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Archive for the ‘Are you truly saved?’ Category

Another summer is upon us and it’s in full swing in my world. This week is VBS and next week is off to Texas and Mexico. In the midst of that Kandace and 8 other ladies in our church are in China and there is the process of putting together the budget for next year, getting people in places to serve (Nominating Committee) and planning for the future. There’s never a dull moment.

Pray for us tomorrow night. We’ll have a ton of parents here and they’ll be watching their children and see what they’ve learned this week. I’ll be sharing the Gospel by way of the Three Circles.

It’s a fantastic way to share the Gospel and how the Lord delivers from brokenness all those who will repent and believe in His Son. If they will do so, they can be restored to God’s design for them. A perfect life? No. But, a life where His presence and peace covers us and provides for us strength and security for each day. Knowing God is the most unbelievable part of life. To actually call the God of the universe: “Father” is mind-boggling to me! But, that’s the offer to all those who will receive Jesus by faith, and choose to repent of their sins and follow Christ. It’s such a simple exchange. But, it’s so hard for so many. Satan has such a stronghold on their lives and their minds. Truly, salvation is a spiritual transaction and we must approach people by means of prayer as the greatest tool in our sharing the Gospel… Yes, a good approach (like the Three Circles above) is necessary…but, the essential thing is prayer.

So, I’m praying already about who will be here tomorrow night. I’m praying the Holy Spirit will speak to hearts as they watch the Three Circles. I love this presentation of it from a student at Appalachian State University.

How cool is that! So, pray for us tomorrow night around 7:30 pm, as I share the Gospel.

I checked the weather forecast for Weslaco, TX. When we land on Saturday it’s supposed to be 101 degrees. Yikes! We’ll be seeking to pour the roof of the church next week. That will finish the project. It’s hard to believe we started working on this project five years ago. Praise the Lord that it will be complete (Lord willing and there are no issues).

This is how it looks as of today…

We want to get that roof on next week! But, we also want to minister to the people of Weslaco, TX. We have been going to Mexico since 2008 and it’s been a wonderful journey to watch children who were very little, who are now grown and continuing to follow the Lord. It reminds me of the Apostle Paul has he went back to the same towns on his missionary journeys to care for the people and to encourage them. That’s what we seek to do as well. Pray for our team of 26 as we head down on Saturday. Thank you!

My goal is to upload pictures on Facebook throughout the week as much as I can. I’ll look forward to reuniting with Kandace as she will arrive back on the 23rd and we’ll arrive back on Saturday the 24th. It’ll be about 1 am or so before I hit the sack…but, I’ll look forward to hugging my girl the next morning before heading off to church to preach. Reuniting when you haven’t seen your family for a couple of weeks is bit like heaven if you ask me. What a grand reunion we will have there one day. How in the world does our Heavenly Father hold back from sending Jesus to come get us… I’ll never know. His love and desire for more to come to know Him before it’s too late must be the overriding desire of His heart. Otherwise, it would be: LET THE REUNION BEGIN.

Here’s this week’s Two Minute Tuesday. Senator Bernie Sanders really put his foot in his mouth last week. See here, why he doesn’t understand the claims and teachings of Jesus at all. Also see  why the Senator doesn’t even understand our Constitution. How does a man like this ever get elected? It’s beyond me. And on top of that…he was almost the Democrats choice! YIKES! It’s gotten almost 4,000 views as of this afternoon.

https://subsplash.com/mpbc/v/kfbewhc

Here’s last week’s TMT on “Judging.”

https://subsplash.com/mpbc/v/lnz5z6z

Kevin

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The Death Zone

See the dotted line…

everest-graphic copy

That’s the Death Zone on Mount Everest. It’s fascinating to consider. That’s 8000 meters straight up or about 26,247 feet above sea level? And it’s at that point that you enter the Death Zone on Everest. From there it’s another 2,782 feet to the top(29,029 ft) …all through the Death Zone. Now understand this…you can only be in the Death Zone no longer than 16-20 hours depending upon your health and conditioning because the air is so thin that your body is only getting a fraction of the oxygen you need, even with oxygen tanks. And remember this…you are right at 30,000 feet up and that’s the cruising altitude for many planes. This man…

160523093603-eric-arnold-everest-exlarge-169 copyEric Arnold was from the Netherlands… He died of a suspected heart attack. He was only 36 years old and was an avid triathlete. So sad.

This is Maria Strydom of Austraila…

160523092709-maria-strydom-everest-exlarge-169 copy

…she started suffering altitude sickness while at Base Camp 4 (see chart above) and she couldn’t climb any higher.

This is a picture of Base Camp 4, the last camp before you seek to summit Everest. That’s the summit of Everest in the distance, only about 1/2 mile away.

SouthColtents copy

Maria was in the same group as Eric Arnold. She stayed back at Camp 4 while they went ahead to try to Summit. Eric made it, but again, he died of a heart attack on the way down. A rescue attempt to get Maria back down to Base Camp 3 failed. She was only 26…

What happened? They were in the Death Zone too long. It was estimated Arnold had spent close to 30 hours in the Death Zone. And people are living this way today. Maybe even some of you reading this. You are in the Death Zone and it’s not high altitude sickness you are dealing with… It’s not storms or ice or freezing temperatures or frostbite…it’s your sin that you are choosing to carry with you and try to hope you can get through the narrow gate to heaven.

If you are without Jesus right now, then you are right now in the Death Zone. And because of that fact, you are one breath away from Hell. But, thanks be to God because He sent Jesus Christ to die for you on the cross, you are just one prayer away from being able to (one day) summit heaven. Oh, please, please…don’t wait too long. Don’t you dare risk it and stay in the Death Zone too long without Jesus. Give your heart and your life to Jesus while you still have time…before it’s too late and you find that you waited too long and you stayed on the broad and easy way that leads to eternal destruction.

Jesus said…

Matthew 7:13-14

13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

Be among the few and choose Jesus today!

Here’s the video portion of what I’ve just shared…

http://subsplash.com/mpbc/v/7c03d2f

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As you get older, I guess it’s easy to get a bit nostalgic. You look back at your life and you see that things were good and sometimes a lot better in years past morally. Technologically we continue to advance and we go from bag phones for cell phones to those you can carry in your pocket that can do what a desktop computer could do only a few years ago. But, morally…well, not so much. We’ve gone from having Christians who believe that Jesus is the only way to heaven, to believing all roads lead to heaven.

It seems as we supposedly get “smarter” we are actually getting dumber. We refuse to even understand the truth of history. Don’t confuse me with the facts Jack! My “Two-Minute Tuesday” today on Facebook was about that very fact to some degree.

I talked about the fact that people today want all roads to “God” to be the same. And one such person is our president. Yes, I continue to be dismayed at our president as he describes his “Christian faith,” which he has professed since his childhood (according to him).  In my opinion President Barack Obama is not truly a Christian based on how he acts and how he believes. You say, “You’re judging.” I disagree. I’d tell you “I’m a fruit inspector.” Jesus said, “You will know them by the fruit they bear.” Without question, most Bible-believing, orthodox Christians would agree President Obama has taken our country down a moral road that has been disastrous. I would submit to you that he is a syncretist. What is that?

Syncretism: is the combining of different, often seemingly contradictory beliefs; melding practices of various schools of thoughts and religion.

Why do I say this? Two weeks ago at the National Prayer Breakfast…

0207-Obama-Prayer-Breakfast-humility-hope-goodwill

…President Obama told the story of a Muslim man in Chicago who was afraid for him and his three children to lay down their prayer rugs and pray at a public park the day following the murder of 14 people by Muslim terrorists in San Bernardino, CA. President Obama said that the man drew from the faith and courage of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Rabbi Robert Marx and President Obama said:

“I can’t imagine a clearer expression of Jesus’ teachings. I can’t imagine a better expression of the peaceful spirit of Islam than when a Muslim father filled with fear drew from the example of a Baptist preacher [King] and a Jewish rabbi [Marx] to teach his children what God demands.”

Did you see the part about:

  • Jesus’ teaching
  • Spirit of Islam
  • Baptist preacher
  • Jewish rabbi

Which god, Mr. President? Whose god? Which teaching? Folks, that’s syncretism and it likes like what happens when you mix up six cans of play dough as a kid. You’ve got a mess!

The Bible strictly forbids syncretistic worship. It’s a violation of the First Commandment. You remember, the Israelites brought the Canaanite idols of Baal into the Temple and God said, “YOU SHALL HAVE NO OTHER GODS BEFORE ME.”

Last year at the same Prayer Breakfast, President Obama said, “Here in America, Islam has been woven into the fabric of our country since its founding.” 

Really? Talk about mixing up history Mr. President! Which history books have you been reading Mr. President? Oh, I guess you’ve been reading your daughters history books because they have likely been scrubbed of anything Christian, just like all the other “modern history books.”

The current politically correct history books remove almost everything Christian and certainly anything Biblical. In truth, Mr. President Islam had zero impact in the founding of America. Please, please speak the truth Mr. President. True Love, as described in the Bible (the Word of God) doesn’t flow from all our faiths, because there is just one God and only ONE way to Him. Jesus said: “I am THE way, THE truth and THE life and no one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). 

President Obama is a progressive, secularist. And he’s been drinking the Kool-Aid since his college days and over the last 7 years he’s been drinking it via an IV. This progressive secularism has rubbed out America’s Christian historical background from public education, thus our children have no idea that at Jamestown the Founders erected a cross, knelt, took communion and prayed these words in 1607:

“We do hereby Dedicate this Land, and ourselves, to reach the People within these shores with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and to raise up Godly generations after us, and with these generations take the Kingdom of God to all the earth. May this Covenant of Dedication remain to all generations, as long as this earth remains, and may this Land, along with England, be Evangelist to the World.” 

You will never see that paragraph in a modern-day history textbook. Oh, please don’t be tricked and duped by the secular progressives of our day. There is only one God and His name is Yahweh, The Great I Am. It was this God and Him ONLY…for He is the ONLY God of the universe, (no other gods exists…and that includes Allah), Whose Son came to the earth to die for our sins. And it is through Jesus alone that we can know truth. Jesus said that we will “know the truth and the truth will set us free.”

Don’t believe any other Gospel, friend. The Bible is clear that we should not entertain any other “different gospel.”

Galatians 6:6-10

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. 10 For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.

You see, I’m not trying to please man. And the truth is, when I do a “Two-Minute Tuesday” like I did today, people will often take exception and say, “Come on Kevin, be more tolerant and loving and accepting of ALL religions.” Please read carefully…

While I am gracious and fully accepting of the fact that people will believe differently than I do, I CAN NOT and I WILL NOT accept or condone that “other religions” are equal to Jesus. Because if that’s what you do you are “preaching another gospel.”

Yes, yes…we must let the light of Christ shine through our lives and what is that light? Is it acceptance of all religions as equal or is the LIGHT, the truth of Jesus Christ that HE is the only way to heaven. We can respectfully say to people of other faiths, what do you do with Jesus? He is either the Son of God or a Liar.

If He is the Son of God and He did rise from the dead, then He is Lord. And if He is Lord, then the most loving and Christlike thing we can do for another human being of different faith is to kindly, with gentleness and respect, give a reason for our confidence in Christ as the Only way to heaven. To believe and teach otherwise is to pat people on the head and agree that their faith is equal with Christ and that only demeans the truth that Jesus came to display on the cross. That truth? He came to seek and to save that which is lost. Therefore, we lovingly say, “Turn to Christ, because He is the only way to the ONLY God.” John 14:6. You are then removing yourself from the discussion and pointing people to do something with Jesus and His assertions and His truth.

I had to do this in college. I had a class with a young lady who was from India. She was a hindu and looked like this…

Hindu GirlsAnd that’s exactly how I remember her. She seemed so sad. Well, to make a long story longer (I’m famous for that). The conversation came up one day in a group of four of us in class about religion. She asked me “What are you?” I said, “I’m a Baptist.” (Bad answer…but, I didn’t know any better. I was raised in Wilkes County and I was taught zero apologetics in Church growing up. I arrived at Appalachian State University thinking everyone thought and believed like me. Boy was I wrong!) She said, “I guess you believe I’m going to die and go to hell because I don’t believe like you.” That comment totally stumped me. I totally fumbled the conversation. I could not articulate a good answer.

What was I going to say. I honestly did believe Jesus was the only way to heaven. But, was I to say, “Yeah…you’re going to bust hell wide open…turn or burn!!” Of course not!! So, two days later we had another conversation and I simply said, “What do you believe about Jesus.” She said, “I believe he was a good man.” I probed.

Do you believe He was the Son of God?

Do you believe He died on the cross for your sins?

Do you believe He rose from the dead conquering death?

She answered all of these questions with: “I don’t know.” I told her I didn’t want to argue about religion…but, simply talk about Jesus. She said, “I’ve really had enough of this.” She was a bit rude, to be honest. But, I knew she was sad and searching. We had several classes together over the next couple of years. One day coming out of one of my classes, I ran into her in the hallway (not literally), but passing by and she said, “Hey, can I tell you something?” (She still had on all that same Hindu garb.) I said, “Sure.” She said, “Do you remember the Sales 101 class we had together? I said, “Yes.” She said, “I just wanted you to know that I’ve not forgotten what you said about investigating Jesus and His claims and I’m still doing that. Thanks for being honest with me and not backing down just to make me feel better.”

I could have been so guilty of syncretism with that young lady. I could have just patted her on the head and hee-hawed around and tried to talk my way out of implicating her for her wrong stance. But, I didn’t. Here’s the truth: She IS GOING TO HELL without Jesus and the most loving thing I could do for her was to tell her the truth. I still prayer for that young lady and I pray she came to know Christ and has been delivered from “religion.”

Friend, why did Jesus come? You know why. He came to seek and save the lost! He didn’t come to die for our sins so we could then choose a “religion” of our preference from the buffet bar of religion. Because you won’t find Jesus on that bar. He’s not there. There is only ONE God and that is Yahweh, the Great I Am and Jesus is the ONLY way to Him.

No, Mr. President, all roads do not lead to heaven and we can’t coexist.

coexist

No, Mr. President, your syncretism is evident to all that you are trying to place Jesus on a buffet bar of “Religion” that makes Him equal and on par and simply a “choice” for people. Well, you are wrong sir and Darrell Waltrip who was with you at the Prayer Breakfast said it best when he said:

“If you don’t know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior…you are going to hell…good guys go to hell.”

darrell-waltrip

And that’s the whole truth, nothing but the truth, so help us God (Yahweh).

Today’s TMT: 

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I continue to be astounded at what people today are “preaching” as the gospel/good news.

People say:

  • “God has a wonderful plan for your life.”
  • “Come to Jesus and He’ll fill that hole in your life.”
  • “Ask Jesus in your heart and you’ll know total happiness.”

Folks, these statements sound real nice and we might use them to woo people to Christ, but please…please…let’s be honest with people. Coming to Christ WILL mean persecution and it WILL mean sacrifice. Jesus did not come to make us HAPPY, He came to make us HOLY.

Now think about it…

  • Why do 9 out of 10 children raised in Christian homes leave the Church?
  • Why do so many professing Christians show so little evidence for their faith?
  • Why are so many falling away?

I’ll tell you why. When the rubber hits the road and hard times come to the “Christian,” since they’ve been told life will be a bed of roses after coming to Christ…then they get disillusioned and walk away. They felt they were sold a…

They feel they’ve been misled and misinformed. Well…they would be right in feeling this way! We haven’t told them the truth.

You see, in our churches today we’ve become very quick to try to win people to Christ with a message of cheap grace, God’s love and His all-encompassing mercy. Yet, we are slow to describe the implications of sin. We never speak of God’s holiness, judgment or wrath. We feel we must give a “softer and gentler” gospel, otherwise they won’t come.

So how’s this working out? What’s happening? We are producing un-regenerated people. We are producing people who have never met the Savior. They have been drawn to Christ with a message of “it’s okay to be you…come as you are…stay as you are…everything is going to be okay now…” All we have done is prettied up a person who is dead and decaying from sin. We’ve fixed up the outside, but done nothing with the inside.

I’m reading a book by Ray Comfort titled, “God Has a Wonderful Plan For Your Life-The Myth of the Modern Message.”

It’s excellent. In the book he describes what he calls “The Happiness Dilemma.”

People are not given the message of sin, righteousness, and judgment with the command to repent and flee from the wrath to come. Instead, they are told that Jesus is the answer to their alcohol, drug, marriage, personal, or financial problems, and that He is the one who can fill the God-shaped hole in their lives. Many, therefore, come only to have their problems solved. However, if they do not repent of their sin (because they haven’t been told to), they will have a false conversion (see Mark 4:16-17) and they will not become new creatures in Christ. Though they may call Jesus “Lord,” they will continue to “practice lawlessness” (see Matthew 7:23). Consequently, they will bring their sins and their problem into the local church, which has the following unfortunate effects:

  • Wearing out the pastors. Instead of being able to give themselves fully to feeding the flock of God in the capacity of shepherds, pastors find themselves forever counseling those who are only hearers of the Word and not doers.
  • Tying up the laborers (who are already few in number) by having them spend their precious time propping people up, when what these “problem” people really need is repentance.
  • Hindering the furtherance of the gospel. Probably one of the biggest stumbling blocks for the unbelievers is what they see as rampant hypocrisy within the Church.

Amen Brother! Amen Brother!! Can I say that again? Amen Brother!!!

Comfort goes on to say…

Let me repeat: Because of the erroneous belief that the chief end of the gospel is man’s happiness on earth rather than righteousness, many fail to see it’s God-given intention. They think the gospel is only for those who lack money, those who are broken-hearted by life’s difficulties, those who are the problem people in society. The belief is further perpetuated through popular worship choruses that have splendid melodies, but carry this message: “Heartaches, broken people, ruined lives are why You died on Calvary.” How often do we therefore neglect to share the gospel with those whose lives are going well, because we know they won’t be interested in the “wonderful plan” message? We may wait for a crisis to come their way–and in fact, secretly hope that it does–so their “heartaches” will then make them receptive to our offer of a better life.

Oh…there is much more to write about on this subject…but, long blog posts are seldom read… So, I’ll have part two later. For now…

Let’s stop lying to people about who Jesus is. He is the Savior of the world. He’s not a cosmic vending machine to make us happy. He’s not in the insurance business just to keep us out of Hell. He’s in the Lordship business. He said in Mark 8:34-35:

34 And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.

Now that’s the truth!!

 

 

 

 

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Katy has just blogged about her experience of being asked to be Josh’s wife and helper. It’s a powerful testimony of what “saving yourself” looks like and it lets young ladies know that they can “save” themselves for their future (God-chosen) mate.

No, ladies…you don’t have to “find Mr. Right,” God already knows who he is and God will bring the revelation of who that young man is to you. He’s not hiding under a bush and you don’t have to help God do His job of orchestrating providence in your life. Trust Him. Wait on Him. Don’t put yourself on a meat market and give pieces of yourself, your heart, your emotions and even your virginity to someone else. Trust…wait…rest in Him.

Here’s Katy’s story…

“The Day I said, “YES”

By the way, speaking of writing. I must tell you that when I was in Mexico/TX 3 weeks ago, the Lord has pierced my heart about the plight of my lost family members and friends. After I got home, I penned the letter below.

Why a letter? Because it’s hard to talk to some people about faith in Christ. They stop you and give all kinds of excuses and you can never get to the heart of the matter. However, with a letter, you have their full attention. So, I’ve now sent this letter out to three family members that I’ve very concerned about spiritually. I’m convinced they are lost and would go to Hell if they die. You read it and see what you think and if you like any part of it and if the Holy Spirit prompts you (and I’m praying He will), please copy it and send a letter to your family, friends or neighbors.

THE LETTER…

Date:________

Dear ________:

I know the Lord has put you on my heart. I have felt led to write you a letter and share the greatest news of all time.

I was to a large part raised in church. But, I strayed from the church and from the Lord. I prayed as a boy to receive Jesus Christ in my life and I kind of checked that off my list of things to do and moved on with life. Life for me was making money and having a good time for many years (even my early years of marriage with Pam). But, I’ve made good many and experienced many things in this life and there is certainly no lasting joy in that. All the new things get old and I look in the mirror and see that I’m getting old too.

I have lived a good life, but I know one day this life will end. I will die and so will you. When I was in Mexico last week I saw all kinds of poverty. I’ve seen even worse in China and Ethiopia. But, worse than the poverty is the condition of the heart of mankind. I have learned that I can try to help a man and give him food or clothes or even try to provide shelter, but in the end, we are all going to die. Then what?

That’s the question of this life in a nutshell. Why are we here? Who put us here? What’s it all for? If life is simply about the accumulation of things and pursuing comfort and pleasure as we seek retirement, then that seems pretty empty to me. But, if we die and just go into the ground and there is nothing after that…then, so be it. Let’s get all we can out of this life and live it up. But, what if this life is not the end? What if there is more? What if there is a life after death?

You know that I’m a pastor, but before the Lord called me to this work, I worked a job just like everyone else. I busted my rump for many years for companies. I did what the boss-man told me to do. I still work hard today. As hard as I’ve ever worked. But, back to the boss-man. I did what I was told and I abided by the company rules. Doing so brought me a paycheck and promotions and such. There were rewards to the sacrifice of working hard and that’s a good thing. But, beyond that, it’s also the way of God.

I’m convinced we didn’t show up here because of a cosmic boom in space (Big Bang). I’m convinced God created everything. It’s the same as you or me getting home and finding a horse in our den. We know the horse didn’t get there on its on… No…someone had to put it there. The same is true if someone were knocking on your front door. If you went to the door and you saw no one there, you would have to conclude that someone was knocking on it and then left before you got to the door. A door doesn’t just “knock itself.” The same is true of the universe. I look around and I see people…birds, trees…streams…oceans…stars…sun…etc. I know that just as sure as a horse doesn’t just show up in people’s dens out of thin air, neither does all of this. I think of the intricacies of the human eye and the human ear and I’m convinced the eye and the ear are products of an infinite, all powerful God.

It’s sort of like…He’s the boss. He is the Creator of the universe and all things and us. He designed and made mankind in a perfect place called the Garden of Eden and He gave mankind a choice. We could choose what we wanted to choose. Adam and Eve sinned. They had free will to choose and they chose to go against God’s design. And so every person born is born sinful. You don’t have to teach a child how to be bad; you have to teach them how to be good. A child is born sinful and has to be taught right and wrong. Where does this come from? A sense of right and wrong comes from God. Why? Because we are created in His image. This image is not in appearance…but in spirit. We are created with a spirit that will live forever…just like God’s. When we die, our bodies are buried and placed in the ground, but our spirit lives on. This is being made in the “image of God.”

We are also born with a sense of justice and fairness. Again, coming from a Creator. Evolution could never design these things into a person. Take a toy away from a three-year old child and say “Mine.” That child will pitch a fit, because he knows that toy is “his.” You don’t have to teach this. The child is born with a sense of fairness and justice, right and wrong. All are products of God.

So, as I’ve lived through life (more than half of it is likely gone), I’ve realized that death will come. And if there is a God…then he is the owner, he is the boss and so I must abide by his rules. Just as I abided by Broyhill Furniture’s rules, Ithaca Industries rules and William Church and Woody Buchanan’s rules at The Hardwood Company to be successful, I must do the same to the ultimate boss…the master of all…God.

What are His rules? To be perfect so that we may come to him. Well, that’s impossible. Adam and Eve blew that in the Garden of Eden, right? Yes, that’s right. So, we have a problem. We have a holy and righteous boss and master and the only way to get promoted to heaven and live with him is by being able to come before a perfect God. That’s impossible. Why? Because we are born sinful. We are sinners and we can’t come before a holy God in this manner. God knew this so He sent a sacrifice to make the payment for us. His son, Jesus Christ. That’s the familiar verse John 3:16,

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

The only way to please the boss is to come to him on his terms and that’s to be right before him. The only way to be right before him is if someone perfect paid our price.

A few months ago I was at a restaurant and I asked the waitress for the bill. She said, “It’s been taken care of.” I said, “Oh wow! By who?” She said, “They didn’t want me to tell.” Well, I looked around the restaurant and I made I contact with an old friend of mine. He looked away real quickly and I could tell he had paid my bill. I walked over to his table and thanked him. He said, “What are you talking about?” I smiled and patted him on the back and said, “Thanks!” He smiled and said, “You’re welcome.” That was so nice. I didn’t deserve it and hadn’t earned it…but that man paid my bill.

That’s what Jesus Christ did. He came to this earth to pay our sin-bill, our debt. He didn’t it whether we like it or not. It’s already been paid. The key is that we must receive Him (Jesus) in order to satisfy the boss…the master. Why? Because that’s his rules. There are many things that we abide by in this life (rules) whether we like them or not. We do so in our jobs in order to please a boss or company and get a pay check. We abide by traffic laws so we won’t get tickets. We do what a coach tells us so we’ll get playing time and not ride the bench. All of this is of God.

This passage from the Bible struck my heart about you.

Because we understand our fearful responsibility to the Lord, we work hard to persuade others. 2 Corinthians 5:11

And that is honestly what I’m trying to do. I’m trying to persuade you to give your life to Jesus Christ. Why? Because his father is the boss and these are his requirements. Just like the time you are required to work by your boss to get a paycheck.

Later in that same chapter, the Bible says:

15 He (Jesus) died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them…. 17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 18 And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. 19 For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. 20 So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” 21 For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:15, 17-21

I’m making a plea on behalf of Jesus Christ. Come back to God.

Now as you read this you might think, “Who does he think he is judging me…telling me to come back to God. He doesn’t know my heart.” That is all true. I don’t. But, Jesus said, “You will know them by the fruit they bear.” People can tell that I’m a Carolina fan. That don’t have to be around me long to know that I like Tar Heel basketball. I try to catch as many games on TV as I can. I really like Carolina Basketball. Well, some people like racing or hunting or shopping or fishing or surfing the internet. But, if you are around a person, it won’t take you long to see what they like and ultimately what they love.

I know you have been out of church for a long time. I don’t know the reasons and they really don’t matter. But, I’m not concerned about you going to church as my primary reason for writing you this letter. I’m most concerned about your soul and what will happen when you die. What you will say to the boss, God. That’s what matters. Church attendance is a by-product of our desire to be with other folks that love what we love (Jesus). So, that comes just as sure as turning your faucet handle brings water.

So I am an ambassador for the boss, the King, the Master. And just as I would tell you if you were a co-worker and the company had changed a policy or implemented a new pay plan, and you would appreciate me doing that… I hope you will appreciate the fact that I’m imploring you to consider giving your life to Jesus Christ by repenting of your sins and asking him to come into your life by faith.

Again, you might think, “He’s telling me to repent of my sins. Who is he to tell me that?” Well, it’s like I said before. We are all born sinners. You don’t have to teach a child how to be bad…they come out of the womb hard-wired knowing how to do that. So, this is not a question of judging… I’m a sinner too! This is a question of abiding by the rules of the master. Because the truth is, God is the master of the universe and we are all going to die. Do you know why mankind dies? Sin. That’s why we die. If Adam and Eve had never sinned, we would live forever. But, they did and so we die as well. There is no question about death. It’s 100% guaranteed. The real question is then what? What happens next?

Many people are gambling there is nothing. Many gamble on the fact that they are a good person and somehow, a good and loving God will let them into heaven. The problem is that these are not part of the owner’s operating manual. The operating manual, the Bible, says that:

23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Romans 3:23

The Bible says there is a payment or a penalty for sin…

23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23

The wonderful thing is that even though we were sinners (born that way), Jesus still died for us…

8 But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. Romans 5:8

And this is the critical thing that we must get right…

9 If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved. Romans 10:9-10

And the most wonderful thing is this…

13 For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:13

Believing is more than just saying, “I believe.” It means placing your trust in Jesus. It’s like seeing a chair. You can say all day long, “I believe that chair will hold me up if I sit down on it.” But, it’s not really belief until you surrender the weight of your body to the four legs of the chair and place all your faith in the chair to hold you up. It’s not till you sit in the chair that someone can know that you truly believe the chair will hold you up. Faith requires belief and then action to demonstrate that you sincerely believe. A lot of so-called “Christians,” the hypocrites of this world do not demonstrate they are truly believers, so please don’t pay attention to these people. They are not working for the master…but for themselves. They may be church-goers, but they are not part of the kingdom of God.

I write this letter to you in love and with tears because I love you! Pam loves you! We want you to know Jesus. We want you to go to heaven. We want you to escape Hell. We want you to truly know peace in your life. Yes, you are doing well. You have done well in this life. Yes, if the Lord lets us live we might see 90 or 100 years on this earth if we are really blessed, but then what? If you stand before the boss, the judge, the master…what will you say? When he asks, “Why should I let you into my kingdom,” the only right answer is:

I did what you asked. I received your Son. I repented of my sins and I gave my life to him.

Any other answer is wrong. You can’t be good enough to pay your sin debt. Neither can I. If we could be good enough to get to heaven, then Jesus died for no reason. He’s the only way. In fact Jesus said:

6 “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. John 14:6

Jesus is it! He’s the way. No other way works. All the other religions are counterfeits to the truth of Christ. Jesus is alive. He is the only religious leader who ever conquered death. How do I know he is alive? Simple. Today’s date. As I write this letter it’s June 25, 2012. It’s been exactly 2012 since Jesus’ birth. We keep time by this man. We wouldn’t be keeping time by a lying, dead man. Jesus is as alive as today’s date. The world keeps time by this man…the God-man…Jesus Christ. So, just as with Adam and Eve, the choice is ours.

So, I share with you my heart and all my love because I love you dearly! I want you to know Jesus and to know that your payment for sin has been made and received, but you will have to choose him. If you do…sincerely and genuinely then you will be changed. You will know a fullness of life that you’ve never known. Why? Because you will be doing what the boss says and there is great reward in doing what the owner says.

I want you to know that I’m here for you. You are dearly loved!! You are respected, admired and cherished! I implore you to call on the name of the Jesus. Pray and invite him by faith into your life. I would count it a great honor and privilege to talk with you about any questions you have and to help you in any way. My cell number is _______. Home number is ________.

I love you!

Kevin

I received this response back from one of my family members and it’s all I can hope and pray for at this point…

…thank you so much for keeping me in your thoughts, and prayers. I have been thinking a lot about the letter you wrote, and have actually read it several times. Everything that you said is so completely true, and it really made me consider many things in a whole new light. Thank you. Tell Pam and the kids I said hello, I love you.

I’ll continue to pray. Maybe you might consider writing a letter. Blessings on you day…

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“I scared, Daddy.”

Those were the words that I faintly heard Tuesday night spoken to me from the hallway of my home from Andrew, my six-year-old son.

Isn’t he a cutie? Well, back to the story. He whispered from the hall, “I scared, Daddy.” We had just put him and Clara to bed and I said, “Son, it’s alright. Go on back to bed.” He said, “No Daddy, I afraid.” So, I reluctantly got up to check on him. Truth is, this was not like Andrew. When you put him to bed, that’s it. He’s “out like a light” and asleep in about 2 minutes, no joke.

When I reached him in the hallway he said, “Come here Daddy.” He motioned me to follow him and he went to his room and sat on his bed. I said, “What’s wrong son? What are you afraid of?” I must tell you that we were sitting in the dark except for a night light…so the light was dim. However, as I leaned toward Andrew to hug him, I could tell he was sweating.

“Daddy, I need to be good for my family and God.”

“What? I don’t understand son.”

“I need to be good for my family and God, Daddy.”

“What does that mean, honey?”

He said, “I want to be good for my family and God and go to heaven.”

“Oh, I see.”

“I scared, Daddy. I can’t sleep. Will you help me? I want to pray?”

“What do you want to pray about, son?”

“I want to be saved.”

“You want to ask Jesus to come into your life?”

“Yes.”

“Why don’t we wait a couple of days and let you think about it some more.”

“No, Daddy. It got to be now. I scared.”

By this time I had rested my head against Andrew’s head and I could feel his sweat on my head. I said:

“Ok, son. Do you want to pray and ask Jesus into your life?”

“Yes, Daddy. Will you help me?”

I shared with Andrew for several minutes. We’ve talked about salvation many, many times. He knows the facts. He answered all the questions right:

Who is Jesus?

Answer: God’s Son

What did Jesus do for us?

Answer: Died for our sins

Are you a sinner?

Answer: Yes

What is sin?

Answer: Doing bad things. Being mean to Kandace and Clara. (I smiled when he said this. He was so intent. It was amazing. The look on his face in that dimly lit room is something I’ll never forget.)

Where is Jesus now?

Answer: In heaven

I asked Andrew again, “Are you sure you don’t want to wait and talk about this tomorrow. It’s late.”

“No Daddy. I want to be saved.”

I said, “Let me go get Mommy and bring her back here too.”

“No Daddy. Just you. I’ll tell her in the morning.”

Andrew said, “Oh…Daddy…I can’t be baptized till I get out of my wheelchair.”

Andrew is going to have surgery on his feet (he was born club-footed) on March 8th. He will be in casts for at least 6-weeks and use a wheelchair to get around. I tell you this to say, “The boy has been thinking.”

I said, “Andrew, you wouldn’t have to wait to be baptized till then. We could baptize you before your surgery.” He said, “Really?!” I said, “Sure!” He was smiling ear to ear. He said, “Dad, I ready to pray.”

I said, “Ok. You call on the name of the Lord. You ask Jesus in your heart.”

So he began, “Dear God, I sorry for my being bad. I need to be good for my family. I want to do right and go to heaven. Help me. I will be good for you from now on. I sorry, God.”

He looked at me and smiled. I said, “That’s good son, but you have to call on the name of Jesus. You have to ask Him into your life.” He said, “Oh, ok. I sorry.” I said, “No problem.” He said, “I pray again.”

“Dear Jesus I want you. Come inside of me. I let you. I be good for you. I be baptized for you. Amen.”

I said, “Well, let’s go tell your mom.” He said, “Dad, I tired. I go to sleep now. I tell them in the morning.” I said, “Ok, son…that’s fine.” He reached up and kissed me on the cheek and curled up under his covers and said, “Thank you Daddy. I not scared anymore.”

Isn’t that the sweetest thing?

You might ask, “Kevin, are you sure he is old enough to do this? Are you sure he understands everything.” My answer is “we’ll see.” Andrew has simply made a profession of faith in Christ. He has shown a desire for Christ and he has called on Jesus’ name. He confessed his sin and he confessed with his mouth to us and folks at church on Wednesday night and his grandparents. So, Scripturally, he’s done what the Bible says a person has to do to be saved/become a Christian.

On Wednesday morning Andrew was absolutely giddy! He was up about an hour earlier than he normally gets up and he said, “Dad, I so happy! I saved!” I said, “Yes, son you did what the Bible says to be saved and we will keep on working to teach and train you.”

I’m humbled by all that transpired with my boy on Tuesday and it’s only because the Lord God allowed His Son to come and pay Andrew’s sin debt that my boy could be saved. It’s surreal. I will say this as well. I’ve been fasting once per week for the salvation of all my children. For almost 11 years I’ve fasted and prayed every week for the salvation of my children and their future spouses. Now this appears to be complete. Why do I say “appears?” Because I want you to take a look at this picture, again.

I posted this picture a couple of weeks ago when we baptized 14 people. Notice the older ones. There are eight of them. All baptized for the second time. We’ll see about Andrew. But, at this point, we’re going with where he’s at with this and I feel comfortable in that. I’m reminded of how little Kandace was when she was saved…

Here’s Clara’s baptism picture…

I’m very blessed and I praise the Lord Jesus for His favor and blessing on my family. I’m humbled, indeed.

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When I say, “Dunked.” Were you thinking of this?

Well, I like that picture…no question about that. But, it’s not what I had in mind. I like this one better!

This is Madilyn Dowell.

And the end result…

Guess what? I had the privilege of doing this 14 times this past Sunday! Yep…I said, 14 times! Isn’t that amazing? Take a look…

Over and over again, for one solid hour, we baptized! You say, “Are you only baptizing once per year or something?” Nope. We baptize when we need to. We baptized 29 last year over a period of six baptisms and this is our first this year.

Take a look at our “Prayer Chapel,” which was our sanctuary for about 131 of our 137 year existence. Can you say, “Packed out?”

The excitement beforehand was amazing! Here’s me with Carson Edmiston…

What a joy!

Check out the smiles on the faces of the folks watching…

We had ’em sitting in the old choir lofts. To put this in perspective. We had 421 folks in the service on Sunday and about 250 came over to the Prayer Chapel and didn’t get out until after 1 pm just to support and encourage these folks being baptized… Awesome!!

Here’s a great shot of me and Erick Langseth (the father), with his son, Elijah. You know there is no place in Scripture that says a “pastor” must baptize someone.

Did you notice in the picture of the entire group (above) that there were several teenagers and adults? Yep. 8 of the 14 were over the age of 15. Do you know why? Because a lot of folks simply have “Hell insurance.” Now there is nothing wrong with this…especially as children. This is all they know. They simply don’t want to go to Hell.

So, before the baptism, I pointed out to the children to look at the teenagers (who had all made professions of faith as children themselves, and had all been baptized before)… I said, “Children, as you grow…remember that you must determine and decide to follow Jesus every day. You must make up your mind that when middle school and high school comes, that you are still going to follow Jesus.”

I believe the “rubber really doesn’t hit the road” in the life of someone spiritually until they are tested to see if their conversion was true. I’ve written about it in my book, as well, that we don’t have a 90% failure rate with our children leaving the faith by their 20th birthday. The problem is that the majority of those that “leave the faith” were never truly saved, regenerated, born again in the first place. Is that you?

Do you truly know Jesus Christ, personally…or do you simply know a bunch of facts about him? It’s been said that many people will miss heaven by 18 inches. Why 18 inches? That’s the distance from a person’s head to their heart. You must know more than just facts about Jesus to go to heaven. You must know Him personally and that only happens in the heart.

You see, it’s the facts, the knowledge, the information, which the Holy Spirit of God uses to drive us to the understanding of our lost condition and the need of confession and repentance of our sin and our desperate need for someone to save us from ourselves. That someone is Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who came to this earth to do what you and I can’t do…which is live a perfect life, die, rise again and conquer death, hell and the grave.

Do you know Him? I mean really know Him? I’m not asking if you are a fine of His or if you saw a picture of Him on Facebook, that you’d click, “like.” I’m asking does He have control of your life? Is He in the driver’s seat or are you? Who’s the boss of your life? If He’s not driving…then, chances are you might be living on a false promise. Make certain of your salvation. The Scriptures teach that we are to work out our salvation in fear and trembling. What does this mean? Be scared? Be frightened? Work your way into heaven? No. That’s what all the other “religions” teach. No. All we have to do is trust in Christ. And as we grow in Him, we will grow in the process of being made holy (that’s called sanctification).

I’m really convinced that’s what happened to most of those “adults and young adults” who were baptized Sunday. They may have genuinely been saved at a younger age, but the truth is…each and every one of them told me: “We weren’t living it!” That pretty much sums it up!

Jesus said, “Why do you say that you love me, if you don’t keep my commands?” These young adults are ready to be “salt and light” and live it! Now that’s what I call a “slam dunk!”

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