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Archive for September, 2014

Blessings!

Here’s a happy and blessed group of people.

Family-Beach 2014

That was less than a week ago. Hard to believe. Vacations come and go so fast. The picture above was taken at Holden Beach, NC. I love that place. It’s quiet and it’s peaceful. See that van to the left of the picture? I got out of it on Saturday, Sept. 20th and I didn’t get back into a vehicle until Saturday, Sept. 27th. You might say, “That’s crazy! That’s boring!” Precisely! I needed boring just hanging out with my family and resting. It was wonderful! Hanging out with my family, my mom and dad, my sister and her family…it’s such a blessing.

Craig, my brother-in-law is the built-in cook. He can barbeque anything. He’s a wonderful cook and all I have to do is hold the pan. We eat a hearty breakfast each morning and then kind of snack (sandwiches) for lunch and then Craig works his magic with chicken, pork chops, ribs, burgers, etc., etc. I have no clue how much weight I gained! It was good eats I’ll tell ya! Thanks Craig!

Watching football with dad (who I call Pop) is a lot of fun too! I used to watch baseball with his dad (my grandpa) when I was a boy. Sitting side by side with him is a blessing! Speaking of Pop…

Take a look at this three-some…

generations

That’s three generations. Dad, grandson and son. Check out our masterpiece! It was Andrew’s idea. He drew it out on the sand with his finger and then we built it.

Andrew and me at beach

And that’s how I relaxed with my kids. Look at the gate to the moat Andrew built.

Castle

Clara pitched in and helped. In fact, she worked as hard as anyone.

castle 2

She put the Christmas trees on top of the towers.

castle 3

We worked for several hours on this. See the house directly in the background with the two white-railed porch/decks? That’s the house we stayed in while there. It was hilarious! From our bedroom window, Clara and I would watch people walk up to the sand castle and take pictures of our masterpiece. That’s pretty impressive if you ask me. ūüôā

I saw this last week. I had to chuckle to try to keep from crying because it’s unfortunately¬†so true!

Bible Teaching

Speaking of something else that’s unfortunately true was how our Commander-in-Chief saluted our Marines last week. I guess you saw the “Latte Salute.”

Obama salute

President Obama is not a “thoughtless” man. He has helped raise millions for “Wounded Warriors.” Yet, he is “careless.” He just doesn’t think. Like playing golf right after the American report, Foley was beheaded by ISIS… That was careless too. He has since admitted that. Come on Mr. President. Our Marines do a great job. Like presenting the American flag at this little boy’s dad’s funeral.

Marine

I love Marines and I really love this one and his wife…

Katy and Josh

That wonderful couple will soon be bringing to this world via Katy our first grandchild…

Katy at 30 weeks

She’s due on 11.25 (Pam’s birthday). Can’t wait!

For all you Facebook, Twitter and Bloggers…do you want to know the ideal length of a tweet or Facebook status or blog post? Check it out…

Sunday morning was beautiful in Purlear, NC…
sunrise
It was a wonderful day at church. We baptized six people had two more families join the church. One of the families is the Petty Family:
Petty Family
That’s Kelly and Danielle Petty and their daughters Kailey (oldest) and Karlie. They are a top-notch family that wants to raise their family right. See the puffy eyes on Kailey? She gave her life to Christ after the first service Sunday. It was a precious time. Her mother posted this on my Facebook wall.
I’m so proud of my daughter Kailey Perry for asking Jesus Christ in to her heart. This is the most important decision she will ever make. She called upon the name of the Lord and he saved her. Praise His Holy Name! To God be all the glory! Also, thank you Pastor D Kevin Brown for allowing God to use you to bring God’s word and for never backing down. May God continue to use you as one of His disciples.
The day (Sunday) continued to be a wonderful day. These two men below were ordained by the church as Deacons.
Randy Brooks
That’s Randy Brooks and this (below) is Eric Dowell…
Eric Dowell
These men are wonderful additions to our Deacon body. Praise the Lord for all He is doing in our midst! I’m humbled by such a wonderful family and church family. Praise the Lord from whom all blessings flow!
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Glass Boxes

Before I head out for a few days…you’ve just got to ready Katy’s latest masterpiece. She’s outdone herself¬†with a fantastic blog post today. It’s about glass boxes. She describes her own. Give it a read…

My Glass Box

I was a Pastor’s kid. Technically, I still am. Although where I live now no one really knows. But for many years everyone knew. What’s more, I was homeschooled. For a few of my “preteen” years I didn’t rebel as much as I questioned why I had to live in what daddy called the “glass box.” It seemed that everyone watched my every action all the time. If anyone didn’t completely 100% approve my line of action, they told me and my parents. I was a good child. I wanted people to like me, but what kid likes having a couple hundred parents? None. Nada. That was me, Katy Brown with a bunch of people making sure I acted good all the time. While their kids ran wild, they told me what I should and shouldn’t do. If I ever said something that sounded dumb (which happened sometimes), inevitably someone chuckled and huffed, “She is a homeschooler.”¬†If I said something too smart and mature (which also happened occasionally), I still got the, “She’s just a homeschooler.” Couldn’t win to save my life. On the other hand, if I gave my opinion too strongly, someone would roll their eyes and say, “She is a pastor’s kid after all. Trying to be difficult.” It was as though I had some disease. A double disease – as if one wasn’t bad enough. Some of the children around me were afraid to say or do anything too “worldly” or I would probably “mess up all their fun.” But the best was youth. Yes, sitting on the front row in youth class when our church still had a youth program and trying to remind myself as a 12-year-old to not answer all¬†the questions or I would look like a dork. Of course there were usually about three empty seats on either side of me.

I guess I sound whiny, because I was whiny… until I realized that it just doesn’t matter. For one thing, I found that it was absolutely impossible to please everyone and second of all, I found that the only One who mattered pleasing deserved being pleased regardless of whether I was a pastor’s kid or a¬†homeschooler.

There I stood in my glass box and you know what? I was okay with it. Why should it bother me anyway? Was I trying to sneak around in disobedience… no. Was I wanting to keep my actions a secret so people couldn’t see the “real” me? No. So it didn’t matter. If it bothered people, it bothered them. If people wanted to press their noses up against the glass and inspect my every move, fine. I didn’t care, because it wouldn’t change one iota of what I was doing. If I pleased God, then it mattered not if man was pleased.

As Christians, we are all in a glass box. The world inspects us and takes note of what we say and do. We are “Jesus” to the world around us. It shouldn’t bother you that people examine your life. If it does then you should question whether or not you are truly following Jesus. None of us are perfect and we will all stumble and there will be those who point it out and remind us that they are watching, but when we stand back up, say “I’m sorry” with true remorse and move on, we are rising above.

So Windex those glass walls and don’t let it bother you when people look in on your life. The truth is, they are probably looking for a role model. Be one that they can imitate and draw closer to God through. Your life may very well touch someone else’s.¬†Goodness, I wrote a whole book about myself. The good, bad and ugly. When I opened the freshly printed page of one of my new books, I momentarily panicked, realizing I had actually let the most broken, crooked pieces of my heart show on those pages. I had bared it all, because God had told me to so that perhaps one person might come closer to Jesus. It was all for Him.

I can’t complain about my glass box. It’s actually a good place to be!

1 Peter 2:21

For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.

Ephesians 5:1-2

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Posted by Katy Isaacs at3:27 PM http://heartsonthingsabove.blogspot.com/2014/09/my-glass-box.html

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Taking a Break

I wanted to let you know that the family and I are going to be taking a break next week. It’s time to head to the coast and get a few days of R&R.

I’m finishing up the sermon for tomorrow night (looks like it will be tomorrow morning now… I’m too pooped to do any more work on it tonight), and then, I’m looking forward to getting the sermon done for when I return (so I don’t have to try and write it next week). I’ll try to write it Thursday/Friday…and then…it’s off to the coast. And I sure hope I don’t see this guy…

cantore

That’s Jim Cantore of the Weather Channel. If we see him, you’ll know we are in trouble. He only shows up when the weather is really, really bad.

I wonder what he thinks about this weather forecaster from Ashe County.

Mullis

That’s Joe Mullis. There was an article in the Ashe Mountain Times that covered his method. It’s really interesting.

According to Mullis, who has worked for the Parker Tie Company in West Jefferson for 17 years, the key is tracking the fogs in August – a theory also used by the Native Americans and the Amish.

“A real big heavy fog, that’s going to be a big snow of more than four inches,” said Mullis. “A little, wispy fog – that’s a little snow. It will cover the ground enough to track a rabbit up to four inches.”¬†

For every thick fog, Mullis places a big bean in a jar. For every little fog, he puts in a small bean. Once the winter arrives, Mullis removes a bean after every snow and finds out how accurate he was at the end of the season.

“Out of the last 20 years, one year I was off one bean,” said Mullis. “The rest of the time I think we were right on it. … It hits as good as the weather man.”

This year, Mullis is expecting a heavy winter, with nine big beans and eight small beans in his jar.

“It’s unusual to have more big beans than little beans” he said, noting that his jar usually contains around four big beans and five small beans.

In addition to the increase in snow, Mullis is also predicting an occurrence he has never predicted before.

“It’s what the Indians call a ‘Black Squirrel’ winter or the ‘Winter of Sorrows’,” he said. “My mom’s 86 and this is the first year she’s seen the black squirrel. We’ve all seen them this year. That’s supposed to be the harbinger of something bad.”

Mullis recommend that everyone stock up with “a little extra food and a little extra wood.

“There will be more ice this year, I’m afraid, and if there is there will be a lot of power outages possible,” he said. “Just be ready, and if you have to stay in for a few days have plenty to eat and something to keep you warm.”

Mullis acknowledges that “a lot of people laugh at this,” but noted that many of the people that use to laugh are now the ones asking about the beans in his jar. He also hinted that he might prefer to be wrong in some cases.

“Personally, I don’t care if it snows,” he said. “but I believe it will be a lot colder … than we’ve seen in a lot of years.” (http://m.ashemountaintimes.com/community/article_8529b5cb-249d-59e3-9503-333d957a13a8.html?mode=jqm#.VBMYVF7Edaw.facebook)

 

Okay, here’s more data for you to consider.

This is a screen shot of a model of the water temperatures for December 2014 through February 2o15. Look how warm the water is off the South American west coast…

El Nino

That warm water off the South American west coast is called an El Nino.¬†That warm water sends moisture across Mexico and Central America into the Gulf of Mexico and up the east coast it comes. That’s the moisture. Now for the cold. This model shows the cold.

Weather

That orange and yellow over Canada and the northwest U.S. will send cold air down from Canada and into the eastern U.S. this winter. It’s almost without question that all the models and forecasters are calling for a colder winter than normal. The trick for snow lovers is the cold mixing with the moisture. So, we’ll see.

Well…I’m not ready to think of¬†winter yet. I’m¬†hopeful for a nice week on the coast next week with the family. Andrew and Clara are ready to build some sand castles and so am I. We sure are looking forward to it!

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Four things to share with you tonight.

Predictions…fasting…preacher’s kids and Ebola.

#1 I saw this earlier today and I had to take a double-take.

Bush's prediction

Then President, George W. Bush, made this comment on July 12, 2007. Talk about eerie! Wow! Almost prophetic, wouldn’t you say?

I must tell you that I have been praying for our current President, Barack Obama. He has a ton on his shoulders. His speech last night still leaves many questions. Comparing the job of addressing ISIS to our work in Somalia and Yemen. Well, that didn’t comfort me much. I’m praying for peace, but I know there won’t be peace until Jesus returns. Say what you want about George Bush, but what you see above in that quote has come to fruition. There is no denying that now. May God help us all!

#2 So, we’ve been praying and fasting¬†at¬†church. We started on Sunday and I’m telling you it’s been a¬†powerful week. I’ve been overwhelmed with emails, texts and personal testimonies of how the Lord is working in hearts and lives to bring renewal to¬†many souls. Last night we broke the fast with breakfast.¬†Get it “break” “fast.” Every morning when you eat, you are breaking the fast from not eating during the night. Cool huh?

Yep, breakfast for supper is what we had to break the fast. We had bacon, eggs, sausage,¬†gravy, biscuits, country ham, cooked apples and¬†grits! It was awesome! The men of the church cooked the meal. Way to go guys! “Delicious” was the word of the night!

We had a huge crowd! I’m estimating¬†over¬†300 people attended. That’s huge for a Wednesday night crowd in any church, much less a country church in Wilkes County, NC.

Wed. Service-9.10.14-Fasting

Here we are holding hands and singing. It was such a sweet time together. We studied Scripture, sang and prayed. When we prayed, we sought to repent before the Lord. Why? Because that’s the only way the human soul can be renewed: Repentance. In the past during the Great Awakenings in this country revival broke out when there was repentance. After repentance comes the experience of sensing the glory of God.

You see, sensing the glory of God¬†is not something you can schedule. But, you can¬†yearn for it, cast a vision for it, desire it and crave it.¬†No, you can‚Äôt program the glory, but you can plead for it. It’s easy to talk about sensing the glory of God through revival, but it’s another thing to experience it. Romans 15:7 is powerful:

7 Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.

Why are we here? We are here to glorify God! This foundational truth is echoed by the Westminster confession: ‚ÄúThe chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.‚ÄĚ The¬†5th of the Reformational solas is: Soli Deo Gloria, meaning: ‚Äúto God alone be the glory.‚ÄĚ

I want to see the glory of God. Do you? I want our church…no…I desire to see the church of Jesus Christ desire to bring God glory. In order to bring God glory, we must be¬†gospel-centered. What does that look like? What is a¬†gospel-centered church? Are you sure you want to know? It might not match up with what you think or even like.

A gospel-centered church teaches and preaches the Word of God. And when it does, it will not be considered the “nicest church” in town. It will not be the most popular church in town. It will not be politically correct. It will be hated and even despised. It will be “run down” by other churches as being too____________. You fill in the blank. A gospel-centered church seeks to be holy and has a hunger to love all people not for what they are in their sin, but what they can become cleansed of their sin.

God help us as we continue this journey. We are looking forward to a wonderful time of celebration on Sunday. I wrote the sermon today. I believe it will be encouraging. Tomorrow is barbecue chicken cooking time! 4:15 am… As my dad says, “Better sleep fast son!”

#3 Speaking of Dads and sons. I read a great article by John Piper’s son, Barnabas. Man oh man do pastors’ kids have it tough. They live in a glass box.¬†Here’s a couple of paragraphs from his book…

piper book

Everyone in church notices the pastor‚Äôs kids. People don‚Äôt think about noticing them, it just happens. I grew up as a PK, the son of John Piper, and even I notice PKs. It‚Äôs almost impossible to avoid. They‚Äôre like the first children of the church. Don‚Äôt think you notice them? Here‚Äôs what it looks like. You know things about their personal lives you don‚Äôt know about any other kid in the church… You make comments about their behavior to them or to anyone else.¬† You expect them to speak out in Sunday school, to pray, to lead. You have a tacit standard for them as PKs. You hold them to a higher standard than their peers in church, and you‚Äôre not even trying to do so.

What you might not realize is how this makes PKs feel. They feel like people are always watching. The fact that you know personal things about them makes them hyper aware of you watching, listening, knowing. They feel like there is no room for mistakes. People watch them. People tell them how to act. People have a much higher standard for them. What pressure!

Can I tell you that I don’t have a problem with people having a high standard for my children, but what if you placed that same standard on your¬†children or¬†grandchildren? Not fair? You’re right. I agree! Let’s help all of¬†our children. Let’s love them as Christ loved them.¬†Yes, let’s hold¬†them to¬†a high standard. Anyone¬†who knows me knows I believe we should live as¬†“salt and light.” We should do exactly as Jesus said…

In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:16 

One last thing before hitting the sack…

#4 Please pray for God’s mercy to break this Ebola epidemic.

Health workers remove the body of Prince Nyentee, a man whom local residents said died of Ebola virus in Monrovia

International agencies and governments are struggling to contain the world’s worst epidemic of Ebola since the disease was discovered in 1976. The hemorrhagic virus has killed at least 2,296 people in West Africa. The nation of Liberia has said they are afraid this could potentially wipe out their nation. See this map:

Liberia_AU_Africa_svg

That’s Liberia on the west coast of Africa. Can you imagine that country’s people disappearing off the globe? That’s 4.2 million people. That’s how deadly this virus. Please, please pray for the Lord to intervene and pray for all of those workers who are trying to care for the sick.

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There has been a lot of talk about record-setting snowfall coming for this winter.

Here’s a comment that’s been circling social media lately…

‚ÄúPretty much everyone will see snow like they never have in their lives.¬†Most younger people don‚Äôt even know what an actual blizzard looks like, but by the end of March, they will be seasoned survivalists.”

Well, in the words of our illustrious Vice-President…

Malarky

I almost fell for it too. Why? Because I want to believe what I want to believe. We all do. But, I checked it out and found that the website disseminating the information is the same “satire” site that said Betty White dyed. Notice the word “dyed.” Oh my! Oh my! Yes, Betty White did “dye” her hair.

Let me give you some reputable information from a site called weatherbell.com. I’ve referenced this site before.¬†Joe Bastardi is one of the most reputable forecasters in the country. Here’s his summary from this past Saturday.

http://www.weatherbell.com/saturday-summary-september-6-2014

Again here’s his forecast for temperature for winter. Remember this is in Celsius.

Forecast Winter 2015

This is the forecast for snow…

Forecast Snow

Now the other big weather agencies are picking up on this. This is from what is called the “Sea-Surface Temperature Analog.” You’ll notice the darker blue over the mid-Atlantic and southern U.S. indicates colder temperatures than normal.

Forecast Winter 1

Here’s another analog map for the coming winter. We are in the purple. That’s cold folks! Real cold!

Forecast Winter 2

So, you have to take what you hear on the “net” with a grain of salt unless you know it’s reputable. It’s easy to fall for something that you want to happen. I LOVE snow! I mean love it! So, I was ready to say, “Woopie!” But, the truth is…I can still say, “Woopie” because I do believe we are in an El Nino pattern.

On a much more somber note…

I talked about ISIS a few days ago.

ISIS

These men are¬†so vile and barbaric it’s hard to describe. Anyone who will behead children and cut others in half are beyond what I can comprehend.¬†You remember they beheaded news journalist James Foley.

Foley

They have taken over much of Syria and Iraq.

isis-offensive-map

In the map above you will see the town in the north labeled “Erbil.” This is a city of safe haven for folks fleeing for their lives. Families are living in tents there.

Iraq-crisis-response-home-screen

This is an account¬†from¬†Samaritan’s Purse website.¬†http://www.samaritanspurse.org/article/iraq-crisis-response/

Eman’s Story

Eman

Eman is a widow raising two daughters. She is originally from Baghdad.

Her terrifying story begins there in 2007. She said Islamic militia came to her family‚Äôs home and asked her husband, Tarik, if he was a Christian. ‚ÄúYes I am a Christian,‚ÄĚ he replied. She said these men then cut Tarik‚Äôs head off right in front of her. (Her daughters were not present.) That same day she fled to Qaraqosh. Over 1 million Iraqis have fled to the area¬†of Ebril called “Kurdistan.”

Samaritan’s Purse (SP) has provided people like Eman and their daughters with a tent as well as food. SP has also set up 200 tents in Erbil (mentioned earlier) as temporary shelter for Christian families and others fleeing the Mosul area, which is the site of ancient Nineveh. The average family size of those being run out of their homes is between 7 to 10 people. In total, SP has so far distributed more than 7,400 mattresses. In addition, diapers, adult clothing, female hygiene items, gas cooking stoves, and 4,500 pairs of shoes have been distributed. Hundreds of families dealing with daytime temperatures soaring to 110 degrees are also receiving air coolers as well.

If you feel led to help…you can donate here. http://www.samaritanspurse.org/article/iraq-crisis-response/#donateBottom

On a lighter note. Check out this picture of me…

Kevin as Flintstone

Nah! That’s not me. A lady at church sent me the picture and I laughed my head off. Andrew and Clara stared at the picture for the longest time. It’s one of those, “Is that really Daddy” looks. In fact, my mom emailed me and told me that even my dad thought it was me. Nutty isn’t it! But anyone who knows me knows that I would never model for a prehistoric man costume, because I don’t believe in them. Adam was not a caveman. So, there you go! “Yabba Dabba doo!”¬†ūüôā

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Next week, Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church is going to embark on a journey to seek spiritual renewal through a season of fasting and prayer. I’m sending out this blog/devotion to prepare our church and our people. If you aren’t a member or attending the church, please tag along with us. Just as an FYI, the devotions next week will all be geared toward spiritual renewal. If you are not currently getting¬†the Daily Devotions (Monday through Friday each week), please¬†considering signing up at: http://mpbc.ws/emailsubscriptions/ Click on¬†“Pastor Kevin’s Daily Devotions.”¬†

Did you know there has not been a Great Awakening in this country in over 100 years? In fact, when I typed those words in italics: Great Awakening, they might not¬†mean a lot to you.¬†In fact, you might scratch¬†your head and think, “Great Awakening? What does that mean?”

 

A¬†“Great Awakening” is simply a term¬†for a¬†spiritual revival or movement of God. Many of us have forgotten, or might not even know about such events in the life of our nation. We might¬†know more of what happened in Bible times, however. We might recall and remember the reforms that were instituted under the two great kings of Judah, Hezekiah or Josiah. We might remember the revival that¬†was sparked when Jonah (after first being disobedient and shaken into action from¬†a three-day trip in fish’s belly)¬†went to¬†the pagan city of Nineveh and preached and revival swept the city. We might even remember Pentecost, as recorded in¬†Acts 2, when 3,000 were saved in one day after the Holy Spirit came and the Apostle Peter preached. But, is¬†something like those events even¬†possible today? Could any of these events¬†even remotely happen today?

Well, they are happening!¬†It’s just not in America. God is doing a mighty work in Northern Africa, South Asia, East Asia and the Pacific Rim. This is called the 10/40 window.

1040_persecution

Over 3 billion people live in this block of the world and there is a growing hunger for Jesus.¬†It’s why we as a Church in America should be sending money and help to evangelize this part of the world. “But, what¬†about America?” you ask.

It’s interesting as I talk to many Christians about the past in our nation. Most Christians today do¬†not know of the Great Awakenings in our country’s history. Take this man:

jonathan_edwards

That’s Jonathan Edwards. He would be instrumental in leading our young nation to what is often called and described as the “First Great Awakening,¬†which began¬†in the 1730’s (even before we established our independence from Britain).¬† He would preach the famous sermon: “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” which would move many to come running to Christ. According to reports, the revival meetings that broke out under his preaching swept through the crowds like musket fire mowing down rows of soldiers.¬†People literally fell to the ground crying out to God to save them. Reports record where Edwards would preach for hours on end without stopping, as people would leave the meeting, go and get family members and friends and bring them back to be saved. Thousands were saved! By the way, Edwards would end his career as President of Princeton University. Oh how that university has changed in 300 years! Princeton is now one of the most liberal, pagan universities in the nation.

A Second Great Awakening would erupt in the late 1700’s-early 1800’s,¬†under the preaching of this man, Charles Finney.

charles_g_finney

Again, there was a powerful move of the hand of God as people would at times, stand in the rain for hours, listening to the Word of God preached.¬†People would come¬†and stay at the “revival grounds” for days on end¬†lapping up the message of these preachers like a¬†thirsty dog drinking water from a stream.

Historians also chronicle a Third Great Awakening in the 1850’s with the preaching of D.L. Moody.

D.L. Moody

These men literally helped to shape our nation. The principles of Scripture and the teachings of Jesus indelibly marked our nation and without question helped to make us into the powerful country we are today.

Again, when these men preached, crowds of thousands came to listen (think frontier days…that’s a lot of people for Daniel Boone days).¬†People gathered in public squares and on hillsides; they clung to pews listening to the men of God, preach with the power of God.

great-awakening

Thousands upon thousands were saved. Historians tell of itinerant preachers who would travel on horseback throughout the countryside of our nation spreading the Gospel. Even college students in our early universities, (mostly Bible colleges), would fast and pray until revival broke out across campuses throughout our young nation.

Can it happen again? Can there be¬†another Great Awakening in this land? The answer is: “Yes.” But, it will not come easy. In fact, it can’t come to a church or even an individual¬†until there is brokenness and full surrender to Jesus Christ. Awakening doesn’t come without a cost. Spiritual chains and bondage aren’t broken without¬†great cost.¬†There¬†must be a genuine and sincere brokenness over our sin and confession of wrong and gut-wrenching prayers of repentance, if we want to see real change in our lives.

J. Edwin Orr, the great¬†Bible scholar, teacher and proponent of spiritual awakening in the past century said, “Revival is like judgment day. When revival comes, conviction exposes all that we have been ashamed to admit. Our pride, our greed, our lust, our fears, our secret sin–everything that identifies the ‘real me’ stares us in the face as though the dreaded day of judgment has arrived.”

K. Allan Blume, editor of the Biblical Recorder recently said this:

“The need for a great spiritual awakening in 2014 is more than obvious. An American culture once saturated with Christian influence is spiritually empty. Biblical values are not respected by the large number of secularists who dominate the worlds of politics, business, entertainment and media. Churches and Christian leaders have drifted from biblical orthodoxy, embracing popular opinions at the expense of eternal truth. ¬† Internationally, evil aggressively taunts us (ISIS, Hamas, Putin), daring us to engage in battle. Like Goliath in scripture, the threats are larger than life. Fear, war, disease and financial collapse are not artificial threats.

So, what is our motivation for wanting a revival? Maybe we want a culture that is less stressful, more comfortable and less challenging. Maybe we want to go back to the good ol‚Äô days when everyone attended our churches for the same reason they joined the country club. I don‚Äôt believe God has any interest in our comfort. He has not given us a gospel of prosperity and popularity. Historically, great revivals have never broken out in the context of prosperity. They have flourished most through times of persecution.”

According to Scripture, Blume is right. It is nothing less than a massive humbling of ourselves in deep repentance, fervent prayer and fasting and thorough cleansing before our loving and holy Heavenly Father that will bring spiritual awakening in the lives of individuals, churches or a nation. The familiar words of Ezra in 2 Chronicles gives us the prescription.

2 Chronicles 7:14

14 if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

Will we humble ourselves? Will we turn from our wicked ways and seek the face of God? Will we pray? I mean REALLY pray for cleansing?

Over 100 years ago, Oswald Chambers (My Utmost For His Highest) said these words about humble repentance:

“Repentance does not cause a sense of sin‚ÄĒ it causes a sense of inexpressible unworthiness. When I repent, I realize that I am absolutely helpless, and I know that through and through I am not worthy even to carry His sandals. Have I repented like that, or do I have a lingering thought of possibly trying to defend my actions? The reason God cannot come into my life is that I am not at the point of complete repentance. Get to the end of yourself where you can do nothing, but where He does everything.”

It is time we break up the fallow (unplowed/hardened) ground in our hearts, as the prophet Hosea described:

Hosea 10:12

Sow for yourselves righteousness;
    reap steadfast love;
    break up your fallow ground,
for it is the time to seek the Lord,
    that he may come and rain righteousness upon you.

It is TIME TO SEEK THE LORD! Oh, how true this is. It is time. It is time! IT IS TIME!

This week we are going to go on a spiritual journey together that can lead to a stronger, deeper and more profound walk with Jesus Christ. I said: “can,” because Jesus¬†won’t force Himself on you or me. He cannot move in your life or mine if there is unconfessed sin.

If you want to know freedom, you will have to accept the truth¬†of God’s word, confess your sin, repent of it (walk away from it in the opposite direction) and then you will¬†know holiness (which will be freedom in Christ).

031_cycle of freedom

What is described above is¬†God’s specific desire for us as¬†His children. The Bible says so:

1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

23 Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.

God wants to make us holy (sanctify us). How much? Completely! 100% (Your WHOLE spirit, soul and body). He is faithful and will surely do it, but you have to be willing and you have to want Him to cleanse you. Are you ready to cry out to Him?

Oh, how I pray that we will desire to take this¬†journey together. I pray you will be willing to think about what you might¬†fast (give up) this week, particularly on Wednesday. Ask the Lord to guide you to where you might give up something that means a lot to you, so you might¬†sincerely focus on Him. But, understand something. Satan will not like it. Be prepared for him to seek to through you off and detain you from even beginning the journey. He will give you excuses and tell you, “It’s no use! God won’t change you!” Don’t believe those lies. Why not right now bow your head and humbly ask the Lord to break up the hardened ground in your heart. He knows where that is and He will show you. Just talk to Him now. Begin the journey. If you will, then I promise, you will be embarking upon a journey that will lead to a Great Awakening in your life of¬†refreshing renewal¬†for your soul.

You are loved!

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Who Has Access To Your Brain?

Who are your mentors? Who is helping to guide your life and thinking?

What is a mentor?

The dictionary says a mentor is: an experienced adviser and supporter: somebody, usually older and more experienced, who advises and guides a younger, less experienced person.

You might say, “I don’t have a mentor.”

We all have mentors? We might not think we do, but we most definitely do. They are the folks who help shape the grid in our minds from which we make decisions and how we view the world.

We are all copiers, we are all mimics, we are all imitators… Here are two examples…

We all know that who you pattern your life after is going to mostly likely be who you turn out to be in great measure. You and I are marked by our mentors. You and I are marked by the patterns we choose to follow…your heroes, your examples‚Ķthey mark you.

I’ve been teaching a lot on mentors lately. One of the greatest mentor relationships was the Apostle Paul as a mentor to Timothy.¬†Timothy was¬†at Paul‚Äôs side off and on for around 20 years. He was learning, learning, and doing more learning. Timothy had been marked by Paul with his convictions.

Watch what Paul told Timothy in his last letter before his head was cut off…

2 Timothy 3:10-11

10¬†You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, 11¬†my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra‚ÄĒwhich persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me.

Paul listed 8 things that he modeled for Timothy:

  1. Teaching
  2. Conduct
  3. Aim (purpose)
  4. Faith
  5. Patience
  6. Love
  7. Steadfastness
  8. Persecution/(Willing to Suffer)

Now I want you to picture one of your best friends in your mind. Now ask yourself how well they are living their life before you in regard to:

  1. Teaching (what they say)
  2. Conduct (how they act)
  3. Aim (their purpose or passion)
  4. Faith (are they godly)
  5. Patience
  6. Love
  7. Steadfastness
  8. Persecution/(Willingness to Suffer)

It has been said that ‚ÄúImitation is the key to education.‚ÄĚ Christian education is likeness education. This is what Jesus said:

Luke 6:40

40 A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.

He is teaching you? Who has access to your mind? Who is directing your mind? Are they a good influence or bad influence?

Here’s a great influence on my life:

Dave, Kan, Me

That’s Dr. David Black. Kandace and I got to have lunch with him today in Wake Forest, NC near the campus of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He has been a mentor for me many years now. I’m grateful for how his biblical insights have shaped my thinking. So, I’m grateful to be able to follow his:

  1. Teaching (what they say)
  2. Conduct (how they act)
  3. Aim (their purpose or passion)
  4. Faith (are they godly)
  5. Patience
  6. Love
  7. Steadfastness
  8. Persecution/(Willingness to Suffer)

Thanks Brother Dave for being a mentor to not only me, but to hundreds of students at SEBTS and people like me through your blog. I hope to be a positive mentor and encourage folks like you do. That’s certainly a role I take seriously as a pastor/elder.

Are you a mentor? You bet you are! If you are a parent or grandparent you are for sure. If you are a teacher, boss or an owner of a business or a coach, you certainly are. You get the picture. Who are you leading? You might take a look at the list above again. I certainly am.

I had a wonderful time with Kandace today as we travelled to Wake Forest together. She is blessing to me beyond measure. I pray I’m being a good mentor to her as her father. Yet, I humbly admit that I fail daily;¬†but I love her with all my heart. Therefore, I am going to take a look at that list one more time.

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