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Archive for November, 2011

Who makes you think? Huh?

Who makes you think? I mean really think?

David Alan Black makes me think and I mean think hard! I met Dr. Black (He hates it when I call him that…but, I can’t help it…he wants me to call him Dave or Brother Dave…but, old habits die hard…my momma taught me manners… :).) about five years ago. I’ve been to Ethiopia with him twice and I’ve slept in his home and he in mine. And boy does he make me think. Here’s a picture of Brother Dave…

Dr. Black praying with children in Ethiopia in 2009

You may ask, What does he may you think about? Everything! Really! He challenges me in so many areas that I can’t name them all. Now, do I always agree with Brother Dave. No sir. But, he doesn’t always agree with me either. 🙂 But, I say that to say this. He challenges me to go outside of how I’ve been raised and trained and in many cases, duped. Yes, duped. Duped by myself or through tradition or well…you name it.

Dave you might remember was the one that highly and heavily encouraged me to write my first book. This time last year I was up to my eyeballs in “Rite of Passage-Raising Christ-Centered Young Adults” and I was asking myself, “What have I let that man talk me into!” But, it was a wonderful journey and labor of love and I have reaped many, many benefits from the labor and I pray others have as well. But, I would have never written the book if Dr. Black had not pushed me…and I mean pushed me hard. He’s like bulldog that won’t stop!

Do you have someone like that in your life? Do you have someone who holds you accountable and makes you think about what you do and why you do it? Do they have a license to make you mad? In Hebrews 10:24 (NLT) the Bible says: “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.” In the Greek it means to “stir up” each other or literally to “irritate” like you do when you squirt dishwashing liquid in water and you agitate it with your hand. Dave does this for me and I thank God for him.

If you haven’t been to his blog, I’d like to encourage you to take a look. Now it’s not for the faint of heart…especially in the church. He “tells it like it is,” so be prepared. But, that’s what we need in our day and age of political correctness and “beating around the bush.”

Before I share with you some of his post from today, I will say this publicly:

Dave, thanks so much for all you have done for me and for challenging me and for speaking the truth in love! I love you as my brother in mentor and thank the Lord for you and Becky Lynn.

One final note before the post. My blogging will be very limited going forward through the remainder of this month. This month? Yes…this month. I leave with Katy and Kandace and Dale Jennings and a team from Roxboro next week for Ethiopia. The load to get done before then is well…more than I want to think about right now. 🙂 But, God knows all that needs to be accomplished. I will blog if I can, when I can… Blessings to all!

Here are snippets from the last few days of Dr. Black’s blog to whet your appetite.

Monday, November 7

6:31 PM Good evening, friends. Today Becky and I enjoyed a long and
enjoyable drive through the Virginia countryside. The weather was beautiful and the trees full of color. The beauty of the Piedmont in the fall beggars anything else. I think I told you that we will be in Hebrews this week in our NT 2 class — Hebrews being the most non-anonymous of all the anonymous NT writings. (Read chapter 13 and you will see that the readers knew exactly who the author was.) The general consensus of opinion, not only in the academy but now also on the street, is that the apostle Paul could never have authored anything as magnificent as Hebrews. You may have guessed by now that I do not necessarily agree with the majority on this issue. I have little time, however, for such matters these days. Work, real scholastic work, is piling up, and my
anticipated leisure after the weekend’s campout has failed to materialize.
Tonight, however, I have no energy for anything other than snuggling up with my latest book purchase (a tome on the Battle of Chancellorsville).

7:45 AM Hello bloggers.

Yesterday I had a lot of fun giving a message about how God is beginning to shake the foundations of the way people in the church think about the kingdom. I spoke about obedience — not necessarily huge, momentous decisions, but little, tiny steps of discipleship. The kingdom is a subtle contagion. It expands one small step of obedience at a time in our lives. For example, Jesus turns power and authority on its head, and His followers say, “Okay, makes no earthly sense to us, but if that’s what the Master says, it’s good enough for us.” Before his conversion to Christianity in AD 200, Minucius Felix said of the Christians, “They
despise titles of honor and the purple robe of high government office …
calling one another brother and sister indiscriminately.” He noticed how
radically different the kingdom of God is from all versions of the kingdoms of this world. The radical vision of a Calvary-like kingdom is so new to me that I sometimes forget that it’s been around for almost 2,000 years!

The congregation I spoke to yesterday is, I think, catching a vision of this cruciform kingdom. Christendom is dying a slow death in America. The church is becoming wary of cheap optimism under religious auspices. Jesus is calling us not to a picnic but to a pilgrimage, and the path is anything but easy. Anything can happen. You can get hurt, and you may be killed. I challenged the congregation to fight “the real battle of Jericho” — to become aware of the danger of becoming so busy with the
trivial that we never get around to kingdom business. Like the Pharisees, we can get so fussy about washing pots and pans and wearing robes and phylacteries and being called rabbi and seeking high places in the synagogue, and all the while tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom ahead of us.

Blessings,

Dave

2:57 PM Speaking of true biblical manhood, in our Philippians
class this week we were reminded of the fact that the apostle Paul was not unaffected by raw human emotion. In 3:18 he writes, “I have told you this many times before, and now I repeat it with tears in my eyes: there are many whose lives make them the enemies of Christ’s death on a cross.”

I encourage you to read more from Dr. Black’s blog here…

 

 

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The Occult

I don’t know what it is, but I’ve started something. It started with last week’s Fall Festival at church where I talked about the origins of Halloween and how it has turned into a pagan holiday. Sunday I mentioned the same thing. Here’s some of the notes from my sermon text…

Tomorrow is Halloween…

…which is really a pagan holiday where, as a nation, we glorify ghouls and goblins and blood and gore, demons and witches, and such. We shouldn’t you know. The Bible teaches us that these things are pagan. I shared Wednesday night at our Fall Festival about the origins of Halloween and what the Bible says in Deuteronomy 18. Which is that: “there should not be anyone among you who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or is a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or one that seeks to inquire of the dead.

The Bible says these are an abomination to the LORD. We must be very careful with our children when it comes to things of the occult and horror movies and things that seem innocent like “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Sabrina, the Teen Witch” and “Harry Potter” and “Paranormal Activity.” Next thing you know…it’s soothsayers, 1-900 psychic lines, tarot cards

 and Ouija boards.

and Horoscopes (that I call HORRORscopes)

Click to view

After all, Satan only needs a crack in the door to pull someone in to the occult and the spirit world that is unseen. Enjoy the candy and the princess and Spiderman costumes, but leave the celebration of blood, gore, witches, devils and demons at the curb, shall we?

After Sunday’s service I was stopped by a lady who said she wanted to talk about the occult. We talked and set up a time to talk again. In the meantime, Halloween has come and gone, but as the week had gone along, I have continued to be approached about things of the occult. It’s been amazing. So, I have this thought: Why do some many “Christians” dabble in the spiritual realm of overt evil and darkness? I don’t know that I have a single answer for that. Why would a “Christian” want to dabble with these things?

Tonight, on Facebook I saw where a college student said that they were really scared by a new horror movie that just came out. Seems innocent, right? I just want to offer this suggestion to anyone who will listen. Stay away from things that are full of evil. I could go deeper…but, I don’t think I really need to. You get the picture.

Parents, do you know what your kids are watching? I’ll say it again…it just takes a crack and the door can be shoved open into the unseen and dark spiritual world. The Bible says in Ephesians 6:12 “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

It’s important that we are aware of this unseen world. If you want to see it in action. Read Daniel, chapters 8 and 9. If you’ve never looked at these chapters in detail, you might miss the fact that the angel Gabriel and Michael are involved in spiritual warfare against demonic forces who are trying to thwart God’s plan for revealing a vision of the “end times” to Daniel. It’s amazing and awe-inspiring Scripture.

Here’s the gist of this post. When people talk about Halloween, they talk about ghosts and such. Read carefully here. GHOSTS DO NOT EXIST.

When a person dies, their spirit leaves their body and goes to Heaven or Hades. For the Christian, “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.” That’s Heaven. Unbelievers, upon their death, go to Hades. Luke 16 gives an example of this from the lips of our Lord.

Therefore, there are no ghosts floating around on the earth. But, there are demons. How do they make themselves visible? Well, let’s look to Scripture, shall we? Isn’t that where we’re to turn? Please don’t go to Hollywood and the movies that have produced that are in most of our brains.

In Scripture we see that demons possess unbelievers. A believer can NOT be possessed by a demon, because we are sealed by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:14). Jesus cast out demons from men, women and children in Scripture and they recognized Him as the Son of God. Mark records this for us…

23 Suddenly, a man in the synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit began shouting, 24“Why are you interfering with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One sent from God!” 25 Jesus cut him short. “Be quiet! Come out of the man,” he ordered. 26 At that, the evil spirit screamed, threw the man into a convulsion, and then came out of him.

As far as I can see in Scripture, demons only possess people. They don’t float around as ghosts (contrary to movies that depict ghosts and the sort, such as “Paranormal Activity.”). So, what powers do demons have? Great powers. Think back to Moses and the duels that he had with Pharaoh and his magicians. They could even make snakes out of wooden sticks, just like Aaron did with his rod. But, Aaron’s snake ate the magician’s snakes.

During the Tribulation period, the False Prophet and the Anti-Christ will do signs and wonders as well. Satan has power, no doubt. So, we should respect the spiritual world and not dabble in things that are supernatural. I pray that we will not be tricked by Satan in his subtle way of luring us into his world.

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I know a group fo 46 “courageous” men. Want to see them? Here ya go!

These 46 men came to the church at 4 pm Sunday afternoon and signed a resolution together. It was an awesome experience. We dressed for the occasion and had our wives and children with us as well.

Here are some shots of the event…

Me and my beautiful bride...

I’m so blessed! I’ll have been married 21 years to this lovely lady on December 22nd.

I'm reading the Resolution...

As men…we talked about the fact that signing this document meant we were going to take a stand as men. In essence we are digging in together like soldiers and we look to the left and look to the right and we see men who are willing to fight for their families…

When Nehemiah led the campaign to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem against the enemy, he said:

13So in the lowest parts of the space behind the wall, in open places, I stationed the people by their clans, with their swords, their spears, and their bows. 14And I looked and arose and said to the nobles and to the officials and to the rest of the people, “Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes.” Nehemiah 14:13-14

What is this “Resolution” I’m talking about? Well, it comes from the recent movie “Courageous.” In the movie, men decide they want to be Godly husbands and fathers and they get together and sign a “Resolution” stating such. I’ve shared it before, but here it is again:

The RESOLUTION


I,__________________________________________________

do solemnly resolve
before God to take full responsibility for myself, my wife, and my children.

I WILL love them, protect them, serve them, and teach
them the Word of God as the spiritual leader of my home.

I WILL be faithful to my wife, to love and honor her,
and be willing to lay down my life for her as Jesus Christ did for me.

I WILL bless my children and teach them to love God
with all of their hearts, all of their minds, and all of their strength.

I WILL train them to honor authority and live
responsibly.

I WILL confront evil, pursue justice, and love mercy.

I WILL pray for others and treat them with kindness,
respect, and compassion.

I WILL work diligently to provide for the needs of my
family.

I WILL forgive those who have wronged me and reconcile
with those I have wronged.

I WILL learn from my mistakes, repent of my sins, and
walk with integrity as a man answerable to God.

I WILL seek to honor God, be faithful to His church,
obey His Word, and do His will.

I WILL courageously work with the strength God provides to fulfill this resolution for the rest of my life and for His glory.

 __________________________________________________________________

                        Signature                                                                      Date

___________________________________________________________________

Witness                Date                                         Witness                             Date

As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. – Joshua
24:15

Here’s some more pictures…

Me and my Dad, David Brown

One of the greatest moments of the day was having the privilege of signing my Dad’s Resolution and then, in turn, he signed mine. I really, really love my Dad!!

More families...

The looks on the children’s faces were priceless as they watched their dads…

Men and their families

Men were stationed around the room in front of their families like Nehemiah placed the men in front of their homes when rebuilding the low places in the wall. Powerful imagery!

Why did we do this? Because, it’s time men step up and start leading their families. We have a “man” problem in our country…it’s that simple. The problem with America is not our government or Hollywood or the schools or teachers or coaches, it’s not the churches either. It’s the Dads. We’re missing in action. You see, if we get the men right, then our families will be right. If we get the families right, then we’ll get the churches right and if we get the churches right, then we’ll become salt and light tot this nation and we’ll see the nation change. Until then, we’ll continue to go down the proverbial tubes.

In 1960 only 6% of children were born without a father in the home. Today it’s an amazing 41%. Among African-Americans it over 70%. Can you see the problem? We have a disaster morally in America because Dads no longer turn their hearts toward their children. As men, we have forsaken our families for the pursuit of many things: power, success, money, fame and popularity. In so doing, we no longer have a vision for our children, because our hearts aren’t turned to them. The last word in the Old Testament in Malachi is this:

5“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. 6And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.”

Malachi 4:5-6

Interestingly, after a 400 year silence, we find the first word in the New Testament is the same thing (Luke 1).

John said in 3 John 4, “I have no greater joy than to hear my children are walking in the truth.” Is this true of you, sir? Is that your GREATEST joy for your children? Or is it for them to hit a ball over a fence or make a lot of money so they can live a comfortable life? What do you brag about concerning your kids—whatever that is—that’s the thing you are programming in your child to crave. Whatever they can’t get enough of is their god.

Do you have a vision that outlives you own life? I call that a multi-generational vision. If this world goes on, what will your great-grandchildren say about you? Or will you even be remembered? 200 years from now…will your name still be talked about in your family?

God said about Abraham in Genesis 18:

For I have chosen him (Abraham), so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what
is right and just, so that the LORD will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him. Genesis 18:19

On Sunday afternoon, as men, we realized that signing the Resolution was going to take courage and sacrifice. We realized we would have to make adjustments to our schedules and priorities. Some may have to change jobs, sell a house, quit a hobby or
start telling a lot of people “no,” I can’t do that or this or the other. The promotion may have to wait or the extra hours to buy the nice new whatever.

We realized that we’ve got to be there for our wives and children. Our wives need us, men! They need help with raising the kids. They need us to lead in the area of discipline, and in fact, the Scriptures tell us that it’s our job to teach and train the children spiritually. The Bible says, in Ephesians 6:4, “Fathers, do not frustrate your children, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”

Our wives need us to love them like Christ loved the church. He died for the church. It’s easy to say (as a man) that we’ll take a bullet for her, but will we fold a load of laundry or give the kids a bath or load the dishwasher? Will we speak as nicely to her with the same level of kindness and respect as we do to the ladies at the office?

Listen Dad’s…the sacrifice we must make will be in direct proportion to how much we value the mission. You ask, “What is the mission?” It’s building a generation of young people who will be strong enough spiritually to make it in a world that is now mostly “anti-Christian” and “anti-God.” We must turn our hearts toward home! We must provide for them!

You say, “I provide for my children.”  Ok, great!  But, in what ways?  We say we are providing for them….but, I would tell you that it’s almost all “materially and physically.” What about spiritually?

We’ve got to fight to build up our families and build a generation of young men and women who can lead in difficult days to come.

I asked the men to see the finish line at the end of this journey? I ask you to do the same. For some, you are at the beginning of this journey with small children
and a young wife. Or, if you are like me you have been at this a while, but I’m
still learning and I’m still trying to take more ground against the Enemy. For others, you, are grandpas and yet you still have sons and daughters, but they are in their 30s, 40s or 50s. You look back and you know, like me, that you have failed in many places and in many ways as a husband and father. But, no matter what has happened so far. We can finish strong! Dads, we MUST finish strong! They deserve it! They will be
the ones that will be sitting on the front row under the little tent in the graveyard at our funeral. Do you see? Nothing else will matter then…only those people under that little funeral home tent.

Men, can you see what your children can be? Let’s carry out that vision. Yes, your kids might deserve a college fund…or perhaps a trip to Disney…but, what about a godly father, or grandfather? It’s time that we start choosing Abraham over Algebra (education) and Jesus over Jerseys (sports). It’s time that we dig deep and make the greatest commitment we could possibly make for our wives and our children…and that’s to be determined to be the man that God desires us to be!

His warriors!

Dad’s if we turn our hearts toward home, then we will say with the Apostle John…

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in
the truth. 3 John 4

If this is going to be the case, then we must have a spiritual vision that outlives our lives through our children and grandchildren. We must count the cost and then live
“Courageous!”

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