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The Breaking

I’ve talked about this some in the past several months… The “breaking” that the Lord has taken me through. The great Oswald Chambers said it this way:

The “breaking” is the hard part. Breaking is always hard. But, it’s the breaking that must happen in our lives before the sweetness of that which the Lord wants to release from our lives.

I’ve been reading this book:

Have you heard of Watchman Nee? He said this…

Watchman Nee became a Christian in mainland China in 1920 at the age of seventeen and began writing in the same year. He suffered much in his. He preached the gospel, taught the Bible and held many conferences throughout his life. He wrote over 60 books. Throughout the nearly thirty years of his ministry, he showed a wonderful and unique gift for writing. In 1952 he was imprisoned for his faith. He remained in prison until his death in 1972. His words, even today, remain an amazing source of spiritual strength for Christians throughout the world.

Nee describes how essential it is for the “outer man” to be broken so that the “inner man” can express the power and the presence of the Lord in our lives. The “outer man” is the part of us that we call the “jar of clay.” It’s the essence of what happens to us as circumstances come into our lives. The “inner man” is our spirit. The “inner man” is who we were created to be by the Lord. It’s the essence of “who we are” and who “lives on” when our body dies.

Nee talks about how it’s very easy to allow our outer circumstances to dictate how we (the inner man) lives. In other words, we can easily allow our lives to be totally torn apart by what happens to us…our circumstances. Let’s say that you’re told that your wife is having chest pains and she needs to be taken to the hospital, which leads to an eventual heart catheterization. What will that information do the “outer man?” Bring fear? Terror? Uncertainty?

That was me! Okay. But, what happens to the “inner man?” Will “Kevin” on the inside be able to look to the Lord…to look past the circumstances and see Jesus and live above the situation. The outer circumstances can “break” us, yes. But, that breaking (like the peel on a grape) can reveal the sweet juice that can flow from the inside. Oh, there’s where the power of the Lord comes from. It’s when His Spirit bears witness with our spirit and we live in power, not fear. It’s when we are attacked or maligned on the outside, yet the inner man chooses to respond as Jesus would in kindness and goodness. It’s when forgiveness is offered and not hate that the power of Christ is unleashed from our “brokenness” and we are able to see what only Jesus could do in the human life.

These are things that we are taught in Romans 8.

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. Romans 8:1-11.

You know, as I’ve thought about it, this life is a constant “breaking” process. After all, we are in the process of being sanctified (made holy). That process of being “made holy” is a refining process that comes by way of fire…trials…struggles. Nee said this, “There are too many things in us that cannot go into eternity, and these must all be torn down.” Think about that. God is removing things from us that will never be part of us for eternity. Parking your brain around that is a lot to chew on for sure.

How goes it with you? Any trials lately? Count it all joy! It’s part of what the Lord is doing to make you into the person He has designed you to be. He’s refining you (and me). Nee said, “We have to see that all the things we have encountered during the past five or ten years have all been under God’s ordering and are for our education… All these are for our good. We may not choose them, but God knows that they are for our good.” Amen!!! Thank you Lord for the “breaking,” because that’s when the juice flows!

Have you seen the movie, “Unplanned?”

Here’s why you should. This week’s Two-Minute Tuesday: https://www.mpbc.church/media/?sapurl=Lys3ZWViL2xiL21pLys3OTlwODJwP2JyYW5kaW5nPXRydWUmZW1iZWQ9dHJ1ZQ==

Please note the “Content Warning” for children. Here, again, is the link to the Liberty Theatre. The showtimes for this weekend should be posted by tomorrow. Remember all the showings are FREE!

http://libertytheatrenc.com/?r=no

Kevin

Wedding Day

Well, it finally came! Wedding Day! You know when you know a “day” is coming, like Christmas, or a “due date” for a birth or something like that…it seems like it will never get here, and then, BANG…it’s here! Well, that was Kandace and Clark’s wedding.

Yes, April 6th finally came. And you know what? When it finally comes…it seems almost odd. You start walking through the day thinking, “This is it! It’s really happening!” That’s how I felt on Saturday morning when we finished setting up the chairs…

I thought, “Thank you Lord for such a beautiful day for my little girl to get married!” And “Thank you Lord for Fussell Farm of Leonard and Vickie Fussell! Talk about a beautiful venue! Wow! If you want to learn more or know of someone having a wedding that might want to know more about Fussell Farm…click here: https://www.fussellfarmvenue.com

Now, take a look at those smiles…

I had a lady say to me on Monday, “I’ve never seen Kandace so happy! She was smiling from ear to ear!” And it’s true!

What a smile! And I’m so glad she looks like her momma…absolutely beautiful!

But let’s back up! Things are starting to get into “blur mode” again. You know when things really start moving too fast! Let’s go back to Friday evening with the Rehearsal. We began to set up the tables and chairs…

Everyone arrived…including our wonderful musicians…the “Hall Sisters.”

They played so beautifully!!!

Needless to say, all went well with the Rehearsal, and then we went down to Benton Hall for the Rehearsal Dinner. It was wonderful! “Elsewhere Restaurant” catered the meal and it was amazing! Keith and Angela, Clark’s mom and dad, picked a great restaurant to cater the meal. The food was really, really good!

The lovely couple…

Sisters, to the left is Katy, (Kandace’s sister) and to the right is Elizabeth, (Clark’s sister).

Grandparents…

And then it was the wedding day…

We went down by the creek for the “first look” for me. I was stunned by Kandace’s beauty. Again…she looks like her momma!

Then the Bridesmaids came down for pictures…

The Fussell’s have a beautiful covered area above the creek. Andrew enjoyed hanging out while waiting for his turn at the camera…

Nana (Pam) and Josh, Katy and Evie… (Remember, Katy is due with grand baby #3 on May 31…another girl! So thankful!!!)

Pictures continued…

Doesn’t Kandace look lovely! Clara’s headed down next. Here’s some more great pictures of Evie and Andrew…

And Evie and Dad…

Everything was ready… Check out the cupcakes!

Hey, get this… Look up at that picture again. To save some money, I took some old wooden pallets and cut them down for the “cupcake stands.” Those pallets were actually used to deliver the cinderblocks for Katy and Josh’s basement a couple of years ago. They are being re-used for an upcoming June wedding for another couple.

Here’s the room that the groomsmen dressed… So nice!!!

The people were in place…

We were lining up…

We were right behind Keith and Angela, (Clark’s parents). I ran up to the front of the line and got this shot… I love the look on Clark’s face…

He looks cool as a cucumber. But, I know he was nervous. Who isn’t on their wedding day!

Then I turned my phone around and did a selfie with my lovely bride of 28 years!

I’m a blessed man!

See that lady on her knees…

That’s Kathy Eller. She was the wedding director! Let me tell you…she did a phenomenal job! Her attention to detail was amazing! Here she is giving details to Katy and making sure the little guys…Charlotte, Sophia, Evie and Jackson are ready to go. Don’t you love that wagon! Jackson was a trooper!

Here are the girls and Jackson… (L-R, Evie, Charlotte, Sophia, Jackson)

Finally it was time to walk Kandace down the aisle. I turned and saw her and took this picture…

But, I heard crying behind me. “What is that?” “Who is crying?” I turned and it’s Evie. She had gotten separated from her little crew of “littles.” Kathy was trying to console her, but she wanted no part of that. Evie had her arms up saying, “Papa,” through her tears and fear of the moment. I looked at Kandace and I looked at Evie and I thought, “What are we going to do. IT’S TIME!” Well, Kandace…my in control daughter…on her wedding day…looks at me and said, “Carry her Dad.”

“Huh?”

“Dad, pick her up and carry her.” I said, “Kan are you sure? It’s your wedding day… Uh…maybe I can run her down the right side of the people and get her to Josh really quickly and run back.”

“No Dad…it’s Evie.”

Now let that sink in as I did. My daughter on her wedding day was not thinking about herself. At the cusp of her big moment she was thinking about her niece. I said, “Kandace are you sure…I don’t want you to have hard feelings toward anyone…because this is your moment.” Kandace looked at me with this kind and “in control” look and said, “Dad…this is how it’s supposed to be. Carry her. It’s Evie, Dad.” Let me tell you…I just about popped three buttons on my shirt when she assured me with those words.

Am I bragging on my daughter? You better believe I am and it’s something to laud her for! That was a great blessing to me to see her love for her family supersede everything else. And so, Jonah Brooks and Trenton Golds pulled back the curtains and down the aisle we went… Kandace on my left…beaming…and Evie on my right arm…smiling from ear to ear!

What a fantastic ceremony it was! And then, it was time for the first dances… First was Clark and Angela.

And then, the father/daughter dance…

If you haven’t seen the video, you’ll have to go to Facebook and check it out. We started out with a slow, somber, tearful dance and then BANG…we went into a choreographed dance that made everyone laugh.

I practiced for 2 1/2 months to do that dance. I’m a terrible dancer…but, Kandace wanted me to do it and for her…YES! I’LL DO IT!! And I did it! It was a blast! Seeing the smile on Kandace’s face was worth it all! I think she was proud of her old dad!

Then it was cake-cutting time!

The joy on the kids’ faces was priceless!

\

Later on it was time for the bouquet toss…

Take a look at this picture closely… The bouquet is in the air…

And then…guess who catches it…

Clara! All 5′ 10″ of her! I should have had her playing basketball! 🙂 Look at Kandace’s face! Sheer joy!

Next up! Clark and the boutonniere toss… (And yes…that is how you spell “boutonniere.” I looked it up.)

While all of this was going on…this was happening outside to Clark’s truck…

Then, amazingly, it was already time to go… So, they lined up and we got our bubbles out…

Out of the barn and to the truck they headed…

And then it was over…

It felt like a blur! But, I really tired to take it all in. It was such a blessing! And life continues on and I’m grateful!

Don’t forget about our Passion Play this weekend!

No tickets needed! Door open Saturday night at 5 pm for the 6 pm showing, and on Sunday the doors open at 8 am for the 8:45 am showing, and at 10:15 am for the 11:00 am showing.

Here’s this week’s Two-Minute Tuesday about the theme of the play. https://www.mpbc.church/media/?sapurl=Lys3ZWViL2xiL21pLysybXRieHg4P2JyYW5kaW5nPXRydWUmZW1iZWQ9dHJ1ZQ==

We’ve also launched a new website. We’re pretty tickled with it!

https://www.mpbc.church

My email has changed too. I’m now at: kevin@mpbc.church.

Kevin

Last week was one of the weeks that I look back on now and say, “Did that really happen?” It seems so surreal. But, I can promise you, I was scared for a while! A week ago today (Wed) Pam was having a heart catheterization at Forsyth Hospital. Praise the Lord that Pam is doing well. It’s like nothing ever happened. And that’s why it feels so strange.

Let me let Pam describe what happened (this was a post she put on Facebook at the end of last week):

I just want to thank everyone for the prayers and kind words. What started out as a normal Tuesday evening became a scary episode. I ran up the stairs to get something like I do many times everyday. When I got up there this particular time I was extremely winded. I began to feel pressure on my chest and back. I then had extreme neck/jaw pain. I walked back downstairs and became nauseous. I had never experienced anything quite like it. I waited around for the feelings to pass and they didn’t… So I told Kevin.

After explaining my symptoms to him, we decided to go to the ER as a precaution. Once we got there, my EKG had some issues and my blood test showed the heart attack enzymes so I was whisked off to Winston. After being up all night Tuesday night and having many tests, including a heart cath, the diagnosis was that I had an arterial spasm which mimicked a heart attack. I possibly had a clot that was broken up by the blood thinners given to me in the early hours of my ER visit.

I am so thankful for the prayers, calls, texts and messages. If I did have a blockage, God removed it because my cath was clear! Praise the Lord! Working on Kandace’s wedding that was 11 days away, I didn’t really have time to drop everything and go to the ER, but with heart disease in my family, I knew that a trip to the ER was better than a funeral. *Always take warning signs seriously. The doctors told me that I did the right thing by coming. God is good! Thank you again for your words of encouragement and prayers!❤️

Truly, we are so grateful for all the Lord has done for Pam and our family! I can not express greatly enough, my gratitude to all the people who prayed for her and our family! Once again, the saying is true: “We felt the prayers.” Literally!

I shared with the church on Sunday my many emotions throughout a very dicey 24 hours. Pam had them too, but she’s automatically calm, cool and collected. In fact, I had to tell all the doctors and nurses, “Yes, her normal blood pressure is 110/60.” That’s another reason they were hesitant about giving her nitroglycerin which drops blood pressure a lot! Pam is an amazing lady. You see what a person is like when they are under immense pressure and strain. Pam is truly a godly woman. It’s not that she doesn’t feel things. She does. It’s not that she doesn’t endure stress and pressure. She does. It’s just that she has such a great faith and trust in the Lord that she transfers that stress, pressure and burden to Him. And that’s what He says to do. “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Honestly, I’m still processing all that happened. Have you been there? I’m sure you have. You may be going through a difficult situation right now. Do you see Jesus in it? Can you picture Him in the midst of it all. Truly, there were times I forced myself to see Jesus in the ER at Wilkes and at Forsyth. I forced myself to see Him riding beside me in my car flying down Highway 421 at 3 am on Wednesday morning last week. And it helped! Call me crazy, but seeing Him in that way helps me to understand that He’s got everything under control. Because HE DOES have everything under control! Praise His name!

You see, as I’m zooming down the road at 3 am…and there is no one on the road at that time of night…I get to “Joe’s Landscaping and Nursery.” Have you seen this sign in Lewisville as you are driving toward Winston?

I saw that sign and right after that I had a thought come through my brain that I knew was from Satan. He said, “She’s going to die of a massive heart attack in the ambulance and you’ll never see her alive again.” That thought sent fear through my body like lightning! I was panicked. It was like I couldn’t get control of my mind. I was tired…we hadn’t slept a wink…I was stressed and anxious…and now this… It almost took my breath. But, then I thought of Jesus. The Holy Spirit directed my thoughts. “Think on Jesus.” And then I said, “Oh Jesus…help me…help Pam…I trust you…take the fear…HELP US!” And folks…in a matter of seconds…the fear was gone and replaced with the presence of Jesus in my car. The Prince of Peace was delivering me in His peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:6-7). I cried a few tears…but, they were tears of relief and peace.

But, here’s the thing… Satan doesn’t give up easily does he? Does he to you? No! He will seek to attack again and we have to continue to resist him. Remember James tells us to “resist the Devil and he will flee.” Well, he kept coming and I kept praying and quoting Scripture and singing. Do you know the old song: “He Knows My Name” by Tommy Walker. Here it is…

It’s old, I know. But, that’s the song that the Lord brought to my mind. It was the song we were to sing in our service last Wed. night (which I didn’t get to do, because we were in the hospital). It’s a song that I was going to use because we are talking about “Heaven” and what it will be like on Wed. nights. So, there it was… cued up in my brain and out came the words:

I have a Maker
He formed my heart
Before even time began
My life was in his hands

He knows my name
He knows my every thought
He sees each tear that falls
And He hears me when I call

Well, let me tell you… I got to the hospital. I had gotten there before the ambulance and so I had to wait. I waited for about 15 minutes and it seemed like 2 hours. Finally a nurse called out, “My Brown…your wife is here!” Let me tell you…I almost lost it right there! I know it sounds crazy…but, the relief…oh the relief! YOUR WIFE IS HERE!

I walked through the large metal door and they led me to a holding room in the ER at Forsyth. They had no beds. I walked through the curtain and there she was smiling. I went over to her and planted a kiss on her and she said, “Hey! How are you!” I told her, “I’m doing great now that I get to see you.” I didn’t tell her until later what went on in my car driving down.

You know what… I had gotten so busy (or at least I allowed myself to get so busy) that I had been walking out of the house to come to work or go places and I had stopped kissing her before I left. NO MORE! Because you never know when it might be your last one. Call me crazy…but, no more! No more will I leave the house and not kiss my beautiful bride! Maybe someone else needed to read that… Maybe you need to kiss your wife more…or your husband…whatever the case might be.

Stuff like last week helps put things into perspective. There are very few things that really and truly matter. Most things really don’t matter. We just think they do. What really matters you can boil down to something that you can count on one hand. Love your family. Don’t take them for granted. Kiss your kids…your wife… Look to Jesus… Don’t give into the fear. Live each day as if it were your last and enjoy the journey.

Here’s this week’s TMT. “Overwhelmed By the Enemy? Don’t Stop!”

https://subsplash.com/+7eeb/lb/mi/+h48prmx?autoplay=true&branding=true&embed=true

Oh…I’m SO grateful for this couple…

The engagement turns into a wedding on Saturday! We’re on in the midst of all that work and planning right now…and it’s almost here. I so wish everyone could come! But, the venue is just not big enough for all the wonderful people we know and Clark’s family knows. That’s been the hardest thing! We just had to invite people that Kandace has been close to throughout her life and the same for Clark. Once you have the families and the bridal party and a few close friends of Clark and Kandace…well…that’s it.

By this time next week they’ll be married and in Grenada. I’m a bit misty-eyed typing that. You raise your children to turn them loose and fly…but, it’s never easy. Knowing Kandace is not going to be living with us any longer…well…it’s a gut-punch and there’s no sugar-coating it. But, I’m so thankful for her life and for Clark! I’m so grateful the Lord brought them together and for all He’s going to do through them!

Kevin

How do you see Jesus? If you were to try to picture Him in your mind, how do you see Him? Long brown hair, beard, brown eyes, olive-colored skin. Remember, He was born to a Jewish family. In His humanity He is of Jewish decent from the tribe of Judah. For me, I guess I’ve gotten used to seeing Jesus like this…

I see Jesus with kind eyes. I see Him as looking at me with that welcoming face. Let me ask you this. What is Jesus doing right now?

He’s on the throne, seated at the right hand of God, right? Right! He sees you right now. At this moment He sees you reading this, wherever you are. He’s as alive as you are at this very moment.

You know, sometimes we forget that, don’t we? It’s like “out of sight, out of mind.” We don’t see Him with our physical eyes and so it feels like He’s not close. But, think about it. When you invited Jesus to become the boss of your life… When you called on His name, repenting of your sins, acknowledging Him as your Lord and Savior… Yes, at that moment the Holy Spirit came to indwell you. After all, we are spirit beings. Our spirit (who we are) is housed in these “jars of clay” until we die. But, when we die, our spirit leaves our bodies and we go to heaven to be with the Lord.

To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.  2 Corinthians 5:8

God is a Spirit and we are made in His image, never forget that. We are spirits as well and when we receive Jesus by faith, we receive the Holy Spirit (who comes to indwell our spirit). Remember when Jesus said:

Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. John 16:7

Jesus was speaking of the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Trinity of God. Today, Jesus indwells my spirit through the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit guides my life and is my Teacher and Comforter.

Can you and I expect to experience the presence of God in our lives? Yes, as long as we are not quenching the Holy Spirit. 1 Thessalonians 5:19 simply says: Do not quench the Spirit.

How do we do this? Well, when the word “quench” is used in Scripture, it is speaking of suppressing fire. When believers put on the shield of faith, (as part of their armor of God), they are extinguishing the power of the fiery darts of Satan. Jesus described Hell as a place where the fire would not be “quenched.” (Mark 9:44-48) The same is true of the Holy Spirit. He (and He is a HE…He is NOT an “it” or some ethereal thing), is literally like a fire dwelling in each believer and He wants to show Himself in how we live. Yet, when we don’t allow Him to be seen by our actions, (because of sin), we suppress or quench the Spirit.

Again, the Holy Spirit possesses a personality. Only a PERSON can be grieved. You might need to read that again. The Holy Spirit feels. That’s why He can be grieved. You have to feel to be grieved. And get this… It’s okay to FEEL the presence of the Holy Spirit. It’s okay to actually have your soul stirred and fired up! Ephesians 4:30 says we shouldn’t grieve the Holy Spirit. But, we grieve the Spirit by living like unbelievers (4:17-19), by lying (4:25), by being angry (4:26-27), by stealing (4:28), by cussing (4:29), by being bitter and unforgiving (4:31-32), and by being sexually immoral (5:3-5). To grieve the Holy Spirit is to be living in a sinful manner.

Therefore, if you are having a hard time “feeling the presence of God,” you could be quenching the Spirit. And if you are quenching the Spirit, you are likely living in a way that is not walking in lock-step with the Lord. Believe me, I have to constantly look to the Lord to help me see the truth about myself because I don’t like admitting when I’m wrong. I want to be right! I want to be in control. Yet, when I, I, I takes control, then I’m going to soon begin to quench the Spirit in most instances.

Do, you know what helps me? To see Jesus! To picture Him in my mind when I’m dealing with things. Let’s say I’m having to have a tough conversation with someone. I try to picture Jesus over that person’s shoulder smiling back at me. Like He’s saying, “I’m here Kevin…I can help you.” That helps me to visualize Him in a way that puts me in a frame of mind to allow Him to guide my words and not my flesh.

How do you see Jesus?

This is how I see Him…

I can’t wait to see Him face to face, but until then…I’m so grateful for His Spirit to go with me wherever I go!

On that theme, here’s today’s Two-Minute Tuesday: http://mpbc.ws/media/?sapurl=Lys3ZWViL2xiL21pLytyNWJ3czU0P2JyYW5kaW5nPXRydWUmZW1iZWQ9dHJ1ZQ==

Kevin

Have you noticed something lately about post-game interviews with winners of games? Have you noticed that a lot of them thank the Lord? Many even go so far as to say, “I want to thank my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ?” I have! I’ve noticed a lot! And do you know what that makes me think about?

Platforms

What’s a platform? This is…

That’s the Gardner-Webb Runnin’ Bulldogs! And they won the Big South Championship over the weekend by defeating Radford 76-65 and they’ll be playing in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history. https://gwusports.com/news/2019/3/10/mens-basketball-lets-dance-gardner-webb-punches-ncaa-ticket-sunday-with-76-65-win-at-radford.aspx.  I’m very excited and proud of those guys. I signed with Gardner-Webb out of High School.

My dad played for G-W too! So, we were both tickled to see them win and get into the “Big Dance!” But, here’s the cool thing. Their win became a platform for the Lord. Here’s how. The coach for the team is Tim Craft. He’s in his sixth season with the team.

He said this after the game at the press conference (his platform): “I’m just really humbled right now and blessed to get a chance to coach this group of guys. I want to give all the honor and glory to Jesus Christ, number one, and just thank God for what he’s done in my life, our family’s life and these players’ lives. I’m really proud of them. It was a hard fought win here on the road and I’m just really proud of them for pulling through.”

How about that! Didn’t Coach Craft do that well!!! What a powerful platform! Gardner-Webb will now await “Selection Sunday” this Sunday evening to find out where they will be headed for its first NCAA Tournament game. A lot of people may not know, but the Runnin’ Bulldogs have a lot of tournament experience through the years. They made national tournament appearances at the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA), the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and NCAA Division II. My dad played for G-W. He’s #42. Here’s the 1967-68 team.

They were a fantastic team! They ended up playing in the NJCAA in Hutchinson, Kansas for the Junior College National Championship. They didn’t win it, but were one of the best teams in the country. See #54 in the middle? The guy beside my dad… That’s Artis Gilmore (who later played in the NBA). Gilmore was/is 7′ 2″ tall and could pin a basketball on the rim flat-footed. Here’s a closer picture of Dad and Artis.

Gilmore became one of five college basketball players ever to average at least 20 points and 20 rebounds over his career at 24.3 and 22.7. Gilmore led the NCAA in rebounding both years at Jacksonville, and his career average of 22.7 rebounds per game is still the highest in NCAA Division I history.

For my dad…

and for me…

Basketball has always been a platform for us. We’ve used it throughout our lives to start conversations and relate to people about “the game of life.”

What’s your platform? We all have one. Certainly your job is a platform. Your family is a platform. Your social media page is a platform. For me, my ministry is a platform. My family. This blog. Two-Minute Tuesday.

The truth is: everything we do is a platform…either good or bad. What kind of influence are we making on others? As a believer…what we say and do is going to draw people closer to Christ or push them away from Christ. You pick the platform, but that former statement is truth no matter what.

I’m grateful for Coach Tim Craft. Take a couple of minutes and watch the opening comments. It’s a beautiful example of a platform. You’ll also note the players with the coach… D.J. Laster (scored 32 points) and David Efianayi (15 points). They are both so polite and gracious as well. Laster talks about how God made him strong and prepared him for this moment. It reminded me of Queen Esther (For such a time as this…).

What a great use of platforms. I pray the Lord will continue to help me use mine. You pray that He’ll help you use yours for His glory!

Here’s this week’s Two-Minute Tuesday: “Who’s Your One?”

http://mpbc.ws/media/?sapurl=Lys3ZWViL2xiL21pLytkd2M5dDZnP2JyYW5kaW5nPXRydWUmZW1iZWQ9dHJ1ZQ==

Kevin

Have you seen this?

That’s pretty sobering. In fact if you do the math on it…from 2008 to 2017, the decline in baptisms throughout the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) is down a whopping 18%. Look at good ole “Bible Belt” North Carolina:

We’ve dropped almost 22% in the past 10 years from 2008 to 2017. That’s scary stuff!

Folks, what’s scarier is that if you extrapolate this out for another 40 years… Well…it doesn’t take a brain surgeon to tell you that Christianity through the SBC is dying. Why is that the case? Take a look at a potential reason according to Barna Research:

 

That’s mind-boggling to me! 51% of churchgoers says they’ve never heard of the Great Commission! Are you serious! Those are our marching orders! Jesus is the one that gave us the Great Commission. This is not something obscure…something buried somewhere in the Bible in Obadiah or Zephaniah! This is in the New Testament from the mouth of Jesus:

Matthew 28:19-20

19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Jesus also said:

Acts 1:8

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Hey folks, we have the power of the Holy Spirit to help us share the good news of Jesus Christ so that folks might be saved and then follow Him in believer’s baptism. These are indeed our marching orders.

Do you know what I’m afraid of? I’m afraid as believers we see Jesus as someone we use like we do the Emergency Room. We don’t see Him like we do our cell phones. Is your cell phone near you? Do you know where it’s at right now? I bet you do. I bet you might have it within 10 feet of you. You KNOW WHERE YOUR CELL PHONE IS AT ALL TIMES. Why? Because it’s very, very important to you. It’s a lifeline to so many people and so many things in your life (and mine). But, the Emergency Room is someplace we only go to when we’ve got a big-time problem. And that’s how we can treat Jesus. We only go to Him with the problems and the cancer, and the inability to pay the mortgage. The everyday stuff…nah! I’ll use Google for that.

Here’s the point… Jesus wants to be wanted. Did you know that? He’s a person. He wants to be involved in our lives and when He is…then, He becomes important to us. He becomes more important than anything…including our cell phones. And when He has the place of prominence in our lives, then we will experience such power and joy in our lives through Him that we can’t help but tell others about Him. Trying to stop us from telling someone about all He’s done and is doing in our lives would be like trying to stop a tsunami.

Mom and Dad: are your children born again? Are they teenagers? If they are and you still aren’t sure they are saved…then, that’s your most important priority and you better get on it! Ma’am, Sir: Are you a Christian? If you are, then who has the Lord placed in your life…your circle of influence that needs to hear from you about Jesus?

Folks, we’re not getting the job done because we are so preoccupied with other things. I’m the chief of sinners, believe me. But, I’m working on it. I’m trying to be more intentional. I’m asking Jesus to help me open my eyes and yes, open my mouth and tell people about Him. Truly, He’s the greatest thing that’s ever happened to me. He’s everything to me and I want others to know Him… I want others to know the joy and peace I have. I want people to experience the presence of Jesus, because there’s nothing better in this life than Him. And what is more, when we know Him, He’ll take us from this life to our new life in heaven one day! It doesn’t get any better than that!

Here’s this week’s Two-Minute Tuesday on the subject we’ve just talked about: “We’re Not Getting the Job Done.” You should watch this…because the stats are fascinating.

http://mpbc.ws/media/?sapurl=Lys3ZWViL2xiL21pLytqbm5qeGJ3P2JyYW5kaW5nPXRydWUmZW1iZWQ9dHJ1ZQ==

Kevin

“I’m blown away!”

No, that’s not accurate.

“I’m mortified!”

No, that’s not strong enough either.

Truly, it’s inconceivable to me to try to even begin to explain what I’m feeling. I’m truly horrified about what I saw happen yesterday in the United States Senate.

Yesterday, Senate Democrats defeated a Republican attempt to advance legislation that would clarify that babies who survive botched abortions must receive medical care. The Bill was introduced by Senator Ben Sasse…

 Thank you Senator!

Okay, back to the legislation and to a part of a sentence that you just read above…

…that babies who survive botched abortions must receive medical care.

Wait a minute! 44 senators voted NO on that! Are you serious! Unfortunately, it’s true! The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act was defeated in the Senate 53-44. The legislation fell short of the 60 votes it needed to advance forward in the Senate. Democrats Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, and Doug Jones of Alabama joined all Republicans present in voting in favor. Republicans Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Tim Scott of South Carolina, and Kevin Cramer of North Dakota did not vote. Scott and Cramer reportedly missed the vote because of flight delays.

The bill, introduced by Senator Sasse would have required any healthcare practitioner present to seek to “preserve the life and health of the child,” including transporting the baby immediately to a hospital if it survived an abortion. It also would have introduced criminal penalties for abortionists who fail to provide care to newborns who survived abortion.

You see, this man, Kermit Gosnell, an abortion doctor in Philadelphia did not provide care for babies born and alive from his botched abortions, but instead, he killed them by cutting their spine at the base of their neck.

Gosnell is in prison for “Life +30,” without parole. Let me recommend the movie: Gosnell to you.

I’m sure you’ve heard nothing about it either. It was released last fall and Hollywood hated it and the media never gave it look. It chronicles the heinous actions of Gosnell who stored babies feet in jars in a cabinet in his clinic. A man who stored dead babies in Minute-Maid orange juice jugs in a refrigerator and in plastic bags throughout the building. Watch it if you have a strong stomach and don’t watch it with kids under the age of 13 or so. It would be too much for them. I found myself covering my mouth with my hand several times.

Perhaps you haven’t heard about this either. Earlier this month, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash.,

rejected a motion to pass the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act via unanimous consent, a procedure which a sole senator can stop. Murray objected because, she said, the bill was unnecessary as the U.S. already has laws against infanticide.

Senator Murray described the bill as: “Clearly anti-doctor, anti-woman, and anti-family.” Seriously, a bill that would have protected the sanctity of the life of a baby born is described as anti-family!!!

I’ll say it again: “That’s garbage!”

Senator Murray says: “It has no place becoming law. Its proponents claim it would make something illegal that is already illegal.” She also said that the law would, “Do nothing except help Republicans advance their goal of denying women their constitutionally-protected rights.”

Senator Murray, what do you really want? You are not being honest! You see, as Dr. Al Mohler said on his “Briefing” this morning:

“There are at least three different directions of argument incompatible with one another in her statement. Does it happen, or does it not? If it does happen, is it meaningful or not? Is it a matter of the fact that this would deny women their constitutionally-protected rights? Then if it doesn’t happen, how would that be possible? If it is making something illegal that is already illegal then why would you oppose it, if it doesn’t exist anyway?

The pro-abortion movement is actually becoming an extended satire on Alice in Wonderland. Words don’t matter. Arguments are thrown at the air. It is simply a matter of making every desperate argument against a pro-life bill imaginable. Even in this case when we’re not talking about pre-natal life, we’re not talking about human life in the womb, we’re talking about a baby that has unquestionably been born alive, even in the context of a botched abortion.”

Dr. Mohler went on to say:

“So this is where we stand in America today. The context of the 2020 race for the Democratic presidential nomination, and the general leftward lurch of the Democratic party is now represented in an even more radical support for the abortion rights movement, and even more radical arguments coming from that very movement. And of course, not only do ideas have consequences, not only do elections have consequences, but legislation will have consequences. There will be consequences to the fact that this legislation did not pass.

But Christians should note this event very, very closely. We should consider the ramifications very, very gravely. Because if nothing else, the developments over the last few days, even the last 24 hours in the United States, show us just how far the culture of death is advancing by the hour. Not just by the decade or the generation, but by the day, by the week, and yes, even by the hour, right now in the United States of America.

From time to time legislation by virtue of the fact that it passes or fails to pass offers something of a diagnostic test of the moral condition of the United States, its people and its culture. Something like a moral MRI or a moral CAT scan. The scan revealed yesterday is chilling. The news is tragic. If you look honestly at this scan, what you see is the culture of death staring back at us ominously.”

Let’s be clear. What Senator Murray and those on the progressive left in this country want is to make abortion legal ALL THE TIME…at any time, in any situation, iron-clad, with no repercussions or consequences for a botched procedure…even if that means a baby dies! She doesn’t care about the life of a baby. She cares about getting money from Planned Parenthood in her re-election campaign. That’s the cold-hard-truth! She is a “bought and paid for” Senator by the abortion lobby.

You see, this all started a few weeks ago in Virginia. When Democrat, Virginia Governor, Ralph Northam and Virginia Delegate Kathy Tran, also a Democrat, said that they supported a state bill that appeared to allow abortion at the time of birth. Tran later said she misspoke about when abortion would be permitted and Northam’s office later released a statement saying that the governor’s comments were mischaracterized and had been intended to address cases in which babies wouldn’t survive birth because of deformity or another health issue.

Let me repeat! “That’s garbage!” They, too, are “bought and paid for” by the abortion lobby. The issue with Northam’s and Tran’s comments amounted to a discussion about whether you throw a newborn baby into a trash can.

Folks, there is a climate of death in this country that’s circulating through the Democratic party that’s heinous and evil! Ultimately, Virginia tabled the abortion bill, but other states, including Illinois and Massachusetts, are considering loosening restrictions on third-trimester abortions. Supporters of these looser restrictions say they are meant to address circumstances in which “fetuses” (note, they will not call them “babies”) have severe medical conditions that would cause them not to survive birth, or that would result in short, painful lives.

Come on!!! Are we really supposed to think that it’s normal that there are senators debating whether newborn, living babies deserve medical attention? Are you serious? Have we gotten to the place as a country that we’re okay with a baby born via a botched abortion being left to die on a metal table? I’m telling you…we are no different than the pagans who threw their children to the god, Molech while they played drums to drown out the baby’s screams as they burned in flames.
I’m sickened and I’m disgusted! God have mercy on us as a nation! We are despicable as a people when we will not protect the innocent and stand up for those who can’t speak for themselves.
It’s amazing to me that the same ones who want to stand up for the rights of spotted owls and sea turtles and immigrant children at the border, will not defend the right of a little baby lying on a metal table gasping for life. The hypocrisy is so blatant and so obvious! But, when you are dealing with evil, nothing makes sense. It’s not about someone else. It’s about you! It’s about what you want! It’s the height of selfishness and pride. And that selfishness and pride comes from Satan himself.
Yes, I’m absolutely mortified that this country could have leaders that have so “dug in their heels” politically that they could be okay with watching a baby die on a metal table. You know…maybe that’s what they need to see. Maybe they need to watch a baby left to gasp on a table until it takes its last breath. Could they stand idly by and watch that happen and do nothing? I bet they wouldn’t do that to a sea turtle or a beached whale or even an injured dog on the side of the road. But, if they could do that and turn their heads…well, God help them!
God help us as a people! Have mercy on us, please!
Here’s this week’s Two-Minute Tuesday, “I’d Like to Introduce You to My Newest Granddaughter.” (Note, I say in the video, “…due at the end of March.” I had a “senior moment!” I meant, “…due at the end of May.”
Kevin