Peter DeWitt

Peter is a husband to Megan, and a father to Peter (III), Andrew, and David. His background is in education, having served first as a science teacher and later as an assistant principal for his high school. Peter’s wife, Megan, led him to the Lord while they were both in college at Ohio State, a time where Peter mostly rock climbed and sometimes studied. Peter has since enjoyed freedom after freedom in the Lord as he has experienced more and more of God’s great love for him. One of Peter’s passions in life is speaking encouragement to the body of Christ. Whether with a couple in the DeWitt’s living room or from the pulpit, Peter loves to encourage, exhort, and equip his brothers and sisters in Christ! In addition to serving as an associate pastor at Agathos, Peter continues to work in education as a consultant for schools in Columbus and Ohio. Peter and Megan view their ministry as a joint effort and also enjoy woodworking together in their well-equipped home woodshop.

- Peter DeWitt
Audio Written Summary

Our vision is to have a church with no ministries - just ministers. So how do you step into that place of ministry?

All empowerment comes from personal, one-on-one intimacy with the Lord. This series is going to be called “primary source ministry.” All ministry is going to come from getting connected to the primary source! I know that we all have A connection with God, I’m saying “how current is our connection with God?” That’s the source of all ministry confidence.  I’m saying we are going to be a church of ministers, but I am not telling you to “prepare for ministry.” I’m telling you to “connect for ministry.” 
We tend to consider ministry more like “we’ve got to go do something.” Whereas God’s thinking more like “no, it’s about Who you are with!” Follow Me (be with Me) and I will make you fishers of men (ministers)!
If ministry is something you need to go do, instead of Someone you need to be with - it’s a very different thing. And if ministry is the goal for believers and it is something you have to do not someone you have to be with you now have a new God. Because the pinnacle of what you are reaching for is an action instead of a Person. 
It’s time to make a trade! Ministry is not “what you do” it’s “Who you are with.” That’s a new definition of ministry - a new facet of understanding what ministry is. If you are with Him, you are a MINISTER on fire! You will do more through being with Him, joined at the hip, yoked with Him, identified with Him, connected with Him, the branch in the Vine! Apart from that you can actually do nothing. Ministry is not something to do; it’s Someone to be connected to. 
I’m not trying to engage you in some ministry here. I am wanting to connect you to the Vine and you will bear fruit! Declare this: “If I’m connected to Him I will bear fruit and my joy is going to be full!”
From Brad Ettore: Jesus is our Example. So, looking at our Lord, how did He operate? You can read through the New Testament and watch this pattern: Jesus went from a place of prayer to a place of ministry. From a place of prayer to a place of ministry. He would minister and He would leave and go up on the mountain. He would come down and minister and he would leave and go up on the mountain. He kept doing that. Oftentimes when it was dark, Jesus would go pray and be there all night long and then He would come down the mountain, grab His disciples and go and minister. Then He would leave them and go back up on the mountain.
It was that connection. That’s what Jesus was ministering from. He studied the word. He knew it inside and out. He knew it better than the Pharisees. He knew the Word, but He didn’t rely on that for His ministry. He said “I want to watch the Father move. He moves in My heart and He’s moving Me over here now …” Jesus was moved by the Father and ministered from that which was inside through His study, but the Father would move Him. When Jesus would minister and heal the sick you will often see this phrase “and being moved with compassion” He would heal the sick. That was the Father moving in Jesus saying “go minister to this person.”
Just look at Our Lord. A place of prayer to a place of ministry. A place of prayer to a place of ministry. We have to constantly keep going back and connecting to the Vine and getting filled up and then it is easy. Ministry becomes even beyond easy - it’s a joy. When you are ministering strictly from you, it’s exhausting. It’s difficult. It’s hard. When you are ministering from what you’ve received from Him you are like “I just want to share this with somebody!” It’s a joy! Amen!
- Peter DeWitt
Audio Written Summary

The goal of this message is to continue (from the previous message on 10/7/18) to share some of the prophecies made concerning us in order to begin to empower each member of our church with the prophetic charge that I believe has been given to Agathos so that we can start to do the work of exploring what this new wineskin might look like.

- Peter DeWitt
Audio Written Summary
1 Timothy 1:18 says “This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare …”
Our church has been charged with a charge. There is a charge on Agathos. “This charge I commit to you Agathos.” What’s the charge? The charge is “according to the prophecies previously made concerning you (concerning our church).” 


The goal of this message is to share some of the prophecies made concerning us in order to begin to charge you with the charge that I believe our church has been charged with so that as we start as we start to do the work of exploring what it looks like to walk that charge out that you may wage the good warfare to do that work. 

He's a Rewarder

- Peter DeWitt
Audio Written Summary

We can have strongholds IN THE LORD. He after all is our refuge and strong tower! He is the lover of your soul and there is not a moment that He doesn’t want to be with you. That’s also why He promises emphatically that if you will draw near to Him He WILL draw near to you. 

So let’s settle that at the outset. If you want to be more connected to God, He wants to be connected to you even more than you want to be connected! But what if we don’t even want to draw near to Him?
Hebrews 11:6 says “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
So what if we don’t even want to draw near to Him? Well Hebrews 11:6 says that he who comes to God MUST (1) believe that He is & believe (2) that He is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him!
If you are not currently in the place of hunger to draw near to God, who are you believing that He is? Secondly, do you think He is a rewarder - or not? “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits …” (Ps. 103:2)
Maybe you’ve met a Christian that says they don’t seek God for anything … they just seek Him for Him! Well, scripturally, we are supposed to seek Him knowing that He’s the rewarder! That sort of no-reward approach to Christianity will not last. He wants to be your provision. He wants to be your supply - and He wants that to motivate you! 
Without faith, it is impossible to please Him! Faith is not an a la carte item in the Christian life; it is the main dish! The righteous shall live by faith! Not have faith sometimes; we will actually LIVE by faith!
Faith is ALWAYS an invitation to greater relationship with God. Every ounce of His grace is an invitation to relationship. Every new facet or perspective on His provision, sufficiency, and supply, is actually an invitation to closer relationship. 
God is a rewarder. The first point is that you cannot please God apart from faith. The second point is that God is a rewarder.…” Look at the father’s response to his older son in Lk. 15:31 “Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours.” Do you notice the 2 priorities of the father? Intimacy (you’re always with me) and provision (all that I have is yours). Religion is trying to do for God what you’ve not yet allowed Him to do for you. The Father is not against your service, He just wants it to be out of His provision and out of intimacy with Him … and not in order to either earn intimacy with Him or to earn provision. 
Mark Crawford says the kingdom of God is not about you changing; the kingdom of God is about exchange. Everything in the kingdom is about exchange! He became sin who knew no sin in order that I might become the righteousness of God in Him! Religion is about change. Change yourself. Change yourself. Will power. Change yourself. Check yourself. If you are a little depressed … not really wanting to seek God …. are you operating in “change” or “exchange?” 
What about us doing for God? This is a “chicken or egg” question. God knows that when we receive from Him we will become like Him! We will lay down our life because He laid down His!
David slayed Goliath for God and the Israelites but remember … God had slayed a lion and a bear for David! Matthew 10:8 says “freely you have received, freely give.” Do not minister what you’ve not freely received. If you didn’t freely receive it, it means it’s not from grace which means it won’t have the power of God upon it. This is, I believe, the biggest problem in all of ministry - trying to give away something that you have not yet received from God. 
The Lord spoke to me early this summer and then I started reading the Psalms like this for a month or two - looking for everything in the Psalms that said who God is to me! My relationship with God grew and this became a stronghold for me in Him. Here’s the phrase God gave me:
"All of who I AM is who I want to be for you!"
Faith is spelled R-E-C-E-I-V-E. The only way to please the Father is to receive. Said shortly: 
Receive to Please
Go ahead and start building this stronghold in your life! Read the Psalms looking for who God is and therefore who He wants to be for you!

Believing that "He is"

- Peter DeWitt
Audio Written Summary

You can create Godly strongholds in your life. The Lord has developed a new stronghold (or perhaps just a new facet of an old stronghold) in my life over the past few months. I want to share about that over the next couple sermons.

There is no fruit apart from connection with God. In ministry you don’t want to get eaten alive. So, you better bear fruit so that they don’t eat the branch. How do you bear fruit? Connect yourself to the vine! 
One way I can tell you how to get connected to the vine is by saying “be in the Word and be in prayer. Don’t forsake fellowship.” When you are in the Word and in prayer, it will produce connection with God. So there is a place for me to just tell you plainly like that “be in the Word and be in prayer” and I would do well to tell you that. Nevertheless, I recognize that sometimes we struggle to even get to that point.
Does God have Dry Seasons for You? In John 4:14, Jesus said “but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” This does not sound like a dry season. 
James 4:8 says “Draw near to God and He will raw near to you.”  Jesus died to have connection with you! So the first thing I want to highlight about abiding - if we believe that sometimes He will draw near to us and sometimes He will not draw near to us, we will be very inconsistent in our approach to our relationship with God - not realizing that He said “if you draw near to Me, I WILL draw near to you.” It’s a promise.
So how do you get to a place of abiding in God? If you are a branch that is not currently consistently connected to the vine, what do you need to do? You need to draw near to the Vine! Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. The biggest mark of Christian maturity (in my experience) is how long of a season of disconnection you will tolerate. 
So if you are not abiding in the Lord, you have to draw near. And God has promised that He will ALWAYS draw near to you; He does not have seasons of disconnection for you. But what causes a believer to draw near to God? If we knew what causes a believer to want to draw near, then we could govern our own hearts to stay in the place of choosing to draw near and thereby choosing to abide in the Lord!
Let’s look at Hebrews 11:6. This is the scripture that these two sermons are going to based on. “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
What causes us to draw near to God? Hebrews 11:6 has an explicit answer! “… for he who comes to God must …” For he who draws near to God must … (1) believe that He is, and that (2) He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. This scripture gives 2 characteristics of folks that draw near to God … and they must have these two characteristics in order to draw near to God. 
Next time, we are going to talk about those 2 characteristics: that He is a rewarder, and that He is. What does that mean that “He is.” The new stronghold that the Lord has been developing in my life is learning to recognize who He is! The God that you acknowledge is the One that will make your paths straight (Prov. 3:5-6). So who is He?!?

Sunday Service

- Peter DeWitt
Audio Written Summary

Using the New Testament scriptures that seem to speak most directly to Sunday service, we asked ourselves "what can we conclude scripturally about Sunday service?" We saw many themes - some suprising or perhaps different than we normally think of Sunday service (listen to the recording for more). After that group discussion we asked ourselves "what do these scriptures reveal about our Father?" In addition to "humble" and "community-focused," it was clear how empowering our Father is! If you listen to this sermon, I would encourage you to do the same study we did with the following scriptures:

  • Acts 2:42
  • Acts 2:46
  • Eph. 4:11-16
  • Heb. 10:24-25
  • Acts 20:7


Trying a New Church Space

- Peter DeWitt

Not One Member, but Many

- Peter DeWitt
Audio Written Summary

“And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.” (Acts 2:42) There is no relative importance given to this list of 4 activities of the early church. They seem to each be an equal part of the mixture. 

Sometimes church is so highly structured that I feel like I was with people the entire time but truth be told I only talked to other people for a grand total of 3 minutes. You cannot change people’s lives outside of the church if you cannot talk with people in the church. 
“When the pastor stops talking now I have to be intimate with other people. And there is a great danger in that potentially because they might know me - and they could reject me.” But you are accepted in the Beloved! And if there was ever a place for you to be accepted it’s in church! 
If I notice that I am in a situation where I am not relationally comfortable … if I am meeting a famous person and I notice that there is a twinge of discomfort in me … do you know what I do? I take that to the Lord because there doesn’t need to be any! He paid for my acceptance in Him that I would know that so well that it wouldn’t even enter my mind to feel insecure in a social setting!  If you are in an environment and you feel insecure, that means your security is in the wrong place. If your security is in the Lord, then He’s the same always.
You may think “what’s that have to do with possibly being uncomfortable with talking in small groups at church in the park?” The point I am making is this: In that moment of discomfort you have 2 tracks that you can take: (1) you can either hate that I am asking you to talk with someone else or (2) you can see it as an opportunity for an upgrade.
We have an amazing opportunity as a church to do something that’s quite unique. One of the things that has been happening is we started house church 3 years ago. The million dollar question that house church asks and answers is “can church be church if it’s not in a church building?” I now believe this “ekklesia” thing is starting another new phase in something.
Erin then shared a testimony about a God-directed prayer time in house church. In 1 Cor. 12:14-15 “or in fact the body is not one member but many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body?”  There were people sitting in our house church that morning that didn’t feel like they had anything to give to what the Lord was doing. They looked to others, expecting them to bring it! But God designed it to be THIS WAY - when the body comes together and does the work of the Kingdom AS A BODY - that is when the full power of God is released.
It’s not about your leader. It’s not about the person who seems to have the most obvious gifting. Some of the most powerful prayers that were prayed that morning were by new believers who thought they had nothing to give!  Every part of the body has a role to play - is bringing something when we come together! 

Fostering Discipleship

- Peter DeWitt
Audio Written Summary

Mentorship is breaking off a piece of your life and handing it to someone else. It is pulling someone to a higher place. It is taking what we have (our knowledge, wisdom of experience, favor, etc.) and offering it to someone in need of it. We can be a +1 for someone else! When you only have +1’s and no -1’s, you become a Dead Sea. Both inputs and outputs are needed for a health body. Find your +1’s and humbly receive from them, engage with your neutrals, and have the courage to reach out to your -1’s.

All of discipleship is on the foundation of prayer for the person you are discipling. If you want to start discipling someone, start praying for them! God will show you when / how to help them in person (listen to the message for more detail) but you can always help them through prayer for them!
Shame steals discipleship. Lack of shame comes from a knowledge of the Father’s acceptance of you.  When you know the Father’s acceptance towards you, when you know that His face lights up when He sees you, then you don’t have shame.
Proverbs 11:2 is a really important verse about shame “When pride comes, then comes shame.” That’s the root of shame. This is really helpful. If you are struggling with shame, you have a problem with pride. Shame is self-imposed relational separation. 
Pride is finding identity apart from God. Humility is “identity in God.” It’s that simple. In other words, pride is identity through separation (relational separation). What’s shame? Self-imposed relational separation. 
This sabotages discipleship. We’ve learned to operate in relational hiddenness instead of relational connection. When you operate in relational connection it provides an opportunity for discipleship. 
Discipleship can only be carried out in relationship. 
We live in a culture that says “if I am afraid of connection relationally, don’t worry, I will learn it on my own and after learning it on my own I will come back to you.” The Word of God is saying, don’t do that. It’s connection; it’s relationship. It’s connection; it’s relationship. Don’t let shame sabotage that relationship!

The Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven

- Peter DeWitt
Audio Written Summary

Your ability to steward a blessing from God in your life is partly evidenced by how much you rejoice when someone else is blessed. There is more than enough to go around. Lack is not a kingdom value.

By way of review, “church” is not in the Bible. Jesus chose the word “ekklesia” as what He would build. That word comes on the scene in Matthew 16:18 where Jesus says “you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church (ekklesia), and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.”
An ekklesia was a democratic governing body. An ekklesia was a house of governance. Ekklesia inherently prays Matthew 6:10 like our Lord told us to “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” That’s an ekklesia style prayer. 
The ekklesia serves the kingdom. The ekklesia carries much more than a message - you carry the kingdom!
Jesus walked 40 miles and made a certain declaration at Caesarea Philippi, Matthew 16:18 “you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” The Gates of Hades are believed to be an actual place of demonic worship in Caesarea Philippi. What's the point? As Robby Dawkins says, Believers are to be dangerous to the darkness!
The ekklesia is inherently legislative. Matthew 16:19 is the very verse after Jesus introduces “church”to the whole world: “And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Keys are authority. You’ve been given the authority to either lock things up or to set people free! 
If you go on your concordance and you look up the word “to pray” in the Old Testament you will notice that the first definition for the word to pray in Strong’s Concordance is “to judge.” When you pray you are releasing the judgement of Heaven into every situation. Our prayers are much more legislative than we know that they are. God desires for His Kingdom to come upon this earth and He has positioned the church - the ekklesia - to bring it!
- Peter DeWitt
Audio Written Summary

2 Corinthians 5:21 says “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” Jesus actually BECAME SIN FOR US so that we might become the RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD IN HIM!

When Jesus was on the cross He became the scapegoat for all of humanity - for you, for me - for all of our sins for all time! When Jesus died, He became everything that you are that you don’t want to be. He became sin. He became sickness. His thoughts became cursed (the crown of thorns represents this) - so that we can then have the mind of Christ. Everything that He was is everything that you become when you behold Him as crucified on your behalf. It’s the great exchange. He became sin who knew no sin that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
When Jesus raised to life, He was raised BECAUSE OF our justification (see Romans 4:25). We were IN HIM when He was raised. We were in Him when He died and we were in Him when He was raised. Being that you died with Him (Col. 2:20) you were also raised with Him (Col. 3:1)!

The Kingdom Message

- Peter DeWitt
Audio Written Summary

Our church has a mission - the Great Commission from Mt. 28 and Mk. 16! Rick shared a testimony about being born again during worship service. We are reminded that "ask" is not to beg - but instead to demand as something due to us. One of the keys of financial breakthrough is sowing and reaping, but another one is to know just how much our Father delights in our prosperity. In Nehemiah 5, we see that the workers of God needed more dough, help with mortgages, and help with taxes. God knows what you have need of and has promised to SUPPLY His servants as we seek first His Kingdom (Mt. 6:33). 

Luke 16:16 says everyone is trying to press into the Kingdom! What’s the message Jesus preached? KINGDOM! What’s the message He sent His disciples out to preach? KINGDOM! What’s the message He said would be preached until the end and then the end would come? KINGDOM! 

The Kingdom of God is a clash of kingdoms. It’s light and darkness and darkness stands no chance. This is the kingdom! What is the message of the ekklesia? The KINGDOM! 


What is Church?

- Peter DeWitt
Audio Written Summary
What is church? Surely something so central to our lives as believers would be clearly defined in our minds! Yet, for most believers (myself included), if we are honest about our thoughts, our definition of church has historically been comprised of a loosely connected thoughts about buildings, organizations, professional ministers or clergy members, and gatherings at specific times of the week. 
We know that Jesus said He would build His church. When He said He would build HIs church, what was He meaning? Did He promise to build magnificent structures? Did He promise to increase attendance at Sunday worship services? Surely beautiful church buildings and well-attended church meetings are a good thing, but is that what Jesus was saying He’d build?
The answer may be surprising to you. Jesus did not say He would build His “church.” Instead He said He would build His “ekklesia.” While “ekklesia” is translated as “church” 112 times in the King James Version of the Bible, the truth is the word “church” is not actually in the Bible. It turns out the word “church” seems to have come into being nearly 300 years after Christ’s resurrection and it was later popularized as a translation for the Greek word Jesus actually used in Matthew 16:18 - “ekklesia.”
So what was an “ekklesia?” An ekklesia was a well-known Greek / Roman construct at the time of Christ. His disciples would have been very aware of what an ekklesia was and how it functioned. In short, an ekklesia was simply an assembly of local citizens that actually ruled and legislated concerning all matters of society and culture in their town or city. They represented their city or town to either Athens or Rome and when they convened they operated with the delegated authority of Athens or Rome in their midst. This is the “ekklesia” that Jesus promised to build!
Jesus did not say “upon this rock I will build my synagogue.” He could have - after all synagogue is used 67 times in the New Testament! Instead Jesus said “upon this rock I will build my ekklesia” - a Greek or Roman entity best translated (in one word) as “assembly.” Church isn’t in the bible, but ekklesia is. Jesus was the first to call it an ekklesia. The question is “why didn’t Jesus use ‘synagogue’ and what’s that mean to us?”  That’s what we’re going to discover - or at least investigate - in this series.
- Peter DeWitt
Audio Written Summary

There are basically two camps theologically as it relates to eternal secuirty of the believer. One says “once saved always saved.” In other words if you’ve received Christ your eternity is secure. The other camp says “saved, lost, saved, lost.” 

If you look at the “eternal security” side, there are many scriptures that support it … but the side that says you can lose your salvation also has many scriptures that they can cite. It’s important to be slow in forming doctrine. This teaching will present a third position that we believe dovetails with both sets of scriptures. 
Scriptures such as John 3:16, John 10:27-28, Hebrews 10:10, Hebrews 10:14, Romans 4:7-8, and 1 Peter 1:3-5 make it clear that your salvation is everlasting, eternal, will never perish, is once-and-for-all, perfected forever, incorruptible, undefiled, reserved in Heaven for you, and it will not fade away! Sounds like eternal security!
As if that wasn’t strong enough, scriptures like Romans 3:21-28, Galatians 3:1-3, Col. 2:6, and Eph. 2:5-8 make it overwhelmingly clear that you did not ever gain your salvation by righteous works of your own, but instead entirely through faith alone! Therefore, if your salvation came by faith - not by works - how could you be perfected by works or lose you salvation by a lack of works?!?
However Proverbs 18:17 says “The first one to plead his cause seems right, Until his neighbor comes and examines him.” It is important to be slow in forming doctrine!  We can actually prove from scripture that you can in fact lose your salvation.  
Scriptures like Col. 1:21-23, 2 Tim. 2:11-13, Mt. 24:12-14, 2 Pe. 2:18-22, Luke 12:8-11, Rev. 3:5, and Hebrews 10:26-31 all make it abundantly clear that we must endure, continue in the faith, and overcome. These are simply too many scriptures to ignore: a believer can in fact lose their salvation ... AND we know from above that it can't be on account of sin because a believer's righteousness was never beceause of a lack of sin but because of faith in Christ. So the question is how? 
Listen to this sermon (or read the written summary) for more!


- Peter DeWitt
Audio Written Summary

When we make declarations about finances, we need to remember that our God is able to exceedingly, abundantly above all that we ask, seek, or imagine. The righteous shall live by FAITH! You have access by faith into all that Jesus has access to by obedience! Everything that Jesus did by obedience becomes what you have access to by faith. This is the walk. You go from glory to … glory! Because the righteous shall live by faith. I want to encourage you in your finances. God wants breakthrough in your finances. I believe that it is a season of feasting that has come upon this body!

The enemy will often send evil days on the tail-end of your breakthrough to try to get you to capitulate the ground that you actually just took. You actually just had a huge breakthrough so stand firm therefore in the evil day with the belt of truth fastened around your waist and you breastplate of righteousness firmly in place!  So when you have a breakthrough - you need to know that there is going to be opposition that comes and the whole thing the enemy is trying to do is to get your to capitulate your breakthrough. 
Whenever you are forming doctrine to be VERY PATIENT in your study. In my experience, issues with doctrine come from either having already heard a doctrine from others and thereby reading the Bible through that lens … or having an impatience that says “I HAVE to form my doctrine on this now!”… instead of just continuing to  devote yourself to reading the Word knowing that understanding will come. 
There of basically two schools of thought / doctrinal camps as it relates to the eternal security of the believer. The first is that “once you’re saved, you’re always saved.” The other camp says once your saved you can become lost again - and usually they will say that would happen because you’ve sinned. 
The question is, does the scripture say you can lose your salvation - and if so, how would that happen? This is the first sermon in a two part series that works through the New Testament scriptures on eternal security. Listen for more!