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Archive for January, 2013

Culture War

Our culture continues to change rapidly. As the Church in America continues to decline in her morality and we become more and more accepting and compromising, we will continue to see a greater and greater acceptance of all things and all lifestyles. Now, you know my heart (those of you who are regular readers). I’m a staunch defender of the “authority” of the Word of God. We must stand on the Bible and what it teaches. The Bible is not bound by time. It is timeless and we can count it and build our lives on the rock of it’s truth.

boyscout_logo

I’ve been dismayed this week at the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). (Take a look closely at their emblem above before you continue reading.) Perhaps you haven’t heard, but the BSA is preparing to vote to accept homosexual leaders and participants into their ranks. Why is this the case? Why would an organization that has been so firmly entrenched in the words, “God and country,” do such a thing? I’ll tell you, or at least offer an opinion. Pressure! Pressure from the liberal minority that is growing rapidly in this nation.

Whether we realize it or not, there is a war happening in America. It’s not one you can see with your eyes necessarily. It’s happening in the hearts and minds of Americans. It’s not fought with tanks and machine guns, but with the news media and liberal-minded educators (particularly in our universities and colleges) and in almost every movie, TV show you could watch. The BSA is just another example of where this battle is being fought.

Now I must tell you that I’m not planning on starting a letter writing campaign, nor am I going to march on Washington. Why? Because it would take my focus off of sharing the Gospel in a mission-minded way. However, to do nothing is not the solution either. This has been the problem of the Christians for the last 40-50 years. We’ve chosen to remain seated on the sidelines and say, “Somebody else can fight that battle.” In so doing, we continue to see even the opportunity to share the Gospel continue to erode in this nation. Children can no longer say the word, “God” in a poem at a public school veteran’s day celebration (McDowell County, NC-West Marion Elementary School, Nov. 2012).

What can you do? How about taking 30 seconds and sign a petition on-line that will be delivered by the American Family Association to the BSA before their national vote next week to decide the matter. Here’s the link:http://secure.afa.net/afa/activism/SignPetition.asp?id=1990

We have to take a stand about issues such as these or we’ll have no one to blame but ourselves when I children and grandchildren say to us in a few years: “Why can’t we talk about God anymore in public.”

This brings me to another issue. “Women in Combat.”

Can I ask you a question? Why is it that we are okay with sending our mothers, wives and daughters into combat? Men, what’s wrong with us? Can’t we defend our ladies anymore? Must we send our ladies? Oh my! What in the world are we thinking?

womenincombat_640

I read a thought-provoking article from Kirk Cameron’s site entitled: Why Every Responsible American Should Turn Their Daughter into a Man.

Here’s a brief excerpt.
Should mothers now trade out Barbies for GI Joe’s? Instead of dressing up as a Princess should they encourage drills to get their girls in and out of protective armor? Should fathers start thinking about hand-to-hand combat training just in case their daughter’s rifle jams instead of playing tea party? …Once America figures out this new path of raising daughters, what should we now teach the boys? A young man will now have to learn a whole new way of relating to girls. His natural instinct of protecting the weaker sex has to be programmed out of him. What would happen if he were in a combat situation and he were too busy looking out for the female soldier next to him? It could cost him his life, or maybe the lives of other men in his unit.

The full article can be found here…http://kirkcameron.com/2013/01/why-every-responsible-american-should-turn-their-daughter-into-a-man/

The closest I want Katy, Kandace and Clara to get to a battle is playing Battleship with Josh and Andrew.

Josh and Andrew-Battleship

Josh, (my son-in-law), is a Marine. I’m good with him protecting us…not Katy. No offense to Katy! 🙂 To me this is not about equality. Women are equal to me and the ground is level at the cross. I mean, without the ladies, we’re not even here! Jesus elevated the role of a lady by being a Rabbi with women “disciples.” Yet, he had male Apostles. God’s “divine design” is for the men to be the protectors and providers, not the women. The roles got reversed in the Garden of Eden when Adam was not protecting his bride, Eve. She went for the fruit and he stood on the sidelines and watched. I blame Adam not Eve. I blame the men, not the ladies for this debacle. Come on men! Surely we can take care of our ladies. Or maybe if a burglar breaks in, I should send Pam out to the den from our bedroom with a baseball bat? 🙂 Surely not!

I know what some might be thinking, “Well you are a man.” What do you know? Ok… Take a look at what this lady-Marine said about it…

Michelle Housley Cosper
I am a Marine Corps veteran who served as a Combat Engineer while I was active duty. Women should NOT be allowed on the front lines. Not because they are not capable of performing the job, an M16 is a wonderful equalizer for height / weight. I know for a FACT, that I could do the job as well as many other women out there. The problem lies with the men….. (Hear me out before you begin your argument.) While serving as the only female in my company, I got to know those men I served with. Those men, after proving myself to them, became as close as blood related brothers to me. NONE of those men could stand by and do their jobs if something happened to me on the field of battle. They would be too busy worrying about my welfare to do what they needed to do. I have seen it happen. Imagine if you as a male were fighting next to your sister, would you be able to concentrate fully on what you needed to do if she were in danger? If you are a woman, try to imagine your brother if something happened to you. Unpopular though my opinion may be, there it is.

See the full article here…

http://onenewsnow.com//national-security/2013/01/24/women-on-front-lines-labeled-%E2%80%98very-irresponsible-action%E2%80%99

So, why does this stuff continue to happen in America. Well, I think this map might help explain it. Click on the map to see it larger.

barna_biblemindedcities_preview1

Yep…we’ve lost our way as we’ve stopped believing that the Bible is the Word of God and is sufficient and authoritative for our lives. The map shows the least and the most Bible-minded cities in America. They tend to be from the New England area. Easily the lowest Bible-minded scores came from Providence, RI where only 9% of the people consider themselves “Bible-minded.” Next is Albany, NY (10%). To put this in perspective, the most Bible-minded markets are five times more likely to have residents who qualify as Bible-minded than is true in these two Northeastern cities.

Though these two cities are the most extreme, none of the cities in the bottom 10 break 20%, where even one in five people could be considered Bible-minded. The New England area is home to most of the markets in the bottom 10 Bible-minded cities, including Burlington, VT (16%), Portland, ME (16%), Hartford, CT (16%), Boston, MA (16%), Buffalo, NY (18%) and New York, NY (18%).

The remaining markets in the bottom 10 are primarily in the West and include San Francisco, CA (16%), Phoenix, AZ (17%), and Las Vegas, NV (18%) and Cedar Rapids, IA.

The most Bible-minded cities? Well, they are all in the south. In these cities, almost half the population considers themselves “Bible-minded.” Here ya go:

Knoxville, TN (52% of the population are Bible-minded), Shreveport, LA (52%), Chattanooga, TN (52%), Birmingham, AL (50%), and Jackson, MS (50%). Other markets in the top 10 include Springfield, MO (49%), Charlotte, NC (48%), Lynchburg, VA (48%), Huntsville-Decatur, AL (48%), and Charleston, WV (47%).

Click here for the full article: http://cities.barna.org/americas-most-and-least-bible-minded-cities-2/

What does this tell us? Again, we’re in a war. We’ve got to battle with the truth. We stand for the truth of Jesus Christ as we go and make disciples of all nations. We fight with our only weapon: The Word of God. We give an answer for the reason for our hope in “gentleness and respect.” But, an answer we must give!

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I love Deuteronomy 6:7…

“You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”

It’s a life verse for me. I use it to teach my children the commands of God. It’s my job as a father to do so. You say, “That’s Old Testament.” Ok, here’s the same command in the New Testament.

Ephesians 6:4 says, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”

It’s my job as a Daddy to bring up my children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. It’s not the job of the church, or teachers, or coaches, or even grandparents. As good as all of those folks are…it’s the job of the mom and dad, with specific instruction to the Dad. So, how do we do this? I believe Deuteronomy 6:7 is a great guide. Look at it again.

“You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”

Get it? I’ve got to teach them when I:

Sit in my house
Walk by the way
Lie down (bedtime)
Rise up (morning)

That’s a lot of time teaching isn’t it? Well, it’s needed! If we are going to raise Christ-centered young adults, a little dab won’t do them. They need a walk along, talk along faith.

So, look at everything in life around your home and otherwise as a potential “teachable moment.” Let me give you some examples of late.

Last Friday I took Clara down to the creek below our home. It was frozen over…

creek-clara

Clara loves going to the creek. She takes after her big sister, Katy, who took her down there a lot through the years.

creek Clara-2

I sure love that little girl!

Dad and Clara at creek

Here’s what the Lord brought to my mind as Clara and I “walked along the way.” See this big ole poplar tree?

Poplar tree

I said to Clara, “Why do you think this tree is so big and strong?” She looked down at the tree and saw this…

Clara and Tree at Creek

See where the tree is growing? She said, “Dad, it’s growing into the creek!” I said, “You are right! It’s growing right beside of the creek and it’s well watered.” I then told her what the Bible says in Psalm 1:1-3.

1 Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.

3 He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.

Her face lit up! She GOT IT!

I also repaired a “sprayer” on our kitchen faucet that was messed up. It was a tough little job and tight!

Faucet

Well…I got the job done. I’ll show you that now…

Faucet Fixed

Ok…I won’t brag…because that’s a sin! But, I did save myself at least $65 by doing it myself! And no leaks!!

So, here’s the teaching moment as I was “lying on my back.” (That’s the teaching when you “lie down,” right? :)) It took me 30 minutes to figure out why I couldn’t make the connection. Here’s why…

Faucet problem

Can you see that white, plastic washer? It is damaged. Yep! It came from Delta Faucet damaged. I thought I’d never figure out what was wrong. It wouldn’t fit onto the connector. It kept wiggling back and forth and wasn’t solid and secure. I was getting frustrated and Andrew was with me and watching. He said, “What’s wrong Daddy?” With some tension in my voice, I said, “I don’t know son!” He then said, “You’ll get it Dad!” Boy, that was such an encouragement from my son! I smiled and said, “Yes, the Lord will help me.” Andrew said, “Does He help in things like this?” I said, “Sure, son. He helps us in all things.” I said, “Seek first the kingdom of God and all things will be added to you.” I said, “Even fixing a faucet.” He smiled.

Finally, I decided to look at the old connector and when I did, I saw the plastic washer and the black washer underneath it. I took the end of my small pocketknife and carefully dug those washers out. I did the same with the new faucet connector and discovered that crimped washer! I said, “Aha Andrew! Here’s the problem!” I said, “Andrew, I just needed a pattern. I just needed something to go by!” And then it hit me…another teachable moment! I said, “Andrew, what’s our guide for living? What’s our pattern?” He said, “The Bible!” I said, “Right on!” The Bible is our pattern and our guide and we’ll follow it, then we will be able to figure out how to make good decisions! We celebrated together with a cup of cold water from our “fixed faucet!”

So there you have it. Teachable moments, when you sit down, walk by the way, lie down and rise up. We must constantly be teaching. I’m still learning. I’m trying to get better at this. I must be “intentional.” I must “seize” these moments. It’s so important and the time is so short.

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The Stranger

I read this story to my children tonight and they were mesmerized. After I read it, Andrew asked me to read it again. Thanks to Billy Howell for sending me the story called, “The Stranger.”

A few years after I was born, my Dad met a stranger
who was new to our small town. From the beginning,
Dad was fascinated with this enchanting newcomer
and soon invited him to live with our family. The
stranger was quickly accepted and was around
from then on.

As I grew up, I never questioned his place in my
family. In my young mind, he had a special niche.

My parents were complementary instructors: Mom
taught me good from evil, and Dad taught me to obey.
But the stranger… he was our storyteller. He would
keep us spellbound for hours on end with adventures,
mysteries and comedies.

If I wanted to know anything about politics, history
or science, he always knew the answers about the past,
understood the present and even seemed able to predict
the future! He took my family to the first major league
ball game. He made me laugh, and he made me cry. The
stranger never stopped talking, but Dad didn’t seem
to mind.

Sometimes, Mom would get up quietly while the rest of
us were shushing each other to listen to what he had to
say, and she would go to the kitchen for peace and quiet.

(I wonder now if she ever prayed for the stranger to leave.)

Dad ruled our household with certain moral convictions,
but the stranger never felt obligated to honor them.

Profanity, for example, was not allowed in our home – not
from us, our friends or any visitors. Our long time visitor,
however, got away with four-letter words that burned my
ears and made my dad squirm and my mother blush.

My Dad didn’t permit the liberal use of alcohol but the
stranger encouraged us to try it on a regular basis. He made cigarettes look cool, cigars manly, and pipes distinguished.

He talked freely (much too freely!) about sex. His comments
were sometimes blatant, sometimes suggestive, and generally
embarrassing.

I now know that my early concepts about relationships were
influenced strongly by the stranger. Time after time, he opposed
the values of my parents, yet he was seldom rebuked…

And NEVER asked to leave.

More than fifty years have passed since the stranger moved
in with our family. He has blended right in and is not nearly
as fascinating as he was at first. Still, if you could walk into
my parents’ den today, you would still find him sitting over
in his corner, waiting for someone to listen to him talk and
watch him draw his pictures.

His name?….

We just call him…

TV TV

By the way, he has a wife now….we call her ‘Computer.’

Their first child is “Cell Phone”

Second child, “Ipod”

Third child, “Ipad”

And their newest addition just born this year…”Mini-Ipad”

Now are these things “evil” in and of themselves? Of course not! It’s how we use them. But, I must agree that the things we excuse that come into our homes from the TV is really inexcusable. In our home we limit TV to things we can control. No sitcoms. Mostly DVDs of old shows like The Andy Griffith Show and The Waltons. We have the most basic Dish Network package you can have. We occasionally watch the INSP channel, which has some good “old shows” that are clean. We watch some of the Food Network. We watch the Weather Channel and Fox News. Beyond that. Well, there’s really nothing else “fit” to watch.

We share in devotions at night (I write a “Daily Devotion”… You can get it here… http://www.mpbc.ws/emailsubscriptions/index.html). Now do we sit around and do this every night, like pious, perfect people? No way. We also fix meals together…

family meal

We play Foosball, Hide and Seek and just talk. Yes…just talk together. Remember that? It’s kind of neat. No TV…no nothing…just talk.

It’s a novel idea, right? But, that’s how we pass along our values, our faith and love to our children. When I travel to Ethiopia…that’s what we do. We just talk. That’s “all” they have to do there. I think they are more blessed than we are, don’t you?

Let’s control the “Stranger,” shall we? Last I heard, he’s a pretty good friend of someone called, the “Enemy.”

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None of us like being inconvenienced. We like convenience stores, ready to cook meals, drive-thrus and lightning fast internet connections. I know I do! And with our desire to not be inconvenienced, it is probably true that you don’t want to inconvenience or cause grief to others. But, can I tell you that if you are obedient to God and His commands, you will likely inconvenience and bring a “cost” to the people you love.

Oswald Chambers says, “If we obey God, it is going to cost other people more than it costs us, and that is where the pain begins. If we are in love with our Lord, obedience does not cost us anything— it is a delight. But to those who do not love Him, our obedience does cost a great deal. If we obey God, it will mean that other people’s plans are upset. They will ridicule us… (Yes), we could prevent the suffering, but not if we are obedient to God. We must let the cost be paid.”

When I read Chambers’ words, they struck me deeply. You see, I’m by nature a “people-pleaser.” I want to love people, to help people and to encourage people. I don’t desire to ever inconvenience anyone. In fact, I will inconvenience myself before I bother someone else. But, what if I’m afraid to tell someone what they need to hear? What if I know someone is living in sin who is in my family? Do I have a responsibility to tell them so?

The Apostle Paul was very clear to the church at Thessalonica…

2 Thessalonians 3:14-15
14 If anyone does not obey what we say in this letter, take note of that person, and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed. 15 Do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother.

Paul told Titus while finishing the job of appointing Elders on the island of Crete to:

Titus 3:8-11
8 The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people. 9 But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. 10 As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, 11 knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.

Paul told Titus…warn the person who are stirring up trouble and do so a couple of times and then have nothing to do with them. Seems kind of harsh, but those aren’t my words, they are the words of God. So, what does this mean to you?

We have the truth. If you are a Christian (a born again, follower of Christ and His teachings and principles as outlined in Scripture), then you have a responsibility to be a respectful and gracious “forthteller” of the truth. We are to be Jesus’ witnesses. So, what does that mean? Throw a tract at them and run? Does that mean we simply share the Good News and scurry?

Let’s look at Chambers’ words again…

“If we obey God, it is going to cost other people more than it costs us, and that is where the pain begins. If we are in love with our Lord, obedience does not cost us anything— it is a delight. But to those who do not love Him, our obedience does cost a great deal. If we obey God, it will mean that other people’s plans are upset. They will ridicule us… (Yes), we could prevent the suffering, but not if we are obedient to God. We must let the cost be paid.”

Now think about people you know and love. Think about whether or not they know Jesus. I mean “really” know Jesus. What cost are you willing to pay to share the Gospel? Do they matter to you?

Yesterday I stopped by the office of someone in my extended family that I have warned and shared the Gospel with on several occasions. I’ve told him the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. For several years he has been unwilling to listen. But, in speaking the truth to him, he now says to me, “Thanks for not watering down the truth and for telling me what I needed to hear.” I stood up to leave his office and he followed me out to my car. I turned to say, “Goodbye” and as I did, I found that he was embracing me in a hug. What did he hear? Truth in love.

Want to know what my problem is? Sometimes I’m too hard. Sometimes I’m too cynical. I’m hard on myself and I’m hard on others. I’m asking the Lord to give me a heart of compassion as I share the truth. This was the way of our Lord. Truth in love. I think this is what Chambers was getting at in the quote above.

Are we willing for our loved ones and friends to “suffer” in hearing the truth (spoken with gentleness and respect) in love? Chambers says, “If, however, we obey God, He will care for those who have suffered the consequences of our obedience. We must simply obey and leave all the consequences with Him.”

So, I will continue to stop by the man’s office and I will keep sharing the truth and I believe he eventually will come to Christ. Not because I threw a tract on his desk (not that tracts are bad…they aren’t…in fact they are good…but there must be more…often we hide behind them). How do I know he will come to Christ? Faith. I have faith in the formula of truth mixed with love, equals compassion, equals salvation.

Yes, obedience has a cost. It will cost me my right to myself and it will cost those I love, because I choose to obey. And that obedience means I will be Jesus’ witness and I will go and make disciples for Him because His obedience cost Him His life. What an amazing price He paid…for you and for me!

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The dictionary says the words “hodge podge” means, “a mixture of dissimilar ingredients; a jumble, a mess.”

I believe that describes a lot of young people’s minds today. When I say young people I’ll just say folks under the age of 30. I believe there is a hodge podge of information in their minds and they struggle mightily about what to believe and how they should love. They are mixed up. They have mixed messages floating through their minds and thus, we have a generation of young people who aren’t quite sure who they are, why they’re how or what to believe. And I might say that this is true of “Christian” young adults as well.

Here’s a picture of a “hodge podge.”
hodge podge

Kind of looks messy doesn’t it. Well, it is. That’s what a hodge podge is…by definition…it’s a mixture of dissimilar ingredients, right?

So, I’ll cut to the chase. I study people. I watch families. I try to be an “inspector” of my own family and I’ll be the first to admit that we have our struggles in many areas. But, one thing I have always tried to make crystal-clear with my four children is where we stand regarding the things of God and the application of the Word of God in our lives. We have tried to make Jesus “THE” priority in our lives…not just “A” priority in our lives. We’ve tried not to compartmentalize Jesus to Sunday trips to church and Wednesday night prayer meetings. Pam and I have sincerely and genuinely sought to teach and live the Word of God before our children. Again…there have been times we’ve been miserable failures (me…more so than my bride). Yet, we try to be intentional and live with the purpose of glorifying God. That’s why we’re here, by the way… We’re on this earth to glorify the name of Jesus.

So, I often ask myself some questions.

Kevin, who is really teaching your children? What is their worldview (not mine). Why do they think the way they do?

Have you ever heard your child or grandchild say something and then you ask them: “Where is that coming from? Ive not taught you that!” So many parents tell me they don’t understand why and how their kids think and act they way they do.

You know, I often wish we could somehow open up our children’s brains and look inside look a mechanic does a car when he lifts the hood.

Mechanic

I think we might be surprised at what we find. We might find…

Oh she thinks that way because that’s what her teacher or coach said to her. (This of course can be good or bad…)

He learned that by watching that movie.

She thinks love and relationships is something that this musical artist sings about.
So what kind of worldview does your children’s teachers, coaches, friends, acquaintances have? You know they will become like “who they ‘run’ with.” Can we be very honest here? How much time are YOU spending teaching and training your child versus other influences and people? Think about what else is teaching children. TV and music and video games and YouTubes and Tweets and Texts and “American Idol” and “Biggest Loser” and “Dancing with the Stars.” They bleep out every 9th word and yet we somehow think this is appropriate. But, what are they learning? What is the worldview that they’re catching?

What are the top three influences on your child’s life? How can you tell? Where do they spend the most time and what do they spend the most time doing. It’s in those activities and in those settings that their worldview is being shaped. This is why many parents come to me and say, “Kevin, I don’t get it. I’ve not raised them to be the way they’re acting.”

The middle part of the statement is actually correct. Let me cut it out of that sentence above so we can all see it…

I’ve not raised them…

That’s the problem. Just because they live in our house…eat our food, sleep under our roof and have our last name doesn’t mean that you are raising them. Sadly, many of us think just because we spend an hour or so per day with our kids coming and going from school or pushing them to get their homework done or riding in the car trying to get them from this practice to that lesson…that we are somehow “raising” our children. Truth is…we’re not. They are being raised by where they spend the majority of their time and by whom they spend the majority of their time with on a day to day basis.

Look under the hood again. What do they believe? Ask what they believe about God. Ask them if they believe in God? Ask them if they believe in Jesus? Ask them if they believe there is only ONE way to heaven. Ask them what they believe about abortion (age appropriate of course). Ask them what they believe about homosexuality. Ask them if they believe the Bible is the Word of God. Ask them if they believe Jesus rose from the dead. Ask them if they believe there is a heaven and a hell. Their answers may surprise you. You might be surprised to learn that they don’t think like you at all and you didn’t even know it. You might find they don’t think Biblically about many subjects (even though you do). You might find a “hodge podge” of ideas.

You want to know why? It’s where they are spending most of their time. You see, if they spend a lot of time watching, “Pretty Little Liars,” “16 and Pregnant,” “Glee,” almost any sit-com or reality show on TV today…they will be told that homosexuality is ok. They will be told Christians are idiots and believing in the Bible makes you a closed-minded moron. They will be told dads are buffoons. They will be told evolution is how we arrived on planet earth. They will be told pre-marital sex is ok as long as you love the other person with all your heart. In fact, they will be told…”If it feels right…it’s ok…as long as you don’t hurt anyone.”

Do you see what we’re up against?

We must be intentional with our time with our kids. We must purpose in our hearts to “debrief” each day and find out what they are thinking and what they believe. We MUST teach the Bible and have family devotions and conversation and talk.

I can make this easier for you. I write a “daily devotion” five days per week (Monday through Friday). You can use them with your family. They take 6-7 minutes to read and you can use them as a springboard to talk about the Word of God. All you have to do is click here and enter your email address and in ten seconds you are signed up. They will come to your inbox every morning by 8:30 am.

http://www.mpbc.ws/emailsubscriptions/index.html
If you come to Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church, I want to offer you a copy of my book for free. FREE! Normally they’re $10. I simply want you to pick up a copy as a gift from me to you. I want you to read chapter four, “The Role of the Home in Making Disciples.” It will take you 20 minutes. If you don’t live in our area, email me and I’ll send you a copy (just email me at kevin@mpbc.ws) or if you want to go online and buy one on Kindle for $8 that’s fine too. Click here…

http://www.amazon.com/Rite-Passage-Home-Church-ebook/dp/B008A3D9D4

I sincerely want you to know that I care. I care about this generation that we’re losing to so many “mixed messages.”

One last thing. I believe you get out of something what you put into it. If you think that you are going to raise Christ-centered young adults through some sort of osmosis, or because you take them to church and say “grace” before your meals, you are going to be sadly mistaken. It takes much time and much effort. Are you up for the task? Are you up for the job? Are you willing to roll up your sleeves and become intentional with your time and your schedule? If not…this is what you are going to get…

hodge podge

The choice is yours and the choice is mine. I want to give my children Jesus. 100%. Pardon me while I roll up my sleeves…

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I’m Learning

The older I get, the more I learn. You might say, “Come on, Kevin…you’ve got to be a tad brighter than that!” Yes, it sounds simple, but it is so true.

I was thinking earlier tonight about several things that flashed through my mind as I walked down the hall of my house leading from Clara and Andrew’s bedrooms. I thought, “Pretty soon…they’ll be gone too.” As that thought pierced through my mind it lodged deep in my spirit and it hurt. I came and stood in front of the piano in our den. Above it is a picture of Katy, Kandace, Clara and Andrew from about three years ago. And time stopped. For just a moment…I thought, “Kevin, what have you learned?” I wandered into my bedroom and I saw Pam’s wedding picture on the wall. I thought, “Kevin, what have you learned?”

I believe these questions were coming from the Holy Spirit. Why? I’m not sure. It was almost like a spiritual inventory of sorts that was taking place.

Can I share with you my thought? May I share with you what I’ve learned in 22+ years of marriage and almost 45 years of living? Here goes:

#1 Time flies…don’t waste it. Don’t waste time. Take each day “captive” and use it for the glory of God. Don’t be lazy or foolish with the time you have. Live every day like it’s your last, because you never know when it might be.

#2 Enjoy the wife of your youth. Cherish the time you have with your spouse while your health is good and the kids are well. Cherish it. It WILL pass all too quickly.

#3 Be careful about mixed messages to the kids. Be the same at home as you are in front of people at church (in front of your kids). Hypocrisy kills their ability to believe in the God we say we love.

#4 Don’t spend money that you don’t have. Even though there is plenty of “free credit” out there…it’s never free. It comes at a high price called debt and debt kills. If you find yourself in a hole…

…stop digging.

#5 Pray with your spouse. Pam and I pray every night before we go to bed. “Every night?” you ask? Yep. Every night, unless I’m out of town on a mission trip. Why is this important? Because it automatically lessens the chance for an argument knowing what’s coming. Do Pam and I argue? Yes, occasionally but as we have grown and matured together it’s not really arguments. Usually they are just misunderstandings. Why? Because we have grown so close together that our goals and our viewpoints and our understanding of the world (through the lens of Scripture) is almost identical. What a blessing she is to me!

#6 Work hard. Set the example as a believer in Christ what it looks like to give your very best and “work as unto the Lord.”

#7 Have a daily prayer time and spend time in the Bible. You and I will never be any better in public than we are in private with our Lord. I have never met a person that I put a lot of stock in that was not a serious student of the Bible. Every person that I sincerely trust and value their opinion can rightly divide and handle the Word of truth. I want to be a workman and student of the Scripture that need not be ashamed.

#8 Don’t watch much TV. TV paralyzes the brain. Read. Read the Bible. Read good books. If I watch TV it’s for short stints to let my brain rest. Then it’s things that will relax. Old TV shows on DVD or Food Network (I love “Diners, Drive-in’s and Dives.”) I will eat all the foods I’ve seen on that show in heaven some day. You say, “Do you think we’ll eat in heaven?” Definitely! Jesus ate with his glorified body (fish and honeycomb) in the upper room. So will we! And the kicker! We won’t get fat and I won’t have to count calories. And that brings me to number 9.

#9 Don’t overeat. Enjoy food. Can I admit to you that one year ago I was in the process of losing over 30 pounds. Why? Because I simply ate too much and didn’t enjoy the food I was eating. I was just eating till I was full. Problem is…we get full about 20 minutes after we eat. We have to stop eating just before “feeling” full. If you cut out 500 calories per day, in seven days that’s 3500 calories and that equals one pound. What’s 500 calories? That’s the second helping or the large piece of pie with ice cream. Just have a small piece and no ice cream and over a period of weeks…the weight drops off.

#10 Major on the major and minor on the minor. Translated. Don’t worry about what you can’t control and work hard on those that you can. Leave the rest with the Lord. Don’t try to be all things to all people. I used to and I can speak from experience…it will burn you out. You will make people mad when you tell them, “No.” But, you and I serve an audience of one, Jesus Christ and it’s to Him we’ll answer.

Well, that’s 10 things I’ve learned. Is there more? Yes. Problem is that I’m not finished studying/preparing for tomorrow evenings message at church and Iron Men. So, it’s back to the books. But, before I go… Many ask about Katy and Josh.

So here is an update from Katy on her life with Josh. It’s a tear-jerker. It’s found here… http://heartsonthingsabove.blogspot.com/2013/01/out-pours-my-heart.html

I’m trying to talk Katy into writing a book about her life leading up to the altar. My wonderful publisher (Energion Publishing, Henry Neufeld http://energionpubs.com/) said he would be interested in it. Do you think she ought to write a book about her journey through her teen years…being a pastor’s daughter…being homeschooled…saving herself for her husband? Would you be interested? Email Katy if you think you would be. kmb.piano@yahoo.com

Lastly, many have asked about Kim and Craig’s adoption from Russia. Still no definitive news. But, the reports of marches taking place in Moscow and a Washington Post report last week that there is some movement in Russia to possibly allow the 46 families “in process” to continue forward. So we are prayerful and believing! Here’s a recent article.

http://onenewsnow.com//ap/world/thousands-march-to-protest-russias-adoption-ban

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The day is coming when it’s going to cost you dearly to say you are a “Bible-believing” Christian. In fact I believe it’s already here. Just ask Louie Giglio.

Louie Giglio

He was going to offer the benediction prayer at President Obama’s inauguration. But, oh no! They found out that he has preached that homosexuality is a sin and that it can be cured through the power of Jesus Christ. BONG! Like the old “Gong Show…” Giglio is OUT! You can’t believe that and say a PRAYER at the President’s shindig. A “prayer” mind you! Giglio was to say a prayer. You remember those! You say them to God and invoke His name. Let’s see…the same God who breathed His Word into man (40 of them) who wrote the Bible. But, now we don’t want those words (of the Bible) to influence what a man (or woman) prays to this God. Wow! Why even have a prayer! Come on, folks! Have we gone totally crazy, or is it just me?

Secondly, Giglio needs to be careful even associating himself with Obama in the first place. Obama is openly for abortion and homosexual marriage and I guess I question what Giglio was thinking in the first place. Here’s the full article.

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2013/01/10/giglio-bows-out-of-inauguration-over-sermon-on-gays/?iref=allsearch

Ok, here’s another headline that got me.

“Same-sex Weddings to be Performed at Washington National Cathedral”

WASHINGTON – Marriage traditionalists are expressing disappointment but not surprise at the announcement that same-sex “weddings” can now be performed at Washington National Cathedral.

Cathedral officials announced Wednesday that the church will be among the first Episcopal congregations to implement a new rite of marriage for “gay,” lesbian, bisexual, and transgender members. Thomas Peters, a spokesman for the National Organization for Marriage, says the national cathedral’s announcement shows “that marriage is really an all or nothing deal.” He says Americans must ask whether they want to retain traditional marriage “or fundamentally give it up.”

Gary Hall says the Episcopal Church wants to advance homosexual rights. “If we can lend our authority and our visibility in the service of that cause, it’s really a central part of our mission and an important part of how we live out our lives as a kind of public church in the nation’s capital,” says Hall. He says Christians who insist that marriage is only the union of a man and a woman are forgetting the polygamy of the biblical patriarchs and are ignoring what he calls “the deep logic of the Scriptures” to welcome people as they are.

Here’s the full article:http://onenewsnow.com//ap/religion/national-cathedral-move-a-%E2%80%98retreat-from-biblical-ethics%E2%80%99

Oh my! This man, (Gary Hall) is now invoking “polygamy” from the Old Testament to justify gay marriage! Is he serious? I guess he is. Amazing. The New Testament teaches in Ephesians 5 that marriage is between a man and a woman (verse 31) and that homosexuality (Romans 1) is “unnatural” (verses 26-27). Come on Mr. Hall!

Yep…I guess I’m in the minority now as a “Bible-believing” Christian. And yes…the Bible teaches that adultery is a sin and lying is a sin and stealing is a sin. The Bible teaches gluttony is a sin and on and on I could go. Sin is sin. Yet, we now live in a culture where “anything goes” and if you say ANYTHING to ANYONE that might offend them and show them their sin, you are a bigot, who is mean-spirited, close-minded and a fool.

Well, call me what you want, but I’m sticking to the divinely inspired Word of God. I believe it is authoritative and sufficient for all of life. The Bible says of itself in Hebrews 4:12 that it is sharper than a double-edged sword and it is. It will cut and pierce the heart. Sin shows us our need for a Savior. But if nothing is a sin…then there is no need for a Savior. Do you see the subtle nature of this? Do you see Satan’s hand in this? I do!

Paul told Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:16-17: 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

Do you see the words, “teaching, reproof, correction and training?” Do you see what we are to be trained to? We are to be trained and taught and corrected and reproved toward RIGHTEOUSNESS. We are to live right, folks! That’s what Jesus calls us to, dear people. Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commandments.” But, not anymore! If you believe this way…you are a FOOL! No more bible-believing Christians, please!

Ok. One more to blow your mind.

Want to know who the National Father’s Day Committee has chosen as “Father of the Year?” Drum roll please! It’s Bill Clinton.

Bill Clinton

You remember him. The man who lied about committing adultery with a girl who was almost the same age as his daughter. What won him this honor? Reuters reported that, Dan Orwig, the chairman of the National Father’s Day Committee, explained it this way, “Profound generosity, leadership and tireless dedication to both his public office and many philanthropic organizations, President Clinton exemplifies the attributes that we celebrate through the father of the year award.” Oh my!

Read the full article here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/10/bill-clinton-father-of-the-year_n_2447453.html

Ok…I can’t help it. Just one more. Please! Just one more “mind blower…”

See this map…

death%20spiral[1]

Want to know what those “yellow states” represent? Another drum roll, please! Those yellow states represent states where there are more people on welfare than are working. There you have it. 11 states that have more “takers” than “givers” to our society. UNREAL!

Think of it. 11 states where private sector workers are outnumbered by people who are dependent on the government. That number includes state workers, and people who are receiving welfare or pension. For example, in California if you own a software company that employs 100 people, you’re supporting 139 other people in the state who are on the “takers” list. Full article found here: http://foxnewsinsider.com/2012/11/28/are-you-living-in-a-death-spiral-state-and-if-so-what-should-you-do-about-it/

Well, there you have it! Don’t you feel better about reading this blog post today? I know you are thinking, “Are you kidding! I feel terrible.” Well, I’m not sharing this to “bring you down.” I’m sharing this so we’ll keep our head out of the sand. I’m sharing this so we will be on our knees and share Jesus with the lost. I’m sharing this so you will know that if you believe the Bible is the Word of God, what you are up against! I’m sharing this with you so that you will know we must beg God to have mercy on this country. I’m sharing this with you so that you will raise your kids to be STRONG! They are going to have to be tough to live in this nation 30 years from now (if Jesus hasn’t returned for us). Why? Because they’ll probably be put in prison if they call ANY sin what it is “SIN.”

This nation is marching towards a “No More Bible-Believing Christians, Please” attitude… So, get ready! Be prepared. Stay strong in the faith. Stay strong in the Word of God. Stay on your knees. Keep training and teaching your kids and grandkids the ways of the Lord and be prepared for the persecution. It’s coming! But fear not…when the Church is persecuted, she grows! She grows in a hurry! So, it’s ok… Bring on the persecution! Because this may be the only way we will develop a backbone and stand for truth!

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