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Did you watch any of the Iowa Caucus coverage last night? I did. It was very interesting, VERY interesting, indeed.

I started watching the results after my beloved Tar Heels got smacked by Louisville (I know all the Duke fans are rejoicing because they’ve been really taking it on the chin lately), I wasn’t in the best of moods. Yet, after watching the returns coming in from Iowa I was encouraged. Why? Because I really breathed some air of hope in what I saw last night.

I stayed up and watched five speeches in this order:

  1. Marco Rubio
  2. Donald Trump
  3. Bernie Sanders
  4. Hillary Clinton
  5. Ted Cruz

And yes, I was encouraged by what I heard from 2 of the 5 speeches. Now let me offer “full disclosure” here. I marked this blog post as “Culture War,” and here’s why. Because there are some very distinct and different directions this country can take in November of this year. Who will win it? It’s way too soon to tell, but if last night was any indication, it’s going to be interesting, VERY interesting!

Let me put it this way. This country is in an election cycle unlike anything I’ve ever seen. We’ve got a socialist (Feel the Bern) who wants to take your money and give it to deadbeats, who is actually challenging a lady who has, (without question in most people’s minds), lied about a TON of stuff from Benghazi to TOP-SECRET emails on a private server. And to trump it all, (pardon the pun), we’ve got a billionaire who has hosted a reality TV show, who has been married three times and made lots of money with gambling casinos rivaling two established US Senators and gaining a ton of Bible-believing Christians’ votes. Can you say: “Wow!” Indeed, truth is stranger than fiction!!

But, last night I saw something watching those “after the caucus” speeches. As I said, 2 out of the 5 encouraged me. Encouragement #1: I learned Marco Rubio is one of the most intelligent and gifted communicators I’ve seen in a long time. I learned he is extremely passionate and gives credit to Jesus Christ, whom he calls his “Lord and Savior” repeatedly. He is rising “big-time” and I really think he could ride this momentum and overtake Trump by mid-spring. I might be wrong, but Uncle MO is now in his corner and Cruz’. He talked a lot about his family during the speech.

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Here’s his full speech:

It’s one of the most inspiring I’ve heard in a long time. Give it a watch.

I learned last night that Donald Trump really doesn’t have much more to say than, “I’m going to build a wall” and “I’m going to make America great again” and how much he “absolutely loves Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, that I can tell you!” And he ended his only 1 minute and 58 second concession speech by saying:

imrs.phpTypical “Trumpian language.” And then he said, “I love you so much that I might come back here and buy a farm.” Again, typical for Trump. Honestly, as I watched his family standing there on stage, I thought “Do any of them have any idea how much a loaf of bread, gallon of milk or gallon of gas costs?”

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I doubt it. Here’s his speech:

Then I got to FEEL THE BERN! Good old Bernie Sanders gave his speech indicating how anyone and everyone who has any money should give it to those who don’t.

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I want to ask people who like Bernie…would you ever consider adopting a child? I’ve adopted two. Would you ever consider working for minimum wage and being thankful for a job in which you could “work your way up?” Bernie is a socialist and apparently there are a lot of people who have their hand out and they are more than glad to FEEL THE BERN. He’s got college students drooling over the idea that they might get all their college paid for and then get a job sleeping till noon and working three hours playing video games, but the rest of America won’t by that socialist propaganda. Watch his “give away” speech here…

Then I listened to our former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. I thought of saying, “But what difference does it make?”

What Difference Does it MakeBut, I thought I’d listen anyway. Well, I wish I hadn’t. She talked about how she was going to take care of every special interest group known to man. She tried to sound like a preacher, but her husband, good ole “teflon Bill,” is so much better at that than her, it’s not even funny.

635899675520196884-AP-DEM-2016-ClintonShe’s stiff with a crowd. It almost seems that she feels that she “has to do this,” versus really wanting to run for President. Even Jeb Bush is more at ease in front of a microphone than she is…and folks that’s saying something! :) I believe she is going to be relieved (just like she said last night) when all of this is over for her. Hillary is in trouble. She’s way behind in New Hampshire and she is feeling the Bern. And she now describes herself as a progressive. (Hey folks, that’s what Bern calls himself and in case you didn’t know…that’s code for “socialism.”) Hold on to your wallets! Hear her full speech here:

Finally…

Encouragement #2: I listened to Ted Cruz speak. Honestly, it was a bit long (but, I’m known for that too… Ha! I guess it takes one to know one :)). He spoke for over 31 minutes with his wife, Heidi, by his side and his pastor, father in the audience.

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Cruz is much better in front of a microphone than most politicians out there today. Hear his speech here:

He is firm, resolute and strong. He delivered an encouraging word of hope and renewal for this country. And to be honest, for folks like me, who have felt so decimated by the Obama administration policies that are anti-God, anti-life, anti-family, anti-man/woman marriage, anti-business…I breathed a sigh of relief. I thought, “Wow! Cruz or Rubio could actually win this thing!” Hillary is in crisis mode and might still be indicted for her email scandal and I really don’t believe America will “feel the Bern.” And that thought gave me hope for the political side of life for my tired, old brain.

So, that’s the upshot of what I thought of last night’s caucus results from Iowa. Hold on to your seats. It’s going to be an interesting…might I say, VERY INTERESTING ride! :)

I was raised to work. It didn’t matter if I was helping my grandfather in a chicken house, picking beans, mowing the yard or doing my homework. I was raised to work. I didn’t always like it, but there were no if’s, and’s or but’s about it. If you saw an adult working you had one option: work. You were to jump in and help no matter what they were doing and if they didn’t want you to help, they’d let you know.

That’s not the case today. I just read this article: 3 Reasons Millennials Are Getting Fired

http://www.inc.com/jt-odonnell/3-reasons-millennials-are-getting-fired.html?utm_source=ThomRainer.com&utm_campaign=79028610c9-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_TEDS&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_10c78481d1-79028610c9-81457525

1. Employers don’t want to be parents.

Growing up, Millennials were coached their entire lives and they unknowingly assume their employer will too. However, the relationship isn’t the same. An employer pays us to do a job. DO YOUR JOB!

2. The anti-work attitude isn’t appreciated (or tolerated).

A great way to look at how some employers feel is the way the dysfunctional phone/cable companies work. It’s annoying when they announce they can come out only on a certain day. They can’t tell you what time, and then they say they’ll call the day of and give you a four-hour window when they’ll arrive. While the phone/cable companies have us trapped, employers don’t feel the same about Millennials. They’ll fire the Millennial worker and find someone who can work when they need them to–and without the attitude.

3. Millennials’ happiness isn’t the employer’s responsibility.

Millennials are pretty vocal about wanting work to be a “fun” place to go. Besides career development, they also desire lots of cool perks and benefits to make their job feel more rewarding. Besides nice work spaces, amenities like gym memberships, healthy meals on-site, in-house parties, etc., are being used in an effort to attract and maintain Millennial workers. Unfortunately, this is backfiring on employers–and that makes them angry. In spite of all the perks to keep them happy, Millennials are getting to these jobs and quickly showing visible signs of disappointment and dissatisfaction within months of joining the company.

I thought this was a great tip in the article: “In the early days and weeks of a new job, Millennials can make up for what they lack in skills by being consistently on time. When an employer sees their commitment to their work, they will earn her trust and respect, resulting in her being comfortable with their taking time off, and even providing them with a more flexible work schedule. When Millennials prove they can deliver on their company’s terms, their company will give them more of what they want.”

Doesn’t that make sense? It does to me. The entire article could be boiled down to two words: WORK HARD. Come on people, how hard is that? Is it wrong to give your best just because it’s the right thing to do? Do you have to incentivize everything just so people will do what they’re getting paid to do?

Why don’t people want to work? Could it be that they’ve not been trained to work as children? Could it be that we do the stuff for them that they could be doing for themselves? I mean, come on folks, your kid knows how to upload a photo to Instagram and you don’t know how to do either one and you mean to tell me they can’t learn how to wash a load of towels or unload the dishwasher? Are you kidding me? They can program your TV to replay a movie you’ve been wanting to see, but they can’t learn to cut up some lettuce tomatoes and carrots and make a salad? Are they incapable of learning how to set the table for a meal? Surely not!

The truth is: We don’t expect them to! Truly, our children will rise to the level of our expectations. Period. End of sentence. Why don’t we expect more? Honestly, we are hurting them in the long run when we do everything for them.

Think of it this way. If your home were a profit center at your place of work, what kind of return on investment (ROI) are you getting from your child? Are they a blessing in your home? Do they see their home as a place to chill or a place to help in the family economy.

Yes, I know I’m accused of talking about the past too much. I know that rings as hollow after a while, but there is something to be said for what our ancestors in this country gave to us. They built their own houses, worked on farms, made their own furniture and clothes, slopped the hogs, milked the cows, plowed the north 40 and the children were expected to be part of that economy.

What is it like in your house? Are you raising a child that can be a productive employee one day? Can they fold clothes? Can they load the dishwasher? Can they take a bath without being bribed? Is an allowance required before they’ll do anything to help you? Do you owe them all the benefits and amenities of your efforts and work and expect nothing in return? If you are, then you are actually preparing your child for failure.

Am I saying to treat your child like a “work-hand” on a ranch? No way! I’m saying, we should have expectations for our children that equate with Christians principles. We should expect them to be helpful, resourceful, respectful and diligent. Read the book of Proverbs and you’ll see what I mean.

Have you see this?

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Honestly, if I think about it too long, it just makes me really, really mad. So, I’ll move on!

I’m so thankful to have these two back.

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They made it back from a marathon 72 hours of traveling from China. The snow storm really threw the airports for a loop. We’ve got four more ladies trying to get back too. They ended up having to drive from NY back home. Last I heard, they should be home around supper time tonight.

While Pam and Kan were gone, my mom had us up for dinner one night. It’s a treat to see mom and dad with their great-granddaughter.

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Isn’t it great when it snows? Thinks slow down and you get to hang out with family! Like playing “Just Dance” on the Wii.

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Or, of course, sledding down the hill behind our house.

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Check out the ride:

Clara, Andrew and I love walking down to the creek below our house when it snows.

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It’s so pretty down there when it snows.

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Here’s this week’s Two-Minute Tuesday: “Who Will Evangelicals Vote For In Iowa?”

Oh…in case you are looking at the forecast for the weekend and early next week and think that winter might be over. Wrong! Yes, it’s going to hit 60 degrees by this weekend, but do you remember December? We hit 70 on Christmas day and I told you the pattern would flip. I also told you that weather patterns tend to repeat themselves (particularly in winter). Well, I believe we’ll see another flip in the weather by mid-Feb. So, if you are a snow lover, don’t give up on winter until after the NCAA basketball tournament is in its second weekend (mid-March). :)

Guys, (and yes, I’m speaking to the males reading this), it’s time we step up. The ladies have been pulling the load for far too long and it bothers me.

Men, we get so jacked up about so many things. Sports, hunting, video games, Fantasy Football, working out, food.

Jersey City, New Jersey, USA --- Jersey City, New Jersey, Man watching tv in living room --- Image by © Tetra Images/Corbis

Earlier this week I read a great blog post from John Piper and I want to share a good chunk of it here. I pray that men will read this and step up (and that includes this bald-headed fella!).

But what about leading our homes? That seems to take a back burner. I see this more and more and more. Men becoming disengaged to the point that all they do is bring home a paycheck and little else. This is a tragedy even in the church.

From: “What Does It Mean For a Man to Lead His Family Spiritually?” Full article here: http://www.churchleaders.com/pastors/pastor-articles/271926-what-does-it-mean-for-a-man-to-lead-his-family-spiritually.html?mkt_tok=3RkMMJWWfF9wsRojsqTBZKXonjHpfsX67OwtWqCyhokz2EFye%2BLIHETpodcMSsBnM6%2BTFAwTG5toziV8R7DEJM1u2dkQXhXh

The point is: She ought not to have to feel that she is constantly doing the initiating, prodding to get this man to talk about things that need to be talked about, plan things that need to be planned, do things that need to be done. So here are some of the kind of things where I think a husband should be taking active initiative:

What is the overall moral vision of the family? He should take initiative, asking that question and pursuing an answer with his wife at his side. What do we believe about God and the world and family and culture? All families stand for something. All families are known for something. All families are called to glorify God according to their gifts. What does that look like? And that is the man’s responsibility. Pursue that. Figure that out. A man feels responsibility to take initiatives to form and carry through that moral vision of the family and, of course, he is doing it through the constant interaction with his wife. She would not be thrilled to be left out of that formulation, but I think most Christian women are thrilled that the husband is taking the initiative and drawing her in to see to it that they have such a moral vision for the family.

And this would include initiatives like: Let’s clarify the expectations we have for our children and how they will be disciplined and then how my leadership will relate to the discipline and your leadership as the mother will relate to their discipline and how they are going to spend their leisure and so on. It includes things like taking initiatives in deciding on where the family goes to church and how they participate and whether they get there or not. It includes things like ministries, what the family is doing in ministry, and how they are involved together in the neighborhood and missions. It includes things like taking initiatives with lifestyle issues for the family, like what are we going to do with social media and television and entertainment and leisure and sports and vacations.

Every family has to make hundreds and hundreds of decisions about these things, and one of the things that depresses a wife is when a lackadaisical husband never thinks about what needs to be done and has to be constantly prodded to figure things out. She wants, of course, to have input. She has probably got more insight on a lot of these things than he does. But she wants him to take initiative. We need to think about these things. He needs to say: Let’s sit down. Let’s talk. Let’s pray. She wants him to do that.

It includes things like finances and how the family spends its money and what they are going to save for and what kind of insurance they are going to have and retirement plans and pensions and the whole financial vision of the family, including how much they give to the church and all these things. The husband should feel a special responsibility to take initiatives to work it out with his wife constantly being drawn into that initiative. She is going to have superior wisdom on many of these things, but she longs for a husband to take initiative to put the process in motion by which these things can be worked out and problems can be solved and plans can be made.

Finally, perhaps most important: Yes, the husband should feel a special responsibility to lead the family in a pattern of prayer and Bible reading and worship. And here again the issue is not competency. He may have an eighth grade education and his wife may have a college degree. He can still take initiatives to see that the family is a prayer-saturated, Bible-saturated family by working it out with his wife, how she uses her gifts which may exceed his own in Bible reading and Bible explaining.

So I hope those few examples give a taste of what it means for a husband and a wife to model Christ and the church for a very needy world who needs badly to see it.

Father playing with daughters

Hey would you mind praying we can get our ladies from Charlotte on Saturday. With the weather forecast calling for a monster storm heading our way, it’s causing me some concern about them even being able to get home. As many of you know, Pam and Kandace are part of a group from our church in China. They’ve been there for two weeks and will be flying back later this week. They are to fly to Vancouver, Canada and then to New York (early Saturday morning). They are then supposed to land in Charlotte at 11:21 am on Saturday. Folks, that’s going to be really, really dicey if the weather forecast verifies. Pray that we can get them. I love you all!

Kevin

It’s up to $1.5 BILLION!!

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Got your lottery ticket yet?

Not me.

I won’t be buying any. In fact, I don’t want any. (Someone gave me a lottery ticket one time, and after I got home I tore it up and threw it away.) Why? Because I do not want to be lured into anything that could be detrimental to others. Truly, the lottery is killing a lot of poor families. There are folks who buy lottery tickets (because they are addicted to gambling) versus food for their family. That’s so sad.

Somebody asked me the other day, “Pastor, what if someone won the lottery and wanted to pay off the building debt with their tithe?” I said, “I would politely say, ‘No thanks.'” Why? Because in my heart and mind, that’s money that was won by gambling. The person then asked, “Preacher, don’t you think people put ‘dirty money’ in the offering plate every week?” I said, “Yes…but I don’t know that it’s ‘dirty money.’ With the scenario you just described, I’d know about it.” Now, that’s a personal preference and I can’t be dogmatic about it.

In fact, as I said in my “Two-Minute Tuesday” today, I don’t believe buying a lottery ticket is a sin, but I do believe it “feeds the greed” within us and places our trust on man and not God.

According to The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, here are three (3) interesting facts about state lotteries.

  1. In 2014 lotteries took in $70.1 billion in sales. That’s more than Americans in every state spent on books, recorded music, video games, and tickets to sporting events and movies.
  2. In five states, people spend more than $600 dollars per person per year on lottery tickets: Rhode Island, South Dakota, Massachusetts, West Virginia, and Delaware.
  3. The poorest 1/3 of households purchase 1/2 of all lottery tickets.

The Bible is clear:

Hebrews 13:5

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Proverbs 10:4

A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.

1 Timothy 6:17

…nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.

As for me…I’m going to store up treasures in heaven where moths and rust won’t destroy and thieves won’t break in and steal. Jesus said, “You can’t serve God and money.” The Bible says: “Godliness with contentment is GREAT gain.” And “If a man doesn’t work…let him not eat.” So, that’s my take on the lottery.

Here’s the video. (You’ll note when I cut the video, which I actually taped on Monday, the jackpot was only $1.3 billion):

When are we going to have a scene like this:

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Well, most of the weather prognosticators thought we would have had some by now. The El Nino was so strong that it overwhelmed December and it’s been slow for the pattern to change. But, it finally flipped last week. We are now firmly in a “Negative” pattern, which is code for COLD. The problem is (as always) getting the moisture synced up with the cold. That’s the hard part. We had plenty of moisture, but no cold air. And now we’ve got the cold air, but the moisture is limited. Will the two come together? Well, that will mean that the northern jet stream  will need to buckle south and provide the cold air at the same time the southern jet stream sends moisture from the Gulf of Mexico. Again…it’s all timing.

What I’m seeing is the two weeks we’re going to be close, but probably no cigar (as the old saying goes). We’ll be a bit too warm (even though this weekend might be a closer call than some are now saying). But, I do believe as we move toward the end of the month and into February that we’re finally going to see wintry precipitation. But, here’s the truth. The pattern for the remainder of the winter, (once it sets up), normally persists throughout the rest of the winter. So, whatever happens in the next 3 weeks will tell the tale. Personally, I still believe we’ll see some snow, but the biggest chance looks to be February. Remember it snowed three times last February in the winter I called “Delayed but not Denied” and we could be in for a repeat performance. We’ll see.

Please be in prayer for these lovely ladies…

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That’s (Left to Right), Kristie Cothren, Michele and Julianna Cordray, Lakyn and Melanie Parrish, Jennifer Spencer, Tabitha Garza and Kandace and Pam Brown. 9 strong! And they’re in China right now helping minister to some really, really needy orphans and workers. Please lift the up to the Father, will you? They are living in pretty tough conditions. It got down to almost 40 degrees in their rooms the other night because there was no power. I Facetimed (is that a word?) with Pam and Kan this morning (which was about 9 pm their time…since they are 13 hours ahead) and they were doing well. They were tired and getting ready for bed. The food is kind of rough and the beds are hard as bricks. But, that’s mission work, folks and they’re used to that. But, nonetheless, thanks for the prayers.

How am I doing? Peachy! I’ve got wonderful help. Katy is a fabulous cook and my mom and dad are nearby and I’ve had tons of offers from others (probably many of you reading this). So, thank you, thank you, thank you! And get this! I’ve not even had to fix country ham and scrambled eggs yet (my specialty). :)

And I have a wonderful ministry assistant…

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My love to you all!

Kevin

The Church-Big “C”

I’ve been thinking about the New Year and my family and my life and the goals I have for the coming year and that certainly includes the church (Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church). I bet you’ve probably been thinking about the new year and things you’d like to see happen in the new year as well.

As I’ve thought about these things, my mind has been hovering around thoughts of the church. Not just the church I help to lead, but “the” Church (big “C”) of Jesus Christ in America today. The truth is. The Church is in trouble. Big-time. Churches are falling apart right and left.

I heard of another church, (just today as a matter of fact), that is going through very difficult times. It broke my heart! I had tears in my eyes as I learned of the trouble. How does this sort of thing happen and how do we keep it from happening?

Well, my experience (as an outsider looking in…because I’m fortunate that I’ve never experienced a church split) is that churches who go through church splits often have people who have taken their eyes off of Jesus and His agenda and started focusing on their on desires and agendas. Honestly, all of this can really be boiled down to one word: Selfishness. It becomes a “my way or the highway” sort of deal. And it’s so, so sad. And I know it breaks the heart of Jesus. After all, He died for the Church!

Folks, we MUST REMEMBER WHO THE ENEMY IS. Who is the enemy? Satan! Satan is the enemy…not your fellow members or leadership. Once a church forgets that and the gloves come off, it gets really messy and nasty in a hurry. And I honestly don’t know of anything more gut-wrenching than a church split. It will define that church to the community for the next generation. It will be said in the community, “Oh yeah…that’s the church that couldn’t agree and get along and split in so and so ____insert the year.”

How do we prevent this? Honestly, leadership has to stay sober and vigilant and watchful for issues and problems. Deacons have to be white blood cells and help to kill the cancer cells of any divisiveness they know of and people must be willing to swallow hard and follow their leadership (unless it’s heretical or off base spiritually or doctrinally). Oh and did I say the key is prayer? Much prayer. Concerted prayer. Fervent prayer. Daily prayer.

Bottom line: Being part of a church is like being part of a family. None of us always get our way all of the time. Think about your own family if you doubt that. How often are there disagreements that have to be worked through in your home? Many times, right? Yep…mine too! So, diligence in the Word and prayer are the keys.

Can I ask you to do us pastors a favor? Well…maybe you could give us three minutes and watch this short video. I PROMISE you, if you watch it…you’ll be laughing your head off in the first 10 seconds. See if you agree:

https://skitguys.com/videos/item/the-pastors-chair

Seriously, there are some pretty cool things that happen along the way when the Lord is at work. I got this email last week…

Pastor Kevin, I wanted to say how thankful we are that God pointed us in the way of you and your family and MPBC. It has literally changed our lives. And to think we are almost 2 year members and working in the church. Praise the Lord!

How cool is that!! And this…

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That scene (above) will never happen in a nursery. The is mimicking worship and that’s why children are welcome and yes, “allowed” in our services. (Truly, my family and I went to a church years ago on a trip where we were told that children “aren’t allowed” in the service and that “We have a place for them.”)

Here’s a few granddaughter pictures of late… Eating raisins together…

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Reading the Bible together…

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Folks, it doesn’t get any better than that!

Here’s one of the latest forecasts for January through March from the Atmospheric and Environmental Research group. One word: COLD

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Here’s today’s latest Two-Minute Tuesday- “God and America.” You might learn something about the history of our nation that will surprise you. I hope you enjoy:

Simple Stuff

It was another great Christmas at the Brown house. We had the whole family with us this year. Josh, Katy and Charlotte will be leaving us probably in the next 3-4 months as their house will be ready by then (Lord willing). So, it was such a joy for all of us!

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Some of the best times are just sitting around the table eating a meal together. Truly, the older I get, the more I enjoy that. It’s really the simply pleasures in life that are the sweetest. This was at my parent’s home.

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We also had a wonderful time at Pam’s parents’ home on Christmas Eve. Oh, you gotta love those Christmas traditions!

The kids got way too much. It seems to always be the case. You try to be frugal and yet, it’s easy to get “one more thing” that they’ll like. Why is it so much fun to give! Watching kids and grandkids open presents and be surprised is such a joy! It’s like the Father giving to us such kind and generous blessings and watching our expressions. I know He must thoroughly enjoy that!

I loved this “before” and “after” that was made…

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Funny stuff!

Do the holidays come and go too quickly for you? They sure do for me! Yes, the older you get, the faster they zoom by! But one day, we’ll be in the presence of God and the joy of being together and never having to leave and go home will be behind us. Why? Because we’ll be home!

I know, I know… My kids tell me all the time, “Dad you equate everything to heaven.” Yes, that’s true. But, I do long for that time when all things are made new and there is no more disease, suffering or death. I long to not have to worry again. Be afraid again… Have to pay bills again… Set the alarm clock again… Or step on the scales again… Dumb? Perhaps… But, it’s how I feel. Those times when the family is all together and there are no deadlines. No worries. Just a good meal and time in the den together. Wow! What a joy! Simple, yes! But, joyous nonetheless!

Hey…did it feel weird being in short sleeves over Christmas? It sure did to me. Especially if you are a weather nut like me and your remember that just five years ago…during the Christmas of 2010, we were experiencing this…

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Those two pictures were made just outside my mom and dad’s front steps. Amazing! What a difference five years can make.

But, hold on… Winter isn’t over. It’s really just going to get started with the new year. By the time we usher in 2016 it will feel very cold to our bodies (since we’ve gotten used to 70 degree weather). The pattern is changing and the weather is going to flip and it seems by the time we get to the middle of January and beyond, there will be our best chances for wintry weather. Remember, it was warm in December last year and we had a very cold Jan/Feb and four winter weather events. Time will tell. :)

I’ll sign off tonight by going back to a thought I had about Hawaii. As wonderful and as absolutely gorgeous as it was…I’ve come to the place in my life that I am satisfied and content where I am. When I was younger, it seemed I desired all the “bells and whistles” of life to make me happy. But, I’m really past all of that. Give me my wife and family…my church and a hot meal…clean shirt and I’m as happy as a clam. Have I arrived? Nope! Not on your life. I still desire things/stuff, etc. And yes, going to exotic places around the world is a blessing and certainly a thrill. But, my point is…I don’t have to have those things in order to be content. I don’t have to be looking to the next “fun” moment or “big thrill” to bring a thrill to my heart. The thrill in seeing a sunrise or a sunset whether you are in Waikiki or on your back porch is all a state of mind. Paul said, “godliness with contentment is great gain.” Lord, continue to teach me this and if you allow me the blessing of seeing more beautiful and thrilling spots on your earth, I’ll humbly thank you for kind provision and be grateful for all you have done!

 

This is our Christmas letter, written by Pam…

Family 2105 photo

Christmas 2015 Greetings!

It is that time of year again! We have experienced a wonderful year of God’s blessings. Kevin continues to pastor at Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church and as of January, he will begin his 11th year of ministry. This year the church has gone from two services each Sunday to three. Though numbers don’t necessarily indicate whether a church is growing in the Holy Spirit, we sense God’s presence each week and are blessed by the continued growth. Kevin also began making a video each Tuesday and posting to social media called “Two Minute Tuesdays.” The reception has been amazing and has received up to thousands of views each week.

Kevin and I will celebrate our 25th Anniversary on December 22nd. I am in my 16th year of homeschooling and now spend the majority of my time teaching Clara and Andrew and managing a house full of many people. It’s also a blessing to participate in the Praise Team and work with the women’s group at church when I can.

Kandace will be 18 in January and is going into her sophomore year in college. She is pursuing a degree in Political Science. She also teaches violin and loves to sing at every opportunity she gets. In October she went with Kevin to the Philippines on a mission trip. There, she spoke to hundreds of students and shared the Gospel to many. In January she and I are heading to China to serve in an orphanage. Kandace has a heart for others and a passion for doing great things. She is also a comedian and always brings a laugh. We love her spunk and look forward to seeing all God does in her future.

Clara is 10 and is now nearly as tall as I am! She is a gifted musician and dancer and is flourishing in her studies of violin, piano and ballet. Each day we see her dance through the living room as she can’t seem to stop! Her love of the arts is contagious. She is in 5th grade and loves to read and spend time with her little niece, Charlotte. Her maturity and love of the Lord continues to grow with her sweet heart and love for others.

Andrew is also 10 and in 5th grade. He is advancing in Karate and is pleased with each new belt he earns! He takes piano and is learning songs from his favorite movie, Star Wars. He is a very detailed young man and is the neatest person in the house. Routine is his thing and he loves order… all the way down to eating an apple every night at 8pm. He loves life and is just happy to play with his LEGOs and create stories with them. He has a big, loving heart and a contagious smile.

Josh and Katy moved back from Havelock, NC this past July and are in the process of building a home on family land. Josh is now employed at Wilkes Communications and they are enjoying being home with friends and family. Katy stays home with Charlotte and continues to write and teach piano. Charlotte turned one-year-old on November 23rd and we are trying to imagine how it’s possible that an entire year has come and gone since she was born! Her little personality blossoms more each day. She is a ball of energy and loves to run everywhere. Her favorite word is “kitty” and loves an adventure! She is truly a blessing and joy to our family!

We are so thankful for all of God’s blessings this year! We pray that you and your family enjoy a wonderful Christmas Season and remember that the greatest gift is Jesus Christ who came to earth as a humble baby to become the ultimate sacrifice so that we may be saved! He is worthy of all praise! Merry Christmas!

Love,

Pam and all the Brown Family

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