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This entry is part 2 of 4 in the series The John the Baptist Experience: Book 2

The John the Baptist Experience
Book 2: The Extraordinary Message
Chapter 2: Coming to Grips with Kingship
and Collective Amnesia

Copyright © 20231

by
Jim Kerwin

The Downsides of Democracy

Title tile for 'Coming to Grips with Kingship and Collective AmnesiaCan we forget what we never learned?
How can the phrase “Kingdom of God”
mean anything if we don’t really know
what a king is?

If the message of John the Baptist was a plow to prepare heart-soil, then the sharp, sod-busting point of his plow’s blade was summed up in this simple phrase: Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand!

Yet how little impact those nine words have on us, because we understand neither the word “King” nor the word “repent” as we should. Although “repent” is the first word, let’s first focus on the why of, the motivation for, repentance — the King and His Kingdom. Then we’ll follow up with that most important subject of repentance.

As wonderful as it is to live with the freedoms guaranteed in a democratic republic,2 democracy has a decided downside for Bible readers. Living as we do under a government in which we can [continue reading…]

DD2: Kingdom of God or “King’s Kids”?

This entry is part 4 of 4 in the series The John the Baptist Experience: Book 2

The John the Baptist Experience
Book 2: The Extraordinary Message
Deeper Dive #2:
Kingdom of God or “King’s Kids”?

Copyright © 20231

by
Jim Kerwin

Title tile for 'Coming to Grips with Kingship and Collective AmnesiaIt’s important not to confuse the two teachings!

Please let me add this “deeper dive” side note to the discussion in Chapter 2, “Coming to Grips with Kingship and Collective Amnesia.” I’m concerned because I continue to encounter certain cadres of believers who tend to misconstrue the phrase “Gospel of the Kingdom of God” and translate it mentally into that modern message which might be labeled “the Gospel of the ‘King’s Kids’.”

They have been taught something that goes along these lines: Since they’re born into God’s family, and He is the King, believers are, by association, “royalty,” that is, “King’s kids.” As proper princes and princesses, they have special privileges and “kingdom authority.” What analogy can I use? It’s as though sugar-craving children, armed with such “royal authority” and possessed of their Father’s carte blanche, are turned loose in a proverbial [continue reading…]

Many Weary Years

Haldor Lillenas
(1885-1959)

13Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; 14but 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.”

John 4:13-14 nasb

…and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ.

1 Corinthians 10:4 nasb

Many weary years I vainly sought a spring,
One that never would run dry;
Unavailing all that earth to me could bring —
Nothing seemed to satisfy.

Chorus:
Drinking at the Fountain that never runs dry,
Drinking at the Fountain of life am I;
Finding joy and pleasure
In abounding measure,
I am drinking at the Fountain of life!

Through the desert land of sin I roam no more,
For I find a [continue reading…]

Only One Life, ‘Twill Soon Be Past

C.T. Studd
(1860-1931)

Two little lines I heard one day,
Traveling along life’s busy way,
Bringing conviction to my heart,
And from my mind would not depart—
“Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.”

“Only one life!” Yes, only one;
Soon will its fleeting hours be done,
Then, in “that day” my Lord to meet,
And stand before His Judgment seat.
“Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.”

“Only one life!” The still small voice
Gently pleads for a better choice,
Bidding me [continue reading…]

And Can It Be?

Charles Wesley
(1707-1788)

And can it be that I should gain
An interest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain—
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

’Tis mystery all: th’Immortal dies:
Who can explore His [continue reading…]

Whirlwind, Hurricane, and Storm

30 September 2023

Knocked for a Loop by the Whirlwind

Dear Friend,

Title tile for 'Whirlwind, Hurricane, and Storm'Yessiree, it’s been an interesting period…

Lucky Elijah! He was taken up to Heaven in a whirlwind at the end of his life. But we’ve been caught up in an eight-week-long whirlwind and getting pretty banged up in the process. We’re not trying to leave our friends, supporters, and readers out of the loop — honest! It’s just that over the last eight weeks we’ve been “knocked for a loop” and we’re still trying to recover our equilibrium. Elijah was “one and done” with his whirlwind, but our whirlwind has led to a hurricane, followed by a storm!

A week before we left for Florida, I fell [continue reading…]

O Jesus, Thy Great Love!

Lha Wangdi
(The story of this hymn and its author appears below.)

Chorus:
O Jesus, Thy great love, it is so wonderful,
Transcending sea and stars in the sky,
Greater than mountains so high!
O Jesus, Thy great love…

My heart is bubbling and full, with joy abundant and free;
O Lord, how wonderful, are all Thy workings in me!
From morn to evening, from e’en to morning,
Thou art so praiseworthy!
From morn to evening, from e’en to morning,
Thou art so praiseworthy!
Thou art so praiseworthy!

Oh how my life is crushed [continue reading…]

Worse Than an Infidel? No Thanks!

My 55th spiritual birthday, 31 July 2023

  • But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.
  • 1 Timothy 5:8 kjv

God’s “New Thing” Is Coming Clear

Dear Friend,

Photo of a room full of boxes packed for movingPlease. Spare us the “move of God” jokes…1

Denise and I have never had a desire (or funds!) to shuffle-board into some easy retirement in a “senior-living” resort. We love Jesus, He has kept us healthy in spirit, mind, and body, and in many ways we feel like we’re just beginning to come into some maturity of usefulness to the Body, especially with the rising “new generation.”

We have been praying about and anticipating a change of venue for some time now, and have been waiting on the Lord for His direction and timing, offering up much prayer over the matter. Given the various open doors we have had in northeastern Florida, we understood this region could be the most likely, but certainly not inevitable. Until now.

Now serious health [continue reading…]

Give Me the Enlarged Desire

Charles Wesley
(1707-1788)

I am the Lord thy God,
which brought thee out of the land of Egypt:
open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.

— Psalm 81:10 kjv

Give me the enlarged desire
And open, Lord, my soul,
Thy own fulness to require,
And comprehend the whole;

Stretch my faith’s [continue reading…]

DD01: Rivers of Living Water (John 7:37-39)

This entry is part 4 of 4 in the series The John the Baptist Experience: Book 3

The John the Baptist Experience
Book 3: The Fellowship of the Forerunner
Deeper Dive #1:
Rivers of Living Water (John 7:37-39)

Copyright © 20231

by
Jim Kerwin

Frustrated Curiosity

Title graphic over a photo of the Jordan River in IsraelWhere is the verse Jesus quoted? That depends on where John meant to put his “period”!2

Idon’t understand what grace God worked in my heart to make me so, but once I came to Jesus I sought to be a Bible reader — someone who reads The Book through cover to cover at least every year.3 As I continued reading through, I discovered the truth of St. Augustine’s words:

The Old Testament is the New concealed;
the New Testament is the Old revealed.

And I became more and more convinced of what the Apostle Paul taught about what we call the “Old Testament”—

  • For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
  • Romans 15:4

It was (and still is!) a delight to [continue reading…]

Guatemala: Swimming in Encouragement

30 June 2023

When they read it, they rejoiced because of its encouragement.
Acts 15:31
…they have proved to be an encouragement to me.
Colossians 4:11

Dear Friend,

Guatemalan pastors and leaders enjoying pool timeLast year (as I mentioned last newsletter), the Guatemalan pastors threatened to throw me in the pool. This year they merely kindly invited me in. But these pastors left me swimming in encouragement!1

“How was Guatemala?” you ask. Well, never mind the 21-hour marathon to get from reveille to my first overnight location. Don’t count the fact that I had a head cold from the second day right through to the end of the trip. Ignore the experience of being smitten with… how do I put this delicately?… an “intestinal ‘souvenir’” from the early morning of my return-flight day right through my first full week back home. This Guatemala trip was very encouraging, maybe the best trip yet! (And that’s saying something, because I’ve been blessed with visits there almost every year since 2008.)

Yes, despite being “out of it” physically, teaching five to six hours on conference days in “feels like” 107° F. temperatures, and a daily regimen of cold showers, I’d return under the same conditions in a heartbeat!

Trip Diary

Never been on a teaching trip like this? Then climb [continue reading…]

O Christ, What Burdens Bowed Thy Head

Anne R. Cousin
(1824-1906)

O Christ, what burdens bowed Thy head!
Our load was laid on Thee;
Thou stoodest in the sinner’s stead,
Didst bear all ill for me.
A Victim led, Thy blood was shed;
Now there’s no load for me.

Death and the curse were in our cup:
O Christ, ’twas full for Thee;
But Thou hast [continue reading…]

They Didn’t Throw Me in the Pool

8 May 2023

A Misstep and a Watery Threat

  • 37Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. 38He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.’”
  • John 7:37-38 nasb

Dear Friend,

Title words 'They Didn't Throw Me in the Pool!' distorted in the waters of a swimming poolI’m glad they didn’t. I’m “negatively buoyant.”1

Even though the Guatemalan pastors threatened to throw me into the pool during my visit last year, I’m returning to them in ten days to be the Bible teacher at their three-day conference / retreat (May 25-27). In their defense, I should note that their threat was made in good humor, that it arose in part from their hunger for the Word, and… well, perhaps I deserved it by inadvertently teasing them.

Let me rewind this story to last May 2022. Honestly, I don’t remember how the subject of John 7:38 came up briefly during last year’s teaching on Soul and Spirit. For some reason I touched it in passing, noting that when Jesus said, “As the scripture has said,” that there was no verse in the Old Testament from which He was quoting. As I [continue reading…]

La Bendición Rechazada

derechos de autor © 2023

por
Jim Kerwin
texto traducido por
Pastores Fermín y Lilian Chávez
con
Inés María González Valdés

Preparando el Escenario

Mientras escribo estas palabras, no está lejos el centenario del Avivamiento de la Calle Azusa. Considerando el derramamiento del Espíritu Santo que cambió al mundo en 1906, muchos académicos y escritores, maestros y predicadores estarán pensando “¡Lo que Dios ha hecho!” El mover de Dios en aquella humilde iglesia convertida en almacén, convertida en establo, convertida en misión en la Calle Azusa 321 en Los Ángeles, puso en marcha una imparable ola de crecimiento de los pentecostales y carismáticos que en el año 2000 (94 años después de la Calle Azusa) sumaban casi 524 millones en todo el mundo.1

Tan cierto como el hecho de que somos humanos, [continue reading…]