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Archive for February, 2012

Attitudes

How’s your attitude? You might say, “Pretty good.” We always tend to think we’re doing pretty well about things regarding ourselves. But, seriously… How is your attitude? How would you rate it on a scale of 1 to 10. 10 being perfect. 7 maybe… 7.5? How ’bout a 5 or 4.5? We can look great to the world and kind of fake it…but, inside our homes is where the “real truth” is.

So, what dictates our attitudes? Health, circumstances, money, weather? Yes…I believe all of those things can dictate our attitude. But, who’s in control of our attitudes? We are! Yep…we are in control of how we choose to think aren’t we? We control our attitude…plain and simple.

Ok…mom and dad… How’s your children’s attitude? Hmm. That’s a little tougher isn’t it? How’s your attitude toward them and how’s their attitude toward you? Rate it. Be honest.

You know there is a HUGE problem in our culture today in the Church, because so many so-called “Christians” aren’t genuine. There are many people who claim to be Christians and yet, we hear the Word of God and do NOT keep it. We do NOT follow the teachings of the Lord in our attitudes. We do NOT obey His commands. Jesus said, “Why do you say you love me and do not keep my commands?” And we know we are commanded to turn the other cheek and walk the second mile. So, why don’t we?

I believe it’s because we get selfish and we want what we want. We desire for happiness and comfort and if we don’t get it and things don’t go our way…well…we pout.

We excuse our attitudes though by saying, “Well, I’m not cussing or smoking cigarettes or drinking or having sexual relations outside of marriage, so I’m good to go.” But, how about our attitudes? How about how we speak to one another? Is it kind? Is it gentle?

The Bible says:

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. Ephesians 4:29

A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1

The beginning of strife is like letting out water, so quit before the quarrel breaks out. Proverbs 17:14

Is corrupt talk coming out of our mouths? What is corrupt? It’s anything that isn’t godly. So, when you “run down” and “talk” about others, that is corrupt talk. When you answer in an angry tone, you are stirring up anger. Are you trying to stop quarrels or are you starting them?

Imagine Jesus being beside of you all day today. Imagine him being right over your right shoulder. Imagine him hearing all that you say and do? Now, don’t think about this fearfully or as in some sort of “negative” way. Think about it positively. He’s not trying to “catch” you into doing wrong and wag his finger at you and say, “No, no, no!” That’s not it at all! Instead he’s there to say, “Let me help you. Let me live through you. Use my strength and let me speak on your behalf.”

All we need is a half a second to catch ourselves before we speak and say something we shouldn’t. Ask him to help you today. I am.

You know, we have a choice. We can either leave “tracks of peace” where we go…or “tracks of strife.” I am blessed beyond words. I have a wonderful family, a roof over my head, food in my stomach and clothes on my back. What have I got to complain about? How ’bout you?

Let’s see…my attitude… hmm…

It was a 7. But, I’m going to take it to a 10. Why? Because I’m going to allow the Lord to live through me and I’m going to choose a good attitude.

File:Smiley.svg

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Why am I here?

Why am I here?

Have you ever asked yourself that question? Why did God make mankind? Why are we here? Have you considered lately that God has always existed and there has never been a time when He hasn’t existed? Can you grasp that? Remember, no one created God. He doesn’t have a mother or a father. He has always existed. He’s God. He’s all-mighty, all-knowing and exists everywhere (omnipresent).

But, why did He create us? Why does He need us?

God is a relational God. He exists in a family. The Father, Son and Spirit. He is three, yet one. Hard to grasp, I know. It is for me. Yet…He desires to give love in a relational way, because God is love. The Bible teaches this.

He is love. And in that love He gives us a choice to love Him back. Even the angels got to make a choice. Lucifer had a decision to make in heaven whether or not he would worship God. And he decided he would not. He said I will not worship God (Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 will give you the details). Yet…God gave Lucifer the boot. He was kicked out of heaven to earth. Yet, Satan is so deceitful that he tricked and convinced 1/3 of the angels to go with him to earth. Can you imagine? Leaving the presence of God to go with Satan to earth. What a deceiver Satan is. Oh, what a “master” of deceit!

Yet, we (mankind) have a choice too. God created Adam and Eve for His own pleasure (more on that in a minute). Yet, He gave them a choice as to whether or not they would serve and obey Him at the foot of a tree in a perfect paradise. They decided not to obey. And so, God came in the form of His Son to pay for our sin (our wrong choice…which is basically to choose ourselves).

But, what about us? Do we choose to serve Him? If so, why do we serve Him? Is life about food, clothes, money, houses, education, sports, cars, marriage, 401-k’s? No…it’s about God.

Ok…I know some of the things that we’re trying to understand here are somewhat “deep.” But, we need to be able to grasp and understand life. We need to understand why God created the heavens and the earth and ultimately, us. And I love to try to grasp these things. Why? Because understanding these concepts gives us purpose and meaning.

Peter says we need to be able to give a reason for the hope that is in us. We need to be prepared to make a defense for what we believe and ultimately why we exist.

1 Peter 3:15

15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.

So, this is why we try to understand our purpose as humans…our reason for existing. Again, it’s not about us or our pleasure. But, we are so immersed into an “it’s all about me” culture, that we can’t see beyond ourselves.

So, let’s go back to the beginning. We’ve got to understand the beginning…

Genesis 1:1

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

It has often been said, “If you can accept and believe the first four words of the Bible, you’ve got the rest.” I agree with that statement. After all, the Psalmist in Psalm 14:1-3, when he said:

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”
They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds,
there is none who does good.

2 The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man,
to see if there are any who understand,
who seek after God.

3 They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt;
there is none who does good,
not even one.

The Lord is looking down from heaven and sees us. Did you catch that in verse 2 above? He sees you right now. He wants us to seek Him and to understand Him. Jeremiah tells us that God will be found if we seek Him.

Jeremiah 29:12-14a

12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, declares the Lord…

Get it? He will be found when we seek Him with all our hearts.

So, let’s summarize for a quick second…God created us and put us here and He will be found if we seek Him. Do you believe this? We better! And it simply takes faith…

Hebrews 11:6

And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

Do you believe He exists? I do. It’s that simple. I choose to believe…yet…do you know where the faith comes from? It comes from hearing a word about Jesus Christ. Faith comes from God. Romans 10:17 tells us so:

Romans 10:17

Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.

Confused yet? I hope not. The Apostle John saw Jesus and this is what he said about Jesus…

1 John 1-4

1 We proclaim to you the one who existed from the beginning, whom we have heard and seen. We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands. He is the Word of life. 2 This one who is life itself was revealed to us, and we have seen him. And now we testify and proclaim to you that he is the one who is eternal life. He was with the Father, and then he was revealed to us. 3 We proclaim to you what we ourselves have actually seen and heard so that you may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4 We are writing these things so that you may fully share our joy. (NLT)

John says, “We’ve seen Him!” John says, “He is the life!” So, life is Jesus Christ. That’s why He can say in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth and the LIFE…” Jesus is life. There is no life apart from Him. You can’t have life through sex, drugs, alcohol, money, success, fame, possessions. You name it…it’s all counterfeit. We are here because He is here!

Jesus is the life and one day He will be totally revealed to the World. The book of the Revelation teaches us so…

Revelation 1:1, 7-8

1 The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place.

7 Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen. 8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

You see…He is the beginning and the end. He is the Alpha and the Omega. He is and was and is to come… Get it? It’s real simple.

He IS

WAS

…and IS TO COME

He’s everything! And one day, we will…

Revelation 4:10b-11

…fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying, 11 “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”

So, why am I here? For Jesus. Because ALL things were created by Him and for Him and we exist for Him.

So, to the degree that we find our “life” in Him, is to the degree that we will truly “live.” Unfortunately, most people have never lived and sadly, I’m convinced most Christians have never lived. Why? Because we haven’t found our lives in Him.

I’m 43 years old and I can tell you that there is no life apart from Christ. Whatever you choose to do in your life, if it’s not geared with Christ at the top…you will not truly live. You’ll be living a counterfeit of what you could have. Jesus is the Life!

Why am I here?

For Jesus.

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Wow! What a Week!

Let me tell you…I’m pooped! It’s been one of the best week’s I’ve had in a long time…but, I’m glad to be coming off of a heavy load this week. I thoroughly enjoyed being involved in the Revival meetings at Bethel Hill Baptist in Roxboro! What a wonderfully kind, hospitable and generous people! They took care of me like family!!

I’ll share more on that in a minute…I’ve just got to show you a couple of cute pictures of Andrew and Clara sledding last Sunday on what looks to be our only “snow day” this winter…

They had a blast in that whopping 1 3/4″ snow we had!

I saw this sign at a church (not Bethel Hill) last week. Do we really need to have our minister’s parking at the front door? Shouldn’t that be reserved for guests? I park in the back of our building so as not to even take a space. What do you think?

Well…back to the folks at Bethel Hill. Here’s the folks at the “Hill.” What a delight…

They have a wonderful Praise Team…that’s Woody Jacobs on the far left…he allowed me to stay in his home while in Roxboro and that’s Pastor Jason’s wife beside of him. Her name is Molly.

Molly is a super lady…super cook…and super kind…with four fantastic kids… Here’s Molly and her daughters Kaitlyn (foreground) and Kylie. They prepared me breakfast on Thursday morning! Yum, yum!!

Here’s Cindi Jacobs in the NC State shirt. That’s Marshall and Leigh Humphries to her left and right and that’s her son Caleb in the back. What wonderful, wonderful folks! Thanks for taking care of me Cindi!

Here’s the room I stayed in while in Woody and Cindi’s home. It is their daughter Abigail’s room… It’s a lovely shade of pink…

It was very comfortable and had a bathroom. So, I was VERY “taken care of!” Thanks Abi!!

One of the supreme privileges for me during the week was to speak to Dr. David Alan Black’s New Testament class at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary on Wednesday. I think I was the first “non-seminarian” to have delivered an address to his class. The folks were very kind.

Here’s what Dr. Black said about the adventure on his blog…

In my NT Gospels class on Wednesday Kevin Brown brought a wonderful word. I tell you, that man is a lean mean talking machine. What did he talk about? What didn’t he talk about? He covered marriage, family, child raising, home schooling, church tradition, baptism, deacons, elders, missions, Michael Jordan, and more. His lecture lasted for 2 hours and 15 minutes but he held everybody spellbound, myself included. Thank you, Kevin, for bringing us back to the roots of our faith and for reminding us that Jesus really can and does change lives.”

Thanks for the opportunity Dr. Black! It was an absolute honor!

Dave is a jewel. The way he loves and takes care of his classes is amazing. He truly desires for the students to learn and grow in more than just “book knowledge.” He wants and desires for them to have a heart for Jesus and spreading the Gospel globally.

Southeastern is a beautiful campus! I’m telling you it’s gorgeous!

This is a shot inside the Chapel on campus! Can you say, “Wow!”

What a week indeed! I really believe the Lord moved at Bethel Hill and they indeed were “revived.” Now, that’s me talking and I was leading it…so what do I know, right? 🙂 But, sincerely, I felt that many families and individuals experienced the presence of the Lord and there were breakthroughs in many lives. Truth is…you never really see the genuine results of a revival until about 2 months later. It’s what “lasts” that matters. The rest is emotion and fluff. I really believe there will be lasting results at the “Hill.” Praise the Lord!

I came back on Thursday and stopped off for hospital rounds at Forsyth Hospital and then to work on a talk at the “Keeper’s of the Faith, Father/Daughter Banquet” on Thursday night. Katy and I had the privilege of sharing together. That was a “first” and very neat! We talked about the fact that it’s the father’s responsibility to protect the daughter’s heart and deliver her to the altar for her husband…pure and holy. That’s not happening in our culture. We’re not intentional as fathers about our daughters purity. I’ll blog more on this later. Katy spoke about allowing the father to protect her heart. She said, “You are either going to do it all the way and let him…or you are faking it and there is no middle ground with purity.” She’s right!

Katy and Kandace sang a beautiful song that Katy wrote recently, “You’re Enough.”

They harmonize well together. Usually that is the case with siblings. Their voices are “tight” together. I’m glad they sing like their momma! 🙂

Here are the daughters that participated. Don’t they look beautiful?

There was a special time for us fathers to share purity rings or necklaces with our daughters. I had previously done so with Katy and Kandace. But, we had a great time with a father/daughter dance together…

Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers anyone?

Can I be honest…I think this was a first for me doing so with my girls. I’m not much of a dancer…but, I must tell you…this was very special for me and I found myself wiping tears when no one was looking.

Andrew was “duded-up” too…along with my lovely bride of course…

Well…it’s been a great week! I finished the sermon for Sunday last night about 10:30 and so…today…rest…housework…and hanging out with the family! I’m a blessed man!!

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On the road…

I’m on the road this week in a wonderful place known as the Bethel Hill Community in north Roxboro, NC. I’ve been leading in revival meetings here since Sunday night. We’re having a fantastic time in the Lord. And I must say that we had a real breakthrough last night. I preached a message about owning our “spiritual box” (meaning we must own our faith…it can’t be the faith of our parents or a church or anyone’s, but our’s). At the conclusion of the service, the altar was indeed full of folks praying and crying and reaching out to one another and the Lord. Honestly, I feel like I’m on a mission trip. As my grandpa used to say, “I’m worn ‘slap out.'” But, as Gomer was found of saying on the Andy Griffith Show, “But, I’m having the time of my life.”

I guess I need to tell you how I got here. Ultimately, it’s because of my relationship with Dave and Becky Lynn Black. I met them through Dr. Black’s book, “The Myth of Adolescence.” A former student of his, Mark Eller, who is now our Wilkesboro, Chick-Fil-A franchise owner, gave me Dr. Black’s book. I devoured it and then called Dr. Black and asked if he’d come speak at our church on the subject. He did and the rest is history. On his trip he shared about the mission work he and Becky Lynn do in Ethiopia and I was hooked. That’s been over four years ago.

This past weekend we had the Black’s at our home…

Becky Lynn and Nigusse (a dear friend and brother in Christ from Ethiopia, who is getting his Master of Divinity at Southeastern Theological Seminary, while living with the Blacks) came and spoke at our church. Here’s some great pics of our fun!

Dr. Black and Kandace were playing tunes together. Dr. Black on the guitar and Kandace on the violin and mandolin. It was great fun!

The Jennings family came over and joined us! Great to have Dale, Lori and Chloe with us. Dale is a long-time, Ethiopia verteran.

I must tell you that Nigusse (who is from Ethiopia and is a pastor at a large church in Alaba, Ethiopia) saw his first snow!

 I know it’s hard to see…but, that’s snow falling outside our window after lunch on Sunday. After lunch, Nigusse, the Black’s and I headed to Roxboro. The snow, ice and rain followed us the entire way. By the time we got to Roxboro, the roads were getting white and Nigusse was getting a little nervous. He said, “It’s slick like Ethiopian mud.” I said, “Yes it is…but we’re almost there.” He said, “I’m glad.” 🙂

They got almost four inches! The kids made a snowman of me… “As tall as you are,” they said!

Here’s the beautiful, Bethel Hill Baptist Church…

The people are so lovely and wonderful to me!

Here’s Mary Jacobs. She is the mother of the family that is allowing me to stay in their home. She cooked a meal for about 25 people last night. You talk about a hospitable lady! Wow! And she said that I could be her adopted Grandson! I said, “YES MA’AM!”

Take a look at this plate of food! Yum, yum!!

Sorry the picture is sideways…I’m running out of time…I’m speaking shortly in Dr. Black’s New Testament class at Southeastern Seminary today. 🙂

Jason Evans is the Pastor at Bethel Hill. He and his wife are amazing! Her name is Molly and they have four wonderful kids. Jason and I truly kindred spirits in the Lord. I love this guy!

Here’s his son Kasen…He’s a hoot!! He’s got on my black hat!

I’ve been staying with Woody and Cindi Jacobs. Woody is the son of Mary, (my “Grandmother”) I showed you earlier. He’s a hoot too! He was serving us pie last night at his momma’s.

What a joy to be in their home this week. This is their house. They are right beside of the church. The cemetery is attached to their property. Thanks for giving up your room for me Abigail! (Their daughter.)

There’s a quick update from the road! Thanks for all the prayers… More to come when I get back! Chow for now…

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What is more addictive than cigarettes or alcohol? Social media. Facebook and Twitter are dominating many lives. I read an article recently that really put into perspective where we are today in regards to our beloved gadgets and gizmos.

Person on phone

Take a look…

A new study suggests that social networking services such as Facebook and Twitter are more  difficult to resist than cigarettes or alcohol.

A team from the University of Chicago’s  Booth School of Business recently conducted an experiment involving 205 people  in Wurtzburg, Germany  to analyze the addictive properties of social media and other vices.

Participants in the week-long study were polled via BlackBerrysmartphones  seven times per day and asked to report when they experienced a desire within  the past 30 minutes, and whether or not the succumbed to that desire. They were  also asked to gauge each desire on a scale from mild to “irresistible.”

In total, 10,558 responses were recorded and a total of 7,827 “desire  episodes” were reported by participants. The results of the team’s study will  soon be published in the Psychological Science journal, however preliminary data  provided to The Guardian suggests the highest rate of “self-control failures” were tied to social media services.

“Modern life is a welter of assorted desires marked by frequent conflict and  resistance, the latter with uneven success,” said Wilhelm Hofmann, the leader of  team conducting the study. Hofmann suggests people may fail to resist social  media so much because there is no obvious or immediate downside to checking  services like Twitter or Facebook. He does warn that these services can  ultimately be a huge drain on users’ time, however.

“Desires for media may be comparatively harder to resist because of their  high availability and also because it feels like it does not ‘cost much’ to  engage in these activities, even though one wants to resist,” Hofmann said.

”With cigarettes and alcohol there are more costs – long-term as well as  monetary – and the opportunity may not always be the right one. So, even though  giving in to media desires is certainly less consequential, the frequent use may  still ‘steal’ a lot of people’s time.”

Amazing. That last statement… Did you catch it? “Stealing people’s time.” How much time do you spend on the computer, cell phone, tablet? How much do I? Probably too much. I see people walking into walls and into people all the time because they’re checking the latest tweet or status.

But, here’s the real concern I have. Yes, I know some adults that are totally addicted to social media, no question…but it’s the young people that I’m concerned about. Teenagers particularly. Why? Because it’s hard to tell themselves, “No.” They have access to their gadget 24/7. Kids are texting in bed under their covers at night.

How much time are they spending on social media? Dad/Mom…do you know? Do I? My kids have access to social media and we discuss and monitor their time on it. But, this issue is going to be with us forever. There is no escaping our phones, computers, tablets, and technology in general. So, we must “manage” it. We must guard our time.

Do you know what really concerns me? It’s that time drain. Many kids as young as 8 and 9 years old have cell phones. Is it too much too fast?

It’s an older study…but, check out these statistics in an 11.8.07—Fox News Article, the NEA—National Endowment for the Arts: “To Read or Not to Read”

  • 72% Percent of high school graduates are deemed by employers as “deficient” in reading and writing.
  • Less than 50% of 9 year olds read more than 5 books per year just for the enjoyment of it.  Less than 20% of high-schoolers.
  • The study says, the lack of reading is the most important socio-economic issue in the United States

Pretty sobering statistics if you ask me.

Mom and Dad…we must be intentional about what goes on in our home. My wife tells me that often. “We’ve got to be intentional, Kevin.” She’s right! We must make sure that we are teaching and training and that the important things get done. Does this mean a teen can’t be on Facebook? No. I think that would be overboard. But, how much should they be updating their status. Well, that’s something we need to discuss as families.

How do we want them spending their time. Christian parents…shouldn’t we want and desire to teach them the things of God? We’ve got to make the time. We must carefully and intentionally direct our children and yes, ourselves.

To see the full article, click here.

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Fun!

I sure have had fun the last couple of weekends. Want to see?

Well…I’ll start with this weekend and work backwards…

I told you about Andrew’s decision to accept the Lord Jesus as his Savior and Lord. Well…here he is at his baptism…

This is our “team” of four that we baptized yesterday. Emma, Bradley, Julia and Andrew. What a team! We are on the Family of God Team!

Incidentally, we’ve baptized 27 people so far in the last four months. God is blessing immeasurably. Here’s a good picture of Andrew while I’m praying…

And finally…the plunge…

I’m a proud father for sure! The Lord has blessed me beyond my wildest imagination.

As I think of Andrew, I think of our adoption of this little boy with club feet, a testicular hernia, among other things wrong with him. He was a mess. But, now to see him flourishing is a testament to the hand of God. Thank you Lord!

I also had the privilege of marrying a wonderful couple on Sunday. Joshua Holey and Lauren Privette are two of the finest people I’ve ever met. They love the Lord Jesus and they don’t mind to share this truth in their wedding! We had a worship experience on Saturday!

Can you tell they were having a good time?

What a blast!

Here’s four good looking ladies that Andrew and I got to sit with at the reception…

Oh…speaking of the ladies…

It’s official…Kandace has got Katy by 1/16 of an inch!

My Aunt Norma is in the background having a great time watching to see the verdict.

Ok…no we’ll jump back to two weekends ago. We had our annual sportsman’s banquet. We had a massive crowd of over 600 people.

That’s weatherman Austin Caviness of WXII-12 out of Winston-Salem giving the key-note sermon/address.

And on top of that we had a guest appearance by something that crawled out of Ashe County…

Only Geoff Farmer could pull of his act of being “Elmer Fudd.” Geoff…you did a fantastic job!

You know I asked the crowd (with heads bowed) how many were sure they were going to heaven if they died. About 35-40% of the crowd could not raise their hands. Yet, when I asked who would like to pray to receive Christ, only 8 hands were raised with only one coming forward to actually pray to receive Christ.

I think about the thousands of people who followed Jesus during His ministry. He fed 25,000 to 30,000 on a mountainside with a few fish and some bread. Yet in Acts 1:15 it tells us that at Pentecost there were only 120 believers. That’s it. Yep…Jesus said, “Narrow is the way and few there be that find it.”

My little boy at this point has found that way along with the rest of my children. I’m grateful!

And, yes…I’m having fun! Why? Because attitude is a choice! And I can even have fun wearing a Duke Blue Devils hate… Yep…I told a buddy of mine…Randy Nichols…that if the Devils beat my beloved Tar Heels I’d wear a Duke hat. Well…eat your heart out Randy!

But…remember…March is coming!! 🙂

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Unless you have been living under a rock, you have heard I’m sure by now some of the predictions that the world is going to end in 2012. Those that are following the Mayan Calendar are saying the world will end on the Winter Solstice, Dec. 21st. This is when the Maya’s “Long Count” calendar marks the end of a 5,126-year era.

Image Gallery: The Mayans

Part of the 2012 mystique stems from the stars. On the winter solstice in 2012, scientists say that the sun will be aligned with the center of the Milky Way for the first time in about 26,000 years. This means that whatever energy typically streams to Earth from the center of the Milky Way…

a photograph of the Milky Way, rotated 90 degrees…will indeed be disrupted on 12/21/12 at 11:11 p.m. Universal Time. Now if you believe this, I’ve got some swamp land in Florida I’d like to sell you that would make a good site for a home. 🙂

Here’s the point…no one knows when the world is going to end. As a believer and someone who puts his faith and confidence in the authority of Scripture (the Bible), I know that only God knows these things. However, I will say this. As we approach November and December this year, there will be a heightened interest in this discussion and the “what if” questions will be flying around everywhere. It will be like “Y2K.” Remember that? It’s just been 12 years since all of that hysteria. But, we as Christians will have a great opportunity to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with people. So, let’s not miss the opportunity.

You know I think there is something much more important to consider when we talk about 2012 and it’s not the presidential election (even though that will be VERY important). I believe we need to focus our attention here.

Map of Middle EastSee that little country listed as #2? That would be Israel. See that big ole country named Iran? Iran’s president is Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Nuclear Talks

He has made it very clear that he wants to wipe Israel off the map. If you follow the news at all you know that he desires to produce a nuclear bomb. Many believe with the help of Russia this is being accomplished. We need to understand what all this means in the mind of a Muslim. Now please hear me. I’m not anti-Muslim. In fact, I pray the Holy Spirit will speak to Iran’s president. I literally pray for his salvation. I don’t wish him harm, because Jesus said we are to pray for our enemies and those who persecute us. So, I do.

But, when people want to talk about “end times,” it’s really not the Mayan calendar we should be looking at. Instead we should be looking at the prophetic “calendar” of Scripture. Many scholars believe the Bible in Ezekiel 38 and 39 describes an alliance between Iran and Russia, China and some smaller Arab nations, who will come against Israel and seek to destroy her. Could this be happening now?

What are the motivations of Ahmadinejad? It has been widely reported that he believes that the Shia messiah (the Muslim messiah) known as the “Twelfth Imam” or “Mahdi” will appear soon to establish a global Islamic kingdom known as the “caliphate.” What is that? Well, it is refers to the first system of government established in Islam.

In theory, it means the head of state, the Caliph, must govern according to Sharia law (the moral code and religious law of Islam). Again, it is widely reported that Ahmadinejad believes the way to hasten the coming of the Twelfth Imam is to annihilate Israel (which they call the “little Satan” and the United States, which they call the “Great Satan.”

Why am I sharing all of this? It’s real simple. This man…

File:Benjamin Netanyahu portrait.jpg

Benjamin Netanyahu, who is the Prime Minister of Israel, is not going to put up with Iran developing a nuclear warhead that could destroy his nation. He’s not going to allow Iran’s leadership to make good on their promise to wipe Israel off the map. So, even our Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta…

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is expressing new concerns about Iran’s underground nuclear program. He told Washington Post columnist David Ignatius in an article (found here) that he’s worried Israel may decide to attack Iran as early as this spring (April, May or June). This is the first time we’ve heard such a specific timeframe. Panetta has made clear in recent weeks that Iran would cross a “red line” by developing a bomb and that if that occurred, all options, including military action, would be on the table.

But folks, Israel is less patient than we are. Many believe Israel’s red line would be crossed when Iran has the material to build a bomb.  In other words, it appears they believe that by this spring Iran will have stockpiled enough highly enriched uranium to produce a nuclear warhead. By that point, it will be too late for Israel to act alone. Unlike the United States, Israel does not have the capacity to strike  Iran’s hardened enrichment facilities 200 feet underground. That, along with Iran’s arsenal of missiles that can reach Israel, add to Panetta’s concerns that Israel is preparing to strike as early as this spring.

Let me give you another potential clue about Israel’s intent to bomb Iran. They have cancelled long-planned joint U.S.-Israeli military exercises that would have culminated in live-fire drills this May. The Israelis apologized for postponing the exercises, and a Pentagon spokesmen said at the time of the cancellation the Israelis explained they needed to postpone in order to “assume optimum participation.” What does that mean? Simple…it suggests their forces could be needed elsewhere.

So, don’t worry about the Mayan calendar. Just keep an eye on the Middle East. And in the meantime, remember the Lord is in control.

Take a look at this picture my cousin Brett Cothren snapped from his home on the Wilkes/Ashe County line last Sunday. Take comfort that our Father in Heaven sits on the throne of this universe…no matter what anybody says about what might happen in 2012. But, I’ll ask you…if it did end in 2012 or today…would you be ok with that?

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