Archive for September, 2010

What do you want out of life?

Great question?  Let’s see?   Hmm.  Let’s see…work hard in school…go to a good college…get a good job…get married…buy a house…have two cars…take at least two vacations per year…have a couple of kids…sock back some college money…build a 401-k nest egg as we work hard for 25-30 years.  Let’s see.  Then we retire.  Take some of the retirement money and buy a house at the beach/mountains…golf membership…an RV and some trips out west…maybe even a cruise or two.  Yep…that it’ll do it.  Or is there more?? 

Oh yes.  There is much more if you are a believer in Jesus Christ.  Because what I’ve just described is a life and a lifestyle that is all about me.  Did I mention anything about the Lord Jesus in my diatribe?  Nope!  Not a word.  But, the truth is…the goals of most Christians are like that of the world.  We want what the world wants.  We do what everybody else does.  So, is it wrong to do all those things that have been mentioned.  No…of course not…not in and of themselves are they wrong.  But consider this.  Life on this earth…70, 80, 90 or 100 years…well it’s brief and fleeting.  Then what?  Heaven?  Oh yeah.  Heaven.  Dull, boring Heaven. 

Ooo!!  Did I just say that heaven was boring?  Yep…I sure did.  Because it is isn’t it?  Sitting on a cloud and floating around and playing a harp for a 200 million years (just a nano second for eternity)?  Not on your life!  Heaven is going to be more than we can think or imagine.  The Apostle Paul went there you know and he said he was not permitted to tell what he saw…it is indescribable indeed.  Like Disney World times a billion and then that wouldn’t begin to touch it.  Right?  Why use Disney World?  Why not something more “Christian?”  I guess because it’s not the Christian things that really motivate us in this life. 

In Ethiopia they memorize over 100 verses of Scripture to get a Bible.  In America we wouldn’t memorize 100 verses of the Bible to get a free ticket to Disney.  We’d rather pay than “suffer” through that.  I mean…who memorizes Scripture any more?   Who has time right?  I mean with all the activities and all the TV programs and fun we’re having.  Oh yeah…we are having fun aren’t we?  So much so…that well…Heaven doesn’t seem that appealing.  Things seem pretty ok down here Lord.  So, hang on before you come back…because well…to be honest…we’re “good to go” here. 

So what do we want out of life?  I guess what we’ve got.  The stuff of this earth.  Our treasures?  Right here…right now.  Treasures in heaven?  Umm.  Well…I’m sure there is enough time for that right?  So, why suffer?  Why give to your church’s mission fund or building fund?  Why adopt?  Why go on a mission trip.  Most of these things after all “isn’t our thing” right?  I mean…it’s got to be our thing in order to do it.  Even though Jesus said to “go and make disciples of all nations.”  That’s for all Christians.  Not just the ones that say “it’s my thing.”  We are all told to go…so missions is for everybody.  James said the purest form of religion is to take care of widows and orphans in their distress.  Why we don’t want to get “crazy” or too radical with this Christianity right.  I mean after all…we’ve got to remember what we REALLY want out of life…  Let’s see…that list again…oh yes…here it is:

Work hard in school…go to a good college…get a good job…get married…buy a house…have two cars…take at least two vacations per year…have a couple of kids…sock back some college money…build a 401-k nest egg as we work hard for 25-30 years.  Let’s see.  Then we retire.  Take some of the retirement money and buy a house at the beach/mountains…golf membership…an RV and some trips out west…maybe even a cruise or two.  Yep…that it’ll do it.

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You know…we have to choose every day how we are going to allow our circumstances to affect the way we live.  We have a choice to live defeated or to soar with the eagles in our attitude.  Let me give you an update from someone who chooses to soar that has stage 4 uterine cancer…BeckyLynn Black.  She went to Duke Hospital on Monday for a follow-up…here’s the latest…   

Kevin, God bless you for praying! We waited TWO HOURS to get in to see the doctor!!
We had about 30 min of discussion. Basically, she affirmed everything we understood and are doing….Adria is the standard (& only) confirmed drug for recurrent uterine cancer, with about 20% response rate. After that, there is no firm option…..only some chemos with maximum 10% response, and a biologic with very slow response, and trials. DUKE offers a phase II trial that is a biologic. There are NO options or tests that are clear-cell specific.  So, the conclusion is: nothing new, everything confirmed as is (including continued trusting the Path He’s chosen!).  Now we’ll see what Anderson says. God knows.  Liz & I leave for Houston on the 11th of Oct…..we’ll be on their campus doing whatever for 12-14th…and return on the 15th. I can’t imagine what they have planned for 3 days, but we’ll see!

BeckyLynn is speaking of Anderson hospital in Houston, Texas.  Liz is a dear friend that will be going with her.  So, please continue to pray for BeckyLynn. 


Becky with Mercy and Nigussie in Soyoma, Ethiopia


 Becky has such a fabulous attitude.  The Bible says a “cheerful heart does good like a medicine.”  Boy, does she have that!  Here is great article she has written on dealing with disappointment.  Check it out here.  

You know…doctors and nurses and hospitals are great.  Here is a team of doctors I saw making their rounds at Baptist last week.  



Doctors at Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem, NC


As wonderful as doctors are…they do not make the final decision about life (or at least they shouldn’t).  God is the one that has ordained all of our days before Him…not one of them will come to pass without His approval.  This simply means we will not live one second longer nor one second less than He has planned for us.  This is a great comfort for me.  I don’t worry about dying, because God knew before I was born, even before I was formed in my mother’s womb (Jer. 1:4) how long I would live.   

Now don’t get me wrong.  I don’t have a death wish…nor am I going to do anything dumb, like skydiving without a parachute…but, beyond something on the order of ridiculous…God is certainly in control.  So, I trust my Heavenly Father…for my life and that of my family and even for my dear friend, BeckyLynn. 

Do you need to surrender to the Lord God today in trust like that?  What is worrying you?  God is sovereign.  He is in control of life.  You don’t have to live in worry or fear about the “what if’s.”  The Bible says that fear has to do with punishment, but perfect love has cast out all fear.  (1 John 4).  So, let not your hearts be troubled…God is still on the throne.  We live by faith…not by sight.   

Isaiah 40 says: 

 28 Do you not know?
       Have you not heard?
       The LORD is the everlasting God,
       the Creator of the ends of the earth.
       He will not grow tired or weary,
       and his understanding no one can fathom.


 29 He gives strength to the weary
       and increases the power of the weak.

 30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
       and young men stumble and fall;

 31 but those who hope in the LORD
       will renew their strength.
       They will soar on wings like eagles;
       they will run and not grow weary,
       they will walk and not be faint.


Let’s choose to soar as we trust in Jesus, the Christ…the Savior of the world…the author and finisher of life itself. 




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Relationships and Marriage

I have been preaching through a sermon series on relationships and marriage.  It has been amazing to see what the Lord has done with the series so far.  You know, since we have close to a 55% divorce rate in this nation today…this is certainly a timely topic.  What I have been learning comes by way of Dr. Emerson Eggerichs’ book “Love and Respect.”  

Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires, the Respect He Desperately Needs  -              By: Dr. Emerson Eggerichs        

I highly recommend the book.  If you are local to Wilkesboro, you can get it through Steve Bryan at his bookstore, “For Heaven’s Sake.”  If not, you can get it online at www.cbd.com or Amazon for around $14.  What I’ve learned is that women desire love and men desperately need respect.  The Bible teaches this in Ephesians 5:33 and most of us, pastors/preachers have missed this.  I know I sure did.  Take a look at what God commands the husband to do and what He commands the wife to do.   

33However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.  

Did you see it?  Husbands MUST love their wives and wives MUST respect their husbands.   

I’m providing the link to the message from Sunday.  Many have told me already how much you appreciated it.  If you missed it or would like to pass it along…click  here for the link. (It’s the 9.26.10 message entitled “Understanding Each Other-Part 2)  

Something else interesting I ran across a little while ago that doesn’t surprise me in the least is about how little Americans know about religion.   

Survey about how little we know  

Oh…I’ve got to show you this…take a look at this picture…  

Andrew's hat on top of mine


Isn’t that neat?  Sometimes when I have been in my little office in our basement writing, praying, “sermonizing” as I call it…I will take my hat off and leave it on the rail at the top of the steps.  Why do I wear a hat?  Because it’s cold in my office on my bald head!!  Ha!  Anyway, I noticed the other day that Andrew had put his little hat on top of mine.  Why?  I have no idea…other than he was wanting to imitate what I did.  Reminds that he is always watching and yes…imitating what I do.  Reminds me of what Paul said to the church at Ephesus in how we are to be imitators of God…  

1 Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.  Ephesians 5:1-2  

Am I an imitator of Christ as Andrew is of me?  If I am…then, I am to live a life of love.  What is love?  

4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  8Love never fails.  1 Corinthians 13:4-8  

Is that me?  Let me see…  

4Kevin is patient, Kevin is kind. Kevin does not envy, Kevin does not boast, Kevin is not proud. 5Kevin is not rude, Kevin is not self-seeking, Kevin is not easily angered, Kevin keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Kevin does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 Kevin always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Kevin never fails.  

Hmm.  That’s kind of scary.  Maybe I need to ask my wife or children and see what they think?  Am I being an imitator of Christ?  If I am…then, I must live a life of love and if I’m living a life of love then I should embody the characteristics of love…  OUCH!  That is tough!  Lord, please help me.  Please show me how to truly love like you.  

Jesus' love


I’ve learned it’s not truly “love” unless there is sacrifice.  Do I love (sacrifice) for my wife?  Do I love (sacrifice) for my children?  Do I love (sacrifice) for my Lord?  Or do I just say, “I love.”  Jesus said, “They honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.”  Lord, help me to love as you loved and gave your life up as a fragrant offering and sacrifice for me.

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Update on Wayne and Tony

Many of you have been emailing and asking about how Wayne and Tony are doing on their trip to Mexico to take the braces to Jesus DeLarosa.  Well…here’s an update from Julie a few minutes ago…

Hey Kevin,

Wayne called last night and everything went very well.  Although Jesus did not pray to be saved, he did come to church along with some family members (and more came to eat hotdogs after church).  Wayne said that he kept handing him the Spanish Bible they gave him so that Wayne could look up the Scripture as Oscar was reading it.  Wayne feels like he is very close to making a decision, but just wants to make sure it’s real.  After everyone left, Wayne, Tony, and George met with Oscar and Miriam and gave them the money.   I won’t spoil Wayne’s story, but he said they were simply overwhelmed!  What a blessing!  They leave McAllen around 4:15 this afternoon and arrive in Charlotte around 9:45.  Thanks for the prayers and we will continue to pray for Jesus and his family.  Have a great day!


We continue to pray for Jesus and his family and for the safe arrival back of Wayne and Tony.

While you are praying…continue to pray for BeckyLynn Black…she has uterine cancer and goes back to Duke Hospital today for an appointment.  Also, Amanda Langseth does not have a cancerous tumor on her kidneys!  Praise the Lord.  The doctors are telling Erick and Alice she has a problem with her auto-immune system and this is causing inflammation of the blood vessels leading to the kidneys.  They are planning a biopsy soon to determine how they may treat this condition.

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Many ask…and so I thought I’d update on the blog what is going on with Amanda and BeckyLynn…see below…

I talked to Erick this morning and the doctor visit yesterday at Brenner’s leaves more questions.  They told them after the CT scan that Amanda has a “mass.”  They used that word “mass” instead of the word “tumor.”  I’m not sure what the difference is…neither does Erick or Alice.  The doctor said they were a little afraid to do a biopsy at this point because the kidneys tend to bleed a lot if “messed with.”  They are waiting to hear back from the doctor today (later this evening).  They did sleep well last night and they said they felt the prayers of the church and really appreciated everyone’s prayers!  Keep them coming!!

 At this point they would like “answers.”  It seems there is a short supply of these for now…so, pray for patience and for wisdom from the doctors.

 Also, I’m attaching an email update on BeckyLynn she sent me last night.

Monday going to DUKE, and in mid-Oct going to MD Anderson in Houston.  I really don’t expect much different, except some different experimental drugs……Experimentals are offered institution by institution.  Looking online, there’s very little experimental/clinic trials that either I would qualify for, or I would be interested in.   The Phase I & II trials of an experimental drug mean “we don’t know if these work at all”; Phase III mean “We know this drug works, and we know it works at least as the current standard treatment, but we want to know if it works better than the standard treatment”.  Phase IV means “we know this works better than the standard treatment, but we don’t know all the side effects & long-term fall-out”.  We’re willing to do Phase III and IV, but not I or II at this point.  Our concern is that the side effects/fall-out of I and II might inhibit my ability to do ministry….and our #1 goal is to protect my ministry while trying to deal with the cancer.

So……we’ll see what the Lord has in store. 🙂

Looking forward to Oct 31st at church with MPBC 🙂

Mama B

Please continue to pray for BeckyLynn and Amanda.  God bless you!

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Raising Kids to Do Hard Things Is Transforming Entire Families! Your’s Could Be Next!

Many teens today live like orphans in their own families and guests in their own homes.  They are not enjoying the benefits of what God has given them. They are drifting away on the waves of modern youth culture.  But Christian parents are not helpless.  We don’t have to lose our kids.  We can start raising our kids the way God tells us to in the Bible.   

My sons, Josh, Joel, Alex & Brett Harris, are turning the hearts of teens back to their parents with their Do Hard Things book and conferences. But parents have got to act quickly and turn their hearts back to the interests of their kids. That is where my seminar comes in.  If you really want to raise your kids to do hard things, believe me, you can.  And the good news is, God has made His way of raising kids a great way to live for the entire family.  Let me show you how.    

This is a Household Strategy Seminar!   

Scripture, history and personal experience teach us that it normally takes at least two generations willing to coordinate their efforts with one another in order for the younger generation to rise above the challenges of life and become “mighty in the land” (Psalm 112:1-4). There is power in teamwork!   

The challenge for each family, no matter where you are starting from, is to form a stronger partnership between the young and the old, between the strength of youth and the wisdom of age (Prov. 20:29). That is how you can do hard things together for the glory of God and the good of others.  You have to work together.   

“My kids aren’t interested.” you might be thinking. But in that you may be wrong. Most teens want to be part of a family that does exciting things together. They just don’t enjoy being bored or lonely, sitting around in a household that never has any adventures. So they find other ways to fill the void. The solution is simple. Do hard things together. Make history together. Launch your kids like rockets into a future that needs godly leaders.   

That is why Raising Kids to Do Hard Things can best be understood as a Christian household strategy seminar.  Sure, it is a child-training seminar, but not in the way you might think.  The fact is, your household as a whole has more influence on each child’s character and competence than parents by themselves.  Siblings can make or break the process.  So, teamwork can make up for whatever is lacking in your parental skill. It certainly has for mine. My kids run circles around me, and its great!   

In other words, “managing your household well” is the best way to “keep your children under control with all dignity”  (1 Tim. 3:4). It is the household as a whole that serves as the training ground and incubator of future greatness. Every member plays an important part.   

Raising Kids to Do Hard Things teaches Christian families not only why to do hard things, but also how to do hard things together as a family.  In the process it addresses every major area of life – personal, family & marriage, home education, family business, ministry hospitality and civic duty. The works.   

In this Friday evening and Saturday morning and afternoon seminar you will learn how to make your home and family “a household of strength.”   

Learn more here:

This family did just that…check this out…they even took a “shave the head vow” together…Dad and sons…   

They called their challenge "The Winepress"


Click here to see more:   


Take a look at the “after” pictures…this just happened in Yellowstone…click here…   


Got a fantastic email from a dear Brother in the Lord today.  He asks…”Who will be your pallbearers?”   

A Few Good Men – by Dennis Rainey / Family Life   

There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. PROVERBS 18:24     

Tim Kimmel, who along with his wife, Darcy, is a frequent speaker at our Weekend to Remember marriage conferences, remembers the two of them going out to eat sometime around his fortieth birthday. As they were waiting for their meal to arrive, he began doodling a crude picture of a casket on his paper napkin.   

Turning it around to face his wife, he asked, “Darcy, how many people does it take to carry one of these things?”   

“I don’t know,” she answered. “Six. Or eight.”   

“Okay, if I were to die tonight,” he asked, “who would you call to be my pallbearers?” She began giving him a name or two, followed by the names of his brothers.   

“No, not my brothers. They don’t count. They’d be required to be there anyway. I want you to think of people who wouldn’t feel like they had to come but who would drop whatever they were doing if you called them.” Unfortunately, those names didn’t fire so quickly to mind. And that’s when Tim realized that he couldn’t be sure he had enough real friends to answer his roll call for casket carriers.   

That bothered him. He realized that, like so many other men, he had not really worked on building friendships. And that bothered him.   

Since that night, Tim has been spending time with men, pouring his life into them. He is choosing to invest himself in people rather than fritter his time away on trivial, temporary matters.   

You have a lot of choices in front of you—all kinds of ways you could spend your time and energy in the remaining years of your life. Will you use them to draw you closer to others or more deeply within yourself?   

Who would your six or eight pallbearers probably be?

Ask the Lord to show you the value of other people . . . and the mirage of most everything else.  

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Yesterday I happened to be home in my office in the afternoon working on a funeral message for today for Pam’s Grandmother…a dear saint of 94 years old that has gone on to be with the Lord.  My family knows not to bother me if I’m working in my office unless it is VERY important!  Well, who should bound in about 4 o’clock…Clara… 

Clara-so excited!!


 Pardon the poor quality of the picture…it’s from my phone… 

 She bounded in and said, “Daddy, I’m sorry to bother you, but I’ve just got to tell you something!  Can I?”  Well, I saw the excitement on her face and thought…”what in the world is going on?”  She said, “Daddy, I got saved!  I asked Jesus into my heart!”  Well, you could have knocked me over with a feather!  I said, “You did!!?  That’s so wonderful!!  Tell me all about it what you did!!” 

She proceeded to tell me all about it.  She had ridden with Pam and Andrew to Boone to take Kandace’s fiddle to have some work done on it.  On the way back, she said, “Mom, what are ‘doors’ in your heart and how does Jesus come in?”  (She has been asking this type of question for weeks…she is five…but, really has a sharp little mind.)  After a couple of minutes of explanation…Clara said, “Mommy, I’m ready to ask Jesus in my heart…can I do it now?”  Pam, of course was driving, but she said, “Yes, all you have to do is pray and ask God to let Jesus come into your life and save you.”  Well, little Clara bowed her head and prayed quietly.  With fists gripped and much seriousness on her little face (so says Pam)…Clara raised her head and said, “I did it!  I asked Jesus to come into my heart!”  Woohoo!!  Praise the Lord!! 

Clara and I talked in my office for about 30 minutes about what she had done and what it means to be a Christian.  Now get this…she said, “Daddy, I will need you to help me read the Bible every morning.  And Daddy…now I can pray and talk to Jesus every day and He will hear me because I’m saved!”  Isn’t that awesome?!!  She really is SOOOO excited!!  

It got me thinking about salvation and how wonderful it is.  The freedom to know we are indeed saved.  Several times in our conversation Clara told me…”Daddy, I’m so glad that I won’t go to Hell if I die.”  Amen to that!  Hell.  What a terrible place.  And that is the crux of the matter.  So many are on that broad road to destruction and don’t even realize it.  

Now Clara is only five…so we will watch for evidence over the years ahead to see that she is truly a believer.  I believe that she sincerely prayed and asked Jesus into her heart…but, the Bible says, “You will know them by the fruit they bear.”  Jesus said these words…and so we are to look for evidence.  Is there evidence in your life and your family members, friends, that they are saved?  If there isn’t…then, we need to be bold enough to tell them what it really means to be “saved.”  It’s a surrendering of our lives to Jesus Christ that in essence makes Him the BOSS and OWNER of our lives.  We are new creations in Him (2 Cor. 5:17).  Lord help us to be faithful witnesses for Him. 

I rejoice that three of my children know the Lord…  Next is little Andrew.  And in the meantime we will continue to pray for him and await the time when he, too, is ready to pray to receive Jesus. 

By the way, several of you have asked about little Amanda, the little girl with the kidney tumor that we prayed for this past Sunday.  She goes back to Brenner’s Hospital in Winston tomorrow for another consultation to see what they can do about the situation.  Please continue to be in prayer for this precious family. 

Erick, Amanda, Elijah and Alice Langseth

Thanks Dr. Black for your recent blog post this weekend… 


Sunday, September 19 

8:44 AM I was reading John 7:15 this morning and I thought of my good friend and fellow missionary Kevin Brown of Mount Pleasant Baptist Church. Halfway through his teaching in Alaba he asked his class, “How much formal biblical education do you think I have?” Most guessed that he had at least an M.Div. Actually, brother Kevin is completely self-taught when it comes to the Bible and theology.  


Jesus had no formal biblical training either. Yet He taught in a compelling way. “How does this man have such learning when He’s never been taught?” the Jews asked after hearing one of his lessons. Ironically, some of the most compelling teachers I know have had no formal biblical training. And some of the worst exegesis is performed by seminary grads. My friend, you do not need a diploma to teach. Let your words earn their own authority. The Good News of Jesus Christ welcomes all, regardless of educational status. All of us, whether educated or not, can emulate Jesus. He delights in going to the bottom of the ladder. He associates with the lowly. He fights His way through thorn bushes to find a lost lamb. In short, with Him, down is up. 

Amen, Dr. Black!!  Look forward to seeing you and BeckyLynn on Sunday, October 31st…Lord willing!!  

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What a weekend!

What an action packed weekend.  The girls played their guitars and violins at CCM (Craig Church Ministries) annual meeting on the mountain.  I’m so excited the girls can play an instrument.  I sure wish I could.  But, I was all into basketball and now I can barely jump and my knees are worn out!!  Ha!!  These girls will take their musical ability with them throughout their lives.  Something to think about in our sports saturated culture.  Most of us dried up jocks wish now that we could do something else besides watch it on TV.  Way to go girls!

Taylor, Katy, Leah, Kandace


Speaking of training.  Check this little cutie out.  It’s only 1 minute long and believe me…you’ll be amazed!!   


Amazed that a two-year old can do this?  I asked that as a question.  It may seem amazing…but, it isn’t really.  Because two-year old’s are sponges.  They will learn what they are taught.  That can be a Sponge-Bob jingle or the 23rd Psalm.  It goes back to what we choose to train them in…right?   

I taught men this very fact about (training up children…Ephesians 6:4…and how it’s the Father’s job to train the children spiritually) in an Associational Men’s Conference in Henderson, NC this weekend.  I taught on Friday night about being a “Godly Man in an Ungodly World.”  The second session was about becoming a Godly Husband.  Saturday’s sessions were “Becoming a Godly Father” and “Becoming a Disciple Who Makes Disciples.”  Check out this neat email from the Pastor who invited me and the men of the Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church Praise Team to come…   

It was incredible how God used you.  I had men going home to their wives Friday night in tears seeking forgiveness.  Who knows, we may have a surge in membership coming in June.  Men kept coming up to me Sunday and also sharing with others how God broke and encouraged them.  My next step is to get CDs made for our men. Oh how precious is the bitter and sweet Living Word.
I am tempted to go ahead and schedule you for next year, so you will remember what material you covered.
May God continue to do a mighty work at Mt. Pleasant through humble God-fearing men.
Bruce…thanks for those kind words.   We’ve got another conference coming up in October at Mt. Pleasant.  You can register here if you’d like to come…and get this…there is a free BBQ chicken dinner Friday night, October 15th at 6 pm for the men and his entire family who come.
Register here…
Bruce…thanks again for a fabulous weekend with you and your wonderful folks at Central Baptist Church in Henderson.  Check them out at…
Yesterday,  we had the privilege of having Daryl and Rachel Carter with us at Mt. Pleasant.  Rachel is the 2009 Mrs. North Carolina.  What a lady! 

Daryl, Rachel, Jack and Jude Carter


She brought a fantastic message to the young ladies about modesty and Daryl talked to the young men and men about being a man who runs the race well from 1 Corinthians 9.  Check out their ministry at:
Finally, last night the Mexico Mission Team…

2010 MPBC Mexico Mission Team


…that we took to Weslaco, TX and Progreso, Mexico headed over to Granite Falls, NC to share with Covenant Baptist Church.  Covenant’s people are amazing!  So friendly and hospitable!  Fantastic!!  I feel like we are in the first century indeed.  One church helping another church!      

Check out the praying at the altar.  See the children praying as well.  Boy, you can’t get that in Children’s church or in a side room eating Cheetos and watching Veggie-Tales can you?  Awesome!!

Look at 'em praying!!


My cup is full!  Praise the Lord for His marvelous works!!
Oh…one last thing.  Check out this neat video about our founding fathers.  You’ll be shocked that one of our President’s was a Pastor.  I bet you’ll never guess who he is…take a look…

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In his essay, “Why Church?” Dr. David Black writes:

“Missions is the inevitable and indispensable expression of the church’s essential nature as a fellowship of Christ’s disciples. The church is not a hierarchy or an institution but a people in community whose mission is to spread the rule of Christ. The purpose of the Body of Christ is to make Jesus visible in the world. In fact, in the present age the church is uniquely the instrument of the kingdom of God in the world. Thus service to the kingdom means service to the world through missional activity. There is great practical significance to this truth. It means that local congregations must live out their spiritual life not only as church but also as God’s people in the world. Our calling and assignment is to preach the Gospel of the kingdom to the whole world (Mark 16:15).”

I know of churches that spend $35,000 per year on literature, $50,000+ on youth activities?  But what about missions?  Evangelist Tom Skinner once said, “Let’s be honest. We tithe to ourselves.”  So much of what we do as churches is focused inside the four walls for us.

Last year in our association there was reported 200 people baptized with total receipts of almost $8 million.  Do you know what that tells me?  That tells me we as an association spent almost $40,000 per person to get them baptized and brought to Jesus.  Folks that is well above the per capita family income of a typical family in our county!  How pathetic!  Listen, if you think we spent $40,000 on evangelism and missions per person to reach them, you would be mistaken.  We spend our money tithing to ourselves.  We spend money on our “fun.”  Most churches (and ours is no different and we’re working on it), spend as much money on literature supplies and utilities as we do on missions.  God help us for our misplaced priorities!

The Bible says in 2 Chronicles 7:14:

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

It’s up to us, the Church, to start reaching this nation again.  I read in the NC Baptist “Connect” magazine recently that a church that has been around for 10-15 years or more gains nearly 80% of their new members by transfer growth (that’s swapping members), while a church that is a new church plant will gain nearly 60-80% of their new members from folks that have never attended church anywhere and are most likely lost.  Why?  Because the older churches get lazy! 

You see, we have to pay off our buildings, in which we see less than a couple handfuls of people saved each year.  We have to pay for our buses and our vans, as they cart us to and fro from activity to activity that reaches few if any with the gospel.  We must pay for our burgeoning staffs (because the lay people don’t want to do anything any more.)  We’d rather pay to have it done than get our hands dirty.  It’s almost like people are saying: “Don’t try this at home—let the professionals do it, because it may be dangerous for our health.”

We must pay for a myriad of programs (of which, many are so ineffective for reaching people with the gospel that we’re afraid to ask why we still have them), yet we hang on to these sacred cows because we’re afraid of a little blood just so we can keep the flock happy.  And all the while, the new church plant is nimble enough and may I say hungry enough to “seek and save that which is lost,” because they “don’t know any better.”  They aren’t burdened down yet with all the stuff that a “good” church is supposed to have.

Friends, I believe Leslie Newbigin has it right when he says in his book, “The Gospel in a Pluralistic Society:”

“As churches, we’ve got to go as ‘missionaries’ in every sector of public life to claim it for Christ, to unmask the illusions which have remained hidden and to expose all areas of public life to the illumination of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  But this will not happen until, we, as local congregations renounce our introverted concern for our own lives and recognize that we exist for the sake of those who are not members, as sign, instrument and foretaste of God’s redeeming grace for the life of society, as a whole.”

We are involved in a war—a war for the hearts, souls, and minds of our children and our families. The Church has failed to transmit its religious heritage to the next generation. Sermons, in many of our churches across America, are now more “therapeutic” than instructional; our worship services have become grounded more in what we “feel” than in what we think and know about Scripture.

Why is it that the Church, by and large, no longer represents the power of the “action” of God in the world?”  I’ll tell you why.  Because we have compromised the gospel.  The Church has quit training and evangelizing.  The church is literally dying a slow death in America; that is imperceptible to most, but nonetheless is happening…because we are not reproducing ourselves.  Church attendance continues to drop in America and we’re down now to less than 30%.  You see, the goal of Christianity must be to advance God’s kingdom on earth.  Let me be very clear.  The purpose of the church is to be God’s “missionary people” in the world.  We are to be adding to the flock…not just fattening those that are already in the flock, those who are safe and sound.

Isn’t it time to seriously look at all of our programs and ministries and ask if they are effective and if they’re not…then, let’s pull out the butcher knife.  Listen, I am firmly convinced there is no partnership in Christ without partnership in missions.  Are we mission-minded?  Is it really our TOP priority or just “one” of many priorities as churches?

You see many churches are in trouble because they are no longer relevant.  They continue to do what they’ve always done and they are dying on the vine.

S. Michael Craven in his book “They Love Jesus; They Just Don’t Like the Church,” says:

“This generation sees what many are only recently coming to realize; the Church is in a pathetic state of decadence and decay.  It is, to a large degree, fractured, watered-down, and retreating from cultural relevancyBiblical and theological ignorance, apathy and social indifference are a plague upon the Church and what passes for Christianity in many churches is often just a mere shadow of what the Scriptures teach and admonish.”

Oh have we forgotten our mission?  You see, if we are going to be relevant to this “lost and dying” world, we are going to have to remember what our purpose is and what our mission is to be.  We’ve got to care about and love what Jesus loved.  What did He love?  Not a “what”…but a “who”…People!  People!  He said, “I have come to seek and to save that which is lost.”  That’s our mission folks!  As congregations, we must intentionally live as God’s missionary people.  It’s only then that the church will emerge to become what Christ created it to be and it’s only then that we will truly be salt and light and see dramatic changes within the cultural fabric of our churches and even this nation.  The purpose of the body of Christ is to make Jesus visible to the world Monday through Saturday…not just to ourselves on Sunday.  Are you on mission at your job?  You don’t have to be a preacher or missionary to be in the “ministry.”  We are all ambassadors of the Gospel…remember?

But, here’s the problem.  I believe the greatest impediment to the Great Commission is the “great” American Dream?  Is it that the Church in this nation has become like the church of Laodicea that the Apostle John saw in that great Revelation of Christ?  Rev. 3:17…We are rich, having acquired great wealth and are in need of nothing?  But we don’t realize that we are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.  Jesus called that church lukewarm and it makes Him sick to His stomach to the point of vomiting.  Is that what He sees when He looks at us?  Oh, please forgive us Lord!

You know when you boil it down…it all comes down to priorities doesn’t it?  We must remember who we are and what we are to be about as the Church.  After all…aren’t we the body of Christ?  We must remember we are the hands and feet of Jesus?  The Apostle Paul tells us so in Ephesians 3:11-12:

11It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up…

So, it’s my job as a pastor to equip.  Right?  That’s what we just read…yet…churches expect the pastors to do everything in many cases.  And do you know what else?  People like me, pastors and preachers…we have made things this way…we’ve spoiled our people.  Think about it.  The average pastor puts in 15-20 hours a week in message prep.  He gets paid on average a salary of $45,000 a year, and there are somewhere around 310,000 churches in the U.S.  Add all that up, and you’ll see that every week American churches invest right at $140 million in preaching.  That’s a major investment, and what’s the return on that investment?  Church attendance is on the decline.  The percentage of people claiming to know Christ is plummeting, and the moral fiber of our culture is ripping apart.  Can’t we see that we’re missing the boat as Christians and as churches? 

Preaching alone is good…but it won’t save the masses.  We must personally be ambassadors for Christ as we daily “take up our crosses and follow Jesus and bear fruit for Him.”  We must be paramedics with the Gospel (take it to them), not just ambulances (trying to get them to a building).  Then once we lead them to Jesus, we must disciple them.  But, discipling is hard.  It’s time-consuming and not easy.  And it isn’t even happening in our families, much less our churches…by and large.

You see, a large movement today, even in our churches that is replacing missional evangelism are “social causes” like helping feed the poor, provide water and housing for the destitute, etc.  but what about Jesus?  Don’t we have to give them Jesus?  Because…after all, physical comfort such as a full stomach is not synonymous with spiritual life…nor does it lead to spiritual life. The teachings of Jesus and the Scriptures are clear: we are dead in our sins, utterly incapable of spiritual life, apart from the Savior. No amount of physical benefit can ease the condition of the soul. No amount of education, or job training, or economic development, or feeding program, or any other sort of human service is able to give spiritual life. There is no other Savior apart from the Living Lord Jesus!  We must ultimately give them Jesus.  Give them a cup of water?  Yes!  Give them clothes?  Yes!  Give them food to eat?  Yes!  But, most of all dear friend, we MUST GIVE THEM JESUS! 

Will you do it?  Will we do it?  I pray we will. And I pray as churches that it will once again become our top priority.

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I’ve been intrigued by all the recent talk about the female reporter and the New York Jets regarding sexual harassment.  Here’s a paragraph from a report I read online. 

Ines Sainz (photos below) is Mexico’s TV Azteca football reporter. But now Ines Sainz’s alleged treatment by the Jets officials is under NFL review. Over the weekend, Ines Sainz tweeted pictures of herself at the center of the controversy, defending her clothing choice as professional. “Some media claim that I was improperly dressed for the Jets! I was exactly like that!” she wrote to twitpic. 


Ines Sainz Gives Photos from Jets Controversy 

I’ll let you decide what you think.  The Bible is very plain about modesty (1 Peter 3:3-4, 1 Timothy 2:9-10) and about “not letting a hint of sexual immorality” be among you (Eph. 5:3)  This Sunday we are going to address this very topic with Rachel Carter.  She is Mrs. NC 2009 and she will be at Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church this Sunday, September 19th to talk about “Modeling Christ” and “Modesty.”    

Daryl, Rachel, Jack and Jude Carter


Here’s a recent article that was run in our local paper about her coming to the church.  We invite one and all to come and join us this Sunday… 

The winner of the Mrs. North Carolina United States Pageant in 2009 will speak at Mount Pleasant Baptist Church near U.S. 421 West Sunday in the Mount Pleasant community on Sept. 19. Rachel Lee Carter of Newton plans to talk about her early modeling days, her struggles to stay thin and how her industry became her ministry, stated a press release.  Mrs. Carter, wife of Daryl Carter and mother of two boys, Jack and Jude Carter, maintains a successful fashion modeling career while setting limits on the nature of her work. She said that after the modeling industry almost ruined her physically and emotionally, she went back to work on her own terms. “I said I would not do lingerie or alcohol or cigarette ads. I wouldn’t do anything subliminal or provocative or sexual in nature. I knew it would cut out opportunities, but I ended up working more, because I took everything else,” said Mrs. Carter.  At 9 a.m., Mrs. Carter will speak to girls and women at Mount Pleasant Baptist Church’s Reach Center auditorium and Daryl Carter will speak to boys and men in the prayer chapel (old sanctuary). At 10:15 a.m., during the Sunday worship service, Mrs. Carter will share her personal testimony in the Reach Center.

The Rev. D. Kevin Brown, pastor of the church, said, “Everyone is invited, particularly young ladies and guys and their families who have a desire to encourage their children to live for Christ in a culture that is becoming less and less modest.”  Mrs. Carter said being a pageant winner and Mrs. North Carolina United States provided her many opportunities to share with women, teens and children about the importance of being modest and godly in an immodest culture.

“If I was just a woman speaking to them, they might not pay attention,” she said about a recent appearance she made at a DARE program in a gym full of children. “But they are in awe of the crown and the banner. I told them, ‘You don’t have to go the route of alcohol and drugs. I’ve never touched it and look what I’ve achieved. I didn’t need it to be popular, successful and well-liked.”

Mrs. Carter planned to pursue a degree in art, but was discovered by a modeling agency in 1992 and began her career. Through modeling, she has traveled to 30 countries and model for many top designers. These include Cover Girl, Tommy Hilfiger, Clairol, Teen Magazine, Wrangler, Fitness Magazine, Nicole Miller, Greg Norman Golf, DKNY, Reebok, SAKS Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdales.

Mrs. Carter’s modeling schedule is typically up to her, which gives her plenty of time to be with her family. “Ever since Jude was born, I haven’t done much traveling,” she said. “The pageants usually keep me close to home, which leaves time for my family in the evenings and for my two boys during the day. On average, I only go out about twice a week for my career. In fact, I have gotten my family into the business. “Daryl, Jack and I have been working on a photo shoot for the Biltmore Estate. Jack especially likes working, because he enjoys earning his own money.”

Mrs. Carter created Modeling Christ, a faith-based, non-profit ministry that teaches godly principles in modesty, evangelism and Christian identity. Through the ministry, Mrs. Carter shares her personal story of overcoming obstacles.  Years ago, I married a man who had multiple identities,” she said. “He threatened to kill me. Ultimately, I was protected by the police and the marriage was annulled based on fraud.”

Mrs. Carter is an alumnus of Word of Life Bible Institute in Schroon Lake, N.Y. She studied Bible Survey and Systematic Theology with an emphasis on missions and youth ministry. She said God called her to be a professional Christian model, sharing the love of Jesus Christ within the fashion industry and at women’s and youth conferences nationwide.

“I hope that Modeling Christ will be instrumental in the lives of young girls to teach them that they can still be fashionable and trendy without uncovering,” she said. “All Christians are called to the mission field,” Mrs. Carter said. “Whether it’s in your vocation or it is your vocation. I am an ambassador for my faith.”

For more details, contact the church via its website at www.mpbc.ws.

Come join us on Sunday if you can and in the meantime…I hope we will truly think about what is appropriate for God’s HOLY people. 


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