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Archive for January, 2014

I witnessed something really cool this afternoon. I witnessed this:

Brays That’s Travis and Rebekah Bray and their son Jacob (standing) and their newly adopted son, Jace. Judge Michael Duncan is presiding over this wonderful adoption ceremony this afternoon. I was asked to pray over the family.

Bray 2

Having adopted twice, this experience brought back all of those memories with Clara and Andrew. Now I said, “memories.” I don’t quantify those memories for you. Why? Because it wasn’t all a bed of roses.

See the look on Andrew’s face in China?

Andrew 046 (7)

Check out Clara in China…

Clara crying

Would we do it again? ABSOLUTELY! The smiles eventually come…

Andrew and Katy

Clara at her best

But, adopting a child is a change to your family and your lifestyle and it’s a selfless act. Now I don’t say that to sound like we’re patting ourselves on the backs for adopting. I’m just stating to you these facts. Adding a person to your family from another family, set of circumstances and an environment that you didn’t come from can be challenging. That’s why most won’t do it. It’s simply too hard and too emotionally gut-wrenching. But, oh, oh, oh the rewards! I can’t describe to you the rewards and what our two adopted children mean to me and Pam and Katy and Kandace.

To say that adoption changed our lives might be the greatest understatement that could be made about our family.  I think back to all the surgeries for Andrew…

Andrew before surgery

Yet, now here we all are…

Family-Christmas 2013

If you’ve never considered adoption, just be reminded that if you are a child of God, you’ve been adopted (Romans 8:15). 🙂

Have you seen the Most (and Least) Bible-minded cities in America? Barna Research reported earlier this week those cities. It should not surprise us that the northeast and far west are the least Bible-minded, while the most Bible-minded are in the south. Yet, I was surprised that the Midwest is becoming less and less Bible-minded.

bible-minded-large

How long can the south hold out? Answer? As long as the Word of God is still preached, taught and lived. As the Church goes, so goes the nation. When the Church gets watered down and diluted, the culture goes with it. Want to see what America will look like in 15-20 years? Look no further than the mother country of England. England’s churches are almost defunct.

Paul told Timothy that the Church must stand as a pillar and a buttress for the truth (1 Timothy 3:15). I, for one, am going to stand on the Word of God. I will not back down from teaching and preaching the truth of God’s Word. I will not water it down. I will not back down. I will not live in the fear of man. I will not be bought or bribed. I will stand if that means death. There is no truth, but God’s truth, which is found in His Word. Sorry for sounding like I’m preaching. I just couldn’t help it.

What’s your grid? How do you make decisions? Something drives your thinking. I want my thinking to be driven by the Word of God. I no longer want to conform to the patterns of this world. I want my mind renewed. I want to be a living sacrifice for my Savior (Romans 12:1-2).

Do you know this guy?

That’s Kevin Durant. He will likely be the NBA’s MVP this year. He is a Christian and he’s a breath of fresh air. Yet, after being interviewed by an ESPN reporter, (who laughed whether at him or with him it’s hard to tell). He has been maligned for thanking God and Jesus Christ for his ability.

28-second video…

I’m grateful Kevin had the courage to share his faith. But, that’s dying…

Did you know that the poorer you are the more likely you are to share your faith…

I guess when you’ve got a lot of “jack” (that’s money), then you don’t need Jesus and you won’t likely share Him.

As reported by ABP News (Full article here…)

“Annual baptisms in Southern Baptist churches have declined by 100,000 in the last 12 years, last year dropping to the smallest number in 64 years. LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention released figures June 5 reporting 314,959 baptisms in 2012, down 18,385 – or 5.5 percent – from 2011. Total membership of 15,872,404 marked the sixth straight year of statistical decline for the nation’s second-largest faith group behind Roman Catholics. Membership dropped by 105,000 – two-thirds of a percent. Weekly worship attendance, meanwhile, fell below 6 million to 5,966,735, down 3 percent.”

Christianity is in decline in America. Want more evidence? Here are more trends from Barna Research?

Millennials have more trust in Universities than in the Church. That’s sad. Churches have stopped giving answers for why we believe what we believe. I’m convinced we must teach apologetics and give answers for the tough questions of life. If pastors don’t begin to teach and preach in a way that helps people develop and appetite for the Word of God, then we’ll lose the next generation. We’ve got to help folks have a desire to “eat their vegetables.”

Here’s a couple of other interesting charts:

I’m not surprised by those findings. And I’m not surprised by this…

This is another reason that homeschooling continues to grow exponentially in this country. We need to pray for our public school teachers and administrators who love the Lord and try to impact our young students as best they can. But, their hands are tied. They can’t discipline. They can’t talk about the Lord Jesus and they can’t teach from the Bible. Thus, they have perhaps the hardest job in the world: Teaching and educating without being able to teach and educate about the author of all knowledge and all learning: Almighty God.

One of the reasons our country continues to free-fall morally is because a Biblical worldview is no longer embraced. You just saw that with the map above. It’s just a matter of time before the rest of the country follows suit if we don’t transfer our faith in Christ to the next generation.

Do you have a Biblical worldview? Are you sure? Here’s how you can find out.

Click here to take the free test…

I took the “Free” Biblical Knowledge Test. It took 5 minutes and I got 30 out of 32 questions right (94%). See how you do. Tell your kids about it and see how they do. Then ask yourself. Do I have a Biblical worldview? If yes, then what about your kids?

The trends aren’t good folks. We’ve got to teach, teach, teach and teach some more about the things of God and His Word, or we’re going to continue to see more and more “least Bible-minded” churches.

Well, after all of that joyful news… I’ll share a new book that I just discovered. The title?

“Understanding Women”

It’s out in paperback in some outlets…

Book Women

I hope you’re laughing! I sure am!

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I love sharing the Word of God. I really believe it’s what God has designed me to do. When I teaching the Bible it’s like I’m in a different state of mind. It’s hard to describe. There is a sense of the presence of God on my life that’s so unique and so thrilling that it humbles me and excites me at the same time. Sound strange? I guess it does. But, it’s a surreal dynamic to say the least.

This past weekend I was asked to speak to a fantastic group of folks in Henderson, KY near Evansville, Indiana.

KevinBrown1

It’s a beautiful church in downtown Henderson, Kentucky. It’s First Baptist…

Henderson ChurchIt’s an old church. It’s been around since 1839. Check out the inside…

henderson church 2

It’s got beautifully arched ceilings…

henderson church 3

As most old First Baptist churches, it’s got a beautiful pipe organ…

henderson church 4

I was invited to speak by this man and his wife (to his left)…

Rich and Stacey Stratton

That’s Rich and Stacey Stratton. I showed you his picture last week. He and Stacey are delightful people and two of the best mannered, most polite children (Landon and Lynsey) you’ve ever met. That’s Ben Wolaver beside of them. Ben is the son of this lady…

Robin and Gretchen Wolaver

That’s Robin Wolaver and her daughter Gretchen. Robin is a phenomenal speaker, but an even better mother and wife. She’s the mother of this fantastic family…

Those are the members of the Annie Moses Band. Six children and that’s Alex (the man on the far left) and his wife Berklee. They play all over the country and run a camp for kids at Lipscomb University each July called the Fine Arts Summer Academy. This past year the final gala was held at the Grand Ole Opry. If you want to have your mind blown…watch the video highlights of 2013… It’s 2 1/2 minutes.

FASA 2013-Grand Ole Opry

I highly recommend it! It’s literally inspired my children and changed our lives. The love for godly music and the arts are dying out in America. Satan has taken over the airwaves. Over the last 10 years the #1 selling artist is this guy…

File:Eminem DJ Hero.jpg

Don’t recognize him? Good! Wikipedia identifies him as:

“Marshall Bruce Mathers III (born October 17, 1972), better known by his stage name Eminem and by his alter ego: Slim Shady, is an American rapper, record producer, songwriter, and actor. Eminem is one of the world’s best-selling music artists and is the best-selling artist of the 2000′s.”

Want to know my take on the dude? He’s a filthy artist. He’s vulgar and lewd. But, he’s simply giving culture what it’s asking for. You know that the entertainment industry gives us what we want and will pay for. Culture follows entertainment. And get this…

Our lawmakers follow culture…

Look at the legalization of abortion, pot and homosexuality if you don’t believe me. So if you want to see what we’re going to be like as a nation in 10 years…look at what is entertaining us now. Scary! The Annie Moses Band runs the camp at Lipscomb and young adults from all over the country come to learn and grow and to be inspired to lift the vision of music and the arts above the smut and garbage that much of what is being espoused as music and art in our day.

Robin says, “We’ve got a separation of Church and STAGE today.” I agree. The church should have the best music and musicians in the world. Do we? This is why I appreciate what the Wolaver’s are doing and I appreciate Brad Cordray for what he’s doing at MPBC to raise the bar for our young people musically.

Robin did a phenomenal job and I pray that I did okay as well. I felt that the dear folks at the Parent Summit in Kentucky were very kind, gracious and receptive.

I shared with you my schedule of speaking last week. But, I’ll tell you the session that hit home the most (in my opinion) was my first session. It was the keynote on Friday night. It was simply the title of my new and forthcoming book: “To Date or Not to Date: What the Bible Says About Premarital Relationships.”

The Bible speaks nothing about dating. Zero. Zip! Nothing. Now before you say the Bible is outdated and antiquated, remember who the author is. (You know…God!) God is not dumb. He knows exactly what we need for all time. The Bible is not bound in time, it’s timeless.

The Bible speaks specifically of betrothal. It’s a committed and dedicated relationship. It’s not this purposeless, intentionless, “let’s get to know each other and have a good time” deal that we’ve got going today. You know. The guy comes by…picks up the girl at 5:30. They go eat and catch the 7 pm movie. The movie is over by 8:35 and she doesn’t have to be home till 11 pm. What are they going to do for the next 2 1/2 hours? I don’t think you need more than one guess to figure that out. Within six months most couples have compromised themselves sexually.

Can I say this? Did you know we are living in a state of betrothal with Jesus. We are not “married” to Him yet. You see dear blog friend, the Church is the bride of Christ and the Lord Jesus is the groom. There is a wedding that’s coming in heaven that will be followed by a Marriage Supper. Until then, we are living in a betrothed state with Jesus. He is NOT dating us! He’s NOT going to drop us or turn His back on us.

At the end of the session I told the group of parents and families that it’s one thing to stand up and share about a subject and give all kinds of advice…but have they lived it? Then I told them about Katy and Josh.

Take a look at this picture… It really impacted the girls and ladies in the room…

Look at Katy’s face. Look closely. How would you describe that look? Would you call it: LOVE? I would. And I showed this picture to inspire those young girls and young men and their parents. I said, “Go for the Gold folks!” Our US Olympic team is not training for bronze or silver. No sir! They are training for Gold! Why not seek to raise the bar for our young people so that they have NO relationship baggage in their lives like many of us do.

Think about it. If you could, wouldn’t you do it over again? Wouldn’t you wait on your spouse? Wouldn’t you trust God? If you wouldn’t, then you are foolish and please, please don’t tell your spouse that you wouldn’t have waited on them. That could be dangerous!

I showed this picture too…

First Kiss

I told them that was Katy’s very first kiss of a man. Some gasped. I know what they were thinking: “Impossible… No way! He’s lying!” Well, that’s the truth. Katy was never in a position where she and Josh could fail. See this picture. I showed it at the conference too…

Katy and Josh walking

I asked, “Are they alone?” Several said, “No.” I said, “Correct.” Kandace took that picture. But, look at it again. They are 30 feet ahead. Are they “alone.” Yes. To the degree that they can talk and get to know more about each other and grow together…sure they were “alone.” No one could hear what they were saying. Do you see the safety and protection in this and the fact that it’s still an opportunity to “be alone.” Think that through. You see it was my job as Katy’s father to protect her until I handed her to Josh at the altar (giving her away, as we call it).

I showed the group the picture of their engagement…

I showed the picture of their wedding…

Guess what? I believe they were inspired! I was inundated after that keynote session by people wanting to know more. I told them my book will be out by Spring. And on top of that, Katy’s rough draft is almost complete. I’m telling you…those young girls kept asking me: “How’d she do it! How’d she do it!” I told them, “It’s coming…her book will be forthcoming too!” When? We’re not sure. Katy’s still pecking away. She’s spending a lot of time working at both the Havelock and Morehead City Pregnancy Care Centers.

I think the weekend was a success. After all, nothing great is ever accomplished without inspiration. I bet you agree with that.

Well today was Kandace’s 16th birthday! She loved her birthday present!! Snow!!

Photo: They surprised me with my favorite cake! It's a tradition to get red velvet cake. ❤️

We duded up her staircase early this morning…

Photo: My crazy mother thought this up... I had to break through it to get down my staircase.

It’s hard to believe that was her with her cousins just a few years ago…

Photo: Happy 16th Birthday, dearest Kan!  No matter how old we all get, this is how I will always see us!  :)  Love you!!!

That’s (L-R) Kandace, Taylor Church, Katy and Leah Church (with Pam in the back).

Oh, where has the time gone! Kandace is going to be driving come Thursday. Crazy!!

And yes…we finally got that southern jet stream interacting with the northern jet. What we’ve had this winter is a super-active northern jet and it’s been digging so hard and so deep that it’s shut off the southern jet. Not this time. The southern jet was moist enough and strong enough to interject a low pressure into the cold. BANG! Snowstorm! Wilkes County has gotten about 2-3 inches. We’ve gotten close to 3 at the house. We had a blast this afternoon…

Andrew and Clara snow

creekClara and Andrew love going to the creek in the snow. Even Oreo, our cat tagged along. He’s behind Andrew in the picture.

I noticed my footbridge has washed away… Only half of a log is left…

Creek 2

Nonetheless…God’s beauty is never more brilliant than in the snow in my opinion…

creek 3

The question becomes: Will there be more snow this winter? Well, the pattern is going to change later this week. We are going to get warmer and wetter. Now when I say warmer, I’m talking about back to normal. That’s still cold enough to get some snow from time to time, but it’s going to be more difficult.

By the way, there are people who are saying the breaking off and down of the Polar Vortex is because of Global Warming. That’s absurd. The breaking off of the Polar Vortex into the United States is something that happens every 5-7 years and has been cyclical for centuries and will continue to by cyclical until the Lord comes back. This whole idea of climate change and global warming is one of the most overblown and overdone pieces of propaganda by the liberal elite and the supposed “scientific” community today. Don’t be sucked in and please, please don’t believe this guy…

Al Gore-Frozen

I couldn’t resist. I just had to show you that again.

Enjoy the snow!! :)

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Timing Is Everything

It’s good to be back after my book writing hiatus!

How often have you heard or said the phrase, “Timing is everything”? We’ve all said it and boy, is it true! You know you can set aside time to do a lot of things, but that time may come together and it may not.

I’ve been working like a madman on the book. I’ve gotten the rough draft completed. Woohoo! It’s been a pull. I think I must be crazy trying to find the time to write anything right now. The church is such a blessing…but, just to give you an example, the last two Sundays we’ve been right at 575 people. It’s a load.

So, I’m grateful that I’ve decided (really based on the wise encouragement of Dave Black) to write a shorter book. Yet in a crazy way, it almost makes it harder. You know me, I’m very superfluous (overflowing) with my words. But, it’s coming together and I believe I’ll get it completed and to my good publisher, Henry Neufeld and Energion Publishing, by the March 10th deadline. I think this timing is good.

Yes, timing is everything. I watched as my son-in-law lamented over the loss of his beloved San Francisco 49’ers. A pass was about 6 inches short or they would have won the game…

sherman

They missed by just “that much!” Timing is everything!

It’s true in sports and it’s true in life. I played Josh in chess after his team was defeated. I knew he’d wipe me out. But, my goal was to make him feel better. See how hard I’m concentrating?

He cleaned me out in about 6 minutes. My timing was off! 🙂 That’s my excuse and I’m sticking with it. 🙂

Andrew and Clara are now chess playing machines. Truth is…Kandace is as hard to beat as anybody. I beat her earlier tonight…barely!

Andrew and Clara chess

Timing was good for having Josh and Katy home. Josh was off for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Pam always works to have their room ready…

Photo: Katy and Josh's room is clean and ready for their arrival tonight! 󾌰󾌬

We took Kandace out for her birthday (early…it’s not till Tuesday the 28th…she’ll be 16!!!) to the Dan’l Boone Inn in Boone, NC.

Yum!!!

Here’s Josh’s plate…

Snow was on the ground. So much fun!

Kevin and Pam 2

Timing is everything. Andrew almost got his finger pulled off his hand in a door at church last week because he didn’t pull his hand through the door quickly enough.

Andrew's finger andrew's finger 2

Yep…timing is everything.

Al Gore has decided not to talk about Global Warming at an upcoming conference…

Al gore frozen

Why? Timing is everything! 🙂

Have you heard about the upcoming debate between the Creationist, Ken Ham and the Science guru, Bill Nye? It’s happening in two weeks! And you can watch it live! Evolution Debate…watch live!

As Ken Ham and Bill Nye will argue regarding the creation versus a supposed explosion 13 billion years ago…timing is everything! I hope Bill is on his A game…because he’s going to struggle against Ham. But, here’s the bottom line. Faith is the key. You’ve got to have faith to believe in Christ and you’ve got to have faith to believe in Evolution. I’m convinced the evidence is so much better for creation that it’s not even funny. Ham will show that!

I’m preparing now for a conference in northern Kentucky at Henderson First Baptist Church. It’s their 4th annual “Parent Summit.” This year’s theme is “Equipping Generations to Keep God Central in the Home.” I’m excited! I’ve been invited by Rich Stratton, their Minister of Family Equipping.

Rich StrattonHe’s also invited Robin Wolaver to come and speak.

Here’s the flyer…

The weekend is set for Friday evening, January 24th thru Saturday afternoon, January 25th. We’ve teamed up this year with two dynamic speakers in parenting and leadership.

Robin Wolaver

RobinWolaverMug

Robin Wolaver is an award-winning songwriter, singer, speaker, author, and the founder of the Annie Moses Band.  Above all, Robin is a godly wife and mother who understands what it means to be a biblical woman.  Robin has a passion for encouraging families to pursue spiritual excellence while discipling their children daily to “make His praise glorious.”

Kevin Brown

KevinBrownMug

Raising responsible teenagers is a work of God.  Only He can transform lives.  Kevin Brown asserts that the time for flimsy alibis is over.  It will take rugged tenacity and inspired stubbornness on the part of Christian parents and the church.  Kevin turns to Scripture in order to show parents that their responsibility is not to raise good kids but to raise godly young adults. Kevin and his wife Pam have four children and live in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.  He is the pastor of Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church in Wilkesboro, NC.  Kevin is the author of Rite of Passage for the Home and Church: Raising Christ-Centered Young Adults.

Here’s the schedule…

Friday, January 24

6:00- Pizza Supper

7:00-8:00  – “What the Bible says about relationships,” by Kevin Brown

We live in a culture where casual relationships begin as young as 8 or 9 years old.  But is recreational dating healthy and more importantly is it Biblical? With a divorce-rate of 50% in America (and this includes the church), there is certainly a need for seeking answers from the Bible on relationships and God’s purpose for them. This session will address what the Bible says about relationships and the parallel between our relationship with Jesus Christ, (the Groom) and us (the Church), as His bride.

Saturday, January 25th

8:30 – Continental Breakfast

9 a.m. – “Shoot for the Stars,” by Robin Wolaver

The primary role of a Christian parent is to raise children who love the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind and strength.  This can only be done by parents who already love the Lord in this way.  It can also only be done by parents who are willing to surrender their own dreams, and even the dreams they may have for their children, in order to prepare their children to glorify God through pursuing excellence in the gifts He has granted.

10 a.m. – Break

10:15 – noon –  Breakout sessions

Men and sons –  with Kevin Brown

“Being a Godly Father and Husband Who Thinks Multi-Generationally” Dad, what is your vision for your family? Can you see past your own lifetime into the lifetimes of your children and grandchildren? Do you expect your children to do great things or just experience the “American Dream?” Have you set the bar too low for your family spiritually? Are you leading your home or is your wife? This session will look at godly fathers and husbands in Scripture who touched the lives of their family through multiple generations. Come prepared for the Word of God to penetrate your heart.

Women and daughters – with Robin Wolaver

“Biblical Womanhood, a Generational Legacy” During the “ladies only” break-out session, Robin will share with women of all ages what it means to be a biblical woman, wife, and mother.  In her winsome way, Robin will engage women with Scriptural truths and lessons she learned on her own journey from childhood in the Kiamichi Mountains of Oklahoma to the noble calling of being a wife and mother committed to spiritual excellence in her family for generations to come.

Noon – Box Lunch

1 p.m. –  “Getting Them Home,” by Kevin Brown

There has been an explosion! “Houston We Have a Problem!” were the words spoken by the astronauts heading to the moon in 1970, when catastrophe struck. The same is true for today’s families in 2014. The “family” has been fragmented and decimated in our culture. In this session, we will look at Psalm 78 and see how the principles of Scripture must be employed intentionally and diligently in order to get our children home.

Cost for the entire weekend –   Adults $10,  $5 for all children 

Here’s a cool video the church produced on the weekend. It’s right at 3-minutes long.

I’m leaving Thursday to head to the airport. I’ve got an early flight from Charlotte-Douglas on Friday morning. I’ll be back (by the time I drive home) about midnight Saturday night. Yes…I’ll be in the pulpit Sunday morning. 🙂 So, pray for me and for Robin as we share and seek to challenge and encourage.

I just got word today that I’ll be speaking twice at the North Carolina Home Educators Conference (NCHE) in Winston at the Benton Convention Center this May. I’ve gotten my first “Friday” session. I’m honored to get a Friday session. Those are usually reserved for the “big guns.” I’m just a little guy. 🙂

Speaking of the Parenting conference and “timing,” I saw this on Pam’s Facebook… It pretty much says it all…

I’ll update you next week…

…with pictures of my adventures of course! 🙂

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I love Saturday nights.

Why? Four reasons…

#1 The Smell of Shampoo

I love the smell of shampoo as I smell my kids’ hair after their baths. Saturday night is always bath night at the Brown household. It’s hot water and shampoo and water every where (mostly from Andrew). He’s a messy bath taker! Clara has migrated to showers, but she let’s the shower curtain pull out of the shower and water drips everywhere. But, who cares? Nothing a towel can’t handle. But oh the smell! What’s next? Saturday nights always have that shampoo smell permeating the house.

Now I better go ahead and tell you that I’m mainly speaking of Clara and Andrew here. I’m chuckling as I type. Because Kandace is not part of this “bath taking” stuff. She’ll be 16 in a couple of weeks and she’s been way past this stuff for a long time. She’s now a helper in all of this. She particularly is good with helping Clara with her hair. She took over that job from Katy. Katy was always the bath-giver while she was here. She was a great help to us. What a blessing when siblings help siblings. That’s what Kandace is doing now.

#2 The Lawrence Welk Show

Are you serious? Yes! The kids love The Lawrence Welk Show. I think I’ve told you that before somewhere along the line. But, it’s the Saturday night tradition. File:Mancinimercer003.jpg

I know it’s a hokey show. But, the kids love the music and the eclectic music styles. And guess what? It’s CLEAN! How many shows on TV today can you say that about today.

It’s been said that what a people entertain themselves with is a reflection of that society. Our nation is infatuated with bad entertainment. There is little to no value of anything on regular TV today. It’s mindless garbage if you ask me. We can’t feed our kids this kind of stuff. It’s like feeding them hamburgers and french fries all the time. Eventually it’ll make ’em sick.

Bring on Lawrence Welk!

#3 Picking Out Sunday Outfits

Then it’s time to figure out what to wear to church for Sunday. Why do I love that? Because of what it means. It means we’re going to church the next day. That’s exciting around my house. We look forward to going to church. All my kids always have. It’s their church, not just my church and their mom’s church.

I’m glad this is the case. It’s one of the reasons I push so hard to include the children and young adults in what we do at the church. I’ve said this a million times, but it’s not the job of the church to entertain our young people, it’s our job to involve them and to teach and train them. Folks, we can never compete with the world and all the trapping of this world. We’re not told we have to! We must teach and train…teach and train…teach and train. Read 1 Timothy 4 if don’t believe that.

#4 The Big Snow

We finish up the evening reading to Clara and Andrew. That’s something we try to do at least 3 or 4 nights per week. This past Saturday night, (since it’s winter), this was the book of choice:

They love that book. And reading is such a necessary ingredient in helping our children develop a love for learning. If they’re a reader, then they’ll have a much greater propensity to learn. Sadly, few kids ever read. Katy blogged about that earlier this week.

My grandmother instilled a great love for reading into me and my sister. She bought us books and encouraged us to read and she modeled that in her life. She was always reading. And to this day I love to read. Kim, my sister, loves to read. All my children love to read. Pam loves to read. It’s so important to try to instill this love into them while they are young. Put books into their hands that they’ll like to read. For Andrew, guess what that is?

Yep…you guessed it…Lego books! His still learning to read and this will be a slow process for him because of his background and because boys typically don’t like to read. So this will be a work in process. But, Andrew is not going to have a choice in the matter. Is that being mean? No. It’s being a parent. We have to look at our kids and make decisions and choice best for them. Pam and I are the parents and God expects us to steward our children for Him. Read the book of Proverbs for practical help with parenting. I make it a practice of reading through Proverbs at least once every six months.

Saturday nights! Yes sir! I love Saturday nights! It’s a tradition that will over all too soon.

  • The Smell of Shampoo
  • The Lawrence Welk Show
  • Picking out Sunday Outfits
  • The Big Snow

Man am I blessed!

NOTE: I’m going to be taking the next week and a half to work on the book. I’ve got to start allotting every bit of any extra time I have toward writing the book or I won’t be able to make my deadline. I’ve got to get it written and proofed by some folks for grammar/spelling and all that’s got to happen before March 10th. So, I’ll be signing off till the week of 1/20 to work on the book. I’ll miss ya! Pray for me! 🙂

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Enjoy What You Do!

Many of you know that my daughter Katy is an author. That’s Katy and her husband Josh Isaacs.

She writes a lot. She blogs and she continues to put the finishing touches on her forthcoming book. She’s walking a path that’s not typical for most 19-year-olds. But, what’s “typical.” Typical is what “everybody” does. Yet, I’ve always taught my girls, “follow God, not the crowd.” I’ve always wanted my girls to do what they are wired to do. I’m not interested in any of my children following the “cookie-cutter” mold of today. Who said everyone had to go to college, get a job, then get married and then have kids (in that order) or you are not typical?

Katy has written a fantastic piece about young adults her age. It’s really good. Am I biased? Of course I am! But, it’s really good. I’m going to post it here now…

The Broken Generation

I observe that my generation has a major problem. It’s an issue that has seeped from the generations before us and wiggled its way through the doors of our homes. It is a broken and twisted worldview. I don’t believe that I see the world perfectly. There is no one perfect besides Jesus, but I do believe that perhaps I am not the only one who sees what I have unfortunately noticed.  Americans in their teens and twenties are now known as “the dumbest generation.” Yes, the most unintelligent. With the overflowing, abundant access to technology, young adults are able to glide effortlessly into complete laziness and ignorance. The days of having to know anything is virtuously over as we all simply can type whatever we want to know into a search engine. Just “google it.” Internet and technology are amazingly wonderful things… don’t hear me wrong! If it hadn’t been for Skype and Facebook, my husband and I would not be where we are now as he was far away from me for most of our courting relationship. Yet, the addicted obsession with the squares and rectangles that are our windows into any part of the world we want are also dangerous. They may be sapping us of our strength.  Ask a random twenty-five year old American male or female “what was the attack on Pearl Harbor?” More times than not, you will receive a blank stare.  So, what are my generations issues? And let me go a step further and say, what is our issues as Christian American young people? Here is a list that I have created from my opinion. There are more, I’m sure, but these came to my mind.
1. They can’t spell. (I am relying on spellcheck now even as I type this blog! Heven fobide we try to remember any thing from thos speeling lesons so many years ago in skool.) But really, this isn’t that big of a deal, but for me it’s just one of those nagging things that prove how far we’ve fallen over the years.
2. They don’t read. Ask a teenager if they ever read “for fun.” Many (not all) will say, “Are you kidding?” I have heard them say one too many times, “I’ll wait on the movie and if there isn’t a movie… then who cares?”
3. Too many video games and movies. This one gets me some evil stares. Video games aren’t bad in themselves (unless there is a hint of sexual immorality, impurity or greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people, says Ephesians 5:3), but they can and will take over an exorbitant amount of time if allowed. Boys are especially easily entangled in addictions to video games which can last into the adult years. Video games can be fun and exciting, but let’s be honest, most twenty-year-old men aren’t playing the happy, go-lucky stuff; they are playing the gory, violent, desensitizing games. Suddenly, young men are so accustomed to the adrenaline and thrill of the games that life can become a hunt for the next thrilling moment of a “feel good” hormone. And movies… they are our “go to” thing to do when we feel the least bit bored. They are our escape from reality. But have we thought to consider that perhaps most popular movies these days paint the world in a way that leads young people to believe that it is something that it isn’t?
4. The belief that lying is acceptable. I wouldn’t have added this to my list even a few months ago, but I can’t overlook the epidemic of chronic lying. Even adults in churches! I would have to say that most would consider their lies “white lies”, but really? Lies are lies. It’s easy and safe, but let us not forget: “what a tangled web we weave when we practice to deceive.”
5. No direction. What is worse than no direction? Not wanting to find one. There was a time when young people thought ahead and planned with earnest longing for a bright future. For many, the word “education” comes to mind. College. But, a direction for the future doesn’t have to involve college. Let me say something radical, “College isn’t for everyone!” How many college graduates walk into the world of jobs and find that there isn’t a job that is suited perfectly for what they specialized in? Many find themselves at a job that they could have gotten right after high school and lived without a huge student loan. Direction comes in many shapes and sizes, but for too many, direction is too lofty a goal. Or perhaps it isn’t so lofty, but it takes work. And work isn’t popular.
6. Lack of parental encouragement and guidance. For years now we have believed the lie that children need to “find” themselves and don’t really need all that much direction. There is a reason why God designed for children to come from parents, because they do need direction! They aren’t wise enough at 3-years-old to decide whether or not eating vegetables is a good idea! To a 3-year-old, of course it’s not a good idea! Sugar is a much better plan! They only see what is around them and what feels good. Long-term consequences are completely unconsidered. Children really aren’t “picky eaters”, they are spoiled. How do I have the audacity to say such a thing? Because I have seen children starving to death and they would have cried with gratitude if I had handed them bowls of spinach and broccoli. I realize that we all have things that we really don’t like. I don’t like shrimp, at all! But I would eat it if that was all I had!
7. Overabundance of parental guidance. I am not schizophrenic! I know I just said that lack of parental guidance has caused some of this generations issues, but I also believe that too much has caused problems as well! We all know parents who do and plan everything for their children. Children want and need to know how it feels to have the pressure and responsibility of making decisions for themselves! Thus when they are grown they won’t feel overwhelmed with each decision that is set before them.
8. Lost the joy of learning. This is truly heartbreaking. I don’t know how many late summer days I was in the grocery store with mom and the cashier said, “Oh, don’t you just wish summer lasted forever? Are you dreading school?” My response was usually, “No, I like school.” I was homeschooled, so my school days were drastically different from other children who spent the majority of their days in the schoolhouses. My mom told me countless times, “I want you to enjoy learning. It doesn’t end when you’re handed a high school diploma or even a college diploma… it lasts forever. Learning is a gift for a lifetime.” Too many children are brainwashed with the philosophies that learning is hard and that school is something to dread. And maybe for some maybe it is, but it shouldn’t be. I really believe that homeschooling made all of the difference in my childhood. It is the most ancient form of learning and teaching and really the only model that we see in the Bible.
9. Emphasis on pleasing oneself. “I just want you to be happy.” We have all heard it and many of us have said it. It makes perfect sense to say this if you don’t believe in God, because there really is no one to please except for yourself. If it’s just you and me on this planet then I am going to make sure that I am taken care of! Survival of the fittest! But if we believe that life is about more than just us and there is a God to serve and please, than it isn’t about just being “happy.” It’s okay to be frustrated, hurt, sad, broken, burdened and disappointed. God uses all of these things to make us more like Him. Being happy is good, but it just can’t be our goal. Young people (any people) who are taught to pursue “happiness” are set up for a life of chasing after instant and temporary gratifications that only seep out of the aching hole in their hearts.
10. They don’t know Jesus. So, I went from “spelling” to Jesus. But how could I not finish on the One who knows all and loves all? When it comes right down to it, Jesus is who we need. Many Christian teens and young adults believe that they know Him, but I am afraid that He doesn’t know many of them. I am not to judge, but He is and He says that we will know them by their fruit. Without Jesus as Savior and Lord of your life, you can’t be who you could be. He is the One who fills us with the Holy Spirit and who strengthens us to overcome the other things on this list that we can and can’t control.
It seems that we are truly broken sometimes. I cringe to think of what our children and grandchildren will be like once they are raised by this generation. The good news is this: We may have been born into this time period. We may be surrounded in technology, laziness, selfishness and nonchalance, but we do not have to succumb! Read, spell, be honest, seek God’s direction, serve others, learn and make sure that Jesus knows you. Though the world is broken, we don’t have to be!
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
Well said daughter! That’s my girl!!
Speaking of talented folks. I got to see my niece, Leah Church, play basketball last Friday night. That’s her shooting a free throw.
Leah shooting
Did you notice the difference in the uniforms? The team in the burgundy is from Australia. They are the under-20 Australian national team. Leah scored 32 points and hit 16 of 16 free throws (you might remember that she’s a former Hoop Shoot National Free Throw Champion). Leah is 15 1/2 years old. She plays on the Carolina Cougars Homeschool squad based out of Winston-Salem. They are undefeated at 19-0.
How did they do against the Australia team?
Cougars defeat Australia
We were the home team. Let me tell ya, the Australian team ran into a buzz-saw. Leah’s squad was raining three-pointers from everywhere. The Aussies are slashers and dashers…dribble-drivers. They had nothing for our American girls. Pretty amazing display. They game was over at halftime.
Funny thing is…no high school wants to play this homeschool team. They asked the defending 1-A State Champion Bishop McGuinness girls to play them. Response: Don’t want to, but you can play our JV Team. The Cougars dismantled them by 52 points. Can you see why they don’t want to play this bunch of homeschoolers?
Here’s a great picture of the Australian and American girls together…
Australia and Cougars
I love basketball. It’s in the blood…just like it’s in Leah’s blood and she’s doing what she’s gifted to do just like Katy is doing what she’s gifted to do. Guess who we get it from?
Dad at GW
Can you see #42? That’s my dad, David Brown. Do you know who’s he’s standing beside? That’s NBA Hall of Famer, Artis Gilmore. Artis is 7’2″ and my dad is 6’7″. Here they are together…
Artis and Dad
My dad was a much better player than me. He could still dunk it at 60 years of age. His jumping ability was uncanny. He was a rebounding machine. I was more of an outside shooter and didn’t bang as much. I was really a want-a-be guard. 🙂
But seriously, my dad still dunking at 60! That’s nuts! So, yes, basketball is in my blood! I love it. I try not to go overboard with it, but I do love following good basketball. Back when I was younger I’d orchestrate my schedule to watch ball games. I don’t anymore. My priority is my family. If I get to watch a game, then so be it. Otherwise, I’ll look at the box scores. But, I can tell you that the TarHeels are playing in a couple of hours and I think I might get to watch that one. 🙂

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I’ve Begun

I started the new book today. Want to see the first few paragraphs? Do you remember the title of the book? It’s titled: “To Date or Not to Date: What the Bible Says About Premarital Relationships.”

Problem on Aisle 9

Bill and his wife, Phyllis, along with their three children make the turn at aisle 9 in the local grocery store. Two loaves of bread are on the list and this is the aisle. All is well until Bill bumps into a lady who promptly says, “Well hi Billy! It’s been forever since I’ve seen you! I just moved back to town last week.” Bill, who is now three shades of bright red, sheepishly says, “Hi Susie, nice to see you.” 

Little Bobby asks, “Who dat daddy? Who dat?” Bill squirms. He never looks at his three-year-old son. “Uh, well, uh…” Susie enthusiastically responds as she kneels down to rub Bobby’s head, “Well Bobby, I was your Daddy’s girlfriend. He took me to the prom two years in a row. Well, that is after he dumped his 10th grade girlfriend. What was her name Bill?” “Uh…oh…ah…that doesn’t really matter now,” says Bill. “Uh…Susie Epperson, this is my son Bobby. He just turned three and these are my two daughters, Megan, whose eight and our oldest, Mary Anna. She’s ten.” Bill now looking at his wife says, “I believe you know Susie, don’t you…Honey?” Phyllis, with a look of resignation says, “Yes Bill. I know Susie.”

Just how many times this embarrassing scenario plays out; no one could possibly know. But, one thing is for sure. Past baggage being brought to light is never fun or easy to explain. And contrary to Bill’s statement to his young son that it “doesn’t really matter now,” well, that’s absolutely not really true. It does matter. It matters a lot! Can you imagine how awkward it will be for Bill to see Susie four more times on every aisle before he and his family can family get out of that store? Excruciating! And think about the conversations that will likely continue in the car on the way home? What does Bill say to his two girls? Does he want this scenario to play out for them one day down the road in their lives? I hope not!

Unfortunately, the truth is, according to our current cultural norms, this scenario is likely to be the case for many future couples. But this doesn’t have to be the case! There is a better way. In fact there is a much better way. It’s a pattern found in the pages of the Bible and I can promise you, if you choose the vision that will be placed before you in this little book, then there won’t be any awkward and embarrassing moments in a grocery store.

Vision

Let me ask a few questions. What if you arrive on your wedding day and marry your spouse with no previous baggage of past relationships in tow? What if you never had to bring up the “other ones” in any conversation with your spouse? What if there weren’t any “other ones” at all? I can speak from experience here. I wish with all of my heart that what I just described to you could have been the case in my life on December 22, 1990, the day when I married my wife. Yet, it was most definitely not the case for me or her.

Maybe you would allow me to kind of pass the buck and say, “I was only doing what everyone else was doing.” Maybe you would allow me to say, “I didn’t know any better.” If you were to graciously allow me to say these kinds of things, then I would thank you and simply respond, “But, it’s true!” I didn’t know any better. I was just doing what I saw everyone else doing. I didn’t know there was another way!

So, what do you think? Think folks might read a 40-page book on the subject? I hope so! I’ve been working hard on it today and it’s due on March 10th. I’m really excited about it! Why? Because it’s such a needed book. Even in Christendom, there is very little difference in our lifestyles than the rest of society. That’s sad.

My desire is to awaken within families the desire to follow the patterns set forth in the Bible about relationships. Will my book change the world? No. Will it change the culture. I’m not that naïve. But, will it change the future of some young adults or even children who are not yet caught up in the dating scene? I can only hope! Pray for me as I write.

Speaking of children. Pam forwarded me a great blog post about: Five Signs of Entitlement in Our Kids. It’s fantastic. Check out these five signs and see how you stack up.

1. I want it now. Kids are impatient and who can blame them? We live in a drive-thru culture and instant gratification is well, instant. And often we find ourselves living in fear of saying no because our children are used to getting what they want.

2. I don’t want to work for it. Why work when it can be given to you? It’s fosters a cycle of laziness and poor work ethic when we constantly give to our children without requiring any work. We need to create entry points starting at a young age for our children to contribute to household chores and jobs.

3. I don’t have to clean up my mess. We battle this one often. I’m learning to choose my wars. But I believe this is also responsible living. If you make a mess, you clean it up.

4. I want it because everyone else has it. My 7-year-old has asked for an Elf on the Shelf every day this week. Why? Because she feels left out that many of her friends have one. And that’s awesome for them, but I don’t want that to be the focus of our season and I honestly don’t have time or energy to create things for the stuffed animal to do. The bottom line for us: it’s okay for you not to have what everyone else has.  I asked my daughter, if everyone had a swimming pool, would you want one too? She said yes. Clearly, we are working on this one.

5. I expect you to fix all my problems. I love to help my kids out. But there’s a fine line between helping and aiding bad behavior. If my child forgets their lunch everyday and I bring it everyday, there’s really not a reason for them to ever be responsible. My kids expected us to give them money for a gift for us. Instead, I found it the perfect chance to teach them about hard work and let them solve their own dilemma.

This week, my son spent about 4 hours raking leaves in our big backyard. He had blisters on his hands and he worked very hard.

photo

My oldest babysat for five hours and my youngest earned money by cleaning and organizing under all the sinks in the house. When I took them to Target to Christmas shop, they were so proud to use their money. My teen spent more than she planned, “Mom, I love the way it feels to buy for others” she said as she counted out her hard-earned money.

My job here is done.

Not really, but it did make me smile to hear those words. The reality is, entitlement will rear its ugly head more than once this week and probably next. It’s a constant battle to remind our children and ourselves that we aren’t owed anything, that life is a gift and it needs to be appreciated.

So, what do we do about it? We can counteract these negative expectations by expecting more from our kids and teaching them these principles from Empowering Parents:

  • Money doesn’t come easily.
  • People work hard to earn money; it’s part of life.
  • If you want something, you need to work to earn it.
  • You are not entitled to things you haven’t earned.
  • Compassion for others (show them third world problems, so they have perspective on their first world ones)
  • Responsibility for Actions: there are consequences and rewards for our behavior and choices

Parenting is hard. Doing it in our culture is even harder. But it is possible to raise grateful, hard-working kids who put others first.  That’s my goal anyway.

You can read more from this blogger here: We are that family

Need a laugh to start the year? I cracked up when I read this. Maybe you’ll get a chuckle out of it too:

Ten Things You Never Hear in Church

1. Personally, I find witnessing much more enjoyable than golf.
2. I hate it when someone takes our spot in the front pew.
3. The annual stewardship campaign is so inspirational!
4. I really love it when we sing hymns we don’t know.
5. Let’s pay our pastor so he can live like we do.
6. Pastor, please, I just have to serve on a committee.
7. I enjoy worship so much I wish it would last an extra half hour.
8. Pastor, we want to send you to a conference in Hawaii.
9. I wish the sermons were longer.
10. Don’t ask someone else; let me do it.
Are you laughing? I hope you are! A cheerful heart does good like a medicine!
Bundle up! It’s gonna be record cold by Tuesday/Wednesday next week. Snow? We’ll see some snow showers tonight. Might even get a dusting. Could have a brush with some freezing rain early Sunday morning and possibly another shot at a dusting Sunday night into early Monday. Nothing major on any of this. But, you’ll notice the cold! Protect those animals. We’ve brought our cats into the basement.

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