Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for January, 2011

Boy is there a mess in Egypt.

I’m sure you have seen the coverage in the news the last few days. The country is in total chaos. Any way you slice it there is much trouble in that beautiful nation. The headlines aren’t good and the tensions continue to grow.

Most want President Hosni Mubarak gone…

Egypt latest - Mubarak to new PM: Engage with all political parties

He has placed a new cabinet in power. Yet, rioting and looting is taking place throughout the nation with no one stopping it. The news footage is amazing! You might not think what is happening over there…half a world away…matters to us. It does. Believe me! Watch the stock market and gas prices. One goes up (gas) while the other goes down (stocks) based on the instability in the region. Why? Because the Middle East has been and always will be a powder keg.

Little did Abraham and Sarah know that a hasty decision not to wait on the Lord and His promise of Isaac would lead to the birth of Ishmael via Sarah’s hand-maiden, Hagar. Man, do we get in trouble when we don’t wait on the Lord and get impatient. I’ve done it many times. I have gotten wiser (just a little) as I’ve gotten older, but still, I’m all-too-quick to make a decision without giving it proper consideration. How about you? Are you making hasty decisions right now because you think you have to? Be careful! Satan is big-time into “haste.”

Are you still puzzling over the Abraham/Sarah situation with Isaac versus Ishmael? Dear reader, this is the “deal” with the Middle East. Isaac versus Ishmael. Isaac through whom God’s blessings would flow to all people (through Christ). Versus Ishmael, who would be a “wild donkey of a man” and his hand will be against his brothers (See Gen. 16:12). This is what you see in the Middle East today. Israel (from the promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (a.k.a Israel) versus the Arabs (principally from Ishmael’s seed).  In fact, today in the Middle East it has progressed to the point that it’s just about Israel versus almost everybody else. They (Israel) have few allies and even those that have been an ally, like the US, are starting to distance themselves to some degree. When continue to push Israel to give up more of the “promised land” to the Palestinians. Our leadership doesn’t understand Scripture when it relates to Israel. God made a promise to Abram (Abraham):

 1 The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.

 2 “I will make you into a great nation
   and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
   and you will be a blessing.
3 I will bless those who bless you,
   and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
   will be blessed through you.”

If muslim extremists are somehow able to take power (as some are fearful), this could be very dangerous for Israel. Again, why does it matter to those of us here in America. Simply because the nation of Israel is the pin in the grenade that can set into motion the “beginning of the end.” I personally am convinced we are living in the last days. I believe more and more nations that have been sympathetic to Israel will back away. Again, our administration has shown hints of this in the last couple of years. The problem with this is we as a nation are not the “chosen ones.” We have an elitist mentality in America and we somehow think God is obligated to bless us just because we live in America and are Americans. Dear friends, the promises in Scripture were made to Abraham and his people (the tribes of Israel…also none as Jacob, Abraham’s grandson), not America. Sometimes we can be a little smug in the way we look at the rest of the world as if God has transferred the promises made to Abraham and the nation of Israel to the United States. We must pray for the peace of Israel and support God’s chosen. 

Now does this mean we give Israel a “blank check?” No. Yet, we must understand who they are. They are God’s chosen and from Israel’s seed, from the tribe of Judah came the Christ, the Son of God, the Promised One. One day one will come to make peace in the world. His name is the “Anti-Christ.” Could it be that he is alive today? Could it be that he is just waiting to take the world scene by surprise and begin the process of making peace? Could it be that what we see happening in Egypt could be a precursor to his appearance? So, remember this…when you hear anything in the news about Israel or their surrounding neighbors, perk up your ears and listen. What happens over there directly impacts us here in the US.  

Oh, by the way…there is no mention of a western nation in end time prophecy. None. So what happens to America? Contemplate that for a while. I have my own opinions…and they aren’t good (swallowed up by another nation…such as China)…

But ultimately in the end…Jesus comes back and He will rule and reign on this earth. I can’t wait! Even so Lord, come quickly!!

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Anybody that knows me knows a passion of mine is young people. I call them “young adults” instead of “youth.” I don’t really like the term “youth” because it connotes a different meaning than “young adults.” It’s a personal preference I guess. The word “youth” in my mind has come to mean a season of life that embodies that idea of teenagers hanging out together and the peer-driven silliness that often can go with that “scene.” The words “young adults” embody the idea of expectations of teenagers to act like,well…”adults.” The Scriptures teach this.

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12

The young people are to set an example for the other believers in how they talk, live, love, show faith and in sexual and moral purity. Yes…young adults are to “set an example.”

Let me give you an example. I worked for many years at a company called The Hardwood Company. It was a great experience and I met many, many wonderful people. Among those was Aaron Miller. Aaron, like me, has moved to a different venue and is working for a different company, but I was recently re-acquainted with Aaron and his wife Heidi and son, Luke. Luke has recently written about his experience of becoming a believer and his subsequent baptism. He wrote a paper for his seventh grade class. We wrote about baptism. Take a look:

Have you ever been baptized? Have you ever thought about being baptized? Well, you should consider it. Getting baptized isn’t just dunking your head under water and saying you’re a Christian. If you say that you’ve got the wrong idea of Christianity. It’s more than that. It’s saying that you’ve accepted God into your heart and are willing to obey Him and worship Him in every thing you do.  When you go under the water, in symbolizes that your old self is washed away and when you come up the new you is born. When you pray, you want to ask him to make your life better. You also need to pray for other people, tell God what is going on in your life, and most importantly, you need to tell Him and thank Him for the good things that have happened to you. Do you think God wants to hear our complaining all the time? No. He likes to hear the good things too. He likes to feel your happiness.

You are not saved when you are baptized; you have to ask the Lord into your heart before you are dunked in the water.  This is called being saved.  When you ask the Lord into your heart that is the moment when He gives you eternal salvation.  Being baptized just tells other people that you are a child of God.  I was sitting on my mom’s bed when I asked the Lord into my heart.  It makes you feel relieved, like a tremendous weight is lifted off of your shoulders.  You feel happy.

When you are saved, you have to live the life of a Christian.  You can’t just go on being your normal self; you have to live for God.  You have to talk about Him.  You have to be a better person.  You need to be aware of the sins and remove them from your life.  The good and the bad self will fight against each other all the time.  You will be tempted to do wrong a lot.  You just have to ask God to help you fight those battles and make you stronger. If you get baptized, be proud.  Don’t hide it.  Tell your friends all about your experience.  Don’t be ashamed of God.  Some of your friends will disagree with you and you might lose some friends because of their non-belief.  Just know that you are a friend of God, always.

Isn’t that wonderful! This is coming from a seventh-grader! Now tell me what a young adult can’t do! Wonderful job Luke! We are so proud of you! By the way, I asked Aaron if I could share what Luke had said and this was his response:

Kevin,

Luke would be proud for you to share this paper with others.  He got baptized last weekend and has been on fire for some time now. I used to think that kids of his age were too young to understand. I take it back. I’ve had discussions with him about Christ as a child, and the age of knowledge, responsibility and accountability. I explained that when Christ was 12, he spoke plainly in the Synagogue and that now Luke was responsible for his own actions. You never know if a young man is listening or not. I was very surprised when he announced that he wanted to be saved. I was even more surprised when he announced that he wanted to be baptized. Despite my own reservations, I could not and would not ever try to put his fire and lust for knowledge out, because he seems to be filled with God’s Spirit. He has chosen the narrow path that most do not even seem to notice. Please share this with others.

I believe we must simply “raise the bar.”

Our young adults will rise or fall to our high or low expectations. It’s a choice we must make as “adults.” What do we want our young adults to aspire to in this life? Well, I’m starting to get too much “into” the book I’m writing, so I’ll stop here for now.

On another note, speaking of young adults, we had an 18-year-old lead our Wednesday evening service last night at church. His name is Justin Gourley. He taught from Hebrews chapter 2, verses 1-4. Daunting passage! Yet, he handled it wonderfully! He had prepared, studied, prayed and poured much time into “studying to show himself approved” and was an excellent teacher. Thanks so much Justin!

Why would I turn the pulpit over to an 18-year-old? Because I’m raising the bar. I believe in Justin and his desire to pursue and live for the Lord. We have been talking, training and mentoring for weeks for last night’s delivery of this passage. Justin doesn’t have a father that is actively engaged in his life from a spiritual standpoint, so I along with other men in the church have come along-side our younger brother and we are mentoring him. Titus 2 teaches this:

1 You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine. 2 Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance…6 Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. 7 In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness 8 and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us. Titus 2: 1-2, 6-8

This process of mentorship has been lost in many of our churches. We stick the young adults in rooms by themselves and we entertain them and seldom expect anything spiritually from them other than “showing up.” Let’s employ them! Let’s use their gifts and talents and mentor these wonderful young people! They’ve got the ability to do great things! They can do Algebra and Chemistry and diagram sentences. Shouldn’t we expect them and want them to be able to take a passage of Scripture and learn it and share it? Yes, we should! Oh it’s exciting to see that bar going up a little higher and then a little higher and…wow! We will be amazed to see what our young adults can do in the Lord if we will encourage them.

I’m grateful as a 16-year-old, my pastor, Jimmy Hubbard asked me to teach a Wednesday night service. It lasted 12 minutes! Ha! I tell our people, jokingly…don’t you wish for those days again!! 🙂 Seriously, Preacher Jimmy mentored me and gave me a chance and I owe much to this man who was simple, the son of a West Virginia coal miner, yet he saw something in me that said, “give him a chance…raise the bar.” Jimmy is with the Lord now and I’m looking forward to seeing him again and thanking him again for seeing something in me that made him take an interest in me and encourage me.

Who is it in your life that you can do the same? If you are a parent, the first place you should look is your own children or grandchildren. Secondly, you should then look for those in the church that needs an extra bit of encouragement or a nudge in the faith. Maybe it’s an email or a text to them. Maybe it’s inviting them over for lunch after service on Sunday. You let the Holy Spirit guide you, but I encourage you to invest into the lives of our young adults and “mentor” them by making “disciples” of them…one inch at a time. I see that bar rising!!

Read Full Post »

How many gods are there?

I am often asked, “How many gods are there?” That question is usually coupled with the question of “How many religions are there?” I would like to answer the second question first. Well, I should say I will attempt to answer the second question, but the truth is that no one really knows how many religions there are in the world. There are literally thousands of religions.

The eight major ones in our world are Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Shinto, and Taoism. Hinduism, Shinto, and Taoism developed over many, many centuries. Each of the others bases faith on the life or teachings of specific individuals: Prince Siddhartha Gautama, who became known as Gautama Buddha, for Buddhism; Jesus Christ for Christianity; Confucius for Confucianism; Muhammad for Islam; and Abraham and Moses for Judaism. 

So how many gods are there? Many? Thousands to match the thousands of religions, right? My answer may surprise you. There is only ONE god. That one god is the God of the Bible known as Yahweh/Jehovah God. I know what some will say, “Well, he sure is close-minded.” I know there are those that will disagree with my assessment. But, please hear me out first.

There are only two spiritual entities in this universe. God and Satan. While there is much debate as to where Satan came from (cast out of heaven or one of the wild animals of the field, gone bad), he is indeed a “roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.” Now think this through with me. Satan hates God and everything that God loves (namely mankind). Satan is a copycat and seeks to copy all that is God’s. Satan will even counterfeit the Holy Trinity when he (seeking to be “Father”) will embody the Anti-Christ (Son) and order around a False Prophet (Spirit) as a puppet during the Tribulation. Satan will do anything he can to dupe and trick mankind. He started in the Garden of Eden by trying to trick and deceive Adam and Eve and he continues to do so today, primarily through religion.

Satan loves religion. He uses it as a most deceptive guise to trick mankind for he is indeed the father of all religions other than Christianity. Again, think of this. God created the heavens and the earth in the beginning. With God there is no beginning however. God has always existed. He stands outside of time and space. He is the only God. There is no other god other than Satan who seeks to be God. Therefore there is a battle in this universe between only two spiritual entities…God and Satan and their army (God and His angels, and Satan and his demons).

Let me give you an example to put this in context. Allah, the god of Islam, does not exist. He quite simply is the product of Satan’s scheme to trick man-kind. Many want to equate God, the God of the Bible, with Allah, the god of Islam. Many say Allah and God are “one” in the same. They are not, nor could they ever be. Allah is not God. Satan uses Allah as a guise for himself. Muhammad, the “founder” of Islam said he was visited by the angel Gabriel, who revealed to him a verse from the Qur’an indicating the “true” way. I am convinced the angel that visited him was Satan, himself. Satan disguised himself as an angel of light and has since tricked and deceived over 1/4 of the popultion of earth through the religion of Islam.

The religion of Islam is just one example of what Satan has chosen to do. He knows he can’t get multitudes to follow him, so he uses religion to deceive. He is the father of lies.

On the other hand, God is truth. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ to prove He is the truth. How do we know God is truth? He loved the world so much, He sent His Son, Jesus to this earth and Jesus lived as one of us and died for our sins. Yet, He rose from the dead and that’s the key! Jesus proved He was the Son of God because He has charge and dominion over all of life. This is why Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life…” Jesus is THE way. Jesus is THE truth. Jesus is THE life. Jesus is the Son of the only, one, true, living God. Indeed no one comes to the Father (God) except through Him (Jesus). God is the only God. All others are imitations from the wicked and deceitful mind of Satan. So, there are no other gods except the God of the Bible. How do we know? Because of Jesus. God came in the flesh to prove His existence and to prove His love.

I know that’s a lot to think about and perhaps you haven’t thought of this subject in this manner. The bottom line: God loves us so much that He gave us Himself in the person of Jesus Christ, His Son. Amazing love indeed! Only God could do that and more importantly WOULD do that.

Read Full Post »

A Big One?

I told you a few weeks ago I’d give you an update on the month of February regarding winter weather. First things first though. We’ve got to get out of January first. Next Monday night and Tuesday could be a significant storm. I’ve quickly read through some information on the models this morning. (Taking a short break from the book writing…) The models are in remarkable agreement for four days out that we might see a moderate to significant snowstorm develop Monday evening and Tuesday. We have the blocking ridge in place with a massive High pressure that will be funneling cold air in throughout the weekend. You’ll feel it in the winds today and tomorrow. That cold air will stay entrenched just in time for a couple of low pressures that will converge over the southeast (like we’ve seen already three times this winter). If they come together as they look to at this point (only God knows of course…and I love that…His Sovereignty on display), the mountains, foothills and piedmont could get nailed. How much? Too early to tell, but for folks in Wilkes County, it could be our biggest snow of the season thus far. The thing that’s hard to tell is what the temperature in the upper levels of the atmosphere will be doing. If we get some warming…there could be some rain mixed in that would hold down our totals in the foothills. I’m still leaning to all snow though (maybe that’s my heart and not my head…ha! I love snow!).

Now let’s talk about February. Some are tired of winter! I understand! It looks like the blocking ridge in the North Atlantic over Nova Scotia is breaking down. That’s what has given us our harsh winter so far. But, something else is happening on the other side of the US in the Northern Pacific. A huge ridge looks to be developing there. This will shove cold air our way through the first half of February if not longer right out of Canada. We’ll see. If the southern jet sends anything much our way…we could have an interesting February as well!

Read Full Post »

No Greater Joy…

As I’ve been working on the book this week, I can’t get 3 John 4 out of my head. What is 3 John 4?

“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”

Compare that with this headline I read a few minutes ago…

Parents Group Petitions Congress, Attorney General to Investigate MTV for Child Pornography in ‘Skins’ Series

By Meaghan Murphy

Published January 20, 2011| FoxNews.com

Is MTV a purveyor of kiddie porn? The Parents Television Council wants to find out.

The media watchdog group called on lawmakers and law enforcement officials Thursday to open an investigation regarding possible child pornography and exploitation on the cable network’s new series “Skins.”

“On January 17, the Viacom-owned cable network MTV aired a teenager-based drama, ‘Skins.’ The episode included all manner of foul language, illegal drug use, illegal activity as well as thoroughly pervasive sexual content,” PTC President Tim Winter said in a letter sent to the chairmen of the U.S. Senate and House Judiciary Committees and the Department of Justice. “Many of the actors appearing in the show are below the age of 18. It is clear that Viacom has knowingly produced material that may well be in violation of [several] federal statutes.”

This show is obviously complete and total garbage, as is everything on MTV and I mean everything on that network. MTV is absolutely ruining the minds, hearts and souls of many of our Christian young people. I read a survey about a year ago (can’t remember where now), but it said that just as many “Evangelical Christian” teens watch MTV as those that were considered “Non-Religious.”

Oh how that “pains” my heart! I love young people. Anyone that knows me even a little knows that about me. I have taught young adults all my life and continue to teach them by being many “young adults'” pastor. I am meeting the next two Mondays with college students on campus at ASU in Boone, NC and I’m meeting with a couple of students before church on Sunday. I love it! I love mentoring and I love encouraging.

But, do you know where my greatest challenge is? My home. That’s right, my own home. The Bible teaches me that if I can’t manage my own household well, then I am disqualified for being an elder/pastor. That’s found in 1 Timothy 3:4-5. Here is what Paul told Timothy regarding qualifications for an elder/pastor:

4He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, 5for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church?

This is sobering Scripture. I’ve got to get the job done in my house if I’m going to be qualified to be an elder/pastor. If I can’t manage my own household, how can I manage the church? Sad to say, because of this passage, there are some pastors that probably out to resign the pulpit today. I tell my children often that they are crucial in our ministry. If they get out of line, and show they are unruly, disobedient and wild, then I’m disqualified and would have to resign the pastorate.  You say, “That’s too much pressure to put on them!” Is it any more pressure than we put on our children to make straight A’s or hit a home run? Don’t we put pressure (have expectations) for our children to make good grades and try to get a scholarship to college?

Why is it that we have all kinds of goals for the areas of academics and athletics, but almost none spiritually? How is it that we know so much about how our kids are doing in their classes, but have little or no idea if they are reading their Bibles? Why is it that we talk in detail about how to follow-through on a jump shot but seldom talk about the upshot of Paul’s letters to young (teenage) Timothy? We spend time doing what we “value.” We value the “two A’s” in America most highly, (even among Christians). We value academics and athletics.

If our kids are making good grades and doing well on the field, court, dance floor or lesson room, we’re “good to go.” But, we seldom think about the spiritual. What are our spiritual goals for our children? Do we have any? I know we have goals for our children. Let’s see, make good grades, graduate, go to college, make good grades, graduate, get a job, make good money, get married, have kids, work 40 years, make good money, (I’ve said that three times for emphasis), retire and enjoy our money and…

And…die I guess. Then the judgment. Ok…I’m standing before the Lord and He asks me, “What was your greatest joy, Kevin?” What will I say? What will you say? John said, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” Dear reader, we’ve got to understand that there are no trophy rooms in heaven for our kids’ trophies and there aren’t any rooms in heaven to hang up our diplomas. There is nothing wrong with sports and academics and pursuits in either area, but where’s the balance? How do we balance these things with the eternal…the spiritual?

Jesus said, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these other things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33. What are we seeking first? What are our kids seeking first? What is their spiritual temperature? What is yours? Are we hot, cold or lukewarm?

Folks, my heart breaks. There is a passion burning inside of me to implore us to seek God’s kingdom first and focus our children in God’s direction first! May our greatest joy concerning our children be their desire to follow Jesus and be His disciple. Anything less than this…well, it’s an idol in our child’s life. And do you know who we have to blame for that?

I’ll put it this way…whatever we make our kids crave is their god. Do you know what’s going on in your child’s life spiritually? Are they truly a believer in Christ and a disciple of His. Is Jesus their boss? Find out! Talk to them about what’s important…really important. Because one day it won’t matter what they made on their Chemistry test. It won’t matter if they went 10 for 14 from the floor in their basketball game or they won three trophies at the weekend competition. What will matter is what they did with Jesus and what they’ve done for Him.

Dear Lord, please help me to be the godly husband and father I MUST be to get the job done in my home! Jesus, help us all, please!

Read Full Post »

I just had to share this. I had a friend of mine send me this link a few days ago. I bookmarked it because I knew I wanted to read it for information about the book I’m writing. It’s a short article, entitled “Why teens, young adults are leaving American churches,” that hits the nail on the head why I’m writing my book on Rite of Passage. We must have a way (a pattern of living) to show our young adults why faith in Christ is the most important pursuit in life (not an education, money, success, material possessions, happiness or retirement in Florida). This “way” is a Scriptural pattern that begins for the child at birth.  Here’s the article…

I am going to send Ms. Young a copy of my book when I’m done. Yes…as she says at the end of her article…”we need to throw up our hands and pray,” but there is more, so much more…and it’s found in the pages of Scripture. The Bible shows us the path to raising teens and young adults that will be grounded in their faith and not walk away. Do I have all the answers? No way! I don’t ever want to imply that I do. Yet, the Word of God is our guidebook and it is a “lamp to our feet and a light to our path,” and I believe it shows the way. Ok…back to the book…

Read Full Post »

As many of you know, I’m writing a book. Literally! I’ve been typing all week! My fingers are tired! Ha! I have finished the first three chapters. The book is entitled: “Rite of Passage-How to Raise Christ-Centered Young Adults.” The first chapter is an introduction and the second chapter is about the concept of Rite of Passage (What it is and why it’s needed). The third chapter is a detailed look at the role of the Church in helping young adults to reach spiritual maturity. I’m beginning chapter 4 today. It will be about the “role of the home” in making disciples.  

This has been a daunting undertaking. I’m loving it, but there’s a lot more to writing a book than just sitting down and typing away! There is much research to be done and much prayer and study. Again, I’m not complaining at all. I am learning as I go what is involved in writing. This process has been a huge blessing to me. I certainly am developing stronger fingers, wrists and forearms! Ha!

As I have been studying, I’ve spent some time at George Barna’s website. Barna is the research guru of the Christian community (in my opinion). As I was reviewing some information for the fourth chapter (coming up), I ran across a survey he just completed this past summer (July 2010) about how our young adults are more and more “ashamed of the gospel.” Take a look:

Ashamed of the Gospel?
The most striking change was the fact that teenagers today seem much less inclined to have spiritual conversations about their faith in Christ with non-believers. The survey question specifically asked if the survey respondent had “explained your religious beliefs to someone else who had different beliefs, in the hope that they might accept Jesus Christ as their savior.” Among born again Christian teenagers, the proportion who said they had explained their beliefs to someone else with different faith views in the last year had declined from nearly two-thirds of teenagers in 1997 (63%) to less than half of Christian teens in the December 2009 study (45%).

Kinnaman noted: “Christian teenagers are taking cues from a culture that has made it unpopular to make bold assertions about faith or be too aggressively evangelistic. Some of the Barna Group’s other research shows that the vast majority of these students agree with the statement it is ‘cool to be a Christian.’ Yet fewer young Christians apparently believe it is worthwhile to talk about their faith in Jesus with others.”

Other spiritual changes in teen lives were less dramatic, although statistically significant. Sunday school participation has declined from 35% of all teenagers in 1997 to 30% of teens in the current study; small group attendance was down from 30% to 21%; the proportion of teens who reported donating any of their own money to church has softened from 35% to 26% over the last dozen years; and even the typically ubiquitous practice of prayer has dropped from 81% to 71% among teens since 1997.  

Why are our young people ashamed of the gospel? As you ponder, let me ask another question. Why are we ashamed of the gospel? Can I give you my answer. IMAGE. We don’t want to ruin our image. What image? Our image of ourselves. A graven image if you ask me. We have made an idol to ourselves about ourselves. We don’t want anyone to look at us as weird or strange. We just want to blend in…like a chameleon…

Isn’t it easy to simply blend in to our surroundings? Amazingly in Ethiopia (where I’ll be travelling back to this Fall…November 16-30 with Katy and Kandace), there are no chameleons. If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, you stick out like a tomato in a basket of bananas. Why? Because Christians in Ethiopia are the “real deal.” They are willing to risk their lives. They are beaten up, stabbed and even murdered for their faith in Christ. Their fields are burned, crops destroyed and families threatened. This is a picture of a man named Tessema. He was beaten (can you see the head wound that is healing) for his faith in Christ.

Here is the vehicle that the church in Alaba, Ethiopia uses. Those riding inside were attacked because of their faith in Christ…

Living in conditions such as these would cause one to question whether or not it is worth it. Becoming a chameleon sounds pretty good! I mean, who wants to be killed! Come on, why don’t these people just keep quiet! What good will it do anyone if they are killed? How can you be a witness to someone if you’re dead, right?

Do you see how Satan can slip these thoughts into our minds and “shut us down?” But let’s be honest. We don’t face anything like this in America. No one is going to through rocks through our vehicle windows or club us in the head for being a Christian. All we face is a little verbal ridiculing and we wilt. Why? Is it because we have grown soft? Is our faith so weak and untested that we are mushy and flabby, like a jellyfish.

You know, a jellyfish has no backbone. No backbone. Backbone. Hmm. Do I have a “backbone?” A spiritual backbone that is? I’m not talking about an “in your face” backbone? I’m talking about a quiet, gentle spirit that mimics Christ…  The Apostle Peter explains what I’m trying to say:

14 But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats. 15 Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. 16 But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ. 1 Peter 3:14-16

Oh, by the way, many have asked about an update on BeckyLynn. Here’s an email exchange between the two of us. She is amazing!

Sent: Tuesday, January 18, 2011 10:05 PM

Subject: thoracic surgeon appt.

Well, we’re back from the appointment with the thoracic surgeon. The long & short of it is that the metastatic cancer is too numerous and too wide-spread to do any type of surgery; 4 of the 5 lobes have cancer in them, and all the tumors are deep in the lung tissue. So VATS and open-chest surgery is out. But he can assist with the CyberKnife radiation on the 2 larger lesions. This means doing a bronchoscopy to place little gold balls inside the lung tissue that is next to the tumors. The gold balls will guide the high-powered radiation, so that minimal healthy tissue is hurt while trying to kill the cancer tissue.

Get this….they will do another PET scan, and then feed that data into the bronchoscope, and with that data the bronchoscope tube will be guided automatically to the lesions in the lungs. Amazing! Soon we won’t need doctors at all….just connect up a computer! We have no data that the CyberKnife radiation will work on metastatic cancer, but we seriously have no other treatment option. So we’re planning for the PET scan next Wed, the bronchoscopy next Thursday, the CyberKnife simulation the following week, and the actual CyberKnife radiation soon after that. We plan to Knife the 2 larger tumors now and possibly the 2 smaller ones later, if CyberKnife seems to have an effect.

Please pray for our insurance to approve this treatment; sometimes they balk at “unproven” treatment ideas. Exhabier awolkol….”God knows” in Amharic….and we rejoice in His omniscience.

Rejoicing in a glorious God!

BeckyLynn

From: Pastor D. Kevin Brown [kevin@mpbc.ws]

Sent: Tuesday, January 18, 2011 10:58 PM

To: Black, David

Subject: RE: thoracic surgeon appt.

Thanks for the update Mama B! We continue to move forward with you in this journey. Our journey is mostly unseen. It’s in prayer and through prayer that we hold your hand as we intercede to the Father. We love you so much!

Kevin

From: Black, David

I love you, too! Isn’t it wonderful how God created Love….it is invisible, yet visible; it is focused, yet trans-continental; it is a point in Time, yet is for all eternity. It is God in action in our lives. It always blows me away when I stop to consider all those who stop in their day to pray for me…over & over & over again! Week after week & month after month! What a blessing to me. You should have seen the 2 doctors yesterday….both were saying in amazement (after an hour of examining the CT scan) “you’re so well, so strong…the last thing we want to do is take that strength away from you in a surgery that won’t help in the long run”. And they are right…I’m well & strong…and I’m sure that much of that is due to the prayers of God’s people for me! Life is about using our resources, strength, intellect, connections, time, to serve others & help them in their need, for the sake of the Gospel…….and by God’s grace, I will continue to live, even while dying. We must all work for the Night is coming….my Night is just a bit more dramatic at the moment, but everyone’s Night is coming. The question is: are we working for the Kingdom while we have Day?

Sorry for the little sermonette 🙂 This sense of urgency to be about the Father’s business is at the forefront of my mind. Please pray for wisdom to know how to prioritize the moments. There are so many things I want to do, but which of those things will have a serious impact on others for Him? His Spirit must show me, apart from my own desires.

Love yall SOOOO much!

MB (Mama B)

Becky is not “ashamed of the gospel,” nor are our brothers and sisters in Ethiopia. I am challenged and encouraged. Paul said: “For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes— (Romans 1:16)” I pray we will train ourselves and our young people to be willing to die for this Good News about Christ. Paul also said, “to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” What a wonderful thought…in life or in death it doesn’t matter…either way…we get Christ!! So, why should we have reason to be ashamed? We should rejoice!!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »