Skin Thickeners: Approved by the Fire

GOD’S BEST, HEAVEN NOW AND ETERNALLY, IS NOT FOR THE THIN-SKINNED.  In future posts, I’d like to follow this thought: What experiences must we go through to thicken our skin?  God’s people have always been tender and sensitive to His Spirit, but rawhide tough to the influences that try to subvert, divide, and weaken.  Where are you on the “skin thickness” scale?  Are you fragile, frail, or fickle due to the onslaught of life?  Or, are you able to get slapped around, beaten, cussed, and burned without caving in?  That’s my goal in this series.  God bless you as you join us and read along.  Let’s toughen up together, enjoy Jesus, and the life more abundantly He offers to the few, the chosen, the strong!Continue reading “Skin Thickeners: Approved by the Fire”

Nothing More Precious Than A Godly Mother

Have you hugged your Mother today?

Galatians 4:26 (KJV) But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.

In this letter to saints in Galatia, Apostle Paul uses the perfect metaphor for the Church, the Body, the Bride of Christ: The Mother of us all. The Amplified Version of the Bible calls it “the Messianic kingdom of Christ.” The Message paraphrase says, “the invisible Jerusalem, a free Jerusalem, and she is our mother.” Remember where the Holy Spirit first indwelled believers as they were born again of the Spirit? In Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost!

We saints of the New Testament have a Father in Jesus; we have a symbolic Mother in the Church. This blessed union produces children: Saints! It’s time that we all arise as the Children of God and honor our Mother! Where would you or I be, without our Mother, the Church of the Living God?

I’ll always remember my dear natural mother, Sis. Jan Haymon, as a nurturing and guiding influence in my childhood and youth. One vivid memory is of her driving with my young sisters and I as passengers on a busy street alongside a truck-full of rowdy hoodlums. They were up to no good, and looking for laughs. Suddenly, they swerved closer to our vehicle and began shouting at us, “Hey, lady, move over! You’re too close! Get over!!” I was shocked that anyone would dare speak to my mother in such a disrespectful way. Her response? She told us kids, “Don’t look at them! Keep your eyes straight ahead!” I’ll never forget her resolute and stoic profile focusing like a laser on the road ahead as they roared off to more interesting exploits. She didn’t let those noisy boys unsettle nor distract her from the matter at hand: Driving her children safely home.

Looking back, I reflect on the fact that my mother has always been an excellent example, not just of attention-focus, but of a multitude of character-building, adult-shaping, will-disciplining, life lessons. I so love my mother and am thankful for her today. What a blessed man I am, and what blessed children I have! The Lord has given my kids a model Apostolic lady to be their mother: my beautiful wife, Sis. LaRonda Haymon. They have two beautiful grandmothers, both of whom are with us today.

Let me assure you: The True Church of Jesus Christ, the “Mother of us all,” is always the guiding and nurturing influence that all her children need. As pastor of the absolutely finest church in the world, CAC, allow me to say, “Our newborns bring us unspeakable joy!” Additionally, I must quickly say, “Our Father has no greater joy than to know that His children walk and are growing everyday in truth!”

How can you “hug” your Mother, the church? Be faithful and early to services. Worship the Lord and listen attentively. Serve with all your heart. Pray fervently and intercede for your spiritual leadership. Let your lifestyle speak highly of your spiritual “home” and represent her well. The list goes on and on.

Let the births continue, let the growth be sustained as we embrace the blessing of knowing, loving, and honoring our Mother. The Church, your church, Calvary Apostolic, is committed to spiritual maternity and maturity. Thank you, all you biological mothers, for doing your best at exemplary Godly motherhood. Happy Mother’s Day!

Becoming a Great Pentecostal

(CAC Friday Communique, April 30, 2010)

Welcome to a truly and deeply Pentecostal blog, by a Pentecostal pastor!

Acts 2:1-4 (KJV)
1And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

More than a denomination, a holiday, or an organization, Pentecost is an experience.  As you may know, the book of Acts records the first impartation of the Holy Spirit upon humankind, which happened specifically on the “Day of Pentecost.”  Until then, this Jewish national holiday was celebrated the seventh week after the Passover, in grateful recognition of the completed harvest.  Ever since the book of Acts, it was a Christian feast on the seventh Sunday after Easter, commemorating the first descent of God’s Spirit as experienced by some 3,120 believers!

You can be certain that this was spiritually cataclysmic.  (Cataclysm  is defined as “an event that brings great changes.”)  From that Pentecostal experience until the present, the means to right standing with God changed from the way it was just before it occurred.  No longer were animal sacrifices required.  No longer was Jerusalem the central point of worship.  Jewish priests and rabbis were no longer the top of  spiritual hierarchy.  Suddenly, the defining characteristic of religion changed from the law of the Old Testament to the Spirit of the New.  At the beginning of Acts 2, Jehovah of the Old Testament rolled out his better plan of saving, relating to, and touching humans.  He sent down, “poured out upon all flesh” His very own Spirit into the hearts of the waiting, the lonely, the hungry, the tired, and thirsty!

Hebrews 7:19 (KJV)
19For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.

In the last 11 scriptures of Acts 2, genuine factors of greatness emerge from the hearts and lives of these newly Pentecostal people.  From these verses we draw the following insights, giving us all foresight into what Pentecostal greatness, as originally experienced, is truly like.

To put it another way, it is possible to hear someone say, “I’m Pentecostal.” However, I hope in this message, to help you with your forensic testing.  That’s right.  Do a DNA test on their experience and see how closely their experience matches the Pentecostal experience where it first occurred.  If not, they are Pentecostal in name only, and not in experience!  They’re missing the best part of being Pentecostal!  (Some of us may be missing the best part of it, assuming it’s simply a type of religion.)  Let’s set the record straight and go back to the drawing board where the Church that Jesus called “His” Church was born.  The first DNA strand of genuine Pentecostal greatness is…

A Great Pentecostal Is A Jesus-Name Regenerated Pentecostal

Acts 2:37-41 (KJV)

37Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.
And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.
Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.

A few months earlier, Jesus told us that rebirth involves both water and Spirit:

John 3:5 (KJV)
5Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

The same preacher of Acts 2 later wrote about the essentiality of baptism:

1 Peter 3:21 (KJV)
21The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

About Spirit rebirth, notice the end-of-life essentiality:

Romans 8:11 (KJV)
11But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

Whoa!  Ready for this?  The regenerate is reborn, and sinless!  (Really!):

1 John 3:9 (KJV)
9Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

However, if we do slip, if we have failed, don’t give up!!

1 John 2:1 (KJV)
1My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:

The second DNA strand of genuine Pentecostal greatness is…

A Great Pentecostal Is A Truth-Devoted Pentecostal

Acts 2:42 (KJV)

42And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

Previously, Jesus made this statement:

John 8:31-32 (KJV)
31Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
32And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

No matter how long we’ve known about Pentecost, we need to stay connected to the original experience!!

2 Timothy 3:14 (KJV)
14But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;

The third DNA strand of genuine Pentecostal greatness is…

A Great Pentecostal Is An Awe-filled Pentecostal

Acts 2:43

43And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.

This is not a fear as in “fear and loathing!”  It is healthy, necessary and balanced by comfort!  (Much like the awe of a child toward their parent, knowing the need to “stay in good standing!”)  This balanced respect is very vital to growth, both individually and corporately:

Acts 9:31 (KJV)
31Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.

The fourth DNA strand of genuine Pentecostal greatness is…

A Great Pentecostal Is An Integrated Pentecostal

Acts 2:44 (KJV)

44And all that believed were together, and had all things common;

John 17:22 (KJV)
22And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:

The fifth DNA strand of genuine Pentecostal greatness is…

A Great Pentecostal Is A Generous Pentecostal

Acts 2:45

45And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.

2 Corinthians 8:12-15 (The Message)
12Once the commitment is clear, you do what you can, not what you can’t. The heart regulates the hands.
13This isn’t so others can take it easy while you sweat it out. No, you’re shoulder to shoulder with them all the way,
14your surplus matching their deficit, their surplus matching your deficit. In the end you come out even.
15As it is written, Nothing left over to the one with the most, Nothing lacking to the one with the least. (Exo. 16:18)

The sixth DNA strand of genuine Pentecostal greatness is…

A Great Pentecostal Is A Joyously Worshipping Pentecostal

Acts 2:46-47a

46And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,
Praising God, and having favour with all the people.

The seventh DNA strand of genuine Pentecostal greatness is…

A Great Pentecostal Is An Evangelistic Pentecostal

Acts 2:47b (KJV)

And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

Perhaps this listing of characteristic greatnesses resulting from the first genuine Pentecostal experience will fire us up to be greater Pentecostals ourselves!  Lord help us to hang on tightly to the first Pentecostal teaching and experience, knowing it will produce power that extends beyond our spheres of influence, even into the next generation, just like it did in the New Testament.

“It’s for me, it’s for you, it’s for your children, and their children, too.

In Acts the second chapter you can read it for yourself,

You don’t have to ask anybody else,

It’s the Holy Ghost, and Jesus is giving it away!”

We invite you to move beyond the words, the reading, and the hoping: Make it your personal experience at Calvary Apostolic Church of Denver!

When God Says “Enough”

 (CAC Friday Communique, April 23, 2010)

“Please stop by the Human Resources Office, Payroll Desk, to receive your payment. You’ve been selected to receive your income for the next 12 months ALL AT ONCE, in one check! (The only caveat is that you must sign a good-faith contract to remain employed here for the next 52 weeks.)”

How would that strike you? If you really got a call, email, or letter from your employer with that message, what would your first thought be? I’m guessing you might have one (if not all) of these possible thoughts:

1) Wow. I’m gonna have a bunch of cash! Now I can decorate, landscape, vacation, shop…

2) Wait a second. What happens if I spend it all in a few days? What will I do for the next 51 weeks?

3) I’ve got an idea: I’ll work hard to manage it, time-release it, save it, and make sure it lasts until 364 days are passed. (But it WILL be soooo nice to know it’s there if I need it! (Tiny voice whispers in my ear: “I could take a little better care of myself. Steakhouses, malls, and amusement parks wouldn’t HAVE to be so scarce in my experience…) Just a LITTLE extra merchandise couldn’t hurt, now, could it!?)

Such a scenario would be disastrous! It’s easy to figure out why. Healthy humans depend on installments. Sufficiency saves our bacon. Just enough to keep us sane and safe from ourselves is by Divine design. That is why the wise Solomon once stated:

“Hast thou found honey? eat so much as is sufficient for thee, Lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it.” Proverbs 25:16 (KJV)

Another place he says:

“Remove far from me vanity and lies: Give me neither poverty nor riches; Feed me with food convenient for me: Lest I be full, and deny thee, And say, Who is the LORD? Or lest I be poor, and steal, And take the name of my God in vain.” Proverbs 30:8–9 (KJV)

Here’s my call and challenge:  The Lord our God knows what’s best.  Don’t chafe under the burden of “too much” or “too little,” whether it be trouble or treasure.

God knows our individual ability to handle abundance. He blesses and distresses us sufficiently, in Divinely measured installments.

Two more quick Bible verses to bring it to a conclusion:

About your treasure: “…be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Hebrews 13:5 (KJV)

About your trouble: “…God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13 (KJV)

WHAT A JOY TO TRUST THE DETAILS OF LIFE’S HIGHS AND LOWS TO JESUS!  He’s got your best interests in mind.  Especially your eternal best interests.  Be content knowing God knows when to say “Enough.”

Now, take that check back to Payroll and tell them “no, thanks!”  “I’ll take it as it comes, in amounts that teach me to number my days and enjoy my daily bread.”

God bless you CAC!  Have a splendid Friday!

Pastor Don Haymon II

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Thanks, Kelly Ventura!

I just needed a tiny push, and here I am.

My friend, Evangelist Kelly Ventura, from Visalia, CA, highly recommended that I begin a blog. I took that as a complement. When asked “Why I should start a blog?” he replied something like, “Because you could be a source of help and encouragement for people who read blogs.” I know you are not wondering who that is… 🙂

Thank you, Bro. Kelly.

Lord willing, I’ll begin writing my regular articles here and posting the links to the usual email address list, so they can simply read online instead of, or in addition to, the email version.

God knows, we pastors need to be like the children of Issachar in the Old Testament: They understood the times in which they lived. It’s a passion of mine to have such an understanding, and, simultaneously, to apply Biblical, Holy Spirit wisdom for truthful guidance for anyone who reads.

Thanks for your perusal!

God bless you,

Pastor Don Haymon II