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Archive for December, 2017

Compel Them To Come

Take a look at these pictures from over the past weekend…  Our Christmas Candlelight Celebration…

Yep, it’s snowing…

Over the four services (Saturday night and the three on Sunday) we packed in 1,546 people! Did you notice the joy on the little boy’s face above? Yes, it “snowed” inside the building. Can you believe that? What a joy to the see the faces of the children and even the adults!

You see, we publicized that it was “going to snow” inside our building on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and to everyone we knew. Why? Here’s why… Luke 14:23, “And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled.” Do you know who said that? Jesus. Jesus Christ said that. “Go get ’em!” That’s what compel means. Tell people that it’s a necessity that you be here! And 1,546 people showed up!

And we sang about Jesus, did drama about Jesus and I preached about Jesus and many, many hands were raised indicating their desire to be prayed for as they seek Jesus and salvation. (No, I don’t have people repeat a prayer after me…that’s not in Scripture…but, I do quote Scripture…the Roman Road…and I tell them to pray in their seats and call on the name of Jesus like a drowning man in the ocean, that’s Romans 10:13…and if they were truly sincere and genuine…then, according to the Bible they can be confident of their salvation.) How many were saved? Only in eternity will we know. Dozens of hands went up throughout the four services…so, I praise the Lord for what I believe He’s continuing to do in people’s lives.

Truly, people have to wrestle with salvation. Here in the Bible belt, so many people make a profession of faith when they’re young…yet, it’s very difficult to tell if a person is truly a follower of Christ until they are put under pressure. So, I’m not one to snap my fingers at a service and “crown people saved.” But, I’m convinced many were and I believe more will be in the days and weeks ahead. Seed takes time to grow.

The point is: we must compel people to come to Jesus. I see that more and more every day of my life. And the real impetus in all of this is not to invite people to Jesus like you are going to give them an extra pillow for their head. No…we invite people to come to Jesus so that they won’t end up in Hell. Jesus said, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Jesus wants to save people from Hell and judgment. Yes, I know those aren’t popular subjects, but it’s the truth and the reality of why Jesus came to the earth. He is “Emmanuel, God with us” to save us from our sins…which means to save us from the penalty of sin, which is Hell. That’s more than enough reason to COMPEL people to come to Jesus, don’t you think? It is for me.

During the service, we sang a song called, “Offering.” A man named Paul Baloche wrote it. Here’s some of the lyrics…

I was sitting in the back as we sang it.

I was overwhelmed by the song. It was that song that helped give me assurance that I was supposed to leave the business world and go into the ministry. Truly, this song was part of my calling to the ministry. I remember being in our prayer chapel in December of 2005 and we were singing that song. I was standing on the piano side of the room and I ended up leaning against the railing surrounding the piano and I just wept. I knew God was calling me to preach and I surrendered to that call.

As we sang that song on Saturday night, I was reminded, yet again, of the privilege I have to preach and teach the Word of God. Thank you Lord! Here’s the song…

Yes, next week is Christmas! May we offer to Jesus our gift… the gift of our lives to Him. From my family to yours…

Here’s this week’s Two-Minute Tuesday:

http://subspla.sh/vwh4wyk

Kevin

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Don’t Rush Past History

As we celebrate the Christmas season, may we not be guilty of “rushing past history.” What do I mean? Well, it’s busy and if we’re not careful we’ll just go through the motions and slap up the tree and wrap the presents and do the meals and then… BANG, it’s over and we’ve gone through another Christmas season… But did we rush past it and miss it!

Let me give you an example. You know I’m a weather nut…so, that’s where I’ll get the example of “rushing past history.” It’s already snowed twice at my house this year. On Friday, Dec 8th (7″) and again on Tuesday night, Dec 12th (1″). Folks, that’s early for any snow at all, much less a total of 8″ for the winter season. That’s about what we go all of last winter and it’s just mid-December (technically not even winter, yet).

Now, here’s the thing… The snowfall that we got wasn’t isolated to us. It snowed from MEXICO to MAINE!

Take a look…

Now, get this… Meteorologists say this hasn’t happened for 131 year!! One weatherman said it this way: “A snowstorm of this magnitude & spatial extent in early December in the deep south likely hasn’t occurred in @ least 131 yrs. In early Dec 1886, another storm dropped > 6″-12″ snow in parts of MS, AL, GA, TN, & NC w/ accumulating snows observed in the FL panhandle.”

Notice he said, “1886,” not “1986.” So, I told my kids, “Guys…this is something you may never see again in your lifetime.” No, I’m not saying they won’t see it snow in early December again. They likely will. But, I’m talking about this MUCH, this early! This is truly an anomaly. So, we should not rush past it! This was historic! And if we aren’t careful, we’ll just blow by it and it won’t even register!

It’s not often you get to see snow on Christmas decorations…like at my mom and dad’s front steps…

But, do you remember when I blogged back in August (August 25th) and gave you my preliminary Winter Forecast and I said this…

What forecasters try to do is to look at what are called “analog years” and that is where they look at the past and see which winter in the past might be most similar to the upcoming one and then peg it to that winter. The winter they are looking at is 2010. Remember that winter? It snowed at Christmas. Clara and Andrew were little tykes then…

The snow was majestic as we walked up to mom and dad’s to celebrate…

Will that happen this year? Honestly, there’s no way to predict that. It would be a wild guess, no matter what anyone tells you. It’s such an anomaly here. White Christmases are very rare. I’ve seen two in my lifetime of almost 50 years.

With all of this said, my “preliminary forecast” is for about 14″ of snow. That’s about 45% above average. However, if we get “the big one,” we could get that in one storm. I do believe we’ll have a warmer December to start…but, it should flip (if the Modoki pattern holds) by mid-to-late month into January. So, we’ll see. It’s always fun to try to predict these things. But, as we all know…only the Lord knows! 🙂

No, I’m not a prophet, because I blew this last storm, big-time! I said we’d get about 1-2″ and we got 7″. But, the pattern is similar to 2010. So, that’s why we can say, that we’re looking at 45% above normal. So, if this forecast holds true, then Wilkes County has seen about 1/2 the snow we’re going to see this Winter already. OR, I’m wrong and we could get more!!! We’ll see!!

But, it sure was pretty last week…

I tell you all of this to make my main point again… Don’t rush past history… And this is what I’m really talking about…

That’s just one small section of our Christmas tree this year. Hmm… Let’s see… There’s Clara when she was a little tyke and there’s good ole Barney and there’s Katy. Oh my! She was about 4 or 5 when that picture was taken (Pam would know :)). There’s an ornament from the Great Smoky Mountains. I think Pam and I got that one in Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge before we even had any of the children (Pam would know :)). And there at the top of the picture is an ornament from the Dutch Country in Pennsylvania. Oh, it’s been years since we were there (Pam would now how many :)).

My point is that I stood at our tree the other night and I really looked at those ornaments. Ornaments that the kids made and ornaments that we’ve bought in the various places we’ve been through the years. Honestly, I stood at our tree for about 5-6 minutes and literally “walked down memory lane.” And I thought, “Kevin, don’t rush past history!” Soak it in! Soak in this Christmas. Right now! My parents are still alive. So are Pam’s. I’ve got two grandkids. Kandace will be 20 in a month. Clara and Andrew are going to be teenagers in 2018. Soak it in Kevin! Don’t rush past this because it won’t be like this again… No, not in 131 years…not ever!

Soak it in this Christmas. When you can…sit still and soak in the wonder of Jesus and those you love and those who love you! Why? Because if we don’t…we’ll rush right past history!

Kevin

This week’s Two-Minute Tuesday: “This Man and Religious Freedom.”

http://mpbc.ws/media/?sapurl=Lys3ZWViL2xiL21pLyt0OGh5M2I2P2F1dG9wbGF5PXRydWUmYnJhbmRpbmc9dHJ1ZSZlbWJlZD10cnVl

 

 

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Basketball, Anniversary, Snow, Wow!

I love basketball. You know that. And you know that I’m unashamedly a Heels fan! That will never change. I’m too old to change now! I’ll stick with the Heels…thick or thin, to death. That’s what you do for teams. You don’t wilt if they have a bad year (even though the Heels seldom have a bad year…after all, they are the reigning National Champions). But, I’m most especially now because of the fact that Leah, my niece, is playing ball for the Lady Heels. In fact, we got to go down and watch her play last weekend.

The really neat thing was to see Leah and Kandace together. Cousins and friends for life!

How cool is that? They will have so many stories to tell their families one day!

I was nervous for Kandace. I don’t know why. She’s sung at the Grand Ole Opry and at FaithFest in front of thousands and thousands of people. But, the National Anthem is not an easy song. If you start out too high, you’re dead! Kandace did a great job singing it! Really! It was fantastic to be honest! Kandace has a gift!

I tell her that all the time! I’m prejudiced. I know that! But, she’s my girl! 🙂

Leah, too is doing an amazing job as a freshman at Carolina. She’s getting playing time, which is unheard of for a freshman. In fact, she started Wednesday night’s game. Here’s the box score.

That’s amazing for a freshman! She’s a three-point-shooting-machine!

Truly, it was so wonderful to have the privilege to be with my family this past weekend and celebrate all the Lord is doing for and through our family.

I shot baskets on that floor, (Carmichael Arena…back then, it was Carmichael Auditorium), when I was 9 years old at the UNC Basketball camp. What great memories and we’re going to be making a lot more over the next 3 1/2 years!

See this lady with me…

That’s my bride of almost 27 years (27 on 12.22.17). Ain’t she pretty? Yep! I out-punted my coverage when the Lord blessed me with her! They don’t come any better than Pam Brown and anybody who knows her, knows that’s the truth! She loves the Lord and she loves her family and she loves people! She’s a fantastic woman, Christian and pastor’s wife. In fact, I’ll say it this way. I’m thankful to be the husband of Pamela Sheets Brown! She’s wonderful!

Hey, are you ready for some snow? It looks like we might get some tomorrow. Here’s the official forecast via the Weather Channel for tomorrow.

I think this is a bit overdone. We’re on the western fringe in Wilkes County. So, we could miss out on these totals. 50 miles one way or the other will make all the difference. Van Denton is saying only around 1″ for our area. We’ll see.

Hmm. Let’s see. I think I know a man who said something about this a few days ago on Facebook.

Back on December 1st, (one week ago), I said this:

Folks, the weather pattern is getting ready to change, big-time by the middle of next week, potentially through Christmas. And this model (shown above) shows the potential for snow on the ground by December 17th. I’m not saying this is going to happen, but it’s certainly a possibility! And it’s most definitely going to feel like Christmas!

Now, I’m not that smart. This is a map from Weatherbell.com. But, they are spot on! The national weather services really WAY too much on models to forecast the weather and they truly aren’t that goo. The guys at WeatherBell still do it the old-fashioned way. They look at the models, yes…but, they also look at the past to help predict the future.

The Lord is good! Basketball, anniversaries and snow! Wow! Wonderful times! Thank you Lord!

Here’s this week’s Two-Minute Tuesday: ““Why What Is Happening at the Supreme Court This Morning Will Affect You!”

http://mpbc.ws/media/?sapurl=Lys3ZWViL2xiL21pLys5N2hrOThyP2JyYW5kaW5nPXRydWUmZW1iZWQ9dHJ1ZQ==

Finally, may we never forget…

Today marks the 76th anniversary of the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor that claimed 2,403 American lives on December 7, 1941. A day that truly lives in infamy!

The attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise attack by Japan on the morning of December 7, 1941. Japan intended the attack to keep the US Pacific Fleet from interfering with military actions they planned in Southwest Asia. Over the course of seven hours there were coordinated Japanese attacks on the U.S.-held Philippines, Guam and Wake Island and on the British Empire’s Malaya, Singapore and Hong Kong.

The attack commenced at 7:48 a.m. Hawaiian Time. The base was attacked by 353 Imperial Japanese aircraft in two waves, launched from six aircraft carriers. All eight U.S. Navy battleships in the harbor were damaged, with four sunk. All but the USS Arizona were later raised, and six were returned to service and went on to fight in the war. Again, 2,403 Americans were killed and 1,178 others were wounded.

The attack came as a profound shock to the American people and led directly to the our entry into World War II in both the Pacific and European theaters. The following day, December 8, the United States declared war on Japan, and several days later, on December 11, Germany and Italy declared war on the U.S. Most Americans felt we should not intervene in the war prior to the bombing of Pearl Harbor. That all disappeared after the attack.

There were numerous historical precedents for unannounced military action by Japan, but the lack of any formal warning, particularly while negotiations were still apparently ongoing, led President Franklin D. Roosevelt to say, the day December 7, 1941, would be “a date which will live in infamy.” 

President Trump said earlier today: “We remember the lives that were lost, the families torn from loved ones, and the heroes who rose to America’s defense,” the President said. “As the smoke billowed that day from our sinking ships, our entire nation rose up to show our enemies America’s unbending strength, might, and resolve.”

I’m grateful all those who defended our nation so that we can be the people we are today and be blessed with all the freedoms we enjoy today.

Kevin

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