Tuesday, August 27, 2013


Scripture reading - Colossians 1:18-22

Who is the head of the Church? This question often brings conflict believe it or not. Men have claimed (and still do) that it's their church. But is that correct? Churches have split over this question. Denominations have been formed because of man's response to this question. Paul gave us the answer. Paul declared Jesus to be head of the Church!

Why is Christ called the Head of the Church? Why does He merit this position? How should this affect local assemblies? Let's explore some of these questions in this blog post.

First of all we find in our text that Jesus is to have the preeminence in the church (Vs 18). Is Jesus the center of the average institutional church today? It it all about Him or is it all about the various programs or people? Is He before all things? He is to be before all things – He is eternal. He is the living one – the firstborn from the dead. His resurrection proves His deity (Romans 1:4). It proves His Lordship over the material world. I don't know of any man in history who could do what Jesus did? You see Jesus was more than a mere man. All who trust and accept Jesus will also defeat death and rise again to live eternally with Him.

His resurrection is also the sign of His authority (John 2:18-22). Because of His death on the cross Jesus is elevated to the status that was rightfully His. He sits on the right hand of the Father ever making intercession for you and me. No earthly office even approaches His position. Not the pope, the bishops, pastor, evangelist, deacon, elder trustee – not a one!

Jesus has given gifts to the church (Ephesians 4:11). These gifted individuals serve Him in the church. They serve God's people who comprise the church. Too often we see spiritual abuse by so-called leaders of institutional churches. Local church authority must be carried out in love (1 Corinthians 13). Church leaders ought to be Christ-like in serving Jesus. How Christ-like are we? That's a probing question we ought to ask ourselves often.

Jesus has made peace for the church (Vs 20). How did He do that? Jesus made peace for us at the cross. His blood paid for our sins (1 Peter 1:18-19). He bought the church with His blood. We have been bought and paid for by the precious shed blood of Jesus Christ! Jesus has reconciled us to Himself. This is made personal by faith (Romans 5:8-9). This faith brings peace with God. Paul, the apostle, wrote in Romans 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ

The reconciliation made at the cross has affected all things. This includes all things on earth and in heaven - both experience and expectation. Nothing on earth or in heaven can separate us from His love (Romans 8:38-39). I find that exciting. Again, nothing can separate us from the love of Jesus! How amazing is that?

Jesus presents the church perfect in heaven (Vs 21-22). No one is good enough to save himself. It doesn't matter how good you've been or how many good things you've done. We cannot save ourselves – nor do we have to. The price has already been paid! We must depend totally on God's grace. Apart from Jesus there is no way for our sin to be removed. Our perfect Savior presents us perfect! We have been made part of God's family.

Enemies have become the recipients of His grace. Wicked ones have been reconciled to the God. Sinners are presented unblamable by the Head of the Church! Faulty ones are presented unreproveable before the throne of God! Who can measure such grace or measure such love?

Does Jesus have first place in your church? I mean in deed not in speech. Is He first in our worship? Does Jesus have first place in your life? Is it all about Jesus with you? Or are there other things that have nudged Him out of His rightful place in your life? If it's not all about Jesus with you, why not? This is your chance – your opportunity – to make it ALL ABOUT JESUS!

Until next time...enjoy the journey!


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Monday, August 19, 2013


In this world in which we live today we need a faith that is God-strong.  I'm talking God-strong as opposed to man-strong.  Our faith should be firmly entrenched in the One who made man in His image.  

We like to bring God down to our level and pin our weaknesses on Him.  If we put our faith in man, we will be let down somewhere along with way without a doubt.  You see man will fail you. Maybe not intentionally, but it will happen.  I don't want my faith to be in man.  I don't want my faith to be in my brothers and sisters in Christ.  My faith - our faith - must be in Jesus!  He's the One who will never fail.  He's the one who will never let us down. 

Too often, today, we have what could best be termed as a practical faith.  As long as things are going well and there are no issues in our lives our "faith" is strong.  As long as we aren't facing any valleys or difficult times in our lives we feel good about our "faith".  However, when a trial comes our way we tend to feel like God has forsaken us.  We think we are in a valley and won't ever get out.  We ask, "Why, God, why?"

Can this really be considered faith?  Is this the type of faith God desires for His people to have?  I encourage you to take some time and read Hebrews chapter 11 to see some great examples of faith.  I love the fact these examples were not perfect people.  Many were flawed people. Some were disobedient to God at times.  Yet, they made it to what I call "God's Hall of Faith" in Hebrews 11. 

At one time, the disciples asked Jesus to increase their faith (Luke 17:5).  The disciples apparently felt the need to ask Jesus for an increased or greater faith to meet the standard Jesus set.  Jesus went on to teach His disciples the amount of faith is not as important as the quality of the faith you have.  God has always dealt in quality as opposed to quantity (Luke 17: 6; Mark 11:22-23).

I recall a time in the past when I asked the Lord to increase my faith.  You know what?  He did it!  I searched God's Word on the subject of faith.  I looked at the many examples of faith in the Word.  It's important to go to God's Word for your study.  Paul wrote in Romans 10:17, "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God."

I want to encourage you to have a God-strong faith.  Put your faith and your confidence in God.  He will never let you down.  

Until next time...enjoy the journey!


Friday, August 16, 2013


2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

So often our practice doesn’t line up with our beliefs – and this affects every area of our lives. We speak of “the new man in Christ Jesus” but yet live like the old man used to live. Once we accept Jesus as Lord and Savior a change takes place. This change is real. It's a tangible change. A review of the Bible’s teaching about the old man may be of help in bringing our living in line with our believing

first of all, we need to look at this verse as a statement of fact in our own personal lives. We need to see it as an action viewed as accomplished – old things are already passed away.  It's a done deal.  What are the old things that have passed away? We’re not talking about the physical or material sense (arthritis, a leaky roof, etc). Obviously the spiritual is what is spoken of here. This includes sinful habits, lusts, patterns of life, spiritually related personality problems, internal spiritual disorders (such as pride, hate, stubbornness, etc.) We’re talking about an action reversedall things are become new. Things have changed from old to new. This is also viewed as having already taken place. That word, “Behold” is an attention getter. It's meant to grab your attention

We should be able to make this case from our own personal experience in Jesus. However this is contrary to much common experience in which one is saved, freed from old habits and then doomed to the return of many of those same habits. We tend to live the opposite way – old things are not only alive but actually dominant keeping us from fleshing out our Christianity. This raises serious questions – are the Scriptures wrong or should they be somehow re-translated? Have you ever asked yourself, “Why are the Scriptures and experience so often so far apart?”

Let's examine this a bit further. God has made a provision – sin was covered on Calvary. As far as God is concerned, sin is cared for -  it's taken care of through the shed blood of Jesus. So the answer must lie elsewhere. Are you ready for this? We are the problem. We fail to appropriate what God has done for us. Actually we, rather than the Scriptures, need the new translation. God has even provided the answer to this problem in His Word.

Galatians 5:16 “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh”

Ephesians 4:17-24 (Message) “And so I insist – and God backs me up on this – that there be no going along with the crowd, the empty headed, mindless crowd. They’ve refused for so long to deal with God that they’ve lost touch not only with God but with reality itself. They can’t think straight anymore. Feeling no pain, they let themselves go in sexual obsession, addicted to every sort of perversion. But that’s no life for you. You learned Christ! My assumption is that you have paid careful attention to Him, been well instructed in the truth precisely as we have it in Jesus. Since, then, we do not have the excuse of ignorance, everything – and I do mean everything – connected with that old way of life has to go. It’s rotten through and through. Get rid of it! And then take on an entirely new way of life – a God fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces His character in you”

Colossians 3:5-15 (Message) “Meanwhile be content with obscurity, like Christ. And that means killing off everything connected with that way of death: sexual promiscuity, impurity, lust, doing whatever you feel like whenever you feel like it and grabbing whatever attracts your fancy. That’s a life shaped by things and feelings instead of by God. It’s because of this kind of thing that God is about to explode in anger. It wasn’t long ago that you were doing all that stuff and not knowing any better. But you know better now, so make sure it’s all gone for good: bad temper, irritability, meanness, profanity, dirty talk. Don’t lie to one another. You’re done with that old life. It’s like a filthy set of ill fitting clothes you’ve stripped off and put in the fire. Now you’re dressed in a new wardrobe. Every item of your new way of life is custom made by the Creator, with His label on it. All the old fashions are now obsolete. Words like Jewish and non-Jewish, religious and irreligious, insider and outsider, uncivilized and uncouth, slave and free, mean nothing. From now on everything is defined by Christ, everyone is included in Christ. So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all purpose garment. Never be without it. Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness.

God has accomplished certain things for us – things which can set us free.  The question we must ask ourselves is what we are willing to do with what He has accomplished?  Let's appropriate the promises of God and stand on them in our own lives.  

Until next time...enjoy the journey!


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Wednesday, August 14, 2013


Now that we have made the transition out of the pastorate, some have asked what we are doing now?  Where are we "going to church" now?  What kind of church services are we attending now?

Interestingly enough, however, no one has asked, "What is God doing in your lives now?"  I blame this on the fact that we have a skewed view of what the Bible teaches about the church.  I have often said in this blog that we have a wrong understanding of what "church" is.  I attribute this to the wrong teaching that has been prevalent over the years.  This wrong teaching began as early as 400 AD.

When God led us to our last assignment, we had been outside the box of organized religion for better than six years.   We were happy and content doing what we were doing for God.  Then when God led us to make this move it was quite an adjustment for us.  It was like trying to put a square peg in a round hole.  It was difficult and challenging at times, but our ultimate goal then, as now, was to obey God and do His will.  This we did with everything we had in us.

Now that God has led us back outside the box of organized religion we are, once again, enjoying the freedom that I believe God desires every believer to have.  It's like a breath of fresh air.  Someone asked recently if I miss preparing a message?  My answer?  Nope.  When God is done and leads you on He does so completely.

Now to address the questions I started off this blog post with.  We are staying quite busy.  Of course I remain working full time and Cindy has a part time job with very flexible hours.  We believe God provided that job for her.  God has opened many doors for us to go sing.  It looks as though we will be doing some major traveling next year with doors opening up potentially in Alabama, Missouri, South Carolina who who knows where else?  Many opportunities have opened up here in the Central Illinois area, as well.  I've even had a couple of opportunities to fill the pulpit for vacationing pastors.  It's been exciting to see what God is doing in this area.  

Where are we going to church now?  I have written previous blog posts regarding the Scripture's teaching on being the church as opposed to going to this institution we call church.  I do firmly believe we should gather with our brothers and sisters as the Word instructs us to.  However, the method, way, time and structure that has become so common is a foreign concept to the New Testament church.  We do gather with other believers.  We do fellowship and look forward to having opportunities to share what God is doing in each of our lives.  

We do attend an organized church service from time to time.  For some, that is all they know.  If that is where they are in their spiritual journey, who am I to discourage that?  I'll not criticize them for where they are.  On the other hand they ought not criticize me for where we are.

At one time, I struggled with going into these organized churches to sing.  I was praying and seeking God's direction on this.  He spoke to my heart very clearly and stated we are to minister to God's people wherever they meet and in what ever mode or fashion they meet.  From that day on, I have not questioned God.   We go in to edify, exhort, and encourage God's people wherever they are.  

I continue to blog and plan to do so more frequently than I have over the past couple of months.  We have looked into starting a podcast, but have not yet done so.  I'll announce that in my blog and on Facebook when we have the podcast up and running.

If you would like to connect with me on Facebook you may do so by sending me a friend request at www.facebook.com/rayspellbrink 

I say with full confidence today, THE BEST IS YET TO COME!  There is absolutely no doubt about that.  

Until next time...enjoy the journey!


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Monday, August 12, 2013


Isaiah 54:17 (KJV)  No weapon formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise up against thee in judgement thou shalt condemn.  This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of Me, saith the Lord.

Amplified  But no weapon that is formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue that shall rise against you in judgment you shall show to be in the wrong.  This [peace, righteousness, security, triumph over opposition] is the heritage of the servants of the Lord [those in whom the ideal Servant of the Lord is reproduced]; this is the righteousness or the vindication which they obtain from Me [this is that which I impart to them as their justification] says the Lord. 

Over the last week I have given a lot of thought to this verse.  I have meditated on it.  I have stood in faith on it. I have claimed this promise of God for my own life.  I have seen God work this verse in my life as I have stood on it through the years.  God's promises are sure.  There's no doubt about that.

The enemy has many weapons he uses to sidetrack the child of God.  Weapons such as health issues, family issues, temptations, trials, discouragement, stess and the list can go on.  Sometime it's a frontal attack where he attacks head on.  Other times, it's more indirect.  He can use other people or circumstances to do his dirty work.

Like most people, I am no stranger to the enemy's tactics.  He has come at me many times and in many ways through the years.  For example, I was told I would be confined to a wheel chair by the time I was 35 due to rheumatoid arthritis.  I'm 52 and don't own a wheel chair.  In the winter of 2000 I sustained a head injury that resulted in an acute concussion and eventually seizures.  This affected our work for the Lord, but didn't stop it.  After taking a handful of anti-convulsive medications for a few years and still having seizures I entered the hospital and went off all my medications cold turkey.  I was hooked up to an eeg machine for a week to find out exactly what part of the brain the seizures were being generated from.  I was a candidate for brain surgery at that time once they pinpointed the area to operate on.  However, God came on the scene and totally healed me!  I left the hospital and flushed all my seizure medications.  I've never looked back.  Then about three years ago I began having migraine headaches.  I refused to allow them to stop me from doing what God called me to do.  Once again, it slowed us down a bit and did impact what I was able to do.  But, again, God has been good.  I have not had a bad migraine in quite some time.  Most recently, I was diagnosed  with moderate to severe arthritis in three places in one of my knees.  In addition, the ligament is gone and I have bone on bone.  The surgeon has said a knee replacement is in my future.  Again, I'm standing on God's Word.  I like the old hymn "Standing On The Promises Of God".  In the past, I have been lied to and lied about by so called preachers as well as professing Christians.  But here we are still serving Jesus.

I shared all of that to say I have been claiming the promise that NO weapon formed against me shall prosper!  None!  Nada!  Zilch!   God is opening door after door for us to minister in song and Word.  I know the enemy will come knocking.  When he does, I'm sending Jesus to answer the door!  God has called us to do His will and  He's providing the opportunities.  I don't have time to be troubled with this knee.

As I was praying one night recently before going to sleep I began to quote and meditate on this verse.  I claimed it as a promise from God to me.  I'm standing on it.  The next day, I found the limp I had was gone!  Praise God!  I was walking normal.  That's not to say I don't have any pain in that knee, because I still do.  However, I'm believing God to take care of that and even restore the cartilage.  I'm not asking, "Can God?"  I'm boldly declaring "GOD CAN!"  This is my heritage as a servant of God!

I encourage you to claim this promise in your life.  There isn't anything too hard for God!  Stand on God's Word and on His promises.

Until next time...enjoy the journey!


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Thursday, August 1, 2013


As I mentioned in a recent post, God has led us into a time of transition.  A transition from  pastoral ministry.  I have retired from pastoral ministry.  This past Sunday was my last Sunday as pastor of the church I had been serving for just over five years.  July 30th was my last "official" day as pastor.  That means today I am celebrating two days as a former pastor.

I do mean  I am celebrating!  I'm ready to sing the old song "Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty I'm free at last!"  People have asked me if it was really that bad?  Were the people that hard on me?  I don't celebrate leaving the people.  That was probably the hardest thing about this transition for my wife and I.  The people are precious.  Many will be friends for life. What we are celebrating is this next leg of our spiritual journey.  God has a plan and a purpose in all of this and it's exciting to see Him bring it together as only He can.

If you have been reading  my blog for very long, you will know that I am an outside the box Christian.  When God led us to this very traditional church, I must confess that I asked,
"Are You sure, God?"  As we prayed about this we came to understand that God wasn't trying to put us back in a box, but rather sent us there to lead the folks there out of the box.  We've done our best to do that with some success.  But as you can imagine, some do not want to come out of the box - out of their comfort zone - ever.  They have resisted it when being led to do so.  Why?  The response we heard over and over again was, "But we've always done it this way."  I guess in many people's minds that makes it right.  We believe God desires to do something different than what passes for the "norm" in the church world today.  If we want to see it, we have got to allow Him do it.  We've got to let Him be God.

So today, we celebrate our freedom from the bondage of tradition as well as the chains of religion.  God is opening new doors as well as doors to places we've been to in the past.   This outside the box journey is an exciting one.  I encourage everyone to think outside the box in regards to your own spiritual journey.  After all we serve a God who is outside the box!

Until next time...enjoy the journey!


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