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Archive for the ‘Daily Living’ Category

Folks, there’s a lot of talk about race right now. I want to offer this thought for our consideration as we think of race relations: There is only one race and that’s the human race.

Now, I know when we fill out forms there are all kinds of options, but at the end of the day, there’s just one race, according to the Bible. We are all descendants of Ham, Shem and Japheth, Noah’s three sons. And prior to that, we’re all the offspring of Adam and Eve. That includes all the various skin colors.

Take a look at this quote:

In 1950, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) issued a statement asserting that all humans belong to the same species and that “race” is not a biological reality but a myth. This was a summary of the findings of an international panel of anthropologists, geneticists, sociologists, and psychologists.

Most educated people would accept the facts that the earth is not flat and that it revolves around the sun. However, it is much more difficult for them to accept modern science concerning human variation. Why is this so? It seems that the belief in human races, carrying along with it the prejudice and hatred of “racism,” is so embedded in our culture and has been an integral part of our worldview for so long that many of us assume that it just must be true. Robert Wald Sussman, “The Myth of Race”

Take a look at this chart:

Acts 17:26 says: “And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place.”

Think about it. If you’re a Christian, then you probably believe that all human beings came from Adam and Eve. I said “probably” because everyone who names the name of Christ might not think this way. However, I believe it is truly Biblical. So, how can we get all the skin colors? Well, think back to High School at basic genetics. See it…

This chart helps us to understand this fact…

Genetically speaking, Adam and Eve were most likely what we would say is “Middle Brown” in color. So, what is the difference in skin color of human beings? Simply something called: MELANIN. What is melanin? It’s found in your skin…it’s your skin pigmentation that gives you your paint job…your color…

Think of cars coming off the Ford assembly line. What’s under the hood is the same…but, they have different paint jobs.

Melanin is what gives your skin color. The more you have of it, the darker your skin. Let me show you a picture that is fascinating. These two girls are twin sisters.

Isn’t that astounding? You see folks, I’ll say it again…skin color is just a paint job from God based on how much melanin we have in our skin.

Think of the iris of the eye. How is eye color determined? Yep, you guessed it: melanin. If the iris has a larger amount of melanin, it will be brown. If the iris has a small amount of melanin, the eye will be blue. The blue color in blue eyes results from the way light scatters off of the thin layer of brown-colored melanin.

Hair color is also influenced by the production of melanin. Brown to black hair results from a greater production of melanin, while lighter hair results from less melanin. Those with red hair have a mutation in one gene that causes a greater proportion of the reddish form of melanin.

Do you remember the Punnett Square from Biology class?

 

You have the Father’s genes on the left and the mother’s genes up top. Let’s say that Big A and Big B means you have lots of melanin and little a and little b means you have small amounts of melanin. So, if you have two Big A’s and two Big B’s, then you have very dark brown skin (what we would call black). If you have two little a’s and two little b’s, then you would have very light brown skin, that we call “white.” If you have a combination of a Big A and little a and Big B and little b, then you would be what is called “middle brown.” See how the color goes from dark black in the top left corner to really, really white in the bottom right corner?

Think with me biblically. All of the descendants of Shem, Ham, Japheth were dispersed at the Tower of Babel, remember? But also remember they are descendants of Noah, who is a direct descendant of Adam and Eve.

As people spread out from Babel…they went to different parts of the earth, just as God commanded (to be fruitful and multiple).

So, what makes our skin dark? The sun, right? The closer we get to the equator, the darker the skin. And the more athletic they are in the villages, where they still farm and hunt and run with tremendous speed and skill. Other people who migrated to the colder climates didn’t have the same amount of vitamin D from the sun and thus lighter skin. They also live more sedentary life-styles (indoors) because of the cold.

Think about the industrial revolution and how it changed many things in Europe and certainly here in the United States regarding how we raise food and hunt, etc. We live in totally different environments today. Think of the Chinese with their 1.7 billion people. They live off of rice and not a lot of protein. Therefore, they are typically smaller and thinner as a people group. And that’s what I call various “peoples”… I call them “people groups.” I don’t call them races. The Chinese are a people group and so are Indians, etc.

Take a look at this map of the various “paint jobs” as distributed throughout the world.

Aren’t you glad the Lord put such amazing variety in our DNA through 23 female and 23 male chromosomes to produce all of these skin colors? Amazing isn’t it! By the way, this is another example of God’s design for the human race and for marriage and procreation, which obliterates the idea of homosexual marriage. They can’t do this. They’re not designed to produce offspring (as same-sex couples). Only God’s design works.

Can I ask you a question? If a white person is looking for a tissue match for an organ transplant, is it possible the best match could come from a black person? The answer is: YES and it happens all the time. Can I ask you another question? If I were to show you a picture of a human heart, would you be able to tell if it was a white man’s heart versus a black man’s heart versus an Asian man’s heart? The answer is: NO. Because they’ll look the same! All of our organs look the same! A black man’s spleen is like a white man’s spleen, a Chinese man’s liver is like a Hispanic man’s liver and so forth. Why? Because we are all from one blood line…Adam’s!! We are all from the same race. It’s that simple! Our skin color is just a paint job.

The Bible is plain and clear:

Galatians 3:28

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Romans 10:12-13

12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

May we be reminded of what will happen in heaven one day…

Revelation 7:9-10

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”

Yes, here is just one race…the human race and all people are equal before God. All are sinners in need of Jesus for salvation. Because of this, we go as missionaries to China, Mexico, Ethiopia, the Philippines and points in between. Any descendant of Adam can be saved because Jesus Christ, born a Jew, gave His blood for all people for all time. This is why the gospel can (and should be preached) to all nations, tribes and tongues. And it’s this truth that must supersede all talk about race.

Here is this week’s Two-Minute Tuesday, “I KNOW I’m Going to be Surprised!”

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

Kevin

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Is that title provocative or what? Yet, it’s the truth. Suicide is becoming a fad in our culture. More and more young people, particularly, believe it’s the way out of the problems. Suicide is now the second leading cause of death among 10-24 year olds.

I was watching a documentary on this the other day and I saw where one of the counselors being interviewed, (about helping a High School address a recent suicide), said, “We don’t recommend having memorial services for the deceased so that the high schoolers can attend.” The reporter asked why? The counselor said, “Because there is too much ‘glorification’ of suicide right now. If these kids know that the whole school is going to stop and weep over them…well…it’s something glamorous…and we don’t recommend it to school guidance counselors.” That makes total sense to me.

As a pastor, one of the most troubling things I deal with is the subject of depression and suicide. Truly they go hand-in-hand. It’s deep and dark depression that leads to suicidal thoughts and ultimately the act of suicide. Let me say this: I’m not trained to handle suicide. I tell folks this all the time. If you want to talk and you want me to share with you and listen to you and encourage you…yes, please come see me. But, I’m not trained in the brain. I don’t understand all of the nuances of how the mind works. Therefore, I never want to say or do anything that would lead to more harm.

You see, I believe there is a balance in working with people. You (I’m speaking of myself) have to know yourself and what you can handle and are capable of handling. I, as a pastor, feel I can handle marriage counseling, financial counseling, family counseling, behavioral counseling (to a point). But, when it gets to be issues of someone is on the phone and they’re on a ledge about to jump…no…don’t call me first…call 911 first. I’m not trained to talk people off a building rooftop. The same is true with drug addiction. That’s over my head.

Honestly, I didn’t believe this way when I started out pastoring 12 years ago. I thought I had to have all the answers. I thought, “There paying me to have the answers.” I realized that wasn’t true. I realized there are issues that I’m not equipped to handle and I’m a better pastor to admit that versus trying to make it look like I know what I’m talking about. That’s nothing but blatant pride! So, I’m honest with people. I’m candid with people. I try to lower their expectations. I’m not a miracle worker and I don’t have a magic wand.

Here’s the truth. By the time a lot of people call me for counseling, they’ve already made up their mind. Let’s take marriage counseling for instance. What I’ve seen through the years is that one or both of the spouses has already given up and they simply agree to counseling to check it off the list so that they can tell everyone that they “exhausted all possible avenues,” including counseling. The truth is: I can tell in the first 15 minutes if one or both have already given up. That’s tough when that happens, because then it will only be a miracle from the hand of God that can save the marriage. Only God can change the human heart. I can only do so much and the same is true of you.

Today’s Two-Minute Tuesday is: “Exit: The Appeal of Suicide.”

https://subsplash.com/mpbc/v/q9puzbu

The movie is excellent. It’s about 37 minutes long, but it’s not something I can show in church (with our children). However, if you know of anyone who is in that dark place or dealing with depression or suicide, I would encourage you to pass along this website:

http://www.theexitmovie.com

Without question, we all go through seasons of time in our lives that are very dark and very difficult. I think of the Apostle Paul when he said that he was “so burdened beyond his strength.”

2 Corinthians 1:3-11

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.

For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. 10 He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. 11 You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.

Verse 9 said he felt “the sentence of death” on his life. Maybe you have been there. Maybe you are there. Know that you are not alone. Know that you are loved and are valuable to God. He loves you so much, He sent Jesus to die for you…to save you…so that you might have eternal life.

Jesus, Himself, would cry out on the cross in His grief and anguish. He, too, felt such terrible stress and pain in the Garden of Gethsemane that He literally sweat drops of blood. He’s been there. The writer of Hebrews says:

15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Hebrews 4:15

Jesus loves us and He is able to bring meaning, purpose and hope into the life of each and every soul that will come to Him. He says:

28 “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

I know in my own life of almost 50 years the there is no one or nothing that can give strength, power, purpose and meaning outside of Jesus Christ. Anything else is counterfeit and won’t last. If you need help, get help. Talk to a Christian counselor or pastor or trusted Christian friend.

The most important thing for those of us who are trying to help and encourage people is to know that we don’t have to have all the answers. We just need to be there and listen. Just be a shoulder for others to lean on.

I think of the first century church. There were no counseling services like we have today. It was just Christians helping Christians and the Holy Spirit to comfort, teach and guide. I believe Peter said as much in:

2 Peter 1:3-11

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. 11 For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

I do believe there is a place for professional counseling, (I’ve already said that), but I believe the greatest Counselor is the Wonderful Counselor and that’s the Lord Jesus Christ, who operates in our lives through the Holy Spirit. If you are struggling today in any way…look to Christ. Bow your head and pray right now. Call on the name of the Lord! He’s waiting and He loves you!!

Kevin

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I read that phrase and I thought, “Is that possible?” This was a question asked by a 20-something to the founder of World Magazine, Joel Beltz, in his office in Asheville, NC. See the full article here…

Is ignorance about one of America’s greatest evangelists a worrying sign?

https://world.wng.org/2017/08/a_little_quiz

It’s fascinating! And scary!! To think that we live in a day and age that in the Bible belt, there are people who don’t know Billy Graham. Of course, as Beltz said, these same people don’t know of C.S. Lewis, Francis Schaeffer, Charles Colson, J.I. Packer, and even contemporaries like Joni Eareckson Tada. Wow! Dorothy, you’re not in Kansas anymore.

But, I bet they know about Al Gore. I bet they know about “climate change.” It’s ubiquitous (that’s my word for the day: meaning everywhere). Every TV show, news article, Hollywood star, you name it…they are all shouting, “The sky is falling!” Oops! No! Sorry, I meant, “The oceans are rising and we’re all going to die!” You know, Al Gore said in 2004 that the polar ice cap in the Arctic Circle would be totally gone by 2014. Well, Al ole boy…it’s still there! In fact, Greenland has had more snow and ice in the past year than they’ve had in the last 50 years (source: weatherbell.com).

You got to love Al Gore. Do you know where he lives? (I should say, his “main home?”) Here it is…

Can you say, “Wow!!!” You know Scientology founder and sci-fi writer L. Ron Hubbard reportedly once said, “You don’t get rich writing science fiction. If you want to get rich, you start a religion.” Some people dispute that quote, but there’s no disputing that Al Gore took it to heart. He has combined sci-fi and religion to create what many are calling, “Doomsday environmentalism.” Gore is worth an estimated $300 million today. After he left politics as VP, he was worth a paltry $2 million.

Have you heard about his latest movie that’s coming soon? It’s “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power.” I can’t wait! (NOT!!) Interestingly, the National Center for Public Policy Research  (NCPPR) decided to investigate the truth about Gore’s mansion and his own power bill. In 2007, he was slammed for having an energy hog mansion that used 20 times more power than the average American home. So he installed $250,000 worth of solar panels and other green updates. The NCPPR found that despite his claim that he uses 100% renewable energy, all those solar panels produce just 5.7% of the power needed for his massive home.

Again, that picture above is just of his Tennessee house. It doesn’t include the energy needed to power his seaside California villa or all the energy he expends jetting around to lectures and environmental conferences. As one man I heard recently say, “I’ll believe the environment is a crisis when the people who claim it’s a crisis start acting like it’s a crisis.”

Please understand something. I have no problem with Al Gore saying anything he wants to say. It’s a free country! Or is it? Or is it becoming JUST a free country for those who believe and espouse the progressive liberal agenda? Did you hear about the:

I doubt you have. The mainstream media will never cover this. Well, NC Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest got this act through the legislature of North Carolina, which just went into effect without the signature of the Governor. Does that surprise you? North Carolina is the first in the nation to restore and protect the First Amendment free speech principles on college campuses, which have been whittled away by the political correctness of left leaning administrators and protesters.

You see, free speech and religious liberties have come under great attack on college campuses. Al Gore is allowed to speak anywhere at any time. But, if you’re a Christian with conservative principles. Forget it! Understand, if you’re a speaker or student group that holds opposing views to those on the left, you will be silenced on most college campuses. Period! I’m thankful for the courage and guts of Lt. Governor Forest and the fact that he recognized this issue was threatening our student’s freedoms and led the charge to protect their fundamental rights of free speech and free expression on NC college campuses. Other states are now looking at following our lead. Read more from the National Review.

I believe Religious Liberty is the tip of the spear for Christians in our country. This man…

(Photo: adflegal.org)

That’s Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop of Colorado. He declined to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex-wedding reception. He has since been told by the ladies of The View, “Just bake the d_mn cake!” Well, let me ask you something. What if someone came to a gay baker and said, “Make me a cake that says, ‘I hate Gays!'” Would it be okay for that gay baker to turn down that request because it violated his/her conscience? Sure it would! Or would it? You see, this is the issue: “who is going to dictate freedom?” Is it the government? If that’s the case, then the government becomes “god” and they will eventually dictate American’s lives from the womb to the tomb.

Understand this: With every cake he designs, Jack believes he is serving Christ. He had previously turned down requests to create Halloween-themed cakes, lewd bachelor-party cakes, and a cake celebrating a divorce. Yet Jack was never reprimanded over those decisions. He found himself in hot water only with the same-sex-wedding cake.

This case is now before the Supreme Court. I predict the court splits 5-4 and votes in favor of making Jack bake the cake (which he won’t…so it will shut him down and potentially throw him in jail for violating Colorado’s “Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity” (SOGI) antidiscrimination statute. So, this case has implications for millions of believers from every walk of life and, beyond that, for the health of our culture and our constitutional system of liberty.

Only in recent years has the government taken upon its shoulders the responsibility to force religious conservatives to violate their beliefs on sex and marriage. This has occurred because of  the tremendous influence and money (oh, don’t forget the money) that progressive, liberal advocacy groups have pushed legislators and in the judiciary. Apparently, there are no longer any civil liberties for those of us who conscientiously object to the sexual revolution.

That’s why we saw the American Civil Liberties Union oppose Catholic nuns’ attempt to get out of the Obamacare HHS preventive-care mandate, in which the Department of Health and Human Services required employers to provide insurance covering sterilization and birth control and that included several forms of birth control that prevented embryos from implanting in the uterus, thereby causing abortions.

Folks, it won’t stop with bakers. If this train keeps thundering down the tracks toward Christians, it will eventually threaten churches and religious schools adhering to the historic view of marriage that’s recorded in the pages of the Bible. Religious schools could possibly lose accreditation and nonprofit tax status as well as eligibility for student loans, vouchers, and education savings accounts. And churches could lose their tax-exempt status as well. Which I couldn’t care less. I don’t give my money just for a tax deduction. I give it because the Lord has saved my soul and I want to see others come to the kingdom. If I don’t get a tax deduction for giving my money, then who cares! But, I know I don’t speak for everyone. There’s a lot of folks who might just hang on to those dollars.

You see, what the Left has done remarkably well is to say that not baking a cake or performing a same-sex ceremony is akin to “homophobia.” They equate it with racism. And that’s where the question of authority arises. Who are we going to listen to obey? Man or God? Are we going to adhere to God’s definition of marriage as found in Holy Writ or man’s?

What justifies the government in telling Jack Phillips that he must create cakes for same-sex weddings? I’ll tell you! Government has redefined marriage! Yet, (and read this carefully to follow) that redefinition didn’t create an entitlement for some citizens to demand that other citizens help celebrate their same-sex marriages. Activists are using SOGI laws to weaponize the redefinition of marriage.

Did you know that during the Supreme Court case, two summers ago where the Court ruled Gay Marriage as acceptable, Justice Samuel Alito asked the solicitor general whether the state should yank tax exemptions for schools that uphold marriage as the union of man and woman. The solicitor general replied: “It’s certainly going to be an issue.” Right on cue, the Sunday after the Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell, the New York Times’ religion columnist wrote a piece for Time magazine titled “Now’s the Time to End Tax Exemptions for Religious Institutions.” It’s coming folks! It’s coming!

Please understand this as well. These “laws” will extend not only to evangelical Christians but also to Orthodox Jews, Roman Catholics, confessional Lutherans, Latter-day Saints, Muslims, and anyone else who believes that man and woman were created male and female, and that male and female are created for each other only.

Ryan Anderson at the Heritage Foundation (as reported in the National Review) says, “Charities, schools, and professionals will find themselves on the wrong side of regulations: bans on what government deems ‘discrimination’ in public accommodations and employment; mandates in health care and education; revocation of nonprofit status, accreditation, licensing, and funding. Rolling Stone just profiled the LGBT activist Tim Gill, who has pledged his $500 million fortune to passing SOGI laws that will, in his words, ‘punish the wicked.’ And it won’t just be government that does the punishing. As the law insists that social conservatives are like racists, big businesses and other institutions will bring their own pressure to bear on anyone who dissents. Professional associations, through licensing and accreditation procedures, will enforce the new orthodoxy. The American Bar Association has promulgated new model rules of professional conduct that make it unethical for lawyers to ‘discriminate’ on the ‘basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status or socioeconomic status,’ including in ‘social activities,’ which, as former attorney general Ed Meese has explained, would include ‘church membership and worship activities.'”

Folks, all I can say is: “Wow!” Oh how far we’ve fallen as a nation from the principles of our founding! Amazing!

So what do we do? Sit on our hands? Give up? No, of course not. God is still on the throne and His truth still marches on. What we need to do is to have kind dialog with people and help convince them that what we believe is at least reasonable and poses no harm to others, and thus that there’s no reason for the government to penalize it. In essence, you can be in favor of gay marriage (of which I’m not…I’m just saying this in reference to someone I might be talking to who is) and you (that would be me) might be in favor of Jack not being forced to celebrate gay weddings. In other words, we can civilly and kindly disagree. Someone else can bake the cake. But if you and I are told that we aren’t allowed to believe and think the way the Bible teaches about marriage and the government says the way we think about marriage (the union of husband and wife only) is akin to racism, then were doomed to be pushed into the closet.  Conservatives need to explain why we believe what we believe in terms that our neighbors can understand. We may never convince the far Left and progressive activists, but most Americans aren’t like that. In fact, most Americans aren’t even that well-informed on the issues. Therefore, I believe most folks are open to kind dialogue and are persuadable if we simply make the effort.

As Ryan Anderson says: “People are free to try to convince Jack that he should bake the cake, but the government shouldn’t be allowed to force him to do so. Religious-liberty protections help preserve the conditions that make peaceful coexistence possible. They acknowledge both man’s dignity and the reality of pluralism and diversity even as we work to know and live the truth.”

Well said Mr. Anderson, well said!

I guess some of this might go back to the beginning of this post… Maybe we simply live in a nation now that just doesn’t know who Billy Graham is anymore.

Here is this week’s Two-Minute Tuesday: “Living Two Lives Makes a Person Miserable.”

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

Kevin

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Well, there’s good news and bad news. Which do you want first? Let’s try the bad news. Obamacare leaves on and that means insurance premiums could go up as much as 20% next year according to various think tanks in Washington. It’s like that old movie, “Towering Inferno” when the police chief told the captain of the fire department, “It’s out of control and headed straight for you.”

Yep, in split vote early this morning, Senator John McCain cast the deciding vote, joining two liberal Republicans from Alaska and Maine and wouldn’t allow the bill (called the “Skinny Bill”) to be sent to Committee (that’s where the House and Senate seek to work on it and make the bill better). What a loss for the American public! I’m amazed at McCain. He was recently diagnosed with brain cancer and I’m not wanting to be mean, but I’m wondering if it’s already having an effect on him. Truly, why in the world would you not want to work on this thing? It’s out of control! Oh well. They Republicans can all go home now for summer recess and get blasted by their constituents. If I’m McCain, I’m laying low. He’s not going to be a very popular man. That’s the bad news.

Now, for the good news. We win! Who wins? Christians! As I taught Wednesday night, we are “overcomers” according to 1 John 5:1-5. That means we are invincible and unconquerable! Indeed, to live is Christ and to die is gain! I’m learning more and more to live my life with my palms up. Meaning: “Lord take my life and use it any way you desire.” Meaning: “I don’t own my life, He does.” Meaning, “I’m not going to be tight-fisted and cling to anything in this life, because when I do, I make that thing a god.”

Yes, I look at Washington and the craziness of our world and it’s saddening. Yet, I remember that this is NOT my home! I am a pilgrim passing through! My home is in heaven with Jesus and I will live there forever. Therefore, what happens here is just a training ground for there. It’s just a way to prepare me and shape me and mold me for heaven. And whatever happens to me here is simply for the glorification of Jesus Christ in my life and in that process, I will go through ups and downs, but that’s to make me better.

I will say that I was pleased to see that at least our military wants to faithfully try to execute readiness and preparedness for battle. The whole transgender thing is really amazing to me. If you don’t embrace it, then you’re a bigot. Well, red/green color-blind folks can’t join the military either. Does that make the military bigoted against them. Let me ask you this, should cancer patients be allowed to join the military and have their treatments paid for by you and me (via our tax dollars)?

Clearly, transgenderism is a dysphoria. It’s confusion in the mind that creates a mindset where 40% of transgenders seek to kill themselves. Some will say, “That’s because of the persecution they endure.” Folks, they are not enduring persecution today. The LGBTQ has reached a new high in popularity. I saw this week where the Boston Redsox are now flying the rainbow flag beneath the American Flag at Fenway. Not a “Boston Strong” flag, but a rainbow flag.

Friends, when will we seek to try to help people who are confused versus patting them on the head and keeping them in their confused frustration? Never forget there is a political agenda here and these dear people (transgendered) are being used as pawns by the progressive liberals to push their agenda. The truth is, they don’t really care about them. They care about themselves. Christians, we must help and encourage people to see that Jesus loves them and that He desires for them to embrace them the way they were created.

Can I be honest with you? I don’t like my double chin and my skinny legs…or the fact that I went bald at 35. Yet, that’s the way God made me and so, I’ve learned to embrace who I am and who created me to be. We all have things that we’d like to change about ourselves, but at some point we have to own who we are and who God created us to be. I know, I know…some might be thinking, there’s more to it than this. Well, actually there isn’t. We try to make it complicated and it doesn’t have to be. Jesus said in Matthew 19, that God “made them male and female from the beginning.”

We live in a culture today that espouses that we must NOT deprive ourselves. We have a culture built on fulfilling our desires, one that tells us that we mind purpose and meaning in releasing ourselves from any prohibition so that we can live any way we please. That’s what happen when there is no God. That’s what happens when you teach evolution in our schools. That’s truly the survival of the fittest and doing what pleases you.

You see, the Sexual Revolution of the 1960’s has done it’s job. In the 60’s it was free love and all the sex you want and now the new “ideal” is “transgendered people.” No! You don’t have to be bound to your biology! That’s not freeing! That’s being trapped, right! After all, they have this movement (LGBTQ) behind them and they have wind in their sails that says, “You get to choose whatever you want to be,” because all that matters is the individual and their happiness. There are no inhibitions. There is no God. And you see, after transgenderism, the next step is polygamy and pedophilia. How do I know? Just read Romans 1. That chapter gives you the process of the demise of a culture and a society.

Thankfully, in the US military, at least…the good news is that this social experiment that was crafted by President Obama and then Defense Secretary Ash Carter has been stopped by President Trump and current Defense Secretary James Mattis. No, I don’t agree with everything Trump is doing, nor do I think he has a good handle on his White House staff, but I can see that I’m grateful for Mattis and I’m grateful for Supreme Court Judge, Neil Gorsuch.

One other thing I’ll share is this clip from an article written by Walt Heyer, who has lived the transgendered life in the military…

http://dailysignal.com/2017/07/26/why-forcing-the-military-to-pay-for-sex-changes-would-be-disastrous/amp/

“I think he (President Trump) made the right decision—and as someone who lived as trans-female for several years, I should know. When I discovered Congress voted earlier this month to not block funding for transgender-related hormone therapies and sex change surgeries, I wondered if it considered how devastating this will be to the fitness, readiness, and morale of our combat-ready troops.

In July, the House of Representatives voted down Missouri Republican Rep. Vicky Hartzler’s amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, which would have banned the military from funding such treatments. Paying for transition-related surgeries for military service members and their families is beyond comprehensible. Perhaps they have forgotten that our military was forged to be the world’s strongest fighting force, not a government-funded, politically correct, medical sex change clinic for people with gender dysphoria.

Gender dysphoria, the common diagnosis for one who feels at odds with his or her birth gender, develops from prolonged anxiety and depression. People are not born that way. The “proof” for a diagnosis of gender dysphoria is having strongly held feelings—but feelings can and often do change over time. The military is expected to prepare its members in warfare: to kill, destroy, and break our enemies. The most important factors in preparing a strong military are not hormone therapy, surgical sex changes, or politically correct education.

We need psychologically fit, emotionally sound, highly trained troops to protect our nation from its enemies. While countless homeless vets are currently sleeping under cardboard boxes, or waiting for life-saving care from the Department of Veterans Affairs, we learn that transgender military recruits now qualify for preferential coverage for sex change procedures that are scientifically unproven and extremely costly.

I myself was fully sex-reassigned from male to female, and eventually came to accept my birth gender. I have over 70 years of firsthand life experience, eight years of living as a woman, 20 years of researching the topic, and 12 years of helping others who, like me, found that transitioning and reassignment surgery failed to be proper treatment and want to restore their lives to their birth gender.”

The next big battle is going to be at the Supreme Court level and we’ll see which trumps the other, religious freedom (and the First Amendment) or the cultural experiment birthed in the 60’s and the Sexual Revolution as being led by the LGBTQ movement. I’ll say it to you this way. I would not want an individual who has chosen the gay lifestyle and is a baker to have to bake a cake for someone who says to them, “Bake me a cake that says, ‘I HATE Gays!” That homosexual baker should not be required to bake a cake for someone as mean and hateful as that, because it would certainly violate their conscience. Conversely, I wouldn’t want a Christian baker, who believes the words of Jesus from Matthew 19, to have to violate their conscience and bake a cake for a gay wedding. Folks, this isn’t difficult. There are plenty of bakers and t-shirt makers and wedding organizers and photographers (gay and straight).

The real issue is not gays getting the right to marry. They have that for two years and the number of gay marriages in America has barely ticked up an inch. The issue was legitimizing the lifestyle in the eyes of the public. Don’t be deceived. That’s the truth! And this Sexual Revolution will NOT stop here. It will ultimately destroy the fabric of morality in America and led to the acceptance of adultery, polygamy and pedophilia. You mark my words. But, for now, there’s been a bit of a reprieve. So, I rejoice in that and I continue to pray for a spiritual awakening in America, because that’s the country’s only hope.

But, here’s the deal: This is NOT my home! My citizenship is in heaven and I’m not going to forget that. Yes, I’ll do all I can to write my senators and letters to the editor, as I feel prompted. But, I’m not going to lose focus that I’m a citizen of another land. I’m not going to forget that these are my orders from my Master via His Word:

18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:18-21

By the way, many of you know I love, respect and admire Dr. David Black. I read this on his blog earlier this week and it’s priceless. Enjoy!

When I exited the cafe I noticed two men in starched shirts and ties across the street sitting at a portable table with some literature on it. Well, since I had praying all morning that the Lord would open up for me a Gospel opportunity, I made a beeline for these distinguished-looking gentlemen. “You know the Bible doesn’t say anything about wearing ties when it’s 100 degrees outdoors, right?” We laughed and shook hands. “Jehovah’s Witnesses?” I asked. “Yes, sir,” they replied. And thus began an hour-long conversation.

As you folks know, I’m currently writing a book on the concept of the kingdom in the New Testament. The book is called Godworld: Enter at Your Own Risk, and in one chapter I’ll be discussing how various Christian denominations (and sects even) understand what the kingdom looks like. I asked the men, one of whom was about my age, and the other of whom was about 40: “Can you please tell me why your New World Translation says ‘a god’ in John 1:1 instead of ‘God'”? The younger man started in. “In Greek there is no word for ‘a.’ So every time you have a word like ‘God,’ you have to decide whether or not to use the indefinite article in English.” I said, “So you believe that Jesus is divine but not ‘God’?” The same man spoke up, “Exactly. We believe that the doctrine of the Trinity is a theological construct that’s not taught in the Bible. As a result, we don’t see Jesus being called God here.”

I had them turn to other passages such as Tit. 2:13 and Rom. 9:5. Conveniently for my interlocutors, the NWT renders both verses in such a way as to avoid a reference to Christ’s Deity. They had a little more difficulty when I asked them to read for me John 20:28, where Thomas, speaking to Jesus, says “My Lord and my God.” After about a half hour of discussing Christ’s Deity, I felt led to move the discussion in a different direction. “If you were to die today, do either of you know with certainty that you would go to heaven?” Again, the younger man spoke up first. “No one can know for sure whether they’re saved.” “Okay,” I replied. “Let me ask my question this way: On your understanding of the Bible, what must a person do to be saved?” “Strive his best to obey Jesus’ teaching in the Sermon on the Mount,” said the younger man. “It’s the meek who will inherit the earth,” chimed in the older man. I said, “Well and good. I’m all for living out the ethics of the kingdom of God. But what about these verses?” I then quoted to them Eph. 2:8-9. 

For by grace

are you saved

through faith,

and that not of yourselves. 

It is the gift of God,

not of works,

lets any man should boast.

They looked at me like I had ten heads. I honestly believe they had never heard this verse before. Then I quoted Acts 16:31:

Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.

About this time I sensed that the conversation was going in a way they felt uncomfortable with. The older man excused himself to go to the restroom. The younger man stood up and announced with his body language that the discussion was now concluded. He said to me, “I want to thank you for being so polite and respectful to us during our conversation today. You know, people can disagree about salvation and that’s okay because it’s our sincerity that counts in the end.” I replied, “People can be sincerely wrong. Muslims are sincere. Buddhists are sincere. Even atheists are sincere.” Then I added, almost in a whisper, looking at that handsome, well-dressed young man straight in the eye: “I can tell you with complete certainty today that when I die God will take me straight to heaven, not because of any works of righteousness that I have done, but because on the cross Christ died the death that I, a terrible sinner, should have died, and when I placed my faith and trust in Him, God imputed Christ’s righteousness to me. I want you to know, my friend, that no amount of good works will get you or anyone else into heaven. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.” 

We look at each other for a moment. Then we shook hands, and as I patted him on the arm I quipped, “And remember: There’s no verse in the Bible that says you have to wear ties on a hot day!” 

Laughing, we parted ways. 

Beautiful! Inspires me greatly to not be afraid to lovingly, whimsically and respectfully engage people with the Good News that Jesus saves! You can read more from Dr. Black’s blog at: http://www.daveblackonline.com/blog.htm

Here’s this week’s Two-Minute Tuesday, “What Does Your Pastor/Religious Leader Believe?”

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

 

 

 

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When I was a little boy I loved going to the grocery store with my whole family. (You know I’m a bit strange…so, this shouldn’t surprise you, even though it does sound a bit kooky!) Yep…me, momma, Dad and Kim. We’d all go to the Lowe’s Foods in West Park Shopping Center (where the YMCA Express is now).

Now why is this something I tell you? Because it’s one of my fondest memories as a kid. (No I’m NOT kidding.) Why? Because it was such a peaceful and enjoyable thing to do. We’d go on Saturday mornings and I kid you not, almost every Saturday I’d hear this song playing throughout the grocery store.

That song: “Last Dance,” by Floyd Cramer is imbedded in my brain. I heard it last week while I was with my family in Nashville at the Fine Arts Music Camp (FASA) at Lipscomb University when I heard one of the students play it. Immediately, I was transported back 40 years to Lowe’s Foods and riding on a grocery cart, shopping with my family. Wow! What memories. Isn’t it amazing what music can do?

I loved the fact that our family was together, because we lived such busy lives. It seemed that this was one of the places and times where we were together and just enjoyed: well…buying food and listening to Floyd Cramer.

What do you remember as a child? What memories do you have? Is music attached? Perhaps? It’s interesting if you ask children about what they like to do. It’s often got little to do with spending a lot of money. It could be catching fireflies. It could be watching a TV show together. It could be playing in the back yard. It could be reading together. It could be a lot of different things for sure…but, it’s fun to ask. If you have children in your home, you ought to ask them. What do you like doing together as a family?

I asked Clara and Andrew and they said they liked a number of different things. One of which was watching Carolina Basketball (that’s the truth…I’m not making this up) and going to the mountains and staying at a friend’s condo for a couple of days and swimming in a large indoor pool there and eating hot wings. I had no idea about either of those (for sure) until I asked.

Memories. Good stuff!

I made a bunch last week with Kandace and Clara and Andrew in Nashville. It’s become a tradition for our family to head west in July to Nashville. We’ve gone 8 out of the last 9 years. I enjoy the time as a place to allow my mind and my spirit to rest for a bit. Being a pastor is a 24/7 endeavor, and as long as there is a cell phone available, there is never a time when you are 100% off. The only time that ever really comes is when I’m out of the country. I’m not complaining, I’m just stating the facts and that’s sometimes hard. But, emergencies don’t wait. They come even when you are “out of pocket.” And that’s okay. You shouldn’t consider being a pastor unless you can handle this sense of duty.

Here’s some pictures from last week:

Here’s Kandace signing a James Taylor classic: “Lonesome Road” at the Grand Ole Opry.

To watch your children sing and play music is a phenomenal thing! I’m so grateful and thankful for the memories we’re making. And guess, what…FASA is part of our family tradition and likely always will be. And now songs, music and even food eaten in a Lipscomb dorm room are all rolled up together into fantastic memories that my children will one day tell their children.

Here’s this week’s Two-Minute Tuesday: “What Does Your Teen Really Believe.”

https://subsplash.com/mpbc/v/mlhuy8q

Kevin

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It’s been a week of celebration. We celebrated the independence of our country. I had a great time with the family at the fireworks. Kandace took some great pictures. I love this one of a smiley face!

What a joyous time! But, I worry about our country, and sometimes I wonder how much longer we’ll truly be independent. I’ve talked before about the “Tytler Cycle of History” and I think of it often. Do you know about it?

If you read that carefully, where do you think we are as a people in this country. I would argue we are at “Complacency and Apathy” and quickly moving to “Dependence.” Do you see what’s after “Dependence?” Yep, “Bondage.” And the cycle must begin again. You see, we, as a nation showed great Spiritual Faith and “Courage” to leave Great Britain and come to this country. That led to our “Liberty” as a nation. However, over the last 200 years we’ve become the most powerful nation on earth and that has led to great “Abundance.” Yet, abundance leads to “Selfishness.” You get it.

Am I being pessimistic. No. I really believe we’re marching toward “Dependence” and that can be seen by how popular Bernie Sanders was in the last election cycle. But, for the disingenuous  leadership of the Democratic Party, (in the back pocket of the Clinton’s), he would have been the Democratic nominee. And if that had happened, he could have potentially been President. And that my friends would have landed us squarely into a socialist government. We were so close to this and I argue, we still are. There are people who ardently believe that Socialism works. They are sadly deceived and by the time they figure it out, they’ve moved from “Dependence” straight to “Bondage.”

May I remind us of our founding?

Did you know Benjamin Franklin not only drafted a statewide prayer proclamation for his own State of Pennsylvania but also recommended Christianity in the public schools and he even worked to raise church attendance in his state? He sure did. He also worked to start a colony in Ohio with the help of Rev. George Whitfield to “facilitate the introduction of pure religion among the heathen…”  Franklin said, “In such an enterprise I could spend the remainder of life with pleasure, and I firmly believe God would bless us with success.”  It was Franklin who called for the establishment of chaplains and daily prayer at the Constitutional Convention when the Constitution was being developed, discussed and ultimately written.  And these are the documented actions of one of the “least religious” Founding Fathers.

John Jay was the original Chief-Justice of the US Supreme Court…now think about this…he was the first Supreme Court Justice: “Unto Him who is the author and giver of all good, I render sincere and humble thanks for His manifold and unmerited blessings, and especially for our redemption and salvation by His beloved Son…Blessed be His Holy name.”

Roger Sherman a signer of both the Declaration and the Constitution declared: “I believe that there is only one living and true God, existing in three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost…and that at the end of this world there will be a resurrection of the dead and a final judgment of all mankind when the righteous shall be publicly acquitted by Christ the Judge and admitted to everlasting life and glory, and the wicked be sentenced to everlasting punishment.”

Richard Stockton declared: “I subscribe to the entire belief of the great and leading doctrines of the Christian religion and I exhort that the course of life held up in the Christian system is calculated for the most complete happiness that can be enjoyed in this mortal state.”

Please note, there is no mention of Buddha, or Confucius or Mohammed or Islam.  There is no mention of Hinduism. Think of this…  Joseph Smith, who started Mormonism, wouldn’t even be born till 1805 and Charles Taze Russell, who was instrumental in the initial growth of the Jehovah’s Witnesses wasn’t born until 1852.  Bottom line folks: This nation was founded on Christian principles and on the teachings and tenets of Jesus Christ.  The faith and belief in Jesus Christ of our Founding Fathers permeates every document written from the Constitution to the Declaration of Independence.  But something happened.  It picked up steam in the early 60s.

In 1962, our nation allowed a simple, non-denominational prayer in public schools to be declared “unconstitutional.”  This was the prayer:

“Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee, and we beg Thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers, and our country.”

The people of this nation should have demanded the impeachment of Chief Justice Earl Warren and the other 8 men of his Supreme Court.  But, nothing was said or done.  So, in 1963 Bible teaching in public schools was banned, and again…we did nothing.  In 1980 the public schools were ordered to remove the Ten Commandments from students’ view, and we did nothing.

Please don’t ever forget dear friends from the Revolutionary War through the 1930s our school children learned to spell and read from passages from the Bible via McGuffy’s Reader. Mr. William McGuffy, the author of the “Reader” died in 1873, just two years before our church (MPBC) was established in 1875.  Be reminded that our Continental Congress approved on September 11, 1777 that 20,000 copies of the Holy Bible be purchased in order to supply Bibles to our country and its inhabitants.  In the word of the Special Congressional Committee:

“The use of the Bible is so universal and its importance so great…the committee orders the Committee of Commerce to import 20,000 Bibles for distribution in the states of this Union.”

The great heritage of our nation is being removed from our history books by progressive liberals and humanists who are re-writing history to suit their agenda.  One day…if we don’t point our children back to Scripture and to the true history of this nation…all will be lost.

What must we do?  We must pray for our nation and its leaders. We must follow the example of those who suffered and sacrificed to bring us Independence as a nation. We must remember the ancient paths walked by our ancestors. We must follow these familiar words:

2 Chronicles 7:14

14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

I have a burden for this nation.  We need another Great Awakening.  That can only begin as we return to the ancient paths of Scripture and seek Jesus Christ. If we will, it will be costly and difficult and we will suffer. But, that’s where the cycle must begin again…

Kevin

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As I get older I see more and more that this life is going to always be riddled with problems and issues. Why? Because this world is riddled with sin. We’re going to overcome one hurdle, only to be confronted by another one. Where it gets tough is when the hurdles come really close together and you can’t seem to gather yourself to clear one, before the next one is right on top of you. Now, I don’t say this to be depressing. I say this to state in reality: “Life is hard.” And because of sin…that’s the way it’s going to be.

How do we handle these problems, these issues? Well, in a myriad of ways I suppose. However, as I try to boil down those ways, I see two main options: God’s way or the World’s way. I get to choose His path or the world’s path. And so do you. The question becomes: How do we know His path? Well, that should be pretty simple. His Word…the Bible. It’s a “lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”

You see, it’s so easy to stumble and stammer around wringing our hands, when we have the GIFT of God’s word. Notice those large, bold letters: GIFT. The Word of God is a “gift” and for most Christians it remains an unopened and unused gift. Many Christians seldom read the Bible and when they do, it’s only a snippet here and a verse there (usually found in a devotional passage). Now devotionals and the like, aren’t bad. That’s not what I’m saying. But, it’s like this. If I could offer you a 7-course meal (and you’re really, really hungry) or a bologna sandwich; which would you take?

Truth is, we might be really hungry, but for most…we’re eating bologna sandwiches. And when we eat bologna we’re going to struggle. Because we begin to exude bologna. Everything that comes out of us becomes…yep…bologna. Solution: Sit down and read the Bible daily. The Bereans studied the Scriptures: DAILY. Not just when they felt like it. That’s bologna, you see. Didn’t Jesus say, “Give us this day our daily bread”? Now, I don’t know about you, but I like to eat (way too much). But, I can easily falter in my appetite to read the Word of God. And that is to my own detriment.

I know over the last several weeks I’ve gone through some real ups and downs in my life mentally and spiritually, as I have tried to assess where I am, where my family is and where the church is. I’m an old businessman at heart, so I continue to analyze over and over ROI: Return On Investment. I ask: Is the time and effort I’m spending growing the kingdom of God?

Think of it this way. Is your family growing the kingdom of God or hindering it? How about you? Are you growing the kingdom of God or hindering it? Think about how you work, play, etc. Think about how you spend your life. Is it growing the kingdom of God or the kingdom of you. Ouch! I’m asking myself those questions and I ask them a lot. Truly, I want to honor the Lord with my life and I want that for my family and for the church I help to shepherd.

As I think about the last several weeks, (which thankfully included a much needed vacation), it’s been a time of self-reflection for me. (Often vacations prove to be that for me. It’s typically the only concerted time I get to truly unplug for a few days where I can really assess things. And truthfully, that needs to change.) As a matter of fact, right after I took this picture…

…(that’s Clara and Andrew, of course), the sun was setting on Holden Beach, NC, and I took a walk down the beach by myself. That was the only time of the trip that happened. If you have kids you know how that is. They love to play and I love to be with them…but, in this case, they went back to the house and I thought, “Well, I’ll just take a quick walk.” And it was quick! A whopping 20 minute walk. 10 minutes down to the pier and 10 minutes back. But I must tell you, in that short period of time the Lord spoke into my spirit. He said, “Kevin, you need to think about everything you’re doing and self-assess. You need a cushion of time…y0u’re trying to do too much.” And I knew it. That’s my nature. I have never seemed to build much of any cushion in my life. How about you? Do you build cushion in your life? Is there any time to sit still and know that He is God, or are we all running 1,000 mph all the time? It’s a feeling of never getting done. Do you know that feeling? It’s a feeling that will beat you into the ground and the stress of that, (where there is no cushion in your life), can become suffocating. The Lord showed me that’s where I had been a lot for the past year or so.

So, as I walked on that warm sand and looked at the gorgeous sunset, I began to self-assess in my mind. I thought about all that I attempt to do each week and I said, “Father, what do you want?” And that’s when He quietly and firmly began to show me things in my mind and heart that needed to go and be adjusted. Truth is… I’m still working on some of these things in my mind and my heart and I’ll share them as the Lord leads. But, I began to feel a burden lift. A burden of not trying to be all things to all people.

Yes, self-assessment and building a cushion are good things. And for me, it took a walk down Holden Beach to grasp that fact. Hey, I feel like I can breathe again and that feels good! Thank you Lord! 🙂

Kandace wrote a fabulous blog post earlier this week about the upcoming trip she and 10 other ladies from our church will be taking to China next week (June 8-23). I’m so proud of her and her desire to do the work of the Lord around the world. Missions is in her blood.

PREPARATION

We’re closing in on our upcoming trip to China…. with just a little over a week to go until we get up at an ungodly hour on Thursday morning and depart from the hotel to the RDU airport to board our plane. I think everyone who has ever gone on an international trip where you will be gone for more than two weeks knows that feeling that hits you when you’re about a week out….. It’s one that is full of panic and excitement. I sat down with a close friend who will be my roommate on the trip yesterday and we went over our packing lists and that feeling of “dear Lord there is SO MUCH to do” washed over me.

For anyone who might not know, I went to China in January of 2016 with my mom and worked alongside some ladies from MPBC in an orphanage for two weeks. It was a life changing trip and on the plane ride home I was already trying to work out in my head when I could go back. I just knew I wanted to go back sometime when it wasn’t in the winter months. I nearly froze to death. 😉 I love China and I love Chinese children. I happen to have two of them for siblings. It was one of the most meaningful trips I’ve been on. ICC (International China Concern) is the organization we partnered with and they were awesome. Such a great group of Jesus loving and people loving individuals. I am so excited to go back and be partnered with ICC again.

In 2016 we went to Hengyang, China. This year we will be going to Sanmenxia. It will be a completely different orphanage with different kids. I hate that I won’t get to see the ones I built a relationship with last year, but I know that most of them have probably been adopted by now or are in the process of finding their forever families. It will be exciting to meet new kids and build new relationships. So, there’s a little of the backstory…

Along with this trip being in the summer (average temps are supposed to be in the upper 90s to low 100s) it will be different than the last trip in the fact that we will get to do a little touring in Beijing before we head to Sanmenxia. I’m super excited about this. China is such a unique and culturually different country. It’s always fun to get to do a little touring and site seeing along the way. I am hoping to be able to get some wifi here and there and share pictures and updates. Hopefully the hotel wifi will be stronger than the wifi we had last year. It worked two times for about five minutes out of the whole time we were there…. That drove me crazy because I love to post stuff when I’m on trips. Guess I’m too used to the free and lighting fast American wifi. 😉

I think the big thing with a trip like this is just the mental and emotional preparation that has to come along with it…. We will see and hear about heartbreaking situations and there will be times when the overwhelming feeling to cry or just scoop a certain child up and put them in our suitcase will overcome us. It happened to me a few times on the last trip. Each of the 11 people on our team will leave a little piece of their heart in China. I had a lump in my throat the whole way home last year. It’s so hard to leave. I think about how that must be how God feels when He looks at us. His helpless children who need love and guidance. He wants to scoop us up and take us home and make the pain and suffering of this life end, but there is more time on the clock and there is more work to be done, but one day it won’t have to be that way anymore. All of the orphans and helpless will have a home and a Father. That’s a really spectacluar thought. And for two weeks we will do everything in our power to scoop those children up and love them like Jesus loves us.

I was recently talking to one of the ladies who will be going on the trip and she was sharing about how she was feeling a lot of anxiety and like Satan was trying to attack her with doubts. Before every mission trip that I have ever gone on that has happened to me… It might come in the form of sickness striking close to the departure date or problems with a background check or a grandparent taking ill or just in the form of doubts… Satan will throw something at us and cause us to break down in fear and question why we’re even doing this. He wants to do everything in his power to stop the impending work that will take place in that orphanage in China. Even though we aren’t allowed to share Jesus with our mouths I believe he will shine through our actions and love. And Satan, of course, hates that.

So, I’m asking all of you who took the time to read this post to please pray for us. Pray for us in these upcoming days of preparation. Pray that on the days that will be hot and tiring and full of mentally exhausting circumstances and situations we will feel supernatural strength. Pray that our stomachs will be strong and that our bodies adjust to the time change. Pray that we will put our focus on why each of us chose to go on this trip and let Jesus work through our actions. Pray for me because I won’t have my Mama with me this time and that makes me a wee bit nervous. 😉 Just pray for us. I can’t wait to see what happens over those 16 days. I thank you in advance for your prayers and for partnering with us in this amazing work. I’ll be sure to post a lengthy blog when I get back. I know there will be tons to tell.

“But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted. You consider their grief and take it in hand. The victims commit themselves to you; you are the helper of the fatherless.” ~Psalm 10:14

http://kandacebrown.blogspot.com/2017/05/preparation.html

Kandace

Here’s this week’s “Two-Minute Tuesday” about how we use our cell phones. Do you sleep next to yours? Are they allowed at the dinner table? Take a look at how American’s do this “smart phone” stuff.

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

Kevin

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