Thursday, January 21, 2010

Building The Christian Life: LOVE

This is the agape love you’ve heard so much about. You cannot start here. You have to work up to it through all the points we’ve covered.

Love is not just a fun euphoric emotion. It’s something you do. It has to have a strong foundation if you can even do it at all. In this case it requires seven other items to precede its practice.

FAITH: the objective basis; if we don’t believe we don’t need to love.

MORAL EXCELLENCE: the high standard.

KNOWLEDGE: who, what, when, where, how, why – this is informed love.

SELF CONTROL: this is not lust or advantage love

PERSEVERANCE: bears with others

GODLINESS: keeps it in a God level

BROTHERLY KINDNESS: baby steps leading to mature love

Why do we end with love?

There’s nothing beyond it.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Building The Christian Life: Brotherly-Kindness

Godliness cannot just stop at talk. It has to be expressed.

Only one other place this word is used besides here: Romans 12:10.

The Greek word used by Peter is the one from which we get the name for Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love.

We can only befriend anyone after we have resources to do so. Those don’t come by a zap, but through practice.

Many want to start here because it seems more fun than godliness. Many want to stop here because it doesn’t make the requirements of us that love does.

How do brothers love?

Sometimes rough and tumble.

On a family feeling level.

You can always count on a brother when you can’t always on a friend, acquaintance or co-worker.

You never quit being a brother as long as you are alive. People can disinherit you, but they cannot wipe out the blood connection.

This is a blood line. (Does that strike a chord?)

We start with a friendly love, but it can’t be just you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours. It has to expand.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Building The Christian Life: Godliness

There is an interesting fact connected with this word: in the concordance, right before godliness is godlessness. You need to get the one out of the way in order to get the other.

Stick-to-it-ive-ness is not a value of itself. It has to have something to stick to.

There is no instant godliness. By way of contrast, in salvation, justification is instantaneous. This in turn produces sanctification, a process. It’s the process of God rubbing off on us through:

*Prayer time

*The word

*Fellowship with other Christians

*The example of others both in our own lives and in history

At the end of this we have acquired in practical terms something of the character of God.

Friday, January 15, 2010

2009 Favorite Quartet cd of the year.

Daywind Records has done the fans a great service by releasing Skylite albums from the 1950s and 1960s on cd. They did six double album releases last year and I got all of them. My favorite quartet album of the year was on one of those. I had heard just about all the songs on the Statesmen “Encores”, but had never heard that album until I got this disk. There’s just not much to beat the Statesmen unless it be the Blackwoods (I’ve always given them the edge between the two groups which traveled together for years because of my esteem for James). This recording is right on target. It is better than any quartet album released in the last twenty years. Keep it up Daywind. I want to buy more of these sets this year.

Other winners for the past five years:
2008: Brian Free and Assurance “Real Faith”
2007: Cathedrals “Greatest Gospel Hits”
2006: Blackwood Brothers “Beautiful Isle Of Somewhere”
2005: Imperials “Fireside Hymns”
2004: Dove Brothers “Born Again”

Note: three out of the five choices are all lps I acquired in those years of albums that were over 40 years old. The old wine (figuratively speaking since I don’t drink wine) IS the best.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

2009 Favorite Non-Quaret Southern Gospel cd of the year

“Jubilee!” This is actually an album of three groups: The Booth Brothers, Greater Vision and Legacy Five. While Legacy Five is a quartet, the trios dominate and the album is not just a quartet album.

There have been other albums like this in the past where they kind of mix up the personnel to do different songs. That’s not what made it the favorite for the year, but the fact that it is really Southern to the core in the material it uses and it the way it presents it.

This is the kind of thing I always look for, but don’t see very often now. Guess I’m ready for the nostalgia circuit. I don’t think there was anything on here I hadn’t heard before. There’s something to be said for giving us what we know only giving it differently and better than it’s been given before.

Other winners for the past five years:

2008: The Hoppers “The Ride”
2007: Lesters “We Will Stand”
2006: Greater Vision “My Favorite Place”
2005: Karen Peck and New River “Good To Be Free”
2004: Greater Vision “Faces”

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Lady Or The Tiger

I always found the open-endedness of “The Lady Or The Tiger” to be disquieting, but on 12 January 2010 I finally got it. (I’ve only known the story for close to 50 years.) The point of the story is not what came out of the door, but that we live in a world where we have to choose, even if we can’t control the consequences. Too many people aren’t aware of that fact.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Building The Christian Life: Perseverance


Why is it here in the list of II Peter 1:5-7?

Faith can be held for a moment and then let go.
Moral excellence can be a single high point.
Knowledge can go so far or one can only go a short way in it, not all the way.
Self-control can be tired of.
Perseverance will keep on to the end!

It travels with the following other qualities:

It opens the way to what comes after it.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Building The Christian Life: SELF-CONTROL

This word comes from two Greek words. The first is “Power”, and the second is “out of”. We are the ones this is out of, so we could say that self-control is power out of us.

The anchor man of the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:23 is self-control. Here it is in the middle of it all. This can only come after knowledge. We have to know the truth. This is not mere intuition or caprice.

Self-control was one of the things Paul discussed with Felix in Acts 24:25. The Greek philosophers taught and promoted this. It was even mourned that, for all his power and accomplishments, Alexander didn’t have it. We do not do this on our own, but Jesus produces it in us.
Just think about the consequences of no self-control? They include sin, health problems, financial problems, inter-personal turmoils.

Then think about the benefits of self-control. It gives the ability to do something. It can provide money and time. It helps you do everything else you want to do. This is true, not only of physical accomplishments, but of living the life of Jesus Christ.

Self-control is absolutely necessary to what is next on the list: perseverance.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

2009 Favorite Non-Southern Christian cd of the year

In 1982 I began keeping track of what was my favorite Quartet album of the year. In 1985 I expanded to three categories: Southern Gospel Quartet, Southern (non-Quartet) and Other Christian album.

Every year I keep a record of possible candidates and then listen to them side by side after the year is over to determine which is really my favorite. I begin with the Other category and work my way up. These are not albums which were necessarily released in this year, but which I acquired in this year.

This year I have chosen Peter B. Allen’s “Onward”. This is the first time an instrumental album has ever been so chosen. This is an album of adaptations of hymn tunes for piano and orchestra. I heard one of the selections, “In Heavenly Love Abiding” at the Contemporary Music Festival in Terre Haute, Indiana and was enthralled and amazed by it. This, does happen to be the best one out of the seven on the cd, but it is worth the entire cd. I felt both heaven and the love when I heard it in concert by the Indianapolis Chamber Symphony.

Other winners for the past five years:

2008: Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir “I’ll Say Yes”
2007: Mighty Clouds of Joy “Movin’”
2006: The Imperials “The Lost Album”
2005: Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir “I’m Amazed”
2004: Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir “This Is Your House”

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

New Song lyrics for 2010

This year for our Sunday evening services I’m going to attempt to premier a new song I’ve written each week. This is a way of getting me to write new material (I’ve gotten kind of lazy about it).

Jeanette said that I should post the lyrics for the song I did this past Sunday night (3 January 2010). So here they are. The idea behind the first verse is that when we have tests Jesus is willing to take them on for us instead of leaving us to flounder around on our own.


Jesus is faithful to pass your test
He will not leave you
‘Till you have rest
Then He will make you
Strong for what’s next
Faithful, holy, bold and blessed

Jesus is holy to bear your sin
He will erase what
Kept you from Him
Then He will clothe you
With His own best
Faithful, holy, bold and blessed

Jesus is bold to speak out for you
He tells the devil
That he is through
Then He will see to
All your requests
Faithful, holy, bold and blessed

© 2010 Kevin Don Levellie

If you’d like to hear some of these in person, come visit us on Sunday evenings at Nevins Christian Church, 17475 E 390th Road, Paris Il 61944. 217-463-8770

Monday, January 4, 2010

Building The Christian Life: Knowledge

Knowledge doesn’t come until AFTER we get the first two things on our list: faith and character. We have to decide that we are going to know the things of God before we can know them. Our status is, thus, not dependent on our knowledge, but our knowledge comes from the character Jesus develops in us and it will tell us where to go from this point.

There are several knowledge types:

*Personal knowledge of an event (witness)
*Personal knowledge of another person

We need to move to the level of personal knowledge. Knowing Jesus, and Jesus alone was Paul’s aspiration set forth in Philippians 3:10.

When we know Jesus, then we also get to know God’s word and will and the things we should do. It is not the quantity of knowledge the is important, but the preciseness of it. This kind of knowledge can never be taken from us, and we can always benefit from it.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Building The Christian Life: Moral Excellence

MORAL EXCELLENCE is next to be added in II Peter 1:5. This is a strong quality. It is some places called “Virtue”. It is a word which comes from the name of Ares, the Greek god of war.

The only other New Testament point of reference to this word is II Peter 1:3.

We all know what worldly excellences are. Guiness records them in their record books. We watch the shows on television that give awards in sports and the arts. Names in the news testify to success in making money. What we are striving for are not worldly, but moral.

The word moral means being able to make a distinction between right and wrong in actions. This distinction is not rooted in our world. It is not even a matter of majority rules in regard to what’s acceptable or not. It is something rooted in God.

What are spiritual excellences?


A grasp of the word.

Freedom from sin.

Being identified as one of God’s people.

The biggest of all is this: we are like Jesus in character. There is nothing to top it.

How can that be? Only through the Holy Spirit.

This is a war like quality in that it is meant to conquer all sin and vice. It matches the character of God, the Father, also, for he is called a Man of War in Exodus 14:3.

He never loses a war!