intimacy, similar to us saying, “daddy.” So, Barabbas was not just “the son of the father,” he was “the son of his dear father.” In fact, Jesus had just used the word “abba” in the Garden of Gethsemane when He cried out, “Abba, Father, everything is possible for You. Please take this cup of suffering away from Me. Yet I want Your will to be done, not Mine.” (Mark 14:36)

The crowd of angry people shouted for Pilate to release Barabbas and crucify Jesus. And that’s what Pilate did. Barabbas, the prisoner and murderer, was released AND Jesus Christ, the one who was innocent, was sentenced to death by crucifixion. Though it seems so wrong and unfair to us, Jesus was obeying the plan His Father had given Him. So, what’s the unnoticed part of Easter? Read this carefully………

HERE YOU HAVE BARABBAS, the “son of his dear father” that was a sinner, to the extent of rioting and murdering, and deemed guilty; who deserved to be crucified.
THEN YOU HAVE JESUS, the “Son of His dear Father“ that had never sinned, to the extent of loving everyone, and innocent; who did NOT deserve to be crucified.

So why did these two men end up in “each other’s shoes” so to speak??? LOVE. YES, LOVE. It was all about love. It was about His love for you and me. As Barabbas walked toward his freedom, Jesus walked toward his death. Barabbas didn’t deserve freedom, Jesus didn’t deserve death. But, Jesus chose death so you and I would never forget….. no matter how much we’ve sinned, no matter how much we deserved, we are always a “Son (or daughter) of our dear Father“ because of Jesus. He “wore our shoes“ so we wouldn’t have to wear His…. to the cross. And when we invited Him into our heart, He forgave our carnal life, as natural men and women, so we could embrace His spiritual life as children of God.

So, be thankful this Easter Weekend, that OUR FREEDOM, OUR NEW LIFE, didn’t come from an angry crowd shouting for our release. Our freedom and our new life, came because a passionate loving Father, and His obedient Son paid the ultimate price… for everyone who believes in Him.

“So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when He adopted you as His own children. Now we call Him, ‘Abba, Father.’ For His Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children.” (Romans 8:15-16)

In Him,
Pastor Kevin Kinchen

How is your eyesight?

When is the last time you looked in the mirror and said, “Wow, look at that masterpiece!” I know, you think I’m kidding, but that’s how God sees us. In fact, He thinks so much about each one of us that… “Even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in HIS EYES.” (Eph 1:4 NLT) Did you see that? “…. without fault in HIS EYES.” In order to see ourselves “without fault” we have to look through the eyes of God. He has the unique ability to see us for what we can become instead of what we were, or what we are now. A famous hockey player said, “I don’t skate to where the puck is, I skate to where puck is going.”

So, what about you? When you’re looking at yourself, whose eyes are you looking through? Other people, enemies, the devil? Just remember, the “Eyes of God” have forgotten your past, are aware of your today, and are seeing you in your God-given DESTINY.

“For we are God’s MASTERPIECE. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.” (Eph 2:10 NLT)

In Him, Kevin Kinchen

This is only a test – Part 1

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“Until the time came to fulfill his dreams, the Lord tested Joseph’s character.” (Psalm 105:19 NLT)

Do you have a dream from God that hasn’t happened yet? Or, do you have a Promise from the Lord that seems impossible? You know, the kind of Promise that gets further away every time you turn around. Listen, rest assured, God fulfills the dreams and the Promises that He makes. “SO WHY HASN’T MY DREAM AND MY PROMISE HAPPENED YET?” Well, that’s a complicated question… but what I do know is, it’s NOT God’s fault. And the “devil” does his share to discourage us, but he’s not always the one to blame either. Sooooo, that leaves only one,,, US, as in YOU and ME. “What? How could I be the one hindering my own dream?!?”

Well, first take another look at Psalm 105:19 — “Until the TIME came to fulfill his (Joseph) dreams…” There is always TIME between the dream and the fulfillment of the dream. For Joseph, it was 22 years before he saw his dream completed. In today’s society, including Christians, it’s hard to find anyone with “patience.” I’m talking about the “22-year-hard-core-trusting-God” kind of patience. We live in a microwave generation and we want everything NOW! And “why” do we want everything now? It’s because we don’t seem to have enough time. I guess you could say, “We don’t have TIME for PATIENCE!” Unfortunately, God is not in a hurry. In fact, He often uses patience (and time) as He molds us to stand perfect and complete in ALL of His will for our life.

The Bible says there is a time for everything. God had a specific time to fulfill Joseph’s dream. Joseph probably had no clue it was going to take 22 years. Patience is defined as: “the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.” Joseph could have given up on his dream from God. But instead, he chose to learn patience… without getting angry or upset. He wasn’t asking God to hurry up, he knew God had a plan for his life. Joseph learned to enjoy the journey as much as he enjoyed the destination. We should learn from Joseph. Slow down, practice patience, renew your focus, and trust the Lord to fulfill your dreams and promises.

In Him,
Pastor Kevin Kinchen

Prayer and Dirty Feet

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In John chapter 13, Jesus washed the disciple’s feet to show them the “almost lost art” of serving others. It was an act of humility when Jesus voluntarily did the menial work of a slave; He set the example for us to follow. Serving instead of being served.

When I was camp director at Victory Camp (victorycamp.com) for 12 years, the BEST services we ever had were the foot washing services. Our teenage counselors would pray while washing the feet of the children in their group. The prayers were from their hearts and often became prophetic words for individual children. The innocence and faith of the children was revealed when they asked their counselors, “Will you sit down so we can pray and wash your feet?” I have rarely seen so many tears and visible compassion, along with the Spirit of God, as lives were changed in the counselors and the children.

How can something like that happen by washing a bunch of dirty children’s feet on a hot Texas summer night? It happened because the counselors (leaders) were willing to put their needs on the back-burner so they could make a difference in someone else’s life. They didn’t use their “title” to show the children who was in charge. They made the CHOICE to serve, instead of being served. They were just like Jesus…. and the results were their proof.

“So if I, your Lord and teacher, have washed your feet, you must wash each other’s feet. I’ve given you an example that you should follow. IF YOU UNDERSTAND ALL OF THIS, you are blessed WHENEVER YOU FOLLOW MY EXAMPLE.'” (John 13:14-15, 17)

I would love to hear from some of the VC counselors, interns and staff about what YOU experienced at those foot washing services!

In Him,
Pastor Kevin Kinchen