Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for October, 2013

What To Do about Halloween?

Not everyone will agree with what I have to say about Halloween, but I’m getting asked so much about it that I thought I’d give you my thoughts and opinion. I will try to use Scripture to support my beliefs, but I’m not going to be dogmatic about this “disputable matter.” So, don’t get mad at me one way or the other, okay? 🙂

Halloween has origins that take us back to the Celtic people and a “festival of Samhain” that was held at the beginning of the Celtic year. At the Samhain Festival, farmers brought livestock in from summer pastures and people gathered to build shelters for winter. These pagan people burned fruits, vegetables, grain, and possibly animals as offerings to the gods. In ancient Celtic stories, “Samhain” was a time when the barriers between the natural world and the supernatural were broken. The Celts believed that the dead could walk among the living at this time. During Samhain, the living could visit with the dead, who they believed held secrets of the future.

Many of these pagan customs of the Celts survived even after the people became “Christianized.” In the 800’s A.D., the church established “All Saints’ Day” on November 1, which was set aside for people to remember lost loved ones and friends or family who had died. Unfortunately, people made many of the old pagan customs part of this Christian holy day. Some people put out food for their ancestors, or they left a lantern burning in the window so that the “ghosts” of their family members could “find their way home” in the night.

In the United States, many early American settlers came from England and they brought various beliefs about ghosts and witches with them. In the 1800s, many immigrants from Ireland and Scotland arrived in the United States and introduced their Halloween traditions. Other groups added their own cultural influences to Halloween customs. German immigrants brought a vivid witchcraft lore, and Haitian and African peoples brought their native voodoo beliefs about black cats, fire, and witchcraft.

Although our modern celebration of Halloween has some “religious” influences, there is nothing biblical about the holiday. Yes, it is affiliated with “All Saints’ Day,” but even this holiday is not supported by Scripture. The Bible does not tell us to pray for the dead. There is no purgatory the dead need to escape from. The spirits of the dead do not come back to visit us on earth. And there is no such thing as ghosts. The departed souls of all people are either in heaven or hades today. There are no spirits or disembodied spirits floating around.

So what should Christians do about Halloween? This is my personal conviction. I don’t celebrate Halloween. But, I will not go into a hole today. I will reach out to the world to share Jesus. I have the freedom to do that in Christ. I’m to be “in the world,” but not “of the world.”

I see no place in Scripture that tells us we can’t make lanterns out of gourds, or wear superhero or princess costumes, or ask neighbors for candy. Many churches and Christian organizations have Halloween alternatives, like Harvest Parties or Trunk or Treat. We are doing so at our church tonight. We’ll be reaching out to our community who will be riding the roads. We’ll be offering free hotdogs, candy and most of all the Gospel. We’ll be handing out information about the church and most importantly, Jesus with the candy tonight. I’m looking forward to sharing Christ with our community as I drop some Milky Way’s and Snickers’ in their kids’ bags. I see tonight as an opportunity to witness.

However, if the origins of Halloween convict you, as a Christian to reject the entire holiday, you have the freedom to do so, while giving others the freedom to act on their own beliefs. Within the church, we are not to judge anyone who uses their Christian liberty in a way that contradicts our personal convictions. Romans 14:5-6 says:

One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God.

At the same time, verses 13-19 say we are not to use our liberty to lead another into an act that he or she regards as sin. “I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean” (Romans 14:14).

So, should a Christian celebrate Halloween? Is there anything evil about a Christian dressing up as a princess or cowboy and going around the block asking for candy? In my mind there isn’t. Are there things about Halloween that are anti-Christian and should be avoided? Absolutely! If parents are going to allow their children to participate in Halloween, they should make sure to keep them from getting involved in the darker aspects of the day.
If Christians are going to take part in Halloween, their attitude, dress, and most importantly, their behavior should still reflect a redeemed life (Philippians 1:27). The decision is ultimately yours to make. But as with all things, we are to incorporate the principles of Romans 14, above. We can’t allow our own convictions about a holiday to cause division in the body of Christ, nor can we use our freedom to cause others to stumble in their faith. We are to do all things as to the Lord.

Our heart attitude should not be one that tries to justify the secular tradition of Halloween; nor should it be one that seeks out evil intent where there is none. Instead, we should strive to glorify God in all that we do. Whether we go trick-or-treating, attend a Harvest Party, Trunk or Treat or ignore the day altogether, our actions should reflect God’s leading on our own lives.

Read Full Post »

The Dream

Ever had a dream that shook you to the core?

I had one on Sunday night. It was totally crazy, but was so real that it was living color.

I was on a field trip with Clara and Andrew and Pam. We had gone with a homeschool group to a toothpick factory. It was very interesting and I’m a toothpick nut anyway! I love ’em! I’ll tell you a secret. I’ve got a toothpick in the back of my Bible.

01

And I carry one in the little notebook I carry in my pocket to jot down notes, ideas, etc.

03

I’ve even got one in my Day Planner. (Do people still carry those? :))

04

See it? It’s like looking for the proverbial “needle in a haystack.” It’s there. Look hard.

Okay…grossed out yet? My family is! I’ve got toothpicks in every vehicle glove box too! Well, back to the dream. I’m sure you know more than you bargained for, right!

We’re going through this toothpick factory and we get to this area where they tell us that Pam and I are going to have to go with a group of children and kind of help lead them through this area with a water vat full of toothpicks that helps them to swell (for some reason). So, we dutifully obeyed. This left Clara and Andrew with the group behind us. So, on we went.

We watched as a blade cut the wood pieces into toothpicks. It was a large spinning saw. After the saw cut the wood pieces into the toothpicks, they (the toothpicks) fell into the vat full water. It was a massive vat that looked to have hundreds of gallons of circulating, bubbling water in it. It was fascinating to watch this process.

We were led with our group of 15-20 kids into another area of the factory. It was a waiting area. While we were waiting to be led to the next portion of the factory, a man came hurriedly into the large room (like a conference room). He came directly to me and Pam and said, “Please come with me.” The way he said it sent a chill up my spine. I said, “Sir, is something wrong?” He didn’t answer. He was walking faster than me (and that’s saying something). I almost had to run to keep up. I looked at Pam and the look on her face was terror. “Kevin, something is terribly wrong!” I ran up to the man and grabbed his shoulder and I said, “Tell me now! What’s wrong! Is it my children?” He said, “Please come with me, sir.”

At that moment we turned into a small conference room and there was my sister, who had been in the group behind us. She had been crying and was absolutely white…ghostly pale in her face. She looked at me and then looked down. She couldn’t speak. There was another man in a coat and tie seated at a small table and he said, “Please sit down. I need to tell you something.”

Pam and I slowly sat down beside my sister. She grabbed my hand. “Sir, there has been a horrible accident in the vat room. Your daughter has drowned.”

…….

Your daughter has drowned…

Your daughter has drowned…

Those words rattled through my mind like a machine gun.

“What! How?!”

I was standing now…holding the man’s shirt in my fists. “How did this happen! What do you mean she’s drowned! Where is she?” He said, “Please come with me.” In a small room beside of the one we were in…there was a small table and there she was stretched out on the table on her back. Her shirt had been torn from her and her blue jeans were ripped and she had on no shoes and only one purple sock. It was barely hanging on to her foot…dangling…

“Awwwwww!!!! NO!!!!!” I screamed at the top of my lungs! Pam collapsed onto her lifeless body wailing uncontrollably. Our lives forever changed…

I awoke in a cold sweat. I had been holding my breath. I could barely breath. I looked at the clock. 4:56 am. Clara. Clara. I jumped out of the bed and slid through the house in my socks running and sliding, but trying to be quiet. I made it to Clara’s room and there she laid. Still. Not moving. Just like the dream. But, she was alive! Alive! I bent down ever so slowly and kissed her on the cheek! Her face was warm and she smelled like…well…Clara. Oh dear God…thank you…thank you…thank you!! She’s alive! Oh thank you dear Lord! I’m so blessed! I’m so blessed!

Listen carefully. Do you have children. Look at their faces and study their faces. Look at how the skin wraps around their nose and how their mouth opens when they talk. Brush their hair through your hand. Look at them. They’ll look at you and say, “What are you doing!” You say, “I’m thanking God for you! I’m so thankful you are my child!”

I did this with Clara on Monday morning. She came into my closet as I was putting on my shoes and she was quoting her Bible verses for the week. I hadn’t seen her until then. She was in her pajamas and still had “sleepy dust” in her eyes. I took a knee in front of her. Normally, I must tell you truthfully…I’d say, “Clara, hurry honey…Daddy’s got to go.” And I’d brush her off. “Not today,” I thought. I’m going to study my daughter’s face. I soaked her in like I’d never seen her before in my life. I don’t know that I’ll ever forget that moment. I listened and I looked as she quoted. And then when she finished, she said, “What?” I said, “Can I hug you Clara?” “Oh yes Daddy!”

Let me tell you, I hugged her so tight. I said, “Clara, I love you so much I could just eat you up.” I fought back the tears. Oh Lord! Thank you for my children! Oh Father, thank you for my wife!

You see, I know people who are literally watching their loved ones die at this very moment and they are in tremendous, gut-wrenching grief. Pray for them and comfort them and be thankful…oh so thankful for your loved ones and your brothers and sisters in Christ.

Thank God it was just a dream!

07

 

Read Full Post »

Why is forgiving so hard?

I have been contemplating that question this week. In our weekly men’s group called “Iron Men” we’ve been studying the lives of the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. We’ve moved to chapter 45 in Genesis and it’s the familiar account of where Joseph reveals himself to his brothers. It’s powerful!

Genesis 45

1 Then Joseph could not control himself before all those who stood by him. He cried, “Make everyone go out from me.” So no one stayed with him when Joseph made himself known to his brothers. 2 And he wept aloud, so that the Egyptians heard it, and the household of Pharaoh heard it. 3 And Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still alive?” But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed at his presence.

4 So Joseph said to his brothers, “Come near to me, please.” And they came near. And he said, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. 5 And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life.  6 For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are yet five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. 7 And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. 8 So it was not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt.

Genesis 45 is in my opinion one of the most beautiful pictures of forgiveness outside of the story of Jesus, as any found anywhere in the Bible. It ranks up there with the prodigal son and Hosea’s buying back Gomer. I have come to the conclusion that perhaps the most significant issue in the Christian life is FORGIVENESS. Bold statement, huh? But, think about it. Aren’t we almost constantly confronted with the need to forgive? If you are married, you know this is true. 🙂 If you have children, you now this is true! If you work with difficult people (who aren’t like you), you know this is true!

I believe forgiveness must be the norm for our lives or we will not grow in Christ. But, we know this already don’t we? We know we are to walk the second mile and turn the other cheek and to forgive 70 x 7. But are we?

You are either a forgiving person or a bitter and resentful person.

You see I’m absolutely convinced that forgiveness is the nucleus of the Gospel. If you don’t forgive, then you really don’t understand the Gospel. The Gospel is all about forgiveness. There is no Gospel without forgiveness.

Can I make another bold statement? If you store up bitterness and won’t forgive, then you CAN NOT be right with God. For you are either storing up bitterness every day or you are constantly learning how to forgive. There is no in between. Yes, you may have learned to hide unforgiveness and bury it, but eventually it will come out and before it does, it’s probably going to make you sick. Bitterness will eat you up!

For many people, and this might include you, they have found themselves at the end of their relationship quota. They just can’t let anyone else “in” to their life because they simply can’t store up any more bitterness. There is no more room in their soul for another broken relationship, so they just push people away and they are much like this guy…

File:T.h. hermanni con speroni 5.JPG

See that tortoise? He’s tucked his head in and he ain’t comin’ out! Is that you? Are you closing down on people? You just don’t let anybody else in because you can make no more room in your soul for anymore bitterness. Don’t go there! It’s a trap of Satan! Forgiveness is not optional. It’s commanded in Ephesians 4:32, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Jesus said if you will not forgive, then your father in heaven will not forgive you. (Matt. 6:14-15)

But, why is it so hard?

Let me share three myths that make it hard.

Myth #1 Forgiveness requires forgetting.

Some say, “Yeah, since I can’t forget, then I guess I haven’t forgiven.” Can you tell me where that’s found in the Word of God? Is that 2 Hesitations? 🙂

Joseph remembered what his brothers had done to him, but he simply chose not to hold it against them. He said: “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt.” You see he remembered. But, then he said: “…And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here.”

Folks, we can’t forget. Don’t you know when humans start forgetting stuff that they’re malfunctioning? We were not created to forget. We can’t do what the Creator created us NOT to do. We all have memories. John Calvin says, “Forgiveness is a gift of sheer liberality that has nothing to do with forgetting.” Forgiveness is simply the canceling of a debt.

Suppose you and I went to a meeting together and as you are leaving the parking lot, you hit my car. I come out and look at it and I say, “Don’t worry about it. I forgive you.” But, what if three days later, I sent you a bill in the mail? That’s not forgiveness is it? Forgiveness is when you remove your right to payment. It’s when you remove your right to make the other person pay for what they did to you. You write “Cancel” on the bill.

Who do you need to forgive? Could you write their name on a piece of paper and then write: “Cancel” on top of their name? You see, I meet people all the time in my counseling who are being controlled by people who are not even around. They’re dead. Are you allowing someone from the grave to control you because you haven’t forgiven them? Maybe they’re not dead…but, they live three states away. You’ve got to forgive. Why?

Holding on to unforgiveness is like you drinking poison and hoping the other person dies.

Did you know that person who hurt you deeply is not even thinking about you? I remember a man who said to me: “My Dad was bad to me, so I’m not going to send him a birthday card.” I said, “Well, he probably wasn’t expecting one anyway!” He smiled and said, “You’re right.” It takes a lot of mental and emotional energy not to forgive, you know that don’t you? It will wear you out! Yet, many are simply using up a ton of mental energy and that person who hurt you is not even thinking about you. They might not even know the fullness of what they’ve done. And it doesn’t matter.

Joseph hadn’t forgotten what his brothers had done to him when they sold him into slavery and faked his death, but he’s not bitter. How is this possible? Verse 5 says it:

5 And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life.

See those four words in italics? “For God sent me…

Joseph sees the hand of our sovereign God! When you understand the sovereignty of God, you can forgive. He said, “God sent me here.” God allowed that hurt and pain to happen to you. It’s part of the process He’s allowing to sanctify you. Joseph saw that God had sent him to Egypt, not his brothers.

Let’s look at what happens when we don’t forgive a “Believer” in Christ and an “Unbeliever” in Christ.

Not forgiving a BELIEVER:

If you and I don’t forgive a believer, then we are basically making them pay for what they did. But, remember, their sins have already been paid for on the cross. So for you not to forgive a believer is to mock what Jesus did on the cross and say to Him that His death may have been enough to forgive YOU, but you require just a little bit more to forgive your brother or sister in Christ. Yikes!

Not forgiving an UNBELIEVER?

What happens to the unbeliever when they die? They will go to hell and pay for their sin forever, right? So if you don’t forgive the unbeliever who has hurt you, then you are requiring hell plus something else. It’s called the “Hell Plus” method. Maybe hell plus a few weeks of the silent treatment will warrant you to forgive? That’s ridiculous. But, that’s how we think sometimes.

But, remember, God allowed that hurt…that pain…that sorrow in your life. He allowed it. He’s sovereign.

You see if we don’t forgive, we are hypocrites. We can come to church and praise God for forgiving us and we can sing about His forgiveness and how we just can’t believe He could “save a wretch like me.” But, hold your horses…if you sin against me…well that’s another thing entirely. I can’t forgive that!

But, wait a minute, weren’t you a sinner too? Didn’t Christ forgive you even while you were still a sinner (Romans 5:8). So for YOU, the sinner, forgiveness IS available, but not for the person who hurt you? Are your sins somehow in a different category? You deserve forgiveness, but people who sin against you don’t? Is that how it works? Of course that’s not biblical at all.

Here’s another myth about forgiveness…

Myth #2 They’ve Got to be Sorry!

You say, “I deserve forgiveness because I’m sorry! They’re not sorry! They need to be sorry! They hurt me so terribly! They don’t deserve to be forgiven until they’re sorry and they tell me they’re sorry!!”

That’s a marriage killer, right there! So many couples come to my office and one spouse says to the other: “If you were really, really sorry you wouldn’t keep doing it!” Well, let’s analyze this one. You sin against me and keep sinning over and over against me and it seems that it’s just undoable. But this is what life is, isn’t it. Those we are close to in a relationship will sin against over and over again. And you say, “They’re not really sorry.” Can I ask a question? Just how much “sorry” does it take? You and I can never be SORRY enough to stop sinning. The process of stopping sinning is called sanctification. It’s a process.

Do you believe that a person can be “sanctified by sorry.” You and I can’t make a sin stop because we are sorry enough. If that were the case Jesus died for nothing. We might say that we are sorry and that the sin in our lives will stop, but most of our sins aren’t new. Have you committed a “new sin” today? I doubt it. We commit the same sins over and over against God, and yet you expect forgiveness from Him don’t you?

Only God’s Spirit can stop us from sinning…

Myth #3 Forgiveness Can Only Happen If They Ask For It

Can I remind you that Joseph’s brothers didn’t even know it was Joseph. They hadn’t seen him since he was 17 and he’s now 32 years old. He’s got a shaved head and he’s speaking Egyptian. They didn’t ask Joseph for forgiveness, yet he forgave them anyway.

Does a person have to ask you for forgiveness to receive it from you? If that’s the case, I guess that means it’s okay for you to punish them until they ask for forgiveness…until they get enough “sorry” to ask you for forgiveness. Because after all, if you are not punishing them then that’s forgiving them, right?

Joseph forgave and his brothers didn’t ask. Jesus forgave and He cried out on the cross, “Father forgive them…they don’t know what they’re doing.”

So in the world do we do this? How do we forgive? By the grace of God dear friend! It’s the supernatural work of God in the believer. Joseph understood that the greater story is being written by God. You see, God poured out his wrath on his son because he wants you near to Him. You spit on Him and hated Him in your sin and He came anyway. How could He do that? THAT’S THE GOSPEL! That’s LOVE! Love=Forgiveness.

Get it? We can forgive because we’ve be forgiven. But you say, “They don’t deserve it! They don’t deserve to be forgiven!” Dear one, don’t you understand that we deserve worse than anything that person who hurt you could do to you. Why? Because you and I deserve Hell. God forgave you because the debt was paid by His Son, Jesus. He paid it all…all to Him I owe…sin had left a crimson stain…He washed it white as snow. God wrapped Himself in flesh crushed your sin so you could be set free. This is your hope! This is your confidence.

This is the Gospel and it’s called: FORGIVENESS.

Read Full Post »

I’ve written one book, but at the prompting of Dr. David Black, I’m going be writing book #2. This book will be much smaller, only around 12,000 words versus the first book which was just shy of 58,000 words. People are reading less and less and they are reading books which are shorter and shorter. Dr. Black always encourages me to write. He’s the professor of New Testament and Greek at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forrest, NC. If you are a frequent reader of the blog, then you know of my affinity for him and his wife, Becky Lynn.

The book is due to the publisher by March 2014. So, I’m going to be busy this winter. But, the truth is a writer has the book inside of him/her and it’s just a matter of getting it from the brain to the computer keyboard. It takes time, yes. But, it shouldn’t have to be something that’s forced. It should be something you are passionate about.

Earlier this week Dr. Black emailed me and said:

“Just posted something about publishing and writing at my blog. Have you thought much about your second book? What is the Lord trying to teach us through your pen? I am eager to see you submit something to our Areopagus series. Think on it and pray about it, will you? You have so much wisdom to give!”

Here was my response: “Wonderful! Thanks so much sir! What would you suggest? (Book)? Time right now is a commodity that I have in rather short supply. :)”

Dr. Black responded:

“What is it you’re passionate about right now? What truth have you been trying to get across to your people? I always try to kill two stones with one bird, if you know what I mean. You did this with your first book 🙂 If, of course, you are not really passionate about a subject, I’d let things lie until the Spirit really impresses a book on your heart. Then the book will basically write itself! At least that’s the way this writer works!”

I responded: Of late I’ve been “passionate” and burdened about the whole unbiblical concept of dating. It’s ruining our children before they get married. The sexual promiscuity among Christian teens is rampant. The Bible knows nothing of “casual” or “recreational” dating. Would that be a topic that would be worthy of the Areopagus Series?

Dr. Black forwarded my response to our publisher, Henry Neufeld (he graciously introduced me to Henry, owner of Energion Publications in Gonzalez, FL). Henry and I began to email back and forth and as of yesterday, we’ve agreed upon a date of March 10, 2014 for me to have the manuscript to Henry. Then Lord willing it will be out by April 18th!

We’ve decided on the title of: “To Date or Not to Date,” with a subtitle of: “What the Bible Says about Premarital Relationships.” So, I’m excited and looking forward to do this project this winter. Thanks Dr. Black for the helpful nudge, because having the time to write a book is kind of like waiting to have kids until you can afford them. You never will!

It seems writing is a big part of my family. Katy loves to write and so does Clara. Here’s Clara and Andrew…

IMG0022

That picture was made at New Hope Baptist Church where our family had a recent family reunion on my mom’s side of the family. Speaking of Clara…here’s one of her latest “devotions.” I’m giving it to you as she writes it. Nothing is fixed or corrected. Reminder: She is eight years old. And I didn’t help her with any of this. Reminder #2: She has helped me write devotions in the mornings and she’s learned pretty quickly how to cut and paste Scriptures from Biblegateway and even pictures. Her title is in bold…

God made us for his glory

Hi friends, A few of days ago the lord told me that he would like me to talk about that we are his and we are for his glory. In life we think that we own our own life.

That’s not true. This verse tells that he existed before anything was made and he created everything for his own glory.

Colossians 3:15-20

15 Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.
    He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation,[e]
16 for through him God created everything
    in the heavenly realms and on earth.
He made the things we can see
    and the things we can’t see—
such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world.
    Everything was created through him and for him.
17 He existed before anything else,
    and he holds all creation together.
18 Christ is also the head of the church,
    which is his body.
He is the beginning,
    supreme over all who rise from the dead.[f]
    So he is first in everything.
19 For God in all his fullness
    was pleased to live in Christ,
20 and through him God reconciled
    everything to himself.
He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth
    by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.

When we plan things do we ask God what he wants us to do or do we decide our self. He could make us do whatever he wants us to do. But he gives us a choice. Treat God like you would treat something that is important to you and he will bless you. We tell God sorry this is important you can’t decide I have to. You know what I mean? Give me some things you don’t let him control.

——————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–

You say well I don’t have anything that he does not control. There is usually is an answer. We’re just emberrased to say. One of my biggest problems with letting God control is like when my mom says it’s my decision. I usually don’t think about God controlling it.

If you let God control your life it will be a lot easier. Now that doesn’t mean that it will be perfect but it means things won’t be so wrong. You get it?

Friends God loves you and he wants you to let him control your life, but we just have to let him. We just have to let go. Let God control your life. He loves you and cares about you. Let him steer your life. We don’t own are own life. In our day people are recking there life. Listen God is smarter than us VERY!

God sent his own son to die on the cross for us!!

Can’t we give him just a little RESPECT!!

It gets me so mad. He sent his son for us because he loved us so much!

John 3:16

16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Friends think about this and let’s try our best to live it!!

Spreed this to our friends are neighbors and to people we know but most of all spreed the word to people!!

You can talk to me if you would like about this. I love you!

God Bless you!

Clara Brown

P.S   live it!

Isn’t that cool? I think she’s got “writing” in her blood too. Here’s a cool picture from Saturday night. We carved a couple of pumpkins and mom and dad came down for the fun.

photo

 

Read Full Post »

Enough Already!

Do you ever get tired of seeing stuff like this?

Rare skull sparks human evolution controversy

By Elizabeth Landau, CNN
updated 3:22 PM EDT, Thu October 17, 2013

 

I sure do!

In this photo taken Oct. 2, 2013, David Lordkipanidze, director of the Georgia National Museum, displays the ancient skull and jaws of a pre-human ancestor at the National Museum in Tbilisi, Georgia, Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013. The discovery of a 1.8-million-year-old skull of a human ancestor found below Dmanisi, a medieval Georgian village, captures early human evolution on the move in a vivid snapshot and indicates our family tree may have fewer branches than originally thought, scientists say. (AP Photo/Shakh Aivazov)It was reported earlier today that another one of our ancestor’s has been found. Okay, I’m going to show you the first three paragraphs of the article. They are short. You’ve got to see this…

Fragments of humans’ ancient relatives are scattered across the globe. Sometimes a tooth or a few bones are all we have to tell us about an entire species closely related to humans that lived thousands or millions of years ago. So when anyone finds a complete skull of a possible human ancestor, paleoanthropologists rejoice. But with new knowledge comes new controversy over a fossil’s place in our species’ very fuzzy family tree.

In the eastern European nation of Georgia, a group of researchers has excavated a 1.8 million-year-old skull of an ancient human relative, whose only name right now is Skull 5. They report their findings in the journal Science, and say it belongs to our genus, called Homo. “This is most complete early Homo skull ever found in the world,” said lead study author David Lordkipanidze, researcher at the Georgian National Museum in Tbilisi.

Skull 5 is the fifth example of a hominid — a bipedal primate mammal that walked upright — from this time period found at the site in Dmanisi, Georgia. Stone tools and animal bones have also been recovered from the area.

See the second sentence in the first paragraph? It says, “Sometimes a tooth or a few bones are all we have to tell us about an entire species closely related to humans that lived thousands or millions of years ago.” Okay, okay…I’ve got one for you, then how can they come up with this?

What did the individual look like whose complete skull was found? Here is one interpretation, by artist J.H. Matternes.

Now can I ask you something? How can some artist come up with this “man/ape” from that skull (shown above). Doesn’t he look real human? Just look at his eyes and lips and cheek bones. But, the ears are “ape” and the nose is “ape” and the eye ridge is “ape.” Do you think the artist who drew this picture has an agenda? Do you think there might be a bit of money in this whole deal to be made to find a “new species” and report it in a journal of Science so that a buck could be made?

Yes, Charles Darwin wrote the “Origin of the Species” in 1856 and his theory of evolution continues to be taught as fact in our schools. And let me tell you something… This is having a huge impact on what our young people believe about the Bible. You see, you can’t mix that picture above with Adam. Adam was 100% man, created in the image of God. Adam had perfect DNA. No mutations! So, do you expect me to believe that Adam was a knuckle-dragging hominid? No way JosĂ©!

I read an article recently, “Should Christians Be Pushing to Have Creation Taught in Government Schools?” Full article here… Here’s a brief snippet (and note that I’ve italicized a few places for emphasis):

Public school teachers know that they can critically discuss different theories in regard to just about every issue—but not evolution. Even if a school board simply wants evolution to be critically analyzed (a good teaching technique, after all) without even mentioning creation or the Bible, the American Civil Liberties Union and other humanists are immediately up in arms. There are the usual accusations of trying to get “religion” into schools and that it’s a front for what they label as “fundamentalist Christianity.”

By the way, when the public school system threw out prayer, Bible readings, creation, and the Ten Commandments, they didn’t throw out religion. They replaced the Christian worldview influence with an atheistic one. The public schools, by and large, now teach that everything a student learns about science, history, etc., has nothing to do with God it can all be explained without any supernatural reference. This is a religious view—an anti-Christian view with which students are being indoctrinated. Humanists know that naturalistic evolution is foundational to their religion—their worldview that everything can be explained without God. That is why they are so emotional when it comes to the topic of creation/evolution.

Moms and Dads reading this, please understand that your children are not being taught like you were taught. There is an “all-out” assault on the Bible in the way that evolution is being taught today. When I was in school, evolution was almost laughed at by my high school Biology teacher. But, once I got to college, it was a VERY different story. If you are in college today and you say you believe in God and the Bible and the creation account of Genesis 1 and 2, you’ll be laughed off campus. Just think of it mom and dad…you’re paying good money to have college professors tell your kids what idiots you are for believing in the Bible and the Word of God. Sad isn’t it?

Let’s add another 10 years to everything and see what’s going to be coming down the pike and be taught in our schools. Let me tell you about what’s coming next. This was recently reported under the title:

Darwinian Dictates

By: Casey Luskin

WORLD Magazine August 23, 2013

Public education curricula in the United States have traditionally been controlled by local and state boards of education, but under newly crafted national guidelines called the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), K-12 public school students across the country may learn essentially the same uniform science curriculum, one that proselytizes for Darwinism.

The drive to nationalize science standards intensified in 2009 when a study found American students had fallen to 23rd in science internationally, ranking behind China, Japan, Germany, and Canada. In 2011 the National Research Council, an arm of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, released its Framework for K-12 Science Education, outlining specific science content and thinking skills that students should learn. The nonprofit corporation Achieve.org coordinated the team that drafted the final NGSS, published in April of this year.

Five states so far—Rhode Island, Kentucky, Maryland, Vermont, and Kansas—have adopted the standards, and states including California, Florida, Maine, Michigan, and Washington will soon be considering them. Proponents argue that nationalized standards will ensure a higher quality of instruction regardless of state or local policies. Critics respond that these national standards weren’t developed through a democratic, publicly transparent process. The NGSS drafting process excluded Darwin-skeptical groups and invited pro-Darwin advocacy groups like the National Center for Science Education.

That’s frightening to me! But, it gets worse. Look at what they are going to be teaching third graders and middle-school students if they get their way…

NGSS makes biological evolution a “core idea” and urges that by the third grade students should be presented with “evidence of common ancestry” of humans and animals. Middle-school students should “infer evolutionary relationships,” and in high school they should hear that “common ancestry and biological evolution are supported by multiple lines of empirical evidence.”

NGSS requires students to learn that similarities among vertebrate embryos indicate common ancestry, but says nothing about the significant differences between embryos in their earliest stages. A 2010 paper in the world’s foremost science journal, Nature, explained, “Counter to the expectations of early embryonic [similarities], many studies have shown that there is often remarkable divergence between related species both early and late in development.” Under the NGSS, such evidence would be excluded.

Now get this. Texas is going to fight it and so is Tennessee! Way to go Texas and our neighbors in Tennessee!

Polls suggest most parents will find the NGSS objectionable not because students will learn about biological evolution, but because they will hear only the evidence for Darwinism and none against it. According to a 2009 Zogby poll, 78 percent of likely American voters agree that “Biology teachers should teach Darwin’s theory of evolution, but also the scientific evidence against it.”

Some states are resisting NGSS. Barbara Cargill, chair of the Texas State Board of Education, says Texas has a “zero percent chance” of adopting the new national standards. This is largely because in 2009 Texas completed an arduous process of updating its own science standards, which now require students to “analyze and evaluate” Darwinian concepts like common ancestry and natural selection.

In other states, teachers who cover required NGSS elements may still have freedom to discuss additional evidence. Tennessee, for example, is one of 26 “leading state partners” that helped draft NGSS, and has pledged to consider implementing them. But last year Tennessee adopted an academic freedom law, encouraging teachers to discuss both the “scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses” of topics like climate change and biological evolution. (Full article here…)

You know what? There are still people in this country who say: “ENOUGH ALREADY!” Hallelujah! Want to know what a Yale Professor says about the future of education:

“Since the cultural revolution culminating in the 1970s, the left has run nearly all of the nation’s most influential, prestigious universities. Their alumni, in turn, run American culture—the broadcast networks, newspapers, the legal and many other professions, Hollywood, book publishing, and, most important, the massive, insensate, crush-everything-in-your-path mega-glacier known as the U.S. federal bureaucracy—and even more important than that, the education establishment charged with indoctrinating our children from kindergarten up.” David Gelernter, Professor of Computer Science, Yale University (Article here...)

I say, “Enough Already!” And this is why it matters to you, if you are a parent. Read carefully.  Mr. Luskin says, and I think he’s right: “The future direction of the culture is set by the current culture of the elite colleges and universities.”

So, don’t be blinded mom and dad. One day your child will likely study in an institution that has teachers or professors who teach evolution. Why? Because the culture at large is slowly but surely being brain-washed by evolutionary thinking.

I know this is a lengthy post, but this is important. Parents, you need to print this out and read it to your kids if they are over the age of 10. Why? Because my post is so good? No, not necessarily. But, it provides information. And with information comes knowledge and knowledge brings power.

So, I want to end with the words of Ken Ham on the subject of Science versus the Bible and the article entitled “Don’t Science Disprove the Bible?”

1. Operational (or Observational) Science. This refers to knowledge gained by direct observation (using the five senses) and based on repeatable testing. Such “science” (knowledge) has enabled scientists to build our modern technology like airplanes and rocket ships. Whether one is a creationist or evolutionist, we all use the same operational science. Thus, both evolutionists and creationists can be honored for their observational science.

2. Historical Science. This refers to knowledge about the past—in essence, history. This type of science cannot be observed directly or based on repeated testing, so we need other ways of finding knowledge. The Genesis account of origins gives us knowledge about the past, revealed by an infallible witness—God. Those who believe in Darwinian evolution claim to have knowledge concerning the past, too, but it is based upon the beliefs of fallible humans who did not witness the supposed evolutionary history. Genesis is the true account of historical science, whereas evolution is really a fictional historical science.

Thus, the battle between creation and evolution (the Genesis account versus man’s account of origins) is really a battle over historical science. The role of operational (or observational science) is that it can be used to confirm or refute one’s historical science.

Observational science (in geology, biology, astronomy, anthropology, etc.) confirms the account of origins in Genesis and refutes the evolutionary account. (Many of these confirmations are available on our website, http://www.answersingenesis.org.)

The problem is not with the science but with the mistaken interpretation of unobserved history.

When listening to arguments that supposedly support evolution, you have to learn how to separate observational science and historical science. Here is one example to get you thinking in this way. If you see a claim that sedimentary rock strata containing fossils are millions of years old, then you need to sort out what is observational versus historical science. The statement that rocks are sedimentary rocks is one of observational science. Both creationists and evolutionists agree on what is directly observed.

But the claim that the rocks are millions of years old falls under historical science. It is not observed but rather an interpretation regarding the past. Biblical creationists would not agree with this interpretation but instead interpret the fossils as a deposit from the Flood of Noah’s day or some post-Flood catastrophe that occurred only thousands of years ago.

Thus, observational science cannot disprove the Bible. We agree on the observational science but totally disagree on the historical science. The problem is not with the operational science but with the mistaken interpretation of unobserved history.

Amen and amen!! Equip your children! Do it now before they come home one day proclaiming, “I believe in Evolution and the Bible is a myth!”

Read Full Post »

Winter Outlook 2013-14

Well, it’s that time of year? It’s starting to get cooler and we’re awaiting that first frost. Sooooooooo….

People begin wondering what kind of winter we’re going to have. Are you wondering? Want some snow? Want it to be warm and dry? Doesn’t matter to you?

Snow

Well, I really believe most folks like snow. They might not admit it, but they do. There is something almost surreal about it. It shuts everything down for a while and I, for one, don’t mind that. We are all running so hard and so fast as it is. It’s kind of nice to slow down. Amazing how snow and/or ice (I don’t like ice) can do that.

I shared with you a while back that our snowfall this year looks to be around 25-30% more than normal. For western North Carolina that means about a foot of snow with 2-4 significant events. Now remember something about your bald-headed blogger… I’m a novice weather-guy, but I know enough to be dangerous and that’s about it. But, I read and study other weather bloggers and scientists and so I’ll try to sum some things up for ya!

It looks like we are going to have a more active southern jet stream with a weak El Nino. (El Nino is good for active winters for the south.) Take a look at this graphic:

Polarvortexwinter

There is a ton of snow in Siberia right now and that builds up cold air and the Polar Vortex is going to push that cold air south. That means a colder winter in Europe and the Eastern U.S. We are also seeing a wetter Fall in the plains and mid-west and that bodes well for colder ground temperatures that will keep the air from Canada colder as it comes south. Past history teaches us that wet Octobers mean colder and wetter winters. So, here’s the overall forecast for the country for temperatures:

Screen Shot 2013-10-07 at 8.36.40 PM

You say, “What’s the big deal about 2 to 4 degrees below normal? Folks, that huge! Now take a look at the precipitation forecast for snow and ice:

Screen Shot 2013-10-07 at 9.13.55 PM

Looks like the south might be in for a couple of ice storms. You’ll note that North Carolina is caught in the middle of snow/ice, as usually seems to be the case. See that blocking high over Greenland (below)?

 

Screen Shot 2013-08-07 at 3.39.59 AM

That’s key to damning up cold air in the south and can also signal Nor-Easters for the New England states. Of course no one knows what the weather will do except the Lord. But, it’s sure fun to think about it. I say, “Bring this on!”

Snow

Okay. Now for the drum roll please for the updated forecast from: LiveWeatherBlogs.com (a very reputable weather blog):

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″
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″ 

Read Full Post »

Using Faith

“Oh ye of little faith…”

That ever been said of you?

Jesus said it a lot to His disciples. In my estimation His harshest criticism of His men were when they showed a lack of faith. Do you agree? But, having faith is not easy. Hebrews 11:1 says: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

Jesus tells us if we have the faith of a grain of a mustard seed that we can move mountains. Do you believe that? Tough isn’t it. I believe, but Lord help my unbelief, right? I believe I have faith, but sometimes I must admit that I’m not full of faith. I waver and I doubt and James tells us that’s not good. But, I admit it.

Does your faith waver? I’m thinking most of you are probably like me and you struggle with being full of faith, (a.k.a faithful), too. Where does faith come from? You can’t buy it. You can’t drink it or eat it. So how do you get faith? Well, God gives us faith when we hear His Word. Did you know that? I bet you do, but perhaps forgot that.

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. Romans 8:17

Oh yeah! Faith does come by hearing the word of Christ. We hear the Word and faith comes to us. But, then what? Don’t we have to use it? Aren’t we obligated to use what’s been given to us? Here’s how I see it.

See this load of mulch?

mulch pile

I see that pile of mulch like a pile of faith. That load of mulch was brought in by my father and dumped in my back yard. (I asked my Dad to use his truck and get me a load when he had a chance and he did.) But, that mulch had to get moved by me to the appropriate place. In other words “I” had to decide to use the faith (or in this case, to move the mulch).

mulch pitchfork

So, I took my pitchfork and began the job. And after a couple of hours of work, here’s the last load…

mulch gone

That’s fresh mulch around my house. I moved a mountain (well, maybe not a mountain) of mulch. 🙂 How? One load at a time.

house 2

To me that’s the way I utilize faith. I believe and take action on that which God gives. Even this week, I had to enact faith. My family was given some news that required us to have faith and pray for a positive result and so we all prayed. I mean we prayed hard, diligently and fervently. We didn’t cross our fingers or rub a lucky rabbit’s foot. No sir! We prayed and asked God to answer our prayers and we acted in faith. I literally believed for the result that I desired. Remember, “ye have not because ye ask not.” So, as best I could, I chose to believe. I read God’s word…particularly Psalm 27 and I believed and my family believed and we received.

Now is this always the case? Is it always a positive outcome? No. I’d love to tell you that everything always comes up like roses in my life. But, you know better, don’t you? Yet, I’m growing and I’m learning and I’m desiring to grow in my faith. So, bring on the mulch Lord! I’m ready to dive into it again!

Do you know what these are?

beans

Those are pole beans that have dried and are ready to be harvested and shelled and used for next year’s seed. And there they are.

beans 2

No need to buy more seed. It’s provided right there for us on the vines. Just don’t pick the last crop. Use it for seed.

Our family was excited to have Rich and Stacey Stratton to our home last weekend.

Strattons

That’s the Stratton’s on the left. Tim and Melissa Elmore are in the middle. Of course that’s Pam on the right. We met the Stratton’s at Lipscomb University earlier this summer. They heard me speak and want me to come to their church in Henderson, Kentucky (which is about 30 miles from Evansville, Indiana). They want me to share about my book and raising Christ-centered young adults. Their kids Landon and Lynsey and the Elmore’s, daughter, Madison and our girls, Clara and Kandace and Katy participated in a Fine Arts Academy and met each other there. Here’s the kids…

stratton family

That’s Mason behind Andrew on the bike and Lynsey behind them along with Clara, Madison and Landon (L-R). Great folks and a great time was had by all! Rich is interested in learning more about Rite of Passage and how the key to keeping kids locked in at our churches is NOT to entertain them, but to involve them by giving them a job. Here’s an example from this past Wednesday night at church. See those two young men?

Billy and Dawson

That’s Billy Matherly and Dawson Ellis (L-R) and they are loading dishes in our dishwasher and they love it! Yes, we give our young people work to do and they want it! And you know what? No longer is it just their parents church, it’s now THEIR church! I look forward to going to Kentucky this winter (January) and share in a Family Conference with their good church.

Oh by the way, I discovered someone else in the kitchen serving the church family?

Michele

That’s Michele Cordray. She’s pastor Brad Cordray’s wife and she’s a blessing!

And so was this gentleman.

CM Brown

That’s my grandfather, C.M. Brown, Jr. He died 28 years ago this past Tuesday. I was 17. His death was the most devastating thing that had ever happened to me at that point in my life. And I must tell you that it’s something that I don’t think I’ll ever get over. He died of colon cancer and I miss him terribly. He touched my life in ways that I carry with me even to this day. That picture in the corner is a picture of me and Grandpa when I was 11 after I returned from an All-Star basketball tournament. And that’s my dad, David Brown, in the other corner. Those two men have impacted my life more than anyone. I’m so blessed. And I want to make the kind of impact they made on me to my kids. And one of the ways I think you do that is by spending time with them.

It’s been said that children spell “love,” T-I-M-E.

See that little person?

Clara hide and seek

That’s Clara. Guess what we’re doing?

Yep, playing hide and seek. See that little face?

Andrew hide and seek

Yep, that’s Andrew…

Andrew hide and seek 2

Hide and seek is a staple around my house. We love it and I hope my kids will remember these days and know that their daddy loves them with all his heart. Because that’s how my dad loves me and that’s how I love him. And that’s how my heavenly Father loves me and that’s how I desire to love Him. 100% whole-hearted! FAITH-ful to the end!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »