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Archive for August, 2012

71 days and counting…

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71 days and counting…

That’s how many days until the wedding for Katy and Josh and the question I continue to get is:

Aren’t you sad?

The answer is: NO!

I’m excited! But, I will be honest and tell you that I have had my moments. I am going to miss Katy terribly and so will the family. We are savoring these last days together before Katy leaves. Its as if she is going to go on deployment (as she will go through as a Marine wife, when Josh goes on deployment). Yet, we know the Lord will give strength for those times as well.

Pam’s sentiments are the same. She told someone the other day that it would be a shame to raise a child just to keep them in the nest. We see this in a lot of homes. The children are “raised” but aren’t leaving home. 30+ year olds continuing to live with their parents. No. We believe Katy is prepared and ready. We are excited for her and Josh!

You know the Bible says that children are a blessing and a heritage from the Lord and blessed is a man who has a quiver full of them. A quiver is the container that’s worn as a container on the back that holds the arrows. The archer reaches over his shoulder and pulls out an arrow, places it in the bow, pulls and off the arrow goes…

Katy is an arrow that I’m pulling out of the quiver and will soon shoot from the bow. I am convinced because of her faith and trust in Christ that she will shoot long and straight. It will be hard to watch her go…yes… But, isn’t that why we raise children? We raise them to let them go.

Now please understand that Katy is 18 and it seems like yesterday she was running around as a 2-year-old. I’ve been told all my life how quickly children grow up, but that fact has really slapped me in the face. So, I will say to any of you who have smaller children, please savor and enjoy the time with them. Know that they are more important than work, exercise or hobbies. Know that they desire you more than they do trips, things or material possessions. Small children would rather crawl up in your lap and you read them a book than you buy them a toy. I’m telling the truth here. They want time with you. Children spell love: T-I-M-E. If you have bought into the lie that “quality” time is better than “quantity” time, you would be wrong. Children want both.

Why do I tell you all of this? Because one day you will be like me and it will be:

71 days and counting…

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Testing…

Well, it seems like it’s been forever…but, I’m back. Before I bring you up to speed… I need your help. I’m updating my servers and if you are on my email list and receive updates on when I blog and you want to continue to receive those updates, you will need to subscribe by clicking here…

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Well, what a journey it’s been over the last couple of weeks. I’m certain that you have been through seasons of life where the pace is so hectic and there is so much going on that you feel like you are going to be swamped. Well, that’s been me. Now, please understand, I am not complaining. Honestly I’m not. The Lord has taken me through a season of testing and has shown me many things. I’ve been challenged, encouraged and my confidence in the fact that I’m where I’m supposed to be (pastoring at Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church) has been galvanized in my mind and that of my family. Praise God for His provision and for His guidance through prayer and the Word. God is good!

Last week we began the weekend with a trip to get fitted for a tux for Katy’s wedding… Doesn’t Andrew look cute…

I got fitted too…

We worked our way to Central Baptist Church in Henderson, NC near Oxford or about 40 minutes north of Raleigh. Katy and I shared on Saturday night. Katy shared with the ladies and girls and I shared with the men and boys. Katy shared about purity and saving yourself and trusting God for your future mate. I shared from Judges 3 about the great young man named Ehud. On Sunday I preached and we had a young lady come to Christ and just this past weekend I was told another young man prayed to receive Christ which he said was a consequence of the weekend before. On Sunday evening Katy, Kandace and I shared about the mission work we are doing in Mexico and the church is extremely excited about joining us with a group to come down in June 2013. Central Baptist…we love you! What a great church and wonderful people! Special thanks to Keith and Lori Hawkins for showing such wonderful hospitality and “bedding us down” while we were there! You are fantastic hosts!! We love you!

We headed from there to here…

This is the entrance to the Marine Corps Air Station and Base at Cherry Point, NC. The base is about 20 miles from Atlantic Beach, NC. Katy’s fiance, Josh Isaacs is stationed there. We had to do some wedding planning, because he’s heading out for deployment to Alaska in September. He’ll be back about 2 weeks before the wedding. The wedding is November 10th. So, time is of the essence! 🙂

While there, we worked on many things. One of which is a budget. Yes…a budget. Every family ought to have one. If you don’t, then you are probably struggling financially. If you have one and stick to it, then it might be tight and difficult, but you can survive. We also took some pictures for their engagement announcement. Kandace was the photographer…

They got some great shots!

I love that one! How bout this one…

Kandace is a great photographer isn’t she? Look at this one…

While there…we went to the area where they will be living after they are married. They will live in a place called Slocum Village that is beside of the base.

These are duplexes and they are cute little homes.

For those interested…you can check out the floor plans. There are 2 or 3 choices and they average about 1,100 square feet with a couple of bedrooms and a bath and a half. Very nice.

Floor plans of base housing at Slocum Village

We had a super time. Much planning took place. It’s hard on Katy and Josh as they part. It’s back to Skype and text messages, but the days are dwindling down…less than 2 1/2 months now until the big day.

God is good. He is faithful and through the seasons of life he can be trusted. Don’t fear. Don’t be afraid. I read this from Oswald Chambers today. May you be blessed…

Every time you venture out in your life of faith, you will find something in your circumstances that, from a commonsense standpoint, will flatly contradict your faith. But common sense is not faith, and faith is not common sense. In fact, they are as different as the natural life and the spiritual. Can you trust Jesus Christ where your common sense cannot trust Him? Can you venture out with courage on the words of Jesus Christ, while the realities of your commonsense life continue to shout, “It’s all a lie”? When you are on the mountaintop, it’s easy to say, “Oh yes, I believe God can do it,” but you have to come down from the mountain to the demon-possessed valley and face the realities that scoff at your Mount-of-Transfiguration belief (see Luke 9:28-42). Every time my theology becomes clear to my own mind, I encounter something that contradicts it. As soon as I say, “I believe ’God shall supply all [my] need,’ ” the testing of my faith begins (Philippians 4:19). When my strength runs dry and my vision is blinded, will I endure this trial of my faith victoriously or will I turn back in defeat?

Faith must be tested, because it can only become your intimate possession through conflict. What is challenging your faith right now? The test will either prove your faith right, or it will kill it. Jesus said, “Blessed is he who is not offended because of Me” Matthew 11:6). The ultimate thing is confidence in Jesus. “We have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end . . .” (Hebrews 3:14). Believe steadfastly on Him and everything that challenges you will strengthen your faith. There is continual testing in the life of faith up to the point of our physical death, which is the last great test. Faith is absolute trust in God— trust that could never imagine that He would forsake us (see Hebrews 13:5-6).

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I’m going to share with you my daughter, Katy’s blog post entitled “Do We Even Care.” It’s good. And then some thoughts on tattoos and body piercing. Take a look:

Do We Even Care?

Do we even care about what?
We have one life. Despite all of the “earthy” talk of karma and such, the Bible says that we live once. If you are a follower of Jesus, you live forever in Heaven…. But, we have one life to live in this manner on this earth. One chance to live it.
I was thinking about how much time out of my life I lose because I focus on myself. In the past few months I’ve seen incredible things happen in my life. I’ve seen God move in my life. I’m so blessed that I have gotten to experience this journey thus far. Yet, I wonder how many things I miss because of where I focus day to day.
I read in the Bible about Joseph in Egypt, David as king, Esther as a queen, Peter as a fearless leader… even people like Gideon, or King Hezekiah, or Ruth. God must have had super good plans for their lives. They must have really had purpose. Well, I just don’t have purpose like that. I will never save a nation from starving, lead an army to battle for the Lord, I’ll never save a whole people from destruction, I’ll never proclaim the Gospel to thousands of people all at once… I’ll never do anything close to those things. I may not. I may never do anything like that. It’s probably a good thing if I don’t do some of those things. So what? Am I supposed to sit back like a lot of other Joe’s in our church pews and critique the pastor’s sermon? I just live and get by?
Somewhere deep inside of us as followers of Jesus, we know that God has a plan for our lives, but we as a whole really don’t seem to care enough to follow it or even find out what that is.
You may expect me to say that David was just an average shepherd, and Esther a poor Jewish girl, and so on and so forth. And you would be right, they were those things. But yet, they weren’t. Here is where they were different that I often am:
They had open hearts.
They were ready and tuned in to God’s plan.
David wouldn’t have gotten to kill Goliath if he hadn’t had to do the drudgery of killing a bear earlier. Joseph wouldn’t have been second in command under Pharaoh if he hadn’t been in command of the palace prison for almost a decade leading up to that. They proved that they were “usable.”
Sometimes I think that I can become usable to God if He suddenly decides that He needs me for a project or something. Why can’t I stay prepared? I may get the opportunity to tell thousands about Jesus or I may just be expected to tell that girl over there on the bench outside of Walmart about Jesus. I might just be expected to sacrifice to invite others into my home along with my family, just to encourage a hurting soul.
God’s not going to give us a big job, if we can’t handle the “everyday” of serving Him. All of those “Bible heroes” were chosen because they had an open heart. They wouldn’t have been the Christians that leaned back and said, “God must not have that big of a plan for me.” Their purpose was what was ahead of them. Great or small.
God has a purpose for you. Don’t wait for it to come to you. Go to it. He isn’t hiding it from you. A good place to start is the Word of God… the Bible. I pray that whatever it is, whether it be easy or hard, great or small, we will do it with all our hearts.
I love you all! Thanks for reading!
Well said my dear Katy!
I read an interesting article by Danny Akin, President of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary concerning: “Was Jesus Silent on Same-Sex Marriage?” It’s here if you would like to take look. It’s well written.
Finally…many people ask me about getting tattoos or body piercings. This video below is 28 minutes long and I highly recommend that families sit down and view this together. It’s an excellent Biblical presentation about tattoos and body piercings. This would be a great video to show in young adults Sunday School classes or even in young adult meetings.

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Did you know Satan has a plan for your family? He does. He wants to desensitize you and them to sin. He wants you to fall asleep at the wheel. How does he do this? Very subtly…without us even noticing. Let me give you an example.

Most of us have been watching at least some of the Olympics and no doubt you have seen the commercial advertisements for the new fall TV show on NBC called, “The New Normal.” Have you seen them?

The gist of the show is that the blonde lady is going to have a baby for two gay men. The commercials are so “sweet” and kind. Here’s what is so insidious about them. It advertises that homosexuality is the “new normal.” Amazing!

And so the desensitization of Americans continues. Our children will see more and more of this garbage and it will continue to undermine and lower inhibitions they may have toward a lifestyle that is called sinful by the Bible. The same producer who put together the wildly popular show, Glee, is the producer for this show. It seems this show will continue to push the “gay agenda” down the throats of Americans seeking to show those who don’t accept the “gay lifestyle” as close-minded and bigoted.

But, it’s not just homosexuality that we are being desensitized to in our nation. It is a plethora of things. Cartoons show SpongeBob

running around in his underwear. Could you imagine a cartoon character running around in his underwear 30 years ago? All we had were Bugs Bunny, Road Runner and Tom & Jerry.

There are so many issues that Americans have been indoctrinated to by Satan’s forces such as on the subjects of abortion…it’s just a fetus they say…a blob of tissue…it’s not a life. Evolution…we didn’t get here because of God. No. We’re here because of Big Bang in space 13 billion years ago. From “goo to you!” Yep. We don’t need a God. The Bible is a book of fairy tales and myths. You can’t trust that book. If you do, then you are simply uneducated. It’s taken millions of years to get here and our ancestors look like this…

Yep, that’s an actual photo of “Lucy,” as shown in a museum as one of our “early ancestors.” So, our children take field trips to these museums and bang…they get indoctrinated with this stuff. It begins innocently with “Dinosaur Train”…

… when they’re four-years-old and they are told “millions and millions ago when man was not here…only the dinosaurs…” Folks, that’s totally anti-Biblical since man and land animals were both created on Day 6 in the creation week.

Oh…and we can’t forget about “Mother Earth.”

We have to protect her, as if she were really alive. Pam was at our public library looking for some books on how to teach children about the value of money and found one book beside of an entire book shelf of books on how to “save the earth” and ecology and the like. Folks, it’s all going to burn! Don’t we realize that? I’m all for taking care of the earth and conserving and such, but in the end it burns and God restores this earth to its original condition when He makes all things new again. So, don’t worry about global warming. It’s coming in a BIG way at the hand of Father God.

There is a fight for knowledge in this world. Satan has been tempting us with false knowledge since the Garden of Eden when he duped Eve to eat the fruit from what? The Tree of Knowledge, remember? Satan wants to eat away at our minds and that of our children with false knowledge. Paul told the church at Corinth…

2 Corinthians 10:5

5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.

Paul begged his young protegé, Timothy…

1 Timothy 6:20-21

20 O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge,” 21 for by professing it some have swerved from the faith.

I think about this…

I am reminded of what Paul told the Philippian church…

Philippians 1:9-11

9 And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

One more Scripture from Paul to Timothy…

2 Timothy 4:3-5

3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

We must be diligent dads. We must protect our homes from the infiltration of Satan. How does it come? Through TV, movies, music and even cartoons. Debrief your children. There is an agenda to take them down and Satan doesn’t knock at our front door and say, “Hi! I’m here to destroy your family.” No. He comes through media and entertainment and secular humanism that is propagated in so many ways in text books, particularly college.

So, we must teach our children from the Scriptures and spend time inspecting what they really “think and believe.” If we don’t, they may walk in to our homes one day and say, “Mom and Dad, I no longer believe what you believe.” And we’ll scratch our heads and wonder why, as Satan’s demons hiss and laugh and rejoice over their victory through years of slow indoctrination.

Let me show you a recent trip I took Clara and Andrew on…

This is the same tree that my sister, Kim and I used to play in when we were Clara and Andrew’s age at our grandparent’s home. This was Frank and Clara McNiel’s home where we spent many, many days….

I shared with them about simpler days playing outside in trees and no video games, Wii’s, cell phones or Twitter.

We had a wonderful time at a park near our home called “Rendezvous Mountain.” Just a simple bag lunch and walking in the woods on a beautiful trail talking about God’s creation.

So, we teach and train…why? Because I know that before I know it that Clara and Andrew will be grown up like these two…

And now I’m working on this…

Yes…a layout of the tables for Josh and Katy’s wedding that is now less than three months away. By the way…if any of you guys want to help me set-up for the reception after the wedding…let me know. 🙂

In the meantime I’m going to continue to teach and train and seek to debrief my children frequently as we talk about truth and watch for Satan’s subtle tricks to take us down. Will you join me?

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Pilate asked Jesus, “What is truth?”

And the truth was standing right in front of him.

What is truth? That same question needs to be asked today. There is so much “truth.” But, what is truth? Who’s truth is correct? Is it the Muslims, Christians, atheists, Evolutionists, Buddhists, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Hindus? What is truth? That’s what Pilate asked. We must ask that same question because the truth is (pardon the pun) you are living by a set of standards that you consider truth.

Why do you brush your teeth? Because of the truth. The truth is simply…if you don’t brush your teeth, then they’ll rot out of your head. Why do you go to work? Truth: Fear. Fear that you’ll be broke if you don’t. Why do you take a shower. Truth. You don’t want people holding their nose as they talk to you. 🙂

Truth.

What is it?

Jesus said He was the truth. Do you believe that? Do you believe He is the truth? If you do, then you will live by His words, found in the Bible, which you consider truth. Truth is (there I go again…with that pun)…truth is…most Christians don’t live by what they say they believe, (the Bible).

Let me give you an example. Christians say they believe in modesty. But just look at how we dress. Just call us bikini nation. Facebook is littered with Christian girls who are bikini-laden. So are we living by the truth of “not a hint of sexual immorality” (Eph 5:2). What about these little short-shorts and tight tops and skirts that are well…please don’t bend over in front of me. Do you know what I’ve come to believe is truth for many girls and women.

If you are skinny you can wear anything you want. You can wear tight shirts and you can wear skinny jeans showing every line of your body…you can wear skirts that are short (what’s short….ask a man). That’s right ladies, ask a man. Don’t ask another lady. Why? Because you don’t have any idea about what a man thinks when he sees a skirt that you think is appropriate. Truth is (sorry) most skirts that are above the knees are a temptation to a man. Just stating the truth here. Just ask another man or young man and I bet you that he’ll tell you the same thing.

Ladies, just because you are skinny, please don’t buy the wrong truth that it gives you a license to be immodest. Please. You are making it tough on us fellas. And please don’t get mad at me and send me hate mail. I’m just telling you the truth. Please don’t create a stumbling block for your brothers in Christ and certainly for the lost. And for those that choose to date…ladies…if you don’t respect your purity, young men certainly aren’t going to protect it.

Well, excuse me for a moment as I jump down off that soap box. So, I was meeting with the summer interns who’ve been helping me this summer yesterday and we were talking about truth and knowledge. By the way, here are some of the guys preparing our Lord’s Supper a couple Sundays ago.

That’s (nearest to us) Coleman Parrish, Kevin Cox and Caleb Triplett. Some of the greatest guys I know!

We discussed we are in a fight for the truth and correct knowledge. We talked about the fact that we all build our lives on some kind or sort of truth. As Christians we say the Bible is truth. Why? Because it is a book of fulfilled prophecies. No other “holy book” can boast as such. We know the Bible has stood the test of time as the most scrutinized book in the history of the world. And yet it stands on itself as truth.

We must stand for truth folks. We are wilting in our culture and we have for too long. Yet, I’m finally see a resurgence in the Christian community to stand for the truth and contend for the faith. Paul told young Timothy as much…

1 Timothy 6:20-21

20 O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge,” 21 for by professing it some have swerved from the faith. (emphasis mine)

Paul told Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:1-7

1 But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. 6 For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, 7 always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. (emphasis mine)

“Never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.” Wow! What a statement. You see, Satan is continually trying to deceive mankind with false knowledge. He did this with Eve in the garden. He convinced her that God was holding out on her. He deceived her. Yes. But, she deceived herself and so did Adam and then they played the “blame game” and took no responsibility for what they had done. Sounds like today doesn’t it?

What is truth? Truth is the Word of God.

16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness. 2 Timothy 3:16

Will you build your life on it? You will answer, “Yes.” But, are you building your life on the Bible plus other so-called “truth?” You know…be modest…except if you are skinny or have a good body and then you have a license to be immodest. Ouch. Did I go there again? The truth hurts though, doesn’t it. And the truth can set us free (Jesus’ words).

By the way…can I tell you the truth…here are three goofy people…(figuring we need a laugh about now)…Don’t kill me Pam, but Clara and I love this picture! 🙂

Laughing? Well…I hope you are at least smiling. I told you the truth…three goofy people, indeed.

Last thought on truth. Live it… this is what Paul told Timothy in some of his last words we have recorded in 2 Timothy 4:1-5

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. (Emphasis mine)

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