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Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (1 Peter 5:5b)

Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. (Matthew 23:12)


I have, for the last few months, focused in this column on the fundamentals of our Christian faith. Agape love of God and everyone He loves is our litmus test of faith and character. Without it, we are nothing, have nothing, and gain nothing. Our daily life mission is, through the indwelling Holy Spirit of God, to show forth this agape love as witnesses to the goodness and will of God so perfectly revealed in His Son Jesus Christ.

Today we continue our focus on fundamentals with this biblical truth: humility is a Kingdom essential.

Humility and respect for humility have become the exception rather than the rule in modern America. Both are notably absent in our politics, media, sports, entertainment, and, most tragically, much of our public Christian witness. I see two primary reasons for this. First, we do not understand what humility really is. Second, we do not appreciate how important humility is to God.

The best way to initially understand humility and its importance to God is by contrasting it to its opposite: arrogance and pride. The Book of Proverbs says God hates pride and arrogance. (8:13) Pride and a haughty spirit lead to disgrace and destruction. (11:2, 16:18) Haughty eyes and a proud heart are the lamp of the wicked and sin. (21:4)

Both Jesus and Peter affirmed these truths about pride, as set forth above. And Paul added the warning that, particularly in the last days, there would be people showing “the appearance of godliness” who would instead be “lovers of self”, “proud, arrogant, abusive”, “slanderous”, and “swollen with conceit”. (2 Timothy 3:2-5) Paul cautioned us to avoid such people.

The phrase “lover of self” is the key to understanding pride. Pride is self-centeredness, self-rule, self-exaltation, self-indulgence, self-righteousness, self-sufficiency, and self-reliance. A proud person may do something that is good for someone else, or even something that seems godly, but only so long as it is also good for him or her. The minute there is a difference between what is good for others and what is good for the proud, the proud will choose themselves.

For this reason, Psalm 40:4 says we are not to respect or turn in trust to the proud for leadership. They are destined to disgrace and destruction, and God does not want us to follow them there.

And for this reason, Jesus declared those who follow Him must deny their self, take up their cross daily, and let Him lead them. (Luke 9:23)

This brings us to the ultimate lesson of humility: our Lord Jesus Christ. Philippians 2 provides an extraordinary description of how we are to embrace the humility of Jesus, putting the interests of others first, and how His consummate humility and sacrifice led to His glorification. Likewise, Jesus tells us those who are last and servant to all will be first. (Mark 9:35) Those who humble themselves before God like little children will be greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. (Matthew 18:1-4)

Some may be concerned that humility is also timidity and weakness in a time when we need boldness and strength. But Jesus was humble, and never timid or weak. Moses was humbler than anyone on earth when he led the Hebrew people out of Egyptian bondage. (Numbers 12:3) In both cases it was their humility: God-centered, selfless, loving focus on the interests of others, which led to glory and greatness.

Others may be concerned that humility equates to tolerance of the ever-increasing sin we see all around us. But Jesus came for sinners and sends us to do the same. (Matthew 9:10-13; John 20:21) Love and humility, while holding on to integrity, is what draws people to Jesus. (John 13:34-35; 1 Corinthians 13; 1 John 4)

My friends, our Lord calls us to greatness as the Body of Christ. We are called to be the light of the world (Matthew 5:14-16); to love like God loves (Matthew 5:48, Romans 5:5); to be transformed into Christlikeness with ever-increasing glory (2 Corinthians 3:18); to do the works of Jesus, and even greater works (John 14:12); and to be filled with all the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:14-19).

But we will never achieve that greatness for the glory of God until we and those we choose to follow clothe ourselves with humility. Humility is a Kingdom essential.

God bless you, and God bless our community.

“Be With Jesus” Conferences

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Dear friends of the King,


            I am truly excited to announce that we have now scheduled two “Be With Jesus, Be Like Jesus, Be For Jesus” Awakening Conferences in the region, with a third in the works.  This conference, with three sessions, is based on my new book, “Be With Jesus, Be Like Jesus, Be For Jesus: A Path to Christian Maturity and the Next Great Awakening”. Thank you so much for the very encouraging responses we have been getting to the book.  Each conference participant will receive a free copy of the book as part of their engagement.  The book, as many of you already know, is short (100 pages) but contains 577 scripture citations for the topics we will be dealing with in the conference.  So it will be a great follow-up reference.

            The first conference is scheduled for Rogersville early next week: Monday, June 28 through Wednesday, June 30, starting 7PM, at the Marketplace, 1206 W. Main Street.  I am attaching that conference flyer, in large part so you can see what a wonderful job my daughter Jes did in creating it!

            The second conference is with our dear friends, Pastor Andy and Marsha Barnes, at First Baptist Church, Gate City: Sunday, July 18 through Tuesday, July 20, with details to follow.

            Our third conference, in the works, will be at a church in the Kingsport/Blountville area, and I am earnestly interested in scheduling more!  So if any of you are interested, please contact me.   I am also open to sharing the materials through small group retreats.

            With all my heart, I believe the next move of God in our nation and world will be rooted in agape love that is pursued by us through intimacy with the Lord (Be with Jesus), partnership with the Lord in our own sanctification  (Be like Jesus), and a life commitment to Kingdom mission (Be for Jesus). And I passionately desire to see that move of God take place in our East Tennessee/Southwest Virginia region.  Please pray for us!


            God bless you all – Doug Tweed, Friends of the King Ministries


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“And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine will burst the wineskins and be spilled, and the wineskins will be ruined. But new wine must be put into new wineskins, and both are preserved. And no one, having drunk old wine, immediately desires new; for he says, ‘The old is better.’” (Luke 5:37-39 NKJ)

Matthew, Mark and Luke each describe the parable Jesus told concerning new wine and old wineskins (See Matthew 9:17; Mark 2:22). But only Luke reports the caution Jesus gave about those who resist anything new, and none of our popular English translations clarify for us a crucial distinction Jesus made concerning what “new” means.

When Jesus spoke of “new” wine, He used the Greek word, “neos”, which describes something young or new in time, but not new in nature. Your Honda Accord runs out of gas and is no longer running, so you need some new gas.

When Jesus spoke of “new” wineskins, He did not use the word, “neos”. He used the word, “kainos”, which describes something new in kind or nature, better than the old, or “new and improved”. On the way to buy gas for your Honda, you pass the dealership and see the new Honda Accord hybrid. You make the trade and now have more power and better mileage with both gasoline and electric power.

“Kainos” is the word Jesus used to describe the new covenant in His blood (Luke 22:20). Paul used “kainos” in calling born-again Christians new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17). The risen Lord has declared He is continually making all things “kainos” – new and improved! (Revelation 21:5)

This dramatic contrast Jesus made between “kainos” and “neos” in His wineskin parable must be understood before we can correctly understand the parable.

The new wine represents God and the wonderful things that come from God: His presence, His love, His revelation of truth, His Spirit and power. Jesus was new wine. He was new in time – God’s truth and grace coming to the earth in a way greater than ever before – the fulfillment of the law and the prophets (Matthew 5:17). But Jesus was not an improvement of God because God has never in all eternity needed improvement. We didn’t need improved God. We just needed more God!

The wineskins, on the other hand, represent the religious practices and structure of God’s people – how we seek to relate to God and receive all He offers. The wineskins of the Pharisees, and even of John the Baptist, could not contain the new wine of Jesus. The covenant of law would be replaced by the new and improved covenant of grace. The temple in Jerusalem would be replaced by the new and improved spiritual house of living stones: people born of the Spirit who would carry the new wine of Jesus into the whole world (1 Peter 2:4-10; Mark 16:15).

That which was true when Jesus taught this parable is still true today. God wants us to receive more and more of His new wine: more of His presence, more truth, more love, more power, more transformation, and more fruit (John 16:12-15; Ephesians 3:17-20; 2 Corinthians 3:18; John 15:1-8). That is what revival really is – more God – and we desperately need more God.

But if we want more of the unchanging God, we must keep changing. We must on an ongoing basis remain willing to become new and improved wineskins and embrace new ministry opportunities, structures and methods – even, dare I say it, new and improved understanding as to what God’s scriptures really teach us.

Not every change proposed to God’s people will be from God, but stagnation is never from God. For examples in church history of new wine that required new and improved wineskins, study the Reformation, the First and Second Great Awakenings, the birth of the Salvation Army and the Welsh, Azusa Street and Hebrides revivals. In every case, there were those who rejected and opposed change, just like Jesus predicted, and others who wonderfully received and shared the new wine God wanted to pour out.

New wineskins I have personally observed in our Kingsport region over the last twenty-four years include the Walk to Emmaus, the Jesus Video Project, Hope Haven, Hope House, Celebrate Recovery, Terrific Tuesday (an outreach to children in the Cloud community), Kairos prison ministry, international outreaches to Estonia and Sudan, the Hawkins County prayer network against drugs, the First Baptist medical clinic, and most recently, Oasis ministry for women and Shades of Grace, a storefront congregation of the homeless and marginalized. All have allowed wonderful new wine from God to flow.

A brand new wineskin in our area is The Church Mobilization Network of Sullivan and Hawkins County, which hopes to network the resources of our churches, businesses and agencies in identifying and helping those who are truly in need. In harmony with that, and with Oasis and Shades of Grace, is the challenge put forth by Pastor Marvin Cameron at the recent National Day of Prayer gathering in Kingsport – to find new and improved ways we can lift up the poor and powerless of our community while preserving their dignity and worth. It is a “kainos” wineskin that is long overdue.

My friends, let’s all become new and improved wineskins, perhaps by joining some of the wineskins listed above, and receive all the new wine God has for us.

God bless you, and God bless our community.