April 20, 2012

Verrrrry Cool Q

Here's a few last pics of the Pavilion for you. Hope you enjoy them, but I hope you enjoy the Pavilion more! If you want a different perspective on the pictures, see my Sermons and Lessons blog for a slideshow format. See you at Conference 2012. The Lamb has Overcome!

Pray for Rev. and Sis. Cyrius

Rev. and Sis. Cyrius, directors of the NTCC Servicemen's Home and Church in Woodbrook, Wa., took a day to get away on a trip to the Portland area. It was his birthday. Upon return however, they were in a very serious auto accident. They hit a horse while traveling at 80 mph! Not a deer, a HORSE.  Obviously they will not make the Conference due to their injuries, but overall they will be alright, thanks to the miraculous protection of God. Sis. Kekel and I went down to the hospital in Portland Thursday, and Rev. Cyrius expressed to us that he didn't want to miss the Conference, so we know that their heart will be with us during the Conference, and our love will be with them. If any of you have distributed or "facebooked" incorrect information about this accident, please correct it, to avoid causing unnecessary panic and grief.

The airbag saved the driver's (Sis. C's) life, and sliding legs-first up under the dashboard, saved Bro. Cyrius' life. I say that because the horse was lifted and took the entire top off that BMW 745Li. The speed probably helped save their lives also. They never saw the impact coming, they said, since it was at night. Rev. Cyrius smashed the left side of his face on the dash, and has some stitches by his left eye (kind of like a 1-inch "crow's foot") and left ear lobe, but the worst thing was the knockout. He will be in surgery some time soon to repair the fractures around his left eye and cheek, so let's keep them in our prayers.

Apart from the small cuts, his face (especially his skin) looks perfectly intact, but swollen of course. His left eye is swollen shut. The cheek looks slightly 'flattened' but that's what they are going to repair. I really pray and believe they will both heal with almost unnoticeable marks. Sis. Cyrius' nose was smashed and she has a already stitched-up cut between her right eyelid and eyebrow, which hopefully will hide well later on. She just came out of surgery today which, I believe, was to repair her broken nose.

Over and over again, I see the outpouring of love and concern by the people of God when adversities arise in our lives, and it is amazing! I'm so glad to be going to heaven with people like you; people who demonstrate the love of Christ through your lives of dedication and love for the brethren. God bless all of you, and if the Lord wills, we will see you in just a few days as we lift our hands together unto the Lord our God.

April 12, 2012

Do you like my hat?

 The new Pavilion at the NTCC National Campground has a new hat! The Pavilion is nowhere near finished, but it will be ready for the upcoming Conference! The Pavilion lies foursquare and is 50' X 50'. The supporting structures will also be wrapped in the same metal used on the roof. Due to arrive soon is a shipment of 8-large picnic tables made of steel and dipped in a protective coating that also match the burgundy color scheme. The palette of firebrick you see is for the BBQ pit they're about to build right in the center; did you notice the vent on the roof? The Pit can also be used as a simple fireplace just for some fellowship. It has metal grates inside it; one for wood or charcoal, and one for food (upper level grate).  Eventually, stone sitting-walls will be added at its perimeter with outlets for electrical devices, but for this meeting coming up there is electric available only at the one panel you see in the photos. Bring a boom-box! Or bring that 8' tall amplifier and guitar if you like. For lighting, it's going to be Tiki-torches this time, which also keep the bugs away. Nearby is acreage for almost any kind of recreation you desire, and two volleyball areas will be set up. Note that hours of usage will be limited to off-hours. No Pavilion recreational activities may be conducted during church, prayer meetings and conference activities. Enjoy a fireside chat, some singing and fellowship at a campfire feast!  Relax, catch up with old friends, pray and get inspired at Spring Conference 2012: The Lamb has Overcome!

April 6, 2012

Hello Brethren,
We are officially 2 weekends away from Spring Conference.  Anticipation is building, and already the Holy Spirit is moving in that special conference way here in Graham.  I am looking forward to seeing you all, fellowshipping and worshipping together with you!

If you would like to download and print a copy of this poster for your church just email me and request the jpeg and I'll send it to you ASAP. Our prayer is that God will bless you and move in a special way this Easter Weekend.

Yours in Him,
Mike Kekel

March 6, 2012

Indecent Liberties by Mike Kekel

TEXT: John 8 (33) “33 They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?”
BR: John 8 (31-38)
INTRO: Indecent liberties. Two words used to describe when a person takes unlawful freedoms.
not conforming with generally accepted standards of behavior or propriety
the state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one's way of life, behavior, or political views
Jesus faces the Pharisees
They said they weren’t in bondage, but they were. Jesus said they were in bondage, because, only those whom HE sets free, are free INDEED (TRULY FREE). The Pharisees were not TRULY free, but pretending to be free; claiming freedom, but TRULY in bondage.
We see a trend in the churches of today, that advocates the use of ‘salvation by grace’ as an “occasion for the flesh”  Gal. 5: 13 “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.“ These Pharisees were calling their bondage, freedom. Jesus was calling their sin, bondage.
One wonders, what does Jesus set people free from? Sin? Or Sin and the WORLD? Or does He set them free from the restrictions of service? Obedience? Rules? Law? 
I John
Truly free Christians are set free from the ‘spirit that is in the world’
I) Worldly Christians
Brethren beware of such! To be entangled in Christian Rock and Rap, cross-gender dressing, and the vanities of immodesty and profligate behavior is bondage, not liberty. Worldly Christians are not “free indeed”; they are in bondage rather, to a spirit of the world that causes people to walk according to the vanity of their minds, the course of this world. (Eph. 2)
We would do well, brethren, to practice the instruction of the Apostle John in I John, in which he tells us to TEST the spirits (what’s behind people’s actions) and determine if it is coming from God or not. This is not being judgmental, it is spiritual self-defense. He also says not to just believe every one of them.
Chapter 4 “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. 
This is how you will know:
2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: 3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. 4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. 5 They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. 6 We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error. 7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. 8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. 
Is merely acknowledging that the Lord came in the flesh, viable proof? No, the emphasis is on the presence or absence of love, or the opposite, worldly speech and behavior.
We live in a time when many seek to justify such things in the name of ‘grace’ and even speak against holiness of life and separation from the world (aka blaspheme). The worldly Christian must speak against the dedicated Christian, and claim that he is trying to be saved “by his works”, when the problem is that he knows he has no works of his own, that God will truly accept.
II) People’s Idea of Liberty is Warped:
We live in the time once described by the bible in II Tim. 3:
3 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away... 
He is talking to Church people in the passage above, and instructing us to “turn away” from them. Today, the Apostle would have said “def-riend them”.
6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, 7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8 Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. 9 But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was. 10 But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, 11 Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me. 12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. 13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. 14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;
The gospel and holy living have come under attack over and over, even until now. Those who are slothful about God’s work, who don’t want to persevere to success in what God has called them to do and excuse their failure to follow through, maintain loyalty to the body of Christ and the brotherhood, and integrity, by resorting to the basest form of excuse; “I’m not saved by working”.
It  is not the authority of GOD that Christians are supposed to be liberated from, but the power of sin and satan. It is not God’s authority that we want to be separate from, but the authority of satan, which is broken when a newborn Christian is ‘liberated’. It’s supposed to stay that way, but time and neglect gradually eat away, and as lust is conceived (for lands, money, prominence, prosperity, possessions, etc) it brings forth sin and soon God’s call to separation becomes, in their view, a type of bondage and unnecessary restriction; and unwanted authority or rule over them.
We cannot call Jesus Lord, unless He rules us. We must also remember that the Bible is a Rulership of God, not a certain church’s or a man’s rulership. So that leaves a man only one option to justify his rebellion; twist the scriptures. This necessitates denouncing the views of other Christians who, if anything, go ‘the extra mile’ for God. They claim liberty, yet behave and speak indecently.
III) Walking after the flesh is TRUE BONDAGE
Peter presents two opposites in his discourse in I Peter 2: one using liberty as a cloak (a garment that covers- hides) and abstinence from lusts, i.e., having TRUE liberty (freedom).
11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; 12 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. 13 Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; 14 Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. 15 For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: 16 As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. 17 Honour all men. Love the brotherhood.
We see many today who claim to be “free” but abide in malice: malice is from the Latin “malitia” (think ‘malo’) meaning - the intention or desire to do evil; ill will.
Notice several things above:
  • Christians are to abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul (11)
  • The ‘Gentiles’ (non-Christians) speak against you as if YOU are the evil-doers (12)
  • Christians are to be submissive (13)
  • Liberty is not a covering for malice, but abstinence from malice is liberty indeed (16)
  • Christians are to be TRULY free (16)
II Peter 2
This chapter describes exactly what we’re dealing with in churches today, brethren. Notice some things in the following passages.
But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. 2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. 3 And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you:” 
This happens to people in NTCC ministry, Baptist ministries, any ministry or church. Why think it a strange thing that many follow such blasphemers? The basis of their behavior is (3) covetousness. Those who listen to their “feigned” words, have some kind of lust of their own going on.
To FEIGN is actually a verb meaning to ‘pretend to be affected’ by a feeling, state, or injury. To invent (a story or excuse)  To indulge in pretense.
I”M SO WOUNDED! they sniffle...
...whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not. 4 For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; 5 And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; 6 And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; 7 And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: 8 (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;) 9 The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished: 10 But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities. 11 Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord. 12 But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption; 13 And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you; 14 Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children: 15 Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; 16 But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet. 17 These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever. 18 For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. 19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. 20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. 21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. 22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire. 
Be ye separate!
II Cor. 6
14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, 18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. 

February 6, 2012

What happened to Fellowship Meetings?

Those monthly 'get-togethers' were always so special! I remember one many years ago at Rev. Espinoza's Tacoma church with a bunch of us out on the front porch, just singing and having church; a pleasant memory. The meetings weren't fixed at any certain interval, but often occurred monthly and usually on a Saturday. You knew that there would be singing, shouting, praise and blessings, and surely that fellow that needed that breakthrough would find it there!

Over the years however, Fellowship Meetings became a monthly requirement in every region of the US where we had churches. The original intention was to give members of those churches to have a chance to see that there were other churches like theirs and that having church together was very exciting; they were to have that same 'old time' feeling. The 'more the merrier' so to speak. In addition, you could enjoy hearing a message preached by someone different, and  afterward laugh, talk, eat!

Why were they stopped?
Well, they weren't, not completely. "Ahh, whatever happened to those wonderful 'Fellowship Meetings?'" some watery-eyed person would ask. This question seems to come up often, but maybe people have forgotten the things they 'didn't like' about them. There are still many meetings held, but only those supervised by an Overseer, and they aren't monthly requirements anymore. The primary reason for this, was to ease the financial burden on the churches and pastors, and stop the monthly disruption of their schedules. 

Contrary to the rumor, it wasn't because the ministers "weren't trusted to conduct the services". There were no guest speakers, only the same pastors preaching to each other's congregations, and each other, every month.

Many times ministers are peers or Dorm buddies, so in some ways, the meetings became more than just a financial burden; the burden of resentment.  FMs should never be a burden. But for some people, everything is a burden.

Count the Cost
Going to a fellowship meeting could sometimes be a budget buster! Consider for example...
*Expenses for travel including gas, meals, and in some cases a hotel room
*Soul-winning programs reduced 25% (1 week out of each month)
*Saturday services cancelled, impacting the church evangelistically and financially

But wait, there's more!

A few preachers strove over who was leading service, whose wife would sing, who would preach, etc. And then there's the preacher who took a cheap shot at another preacher on the front row, saying 'men who part their hair on the right, "are homosexuals" (?) Such behavior is un-ministerial, childish, carnal. Unfortunately you can't give people brains. There was also a degree of resentment on the part of some pastors for having to deal with some of this stuff, every month. Let those who lament the changes, remember.

The offerings taken up in those meetings went to the Home Missions program; a reserve fund for expenses related to helping fledgling churches in the USA. The money wasn't just given out to 'spenders', but used to bail out lots of Pastors in a bind, trying to get their church started. Those offerings didn't come near covering the expenditures, and the Org. carried the rest. Home Missions is no more.

Under the new setup, offerings go to expenses of the Fellowship Meetings to defray expenses of the meeting that fall on the host church, and whatever else is needed for the meeting, like refreshments, etc.

Some additional benefits of the new setup are things such as: 

  • Ingathering fellowship and food the night before
  • Overseers supervising and preaching some of the meetings
  • Pastors and Overseers getting face time
  • Team building and growth
  • Church members receiving spiritual benefits (Holy Ghost, etc)
  • Meetings rare, making them more desirable and exciting
  • More time to promote members attending
  • All us preachers need to be preached to also!

My hope is that in the future, Fell. Mtgs. will be promoted more effectively and in advance. It used to be a great excitement for us because someone would get the Holy Ghost, or get saved, and the excitement was always high.

In Graham, we never have them because the nearby Pastors and some members come every Thursday anyway. Plus, the Graham congregation could never fit in the smaller buildings, and we have a lot of Conference-like services as it is. Either way, God is good! And now you know...the true, 'rest of the story'.

January 2, 2012

Happy New Year!

A new year

(Arthur Pink)

"Go forward!" Exodus 14:15

Is not this a timely word for each of us as we enter into, and journey through, a new year?

We need to clearly realize that there is no such thing as remaining stationary in the spiritual life. If we do not progress--we inevitably retrograde. How that solemn fact should search our hearts!

Christian friend, your history this year will be either one of going forward--or backsliding. This new year will mark either an increased fruitfulness in your soul and life, to the glory of Him whose name you bear--or increased leanness and barrenness, to His reproach. It will witness either a growing in grace--or a decline in your spirituality. It will record either an increased love for the Word, use of the Throne of Grace, strictness of walk and closer communion with Christ--or a growing coldness and a following of Him afar off!

"Go forward!" Exodus 14:15

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We have published Arthur Pink's superb 2 page article, "Identification of the Godly".
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Feel free to forward this on to your friends.

December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas

 “You don't choose your family. They are God's gift to you, as you are to them.” 
(Desmond Tutu)  

This statement perfectly expresses our feelings about you all; you are our family and a gift from God to us. You inspire and challenge us everyday, and we count it a privilege to serve the Lord together with you.

Our prayer is that God will supply all your needs and bless you with every good and perfect gift, that His presence will encompass you and His grace will uphold you. From our heart and home to yours, Merry Christmas!

Mike and Tanya Kekel

December 1, 2011

NTCC Music Website- New Content

"You can knock off the harps. We just got Segovia"

Announcing the launch of our new website, NTCC Music! Browse the links on the website for a preview of the exciting content coming your way.

New content has been added to the left sidebar links; Hymns, and Chord Chemistry. Check it out!

November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

We would like to wish all of you a very Happy Thanksgiving! We're thankful for God's innumerable blessings, but one of the greatest blessings of all is true friends.

2 Thess. 1 (3)

3 "We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth"

God Bless all of you!
Love, the Kekels