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288,000That’s the number of people who went to the movies last year at Two Rivers movie theater in Wilkesboro, NC. That’s over four times the population of Wilkes County. That’s a lot of people!

Let me ask you something. Do you think people who go to the movies would be a good audience to share the Gospel? Do you think if you could find a way to share with the 288,000 who frequent Two Rivers Cinema annually about your church and the Gospel you would try?

Maybe if you could do something like this at the beginning of each movie for the next year?

What did you think? Well, we’re going to try it! We’re going to try to go out into the “highways and hedges” and compel people to come! I’m excited to see what the Lord is going to do with this.

You know, I love the fact that as you study the Gospels in Scripture you see Jesus going to the synagogues throughout Galilee in the first year of His 3-year ministry. But, at year #2, He’s doing outdoor ministry. He is preaching the Sermon on the Mount. He’s feeding the 5,000 and the 4,000 and He’s everywhere! And His popularity is growing to the point that the people want to make Him the King. Do you see the focus? It shifted. He started in the synagogues, where He proclaimed the Good News to those who were “God-fearing” people. But, after that was complete, He made His way to the common people by going to where they were.

In fact, He really made people mad by eating with publicans and sinners, tax collectors and such. It’s the whole “be in the world, but not of the world” idea that He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane:

15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. John 17:15-18

In Matthew 15, the Apostle records what Jesus did in Capernaum:

10 And he called the people to him and said to them, “Hear and understand.” Matthew 15:10

Jesus was with the people. He went to where they were because He came to seek and save that which is lost.

Do you remember where Paul went when he was in Athens? Mars Hill…the Areopagus. It was the “marketplace” of ideas and it was there that he explained to the people the “unknown God.” Paul went to the people just like Jesus.

Now, I know some will say, “I can’t believe you are running a 15-second ad in a movie theater. Don’t you know what kind of movies they show in there?” Yes, I sure do. Some pretty rough ones and because of that, wouldn’t it be pretty amazing to have our ad pop up right before that movie. Aren’t those the folks we want to try to reach? And you know what? Some Christians might be sitting in those “rough movies” and might could use a little conviction, don’t you think? As the old preacher says, “If you can’t say, ‘Amen,’ say, ‘Oh my!'”

I ask you to pray for us as we try to make an introduction to 288,000 people about the church, which would be the avenue through which we can share Jesus. We’re excited to see what happens!

Speaking of being excited… This past Sunday Evelyn was dedicated to the Lord at church.

Isn’t she precious! I’m certainly a blessed Papa! It’s hard to believe she’s already 6 months old. Last night Clara had her violin recital in Winston-Salem…

She’s been taking lessons for 7 years. That’s also hard to believe!

She played Vivaldi’s “Concerto in A Minor.” She had to memorize it and it’s about 5 1/2 minutes long. Let’s just say that I couldn’t have done something like that in a million years. It’s amazing what you can teach a young person. It’s astounding what they can absorb.

Speaking of young people… This is a big weekend at church. We’ve got our annual Rite of Passage (ROP) Banquet for our young adults who have chosen to go through Rite of Passage this year. What is ROP?

Well, it’s simply a tool 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.” It’s been said, “Children will rise to the level of their parents’ expectations as adults.” The model for ROP comes from Luke chapter 2. Do you remember how Joseph and Mary couldn’t find Jesus and then discovered Him  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?” Did you catch that? “Father’s business?” It was time (at 12) to be thinking about the ultimate mission of life. 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.

We also know from Luke 2 that Jesus was “submissive to His parents” and the Bible says He “grew in wisdom and stature and favor with God and men.” And so we seek to follow Jesus’ example. So, at MPBC, at the age of 12 (and up to 18), you can participate in our annual ROP. Here is our theme verse:

1 Corinthians 13:11

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.

You see, 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.

This year we have 14 young adults who have successfully completed a rigorous gauntlet of questions that had them digging in the Bible for hours. This is taken from the book I wrote about the subject…

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_rsis_1_14?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=d+kevin+brown+rite+of+passage&sprefix=d+kevin+brown+%2Caps%2C229

This year is our 10th year of doing Rite of Passage and we’ve had 89 young adults go through the program. This was last year’s group:

Isn’t that cool!!

Now, why is this significant? Well, various studies show that young people are walking away from their faith in droves by their 20th birthday. Some studies show as much as 80-90% of “Christian teens” will walk away from their faith within 18 months of graduating High School.

The truth is, I saw this happening. I taught the High School Sunday School class at church for over 15 years and this statistic was shockingly accurate. I knew there had to be a better way. We had to find a way to stop just entertaining our kids and actually raising the bar of expectations in their lives and give them a job to do in the church and use them for God’s glory. Young people want to feel a part of their church, not shoved away in some room with games, food and hand-me-down sofas. They want to feel needed, wanted and involved. Hence, Rite of Passage.

The banquet is tomorrow night. This was last year’s…

We’ll conclude the weekend with the Recognition service on Sunday with the Ceremonial “Passing of the Baton.” This was one of the young ladies last year (Emma Wages).

Yes, I’m excited about all of this because we’ve reversed the percentages. Yep, you read that right. We don’t have an 80-90% failure rate, but instead we’ve flipped the percentages. No, I’m not saying just because you do ROP in your church you will guarantee that your child will walk with the Lord. It’s not 100%. But, it’s certainly a lot better than what we’ve been doing I’ll tell you that! 🙂

One of the things the young adults have to do in the process of ROP is to describe Biblical Salvation and their salvation experience. I want to give you just one example of one of the answers. In this case a 16-year old, sophomore young man. (Used by permission.)

“For the longest time I wished I could tell people that I had your ‘average youth salvation.’ I never could though. I now rejoice in it. My conversion experience was so shaking to the core that I abandoned my will to God. The average youth salvation is: Around 8 or 9 years old you go to the altar and shake the pastor’s hand and he knows why you are there, because he knows your parents have probably been pushing you. Most likely due to insecurity, your parents pushed for this experience and the child felt pressured to make a premature decision for their faith that’s not really theirs. This pains me so much because we create so many false conversions, and because of that; when challenged about their salvation, they respond in arrogance to their sin…

What they don’t understand, and using this as evidence against their ‘conversion’ is they don’t truly understand salvation. Salvation is a continual process by which we grow in Christ confirming our salvation in His finished work on the cross. Fruit being the only outward evidence we can see is so important because that is our witness! We are the link between the Holy Spirit and people that attract non-believers to Jesus Christ.”

Folks, what that young man just described is Biblical salvation and I believe that’s the issue. So many young people aren’t really walking away from the faith by age 20. I believe many were never Biblically saved in the first place and it’s not totally manifested that this is the case until they leave home and get on their own. Hence again, the need in our churches to make sure we are locking down on what true, Biblical salvation is and to point that out to our young adults so as to make certain of their salvation.

The mother of this young man sent me this email:

“I want to tell you how grateful I am for the Rite of Passage program at MP.  It has been a great deal of work for [my son] and I am so happy he decided to participate.  I never encouraged him to participate, because sometimes that back fires on us a parents… This was all on him!! This study has really caused him to think about what he believes and writing it down appears to have put some solidity to it for him and for us. Thank you for all your hard work and time surrounding ROP…”

And that dear folks is why we do what we do!

Here’s this week’s “Two-Minute Tuesday” on “Why Atheists Could Die Out Because They Aren’t Having Babies.” It’s certainly thought-provoking!

https://subsplash.com/mpbc/v/sx4csug

Kevin

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Today was a big step back. You say, “Huh? A big step back?” Yep, a big step back toward the religious liberties and freedoms that this nation was founded on over 200 years ago. And yes, a BIG step back considering the last 8 years were simply catastrophic for religious freedom in America under the Obama Administration.

Today, President Trump signed a Religious Freedom Executive Order rolling back many of former President Obama’s  and his Administration’s policies that were nothing less than oppressive for Christians in Americans. A country founded by Christians, nonetheless.

Now, I really value what Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council has to say on important issues. And so, I’m going to share with you the full report of today’s activities from Perkin’s report. Here it is. It’s worth a good read.

Congratulations Are in (Executive) Order!

May 04, 2017

It’s not just the National Day of Prayer. It’s the national day of answered prayer for many conservative Christians! After an eight-year war on faith, President Trump finally called a ceasefire on the conflict started by Barack Obama with an executive order on religious freedom. The measure, which was celebrated in a signing ceremony at the White House, was the fulfillment of one of the most significant promises made by the longshot candidate: “to preserve and protect our religious liberty.”

For evangelicals, whose support propelled Trump to a historic win last November, this was one of the most meaningful returns on that investment. Although the order didn’t make it in under the 100-day wire, the quickness of it showed just how committed this administration is to bringing the government back in line with the First Amendment.

Among other things, the directive checks another big box on the White House’s to-do list — lifting the gag order on churches and other nonprofits under the Johnson Amendment. Since the first days of his candidacy, Donald Trump has railed against the 60-year-old piece of tax code that liberals have turned into a club to punish pastors with. For too long, the Left has used the IRS to threaten the charitable status of churches who dared to speak out on the moral issues of the day.

Of course, the irony of this whole debate is that pulpits are free to do exactly that under the U.S. Constitution. It was only when liberals seized on this twisted interpretation of the Johnson Amendment that pastors came under fire for exercising their God-given rights. To the phony claim that churches would somehow turn into mini-PACs, the White House was clear: “Nobody is suggesting that churches are allowed, or it’s legal, for tax-exempt organizations to take out ads endorsing candidates. That’s illegal now,” said an administration spokesman. “We’re not changing what’s legal, we’re not changing what’s illegal…” Instead, the nation’s tax agency is directed to use “discretion” in enforcing the language named after JFK’s successor.

Medical professionals, charities, businesses, and even nuns who’ve suffered under the outrageous mandate of Obamacare will finally have the relief they need to say no to insurance coverage that violates their conscience. After years of court battles, they’ll be free from regulatory harassment of including contraception and abortifacients in their health care plans. But that’s not all the order does. It sets in place a multi-step process that will provide some long-overdue protections by directing the Attorney General Jeff Sessions to develop guidelines for every federal agency to ensure they protect and promote religious freedom. This includes members of our military, who, under the Obama administration, have been systematically silenced and even purged. Men and women like Chaplain Wes Modder (U.S. Navy-Ret.) and Monifa Sterling, who stared down the ends of their careers for their deeply-held beliefs, can finally come out of hiding and live out their faith openly.

Finally, for our friends like Barronelle Stutzman and Don Vander Boon, who’ve suffered for their biblical views on marriage, there’s hope. As President Trump said, “No American should be forced to choose between the dictates of the federal government and the tenets of their faith,” President Trump told those of us gathered in the Rose Garden for today’s ceremony. “We will not allow people of faith to be targeted, bullied or silenced anymore,” the president said. “We will never ever stand for religious discrimination.”

Thanks to this White House, the open season on Christians and other people of faith is coming to an end. And Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) looks forward to building on White House’s progress. “On this National Day of Prayer, I commend the Trump administration for taking action and will continue to make fighting for religious liberty a top priority of my speakership.” As we work with the Trump administration to address the problems created by Obama, it’s that they understand the dangers of the anti-freedom policies of the last administration. But, more than that, they’re committed to undoing those policies and restoring true religious freedom for everyone.

This step today starts the process of reversing the devastating trends of the last decade to punish charities, pastors, family-owned businesses, and honest, hard-working people simply for living out their faith. On behalf of FRC and the hundreds of thousands of families we represent, we offer our deepest thanks to the president and look forward to assisting him in returning America to the land of the free.


Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

Now, there will be some who say that Trump didn’t go quite far enough with his order today. Some would have liked to have seen him go further. The National Organization For Marriage was one such group. They said:

President Trump has repeatedly promised that he would do everything in his power to protect the religious liberty of people of faith and faith-based groups. It was a major factor in his election. However, an executive order he signed today, while containing some helpful provisions for pastors and religious medical providers, falls far short of what is needed to protect people of faith from governmental persecution set in motion by the Obama administration. Instead, he has punted the issue to the Department of Justice which, he says, will develop new rules to protect the religious liberty rights of people and groups. 

Now, I don’t disagree with the NOFM. It’s true that the Department of Justice is going to weigh in on the future of “religious liberty” in this nation. But, I believe Attorney General, Jeff Sessions will handle things MUCH differently than Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch did. Don’t you?

Bottom line for me today this is where I’m at with all of this… Truly, I know that this is not a perfect world and so you take what you can get. For me, I’m so thankful that we’ve taken a step in the right direction. Yes, we’ve taken a step “back” toward our Founding Fathers and why we were established as a nation in the first place.

I feel exactly the same way about the repeal and replacement of ObamaCare. It’s not a perfect bill that the House is sending to the Senate and I promise you that it won’t look the same once the Senate gets done with it. (I really believe the Senate can make it better.) But, again…I’ll take what I can get.

For me, Neil Gorsuch, as our new Supreme Court Justice was a win as well! If Clinton had been in office, I can’t begin to even imagine what kind of judge we’d have had on the highest court in the land for the next (potentially) 20-30 years.

By the way, I laughed when I saw how CNN covered the events of the day. They hate and I mean HATE President Trump with a vitriol that’s truly amazing!

Screen Shot 2017-05-04 at 2.40.57 PM

“At last, a victory for Trump.” You gotta love the “At last” part. Makes me laugh. And then look to the right for the “Top Stories.” See the third story down where it says: “Trump signs order to allow more politics into the pulpit.” Oh come on! What a joke! That’s not the tone and tenor of the Executive Order at all! We’re not talking about bringing politics into the pulpit, we’re talking about a pastor not being targeted by the IRS because he speaks the truth from God’s Word. Truly, if Clinton had gone into office, I’m convinced my time as a “free” pastor would have been severely limited.

Let me return to ObamaCare for a moment. For me, (because of ObamaCare), I chose to save the church money and drop my “grandfathered” insurance plan from when I started pastoring (11 years ago) and go with a higher deductible (much higher in fact). (Let me say this…I’m blessed to have the insurance plan I have. I’m very grateful to MPBC for the plan I have.) But, my beef has been because of ObamaCare.

You see, because of ObamaCare, according to a letter I received from Guidestone Financial Insurance Company, they said they had to raise the premiums on the old plan I had by almost 25%. Why? Because of ObamaCare and the need to cover all of the Americans that would receive free insurance through the “Government Exchanges.” So, we dropped the plan several levels to compensate for that potential increase.

Well all would have been find, but Pam popped her ACL in China on a Mission Trip and the subsequent surgery, rehab and medical bills cost us over $12,000 out-of-pocket, when all was said and done. I guess I shouldn’t write that in the past tense, because we’re still making payments. Five of them to be exact, each month (to the tune of a nice-sized house payment).

So, do I have some animosity that’s built up in me over the last 8 years? You bet ya! And, I’ve had to pray a lot for a heart of forgiveness and surrender to the Lord. Therefore, the things that have happened today on this annual “National Day of Prayer” have not only been answers to prayer, but also some giant steps “backwards” to what we had in this nation prior to 8 years ago. And if you ask me, those steps are HUGE steps forward!

Here’s this week’s Two-Minute Tuesday (TMT)- “Which One Do You Believe? Both Take Faith.”

http://subsplash.com/mpbc/v/tuzosfm

Kevin

PS…I’m going to be taking a few days to unplug with my family next week. It’s time for a vacation break to recharge and refresh. There’ll be no TMT or Blog next week. Pastor Dale and Caleb will be covering the Devotions for me next week.

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The Unnamed Person

Have you ever heard about Naaman’s leprosy? You know the commander of the army of Syria back in 2 Kings, chapter 5?

2 Kings 5:1

Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master and in high favor, because by him the Lord had given victory to Syria. He was a mighty man of valor, but he was a leper.

Yep, he had leprosy and it was because of an unnamed girl from Israel that he was healed. This is fascinating.

2 Kings 5:2-3

Now the Syrians on one of their raids had carried off a little girl from the land of Israel, and she worked in the service of Naaman’s wife. She said to her mistress, “Would that my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.”

Sure enough, this mighty commander of one of the greatest nations on the face of the earth, Syria, was healed when he went to the Prophet Elisha of Israel. How cool is that? If it weren’t for the servant girl, that mighty man wouldn’t have been healed. But, we don’t even know the servant girl’s name.

Hey, that could be you! You could be an unnamed person that changes someone’s life. So could I. How? By sharing with them how they can find healing. Of leprosy? No. The leprosy of sin.

Last night Pam and I want to Boone to our old stomping grounds at Appalachian State University. I landed there exactly 30 years ago. I’m getting old! A lot has changed for sure. But, some things haven’t. We were on campus at the Solarium in the Student Union because of Baptist Campus Ministry of the High Country. I’ve been asked to serve on the Board of Directors and I’ve accepted. It’s the first board that I’ll be serving on in over 5 years.

You see, the church has gotten so large and so much to do, that I resigned everything else I was doing. And let me tell you, I was involved in some really great organizations. So, why jump back into this kind of thing? Because #1 the Lord gave me the nudge. #2 My wife gave me her nudge. #3 My love for young people #4 I’ve got help at the church and I can actually breathe again. #5 they only meet quarterly and that can be done via Skype or FaceTime if need be (that was a big one for me, to be honest).

Here’s the venue.

Looking through the trees is the old Belk Library. It was there that I did a lot of soul-searching my sophomore year and nailed down my salvation.

It was neat being with Pam (since we met at ASU) looking at the Mall where we once walked together.

I love the vision of BCM of the High Country…

It’s so true. Mike Puckett, shown above, is the Executive Director of BCM of the High Country. Man is he on fire for the Lord! And he’s right! He said last night, “This university is a laboratory and a sending agent for ideology of all kinds into the marketplace of the world.” Think about that statement. It’s so true. The ideology that’s being taught to the majority of the 18,000 students at ASU is certainly not Christian or biblical. It’s a worldview that’s anything but those things. It kind of reminds me about this cartoon I saw in World Magazine.  Therefore, anything I can do to help my alma mater in reaching kids for Jesus, well…sign me up!

See the difference in ideology? Same judge, but his worldview makes all the difference in the world. And the same is true of college professors.

This past year the Gospel was shared over 1,000 times by the workers and the students of BCM. I have three videos on my phone of three baptisms in the cold creeks of Boone of three students of the 14 who have made genuine professions of faith. You say, “Only 14?” Yep. That’s it. Can you imagine how hard the work is? Can you imagine what they’re up against? Will you pray? And will you think about what our kids are being taught. Yes, the are learning to be teachers and businessmen and businesswomen. Yes, they are learning music, etc., etc., but it’s the worldview of the professors that goes with that “education.” So, that’s why I’m involved and that’s why I want to make a difference.

How much difference can I make? Maybe as much difference as the unnamed servant girl that brought a great commander relief from leprosy and into contact with the great prophet Elisha. Just maybe!

Oh how I want to make a difference in the lives of our young adults. In fact, we’re going to have another “College Connect” at our house on Saturday, June 3rd from 5:30-9:30 and Mike Puckett will be coming down the mountain to speak. I’m already pumped. If you have them a college student, tell them to contact me on Facebook or email me at kevin@mpbc.ws and we’ll get them signed up.

Do you struggle believing the Bible is truly the Word of God? Take a look at this week’s TMT.

http://subsplash.com/mpbc/v/ffapdfu

Kevin

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The Lord is good. I continue to be amazed at His provision in my life. I see His hand on my family and the church. Now when I say that, “I see His hand…” I’m not meaning that everything is always perfect. You know the Lord allows difficulties into all of our lives to grow us and shape us and mold us into His image. Difficulties and trying circumstances are a part of life. It’s how we handle those circumstances that will determine where our hearts are as they relate to Him. But, I’m grateful for another week. It’s been hectic and busy with funerals and Sunday’s messages and I’m in revival this week at a local church. As a matter of fact, we had 649 people on Sunday for our three services. There was nothing special going on… just an ordinary Lord’s Day. That’s still mind-boggling to me! I admit it!

Interestingly, I’ve heard some say that our church is growing because it’s liberal. Can you believe that? Me, a liberal preacher? Are you serious! I laugh when I hear that. I’m probably one of the least liberal preachers around. Don’t believe me? Watch some of the sermons I’ve preached lately online at http://www.mpbc.ws.

No, the truth is, there’s all kinds of reasons that folks, (including, sadly, other Christians), will run down another church and I can promise you, (in our case), it’s not because we’re liberal. Perhaps it’s because we don’t use the “right kind of Bible.” I use the ESV, a word for word translation of the original Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic. I heard a NT Greek Professor say one time: “To the degree that your Bible translation is faithful to the original languages of the Bible (Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic), you can be confident you hold the Word of God in your hands.” But, for some, that’s not good enough I suppose.

I believe others, perhaps, believe we’re a liberal church because we use other instruments besides a piano and organ. I guess David was wrong when he said we should praise the Lord with the cymbals, trumpets and tambourines (2 Samuel 6:5). Psalm 150:5 says: “Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals!” Perhaps it’s just the fact that the Lord is blessing and moving and people are being saved, baptized and are growing in their faith and some don’t like that. Who knows. But, I do know this. It’s all of the Lord. It’s all Him and I give Him the praise and the glory! 

Yes, I’m finishing up revival tonight at Pleasant Home Baptist Church in Millers Creek. The folks there have been so kind to me. I’m honored they asked me to come and preach and I believe the Lord has been moving in hearts and lives. I’m excited about finishing up in a little while. The Lord is good!

In fact, as I’ve thought about and prayed about preaching and teaching the Gospel all week, my mind has been taken back to: “The Story of the Donuts.” It’s a powerful story. Have you ever heard of it. It truly is wonderful! I’ve copied it below and I hope it encourages you as it continues to encourage me. I promise you… if you read it…you will be blessed.

The Story of the Donuts

There was a certain Professor of Religion named Dr. Christianson, a studious man, who taught at a small college in the western United States. Dr. Christianson taught the required survey course in Christianity at this particular institution. Every student was required to take this course their freshman year, regardless of his or her major. Although Dr. Christianson tried hard to communicate the essence of the gospel in his class, he found that most of his students looked upon the course as nothing but required drudgery.

Despite his best efforts, most students refused to take Christianity seriously. This year, Dr. Christianson had a really special, dedicated, student named Steve. He was a tremendous athlete. Steve was studying with the intent of going on to seminary for the ministry. Steve was popular, well-liked, and he was an imposing physical specimen. In other words, he was huge! He was the starting center on the university’s football team, and was the best student in the professor’s class.

One day, Dr. Christianson asked Steve to stay after class so he could talk with him. “How many push-ups can you do?” Steve said, “I do about 200 every night.” “200? That’s pretty good, Steve,” Dr. Christianson said. “Do you think you could do 300?” Steve replied, “I don’t know…. I’ve never done 300 at one time.” “Do you think you could?” again asked Dr. Christianson. “Well, I can try,” said Steve. “Can you do 300 in sets of 10? I have a class project in mind and I need you to do about 300 push-ups in sets of ten for this to work. Can you do it? I need you to tell me if you can do it,” said the professor. Steve said, “Well… I think I can…yeah, I can do it.” Dr. Christianson said, “Good! I need you to do this on Friday. Let me explain what I have in mind.”

Well, Friday came and Steve got to class early and sat in the front of the room. When class started, the professor pulled out a big box of donuts. Now, these weren’t the normal kinds of donuts, they were the extra fancy BIG kind with cream centers and frosting swirls. Everyone was pretty excited it was Friday. It was the last class of the day, and they were going to get an early start on the weekend with a party in Dr. Christianson’s class. Woohoo!

Dr. Christianson went to the first girl sitting in the first row and asked, “Cynthia, do you want to have one of these donuts?” Cynthia said, “Yes.” Dr. Christianson then turned to Steve and asked, “Steve, would you do ten push-ups so that Cynthia can have a donut?” “Sure…” Steve jumped down from his desk to do a quick ten. Then Steve hopped back up and sat in his desk. Dr. Christianson put a donut on Cynthia’s desk.

Dr. Christianson then went to Joe, who was seated behind Cynthia, and asked, “Joe, do you want a donut?” Joe said, “You bet I do.” Dr. Christianson asked, “Steve would you do ten push-ups so Joe can have a donut?” Steve did ten push-ups, and Joe got a donut. And so it went, down the first aisle, Steve did ten push-ups for every person before they got their donut.

Walking down the second aisle, Dr. Christianson came to Scott. Scott was on the basketball team, and in as good condition as Steve. He was very popular and never lacking for female attention. When the professor asked, “Scott, do you want a donut?” Scott’s reply was, “Well, I can do my own push-ups?” Dr. Christianson said, “No, Steve has to do them anyway, whether you take the donut or not.” Then Scott said, “I don’t want one! That’s not fair!” Dr. Christianson shrugged and then turned to Steve and said, “Steve, would you do ten push-ups so Scott can have a donut he doesn’t want?” With perfect obedience Steve started to do the ten push-ups.

Scott said with a red face, “HEY! I said I didn’t want one!” Dr. Christianson said, “Look! This is my classroom, my desks, and these are my donuts. Just leave it on the desk if you don’t want it. Now sit down!” And he put a donut on Scott’s desk.

Now by this time, Steve started to slow down with the push-ups. He was starting to tired. He was now just staying on the floor between sets because it took too much effort getting back into his seat. You could see the sweat beading on his forehead and sliding down his cheeks. Dr. Christianson started down the third row. Now the students were beginning to get more angry. Dr. Christianson asked Jenny, “Jenny, do you want a donut?” Sternly, Jenny said, “No.” Then Dr. Christianson asked Steve, “Steve, would you do ten more push-ups so Jenny can have a donut she doesn’t want?” Steve did ten….Jenny got a donut.

By now, a growing sense of tenseness and unease filled the room. The students were saying “No” with greater fervor and all across the room there were all these uneaten donuts on the desks. Steve was now really putting forth a lot of effort to get the push-ups done for each donut. There began to be a pool of sweat on the floor beneath his face, his arms and face were bright red because of the physical effort Steve had expended.

Now, Dr. Christianson asked Robert, who was the most vocal unbeliever in the class, to go over and watch Steve do each push up to make sure he did the full ten push-ups in a set. He told Robert, “Make sure he does them all.” Robert complied. He didn’t like Steve anyway. He thought he was a “goody-goody” and so, he watched Steve closely and Dr. Christianson started down the fourth row.

From time to time however, other students from the class across the hall would come into Dr. Christianson’s class. The professor across the hall would not allow late-comers to barge into his class, but they would be counted present if they attended Dr. Christianson’s class. About that time, 4 students walked in and sat down on the steps that ran along the back wall of the room. As they came in they said: “Mmmm… We can smell the donuts!” When Dr. Christianson realized this, he did a quick count and saw that there were now 34 students in the room. He started to worry if Steve would be able to make it.

Dr. Christianson went on to the next person and the next and the next. Steve was really having a rough time now. He was taking a lot more time to complete each set. Steve asked Dr. Christianson, “Do I have to make my nose touch on each one?” Dr. Christianson thought for a moment and then turned to Robert the atheist and said, “What do you think, Robert?” Robert looked at Steve as Steve was lying on the floor with his arms beginning to shake and Robert said, “It’s alright…he doesn’t have to touch his nose to the floor.” Steve looked up at Dr. Christianson and then to Robert and said, “I’ll do them right. Nose to the floor.” Dr. Christianson, now with tears in his eyes didn’t say a word and continued on.

Just at that moment, Jason, a notoriously late student started to walk in to the room when all the students yelled in one voice, “No Jason! Don’t come in! Stay out!” Jason didn’t know what was going on. Steve picked up his head and said, “No, let him come.” Professor Christianson said, “Steve, you realize that if Jason comes in you will have to do ten push-ups for him?” Steve said, “Yes, let him come in. Give him a donut” Dr. Christianson said, “Okay, Steve, I’ll let you get Jason’s out-of-the-way right now.” He asked, “Jason, do you want a donut?” Jason, new to the room of course, hardly knew what was going on and said, “Yeah! I’ll take a donut.” “Steve, will you do ten push-ups so that Jason can have a donut?” The class groaned! Steve did ten push-ups very slowly and with immense effort. Jason, bewildered, was handed a donut and he sat down and bit into his donut, while everyone glared at him.

Dr. Christianson finished the fourth row, and then started on the late-comers seated in the back of the room. Steve’s arms were now shaking violently with each push-up in a struggle to lift himself against the force of gravity. By this time, sweat was profusely pouring off of his face. There was no sound in the room except his heavy breathing and the splattering of sweat on the floor. Oh…and the muffled sobs of some of the girls as they sniffed away the tears. Even the guys were struggling to watch this display. The last two students in the room were two young ladies…very pretty and very popular.

Dr. Christianson went to Ashley and asked, “Ashley, do you want a doughnut?” Ashley said, very weakly, “No, thank you.” Professor Christianson quietly asked, “Steve, would you do ten push-ups so that Ashley can have a donut she doesn’t want?” Grunting from the effort, Steve did ten very slow push-ups for Ashley. Then Dr. Christianson turned to the last girl, Courtney. “Courtney, do you want a donut?” Courtney, with tears flowing down her face could barely answer for the tears and she said, “Dr. Christianson, why can’t I help him?” Dr. Christianson, holding back his own tears said, “No, Steve has to do it alone, I have given him this task and he is in charge of seeing that everyone has an opportunity for a donut whether they want it or not.”

Dr. Christianson continued: “When I decided to have a party this last day of class, I looked at my grade book. Steve here is the only student with a perfect grade. Everyone else has failed a test, skipped class, or offered me inferior work. Steve told me that in football practice when a player messes up he must do push-ups. I told Steve that none of you could eat at my party unless he paid the price by doing your push-ups. He and I made a deal for your sakes.”

“Steve, would you do ten push-ups so Courtney can have a donut?” As Steve very slowly finished his last push-up, understanding that he had accomplished all that was required of him. 350 push-ups. On the last one, his arms buckled beneath him and he fell to the floor with a “thud.”

Dr. Christianson turned to the room and said. “And so it was, that our Savior, Jesus Christ, on the cross, pleaded to the Father, ‘into thy hands I commend my spirit,’ with the understanding that He had done everything that was required of Him. He yielded up His life. And like some of those in this room, you have chosen to leave the gift on the desk, uneaten.”

Two guys helped Steve up from the floor and to his seat. Steve was physically exhausted, but wearing a thin smile, as he wiped the sweat from his eyes. Dr. Christianson said, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” adding, “Not all sermons are preached in words.”

Turning to his class, the professor said, “My wish is that you might understand and fully comprehend all the riches of grace and mercy that have been given to you through the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ. God spared not His only Begotten Son for you. Whether or not you choose to accept His gift, the price has been paid regardless. You see, Cain brought his offering to the Lord. It was unacceptable because it was brought with a dishonest and corrupt heart. Abel gave his best and it was received by God. What does God want? He wants you! He wants your all. He wants your faults, your failures, your fears, your struggles, your past, your present and your future. He wants to give you life in exchange for your certain death without Him. He wants your worship and He wants your love. He wants you to give from a heart that is clean and righteous before Him. He doesn’t want your effort. He doesn’t want your performance. He doesn’t want your good works. He doesn’t want your church membership and He doesn’t even want your money. He wants you! Just you!” And as the professor walked to the door of the class: “And that is the meaning of this class. Class dismissed.”

Perhaps as you read that story, it moved you. Perhaps there were tears in your eyes or a lump in your throat. Do you know what I find interesting about that possibility? It’s the fact that we can be moved by a story of a young man struggling to do push-ups, yet the Lord and Savior of the world was slaughtered on a cross and because we’ve heard the story so much, we are hardly blink an eye. Why? Because we’ve forgotten how good it is to be saved and just how blessed we are! We have little excitement or passion in us about our Lord Jesus because He’s become commonplace. Why don’t we thank Him for His precious salvation.

Thank you Jesus!!!

Kevin

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When the puritans, pilgrims, separatists, (you pick the name), came to this country, they sought the ability to freely worship. They sought to escape the oppression they were facing in the “Mother country,” England and the corrupt Church. In the process of setting up the government of this nation, along with our constitution, came a Bill of Rights and amendments to those rights. The very first amendment says this…

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

The “free exercise thereof” seems to be limited (as is being interpreted by the courts today) to be within our church buildings. In other words, you are free to believe what you want to believe inside the walls of your church, but NOT in the marketplace. Case in point… See below. (Note: this will take you about 5-6 minutes to read…but, it’s worth it to understand where we’re headed as a nation regarding religious liberty and the First Amendment.

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The Weekly is a rundown of news by the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission highlighting the week’s top news stories from the public square and providing commentary on the big issues of our day.

Washington Supreme Court Rules Against Christian Florist in Same-Sex Marriage Case

The Washington State Supreme Court ruled against a Christian florist who refused to serve a same-sex wedding because of “her relationship with Jesus Christ.” In their unanimous decision the state court claims that, “discrimination based on same-sex marriage constitutes discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

The ruling is the latest legal setback for Barronelle Stutzman, the 72-year-old owner of Arlene’s Flowers & Gifts. Last year Washington State’s sued Stutzman because she refused to sell flowers to a long time customer when the arrangements were to be used for a same-sex marriage ceremony.

Although Stutzman, an active member of a Southern Baptist church, did not have any qualms about serving homosexual customers, she “didn’t want to be involved in a same-sex marriage.” Stutzman had served her friend and customer Rob Ingersoll for nearly a decade, designing custom arrangements for Valentine’s Day and other holidays. But when Ingersoll asked Stutzman to arrange flowers for their wedding, she told him that while she valued him as a friend, her faith would not allow it.

Last year a Benton County Superior Court judge ruled that the law trumped her rights of conscience. “Religious motivation does not excuse compliance with the law,” said Judge Alexander C. Ekstrom in his 60-page opinion.

At the time, Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced he would accept $2,000 in penalties, $1 in fees and costs, plus an agreement not to discriminate in the future and to end further litigation. But Stutzman rejected the proposed settlement, and in a letter to the Washington state attorney general, said:

Your offer reveals that you don’t really understand me or what this conflict is all about. It’s about freedom, not money. I certainly don’t relish the idea of losing my business, my home, and everything else that your lawsuit threatens to take from my family, but my freedom to honor God in doing what I do best is more important. Washington’s constitution guarantees us “freedom of conscience in all matters of religious sentiment.” I cannot sell that precious freedom. You are asking me to walk in the way of a well-known betrayer, one who sold something of infinite worth for 30 pieces of silver. That is something I will not do.

I pray that you reconsider your position. I kindly served Rob for nearly a decade and would gladly continue to do so. I truly want the best for my friend. I’ve also employed and served many members of the LGBT community, and I will continue to do so regardless of what happens with this case. You chose to attack my faith and pursue this not simply as a matter of law, but to threaten my very means of working, eating, and having a home. If you are serious about clarifying the law, then I urge you to drop your claims against my home, business, and other assets and pursue the legal claims through the appeal process.

The attorney general continued to go after Stutzman, even though the refusal could cause her to lose her shop.

In the Washington Supreme Court ruling, the nine justices contend Stutzman discriminated against Ingersoll because of his sexual orientation. They also determined the Washington’s Defense of Marriage Act is to be “construed liberally” and that all people “regardless of sexual orientation are to have ‘’full enjoyment of any of the accommodations, advantages, facilities, or privileges’ of any place of public accommodation.”

The court also contends that the Washington’s Defense of Marriage Act “contains no mandate to balance religious rights against the rights of protected class members” and that her rights to freedom of religion and speech under the U.S. Constitution were not violated.

Alliance Defending Freedom, the organization defending Stutzman in this case, says they will continue to stand with her by appealing this ruling against her to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“The Washington Supreme Court’s ruling shortchanges our nation’s most fundamental freedom in favor of ideological conformity,” said ERLC president Russell Moore in response to the ruling. “Barronelle Stutzman followed her genuinely held beliefs without hostility toward any, and yet finds herself the target of a government that wants to steamroll her constitutional rights. The Court held that the government can force citizens to use their creative gifts and expressive speech to participate and endorse acts they believe to be immoral. This decision is a loss not only for Barronelle Stutzman but for every American who values liberty and civility over coercion by the government. My prayer is that this ruling would be overturned and that the U.S. Supreme Court would recognize the crucial importance of religious liberty.” 

Did you notice the words: “U.S. Supreme Court” in that last sentence. That’s where it’s headed and that’s why the Trump appointment of Neil Gorsuch and his confirmation is so critical. It will at least give the court a 4-4 tie and Justice Kennedy (as usual…as the “moderate-left-leaning” justice) will be the swing vote. If Clinton had won the whitehouse, it would have been “game over.”

So, there’s been another blow to religious liberty. But, there’s also been a victory for Religious Liberty. Did you hear about this?

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Fighting Fired With Fired

February 09, 2017

Squashing a person’s religious freedom will cost you — $225,000 in fact! That’s how much the state of Georgia was forced to pay Dr. Eric Walsh for taking his family on a two-year roller coaster of Christian persecution. As some of you might remember, the Californian was hired by Georgia officials to run the state’s Department of Public Health. But shortly after accepting the job and preparing to move his family to the Peach State, his new office called and asked for copies of sermons he’d delivered on the weekends at his church as a lay pastor. The next day, to everyone’s astonishment, Walsh was fired. Why? Because he dared to preach what the Bible says on issues from sexuality to evolution.

“This has been very painful for me,” he told Fox News’s Todd Starnes at the time. “I really am a strong believer in the Constitution, but now I feel like maybe all these ideals and values that I was raised to believe — the ideals the country was founded upon — no longer exist.” Of course, Georgia’s DPH insisted it had nothing to do with his biblical beliefs, but as our friends at First Liberty Institute know, that was nothing but a vain attempt to cover their tracks for what should be an open-and-shut case of religious discrimination.

Since 2015, the case has taken some interesting twists and turns, including a Houston-esque subpoena for Walsh’s sermons, sermon notes, and even his Bible! Like far too many people, the government not only scrutinized Dr. Walsh for his Christian beliefs — but used those beliefs against him! That’s not only unconstitutional — it’s un-American! Fortunately, the state finally realized as much and decided to settle before its intolerance was made even more visible and painful as this case wound its way through the courts.

Now, months into his legal battle, Dr. Walsh can finally celebrate. “It’s been a long, difficult journey,” he said today, “but it’s worth it to have my name cleared and to ensure that all Georgia government employees know they have religious liberty.” First Liberty attorney Jeremy Dys is hopeful that this case will help send the message that religious discrimination won’t be tolerated. And 40,387 of you helped make it possible! Tens of thousands of you signed our petition and supported us when we played a part in Dr. Walsh’s press conference in Atlanta. As First Liberty says, that was all crucial in making Georgia officials feel the pressure. Hopefully, other states will think twice before trying to use Americans’ religious beliefs against them!

So, there you have it. A Win and a Loss. And this is how it’s going to be going forward. What does this mean for you and for me? It means we need to continue to pray that we can have the opportunity to share the Gospel in a free country.
  • A country that’s free to help the poor and the needy and the immigrants. (Might I encourage all of those who believe this is true to support adopting a foreign child, an immigrant. Pam and I have adopted two. You see, it’s more than just talk about immigrants on blogs and social media that really counts. It’s more than espousing idealogical profundity, it’s about putting your money where your mouth is.)
  • A country that is free to allow other religions to worship as they so choose.
  • A country where we, yes… allow a Muslim to wear a hijab to work and people to burn flags, (as awful as that seems to me). Yet, freedom is freedom in a “FREE COUNTRY,” right?
  • A country that, yes… still allows Christians to believe the Bible and to live out their faith in the marketplace. In other words, a country where it should continue to remain free for even the CHRISTIAN to express their faith and PRACTICE their religion anywhere at anytime (not just in a church building or religious center).
  • A country where Bible-believing, followers of Christ don’t have to look over their shoulders before they say the name, “Jesus” or quote scripture.
  • A country where we actually remember why we were founded in the first place, (religious freedom), by a people who actually believed in the Bible and lived by it in their daily lives.

Kevin

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I had to laugh last night. I saw where a comedian was trying to figure out how the nation could get along. He said there needed to be wall built (not along the Mexican border) but along the California border from Mexico to Canada through Washington state and Oregon. He then said that another wall needed to be built around the northeastern states from New York down through New Jersey and into Washington D.C. and then up the Atlantic coast to Maine. He said the coast on the west could be connected to the coast on the east with a tunnel that runs through the rest of the country. He said Jerry Brown could be president of the West coast nation, Bernie Sanders could be the president of the Northeast coast nation and Donald Trump could be the President of the rest of the nation (about 80% of the continental landmass of the US). I laughed out loud! Parts of it made a lot of sense to me. But, then I thought, no… That’s what the media wants. That’s what many want today… They want us to divide.

And that’s what I continue to see happening. I’ve never seen anything like it. Even within Christian circles, there seems to be much division. If you voted for Trump you are evil, if you didn’t vote for Trump you are evil. If you didn’t vote at all, you are evil. Hey folks…NEWS FLASH…we are all evil! We are all sinners! We all have to look at the hand we’ve been dealt and take it to the Lord and do what we believe He’s telling us. We take the Word of God and we read it and allow it to enlighten our lives and then act on what we believe it teaches. And you know what, some will do the exact opposite of what we believe…of what you believe. Can we still live with each other or will we demonize each other? I pray it’s the former and not the latter.

You see, the politics in America and even the world are a disaster because we’ve turned our backs on God. That’s why we had the choice between Clinton and Trump…never forget that. But, in my mind Clinton meant disaster. She meant a liberal Supreme Court pick and the continued march toward progressive liberalism that would decimate any belief system but one that summarily dismisses Christians as bigots, haters and unloving, unaccepting people. And so, we had to choose. And America chose. Trump won. Whether people like it or not, he’s the 45th president. Now what? Trash him! Castigate him because he’s a fallible man… throw him to the curb? How Christian is that?

Let me ask you… Did we trash Obama? Some did and they were wrong. Yes, in my mind he was and is more misguided than Trump in so many ways. But, did I throw him to the curb? No! I and many of you prayed for him and believe me I prayed in “Chuck Schumer tears” for him! (BTW…I’m giving Schumer the benefit of the doubt…and I hope we can do that with one another.) I prayed for Obama even in times of fasting. I prayed he would look to his Christianity and see that his policies were crumbling Christian thought. But, he never changed or backed down. The media loved him and embraced him. So did the young people. After all, kids in college today grew up through their puberty years with him as their President. It’s all they’ve ever known. But, Obama never had a Christian worldview. And can I ask you… where was the outcry from the Christians back then who are now so ashamed that Trump is the President. Where was the outcry when president Obama changed his position on marriage and abortion and religious liberty…all within just 8 years? There was no outcry. Many Christians looked the other way. But, today there are Christians who didn’t vote for Trump who who now see him in office and they (deep down) almost want to see him fail. Why? Because it will justify why they didn’t vote for such a filthy-mouthed, adulterous, immoral man. But, what does that accomplish? Nothing. He’s still president for the next four years. So, will you pray for him or just castigate him? Surely we are better than that?

You see, that’s how I felt about Obama, and I said as much. But, I didn’t attack him personally or his family, even though I was totally dismayed that a “Christian” man would do what he was doing. Can you look back now and see what 8 years of Obama and a secular, liberal administration that impacted our educational system in such profound ways has brought us?

Did you see the riots at UC-Berekely Wednesday night? Please know, this is supposed to be one of the most “liberal” campuses in the United States.In other words, they talk about how “open” and “tolerant” and “diverse” they are. They talk about welcoming ALL people. That’s the Obama talk, right?. That was the Clinton talk, right? That’s the talk about welcoming immigrants, illegal aliens and ALL people. And I’m all for welcoming all people…but, it was Obama who labeled the 7 nations that we needed to be careful about (terrorism). (More on that in a moment.) Well, we are told to be accepting of all people…gays, transgenders, immigrants, illegal aliens…EVERYONE… Except…and it’s a big “except,” those who don’t agree with them. You know what? They are hypocrites if you ask me. And it’s another reason why Donald Trump is the President of the United States. People got fed up with this kind of stuff. The speaker, who was to speak at Berkeley is a gay, Jewish man, (whom I’m not endorsing in any way), and he said this as the riot was happening:

I have been evacuated from the UC Berkeley campus after violent left-wing protestors tore down barricades, lit fires, threw rocks and Roman candles at the windows and breached the ground floor of the building. My team and I are safe. But the event has been cancelled. I’ll let you know more when the facts become clear. One thing we do know for sure: the Left is absolutely terrified of free speech and will do literally anything to shut it down. Milo Yiannopoulos. 

Get this…the man was going to speak about “political correctness” and “free speech.” One young lady wearing a Trump hat was pepper sprayed by a masked protestor. Here she is…

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Hey… Where’s the love! Those shouting for love and tolerance… Come on! Where’s the love? And so, the country continues to divide.

You can agree or disagree, but I’ll say it again…the last 8 years in this country was the most divisive I’ve ever seen. Barack Obama did more to divide this nation than anyone I’ve seen in my lifetime. And in my humble opinion, that cost the Democrats the Whitehouse and they simply can’t get over it. The media can’t get over it either. Every news article I see on CNN is about how bad Trump is. The pictures they use of him show him snarling and look almost monstrous. How did they portray Obama? Well, you know the answer. Yes, the media hates Trump. No…that’s not strong enough. They loathe him! They report how worthless he is and it’s amazing to see the mass media literally pursue the demise of a man who has only been on the job for two weeks.  Don’t they realize if Trump fails, we all fail? And that’s why I prayed for Obama! I didn’t agree with him on almost anything, but I prayed for him.

Now without question, Trump bumbled the “extreme vetting” rollout. It was a disaster in how it was presented and the misinformation about it came about because it was not well-handled or well explained. It has been twisted in the media and by the Left because it wasn’t rolled out correctly or with the appropriate people involved. It created many problems at airports and it’s been used to mischaracterize the plan, which is little more than what Obama directed (picking the 7 countries on the list). Certainly, it has been a political firestorm, but I believe Trump will learn from this. That’s my prayer. Yet, there continues to be fallout on the Democratic side.

I read an article (an op-ed) piece in the Washington Post about this young man…

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Michael J. Hout, 22, is a junior majoring in history, English and political science at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. During the 2016 presidential campaign he participated in many Democratic activities as a leader in the College Democrats. But he recently quit the party. Here he explains his thinking and I want you to really concentrate on what he says. It’s so enlightening.

“The so-called party of inclusivity, that values tolerance above all else, is extremely intolerant and wildly exclusive to ways of thinking that violate its delicate myopia. I contend that diversity of opinion – both within and without parties – is healthy and integral to our system. We must not only accept it, but demand it. Thus, we must be more accepting of conservative students, and the debate that they allow us to have, just as we must accept liberal students for the same reason. No one side should be able to monopolize culture and community the way the left has been able to do on campuses. … Win with ideas, not intimidation. Be open to debate, and drop the baseless insults intended to stifle it. 

Second, putting it plainly, you do not want to be a conservative on today’s college campus. You will likely be ostracized to some extent, assuming your institution of higher learning is the norm. You will almost certainly lose friends, face bullying and need to develop thick skin. I’ve experienced this, and I only came out as an Independent. Others I’ve spoken to have horror stories worse than mine, attacked by fellow students, treated poorly by professors and administrators, accused publicly of racism, misogyny or “unintelligence.” And we have all received threats at one point or another. All things considered, perhaps I had it pretty good as a moderate Democrat. But my personal convictions prevented me from continuing to reside in the party that it has become, let alone the one that is to come.”

Interestingly, former Ivy League professor Allan Bloom has been saying the same thing. In his book, “The Closing of the American Mind,” Bloom writes that true diversity and freedom only comes when multiple points of view are freely discussed and debated:

“Freedom of the mind requires not only, or not even especially, the absence of legal constraints but the presence of alternative thoughts. The most successful tyranny is not the one that uses force to assure uniformity but the one that removes the awareness of other possibilities, that makes it seem inconceivable that other ways are viable, that removes the sense that there is an outside. It is not feelings or commitments that will render a man free, but thoughts, reasoned thoughts. Feelings are largely formed and informed by convention. Real differences come from difference in thought and fundamental principle.”

Amen!!! Today’s universities pride themselves on being safe spaces where diversity can bloom and grow in the next generation. But is their method of promoting diversity and freedom of thought actually the most effectual way of stamping it out? You see, I have no problem with those who want to believe marriage is between two men and abortion (up to the 9th month) is okay. They are free to believe that. They are wrong in my opinion! Desperately wrong! But, they should be allowed to think and believe what they choose. That’s the First Amendment, folks. But, what the Left wants to do is to shut down any thought…and I mean any thought that doesn’t match theirs. Translated: you are only allowed to believe what I tell you to believe. Folks, that’s totalitarianism. But, you see, there’s a great fear permeating many in America. That fear? That Trump is going to undo everything Obama did. And that scares them to death! And those fears are being exacerbated by the media and well…you have UC-Berkeley and people like Whoopi Goldberg who opine and tells everyone that the sky is falling.

For me…I want to see the misguided policies of Obama changed. I watched for 8 years at the way he governed with an iron fist and nobody said anything. With the stroke of a pen he implemented policies that have hurt Christians…but, no one cares. Why? Because we are Christians. We are the ONLY unprotected class in America. Illegal aliens have more rights than Christians. Christians are nobodies and that’s fine. Or is it? Should we be okay to just watch it all go down the drain? Should we be okay to say, “Let the persecution come!” Should we just say, “Forsake our churches and head to the basements of our homes?” Should we just quit? Should we throw it all away and give up? No! Not me! That’s not the way I operate. I’m going to contend for the faith and stand for the truth even if they lock me up or hang me. I’ll go to the Roman Coliseum of our day if need be…but, I’ll stand for the truth on the way to meet my lion…I promise you that.

So for me…the selection of Neil Gorsuch to replace Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court was such a powerful thing! And for many, many Americans…what verified with that selection was why they voted for Trump. If confirmed, that would mean the court would stay at a 4-4 tie, (split between conservative and liberal), with Justice Anthony Kennedy the lone moderate leaning to the left (liberal).  Believe me there will be a fight to confirm Gorsuch. Why? Because he’s not a good judge? Nope! Because he is a conservative thinker. You see, that’s not allowed anymore in this country. I like what Al Mohler, President of Southern Seminary in Louisville, KY said this about the selection.

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According to everything I’ve read, Gorsuch is a man that is a “strict constructionist” in regards to seeing the US Constitution as a “fixed” document that does not change with time. In other words, it’s not a living, breathing document as liberals, (like Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi), want it to be. I actually talked about the idea of the “fixed” document, as it relates to not only the Constitution, but to the Bible in the Two-Minute Tuesday this week.

Should the Bible change with time? Should it change as the culture changes? Could God who is the same yesterday, today and forever…could He have been wrong about what marriage is and abortion and gender? Is God dumb? Should His word be reinterpreted as society changes?

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You see, the Dems will fight hard to keep Gorsuch, a well qualified man, off the bench, because he won’t legislate progressive liberalism from the bench. And that burns them up! They want to continue the fundamental change toward progressive liberalism that Obama brought to this country.

Yesterday, President Trump went to the “National Prayer Breakfast,” and many Christian bloggers wrote how that was such a travesty. How could such an immoral man go there? I shook my head as I read and I thought, “You’ve got to be kidding me! Do you think Hillary Clinton was/is more moral than Donald Trump?” A woman who said on national TV that she had no problem with abortion up to the moment of birth? Is that moral!? I was appreciative of the fact that president Trump was gracious toward Christians; whereas, Obama always seemed to lecture Christians. Trump said this:

“This gathering is a testament to the power of faith and is one of the great customs of our nation… Our republic was formed on the basis that freedom is not a gift from government, but that freedom is a gift from God.”

May I say that I was encouraged to hear him also reference the legislation that several Republican lawmakers introduced yesterday on Capitol Hill — the Free Speech Fairness Act. You see, the government has been seeking to muzzle pastors for the last several years. Remember the mayor in Houston who told all the pastors to send copies of their sermons to her for approval? She was handily voted down. Where does this mindset come from? It comes from a liberalism that hates Christianity and it’s being taught in our schools and universities nation-wide (reminder, UC-Berkeley). Trump said: “I will get rid of and totally destroy the Johnson Amendment and allow our representatives of faith to speak freely and without fear of retribution. I will do that, remember. Freedom of religion is a sacred right, but it is also a right under threat all around us.”

Folks, it is a sacred right to be able to speak freely in this country. But, that right has been under attack, if you are Christian for the last 8 years, in ways that are beyond description. As far as I’m concerned the US Government can take the 501-c-3 from churches. I couldn’t care less. I don’t give my money to the work of the Lord for a tax deduction anyway. I’d still give every penny I give whether or not I can deduct it off my taxes or not. You see, I don’t answer to the government for what I say behind the pulpit…I answer to God. And that’s a sobering thought. I fear God much more than I do the US government. And during Black History Month, let us never forget that Dr. Martin Luther King, in my opinion, was one of the greatest “political pastors” of our nation’s history. He spoke forcefully from the pulpit about the issues of the day. Since this country was started, churches have been at the forefront of shaping debate and public policy and this should continue and the IRS should stay out of the business of telling churches and pastors what they can and can’t say, period.

Well, I guess I’ve said too much. But, it is my blog, right? After all, it’s Kevin Brown’s mindless musings about life and how I feel. Could I be wrong? Absolutely. Am I wrong in how I think? Perhaps. And that’s why I say to you that I continue to pray and seek the Lord to help me and guide me. You see, all I want to do is to have the opportunity to live freely in this country and tell people about Jesus. And if there are others that want to push for climate change, saving the sea turtles, gay rights, abortion, etc…well…that’s their right as well. But, for me… I just want to live in a nation where I’m not labeled a bigot, fool or pepper-sprayed because I believe what I believe. I pray as a nation we could agree to disagree and still remember that we are all Americans.

Much love to all!

Kevin

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Change Begins Tomorrow

Very few people like change. I get that. But let me tell you folks…come tomorrow…a lot and I mean A LOT is about to change in our country.

Tonight will be the last night Barack and Michelle Obama will spend in the White House. Tomorrow night it will be Donald and Melania Trump. Talk about change! Yep, it’s coming. In my mind, there could not be two more diametrically opposed leaders than Obama versus Trump. And I believe we’ll see that play out in the next four years.

Yet, many don’t like the change. I’m sure you know there are about 1/3 of the congressmen and congresswomen who are boycotting tomorrow’s inauguration of Trump. Hey, can you imagine if there had ben congressmen and congresswomen who had chosen to boycott Obama’s inauguration in 2008 or 2012? Oh my! What would they have been called?

  • Unpatriotic?
  • Cry babies?
  • Racists?
  • Or worse…

What about today? 2017?? Nope, you won’t hear the media use those names to describe the hate and vitriol being used toward Trump. No sir! Those names can’t be used. Instead it’s okay. It’s okay to boycott this President. Why? Because he’s Donald Trump. Oh…and there are so many other reasons I could give you, but I’ll hold my tongue. But, let me just say that the double-standard is striking. The liberal and tolerant media is not longer liberal and tolerant are they. Those who shout for “coming together” and inclusiveness are no longer so inclusive now are they? You tell me. Why is it acceptable to boycott Trump and not Obama? I’m telling you folks…without question there is a double-standard and people continue to drink the Kool-Aid of political correctness. Oh sure, you can detest Trump for how he tweets or how he talked during the campaign or even 15 minutes ago for that matter. Believe me…I’m praying for him diligently in many areas.

But, come on! This is America! This is the melting pot of the world! But, perhaps it’s no longer a melting pot for people we just simply don’t like. You don’t like somebody and so you are now given a pass to be disrespectful? Is that the way it works now? Folks, in my mind there could scarcely been a more concerted effort by an administration to decimate orthodox Christian thinking in America than Obama’s? His administration lit up the Whitehouse in rainbow colors, pushed for Nuns to be required to provide abortion-inducing meds in their health plan and push for transgendered bathrooms in our public schools. And this man claimed to be a Christian!! Are you serious!

Yet, I’m not going to disrespect President Obama and even though I’ve vehemently disagreed with him in almost every area, he was still my President, because I live in this country. You see, when he ran on “Hope and Change” in 2008 and was elected, I gave him a chance. I prayed for him and I continued to pray for him, (diligently…believe me), for the last 8 years. And nothing changed…except…(again…this is in my mind), that he absolutely tried to obliterate that which is orthodox regarding Christian thought about life (abortion), marriage (homosexuality) and now sexuality (transgenderism). There is nothing orthodox or Christian in any of his “social” pursuits.

Yesterday, with Obama’s  pardon of Chelsea Manning, I bowed my head and said, “Good grief.” Honestly, if Chelsea Manning had still been “Bradley” Manning (before his sex change to Chelsea), he would have never been pardoned. That’s my opinion. I’ll say it again: Chelsea gets the pardon that Bradley stays in prison. Why? Because Obama wanted to make a statement. It was one last “in your face” jab to conservative thinking people.

You see, Obama has divided this country. Why? Because of how he’s been indoctrinated. But,  I can’t complain. I’ve been indoctrinated too. So, have you. Don’t believe it…take a look…

Indoctrination

Yes, Barack Obama has been indoctrinated by his upbringing, liberal college education and the echo-chamber he has in the people around him. Therefore, he has not chosen to stand with law and order, but instead to side with the fringe elements of society. He has never denounced Islamic terrorism and instead he’s chosen to lecture Christians. He despises Israel and has shown that in the last 3 weeks as well. In fact, he’s almost destroyed that relationship.

Well, Mr. Obama…that “in your face,” “I’ll show you,” attitude cost your party the election. Not only because the Democrats put forth a terrible candidate that few trusted or liked, but because you, Mr. Obama, chose to thumb your nose at the “average men and women” of America. And that segment of the population rose up en masse and went to the polls because they said, “ENOUGH!” And so, there you have it…change is coming. Like it or lump it.

And you know what? I know the media will lump it. They hate Trump with a passion and their darling is leaving office. CNN is in mourning and so are MSNBC, NBC, ABC and CBS. So are the folks at the New York Times, USA Today, Huffington Post and even Winston-Salem Journal. I wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t all have on black arm bands in a display of mourning tomorrow. But, you know what? I can relate to how they felt. I truly can. I felt the same way on January 20, 2009 and January 20, 2013. But, I gave our President a chance. I prayed and I prayed and I prayed. And that’s what all Americans should be doing. But, that’s not going to happen is it? Nope. It’s a new day. If you don’t like someone, you choose to try to shut them down where they can’t even speak. And that’s how I felt. Obama was going to shut down Christian businesses and shut down orthodox Christian teaching from pulpits and free speech for “Christians” who disagreed with the progressive thinkers.

So for me tomorrow… I’ll be doing what I’ve been doing what I was doing in 2009 and 2013. I’ll be praying. I’ll be hopeful and I’ll give the President a chance.

Hey, do you think Spring has arrived to stay? Don’t bet your life on it. It will begin to turn cold again by this time next week. The pattern is going to change once again. We’re back on the roller coaster (just like we’ve been all winter). We’ll struggle to get out of the 30’s and low 40’s by the beginning of February. And I believe we’ll have another shot or two at more winter weather before we get to the end of March. Yes, even in the weather, change is coming! 🙂

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