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Want to see an almost silly site?

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Yep, that’s a “non-carpenter” doing carpentry work.:) Let’s just say it’s rough carpentry. Thankfully I was only helping in certain spots that I could do. The work is about to come to a close at Josh and Katy’s house. Hopefully within the next couple of weeks we’ll be awfully close to being done and moving them in! Woohoo! I’m excited for Josh and Katy and Charlotte and the baby to come!!

I read a lot of stats and I read this a few a days ago from Thom Rainer’s website (a Christian statistician and CEO of LifeWay) and I chuckled:

Unknown3Here are ten of the most common painful sentences uttered to pastors by church members:

  1. “I love you pastor, but . . .” The pastor will only hear the words after the “but.” And they usually are painful.
  2. “Why didn’t you visit her?” Of course, she’s not a member of the church. She was in a hospital 70 miles away. And she’s married to the third cousin of the church member.
  3. “Gotta minute? This question is typically asked in the time frame of one to five minutes before the pastor preaches.
  4. “Have you heard this podcast pastor?” Meaning: That podcast pastor is better than you.
  5. “Pastor, people are saying . . .” Of course, there are no “people,” just the gutless person who won’t speak for himself.
  6. “We’ve never done it that way before.” And that is one of the key reasons the church is dying.
  7. “I do pay your salary, you know.” In other words, it’s not God’s money; it’s my money.
  8. “I wish she had heard that sermon.” And the pastor was hoping you heard the sermon.
  9. “I wish I worked just a few hours a week like you.” After all, the pastor just needs 30 minutes to prepare a sermon and 30 minutes to preach it.
  10. “Your kids need to behave like pastor’s kids should behave.” You can find those standards in the Bible: Hezekiah 3:16.

My favorite is number 3. I just chuckle because I’m grateful that I don’t have to deal with most of these now. But, I did in the first 2-3 years of ministry. Thankfully, I’ve been doing this for over a decade now and I think I’ve paid my dues enough that most of these things aren’t applicable. But, I do know pastors who are having to deal with these kinds of things and they can really hurt. I hope to encourage all of us to spend twice as much time praying for our pastors as we do talking about them.:)

Thursday is the National Day of Prayer and boy does our country need prayer. I just saw where Trump won Indiana and Cruz dropped out. That will leave Trump vs. Hillary. Let’s pray for our nation and for God’s mercy on us.

I thought this was a great article.

10 Reasons Not to Vote
by John Stonestreet & Matt Shervheim
The following is an updated version of an article written by John Stonestreet during the ’08 election.
“Everyone should vote,” or so they say. I disagree. Here are 10 reasons why you should not vote today:
1. If your main reason for registering to vote was “cash and cigs.”
3. If you think Republicans and Democrats should come together, but have no clue why they should, how they can, what they should accomplish, or even who they are.
4. If your main source of political information is Saturday Night Live, late night TV stand-up, Bill Maher, Stephen Colbert, The View, etc. (However, if you actually are informed but still enjoyed this great parody of the Youtube Democratic debate, it’s OK to vote.)
5. If you can’t find Iran on a map, and think the “Iranian Nuclear Deal” is some sort of discount sale.
6. If the reason you give for your selection of the next leader of the free world is any of the following: (a) “I just like him better,” (b) “He seems more presidential,” (c) “He is a better speaker than the other guy,” (d) “He speaks to my needs,” or (e) “He’s just so inspiring.”
7. If, during this election, you have never asked yourself of any political candidate, including your own, this question: “What did he really mean by that?” and “Is that true?” Or, in other words, if you cannot tell the difference between an assertion and an argument.
9. If you are not familiar with any or all of the following, or if you have heard of them but have no clue what/who they are: (1) Obergefell v. Hodges, (2) ISIS, (3) Conestoga Wood v. Burwell, (4) Vladimir Putin, (5) Kim Jung-un, (6) the Supreme Court, or (7) the United Nations.
10. If you really think that “every opinion counts,” including those that are stupid, uninformed, and dangerous.
And, two more for good measure:
1. If you feel there is no difference between the presidential candidates.
2. If you think voting is your “right,” without remembering how you got it, why you have it, and what “responsibilities” are.
For more from Summit on Christian political engagement, check out Summit’s The Political Animal course, available here.

I hope you are laughing! Here’s today’s Two-Minute Tuesday:

http://subsplash.com/mpbc/v/3585c34

Hey parents, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the craziness of our world. Here in America we are spinning out of control morally. We’re upside down in so many ways. Since last summer and the Supreme Court decision to legalize so-called “homosexual” marriage, and Bruce Jenner suddenly becoming Kaitlin Jenner, it seems the slippery slope has been super greased to destruction.

Are your kids ready for the persecution and peer pressure? Did you know that according to Generations with Vision, 44% of Christian Evangelicals under the age of 29 believe in homosexual marriage. Folks that’s nearing half! And get this…that percentage has almost tripled in just 10 years. Can you see how fast we are moving? Put another 10 years on this country and that percentage will likely be greater than 60%. And don’t forget, we’re talking about “Evangelicals,” not the population at large.

Are your kids going to stand for truth or get sucked into the political correctness? Will they stand on the Word of God and the orthodox teaching of close to 2,000 years, or will they drink the Kool-aid of the day that re-states the Bible according to the cultural whims of the 21st century? Because your kids are being told that they need to “be in the right side of history.” They are being told they need to be all-inclusive and non-judgmental. They are told if they have absolutes that reside in Scriptural teaching they are uneducated, unintelligent and bigoted. They’ll be called hateful and discriminatory. Can they handle it when they are maligned in this way? Do you know? Have you asked them?

Who will carry the banner of Christ that brings freedom to sinners? Will we call sin, “sin” any longer? You see, in order for a person to be saved, they must realize they are a sinner. They can’t be saved if they stay in their sin be that an adulterer, drunk, thief, homosexual, liar, or gossip. Problem is: if you put the word homosexual in a list of “sins” you will now be called an unloving person. You will be told that homosexuals are “born that way.” Problem is there is no empirical evidence for that in science or the Bible. In fact, the Bible is clear that the power of the resurrected Christ can change lives.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Did you notices the words in verse 11? Did you see the word “were?” It was breathed into the Apostle Paul by God’s Spirit to write to mankind for all time. Do you understand that? In Christ, people can be converted from their sin and transferred into freedom from bondage.

“Such WERE some of you…”

But you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Do you see? When people identify themselves in any other way than by the name of Jesus, then they have not been transformed. One of the greatest examples of this is Rosaria Butterfield. This video is riveting and shows the power of conversion and truly being born again. This former lesbian now identifies herself as a follower of Jesus Christ.

This is from the Family Research Council website:

It’s no secret the sexual revolution of the 1960s laid the groundwork for the post-gender age in which we now find ourselves. The path from free love to transgenderism and the “alphabet soup” of the LGBT movement was a relatively straight one, made even smoother by several landmark Supreme Court decisions that favored unfettered sexual license. What was once unthinkable is now promoted and celebrated in our culture, and woe to you if you do not join in worshipping the new categories of self-identification. The temptation is strong to flee the ever-darkening landscape, but Christians are called to bring “grace and truth” to a society in crisis.

Gender, sexuality, and marriage all matter, and that is good news for a nation which increasingly hangs its morality on thin air. As we seek to love our neighbors as ourselves, it helps to have a grace and truth-filled teacher from whom to learn. Rosaria Butterfield’s beautiful story of redemption has equipped her to be just such an instructor, and through this lecture she encourages and challenges us yet again to engage our culture for Christ.

Rosaria Butterfield, Ph.D., was once a tenured professor of English at Syracuse University who identified as a lesbian and worked to advance the cause of LGBT equality. After her conversion to Christ in 1999, she came to see the sinfulness of having any identity apart from Him.

Rosaria is married to Kent Butterfield, pastor of the First Reformed Presbyterian Church of Durham, North Carolina, and is a homeschool mother, pastor’s wife, author, and speaker. She is helping Christians to better understand their LGBT neighbors and loved ones so that we can lovingly look past labels of sexual identity and share the gospel effectively.

In 2012 she published her conversion memoir, The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert: An English Professor’s Journey to Christian Faith. Her second book, Openness Unhindered: Further Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert on Sexual Identity and Union with Christ became available in July of 2015. She writes about sexuality, identity, Christian community, and seeks to encourage all in faithful Christian living and service.

Video: http://www.frc.org/university/how-sexual-orientation-became-the-idol-of-our-day-and-what-christians-need-to-do-about-it

Prepare your teens for what’s ahead. It’s here…on our doorstep and Christianity will change in the balance.

Here’s today’s Two-Minute Tuesday: “What Will Happen to Christianity by 2050?”

http://subsplash.com/mpbc/v/02ff2f3

It’s a busy week. I’m in revival and all is going well in Ashe County at Warrensville Baptist. They are such a sweet people. It’s been easy to preach to them, because they are used to hearing the truth preached. Of course, I don’t mince a lot of words. I preach what the Bible teaches, because there is nothing else I know to preach. Truth is…I’ve been to some churches that aren’t used to hearing the truth preached and when they do hear it…well…let’s just say that it’s not always well received. I’m thankful that’s not the case at Warrensville!

I’ve been taking Clara and Andrew with me. That’s always a blessing. They enjoy the treat at McDonald’s afterwards. (Do you think that has anything to do with them wanting to go with me? :)) I want the children to have memories of going with their daddy when I’m preaching. I want them to experience other churches, people, music, etc. It’s been a fun week. Unfortunately, a dear saint in the church passed away and the viewing was scheduled for tonight, so the service was cancelled. The pastor asked if I could preach tomorrow night and Thursday night (swapping tonight with Thursday) and I said, “Sure thing!” So, we’ll be in revival through Thursday night. Thanks for praying for us!

Last week we were able to watch Josh and Katy’s house set up. What a sight to behold!

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It was lowered in place in pieces by a massive crane.

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It was truly amazing to watch a house go on a basement foundation in a period of a few hours after nothing was there before.

This past weekend on Saturday my dad and my uncle worked like trojans to get the steps put in Josh and Katy’s house. These steps go down from the main floor to the basement. They also got the basement door put in. I helped hold things and did what I was told.:) They are the brains and I’m the… (I started to say “brawn”)…well…I’m not sure what I am. But, I enjoy helping.

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Clara and Andrew enjoyed playing on the mountain of dirt!

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The siding will be completed this week and then the inside work next week: doors hung, carpet put down, moulding, plumbing tied in, electrical hooked up. Hopefully in about 3-4 weeks they’ll be moving in!

God is good!

Kevin

 

Take a look at this picture…

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That’s Katy’s and Charlotte’s closet. Yep, that’s hangers hanging on a stick that’s duct-taped to the framing of the stairwell in my basement. Katy, Josh and Charlotte have been living like this for 9 months and let me tell you…they’re troopers. They have been through a lot living in a basement with no window and those wonderful little creatures that live in all basements (the jumping little crickets).:)

Charlotte’s room is…well…just the only room…bedroom for her and her parents…but she’s making do! Tea party time…

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Josh has really been a trooper…

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But, this Papa has really had a blast!

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Seasons come and seasons go. And so do the seasons of our lives. Lord willing the house will be delivered tomorrow and set-up on Thursday. It seems like it’s been a long time coming since the error from the factory delayed things close to 3 weeks. 3 weeks. Not too long in the scheme of things for sure. But, three weeks is three weeks when you are waiting and praying for something to happen that you have zero control over. So, we live through seasons of time and we wait. Like Pam is waiting for her knee to heal from ACL surgery. She’s one tough cookie! I’m so thankful for her! So, we wait…

And you are waiting too, aren’t you? I know you are. What are you waiting on? A raise? A wife? A baby? Retirement? Vacation? Warm weather? A child to come home? A relationship to get better? The economy to improve? For your attitude to get better? Your health to improve? Someone you love health to improve? For a desire to go away? Or for a desire to come? What are you waiting for?

Christians wait and wait, don’t we? We spend the majority of our lives waiting. So how are you waiting? Anxiously? Impatiently? Grudgingly? Angrily? Joyously? Contented? Hey, for me…if I’m honest…it’s all of the above!:)

Seasons…yes, seasons…they come and go and this season in your life will end too. Solomon said it best in Ecclesiastes 3:

1 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.

Whatever season you are living through right now, please know that this too shall pass…just like the seasons.

With all the craziness going on in the world right now, may we consider the words of Dr. Graham:

 

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Here’s today’s Two-Minute Tuesday:

http://subsplash.com/mpbc/v/8ad1695

I, personally, am grateful for our Governor and Lt. Governor for standing for common, moral decency. Honestly, I absolutely do not even want to think about having a man (who feels like a woman) looking at my 11-year-old daughter, Clara in a public restroom. How about the rights of my innocent daughter? Do they matter? Everyone, it seems today has rights except for Christians.

As I said to the congregation on Sunday… I want to help folks who are confused and don’t know what they are (male or female). I don’t want to pat them on the head and tell them that everything is okay, when most likely they are torn and confused and very lonely inside. I want to roll up my sleeves and help people to know the love and the joy and peace of knowing Jesus. I want to help them to be able to identify with Him, not their lifestyle or a letter of the alphabet. Jesus came to deliver us from ourselves. Did you read that? Jesus came to deliver us from ourselves! That’s me included! I was a sinner and I needed to be shown my sin so that I could come to the realization that I needed to repent and call on Jesus (the Savior) to save my soul. I’m so thankful for the marvelous grace of God in sending His Son to deliver me! Praise His name!

I’ll take that message up the mountain next week to Warrensville Baptist Church in Ashe County.

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I’m excited to be with the good folks in Warrensville and Pastor Wade Huntsinger and his wife:

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The service Sunday night begins at 6 pm, while Monday through Wednesday services will be at 7 pm. Pray for us! I’m praying and I’m asking the Lord to help me be an encouragement to this good church in the mountains!

Hey…speaking of preaching…

Check this out…

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That’s the FitBit my family bought for me as my birthday gift. The picture is blurry because I was running on the treadmill when I took it! Yikes! Now get this. After I finished preaching the three messages on Sunday, I looked and it said that I had walked 3.1 miles (that’s a 5K folks). It showed my average heart rate was 90 bpm and that I burned close to 700 calories! Can you tell I move around a lot when I preach. That’s basically 1 mile per sermon (since I preach three times). That’s nuts! I would have never guessed that! I worked out today and in 30 minutes I traveled 3.2 miles and averaged a heart rate of 153 bpm and burned almost 450 calories. What a cool tool!

Pam wanted me to get one because she says I hold my breath when I sleep. The truth is I know I do. But, it’s not killed me yet!:) Overall, this thing shows I’m sleeping fairly well. I wake up several times per night and I’m restless some…but, overall…I’m doing okay. Thanks FitBit!!! And thanks Pam and kids for getting me a cool tool to help me!:) It will help me through the…

Seasons of my life…:)

Kevin

Okay, just about everybody knows I’m a Tar Heel fan. And after this shot last night, I really believed the Heels were going to send the National Championship game versus Villanova to overtime and it was ours for the taking.

Apr 4, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels guard Marcus Paige (5) shoots and scores a three point basket against the Villanova Wildcats in the second half in the championship game of the 2016 NCAA Men's Final Four at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Apr 4, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels guard Marcus Paige (5) shoots and scores a three point basket against the Villanova Wildcats in the second half in the championship game of the 2016 NCAA Men’s Final Four at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

The shot was a double-clutch, circus shot from about 28 feet from the goal! Bull’s Eye! We got it! Overtime is coming!!!

Until this shot…4.6 second later…by Kris Jenkins of Nova with a hand in his face.

Apr 4, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Villanova Wildcats forward Kris Jenkins (2) hits the game winning shot with .6 seconds over North Carolina Tar Heels forward Isaiah Hicks (4) in the championship game of the 2016 NCAA Men's Final Four at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Apr 4, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Villanova Wildcats forward Kris Jenkins (2) hits the game winning shot with .6 seconds over North Carolina Tar Heels forward Isaiah Hicks (4) in the championship game of the 2016 NCAA Men’s Final Four at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Swish!!! No time left! Confetti on the floor!

Crushed!!!

Defeated!!!

It’s over!!!

Now, you must know that I’ve been pulling for Heels since I was a little boy. I went to their basketball camp three times and won the free-throw shooting contest two of those three years for my age division as 9-year-old and 10-year-old. I even got to sit with Coach Dean Smith at mealtime twice as a the prize for that feat and I will always be a Tar Heel. I guess having followed this team for so many years, it just gets in your blood. Of course the same is true for you. You might like the Wolfpack or the Blue Devils or maybe Dale Earnhardt, Jr. or ballet or hunting or _______ you fill in the blank. And when you do and your team loses, it hurts. Really bad! I mean real bad as in not being able to fall asleep until 1:30 am. Crazy?? Silly?? Sure it is. But, it’s the truth and I might as well admit it.

Now hear me and hear me well. It’s just a basketball game and in the scheme of things it’s nothing. It has no eternal significance really. However, it is a microcosm of life. Sports or extra-curricular activities of any kind that has winners and losers teach us about life. A life that has many ups and downs and “wins” and “loses.” And they hurt. Lost jobs. Lost lives. Lost relationships. Loss hurts and cripples. And the sports world bears only a small snippet of the pain of the ultimate loss: death. Ball games come and go and are at best trivial compared to the stuff of life that crushes the soul such as the loss of a loved one.

So, I try to put these things into perspective in mind and yet, I toss and tumble thinking about “what if” about college basketball game. And do you want to know why? Because I’ve become invested in the lives of the kids on that team. A team that stretches all the way back to my childhood. A team that when I hear the fight song brings chills to me still to this day. A team that when I see that baby blue on a person’s t-shirt automatically makes me say, “Hey! Are you a Tar Heel fan?” Yep…me too! Automatic connection. You know what I’m talking about. It’s a family of sorts.

Yet, better than that (by far) is the family of God. The brothers and sisters in Christ whom we’ll spend eternity with in Heaven. The joy of knowing that you have an eternal connection with someone who loves Jesus like you do! That’s priceless!

Yep, I love these guys…

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I guess I’ll always love and enjoy the thrill of basketball. I’ve had some special times throughout my life. Connections with the Lord shooting basketball on a clear blue fall day. Watching the flight of the ball swish through the net, shot after shot. Working, working, right hand shot, left hand shot. Fade away. Jump hook. Between the legs dribble, step-back…swish! Silly! Yep, I know if you aren’t a basketball fan, it seems that way. But, for me, basketball is a connection to the beauty of all that God has made.

Olympic runner, Eric Liddell (made more famous by the movie: “Chariots of Fire”) said, “God made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure.”

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I know how he feels. I really do. Last night before the game, I shot basketball with my children. I showed Andrew and Clara how to shoot a proper shot. Right elbow in…left hand just on the left side of he ball. Finger-tip control with right hand. Just a bit of daylight as the ball is on the finger-tips…not flat on the palm. Push up…follow through and imagine that your wrist is breaking over the top of the rim (this gives rotation on the ball). SWISH! Smiles…high fives and fist bumps. Connections with my kids and their old, bald-headed daddy.

Clara and Andrew wanted me to leave them a note on their nightstand last night about the outcome of the game. They had to go to bed of course. It crushed me to write that note and say, “We lost on a last second shot.” This morning they sat on my lap and we watched the highlights on GoHeels.com. We watched the post game interview with Marcus Paige, Joel Berry II and Coach Roy Williams. Clara said, “This makes me sad. I really like this team.”

You see, I’ve indoctrinated her and Andrew and Kandace.:) Ha! Remember I took them to see the Heels play their first game of the tournament in Raleigh when the Heels beat Florida Gulf Coast about three weeks ago, (which seems like six months ago now :)). We arrived at the PNC Arena (where the Wolfpack plays) in Raleigh and Clara said, “Dad, this so cool…it reminds me of Disney.” There was the smell of funnel cakes, music was playing from the loud speakers and an announcer said, “Welcome to Raleigh, NC and the first round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament!!” The crowd wore mostly light blue and we walked into the PNC Arena. We had nose-bleed seats…

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Yet, there we were…

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Kandace, Clara, me, Andrew and Josh. Second row from the top. And we were excited! Clara squealed, “I love this Daddy!” Andrew said, “This is awesome!” Josh was a good sport, (because he’s a Duke fan…and he grew up pulling for them….remember, Duke was awful when I was a kid…people my age pulled for State or Carolina). He even said, “You know what… I know as much about the Heels as most Heels fans.” I laughed and I said, “I love you for putting up with me!” We had a blast!

The Heels won! We sang the fight song! We laughed and cheered and ate WAY TOO EXPENSIVE concession stand food. But, it was worth every dime. Why? Because we were making memories. And now when my kids hear the Heels fight song, they know it. They sing it and they think of us together. Rooting on our team. So, that’s why I had to leave a sticky note for my kids on their night stands last night. And I didn’t think I was going to have to do that! Paige hit that miraculous, bicycle wheel, three-pointer and I knew we had it! Kandace and I shouted (not too loud…because the kids were in bed). And even Josh stood up and pumped his fist (isn’t he a jewel!) and Pam (still laid up with her ACL repaired knee) was squealing with delight too! We had made a ten-point comeback in three 1/2 minutes and we had it! But, then we didn’t! And it hurt! And that’s what defeat does to you. It punches you in the gut and you have to learn from it.

I’ve learned so much from the game of basketball. I’ve learned how to win and I’ve learned how to lose. I’ve learned how to not be an obnoxious winner and I hope I’ve learned how NOT to be a sore-loser. It’s taken many years to get to this point. But, there I was…1 am this morning. Thinking about Marcus Paige, Justin Jackson (a homeschooler), Joel Berry II, Kennedy Meeks, Nate Britt, Joel James, Brice Johnson, Isaiah Hicks, Theo Pinson and ole Coach Williams and I replayed that last play over and over in my mind. I dreamed about that play. My FitBit on my arm (my family got for me for my birthday) said I was restless 15 times and got 5 hours and 3 minutes of sleep. Yep, and I woke up this morning and watched the sun rise and realized…yes, indeed the sun did come up and all is well because the tomb is empty. And that’s perspective!

Silly me. It was just a game. But, something that makes me smile and brings me pleasure. From my childhood to now, my children’s childhood. Thank you Lord for athletics and sports taken in the right perspective. For they do teach us many things about life and for that I’m grateful and as Marcus Paige said last night:

“The whole four years means the world to me. I wouldn’t trade any of the losses, any of the games. It’s hard to say, but even including this one, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

Nor would I Marcus, nor would I! Thank you for the wonderful journey this year with my children. And thank you Lord for teaching us about life: winning and, yes… losing, through something as silly as shooting a leather ball through an iron hoop even when it doesn’t go in for your team when there’s no time left on the clock. Lessons learned through defeat!:)

Kevin

It just got harder to be a Christian in our country this week. Perhaps you’ve heard by now that the Georgia governor vetoed a bill yesterday that would protect the clergy in his state from having to marry people who do not ascribe to what they (the clergy) believes to be orthodox, biblical teaching on marriage. In essence, the governor has indicated that the clergy in Georgia can not call sin, “sin” any longer when it comes to sexual deviancy (as described in Scripture in Romans 1, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, etc.).

Apparently in our culture it’s okay to love anyone you want to unless you are a Christian who loves Jesus and His commands. Jesus is the Word who became flesh and dwelled among us. Therefore, when I love Jesus, I love His Word. And to love His Word means that I must obey it. Problem is: the commands of Scripture are now completely out of vogue today. I spoke of this in today’s Two-Minute Tuesday.

 

It’s been a while since I’ve shared here about the work we do each day at my devotion website. It just so happens that where we’re at in John 15 speaks to where we are today. That’s amazing if you ask me. By the way, if you aren’t getting our Daily Devotions, I want to make you aware of them. Here’s the link: https://dkevinbrowndailydevotions.wordpress.com/2016/03/29/you-are-my-friends-if-you-do-what-i-command-you/

You can sign-up to get these devotions delivered to your email inbox by going here: http://mpbc.ws/emailsubscriptions/

Here is today’s devotion:

You Are My Friends, If You Do What I Command You

Jesus made one of the most fantastic and radical statements of all time when He said: “You are my friends if you do what I command you.” That was radical for a Rabbi to say. Most Rabbis taught the Talmud, (the central text of Rabbinic Judaism), and said, “Do what the Talmud says.” But, Jesus said, “Do what I tell you.” That was beyond anything anyone had ever heard from a Rabbi in Jesus’ day.

What did Jesus want us to do? Here ya go…

John 15:12

12 This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

Now does this mean that we are to “love” everybody in the exact way they are living? Does this mean that we love each and every lifestyle no matter how unbiblical that lifestyle might be? Does this mean that we negate the sin in the life of people of and look past that sin? Does this mean that Jesus’ eventual death on the cross wasn’t powerful enough to help every area of sin in a human’s life? Did His blood only cover some sin?

You see in our culture today it’s no longer appropriate to call anything sin. It’s no longer appropriate to call any lifestyle that’s anti-biblical sinful. In fact, in our politically correct, “anything goes” culture, you really can’t call any lifestyle sinful. In fact, nothing is sinful any longer. And people have taken the above verse and said, “But, we must LOVE one another because that’s how Jesus lived. He just loved, loved, loved.”

Yes, He did love! But folks, He also died!!! He died for sin! He was crucified on a cross “while we were yet sinners!” He died to set us free from sin! That’s love folks! That’s love! Let me show you love. Jesus said:

13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. John 15:13-15

Jesus said, “You are my FRIENDS, if you do what I command you.” What did Jesus do? He lived a perfect, sinless life! He never sinned! But, today we condone almost all sin. Jesus doesn’t want to call us servants, because a servant doesn’t know what the master is doing. He wants to call us friends. But, to call us friends, we must do what the Master is doing. And if we are to do what the Master is doing, then we must call Him (Jesus): MASTER! Do you see? We must surrender our lives to the Lordship of Jesus Christ! We must call Him: “MASTER.”

That’s where the rub comes in dear friend! People don’t want a “master” over their lives. No! They want to be the master of their lives and they want God to approve of their lives. They’ve made God the servant, and they’ve become the master. Yet, Jesus chose us, not the other way around…

16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. 17 These things I command you, so that you will love one anotherJohn 15:16-17

Do you see it? Jesus chose us to go “bear fruit.” What does that mean? That means to live in a dark, lost and dying world like He did. We are to live in such a way that we show our good deeds before men. We were created for good works, “fruit.” No, Jesus didn’t die on the cross to leave us in our sin. He died on the cross so that we might confess and repent of our sins and be delivered from the power of sin over our lives. Do you see that? You must see that to understand what Jesus actually did in coming to save sinners!

You and I must not be blinded by the politically correct narrative being espoused by the world. We are to bear fruit for Jesus and if we’ll do that, then we will truly show that we love Him by how we love one another. We will love people enough to tell them that they are sinners, (like we are), who need a Savior, so that the love of that Savior might deliver them into freedom from sin! That is true love! And that’s “doing” what Jesus commanded.

Kevin

Two Big Weeks!

Some weeks of your life you know will be big just because you know what’s headed your way. I saw last week beginning 3.14, and this week, beginning 3.21 as big weeks. Why? Because we had the Passion Play at church on Saturday and Sunday. It was a huge weekend! Almost 1300 came through the doors over the weekend! Amazing!

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We are following up on about two dozen commitment cards that indicated interest in giving their lives to Christ. I had the privilege of leading a man to Christ after the play on Sunday morning. It was so wonderful! The man said to me: “Preacher, this play got to me and I figure if a man can die for me, I can give my life to Him!”

Man, you talk about profound! That’s profound! This man prayed like I’ve not heard a man pray in a long time. There was no perfunctory prayer. This man poured out his heart! He begged Jesus to save him and wants to be the “daddy and husband I should be.” Folks, it doesn’t get any better than that!

It was a huge weekend! Many folks shared with me how the play touched their lives in powerful ways. Friend, there is something very, very powerful when you take music and put it with drama. It’s beyond words. I found myself weeping during many sections of the play and I’ve watched it for 8 years. I praise the Lord for our church and Pastor Brad Cordray, who is a genius! 190 people were involved in the play. It was fantastic! Here are a few shots…

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Well, the two big weeks continue… Today Pam had surgery to replace her ACL that she tore loose from her knee while in China on a recent mission trip. She’s one tough lady and she is home as I type and resting well. Needless to say, she’ll be laid up for a couple of weeks. Also today, Josh and Katy’s house was delivered by three tractor-trailer loads. Their modular is here!! It will be set by crane tomorrow. To say that they (we) are excited is beyond description!!

It’s ready to be set on this basement foundation…

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And to top it all off…Easter is Sunday! What a wonderful two weeks!!! God is so good and so faithful!!

Here’s today’s Two-Minute Tuesday, “This Could Save Your Children.”

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