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Archive for the ‘Children’ Category

“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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Real Men Needed

It was an amazing scene last Friday night:

That’s 200+ men who came out on a Friday night to hear teaching on how to be a “Man of Another Sort.” That says a lot right off of the bat… Friday nights are precious and to have men and boys to give up their Friday evening to come hear our all-male Praise Team and this bald-headed guy preach…well, that was phenomenal!

We are working hard to get it loaded to the website. So, be patient with us. We want the conference on the two local TV channels (Spectrum-Charter and Wilkes Communications) as well. I believe the Lord used the evening and I certainly felt the prayers of so many people, particularly our wives. They love us and want us to be the best we can be. I’m so grateful for my wife.

You see, in my humble opinion we live in a society today where being a “man” is not always popular. Truth is, in many circles, we’re not even sure what a “man” is anymore. Men have been emasculated by the society for years. In fact, saying, “I feel like a man,” is considered in some circles to be threatening. Now, I’m not saying this because I am a man and I’ve got some inferiority complex. I don’t. I also don’t have a chip on my shoulder. But, I do believe we need to teach our boys how to be men. But, what does that mean? Does a man rule with an iron fist? Is he a chauvinist brute? No! Yet, it’s true… Men have done some really stupid stuff over the years and we’ve brought on ourselves a heap of justified criticism and critique. Men can be pigs…no question about it.

But, that’s not the kind of man I’m talking about. I’m talking about men who are servant-leaders. Men who are willing to bend the knee and take the towel and the basin. Men who are willing to die for their wives (as Christ died for the church) and that means a lot more than just taking a bullet in the head for her. That means we’re willing to do the laundry, load the dishwasher, bathe the kids, pick up the groceries. You get it. We lead by being humble, just like Jesus. I defer to Pam. I listen to her. I trust her judgment more than mine. (Can I get a witness men!)

Listen, men, plain and honest need all the help we can get! God gave Adam a “helper” in Eve. Read carefully: WOMEN DON’T NEED HELP. They can do it all on their own, if need be (and many do). Men need help! So, why would I ever (in my right mind) go against my helper. If Pam and I ever disagree, I don’t go against her wishes and say, “I’m the man and I’m supposed to lead…so I trump you!” Are you kidding! No way! We are one flesh in the Lord and if she doesn’t feel right about something (a decision or whatever), then I dare to stand still and wait. We wait to be in agreement. Why? Because there is one Holy Spirit. He’s not going to tell her one thing and me another. He will have us in agreement. There is no part of God that operates in confusion and certainly that is true of the Holy Spirit.

I shared the Top 10 Marriage Killers (from my perspective as a man in my 13-year pastor/counseling):

Top 10 Marriage Killers:

  1. tearing her down with words
  2. not listening to her, really listening to her
  3. comparing and contrasting your wrongs against hers
  4. responding with defensiveness or with sarcasm
  5. never saying, “I’m sorry”
  6. demanding she changes, but refusing to do so yourself
  7. thinking more of what you deserve, and she can give you, instead of what you can give her
  8. preserving your own well-being at her expense
  9. refusing to show humility with her or the kids
  10. reading this list and thinking she should be reading it…

I believe we grew as men last week. I know I did!

The Praise Team did great! I knew they would. They always do! Pastor Brad Cordray, Martin Moore, Geoff Farmer, Seth Rhoades, Derek Harless, Steve Bryan, Gary Foster, Justin Gourley, Scott Heacock. What a group of dedicated men! It was truly a blessing! We worshipped together and that’s a cool thing! To hear a room full of men singing in those baritone/bass voices is powerful! I’m telling you…it’s goosebump stuff!

I felt like I kind of fumbled through the two messages. I probably should have done more to include the boys that came. Perhaps even asking them to sign the Resolutions that the men did (as kind of “future promise”), but I never felt led in that direction as I prepared. However, I know there are things I can do to improve it for the years ahead. And yes, we will be making this an annual event!

I don’t know how it is with you…but, Satan is always telling me how worthless I am anyway. I struggle mightily with self-doubt and feeling like I can’t ever quite do enough. But, I do believe the Lord uses our weaknesses and turns them into something good for His glory, if our hearts are in the right place. Throughout Friday afternoon I felt so excited and nervous at the same time that I felt like a caged cat. I received this passage of Scripture from a sister in the church that really encouraged me:

And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. 1 Corinthians 2:3-5

So true! The Lord knew I needed that!

Ultimately, after all is said and done, I’ve gotten a ton of texts and emails that have been very encouraging and kind. Men want to do it again and we’ll work toward that next year!

Here’s this week’s Two-Minute Tuesday, “Answering the Top Three Argument Skeptics Make.” It might surprise you how easy it is to answer a skeptic.

http://mpbc.ws/media/?sapurl=Lys3ZWViL2xiL21pLyt2bnF2d3lrP2JyYW5kaW5nPXRydWUmZW1iZWQ9dHJ1ZQ==

Kevin

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Are you growing spiritually? You either are or you aren’t. There isn’t any middle ground. There is no standing still. Are you growing in your faith? How about your children? Are thy growing spiritually? Mom and Dad, it’s your responsibility that they are growing spiritually. Please don’t think that God has given the Church the responsibility to disciple your child. That’s your job. The Church is to equip ALL the believers in “works of ministry.” There are no special “groups” in Scripture. So, how are things spiritually with your children?

The Two-Minute Tuesday was about that very subject this week. Take a look: “Are Your Kids Spiritually Healthy?”

http://mpbc.ws/media/?sapurl=Lys3ZWViL2xiL21pLytkaDhueTVuP2JyYW5kaW5nPXRydWUmZW1iZWQ9dHJ1ZQ==

Regarding this subject of children/kids, we often have families come to the church and as they are learning about the church, sometimes they’ll ask: “What about ‘Children’s Church,’ ‘Youth Group,’ etc?” I tell them, we don’t have those. We keep everyone together, just as you see in Scripture.

My daughter, Katy, blogged about this not long ago:

https://careercalledhome.wordpress.com/2018/06/16/children-in-the-church-service-why-and-how-its-for-the-best/

Not long ago, we had a family with several children come to the church and the mom and dad told me how excited they were that we didn’t split their family up as soon as they hit the doors of the church. They were so pleased that we worship as a “family.” Yet, people hear this and they say, “That’s great! But what do you do about the teenager who come to church who has no parents with him. What do you do for him?” Or they’ll say, “Hey, it’s great you have families in your church and dad’s who lead their homes well, but there are some dead-beat dads out their today, so what are we supposed to do with the kids of those kinds of dads?”

Well, most churches have asked that question and have come to the conclusion that they must be a substitute where the dads are not getting the job done. Thus, before we realized it, the Church was handling the training for all dads, Christian and non-Christian alike. But, this is a problem. For the past 30-35 years, the Church has undertaken a role that was never intended for the Church to do in the first place. Instead of getting our hands dirty in the hard work of teaching and training, and “adopting” into our families young people who don’t have a family in the church, we often want to take the easy way out and hire someone (a youth pastor) to do it for us.

Yes, we can simply “adopt” these young people into our families. This means inviting them to sit with of our family during service and making them feel they are accepted and belong. Problem is…in many churches today, the youth are never in the service with the “adults.” This is tragic! Paul instructed Titus to teach the elders in Titus 2 that the old should teach, mentor, the young. How can we do this if they are never with us?

Through the years, Pam and I have “adopted” several young adults into our family. One of which is now our son-in-law. We have tried to model and exhibit what a biblical family is to look like. We plug them in to our family life and we try to show them what a Christian family looks like. The most important part of this process is simply to show them love.

Christopher Schlect, in his book, Critique of Modern Youth Ministry, says it this way:

“Ministering to children of unbelievers need not be as difficult as it seems. These children should be drawn to associate with Christian families that will take them in and mentor them while at church, thereby showing those children the family model as illustrated in the Word of God. Invite them over for dinner, where the Biblical model of the family can be exhibited.”

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I believe it is time to get young people out of these church “game rooms” and get them plugged into our churches and get them on the mission field of life. We need to see our young adults as capable of “being about the Father’s business.” We need to expect them to step up to the level of a teenage apostle or Timothy or David.

Does offering more concerts, camps, lock-ins, pizza blasts, zip-lines, ski trips, and the like stand to give us spiritually mature young adults? No, not if that’s all we give them. A steady diet of activities and fun is not what they need or want. Our society’s youth orientation has bred little more than young adults hyped up on the junk food of entertainment and fun, yet they are starving to death and dying for answers to the difficult and tough questions of the day. Our young people sit in our churches week after week and we see them, but are they really there? Are they really engaged? Do they want to be at church or are they just coming because they have to or because they’ve been lured by the fun and games? Doesn’t our focus need to change?

If you think about it, of all the programs in churches which one is most commonly the largest and well-funded? The answer: youth programs. It seems that evangelical churches, and many mainline churches, began breaking out the youth in their congregations about 30-35 years ago. In fact, there is a feeling in Christendom that you aren’t doing too well as a church if you can’t fund and hire at least a part-time youth minister of some sort. But, what do youth ministries do? Many of these programs, if not managed carefully, can breed immaturity because they hinder younger people from associating with and learning from their elders. Paul told young Timothy to “flee youthful lusts” (2 Timothy 2:22). Yet, it is common to take the young adults on an outing at night and youth pastors have to station chaperones throughout the church bus to make sure everyone is being nice. Is that something we should have to be doing with adults in the church? There should never be a youth function in a church in which everyone, young and old alike, cannot participate.

You see, when we totally separate our young adults from the rest of the church body, we are setting them up for an identity crisis. They don’t know who they are apart from their friends and buddies in the youth group. They know nothing of the functioning of the church, as a whole, outside of their youth room. After all, they have their own culture and music, geared to their own tastes. So, by the time they are 18, and we tell them they must leave the youth groups, they are sent to the “grown up” church where, in some cases many have never been. It is culture shock to say the least!

Despite all of this, some may think that we are trying to take the fun out of the lives of our young adults. Some say, “They’ve got to be kids. Let them have a little fun.” Please understand, I am not against anyone having fun, but is this the role of the church? Are we supposed to set up our churches to be centers for having fun? Somehow I believe we have mistakenly come to believe that teenagers are entitled to more fun than anybody else in the church. We may believe we must put something fun on the calendar every week or two, certainly monthly, so they can have a good time. Let me ask you this question: Do we owe any group in the church a good time? Truth is: Many youth ministries seem to be run like a cruise ship. We hear things like, “When’s the next event? When do we get to eat pizza and hotdogs?” Have you ever wondered why there is such a high turnover rate with youth ministers? They burn out after two or three years of this kind of activity planning.

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Can youth groups be a negative influence on our young people? Yes, some (not all) can. Unfortunately, I believe, (and this is certainly without meaning to), they can become a place of peer-driven frivolity. You see, when we place our young people in these peer-driven groups where the spiritual maturity is usually very low, and yet we desire for them to grow spiritually…we need to ask ourselves… “How?” How can they grow spiritually in these environments? The truth is…most of the time, youth pastors are trying to administrate some sort of crowd control versus being able to really teach. Unfortunately, our young people tend to find their identity in their friends and that can include youth groups. For them, it’s so easy to find their identity in what they wear, drive or have. Some young people have their entire identity wrapped up in the type of clothes they wear, cell phone they carry and who they are dating. This same mentality often transfers into our youth groups and can even be fed within the youth group.

Through the years, I’ve become more and more dismayed that many churches  no longer mix their young people with their adults in any way. They keep the youth in their own rooms, as far away from everyone else in the church as possible, in case they get too loud or rowdy. These rooms often have painted-tie-dyed walls…

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…posters, road signs and leftover sofas from our basements. These rooms are “play rooms” of video games and places to simply “hang out.”

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Some youth rooms I’ve seen look more like arcades. Some churches have even given their youth their own building, where they come for an entertainment smorgasbord anytime they want. Is this the structural model we really believe is going to grow mature, solid, faith-filled, Christ-centered, young adults? You sure won’t find this model in Scripture. We must stop kidding ourselves. The numbers, the surveys, and the statistical data do not lie. Many of our young adults continue to abandon their faith and will continue to do so unless we change our strategy and return to the Biblical model, where the church body worships and does life TOGETHER!

Churches should work to promote cross-generational interaction as Paul admonished Titus to teach the elders in Titus 2. In separating the youth from the church body at large, we are in essence saying, “Unlike adults, they can’t handle the weighty things of Scripture.” Thus, it seems okay for us to give them a driver’s license at 16 and put them behind the wheel of a 3,500 pound vehicle and turn them loose on our highways. We expect them to learn algebra, chemistry and calculus. Certainly, they can study and learn Scripture as well. Yes, our young people need to be with adults and be trained…older to younger. In fact, they will graduate from high school and college and go to work in environments with people of all ages. Only in our schools and churches are our young adults segregated by age.

What’s the role of the Church regarding our young people? Well, the Church is certainly here to help and partner with the family to grow our young adults in the way of the Lord. We are to equip all the saints (believers) for works of ministry. Yes, we are to partner with the family in training our young adults…yet, we don’t do the job for the parents. The church’s vision must shift from a consumer-driven focus, regarding our young people, to a partner-driven focus. In other words, the church must stop seeing itself as a vending machine of fun activities to give young people or children something to do to keep them out of trouble. As parents, we must stop seeing the church as a place where we drop off the kids to let the youth pastors train them or give them a little “faith development.”

We must stop thinking the church building and its programs are the conduits through which the gospel is spread. The gospel is spread through people, not programs. What programs existed in the first church? None that I know of with the exception of meeting together to fellowship, break bread, study the gospel and pray (See Acts 2:42-47). Afterwards, they left their homes and went out into the community and shared Jesus. The gospel must travel house by house through the community in the same way it did 2,000 years ago. And in the meantime, let’s continue to worship together and grow spiritually TOGETHER, just as the Bible teaches.

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It’s hard to believe…but, it’s year 11 for Rite of Passage (ROP). Amazingly, 101 young adults have passed through the waters of ROP over the past decade. Time flies and I’m getting older. Here’s this year’s group!

What a wonderful time we had at our banquet Saturday night. One of my favorite times at the banquet is the family sharing time. The members of the family share with their Young Adult what it means to be a follower of Christ and encouragement on how to live for Him.

Here’s the Anderson family…

And the Button family…

Here is the Bullock family…

In the background of the picture above you can see Pam and Andrew and part of Clara (as Andrew participated this year).

Here is the Wentz family…

Here is the Aiken family…

The Heacock’s have a huge family with 6 children…but, Daddy, Scott stayed with the kiddos, so Kaden could be pampered a bit by her momma, Victoria…

What a joy! It’s a great night where gifts are often shared…

And even pictures with the preacher…

Thanks Avery!!!

One of the questions I ask in the question section of ROP is this: Why do you think you will not fall away from the faith, since 70-90% of Christian teens fall away by their 20th birthday?

Check out some of these responses from this year’s group:

One young lady said:

This is a mind-blowing thing to me but I don’t think this will happen to me cause i’ve grown up in a house where God is number 1. Most people have grown up in a household with a parent that is too busy or they are just too hooked on the world that they don’t set their priorities straight. This is a common thing among families today. They don’t pray before meals or barely ever have a family dinner together. Families are growing apart which makes the children want attention leading them to get into bad situations…

Parents aren’t realising that they are hearing just bible stories and not the real deal. So when kids grow they think that Christianity is just another joke and they take it like it’s another day. Parents need to start bringing their kids to the sermon so they can learn that Christianity is not something to joke about, it’s a matter between eternal life with God or hell.

Here’s another young man:

I think that many 20-year olds that are raised in church fall short and walk away from church because of the people they choose to hang out with.  Also, they can become a follower instead of a leader…

Another young lady:

I think it’s because there are so many things that have Satan’s hand.  On top of that, it’s so easy to forget or get distracted if you take one step in the wrong direction it will become 2, 3, 4, 5 and on and on. It will never end.  It will be from a little step to a big step, to a huge step… I cling to Jesus and I’m passionate about him.  I love him too much he is my friend and without him, I would be nothing.  Jesus helps me not matter what.

Another young lady:

I think that the reason why 70% to 90% of Christian young people who were raised in church are supposedly likely to abandon faith by the age of 20 is because they were not well grounded in faith. They took Christianity lightly and then later became influenced by wicked people. I know that this will not happen to me because I know that the Word of God is true. I am reading the Bible and through this, I gain wisdom that will assist me on my everyday walk with God.

Another young man:

Sometimes they leave their family or move or get a job and they get too busy. They find new things in life and they don’t do what they used to do. They make new friends that don’t go to church and that causes them not to take the time to go. This will not happen to me because I was taught to read the Bible and go to church and to know the Lord and taught to do things without people having to tell me. And I was taught to remember and make time and do all I can for the Lord and that’s why I know I will not turn away from him.

Another young man:

I think so many young people abandon their faith because of peer pressure and the way the society is changing. Mainly they don’t have or never had a real relationship with God. They don’t know the danger they are in. I will never abandon my faith. I can not thank my parents and the Lord enough for being brought up at Mount Pleasant Baptist Church. I am so thankful for the knowledge the Lord has given me and the church I was placed in.  I one day hope I can bring my family to MPBC.

Another young man:

This may be because the individual’s parents have not urged them to make firm their own beliefs before being thrown out into a secular and evil world. To many, Christianity is “what my family believes” and they fail to create a long lasting and meaningful relationship with Christ. Furthermore, when they go to a university and see people with different values and different beliefs, they may only see one side of the argument for Christ. If Christian households are not careful to back up their child’s faith with evidence and logic, a university may persuade the individual that one side stands for fact and logic, and the other is nothing more than a story passed down from generation to generation. Faith is of course important, but why give secular universities the opportunity to falsely portray their beliefs as logical and Christianity as illogical and not factual? Failing to back up faith with fact and evidence and not leading the son or daughter to develop their own walk in the Lord may be the cause for the multitude of youth leaving Christianity.

Another young lady:

I know that for a lot of young people, it’s an identity thing. Many times they don’t see themselves fitting into this whole “Christianity thing” and they fit themselves into other groups of people. Also, a way that I’ve imagined it, is that some people just want to have a little “pet Christianity.” They take it with them to church and they leave it home whenever they go out with friends. But, they can always show someone a cute picture on their phones of their “pet” whenever they want. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want any little “pet Christianity,” I want a big honkin’ elephant that goes and takes me anywhere it wants! 

I don’t care if I’m not cool or popular, all of that fades. Plus, life is miserable without God. I have no purpose or reason for living. I may not know exactly where I’m going in life and I could have a lot to learn, but at least I have a core idea of what I am to live for.

(Don’t you just want to shout: AMEN!!!!)

Another young man:

I think they leave because they don’t have a personal relationship with God. 

Another young lady:

I think they leave because they were never part of the church to begin with. They never really set out to grow in a relationship with Christ. I think in this situation, it’s the parents who are making their kids go to church rather than the young adult wanting to go. Now I’m not saying that parents shouldn’t make their kids go to church… I think a lot of the reasons why they leave the church is because of life in general. We live in a very sinful world full of distractions and people are easily distracted and tempted by Satan. So they leave the church and abandon their faith. I think that this also has to do with bad choices of friends who they hang out with. 

Another young lady:

They have their parents’ faith and not their own faith. It will not happen to me because I own my faith…

Another young man:

I believe it is because young people today are on social media and watch R-rated movies a lot. If people are constantly exposed to this junk, it can be very bad for their minds and will make them act poorly. I do not think this will happen to me because I have parents who love me and have “taught me in the way I should go.”

Am I ecstatic? Oh yes! And I’m so grateful! I’m grateful for the families who are super busy, yet they are intentional about saying to their Young Adult, “I want you to know that this season of your life matters…and this spiritual aspect of it is worth it!” Man I love that thought!

3 John 4, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”

If you are interested in learning more about ROP for yourself or your church, just click on the tabs: Adult-Centered Youth Ministry and Rite of Passage-Book. There’s tons of information there about how to do a ROP ceremony with your church, or even with your family. All the details are there and if you need me, ask me!

This past Saturday two of my girls danced at their recital! Again, super grateful!

Daughter…Clara…

Man, can that girl spin!!!

And I know she’s mine…but, she’s really graceful…as are all the girls…

And granddaughter, Charlotte…

Check out the smile!!!

Of course, flowers must be given by Daddy and Papa…and little sister, Evie will be next!

What a joy!

And I’ll look forward to spending more time with these wonderful folks as I’m on vacation starting Friday through Sat., May 19th…back in the pulpit the 20th.

Here’s this week’s Two-Minute Tuesday, “We’re All Icebergs-What’s Below the Surface?”

http://mpbc.ws/media/?sapurl=Lys3ZWViL2xiL21pLyt0ZHQzcXM5P2JyYW5kaW5nPXRydWUmZW1iZWQ9dHJ1ZQ==

Kevin

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