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Archive for November, 2012

Note: Pictures below are from Pixels on Paper. They are watermarked and can be found without the watermark here…

What’s your passion Dad? Is it work? Sports? Hunting? Fishing? Your kids? Your wife? What’s your passion? What is it that motivates you? What is it that “plows your garden,” “floats your boat?” What “does it” for you?

Can I tell you mine?

I contemplated it at Katy’s wedding a couple of weeks ago.

I was watching Katy and Josh as they shared their first dance and I thought, “Lord, this is what you called Pam and me to do.” And Pam smiles and I tear up. I’m the “softy.” What is my passion? Well there are many things… Ultimately it’s the spread of the Gospel…but, as it relates to my family, my passion would be embodied in 3 John 4:

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

As I walked Katy down the aisle this thought struck my mind as well.

I was telling her how proud I am of her and Josh! I literally was walking with a young lady who is “walking in the truth.” I thought: “That’s it! Mission accomplished!” But, it’s not totally accomplished. Katy will always be my child no matter how old I am or how old she is. Josh is now part of our family so he’s as much a child of mine as Katy. I will “do” for him as I “do” for Katy.

So, I walked her to the altar…

…And I prayed for God’s hand of favor, anointing and blessing on their lives.

And here it is…the moment that I had prayed and fasted about for all of Katy’s life…

I’m “giving away” my girl. I said, “Pam and I wholeheartedly give our daughter to be married to Josh.” At that moment, the process began and was culminated in a matter of a few minutes after vows were made and prayers were prayed. Katy became Josh’s responsibility. He was to now be her “protector, provider and spiritual leader.” Does this mean that Katy is “less than Josh?” Nope. Ephesians 5:21 speaks of mutual submission. Yet, there can only be one person who should bear the weight and responsibility of leading the home. That, according to Ephesians 5:22-31 is the man. Yes, the ground is level at the cross for the man and woman. Equal in the eyes of God. Yet, the man is to lead and bear the burden of the home. The lady was created to his helper. Not the other way around.

So, what does it mean when a father gives away his daughter? How should he bring her to the altar? Answer: PURE. That’s the job of the Father. If he doesn’t do that, then the Bride’s price that is being paid by the groom (in the case of Jesus, it was His life…that was the Bride’s price for the Church to the Father, God) is fraudulent. Biblically speaking, it is my job to bring the bride to the groom, spotless and without stain, wrinkle or blemish, and then it’s the groom’s job to take over this role (according to Ephesians 5:25-30). I write about this in my book at length.

Hey Dad…if you have a daughter still in the home, is she pure? It’s your job to see that she is sexually chaste and a virgin when she comes to the altar. Remember Joseph and Mary? We are coming into the Christmas season. Remember, Joseph was going to divorce Mary quietly because she was found pregnant (and he knew it wasn’t his child). He had been with no woman and she (Mary) was to have been with no man. So, when she was found to be pregnant, Joseph could have sought a certificate of divorce and broke the betrothal. Yet, the angel Gabriel explained in a vision to Joseph that all was ok.

My point is this. Dad’s, we no longer take a real responsibility for our daughter’s purity and virginity. But we should. The Bible teaches it. So, why sir do you allow your daughter to date guys you know nothing about? Why don’t you have the young man come sit on your sofa and declare his “intentions” for your daughter? I’ll tell you why we don’t. Because we (even Christians) no longer follow the teachings of the Bible…we follow the ways of man! I can’t say that strong enough. Let me put another couple of exclamation points at the end of this sentence!!! Dad’s we need to WAKE UP! I’m so burdened about this. We are delivering our sons and daughters to the marriage altar who are broken and unchaste and we think nothing of it. God help us!

When I handed Katy over to Josh, I didn’t guess if she was a virgin, pure and chaste…I knew it! Why? Because I was the one who was to be her protector and that includes protecting her purity. Most dads are totally in the dark on this subject and they let their sons and daughters run around with raging hormones and never consider the consequences. Well, I say to you respectfully, you’ve been told. Now you know the truth and you are responsible for it and how you will handle it.

And so, I could relax and smile as Katy looked at her husband…her Knight in Shining Armor…

And then it was time. Time for the first kiss.

Yep…Katy saved her first kiss for her wedding day. And that’s how it should be. Weddings in Scripture were consummated by sexual intercourse. Sorry to be graphic, but read about Isaac and Rebekah in Genesis 24 to see a first-hand look at this. So, the hugging and kissing that we think are so innocent for our children in their “casual dating” is like opening up the presents before Christmas.

So I smiled and Pam smiled and we had a great sense of satisfaction watching our daughter’s first kiss. And so the wedding concluded and our joy was complete…

So, there’s my passion. Right there in the photo. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. That’s my job…my first responsibility of ministry…right in my home…

Dad…what’s your passion?

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A Wedding Story

A Wedding Story
Below is Katy’s wedding story. Not because she is mine, but the truth is…her story is one to emulate as a young girl or young man who is willing to pay the price, be persecuted and at times even ridiculed by other Christians to save themselves for their God-chosen spouse.
A White Dress, Red Roses and  Two Rings
I woke up Saturday the 10th of November and my first  thought was, I’m not getting married today am I? And that was when I  realized that my cell phone was ringing. It was Josh. He called like he did  every morning.
I got out of the bed like I would any other morning.  The sun sent pink streaks across the sky, promising a beautiful day. I packed my  bags full of everything any girl would need for her wedding and honeymoon. I  carried my bags outside. The van was gone since Mom and Kandace had left  earlier. Daddy was wearing his baggy sweatshirt, scraping the frost from my car  windows. I hugged him before I got in the car and drove down the driveway alone.  Tears of joy and a strange sense of sadness spilled onto my cheeks.
The rest of the morning was a blur of excitement.  Makeup and hairspray and dresses. The light whiteness of my dress fell over my  shoulders and I was hurried outside for pictures. Everyone looked gorgeous and I  smiled happily until someone said, “Only one more hour till the wedding starts!”  My stomach flipped in nervousness. My grandparents came upstairs to see me  before they were seated. Someone said that the line of people to enter the  church was outside the church. I asked if everything was ready downstairs. My  cousins laughed and said, “Of course!” Lip gloss was smeared across my lips one  last time. Mama kissed my cheek as she left to go be seated. Suddenly it was  time for the bridesmaids and me to go around the church to the back door. We  actually ran. We went in the back side room where they were to enter. I waited  there with them and I realized that people could see me from about any angle I  stood in that room. I gave up trying to stand in the corner and squatted down  under a reception table. Yes, in my wedding dress I hid under a table. Daddy  came in and told me it was time to go to the back of the church where we would  enter.
There I stood where so many girls dream to be. I heard  the music through the door. The doors opened. I gripped Daddy’s arm with one  hand and my roses with other. Over 400 people stood. I felt my body tingle.  Daddy told me that he loves me and then we got to the corner where I could see  Josh. The moment I had been waiting for. His blue eyes caught mine and I smiled.  I stepped on the roses my sister had spread as I walked toward the love of my  life.
The ceremony flew by. We said our vows, smiled, cried.  Before I knew it, Daddy said, “You may kiss the bride.” For the first time in my  life I leaned in and gave my first kiss away. We bounded down the aisle as the  music escalated. I looked into my my husband’s face and proclaimed, “We’re  married, baby!”
The reception was full of balloons, food, voices, candy  filled children and hugs. Lots of hugs. I think that Josh ate three grapes and I  ate a corner of a sandwich and the rest of the time we hugged people! But it was  still so good. I tossed my flowers and Josh flung the garter. We danced, cut the  cake and Daddy suddenly claimed that it was time for us to leave.
Already??? Time to leave??
It was pure bliss to walk through the crowd of friends  as they swayed streamers and let balloons fly into the sky. After struggling to  get in our car with all of the shaving cream under the car door handles, we left  the cheering throng.
It was a dream. We headed off to Pigeon Forge where we  had a wonderful honeymoon in a beautiful mountain cabin. And then we headed to  Cherry Point a few days later where Josh and I went to the Marine Ball, got me a  military ID, and saw our new home for the first time. We headed back to my  parents house for a week. We had a great time going to church, picking out a  Christmas tree with them and playing Apples to Apples.
Now, that’s all over. I am currently sitting in our  car. The back seat and trunk is jammed full of things for our house. It’s just  Josh and me now.
Beyond all the details of our wedding, the joy of a  wonderful honeymoon, the thrill of our new home, and the stress of all the  change is the joy of something much greater. It’s the joy of finally being the  wife of Joshua Isaacs. I finally get to be who I am supposed to be. Each day  that goes by I am more amazed that God let me marry a man as wonderful as  him.
Our prayer is that our love will be an example that  others can follow. We just want to bring glory to God through our marriage and  through our lives. No matter what comes or what time brings, we will be together  no matter what.
True love, God’s way is worth waiting for. Love is not  a fight, but it’s something worth fighting for… forever and always.
I love you Joshua Isaacs. I am so blessed to finally  have your last name.
You can find more about Katy’s journey at her blog found here…

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Being Thankful!

Some of you might know that I send out a daily devotion during the week. This is the one for today. I pray you enjoy it. If you would like to have these daily devotions sent to you via email by clicking here and entering your email address.

Yes, tomorrow is Thanksgiving and we’ll have some wonderful times around a table with some good food. I like what Emerson said:

This should be our sentiment each day, not just on Thanksgiving Day. We are so blessed!

So, many of us will sit down to a turkey and feast tomorrow…

Thanksgiving pictures

My mouth is watering as I type!

But, there is more than just food to this celebration! We know that. But, let’s think about it a bit, shall we? Now think about all those faces that will be around a table that you will be looking at tomorrow. Can you see their faces? Are we truly thankful?

This makes me think of the account of the “10 Lepers” Jesus encountered.

Luke 17:11-19

11 On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. 12 And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance13 and lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” 14 When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed. 15 Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; 16 and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. 17 Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? 18 Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”

Only one returned to give thanks. I feel like I’m the other nine. But, we are to be thankful! “Giving him thanks!” Do you see those words above in verse 16? I think to myself, “Kevin…do YOU see those words? YOU are to be thankful at all times!” Am I or am I like the 9 unthankful lepers? I know I’m to be thankful and have a cheerful heart. But, I so often find myself being unthankful. I really want to have an “attitude of gratitude.”

Now…one last thing. See those people that will be around that table tomorrow… Do they all “know” Jesus? Are they truly saved? Perhaps you would like to pray with me today:

“Lord, please help me to love like you love and see people like you see people. Help me to be like you. You came to ‘seek and save that which is lost.’ Help me desire to do the same, even about my own family. Help me to truly be thankful and to even be grateful for the difficulties you have allowed in my life so that I may be drawn closer to you. You are indeed, enough, dear Jesus and I love you!”

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Colossians 3:16

Being thankful is a choice. I’m choosing to be thankful in my heart and I’m going to be on mission tomorrow!

Being thankful!

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Thanksgiving pictures

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From a Father’s Heart

Changes come fast and furious in life even when you anticipate them such as a wedding. My life and that of my family has changed forever. And, yes, I’m not alone. This transition has taken place in many father’s lives in the past. But, this is different. Why? Because it’s happening to me!! 🙂

I tried to dance with Katy at the reception. I’m a TERRIBLE dancer, as all in attendance witnessed. In fact “horrible” might be a better word.

Katy just laughed and we danced and I bit my bottom lip. Just like I did the next day. Sunday morning. You see, Katy would always ride with me to church. She had Praise Team practice and I needed to be there early, so we rode together. And we did something together that no one else ever knew.

We held hands. Strange? Perhaps? But, I held hands with my “little girl.” I’ve always held hands with my girls and I still do with Kandace and Clara. Something comforting holding the Father’s hand. So, I held Katy’s hand going to church on Sundays. But, this past Sunday she wasn’t there and I cried. I wept in sadness as I felt the strong punch in the gut that comes from the whispered thought, “Things will never be the same.” And I drove the same road alone. Yet, I wasn’t alone. I drove with the knowledge that now she held hands with him…

Josh! My daughter’s Knight in Shining Armor. And he is just that! And they held hands on their honeymoon and stared at the beauty of Pigeon Forge, Tennessee (just like Pam and I did 22 years ago).

And I remembered the look in her eyes as she looked at him as she had her first dance with Josh. What joy! Unadulterated joy in a Father’s heart to see God’s plan unfolding right before his eyes. Joy! Pure joy! And yes, sadness. Is that possible? Can you be full of joy one moment and sad the next? See the joy on her face and then, thud…there’s that punch in the gut again! She’s leaving… She’s going to be gone Kevin! It’s never going to be the same. True. But, now here comes the choice. What will I dwell on in the next moment? Will I dwell on the joy of her smile as she looks into her eyes? Would I hold her back selfishly for myself? No! Never! This is God’s sovereign plan. It’s His design!

So, I will focus on joy of a wonderful celebration at the wedding… Two lives becoming one.

I will focus on the joy I saw on her face as they loaded up in their car and headed out for Tennessee…

And you must know that I know Josh will take good care of my girl. He already was or I wouldn’t have let him marry her! 🙂 He is such a blessing…

And boy does my girl love that guy!

And this picture keeps coming back to my mind…

That’s Josh back in 2007. He was helping at our Vacation Bible School. That’s Dawson Ellis on his shoulders. Josh was needed mentoring and loving. Yes…a church can hire a “Youth Pastor” to do this sort of thing. But, really…is that what he needs? Most (not all mind you), but most youth pastors are in their 20’s and have never raised a single child and we think we can pay them $35,000/year to spiritually train ours.

No…that’s not the model. The “older” men and to teach the “younger” men. And thus, I’m convinced, if a young person walks into a church with no mother and father, then the families in that church ought to look at one another and say, “Do you want to take him, or do you want me to take him?” You might say, “What are you talking about.” What I’m talking about is: Who’s going to mentor that young person? Who’s going to roll up their sleeves and say, “Come sit with our family young man.” Who’s going to take the young man home and show him what a Biblical “family” looks like? Who’s going to be willing to disciple the young man? Get down and dirty in the details of his life? That’s discipling folks! And that’s what Jesus called us to do. He said, “Go make disciples…” He didn’t just say, “Go make converts and turn them over to a 25-year-0ld to train them, who has no experience at the job.”

Now, don’t get me wrong…I’m not against youth pastors. I’ve said this many times before. I was one myself for a couple of years. But, I eventually told everyone I wanted to be a “family” pastor and not just a “youth” pastor. I wrote about this in my book.

Rite of Passage for the Home and ChurchIt’s on Kindle, you know. 🙂 You can click here to get it for $7.99.

Here’s what I wrote:

It seems the Church has stepped in to do what we don’t have time for or the appetite to do ourselves. Many churches today are unknowingly saying to parents, “Just bring your kids to us and we’ll keep them out of trouble, give them something to do, show them a good time and do a quick devotion, so you can do what you need to do.” As a result, parents drop them off and the church and its staff do the rest. This service is so unbiblical. The Church means well, but is hindering the family. I believe anything the Bible tells us to do that is done for us by staffers in the church, serves to cripple and impair us from doing our part. In the case of training children and leading the family, fathers and mothers must be empowered by the Church, not hindered.

Let’s face the facts. Over the last 40 years, we have seen unprecedented numbers of trained professionals enter our churches that have been taught to do youth and children’s ministry by our seminaries. These are all good, well-meaning people doing the best job they can, still we have seen the largest decline in attendance of young adults in the history of the modern church. We must wake up and realize our burgeoning staffs, bloated budgets, and programs galore are not helping the family raise godly offspring. Instead, even though the attempts are genuine and honest, we are taking the fathers “out at the knees” and hurting the families by trying to do the job for them. There can be some level of success in these programs, but that success has created a perception within the families of our churches that they have been abdicated from their responsibility to raise godly offspring.

Can youth groups be a negative influence on our young people? Sure they can. We place our young people in these peer-driven groups where the spiritual maturity is usually very low and yet we desire for them to grow spiritually. How? How can they grow spiritually in these environments? Most of the time, youth pastors are trying to administrate some sort of crowd control versus being able to really teach. Unfortunately, our young people tend to find their identity in their friends or what they wear, drive or have. Some young people have their entire identity wrapped up in the type of clothes they wear, cell phone they carry and who they are dating. This same mentality often transfers into our youth groups and can even be fed within the youth group.

Through the years, I’ve become more and more dismayed that we no longer mix our young people with our adults in our churches in any way. We keep our youth in their own rooms, as far away from everyone else in the church as possible, in case they get too loud or rowdy. We let them paint the walls tie-dyed, put up posters of Christian musicians, many of whom honestly look like leftovers from the 70’s group KISS, and bring in sofas for them to lounge on while they play video games and hang out. Some youth rooms I’ve seen look more like arcades. Some churches have even given their youth their own building, where they come for an entertainment smorgasbord anytime they want. Is this the structural model we really believe is going to grow mature, solid, faith-filled, Christ-centered, young adults? We must stop kidding ourselves. The numbers, the surveys, and the statistical data do not lie. Many of our young adults continue to abandon their faith and will continue to do so unless we change our strategy and return to a Biblical model.

So, this is from the “father’s heart,” and I’m blessed and so thankful for God’s mercies and the tender way He has held my heart in the past few days. Yes, it’s different in my home, but Katy and Josh are starting their new home. In fact here is where they going to be living in Cherry Point, NC. This is the outside of their new home.

And so life goes on… And I’m choosing joy! Thank you Lord Jesus for your many blessings!

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The Wedding!

Well, it came! The wedding finally came and after months of planning and praying and organizing…well…my little girl is now Katy Isaacs. Boy, do I love the sound of that!

We had a fabulous dress rehearsal on Friday night. Here’s the lovely couple…

My mom and dad are behind them. None of this would be possible without them and George and Mary (Pam’s parents). After all, Pam and I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for them! 🙂

Here’s the groom’s cake:

Can you guess who the Duke fan is?

Well…that wouldn’t be my daughter! I’ve raised her better than that! 🙂 Yet, for Josh, I ate a piece of the Duke cake in honor of him. Aren’t I sweet? Pam Helton did a wonderful job on making this red velvet cake! Again…a lady in our church… We have so many talented people!

Here’s some more shots of the rehearsal dinner…

I want you to see some of the folks who helped pull off such a wonderful dinner. Beginning with the lady who made these wonderful centerpieces…

Faith Lezy did a fabulous job on these and her she is with her husband, Art, making some chocolate-covered strawberries…

Here’s Laura Horton and Melanie Parrish working on a scrumptious salad…

Lori Jennings was there from start to finish and even helped with picking up items at Sam’s Club on Thursday night. In fact, Lori and her husband, Dale, locked the building Friday night…last one’s out!

Here’s a fine group of men helping to serve. These men are from Pam’s Sunday School class and from our Young Adult Mentoring Class…

Thanks Jonah, Mark, Coleman, Josh, Keith and Dale!

It sure was a fantastic dinner!

Speaking of great folks! Let me show you these three young ladies…

That’s Natalie, Lydia and Valerie Hall. Three sisters of four (Jessica, not pictured). What a talented family! They played for the wedding and were wonderful! That’s (l-r) violin, viola and cello.

Here’s some more of the behind the scenes folks. These two were awesome!

Susan Sturgill directed the wedding and was simply “spot on!” She was so organized! She is the Director of our local Pregnancy Care Center. Susan, you’re wonderful! And Jacob Church! There is no one in the world who could have organized all you did with lights and sound. Simply the best there is!

Wally Robinson did the camera work at the wedding. That’s him on the platform in the blue shirt.

Finally, the practicing was over and the big day was next and what a day it was! I haven’t told anyone this other than Pam, (because I didn’t want to alarm anyone), but I woke up Saturday morning feeling sick on my stomach. My throat was scratchy and I just felt strange. Honestly, I slept fairly well the night before the wedding, although I was concerned I wouldn’t. Yet, I think I got a decent night’s sleep. However, I woke up feeling rough.

So, I prayed. I simply asked the Lord to help me stay well enough to do the ceremony.  Pam had left early to go to the church to finish preparing. Kandace went with her. Katy left shortly thereafter and as I watched her drive down the driveway, there came the lump in my throat and the tears to my eyes. I stood in my garage and waved “bye.” Bye to my little girl. What happened! She was just riding her bike in this driveway! She was just shooting basketball in this driveway. No way! Yet, there she went. Just like that movie, “Father of the Bride.” Yep, I was George Banks wondering where my little Annie had gone. In this case I was Kevin Brown wondering where my little Kate had gone. So, I wiped a tear as I looked down at the woolly worms and black, crunch bugs that needed to be swept out of the corner of my garage. Funny the things that come to mind at moments like that.

As I came back into the house, I took a sinus pill. It struck me that it was my sinuses and all this terrible drainage this time of year that was making me sick on my stomach. I wasn’t nervous or scared or anything like that. Katy had helped me get over that weeks ago, when on a Sunday morning driving to church early (just the two of us), she said, “Daddy, I’m going to miss home…but, Josh needs me more.” That did it for me. So, I popped the Tylenol Sinus and off I went with my dad to get tables at the rental company. Clara and Andrew tagged along and thus, the day began.

After depositing the tables beside of the Reach Center (our large building at our church we worship in each week), it was time to get dressed. Andrew and I did and then it was time for a quick snack before the ceremony.

Doesn’t he look spiffy! Sorry I got him with his mouth full! You know it’s a good idea to eat a little something before a wedding so that you don’t end up fainting and being a $10,000 winner on America’s Funniest Home Videos. Ha!

Now let me tell you something. When you have a wedding with 400+ people in it…you have to have a ton of help to pull it off. I must tell you my dear bride worked her fingers to the bone!

This lady worked night after night with a spiral-bound notebook with list after list after list. She checked off these lists and by morning, she’d have a new one. Nobody worked harder and longer on this wedding than Pam. She’s an amazing lady! I’m honored to be married to such a wonderful wife and mom. I really mean that! I’m so blessed! Thank you Lord!

And here’s Betty Donham and her crew who prepared the food for the food for the wedding reception.

Betty is pointing at me, saying: “I’m going to get you!” There’s Lori again! Thanks Sherri, Callie, Kara and Melissa! There was an early crew that I didn’t get to make a picture of that included Claude Sturgill, Donna Marsh.

Well, it was time for pictures. “Pixels on Paper,” Misty McGuire took some fantastic photos. She’s awesome. Here site can be found here. I came in behind her and took some shots…

Isn’t that a beautiful group of bridesmaids and lovely bride?

Clara was the flower girl and she’s a beautiful little lady…

The groomsmen were looking great too!

That’s Joseph, Cody, Jordan and Robby. Fine men!!

And the wedding was held. More pictures of the ceremony later.

After the ceremony came the reception and our men took our facility from 500+ chairs to tables and chairs for a reception in 16 minutes! That’s right! Just 16 minutes! Want to see? It was a blur! Look fast!

Man are they fast!! Now let me tell you that we’re taking pictures while they are setting up! Unreal! Our men were like a well-oiled machine…led by our set-up crew leader…Willie Joines!

See the man holding the sticks? Those sticks measure 4 1/2 feet. That’s how far apart the tables had to be to fit everyone in the building. Steve Walters was the “stick man!”

Now look how good the building looks… Wow!!!

Talk about beautiful! It’s the first wedding in our building after over six years in the building. That’s a basketball goal handing on the wall in the picture. Can you see it? Would you have ever noticed it? We worry so much about things like this, I’m afraid. It’s the building my daughter spent the majority of her Christian life every week… She said, “Why wouldn’t I get married in the place where I worshipped every week. If it’s good enough to worship in, why wouldn’t I get married there?” Great point, dear daughter!

Melinda Robinson, who attends our church as well, made the wedding cake.

That was the BEST wedding cake I’ve ever tasted and I mean that with all my heart! Melinda, you are a wonderful cake maker!

Finally…one last look for now of the lovely couple…

I’ll share more later…

For now…I’m telling you Pam and I are still pooped, but what a day! Thank you Lord for a fantastic daughter and son-in-law!

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What Now?

What now?

Many have been asking me this question since the election. Well, I read an interesting blog about the election that provides some interesting perspective on Romney’s loss as it relates to “conservative Christians.” It’s a good read found here…

I’ve also been asking myself that question about the wedding Saturday. Katy will be leaving and I’ve been asking myself “What now?” But, so are you. We all have transitions and change in life and we must move on. It could be the health of a loved one that is deteriorating or the loss of a job or financial issues, etc.

Katy has been writing about her siblings at her blog and they are “tear-jerkers,” found here…

Here is an excerpt she wrote about Clara. She calls Clara, “Clarie” (pronounced: Cla-ree):

At times I really believe that leaving my Clarie will be the hardest part of leaving home. Not that I love her more than anyone else, but because she sums up home in one little body. Back in the summer I was playing with her outside and she started to cry. I asked her what was wrong. She just choked out, “You’re leaving me.” She was the first one to admit it. She has always known things… understood things. Before Josh even asked me to marry him, she said what I knew deep down. I pulled her in my arms as I rested my chin on her head.
Since then she has understood that things won’t be so “bad.” She looks forward to being my flower girl… although she worries that she will run out of petals before she gets down the whole aisle. That’s something I would worry about. Thinking of leaving her hurts worse than ever. She really is my baby. I promise her that she can visit us and spend the night sometimes. I’m not leaving forever.
So, my Clarie, thank you for trusting me. You know I’m your big sissy no matter where I go. My arms are always here for you to run into. I love you, my baby… I love you.

She wrote about her little brother Andrew, whom she calls “Bin,” which is part of his Chinese name.

He is the one that comes up to me and crawls up in my lap. He lays his head on my chest and pretends to fall asleep. He is also the one who didn’t understand that I am getting married.
He is obsessed with Legos these days and he wants some for Christmas. Josh and I will not be home for Christmas this year. Josh’s working schedule won’t allow it. We will be home a few days afterward. So, a few weeks ago Andrew came up to me. He asked me to help him build his Legos on Christmas day. He promised me that I won’t get bored and I will have fun. I proceeded to have to remind him that I will not be home. I’m marrying Josh. His face wasn’t one of anger or even sadness but realization that I’m leaving. He doesn’t cry. He just nods and walks off. I wonder sometimes where his little mind is in all of this. All I can do is hold him and tell him that I love him.
Andrew has the most generous heart in our family. He kissed me before bed the other night and said, “Oh no! I spoiled your kiss for Josh!” He listens and he knew that I have saved my kiss for Josh. I laughed as I kissed his nose and told him that it was different because he is my brother.
I will miss my Bin. I don’t know what I’ll do without my bundle of energy. He is my only brother. He takes care of me. I love you, Andrew baby. You of all my siblings understand patience through the struggles. You’ve taught me how to be tough… just like you. Yet, somehow, you’re the sweetest boy I know.
And last but, certainly not least is Kandace. Katy calls her sister (almost four years her junior, “Kandy”).
If there has ever been a person that has been with me through the thick and thin, I can say it is Kandace. Very little of my life has been without her. I can vaguely remember holding her for the first time. Daddy laid her in my little arms. “Meet your sister.” I smiled like only a 3 1/2 year old could as I looked down into the quiet infant’s face.
The “quiet” infant was only pretending to be calm. She turned out to be an energetic, curly headed doll of a child. She learned to talk incredibly early and learned to drive me crazy even earlier. She was the kind of child that had an imaginary friend. She cut the hair off of our cats, yet she cried if she saw a dead animal on the side of the road. She could sing perfect harmony before most kids can hold down the melody to a tune. Her little heart accepted Jesus at the age of four.
We nearly killed each other. Never has a child had such an ability to pull hair, but neither has a child had a sweeter hug. She made me so mad I could explode, yet I wouldn’t have been the same without her. She was the one I cried with when the adoptions were hard. She was the one I locked arms with when no one understood.
Time passed and we got older. We sang together in church. She wasn’t afraid of things like I was. She often pushed through life with more vigor than I did. I used to ask her to go order food for me at restaurants. She would roll her eyes and hop up to help “the scardy cat” out.
I was the serious one. She was… not. We’re still that way. Now she’s taller than me. She is 14 years old. She’s almost 15. To me she is still four years old and bouncing around the house with her curls blowing in the wind. No matter what, she has stuck by me. We’re together. We never went through a “stage” where we “hated” each other. Mom and Dad taught us that love is the only option. So it was. It is. We take care of each other. She borrows my clothes and I borrow hers. We sit in church on Sundays side by side.
I would be lying to say that leaving her is easy. She has always been my best friend. It is hard for her too. I’m leaving, not because I love her less, but because I have to go with the one who I am supposed to be with. She knows that.
She’ll always be my sister. Time nor distance can change how close we are. She has done more for me in the past few months than I will never know. She has chosen to trust her sister, her friend. She’ll always be the one who can finish my sentences. She’ll always be the one who sings perfect harmony to my melody. I’ve watched her grow into a girl after God’s heart. She’ll always be Kandy. My little sister. Now she’ll be my Maid of Honor.
Thank you, Kan. Thanks for being my best friend. I’m always here for you. I love you!
What now? Well, after the election…we keep living and trusting in our Sovereign Lord. We seek to reach people for Jesus. If we want people to stop legalizing pot and gay marriage, then let’s lead them to Jesus. If we want people to get off of welfare rolls and put their hand to the plow, instead of having their hand out with palm up, then we must reach into their spirit with the love of Jesus and then they’ll desire to work and be productive. The answer to what I will do as a father, who is giving away his daughter in two days is to “trust Jesus.” The answer to: “What now?” with this country is to: TRUST JESUS. The answer to life’s problems can be summed up in one word…
Jesus.

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Ready or not, here I come!

I loved playing hide and seek as a child.

Remember counting real fast! And then you’d shout, “Ready or not…here I come!!!!”

Well, this week ahead is just like that! Ready or not…here it is. One week from tonight, my first child will have been married for a day. Ready or not…it’s going to happen.

Today was Katy’s last Sunday singing in the Praise Team at church.

What a fantastic day! We had 443 in service today! That’s 96 more than we had in service last year (same Sunday). The church is really growing. Today, Jason Evans, pictured on the left came and broke the “bread of life” to us.

That’s Dale Jennings on the far right. Two great men! What a wonderful and encouraging message Jason brought today about the confidence we have in our salvation. Thanks Jason for a marvelous message from Romans 8!

I must tell you hearing Katy lead in singing the invitation song, “I Belong,” really got to me. It was all I could do to hold it together. One last time. Takes my breath thinking about it.

Katy has done it right. She has chosen to save all her hugs, kisses, and heart for one man. Josh Isaacs. It reminds me of this song called, “Blush” by the Annie Moses Band. The video of the song is below. It’s amazing!

Video of “Blush”

That song embodies what Pam and I have tried to teach our children.

Last thing for now…

Check out these stats…

Did you know that in 1900, 42% of the United States was considered evangelical, while today it’s only 15%. In 1960 there were 9.73 million Southern Baptists who baptized 386,469 people, a ratio of 1 to every 25 Southern Baptists. In 2011, there were 16 million Southern Baptists and we baptized 333,341, a ratio of only 1 per every 48. Last year, 20% of Southern Baptist churches did not baptize anyone (at our church we baptized 47…but, still not enough). More than 50% of our churches did not baptize a young adult between the ages of 12-17. 
Source: Lifeway Christian Resources
Please pray for a spiritual awakening in our nation. Our churches aren’t getting the job done and time is running out!

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