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Archive for the ‘Daily Living’ Category

Monday night our family was sitting in Winston-Salem at the Steven’s Center (NC School of the Arts) listening to the Winston-Salem Youth Symphony.

Clara played beautifully!

Clara has grown up on me!

She’s a foot taller than everyone… Well…everyone, but me… Ha! 🙂

Truly, these students are amazing!!

Here’s the ending to their finale…

Now tell me that doesn’t stir your soul! And even give you a goose bump or two! 🙂

Music. It’s a powerful thing! Music has the power to touch the human soul like nothing else on this earth can. Have you experienced that lately? Have you been listening to music and felt your soul stirred? Have you been moved to tears or to laugh out loud? I bet you have. We all have. Music does that. It reaches into the fiber of our being and motivates, stirs, heals. Heals? Yes…I’ll go so far as to say that. I believe music heals.

My daughter Kandace works for HomeInstead Senior Care. Here’s Kandace with Clara from Monday night…

Here’s a HomeInstead Caregiver with a client…

Now Kandace isn’t a caregiver…but, she goes into homes to do “introductions” with new clients and their new caregivers. Interestingly, Kandace has been in situations where she has started to sing a song and some of the clients, some of whom are in deep stages of dementia, begin to sing with her. She has described this to me with tears in her eyes. “Dad, I’ll begin to sing ‘Amazing Grace’ or some old tune from their childhood days, and their head will raise, and they begin to sing. It’s amazing!” And indeed it is. That’s what music can do! Thank you Lord for music!

I mentioned back in the winter that Kandace was now on Spotify.

I listen to her all the time. And the song, “Being Little.” Well, yes…it stirs my soul…deeply!

I’m grateful for music, aren’t you? Do you listen to music every day? I bet you do. You do in your car and you do if you watch TV, because music backs almost every commercial. How about church? Music is certainly an integral part of worship, right?

Here’s our church, as I’m preaching…

What a blessing to pastor MPBC… But, here’s the thing… Right before I step into that pulpit, we’ve been singing and that sets the table for the Word of God to be heard and received. I believe that with all my heart. Here’s Kandace leading a song with Seth Rhoades here at church…

Let me tell you… We’ve got an amazing Choir and Praise Team… Actually there are “teams,” since we have so many gifted and talented musicians and singers. Pastor Brad (below) does a phenomenal job in coordinating and leading our Worship/Music Ministry…

Man I’m grateful for music! Thank you Lord for creating us with the desire to sing and make music. Thank you that one day we’ll sing in heaven the “Song of the Redeemed” that only the saved know. Thank you Lord that our souls can be stirred, even when are minds are weak, because of music! Blessed be the name of the Lord!

Psalm 89:1-2

1 I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever;
    with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known
    through all generations.
I will declare that your love stands firm forever,
    that you have established your faithfulness in heaven itself.

Speaking of worship and music and being together… Are you in church? I hope you are. If not, take a look at this week’s Two-Minute Tuesday, “Are You Neglecting This?”

http://link.mpbc.church/TMT

Kevin

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Take a look at this. Don’t you hate it when this happens!

That happened last Friday night and that’s what the tire looked like by Saturday morning. The family and I had gone to Hickory and when we got back to the car (it was after dark), the tire pressure sensor light on the dash was on. I walked around the car with my flashlight on my cellphone shining down at the tires and I saw that back-right tire was way down. I checked it with the air pressure gauge I have in my glovebox. 10lbs of pressure. That’s not good. I asked Pam to get in the driver’s seat and slowly back the car up so I could see the tire as she backed. Sure enough…a roofing tack was in the tire.

Hey, get this…I’m kind of behind the times…but, as Pam was backing up and I was looking at the tire, it actually said on the tread, “Replace.” As she backed, it said, “Replace, replace, replace, replace” four or five times on the tread of the tire. I wasn’t aware that tires had that in them. Interestingly, I had just had the oil changed in the car earlier in the week and the mechanic rotated the tires for me. When I came to pick it up, he said, “You’re going to need new tires pretty soon.” Truth is…I was hoping to get another 3-4,000 miles on the tires and change them out at the next oil change. You know how expensive tires are!!! Well, all of that is down the drain now! I had to bite the bullet.

Well, when I saw the nail, I said to Pam and the kids… “Let’s get to a gas station and see if we can air it up and drive the hour drive home.” There was a station about a block away. I put 51 pounds of air in it and off we went. We drove the 25 minutes to Lenoir and stopped at another gas station. The pressure was holding. It hadn’t lost much…but, I topped it off at 51 lbs again. Now to see if we could make it home (35 minutes). It was a bit of a nerve-wracking drive, because there is nothing and I mean nothing between Lenoir and Wilkesboro on Highway 18. Just dark roads and small shoulders on the sides of the road. The last thing I wanted to be doing was changing a tire in the dead of night on the side of a rural road.

On the way (it’s now about 10:30 pm), I said, “Pam, if we take this car home that tire will be totally flat and on the rim in the morning.” She agreed. So, we took the kids home. Dropped them off so they could get in bed and back to Millers Creek we drove, with Pam now following in the van. We dropped it off at a tire company and I went back the next morning (Saturday) and that’s when I made the picture above. Yep, flat as a pancake. Good decision to take it and leave it overnight. Obviously, once the rubber is no longer hot, the air seeps out around the nail as the tire cools and contracts.

The reason I tell you all of this is to show you this…

That was in my trunk!!! Can you believe that? I had what I needed to make sure we could get home safely in the trunk of my car and I had forgotten about it!!! All I had to do was to attach that can to the tire valve, shoot it in the tire, then fill it up with air and the can says I could have driven up to 100 miles. Oh well! Lesson learned! (By the way…months ago I had bought a can of this for all my family. I have a can in my car, our old Grand Marquis, Pam’s van and I even bought cans for Josh, Katy and Kandace’s vehicles.) The key is: YOU HAVE TO REMEMBER TO USE IT.

Isn’t that true about life as a believer in Jesus Christ?

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:8

Notice the word “all” being used four times in that one verse. Isn’t that wonderful to know! Now, we don’t have a can of “Fix a flat” inside of us…but, we have something…someone better…the Holy Spirit. Therefore, we have ALL that we need…at ALL times to provide for ALL our needs.

Flat tires will happen in our lives. People will disappoint us. We will go through disappointments and things will seem “flat.” We will have seasons where we’re not certain. We’ll have times of difficulties and even pain (I didn’t like crawling around on my knees in a dark parking lot in Hickory and then Lenoir). But, in all of these things, the Lord will provide. He WILL provide. We have to look to Him…not our circumstances.

The Lord is good! Even though I forgot the can of “Fix a Flat,” the Lord still provided and took care of us! And He will take care of you!

Finally got my garden planted with the help of these two wonderful “helper-granddaughters.”

Don’t you love Evie’s “snow dress.” She loves that dress!

I’m a blessed man!

Here’s this week’s, TMT. Who knows…one of these days my Two-Minute Tuesdays might get banned on Facebook. Click to see why.

https://www.mpbc.church/media/?sapurl=Lys3ZWViL2xiL21pLyt5cTlieXI0P2F1dG9wbGF5PXRydWUmYnJhbmRpbmc9dHJ1ZSZlbWJlZD10cnVl

Kevin

 

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

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

Here’s a way of picturing that…

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

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

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

Take a look…

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

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

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

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

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

What a joy!

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

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

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

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

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

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

And then they hold them high!

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

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

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

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

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

Kevin

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The Breaking

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

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

I’ve been reading this book:

Have you heard of Watchman Nee? He said this…

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

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

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

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

These are things that we are taught in Romans 8.

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

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

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

Have you seen the movie, “Unplanned?”

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

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

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

Kevin

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Wedding Day

Well, it finally came! Wedding Day! You know when you know a “day” is coming, like Christmas, or a “due date” for a birth or something like that…it seems like it will never get here, and then, BANG…it’s here! Well, that was Kandace and Clark’s wedding.

Yes, April 6th finally came. And you know what? When it finally comes…it seems almost odd. You start walking through the day thinking, “This is it! It’s really happening!” That’s how I felt on Saturday morning when we finished setting up the chairs…

I thought, “Thank you Lord for such a beautiful day for my little girl to get married!” And “Thank you Lord for Fussell Farm of Leonard and Vickie Fussell! Talk about a beautiful venue! Wow! If you want to learn more or know of someone having a wedding that might want to know more about Fussell Farm…click here: https://www.fussellfarmvenue.com

Now, take a look at those smiles…

I had a lady say to me on Monday, “I’ve never seen Kandace so happy! She was smiling from ear to ear!” And it’s true!

What a smile! And I’m so glad she looks like her momma…absolutely beautiful!

But let’s back up! Things are starting to get into “blur mode” again. You know when things really start moving too fast! Let’s go back to Friday evening with the Rehearsal. We began to set up the tables and chairs…

Everyone arrived…including our wonderful musicians…the “Hall Sisters.”

They played so beautifully!!!

Needless to say, all went well with the Rehearsal, and then we went down to Benton Hall for the Rehearsal Dinner. It was wonderful! “Elsewhere Restaurant” catered the meal and it was amazing! Keith and Angela, Clark’s mom and dad, picked a great restaurant to cater the meal. The food was really, really good!

The lovely couple…

Sisters, to the left is Katy, (Kandace’s sister) and to the right is Elizabeth, (Clark’s sister).

Grandparents…

And then it was the wedding day…

We went down by the creek for the “first look” for me. I was stunned by Kandace’s beauty. Again…she looks like her momma!

Then the Bridesmaids came down for pictures…

The Fussell’s have a beautiful covered area above the creek. Andrew enjoyed hanging out while waiting for his turn at the camera…

Nana (Pam) and Josh, Katy and Evie… (Remember, Katy is due with grand baby #3 on May 31…another girl! So thankful!!!)

Pictures continued…

Doesn’t Kandace look lovely! Clara’s headed down next. Here’s some more great pictures of Evie and Andrew…

And Evie and Dad…

Everything was ready… Check out the cupcakes!

Hey, get this… Look up at that picture again. To save some money, I took some old wooden pallets and cut them down for the “cupcake stands.” Those pallets were actually used to deliver the cinderblocks for Katy and Josh’s basement a couple of years ago. They are being re-used for an upcoming June wedding for another couple.

Here’s the room that the groomsmen dressed… So nice!!!

The people were in place…

We were lining up…

We were right behind Keith and Angela, (Clark’s parents). I ran up to the front of the line and got this shot… I love the look on Clark’s face…

He looks cool as a cucumber. But, I know he was nervous. Who isn’t on their wedding day!

Then I turned my phone around and did a selfie with my lovely bride of 28 years!

I’m a blessed man!

See that lady on her knees…

That’s Kathy Eller. She was the wedding director! Let me tell you…she did a phenomenal job! Her attention to detail was amazing! Here she is giving details to Katy and making sure the little guys…Charlotte, Sophia, Evie and Jackson are ready to go. Don’t you love that wagon! Jackson was a trooper!

Here are the girls and Jackson… (L-R, Evie, Charlotte, Sophia, Jackson)

Finally it was time to walk Kandace down the aisle. I turned and saw her and took this picture…

But, I heard crying behind me. “What is that?” “Who is crying?” I turned and it’s Evie. She had gotten separated from her little crew of “littles.” Kathy was trying to console her, but she wanted no part of that. Evie had her arms up saying, “Papa,” through her tears and fear of the moment. I looked at Kandace and I looked at Evie and I thought, “What are we going to do. IT’S TIME!” Well, Kandace…my in control daughter…on her wedding day…looks at me and said, “Carry her Dad.”

“Huh?”

“Dad, pick her up and carry her.” I said, “Kan are you sure? It’s your wedding day… Uh…maybe I can run her down the right side of the people and get her to Josh really quickly and run back.”

“No Dad…it’s Evie.”

Now let that sink in as I did. My daughter on her wedding day was not thinking about herself. At the cusp of her big moment she was thinking about her niece. I said, “Kandace are you sure…I don’t want you to have hard feelings toward anyone…because this is your moment.” Kandace looked at me with this kind and “in control” look and said, “Dad…this is how it’s supposed to be. Carry her. It’s Evie, Dad.” Let me tell you…I just about popped three buttons on my shirt when she assured me with those words.

Am I bragging on my daughter? You better believe I am and it’s something to laud her for! That was a great blessing to me to see her love for her family supersede everything else. And so, Jonah Brooks and Trenton Golds pulled back the curtains and down the aisle we went… Kandace on my left…beaming…and Evie on my right arm…smiling from ear to ear!

What a fantastic ceremony it was! And then, it was time for the first dances… First was Clark and Angela.

And then, the father/daughter dance…

If you haven’t seen the video, you’ll have to go to Facebook and check it out. We started out with a slow, somber, tearful dance and then BANG…we went into a choreographed dance that made everyone laugh.

I practiced for 2 1/2 months to do that dance. I’m a terrible dancer…but, Kandace wanted me to do it and for her…YES! I’LL DO IT!! And I did it! It was a blast! Seeing the smile on Kandace’s face was worth it all! I think she was proud of her old dad!

Then it was cake-cutting time!

The joy on the kids’ faces was priceless!

\

Later on it was time for the bouquet toss…

Take a look at this picture closely… The bouquet is in the air…

And then…guess who catches it…

Clara! All 5′ 10″ of her! I should have had her playing basketball! 🙂 Look at Kandace’s face! Sheer joy!

Next up! Clark and the boutonniere toss… (And yes…that is how you spell “boutonniere.” I looked it up.)

While all of this was going on…this was happening outside to Clark’s truck…

Then, amazingly, it was already time to go… So, they lined up and we got our bubbles out…

Out of the barn and to the truck they headed…

And then it was over…

It felt like a blur! But, I really tired to take it all in. It was such a blessing! And life continues on and I’m grateful!

Don’t forget about our Passion Play this weekend!

No tickets needed! Door open Saturday night at 5 pm for the 6 pm showing, and on Sunday the doors open at 8 am for the 8:45 am showing, and at 10:15 am for the 11:00 am showing.

Here’s this week’s Two-Minute Tuesday about the theme of the play. https://www.mpbc.church/media/?sapurl=Lys3ZWViL2xiL21pLysybXRieHg4P2JyYW5kaW5nPXRydWUmZW1iZWQ9dHJ1ZQ==

We’ve also launched a new website. We’re pretty tickled with it!

https://www.mpbc.church

My email has changed too. I’m now at: kevin@mpbc.church.

Kevin

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Last week was one of the weeks that I look back on now and say, “Did that really happen?” It seems so surreal. But, I can promise you, I was scared for a while! A week ago today (Wed) Pam was having a heart catheterization at Forsyth Hospital. Praise the Lord that Pam is doing well. It’s like nothing ever happened. And that’s why it feels so strange.

Let me let Pam describe what happened (this was a post she put on Facebook at the end of last week):

I just want to thank everyone for the prayers and kind words. What started out as a normal Tuesday evening became a scary episode. I ran up the stairs to get something like I do many times everyday. When I got up there this particular time I was extremely winded. I began to feel pressure on my chest and back. I then had extreme neck/jaw pain. I walked back downstairs and became nauseous. I had never experienced anything quite like it. I waited around for the feelings to pass and they didn’t… So I told Kevin.

After explaining my symptoms to him, we decided to go to the ER as a precaution. Once we got there, my EKG had some issues and my blood test showed the heart attack enzymes so I was whisked off to Winston. After being up all night Tuesday night and having many tests, including a heart cath, the diagnosis was that I had an arterial spasm which mimicked a heart attack. I possibly had a clot that was broken up by the blood thinners given to me in the early hours of my ER visit.

I am so thankful for the prayers, calls, texts and messages. If I did have a blockage, God removed it because my cath was clear! Praise the Lord! Working on Kandace’s wedding that was 11 days away, I didn’t really have time to drop everything and go to the ER, but with heart disease in my family, I knew that a trip to the ER was better than a funeral. *Always take warning signs seriously. The doctors told me that I did the right thing by coming. God is good! Thank you again for your words of encouragement and prayers!❤️

Truly, we are so grateful for all the Lord has done for Pam and our family! I can not express greatly enough, my gratitude to all the people who prayed for her and our family! Once again, the saying is true: “We felt the prayers.” Literally!

I shared with the church on Sunday my many emotions throughout a very dicey 24 hours. Pam had them too, but she’s automatically calm, cool and collected. In fact, I had to tell all the doctors and nurses, “Yes, her normal blood pressure is 110/60.” That’s another reason they were hesitant about giving her nitroglycerin which drops blood pressure a lot! Pam is an amazing lady. You see what a person is like when they are under immense pressure and strain. Pam is truly a godly woman. It’s not that she doesn’t feel things. She does. It’s not that she doesn’t endure stress and pressure. She does. It’s just that she has such a great faith and trust in the Lord that she transfers that stress, pressure and burden to Him. And that’s what He says to do. “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Honestly, I’m still processing all that happened. Have you been there? I’m sure you have. You may be going through a difficult situation right now. Do you see Jesus in it? Can you picture Him in the midst of it all. Truly, there were times I forced myself to see Jesus in the ER at Wilkes and at Forsyth. I forced myself to see Him riding beside me in my car flying down Highway 421 at 3 am on Wednesday morning last week. And it helped! Call me crazy, but seeing Him in that way helps me to understand that He’s got everything under control. Because HE DOES have everything under control! Praise His name!

You see, as I’m zooming down the road at 3 am…and there is no one on the road at that time of night…I get to “Joe’s Landscaping and Nursery.” Have you seen this sign in Lewisville as you are driving toward Winston?

I saw that sign and right after that I had a thought come through my brain that I knew was from Satan. He said, “She’s going to die of a massive heart attack in the ambulance and you’ll never see her alive again.” That thought sent fear through my body like lightning! I was panicked. It was like I couldn’t get control of my mind. I was tired…we hadn’t slept a wink…I was stressed and anxious…and now this… It almost took my breath. But, then I thought of Jesus. The Holy Spirit directed my thoughts. “Think on Jesus.” And then I said, “Oh Jesus…help me…help Pam…I trust you…take the fear…HELP US!” And folks…in a matter of seconds…the fear was gone and replaced with the presence of Jesus in my car. The Prince of Peace was delivering me in His peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:6-7). I cried a few tears…but, they were tears of relief and peace.

But, here’s the thing… Satan doesn’t give up easily does he? Does he to you? No! He will seek to attack again and we have to continue to resist him. Remember James tells us to “resist the Devil and he will flee.” Well, he kept coming and I kept praying and quoting Scripture and singing. Do you know the old song: “He Knows My Name” by Tommy Walker. Here it is…

It’s old, I know. But, that’s the song that the Lord brought to my mind. It was the song we were to sing in our service last Wed. night (which I didn’t get to do, because we were in the hospital). It’s a song that I was going to use because we are talking about “Heaven” and what it will be like on Wed. nights. So, there it was… cued up in my brain and out came the words:

I have a Maker
He formed my heart
Before even time began
My life was in his hands

He knows my name
He knows my every thought
He sees each tear that falls
And He hears me when I call

Well, let me tell you… I got to the hospital. I had gotten there before the ambulance and so I had to wait. I waited for about 15 minutes and it seemed like 2 hours. Finally a nurse called out, “My Brown…your wife is here!” Let me tell you…I almost lost it right there! I know it sounds crazy…but, the relief…oh the relief! YOUR WIFE IS HERE!

I walked through the large metal door and they led me to a holding room in the ER at Forsyth. They had no beds. I walked through the curtain and there she was smiling. I went over to her and planted a kiss on her and she said, “Hey! How are you!” I told her, “I’m doing great now that I get to see you.” I didn’t tell her until later what went on in my car driving down.

You know what… I had gotten so busy (or at least I allowed myself to get so busy) that I had been walking out of the house to come to work or go places and I had stopped kissing her before I left. NO MORE! Because you never know when it might be your last one. Call me crazy…but, no more! No more will I leave the house and not kiss my beautiful bride! Maybe someone else needed to read that… Maybe you need to kiss your wife more…or your husband…whatever the case might be.

Stuff like last week helps put things into perspective. There are very few things that really and truly matter. Most things really don’t matter. We just think they do. What really matters you can boil down to something that you can count on one hand. Love your family. Don’t take them for granted. Kiss your kids…your wife… Look to Jesus… Don’t give into the fear. Live each day as if it were your last and enjoy the journey.

Here’s this week’s TMT. “Overwhelmed By the Enemy? Don’t Stop!”

https://subsplash.com/+7eeb/lb/mi/+h48prmx?autoplay=true&branding=true&embed=true

Oh…I’m SO grateful for this couple…

The engagement turns into a wedding on Saturday! We’re on in the midst of all that work and planning right now…and it’s almost here. I so wish everyone could come! But, the venue is just not big enough for all the wonderful people we know and Clark’s family knows. That’s been the hardest thing! We just had to invite people that Kandace has been close to throughout her life and the same for Clark. Once you have the families and the bridal party and a few close friends of Clark and Kandace…well…that’s it.

By this time next week they’ll be married and in Grenada. I’m a bit misty-eyed typing that. You raise your children to turn them loose and fly…but, it’s never easy. Knowing Kandace is not going to be living with us any longer…well…it’s a gut-punch and there’s no sugar-coating it. But, I’m so thankful for her life and for Clark! I’m so grateful the Lord brought them together and for all He’s going to do through them!

Kevin

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How Do You See Jesus?

How do you see Jesus? If you were to try to picture Him in your mind, how do you see Him? Long brown hair, beard, brown eyes, olive-colored skin. Remember, He was born to a Jewish family. In His humanity He is of Jewish decent from the tribe of Judah. For me, I guess I’ve gotten used to seeing Jesus like this…

I see Jesus with kind eyes. I see Him as looking at me with that welcoming face. Let me ask you this. What is Jesus doing right now?

He’s on the throne, seated at the right hand of God, right? Right! He sees you right now. At this moment He sees you reading this, wherever you are. He’s as alive as you are at this very moment.

You know, sometimes we forget that, don’t we? It’s like “out of sight, out of mind.” We don’t see Him with our physical eyes and so it feels like He’s not close. But, think about it. When you invited Jesus to become the boss of your life… When you called on His name, repenting of your sins, acknowledging Him as your Lord and Savior… Yes, at that moment the Holy Spirit came to indwell you. After all, we are spirit beings. Our spirit (who we are) is housed in these “jars of clay” until we die. But, when we die, our spirit leaves our bodies and we go to heaven to be with the Lord.

To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.  2 Corinthians 5:8

God is a Spirit and we are made in His image, never forget that. We are spirits as well and when we receive Jesus by faith, we receive the Holy Spirit (who comes to indwell our spirit). Remember when Jesus said:

Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. John 16:7

Jesus was speaking of the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Trinity of God. Today, Jesus indwells my spirit through the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit guides my life and is my Teacher and Comforter.

Can you and I expect to experience the presence of God in our lives? Yes, as long as we are not quenching the Holy Spirit. 1 Thessalonians 5:19 simply says: Do not quench the Spirit.

How do we do this? Well, when the word “quench” is used in Scripture, it is speaking of suppressing fire. When believers put on the shield of faith, (as part of their armor of God), they are extinguishing the power of the fiery darts of Satan. Jesus described Hell as a place where the fire would not be “quenched.” (Mark 9:44-48) The same is true of the Holy Spirit. He (and He is a HE…He is NOT an “it” or some ethereal thing), is literally like a fire dwelling in each believer and He wants to show Himself in how we live. Yet, when we don’t allow Him to be seen by our actions, (because of sin), we suppress or quench the Spirit.

Again, the Holy Spirit possesses a personality. Only a PERSON can be grieved. You might need to read that again. The Holy Spirit feels. That’s why He can be grieved. You have to feel to be grieved. And get this… It’s okay to FEEL the presence of the Holy Spirit. It’s okay to actually have your soul stirred and fired up! Ephesians 4:30 says we shouldn’t grieve the Holy Spirit. But, we grieve the Spirit by living like unbelievers (4:17-19), by lying (4:25), by being angry (4:26-27), by stealing (4:28), by cussing (4:29), by being bitter and unforgiving (4:31-32), and by being sexually immoral (5:3-5). To grieve the Holy Spirit is to be living in a sinful manner.

Therefore, if you are having a hard time “feeling the presence of God,” you could be quenching the Spirit. And if you are quenching the Spirit, you are likely living in a way that is not walking in lock-step with the Lord. Believe me, I have to constantly look to the Lord to help me see the truth about myself because I don’t like admitting when I’m wrong. I want to be right! I want to be in control. Yet, when I, I, I takes control, then I’m going to soon begin to quench the Spirit in most instances.

Do, you know what helps me? To see Jesus! To picture Him in my mind when I’m dealing with things. Let’s say I’m having to have a tough conversation with someone. I try to picture Jesus over that person’s shoulder smiling back at me. Like He’s saying, “I’m here Kevin…I can help you.” That helps me to visualize Him in a way that puts me in a frame of mind to allow Him to guide my words and not my flesh.

How do you see Jesus?

This is how I see Him…

I can’t wait to see Him face to face, but until then…I’m so grateful for His Spirit to go with me wherever I go!

On that theme, here’s today’s Two-Minute Tuesday: http://mpbc.ws/media/?sapurl=Lys3ZWViL2xiL21pLytyNWJ3czU0P2JyYW5kaW5nPXRydWUmZW1iZWQ9dHJ1ZQ==

Kevin

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