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Grinding It Out

How much of life is about: “grinding it out?” Do you want to put a percentage on it? I don’t. I’m afraid to!

What is life? James calls it a “vapor,” a “mist.” I’ve seen that yet again this week. My great-uncle went to be with the Lord and I’m working on the funeral message that I’ll deliver tomorrow. Is it possible that he’s gone? Death comes and the finality of it is breathtaking. And that’s what makes life tough…grinding it out. Why? Because we have to keep living. People are counting on us. That’s what I plan to say to the family shortly as we meet at the funeral home. We must keep going. That’s what he would want.

Are you grinding it out? What does that mean to you? To me it means continuing to get up every morning and seek to help people. It means to write sermons, devotions, blogs. It means counseling people when you, yourself could probably use some counseling. It means taking a deep breath and saying, “Lord give me strength!” as you drive to another hospital, counsel another family, write another sermon. It means: grinding it out.

Is that okay? Is it okay to grind it out? Should I say it another way? Should I try to soften the blow of what it means to live in a world that’s filled with sin and sinners? Should I try to call “grinding it out” having “fun?” Should I? What do you think? My answer is: “No,” and here’s why. It’s okay to grind it out. That’s what Jesus did.

Remember when Jesus had heard that his cousin John had been beheaded? What did He do? Matthew 14 tells us.

13 Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a desolate place by himself. Matthew 14:13a

He needed to be alone. He was worn out! He was grieving! He was tired! So, He went to a desolate place on the coast of the Sea of Galilee near Bethsaida Julias. Jesus was “grinding it out.” How can I say this? Because the Apostle Matthew records the second part of verse 13…

But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. 14 When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick. Matthew 14:13b-14

Can you imagine Jesus in that boat on the Sea of Galilee and He’s by Himself and He sees all of those people running across the northern part of the coastline to meet Him where He’ll come ashore at Bethsaida Julias? What did He do? He got out of the boat and went ashore. Why? Because He had compassion on them. The word means: “to feel it in your bowels.” Just couldn’t let His condition of being tired and grieved and worn out deter Him from doing the work. He had to grind it out. And I’m glad He did. It gives me my example…and you, your example.

Are you tired? Pray to the Lord to give you strength. His mercies are new each morning. Lean on Him. Lean into Him. He’ll sustain you and He’ll provide for you no matter what! Grind it out! He did and so can you!

You are loved!

Kevin

This week’s Two-Minute Tuesday: “Is a 4-year Degree For Everybody?”

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

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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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What a combination! Basketball and Snow!! And both are coming this week it appears. We know the Basketball is here. The ACC tournament is in full swing, but what about the weather? Well, it’s a bit early…but it appears we have a decent shot at some March Snow this weekend and that will only increase the “March Madness!”

Here’s the latest forecast from our United States model called the GFS.

That’s right! We could see some snow on Saturday night and Sunday morning. We’ll see. A forecaster in Charlotte is only rating the chance at 10% right now…

The system is still off the west coast and that’s why the confidence is so low. Honestly, we won’t know until tomorrow when it gets onto the continental US that the models can really pick up on what’s going to potentially happen.

My favorite forecaster is Van Denton and this is what’s on his Facebook page. The top one is the European Model and the bottom one is the GFS (US Model).

Van’s Post:

2:40 pm Wed March 8, 2017 Feel free to SHARE

Still way too early to have a good fix on specifics for Saturday night/Sunday morning, but here is what the 2 models show that go out that far. The GFS has lowered amounts from the past 2 days and last night and the Euro has remained about the same.

We expect colder air to push in from the north on Saturday and an area of low pressure to arrive from the south on Saturday night and pass to our east on Sunday. This combination would produce the snow chance that the models are showing. The ground is warm and that would cut into amounts that we see accumulate. One thing to note about the models, they show the amount of snow that actually falls based on it all sticking. With a warm ground, much of it would melt and depth would likely remain below what a model actually shows.

By tomorrow night the energy will reach the mainland (currently over the Pacific Ocean). Once it reaches land, we will get better data from Weather balloon sounds which take measurements within the storm. Then we will have a much better idea what to actually expect from this system. We usually start putting out OUR forecast for snow amounts within 48 hours.

So, we’ll see. Either way…it’s kind of exciting. I am reminded of the Blizzard of 1993 that occurred during the ACC Tournament. Wow! That was something! Here’s the snowfall map from that one…

We had that 22″ amount at my house. Unreal! Mt. Mitchell got 5 feet!!!

This was a picture from Eastern Tennessee…

I remember the snow drifted up to four feet in some places around the house. It was truly an amazing event!

Well, you can be sure we’re not looking at anything like that…but, nonetheless, the timing of the event being March 11 and 12 this Saturday and Sunday is very similar to 1993 in timing.

So, enjoy the weekend! I will! Snow and Basketball! Wow! What a potential combination!

This week’s Two-Minute Tuesday, “Children in Big Church? It’s up to over 4,300 views. Amazing!

http://subsplash.com/mpbc/v/ozgx3o5

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?

http://subsplash.com/mpbc/v/mqv4jxr

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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I love people. I love being around people…especially young people. Pam and I love our young adults and we wanted to show them. So, we’ve hosted two “Connects” over the last few weeks. “Connect,” (as we’ve called it), is where our church young adults just out of high school or in college, come over to our home for a time of food and fellowship. We believe this is so important for our young people during this stage of life. Why? Because they have tons of pressure on them. This stage of their lives can be a very tumultuous time.

Pam and I wanted to give these dear folks an opportunity to come together and fellowship and rest. Yes, rest. Being a 20-something (or soon to be 20-something) is not easy. Again, it’s a very topsy-turvy time of life where tons of decisions are made. You think about all the decisions that are made from the time a person turns 18 until they are around their mid-to-late 20’s. Usually during that span of 8 to 10 years a life can be set. Usually a person’s vocation comes into focus and often so does a mate or a potential mate. Who knows, even children might be coming along by then. That’s a lot of stuff happening in a window of time (say: a decade) of an average person’s life (living to be say: 80) that makes up only about 12.5% of your life. That’s a lot of stuff indeed!

I remember how I felt back in the day. Pam and I were 21 and 22, respectively when we were married.

15590217_10208433339737123_2585322649366309779_nWe met in college at Appalachian State and it was such a blessing! Yet, those years were stressful in college. I remember them vividly.

So, with all of that said, we wanted to provide that Holiday Break and “Connect” our MPBC young adults. Here’s some pictures.

 img_0802First rule: Feed them good! Village Inn Pizza and Chick Fit-A nuggets do the trick! And so does a lot of coffee! They love coffee!! And sweets…I can’t forget the cookies and chocolate! (I must admit that I love all that stuff too!)

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Teach and be transparent about your own life and struggles. At our first Connect, I shared and I think I actually kept it to about 20 minutes. Wow! 🙂 (Don’t get any ideas MPBC Sunday and Wednesday folks. :))

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Keep it comfortable. Above was last night’s crowd. Below was a couple of weeks ago.

15578538_1330609773670392_5547020218254417074_nWe just let everybody sit wherever they wanted to. After all, with almost 30 people in your house…that’s about the best you can do. 🙂 Pam shared last night about overcoming worry and doubt.

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She’s such a rock. No one can possibly know what she means to me. Truly, our work at MPBC is a team effort. I think everyone had a great time! We played a game where you had a person who was truly the person that something was about them and two imposters. The rest had to figure out who the “REAL” person was and hope to not be tricked by the imposters.

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They laughed their heads off! They’ll have some great memories about some funny truths they learned about each other.

In Scripture Elders are encouraged to show hospitality (1 Timothy 3:2). Peter admonishes us: Show hospitality to one another without grumbling (1 Peter 4:9). Pam is an excellent hostess. At the end of the evening we’re tired after cleaning up, etc. But it’s a good tired. It’s a tired where you lay your head on your pillow after a long day and say: “Yeah…that was good,” knowing that these wonderful lives we got to be around will hopefully know how much they are loved and cared for!

Kevin

 

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Below is our annual Christmas update from Pam:

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Christmas 2016 Greetings!

It is that time of year again! We have experienced a wonderful year of God’s blessings. Kevin continues to pastor at Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church and as of January, he will begin his 12th year of ministry. We moved to having three services last year, and not that numbers are everything, (but they do represent souls), we are averaging over 600 people in our three services. Kevin’s weekly Two-Minute Tuesday’s on Facebook have had an amazing impact and were viewed by over 160,000 people.

Kevin and I will celebrate our 26th Anniversary on December 22nd. I am in my 17th year of homeschooling and now spend the majority of my time teaching Clara and Andrew and managing things around here. It’s also a blessing to participate in the Praise Team and work with various ministries at church when I am able. I LOVE being Nana to my two sweet granddaughters! This past year I tore my ACL while doing mission work in China. I had surgery in March and although it was a long and painful recovery, I am so thankful to be back to “normal.”

Kandace will be 19 in January and is getting close to completing her Associates Degree. She continues to sing with the church Praise Team, as well as teaching dance and violin. She also started working at Cook’s Sporting Goods this summer. She is crazy busy and enjoying life. She went back to FASA in Nashville again this summer and sang at the Country Music Hall of Fame and The Grand Ole Opry. She loves going there and reconnecting with so many dear friends and fellow musicians. In 2017 Kandace plans to travel back to China and the Philippines to do more mission work. Kandace also loves spending time loving on and taking care of her precious nieces.

Clara is now 11 and has surpassed me in height! She is in the 6th grade is still dancing and advancing in her violin studies. Her favorite subject is English, like her mother! J Clara was able to travel in October with Kevin and Kandace to the Philippines and participate in the work there. She really enjoyed the experience and wants to go again in the future. Clara is still Charlotte’s best buddy. Charlotte calls her “Cuh-Cuh.”

Andrew is also 11 and in 6th grade. He is still learning piano and has turned his focus to engineering and building. He is meeting each week with a generous man in the church who teaches him about engineering, cars, and other projects. Andrew is in “hog heaven” learning about these things. He really likes math, like his dad! J Charlotte calls him “Adoo” and loves to play hide and seek with him.

Josh and Katy moved into their new home in the spring. Josh is still employed at Wilkes Communications and enjoying his job there. On November 11th at 7:58 a.m. Evelyn Ruth Isaacs was born at WRMC weighing 7 lbs. 1 oz. Charlotte became a big sister just before turning two on November 23rd. Katy is doing great and is a wonderful mother. We enjoy having them close by so we can see them often. Charlotte is talking all the time and always doing something funny. She and little Evelyn are blessings for sure!

We are so thankful for all of God’s blessings this year! We pray that you and your family enjoy a wonderful Christmas Season and remember that the greatest gift is Jesus Christ, who came to earth as a humble baby, to become the ultimate sacrifice so that we may be saved! He is worthy of all praise! Merry Christmas!

Love,

Pam and all the Brown Family

Here’s today’s Two-Minute Tuesday about the importance of “Saving Our Households.” It’s my heart and I know if I fail here, then it doesn’t matter what else I accomplish in this life.

http://subsplash.com/mpbc/v/4dsqx8q

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