Posts in Pastor
Earning the Audience of People

I love Jesus. I love people. I love sharing Jesus with people! There is no greater joy than seeing a soul transformed right before your eyes. Salvation in Jesus Christ is beautiful. As believers we have been charged with sharing the life giving Gospel with everyone the Lord leads us to.

The eighth chapter of Acts is a wonderful picture of this. Stephen, a powerful man of God, had just delivered a passionate and convicting message to a hard hearted people. Rather than succumb to the truth of his words; the people became angry and in a fit of rage stoned Stephen to death. The death of Stephen drew a dividing line between those who would devote themselves to Jesus as Messiah and those who would not. Saul would lead the charge in a new wave of violent persecution.

But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off men and women and put them in prison.
— Acts 8:3

The word “destroy” in the text is a word that describes a random, violent, and unorganized ravaging. It is the picture of what wild hogs do to a farmer’s crops. Saul’s angst, fueled by his rage at believers and their blasphemous claims, was his attempt at thwarting the Gospel. It would not be so.

Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.
— Acts 8:4

Saul’s rage launched believers into fulfilling Jesus’ prophetic words in Acts 1:8. Jesus told His men that they would be His witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the world. It was happening! Believers scattered into those exact places and were His witnesses, preaching the Word wherever they went! Hallelujah!

I have always wondered what those conversations were like. Displaced families in new communities were preaching the Word! This is not the picture of preaching sermons in public places, this is a picture of believers sharing the Gospel with those who come across their path in their normal day to day activities. Walking along the road, in the market place, at work , they were sharing the Gospel. They did not have crafty evangelism methods and tools. There was no Evangelism Explosion or Evangicubes. Just Jesus. They shared their story to belief in Jesus as the Messiah and people were saved. This begs the question, “why did people listen to them?”. I believe Philip is a great example of earning the audience of people.

When the crowds heard Philip and saw the miraculous signs he did, they all paid close attention to what he said.
— Acts 8:6

They heard what Philip said and they saw what he did. There was a sincerity in Philip. They could tell in the conviction of his voice that his heart had experienced something very real and tangible. He did not deliver a rehearsed outline or ask baited questions. With passion, he shared his story. He was believable.

Philip also showed them something. For Philip, miraculous deliverance and healing were his ministry to people. People saw the power of God in him. For you and I, we have the opportunity to show the power of God as well. Serving people, speaking kind words, and showing unconditional love are only the tip of the iceberg of the possibilities in showing God’s love and power to people.

God has gifted each of us with spiritual gifts, talents, abilities, resources, and an audience. Let us seek God in how we may earn the audience of people and preach the Word wherever we go.

PastorMike Keahbone
To Pastors: A Pastor and His Staff
Top Left: Cameron Frank-Media Arts  Top Right: David Skinner-Children's Pastor Bottom Left: Brian Meister-Student Pastor  Bottom Right: Mark Stapp-Associate Pastor

Top Left: Cameron Frank-Media Arts  Top Right: David Skinner-Children's Pastor
Bottom Left: Brian Meister-Student Pastor  Bottom Right: Mark Stapp-Associate Pastor

"I will set shepherds over them who will care for them, and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall any be missing, declares the LORD." Jeremiah 23:4

Four years ago I accepted the call to become the Lead Pastor at Cherokee Hills Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. It was and is my first pastorate. I was nervous, scared out of my wits, and at the same time excited for God's new call on my life. I served for over 20 years as a Youth Pastor and spent a few years as a full-time evangelist. I had always admired the pastors that I served with and was very content that I did not have their call on my life! I knew that if I somehow destroyed a youth ministry, the church could clean up my mess and the resiliency of students would overcome my debacle. Pastoring was different. If you mess up an entire church the Lord might not let you into Heaven! I respected the position of Lead Pastor, but I did not want it. However; God spoke to my heart with a clear call to pastor and I knew that obedience was the only option. Soon after I surrendered to HIs call (two days later), Cherokee Hills contacted me. To make a long story short; on the weekend of July 4, 2014 I was voted in as their new Lead Pastor. I was immediately the new leader for CHBC and inherited a staff of men that I either hardly knew or did not know at all. Mark Stapp was the Associate Pastor and had been at CHBC for 16 years. Dustin Loehrs was the Worship Pastor and arrived a couple of years before I did. Brian Meister was the Youth Pastor and had been there for 4 years. Lee Roland was the part-time Children's Pastor and was fairly new. As I met with them for the first time I shared my heart and vision as a Lead Pastor. Not for the church, but for them. Our staff has changed a bit in 4 years, but my heart and vision for my co-laborers, my brothers, has not. I would like to share that heart and vision with you.

LOVE. I let them know that I loved them already and that I would do my best to prove it to them. My heart in proving to them that I loved them rested in a few simple ways. I set their hearts and minds at ease by letting them know that I believed that God had supernaturally called each of them to serve at CHBC and that my calling was to join with them. They didn't have to look over their shoulders or wonder if I had someone in mind for their positions. Your team needs to know that you are on their side and that you want them there.
My position as Pastor makes me the leader, but I wanted my guys to know that we are a team. That each of them was respected and would not just be heard, but listened to. Your team needs to know that you trust their heart, wisdom, and input. When we sit at the table together we are equals. I try to keep the "Pastor Card" locked away and try to only use it sparingly.
I let them know that my first priority for them is their spiritual well-being. That I would keep them accountable in their walk with God and challenge them to grow in faith and in their calling. We study the Word together, pray together, and challenge each other.
Loving them included loving their families. It is important for the Lead Pastor to guard the families of his staff. As the Pastor, I must recognize when my guys need to slow down and take a break. I must be in tune with how much time they are spending away from their wives and children. I do not ever want any of my staff's families to resent the church or ministry. Allowing ministry families to be neglected on our watch is unacceptable. Suggest days off. Send them home early. Treat them to lunch. Take care of the families entrusted to you. Most ministers will work themselves to death for you, don't burn them out.

THE 51% RULE. The night our team gathered for the first time, I shared my 51% rule with them. I told them that if they didn't spend at least 51% of their day doing what they are called to do and passionate about, it is their own fault. As the Pastor I can guard and protect my staff and put them in a position to spend a majority of their day functioning inside of their calling. The looks on their faces were priceless! It has been a joy to watch them flourish! They love what they do and love being at CHBC! It blesses my heart to see them be who God made them to be. Ministry forces all of us to have to do things we don't love or are not passionate about, but if we can be in our wheelhouse 51% of the time ministry will give us life and not suck it out of us. 

BIGGEST FAN. I told my staff on day 1 that I would be their biggest fan and advocate. That I would celebrate their successes and defend their honor. I want my guys to shine as bright as the Lord will let them shine. Even when they shine brighter than me. I want them to know that they are valued. That they are the best. And that I am for them! Many pastors today allow insecurities and jealousy to stand in the way of being a fan of their staff members. This should not be so. We must encourage our ministers in the daily grind and celebrate their accomplishments and moments. Even a bad dog needs to be petted every once in a while! As a Pastor our words and actions to our staff have incredible power to build up or tear down. Let's build up.

I absolutely LOVE the squad I have today! Mark is still here and is the consummate shepherd. Brian still leads our students, but his ministry blesses every generation in our church. David Skinner joined our team last October and has already made in incredible impact on our Children's Ministry and our church. Cameron Frank is our Media Arts Jedi with a pastor's heart. He makes We are currently waiting on God's man for our Worship Ministry. The best parts of serving with these guys are the calls on their lives and the fact that they are not just my staff... They are my friends and brothers.

PastorMike Keahbone
What I Am Learning On My Recent Journey...
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It is amazing how fast things change! In the last week my interaction with the football team at our local high school has caused a flurry of activity. In all of it I have learned a few things, so far.

Atheists aren't bad people; neither are Christians. So many times, because of emotionally charged social media posts, Christians and Atheists are given a bad rep. Almost made to feel like we have to "fight" each other and oppose each other because that is what we are "supposed" to do. I was blessed by an Atheist in one of the comments that I read. She simply stated why she felt like the Freedom From Religion organization may have intervened, but also stated that she loved what we were doing to help people. It was so refreshing! She was kind, thoughtful, and complimentary. Probably like many other Atheists. I had the privilege of being kind, thoughtful, and complimentary back... probably like most Christians would have done. As it is with most people, no matter how you group us, there are extremes on both sides that can make all of us look bad. What did I learn? Be nice. Even when attacked or put down; be nice. Kindness and thoughtfulness are two great ways to disarm anger and hate. As Believers, this should be our wheelhouse! 

I am not alone. One of my many favorite things about being a Believer is the way we rally together as a family. All of the calls, texts, messages, and comments have been so encouraging and timely. There is an army of prayer warriors that have lifted up my family and I and our church family. You will never know how grateful I am. You are such a blessing. This has reminded me of just how many wonderful brothers and sisters that I have.

Our God Reigns! The ministry to our school and community will go unfazed! The Lord has blessed us with a relationship with a great school system and leadership. We have worked together to make sure that we are extra careful in protecting every child from any religion being forced on them. What we get to do is love the school and every person in it and serve them with the unconditional love of Christ. We model who we are in front of them and let God do the rest! 

I anticipate that I will be learning much more as the days pass, but I am thankful for what The Lord is doing and cannot wait to see how He uses all of this.

Much Jesus Love,
Mike Keahbone

PastorMike Keahbone
Clarity Regarding the FFRF, PCO, and Me.

In recent days I have been forced to tread uncharted waters. I was mentioned in a possible lawsuit that was threatened by the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), a press release by the FFRF, an article by The Christian Post, and I was interviewed by Todd Starnes from Fox News. The interview with Todd Starnes was followed by a printed article. Needless to say; it has been a bit of a whirlwind. After reading all of the articles and receiving so much support and prayer; I wanted to clarify a few details that may have been overlooked or misinterpreted in the headlines.

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I have not been banished from the school. Fan Club is unhindered. Our love, service, and committment to our community and PCO has not wavered.
We have a wonderful relationship with a school and a district that has incredible leadership and a relentless care for their students. Our first step, when all of this erupted, was to meet and evaluate what we were being accused of and to make sure that we strengthened the lines that were already in place to secure the integrity of the school. The desire of my heart and the heartbeat of our church, Cherokee Hills Baptist Church, is to be a compliant friend to PCO's faculty and students. We want to know people and build relationships with them. As we build relationships we will discover needs. Families should not be devoid of food, basic utilities, and basic necessities, but this is the reality of our community. Our goal is to meet those needs and give families a little relief. There is no law in the United States of America that prevents us from loving Putnam City High School and our community. I will be available to the school as needed, Fan Club will still support our football team and our players, and we will do it the right way. Please pray for us. Pray that God will provide the resources needed to love those He has placed in our care. 
Finally, if you are available on a Friday night in the Fall... and you don't mind wearing black and orange... join us in the stands for some great football and to cheer on some amazing kids! Go Pirates!

Much Jesus Love,
Mike Keahbone

PastorMike Keahbone
What I Learned From President Obama

Official portrait of President Barack Obama in the Oval Office, Dec. 6, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza) This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House. "Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God."-Romans 13:1

President Obama was the president that God either caused or allowed, but it was God's choice. For me, submitting meant learning to do a few things:

  • to stop publicly bashing him
  • to acknowledge the good he did or the good way he handled something
  • to, most importantly, pray for him

I noticed something. When I saw him as the president that God was in charge of, I was better able to submit to our president as the new authority in our country.

When I stopped bashing him, I saw that I wasn't wounding those who supported him anymore. Truly, I had not realized that I was wounding them before. I also figured out that I could better see the good he did when I wasn't focusing on his faults.

As I acknowledged the good, my faith was strengthened in God's control over all things.

As I prayed my heart was burdened for him as a man instead of a president. His soul, his life, just him. Barrack Obama the husband and dad. I can't imagine his role and the affect it has on him personally and his family. There was so much to pray for and I was so far behind. It became a blessing to pray for him and my heart was changing. I never embraced his platform or his politics, but I did embrace the fact that he was a man in need of prayer and that I could do just that. He was the authority that God placed in my life and by honoring that submission I was honoring God.

It took me eight years to learn and practice these things. I was never perfect, but heading into this next presidency I will take what I have learned the last eight years and do better in the season ahead. Donald Trump was not the candidate I wanted, but He is the one that God either chose or allowed. Because of that I will submit and practice what I learned.

PastorMike Keahbone
Christmas On Sunday

christmas-sunday "In October 1781, the Revolutionary War virtually came to an end when General Cornwallis was surrounded and forced to surrender the British position at Yorktown, Virginia. Two years later, the Treaty of Paris made it official: America was independent.

How could the Americans ever hope to defeat the mighty British Empire in a military conflict? Perhaps an even better question to ask is, How did the mighty British Empire ever expect to vanquish the Americans?" -UShistory.org

What wonderful, life changing news it must have been as word traveled throughout the country side that America was independent! The war had been won.

Since the fall of Adam and Eve mankind has lived under the tyranny of sin and death. How could sinful man ever hope to defeat Satan and the grave? Perhaps an even better question to ask is, How did Satan and the grave ever expect an Almighty and All Powerful God not to intervene on behalf of His children?

Over two thousand years ago The Messiah, Jesus, The One Who Saves, Immanuel, God With Us was born! The promised Savior, God's Son would live, love, die, and resurrect! He would live to show us grace and power of God, He would love by taking on our sin and shame, He would die to pay for our iniquities, and He would resurrect to conquer sin and death! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Merry Christmas!

As we gather this Sunday, I believe the church should gather with the same excitement and enthusiasm as we do on Easter Sunday. I cannot fathom a better place to be than the church house on Christmas Day! Now hear my heart. I understand that this is a difficult road to navigate when Christmas Day intersects with family time and Sunday. For some families this is the one time during the year that everyone is together. Many will be traveling, many will be with friends or family that are not believers and have no desire or intention to be at church. I get it... it is hard. As with everything, a believer should always pray and seek The Lord over decisions like this. Many times we assume the will of God without ever asking Him and allow our will to dress up in a spiritual principal and get its way. If God speaks to your heart and tells you to gather with your family away from the church house Christmas Sunday, obey in peace! If God calls you to bring your family to the church house Christmas Sunday, obey in peace! When God speaks and we obey, there is an unshakeable confidence that guards us from human condemnation.

This Sunday, Christmas... My family and I will be at the church house. Not because I am the pastor, but because two thousand years ago my Savior was born and I feel led to gather with my brothers and sisters and celebrate! If you are spending Christmas at home or someone else's home; rejoice and celebrate with the same heart!

PastorMike Keahbone
Why We Went From Home School To Public School

hannahschoolWhen God called my family and I into full-time evangelism our oldest daughter, Hannah, was getting old enough to start school. It was decision time. Do we enroll in public or private school or do we home school? After much prayer and hard discussion we knew that we were to take the home school route. It was the perfect decision for us! As I traveled the country preaching the Gospel, my family could go with me. When I was home for those brief breaks in my schedule, we didn't have to worry about Hannah missing school to spend time with daddy. Home school worked so well for us that even after that season of life we continued to home school and Mikah soon enrolled at The Keahbone Academy! Homeschool has been wonderful for us for many reasons, but God has changed our heart. Before I tell the story of God changing our heart, I want to be very clear about what I believe concerning public, private, or home school. I believe every family must pray about what they are supposed to do and be obedient to what God says.

I have met home school parents that believe that home school is the only right choice. I couldn't disagree more. The typical reasons include protection from physical, spiritual, and emotional dangers that come with being around people who are not believers. Those are valid concerns and good reasons to home school, if The Lord leads, but those who choose not to or who can't afford to stay home to educate their children are not in spiritual error. The only right choice is the one that God commands.

I also have met parents that believe that the only right choice for believers is to send their children to public school. That their kids are to be missionaries to the "largest mission field in America". I couldn't disagree more. As much as I love Hannah and as much as I have seen her grow in her walk with The Lord over the last few years, she is not equipped to be a missionary. She is a child and she is in the middle of her training to be a woman of God. Missionaries for the North American Mission Board are trained like Navy Seals before they are turned loose to be "missionaries". She will be a light, I even believe that she will share the Gospel. She will also be more exposed to the world than she has ever been. She will do great things and she will make mistakes. We will lead her and coach her, but this will be a growing time. The only right choice is the one that God commands.

I also have met parents that believe that the only right choice is private Christian school. I couldn't disagree more. I love the idea of Christian based education and having a structure designed to grow students in their walk with God. I just don't believe it is the only right choice. The only right choice is the one that God commands.

Over the last two years, God has put a vision in my heart for my community. I believe that God is leading me as a believer, my family, and my church to smother our community with the love of Jesus! CHBC, my church, has been amazing at chasing after this vision in the Warr Acres/Putnam City area. Jennifer and I have been praying about our personal call to reach our community.  In the last few months The Lord has given us a clear command to sell our home and move into the area our church is located in. As we have worked to be obedient here, we were blind sided by another clear revelation: Hannah is supposed to be in public school. This shook us to the core! We were comfortable and happy with home schooling. It was working for us. As we prayed and fought this command, God's call just got louder and louder. This last Sunday it all came together for us! Hannah is not the missionary, my wife and I are! With Hannah being in school we will be meeting parents, teachers, administrators and any other person involved at her school! I'm going to be the king of PTA and Jen is going to be the Queen! We are going to encourage and be a help to Hannah's teacher and the whole staff of the school! Hannah will do her part as a light, we will do our part as missionaries. Most every family with children in our community has contact with our school and we'll be there to share Jesus in so many ways!

I am excited! I can't wait to see what The Lord does! If you are wrestling with what to do with your children when it comes to their education, pray and remember that the only right choice is the one that God commands.

Much Jesus Love,

Mike Keahbone

PastorMike Keahbone
Election Day Aftermath

crossunited"Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit- just as you were called to one hope when you were called- one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all."-Ephesians 4:2-6 Tuesday November 8, 2016 took center stage as America took to the polls to choose the next President of The United States. Our country was divided. Our churches were divided. I understand the country being divided. I do not understand the church being divided.

The opportunity is most certainly there because of the diversity that exists in healthy churches. Our church is a wonderful blend of age, color, and life. There are Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, and everything else under the sun. Each for their own reasons, and to them, important and devoted reasons. This fierce loyalty sided them with a candidate that gave them hope. Not every candidate wins. With every state announcing their results, social media began to reflect the divide amongst believers. Awful attacks and rebuttals  grew more intense as the night went on. My heart ached as brothers and sisters had little mercy for one another. All I could wonder was, "what does the lost world think when they see these posts?" Maybe the better question would be, "what if they saw us behaving like we are supposed to?"

Completely Humble:  To see yourself as God sees you. As the Holman New Testament Commentary says, "God sees you with infinite and inherent value but with no more value than anyone else." God is our authority. We are not in charge. As we submit to His authority we love God by loving and serving others.

Completely Gentle:  Power under control. This is the meekness that God's Word is speaking of. You have the power to retaliate. You have a cause to retaliate. However; you choose to be under control for the sake of unity in the body.

Completely Patient:  The patient enduring of pain or unhappiness. This is spiritual toughness. The ability to take it on the chin for the greater good. Believers are people. They will make mistakes. They will wound you. Complete patience means that we love them enough to withhold a damaging response.

Completely Bearing:  The commitment of my will to benefit another. Being willing to put up with something or someone in the spirit of God's love.

Make Every Effort:  This is the idea of exhausting every means necessary to accomplish something.

As a believer; I am to do all that I possibly can to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. This is in every area of my life, including politics.

I believe that the world is watching us. Many of them are lost and looking for the hope we have in Jesus. Many of them have been wounded by believers or the church and are looking for ammunition. But what if we loved each other? Jesus said that the world would know us by our love. Not our quick sarcastic humor, not our clever comebacks, and certainly not the best memes. When believers fight... it damages us and damages our witness to a world that is watching.

Let us all process our thoughts and feelings about the election. Celebrate. Mourn. Vent. But, let us love one another.

Much Jesus Love,

Mike Keahbone

I think we are going to be friends!

PastorMike Keahbone
CHBC Pastors... Thank you.

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"17 The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. 18 For the Scripture says, 'Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain,' and 'The worker deserves his wages." 1 Timothy 5:17-18

On Saturday July 5th 2014 I sat in a room with four men that were about to inherit a first time Senior Pastor.  It was an hour and a half of laughs, concerns, questions, and thoughts. At the end of our meeting I walked away encouraged by four things:

1.  Each man loved Jesus.

2.  Each man loved his family.

3.  Each man loved Cherokee Hills Baptist Church.

4.  Each man exuded integrity.

As I sit in my office on October 6th 2015 pondering Pastor Appreciation Month, I am overwhelmed with joy, pride, love, and excitement as I reflect on my first year of serving with Mark Stapp, Dustin Loehrs, Brian Meister, and Lee Roland. It is a rare and powerful blessing to serve with an entire staff of men who love God, serve one another, protect one another, cheer for one another, pray for one another, chase after the same vision, equally love the same flock, and just do life together. I can't believe I get to be their pastor.

Mark Stapp: "Nevertheless, the righteous will hold to their ways, and those with clean hands will grow stronger." -Job 17:9

Mark is a pillar in our church. He is wise, kind, the ultimate servant, a great teacher, a wonderful husband and father, and a man of God. I have learned so much about ministry this last year by watching Mark serve and love our church. His heart for people and missional life focus is fun to watch

 

Dustin Loehrs: "And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of The Lord Jesus..." -Col. 3:17

Dustin is zealous for the work of The Lord. His passion in leading God's people is contagious and powerful. Not just in worship, but in many unseen roles within our church body. As a planner and organizer, he is the perfect fit for a visionary/dreamer pastor. He is a wonderful husband and father, and a man of God.

Brian Meister" Do not merely listen to The Word, and  so deceive yourselves. Do what it says."-James 1:22"

Loves God. Loves people. Brian loves being on the battlefield with our students. It is incredible to watch how God uses him in the lives of teenagers and his adult workers. Brian is a wonderful husband and a man of God. He is unselfish and the ultimate team player.

Lee Roland: "What shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?" -Romans 8:31

Lee is one of the strongest natural leaders that I have ever met. His charisma and passion are contagious. God uses him to move and motivate people. It is amazing to see how God uses him as a principle at Tulakes Elementary School and as our Children's Pastor. Lee is a wonderful husband and father, and a man of God.

I love serving with these men and we are fortunate to have them as Shepherds at Cherokee Hills Baptist Church. Thank you Mark, Dustin, Brian, and Lee for all that you do for The Kingdom of God, for our church, and for me. You are an incredible blessing.

Much Jesus Love,

Mike Keahbone

PastorMike Keahbone