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Archive for December, 2014

Do you believe this:

All things work together for good?

We (as Christians) quote that a lot (Romans 8:28), but do we really believe it? Honestly, I struggle to see the good in a lot of things I am party to as a pastor/elder. Some things just blow my mind. Yet, I know as a child of God, all things DO work together for good. With God there are no mistakes and no accidents.

I had to go to a funeral on Saturday that took me back to some of my old stomping grounds in Granite Falls, North Carolina. I made good timing driving to First Baptist Granite Falls for the funeral, so I drove the two mile jaunt down to where I used to work as General Manager at The Hardwood Company.

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The company is owned by Granite Hardwoods and operates out of this warehouse facility…

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Here’s the main office…

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I enjoyed my days working there and I learned A LOT!! Things that the Lord has used in my life over and over again. Short of my Bible knowledge, my business background has helped me more than anything in being an elder and leading a church. I went through some tough times leading that business.

As a case in point, one day I was trying to collect $60,000 from a contractor in Blowing Rock, NC who owed us for windows, doors and hardwood flooring for a $2.7 million house. These pictures below are  NOT of the actual house I’m speaking of…but, it’s a style of house that’s very similar that I have pictures of that will give you an understanding of the type of house I sold products for…

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Pretty nice windows and doors, huh? That’s the type of windows, doors and hardwood flooring our company sold to high-end customers.

Well, the contractor goes to glovebox of his truck (I thought to get his checkbook) and proceeded to pull out a gun and told me in no uncertain terms to get off his job site. (I’m using nice words here. He wasn’t so nice in asking me to leave his job site.) Needless to say, I was scared to death, but the Lord immediately calmed me and I actually walked toward him with my hand out and I told him to put the gun down. I lowered my hand as I got to him and as I did, the gun went down. I don’t think he ever intended to shoot me, I really don’t.

He was under a tremendous amount of pressure. The guy was being slammed by the homeowner who hadn’t paid him and he was tight on cash and it just boiled to a head. The man’s name was J.D. I said, “J.D. put down the gun. Forget about the money. Let’s talk.” We walked to the back of his truck and I lowered the tailgate and we both hopped up and he poured out his heart. He actually cried like a baby. I put my hand on his shoulder and I told him it would be okay. I shared my faith in Christ and told him perhaps all of this was happening to help him to see his need for Christ. He told me he believed in God and knew he needed to get things right. We talked for an hour. By the time we were done, we were shaking hands and then he hugged me and said, “Thanks man. You’ll never know how much this helped.”

Folks, that’s invaluable training for the ministry that they don’t teach in a seminary. Now granted…I’ve never had a man pull a gun on me in my ministry (yet :)), but I have been in some pretty tough counseling sessions that were rather volatile and I always revert back to that scene with J.D.

People just need to know that someone cares. They need to know that it’s going to be okay. They need hope. That’s all I tried to do for J.D. I just listened and encouraged. By the way, I got the money for the windows and doors. It took several weeks (and in increments), but we worked with J.D. and it all worked out. All things work together for good and that episode helped me immeasurably to be able to counsel and relate to people in very practical ways.

Yes, God used those Hardwood Company days and those experiences and lessons running a business to shape me as a pastor. Truly, all things work together for good.

I pulled into the church parking lot for the funeral and parked right in front of this place…

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I had eaten dozens and dozens of meals here. I love “Huffy’s.” It’s a “greasy spoon,” type of joint, but it has the best hamburgers you’ve ever eaten. They cook them on the griddle right in front of you. And those crinkle cut fries! Oh…they are the bomb. And to finish it off…two scoops of butter pecan in a sugar cone, please. Yum! (And that’s why I weighed close to 220 pounds back then. I sliced off 25 pounds of that about 3 years ago.)

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I try to work hard as a pastor/elder. I want to give my best to my work. I did that at The Hardwood Company too. As Christians we should always set the example in our work ethic and how we lead our lives. Yet, I know many people think pastors live these care-free, easy-going lives. After all, we only work twice a week (Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings). 🙂

I read this from a blog the other day about pastors. See what you think. The article is written by Thom Rainer from his website: http://thomrainer.com/2014/12/22/seven-myths-pastors-workweek/.

Sadly, some church members really believe some of the myths about a pastor’s workweek. And some may point to a lazy pastor they knew. I will readily admit I’ve known some lazy pastors, but no more so than people in other vocations. The pastorate does lend itself to laziness. To the contrary, there are many more workaholic pastors than lazy pastors.

So what are some of the myths about a pastor’s workweek? Let’s look at seven of them.

Myth #1: The pastor has a short workweek. Nope. The challenge a pastor has is getting enough rest and family time. Sermon preparation, counseling, meetings, home visits, hospital visits, connecting with prospects, community activities, church social functions, and many more commitments don’t fit into a forty hour workweek.

Myth #2: Because of the flexible schedule, a pastor has a lot of uninterrupted family time. Most pastors rarely have uninterrupted family time. It is the nature of the calling. Emergencies don’t happen on a pre-planned schedule. The call for pastoral ministry comes at all times of the day and night.

Myth #3: The pastor is able to spend most of the week in sermon preparation. Frankly, most pastors need to spend more time in sermon preparation. But that time is “invisible” to church members. They don’t know that a pastor is truly working during those hours. Sadly, pastors often yield to the demand of interruptions and rarely have uninterrupted time to work on sermons.

Myth #4: Pastors are accountable to no one for their workweek. To the contrary, most pastors are accountable to most everyone in the church. And church members have a plethora and variety of expectations.

Myth #5: Pastors can take vacations at any time. Most people like to take some vacation days around Christmas. That is difficult for many pastors since there are so many church functions at Christmas. And almost every pastor has a story of ending a vacation abruptly to do a funeral of a church member.

Myth #6: The pastor’s workweek is predictable and routine. Absolutely not! I know of few jobs that have the unpredictability and surprises like that of a pastor. And few jobs have the wild swings in emotions as does the pastorate. The pastor may be joyfully sharing the gospel or performing a wedding on one day, only to officiate the funeral of a friend and hear from four complainers the next day.

Myth #7: The pastor’s workweek is low stress compared to others. I believe pastors have one of the most difficult and stressful jobs on earth. In fact, it is an impossible job outside of the power and call of Christ. It is little wonder that too many pastors deal with lots of stress and depression.

Pastors and church staff are my heroes. They often have a thankless job with long and stressful work weeks. I want to be their encourager and prayer intercessor. I want to express my love for them openly and enthusiastically. I thank God for pastors.

Thanks Thom! I agree wholeheartedly!

Want to see our family Christmas picture…

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You gotta love Andrew’s expression! Josh is pretty happy too! He’s holding his one-month old daughter. I think we all look pretty good, if I do say so myself.

Here’s the original four…

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Many people tell me that if you put a blonde wig on me, that I’d like just like my sister Kim. Oh Kimmie…I’m so sorry for you that they say that! I get the best end of that deal 🙂

We’re enjoying Charlotte at our house. Clara loves holding her and Charlotte loves sleeping on her aunt Clara…

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…and occasionally Clara gets a bit sleepy too!

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Isn’t that precious!

Yes, indeed…all things work together for good. To God be the Glory!

Chess is a great game for seeing and understanding how bad things can look and then they change in a flash…

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Clara has a big grin on her face, but that might change in just a couple of moves. 🙂

By the way, for the winter lovers out there. All the guys that I follow and read are pulling back on winter. It seems that we are in a split flow. We get the cold air and then no moisture. Remember how I shared a while back that the atmosphere gets into a pattern and that pattern will create a rut for the winter. So far we’ve been in a rut of moisture and slightly above average temperatures for those seasons of moisture. Today we saw snow flurries in Wilkes County for 2-3 hours…but, it was 35-37 degrees at the time. Close, but no cigar.

Most of the weather prognosticators are now saying that the snow will be confined to later January if not February. Honestly at this point, we are 1/3 of the way through winter. (Understand that meteorological winter is December through February.) Yes, I know, I know, we can get snow in March, but technically it’s easier to get snow on Dec. 10th (11 days before winter) than it is on March 10th (10 days before spring).

So here’s what the latest forecast model for temps look like through January 4th (this Sunday)…

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You see the cold is seeping into NC. But, look how cold (the green and purple) it gets all the way into south Texas. There may be snow this week as far south as San Antonio, TX. Wow!

Now take a look at the time frame from Jan 4-9. It’s starting to get colder…

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See there are more “blues” into NC. Finally the period Jan 9-14 shows this…

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Even more blue, but nothing extreme. You don’t see the greens. So, you ask, “What do I think?” Well, I think we’ll have a slight chance at snow in late January, but a much better shot at snow in February because that’s always our best month for snow. I still think we could get a big snow (greater than 4″), but honestly, as the days pass by and the fronts pass by with so much warm air imbedded in the mid and upper levels, (just enough to stay above freezing), then I believe our chances are getting tougher to have a winter like last year, where we had three really nice snowstorms. We’ll see. Only God knows! And I’m glad of that (Only God Knows…). That way I’m 100% confident that all things will work together for good! 🙂

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Beyond Measure

I like the phrase, “beyond measure.” It’s old, but a it’s a great phrase. I’ve been blessed “beyond measure.” Why did the Lord allow me to be born in America? Why did He allow me to be born to wonderful parents, marry a fantastic wife, have amazing children and now a grandchild? Did I earn any of this? Did I work for any of these blessings? Was it because I was good enough? Smart enough? Hey…maybe I was just lucky? Oh please! Don’t get me started on luck! There is no such thing as luck.

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I hope you are laughing. No, the truth is…I believe in no form of luck…it’s all God!

He has blessed me beyond measure. Here’s a case in point.

Charlotte one month

Oh, it gets better… BEYOND MEASURE!

Charlotte and Me at home

Now isn’t that just precious!! Doesn’t she look just like me! 🙂 Ha!

It has been such a blessing (beyond measure) having all my family at home. We are all under the same roof. It’s like the Walton’s. I guess I’m grandpa! 🙂 Meals together are the best. Looking at all my family around the table…holding hands…just before the blessing…Charlotte in her little swing…smiling…cooing…and the faces of the rest of the family. Awesome!

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Yep, I’m blessed beyond measure!

Now for the weather buffs…

Here’s the pattern change that’s been advertised… Green is cold…Purple is REALLY cold. The map below shows what will be happening by Jan. 1st.

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All that purple will move east along with potential moisture. So keep an eye on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Here’s the deal. When we get a strong push of cold air, (which we are definitely going to get), it can be so strong that it pushes the moisture south and just obliterates it. But, if the southern jet stream can work in concert with the northern jet…then we can have some potential snowy weather. It’s way too early to tell how the pattern will set up. It might be a bust, but it’s a possibility that is on the table for now.

In the meantime, think about all that the Lord has blessed you with this Christmas season. Are you blessed beyond measure? I’m thinking you probably are. Have there been difficulties this year. Sure. But, those difficulties draw us closer to the Father. I love Jeremiah 31:25, “I will satisfy the weary soul and every languishing soul I will replenish.”

Hallelujah! That’s a blessing beyond measure! Amen? Yes…Amen!!

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Christmas Greetings 2014

Below is our annual Christmas Letter. Enjoy!

Christmas Greetings December 2014

We pray this note to you from the Browns and Isaacs finds you well during this 2014 Christmas Season. We are always excited and grateful for another Christmas and the  blessings that come with celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, the Lord and Savior of the world. It’s been another blessed year in the life of our family. God is so good to us!

Probably most of you know Josh and Katy have just had their first child, Charlotte Rose.

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She was born November 23rd and weighed 7 lbs 9 oz and was 19 ¾” long. She is beautiful, but we are a little biased. 🙂

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Katy finished her first book this summer. It’s a beautiful and inspiring story of how God used His sovereign handiwork in weaving a path for Katy’s life that would ultimately lead her to Josh.

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Katy loves to write and you can catch her blog at www.heartsonthingsabove.blogspot.com. Josh and Katy continue to be  very active in a church in Morehead City where Katy plays the keyboard for the Praise Team and Josh teaches. Josh is hoping to pick up the rank of Sergeant (Marines) early next year.

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They hope to move back to Wilkes next summer, when his four-year commission is complete.

On December 22nd Pam and I will celebrate 24 years of marriage! I’m the most blessed man on the earth!

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Pam is such an amazing lady. She  continues to homeschool Kandace, Clara and Andrew. She also leads the women’s ministry at MPBC called FLO  (For Ladies Only).

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She still sings in the choir and Praise Team. But, above all, she’s the best wife and mother you could imagine. Fam at Biltmore 2014

What a wonderful blessing she is to me in the ministry. She counsels and talks with many women in the church and I couldn’t do ministry without her! Yes, I’m most blessed! She is loving her new role as “Nana.”

I continue to serve as a Pastor/Elder at Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church. I’ll be starting my 10th year in ministry in January.

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It’s been another exciting year at the church. In fact, in just the last two years, we have added close to 200 people and we’ve doubled in size in the last seven years with an average attendance of around 550 as of this writing.

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The Lord is blessing and His merciful hand is upon us. To Him be all the glory! I continue to blog and send out Daily Devotions. I finished my second book earlier in the year, To Date or Not To Date—What the Bible Says about Premarital Relationships.

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The church added a third pastor/elder this year, Dale Jennings. He has been an indispensable help to me and blessing to the church. I pray the church will continue to reach the unsaved and nurture and equip strong believers in this post-Christian world.

Kandace is a high school senior this year.

Kandace Singing

She’ll be 17 next month and she got her driver’s license earlier this past January. She is taking (College Level Examination Program) CLEP classes and exams. These exams, once completed, give her college-level credit. She continues to take violin lessons; her 8th year.

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This past summer she was privileged, once again, to sing on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry as a part of the Fine Arts Summer Academy (FASA) held at Lipscomb University.

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She loves clogging and is teaching a class on Monday nights for Tonya’s Dance Academy. She’s a fantastic big sister and loves being an aunt. Kandace enjoys mission work and will travel once again to Texas/Mexico next year and is praying about other mission opportunities.

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She sings in the  Praise Team and Choir at Church, and helps teach the Children’s Choir.

Clara is 9 years old and is in the 4th grade. She is in her sixth year of ballet and her first year of lyrical at Tonya’s Academy of Dance.

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She is currently in her fifth year of violin and is also learning to play the piano.

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She enjoys reading and especially loves Nancy Drew mysteries. She loves taking care of our three cats and doing crafts and knitting. This past summer at FASA in Nashville, TN she portrayed “Wiggle Worm” in the musical “Book Endless.”

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She enjoyed every moment of it and is becoming quite an actress.

Andrew is 9 years old and is also in the 4th grade.

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He still enjoys his Legos as much as ever and has recently earned his purple belt in karate.

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Like Clara, he is learning to play the piano and is interested in the drums as well. He participated in his first year at FASA and was given the role of “Tiny Tim” in the musical.

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Andrew enjoys drawing and being one of the younger ushers at church. He is as energetic as ever and always flashing that contagious smile.

We wish you a wonderful, blessed and Christ-filled Christmas! With all our love!

The Browns 🙂

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A White Christmas?

I guess I’m getting known as somewhat of a weather buff, thus I’m getting asked, “Are we going to have a White Christmas?” The short answer is probably not.

But, I will say this: the weather pattern is going to change around Christmas. We are going to move from a pattern of dry and moderate temperatures over the next 6-10, just like we thought (remember my blog last week) into a slow transition to wetter and colder. Here’s the problem: the wetter is probably going to arrive before the colder.

The southern jet stream looks to be loading up and by the time we get to the end of the year, we’re going to see more storms and more moisture coming out of the Gulf of Mexico. Unfortunately, the transition to our north is not going to make the same kind of turn as fast. Obviously, if you are a snow lover, you need moisture AND cold air at the same time. So, snow lovers might have to wait till January to see our first measurable snow in the foothills of western NC.

Yet, it’s still early and if the northern jet could get a bit more pronounced a bit quicker, our mountain counties could squeak out a white Christmas.

Let me tell you something else. I follow a guy who is a weather nut like me at http://www.theweathercentre.blogspot.com and he’s pretty spot on with his analysis and I wanted you to see what he’s saying going forward for the winter.

He is not as “bullish” as Joe Bastardi (I’ve shown you a lot of his maps, like this one below) regarding the upcoming winter: Screen Shot 2014-10-25 at 9.23.36 PM

Now check out the Weather Centre’s forecast (below). The guy’s name at the Weather Centre is Andrew. :

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Interesting isn’t it? Andrew’s forecast and Joe’s are almost completely opposite. Joe shows TN and NC getting hammered. Andrew says otherwise. Who’s right? Only God knows. Why? Because there are so many variables with the weather. You know how a storm tracks makes all the difference in the world. Also, once a pattern gets established, it’s like wagon wheels making a rut on a road…everything follows the rut. So, it all depends on what “ruts out” in the next 3-4 weeks.

Another quick thought. Here’s The Weather Centre’s temp forecast for the winter:

officialtempHere’s Joe’s:

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Looks kind of similar don’t they. In fact Joe and Andrew are using a lot of the same past years in their forecast. What do I mean by that? Forecasters use what are called “analogs.” They look at the past to help predict the future. Thus, they look at past winters and look for patterns to predict the upcoming winter. Joe is using these past winters (below) to predict this winter:

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Anyone over the age of 60 remembers the winters of the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. Anyone remember the month of March in 1960 when it snowed four Wednesday’s in a row? So, even though Andrew is predicting less snow for the NC area, all it takes is for the rut to be routed out in the atmospheric pattern and voila. There you have it!

By the way, Andrew and Joe are both hinting at an east coast storm around the last week of December (12/31) into the first of the year (by 1/5), so we’ll see what happens. It certainly puts us in the mind for Christmas.

Hey, did you know that Ashe County, NC is the top Christmas tree producer in all the U.S. of A? Sure enough. American tree farmers harvest around 17 million Christmas trees each year, according to the most recent USDA Agricultural Census. And nearly half of these trees — about 8 million — come from just six counties in North Carolina and Oregon.

The map below shows where Christmas trees can be grown well and you’ll see that western NC and Oregon are ideal spots (look for blue: “mixed”).

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Ashe County produces just shy of 2 million trees per year (that’s nearly 100 trees for every man, woman and child living in Ashe County)! Wow! That’s a lot of trees!!

My cousin, Brett Cothren lives on the Ashe/Wilkes county line. Take a look at how beautiful this is. He took this picture from his home. You could almost walk on those clouds! He lives at around 3,200 feet above sea level.

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Interested in knowing the Top Ten Translations Based on Dollar Sales (source: Christian Booksellers Association)?

  1. New International Version
  2. King James Version
  3. New King James Version
  4. New Living Translation
  5. English Standard Version
  6. Holman Christian Standard Bible
  7. The Voice
  8. New American Standard
  9. Reina Valera 1960 (Spanish)
  10. New International Reader’s Version

I’ve got to show you at least a couple of Charlotte pictures. You can ooh and aaaah with me…

Josh uniform with Charlotte

Isn’t that precious? Josh a Marine…holding his precious child. It’s almost an oxymoron. Josh, a man who could withstand hell on earth in  what is called the “Crucible” to graduate boot camp from the Marines, yet tender enough to hold a 7 lb baby girl. Awesome!!

Here she is resting on daddy…

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You gotta love this look…

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Grabs the ole heart strings for sure. Lord willing they’ll be home for Christmas on the 20th! Woohoo!!!

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I love being a pastor. It’s not easy. It’s challenging. It’s scary (preparing to teach the Word of God…stricter judgment). But, it’s also very rewarding.

You know when you teach and pour your heart into it, then you care about what happens to the people (the flock). And oh, do I care about the flock I have the privilege to help lead. I love them! Old and young alike. All the way down to the little tots. And I particularly love our millennials. I love that group of young folks (mostly in their 20’s). They are a wonderful group of bright and energetic folks. If you are in your 20’s and you are attending church, then you are the real deal.

We’ve got many of these wonderful folks! Thank the Lord! But, many churches don’t. I read an article recently that outlined the ways a church can hang on to millennials. It was very enlightening. My comments are in italics. The article is titled:

Want to Keep Young People? Here Are Two Central Reasons Why Millennials Stay Connected

“Millennials have a dim view of church. They are highly skeptical of religion. Yet they are still thirsty for transcendence. But when we portray God as a cosmic buddy, we lose them (they have enough friends). When we tell them that God will give them a better marriage and family, it’s white noise (they’re delaying marriage and kids or forgoing them altogether). When we tell them they’re special, we’re merely echoing what educators, coaches and parents have told them their whole lives. But when we present a ravishing vision of a loving and holy God, it just might get their attention and capture their hearts as well” (from the blog post “Millennials Don’t Need a Hipper Pastor, They Need a Bigger God”).

I said this same thing over and over in my book: Rite of Passage. We have been raising a generation of kidults because we don’t expect them to do anything hard. Instead of involving them in ministry, we’ve built buildings and programs to keep them out of our hair. It’s been a colossal failure. We must involve people, not entertain them.

Taylor Snodgrass of Church of the 20somethings offers some firsthand insights: “Our generation has been advertised at our whole life, and even now on social media,” he says. “Consequently, when a company isn’t being authentic with their story, we can easily see through this. If the church isn’t giving you the whole story, if it’s sugarcoated and they’re trying to put on an act on stage, people in their 20s will see through this. This causes us to leave. We’re good at seeing when people are lying to us.”

And they are leaving at a clip of about 80-90%

Brian Coffey, senior pastor at First Baptist Church West and East in Geneva, Ill., and himself the father of four Millennial sons, agrees, “Millennials don’t like to be programmed to. They can hear honesty. They have a radar for that.”

“The days of the light and fog machines and overly produced church services are a gone era,” says Tony Ranvestel, lead pastor at Clear River Church in Lafayette, Ind., located near Purdue University. 

Amen to that. There is a church in Charlotte, NC that caters to 20-somethings that has the drummer to the Praise Team come down on cables from the ceiling while the rest of the band members swing in on sheets from a trapeze. That’s ridiculous if you ask me!

With 80 percent of the church under 40 years old, Ranvestel and his co-pastor Zach Miller have a clear focus. “We don’t schedule lots of activity,” says Ranvestel. “ We call people to follow Jesus. If you follow Jesus, this leads to serving and justice. You should shovel a neighbor’s driveway, but it’s not a program. It’s disciples in relationship.” All who attend worship are encouraged to join a small group. That’s it.

And that’s why I believe it is important to keep things simple. Therefore, we don’t schedule a lot of activities during the week. Hardly anything to be honest. We try to “meet,” via email and give people the opportunity to be salt and light in their homes and community. 

Miller, a Millennial, says, “I appreciate the clear understanding of what is expected and what I can do. We’re not going to overwhelm you with choices. We think you should follow Jesus, and here’s one or two ways to learn to do that.”

Building relationships and learning about Jesus are two central reasons why Millennials stay connected to church. Barna’s research shows that young adults who remain involved in a local church beyond their teen years are twice as likely as those who don’t to have a close personal friendship with an older adult in their faith community (59 percent versus 31 percent). 

Now I want to give you the impressions of this article from two millennials. These are the perspectives from our two ministry assistants. First, Justin Gourley: Justin Gourley

I have to agree.  In today’s America, people my age get entertainment very easily; in some cases without even having to seek it.  They are so bombarded by good entertainment, they are almost becoming immune to it.  The last place they need or want to be drawn in for sheer entertainment is the Church.  First because it’s the total wrong reason for drawing people and second because they will simply become bored and find somewhere that is clearly genuine and meaningful.

I find that my generation is coming to realize there is much more worth in something that is intentionally honest rather than flashy and fun for a while.  They are seeing that the intoxication of shallow entertainment is temporary and a waste of time.

Please don’t get me wrong; lights, environmentals and large praise teams are great and it’s how some people worship.  My generation greatly enjoys those things in the church…as long as the intent is to worship the Lord and meet with Him.

Next up: Caleb Triplett’s impressions:

Caleb Triplett

I agree 10000000%. My generation isn’t, to most people’s surprise, interested in flashy, fake, and over the top performance centered churches. We want authentic, genuine, and honest community. It’s not that we want to return to hymns or cut out the drums. It’s just that we don’t care. We just want to worship, no matter the style. Where God is the center, and not man. We want to pray, and we want to encounter genuine community. We don’t want to be advertised at, or “sold a product”.

…We are seeing a mass movement away from Christendom as the dominant “religion and lifestyle” choice in our society. Thousands of millennials are fleeing the church in droves, and that leaves what? it leaves the few millennials that are interested, they are most often pretty solid, and pretty hungry. If they weren’t they would have left with the “droves” because it’s certainly more popular. We don’t want popular, hip, or relevant. We want transformation, truth, and genuine community.

I’ll tell you the top words I have heard in talking with other young men and women about what they desired from the Church and the body of Christ:

REAL, GENUINE, TRANSPARENT, TRUTH, PASSION, COMMUNITY, MENTORSHIP, FELLOWSHIP, ACCOUNTABILITY and AUTHENTIC.

Those were the buzz words.

I’ve spent a lot of time around men and women my age that were hungry for Christ, especially at ASU. The group I was involved in, we met in a building with exposed pluming, heat and AC. It had no “rows or pews”, and no pulpit. The churches that most of us went to in Boone had a few things in common. They were unconcerned about denominational preferences and traditions, they were very focused on community and fellowship as the heart of the church (small groups, missions, etc.), and Gospel/Bible/Jesus/Prayer focused (they weren’t concerned about lights, music, buildings, etc).

So there you have it. Pretty solid, straight-up insight huh? The future looks bright if you ask me. I’m encouraged! How do you keep 20-somethings? Involve them and expect great things as disciples of Christ! And I’m glad that I don’t have to come swinging down from the ceiling on a cable! 🙂

 

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Well, things are getting back to normal somewhat, I guess. My bride is still down east with Katy, Josh and Charlotte. It’s a blessing for Katy to have her Momma at her side. Pam is a wonderful wife and mother. Anybody who knows her knows that.

Kandace is doing a yeoman’s job of holding down the fort at home. Obviously I have to work. We have a big church and much to do and people have needs, so Kandace has really stepped up. She’s a trooper! She’s doing double, (maybe I should say) triple duty of being a homeschool teacher, house manager and student. She’s studying for her next CLEP test and cooking and teaching. But, then again, she tells me all the time, “Dad, I can do it…I’ve been to Ethiopia!” Ha! Got to love it!

What is CLEP? It stands for “College-Level Examination Program.” Their website is here: http://clep.collegeboard.org/started

The upshot is this. You can study and take a test and get college credit for what you already know. CLEP offers the opportunity to earn qualifying scores on any of 33 college subject examinations and can accelerate a person’s education.

One CLEP exam costs $80. For active duty military personnel, CLEP exams are free – find out more! The 90 to 120-minute exams, which cost $80 each, are administered at 1,800 test centers, and 2,900 colleges and universities. Kandace is doing this. Next up: Psychology.

Here’s a sample question:

The behavioral research perspective is similar to the sociocultural research perspective because both focus on how behavior and mental processes are explained by

  • A.

    internal factors such as genes

  • B.

    the external environment

  • C.

    memory systems

  • D.

    evolution

  • E.

    problem-solving skills and reasoning

 

Think you know the answer? The answer is: B. Pretty tough, huh?

Anyway, kudos to my soon to be 17-year-old! I’m proud of you girl!

Kandace and Charlotte 2

Here’s the latest greatest of Charlotte that Pam sent me today:

IMG_1373

Ain’t she a doll.

Can I tell you something? I think the truth is the other way around versus this picture…

IMG_2596

I sure do miss that little girl… photo

 

Can you handle one more?

Smiling…

smiling

Can you tell that I’m smitten? Yep! I sure am!

By the way, for all of you snow fans who think the warm temperatures coming over the next couple of weeks mean we won’t have a cold winter, don’t be dismayed. We are simply seeing a pattern shift. Here are the temps for the next couple of weeks:

814temp.new

The red means 70% chance that it will be warmer than normal and the brown (in NC) about 33% chance of it being warmer than normal. So, through the middle of December it will be warmer than normal, but by the time we move toward Christmas and beyond it will begin to go back to more normal and then January through early March still look cold (which means precipitation has a chance to be snow/ice).

Here’s the precipitation forecast for the next couple of weeks. You’ll see we forecasted to be dryer than normal.

814prcp.new

We talked about this a few weeks ago and the thinking of the “good” meteorologists out there hasn’t changed. I say “good.” What do I mean? I’m talking about the NON-Climate-Change alarmists. I’m talking about weather folks who don’t have an “agenda.” You won’t find many of them still out there, but there are a few.

Somebody asked me the other day about a “white Christmas.” I said, “I doubt it.” In Wilkes County, NC our chance of a white Christmas are typically around 10%. That’s not much. It can happen, but obviously 90% of the years it doesn’t. Could this be the year? It’s possible. But, I don’t think the pattern will have shifted enough in time to produce that. Remember, winter doesn’t start until Dec. 21. That’s only 4 days before Christmas. So, keep that in mind. It’s early in the season (at Christmas) to get snow.

 

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