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Archive for the ‘Children’ Category

It’s been a big week already! I announced Sunday during all three services that the Building Debt has been paid off! Praise the Lord! What an amazing feeling! I had a man call me about three weeks ago and ask me to come by his home. I did and he said, “I feel the Lord is telling me to pay it off.” What a blessing! And that happened last week! We’ll have a “note burning” on Sunday, August 11th.

Honestly, after 13 years and being $3 million dollars in debt…whew!! What a relief to have that over. Are we planning on building anything else and try to get back to one service? Nope! Too expensive! We’re going to maximize what we have. We have room for another 150 each service and that would take us to over 1200 folks (currently we’re averaging around 660 people in total each Sunday). So are we done doing anything? No way!

There is so much to be done. There are so many needs that we’ve put off for years. So, the Leave A Legacy (building fund) will stay open…but, it won’t be paying off debt. Instead, we’ll look to pay for things as we go. We’ve got kitchen equipment that needs replacing, walls that need painting, a new playground (the current one is 30 years old), HVAC units that need purchasing, etc. There is much to be done… So, I hope folks will continue to give. I know my family will be. It’s like in your home…after 13 years…things have to be done, repaired, replaced, etc. The same is true of a church. The way I see it…we’re making eternal investments each week here at MPBC. Truly, eternal deposits are being made weekly in Wilkesboro, NC by way of what we’re doing to equip and strengthen the believers to do the works of ministry…the Great Commission.

It’s amazing, really…12 years ago (after we had been in the building for just over a year), our Treasurer told us that we had to raid the General Fund to pay the Building payment. We had $12 left in the General checking account. Oh my! We were down to about 275 people and things were looking scary to say the least. Yet, the Lord showed favor on us and we were able to see His hand and last Sunday we worshipped in a building…DEBT FREE! I can’t tell you what a relief and a joy this is!

I officiated two marriages this past weekend. Dylan and Noel Henderson were the first couple. I love weddings!

Isn’t that wonderful! You got to love those smiles!

I love my family!

Can you tell Evie likes to eat!

She’s shoveling in that cake!

Then it was another wedding on Saturday. This time it was Keith and Barbara Huffman.

I’m grateful to perform these ceremonies… Everyone knows I don’t do them unless we sit down and counsel…(and that keeps some from asking me)…but, at the end of the day…I’ve got to be accountable to the Lord for marrying folks.

As I speak, we’re having Vacation Bible School this week. We’ve had the most kids ever! They are having a blast learning about Jesus!

We’re praying the Lord will touch these wonderful children’s lives and that we can sow seeds of faith in Jesus. I’m so grateful for our church and the tons of volunteers it takes to pull this off. And WE’RE NOT DONE! We’ve hosting a Community Independence Celebration this Saturday night. We’re expecting 1,000+ people. (Honestly there’s no way to know for sure how many we’ll have, because this is the first one we’ve ever done.) But, this is a legitimate fireworks display like you’d see at a minor league baseball game or Carowinds. It’s going to be amazing! We’re staring at 4 pm and end at 9:30 pm after the fireworks. This will take place on our sports field and we’ll have multiple food vendors, games, inflatables, and live music! I’ll be sharing the Gospel around 8:30 pm…so, pray for me, please!

Yes, it’s been a Big Week and there’s more to come. We’ll be baptizing 7 people on Sunday! And guess what…I’m going to be worn out! But, it will be a good tired and I’m hoping to take my foot off the gas just a little next week. We’ll not be having mid-week services on July 3rd to let our people rest. They will have earned it after this Big Week!

Here’s this week’s Two-Minute Tuesday. It’s about the power of the government and future Supreme Court rulings! I ask and seek to answer the question: “Can the Government Tell Us What to Believe?” Take a look here:

https://www.mpbc.church/media/?sapurl=Lys3ZWViL2xiL21pLytxa2h0ZnF0P2JyYW5kaW5nPXRydWUmZW1iZWQ9dHJ1ZQ==

Little did I know that on Tuesday this would be coming out of California…as reported by World at http://www.world.wng.org.

The California State Assembly passed a resolution on Monday calling on religious leaders and others with “moral influence” to affirm homosexuality and transgenderism. The resolution asks counselors, pastors, churches, educators, schools, legislators, and others to avoid supporting traditional and Biblical views of sexuality, which the measure claims can cause suicide and depression. The text of the resolution includes philosophical statements about the nature of human sexuality and a broad condemnation of so-called “conversion therapy,” which it says “has been rejected as ineffective, unethical, and harmful.”

More than two dozen doctors, counselors, activists, and other Christian leaders signed a letter condemning the resolution, which they said violates religious freedom. “Religious leaders have the constitutionally protected right to teach religious doctrine in accordance with their faith, and politicians have no right to tell clergy what is moral, dictate the content of their sermons, or instruct them in religious counseling,” they wrote.

Democratic Assemblyman Evan Low introduced the resolution earlier this month after pulling his controversial bill last year that would have banned any attempt to change sexual orientation—even when a person has unwanted same-sex attraction. As a resolution, ACR 99 does not have the force of law. It will now go to the state Senate for a vote.

I’m not even sure what to say to that. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, but I am. I read this line in that first paragraph twice:

The resolution asks counselors, pastors, churches, educators, schools, legislators, and others to avoid supporting traditional and Biblical views of sexuality…

Wow! I’m still shaking my head. I could never do that. Ever.

“And ever man did that which was right in his own eyes.” Judges 17:6

The Bible is our guide and it is God’s Word, period! To reject it is to reject truth. Those who do so will suffer the consequences of ruined lives. Lord have mercy on us all.

Kevin

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What are the important things in your life? I’m sure many things come to mind: salvation, family, church, your job, your home, etc. I’m thankful for so many things. Truly, this past weekend I was reminded of how grateful I am for my family. This past Friday I was able to go with my family to Tweetsie! I love that place!

Thomas the Tank Engine was there!

Can you tell I love my wife!!! I’m so grateful for her! She puts up a lot with me! I work a lot of hours and she is an amazing lady!

She out these two cuties!

It was Milly’s first trip…but, she slept through most of it! 🙂

Of course you have to get some Dippin’ Dots…

Clara loves Dippin’ Dots!!!

Andrew and Evie!

I had to laugh…

Clara’s legs are so long that she really didn’t need the steps. She was giving me the evil eye because I was laughing so hard!

Charlotte and I rode the chairlift together…

The kids love the petting zoo…

Evie is a hoot! She feeds the goats one kernel at a time…

I’m too old to ride those spinning rides any longer…because my head would be spinning for hours afterwards! 🙂

It was a great day! Truly it’s one of the best days I’ve had in a long time! It’s nice to get away for a few hours and just be Daddy and Papa! I’m reminded of the need of rest from the work from time to time.

The weekend continued with Father’s Day! I’m grateful for my sister, Kim who snapped this shot…

We had a Father’s Day meal at my Mom and Dad’s Saturday night. See that man in the middle…David Brown. I love that man with all my heart! He’s the best dad in the world. I mean that! He’s the most kind, generous, giving man I’ve ever known. I’ll never be half the man he is…but, I’m grateful to seek to follow in his footsteps. I love you Pop!

We played basketball and had a great time! And just enjoyed chatting!

Kim enjoyed holding Milly! (Can you tell that Milly is a loved, little girl!)

Can you tell I love my newest granddaughter…

She was absolutely knocked out when I was holding her. They wanted me to wake her up…but, I couldn’t do it! 🙂

Sunday was wonderful at church… In that it was Father’s Day…we ended up with prayer at the altar! Dads were praying over their family!

 

That was such a sweet time! I said this on Facebook!

“Dads, yesterday was Father’s Day, and we gathered at the altar to recommit ourselves to be like Noah, who: “built an ark to save his household…” Hebrews 11:7. So, how will this week look different from last week in being intentional to see that we are leading our families to our ark, Jesus Christ? This will take time, effort, and commitment. If we put in much concerted effort into leading our children to discover the power and presence of Jesus in their lives. If we do…then, we can proclaim: “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth” 3 John 4. And that’s better than anything they might ever do monetarily, athletically or academically. So, let’s pull out that Bible tonight and do this!”

If you know me…you know how much I love reaching out to the men! Sunday was just that! As you look at those two pictures from our services on Sunday, you’ll see youth and children. I had a lady send this to me and the other pastors (Pastor Brad and Pastor Dale) this past weekend, and it blessed my heart.

Hello All!
You may have seen this, but it’s worth a reread. I feel like it mimics the sentiments of our church for all families, but particularly those with younger kids.

Take your kids to church.
Make the effort. Wake them up early. Fool with the belts and the buckles and the fancy hair bows. Endure the sleepy, grumpy faces and the misplaced shoes. Run around like mad people gathering everybody’s everything and trying to get out the door on time. Hop to the car with a shoe in one hand and keys in the other. Give those babies a pop-tart and some milk and let ‘em eat it in the car. If its raining, get wet. If its cold, get a jacket. If you’re tired, go tired. But take those babies to church. You know why?

Because JESUS is there.

He’s there. And He’ll meet them there. And you too, parents.
He’ll be there in the sweet smile of their Sunday School teacher as she greets them into their room. He’ll be there in the goldfish and the apple juice and the filling of their little bellies and hearts. He’ll be there in the hug from a sweet friend and the encouraging smile that assures you that they “just barely made it” too. He’ll be there in the sacred words read from the Bible speaking truth to their little impressionable hearts. He’ll be there in the worship and the raised hands and the watery eyes and whispers of praise.

So take them. Carry all of their Bibles and drawings and toilet paper tube creations. Sit by them in worship. Open your Bible and open theirs. Show them how to find the scripture the pastor is preaching from. Show them how to worship. Explain to them why He’s worthy of worship. Let them see you laugh and cry and praise and study. Forgive their wiggles and paper rustles and know that they’re listening even when it seems like they aren’t. Ask them questions and answer the ones they ask you. Introduce them to Jesus. Tell them of His greatness – his power – his faithfulness. Tell them with your words and show them with your life. Tell them what he’s done for you and how you’ve been changed by His grace and forgiveness and goodness and love. Tell them how they can be too. Point them to Jesus. Over and over and over again.

Take your kids to church. They’ll love it there. It’s the only place where they can go and just be themselves. They don’t have to “be” good enough or smart enough or athletic enough. They don’t have to perform for approval or achievement. They just get to go and hear how much God loves them. Just because they’re them. Just because He created them, they’re valued. Wanted. Their worth isn’t based on the grades they make or their ability to throw a curveball. Its not dependent on their performance or skill level. And they need a little more of that, don’t you think? A little more grace and a little less pressure. A little more love and a few less demands.

Take them to church. Before you take them to the ballfield or the dance studio or the gym. Before you take them on vacation or to grandma’s or to the backyard to play. Take them to church. Let them know its a priority. Show them it has eternal value. Let them see you set aside schedules and extra curricular activities and work and busy-ness to be present with the Lord in His house. I promise you won’t regret it. I promise you it won’t return back void.
Take them to church.

I promise it’s worth it.

“But Jesus said, ‘Let the children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”
Matthew 19:14A

All I can say is: “Amen and amen!”

Kandace and Clark had has down to their house for dessert Monday night. It’s hard to believe that she’s married and she and Clark have their own house!

My loves holding Milly! Doesn’t Katy look great! She’s an awesome mom, wife and Christian example of a lady! Pop is the patriarch and rock of the family!

Kandace decorated so nicely…and Charlotte and Evie…

It was a fantastic weekend! I’m grateful!

This week’s Two Minute Tuesday asks: “Do You Love Your Spouse?” Take a look and see what you think…

http://link.mpbc.church/TMT6-18

Kevin

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6:40 pm

That’s a new time that will be etched in my mind forever. That’s the time that this young lady came into the world.

That’s Amelia Robin Issacs. She weighed in at 7 pounds and 9 ounces and 18 1/2 inches long. She weighed exactly what Charlotte, her older sister (and the first Isaacs’ child). Obviously with the time of 6:40 pm for her birth, I had to make the decision to miss our Wednesday night church service. Yet, I know folks understand that the birth of a granddaughter doesn’t happen every day. 🙂

I am reminded yet again, about the miracle of birth. Thank you Lord for your goodness to us! Here’s a picture of big sisters and daddy with Milly (that’s what we’re calling her).

I think Charlotte is smitten, don’t you?

What a joy and blessing! I’m humbled at the Lord’s kindness and goodness to our family! I never cease to be amazed at His mercy and faithfulness to us! Thank you Lord! Praise God from whom all blessings flow! To say we are tickled pink would be an understatement.

Here’s this week’s Two-Minute Tuesday on Forgiveness. This is an important one! Forgiveness must be the norm for the Christian, or we’ll become bitter and unproductive for the Kingdom. Take a look:

http://link.mpbc.church/TMT5-28

Kevin

 

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“I’m blown away!”

No, that’s not accurate.

“I’m mortified!”

No, that’s not strong enough either.

Truly, it’s inconceivable to me to try to even begin to explain what I’m feeling. I’m truly horrified about what I saw happen yesterday in the United States Senate.

Yesterday, Senate Democrats defeated a Republican attempt to advance legislation that would clarify that babies who survive botched abortions must receive medical care. The Bill was introduced by Senator Ben Sasse…

 Thank you Senator!

Okay, back to the legislation and to a part of a sentence that you just read above…

…that babies who survive botched abortions must receive medical care.

Wait a minute! 44 senators voted NO on that! Are you serious! Unfortunately, it’s true! The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act was defeated in the Senate 53-44. The legislation fell short of the 60 votes it needed to advance forward in the Senate. Democrats Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, and Doug Jones of Alabama joined all Republicans present in voting in favor. Republicans Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Tim Scott of South Carolina, and Kevin Cramer of North Dakota did not vote. Scott and Cramer reportedly missed the vote because of flight delays.

The bill, introduced by Senator Sasse would have required any healthcare practitioner present to seek to “preserve the life and health of the child,” including transporting the baby immediately to a hospital if it survived an abortion. It also would have introduced criminal penalties for abortionists who fail to provide care to newborns who survived abortion.

You see, this man, Kermit Gosnell, an abortion doctor in Philadelphia did not provide care for babies born and alive from his botched abortions, but instead, he killed them by cutting their spine at the base of their neck.

Gosnell is in prison for “Life +30,” without parole. Let me recommend the movie: Gosnell to you.

I’m sure you’ve heard nothing about it either. It was released last fall and Hollywood hated it and the media never gave it look. It chronicles the heinous actions of Gosnell who stored babies feet in jars in a cabinet in his clinic. A man who stored dead babies in Minute-Maid orange juice jugs in a refrigerator and in plastic bags throughout the building. Watch it if you have a strong stomach and don’t watch it with kids under the age of 13 or so. It would be too much for them. I found myself covering my mouth with my hand several times.

Perhaps you haven’t heard about this either. Earlier this month, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash.,

rejected a motion to pass the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act via unanimous consent, a procedure which a sole senator can stop. Murray objected because, she said, the bill was unnecessary as the U.S. already has laws against infanticide.

Senator Murray described the bill as: “Clearly anti-doctor, anti-woman, and anti-family.” Seriously, a bill that would have protected the sanctity of the life of a baby born is described as anti-family!!!

I’ll say it again: “That’s garbage!”

Senator Murray says: “It has no place becoming law. Its proponents claim it would make something illegal that is already illegal.” She also said that the law would, “Do nothing except help Republicans advance their goal of denying women their constitutionally-protected rights.”

Senator Murray, what do you really want? You are not being honest! You see, as Dr. Al Mohler said on his “Briefing” this morning:

“There are at least three different directions of argument incompatible with one another in her statement. Does it happen, or does it not? If it does happen, is it meaningful or not? Is it a matter of the fact that this would deny women their constitutionally-protected rights? Then if it doesn’t happen, how would that be possible? If it is making something illegal that is already illegal then why would you oppose it, if it doesn’t exist anyway?

The pro-abortion movement is actually becoming an extended satire on Alice in Wonderland. Words don’t matter. Arguments are thrown at the air. It is simply a matter of making every desperate argument against a pro-life bill imaginable. Even in this case when we’re not talking about pre-natal life, we’re not talking about human life in the womb, we’re talking about a baby that has unquestionably been born alive, even in the context of a botched abortion.”

Dr. Mohler went on to say:

“So this is where we stand in America today. The context of the 2020 race for the Democratic presidential nomination, and the general leftward lurch of the Democratic party is now represented in an even more radical support for the abortion rights movement, and even more radical arguments coming from that very movement. And of course, not only do ideas have consequences, not only do elections have consequences, but legislation will have consequences. There will be consequences to the fact that this legislation did not pass.

But Christians should note this event very, very closely. We should consider the ramifications very, very gravely. Because if nothing else, the developments over the last few days, even the last 24 hours in the United States, show us just how far the culture of death is advancing by the hour. Not just by the decade or the generation, but by the day, by the week, and yes, even by the hour, right now in the United States of America.

From time to time legislation by virtue of the fact that it passes or fails to pass offers something of a diagnostic test of the moral condition of the United States, its people and its culture. Something like a moral MRI or a moral CAT scan. The scan revealed yesterday is chilling. The news is tragic. If you look honestly at this scan, what you see is the culture of death staring back at us ominously.”

Let’s be clear. What Senator Murray and those on the progressive left in this country want is to make abortion legal ALL THE TIME…at any time, in any situation, iron-clad, with no repercussions or consequences for a botched procedure…even if that means a baby dies! She doesn’t care about the life of a baby. She cares about getting money from Planned Parenthood in her re-election campaign. That’s the cold-hard-truth! She is a “bought and paid for” Senator by the abortion lobby.

You see, this all started a few weeks ago in Virginia. When Democrat, Virginia Governor, Ralph Northam and Virginia Delegate Kathy Tran, also a Democrat, said that they supported a state bill that appeared to allow abortion at the time of birth. Tran later said she misspoke about when abortion would be permitted and Northam’s office later released a statement saying that the governor’s comments were mischaracterized and had been intended to address cases in which babies wouldn’t survive birth because of deformity or another health issue.

Let me repeat! “That’s garbage!” They, too, are “bought and paid for” by the abortion lobby. The issue with Northam’s and Tran’s comments amounted to a discussion about whether you throw a newborn baby into a trash can.

Folks, there is a climate of death in this country that’s circulating through the Democratic party that’s heinous and evil! Ultimately, Virginia tabled the abortion bill, but other states, including Illinois and Massachusetts, are considering loosening restrictions on third-trimester abortions. Supporters of these looser restrictions say they are meant to address circumstances in which “fetuses” (note, they will not call them “babies”) have severe medical conditions that would cause them not to survive birth, or that would result in short, painful lives.

Come on!!! Are we really supposed to think that it’s normal that there are senators debating whether newborn, living babies deserve medical attention? Are you serious? Have we gotten to the place as a country that we’re okay with a baby born via a botched abortion being left to die on a metal table? I’m telling you…we are no different than the pagans who threw their children to the god, Molech while they played drums to drown out the baby’s screams as they burned in flames.
I’m sickened and I’m disgusted! God have mercy on us as a nation! We are despicable as a people when we will not protect the innocent and stand up for those who can’t speak for themselves.
It’s amazing to me that the same ones who want to stand up for the rights of spotted owls and sea turtles and immigrant children at the border, will not defend the right of a little baby lying on a metal table gasping for life. The hypocrisy is so blatant and so obvious! But, when you are dealing with evil, nothing makes sense. It’s not about someone else. It’s about you! It’s about what you want! It’s the height of selfishness and pride. And that selfishness and pride comes from Satan himself.
Yes, I’m absolutely mortified that this country could have leaders that have so “dug in their heels” politically that they could be okay with watching a baby die on a metal table. You know…maybe that’s what they need to see. Maybe they need to watch a baby left to gasp on a table until it takes its last breath. Could they stand idly by and watch that happen and do nothing? I bet they wouldn’t do that to a sea turtle or a beached whale or even an injured dog on the side of the road. But, if they could do that and turn their heads…well, God help them!
God help us as a people! Have mercy on us, please!
Here’s this week’s Two-Minute Tuesday, “I’d Like to Introduce You to My Newest Granddaughter.” (Note, I say in the video, “…due at the end of March.” I had a “senior moment!” I meant, “…due at the end of May.”
Kevin

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I love to talk. But, you already know that don’t you? I enjoy talking to people and that’s why my kids have always dreaded the “I’ll only be a minute” when I go into a store. They know if I see someone I know that I’ll be in there for…well…who knows! Wink, wink.

Talking is good in that it’s communication. And if you are communicating then you are building relationships. When we stop talking we’ll likely be in trouble. And this is big-time true for our children. They need us talking to them. They want us to talk to them. They may give the impression that they don’t (particularly in their teen years) but that’s just not true. They WANT us to ask them how they are doing because it lets them know we care. And I guess this has been on my brain this week. I did the Two-Minute Tuesday about this topic this week: “Raising Children Who Love Jesus-How To Do It”

http://mpbc.ws/media/?sapurl=Lys3ZWViL2xiL21pLys4cmZtYmNwP2JyYW5kaW5nPXRydWUmZW1iZWQ9dHJ1ZQ==

But, let me be clear. Talking takes time doesn’t it. And let’s be honest mom and dad. It takes effort…especially after a long day. You may be “talked out,” but we have to “save some for home.” I say that to myself all the time:

SAVE SOME FOR HOME KEVIN!!

I love this family!

Look, if I give everything I’ve got to everyone else and leave nothing for the ones I love most, what kind of husband/father am I? I’ll tell you what kind… A selfish one. A man who cares more about what others think about him (and making sure I meet their needs instead of my own family). I’ve struggled with this in my life, I’ll be honest. But, as I’ve gotten older, (and hopefully a bit wiser), I’ve gotten better about this. Truly, my first two kids got the worst end of the deal. I’ve apologize to them many times. By the grace of God and a fantastic mother, they’ve turned out well.

Maybe those of you reading this who have young families can learn from my mistakes. Take time for your family. Take time for your kids and TALK. Talk to them. Spend time with them. Put down the devices and talk. They’ll buck it… Yes…they will NOT want to sit on the sofa and talk as a family…but, this is critical. Turn off the TV…talk. About what? About life. About the weather. About what’s going on in the country, the world. Talk about Jesus. Talk about what’s going on in the world and think about how you can teach and make connections in their minds with the Scripture. Ask questions. Lots of questions. Don’t just lecture. Who likes that? Ask questions that are age appropriate.

Let me give you an example. We had a conversation Tuesday night and I asked Clara and Andrew “If you had a friend hurting or suffering in some way…maybe they’re down or depressed, what would you tell them?” Clara said, “I’d tell them to read Psalms.” I said, “Great!” Then she said, “Proverbs is good too!” Folks, she’s 13, but I truly expect her to know these things because Pam and I’ve trained her to know these things. Truly, these are the things of life that’s more important than Algebra and Athletics. Don’t get me wrong…those things are important, but I’d argue that those things don’t help someone in a dark place of anxiety or depression.

[By the way, this is a side note: I talk to tons and tons of people and I find that there’s a real lack of Bible knowledge. And because of this, folks don’t have anything to fall back on but the stuff of this world… So, it’s social media, maybe alcohol, and illicit relationship… Pain… Suffering… Hurt…]

Talk. Communicate. That shows care, love and concern. Hey…do you have time to do some of this? If you don’t, you’re too busy and you better ratchet it down a bit. You can’t be all things to all people…but, you better be some things to YOUR people.

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

Am I Equipped to Help My Struggling Friend,

http://mpbc.ws/media/?sapurl=Lys3ZWViL2xiL21pLys2cDRmZjJtP2JyYW5kaW5nPXRydWUmZW1iZWQ9dHJ1ZQ==

Weather update: Don’t believe the groundhog. I don’t believe it’s going to turn to Spring early, even though it feels like it this week. I believe we’ll bounce back down to cooler weather over the remainder of the winter…and yes…possibly another “event” at some point. None of this is a guarantee…but, just my impression of what I’m seeing and hearing. The truth is there is a lot of disagreement between the US model versus the European model.

US Model:

See how warm it shows for Feb 15…

Now take a look at the European…much colder…totally different…

Folks, those two models couldn’t be more opposite. So we’ll see if our model wins or the Europeans win. Hint: I’m thinking the Europeans beat us on this one. Just a hunch.

Kevin

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Yes, I’ll admit it… I’m an old dog! And the truth is…I like for things to stay the same (most of the time). I guess as you get older you really like routine. That’s why “change” can be hard. Do you like change? You might not. Honestly, change is harder as you get older…hence the “old dogs” adage.

Yet, I’ve learned that change has to happen if there is to be growth. Think that through. Can you grow and not change? Ask a baby that grows into a toddler. Ask McDonald’s or Wal-Mart. Have they changed through the years? Yes, we have to change to grow, and I want to grow! Therefore, change will be in the offing. Let me give you an example of a recent change for me that wasn’t easy. See this…

Some of you might look at that and think, “What in the world is that?” Well, it’s a Day Planner. I have used it for my entire ministry, (which just flipped into my 14th year a few days ago). Everything…and I mean everything was in that Day Planner. Like what? My schedule of course. My important phone numbers, contacts, and even notes from various meetings and conferences, including goals and areas of improvement. 13+ years of important stuff! Well, I ditched the Day Planner for this:

That’s my calendar on my computer, which is also synced to my phone. Now when I’m out somewhere and someone asks me about meeting or setting up something, I don’t have to say, “Let me get back to my office and get in front of my Day Planner.” No sir! I’ve got it with me then and there…right there on the phone. How about that!!!

Now let me tell you something… It took a ton of time for me to transfer all of that information over from my “handwritten” Day Planner to the digital format. In fact, as I think about it… Hmmm…. I’m guessing it took me somewhere around 6 or 7 hours to do it.

You might also note an icon in the picture above that says, “KEEPER.” See that yellow lock? That’s an APP on my phone that has all of passwords and important contacts in it. (Yes, I know what some of you are thinking… “Kevin, did you have all your passwords written down in your Day Planner? That’s dangerous!!”) Yep, you would be right…it was dangerous, but I had to have them written down somewhere, right? Don’t you have yours written down somewhere? Now they are all safely stored away in my Password Keeper App.

Yes, I needed to change. It wasn’t easy. And there are times I go looking for my Day Planner… But, then I remember…Kevin, you have left that! You are traveling lighter! You are moving forward… And there’s an analogy there, isn’t there? If we are going to grow in our Christian lives…we have to be willing to change. We have to be willing to leave things behind. Things that aren’t necessarily bad…but, things that could be better. Areas where we have grown comfortable and we’re simply not growing.

Of late…we’ve been using this logo around here…

I really do want to pursue Jesus in 2019. I don’t want to stay stuck in a “base camp” that’s safe at the bottom of the mountain sitting in a lounge chair. No sir! I want to go climbing! I want to see all that the Lord Jesus wants me to see and experience in Him! I want to experience the views from heights I’ve never seen! But, you know what? If I want to do all of that…then I’ve got to climb and that means I’ve got to change! I’ve got to be willing to leave “comfortable” to experience places in my life I’ve never seen.

No, I’m not talking about some ethereal, mystical, weird experience. I’m not talking about emotionalism. It’s anything but that. I’m talking about a concentrated journey…one step at a time…climbing…going up, looking to Jesus. I’m talking about concentrating on experiencing the presence of Jesus in everything I do. It’s a focus. It’s a mindset. It’s a deliberate, intentional process of saying, “Lord, I don’t want any sin, any obstacle, any issue to dominate my life. I only want you.” Why? Because He is the best this life has to offer. He is the LIFE (John 14:6).

Now, let me tell you… When you say that and you mean it and you really begin to take your day by the throat and you grab everything that comes into your mind…WOW! That’s when you and I begin to truly “take every thought captive” to the point that we can have victory over sin and we can truly overcome bad habits in our minds. Because they truth is…you are probably not doing anything that’s really, really bad right now. But, in your heart and soul…you look deep and you may see things that you know aren’t right. Attitudes, motives, bitterness, malice, frustration…

I’ll be blatantly honest. My mind hadn’t gotten lazy. I was like my old, comfortable Day Planner. Ruts had formed in my brain that weren’t good. I needed to be blasted out of those ruts! And the Lord did just that. I preached about this a couple of Sundays ago. It was one of the most difficult messages I’ve ever preached…mainly because I was so brutally honest. You can watch it below. If you are short of time, start watching at the 35 minute mark and watch the last 9 minutes.

http://mpbc.ws/media/?sapurl=Lys3ZWViL2xiL21pLyszZHNxNTRyP2JyYW5kaW5nPXRydWUmZW1iZWQ9dHJ1ZQ==

Truly, the Lord has moved me from my lounge chair to climbing…and you know what…I like that! The views are really amazing when you climb. You see things you’ve never seen. Is it hard? Yes. There is pain in the climb. And there is pain in surrender and confession of sin. But, there is freedom in confession. There is freedom in surrender. There is freedom in Jesus.

Truly, ruts are graves with the ends knocked out and I don’t want that. I don’t want that for me or my family or this church. I want to climb! So, I’m looking to Jesus to lead me in that climb. Want to join me? Put on the boots and get your backpack and let’s go climbing!

It’s hard to believe but Kandace and Clark’s wedding is just about 80 days away!

Wow! Time is flying! And I’m going to be giving up another girl to another wonderful man! I’ve done that once before, you know. 🙂 I hope folks will understand that Kandace and Clark’s wedding is going to be at a smaller venue (not at the church) and when you consider inviting those in our families and those in the wedding party’s families and those that Kan and Clark were close to growing up…well…that’s about it. Obviously, we’d love to invite the whole church and everyone that we’re close to…but, that’s not the way this cookie is going to crumble. There’s simply not enough room. Nonetheless, the planning is in earnest at my house and it will be here before you know it.

And that’s another area of change that will be coming to my life. Katy was married in 2012 and now Kan. The places at the table are getting fewer and that leaves a lump in my throat. But, that’s how it’s supposed to be. We raise them so they can leave the nest and make their own nest. I’m so grateful for Kandace and for the joy she brings to my life and it will be VERY HARD for us to not see here every day, but we will adjust. The Lord will help us on that climb too! That’s more “new tricks” for this old dog!

Speaking of Kandace… We’re so excited about this…

Is that crazy, or what? That’s my girl on Spotify! Her EP came out a few days ago on iTunes and it’s on Spotify too. I’m amazed at her talent and how the Lord has gifted her. She has such a smooth and soothing voice and the lyrics of her songs are about life. I like the fact that she can describe her emotions through words and then put them to music. That’s not easy, but she did it! I’m proud of my girl!

I mentioned climbing mountains earlier… It’s amazing how much walking/moving around can be done in one year.

2.6 million steps. 1,342 miles! Truly, that’s not near enough, to be honest. I need to be doing double that. But, it’s a function of my schedule (you know that thing on my phone and computer now). It’s having a big family, big church and big goals… So, there is much to be juggled. The Lord will guide in that too. I’ve just got to keep looking to the Author and Finisher of my faith in this journey and this old dog will be fine.

Of course it’s winter and you know I’m going to be talking about the weather. Take a look at what’s coming. After this weekend, buckle up! Here’s the temperature outlook through the first of March.

That green shading means 5-6 degrees celsius BELOW NORMAL. That’s 9-11 degrees Fahrenheit colder. And with our average temp during Jan/Feb being around 48 degrees…well, you can do the math. It’s potentially going to be frigid around. And if you couple the cold with an active Southern jet stream (which we’ve had the past year with record rainfall/moisture)… Well, you have a recipe for this…

And that chart is just through January 31st. So, get ready for a tough slog to Spring. This winter might go down as one we remember for a while. Remember, we’ve already had 18-20″ of snow and 1/4″ of ice. We’re already above the average of 12″ around here for the year…by a mile! And understand that temps can still swing up even in the midst of a cold spell. In other words, you can have a 55 degree day in the middle of a month of mostly 35-40 degree days. And it’s when you have those transitions in temps when you can have your bigger storms. Truly, when it gets bitter cold it’s hard to get moisture with it. Why? Because the push of the cold air from the Northern Jet surpasses the moisture from the Southern Jet. We get our biggest storms when the temps are in the low 30’s, not in the mid 20’s or below. So, watch for the transitional times between bitter cold and moderately cold.

Here’s this week’s TMT. “Does God Really Want Me To Be Happy?”

http://mpbc.ws/media/?sapurl=Lys3ZWViL2xiL21pLyt4d3doOG16P2JyYW5kaW5nPXRydWUmZW1iZWQ9dHJ1ZQ==

You might be surprised at the answer.

Kevin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Transformation

Check this out. Can you tell the difference? Look closely behind the playhouse and swing set.

Yep, that big oak is gone. It was a white oak to be exact. I counted the rings and as close as I can count, the tree was around 105 years old. It was a tree that’s on our neighbors property and he has been thinning out some of the bigger/older trees. Needless to say, it makes a big difference on the amount of shade. But, thankfully, we’ve still got some trees on our property that will provide some shade.

I share this to speak of: TRANSFORMATION. Wouldn’t you say that a transformation has taken place with that tree being gone? I would. Driving up my driveway and looking at that tree line for the last 17 years and seeing many of them gone…well…when you first see it…it’s a big staggering.

Let me ask you a question. Have you been transformed? Has Jesus Christ changed your life? Can you tell a difference in the “before and after” since your profession of faith in Him? The Bible says:

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17

If someone encounters Jesus Christ and His Spirit invades that life…I promise you…that life will change. As sure as lit dynamite causes an explosion, Jesus Christ is in the business of transforming lives.

This week I shared in my Two-Minute Tuesday this question: “Why Young People Ask: Does the Gospel Really Transform People’s Lives?” I say “Young People,” because I’m finding more and more that many tell me, “I’ve not seen a difference in _____________ life, even though they say they are a Christian.” Those type of comments are sobering to say the least. Can someone see a difference in my life? Can they tell I’ve been changed, transformed, regenerated, born again, made new? You pick the description. But, can people see a difference?

That white oak is now gone…

There is a huge difference!

You see, when the Holy Spirit invades the human life, a cleansing takes place and it’s like a tree man cutting down a massive oak. You’ll be able to tell a difference when you look at that place in the forest. It’s as plain as the nose on your face.

So, how do people see us? How do they see us react when we are being misused, mistreated, maligned, misquoted? How do they see us when we’ve been cut off in the parking lot at the grocery store? How do they see us act at ball games, concerts, etc? Do they see a transformed life? Believe me…I ask myself this question all the time. What do people see in me? Do they see the flesh: KEVIN or do they see: JESUS?

The Roman Christians were encouraged:

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. Romans 6:1-4

Jesus wants us to walk in the newness of life… After all…we’ve died to ourselves and we’ve taken up our cross and following Him, right? But, how often do we have to take up the cross? Daily. Yep…daily! Now this doesn’t mean that we are “saved daily.” No…that’s a one-time event. But, in the process of our sanctification (being made holy), we have to choose to deny ourselves DAILY. And that means we must lean into Jesus. We must trust Him and not ourselves.

Truly, if young people don’t see a transformation in our lives… If we aren’t “practicing” what we preach, then they’ll run from us like a kid being chased by a bee. Honestly, kids can see through hypocrisy. They can tell if there is a difference in how we act at church versus home. They see the “true” us…not, the “fake” us that we show the world as we try to make everyone think we’re better than we really are. Ouch! I need to go back and read that again! That’s for me!

You know it’s easy to fall back into the old way of thinking/living. We can choose to go back. We can even play in the woods where the tree once stood. But, if we’ve been born again…it won’t be the same. We’ll see the hole in the ground and realize… NO WAY! I’ve changed! I’m not coming back to this!

Transformation is a powerful thing! I’ve seen it happen in many lives. I’ve seen it in my family. I’ve seen it in the church. I’ve seen it in people who I thought “Man…it’s going to be tough for them to ever be saved…they are so far gone.” Yet, BANG! God invades and they surrender to Jesus and the transformation takes place…life a caterpillar to a butterfly! Transformation! Truly, being born again is a miracle and I’m so grateful!

As mentioned…here’s this week’s TMT:

https://subspla.sh/bsdz289

Kevin

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