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Archive for April, 2019

The Breaking

I’ve talked about this some in the past several months… The “breaking” that the Lord has taken me through. The great Oswald Chambers said it this way:

The “breaking” is the hard part. Breaking is always hard. But, it’s the breaking that must happen in our lives before the sweetness of that which the Lord wants to release from our lives.

I’ve been reading this book:

Have you heard of Watchman Nee? He said this…

Watchman Nee became a Christian in mainland China in 1920 at the age of seventeen and began writing in the same year. He suffered much in his. He preached the gospel, taught the Bible and held many conferences throughout his life. He wrote over 60 books. Throughout the nearly thirty years of his ministry, he showed a wonderful and unique gift for writing. In 1952 he was imprisoned for his faith. He remained in prison until his death in 1972. His words, even today, remain an amazing source of spiritual strength for Christians throughout the world.

Nee describes how essential it is for the “outer man” to be broken so that the “inner man” can express the power and the presence of the Lord in our lives. The “outer man” is the part of us that we call the “jar of clay.” It’s the essence of what happens to us as circumstances come into our lives. The “inner man” is our spirit. The “inner man” is who we were created to be by the Lord. It’s the essence of “who we are” and who “lives on” when our body dies.

Nee talks about how it’s very easy to allow our outer circumstances to dictate how we (the inner man) lives. In other words, we can easily allow our lives to be totally torn apart by what happens to us…our circumstances. Let’s say that you’re told that your wife is having chest pains and she needs to be taken to the hospital, which leads to an eventual heart catheterization. What will that information do the “outer man?” Bring fear? Terror? Uncertainty?

That was me! Okay. But, what happens to the “inner man?” Will “Kevin” on the inside be able to look to the Lord…to look past the circumstances and see Jesus and live above the situation. The outer circumstances can “break” us, yes. But, that breaking (like the peel on a grape) can reveal the sweet juice that can flow from the inside. Oh, there’s where the power of the Lord comes from. It’s when His Spirit bears witness with our spirit and we live in power, not fear. It’s when we are attacked or maligned on the outside, yet the inner man chooses to respond as Jesus would in kindness and goodness. It’s when forgiveness is offered and not hate that the power of Christ is unleashed from our “brokenness” and we are able to see what only Jesus could do in the human life.

These are things that we are taught in Romans 8.

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. Romans 8:1-11.

You know, as I’ve thought about it, this life is a constant “breaking” process. After all, we are in the process of being sanctified (made holy). That process of being “made holy” is a refining process that comes by way of fire…trials…struggles. Nee said this, “There are too many things in us that cannot go into eternity, and these must all be torn down.” Think about that. God is removing things from us that will never be part of us for eternity. Parking your brain around that is a lot to chew on for sure.

How goes it with you? Any trials lately? Count it all joy! It’s part of what the Lord is doing to make you into the person He has designed you to be. He’s refining you (and me). Nee said, “We have to see that all the things we have encountered during the past five or ten years have all been under God’s ordering and are for our education… All these are for our good. We may not choose them, but God knows that they are for our good.” Amen!!! Thank you Lord for the “breaking,” because that’s when the juice flows!

Have you seen the movie, “Unplanned?”

Here’s why you should. This week’s Two-Minute Tuesday: https://www.mpbc.church/media/?sapurl=Lys3ZWViL2xiL21pLys3OTlwODJwP2JyYW5kaW5nPXRydWUmZW1iZWQ9dHJ1ZQ==

Please note the “Content Warning” for children. Here, again, is the link to the Liberty Theatre. The showtimes for this weekend should be posted by tomorrow. Remember all the showings are FREE!

http://libertytheatrenc.com/?r=no

Kevin

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Wedding Day

Well, it finally came! Wedding Day! You know when you know a “day” is coming, like Christmas, or a “due date” for a birth or something like that…it seems like it will never get here, and then, BANG…it’s here! Well, that was Kandace and Clark’s wedding.

Yes, April 6th finally came. And you know what? When it finally comes…it seems almost odd. You start walking through the day thinking, “This is it! It’s really happening!” That’s how I felt on Saturday morning when we finished setting up the chairs…

I thought, “Thank you Lord for such a beautiful day for my little girl to get married!” And “Thank you Lord for Fussell Farm of Leonard and Vickie Fussell! Talk about a beautiful venue! Wow! If you want to learn more or know of someone having a wedding that might want to know more about Fussell Farm…click here: https://www.fussellfarmvenue.com

Now, take a look at those smiles…

I had a lady say to me on Monday, “I’ve never seen Kandace so happy! She was smiling from ear to ear!” And it’s true!

What a smile! And I’m so glad she looks like her momma…absolutely beautiful!

But let’s back up! Things are starting to get into “blur mode” again. You know when things really start moving too fast! Let’s go back to Friday evening with the Rehearsal. We began to set up the tables and chairs…

Everyone arrived…including our wonderful musicians…the “Hall Sisters.”

They played so beautifully!!!

Needless to say, all went well with the Rehearsal, and then we went down to Benton Hall for the Rehearsal Dinner. It was wonderful! “Elsewhere Restaurant” catered the meal and it was amazing! Keith and Angela, Clark’s mom and dad, picked a great restaurant to cater the meal. The food was really, really good!

The lovely couple…

Sisters, to the left is Katy, (Kandace’s sister) and to the right is Elizabeth, (Clark’s sister).

Grandparents…

And then it was the wedding day…

We went down by the creek for the “first look” for me. I was stunned by Kandace’s beauty. Again…she looks like her momma!

Then the Bridesmaids came down for pictures…

The Fussell’s have a beautiful covered area above the creek. Andrew enjoyed hanging out while waiting for his turn at the camera…

Nana (Pam) and Josh, Katy and Evie… (Remember, Katy is due with grand baby #3 on May 31…another girl! So thankful!!!)

Pictures continued…

Doesn’t Kandace look lovely! Clara’s headed down next. Here’s some more great pictures of Evie and Andrew…

And Evie and Dad…

Everything was ready… Check out the cupcakes!

Hey, get this… Look up at that picture again. To save some money, I took some old wooden pallets and cut them down for the “cupcake stands.” Those pallets were actually used to deliver the cinderblocks for Katy and Josh’s basement a couple of years ago. They are being re-used for an upcoming June wedding for another couple.

Here’s the room that the groomsmen dressed… So nice!!!

The people were in place…

We were lining up…

We were right behind Keith and Angela, (Clark’s parents). I ran up to the front of the line and got this shot… I love the look on Clark’s face…

He looks cool as a cucumber. But, I know he was nervous. Who isn’t on their wedding day!

Then I turned my phone around and did a selfie with my lovely bride of 28 years!

I’m a blessed man!

See that lady on her knees…

That’s Kathy Eller. She was the wedding director! Let me tell you…she did a phenomenal job! Her attention to detail was amazing! Here she is giving details to Katy and making sure the little guys…Charlotte, Sophia, Evie and Jackson are ready to go. Don’t you love that wagon! Jackson was a trooper!

Here are the girls and Jackson… (L-R, Evie, Charlotte, Sophia, Jackson)

Finally it was time to walk Kandace down the aisle. I turned and saw her and took this picture…

But, I heard crying behind me. “What is that?” “Who is crying?” I turned and it’s Evie. She had gotten separated from her little crew of “littles.” Kathy was trying to console her, but she wanted no part of that. Evie had her arms up saying, “Papa,” through her tears and fear of the moment. I looked at Kandace and I looked at Evie and I thought, “What are we going to do. IT’S TIME!” Well, Kandace…my in control daughter…on her wedding day…looks at me and said, “Carry her Dad.”

“Huh?”

“Dad, pick her up and carry her.” I said, “Kan are you sure? It’s your wedding day… Uh…maybe I can run her down the right side of the people and get her to Josh really quickly and run back.”

“No Dad…it’s Evie.”

Now let that sink in as I did. My daughter on her wedding day was not thinking about herself. At the cusp of her big moment she was thinking about her niece. I said, “Kandace are you sure…I don’t want you to have hard feelings toward anyone…because this is your moment.” Kandace looked at me with this kind and “in control” look and said, “Dad…this is how it’s supposed to be. Carry her. It’s Evie, Dad.” Let me tell you…I just about popped three buttons on my shirt when she assured me with those words.

Am I bragging on my daughter? You better believe I am and it’s something to laud her for! That was a great blessing to me to see her love for her family supersede everything else. And so, Jonah Brooks and Trenton Golds pulled back the curtains and down the aisle we went… Kandace on my left…beaming…and Evie on my right arm…smiling from ear to ear!

What a fantastic ceremony it was! And then, it was time for the first dances… First was Clark and Angela.

And then, the father/daughter dance…

If you haven’t seen the video, you’ll have to go to Facebook and check it out. We started out with a slow, somber, tearful dance and then BANG…we went into a choreographed dance that made everyone laugh.

I practiced for 2 1/2 months to do that dance. I’m a terrible dancer…but, Kandace wanted me to do it and for her…YES! I’LL DO IT!! And I did it! It was a blast! Seeing the smile on Kandace’s face was worth it all! I think she was proud of her old dad!

Then it was cake-cutting time!

The joy on the kids’ faces was priceless!

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Later on it was time for the bouquet toss…

Take a look at this picture closely… The bouquet is in the air…

And then…guess who catches it…

Clara! All 5′ 10″ of her! I should have had her playing basketball! 🙂 Look at Kandace’s face! Sheer joy!

Next up! Clark and the boutonniere toss… (And yes…that is how you spell “boutonniere.” I looked it up.)

While all of this was going on…this was happening outside to Clark’s truck…

Then, amazingly, it was already time to go… So, they lined up and we got our bubbles out…

Out of the barn and to the truck they headed…

And then it was over…

It felt like a blur! But, I really tired to take it all in. It was such a blessing! And life continues on and I’m grateful!

Don’t forget about our Passion Play this weekend!

No tickets needed! Door open Saturday night at 5 pm for the 6 pm showing, and on Sunday the doors open at 8 am for the 8:45 am showing, and at 10:15 am for the 11:00 am showing.

Here’s this week’s Two-Minute Tuesday about the theme of the play. https://www.mpbc.church/media/?sapurl=Lys3ZWViL2xiL21pLysybXRieHg4P2JyYW5kaW5nPXRydWUmZW1iZWQ9dHJ1ZQ==

We’ve also launched a new website. We’re pretty tickled with it!

https://www.mpbc.church

My email has changed too. I’m now at: kevin@mpbc.church.

Kevin

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Last week was one of the weeks that I look back on now and say, “Did that really happen?” It seems so surreal. But, I can promise you, I was scared for a while! A week ago today (Wed) Pam was having a heart catheterization at Forsyth Hospital. Praise the Lord that Pam is doing well. It’s like nothing ever happened. And that’s why it feels so strange.

Let me let Pam describe what happened (this was a post she put on Facebook at the end of last week):

I just want to thank everyone for the prayers and kind words. What started out as a normal Tuesday evening became a scary episode. I ran up the stairs to get something like I do many times everyday. When I got up there this particular time I was extremely winded. I began to feel pressure on my chest and back. I then had extreme neck/jaw pain. I walked back downstairs and became nauseous. I had never experienced anything quite like it. I waited around for the feelings to pass and they didn’t… So I told Kevin.

After explaining my symptoms to him, we decided to go to the ER as a precaution. Once we got there, my EKG had some issues and my blood test showed the heart attack enzymes so I was whisked off to Winston. After being up all night Tuesday night and having many tests, including a heart cath, the diagnosis was that I had an arterial spasm which mimicked a heart attack. I possibly had a clot that was broken up by the blood thinners given to me in the early hours of my ER visit.

I am so thankful for the prayers, calls, texts and messages. If I did have a blockage, God removed it because my cath was clear! Praise the Lord! Working on Kandace’s wedding that was 11 days away, I didn’t really have time to drop everything and go to the ER, but with heart disease in my family, I knew that a trip to the ER was better than a funeral. *Always take warning signs seriously. The doctors told me that I did the right thing by coming. God is good! Thank you again for your words of encouragement and prayers!❤️

Truly, we are so grateful for all the Lord has done for Pam and our family! I can not express greatly enough, my gratitude to all the people who prayed for her and our family! Once again, the saying is true: “We felt the prayers.” Literally!

I shared with the church on Sunday my many emotions throughout a very dicey 24 hours. Pam had them too, but she’s automatically calm, cool and collected. In fact, I had to tell all the doctors and nurses, “Yes, her normal blood pressure is 110/60.” That’s another reason they were hesitant about giving her nitroglycerin which drops blood pressure a lot! Pam is an amazing lady. You see what a person is like when they are under immense pressure and strain. Pam is truly a godly woman. It’s not that she doesn’t feel things. She does. It’s not that she doesn’t endure stress and pressure. She does. It’s just that she has such a great faith and trust in the Lord that she transfers that stress, pressure and burden to Him. And that’s what He says to do. “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Honestly, I’m still processing all that happened. Have you been there? I’m sure you have. You may be going through a difficult situation right now. Do you see Jesus in it? Can you picture Him in the midst of it all. Truly, there were times I forced myself to see Jesus in the ER at Wilkes and at Forsyth. I forced myself to see Him riding beside me in my car flying down Highway 421 at 3 am on Wednesday morning last week. And it helped! Call me crazy, but seeing Him in that way helps me to understand that He’s got everything under control. Because HE DOES have everything under control! Praise His name!

You see, as I’m zooming down the road at 3 am…and there is no one on the road at that time of night…I get to “Joe’s Landscaping and Nursery.” Have you seen this sign in Lewisville as you are driving toward Winston?

I saw that sign and right after that I had a thought come through my brain that I knew was from Satan. He said, “She’s going to die of a massive heart attack in the ambulance and you’ll never see her alive again.” That thought sent fear through my body like lightning! I was panicked. It was like I couldn’t get control of my mind. I was tired…we hadn’t slept a wink…I was stressed and anxious…and now this… It almost took my breath. But, then I thought of Jesus. The Holy Spirit directed my thoughts. “Think on Jesus.” And then I said, “Oh Jesus…help me…help Pam…I trust you…take the fear…HELP US!” And folks…in a matter of seconds…the fear was gone and replaced with the presence of Jesus in my car. The Prince of Peace was delivering me in His peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:6-7). I cried a few tears…but, they were tears of relief and peace.

But, here’s the thing… Satan doesn’t give up easily does he? Does he to you? No! He will seek to attack again and we have to continue to resist him. Remember James tells us to “resist the Devil and he will flee.” Well, he kept coming and I kept praying and quoting Scripture and singing. Do you know the old song: “He Knows My Name” by Tommy Walker. Here it is…

It’s old, I know. But, that’s the song that the Lord brought to my mind. It was the song we were to sing in our service last Wed. night (which I didn’t get to do, because we were in the hospital). It’s a song that I was going to use because we are talking about “Heaven” and what it will be like on Wed. nights. So, there it was… cued up in my brain and out came the words:

I have a Maker
He formed my heart
Before even time began
My life was in his hands

He knows my name
He knows my every thought
He sees each tear that falls
And He hears me when I call

Well, let me tell you… I got to the hospital. I had gotten there before the ambulance and so I had to wait. I waited for about 15 minutes and it seemed like 2 hours. Finally a nurse called out, “My Brown…your wife is here!” Let me tell you…I almost lost it right there! I know it sounds crazy…but, the relief…oh the relief! YOUR WIFE IS HERE!

I walked through the large metal door and they led me to a holding room in the ER at Forsyth. They had no beds. I walked through the curtain and there she was smiling. I went over to her and planted a kiss on her and she said, “Hey! How are you!” I told her, “I’m doing great now that I get to see you.” I didn’t tell her until later what went on in my car driving down.

You know what… I had gotten so busy (or at least I allowed myself to get so busy) that I had been walking out of the house to come to work or go places and I had stopped kissing her before I left. NO MORE! Because you never know when it might be your last one. Call me crazy…but, no more! No more will I leave the house and not kiss my beautiful bride! Maybe someone else needed to read that… Maybe you need to kiss your wife more…or your husband…whatever the case might be.

Stuff like last week helps put things into perspective. There are very few things that really and truly matter. Most things really don’t matter. We just think they do. What really matters you can boil down to something that you can count on one hand. Love your family. Don’t take them for granted. Kiss your kids…your wife… Look to Jesus… Don’t give into the fear. Live each day as if it were your last and enjoy the journey.

Here’s this week’s TMT. “Overwhelmed By the Enemy? Don’t Stop!”

https://subsplash.com/+7eeb/lb/mi/+h48prmx?autoplay=true&branding=true&embed=true

Oh…I’m SO grateful for this couple…

The engagement turns into a wedding on Saturday! We’re on in the midst of all that work and planning right now…and it’s almost here. I so wish everyone could come! But, the venue is just not big enough for all the wonderful people we know and Clark’s family knows. That’s been the hardest thing! We just had to invite people that Kandace has been close to throughout her life and the same for Clark. Once you have the families and the bridal party and a few close friends of Clark and Kandace…well…that’s it.

By this time next week they’ll be married and in Grenada. I’m a bit misty-eyed typing that. You raise your children to turn them loose and fly…but, it’s never easy. Knowing Kandace is not going to be living with us any longer…well…it’s a gut-punch and there’s no sugar-coating it. But, I’m so thankful for her life and for Clark! I’m so grateful the Lord brought them together and for all He’s going to do through them!

Kevin

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