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Archive for April, 2014

I don’t normally blog during the day, (mainly because I don’t have time). 🙂

But, there is a ton of talk about tornadoes today and tomorrow and their should be. Arkansas has been hit hard and another 75 million folks stand in the path of more storms. Last night was a LOUD and rough night at my house. From 2:30 am through early morning it was loud and noisy to say the least. I have an app on my phone from NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). It gives alerts and updated radar on demand.

The app is called: “NOAA Weather Radar Pro-Weather” and it’s $1.99. WELL WORTH the cost (if it saves your life and that of your family). This app will alert you of weather warnings. (But your phone can’t be on silent or vibrate…take note of that…)

Now…

I want you to know what you are looking for on the radar when it pops up. I want you to have an understanding of what a tornado looks like on radar.

Tornadoes on radar look like a comma ( , ). They are often called “hooks” or a “hook echo.” Here’s what you are looking for…

See the comma at the bottom. Here’s some more examples of “hook echoes” …

Here’s a picture of two hook echoes…

One more…

Okay… Something else you might want to know about a developing echo. I don’t mean to get too technical…but, I want you to see this…

Okay…

Now let’s not get in panic mode. The odds of a tornado today and tomorrow in NC is only about 5% according to the storm prediction center. It’s Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia that will need to really be on watch. It’s more juicy in the upper atmosphere there. Here in Western NC right now we are in an Appalachian wedge. It’s only 52 degrees. But, it’s in the upper 60’s in eastern part of the state. The cooler the better. However, this wedge will be lifting out later today…so, it’s later today and into tomorrow morning that we’ll have to keep a watch on things. There is a Flood Watch for our area. We picked up 2.6″ of rain in my rain gauge last night. So the ground is saturated. Be reminded as you are driving… “If there is standing water on the ground…TURN AROUND!” Don’t drive through it.

Enough for the weather lesson. But, at least you’ll have some idea of what you are looking at if you look at a radar in the future and see that hook. If you do…take cover…interior room such as a bathroom…or better yet…a basement (away from all windows).

God is in control…even in all of this…

 

 

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The thoughts of being a grandfather are still very surreal and fresh in my mind. It’s hard to believe, really. I’m so thankful for God’s blessings. I can’t get this picture out of my mind of Josh’s boots, Katy’s shoes and those of our grandchildren.

The announcement picture

Katy talked about this journey and shared these words at the beginning of her blog post yesterday…

I arrived at a place in my life where I came to realize something that should be fairly obvious to me: God isn’t mean. Sounds crazy, I know. Why would I even have to admit such a thing? Well, because when God makes it clear that something is “good” and He is the Giver of it and He doesn’t give it… it just seems wrong. In my little, itsy mind I didn’t get it. I didn’t understand. It’s so simple really. Just because something is “good” and a “reward” doesn’t mean it’s meant for you that very second or even in the way that you imagined.

She concluded her post in this way…

Whatever good or bad you face… or if you sit by the side, waiting on an answer, I remind you to trust. Believe that God is good, because He always has been. 

It’s worth the read to see what’s in between…

Click here: http://heartsonthingsabove.blogspot.com/2014/04/the-ups-and-downs.html

I must say that God is good and yet at times it seems He isn’t. It almost seems He is being cruel. Well, He’s not. He wants us to grow. He wants us to thrive and usually that only happens (or at least it’s this way in my life) through struggle. Are you struggling? Rejoice. You are in good company. We are “disciples,” right? The root of the word “discipline” is “disciple.” Discipline is often not very fun… But, it’s needful. Jesus is my Master, so I’m under His Lordship. He’s Lord. He’s Boss. He’s Master. He’s King. So, I trust His will for my life…even when it’s painful.

I read a great quote today:

Legalism kills passion but ungodly license promotes a passion for the wrong things.

So true. I’ll admit it. I can be too legalistic. My discipline in my life is very “follow the rules” oriented. People tell me, “Lighten up.” People say, “Have fun.” Well, I do. But, I do so when everything is accomplished. Tell me to relax when I’ve got thirty things to do, I just can’t relax. Some can. I can’t. Let me chop it down to about four or five things left to do and I can take off some steam and rest. But, if there’s people who need me…well…how can I relax when they are hurting?

Many are the other way. They have fun first and work later. They go for the emotionalism and paltry laziness that so easily besets our culture. They say, “Live it up…for tomorrow we die.” Is there a balance? Yep. Finding it is hard for me. How ’bout you?

Kandace wrote something the other day that I thought was pretty cool about young ladies and materialism. Here’s an excerpt:

I used to be terribly materialistic just like I said earlier… I would’ve rather died than told people that I had fake Jack Roger sandals or a TracFone. I wanted all of the latest fads and I wasn’t happy until I got whatever it was that I wanted. I walked around mortified if I was wearing the off brand of something. Going to Ethiopia changed all of that for me. I came back feeling disgusted at my pride and at how spoiled I was. God showed me that I had so much to be thankful for. I don’t mind buying off brand things at all anymore. I am thankful to have the money to buy anything at all. So many people in the world don’t.

I have MANY things to work on, but I want to be content in who I am and not what I have. Everything is going to turn to dust one of these days. Things will go out of style and be put in a box somewhere or be given to a local charity store and what will really matter is what kind of person I have turned out to be. Our value is found in so much more than what we own.

It seems like girls are so busy working on how they look and making sure it gets shared on social media that their true personalities are going out the window. They are somehow getting caught up in making sure that they look like what society deems as “normal” that they can’t be who and what God made them to be. If we are constantly having to impress our “friends”  then are they really our friends? If we were poor and all we could afford to buy were things from secondhand stores would they still be our friends? It’s something to think about… I know I had to.

The Bible says in Matthew 6:19-21  “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

I want to encourage girls not to worry about material things or what others think. I want people to be able to look and me and see that my value lies in the way God has made me and not in what I own or how I look.

Well said Kan!

Notice what changed her heart? A mission trip to Ethiopia.

Was it hard on her? You better believe it! She got sick as a dog and wanted to come home three days into our 14 day trip. But, let me tell you something…the Lord brought her through that experience and it powerfully changed her life. Hard times have a way of doing that. Just like with Katy.

Speaking of missions. We had a team just return from Mexico.

Here they are:

More walls went up…

 

Many lives were touched…


One of the ladies on the team, Melanie Parrish, wrote about the experience (her first). Here’s an excerpt…

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I’m pining away to see Maricruz again, but am afraid her little family may just be “passing through.” I hope she felt HIS love through me. I hope I gave her a little bit of hope and a feeling of worth and value. I hope she knows how precious she is, not just to me, but to HIM! I’m praying that she and her whole family will find Jesus while living so near a body of believers that clearly love HIM and each other!

One day, Lakyn and I walked Maricruz home. These pictures speak for themselves.

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I can’t even begin to describe these women and the impact they had on me. We would, by our standards, consider them to be poor, but they are the wealthiest women I know! They have very few of the things we consider to be “necessities,” like running water and electricity. Things that, when we don’t have them, our world shuts down! But what they do have is JOY in JESUS! They are the most gracious, kind, loving, warm, gentle, humble, and generous women I’ve ever met. It was pure delight just to be in their presence each day. Even though I know very little Spanish and they know even less English, there was still a connection that made words unnecessary. I do want to work on my Spanish, though, because I KNOW these ladies have some stories to tell and I want to hear them! I’m so thankful to have met them!
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I wish you could hear the laughter that was going on when this picture was taken.
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Each day, these women cooked lunch for us. They fed us the very best! Here are a few of the meals they made for us. We ate beans, rice, chicken, beef, homemade tortillas baked on a fire, cactus, and some things that I’m not sure what they were, but…..all good!
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I think these meals tasted even better to me because I knew the sacrifice, hard work, and love that went into preparing them.
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So many people have asked, “How was your trip?” Unless they’re willing to sit with me for a few hours, I am unable to answer that question. So many things happened and I got to witness God at work like never before. I don’t even really like to respond to a passing, “How was your trip?” Idle chit-chat can’t do it justice. There just aren’t adequate words to convey all that we saw, did, felt, and experienced. I’m so glad I went and I’m so glad to have shared this trip with Lakyn and Keaton and ALL the other members of the April 2014 Mexico Mission Team. Priceless!

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Well said, Melanie! Well said indeed!!

Yes…hard times…mission trips…bills to pay…death…cancer diagnoses…life… It can be so hard… But, oh how the Lord uses it all to form us into the image of His Son. Praise His Name!

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I want to show you a picture of an old couple…

Kevin and Pam

Oops… No…that’s not right…

This would be the picture of an old couple…

Kevin and Pam at Atlantic BeachPam looks awesome! But, me… Man…I have changed a ton, wouldn’t you say? I was so thin and had such a good looking head of hair! 🙂

Things change…

But, they have changed for the good too. When that first picture was made, these folks didn’t exist in our lives…

Kids

So, I’m grateful! No…check that… I’m more than grateful. I’m ecstatic!!!

Here’s the family on Sunday up at my mom and dad’s after hiding Easter eggs…

Family at Easter 2014

Pretty fine looking crew if you ask me!

I’m sure you could show me pictures of how you have changed too. And I’m certain you have been blessed in many ways as well.

Old things…

I like old things. Truth is…the older I get the more I like old things. I guess it makes we feel younger.

I like old phones… I like eating at Cracker Barrel and seeing old signs and old-timey candy. It’s just fun!

As you know…my all time favorite TV show is The Walton’s. I really only like the years that had “John Boy” on there. It’s kind of like when Don Knotts (Barney Fife) left The Andy Griffith Show…it wasn’t any good after that. Recently Ralph Waite (John Walton) died and I saw this 1 1/2 minute spot about him on the INSP network last night and I looked it up. It’s a good one…

http://moments.org/ralph-waite-means/

He got his priorities right and returned to the “old things,” which was his faith in Christ. The problem is that this is an anomaly. This doesn’t happen much anymore. We continue to lose our young adults at an alarming rate to the world (even those who profess to be followers of Christ).

This Sunday, I’ll be in Raleigh speaking at the Raleigh Chinese Christian Church in Cary, NC.

RCCC ChurchI spoke there last year and they’ve asked me to come back. (I guess I did something right. :))

Here’s the flyer on it that the church has on their website…

It’s a quick-hit day. I’ll be on the road by 6 am Sunday and back around 9 pm Sunday night. Our mission team that just got back from Mexico will be sharing this Sunday at Mt. Pleasant. Don’t skip out on our folks! 🙂

I tell you this to say this. As I was preparing for this one-day conference, I stumbled across something I wrote all the way back in 2008 about Youth Ministry. It’s old to some degree. Mainly because it’s been six years ago. In our church, that almost seems like a life-time. But, the truth of what I wrote back then remains the same in my heart today.

Adult-Centered Youth Ministry

11.27.08                                                                                                                                                           

For almost 17 years I taught the Youth class (7th grade through 12th grade) at my church. For two years, I served as Associate Pastor with responsibility for all Youth and Children activities. However, as the years went along I had to stop and think and really take an honest and objective assessment of the results we were getting and had gotten over the previous 17 years. In all honesty, I was disappointed in what I was seeing. During that time, I had also become quite convinced we do not need more programs, nor more bells and whistles, nor more activities for our young adults (youth). I was seeing statistics as reported by the George Barna Research Group and Josh McDowell Ministries that showed we were losing our Christian young people to the world in large part by the time they turned 20 years of age. Why? Because many were not truly born again and most were not engaged in the inner working of the church. I became utterly convinced we must raise the bar and integrate our young adults (teens) into the total life of the church.

 

The Lord began to reveal to me that in order to hold on to our young adults, we needed to concentrate our full, undivided attention on holding them responsible and accountable for their attitudes and behaviors. For sure, I knew some people wouldn’t understand. But on the other hand, I knew what the Lord was showing me in His Word regarding moving children to adulthood.

 

It is time we “raise the bar” for our young people. A truly Biblical and Christ-driven approach can and must form the core of what a church does in regards to the young adults and children attending there. And that core is this: the overall objective in youth work must be to lead teenagers to Christian maturity (1 Tim 4:12). If we are not leading them to mature Christian adulthood, we are spinning our wheels, spending a lot of money on activities and staff, but ultimately are failing to accomplish God’s objective for teens: maturity that leads to adulthood.

 

Below is a process for leading children, teenagers and young adults to Christian maturity that involves at least four basic commitments on the part of a church.

 

1. Resist the temptation to give in, promote and push an “adolescent” approach to youth ministry.

Dr. David Black, professor of New Testament and Greek at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a very dear friend and a mentor of mine, wrote a wonderful book entitled: The Myth of Adolescence. It totally changed my understanding of youth ministry and raising and training my own four children. The book details and defines what the Bible teaches about the stages of life. Did you know the Bible has nothing to say about an “adolescent” stage in life? In Scripture, there are two types of people: children and adults. Unfortunately, in our society adolescence has become a waiting period of leisure with few responsibilities and little or no meaningful contact with adults for our young people. This isolation from adults is one of the most harmful developments of adolescence and has provided a breeding ground for the rampant feeling of alienation among our youth today.

 

According to Dr. Black, the way you can tell that someone believes in an adolescent approach to youth ministry is by the programs they develop to segregate youth from adults. He goes on to say, “Most youth ministries have their own Sunday School, youth missions, youth small groups, youth worship, youth evangelism teams, youth choir, youth discipleship programs, youth retreats, and youth outings. Youth leaders, who have swallowed the myth of adolescence, assume that by isolating the youth into their own independent subgroup in the church they will be better able to instill in them Christian values. The truth is that this solution is worse than the original problem.”

 

Studies show most teens lose interest in the church during the seventh through twelfth grades. This is because they have simply been “entertained.” Seldom do churches today seek to integrate them into the body-life of the church (which involves responsibility, not just fun and games). A church should focus on helping young people make the transition from childhood into adulthood spiritually, emotionally, and mentally. The Bible clearly teaches that it’s the parents (Dads leading) who are the ones responsible for raising their children spiritually (Ephesians 6:1-4, Deut. 6:1-10, Hebrews 12:5-11). Yes, the church should come alongside and help the family do this important work. But, the church should never give the impression to the parents that they (the church) will do the job of spiritually training their kids for them. It’s the churches job to help integrate even young people who don’t have parents actively involved in the church by “adopting” them into families within the church who can help mentor them (Titus 2); thereby showing them what a family structure should look like in our culture today.

 

2. Integrate teens with adults in every typical church setting and activity.

This is a step that most churches are afraid to take. Why? Because the culture has split our children into “graded” categories in everything they do…from school, to teams and now…even in the church. Some churches today never had the children or teenagers in the regular worship service with the adults. You will never find this occurring in the pages of Scripture…not even once!

 

Mark DeVries, a former youth pastor, in his book, Family-Based Youth Ministry said, “Teenagers will not learn the skills required of mature adults in a peer-centered youth Sunday-school class. They will not learn these skills by talking with their friends. The process occurs as the less mature repeatedly have opportunity to observe, dialogue and collaborate with the more mature.”

 

Many Christian churches across America today are seeing the merit of integrating young adults (7th-12th grades) into a Sunday School (Bible Study) class that is led by adults and mixed with adults. This class is often called a “Mentoring Class.” This model is taken from Scripture as Jesus modeled discipleship to His young Apostles (whom, scholars tell us were mostly teenagers other than Peter, who was married) and the Apostle Paul with young Timothy and Titus.

 

Therefore, Youth can and should:

  • read Scripture during the worship service
  • usher and pass out bulletins
  • sing with the adult choir
  • help with teaching younger children’s Sunday School classes with their parents
  • serve as greeters
  • go on missions trips with other adults
  • attend “adult” Sunday School classes
  • help operate the audio/video equipment for services
  • help in all areas of the church (i.e., with preparation and clean-up for meals), etc.

 

Our young adults do all the above at our church. The wonderful thing about this is the transformation we have seen in our young people. They have “ownership” in what is going on in the church. It’s not just their parent’s church, they say, “It’s my church.” If a young person, or anyone for that matter, feels like they are making a difference and have a stake in what’s going on, they will be much less likely to abandon the church when they leave the church for college or work. Even when they move away for college or work, they will find a church and seek to plug-in. Therefore, it is essential that we not deny young people this kind of involvement with adults. If we do, we will be sending our teenagers into the world without truly preparing them for the challenges of adulthood. Ultimately, if they relate only to their peers, they will most likely remain trapped in immaturity. On the other hand, young people who have been fortified with significant adult relationships are consistently the ones who exhibit responsible behavior and who are able to resist involvement in negative behaviors such as rebellion, drug abuse, and promiscuity.

 

Thus, the most important foundation a youth ministry can have in its work with teens is providing them with opportunities for significant dialogue and relationships with mature Christian adults, which will lead to belonging, involvement and service. This is especially important for those teens who do not come from Christian homes and who therefore need a circle of adult Christians to model the Christian life for them. Again, a church should seek to develop a culture whereby young people in this condition are “adopted” into a family within the church. Yes, this can get messy. But, our young people need more than a room to go to and play video games and eat pizza and have a short devotion. They need to see what a biblical “home” looks like. Churches should seek to take youth who come to their church without parents and “adopt” them into families who have a desire to mentor that young person while they’re at the church and “show them” what a family looks like Scripturally.

 

3. Reject the myth that healthy development among youth requires a strong break with their parents.

Although peers exercise some control over a teen’s choice of dress, music, and entertainment, only when parents are extremely negligent, do peers exercise more control over the teen’s choice of beliefs and relational styles than their parents. It remains a fact that in the vast majority of cases parents remain the single most important influence in the development of a teen’s character and personality. Children desire experiences with their parents. An article in the Journal of Research on Adolescence, concluded that (1) equating the youth years with inevitable rebellion is inaccurate; (2) the predictable disintegration of parent-teen relationships is false; and (3) teens are more likely to support parental values than to be in conflict with them. This means that more of our programs in church need to be designed for the youth themselves to serve and lead while providing them with mature mentors (which includes their parents).

 

To implement the ideas detailed above, I implemented what is called: “Rite of Passage” (ROP) in our church. ROP is a process for our young people whereby, when they turn twelve, they can participate in a program that will acknowledge them as a “Young Adult” in the church. This program has been invaluable in letting our young people know what the expectations are of their parents, the church and God, as we take what the Bible says about becoming young adults. We do not have a “youth” pastor, because we don’t see this role depicted in Scripture. I encourage “Youth Pastors” to change their title to “Family Pastor.” Why? Because, the main strategy of a church (regarding young people) should be to come alongside and assist parents in raising Christ-Centered young adults…not doing it for them. Parents, particularly fathers, are going to be held responsible and accountable by the Lord in how they raise, teach and train their children in the discipline of the Lord. (Eph. 6:4)

 

An adult-centered youth ministry is not a program to be added to a church’s educational ministry plan. Instead, it is a foundational model with one primary goal: to equip all believers (youth included) to grow toward mature and responsible Christian-adulthood. If this becomes a church’s priority, it will radically effect that church’s philosophy of youth ministry. Instead of trying newer and newer gimmicks to get youth to attend our “programs,” we will simply teach, train and equip our young people and show them that we value, love and appreciate them enough to include them in the body-life of the church.

 

4. This model is not something “new,” but something “old” that comes directly from the Bible.

What has been described is not a “new” model or philosophy for youth ministry. It is simply a return to God’s design for the church as detailed in the Bible (Luke 2, Deut. 6, Heb. 12, Eph. 6, and the Proverbs). Jesus had no organizational chart or curriculum. His priority was to call his youthful disciples “to be with him” (Mark 3:14). Jesus’ ministry was relational, and ours should be the same. The Christian faith becomes real to teenagers when they see it lived out in real-life situations. In short, an adult-centered youth ministry is not about creating special programming for young people. The goal is to provide them with the kind of foundational relationships with Christian adults that will lead them to spiritual maturity. In doing so, we seek especially to connect youth from non-traditional homes, (divorced, blended, etc.), with adult mentors. If our youth ministries are to become Biblical and have a meaningful impact, they must reject the traditional model of highly programmed activities and entertainment and instead give the central place to connecting young people to mature Christian adults. Why? Because if we don’t, we will continue to lose our young people to the culture, as they leave our churches in their early 20’s.

 

Churches should become committed to strengthening families by keeping them together as much as possible. We should be very careful not to over-schedule activities at the church, so we can allow families time to truly be a family during the week. In our church, our teens function in every possible position of service. We work very hard to provide activities which allow participation with adults and in family oriented settings. The goal is NOT just to group the young adults together for “play” or “entertainment.” We do not want to foster or reinforce to them that they have an identity separate from the rest of the adult community in the church. Please understand, it is not my that God does not work in youth groups, but rather He can accomplish the much, much more when teens are elevated to their high calling within the general body of believers.

 

In conclusion, during their teen years, when young adults are told they are not needed by society, they have a special need to “belong” to a community. Thus, while waiting for “adult” status as defined by their culture, they need to have a sense of belonging to a group of people they respect and from whom they can receive recognition. Our churches must rise to the occasion. If we, as adults make the church a community to which young people want to belong, we will be helping our teenagers move more smoothly into mature adulthood. Ultimately, the Body of Christ becomes a significant factor in the moral and spiritual development of our young people. Not surprisingly, when teenagers are treated with respect and are shown that they are valued, they will reject the self-absorption of immaturity and rise to the occasion of becoming a young adult who spiritually flourishes.

 

To God be the glory!

Pastor, D. Kevin Brown

Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church

Wilkesboro, NC

http://www.mpbc.ws

 

So, I’ll be in Cary on Sunday. I’ll be sharing how to implement these things in the Church and home. Pray for me that I might effectively share these principles and they may be heartily received. They are good, good folks down their in Cary. I can’t wait to renew old friendships!

Old things…

I love them…

And that includes the principles and tenets taught in the Word of God. I love young people and I love families and I love my family. My heart is full considering all the “old things” I have to be grateful for today!

 

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Have you ever looked through a pair of glasses that were scratched up?

Eyeglasses That Need Repair

I had a pair of sunglasses that I wore when I mowed the yard and they got so scratched up that looking through them finally starting giving me a headache. That can happen when what you are looking through is compromised.

I really believe what a lot of folks are “looking through” has been comprised. I’m amazed at the worldview that many Christians have today. I talked about this last week when I blogged about the “New Grace.” You remember:

Going

Right

Ahead

Comprising

Everything

So why do we compromise? Why is it that “anything and everything goes” today? It’s our worldview. It’s the set of glasses we’re looking through. They are all scratched up.

Let me give you an example.

Duggars

That’s two of the Duggar children. I’m sure (unless you live under a rock) you’ve heard of this family. Pictured above are: Ben Seewald, Jessa Duggar, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, Jill Duggar and Derick Dillard.

Jessa and Jill are being pounded by the media because they are choosing not to kiss until their wedding day. Here’s an excerpt from an article found on the Today Show website.

“Courting” is the theme on the new season of TLC’s hit reality show “19 Kids and Counting,” which stars the Duggar family and premieres tonight.

Two Duggar daughters – Jessa, 20, and Jill, 22 – begin relationships with their respective beaus, Ben Seewald, 18, and Derick Dillard, 25. And just like a high stakes basketball game, the Duggars’ style of courting involves plenty of rules, plus refereeing done under the watchful eyes of dad Jim Bob and mom Michelle.

TODAY.com caught up with Jim Bob and Michelle to learn more about their views on courting. As Michelle pointed out, “love is in the air” in the Duggar household this spring.

Rule 1: Courting is not dating; it’s “dating with a purpose.”

There are two main distinctions that make dating different than courting, says Jim Bob. Dating is spending time with someone alone, not necessarily with the end goal of marriage. Not so with courtship, which is carefully monitored and not for the commitment-phobic. “Courtship is really waiting for the one God has for you and praying through the whole process,” the father of 19 says. “It’s really examining the person and considering, ‘Would this be the guy I want to be the father of my kids?’” says Michelle.

To see the rest, go http://www.today.com/moms/duggars-7-rules-courtship-love-air-no-kissing-2D79464674.

Now here’s my point. I can expect the media to think the Duggar girls are nuts…but, not Christians! But, let me tell you…many “so-called” Christians are riding them just as hard as the mainstream media. In fact, some Christians have said they are ashamed of such strange and weird people like Jessa and Jill.

Well give me “strange and weird” any day! As a Christian, I’m called to be peculiar. But, here’s the deal… These “Christians” have on scratched glasses. They are looking at relationships through the lenses of the WORLD and NOT through the lens of Scripture (the BIBLE). Is that you? What’s your worldview? Am I saying that you have to do things exactly like the Duggars? No. But, let’s look at the subject of dating and courting through the lens of Scripture (an open Bible) and then discuss it. So many people today want to discuss issues with the “World” as their glasses. It’s one of the reasons I wrote my book:

Kevin book

Let’s take another example.

LGBT

Born that way…

What set of glasses do you have on?

If it’s the worldview of our culture…then you will say people are born gay, like a black man is born black. If your worldview is the Bible, you will say gay people can be healed.

I read an article that was very enlightening on the matter last week. Get this… The title of the article is almost shocking to our culture today:

Even LBGT Historians Admit No One is ‘Born Gay’

What? Can you hear the outcry? Here’s the upshot of the article…

Whether it’s Macklemore’s “Same Love” or Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way,” our culture is pretty convinced that homosexuality is inherent from birth. But, as it turns out, those within the LGBT movement aren’t that convinced themselves. In an article in The Daily Caller, gay writer David Benkof presented the solid case of the historians – several of whom are also LGBT – who maintain that the sexual orientation of homosexuality didn’t exist until about 150 years ago. While same-sex relationships and behavior have happened from time to time throughout history, LGBT scholarly studies show zero evidence of any culture with gay “oriented” individuals at any point in history. The mountain of scholarly research also continues to show no “gay gene” accounting for sexual orientation from birth.

Can you say, “Wow!” You’ll never hear Brian Williams talk about that on the NBC Nightly News! Why? Because it doesn’t fit the worldview of NBC News.

Here’s another one…

The origin of life…

Big Bang

A little less than three weeks ago this was reported:

Big Bang Proven (March 27, 2014)

Here’s the upshot from an article that can be found at apologeticspress.org.

“Theory No More?”

“Scientists Make ‘Big Bang’ Breakthrough with Find”

“Big Bang’s Smoking Gun”

“Scientists Find Cosmic Ripples from Birth of Universe”

These titles are a sampling of the headlines after Caltech publicly announced some of their groundbreaking research. The impression being given is that the Big Bang has been finally proven. It has been “confirmed.” As usual, many in the media have shown themselves to be irresponsible with their overstatements and wild implications. Since most people only read article titles and never actually read the details of an article, false impressions are immediately spread to the four winds, and usually, never to be corrected.

Theory No More? Scientists Make ‘Big Bang’ Breakthrough with Find” (2014, emp. added). “Space Ripples Reveal Big Bang’s Smoking Gun” (Overbye, 2014, emp. added). “Big Bang’s ‘Smoking Gun’ Confirms Early Universe’s Exponential Growth” (Vergano, 2014, emp. added). “Scientists Find Cosmic Ripples from Birth of Universe” (2014, emp. added). These titles are a sampling of the headlines after Caltech publicly announced some of their groundbreaking research. The impression being given (and, based on the many that have contacted us since the announcement, being accepted) is that the Big Bang has been finally proven. It has been “confirmed.” As usual, many in the media have shown themselves to be irresponsible with their overstatements and wild implications. Since most people only read article titles and never actually read the details of an article, false impressions are immediately spread to the four winds, and usually, never to be corrected.
Read more at http://savingourfuture.com/2014/03/big-bang-just-proven-astronomers/#zBGClEHd6fTwSJUC.99

You see, it all depends on your worldview. When you don’t want accountability and you don’t want a God, you have to look for a way to explain the universe without Him. When you want to live life with no strings and no consequences…you make it up. And there you have the worldview of “Evolutionists.” But, the Bible teaches, “In the beginning God…” You can’t have it both ways…

What’s your worldview?

In America we continue to decline in our thinking because we no longer regard the Bible in high esteem. Amazingly, we still own a bunch of copies and many still believe it’s God’s Word, but we don’t put on those glasses too much.

Here’s the latest Barna research on the Bible…

Bible

That 56% number has dropped exponentially in the last 50 years. In 1950 you had to look long and hard to find someone who didn’t believe the Bible was the Word of God. Not today. Why?

Because we’ve fed the last three to four generations a steady diet of secular humanism, postmodernism and downright lies. Therefore, anything goes! Except anything that the Bible teaches.

So…

What’s your worldview?

So, decide which glasses you’re going to wear and please, please, please…keep ’em on. Why? So, we’ll know if you ascribe to the tenets and principles of Scripture or not. Don’t take off your Bible glasses and put on the “world’s” glasses. You’ll make yourself sick!

Oh by the way…we’ve got a mission team in Mexico and south Texas.

Mexico Team-April 2014

They are working hard. Here’s the progress so far:

second floor

We are putting on the second floor of the church in Progreso, Mexico and teaching multiple Bible Studies (backyard Bible clubs) in Texas in Mexico. You can keep up with all the happenings here: http://mpbc.ws/missions/2014MexicoMissions/days12.html

 

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The “New” Grace

There is a new gospel that’s being pushed in America today. Have you heard of it? It’s called GRACE. It’s not the grace that the Bible speaks of. Grace has been described as:

God’s

Riches

At

Christ’s

Expense

That is the grace that cost Jesus Christ His life on a rugged Roman cross. It’s the grace that comes by way of the mercy of God on sinful man. It’s the grace that allows a believer and follower of Christ to live the Christian life. It’s living in the flow of God’s love. Think of God’s grace as a sphere in which you live. So let’s think of a water fountain. If you are going to need water often, then you will want to stay nearby the water fountain.

For our analogy, Jesus is the water fountain (the living water) and I want to say near Him. I want to stay in the sphere of His love.

If I walk away from the water fountain and run 5 miles away, it doesn’t mean that I can’t get back to the water fountain, it just means that I’m not going to have an easy time doing so. You and I can choose to live near the source of the water or live great distance away. Our choice.

There’s a new grace being espoused today. It’s spelled this way:

Going

Right

Ahead

Comprising

Everything

This grace says you can live any way you like because you say, “I’m under the blood of Christ and I’m free to be me.” This grace knows nothing of obedience. This new grace only knows of “me.” It’s what floats my boat and plows my garden. It’s what makes me happy. It doesn’t matter if I offend my neighbor. It doesn’t matter if I cuss, dress immodestly, lie, steal or cheat. Hey…I’m covered under God’s grace. Going right ahead comprising everything. No big deal.

Dear reader, that’s not the FULL gospel. Let me show you a picture of the Gospel. It’s a wonderful drawing I’ve come up with as an example.

Gospel Plane

In order for that plane to fly, it’s got to have both wings. It will crash and burn without both wings. We need God’s merciful and rich grace to come to Christ. We can’t earn our way to God by our works. Our works are as filthy rags. But, our works (obedience to God’s commands) SHOWS that we have truly received God’s grace and are walking near the water fountain. We are continuing to drink from the fountain, being filled with the Spirit, growing in faith and in trust and in obedience. We are being sanctified. We are being made holy. We are excelling more and more in righteousness. We hunger and thirst for Christ and when we hunger and thirst for Christ, we will walk the way He walked…in righteousness. Both wings working together: Grace and Obedience. That’s what makes the Gospel plane fly!

Problem is…most of the planes flying today are showing nothing BUT the “GRACE wing.” They say, “Don’t judge me! Don’t tell me I’m living in sin because I’m covered by God’s grace.”

I talked to a fellow pastor earlier this week. He said he was raked over the coals by a lady who complained about his message from the prior Sunday. In the message the pastor said that he felt it was immodest for Christian women to wear string bikini’s. The lady caught him after the service and “let him have it!” She said, “I’m under the blood of Christ. His mercy and grace covers me and I don’t need you looking down your righteous nose at me. I can wear anything I want to wear!!” And she stormed off.

All I could say to my fellow brother was, “Wow!”

You know what…these folks (like that lady) NEVER mention obedience. EVER! They simply want you and I to compromise the Word of God and justify their lifestyles. But, all they are doing is simply trying to rationalize their lifestyle and they really have little if any desire to walk in obedience. In other words, they are fine living 5 miles from the water fountain. But, one day…when their lives begin to crumble, (because we reap what we sow), they will have to make that long journey back to the fountain.

Now is this analogy perfect? Nope! In fact, that walk back to the fountain can be made in a split-second. But, the hard part is sacrificing their own will to the point they are willing to surrender and die to themselves. That’s HARD!!!

Do you know what I’m giving you? The FULL (whole) COUNSEL of the Gospel… I’m a teacher. A good teacher doesn’t JUST teach. NO! They also correct. What teacher, worth their salt, is NOT going to teach AND correct. Yet, there are many, many people who just want to be “taught,” and NEVER corrected!

How would you like a doctor who only gives you a diagnosis but never gives you the medicine to help you. What if a dermatologist told you that you had skin cancer on your face, but then said, “Okay…have a nice day.” You see that’s like “teaching” and not “correcting.” It’s my job as a shepherd to “teach” and “correct.”

I paid a lady to teach and train (which includes correcting) my children how to play various instruments.

girls singing Should we want anything less from our pastor/elders?

The Apostle Paul had something to say about this. You see I want to be like Paul. I want to be innocent of your blood. I want to teach the truth.

Acts 20:26-27

26 Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all, 27 for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.

You see, I’m a shepherd. It’s my job to teach, lead and equip my flock. Paul continued…

Acts 20:28-29

28 Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. 29 I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come among you, not sparing the flock.

Let me give you an example of what I’m saying. I was in Washington, D.C. for a conference a few weeks ago and there was a young lady who gave testimony of being in a church in the D.C. area who’s pastor said this:

“Church, everyone raise your hand to point to heaven and say: ‘God you owe we another year of blessings!’”

This pastor was teaching a “Prosperity Gospel.” He was actually teaching blasphemy in my estimation. Folks, welcome to the “New Grace.” God owes it to you to bless you. I guess He’s just a puppet on our strings. He is a cosmic vending machine…dolling out blessings at OUR COMMAND! Yikes!

I want us to understand that Jesus is full of grace AND truth. Yes, when the issues are blurry, (like mowing your yard on Sunday), we can afford to err on the side of grace. But, when the issues are clear — two people living together in sexual sin, homosexuality, lying, stealing — then we cannot afford to sacrifice truth for grace.

Are you sacrificing truth because you are afraid of being seen as “hard-line” or “uncompromising?” Can I ask you a question? How much of the cancer do you want the dermatologist to cut off of your face? It might hurt! He might have to go deep! But, you and I need the truth don’t we?

Na!!

How about some “new” grace. Just put a Band-Aid on it and call it a day. We don’t want to offend. We don’t want to “hurt” you. Just do the best you can. No worries. Live it up!

Yeah right… You’ll be dead in a matter of months…perhaps weeks. So much for:

Going

Right

Along

Comprising

Everything

We’ve got to be loving, kind and respectful with people. We’ve got to give a reason for our hope with gentleness and respect, but we’ve GOT TO GIVE A REASON FOR OUR HOPE. We’ve got to stand for truth.

Let’s fly the plane straight and true. Both wings need to be employed… Grace and Truth. Let’s stay near the fountain…

Doing so means we’ll stay in the flow of Christ’s love. We’ll operate in the sphere of His Spirit. We’ll live in Biblical grace out of gratitude for a Savior who saved our soul from Hell. Not a Savior who is a puppet on our string.

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I’m Going to be a Grandpa!

If you have a Facebook account then you know the news… If not…you just read it!

Pam and I are going to be grandparents!!

The announcement was made tonight at Clara’s 9th birthday party!

Clara's 9th birthday party

I was getting ready to take a picture of everyone and I said:

Okay everyone on the count of three everybody say:

KATY IS GOING TO HAVE A BABY!

Euphoria broke loose in the Brown household!! We’re all praising the Lord! If you have a Facebook, go to Pam’s Facebook page and watch! It’s hilarious!!

Katy and Josh told us Tuesday night when they arrived into town. They are taking a few days off (as I mentioned in my last blog post). Katy said, “Dad, we have a belated birthday gift for you…”

They handed me this picture…

The announcement picture

That’s Josh’s boots and Katy’s shoes and little “baby” shoes. Now, y’all know I’m dumb as a rock. I looked at that picture and thought, “What in the world is Katy doing giving me a picture like that. Those boots aren’t even mine and that’s Kandace’s shoes in the middle and what in the world are those little shoes? Are those Clara’s old shoes?” I thought, “Bless Katy’s heart, she’s trying to give me a picture of my boots and the kids shoes and she’s all confused.” But folks, I wasn’t going to let on that she goofed. But, as I was thinking this… Kandace was beside of me saying, “Really…really…are you…are you???” I looked at Kandace and thought, “What in the world is Kandace talking about??” And then Pam started squealing too!! I looked over at Andrew and he looked at me and we both shrugged our shoulders. Guys!!! You got to love us! Then it hit me!!! Finally my brain started working!!! I’m going to be a Grandpa!!! Oh my!!! Praise the Lord!!! We were all jumping up and down going crazy!!! Hugging…laughing…crying!!

What a joy!! I’m really so blessed that I’m without words to describe how I feel. To God be the glory! Great things He has done!!

And get this!!! Katy is due on November 25th, which is her mom’s (Pam’s) birthday!!

Wow!!!!!

 

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Spring

I’m so glad spring seems to be finally here. It’s 81 degrees as I type these words!

But, I’ll warn you. It’s going to get cool again by the middle to end of next week. Thankfully, “cool” in the spring means in the 50’s for day-time highs and not in the 30’s! Woohoo!!

I will also give you a head’s up that this year’s hurricane season looks to be below average (like last year), but we’ll have more hurricanes that could pop up right along the southeast and gulf coasts. We are starting to see the beginnings of an El Nino off the South American coast and that will blow off the tops of most storms as the southern Jetstream will sheer the storms as they come of the African coast. And you know what an El Nino means. That means a rough winter next year. Plan on next winter being very similar to this winter.

Hey…my books are in!!!

Kevin book

You know it’s amazing! I never cease to be amazed how God works. The books arrived last Thursday and I’ve been preaching through 1 Thessalonians, right? Yep! And right when I get to 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8, they arrive. Get this:

1 Thessalonians 4:3-8

For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.

Do you think those verses go right along with my book or what? Only God can do that. His timing is amazing!

As I shared with the church Sunday, this idea of saving ourselves for marriage seems to have fallen out of favor even in the church. The church is having very little impact on the world regarding purity. There is a section in my book that’s entitled “Not Sticky” and I talked about it Sunday. Here’s an excerpt from my sermon:

File:PostItNotePad.JPG

Just how many times can you stick and unstick a sticky note? Studies tell us on average…young people will have 5 to 8 relationships before they finally marry in their late 20’s. And do you know what happens each time in one of those relationships? That young couple becomes romantically involved with one another, they begin to bond emotionally. They increasingly share their hearts with one another. Their thoughts and imaginations are focused on their partner. Without knowing it…what they have done is to begin the God-designed process of becoming “one,” even if there is virtually no physical relationship. They become one heart long before they become “one flesh.”

Did you know that neuroscientists tell us sexual activity releases brain chemicals which trigger emotional bonding and a powerful desire to repeat the activity? It all begins with just a touch…holding hands…leads to hugs…leads to kissing…leads to… Breaking these bonds over and over make it much harder later in life to bond with a future spouse.

Young people here today…are you bonding emotionally with someone. It’s going to make it much harder when you get married. Because you are using up a lot of your “sticky.”

Here my heart… It’s why I wrote the book. It’s why I’m so passionate on this subject. As I worked my way through writing my book, the Lord made it clear to me again that 20th and 21st century idea of dating…the very idea of what I call “recreational romance” has created a revolving door mentality for our young people. They have been so exposed to so many relationships prior to marriage, no wonder they find it so hard to eventually settle down with one spouse. No wonder we have a 50+% divorce rate even in the church. They are simply repeating what they’ve been doing for years. Just because a pastor (like me) asks a bride and groom to place rings on each other’s fingers and repeat, “Till death do us part,” means almost nothing today. Do we really believe that a ring on our left hand is going to change what’s been trained in the brain?

Jesus said in Matthew 19…

Matthew 19:4-6

4“Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

We’ve lost our sticky folks! (BY THE WAY…this totally knocks out homosexuality…it’s MALE AND FEMALE). The point is this…

Just how many times can a person be in a relationship and give his or her heart emotionally (if not physically) away to someone before he or she cannot stick anymore? This cleaving and uncleaving is not what God intended for us. It is not how God expects us to arrive to the marriage altar. But, this is what we do isn’t it? And when I preach this…people look at me like I’ve got four heads. But, I’m giving you the full counsel of God’s Word, dear Church family. I wish someone had told me!

And it’s true…I wish someone had told me! How about you? Could the same be said of you? It’s why I wrote the book. They are $5. They are available on Amazon (Kindle for 99 cents) and hard copy. It’ll take you 1 1/2 hours to read it. It’s only 31 pages long. You can also order direct from my publisher…

http://direct.energion.com/to-date-or-not-to-date?search=to date or not to date

If you want to see someone else who is seeking to follow Scripture in the matter of “dating.” Take a look…

http://www.people.com/people/mobile/article/0,,20801674,00.html

Well…while I’ve stirred the hornets nest…I’ll just go all the way. I saw this bumper sticker and absolutely lost it…

(You’ll have to decide HOW I lost it. :))

Obama

Josh and Katy are coming home! They’ll be home later tonight! Can’t wait! They’re coming in to see the Passion Play this weekend at church. Boy, do I love it when the whole family is in town!

 

 

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