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I’m typing a blog, so I’m obviously using technology and social media. Therefore, you would expect me to say that the use of technology and social media is “A-okay.” Truth is, I’m guarded in my response. I know how much I depend on my computer and my cell phone to do my job as a pastor, so I want to carefully tread as I speak to the subject of social media and technology.

Without question social media and all of our technology are here to stay. There is no denying this fact or getting around it. This stuff is no more going away than we’d stop using microwave ovens and return to cooking over an open fire.

Hey, do some of you remember these?

ROTARY-PHONE

The ole rotary phone! Would you want to return to that? It took forever to even dial a phone number. Ha!

Here’s my point. We’re not going back, so what do we do with all this technology, social media? We’ve got I-phones, I-pads, MacBooks, Androids, Galaxies, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, etc., etc. I read a study a couple of weeks ago that said the average teenager had their cell phone in their hand or on their body (in a pocket) for 7 1/2 hours per day. Yikes! But, I got thinking about it. So do I! I would probably would be considered “addicted” because, I almost fall apart if I can’t find my phone. So, please here me…I’m not going to be the “pot calling the kettle black.”

Yes, I’m the “chief of sinners” when it comes to using technology and social media. Again, I couldn’t do my job without my computer and phone. There is no way I’m going back to trying to do everything by “snail mail.” It would be impossible to communicate and coordinate with people and yes…even spread the Gospel in the ways I seek to do through blogs, Daily Devotions and Facebook updates without social media and the technology available to me.

I am so connected to the net that it’s hard for me to remember being without a smart phone. You see, when you are driven like me, it’s hard to put the phone down. I’ll go one step further and really be brutally honest. Here’s the truth. I’m often tempted to text while I’m driving. Are you? It’s so hard to wait isn’t it? But, I make myself not to text while driving, because I don’t want to ask Kandace, my 16-year-old, to do something I’m not willing to do. But, I’m being honest here. It’s tempting, because I want to get things done. I’m a worker, right? I want to make things happen. I want people to think that “I’m on it” and for them to think, “Boy, that sure is a hard-working pastor.” But, that’s pride. Nothing but awful pride. Lord, forgive me. So, I force myself to wait. That’s called self-control and it’s the fruit of the Spirit. But, I’ll say it again…it ain’t easy!

We all know what texting and driving can do. Look at what this Hong Kong movie theater did. They asked their patrons to leave their cell phones on as they entered the theater. Then watch what happened during a Volkswagen ad before the start of the movie.

Did you watch? If you did, you would have seen what distractions can do while driving. So, if you are tempted like me, be warned. We’ve got to wait. Nothing is that important!
So, let’s assume that you have kids with phones or i-pads, droids, you name the gadget. What are your guidelines? Do you have rules for when they can be used? For instance, are they allowed in their room alone? That’s dangerous for a teenage boy (on the net alone). Do you allow cell phones at the dinner table? We don’t at my house. Surely, we can eat a meal without those things going off! Surely, we can look at one another and have a conversation without being interrupted.
Here’s the deal. If you call me while my family is eating, I’ll know nothing about it. I take my phone off and put it on my dresser or kitchen counter during meals and on Saturdays (my only official “day off”). If it buzzes during dinner…forget it. My kids will even sometimes say, “Your phone is buzzing dad!” I tell them, “If it’s that important, they’ll call the house.” They know that our family time is that important. It’s got to be folks! It’s got to be or our relationships in our homes will suffer. If I don’t teach and train my children then I’m not qualified to be an Elder. It’s that simple!
Do you eat meals together at a table? If you don’t, why? Are you at home enough to have two or three meals a week at a table or are you too busy? Let’s say that you do eat dinner at home. Do you have to be in front of a TV? Do you allow the cell phones on the table? Why? Is it that important? Are you afraid of your kids? Don’t be. They need you to be their parents. They’ve got enough pals at school.
Hear me well. I’m not saying do away with the gadgets anymore than I’m saying I want to go back to carrying one of these…
Bag phone

I’m just saying we’ve got to have a handle on it and understand what we are allowing it to do to us. We’ve got to control the technology and social media, or they will control us. Let’s make sure the dog is wagging the tail and not the tail wagging the dog.

So, let’s talk a bit about the use of the technology in the specifics of how we’re going to use it. I like what Thom Rainer says about it. He chronicles a few trends with Social Media and the Church. I’m listing five of the eight he lists:

  1. More church members use social media to encourage others in their churches. These words of encouragement are typically directed toward pastors and church staff. The good news is that these tweets and posts seem to be more frequent and pervasive.
  2. Church members increasingly use social media to point others to interesting articles related to Christianity and church life. Indeed, I am encouraged to see many such visits to my blog and to other sites that include information on faith and church life.
  3. Though in the minority, an increasing number of church members use social media to attack and criticize church leaders. I recently read a scathing attack on a pastor. It was filled with venom and vitriol.
  4. A number of church members are using social media wisely to share the gospel. I have been greatly encouraged to read many tweets and posts that point readers to articulate and loving presentations of the gospel. May their numbers increase!
  5. Church members are using social media with increasing frequency to share prayer requests. On more than one occasion, I have seen a prayer request spread virally. It is very encouraging to see the power of prayer on this modern medium.

To read more: http://thomrainer.com/2014/10/15/eight-trends-church-members-social-media-2/

I think I’ll end my foray on the net tonight and talk to my bride before bedtime and offer you this thought-provoking music video. We used it tonight as part of our devotion time after supper. Clara and Andrew liked it so much that we watched it twice. It’s called: “Can We Auto-correct Life.”

watch

:)

Warp Speed!

I remember being mesmerized by this scene in Star Wars when I was a kid.

millenium-falcon-hyperspace

That’s Hans Solo taking the Millennium Falcon into warp speed. Bang!! Stars streaming by at the speed of light…warp speed!!

Remember my last post? I hate to sound like the proverbial “I told you so” kind of person, but folks, we just hit warp speed and it happened what seems like the blink of an eye.

This happened in our sleepy little county on Monday…

Gay marriage2

The first gay marriage is official in Wilkes County.

I thought it might take till the first of the year for the Supreme Court’s “non-action” on gay marriage (which basically made it legal in our nation) to trickle down to our fair city. But, nope! We are moving at warp speed now folks. It’s making my head spin. How ’bout yours?

Hey, did you hear that the mayor of Houston, Texas is wanting to screen sermons preached by the clergy in her city. Google it if you don’t believe me. Just Google: “Houston Demands Oversight of Sermons.” The mayor, who is a lesbian is married to another lesbian has said she want’s no “anti-homosexual messages” in her city.

Folks, I’ve been saying this would happen eventually, but man oh man…I never thought it would be this fast. Now let me say this: I don’t believe the kind lady has a leg to stand on legally. But, it’s only a matter of time. You see, this nation is now being run by the Judicial Branch in our nation. Forget the Executive (President) and Legislative (House and Senate) branches. They have no power over the courts who can basically declare any ruling they make or the “people” in a state-wide vote UNCONSTITUTIONAL. We continue to see legislation of laws in this land from the bench.

You know what? So be it. There is nothing we can do about it now. I said earlier we are moving at warp speed and we are, but we’ve been on this path since the 1960’s. Our judges have been educated in our best universities and are as liberal as the day is long. So, welcome to warp speed down the path of full-on secular humanism and a post modern nation. But, be that as it may, I’m not distraught anymore. I trust the Lord, not our government.

I see this picture and this is what I think…

Gay marriage2

“You are wrong, but I love you and Jesus loves you.”

I can see this picture and say…

Drunk-Man-with-Empty-Shot-Glasses460x300

“You are wrong, but I love you and Jesus loves you.”

The same is true for this person…

burglar

Or this person…

man-smoking-weed-630x418

Or this person…

Gluttony poster

You see, these are all sins according to the Word of God. So, I want to be clear that I am not elevating any sin over another one. Sin is sin in the eyes of God and Jesus died for them all. But, we are moving at warp speed in the public eye regarding homosexuality.

Thievery is not accepted as something that you are “born with,” nor is being an “adulterer.” I don’t think being a public drunk and having a “Drunken Agenda” will every be accepted in the public eye. But, it’s warp speed we go!

I saw this coming. I asked the Deacons last fall (one year ago) to put in place a new clause in our by-laws to cover us when this day (of public acceptance of gay marriage) comes to our county. I honestly never imagined it would be this fast. But, the church approved this new section (below) for our by-laws.  Notice our position on cohabitation, adultery and pornography.

ARTICLE VII—STATEMENT ON MARRIAGE AND SEXUALITY

We believe the term “marriage” has only one meaning and that is marriage sanctioned by God which joins one man and one woman in a single, exclusive union, as delineated in Scripture.

 

We believe that God intends sexual intimacy to only occur between a man and a woman who are married to each other. We believe that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of a marriage between a man and a woman.

 

We believe that any form of sexual immorality, such as adultery, fornication, homosexuality, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, pornography or any attempt to change one’s sex, or disagreement with one’s biological sex, is sinful and offensive to God.

 

We believe that in order to preserve the function and integrity of the church as the local Body of Christ, and to provide a biblical role model to the church members and the community, it is imperative that all persons employed by the church in any capacity, or who serve as volunteers, should abide by and agree to this Statement on Marriage and Sexuality and conduct themselves accordingly.

 

We believe that God offers redemption and restoration to all who confess and forsake their sin, seeking His mercy and forgiveness through Jesus Christ.

 

We believe that every person must be afforded compassion, love, kindness, respect, and dignity. Hateful and harassing behavior or attitudes directed toward any individual are to be repudiated and are not in accord with scripture nor the doctrines of the church.

Source: Alliance Defending Freedom (7.13.12)

I hope you noticed the last three sentences. That’s the key. But, please understand that I’m not afraid to preach the full counsel of Scripture.  I must preach the full truth of God’s Word and call people to repentance no matter the name of the sin. Just because the sin is no longer considered sin by the culture is immaterial to the preacher and teacher of God’s truth. So, please make plans to come see me in a prison near you. Because we are moving at warp speed.

So let’s not get distracted from preaching and teaching truth in love. That’s going to always be the key. Jesus came bringing love, but preaching repentance and we must too. It’s a balancing act to be sure. But, if we err, let’s make sure we don’t compromise the Word of God just to be liked or accepted or not be seen by some family member or co-worker as “bigoted.”

I love this quote:

We don’t celebrate homosexual practice, we acknowledge God’s clear revealed word that it is sin; and we don’t hate those who embrace homosexuality, we love them enough to not just collapse under the societal pressure. We speak the truth in love into this confusion, saying, simultaneously, “That’s wrong” and “I love you.”

See the rest of the article here…

http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/why-homosexuality-is-not-like-other-sins

It’s the best, most balanced article I’ve read on the subject.

Want to see a blast from the past? I had hair…

Mt Pleasant Championship

See the dude in the back…far left. That would be me. :) I’m standing beside of my dad. I scored 33 in the championship game and my dad scored 17. I was 22 and my dad was 42. I would be married six months later. You know what? It seems like somebody just took me from there to here like Hans Solo…

WARP SPEED!

It’s a new day in America. Did you know that?

Did you feel the change yesterday? It might have been like trying to “feel” an earthquake that happened in California, but there was most definitely a change. No longer will there be any prohibition to same-sex marriage in America. The Supreme Court made sure of that yesterday by their lack of action.

Yesterday, a huge turning point happened in this country morally. This happened when our U.S. Supreme Court turned down every single appeal from several states on the issue of same-sex marriage. Therefore the decision made clear by the Court yesterday, will automatically lead to the fact that 30 states will have legal same-sex marriage within weeks, if not days. This means the vast majority of Americans will live where same-sex marriage is legal, and three-fifths of the states will have legalized same-sex marriage.

This was a headline in the Charlotte Observer:

US Supreme Court decision could mean gay marriages will happen soon in NC

gay marriage
But there is more. In my estimation there was another powerful message sent yesterday by the Supreme Court’s lack of taking up the issue of same-sex marriage. What they in essence have done is to put the remaining federal courts on notice that same-sex marriage is now the expectation of the Supreme Court and that no appeal on the question is likely to be successful, or even heard in the future. Thus, it is my belief the lower courts will hear this message loud and clear and not buck the system. What system? Why the Political Correct Machine, of course. No longer is it politically correct to say anything negative about homosexuality. In fact we live in a nation now that the gay football player is bigger news in the NFL Draft than the best player (#1 ) in the pro football draft. We live in a culture where the wife of the President of the United States tweets a “congratulations” to the first gay NBA player and the President called to congratulate him.
Obama gay
The same happened this summer with the first gay NFL player, Michael Sam…
Mrs. Obama said:
M. Obama
“You’re an inspiration to all of us, @MikeSamFootball. We couldn’t be prouder of your courage both on and off the field.” -mo

- FLOTUS (@FLOTUS) February 10, 2014

“-mo” denotes that the first lady composed the tweet herself. FLOTUS stands for: “First Lady of the United States of America.”

Can you imagine Martha Washington, wife of George Washington, our first President, saying such a thing? I think not. Even Vice President Joe Biden offered similar congratulations to Michael Sam:

Joe Biden

Thank you to @MikeSamFootball & all of the players, @mizzoufootball & coaches at @mizzou – your courage is an inspiration to all of us.-VP

— Office of VP Biden (@VP) February 10, 2014

So…yes…it’s a new day and yesterday will be a day in U.S. legal history that will be remembered for many years to come as a LANDMARK day…much like the 1973 and “Roe v. Wade” case that legalized abortion in this country and has led to over 45,000,000 deaths. Yesterday was the day the nation’s highest court took the path of least resistance on the path of saving face and being politically correct.
Conservative Justice Antonin Scalia said this: “Today’s opinion is the product of a Court, which is the product of a law-profession culture, that has largely signed on to the so-called homosexual agenda (my emphasis), by which I mean the agenda promoted by some homosexual activists directed at eliminating the moral opprobrium (meaning public disgrace or harsh criticism that has traditionally attached to homosexual conduct.” Scalia is right. No longer is wrong or considered abnormal to live a homosexual lifestyle in America.
The ruling (or lace thereof) yesterday by the Supreme Court has greased the chute for fast-tracking homosexuality to be normal, accepted and totally embraced by the American culture. But, dear friends, what in the world are we going to do with the Bible? What in the world are we going to do with the words of Jesus in Matthew 19, when He said that a man will leave his father and mother and “cleave to his wife?” What do we do with Romans 1 that says:
26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. 28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. Romans 1:26-28
You see, what is described in the book of Romans in chapter 1 is a frightening description of a culture where God says, “Have it your way.” If you want to see the earmarks of a culture that is depraved, then just read Romans, chapter 1. It’s a culture that no longer acknowledges God and thus, He turns them over to a depraved and debased mind to “do what ought not to be done.” And what is worse, the Bible says:
32 Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. Romans 1:32
You now what happened to Rome don’t you? It crumbled from within…and this is where we are in America in my estimation. It’s a “new normal” for America. Get ready! Brace yourselves, Bible-believing Christians, it just got more difficult yesterday to be a conservative, Bible-honoring Christian. Can you handle that?
America has changed. As the car commercial says: “This isn’t your Daddy’s America.” It’s without question a new day.
Even in the Church, it’s a new day. In a July 11, 2014 article in the Christian Post, this question was asked: Do Evangelical Churches Have to Accept Gay Marriage to Attract Millennials? The article was very clear in describing the current climate. I’m going to list in italics a good chunk of the article because it’s excellent and there is no use for me to parse it for you. The article stated:

Among self-described Evangelicals, the millennials showed the highest level of support for gay marriage at 43 percent (though the poll only included white Evangelicals), compared to 33 percent for generation X, 22 percent for Baby Boomers and 19 percent for those 68 and older. The poll also found that 70 percent of millennials “believe that religious groups are alienating young adults by being too judgmental about gay and lesbian issues.” Some Evangelicals have pointed to this and similar studies to argue that Evangelical churches need to end their opposition to same-sex marriage or they will die off.

A Pew Research polling showing that support for same-sex marriage among white Evangelical Protestants jumped 10 percentage points, from 13 to 23 percent, from 2001 to 2014. Today homosexuals are seeking to say that as long as they are a part of a “committed relationship,” then God is “okay” with the relationship.

In a recent interview with The Christian Post, two conservative Evangelicals, Dr. Russell Moore and Eric Teetsel, doubted that abandoning the biblical understanding of sexuality will help the church attract more millennials. Mainline Protestant churches have already done that, they point out, but they have not grown as a result. They said this: “History has demonstrated time and time and time again that you don’t save Christianity by abandoning Christianity,” said Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, in a May 12 interview.

Moore compared the situation to the “modernist” controversies of the early 20th century. Some Evangelical theologians at the time argued that the Church needed to abandon its teachings on, for instance, miracles, the resurrection and the virgin birth, if it were to remain relevant. This led to some of the mainline/Evangelical denominational splits. After those splits, though, the Evangelical denominations that stayed true to traditional Church teaching grew while the mainline denominations that rejected those doctrines declined.

Teetsel, executive director of the Manhattan Declaration and a millennial Evangelical, agreed in his June 12 interview: “There are many churches that embrace homosexuality. … Many have gone down that road years ago and there’s no evidence that they’re attracting young people.” Moore also pointed to some survey data presented by sociologist Mark Regnerus at a recent ERLC conference. When looking at millennial Evangelicals who actually attend church, not just identify as Evangelical, there is no erosion of support for the biblical teachings on sexuality, Moore said. (Moore recently co-authored an article about that data for National Review.)

Teetsel acknowledged that some Evangelical leaders have spoken about homosexuality in an uncompassionate tone, and that has done great damage. More often, though, he sees Evangelical pastors avoiding the issue altogether, which is also problematic. “Doing better requires actually doing it,” he said. “Silence is really a failure. We need to preach the Gospel in wholeness, and of course the Gospel touches on sexuality.”

Both Moore and Teetsel were also quick to say, without prompting from the questioner, that even if it were true that the Church could attract millennials by changing its teaching on homosexuality, it should not do so.

For churches that believe in remaining true to the Gospel, Teetsel explained, “we don’t get to pick and choose the elements of our faith that we like or don’t like. It’s a packaged deal.”

“If we have to choose between millennials and Jesus, we choose Jesus,” Moore said. “Fidelity to the Gospel means we cannot revise a Christian sexual ethic, regardless of what that would do to the membership of our churches because Jesus gave that to us with his own authority.”

I know there are some who say, “Don’t worry about all this stuff, just keep on preaching Jesus and loving people.” I agree 100%, BUT…you must understand that this is only the beginning. Let me give one quick example before signing off.
It was reported on October 4th that a Christian college in Massachusetts is getting ready to decide where they are going to stand on the Word of God regarding homosexuality.
GordonLogo
Accredited or not accredited … that is the question. Keeping to its biblical code of behavior as a Christian college since 1889, Gordon College has now been given an ultimatum by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC): be an accredited academic institution by accepting “homosexual practice” or stick to its Christian teachings on sexual behavior and be unaccredited. So, we’ll see what happens with them. Will they cave in or stand firm on the Word of God? Time will tell…
Where do you stand on the Word of God and the orthodox teachings of Scripture? Yes, we are to love and to be accepting of all people, but we CAN NOT call “sin” good and accept it just because some really nice people want us to… Some of the nicest people on this earth call themselves “gay” and therefore, we don’t want to hurt their feelings. But, dear reader, the Bible is clear… I’ll state it again:
26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. 28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. Romans 1:26-28
Would you want to leave a drunk in their condition? How ’bout a drug addict? How ’bout a thief? Just keep drinking…pickle your liver. Keep shooting heroin… We don’t want to hurt your feelings. Keep stealing…it’s okay…it’s the way you are. You were “born” a thief.
Makes no sense…
But, this is now the line of thinking we’re told to accept as Christians who believe the Bible is clear and authoritative and has been for hundreds of years on the matter of homosexuality. Apparently, the new “theologians” of our day are right and Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Spurgeon and Finney were wrong. We’ll take blog posts and tweets from the President over hundreds of years of orthodox teaching. Yes, it’s a new day. A new day indeed.
Get ready Christian… It just got a lot tougher and you better have a real tough hide and strong backbone if you are going to claim that the Word of God calls homosexuality sin and you want to see a person caught up in this lifestyle helped and changed. Why are you going to have to have a tough hide?
Simple…
Because it’s a new day in America…

Who Do You Trust?

I love the Bible.

I’m grateful for the Bible.

Would you expect me to make those two statements? Perhaps. But, I made those statements many years ago. It was long before I became a pastor. I mean it with all my heart. The Word of God is the rock of my life. Because the Word is Jesus (who became flesh) and dwelled among us. When you read the Bible, you are reading Jesus. It’s that simple. Without question the Bible is the most important book of all time. But, please understand, it’s more than a book. It is timeless and it will never pass away. Not one jot…not one tittle.

Consider the facts below about the Bible and note that fewer and fewer people consider the Bible as sacred and holy. We’ve seen a 7% drop in just the last three years.

Bible 1

See that last statistic? Only 56% of people believe the Bible is actually the inspired word of God without error. That’s WAY down from the 1950’s when close to 90% of the nation believed the Bible was inspired by God.

I have news for you. These numbers will continue to drop in this country. It’s sad, but it’s just the way it’s going to go down. Is that negative? Is that a pessimistic viewpoint? Perhaps. But, I believe what I believe. I believe the nation is satisfied with having money, flat screens and I-phones and the rest is fluff. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve got some of the above myself…but, I would trade any of those things for God’s Word.

Here’s some more interesting stats about the Bible. For those of you who are MPBC folks, you’ll see this again in a couple of weeks on Wednesday nights as we talk about 2 Timothy 3:16-17.

Bible2

What role does the Bible play in your life? If you didn’t have it or you didn’t read it for a couple of weeks, would you know the difference? I would . I’m grateful! Thank you Lord for giving of yourself by giving us your love letter!

Trust…

This current generation doesn’t trust a whole lot and they don’t have a lot of close friends… Could social media be playing a part in that?

http://www.millennialevangelical.com/friendless-millennials-in-a-digital-age/

Whom do you trust?

Who has your confidence?

At the end of the day, all we’ve got is the Lord God. When all of life is over, we will stand before Him, alone. I don’t fear that meeting. I long for it. I long to see Jesus face to face. I truly do. Paul was right when he said, “To live is Christ and to die is gain.” Don’t get me wrong… I’m not wanting to die. I’ve got a grand baby coming next month (Lord willing)… But, I know if I were to die tonight, I would meet Jesus.

I made that comment in college one time and a guy said to me, “You are so smug. How can you know that?” I told him simply because I’ve placed my trust in Jesus Christ and His word. I shared some Scripture and then he laughed and said, “How can you be confident because of that?” I said, “We keep time by Him, that’s why.” He said nothing more.

Now, I didn’t say what I said to be mean, but I knew I needed to be firm. This guy had been running down Christians for weeks in our class his smugness and cockiness needed to be checked. So, I shared what I did privately and in a respectful, yet firm way that I’m very confident.

Many people today will tell you that you are close-minded and an idiot for believing in Jesus and the Bible. What they are really saying is that they are smarter than God.

18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written,

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
    and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”

20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. 22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 1 Corinthians 1:18-25

Yep…I’m putting my faith and trust in God and His Word and I’m 100% confident!

 

Blessings!

Here’s a happy and blessed group of people.

Family-Beach 2014

That was less than a week ago. Hard to believe. Vacations come and go so fast. The picture above was taken at Holden Beach, NC. I love that place. It’s quiet and it’s peaceful. See that van to the left of the picture? I got out of it on Saturday, Sept. 20th and I didn’t get back into a vehicle until Saturday, Sept. 27th. You might say, “That’s crazy! That’s boring!” Precisely! I needed boring just hanging out with my family and resting. It was wonderful! Hanging out with my family, my mom and dad, my sister and her family…it’s such a blessing.

Craig, my brother-in-law is the built-in cook. He can barbeque anything. He’s a wonderful cook and all I have to do is hold the pan. We eat a hearty breakfast each morning and then kind of snack (sandwiches) for lunch and then Craig works his magic with chicken, pork chops, ribs, burgers, etc., etc. I have no clue how much weight I gained! It was good eats I’ll tell ya! Thanks Craig!

Watching football with dad (who I call Pop) is a lot of fun too! I used to watch baseball with his dad (my grandpa) when I was a boy. Sitting side by side with him is a blessing! Speaking of Pop…

Take a look at this three-some…

generations

That’s three generations. Dad, grandson and son. Check out our masterpiece! It was Andrew’s idea. He drew it out on the sand with his finger and then we built it.

Andrew and me at beach

And that’s how I relaxed with my kids. Look at the gate to the moat Andrew built.

Castle

Clara pitched in and helped. In fact, she worked as hard as anyone.

castle 2

She put the Christmas trees on top of the towers.

castle 3

We worked for several hours on this. See the house directly in the background with the two white-railed porch/decks? That’s the house we stayed in while there. It was hilarious! From our bedroom window, Clara and I would watch people walk up to the sand castle and take pictures of our masterpiece. That’s pretty impressive if you ask me. :)

I saw this last week. I had to chuckle to try to keep from crying because it’s unfortunately so true!

Bible Teaching

Speaking of something else that’s unfortunately true was how our Commander-in-Chief saluted our Marines last week. I guess you saw the “Latte Salute.”

Obama salute

President Obama is not a “thoughtless” man. He has helped raise millions for “Wounded Warriors.” Yet, he is “careless.” He just doesn’t think. Like playing golf right after the American report, Foley was beheaded by ISIS… That was careless too. He has since admitted that. Come on Mr. President. Our Marines do a great job. Like presenting the American flag at this little boy’s dad’s funeral.

Marine

I love Marines and I really love this one and his wife…

Katy and Josh

That wonderful couple will soon be bringing to this world via Katy our first grandchild…

Katy at 30 weeks

She’s due on 11.25 (Pam’s birthday). Can’t wait!

For all you Facebook, Twitter and Bloggers…do you want to know the ideal length of a tweet or Facebook status or blog post? Check it out…

Sunday morning was beautiful in Purlear, NC…
sunrise
It was a wonderful day at church. We baptized six people had two more families join the church. One of the families is the Petty Family:
Petty Family
That’s Kelly and Danielle Petty and their daughters Kailey (oldest) and Karlie. They are a top-notch family that wants to raise their family right. See the puffy eyes on Kailey? She gave her life to Christ after the first service Sunday. It was a precious time. Her mother posted this on my Facebook wall.
I’m so proud of my daughter Kailey Perry for asking Jesus Christ in to her heart. This is the most important decision she will ever make. She called upon the name of the Lord and he saved her. Praise His Holy Name! To God be all the glory! Also, thank you Pastor D Kevin Brown for allowing God to use you to bring God’s word and for never backing down. May God continue to use you as one of His disciples.
The day (Sunday) continued to be a wonderful day. These two men below were ordained by the church as Deacons.
Randy Brooks
That’s Randy Brooks and this (below) is Eric Dowell…
Eric Dowell
These men are wonderful additions to our Deacon body. Praise the Lord for all He is doing in our midst! I’m humbled by such a wonderful family and church family. Praise the Lord from whom all blessings flow!

Glass Boxes

Before I head out for a few days…you’ve just got to ready Katy’s latest masterpiece. She’s outdone herself with a fantastic blog post today. It’s about glass boxes. She describes her own. Give it a read…

My Glass Box

I was a Pastor’s kid. Technically, I still am. Although where I live now no one really knows. But for many years everyone knew. What’s more, I was homeschooled. For a few of my “preteen” years I didn’t rebel as much as I questioned why I had to live in what daddy called the “glass box.” It seemed that everyone watched my every action all the time. If anyone didn’t completely 100% approve my line of action, they told me and my parents. I was a good child. I wanted people to like me, but what kid likes having a couple hundred parents? None. Nada. That was me, Katy Brown with a bunch of people making sure I acted good all the time. While their kids ran wild, they told me what I should and shouldn’t do. If I ever said something that sounded dumb (which happened sometimes), inevitably someone chuckled and huffed, “She is a homeschooler.” If I said something too smart and mature (which also happened occasionally), I still got the, “She’s just a homeschooler.” Couldn’t win to save my life. On the other hand, if I gave my opinion too strongly, someone would roll their eyes and say, “She is a pastor’s kid after all. Trying to be difficult.” It was as though I had some disease. A double disease – as if one wasn’t bad enough. Some of the children around me were afraid to say or do anything too “worldly” or I would probably “mess up all their fun.” But the best was youth. Yes, sitting on the front row in youth class when our church still had a youth program and trying to remind myself as a 12-year-old to not answer all the questions or I would look like a dork. Of course there were usually about three empty seats on either side of me.

I guess I sound whiny, because I was whiny… until I realized that it just doesn’t matter. For one thing, I found that it was absolutely impossible to please everyone and second of all, I found that the only One who mattered pleasing deserved being pleased regardless of whether I was a pastor’s kid or a homeschooler.

There I stood in my glass box and you know what? I was okay with it. Why should it bother me anyway? Was I trying to sneak around in disobedience… no. Was I wanting to keep my actions a secret so people couldn’t see the “real” me? No. So it didn’t matter. If it bothered people, it bothered them. If people wanted to press their noses up against the glass and inspect my every move, fine. I didn’t care, because it wouldn’t change one iota of what I was doing. If I pleased God, then it mattered not if man was pleased.

As Christians, we are all in a glass box. The world inspects us and takes note of what we say and do. We are “Jesus” to the world around us. It shouldn’t bother you that people examine your life. If it does then you should question whether or not you are truly following Jesus. None of us are perfect and we will all stumble and there will be those who point it out and remind us that they are watching, but when we stand back up, say “I’m sorry” with true remorse and move on, we are rising above.

So Windex those glass walls and don’t let it bother you when people look in on your life. The truth is, they are probably looking for a role model. Be one that they can imitate and draw closer to God through. Your life may very well touch someone else’s. Goodness, I wrote a whole book about myself. The good, bad and ugly. When I opened the freshly printed page of one of my new books, I momentarily panicked, realizing I had actually let the most broken, crooked pieces of my heart show on those pages. I had bared it all, because God had told me to so that perhaps one person might come closer to Jesus. It was all for Him.

I can’t complain about my glass box. It’s actually a good place to be!

1 Peter 2:21

For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.

Ephesians 5:1-2

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Posted by Katy Isaacs at3:27 PM http://heartsonthingsabove.blogspot.com/2014/09/my-glass-box.html

Taking a Break

I wanted to let you know that the family and I are going to be taking a break next week. It’s time to head to the coast and get a few days of R&R.

I’m finishing up the sermon for tomorrow night (looks like it will be tomorrow morning now… I’m too pooped to do any more work on it tonight), and then, I’m looking forward to getting the sermon done for when I return (so I don’t have to try and write it next week). I’ll try to write it Thursday/Friday…and then…it’s off to the coast. And I sure hope I don’t see this guy…

cantore

That’s Jim Cantore of the Weather Channel. If we see him, you’ll know we are in trouble. He only shows up when the weather is really, really bad.

I wonder what he thinks about this weather forecaster from Ashe County.

Mullis

That’s Joe Mullis. There was an article in the Ashe Mountain Times that covered his method. It’s really interesting.

According to Mullis, who has worked for the Parker Tie Company in West Jefferson for 17 years, the key is tracking the fogs in August – a theory also used by the Native Americans and the Amish.

“A real big heavy fog, that’s going to be a big snow of more than four inches,” said Mullis. “A little, wispy fog – that’s a little snow. It will cover the ground enough to track a rabbit up to four inches.” 

For every thick fog, Mullis places a big bean in a jar. For every little fog, he puts in a small bean. Once the winter arrives, Mullis removes a bean after every snow and finds out how accurate he was at the end of the season.

“Out of the last 20 years, one year I was off one bean,” said Mullis. “The rest of the time I think we were right on it. … It hits as good as the weather man.”

This year, Mullis is expecting a heavy winter, with nine big beans and eight small beans in his jar.

“It’s unusual to have more big beans than little beans” he said, noting that his jar usually contains around four big beans and five small beans.

In addition to the increase in snow, Mullis is also predicting an occurrence he has never predicted before.

“It’s what the Indians call a ‘Black Squirrel’ winter or the ‘Winter of Sorrows’,” he said. “My mom’s 86 and this is the first year she’s seen the black squirrel. We’ve all seen them this year. That’s supposed to be the harbinger of something bad.”

Mullis recommend that everyone stock up with “a little extra food and a little extra wood.

“There will be more ice this year, I’m afraid, and if there is there will be a lot of power outages possible,” he said. “Just be ready, and if you have to stay in for a few days have plenty to eat and something to keep you warm.”

Mullis acknowledges that “a lot of people laugh at this,” but noted that many of the people that use to laugh are now the ones asking about the beans in his jar. He also hinted that he might prefer to be wrong in some cases.

“Personally, I don’t care if it snows,” he said. “but I believe it will be a lot colder … than we’ve seen in a lot of years.” (http://m.ashemountaintimes.com/community/article_8529b5cb-249d-59e3-9503-333d957a13a8.html?mode=jqm#.VBMYVF7Edaw.facebook)

 

Okay, here’s more data for you to consider.

This is a screen shot of a model of the water temperatures for December 2014 through February 2o15. Look how warm the water is off the South American west coast…

El Nino

That warm water off the South American west coast is called an El Nino. That warm water sends moisture across Mexico and Central America into the Gulf of Mexico and up the east coast it comes. That’s the moisture. Now for the cold. This model shows the cold.

Weather

That orange and yellow over Canada and the northwest U.S. will send cold air down from Canada and into the eastern U.S. this winter. It’s almost without question that all the models and forecasters are calling for a colder winter than normal. The trick for snow lovers is the cold mixing with the moisture. So, we’ll see.

Well…I’m not ready to think of winter yet. I’m hopeful for a nice week on the coast next week with the family. Andrew and Clara are ready to build some sand castles and so am I. We sure are looking forward to it!

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