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Archive for August, 2013

I’m gonna load you up! Ready?

I’ve got a lot on my mind and I want to share it with you! So come along for the ride…

First, I want to show you something that I saw recently that made me feel very, VERY guilty!

Retirement Guilt

See that column that says “Age 45?” Well, can I tell you something? I’m not even close to being able invest $3,000/year into a retirement account. In fact, Pam and I have been giving to our church building program since 1994. I will also tell you that I used to make A LOT more money than I do now. So over the last 19 years we’ve given well over $3,000/year to the Lord’s work. Most years we were giving double that amount. With all that said I can honestly say that I’m not concerned about retirement. I stopped worrying about it a long time ago. Now this doesn’t mean that I’m being fool-hearted. Solomon says we should store up for a rainy day. But, how much is enough? I look at Scripture and juxtapose the Word of God to the American way (that piece of paper above this paragraph) and I can tell you that is NOT storing up treasures in heaven. That is storing up treasures on earth. You see, I don’t plan on living here forever, but I do plan on living there (heaven) forever.

Can you put a number on the work of God’s Kingdom? Can you put a number on the soul of human being? This past year in the church we’ve added 89 people (new members) and had 24 baptisms.  That’s 113 lives impacted for the kingdom. It’s worth it! We’ve had the opportunity to do mission work in our county and our state and at our mission house in Texas and abroad in Mexico. Mission work is eternal. What we do on Sundays is eternal. What we do on Wednesdays is eternal and I’m questioning why any of us should feel guilty about what someone from a financial institution or brokerage firm or retirement company thinks.

How much money do you think the Apostle Paul had saved up? He made tents for a living so he can spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Do you think he was looking forward to retiring in a beach house on the Mediterranean at Caesarea. I don’t think so! How much money did Jesus encourage Peter, James and John store up for their retirement? Well, I won’t be a dead horse or my “dead retirement account.” 🙂 So, be convinced in your own mind what you might need for the future. As for me, I just trashed that little “guilty” document and I just wrote out my check for what I’ll drop in the offering plate on Sunday. Cha-ching…just made another deposit for eternity.

Ready for some history? Last week the family and I went to Jamestown, Virginia, the earliest permanent settlement in our country in 1607. Here are some pics for your viewing pleasure…

Jamestown ship

Some 100 English colonists sailed the Atlantic…

Voyage to Jameston

They arrived along the west bank of the James River in Virginia and founded Jamestown. Dispatched from England by the London Company, the colonists had sailed across the Atlantic aboard the Susan Constant, Godspeed, and Discovery. This is Godspeed…

Jamestown ship

This is Susan Constant…

ship at Jamestown

This is inside Susan Constant…

Ship second deck

Check out the canons!

Inside ship

Upon landing at Jamestown, the first colonial council was held by seven settlers whose names had been chosen and placed in a sealed box by King James I. In December of 1607, John Smith and two other colonists were captured by Algonquian Indians while searching for provisions in the Virginia wilderness. His friends were killed, but he was spared, because of the intercession of Pocahontas, Chief Powhatan’s daughter.

Here’s a canoe of the Algonquian Indians…

canoe

During the next two years, disease, starvation, and more Native American attacks wiped out most of the colony, but the London Company continually sent more settlers and supplies. The severe winter of 1609 to 1610, which the colonists referred to as the “starving time,” killed most of the Jamestown colonists, leading the survivors to plan a return to England in the spring. However, on June 10, Thomas West De La Warr, the newly appointed governor of Virginia, arrived with supplies and convinced the settlers to remain at Jamestown.

Here’s a church in Jamestown…

church

Clara said, “Look Daddy! This is where the preacher stands!”

preacher spot

Here’s a storehouse where they have tobacco hanging from the ceiling joists.

Jamestown Storehouse

In 1612, John Rolfe cultivated the first tobacco at Jamestown, introducing a successful source of livelihood. On April 5, 1614, Rolfe married Pocahontas, (not John Smith as is so often said), assuring a temporary peace with Chief Powhatan.

Jamestown is an amazing place…

Oh…speaking of history. I’ve got to show you how King James I felt about smoking. This is a hoot!

Smoking

Well, enough history. Let’s return to 2013 and talk about food stamps shall we? Now I’m all for helping people who need it, but come on… 47 million Americans are on Food Stamps (now called SNAP). I think that’s “snap your fingers and we’ll just dole it out.” I’m totally convinced many, many people are working the system. But, the government wants people on Food Stamps. Don’t believe me? Watch this 7 minute video.

It’s called: “The Great Food Stamp Binge.” It’s a video segment from Fox News called “Mountain Pride.” It’s filmed in Ashe County, NC (right beside of Wilkes County, where I live). You won’t believe it!

“Mountain Pride,” How the Federal Government is trying to convince people to get on SNAP.

God help us!

Speaking of God…I showed a 34 minute video last night (which I seldom do) as a part of my message about God versus Evolution. It shows how absolutely brain-washed our students are becoming from incessant “evolutionary teaching.” This happens as young as the PBS TV show, “Dinosaur Train” for kids and is everywhere on TV: The Weather Channel, Discovery Channel, Science Channel, etc. It’s taught in most schools as fact and by the time our young adults hit college…well…if they profess that they are “creationists” or believe in the Bible…WATCH OUT! They’ll be labeled as a FOOL. Yet, Ray Comfort of Living Waters Productions takes the professors to task and makes them look like fools.

You can watch it online here for free:

Evolution versus God.

Listen please…if you have preteens or teens or college students…please, please, please watch this with them. It’s absolutely riveting and it will encourage their faith greatly! It’s one of the best Evolution-Debunking videos I’ve ever seen.

On a lighter note…I want to show you a picture I didn’t get a chance to earlier this week from our time in Williamsburg. The kids had a blast with 18th century punishment.

stocks

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Last week was a wonderful time for our family in Williamsburg and Busch Gardens.

We had a super time! See that gal on the right? That’s Katy! We’ve had her with us for the past six weeks up until this past Saturday. Josh is coming home tonight! He should be home by midnight from his deployment in Yuma, Arizona. What a homecoming that will be! They’ll be home this weekend for Labor Day! Woohoo!!

Want to see some more of last week’s fun? Here goes…

Busch Gardens and Katy

Andrew was sure glad to have his big sister back with him. Don’t you just love that hat!

It’s always fun to be on those little rides…

Kids riding

Can I show you something I really appreciated? It’s actually a lady that I don’t even know.

Swedish lady

She’s from Sweden. I asked her. She said she is here with her family. She said, “We have come to America to work.” She said, “Work is so easy to find here.” I thought to myself, “Doesn’t this lady know that we have 8.9% unemployment.” And then I thought, “Oh yeah! She’s willing to work a job that most ‘Americans’ won’t!” Do you agree? Most Americans wouldn’t sit out in the hot sun all day and put kids on and off rides for 8 hours. She did/was and she was as happy as a lark. She had such a kind and sweet disposition. I told her so. And you know what. She won’t work there long. Why? Because with that kind of attitude and her desire to work hard…well, she’ll be supervising people before you know it. The Bible teaches all these principles and I pointed this out to Andrew and Clara. Great life lesson!

I saw something else that disturbed me…

tattoos

These Tattoo stations were everywhere and they’re pushing these things to the kids. They say that they won’t wash off for up to four hours. So, the kids can get the kind of tattoos that their parents are getting. Newflash! I predict in the next 5 years that kids as young as three and four years old will have permanent tattoos up and down their arms just like their parents. Don’t think so? Well, I predicted six years ago that Hannah Montana would go the way of Britney Spears and Madonna. How’d I do on that prediction?

By the way, mom and dad…all those cute little kids that your children are loading up on via Nickelodeon…well, watch out…they’ll be the next ones who will likely go bad. It’s almost impossible for these kids to grow up in that “have everything handed to you lifestyle” and not become corrupt. Be careful what you make your kids idolize. Those Hannah Montana posters that your daughters used to have…better trash them…

Want to know who I blame for Miley Cyrus’ demise? This man…

Yep…that’s her dad… Billy Ray Cyrus. This is what he was saying about his little girl two years ago:

“She’s got a lot of people around her that’s putting her in a great deal of danger. I know she’s 18, but I still feel like as her daddy I’d like to try to help,” he said. “At least get her out of danger. I want to get her sheltered from the storm. Stop the insanity just for a minute. I’m concerned for Miley … [Hannah Montana] destroyed my family.”

No Billy Ray…you allowed it. Dad’s are to be the provider, protector and spiritual leader of the home. I’m praying for both of them. My heart goes out to both of them. They are so lost. Please help me pray for them.

You see, it’s my job to care for my daughters. Here’s my three walking together down the streets of Williamsburg.

girls at williamsburg

While Josh was gone, I took care of Katy. I took that role of protector back over since Josh couldn’t do it. I wasn’t going to leave Katy on a military base by herself for six weeks. Three days is one thing…but, six weeks. No way! Call me overprotective if you want…but, I believe our wives and daughters should be cared for and protected and I believe deep down they want that as well.

Check out this water ride…

water ride

On the fourth row is my lovely bride and Kandace. The two dare-devils. They are a hoot! I did ride a massive roller coaster called “Apollo’s Chariot” and it was awesome! It reminded me of “Thunder Road” at Carowinds. And yes…I did scream like a girl coming down the first gargantuan hill! 🙂

One of the places that we had the most fun was at Yankee Candle. Don’t you love my sign that I found and showed Pam?

 

Me asking for a kiss

She laughed! 🙂

We had the best time sniffing all those candles. We were running around saying, “Come here…you’ve got to smell this!”

Yankee candle

That’s the great thing about the gift of smelling. Oh the memories! I thoroughly loved the smell of “Christmas” and “Fall Harvest.” Oh my! Close your eyes and you’re there! We wandered around in that store for almost an hour and a half. I’d go back right now. It was that much fun!

I’ll show more later in the week. It’s after 11 o’clock and I need my beauty sleep. So, I’ll close up shop with this last picture. This is a picture of the best sunflower plant we’ve ever grown.

sunflowers

That’s one sunflower plant. It’s got sixteen blooms on it that are open and about 10 more that are coming. It’s amazing! The kids love it and can’t believe that from one seed all those blooms came on that one plant. We had a good conversation on “reaping and sowing.” Clara and Andrew planted that sunflower seed and they fertilized it and watered and have watched it grow all summer. They’ve learned a lot about the effort it takes to see a bountiful harvest. It just doesn’t happen. It reminds me again of the Swedish girl at Busch Gardens. Another example of hard work paying off!

Oh…just one last thing…I saw this chart online earlier this week. Another prediction for this winter. They can’t spell…but, it does line up pretty well with what I’m seeing across the blogosphere world of meteorologists.

snowfall-predictions-US

Until next time… 🙂

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Nostalgia and Old Stuff

I love thinking about old times and the “good ole days.” Don’t you? Think back to a time when you were a child. No worries. No troubles. Chasing Fireflies. Eating homemade ice cream. Being at your grandparents eating grandma’s apple pie. Mmmmm! Those are wonderful nostalgic thoughts.

Well, I had the privilege this past Sunday night of reliving 10 years of singing with these guys…

One Hope

That’s nostalgia at it’s best! Good ole times. And here we were Sunday night…

Boy, have I got a WHOLE lot LESS hair! 🙂 To my right is Geoff Farmer, Kelly Gragg and Steve Bryan. I had the privilege of being the revival speaker at Enon Baptist Church in Salisbury, NC, where Kelly is the worship pastor. We sure had a good time! In fact, we said over and over again, “It’s just like old times!” What was different about it this go-around, is that our kids are so much older. In fact, the last time that we had sung together was 8 years ago. After the service, we had some fun with our wives…

Here they are…the ONE HOPE wives!

You talk about troopers! For 10 years those four let us fellas traipse around all over the place singing, while they held down the fort. Aren’t they pretty! That’s Toni Bryan in front with Pam, Paula Farmer and Mandi Gragg in back. And take a look at this:

That’s the daughters. Eight years ago Alex Bryan (front left) was four years old! That’s Katy (back left). When we started singing in 1996, Katy was a whopping 2 years old. Ashley Bryan (in the blue) was barely a year old. Christian Gragg (in the purple) was just a few months old. Emily Farmer (in white) and Kandace were not even born.

It was surreal to look out over the crowd Sunday night and watching them singing the songs. Guess what?! Now they have built-in nostalgia! Memories that they’ll hang on to for a lifetime. And our other children do as well. They were all there!

And I’ll tell ya something else. I won’t soon forget it either! Thanks so much, Geoff, Kelly and Steve for another wonderful memory. We didn’t sound half bad! Like riding a bike, I guess. 🙂

As I mentioned, I was in revival this week at Enon Baptist in Salisbury. Thanks to all the Mt. Pleasant folks who made the 1 1/2 drive down to hear me. Several of you did and I’m humbled and grateful. Seeing smiling home folks is a blessing and makes preaching even easier.

Katy, Kandace and Pam sang for the folks on Monday night. Here’s a pic of the Katy and Kandace. They were singing and playing: “Were You There?”

Photo: Kandace and me singing and playing tonight.

Not bragging…but, I’ve got some talented girls! Glory to God! Here’s my lovely bride (in the orange) with the Praise Team at Mt. Pleasant. We had a concert in my absence Wed. night. We had over 300 people on a Wednesday night!

Photo: Praise Team concert tonight! Miss singing with those dear friends, but it sounded fabulous!

See the guy on the left, playing the guitar. That’s pastor Brad Cordray. He’s a talented man! He coordinates the best music you’ve ever heard. He’s such a blessing to me, the church and most of all: He honors the Lord with his talent and hard work! Thanks dear Brother!

Here’s the folks at Enon…

Enon

It’s a small church. They’ve got some super nice folks! Here’s their Praise Team and choir…

Enon pt

Enon choir

Thanks Enon! I really enjoyed being with you this week! I pray the Holy Spirit touched your hearts, as He did mine! May our Father in heaven bless you all! I love you!

Pam’s been working hard canning beans. The kids have been helping to pick, break and string. Our tomatoes haven’t done as well this year. The corn is kind of “so-so.” We’ve had some good cantaloupes and jalapeno peppers, too.

Photo: Good work, garden.

speaking of nostalgia. I want to show you the king of nostalgia. It’s Pam’s dad, my father-in-law, George Sheets. Here he is with Andrew with a pinball machine he’s restored.

George and pinball machine

Wow does this bring back memories…

pinball

Clara and Andrew loved playing the same game I played as a kid. Wii’s and X-box have nothing on a good ole pinball machine. Thanks for letting the kids play on it George.

Let me show you what this man can do when it comes to nostalgia. Check out this 1928 Ford!

1928 Ford

The average man can’t do what George does. He’s a genius and he’s brilliant. His mind is amazing!

The kids and I got to take a ride with him last night. More nostalgia to bank in their minds for my kids!

kids in 28 Ford

Then he took the big kids riding! Here comes Katy and Kandace with George!

28 katy and kandace and george

Fully restored by George…

28 inside

28 back

George collects pedal cars and license plates…

pedal cars

cars and tags

Oh…wait…I noticed a tag that took me back to 1988. It’s the tag that I stared at on the back of Pam’s little Mazda that she used to drive when I’d follow her up the mountain to ASU in our “courting days.” Sorry, I’m using the OLD terms (I’m being nostalgic here!). 🙂

P Sheets

P. Sheets. Boy, I’m glad she’s Pam Sheets Brown now. I am so grateful that I’m married to her! Honestly, as I type these words and stare at that “P. Sheets” I think back to when I was 20 years old and I’ve got butterflies in my stomach again! Man, I love that lady!

George has all kinds of old tags…

Hoover

Remember the “Hoover flags?” People would pull out their pockets and show how they were broke because of Hoover.

He’s even got a genuine 1914 tag…

1914

See that? “Expires June 30 – ’14.”

Pretty cool, huh!

George has a really cool “Hit and miss” engine. It runs and sounds like it’s sputtering as it does. It’s the coolest thing. See the smoke coming out?

Hit and miss engine

What does it take to fix all this stuff? Plenty of tools. Just look at all the wrenches!

andrew and wrenches

Andrew’s impressed!

I love this Duke Power lamp…

Duke Power Light

And check out this grain hopper that runs from a machine that he made…

Grain Hopper

And he’s restoring this tractor…

Tractor

I’m telling you…the man can do anything! And…oh…the nostalgia. Memories! Aren’t they great! I’m going to make some next week with my family. We’re leaving after church on Sunday and we’re going to Williamsburg. We’ve been given a time-share there. I’m excited to get to fully unplug for a few days. It’s been a while. I’ll catch you up on our return. In the meantime…enjoy this October weather! 🙂

He’s going to help teach Andrew how to get one of these running.

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I was asked the other day, “What is education?” It was a surreal moment. Or at least it felt that way. I thought about Pilate when he asked Jesus, “What is Truth?” I believe there is a strong correlation with these two questions.

Education  ——-  Truth

Shouldn’t they be the same? I think so and I bet you do too. Do you want me to tell you that 1 + 1=3? I’d be “educating” you wrong, would I not?

I’m concerned that’s beginning to happen with some of the history that’s being taught today. In many of our public schools the books that are being used to teach the history of the founding of our nation speak nothing about Christianity and it’s influence on our government and our society. That would be me like trying to explain how James Naismith invented the game of basketball without ever mentioning the ball.

Why is this happening? Why would we teach history incorrectly? Simple. Because the people writing the textbooks have an agenda. They have a worldview. They have a perspective that will guide their writing and the way they express “truth.” Let’s be honest, we all do. And that’s why we have to be careful how we express the truth. In other words, we need to make sure that when we are educating that we’re doing so with nothing but the truth, so help me God.

I tell you this because there is beginning to be a change in the way history is being taught in our schools. Here’s one example.

In Florida, last week there was an uproar by parents over a Prentice Hall World History book that indicates this:

    -There are 36 pages dedicated to the religion of Islam, while there are NO  chapters dedicated to Christianity or Judaism.
    -In reference to Mohammed and his armies taking over Medina States, the  book says, “…people happily accepted Islam as their way of life.”
    -The book indicates that Jesus “proclaimed” Himself to be the Messiah, yet  stated as fact that Mohammed was a prophet.
    -In the book, Christian battles are called “Massacres” while Muslim battles  are called “takeovers.”

Is there an agenda here?

image

You decide. But I’m convinced, according to the preponderance of evidence, this country was founded with a Judeo-Christian ethos. Just look at what’s printed on our money. “In God We Trust!” It doesn’t say, “In Allah we trust!” Amazing! Read the full article here…

Perhaps this is why homeschooling is on the rise in America. Focus on the Family’s group called CitizenLink chronicles this fact.

The number of home-schooled children in the country has increased by 75 percent since 1999, according to a report in Education News. The report also says that achievement gaps related to the income levels, ethnicities and sex of home-school students are not apparent in homeschooling environments.

One of the reasons for the increase in home-school enrollment is due to academic achievement, said CitizenLink Education Analyst Candi Cushman.

“When you consider that we’ve been pumping lots of money into our public education system with really little to show for it — it’s not that surprising,” she said. “On the other hand, you have home schoolers regularly scoring highly on achievement tests and being recruited by some of the most elite universities.”

There are more than 2 million home schooled children in the United States, according to the National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI). This represents about 4 percent of the nation’s school-age children.

Part of the reason for the increase is fact that a large-number of children who were home schooled in 1990′s are now home schooling their own kids, according Dr. Brian Bay of the NHERI.

Among the most common reason for homeschooling, according to NHERI are:

  • the customized, individualized curriculum
  • the opportunity for enhanced relationships among children, parents and siblings
  • a safer environment
  • the opportunity to impart a particular set of values, beliefs and worldview

Religious freedom also plays into home schooling’s increasing enrollment.

“It seems like we’re seeing more and more headlines about schools giving sexually explicit information to children against parents’ will or without their knowledge,” Cushman explained. “Then you have the same-sex marriage laws being passed in many different states. So that could all affect education. I think we’re going to see more parents wanting the freedom to guide their kids along the moral and spiritual values that they’re teaching at home.” Article found here…

We homeschool for all those reasons above and more. I’ve blogged on this before and I’ll not go into that again, but I’ll say this. Homeschooling is a lifestyle. It’s MUCH more than just a “form of education.” Why? Because we are imparting truth to our kids and there is no way to impart ultimate truth unless you can do so from a Biblical perspective. All knowledge…all education…all learning…all truth ultimately originates from God. So, as my kids learn Biology and study science, they are learning about our magnificent God. When they study algebra, they are learning about the precise accuracy of God. And on and on I could go.

If any of you are interested in homeschooling or would like to learn more, drop me or my wife an email. Kevin@mpbc.ws or pambrown@wilkes.net.

Can I ask you a question? If it were time to go to bed and you saw this spider on your bedroom wall, what would you do?

Would you leave it? Would you just go to bed and forget about it till morning? Look, I might be dumb, but I’m not crazy! I’m killing that thing! I’m not taking any chances of that thing crawling across my face or Pam’s during the night. This is a true story. I killed a large spider (not the one pictured) in my bedroom on the wall last week. It was after 11 pm and it was time to go to bed. Pam had gone to the kitchen and I had just gotten into bed and I looked up and there was this monster spider crawling down the wall near our bathroom door. YIKES! I jumped out of bed and grabbed a tissue and grabbed that thing. I didn’t want Pam to know about it, (she will now :)), because I didn’t want her to worry or say, “Is there more!?!”

After I slipped back into bed, I thought about that spider and I thought: “That spider is like sin.” We can’t wait to deal with it. We are crazy if do. It could crawl on us and bite us at any moment. So, when the Holy Spirit reveals sin in our lives…deal with it. Go after it. Grab it! Crush it! Kill it!

Is there anything the Lord is revealing? It’s a spider on the wall and it’s bedtime… What are you going to do?

Hey do you want a sneak peek at what winter might look like this year? Any snow? Well, here’s the VERY early call on what snowfall might look like for the 2013-14 winter:

North Carolina Mountains Snowfall Prediction

Average annual snowfall
Snow Days Location Avg. 2013-2104
12.7 Asheville 13.2″ 18.0″
17.5 Banner Elk 38.7″ 50.4″
16.9 Boone 35.3″ 46.1″
25.5 Grandfather Mountain 53.5″ 66.7″
  5.6 Highlands 11.8″ 14.0″
  2.6 Kerr Scott Reservoir   9.7″ 12.4″
  1.4 Morganton   3.9″ 5.8″
  3.3 Oconaluftee   6.5″ 7.8″
  2.6 Pisgah Forest   7.5″ 9.1″
1.4 Waterville   4.1″ 6.3″

Piedmont Region of North Carolina

Average Snow & Forecast
Snow Days Location Avg. 2013-2014
  2.4 Chapel Hill   3.7″ 5.6″
  1.9 Charlotte   4.3″ 6.6″
  1.7 Concord   3.7″ 4.1″
  0.7 Durham   1.9″ 3.2″
  0.2 Gastonia   0.9″ 1.8″
  3.9 Greensboro   7.6″ 10.1″
  1.3 Henderson   2.7″ 3.9″
  2.3 Hickory   7.7″ 10.0″
  0.9 High Point   1.8″ 3.6″
  4.2 Mount Airy   9.3″ 14.7″
  1.7 Raleigh   3.9″ 6.4″ 

This is about a 20-30% increase over the average. It seems that we’ll have a moderate El Nino this year. Because of this, the Southern jet stream (which brings our better moisture and bigger storms) will be more active than last winter and that means two things: #1 More moisture (possible snow) and # 2 A better chance of ICE this winter with this track. Temps will be close to normal this winter with the best chance of snow being in January and February (which is normal). But, don’t be surprised if we see a freak ice/snow storm in late November, early December. You heard it here first! 🙂 Where do I get my information? Well, from several places, but the snowfall estimates are from liveweatherblogs.com. My favorite forecaster is Joe Bastardi and his website http://www.weatherbell.com.

Here’s a three more interesting facts you might not know.

The most snow ever recorded in a 24 hour period

In the USA, this occurred at Silver Lake, Colorado in 1921 and was 76 inches of snow. (#2 = 63 inches was registered in Georgetown, Colorado on December 4, 1913)

Mt Baker ski resort sidecountry and Mt. Baker

Pictured above of Mt Baker ski resort side country and Mt. Baker

World Record Snowfall:  Mt. Baker ski area in Washington State has the world record for snowfall at 1,140 inches of snow in the 1998/1999 winter season.

What is a Blizzard?

Blizzard visability
A blizzard occurs when you can’t see for 1/4 mile. The winds are always 35 miles an hour or more. The storm must last at least 3 hours to be classed as a blizzard. If any of these conditions are less, it is only a snowstorm.

So, I hope you have enjoyed this most eclectic blog post. It’s been fun!

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You know it’s awfully easy to want to give our kids everything, isn’t it? After all, we want them to have it better than we had it, right? It’s a noble idea. Or is it? Should our children have to “work” for things? Should they be expected to earn their own fun? Is that over the top? Is there any “long-lasting” good that can come from what our children might do to earn their fun?  I believe there is.

Each year our kids go to the Fine Arts Camp in Nashville. You know that if you read this blog. But, what you might not know is how we pay for it. I’ll show you. Here are my kids cleaning at a local business in Wilkesboro. Here’s Clara cleaning phones in the offices…

Clara cleaning

Andrew is vacuuming…

Andrew cleaning

Here’s Andrew getting up the trash…

Andrew getting up trash

We do this 51 weeks per year. The only week we don’t do it is the week that we are all out in Nashville. Now I’m going to tell you that cleaning at this company is a blessing because it’s teaching (and has taught) my kids the value of earning their fun. They know that when they are cleaning toilets and sweeping and washing dishes and emptying trash, dusting and vacuuming, cleaning mirrors and the like, they are doing something hard to earn something fun.

You know…100 years ago kids were plowing fields, herding animals, cooking meals and watching siblings. Today, our kids are mostly controlled by their gadgets. At any time they have a gadget in their hand (mainly their cell phones). Work or chores are mostly a thing of the past.

Many children have an entitlement mentality. Many believe that their parents owe them “fun” and “stuff” just because they exist. I don’t mean to say that in a way that’s cruel or mean. It’s just the plain and simple truth. Do you believe that children should be required to do chores? If they do them, do you “OWE” them an allowance? Did you hear about the man who was asked if he gave his kids an allowance? He said, “Yeah, I give them an allowance. I allow them to eat the food I put on the table. I allow them to live in the house I provide for them. And I allow them to wear the clothes I put on their back.” I think that’s hilarious…but, I also believe there is a lot of truth there.

Where in the Bible do we find that children are to be paid for being a productive part of a family? I’ll go ahead and tell you…you won’t find it in the Bible. Is this old-fashioned? Nope. It’s Scriptural. Children are to honor and obey their parents and part of this is to be a blessing in the home and not a burden. So many parents (particularly moms) are running a motel for their kids. They are the maid. They wash all the clothes and fold them and put them away. They prepare, cook and clean up for all the meals. They do all the dusting, vacuuming and cleaning of the home. And most kids sit idly by in their rooms or on the couch playing their games, texting or sending instagrams. Poor old mom is worn out and is then asked, “Hey…is my favorite pair of jeans clean?” Oh my?

So, yes…I’m convinced our kids ought to earn their fun. It will make them better, more productive and grateful adults. Otherwise, we’ll keep seeing kids who have their hands held out asking “What’s in it for me?”

Speaking of the Fine Arts Camp. Here’s the man largely responsible for our kids love of music.

George and Kandace

That’s George Sheets. He’s my father-in-law and he put the “music bug” into our kids. He can play about any musical instrument and he passed that along to the kids. Thanks George! They’ll carry their love for music for the rest of their lives.

Photo: Thanks to the man on that couch... None of his grand kids quit their musical instruments. He helped inspire us. Thank you, Papaw! It's paying off!.

Oh…I’ve got to show you this…

I did something amazing over the weekend…

New Toilet

I replaced all the parts in our bathroom toilet.  They were worn slap out and the water was leaking from the tank into the bowl with the water running almost constantly.  So, I went to Lowe’s and bought a replacement packet that had all new parts. It took me about an hour and a half, but I got it done. I figure I saved myself around $85 doing it myself. Pretty good for me…wouldn’t you say?

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We’ve Gone Crazy!

I say these words a lot to my wife.

“We’ve gone crazy!”

I’m speaking of our nation. We are nuts! It’s a country where they tell you in New York that you shouldn’t drink a Big Gulp soda, but in Colorado they legalized pot! You can’t smoke in restaurants in most places in America, but I guess smoking pot is an exception. We’ve gone crazy!

Kids in school have to have their parents permission to get to aspirin, but a 12-year-old girl can get the Plan B abortion pill (as pushed by the Obama administration) without her parents knowing and a kid can be given a free condom at school. We’ve gone crazy!

They just passed a law in California that allows students to PICK which locker room they want to use based on their sexual orientation. So a boy who feels more comfortable being a girl can walk into a girl’s locker room just because he feels like it. Can you imagine how those girls feel? We’ve gone crazy!

Did you know we (American taxpayers) pay $41.3 million per year to advertise food stamps.

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Participation in the Food Stamp program, (now called SNAP) has skyrocketed. It’s increased from  approximately 17.3 million average annual participants to approximately 47.7  million participants in 2013. In 2008, the annual participation was approximately 28.2 million. That’s 20 million more people on Food Stamps in just five years!  And isn’t it amazing that we are the only nation in the world where the poorest people are fat? We’ve gone crazy!

This can’t be true…

CIT wsj_0628_obesity kidsWhy? Because in Winston-Salem alone…by the time students in Forsyth County reach high school, more than 40 percent of them are overweight or obese, according to a BMI study released by Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools. In the survey (here) taken this year, nearly 43 percent of ninth-graders were considered overweight or obese, based on their body mass index — a calculation of body fatness, measured from a person’s height and weight.

The article I site above (in the Winston-Salem Journal) says:

Childhood obesity is a real problem, and a growing one. The obesity rate for children continues to climb, and not just in Forsyth County. The national rate of overweight and obese kids between the ages of 12 and 19 has more than tripled in the last 30 years, according to the National Institutes for Health.

The trend is setting up millions of children for health problems now and down the road, said Joseph Skelton, director of the weight management program Brenner FIT at Brenner Children’s Hospital.

How sad. Kids used to get outside and ride bikes and now they text, tweet and play video games. We’ve gone crazy and our kids are paying a huge price and will for the rest of their lives!

How about some things abroad. Did you here about the Pope? He said yesterday, “Who am I to judge…” when discussing homosexuality. Amazing! Have you read the Bible sir? Speaking of the Pope. Did you hear recently that the Catholic church made a “saint” out of Pope John Paul II?

johnpaul.jpg

How’d that happen? Get this…

I’ll quote from a report from Fox News on July 2nd.

Two miracles are required for sainthood. John Paul’s first miracle, the  threshold for beatification, came just six months after his death when French  nun Sister Marie Simon-Pierre inexplicably recovered from Parkinson’s disease  after praying for the late John Paul II’s “intercession.”

The second miracle being attributed to John Paul, the healing of a stricken  Costa Rica woman, reportedly took place the day he was beatified in a lavish  ceremony in St Peter’s Square on May 1, 2011. She was cured of a severe brain  injury after her family prayed repeatedly to the late pope.

With two miracles certified by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of  Saints, sainthood for John Paul awaits only a written decree signed by Pope Francis.

Folks, that’s nuts! They’ve gone crazy!

Did you hear that across the pond in the United Kingdom, a gay couple is suing a church because the leaders refused to marry them. Read more here…

gay-couple-to-sue-church-over-gay-marriage-opt-out

Dear readers…it’s only a matter of time before it hits our shores. In fact our church is looking at putting some wording in our by-laws to try to protect us (at least for a while…until some liberal court overturns it) from having to perform gay marriages. By the way, when that happens, they’ll be locking me up. It’ll never happen. Not on my watch.

Can I say it again! We’ve gone crazy!

Speaking of homosexuality… Did you hear about Obama’s Department of Justice (DOJ)? A group called DOJ Pride recently sent out a directive requiring employees to vocally affirm homosexuality: “DON’T judge or remain silent,” it says. “Silence will be interpreted as disapproval.” The email directive was entitled “LGBT Inclusion at Work: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Managers.” It instructed managers to display a symbol, like the “DOJ Pride” sticker and demanded that phrases such as “gay lifestyle” and “sexual preference” be banned and “husband and wife” be replaced with “partner,” “significant other” or “spouse.” Full article here…

Folks, I feel like I’m living on Mars. We’ve gone crazy! What is happening to us?

Is it any wonder that we are more stressed out than ever? More in debt than ever? More concerned about the future than ever? Barna Research shows us…

Recession Infographic FINAL Slice 1a

www.barna.org

As we continue to move away from morality and decency as a nation, we will continue to slide into the cesspool of sin in which we’re now drowning. Yes, we’ve gone crazy!

Caleb Triplett (a young man I have the privilege of mentoring) succinctly states how I feel about the state of this nation:

The thing about it is, is that it is clearly an attack on the Christian church. Well, because they don’t want to confront the truth, the love, or the judgment of Jesus Christ, because they would have to change. It’s hatred really. That’s the upsetting part. It’s not just wanting to be able to get married (homosexuals), it’s about abolishing the existence of anyone or anything that might be juxtaposed or confront their own worldview. After that, they are going to tell us we cannot baptize just people who claim Jesus as Lord, but we have to baptize anyone that comes to us and wants a bath… But, we can’t stop standing for the truth… Gods word will never disappear. It is written on the heart of men. As hard as they attack the Church, they will never remove the existence of the one we worship and adore.

Amen Caleb! Thanks for your wise insight. And yes, it’s the Word of God on which we must stand. It’s the immovable rock. Everything else is shifting sand. Yes, we’ve gone crazy, but thanks be to Jesus that He’s still on the throne and our marching orders haven’t changed.

Finish the job! Be my witnesses! Make disciples of all nations and then the end will come! Jesus said as much:

“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. 10 And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. 11 And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. 12 And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. Matthew 24:9-14

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