Monday, October 1, 2012

Count The Cost, not Set The Price

Count The Cost, not Set The Price There is a difference between "cost" and Price." As a noun a cost and a price are essentially the same. They both mean that the thing in question will be traded for the required amount of resources. ie. It costs $1 or the price is one Dollar. However, "Price" can also be a verb. You "cost" an item in your garage sale you price it so people will no how much to pay. Count The Cost, not Set The Price So, here's the problem. People want to determine how much salvation and being a member of the Kingdom of God costs. They want to price it. They'll even take salvation as they can control the price. Sorry, the price has already been set and indeed paid. The cost of salvation is one righteous man dying for sins he did not commit. Jesus did this. Price paid. Now, when people make a point of saying, Okay God, "I'm in. I'll follow you but don't mess with my money" or, "Let me handle my relationship decisions." They are telling God that they are not willing to give their all to be His. Jesus warned, "Count the cost, If any man does not hate his mother etc. he can not be my disciple-now of course the word here means to despise in comparison. Basically, he's saying in comparison to Jesus-nothing else may compare. Count The Cost, not Set The Price Choose Him above or you do not have Him. That's it. It really doesn't seem that complicated but when we get our personal preferences in there and start thinking about whether we can really submit every last thing to Him it starts to seem difficult or complicated. Nope. It's Jesus above all or Jesus not at all. Here's the beauty of it. Jesus also said that that which was commended into His hand would never suffer loss. So, concerned about your money, put it in His hand. Concerned about your time, put it in His hand, Concerned about your relationships, put them in His hand. Put things in His hands and they will not suffer loss. Know the price, Count the cost. Count The Cost, not Set The Price

Friday, September 21, 2012

Video book

The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus - VideoBook

It has been called "the greatest story ever told." Now the central message of the Bible is brought to life in this eleven-hour online Bible study. This self-paced course has been adapted from the popular award-winning DVD series, The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus.

Your teacher will take these individual elements and chronologically tie them together into one universal drama. Whether you have significant Bible knowledge or have never read "the Book," this online series is for you.

Everything you need to study the Bible, all in one package. Share with family and friends and enjoy watching in the comfort of your home.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Trading your birthright

Many think being Holy (different from the world's standards and more Godly in your actions) is a task to be done or a "real challenge" but no, that's not what God says.

Indeed, according to Isaiah 35, the Highway of holiness is a birthright of Children of God. If you are a Christian, a follower of God, a member of God's family through Jesus Christ, God's Son then you have this birth right. You were born again (John 3:3) and were started on the Highway of Holiness. You were given this path as a birthright and it comes with a blessing at the end and protection/provision along the way.

But first, wy don't some who claim to have Christ seem to have the birthright of the Highway of Holiness? I'm not just making htis stuff up-read Isaiah 35 adn then read Genesis 25 where Esau trade his birthright for a bowl of soup. The bottom line is many trade their birthright for a moment's gratification or a bit of comfort. Easu wasn't really going to die right that instant and he could have eaten something else, perhaps something somewhat less to his liking and been fine. But, he said, in all the drama akin to mankind in general, If I don't get me some of that soup I'll surely die and then what good will the birthright be.

You can go without whatever the enemy tells you or even pursuades by life circumstance that you think you simply MUST have to survive. Even the essentials are often not as essential as we make them out to be. That being said, the man did what men are prone to do. He traded his birthright for a bowl of soup, some instant gratification and a bit of comfort-so he could FEEL alright.

People are still doing it today. That's why, even though Isaiah says we are safe on the Highway of holiness-Lions and dragons can not tread thereupon, we tend to stray off of the Highway of holiness and tary with those cute little distractions that suddenly become so important to us that we convince ourselves we can always "get back on" or that we simply MUST have that thing, or that situation in our lives, or that moment of FEELing okay.

I don't need that. You don't need that. God has given us what we need, our birthright and it ends in a great blessing. However, afterward when Esau went in to his father seeking the blessing there was no blessing even though he sought the blessing with tears and repentance (Read Hebrews 12.)

So, as Isaiah would say-Strengthen your weak hands (get busy serving God, stay busy serving God) and steady your feeble knees (Don't be afraid of or misdirected by or attracted to what lies off the path. This Highway of Holiness is your birthright if you are a child of God. You can do it!

The enemy can not touch you if you stay on the highway. But if you reach out to him or step off the brim he may get hold of you and repentance which is easy on the highway becomes difficult when you are off of it.

One last thing, God allows this to be so because in time there will be a great destruction of all that lies off of the highway. He does this so that the difference may be clearly seen between that which is of God and for God and that which is not.

Get where you belong, get on the highway of holiness and serve God without fear. You can. You were made for this.

Pastor Dan Stevenson Pastor New Heights Fellowship Director Life Station NWOBA     New heights urban church planting initiative in Toledo Ohio

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Striving and Settling-What do I do?

So, Paul says I have learned to be content in all situations. Whether he had much or little he had learned to be content. In fact, this is where the classically quoted verse comes from I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. In other words, whatever situation I am in I can be basically satisfied because I know Christ is at the helm of my life (Phil 4.)

This same man wrote I press toward the mark (Phil 3:14)and I have strived to preach the gospel (Romans 15:20.) He said some strive for a crown that is perishable-not so with us-we strive for a crown that is not perishable (paraphrased.)

He wrote to Timothy a man of God must not strive but must be gentle.

Isaiah said of Jesus-He shall not strive and Jesus told his people time and again in his early ministry not to tell everyone about Him.

Crazy, huh?

Well, I suppose it is one of the most difficult things to determine in life: When to fight and when to run. When to strive and when to stand. The friction exists for one primary reason.

We can not win the fight for our souls or for the souls of anyone else-It wouldn't have been possible anyway-but Jesus has already won the fight. Satan just refuses to accept it.

There is a fight for souls and to be on Jesus' side means to spread the good news as He commanded AND AND to leave the outcome in His hands.

There is a race to be run which you must run, you simply must give it all you've got-the race to run for God, the race of Godly living and sinless (as much as possible) existence. You and I must strive to enter in at the narrow gate. Faith is a channel of trust and assurance between us and God and we must let that channel exist and grow and affect our daily lives. We must be the best that we can be under every circumstance through His strength all things are possible.

At the same time, as with above, the outcome is in His hands. We strive to be the best we possibly can and then settle for God's will. It's n ot like settling will be a bad thing. He wants what's best for you. Indeed His word also says that if you love Him and are called according to His purpose all things will work together for you good (Romans 8:28.) If God allows hardship there is a reason for it.

It's interesting when you think about it. Striving and settling are like walking when done in conjunction with one another. If you are walking and you don't strive-reach out for the next step-youw ill fall down. If you are walking and you don't settle-firmly plant your foot after each step-you will fall down. If you settle too much-stopping walking altogether-you won't get anywhere. If you strive too much-trying to step, step without any stops at all-you will wipe out for sure.

God loves you and He wants good things for your life but He also has in mind great things for the kingdom, you in the kingdom, and heaven one day. So, learn to be content and to strive for more in balance and God will take you places you have not yet seen.

Pastor Dan

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


So, Here's me philosphizing: I think inner space is just as large maybe larger than outer space.

Have you heard the theory that maybe space is not actually empty. That it is actually filled with some form of matter that we don't understand yet?

God is big
Anyway, think about it. If God is bigger, His Spirit, Himself etc. If He is bigger than the universe adn while it might occurr a romantic notion I think it could be solid. Then, If God is bigger than the universe then how does He fit inside us?

No Substitute
Those who have tried to fill the hole inside them with addictive materials or with deceptive behavior or with pornography (which I guess fits with addictive materials.) Those who have tried to fill the hole inside them by any of these means begin to realize just how big the hole is.

If we were made for a right relationship with God.

Oh wait, on the God is as big as the universe thing-If God is everywhere at once (an He is) then He is as big as the universe right? yet He fits inside us. Though technically fits is not the right word since He is actually present inside everyone who has accepted the Truth at the same time.

Hmmm that's interesting.

Spiritual warfare
The Bible talks about spiritual warfare as if it is another realm that exists within and all around us all the time. Then things we do can affect this realm by activating certain pathways for demons and evil spirits to move and affect us. Our Spiritual armor none of which is actual metal or leather armor is useful for the spiritual battle that is going on and we are wrapped up in.

Whether we like it or not we are wrapped up in it.

Many things are not what they would appear. So, do we sit around in fear wondering whether he or she will do as we please. No. Take your eyes, your expectations and your needs out of the hands of those in the world and trust only God.

Pastor Daniel Stevenson


Block party
Volume one issue one of More Heights, the newlsetter for New Heights Church planting came out Monday. It had seven articles on various topics, some question and answer, and a few paragraphs on history. One of the articles talked about the upcoming block party this Saturday at New Heights. We'll be celebrating hte near end of school for the year and the beginning of summer starting at 12 and ending at about 3. All are welcome, as usual everything will be free, and the gospel will be the main focus.

Bill Lee, April Mcquire and I were out for a while yesterday delivering copies of the newsletter to people who expressed an interest at the crosswalk. We've got quite a list of people, we do.

The goal would be to enlist partners to help foot the bill for the cost of the printing and each partner will get a 2x2 add in the newsletter or just a listing for $5 a month or $2 a month respectively. It's not advertising per se, just an add or a listing for whatever a person or business would like to tell our list about in exchange for helping support the production of the newsletter.

I'd say it's a pretty high quality thing. It's amazing what one can do with publisher these days.

I had to get a new cell phone. My old phone locked in start up mode. Now, I feel somewhat like a technodunce as ai try to figure out how to do some of the most basic things again. I now realize how I was able to do certain things with such ease that it made my life easier without my even thinking about it. One day this phone will be like that. Then, it will break and I'll be a technodunce again. It's a cycle.

Impacting Poverty
The life station continues to go strong although we are always holding on by a thin thread there. Since hte NAMB pulled most of their support for this vital ministry in the south end the churches and certain individuals of NWOBA have been very faithful to keep the ministry going. People get fed every week because of the generosity of God's people and do not think that these people would not go hungry if it were not for this ministry. I know they would.

Visitation and Sermon writing
Bill, April, and I are going out in a bit and I've got to spend some time sermon writing. I like the schedule of trying to get my sermon mostly written by Wednesday noon time. That way I can talk to God about it for the rest of the week and then finish the polishing on Saturday and I feel ready. This week with Sherri's birthday on Friday, Softball practice, and the block party I'll be tired. I have some other stuff too.

Busy, Busy, Busy Time management
So, here it is then. Just not enough of me to go arround sometimes. Oh, don't worry I'm not depressed about it. I have been at times but it's been a long time now. I'd say over a year. Anyway, I'm not depresed about it. I just prioritize and prayoritize and then do what God really wants me to. The only time it becomes a problem is when I seem to have difficulty figuring out the order of what God wants. That's really not that often I'm grateful to say. So, I'll write the sermon and several min-sermons for the crosswalk. I'll go visiting with Bill, April, and whoever else we can get. I'll get the first of my broken cars back from the mechanic and the next broken car to the mechanic. I'll run with all my might until the sun goes down and probably I'll have nothing left at the end of the day again. Maybe I'll take allergy medicine...My allergies have gotten worse as I've gotten older. And when I sleep I will sleep, not regretting the busy day I've had. All the way through I'll be praying and hoping I'm getting glory for God by my efforts. Fact: You are never, Never, never too busy to do what God wants you to do. Even things that sometimes seem less important are important to Him and you are never, never, never too busy. Set you priorities that way.

Spiritual warfare

I believe the battle is raging in the spiritual realm over souls and I think it's possible that the simple actions we engage in day in and day out have an effect in the battle. I will hope my "struggles" will make a difference. I will look to the future God has prepared for me. I don't mean to sound like I am trying to convince myself. I'm convinced. Sometimes it just helps to put it down on screen ya' know what I mean?

Anyway, anybody out there wants a copy of the newsletter or partner in some aspect of the ministry I just need to know. You can always email me at, message me on facebook, register on our website, or call the church at 4194698808.

We Ain't seen nothin' yet.

Pastor Daniel Stevenson

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Bondage Breaker-buy it...

Neil T. Anderson wrote a book called Bondage Breaker. Christians should check it out. Last Night at New Heights we went through step four of the seven steps to freedom. I can email the notes to anyone who posts a comment requesting them or message me on Facebook(tm).

Anyway, Step four is about submitting to authority. People don't like to so it. We are trained by the world to be rebellious. We even start thinking if we aren't rebellious we can't be our own person.

Trust me, you don't want to me your own person. You want to be God's. His stuff lasts.

Anyway, we went through an exercise thinking about where we have failed to submit to authority. I found several in my own life. It turns out-and I should have known this-that when you do not submit to the authorities that God has placed in your life you are opening an avenue for Satan and evil spirits to get at you. It makes perfect sense since God said that rebellion is like the sin of witchcraft when Saul was being denounced.

I want to submit myself to the authorities in my life and I made that commitment yesterday and last night. If you see me not submitting. I give you the permission to mention it.

It's serious. Satan is a rebel against God's system. How about you?

Pastor Dan Stevenson

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Crunch Time

I've always performed well when the chips were down, crunch time, at the wire, at the last minute, under deadline... etc. Does it say anything that we have so many ways of saying it?

Now it seems that I've orchestrated (under God's leadership) my life so that almost everything happens like this. I know when my theoretical productive time is. I know what needs to be done but I seem to have difficulty lining up the two.

A person has a period during any given day when they are most 'on.' This is their productive time. It has many factors in it but it will be when you feel the most alive or awake and when you can get the most done. If you bounce your sleep schedule all around you can hardly find your productive time and in some cases it pretty well ceases to exist. So, sleep roughly the same eight hours evey night and look for that time of day when your at your best and put the most demanding things in that time. Your life will be better for it.

Where was I? Oh yes, crunch time.

Oh and by the way. Cap'n Crunch cereal rocks. The crispiness must be good for your teeth and I am assured that if you brush and floss regularly the sugar won't hurt your teeth. Consider that cereal has more vitamins in it than say, veggies and it begins to look like a good snack. However, we must remember that there are those nasty calories and oils. Some say calories unused make you fat-hmmm could be... Oils coat your taste buds and makes you like other foods less-some of which are healthy too (This is one opinion but may prove true through scientific research as well.) So go ahead live a little, eat some sugar cereal, brush and floss regularly and keep eating other healthy foods as well.

Crunch time. The joys and freedom thereof. If it's due when the time comes to turn it in-whatever you have managed to do will be good enough. If it's needed then when the time comes to be done whatever you have done will be appreciated. It's heart pumping, mind-racing speed that accomplishes the task in the last few seconds or even on the last day.

Procrastination is a sin. Planning a set time to do something and to stick to your plan and do it is not necessarily a sin unless you have decided to put things out of order of importance. When God says to do something you should not plan a time in the future but do it immediately. Unless of course His command comes with a schedule. Anyway, after being issued a command any delay is disobedience. That being said, people put off everything it seems. I rarely do this anymore (procrastinate I mean.) I figure I'll get around to it though...

Back to crunch time: I enjoy a fast pace in almost everything I do. My mind was built for speed-and sometimes functions like a train wreck. Usually, by the time I sort out what it is that I was doing from what it is that I'm supposed to be doing, I have very little time left before 'On-time' passes me by.

There are exceptions: Everything that I am certain God has given me to do must come before everything that I am figuring on doing. Lots of stuff falls through the cracks this way but I figure God knows what He's doing and I really don't-I mean I REALLY don't. So, better Him than me.

So, if you find yourself spending most of your life in crunch time-I wouldn't worry too much about it. maybe you were built that way-However, never let your need for speed interfere with your need for obedience.

They say: If you really want something done you've got to do it yourself. I say, If God really wants something done, all He should have to do is point me in the right direction.

Yes! I am a loaded weapon for the Lord! "Go Jesus! Go Jesus! Go Jesus! " -now read this again and sort of chant it or make a song or something. Add a little hip shift and circle your arms like you just don't care. But, you are a loaded weapon for the Lord because you do care.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have something that I am supposed to be getting done and I'm running out of time...

Pastor Dan
originally 12/8/10 1137AM

Taking a Hit

So, Here is what I've figured out-That the anticipation of taking a hit is often worse than taking a hit. This assumes of course that the hit comes and goes or that the hitting does not continue.

Many have been through grueling physical torment that goes on and on. that's not for me to speak of except in general terms because I have never endured such.

However, when it comes to spiritual matters we are all subject to hits now and then. The enemy is tactically clever and we even expose our weaker defenses at times perhaps because we care about someone a little more than we thought or the like.

Then, it occurs to you that you might be about to take a hit and the person is not really talking about the problem...

Anticipation begins to eat at your soul. You just know this is gonna be bad. Relationship hits might be best handled like getting a shot-take a deep breath, don't hold it, and relax. When you're about to get in a car accident people do best when they assume the position in a relaxed manner.

So, what I am saying is that tensing up or fretting over a coming spiritual hit is bound to make it worse. Better, would be to leave it in God's hands and say-It's gonna be whatever it's gonna be. relax, He's got this. He told you what He can do. Just look at the hits Jesus took and He didn't want to. He prayed against the cup of wrath but He needed to in order that you and I might be set free, justified...

So, when it looks like someone is going to betray you don't overreact. Stand your ground and take the spiritual licking that you've got coming. In fact, rejoice always, again I say rejoice. Rejoice that you were determined worthy to struggle as Christ did even if only in this minor way.

In that rejoicing, maybe you will find that the worst part of the hit is defused and that you can be "happy" on a bumpy road just as much as you can be on a smooth road as long as you know that God is in the driver's seat.

Pastor Dan Stevenson

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Evil spirits

Life is not safe. Stuff happens that is completely outside our control. God is sovereign and has authority to do whatever He pleases. Man has free-will and so can decide to do whatever he pleases. Man's free will breaks down at the place where he submits it to others.

An example: When a person joins the military. Military personnel had better submit some or all of their free will to their commanding officer or otherwise someone may wind up dead.

In non-military society persons must submit their free will to laws made for the greater good and social laws (which actually appear to be getting fewer.) But, there is much greater danger in submitting one's free will to something non-human in design. People are flawed but most realize it and know that ultimately their authority breaks down-thus they do not (where good will and reason exists) try to run you into the ground. Not so when it comes to evil spirits. Mad at God and mad at humans for being made in God's image they want to bring humans to their knees.

Evil spirits: I'll not name any and I'll not say that they are strong. In reality I think they have no power that is not gifted them by humans. They try to influence people and they can act but for a person who has submitted themselves to Jesus Christ there is always a better option-submission to Christ.

Evil spirits: Sometimes I wonder just how far this goes. I don't blieve they have any authority to stand in the face of determined faith. One said, paul I know, and Christ I know, but who are you?! Book of Acts-Bible...

Evil spirits: Still, they have a sort of supernatural qulality about them that is somehow enticing to mankind and our inherent desire to uncover the mysteries of the universe. This desire was of course given us to inspire our pursuit of God and the testimonies of God that the universe gives. Misused, we are enticed by their oddity and we are led into a trap.

So, the moral of the story is don't dabble. Don't glamoraize evil or think that the enemy has gotten one up on God. He never has and never will. Stand strong with the God of the universe, move when and only when He tells you to and don't sample the whares of evil. All who have have gotten caught up in the pull of such things and lost their standing in rightness until they have nothing of eternal value. And there-in lay the goal of those who eternally stand against and without God to get others trapped in the same state.

Evil Spirits:

Don't dabble.

Taking a day off in the ministry

So, I've been trying to take Thursdays off for about four months now. I try every week to schedule everything I can on the other days of the week and to organize my day off to allow me to get things done. It doesn't seem to work yet.

Taking a day off in the ministry...
A week ago-I actually had several people form my ministry call me and leave me messages that began with-I know it's your day off or maybe it's your day off- But. Ordinarily, you'd think a person might shake their head but I sort of get it. God doesn't take a day off anymore and different persons in the ministry get their day off whenever their employer says not whenever they want. They need to know what they need to know to make their day off from their secular employment as productive for God as it can be. I get it. I was actually grateful for the humble spirit with which they approached me on my day off. Some others have not done so.

Taking a day off in the ministry...
So, take a day off. Even, I say avoid the phone if necessary but going with Phil 2 we all should be concerned for ourselves and our walk with Christ as well as for others and theirs. So, when your day off is interrupted by say, a subpoena or some work that you've been putting off and it just can't wait now-Don't get upset. Like many other things in this life these things too can work for God's glory. What's more, He can use them to bless you if you love Him and are called according to His purpose.

Taking a day off in the ministry...
So, make sure you viciously attack hurry in your schedule, utilize whatever systems you need to to get the time adjusted so you can actually take the time off, and then just do it. In the process, never forget that God does not have to work on your schedule.

Oh, and Thank God, Because I'd sure hate to see what the world would look like if God took a day off.

Pastor Dan Stevenson

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Cross walk

I am looking forward to the Cross walk. The people of New Heights have really put a lot of effort into getting this event together. We will have free hot dogs, cotton candy, sno cones, popcorn, moonwalks, gospel, and prizes. It's neat to see how the community has rallied about this too. The donations and the people who have committed to participate are awesome.

God the Son died for us and we are blessed enough to celebrate that event. If we lived in a nation where freedom of speech was restricted then it would be different. Someday in the U.S. it may be different. I gotta' say I don't really like the looks of some of the trends.

Anyway, if you wanna march a cross or march with us as we march a cross we'll be "festing" from 12-4 and marching around 2:15PM.

The Cross of Jesus was the emblem of suffering and shame. We do not celebrate the method of torture and death of our savior but rather it has become a symbol of the price paid and to me the death of my old self.

Daily take up your cross, deny yourself, and follow after Him.

God Bless!

Pastor Dan Stevenson

Life gets busy

The reality is the world wants to keep us so busy we'll stay exactly where we are. So, consider that the God of heaven is moving in your life and that He wants to do something especially incredible.

Check yourself-The word of God says that we should test all spirits and only approve those that recognize who Christ is.

Consider that God is not likely to throw away all the work He has done to this point because even if we have made mistakes He has not.

God often asks us to step up our game but never asks us to dismiss His. What you have done may sometimes be insignificant but what He has done never is.

Life Got busy and I missed updating this blog for a while. We'll see if we do better this time.

God Bless and keep following only Him.

Pastor Dan