Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for March, 2016

It just got harder to be a Christian in our country this week. Perhaps you’ve heard by now that the Georgia governor vetoed a bill yesterday that would protect the clergy in his state from having to marry people who do not ascribe to what they (the clergy) believes to be orthodox, biblical teaching on marriage. In essence, the governor has indicated that the clergy in Georgia can not call sin, “sin” any longer when it comes to sexual deviancy (as described in Scripture in Romans 1, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, etc.).

Apparently in our culture it’s okay to love anyone you want to unless you are a Christian who loves Jesus and His commands. Jesus is the Word who became flesh and dwelled among us. Therefore, when I love Jesus, I love His Word. And to love His Word means that I must obey it. Problem is: the commands of Scripture are now completely out of vogue today. I spoke of this in today’s Two-Minute Tuesday.

 

It’s been a while since I’ve shared here about the work we do each day at my devotion website. It just so happens that where we’re at in John 15 speaks to where we are today. That’s amazing if you ask me. By the way, if you aren’t getting our Daily Devotions, I want to make you aware of them. Here’s the link: https://dkevinbrowndailydevotions.wordpress.com/2016/03/29/you-are-my-friends-if-you-do-what-i-command-you/

You can sign-up to get these devotions delivered to your email inbox by going here: http://mpbc.ws/emailsubscriptions/

Here is today’s devotion:

You Are My Friends, If You Do What I Command You

Jesus made one of the most fantastic and radical statements of all time when He said: “You are my friends if you do what I command you.” That was radical for a Rabbi to say. Most Rabbis taught the Talmud, (the central text of Rabbinic Judaism), and said, “Do what the Talmud says.” But, Jesus said, “Do what I tell you.” That was beyond anything anyone had ever heard from a Rabbi in Jesus’ day.

What did Jesus want us to do? Here ya go…

John 15:12

12 This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

Now does this mean that we are to “love” everybody in the exact way they are living? Does this mean that we love each and every lifestyle no matter how unbiblical that lifestyle might be? Does this mean that we negate the sin in the life of people of and look past that sin? Does this mean that Jesus’ eventual death on the cross wasn’t powerful enough to help every area of sin in a human’s life? Did His blood only cover some sin?

You see in our culture today it’s no longer appropriate to call anything sin. It’s no longer appropriate to call any lifestyle that’s anti-biblical sinful. In fact, in our politically correct, “anything goes” culture, you really can’t call any lifestyle sinful. In fact, nothing is sinful any longer. And people have taken the above verse and said, “But, we must LOVE one another because that’s how Jesus lived. He just loved, loved, loved.”

Yes, He did love! But folks, He also died!!! He died for sin! He was crucified on a cross “while we were yet sinners!” He died to set us free from sin! That’s love folks! That’s love! Let me show you love. Jesus said:

13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. John 15:13-15

Jesus said, “You are my FRIENDS, if you do what I command you.” What did Jesus do? He lived a perfect, sinless life! He never sinned! But, today we condone almost all sin. Jesus doesn’t want to call us servants, because a servant doesn’t know what the master is doing. He wants to call us friends. But, to call us friends, we must do what the Master is doing. And if we are to do what the Master is doing, then we must call Him (Jesus): MASTER! Do you see? We must surrender our lives to the Lordship of Jesus Christ! We must call Him: “MASTER.”

That’s where the rub comes in dear friend! People don’t want a “master” over their lives. No! They want to be the master of their lives and they want God to approve of their lives. They’ve made God the servant, and they’ve become the master. Yet, Jesus chose us, not the other way around…

16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. 17 These things I command you, so that you will love one anotherJohn 15:16-17

Do you see it? Jesus chose us to go “bear fruit.” What does that mean? That means to live in a dark, lost and dying world like He did. We are to live in such a way that we show our good deeds before men. We were created for good works, “fruit.” No, Jesus didn’t die on the cross to leave us in our sin. He died on the cross so that we might confess and repent of our sins and be delivered from the power of sin over our lives. Do you see that? You must see that to understand what Jesus actually did in coming to save sinners!

You and I must not be blinded by the politically correct narrative being espoused by the world. We are to bear fruit for Jesus and if we’ll do that, then we will truly show that we love Him by how we love one another. We will love people enough to tell them that they are sinners, (like we are), who need a Savior, so that the love of that Savior might deliver them into freedom from sin! That is true love! And that’s “doing” what Jesus commanded.

Kevin

Read Full Post »

Two Big Weeks!

Some weeks of your life you know will be big just because you know what’s headed your way. I saw last week beginning 3.14, and this week, beginning 3.21 as big weeks. Why? Because we had the Passion Play at church on Saturday and Sunday. It was a huge weekend! Almost 1300 came through the doors over the weekend! Amazing!

11255315_10154042878789169_106172160368787178_o

We are following up on about two dozen commitment cards that indicated interest in giving their lives to Christ. I had the privilege of leading a man to Christ after the play on Sunday morning. It was so wonderful! The man said to me: “Preacher, this play got to me and I figure if a man can die for me, I can give my life to Him!”

Man, you talk about profound! That’s profound! This man prayed like I’ve not heard a man pray in a long time. There was no perfunctory prayer. This man poured out his heart! He begged Jesus to save him and wants to be the “daddy and husband I should be.” Folks, it doesn’t get any better than that!

It was a huge weekend! Many folks shared with me how the play touched their lives in powerful ways. Friend, there is something very, very powerful when you take music and put it with drama. It’s beyond words. I found myself weeping during many sections of the play and I’ve watched it for 8 years. I praise the Lord for our church and Pastor Brad Cordray, who is a genius! 190 people were involved in the play. It was fantastic! Here are a few shots…

12273769_10154172613435312_4562669975474983456_o

11057855_10154161931665312_6521545037859434399_o

12671773_10154042878799169_2469707256089108986_o

10320977_977137332334310_1765943578265082889_o

Well, the two big weeks continue… Today Pam had surgery to replace her ACL that she tore loose from her knee while in China on a recent mission trip. She’s one tough lady and she is home as I type and resting well. Needless to say, she’ll be laid up for a couple of weeks. Also today, Josh and Katy’s house was delivered by three tractor-trailer loads. Their modular is here!! It will be set by crane tomorrow. To say that they (we) are excited is beyond description!!

It’s ready to be set on this basement foundation…

unknown

And to top it all off…Easter is Sunday! What a wonderful two weeks!!! God is so good and so faithful!!

Here’s today’s Two-Minute Tuesday, “This Could Save Your Children.”

Read Full Post »

Tonight’s a big night! By around 11 pm tonight we ought to know a whole lot more about where this country is headed. By then the election results should be fairly concrete. But, it’s crazy isn’t it? I mean, I like at where we are as a nation and I just shake my head. But, look at the world…it’s crazy too! Tumult and upheaval around the world: ISIS on the march… Iran seeking to wipe Israel off the map… Putin…well…who knows what he wants to do… North Korea armed and ready and CRAZY!

But folks, it’s always been this way. Think about it. Read any history book and you will see that throughout time, world powers and world leaders have come and gone like the seasons.

Think about it…Egypt came and went, Assyria came and went. The Babylonian Empire came and went. The Medo-Persian Empire came and went. Rome came and went. Alexander the Great and his empire came and went. Napoleon came and went. And you know what… if the Lord Jesus doesn’t return for another 100 or 200 years, I predict that the United States will probably come and go as well. Why? Because this country is 240 years old and most great empires throughout time have only lasted around 200 years or so…therefore, some would say we might be overdue.

Does that bother you? Does it bother you that America might not be a world power when your children and grandchildren are your age? Understand (and this is my opinion…and remember…a blog is just a person’s opinion…and you might feel differently…and I respect that and I hope you will respect my opinion)…the United States is on a downward trajectory. The Bible says:

Proverbs 14:34

Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.

Proverbs 29:2

When the righteous increase, the people rejoice,
    but when the wicked rule, the people groan.

I believe we are headed for more groaning because we have by and large abandoned God in this country and we’re paying the price. We have abandoned biblical standards and morality and our country is now sliding downhill on the backside of our greatness. And I would argue that our greatness was/is tied to our view of God and His principles.

You see, all kingdoms and world powers have come and gone the way of sin and the flesh. Mankind tends to always flow toward a steady descent into moral decay and distress. But, may I remind you of something. If you are a Christian, please put that description before the word: American, if you choose to describe yourself. Do you understand?

Christian American

instead of…

American Christian

Folks, no matter what happens tonight or in November, the issue is not America or her survival; the issue for Christian Americans is the Kingdom of God, and His cause. 

Aren’t we supposed to be seeking His kingdom first? Does Matthew 6:33 still apply to us?

Matthew 6:33

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

You caught that “kingdom of God” part didn’t you? Yep…that’s what we’re to be about for sure!

Now hear my heart… I love this country…I really do… And I’m hoping to do all that I can to stem the tide. I want to prolong what may be the inevitable as long as I can. That’s why I write blogs, post “Two-Minute Tuesdays” each week, etc. I want to do all I can to try to help people see that our hope is in Christ. Otherwise we are simply building on sinking sand. Yes…I’m still praying for Revival and for a Spiritual Awakening in this land. Our only hope, long-term, is to turn to Jesus Christ!

Yes, I love America, but not more than Jesus! Yes, I love this country deeply and I’m so grateful that the Lord has allowed me to be born here in this country. [Consider that thought for a moment… God has allowed you and me to be born…for such a time as this… in arguably the greatest, most prosperous nation, (outside of Israel), this world has ever known. Wow! Aren’t we blessed!] But folks, the United States is NOT the kingdom we should be living for! And I do not want to lose perspective.

In fact, I’ll tell you right now that I’m not going to go into a deep depression if Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump wins the White House in November, or if the stock market drops 10,000 points tomorrow. Why? Because if I do go into a deep depression over something like that…then, I’m declaring that I’m really not about God’s Kingdom…I’m really about my little kingdom and my little pleasures and my money and my stuff and my desires.

You understand, Jesus’ kingdom is not tied up with the United States. His kingdom is bigger than any nation. And I’m sure you don’t need to be reminded that this world is not our home. We are pilgrims passing through. We’ve got to stop thinking of this life like this is all there is. We’ve got to stop trying to make this world heaven, because it’s not. This life is boot camp for our graduation to heaven. This is the dress rehearsal for the wedding. This isn’t Disney…this is life. And as I have you pondering those things…would you consider something else…

Most likely 500 years ago on the land you are now living there was nothing but squirrels, rabbits and deer. And did you know that it’s likely that in the next 500 years, (if Jesus doesn’t return first), that your land could go back to the squirrels, rabbits and deer?

I thought about that as I was taking this picture…

IMG_0262

This is a picture of Josh and Katy’s job site. They will soon have their modular home delivered to this site. The center (load bearing wall) is built and all is ready…

IMG_0300

But again, within the next 500 years…it could all go back to the squirrels. Just like my house…

House

house 2

You see it’s all relative. Everything in this life should be held loosely. Your home, your health, your money, your political candidates… Because in the end…it all comes down to Jesus. It’s all His! 100% Everything was created by Him and for Him. Scripture is clear about this. Notice how many times the word “all” is used to describe that which is Jesus’.

Colossians 1:15-20

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

This weekend our church is performing the “Passion Play.” It’s sold out for all three shows. We did the dress rehearsal this past Sunday night. And here’s my two favorite scenes…

10320977_977137332334310_1765943578265082889_o

Peter walking on water with Jesus and this one… (MY FAVORITE)…

12828478_977137249000985_8264839279007690477_o

That is Jesus Christ in His glory! That is the consummation of all things! And it’s how all things will finally wind down. It all comes down to Jesus and His majesty, power and glory! It’s all about HIS KINGDOM!

So, the truth is…in the scheme of things…what happens later tonight or in November is a speck on the radar of God. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End and it all comes down to Him and His glory and His kingdom. Knowing that helps me. Knowing that the squirrel, rabbits and deer might wander on the land I occupied for a few years doesn’t bother me in the least. In fact, it brings me a strange sense of peace and comfort and trust in my Heavenly Father and His sovereign plan.

Kevin

Read Full Post »

I saw this picture yesterday and I was struck by what was missing. Do you see it?

hike nbhhbjhikjsiksksksks.JPG

The Pastor’s name is missing. Now perhaps, (God forbid), he just passed away. Or more likely, this fellowship is currently without a shepherd because he has moved on? Again, I don’t know which assumption is correct (perhaps neither). Yet, far too often, this is the case for a Southern Baptist Church about every 3 1/2 to 4 years. Yes, that’s the average length of a pastorate now in the Southern Baptist Convention. How sad.

That creates tremendous upheaval, did you know that? Why? Because once a church is without a pastor, guess what they do. Duh!! They go looking for another one, right? Sure! Well, where do they go looking? Hmm. Let’s see. Well, uh…they go to a successful, thriving church and they go under cover (these people are called a Search Committee) and they try to get that pastor to leave that church to come to their church. So, that’s going to create another sign problem for another church. They are going to have to paint over that pastor’s name and go looking for another one. Can you say, “Domino Effect?”

domino

Why in the name of heaven do we do this to one another? Why do churches feel it’s okay to steal pastors from one another? Why do we feel it’s okay to go into another church covertly and surreptitiously and listen to another preacher just so that we can potentially make him an offer that he can’t refuse if that “Search Committee” deems him good enough to fit the bill? Folks, it’s madness and it’s the way we’ve been doing it in Baptist circles for as long as I can remember. But, how Christian is it? Not very, if you ask me.

I served on a Pastor Search Committee when I was 21 years old and I went with a man and a woman in our church to another church to hear a pastor preach. That Sunday, the rest of our committee (5 others) had gone to another church. Me and this middle-aged man and middle-aged lady go to this church in the mountains and as we walk up to the front door, an old man, an usher, says, “Well, what a nice looking family! Welcome!” The looks on our faces had to be priceless. But, as I thought about it, that’s exactly what we looked like. Even though the man and woman weren’t married and I was certainly neither’s son, that’s what it looked like to that old usher.

Do you know how I felt? Like a heel! I felt terrible! The whole time we were there, that was the assumption almost everyone made. It was such a nice church too! About 75 people in the mountains of NC and they were “the salt of the earth.” And I thought about what it would be like to take their pastor from them, RIGHT UNDER THEIR NOSES! Thankfully, we didn’t choose that man, but he ended up “in the running” anyway. Yet, he didn’t have his resume on the market, we just heard he was REALLY good and we all thought that if he was offered, he might want to come to a larger church. We were running about double what they were (150) and certainly the money would be better.

Isn’t that sad? It’s like dangling a carrot in front a horse!! I ask you, “Where is the Lord in this whole process?” Where is the Biblical precedent for this process? Answer: There is none! This is stealing, folks! Flat out stealing! And somehow we’ve gotten numb to it! Yet, the Biblical model is to choose pastors/elders from “within” the body of believers from that community. In fact, if you read the book of Acts you will find the Apostle Paul went from church to church appointing elders from men already serving within the church (Acts 14:23). In Scripture, pastors/elders were not parachuted in from another town or region. That’s absurd! Could you imagine someone living in Philippi pulling up stakes and moving to Corinth or Ephesus to be an elder in a church? That’s ludicrous! No! The men chosen to be pastors/elders were already known by the people in their home community. They were trusted by them and these men had shown they had a desire (1 Timothy 3:1) to serve in that church and community.

Pastors don’t have a reason to stay in most churches, when things get tough. Why? They have no roots in the community. We’ve got it backward! Instead of stealing pastors from other churches, we ought to look within our own ranks like they did in Scripture. Oh…but, I can hear the complaining… “What about their education? What about their resume? What about their pedigree?” Okay, “What about it?” Let’s say you hire a guy with a Master of Divinity or a PhD (that stands for “post hole digger,” if you didn’t know :), of course you know I’m kidding), does that mean they are going to hang around? Nope! It’s certainly no guarantee. In fact, it’s likely when the next “higher paying” church comes knocking, they’ll go running and call it “God’s will.” Yes, we’ve got it backwards!

But, I’ve got good news! Things are changing! Slowly but surely, churches are wising up to the fact that this process is absolutely unbiblical and simply doesn’t work. What is needed is a biblical approach. That approach is to look within the congregation and begin to ascertain, “Who might God be raising up for this task?” The truth is: that’s what Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church did with me. Little did they know that they would be training up their own pastor when I was a boy going to church here. Yet, here I am. I’m now in my 11th year as a pastor/elder and I’m still amazed!

I told the church on Sunday during all three services, that I’m still amazed that I get to pastor in the church where I grew up. I still can’t believe it when someone calls me, “Pastor Kevin.” I look around and think…oh yeah…that’s me! 🙂 But, let me tell you something! I love those people! I love them with all my heart! No one or nothing is going to run me off or lure me away. I’m convinced it was never God’s intention for elders to leave a church. You see it through. You are there for the long haul. You are committed! Isn’t that what a shepherd does? Wasn’t Jesus called “The Good Shepherd?” Would He ever leave us? No way!

By the way, look as you might, you will not find a sign on the grounds of Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church that has my name on it. Do you want to know why? Because I’m not the pastor here. Jesus is. I’m just one of three undershepherds. We have three pastors/elders: Brad Cordray, Dale Jennings and me. We all work together to lead this wonderful flock and I’m beyond grateful!

Hey, did you see the picture of me and my granddaughter and my son-in-law? He’s a big Duke fan and so I bit my lip and we had this picture made together.

Charlotte w-Kev-Josh w-Duke Shirt 3-5-16

Love will sure make you do a lot of things! 🙂

Did you see this picture?

IMG_2315

I had to laugh to keep from crying! 🙂

Kevin

 

Read Full Post »

Anger Versus Principle?

In honor of Super Tuesday, as I watch the election returns…

Read Full Post »