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Archive for the ‘Culture War’ Category

Filters

Filters…

Not a very glamorous title for this week’s Blog post… But, I’ve had filters on my mind. I changed out my A/C filter last week and it got me thinking… We all need filters. That was this week’s Two-Minute Tuesday: http://link.mpbc.church/TMT6-4

That filter (above) is nasty isn’t it? It definitely needs to be changed. We all like breathing clean air, right? Of course! How about what goes in and out of our brains? We need a filter for our brains. Believe me…we are bombarded with information today. You know that and I know that… How do we filter what we’re hearing and seeing? Certainly as parents, we need to constantly be thinking about that. Our kids don’t have filters until we give them one.

Yes, we must teach our children how to filter what they hear and see. What should that filter be? The Bible. (Yep, you knew I was going to say that. But, it’s true.) We need to give our children the ability to sift information through the filter of the Bible. The Bible (like an A/C filter) can collect the garbage and give us the ability to take it captive and not allow it to harm us. But here’s the thing. We’ve got to teach the Bible to our kids. They’ve got to be taught how to develop an appetite of the Bible. Just like we teach them to eat their vegetables. But, it’s not easy! Because we have to be intentional. We have to pull out the Bible and sit ’em down and teach them to listen. But, don’t expect them to sit like a knot on a log. If they are under the age of 7, you better make it short and you better give them something to color or something to hold in their hand (particularly boys). Give ’em a Lego and then read Scripture. Let the Word of God wash over them. Just let them get used to hearing you read and as they get older, let them read.

Remember, “Faith comes by HEARING and hearing by the Word of God” Romans 10:17. I know I talk about this a lot…but, it’s so vital that we equip ourselves and our children with filters. If not, the world and Satan’s system, will take us down. We’ll start believing the lies and little by little we’ll accept as right that which is wrong.

Milly is doing well… She’s almost one week old. That’s hard to believe!

Ain’t she purdy! So precious!

Pam and I have enjoyed helping out with Charlotte and Evie as Josh and Katy get adjusted. Clara and Andrew are big helpers too!

It’s a joy being a Dad and a Papa at the same time. That’s what it’s like we you basically have two sets of kids. Two older (married) and two younger…Clara and Andrew (14 years old). I wouldn’t trade it for the world! Oh…and since you have a 14-year-old young man…you can have fun at the carwash!

Andrew and I love seeing if we can get the vehicles hosed down and brushed and then hosed down again in 3 minutes, before the $1.75 runs out of the carwash timer. It’s a “still” photo above…but, believe me…Andrew is hopping! I mean moving at the speed of light! And yes, we made it with 10 seconds to spare on my Grand Marquis (the tank that she is). 🙂 He’s the “spray” man and I’m the “brush” man. I get tickled at the silliness of this…but, it’s got to be a “guy-thing” to see if we can beat the timer! I love it! And I love my family and my life and I’m grateful to Jesus for all He’s done for me!

Kevin

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One of the most dangerous things in our cultural climate today is the idea that the Bible should never be taken literally and that personal experience and preference supersedes truth. Those words, “experience and preference” dominate the culture. If your experience is meaningful to you then it should be considered truth to you and given equal footing to any other “truth.” And if your “experience” doesn’t match with my “truth,” then you get to jettison that truth…even if it’s the Bible. In fact, most assuredly you get to dump it, if it is in the Bible. For you see, the Bible cannot be taken literally if the truth purported in that “ancient book of fables” doesn’t match your 21st century experience. Do you grasp the line of thinking today? Experience trumps truth.

If you are a regular reader of this blog, then you know how passionate I am about the word of God. I am convinced the Bible is just that: THE WORD OF GOD. I am convinced that God breathed His word into 40 authors over a period of 1,500 years on three continents (Europe, Asia, Africa) and three languages (Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic). The Bible is “theopneustos.”

Here’s a way of picturing that…

Someone or something is going to be your authority. We can’t all be THE authority. I believe the Bible is THE authority. It has the final say in all matters. Why? Because it is God’s Word. Now, there will be those who say I am being closed-minded and short-sighted. That’s their prerogative. But, if I am having a surgeon taking out my gall bladder, I want him to be closed-minded and short-sighted and ONLY take out my gall bladder and not my heart! I want an airline pilot to be closed-minded and short-sighted and ONLY fly me to the destination printed on my ticket. I don’t want him flying me to the place that best fits “his preference.”

The Two-Minute Tuesday for this week is perhaps one of the most important ones I’ve ever done. It’s important because of where we are as a culture in America. Only 24% of Americans believe the Bible is the literal word of God. That being the case, “who” is the authority? Politicians? CNN? Movie Stars? Athletes? Your grandma? Fox News? Who is the authority? What is truth! Where do we look for truth? Do we look to the one who screams the loudest? Do we look to the one who seems the smartest? Does truth belong to the richest, most educated? Does truth belong to the one who has the greatest social media presence? Who is the authority in your life? Is it you? Is it God? These are questions we all must grapple with and questions (as parents and grandparents) we must settle in our hearts as we teach our children. What will your teach as the “authority” in the life of your children?

Are you afraid of what people will say to you if you say, “I believe the Bible is the final authority on a particular issue/subject”? Are you afraid to stand on the Word of God? If you are, then why do you trust what the Bible says about being saved? Why do you believe any part of the Bible, if you can’t stand on all of it? Let’s not be guilty of picking and choosing what we’ll believe about the Bible. Because if that’s the case, we have made ourselves above the Bible. We’ve made ourselves above God. We are in essence saying, “I’m smarter than God.” And if that’s the case, “Every man does that which is right in his eyes,” Judges 21:25.

Take a look…

https://fpdl.vimeocdn.com/vimeo-prod-skyfire-std-us/01/1931/13/334658188/1322052829.mp4?token=1557267067-0x35ac435580d25743dd450668802b67dc6601058d

This past weekend was “recital weekend” for my daughters and granddaughters. There’s Charlotte (second from left)…

And Clara…in the middle (the tall one…like her daddy)…ha ha…

And here’s Kandace with her girls. (It still blows my mind that she’s no longer a dancer…but, is now a teacher)…

Truly, it seems like yesterday that Katy was dancing on that stage…but, now it’s her daughters.

What a joy!

We also had our annual Rite of Passage (ROP) here at the church this past weekend.

Amazingly we’ve been doing ROP for 12 years now! 107 young adults! So, what is ROP? ROP is simply a tool derived from Scripture, which points to a journey that is designed to move our children from childhood to young adulthood. It’s a “raising of the bar of expectations.” Because we all know, children will rise to our level of expectations. The model for ROP comes from Luke chapter 2. You remember Jesus in the Temple? He was 12 years of old and yet, He knew exactly where he was headed in life and the ultimate purpose and goal of His life. He said “Didn’t you know I had to be about my Father’s business?” We know Jesus is our example in all things, and in all stages of life and that includes 12-year-olds and becoming a young adult.

Look at that smile! I love ROP! I love what it does to inspire the young adults and show them that they can be mature and responsible, even at a young age!

Here at MPBC, at the age of 12 (and up to 18), you can participate in our annual ROP. Our theme verse is: 1 Corinthians 13:11 “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.” ROP indicates that according to Scripture, a young adult is expected to act like “young adults” and to behave accordingly. It means they are expected to accept accountability for mature actions and to assume greater responsibilities. Why? Because we know maturity does not necessarily come with age, but with the acceptance and ownership of increased accountability and responsibility.

The young adults had to complete a rigorous gauntlet of questions that had them digging in the Bible for hours. Today, the baton was passed to them by their parents, indicating they have accepted responsibility for their faith and walk with Jesus. We rejoice! 3 John 4 says it all: “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”

I love it when the parents pass those batons to the young adults…

And then they hold them high!

That baton represents the fact that they have taken ownership of their faith in Jesus and have chosen to live for Him. It’s not the faith of mom and dad…no…they are now saying, “It’s MY faith… I own this and I’m going to follow Jesus!”

Praise the Lord for His goodness in this process of establishing in the minds of our young adults: WE VALUE YOU AND WE TRUST YOU TO LIVE OUR YOUR FAITH IN CHRIST. It’s truly a powerful thing in the mind of the young adults. Now, does this mean that each and every young adult will always follow Jesus? No…not necessarily. But, we have seen the paradigm shift. Instead of seeing 80-90% of young adults walking away from the church and the Lord by their 20th birthday…we’ve seen the opposite. 80-90% are continuing to follow Jesus by their 20th birthday. The secret? Intentionality and investment. We have to intentionally invest in the lives of our children spiritually. Yes, it’s important they do well in school and make good grades and even excel in sports, or extra-curricular activates… But, at the end of life…all that matters is Jesus. That’s the point! Point them to Jesus and place importance on this while they are young.

Clara plays violin. Many of you know that. Yet, I’m not sure I even realize at times how good she is. See what you think…

That was at tonight’s recital in Winston-Salem. Pretty amazing if you ask me! The ability the Lord has given her as a 14-year-old is wonderful! But, it’s not just talent…it’s a ton of hard work! And it’s not just Clara! Olivia Eller is an amazing, hard-working talent too! She and Clara played together, along with another student at the recital tonight too.

Pretty awesome! And yes, again…it’s a lot of practice and hard work, but it’s so beautiful to listen to violin music, don’t you think? Thank you Lord for your many blessings!

Kevin

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The Breaking

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

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

I’ve been reading this book:

Have you heard of Watchman Nee? He said this…

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

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

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

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

These are things that we are taught in Romans 8.

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. Romans 8:1-11.

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

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

Have you seen the movie, “Unplanned?”

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

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

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

Kevin

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Have you noticed something lately about post-game interviews with winners of games? Have you noticed that a lot of them thank the Lord? Many even go so far as to say, “I want to thank my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ?” I have! I’ve noticed a lot! And do you know what that makes me think about?

Platforms

What’s a platform? This is…

That’s the Gardner-Webb Runnin’ Bulldogs! And they won the Big South Championship over the weekend by defeating Radford 76-65 and they’ll be playing in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history. https://gwusports.com/news/2019/3/10/mens-basketball-lets-dance-gardner-webb-punches-ncaa-ticket-sunday-with-76-65-win-at-radford.aspx.  I’m very excited and proud of those guys. I signed with Gardner-Webb out of High School.

My dad played for G-W too! So, we were both tickled to see them win and get into the “Big Dance!” But, here’s the cool thing. Their win became a platform for the Lord. Here’s how. The coach for the team is Tim Craft. He’s in his sixth season with the team.

He said this after the game at the press conference (his platform): “I’m just really humbled right now and blessed to get a chance to coach this group of guys. I want to give all the honor and glory to Jesus Christ, number one, and just thank God for what he’s done in my life, our family’s life and these players’ lives. I’m really proud of them. It was a hard fought win here on the road and I’m just really proud of them for pulling through.”

How about that! Didn’t Coach Craft do that well!!! What a powerful platform! Gardner-Webb will now await “Selection Sunday” this Sunday evening to find out where they will be headed for its first NCAA Tournament game. A lot of people may not know, but the Runnin’ Bulldogs have a lot of tournament experience through the years. They made national tournament appearances at the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA), the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and NCAA Division II. My dad played for G-W. He’s #42. Here’s the 1967-68 team.

They were a fantastic team! They ended up playing in the NJCAA in Hutchinson, Kansas for the Junior College National Championship. They didn’t win it, but were one of the best teams in the country. See #54 in the middle? The guy beside my dad… That’s Artis Gilmore (who later played in the NBA). Gilmore was/is 7′ 2″ tall and could pin a basketball on the rim flat-footed. Here’s a closer picture of Dad and Artis.

Gilmore became one of five college basketball players ever to average at least 20 points and 20 rebounds over his career at 24.3 and 22.7. Gilmore led the NCAA in rebounding both years at Jacksonville, and his career average of 22.7 rebounds per game is still the highest in NCAA Division I history.

For my dad…

and for me…

Basketball has always been a platform for us. We’ve used it throughout our lives to start conversations and relate to people about “the game of life.”

What’s your platform? We all have one. Certainly your job is a platform. Your family is a platform. Your social media page is a platform. For me, my ministry is a platform. My family. This blog. Two-Minute Tuesday.

The truth is: everything we do is a platform…either good or bad. What kind of influence are we making on others? As a believer…what we say and do is going to draw people closer to Christ or push them away from Christ. You pick the platform, but that former statement is truth no matter what.

I’m grateful for Coach Tim Craft. Take a couple of minutes and watch the opening comments. It’s a beautiful example of a platform. You’ll also note the players with the coach… D.J. Laster (scored 32 points) and David Efianayi (15 points). They are both so polite and gracious as well. Laster talks about how God made him strong and prepared him for this moment. It reminded me of Queen Esther (For such a time as this…).

What a great use of platforms. I pray the Lord will continue to help me use mine. You pray that He’ll help you use yours for His glory!

Here’s this week’s Two-Minute Tuesday: “Who’s Your One?”

http://mpbc.ws/media/?sapurl=Lys3ZWViL2xiL21pLytkd2M5dDZnP2JyYW5kaW5nPXRydWUmZW1iZWQ9dHJ1ZQ==

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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Needless to say, I was grateful to hear the Supreme Court ruling this week for this man…

That’s Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cake Shop in Colorado. I’m sure you’ve heard about the ruling, in that it’s been all over the news. But, the upshot of the ruling to me is this: The Government (at this point in our history as a nation) is NOT going to force people to go beyond their religious beliefs and convictions to do anything in their proprietary business. Notice I said, “at this point in our history,” because that can easily change.

After the ruling, Jack said this: “People don’t have to share my beliefs to support my freedom. They just need to agree that the decision should be mine to make — not the government’s to make for me… If the government can force me to celebrate events and express views that violate my conscience, they can do it to anyone.”

I agree.

For me as a pastor, this is welcome news. Because I was waiting for the day when I was going to be told I had to marry anyone who comes to me. In other words, I would not be allowed to decline to marry people who came to me living the gay lifestyle. This ruling was a breath of fresh air to me. While people are free to live any way they chose, I should not be forced to condone a lifestyle or belief system that goes against my beliefs. That’s truly the First Amendment in a nutshell. I get to “exercise” my freedom of religion…not “keep it in a closet.”

National Review’s David French wrote: “Americans should take comfort in the fact that the justices took the opportunity to ‘[remind] state authorities that people of faith have the exact same rights — and are entitled to the exact same treatment — as people of different faith or no faith at all.’ And it did so in an opinion that decisively rejected the exact talking points so favored by the anti-religious Left.” French went on to say, “Since the rise of the gay-marriage movement, it has become fashionable to decry dissenters as haters and bigots, to attempt to write them out of polite society in the same way that the larger American body politic has rightfully rejected the Klan… This week, the Supreme Court said ‘enough.'”

While it’s true that Justice Kennedy may never be able to undo the damage he did to religious liberty when he took a wrecking ball to marriage in the June 2015 Obergefell decision, but at least some of it was repaired (Kennedy wrote the majority opinion in the 7-2 decision). French continued in his analysis, “the court breathed a bit of life back into religious-liberty jurisprudence. And the justice who did it is none other than Anthony Kennedy… the justice most responsible for the gay-rights revolution.”

In my mind, the point is this… no one should be kicked out of the public marketplace for peacefully living out his/her faith and for shaping their day-to-day business practices as such. As one attorney I read earlier this week said: “The First Amendment protects Jack’s deeply held beliefs in the sanctity of marriage and his ability to create art reflective of his convictions and conscience. Tolerance should be ‘a two-way street.'”

Speaking of politics… Here’s this week’s Two-Minute Tuesday… “President Obama Admits It.”

http://mpbc.ws/media/?sapurl=Lys3ZWViL2xiL21pLytoenp3enRmP2F1dG9wbGF5PXRydWUmYnJhbmRpbmc9dHJ1ZSZlbWJlZD10cnVl

I have been intrigued by a book that just came out about the 2016 Democratic debacle called, “The World As It Is,” by Ben Rhodes, an advisor to Hillary Clinton and former President Barack Obama. In essence, he said, “They blew it!” and they didn’t understand the American people. He quoted President Obama as saying, “Maybe we pushed too far.” Mr. President, you did. When you care more about which bathroom a person uses versus someone having jobs in the Rustbelt…yes…you pushed too far.

Yes, it’s true that most likely one day the progressive liberals may control the halls of Congress and the Whitehouse and they will have their day. But, for now, Americans have said, “Hold your horses and stop cramming down our throat your Elitist ideas and liberal agenda.” And this week, the Supreme Court said the same thing. Yes, that’s good news for a change.

Kevin

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One of the questions I’m asked the most is by parents. It goes like this: “Pastor, I’m so afraid my child will walk away from the Lord when they get older, what can I do?”

Well, first of all, their concern is valid. Studies continue to show that 70% or more of children who have been raised in Christian homes, will walk away from the faith by their 20th birthday.

That thought still jolts me.  Why does this happen?  Why do we lose children, even though they grew up in a “Christian” home?  Well, one of the primary reasons is because of the pagan culture we live in today.  We live in a culture that is in total opposition to what the Bible teaches about life and living, and our children are immersed in that culture. We know we can’t keep our children in a bubble…yes…they must be protected and nurtured…but, they are going to be exposed to the pagan forces of this world in ways that we’ll never be able to totally control.

So, what does the Bible say about raising children in a way that we will not lose them?  I’m glad you asked!

Deuteronomy 6:4-15

4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. 7Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

10 When the LORD your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you—a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, 11 houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant—then when you eat and are satisfied, 12 be careful that you do not forget the LORD, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

13 Fear the LORD your God, serve him only and take your oaths in his name. 14 Do not follow other gods, the gods of the peoples around you; 15for the LORD your God, who is among you, is a jealous God and his anger will burn against you, and he will destroy you from the face of the land.

I believe there are five things that we must understand if we don’t want to lose our children.

#1 We must worship God without rivals

4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Deut. 6:4

What are rivals today?  Well, I’ll give you what I think the number one rival is.  Now this is strictly my opinion and I guess since it’s my blog…that’s what we’ll go with…ha!  I sincerely believe the #1 rival of God in our children’s lives (and ours too for that matter), is too many activities…i.e., sports, classes of all kinds, running every night of the week, etc.  Now please understand I have nothing against any of these things. My kids are involved in all sorts of things. But, there has to be a balance. We can’t be gone every night of the week and expect to raise Godly children. There must be time to teach the things of God.  Can I be bold?  I’ve learned that for most of us…when we were kids and we win trophies at 12, that most of the time by the age of 40 they end up in the basement or attic or the landfill.

When we are never with our kids except for running them to and fro from this thing to that…then guess who is raising our kids?  Not us!  It’s the teachers, coaches, etc.  Is this ok?  Perhaps, you might say…”They are good people.”  But, guess who’s responsibility it is to raise our children?  Parents… That’s you and me!

#2 We must build homes on God’s Love

5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.  Deut. 6:4-6

Love is a decision.  It is a decision of the will…a choice we make, however, it is not void of emotion or feeling…men, nor is it led by just emotion and feelings, ladies.  You’ve heard the man who says, I don’t need to tell her I love her, once at the altar was good enough, if I change my mind, I’ll let her know.  While that may be funny…it’s certainly the wrong philosophy!

What emotion does your children see you exhibit toward the Lord?  I tell you, I try to make my kids blush at least once per week as I love and dote on my wife in front of them.  Nothing out-of-place or wrong here…just hugs and kisses that make them say, “Aw daddy!”  But, they love it.  They feel secure when they see that I show love and affection for their mother and it models it for their future marriages.  By the way, where do you think children learn to love God?  From us!!!  If we get mad and walk out on each other, then it teaches the kids that God made do the same to them.

#3 Teach them diligently (Impress it on them)

7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Deut. 6:7

We do what we call ROP (Rite of Passage) at our church. https://www.amazon.com/Rite-Passage-Home-Church-Christ-Centered/dp/1893729958/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

It’s a Scriptural program.  Why do we need ROP?  Well, when does a young person become an adult?  Well, we don’t seem to know.  So, we, the church want to help.  But, it’s not the churches job to do the work of raising everyone’s child.  The Bible tells us that parents are responsible for raising the children…not the schools, coaches, teachers or, again, the churches.

But, it goes deeper than that.  We say it’s the job of parents to raise the children, but do you know who Moses was talking to specifically here?  He’s using the masculine singular in this passage in Deut. 6?  And that means the Lord is principally talking the Fathers and tells the Fathers it’s their responsibility to lead.  You say this is Old Testament.

Well, Ephesians 6:1-4 tells us something very important…particularly look at verse 4.

1Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2“Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— 3“that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” 4Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

Who’s the direction given to?  The Fathers!  Do you see that?  It’s the Father’s job to lead out in the training and instruction of the Lord! It’s not that the mom’s aren’t involved. Of course they are! In fact, mom’s often are the ones who have the greatest impact on a child in many ways. Yet, the dad’s are to set the tone and be INTENTIONALLY INVOLVED. Boy have we missed that in our culture!  Please hear my heart.  It’s not the church’s job to disciple your children.  Anything the Bible tells you to do that I, as a Pastor or the church, does for you, in essence, serves to cripple you and impair you from doing your job.  I or other pastors are simply crippling you and ultimately, (speaking for myself), I’m being disobedient to the Word.

Have you ever thought about this?  What we make our children crave, love and desire is more important and has more impact on their lives than what we make them learn?  You may need to read that again.  What do your children crave and desire?  If it’s not God and the things of God, then you have a priority problem in your home.

# 4 Mark your home as God’s territory

8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.  Deut. 6:8-9

I encourage people to place verses of Scripture on their bathroom mirrors, the walls of their houses in frames, etc.  Even make smells in your house mean something.  Pictures on the walls should depict your home as marked territory of God.  As believers in Christ we should say, “I’m not going to have anything in my house that doesn’t point to Jesus and show that we are His children.”  Make it a goal to touch all the senses of your children in your home.  We have food from a CrockPot many Sundays because of the hectic pace of the day. Pam puts the food on and it cooks while we’re gone and the children associate the smell of food from the CrockPot very often with the Lord’s Day.  Isn’t that neat?

Another example is the use of a Bible…an actual Bible that you read from in your home. Then pass that Bible down to your kids. I’ve done this with my Bibles as I use them and wear them out. Each of my four kids have an old Bible of mine now. I’m working on the grandchildren now. I pray those old Bibles mark their minds that Daddy (Papa for the grands) loves the Word of God…and loves them!

#5 Keep your prosperity in check

10 When the LORD your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you—a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, 11 houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant—then when you eat and are satisfied, 12 be careful that you do not forget the LORD, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 13 Fear the LORD your God, serve him only and take your oaths in his name. 14 Do not follow other gods, the gods of the peoples around you; 15 for the LORD your God, who is among you, is a jealous God and his anger will burn against you, and he will destroy you from the face of the land.  Deut. 6:10-15

This is simple.  Our children don’t want things…they want you!  Did you see what happened?  The people got all the stuff and they forgot God.  It’s happened in America too.  By the way, you’ve seen the poster that says, “He has the most toys in the end wins.”  Well the truth is, “He who has the most toys in the end still dies!”

As another side note, (this is for the ladies who may be reading this), it’s ok to want to and have the desire to spend your time raising your family.  Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.  This used to never be questioned.  75 years ago…when this nation had a lot less…all the mommies stayed home and took care of their families.  Now look at what we have?  We’ve gotten “wealthy” and prosperous with our two-income families (trying to have it all) and look at the moral decay of our nation.  Now, don’t misquote me and say that just because women have gone en masse into the workforce over the last 75 years that is the reason why the country is sliding into moral decay.  But, I promise you…isn’t hasn’t helped.  It is God’s ultimate and first purpose for a mom to be able to manage and care for her home as the first priority.  If you can work outside the home while making your home the first priority…then that’s wonderful. But, the home is to be the first priority. The Bible tells us so.

3Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. 4Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.  Titus 2:3-5

By the way, it’s ok to come home from work at quitting time too, dads!  One of our biggest problems is that we’re like hamsters running on a wheel.  We are all running around crazy and are worn out and tired and beat to death.  I just read a statistic last week that said kids, when asked what they wanted most from their parents, wanted them to not be so stressed out and tired all the time.  That’s pretty amazing.  Of all the things they could have wanted and that’s what crept to number one.

One last thing…do you know what else the study revealed.  It was simply…this:  If you were to ask your child if they could trade more of Dad and Mom in the home for more house, more vacations, more stuff, more gadgets and trinkets (those are my words for what was said to be “material possessions”), what do you think the kids would say they wanted?  They said, “No.  I’d take more mom and dad.”  Don’t believe this is true?  Just ask them.  They want you!  I promise.

I’ll say it this way…

At the end of your life, the most important thing that you will leave to those you love is the memory of simply being with them. It won’t be the houses, cars, money, material stuff… No, it will be you. Just you. And the truth is: that’s what matters the most to the ones you love most now…today…at this very moment. So, think about that as you pursue life and remember that people are more important than things…every time!

So, how do we make sure we don’t lose our kids to the world?  We must:  #1 Worship God without rivals, #2 Build our homes on God’s love, #3 Teach them diligently, #4 Mark you home as God’s territory and #5 Keep your prosperity in check.  I’d add one last thing…pray, pray, and pray some more…for all you are worth!  We’re in the battle of a lifetime for our children.  Let’s not lose them!  The statistics are stacked against us!  But, we can do all things through Christ and we’re more than conquerors…but, we better prioritize our lives and be INTENTIONAL if we want to have our kids in the percentage who will remain faithful and serve Christ.

Happy Birthday to this lovely young lady…who is now a teenager today!!! Amazing!!! I love you with all my heart Clara!!!

Here is this week’s Two-Minute Tuesday. It fits the topic of today’s post quite well.

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