Numbers 19:2
“This is the ordinance of the law which the Lord has commanded, saying: ‘Speak to the children of Israel, that they bring you a red heifer without blemish, in which there is no defect and on which a yoke has never come.'”

A heifer is a cow. One that is entirely red in color would be extremely rare, and as a result quite valuable. As part of Israel’s purification process they were to take a red heifer and offer it outside the city. Once it’s blood was symbolically sprinkled on behalf of the people, the priests were to wash with water and stay away from things that would defile them, making them unfit for service. Anyone who became defiled would need to go through a purification process that required both cleansing and a period of time. It is not difficult to see the symbolism here, or to relate this to the work of Christ and the walk of the believer.

Jesus is the represented by the red heifer, sacrificed outside the city. His blood was shed as a means of providing cleansing for sin. Once we receive Christ, we need a regular washing with water, which comes through the daily reading of God’s Word. If we desire to remain pure and useful for ministry, we need to avoid things that will make us unclean. If we happen to stumble into an area of sin, the solution is to go back to the cross where we confess our guilt, and get into the Word where we are strengthened to overcome sin. Take whatever time is necessary to be restored that we might once again become effective in ministering to others.

Pastor Jim



Leviticus 26:1
“You shall not make idols for yourselves; neither a carved image nor a sacred pillar shall you rear up for yourselves; nor shall you set up an engraved stone in your land, to bow down to it; for I am the Lord your God.”

Every generation likes to think of themselves as advanced beyond the previous generations. We look back on ancient civilizations and think of them as backward, and of ourselves as having progressed far beyond them in every way. This is particularly true of idolatry. We, in the western world, do not think of ourselves as idol worshippers, particularly, because we do not have carved images which we carry in our pockets or bow down to in prayer. The absence of an image is not, however, the only evidence of the lack of idolatry. An idol can be anything that takes the place of God in our lives. For many, even dedicated believers, it is common to put someone or something above the Lord and to pursue it more than God.

One area in particular where Christians seem to be prone to setting up idols is in ministry. Over the years, I have observed many Christians who sense that God is calling them to serve in one way or another, but instead of sitting back and waiting on the Lord to open the right doors and to sanctify them for the tasks, they run on ahead of the Lord. They attempt to accomplish, in the arm of the flesh, what God wants to do through His Spirit. One of the great advantages of waiting on the Lord is, when He works things out, it is clear He was in fact “in it.” If we put the ministry above the Lord and strive to make things happen, we will forever wonder if it was truly God calling us or just us desiring something for ourselves.

I remember when my wife and I were preparing to move across the country for ministry, a good friend suggested that we ask our pastor if he would be willing to support us for a period of time. While I knew there might not be anything wrong with asking, I also knew  we wanted to have every opportunity to see if this venture was actually of the Lord. We felt  to ask for outside support did not give God the opportunity to prove if He was really calling us. I treasure that decision, because while there were many events over the next few years that caused us to question our calling, we can now see how God had been faithfully and miraculously providing for us, as a testimony of His calling.

If you are sensing the call of God on your life, be careful not to place the call above the Lord. Remember, ministry is designed not just to get things done, but to draw the minister closer to the Lord and accomplish a deeper work of sanctification in his life.

Pastor Jim


Mind Of The Lord

Leviticus 24:12
“Then they put him in custody, that the mind of the Lord might be shown to them.”

This chapter contains one of only two narrative passages in the book of Leviticus and tells the story of two men who were fighting. One man, the son of Shelomith allowed his anger to lead to sin and he blasphemed the name of the Lord. Under the old covenant this was a crime punishable by death. Because of the seriousness of his actions, he was placed in custody while the leaders took the necessary time to seek the mind of the Lord. Two important principles stand out to me.

First, before making a big decision, Moses and his leadership team took the necessary time to seek the Lord. They realized that God was interested in their lives and had a plan for their current situation. Years later Paul wrote that God has for-ordained good works for us to walk in (Ephesians 2:10). That means that He has a wonderful plan for our lives and if we seek Him, He will provide direction that will allow us to make good decisions and remain upon the narrow path that leads to abundant life.

Second, it is important to notice where they went to hear from the Lord. They did not look to past experience, or to the culture around them. They did not gather the people together for a popular vote or allow their emotions to guide them by “following their heart.” Instead they got alone with the Lord and looked into His written word. Their situation was a difficult one and the answer they received from the Word was hard, but they followed it nonetheless.

When we are seeking to make decisions, it would be a good idea to follow the pattern set here. We need to realize that God has a plan for us, but we also need to realize the details for that plan are found in Scripture. The life guided by the light of the Word of God is the life which will be led into the way everlasting.

Psalms 139:23-24 “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

Pastor Jim


Consecrate Yourself

Leviticus 20:7-8
“Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am the Lord your God. And you shall keep My statutes, and perform them: I am the Lord who sanctifies you.”

Consecration is an important part of Christianity. A person who desires to walk with God, must set himself apart from the world and to the Lord. We cannot successfully follow the Lord when only a portion of our lives is given to Him. Jesus said it is impossible to serve two masters because we will be loyal to one at the expense of another (Matthew 6:24). It is also impossible to serve the Lord when we continue to bring things into our lives that distract or defile us.

Here in Leviticus we have some key insight into a practical way of consecrating ourselves to the Lord. We are told to keep His statutes and perform them, because God will sanctify us.

Statutes is a word that speaks of governing principles, set down by the authorities that rule over us. Every nation, state, organization, community group, and family have statutes that govern the behaviors of those who belong to them. Without these statutes, we could not have a healthy and safe environment where civilization can grow. In the same way, the Word of God is designed to govern the life of the believer. When we are faced with a decision, trial, or any situation, for that matter, we should look to the Word for guidance. When we apply the teaching of the Bible to our current circumstances God uses His word to sanctify us and make us more useful for His kingdom.

The other day I was speaking with a young lady who is single. She expressed her desire to find someone, but stated she wanted to be sure to find the right guy. Immediately, we went to Matthew’s gospel, where he records Jesus saying, “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these other things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). Not only is this a great promise, it is a statute designed to govern our goals, ambitions and the way we approach fulfilling them. If we use this verse as a guiding principle in our lives, we will be sure to find ourselves being set apart from the world and unto the Lord.

Pastor Jim


By The Blood

Leviticus 8:30
“Then Moses took some of the anointing oil and some of the blood which was on the altar, and sprinkled it on Aaron, on his garments, on his sons, and on the garments of his sons with him; and he consecrated Aaron, his garments, his sons, and the garments of his sons with him.”

The priests wore garments designed by God and put together by the finest craftsmen in the land. These garments included a tunic, sash, robe, ephod, breastplate and even a turban. When the priest was fully dressed, all eyes would be upon his attire. That is why this verse is so striking. Once clothed, the priest would approach the altar, sacrifice a ram and sprinkle its blood upon his clothing. Instead of seeing the glory of the garments, all eyes would be fixed upon the stain left by the blood.

Too often we are fixated upon our own works. When we are doing well, we allow our accomplishments to make us feel as though we are better than those who are not serving as much or in the same ministries. When we are failing, we think God is disappointed with us, and sometimes this will push us farther and farther away from the Lord. I think it is time we realize that our eyes are not to be fixed upon the garments of our actions, but upon the blood that makes us right with God. Just as the ram was sacrificed to atone for the sins of the priest, so Christ shed His blood to wash us from all sin and set us apart to God.

Revelation 12:11 “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.”

When facing great temptation, trial, or difficulty, we will always find success when our eyes are fixed upon the work Christ accomplished for us on the cross. It was not, is not and never will be, our great accomplishments that make us right with God. It is the shed blood of Jesus alone that we look to as the means of making us and keeping us righteous.

Pastor Jim



Leviticus 3:2
“And he shall lay his hand on the head of his offering, and kill it at the door of the tabernacle of meeting; and Aaron’s sons, the priests, shall sprinkle the blood all around on the altar.”

The opening chapters of Leviticus speak of 5 different sacrifices that were presented to the Lord. These sacrifices met different requirements for the people’s worship of the Lord, but had many things in common. One such commonality was the laying on of hands before making the sacrifice. This was done to show culpability on behalf of the one making the sacrifice. Instead of bringing an excuse list as to why they had sinned or blaming their past, present, or surroundings, the offerer was to take responsibility for his or her actions, confess they had sinned and were in need of pardon.

This is a very important part of a successful walk with God. When we let our circumstances justify our actions we miss out on the work God is trying to accomplish in our lives. Our focus becomes our surroundings instead of the Lord, and we  spend all our energies trying to change our situation, rather than allowing God to use them as tools to make us more like Christ.

Benjamin Franklin said, “A man who is good at excuses is rarely good at anything else.”

Instead of excusing sin because of all the ways you have been mistreated in life, try taking responsibility for your actions and asking God to use your circumstances to conform you into the image of His Son.

Pastor Jim



Leviticus 2:11
“No grain offering which you bring to the Lord shall be made with leaven, for you shall burn no leaven nor any honey in any offering to the Lord made by fire.”

Leaven is a substance (such as yeast) that makes dough rise and become light before it is baked. Because it is a small ingredient in the dough and has the tendency to spread through the whole lump, it is used in Scripture to illustrate sin. Sin always starts small, but never stays that way. When a person falls into a “big sin,” it is because they started out making little compromises. As a result, it was a forbidden component in the grain offered to the Lord.

The New Testament declares that because of the work of Christ, we no longer are required to bring offerings to an altar and make sacrifices to God. Instead, we are to become a living sacrifice. Our whole life is to be devoted to the Lord. We should give our private life, family life, public life and church life as a sacrifice to God, and look for ways to honor and serve Him. If this living sacrifice is to be a sweet aroma to the Lord, we need to remove the leaven. In other words, we need to deal with sin as God reveals it. The New Testaments model for dealing with sin is that God reveals it through His word, we confess it in prayer, and He empowers us by His Spirit, to have victory over it in our lives.

If you are struggling in an area of sin, it is important that you address it before it spreads and becomes so large that it begins to destroy your relationship with God and others. The way to address it is to confess it to the Lord and to a trustworthy brother or sister in Christ. James spoke of the value of confessing our sin to one another, so we can pray for one another.

Don’t let sin reign in your life. Take it to the cross and be forgiven and set free.

Pastor Jim


Marriage Problems

Numbers 5:14
“If the spirit of jealousy comes upon him and he becomes jealous of his wife, who has defiled herself; or if the spirit of jealousy comes upon him and he becomes jealous of his wife, although she has not defiled herself”

This section addresses the subject of marital problems; specifically that of jealousy. If a husband suspects his wife of cheating on him, but has no evidence, only suspicion; or if she hasn’t cheated, but he becomes jealous of her, this is what they are to do. The man is to bring his wife before the priest, and the priest is to make a concoction for her to drink (holy water, dirt and dried ink). Then, if she cheated on her husband, when she drinks it, her thigh will rot and her belly will swell. What’s this all about?

The Code of Hammurabi law dates back roughly to the time of Abraham. It is believed this code governed the pagan people in the area of Mesopotamia. In this code there is something very similar to what Moses is talking about in these verses. According to Hammurabi, if a woman was suspected of cheating on her husband, she was thrown into the river; if she survived, she was innocent, and if she drowned, she was guilty. Other cultures had similar rites in order to discover the guilt or innocence of a person. They might throw them in a pit of poisonous snakes or alligators, and if guilty, they would die, but if innocent they would survive. Remember when Paul was bitten by the poisonous snake, the pagans believed it was because he was guilty of a crime worthy of death.

At first glance, Numbers 5 sounds similar to those pagan rituals. However, there is a striking difference between what Moses tells the people to do, and what the Code of Hammurabi, and other pagan rituals declare. Here’s the difference. If I filled a glass with water, put in a handful of dirt from the planter, added in a little ink from a pen, stirred it up, then gave it to you to drink, would that cause your stomach to swell and your thigh to rot? It might not taste good, but it’s not going to kill you. There’s nothing deadly about it. It might make you feel sick, but it would not be an effective form of capital punishment. If you have small children, it is a mixture they probably consume on a regular basis. A little dirt, a little ink, unwashed hands and a cheeseburger or handful of grapes. When you see their filthy hands grasping a french fry, you are not concerned their stomach will swell or their thigh will rot. The difference between Numbers 5 and pagan rituals is, in this case, the woman is presumed innocent. She’s not thrown into a pit of poisonous snakes or a raging river, where 99% of the time the person dies. Instead, she’s put into a circumstance where it’s physically impossible for a cup of dirty water to cause your belly to swell and your thigh to rot.

If a woman is out cheating on her husband, there’s something wrong in the home. If the man is so jealous he’s accusing his wife of committing adultery, even when she hasn’t, there’s something wrong in that home. In one case, it’s the sin of the wife, she has committed adultery. In the other case, it’s the sin of the husband, his jealously is unwarranted. In both cases, there are problems going on in the marriage; there are problems going on at home. I think it is important for us to understand that our relationship with the Lord has to be happening in our house. You can be under the banner, in the right camp, marching with the Tabernacle in the center; you can remove the lepers, you can confess the sin, and make the 120% restitution, but if things aren’t right in the home, then the army’s not ready for battle.

What is God’s solution for a marital problem? How were they to go about solving the problem? They were to take their marital problem to the Lord. Notice, it was a problem that only the Lord could decipher. The husband’s saying, “You cheated on me.” And the wife replies, “I didn’t.” And the husband declares, “I know it.” And she’s saying, “Prove it.” And he responds, “I can’t. There’s no evidence, I just know it.” Either he’s wrong or she’s wrong; there seems to be no answer. How are we going to find an answer? God says, “Bring it to Me. Drink some dirty water and I’ll provide the answer.” It’s so ludicrous! Dirty water is not going to make your stomach swell or your thigh rot. Nevertheless, they are putting their marriage into the hands of the Lord. The Lord is going to have to solve this marital conflict.

So often, when things are going wrong in our relationships at home, we want to run to the world for help. But the world‘s answer is, “Get divorced, you were never in love in the first place”, or “Separate for a while, you need some ‘me time’.” And we think that sounds like a good idea. Not recognizing it is as foolish as if we were told, “throw her in a pit with some snakes. If she dies, it was her fault, but if she lives it was your fault.” Christian, the world does not have the answer. We must go to the Lord, and let the Lord be the one to fix the problems. Let the Lord be the One who provides the answers. Then, when she drinks the concoction and she doesn’t gain excessive weight in strange places, and loose it in others, her husband will realize,  “I was wrong. Honey, I’m sorry I was so jealous. I’m sorry I brought you through that.” Or if her stomach does swell, and the wife realizes, “I was wrong. Forgive me, I’m sorry.” The Lord has solved the problem, the relationship is restored, and we are able to continue to impact the world for the kingdom of Heaven. Difficulties in marriage are not reasons to give up on marriage, but rather, are opportunities for the husband and wife to seek the Lord together. To see God accomplish the miraculous in their lives. Whatever problems you may be facing, humble yourself, go to your spouse, and begin with your spouse, to seek the Lord to heal and restore.

Pastor Jim



Numbers 4:4
“This is the service of the sons of Kohath in the tabernacle of meeting, relating to the most holy things:”

The Levites are divided into 3 groups, with each group having a role in serving around the Tabernacle. Gershon’s role was to carry the exterior coverings of the Tabernacle. Kohath‘s role was to carry the utensils, the Ark, the table of showbread, the lamp stand, etc. Merari’s responsibility was to carry all the heavy stuff; the silver blocks, the gold plated walls…those were all carried by Merari.

If you could be a priest, and you could choose from among the roles of the Levites, I think the highest honor would certainly be carrying the Ark. Yet, we will see later in Numbers, it was Kohath that complained about their role in the ministry. God had a role for them, but they weren’t happy with it. They complained about it, they wanted to serve as priests, and were not satisfied carrying the holy furnishings.

Sadly, this happens so often in the church. A person is called by God to a particular area of ministry and given an opportunity to serve, but instead of seeing it as a way to assist in furthering the kingdom of God, they become envious of someone else’s position. They begin to neglect the area they have been called to. There could be no Tabernacle ministry without someone to carry the blocks, or care for the articles of worship. Let me encourage you not to look for a new area of ministry, but perhaps, look for ways to be more faithful in what you have been called to. If you are a greeter, exercise the gift of hospitality, and love on each person that comes in the door of the church. Did you know the word “hospitality” means “to love strangers?“ Make them feel welcomed and comfortable, then when the word is presented, they might be able to receive what God has for them.

Jesus taught us a very important principle of ministry, “he who is faithful in little will be faithful in much” (Luke 16:10). This is one of the most important principles to learn if you are seeking to be used by God. Calvary Chapel Vero Beach did not grow in numbers for the first 4 1/2 years that I was the pastor. It wasn’t because we were doing the wrong things, but because God had to do a work in me before he would do a work through me. I had to first learn to love, care for, and minister to 20 sheep before the Lord would give me the care of 250. And the same will be true for all of us. Be faithful in what God has called you to do and remember promotion comes from the Lord.

Pastor Jim


This Old House 

Leviticus 27:14
“And when a man dedicates his house to be holy to the Lord, then the priest shall set a value for it, whether it is good or bad; as the priest values it, so it shall stand.”

20140227-074948.jpgAccording to Webster’s dictionary, the word ‘dedicate’ means, “to devote to worship or to set apart for sacred use.” As Leviticus comes to a close, Moses instructs the people to dedicate their homes to the Lord. Since the family is the foundation of society, the key to Israel’s future success was in each and every household dedicated themselves to the Lord.

A few years back some friends of mine purchased a new home. Before the foundation was laid, they went to the site and buried scripture verses in the ground. That is a beautiful picture of what it means to dedicate our homes to the Lord. We want to build upon the foundation of the Word, but we cannot stop with symbolism. If our homes are truly going to be devoted to God, we must ensure that they are a place where, in every way, God is honored. For this to happen, we might need to do some house cleaning and remodeling.

Take a moment to examine the contents of your home. I am not talking about the furnishings or what is in the pantry. Instead, think about the things are being allowed in the home. Imagine if, like Mary and Martha, Jesus was coming to your home with His twelve Apostles. What would you change right now? Are there cupboards that need to be cleaned out of things that have no business being in the home. Are there attitudes toward one another that would cause you to die of embarrassment if they were exposed in His presence? Jesus might not be on His way over for a physical visit, but keep in mind, everything is “open to the eyes of the one to whom we must give an account” (Hebrews 4:13).

Christianity should never be reduced to what we don’t do. When we stand before Christ, we will not be examined for what we did not do, but for what we accomplished. Look at your home, is it time for an addition or two? What are you doing to ensure your kids are being trained up in the ways of the Lord? What are you doing to be a light to your neighbors? In what way are you seeking to make your spouse the most loved and respected spouse on the planet?

I think it is time we dedicate ourselves and our homes completely to the Lord and watch to see what great things God will do through it.

Pastor Jim