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Archive for May, 2013

Here’s a little bit of “this and that” for your reading pleasure…

I received a great email yesterday. I preached a message on handling anger on Sunday. Here is an excerpt from the email.

Just wanted to take a moment and say thank you for your message on Sunday…anger and the battle in the mind! Whew!!  Tough ones!!  I’m going to be clearly open and honest here, and with absolutely no intention as being self righteous.  As someone who has fought through years of depression, anxiety, and yes, even anger, I have sat with more counselors and tried more medication than what I care to admit.  And yes, I do feel at times those things are necessary…and I’m not trying to discourage or belittle the matter in any way.  But, I have found that when I was finally ready to sit with the Great Counselor, be honest with Him ( He knows anyway!!), and allow Him to work in my heart is when the Holy Spirit began to change me.  It’s not been an easy road and the hard stuff in life is never easy, but there are great rewards.  So, I thank you for an encouraging and challenging message.  It couldn’t have come at a better time for this week. And I have used your phrase MUCH this week….”you are responsible for your response.  Do not return evil for evil”…

Isn’t that great? And here’s the cool thing. I don’t preach topical messages. I preach straight through Scripture. I’ve been in the book of Acts for 2 years and 2 months now. I might be done with it by this time next year. 🙂 Anyway, God is the One who orchestrates the messages, not me. So, when Paul blew his stack in front of the Sanhedrin in Acts 23, well…God used that to help a lot of folks deal with anger. Neat! God’s sovereignty at work!

I sometimes talk about the weather and I must tell you that I love the weather. God is in TOTAL control of the weather and mankind can do NOTHING about it (but try to forecast it). There is much talk about global warming and I must tell you that I believe it is WAY overblown. So does this guy.

File:JoeBastardiSmallSmall.jpg

This is Joe Bastardi. I think I’ve mentioned him before. But, he’s really a good forecaster. He’s on Fox News a lot. The Weather Channel (owned by NBC) won’t touch him. The week of the nasty tornado in Moore, OK…well, he predicted “killer storms” and drew with his pointer over Oklahoma and Kansas. Here’s his latest forecast for the hurricane season and it’s a BIG one!

I guess you heard the Boy Scouts caved in last week. Gay boys can now come into the Scouts. Amazing. The Boy Scouts logo says this…

In my mind the BSA can no longer use this phrase in good faith.  It has demonstrated by its actions that the organization’s values are not timeless, and instead they are governed by changing tides of polls, politics and public opinion. The saddest part of today’s decision is what the organization is teaching our children and young people in the program.  I read a post from an organization that is looking at planning an alternative to Scouts. It’s www.onmyhonor.net. They said this:
 
The BSA is teaching our kids that when your values become unpopular, just change them.
 
The BSA is teaching our kids that when your convictions are challenged, just cave to peer pressure.
 
The BSA is teaching our kids that public opinion polls are more important than principles.
 
The BSA is teaching our kids that you should not stand up for what is right instead you should stand up for what is popular.
 
The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to “prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Scout Law.” BSA is teaching our kids through its new mission that we don’t make ethical and moral choices through the values of the Scout Oath and Scout Law but we make them like an unprincipled politician does, by putting your finger in the air and seeing which way the wind is blowing or by looking at the latest polling results. 
 
What kind of a message are we sending to young people about being brave when its top adult leaders don’t even have the courage to stand up to the pressure of a militant lobby when the bullies in Washington DC, Hollywood or even some of their own renegade councils start pressuring and harassing them?  We hoped to keep sex and politics out of Scouting. Now we grieve for those young boys who will not have the wonderful traditions and experiences that so many of us have had in Scouting.

See this young man?

Lincoln graduation

That’s 2013 Class President, Jonathan Harwick of Lincoln County High in Stanford, KY. He’s a hero in my book. He was told not to pray at his high school graduation and he did anyway!  Here’s part of what he said: “Thank you for helping us get here safely today, Lord, and thank you for the many blessings you have given us.” What’s so bad about that? What’s so insidiously evil about that? Here’s the full story if you would like to read it.

As I think about Jonathan, I think about the high expectations we should have for our young people. Yet, many parents are oblivious to what’s going on in their child’s life. Don’t believe me? This quote came from a recent “Rite of Passage” participant in our church when I asked this…

Statistics show 70% to 92% of all Christian young people, who were raised in church, will abandon their faith by their 20th birthday. Why do you think this is so and do you think this could happen to you?
 
Here was a response from one of our young adults:
 
“…in my opinion, the main reason is because of the lack of expectations that their parents request from them while they grow up. Sadly, this example can be easily seen in many teenagers in middle and high school these days. …teenagers…are attending church because they are told to… However, they are actually just living a fake Christian life. Their parents are oblivious to what they are doing with their boyfriends or girlfriends in their “2nd” life and are really not even present in the process of guiding their children on the TRUE Christian path.”

Did you catch the phrase, “…parents are oblivious to what they are doing…” Why is this the case? Is it because we are too busy trying to make money or make sure the kids are in every sport, dance class and extra-curricular activity available? Is it because we are trying to vicariously do through our children what we couldn’t do ourselves?

The same is true in our churches. I read this quote recently…

Youth leaders, in an attempt to be “relevant,” have begun to abandon a true reliance on God’s Word and a deep belief in the inherent power of the Bible. They have lost faith in God’s ability to get his work done through his inspired, written Word. So they try in all sorts of ways to “spice up” the message. They analyze the newest Lady Gaga song. They show lots of YouTube clips to demonstrate their main points…. Talks become more funny, more cute, and seemingly more ‘relevant” … and the Bible plays a less and less prominent role.

Here is what many of us youth leaders have forgotten: the Word of God alone holds inherent, divine power to accomplish the saving work of God in people’s hearts and lives. God’s Word is God’s chosen way to get his work done in student’s lives. So when we make our talks cute, relevant, and funny—and shove the Bible from its rightful prominent place in our teaching—we have stopped grounding our teaching in the only truly powerful foundation: God’s inspired Word.

Jon Nielson, Bible Study: A Student’s Guide (P&R, 2013), 36–37. Full article here…

That’s why I wrote my book! God help us to think! 🙂 So long for now…

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I got to do something I haven’t done in a while.

Radio 1

I was interviewed on the radio. Last Friday afternoon I was on the Steve Noble Radio Show at the North Carolina Homeschool Conference (NCHE) at the Benton Convention Center in Winston-Salem. It was a wonderful experience. Steve is a super guy and he is an ardent supporter of homeschooling. We talked at length about my book and Steve said he would read it. In fact, while on air, he said, “When I’m finished reading it, I’m going to have you back on again.” I can’t wait! Steve’s got a great program each day.

Wilkes County now has almost 600 families who are homeschooling. Forsyth County has…take a look…

Homeschool Map

There are now over 53,500 homeschool families in North Carolina! That’s a HUGE number!

53,000

That’s up 5,000 families over last year. That’s an almost 10% increase. I had the opportunity to speak about: “Going Beyond the Books.”

Speaking Schedule I spoke on Saturday afternoon. The sign above was one of many. There were several rooms and several dozen of speaking sessions over the three-day conference. I was honored to have the opportunity to share.

Have you heard about the German family that the Obama Administration won’t allow political asylum here in America because they homeschool? They are the Romeike Family.

romeike-family

That’s a scary thing the Obama Administration is doing. Of course there are a lot of scary things the Obama Administration is doing right now. Just the fact that I’m a conservative Christian and I am a pastor might mean that the IRS will come after me. We live in a nation where even the press is being accused of espionage against a reporter who questioned the White House actions. Big Brother is watching and in the case of the German family who fled their home country for threat of prison for homeschooling, it looks like they might just be kicked out of the U.S. if their appeal is not heard. We’ll see. Here’s a full article for those interested. 

One of the things I’m hearing more and more about (even in secular circles) is the fact that college might not be required as much as it has been in the past 25 years.

Forbes recently came out with an article titled: “The Jobs of the Future Don’t Require a College Degree.” The article records the jobs that will be in demand in the future…

Employment Matrix title and code

Employment

Change, 2010-20

Median annual wage, 2010

2010

2020

Number

Percent

00-0000

Total, All Occupations

143,068.1 163,537.1 20,468.9 14.3 $33,840

39-9021

Personal Care Aides

861.0 1,468.0 607.0 70.5 19,640

31-1011

Home Health Aides

1,017.7 1,723.9 706.3 69.4 20,560

17-2031

Biomedical Engineers

15.7 25.4 9.7 61.7 81,540

47-3011

Helpers–Brickmasons, Blockmasons, Stonemasons, and Tile and Marble Setters

29.4 47.0 17.6 60.1 27,780

47-3012

Helpers–Carpenters

46.5 72.4 25.9 55.7 25,760

29-2056

Veterinary Technologists and Technicians

80.2 121.9 41.7 52.0 29,710

47-2171

Reinforcing Iron and Rebar Workers

19.1 28.4 9.3 48.6 38,430

31-2021

Physical Therapist Assistants

67.4 98.2 30.8 45.7 49,690

47-3015

Helpers–Pipelayers, Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters

57.9 84.2 26.3 45.4 26,740

13-1121

Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners

71.6 102.9 31.3 43.7 45,260

29-2032

Diagnostic Medical Sonographers

53.7 77.1 23.4 43.5 64,380

31-2011

Occupational Therapy Assistants

28.5 40.8 12.3 43.3 51,010

31-2022

Physical Therapist Aides

47.0 67.3 20.3 43.1 23,680

47-2121

Glaziers

41.9 59.6 17.7 42.4 36,640

27-3091

Interpreters and Translators

58.4 83.1 24.6 42.2 43,300

43-6013

Medical Secretaries

508.7 718.9 210.2 41.3 30,530

13-1161

Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists

282.7 399.3 116.6 41.2 60,570

21-1013

Marriage and Family Therapists

36.0 50.8 14.8 41.2 45,720

47-2021

Brickmasons and Blockmasons

89.2 125.3 36.1 40.5 46,930

29-1123

Physical Therapists

198.6 276.0 77.4 39.0 76,310

29-2021

Dental Hygienists

181.8 250.3 68.5 37.7 68,250

49-3091

Bicycle Repairers

9.9 13.6 3.7 37.6 23,660

29-1181

Audiologists

13.0 17.8 4.8 36.8 66,660

21-1091

Health Educators

63.4 86.6 23.2 36.5 45,830

47-2022

Stonemasons

15.6 21.4 5.7 36.5 37,180

13-1051

Cost Estimators

185.4 252.9 67.5 36.4 57,860

19-1042

Medical Scientists, Except Epidemiologists

100.0 136.5 36.4 36.4 76,700

21-1014

Mental Health Counselors

120.3 163.9 43.6 36.3 38,150

47-2072

Pile-Driver Operators

4.1 5.6 1.5 36.0 47,860

29-1131

Veterinarians

61.4 83.4 22.0 35.9 82,040

Source: Employment Projections program, U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

So, think about it long and hard before you load up on a second mortgage or have your child walk away from college with $50,000 in school loans (that will take YEARS to pay off). The likelihood (unless they are willing to move where the jobs are) is that a person who’s willing to start out on the ground floor of a job will make in the first 10 years of their employment (net-net) more than the college student will in their first 10 years (once they have to pay back the school loans) and the longer you are in a career, the less a degree matters. The employer is typically looking for the person who:

#1 Gets along with Others

#2 Is Teachable

#3 Has a Strong Work Ethic

How can I say this? I hired and fired for about 12 years of my 17-year business career and those reasons I listed are mine. But, you ask a business owner today what he/she is looking for and I’m going to be very confident they’ll list those three. You can have all the brains and all the degrees in the world (enough to give you a fever :)) and not be productive. If you are smart and yet, you can’t get along with others and you are lazy and un-trainable. Forget it! You’ll never last or you’ll “dead-end” in a career. I’ve seen it happen over and over again in my working career. But, I’ll be like Fox News. I’ll report and you decide.

So long for now…

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One Bite at a Time

Do you know how you eat an elephant?

File:African Bush Elephant-crop.jpg

One bite at a time. 🙂

I’m eating pretty hard. It’s a busy time. Last week was a blur and this week is no different. But, it’s a blessing to be healthy and be able to serve.

I rejoiced in the celebration of a fantastic wedding this weekend. Robby Carr and Ashley Pendry were wed and I acted as the Lord’s representative as He joined them together as one flesh.

Katy and Kandace played for Ashley.

Clara was the flower girl.

Photo

Here are Katy and Kandace with the pretty bride…

Weddings are the perfect picture of God’s love for us in that he sent his Son, the groom, to give his life for the bride (the Church). What a wonderful and fantastic picture of love. It’s been said that’s it’s not love unless there is sacrifice. Problem is most people today just plain quit on marriage. They come to my office and tell me they have fallen out of love. I ask them if that’s like falling off the couch. How’d the fall out of love? They didn’t fall out of love…no…they decided to stop loving! Robby and Ashley committed in my office weeks ago during pre-marriage counseling that divorce is not an option.

I won’t marry a couple that says divorce is an option. I also won’t marry a couple who won’t go through five weeks of marriage counseling and develops a budget. Hard line! You bet! I’m not marrying anyone who doesn’t see the seriousness in it! Marriage is the foundation of society and God established marriage before he did the government or the Church.

We had a fantastic time at church on Sunday. Acclaimed singing artist Cindy Morgan, (sister of member Mike Morgan) sang yesterday during both services. Wow! What a talent!

Cindy Morgan

Fellow song writer/singer, Andrew Greer and Cindy make a fabulous team. Their tour Hymns for Hunger is super! They sing for Jesus and they touched my heart!

Photo: Knoxville, TN: Tune into "Live at Five at Four" on NBC Channel 10 for some live "Hymns for Hunger" tour music with Cindy, me and Kyle! And join us tonight at Johnson University, 7 PM, FREE Founder's Day concert . . .

Then it was time to head to Boone and ASU after church for Kandace and Clara’s violin concert.

DSCN9835

That’s Clara in front and to her right is Olivia Eller and Kandace is behind Olivia. Olivia’s sister Lydia, (all members of the church), plays as well.

Those are some talented young ladies!

I had to leave early and hightail it down the mountain for the West Wilkes Baccalaureate service at the church. I was honored to be asked to speak. I spoke about David and Goliath under the title, “Wear Your Own Armor and Run!” It was a blessing!

Want a sampling of what I shared? Well, I’m glad you asked. 🙂

David had been trained and prepared for this day and so have you. You have completed 12+ years of education and you will graduate on Thursday. You are ready. But, I want you to understand something. You’ve got to do what you were created to do. You can’t walk in anyone else’s armor.

 1 Samuel 17:38-39

38 Then Saul clothed David with his armor. He put a helmet of bronze on his head and clothed him with a coat of mail, 39 and David strapped his sword over his armor. And he tried in vain to go, for he had not tested them. Then David said to Saul, “I cannot go with these, for I have not tested them.” So David put them off.

David couldn’t wear Saul’s armor any more than he could be Saul. Saul’s armor didn’t fit. David had never worn his armor. It was untested to him. David would have been a fool to try to fight Goliath in someone else’s armor.

Listen carefully. You must be you. God created you with certain gifts, talents and abilities. He has a plan and a purpose for your life. And that plan and purpose means you’ve got to wear your own armor. What do I mean? Let me give you an example.

 If you have spent your entire life growing up on one of these…

File:Farming near Klingerstown, Pennsylvania.jpg

…a farm…then why in the world would you think you could work in a 12 x 12 workspace as a pharmacist.

If you have the desire to be a farmer…be farmer. I know “pharmacist” sound a lot like “farmer,” but they are as different as night and day. If you love the feel of dirt in your hands and under your fingernails, then why in the world would you want to count out pills…

Oh…but I think I know why you would want to count out pills instead of counting heads of cattle. Money. People tell you, “Go for the money! Pharmacists make a lot of money! Be a doctor!

You know doctors make lots of money! Be a doctor or a lawyer or ____________ You fill in the blank.

Listen, that’s like David putting on Saul’s armor. It will never work! Don’t just go for the money! So do you know what David did?

1 Samuel 37:40

40 Then he took his staff in his hand and chose five smooth stones from the brook and put them in his shepherd’s pouch. His sling was in his hand, and he approached the Philistine.

David decided to use what he was good at… He wasn’t good using a sword! He was good using a sling! Listen…I’m good at using words…not a hammer…not driving a truck…not making widgets in a factory. So, I use words for a living.

But, do you know what I’ve found to be true? Unfortunately, the majority of people, including perhaps some adults in this room…are not doing what they were created to do. They are doing what pays the most money. They are doing what they kind of fell into doing after high school or college because it was the highest paying job they could get.

And so, they get up and go to a job every weekday of their lives knowing it’s not what they were purposed to do. But, it’s too late to change it now. They have bills, kids, college to pay for and retirement to save for. So, they dutifully get up every Monday morning and go grind it out. Can I tell you this evening…don’t do that. You know what people who do that are called? They are called “wage slaves.” They are slaves to making a certain wage.

Young people you are on the cusp of the rest of your life. Do what you are designed to do. Do what you like. You may never get rich, but if you do what you’re good at and what you like, you will never work a day in your life. You’ll have fun! I don’t work! I have fun! I’m doing what God has designed me to do and I get a paycheck to boot! How’s that for using my sling and my five smooth stones? David decided to use what he was good at and it paid dividends.

Yes, David was grounded in his faith and his trust in God and I implore you to be the same. Realize there is more to this life than the pursuit of happiness and pleasures. Because one day. The battle will be over. Life will end and then what? Yes, you are going to graduate from high school this Thursday, but one day you will graduate from life. You won’t be wearing a black cap and gown. You’ll likely be wearing a black dress or black suit lying in a coffin.

Now I don’t mean to be morbid. I just want to put life in perspective for you. You are going to die! Death is coming to us all. It’s a 100% guarantee. You will graduate from this life one day. Where will you go?

Listen, if you die a billionaire. You still die. If you die with a Mercedes in your garage. You still die. Naked you came into this world and naked (with nothing) you’re going to leave it. I’ve done a lot of funerals and I’ve never seen a hearse pulling a U-Haul. You can’t take anything with you. Jesus said:

Matthew 16:25-27

25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done.

David was a young man after’s God’s own heart and he saw his life in the context of what God created him to be. Watch this! This is the most awesome part of what David did!

1 Samuel 17:48-49

48 When the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine. 49 And David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone and slung it and struck the Philistine on his forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the ground.

Can you see this in your mind’s eye? David did not hide behind a shield, a man or armor. He ran toward the giant! He ran being carried in the power and strength of God. And he picked a stone from his pouch, loaded that sling and took off running. He whirled that sling above his head as he had trained himself to do in the shepherd’s field for years and he released that stone and it sailed straight and true right into Goliath’s forehead and down he came, facedown, like a towering oak tree tumbling down in the forest. Thud! Dead!

Young people! In the Lord you can run! You can run toward life in confidence and in victory! Whether it’s as a doctor or pharmacist or farmer or housewife. You have been made in God’s image. You are special! You matter!

In fact, God loves you so much that He sacrificed His own Son to pay your debt of sin. Because you see, that’s the ultimate giant who stands in all of our paths. We were born sinful because of the sin of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and the only way to overcome that sin is not with a stone and sling, but with a Savior and a cross.

Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God defeated the Giant of Death, Hell and the grave. When Jesus rose from the dead and he did rise from the dead. Today’s date guarantees that. Today is May 19, 2013. 2,013 years from Jesus’ birth. We keep time by Jesus Christ. Oh…He’s alive because we would not be keeping time by a lying dead man, now would we? So, when Jesus rose from the dead, He bought the victory for you.

Yes, you will graduate in Thursday and you will one day…graduate from this life via death as well. What you do between now and then (your graduation and your death)…well, it’s up to you. You can live your life for the sake of the American Dream, or you can live your life doing what God created you to do and for His glory. You can live your life glorifying God by allowing His Son, Jesus Christ to run your life and gain heaven one day. Or you can do it your way and lose your life for eternity.

Can I encourage this evening! Run! Run! Run like David…do what you were purposed to do. Carry your sling…not someone else’s armor…live for God by confessing your sin and calling on the name of His Son, being saved that you might have life and have it to the full. Run, run, run toward the giants of life in confidence in the power and in the name of the Lord God of the universe. You were made to run… Now run!

May God richly bless you and have favor upon you all the days of your life. Amen and amen.

So, what’d ya think? I pray it found fertile soul. Now it’s off and running on another busy week. By the time I reach Sunday I’ll have spoken eight times in seven days. I’m speaking this weekend at the North Carolina Home Educators Conference at the Benton Convention Center in Winston-Salem. I’ll be speaking on the topic of: “Going Beyond the Books-What’s Really Important About Education.” Here’s the information from the NCHE Website: 

D. Kevin Brown, Going beyond the Books (Room B-D)

You are homeschooling and teaching your children at home for many reasons, but what is the primary goal? You want your children to be well-educated, but is there more to a good education than just the books? What if they graduate without a biblical foundation and walk away from their faith? This session describes how we can raise Christ-centered young adults through a lifestyle that goes beyond the books.


Brown, Kevin cropped low res

D. Kevin Brown and his wife, Pam, have been married for twenty-two years, and they are the parents of four children (two adopted from China). They have been homeschooling for sixteen years and have one married daughter (a homeschool graduate) and three more children still in the home. Kevin pastors as an Elder, Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church in Wilkesboro, NC. Kevin has written a book, Rite of Passage for the Home and Church-Raising Christ-Centered Young Adults. In the book, Brown details how the Christian faith depends upon the transfer of the gospel from one generation to the next. He describes how “Rite of Passage” is not a program but instead represents a family’s commitment to making sure the principles of Scripture are passed on to the generations yet to be born.

I’ll also be interviewed on the Steve Noble Radio Show this Friday afternoon live from the Benton Convention Center around 4:15 pm if you want to check that out. I’ll be talking about Homeschooling and my book.

Well, enough of all that. Bottom line, I’m blessed to be able to speak in numerous settings and locations for the Lord Jesus.

Um now if you’ll excuse me…I’m going to take another bite of my elephant. 🙂

 

 

 

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I write devotions each day of the week and email them to those who sign up for them. Several hundred get them each day. I wrote one earlier that’s actually for tomorrow. Katy and Josh are coming into town and are due in at 11:30 tonight (Thursday) and I know we’ll be up late talking. So, I went ahead and wrote tomorrow (Friday’s) devotion because I thought I might be tired in the morning. Then I had this thought, “This devotion is about a topic that we all wrestle with at times. Why don’t you stick it in a blog post?”

So, here ya go:

 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Don’t Be Anxious

Yesterday we studied the fact that Paul had to encourage two ladies to get along and agree in the Lord. That encouraged me greatly. Today there’s more encouragement coming. In fact, the verses that follow are some of my most favorite in all of Scripture.

Philippians 4:4-7

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Many, many people I counsel with from week to week struggle with anxiety. They have a difficult time overcoming fear and often they seem to bounce from struggle to struggle like a pinball in a pinball machine. Why? Is this what God intends for our lives. Do we all just need to be placed on anxiety medicine and call it a day? I don’t think so. After all, what did people do in Bible times? There was no such medicine. What did people do in the 1700 and 1800s? Even in the 1950s?

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying there isn’t a place for medicine in our lives when it comes to worry and fear. The brain is a mass of tissues floating in a sea of chemicals and sometimes those chemicals get out of balance and medicine can certainly help. However, I believe there is another medicine at our disposal. The Word of God and the power of the Holy Spirit. The Bible says that a cheerful heart does good like a medicine.

Proverbs 15:12-14

12 A scoffer does not like to be reproved; he will not go to the wise. 13 A glad heart makes a cheerful face, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed. 14 The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge, but the mouths of fools feed on folly.

Could it be that our hearts aren’t glad and that’s why we are anxious? Could it be that we aren’t being thankful and that’s why the peace of God doesn’t come? So many people are not looking to the Lord for their satisfaction and joy. They are looking to the world. They are looking at material possessions or relationships. So many people bounce from one thing to the next. They think, “If I can just get this, or have that, or do this, or go there…THEN I’d be happy.” No they won’t! We are created in the image of God and as image-bearers of God, we can only find true satisfaction in Him. We need to see the progression of what Paul is teaching us here in Philippians 4. There is a process to get to the peace we all desire. Watch this…

do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

See it? We’ve got to pray about what’s causing us to be anxious, but we must do so WITH THANKSGIVING. You say, “No way! I don’t feel like being thankful! I’m anxious!” I get that! But, peace won’t come until you are thankful. We can’t break the chain here. If we do, we’ll continue the vicious cycle of bouncing along from one anxiety to the next. You see, after we pray and offer our requests to the Lord WITH thanksgiving…see what happens next…

 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

See those words: “…will guard your…minds…” The peace of God WILL guard your mind. Friend, there IS help through prayer and the Word of God. But, perhaps here’s the real issue. Could it be that we have our eyes on ourselves and we’re wearing little party hats with little rubber bands around our chins? Can you see those little cone-shaped party hats on our heads? You know what those hats say on the front of them? No…they don’t say, “Welcome to my Birthday Party!” No! They say, “Welcome to My Pity Party.”

And that’s precisely why our hearts aren’t cheerful and that’s precisely one of the main reasons why many aren’t seeing the peace of God come into their lives. We are simply wallowing in our self pity and we are constantly inviting people to our pity party. We just continually think about ourselves and our problems, worries and yes…we even worry about the fact that we are worrying about our anxiety and Satan heaps condemnation upon us. He says, “Look at you! You Christian! You are a pathetic sight!” And we believe his lies! Stop!! You are a child of God! You are royalty! Don’t listen to the lies! Listen to the truth of God’s Word.

One other thought for us to consider. A lot of our attitude has to do with what we put into our brain. You’ve heard the computer term: Garbage in, garbage out? GIGO. Whatever we put into our brain is going to come out. You see there are four holes in our head that will dictate a lot of how we feel. Those four holes?

Two eyes…

Two ears…

What you and I take into those four holes has a HUGE impact on whether or not we’ll have a cheerful heart. So, do you listen to Christian music? Do you watch Christian TV? Whatever you are putting in is what you will get out.

Want to know my remedy for anxiety? The Word of God and prayer. Nothing but Christian music and good stuff for my mind (through my four holes in my head). Want to try it? Read Psalm 18 and 27. David knew all about anxiety. King Saul was chasing him like a dog to kill him! Read Isaiah 40. Read Matthew 5, 6 and 7 and watch what God does as you allow the Word of God to soak into your being.

If you will do this, I can guarantee, (based on this passage we’ve just studied), that you will find your anxiety level begin to drop and your peace level begin to rise. Remember, the same Holy Spirit who lives in you is the same Holy Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead. You have the power! We must allow Him to work in our lives.

I pray that we’ll be thankful today and rejoice in the Lord. I pray we’ll listen and dwell on Christ-like things. As we do, the peace will come and guard our hearts and MINDS in Christ Jesus! Praise His Name!

 

Now let me show you a picture that will make you smile. Isn’t he a cutey!

Andrew

And let me show you something. He and I were doing some cleaning tonight and he said, “Dad, I want to clean the toilets. I’m big enough now!” I said, “Well, Andrew my boy…you sure are.” So, on went the gloves and here you have it…

Andrew cleaning

He’s only eight, but he’s a worker! And I’m proud of him! Clara has been cleaning toilets for several months now. Andrew and I were going solo tonight for a bit and so, he said, “I’ve finished getting up the trash, can I do more.” And that’s when he asked about cleaning the toilets.

Can I ask you something? “Do you think I’m mean to let him clean toilets?” Some probably feel like this isn’t fair for an eight year old to do. But, why not? Hard work is something that’s missing in our culture today. I remember picking up rocks in a garden and rolling them in a wheelbarrow in 95 degree heat. All day! It didn’t kill me! It made me better.

I want my children to have a work ethic and I’m convinced a work ethic is taught and developed. Once a child has a work ethic, they will then develop initiative. But, children will never take initiative if they’ve never been taught a work ethic.

Well…in about an hour Katy and Josh will be home! (Coming in for a weekend wedding that Katy and Kandace are playing and singing in together). Woohoo!! Can’t wait! I’m running on adrenaline! This must be how the Lord God feels about us! I know He can’t wait to have us all home with Him! Just thinking about how much I love it when all my family is together makes me know how merciful God is to stay His hand and not send Jesus to get us (just so others can be saved).

 

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Americans are becoming known as colossal time-wasters. Why? Because we are constantly seeking the next big thrill. Kids often ask their parents, “When are we going to do something fun?” So, we seek to be entertained. Americans are the ultimate consumers. We “consume” everything. But, I’m here to tell you that I believe we waste time.

I’ve thought a lot about this through the years and yes, I know that I’ve been accused of not wanting to have fun. But, that’s not true. I enjoy life. I have “fun.” I really do! But, I don’t want to have fun at the expense of wasting time. But, how in the world do we do this? I mean right now…at this very moment…I’m typing these words. Is it a waste of time? Well, let’s see? Is it going to edify the kingdom of God? (I’ll let you decide… I can only hope it does.)

So, you might ask, “Is that your litmus test, Kevin? It’s a waste of time if it doesn’t edify (build up) the kingdom of God?” Well, I’m partial to the Westminster Confession of Faith.

Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.

Think back to why God created mankind (Adam and Eve). Did He need us? No! He wanted us! And the most ultimate fulfillment of this life is to glorify Him. Does that mean that I’ve got to be working all the time and never relax or play with my kids or go on vacation. No, of course not. I sincerely believe I bring God glory when I play with my kids or even at times when I’m resting. But how much play, fun and rest is necessary and needful?

This is a pretty neat chart of how we spend our money and time:

entertainment expenses

At the bottom of the chart you’ll see how much we spend on entertainment. It was going up like a rocket until 2009 (when the study was completed) and the economy tanked.

Alexander Atkins reported the following in his article for “aBookShelfz:”

What Americans Spend on Entertainment

Although there are more than 12.7 million Americans without a job, more than 1 million homes were foreclosed in 2011 (with an estimated 700,00 homes to be foreclosed this year), and the median family’s net worth dropped 39% ($77,000 in 2010 from 126,400 in 2007), Americans are addicted to their entertainment — and they are spending lavishly. Spending on entertainment and media in 2012 will reach a whopping $490 billion and is expected to grow 5% over the next few years to reach $597 billion in 2016. Global spending on entertainment and media will reach $2.1 trillion.

During the Great Depression, Americans turned to low-cost entertainment for a brief escape from the harsh reality of poverty and unemployment — listening to comedy, drama shows, and sports events on the radio, cinema shows, dancing to music from big bands and jukeboxes, playing board games, reading newspapers and comics, reading books from libraries. Going to the cinema was especially important to Americans trying to forget the sights and sounds of poverty — at the height of the recession 60-80 million people attended a movie at least once a week. Tickets cost 25 cents for a matinee, 40 cents for an evening ticket, and 10 cents for children. Director Carlos Stevens observed: “Throughout most of the Depression, Americans went assiduously, devotedly, almost compulsively, to the movies… the movies offered a chance to escape the cold, the heat, and loneliness; they brought strangers together, rubbing elbows in the dark of movie palaces and fleapits, sharing in the one social event available to everyone.” 

70 years later, Americans turn to escapism to get through hard times, however the frugality of the Great Depression generation has been lost on today’s consumers. Below is a list of the staggering amounts that Americans will be spending on their digital fixes in 2016:

Internet access: $81.5 billion Music (concerts, cds, mp3): $19.8 billion Movies (theater, dvd, downloads): $30.9 billion Television (subscriptions): $92.9 billion Books (paper and ebooks): $32.5 billion Games (console, mobile, online): $16.4 billion Magazines (paper and digital):  $21.3 billion Newspapers (paper and digital): $9.7 billion.

Wow! We like our fun, don’t we? So, how can we keep our desire to be entertained and “kill time” in balance? The Word of God is always the best place to go. My favorite verse on the subject (and there are many) is:

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:15-16

In fact, those two verses are going to be our new “memory verses” at the Brown house. I’ll be printing those out and taping them to the door posts, refrigerator and bathroom mirrors.

Why? Because we need to understand that time is a gift from God. Ask someone who’s old how valuable time is to them. Ask someone who has terminal cancer how precious time is to them. The Bible says, “making the best use of the time…”

So, what’s the best use of time in your life? How do you spend your time? How do I spend mine? Can we have fun? Yes! But, what are we doing to glorify God? Can we have fun and glorify God? Yes, I believe we certainly can.

Okay…here’s where the rubber hits the road. How much time should we spend watching TV? On Facebook? On Pintrest? Sending Instagrams? Reading blogs (ouch…like this one… ;))? Hunting? Fishing? Shopping? Sleeping?

Yes, there are a bazillion people who waste a ton of time sleeping. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that sleeping is bad… It’s not. We need around 8 hours each night. But, I know folks who don’t work a job and our on the government’s dime (mine and yours actually), who sleep 12-13 hours a day. Folks, that’s not making the best use of the time.

So, perhaps we need to look at our lives and at that of our family and children and ask, “Am I killing time? Is this the best use of my time? Is this endeavor going to bring God glory?” You see, dear reader, I’m getting older and I’ve wasted a lot of time in my life and I don’t want to do that anymore. We only get one ride on this merry-go-round and I want to stay on my horse.

I’ll close this little diatribe, (because I don’t want to be accused of wasting your time :)), with the words of one of my favorite actors of all time. The Duke! John Wayne…

“Slap some bacon on a biscuit and let’s go! We’re burnin’ daylight…”

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I saw this bulletin cover for this Sunday’s “Mother’s Day” bulletins.

Mothers Day Can I be honest with you? (And yes, I know that I’m kind of “over the top” sometimes…so I’m forewarning you! :)) I don’t like that bulletin. There…I said it. Do you want to know why I don’t like the bulletin cover? It’s because it sends a mixed message. It actually is saying two different things. Just so you’ll know…I’m now going to be nit-picking. Okay, here goes. There is a verse listed (small print) on the left-hand side of the bulletin cover. It’s 3 John 4. It’s the verse I use when I sign copies of my book. Can you make it out?

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

What’s wrong with that? Nothing. It’s wonderful! But, look at what’s on the bulletin. It has nothing to do with a kid walking in the truth. It has EVERYTHING to do with the kid making good grades and being a top student. See it? “Star Student,” “Student of the Week,” “100 with smiley-face.” It’s all there. This is a kid walking in the truth, right? Maybe. Maybe not. Why do we equate good grades with a kid who’s living for Jesus? Why is it that the publisher of this bulletin photo couldn’t find a young adult sharing Christ with someone at a table with a Bible at McDonald’s or something like that? Wouldn’t that scene have gone much better with that verse?

Why do I bring this up? Here’s my point… We should not equate good grades (being a good student) or being a star athlete with “walking in the truth.” Those things can be totally mutually exclusive. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I’d rather my children “walk in the truth of Jesus Christ” and know more about the Bible than Biology, Abraham than Algebra and Jesus than jerseys. Now don’t get me wrong. I’m all for my kids being SMART, and being good at stuff, but not at the expense of being grounded spiritually in the teachings of Scripture. This is why I wrote my book a couple of years ago. You can get the book on Kindle or buy it here… Now let me give a real live example of what I’m talking about. See the young man on the left? Grayson and JoshuaThat’s Grayson Farmer. He’s 18 years old. Joshua Huffman is holding a sprayer loaded with wonderful barbeque sauce. Grayson led a team of about a dozen men last Friday as we barbequed chicken to raise money for our mission work in Mexico.

Grayson was a participant in the very first Rite of Passage ceremony we had at the church back in 2008. We’ve had 55 young adults go through the ceremony in the last six years. It’s literally changing the culture of the church. The church looks at these young adults as someone not to be entertained, but counted on, relied on and involved. Grayson led us! And so we had Rite of Passage (ROP) last weekend in the church. It’s a big deal! We have a wonderful banquet each year. Want to see some pics? Here ya go… 14 strong this year! Don’t they look good? Who’s that tall, good-looking fella in the back? 🙂 Here’s the Bryan family. Alex is the latest of the children to go through ROP. Ashley, Chandler and now Alex (blue jean jacket) are all ROP graduates! Ty, you’re next! Want to see something hilarious! This is Steve Bryan and me. We were college roommates and have been friends (more like brothers) for over 30 years. Hold on to your seats…you won’t see me like this too much… Ready… Photo I told ya! We were being totally 100% silly! A cheerful heart does good like a medicine! I sure love that guy! Here’s some more great pictures of the banquet… This is the Gold’s family. Trenton is the newest 12-year-old to come through ROP. Here’s the Saffold family. Garry and Tracey are talking with their son, Garrett. Each parent is encouraged to hand write a letter and read it to their young adult at the banquet. There’s never a dry eye in the house during this… Here’s the Wages family… They had two young adults involved. Peter (beside of Dad, Lee) and Julianna (laughing beside of mom, Deb).

Here are two Trenton’s. Trenton Golds (L) and Trenton Teague (R).

Don’t they look sharp! We ask the young men and young ladies to “dress up” to commemorate the occasion.

This is the Helton family on Sunday for the ROP Recognition Service at church. See Kaylee with the baton held high? Each ROP’er gets a baton (representing the Lord Jesus Christ an His truths) passed to them from their parents. That picture really gets me! Just look at that smile! Folks, that’s a young adult who knows her family and her church love her and believes that she can do great things for the kingdom! This is Sherrie Matthew’s daughter in the middle, Lauren (in the green blouse). Sherrie is to her left. She is a wonderful mom and is getting the job done! Here is Lauren with her friend and fellow ROP’er and mission team buddy, Lakyn Parrish. They made a wonderful bond on the mission trip to Mexico a few weeks ago. A wonderful bond indeed! You’ve heard of negative peer pressure. Well, this is positive peer influence!!

It’s one of my most favorite days of the year! It’s such a blessing to see families celebrating the growth of their children in the things of God. That’s truly being excited and being genuine about quoting 3 John 4 (I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.)

That’s the Parks family in the foreground and the Bumgarner family beside of them and then the Harpers and then the Bryans.

I’m so blessed to be part of a church that embraced ROP and now we are seeing the dividends of raising the bar for our young adults and that’s the point of doing!

Earlier this week, (Sunday evening through Wed. morning), our family spent some time in Cherry Point, NC with our oldest daughter, Katy and her husband, Josh (who is a Marine). It was good to catch a couple of days for a break. We hadn’t been down to Cherry Point since December. We had a great time on the beach and eating together…

Kids at coast

Family

Kids at restuarant

On Tuesday, we went to Beaufort, NC (about 30 minutes from Katy and Josh’s home).

Beaufort We ate together at a seaside restaurant. The kids climbed in trees…

Clara and Andrew

We rode a ferry boat to an island called Shackleford Island where there are wild horses. These horses have been there since swimming ashore from a capsized Spanish ship. They are amazing.

shackleford horses

We had a wonderful time ferrying out to the island. The island is 9 miles long and ½ mile wide. It was such an enjoyable time. The horses are amazing! What a tremendous sight!

Shackleford island

The good times continued, even up until Clara fell into the ocean! As most places in NC have had over the last several days, the island has gotten a ton of rain and had a lot of beach erosion. Clara got a little too close to the edge and a large chunk of sand broke free and she literally fell in almost over her head. She can swim, so she was never in any danger, and her sister, Kandace, who was closest to her, “fished her out.” All would have been fine, but we had no change of clothes and it had clouded over and begun to rain. The temps fell into the low 60’s and we had a 30 minute wait for the ferry.

So, I took off my white t-shirt (which I always wear under every shirt I wear) and put it on her. We tied it off with a hair band and then put my ball cap on her to hold in the body heat. God’s provision! I even had a handkerchief (which I always carry…just like my dad) to wipe her face.

Well, it gets even better. By the time the ferry came, Clara was very cold. Her blue jeans were sopping wet and even with a dry shirt and ball cap and us holding her close (body heat), she was still cold. As we got on the boat and sat down, an older couple saw her shivering and they offered us a blanket to wrap her in for the 20 minute ride back to the mainland. Here she is…

shackleford island-clara

Katy and Kandace were hugging her close. She was warm and toasty under that blanket. God’s provision. What we didn’t know is what the older lady (I’m guessing she was at least 70 years old) shared with us. She said, “Your daughter picked up a seashell and handed to me that I couldn’t reach.” Clara had never said a word. Clara was living out the golden rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Clara sought to help this older lady who walked with a cane and she did it with no one even noticing. And you know what? God provided for her in her time of need with a blanket.

Now you tell me that’s not the hand of God? We look high and low for great miracles and they are right before our eyes. Amazing! A seashell for a blanket. God’s provision!

Friend…He’ll provide for you too! We just need to trust Him!

Luke 6:38 says:

38 give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”

Clara lived that verse out on Tuesday! And that’s another great point! Blessings all!

 

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Can You Trust the Bible?

The Bible is being blasted in our culture today. More and more people call the Bible “a book written by mid-Eastern cave men,” or say, “the Bible is a book of myths,” or “the Bible is not really true, it’s full of allegory.”

Recently a teacher in New Jersey was fired for giving a student, (who initiated and asked for one), a Bible. When you attack the Bible, you attack the foundation of Christianity. So I would tell you that Christianity is under attack in America. It now seems even our government officials are afraid of almost every religious group, particularly Muslims and yet they capitulate to them. But when it comes to Christians and the Bible, well they are completely intolerant.

May I illustrate the point even further? Some of you may know that I send out a daily devotion during the week. You can sign-up here if you’d like to receive them. Well, in a devotion earlier this week I discussed a passage from Philippians 3:1-2. Paul was describing to the Philippians about those who wanted to make Christians go through the “door of Judaism” to become a Christian. These people were called Judaizers and Paul had stiff words for them.

Philippians 3:1-2 Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you is no trouble to me and is safe for you. Look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh. For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh—

Just like the Judaizers of Paul’s day, there are those who want to shut up Christians. There are those who want to push Christians into the closet and keep them confined to staying inside the church walls. Throughout the Bible we see those who come against the people of God. From Cain (killing his righteous brother Abel), to the Egyptians, to the Philistines, to the New Testament days and the pious righteousness of the Pharisees…we know those who oppose God will always be present with us.

In the devotion I used the example of what happened earlier this week to ESPN commentator, Chris Broussard was blasted for supporting the Bible and Christian principles.

He said that marriage should be between a man and a woman and an NBA player, Jason Collins… Jason Collins, the first active player in a major sports league to come out as gay, has attracted critics, including ESPN's Chris Broussard. …who said he was gay was “living contrary to the laws of God.” Collins professes to be a Christian and says, “Jesus was tolerant.” Well, this ESPN commentator has now been absolutely nailed to the wall by those who oppose the Bible and Christian principles, because he said Jesus said that you would know his true followers “by the fruit they bear.” Groups are now calling for Broussard’s resignation and ESPN to fire him for his beliefs as being “insensitive and out of main stream.”

Ok…what should a Christian do? Do we wilt and cower down and crawl into our churches and button our lips? If we do, how can we be salt and light? Don’t we have to open our mouths and confess Jesus Christ as Lord and His truth and His principles to the world? I most wholeheartedly answer, Yes! We must not allow ourselves to be intimidated and pushed into the “closet of silence.” We must give an answer and a reason for our hope and faith with gentleness and respect, but give an answer WE MUST!

As I was reading some of the comments online, I saw this individual who was blasting the ESPN commentator for using the Bible to defend marriage between a man and a woman and that homosexuality is described in the Bible as a sin:

Who said it was a sin?  The bronze-aged cave-dwelling men who wrote down the middle-eastern folktales which the renaissance era Catholic church assembled into a tool of control to indoctrinate the poor into financing their opulent excesses?  Is that who said it was a sin?

Wow! He calls the writers of the Bible “cave dwelling men.” He calls the Bible “folktales.” Another person said…

I will gladly accept the burning fire knowing that you, and all the other self-righteous bible-thumpers, will be burning right there next to me.

In the course of this online conversation this individual spoke up (and there were only a few who did):

Why is it OK for you to have an opinion, but no one else can if it’s different from yours? I also have gay friends…but I don’t believe it’s right, and I don’t believe they deserve the same rights and benefits as regular married people. And for those of you that will leap on this post, I’ll finish by saying that most, if not all of you have no religious background, or foundation. That’s fine, you’re entitled to your own opinions and beliefs. Just don’t tell me what I should believe, or what my opinion should be. Be as tolerant of people with different opinions, as you are of the whole gay conversation.

Well said, wouldn’t you say? Respectful, yet forthright and honest. So to “Bake59,” whoever you are…GOOD JOB!

Dear reader, do you see that the Bible is under attack? So, what do we say to folks who say that the Bible was written by “bronze-aged cave-dwelling men who wrote down the middle-eastern folktales?” Can we really trust the Bible?

Please understand that one of our greatest defenses of Scripture, the Word of God/Bible is fulfilled prophecy. Take for instance the New Testament gospel account of Jesus’ life. There are numerous Old Testament prophecies (given centuries before the events they described) in the book. Matthew 1:22 states a common theme in the book, “So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet.”1 Matthew used this phrasing in at least a dozen passages. He knew it was important to point out to his readers that many of the events he described fulfilled specific prophecies.

You see, despite what many believe today, the religions and religious leaders of the world are not the same. There are no prophecies foretelling details about the birth of other religious leaders. No prophecies alerted the world to the coming of Muhammad (Islam), Joseph Smith (Mormonism), David Koresh (Branch Davidians), Charles Taze Russell (Jehovah’s Witnesses), Siddhartha Gautama (Buddhism), or any other founder of the world’s religions.

Yet the Old Testament pinpointed numerous details about the life of the Son of God and Savior of the world. So what do these prophecies tell us about Jesus? In just the first two chapters of Matthew, we see that God foretold the virginal conception of the Messiah, who would be born in Bethlehem, yet in some way would come out of Egypt and be called a Nazarene. We also see that bitter agony would grip the mothers in that area. In the genealogy recorded in Matthew’s first chapter, we discover the fulfillment of several other Old Testament prophecies. Jesus was from the line of Abraham (Genesis 12:3), Isaac (Genesis 26:4), Jacob (Genesis 28:14), Judah (Genesis 49:8–12), Jesse (Isaiah 11:1), and David (Isaiah 9:7).

But that’s not all. A search through the rest of Scripture would reveal dozens of other details prophesied about the Messiah, including the following facts:

Many other prophecies could be listed that were perfectly fulfilled in the life of Jesus Christ. These were not lucky guesses made by “bronze-age, cave dwelling men.” No, they were precise predictions made by the all-knowing God of the Bible who repeatedly demonstrated that He has perfect knowledge of all past, present, and future events. So, dear friend, we can be completely confident that He will always make good on His promises and that those future events that He has foretold in Scripture will certainly come to pass as well.

According to Barna Research (www.barna.org), 80% of Americans still believe the Bible is sacred or holy and 88% of Americans own one. In Thankfully, most Americans still believe society needs the Bible. In Barna’s research, they note millions of people also believe the Bible’s moral teachings will help the next generation. Nearly half (46%) of adults believe the Bible doesn’t have much impact on American youth. Perhaps that explains why two-thirds (66%) think public schools should teach values found in the Bible. The main reason for holding that viewpoint? Three-quarters (75%) of those supporting this believe “the Bible teaches moral principles that are badly needed in society.”

Yet, Barna notes an increasing antagonism or negative attitudes toward the Bible are becoming more commonplace. Although the 61% of American adults who want to read the Bible represents a majority of Americans, it’s a step down from the 67% of adults who said the same in 2011. Furthermore, the percentage of adults who believe the Bible contains everything a person needs to live a meaningful life has declined substantially from 75% to 66% in the last two years. Overall, there has been a decrease in people who are friendly or neutral toward the Bible—those people in the “middle” who are neither engaged with Scripture nor who actively dislike the Bible. The number of American adults who believe the Bible to be inspired and infallible, but don’t read the Bible as often—has gone down (from 45% to 39%). The biggest jump of any group are those American adults who are antagonistic to the Bible, meaning they believe the Bible to just be a book of stories and teachings written by men, and they rarely or never read the Bible. That group stood at one in ten adults (10%) in 2011. In 2013, their ranks have grown to 17% of all U.S. adults. David Kinnaman, president of Barna Group, pointed to these conclusions from the study:

  1. Most Americans esteem the Bible and have access to it. However, even if there’s a baseline of respect, people aren’t sure how to apply the lessons of Scripture to public life or society, particularly in an increasingly pluralistic nation.
  2. The middle ground related to the Bible seems to be disappearing. The decrease of Bible-neutral and Bible-friendly people and the increase of Bible-antagonists suggest that more people are picking a side. It echoes the rise of religiously unaffiliated Americans—these changes are perhaps less about the decline in belief and more about there being less cultural baggage to identifying as skeptical or disbelieving.

Folks, it doesn’t matter if someone can “believe” in the Bible or not. Truth is truth whether it is believed or not. Just because someone says the Bible is not truth and is “a book of fairy tales” should not cause us alarm. We can stand on the Word of God because it is a book of fulfilled prophecies and it is like NO other holy book. It has been tested through the centuries and has faced more scrutiny than any other book in history and yet, not one place, date, name or event has ever been disproved (and might I add…never will be). So, don’t be afraid! You can trust the Bible! You can espouse the truths of the Bible. Will you be persecuted? Oh yes! You certainly will!

Yet Mr. Broussard said this earlier today: “Even though I’m getting a lot of hate God is being glorified.” Read more here. Amen dear Brother and well done! And well done to you too, “Bake59!” Keep contending for the faith and we will too! Why, because we are standing on the truth of God’s Word because we CAN trust it!

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