Believing yet not Seeing!

thomas_std_t        By Pastor Jeff

John 20:19-21, “Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.
And when he had so said, he showed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.” 24-29, “But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. 
The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. 
And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. 
And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” 

Poor Thomas, he forever has held the title “Doubting Thomas”, but is that really fair? If I would put myself in the same position, I would no doubt have the same reaction. Just think the disciples had all been aware what just happened to their friend Jesus, He was arrested, tried, beaten, hung on a cross, died, and put into a tomb with a large stone rolled in front of it. I am not naive to think that I would not of had the same reaction when told by the other disciples that they had seem Him alive as just as I would not of eaten of the fruit of the tree of knowledge just as Adam had. Instead of “Doubting Thomas” it could just easily have been recorded as “Doubting Jeff” or you could put your own name in the parentheses.

There is an old idiom “Seeing is believing” and although we rely on what we see to make many of our decisions our eyes can deceive us. Neuroscience has shown that the cells of the primary visual cortex create small distortions in which our brain tries to interpret as best as it can. So in reality what we believe we are seeing is just an interpretation. Have you ever looked into the sky on a partly cloudy day and see some shape in a cloud and have a friend see something entirely different?

Jesus told Thomas that “Blessed” are those who believe without seeing, we often call this “Faith” Romans 10:17, So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” So we as believers in the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ believe it by faith, right?

True but we do have evidence that supports our faith in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and one is indeed the word of God which has the recorded birth, life, death, and resurrection of our Lord. The Apostle Paul in Corinthians 15:1-8 tells us of how the disciples were witness of the resurrects Christ, he goes on to tell of 500 who saw Jesus at one time, and then tells of his own vision of the risen Lord on his journey to Damascus.

We also have evidence of the empty tomb, you can go to the graves of all the noted leaders of a particular religion and find their bodies still in them. Not Jesus Christ, His tomb is empty, as the gospel of Luke 24:6,declares “He is not here, but is risen:”

We all also have evidence of how His disciples were transformed from men cowardice in the upper room to men who would soon declare this message which great boldness even to the point of being martyred for His sake. I couldn’t imagine someone would lay down his own life for a made up story of a risen Lord. This didn’t stop with the death of those that had witnessed the resurrected Jesus Christ. But even today we who have not seen the physical evidence but have been filled by His precious Holy Spirit still declare that Jesus Christ is alive and will very soon return.

Indeed, ” blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.”

Jesus Messiah

   by Pastor Mike

Praise the LORD everybody. There was a very strong presence of the LORD at church service. Today is a celebration of Palm Sunday. Many people back in the day followed JESUS to Jerusalem. They covered the donkey and the ground with their cloaks which is a sign of submission. They waved palm branches as a sign of victory. They shouted Hosanna which is a shout of strong and worshipful praise to GOD. A lot of folks followed JESUS, yet a few days later some of them were yelling to crucify HIM.

We need to make sure we always follow JESUS until the very end. We’re running a race with JESUS right besides us. HE tells us to follow HIM in: Matthew 4:19 “And he saith unto them, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Matthew 16:24 “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, if any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” Also in John 8:12, John 10:27; John 12:26.

We can never go wrong following JESUS because HE will never leave us nor forsake us, HE sticks closer than a brother, and HE is right there at the mention of HIS NAME. Great things happen in your life as you follow the King of kings and the Lord of lords.

So stay focused on JESUS and let HIM lead you where HE wants you to go. Don’t forget to tell someone about JESUS!

Best Friends

Best_friend_Puzzle_by_Lara_Princess      By Pastor Jeff

Abraham and Moses had a wonderful distinction in the word of God in that they were each called “Friends of God”.

In the present generation it seems that the word “friend is taking on an entire different definition than it was when I was and many of you were growing up. Back in the day friends were guys and gals that did things together like play baseball, football, basketball games, sometimes just playing catch (I mean outside, not on a TV, computer, or phone), we went to the park, mall, movies together, and even sometimes just hung out together really doing nothing.

Now when you talk about friends the discussion ends up about the friends you have  on the “Social Networks”, what used to number in the handfuls now numbers in the hundreds and sometimes thousands. I’m not challenging the thought that these people are not indeed your friends but these cannot fulfill the definition of what is a “Best Friend”.

Research tells us that we make an average of 400 friends in our lifetimes but keep only a handful of these throughout your lifetime. Proverbs 18:24 says, “A man that hath friends must show himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” So to make friends we only have to show others that we are friendly, really not that hard is it?

But “Best Friends” are not as easy, I quote my friends the Minions’ “Making a hundred friends is not a miracle. The miracle is to make a single friend who will stand by your side even when the hundreds are against you”. Proverbs 17:17 puts it this way, “A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”

Best friends are in it for the long haul, they will, accept you, help you, love you just the way you are with all your faults, they may even be willing to give their life for you. We can search the word of God and find many relationships that would fulfill this definition, David and Jonathan are one that comes quickly to our minds, but probably the strongest one is the one between Ruth and Naomi. Here we have two people with entirely different backgrounds and no doubt Naomi was older than Ruth but they formed a friendship that is recorded forever, When Naomi’s husband and her two sons pass away she decides to return to her homeland Israel, she tells Ruth and her sister to not follow her, to return to their homes, but Ruth’s reply is found in Ruth 1:16-17, And Ruth said, “Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.” The rest of the story is that “Ruth goes back with Naomi, marries Boaz has a son who she gives to Naomi whose name is Obed the grandpa of King David. With best friends miracles can happen!

Aristotle said, “What is a friend? a single soul dwelling in two bodies.” Jesus in John 15:12-15 calls us friends also, “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you“. I don’t know about you,but Jesus is not just a friend to me, but he is my Best Friend!

What kind of friend do you want others to call you? Do you want to be a “friend” or do you rather be a “Best Friend”? the choice in many cases is up to us but it will cost you at times and I’m not just talking financially, when you expose your heart sometimes it will get broken. But once you become “Best Friends” you will form a bond that cannot be easily broken and one you will never regret. I challenge you to make Jesus Christ your “Best Friend”, and like Abraham it will be a friendship that will last forever! Today make Jesus your “Best Friend!”

Relationship with Jesus

why Jesus died By Pastor Mike

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

Matthew 6:33

We not only need to have a relationship with JESUS, we get to have one with HIM. HE knows everything about us and HE wants us to know HIM just as intimately. The only way to have a strong relationship is to spend quality time together.  The stronger the relationship, the stronger your faith becomes because HE will show you things and use you for HIS Kingdom and for HIS Glory.

The more you know JESUS the more obedient you want to be to HIM. Obedience to JESUS matters because it is only through obedience that we grow in personal knowledge of JESUS and who HE is. By being obedient and studying HIS Word (Bible) and spending time in prayer is crucial in developing a strong relationship with HIM.

We need to understand how much we need JESUS to take care of us, love us, lead us, forgive us, and give us HIS grace and Mercy. We need JESUS to be with us every step we take and every breath we make. You will see a difference in a positive way when you focus and rely on JESUS for decisions in your life. You will realize HE will never leave you or forsake you. HE is closer than a brother and right there at the mention of HIS NAME. How much better your life will be with JESUS in it. Stay focused on JESUS.

God’s Holiness

the-holiness-of-god-large1    By Pastor Jeff

Holiness, holiness, is what I long for, holiness is what I need, holiness, holiness, is what you want from me! This melody has been in my head and heart for the past couple of weeks. Holiness is what I need!, my desire is to please my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and in Hebrews 12:16, we are told that “without Holiness no man shall see the Lord!”

We cannot deny that one of the attributes of the God we love and serve is that he is Holy! you cannot seperate holiness from God no more than God can ever be separated from the word. In Leviticus 11:44 God tells the Israelites “For I am the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” In Revelations, John in a visit to heaven sees four beasts that never rest and continually cry out “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord God almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.”

So God is holy, clearly, so are we to think that we can ever achieve the holiness of our Lord God Almighty, we know this is a impossibility in these bodies that we are temporarily home too. Our own righteousness is a filthy rags to Him and Jesus in Matthew 5:20,”For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” So how can we obtain to what the scripture says in 1 Peter 1:16, Because it is written, “Be ye holy; for I am holy”?

Some will say we need to look holy on the outside, but Jesus doesn’t judge us on the outside, but looks at the heart, in Matthew 23:27,  Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.”

In the Old Testament in order to show holiness the Israelites had laws and regulations to adhere to, but in the New Testament we have been given the “Holy Ghost”, what was in the Old Testament holiness on the outside, in the New Testament it comes from the inside. AlThough as God developes in us more of His character it will have an effect on the outside, this is not the primary goal of obtaining to become holy. For after all whatever good that happens in us is all for the glory of God, Philippians 2:13, “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

Holiness, holiness, is what I long for, holiness is what I need, holiness, holiness, is what you want from me!

Fresh Start

images[5]  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.

by Pastor Mike

It’s been two months since we closed out 2014. The LORD has been moving mightily in the church as a whole and in individuals. It’s great to see people giving their lives over to JESUS CHRIST. The LORD has been speaking to me about how 2015 is going to be a powerful year for HIS church. We need to be ready as a body of believers to be used by JESUS to reach the lost for HIS Kingdom. If we’re not ready, maybe we need a fresh start.

We need to let the past go and keep looking forward and focus on JESUS. To get a fresh start we need to stop making excuses on why we don’t go to church, why we don’t pray, why we don’t read the Bible more. We also need to change our focus from any trial or situation we’re going through and put it on the ONE who will get us through any storm or any valley we’re going through and HIS Name is JESUS. Another very important thing we must do is put all our trust in JESUS. HE will get us through anything in our lives. HE always stands on HIS promises. Read the WORD of GOD and you can see all HIS promises. HE will never let you down.

My Sheep Hear My Voice!

jesus-good-shepherd-follows-sheep by Pastor Jeff

Hearing God’s voice, as a young christian and for many years after I struggled with this thought, I heard from other saints or read articles and books that the author would make the statement “God told me” or something similar. I will confess that many times I would doubt the person that would make this statement because it hadn’t occurred to me. I will say that many times as I read the Word of God I would find the words speaking to the Holy Spirit within me and I was very appreciative of that. This as I later found out is what is called the “rhema” which refers to the spoken word, Mary the mother of Jesus gives us an example of this in Luke 1:38, “And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.”

But this was not sufficient for me, I wanted to hear His voice; after all John 10:27 says, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:” After a very dry time in my life I came to Jesus declaring that I was tired of playing games, that I desired everything that He would offer me. I spent many hours alone in reading, praying, worshipping Him and added some fasting to it. It wasn’t long that I then began to hear the gentle, loving voice of God speaking to me. It wasn’t a loud overpowering voice that everyone around me would hear, but I knew it was Jesus Christ speaking to me as the Holy Ghost would leap with joy as the words came to me.

I would be remiss to say that this didn’t changed my walk with Jesus Christ forever, without that voice giving me instruction, direction I definitely would not be where I’m at in service to Him, and I will never cease to be thankful for it.

For those that are like I was, questioning if they have ever heard His voice, I declare to you He wants to; what is needed from us is total commitment, the Prophet Jeremiah tells us “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” God wants all of us, not just a part! Praise and worship him, God loves and cannot resist heartfelt praise and worship from His children!

Spend time alone with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and I declare without a doubt that you will soon hear that awesome, wonderful, voice of our God! For the day we are living in it’s imperative that every child of Jesus Christ be able to recognize His wonderful voice!

Continue reading My Sheep Hear My Voice!

2015 and the Key to the Door


We recently turned our calendars from the year 2014 to the year 2015 and we look to this year being even a more awesome year for us at Janesville Apostolic Ministries and the Kingdom of God than any year before it. We believe a great number of souls will be added and with it a greater power of God.

Recently we at JAM received a prophetic word that just confirms this; we have been told that we have a “key”. As we look in the word of God we see many instances in which Jesus or the angels have keys to open doors. But we find Jesus giving the keys to Peter in Matthew 16:19, “And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind in heaven.” Peter then in Acts 2:14-39 we find Peter using the keys to this Kingdom which have never been closed. Whenever anyone holds or has been given a “key” in the word of God, it is referring to the authority that this person or persons have been given.

And what are keys usually used for? ” Unlocking or locking doors! So the second part of the prophetic word is that there is a door, a very old-looking door, meaning it’s been closed for quite a long time. So the leaders of Janesville Apostolic Ministries have been given the authority to open this door. So what is behind it? Well that’s the very question that kept running through my mind, could it be “Great Faith”, the ability to perform greater miracles, and so on. But as I was pondering this one day, I heard the voice of our Lord Jesus Christ say “do not limit Me!” Many times Jesus can’t do the things He would like to do through us because in our finite minds we limit what He can and will do.

So we recently built a door, put a lock on it and placed it in front of our congregation to symbolize what the Lord was telling us. Let me tell you that the day we had set to do this, the presence of Jesus Christ was very heavy, it was like His Shekinah Glory was there to usher us into this new realm. We then unlocked, opened, walked through, and every person in the building followed us through in agreement to what God is about to do. Revelation 3:8, “I know thy works:behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.” We place no limits on what Jesus Christ wants to do in and through us and all the glory is HIS!

Pastor Jeff and Pastor Mike
Pastor Jeff Hanson and Pastor Mike Batinich

Ministers of God's Love, Grace, and Salvation

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Janesville Apostolic Ministries

Ministers of God's Love, Grace, and Salvation