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Archive for the ‘Daily Living’ Category

As we celebrate the Christmas season, may we not be guilty of “rushing past history.” What do I mean? Well, it’s busy and if we’re not careful we’ll just go through the motions and slap up the tree and wrap the presents and do the meals and then… BANG, it’s over and we’ve gone through another Christmas season… But did we rush past it and miss it!

Let me give you an example. You know I’m a weather nut…so, that’s where I’ll get the example of “rushing past history.” It’s already snowed twice at my house this year. On Friday, Dec 8th (7″) and again on Tuesday night, Dec 12th (1″). Folks, that’s early for any snow at all, much less a total of 8″ for the winter season. That’s about what we go all of last winter and it’s just mid-December (technically not even winter, yet).

Now, here’s the thing… The snowfall that we got wasn’t isolated to us. It snowed from MEXICO to MAINE!

Take a look…

Now, get this… Meteorologists say this hasn’t happened for 131 year!! One weatherman said it this way: “A snowstorm of this magnitude & spatial extent in early December in the deep south likely hasn’t occurred in @ least 131 yrs. In early Dec 1886, another storm dropped > 6″-12″ snow in parts of MS, AL, GA, TN, & NC w/ accumulating snows observed in the FL panhandle.”

Notice he said, “1886,” not “1986.” So, I told my kids, “Guys…this is something you may never see again in your lifetime.” No, I’m not saying they won’t see it snow in early December again. They likely will. But, I’m talking about this MUCH, this early! This is truly an anomaly. So, we should not rush past it! This was historic! And if we aren’t careful, we’ll just blow by it and it won’t even register!

It’s not often you get to see snow on Christmas decorations…like at my mom and dad’s front steps…

But, do you remember when I blogged back in August (August 25th) and gave you my preliminary Winter Forecast and I said this…

What forecasters try to do is to look at what are called “analog years” and that is where they look at the past and see which winter in the past might be most similar to the upcoming one and then peg it to that winter. The winter they are looking at is 2010. Remember that winter? It snowed at Christmas. Clara and Andrew were little tykes then…

The snow was majestic as we walked up to mom and dad’s to celebrate…

Will that happen this year? Honestly, there’s no way to predict that. It would be a wild guess, no matter what anyone tells you. It’s such an anomaly here. White Christmases are very rare. I’ve seen two in my lifetime of almost 50 years.

With all of this said, my “preliminary forecast” is for about 14″ of snow. That’s about 45% above average. However, if we get “the big one,” we could get that in one storm. I do believe we’ll have a warmer December to start…but, it should flip (if the Modoki pattern holds) by mid-to-late month into January. So, we’ll see. It’s always fun to try to predict these things. But, as we all know…only the Lord knows! 🙂

No, I’m not a prophet, because I blew this last storm, big-time! I said we’d get about 1-2″ and we got 7″. But, the pattern is similar to 2010. So, that’s why we can say, that we’re looking at 45% above normal. So, if this forecast holds true, then Wilkes County has seen about 1/2 the snow we’re going to see this Winter already. OR, I’m wrong and we could get more!!! We’ll see!!

But, it sure was pretty last week…

I tell you all of this to make my main point again… Don’t rush past history… And this is what I’m really talking about…

That’s just one small section of our Christmas tree this year. Hmm… Let’s see… There’s Clara when she was a little tyke and there’s good ole Barney and there’s Katy. Oh my! She was about 4 or 5 when that picture was taken (Pam would know :)). There’s an ornament from the Great Smoky Mountains. I think Pam and I got that one in Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge before we even had any of the children (Pam would know :)). And there at the top of the picture is an ornament from the Dutch Country in Pennsylvania. Oh, it’s been years since we were there (Pam would now how many :)).

My point is that I stood at our tree the other night and I really looked at those ornaments. Ornaments that the kids made and ornaments that we’ve bought in the various places we’ve been through the years. Honestly, I stood at our tree for about 5-6 minutes and literally “walked down memory lane.” And I thought, “Kevin, don’t rush past history!” Soak it in! Soak in this Christmas. Right now! My parents are still alive. So are Pam’s. I’ve got two grandkids. Kandace will be 20 in a month. Clara and Andrew are going to be teenagers in 2018. Soak it in Kevin! Don’t rush past this because it won’t be like this again… No, not in 131 years…not ever!

Soak it in this Christmas. When you can…sit still and soak in the wonder of Jesus and those you love and those who love you! Why? Because if we don’t…we’ll rush right past history!

Kevin

This week’s Two-Minute Tuesday: “This Man and Religious Freedom.”

http://mpbc.ws/media/?sapurl=Lys3ZWViL2xiL21pLyt0OGh5M2I2P2F1dG9wbGF5PXRydWUmYnJhbmRpbmc9dHJ1ZSZlbWJlZD10cnVl

 

 

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A Fresh Outpouring!

The Lord has really been doing some pretty awesome things in my life lately. I’ve been watching and learning through the life of King David. What an up and down life he had. Catastrophe after catastrophe, tragedy after tragedy marked the life of this man described as a “man after God’s own heart.” How could this man be described in this way? He was a man of war. A man of blood. A man of murder. A man of adultery. He was powerful, killing Goliath. Yet, weak. He couldn’t even keep his family together.

Oh, Absalom! How David longed for the son who killed his half-brother. Why? Because his half-brother raped his sister, Tamar. What did David do? I read 2 Samuel 13 carefully. Verse 21 says, “he was very angry.” I read verse 22 and expected action. A family meeting. A pow-wow. Something. Nothing. Okay, maybe verse 23. Nothing! Nope, verse 23 says Absalom allowed his hatred and anger to fester in his heart for “two full years.” Samuel was clear on that. “Two FULL years.” Not close to two years… Not 18 months. No…24 months of hatred! Why didn’t David do something?

Absalom would plot the death of his half-brother, Amnon and see that he was killed. Tragedy! Ultimately, this hatred and animosity would run from Absalom’s heart from his half-brother to his father. He would seek to take the kingdom from David until his long hair got hung in a tree while seeking to escape on a mule. Joab, David’s general would drive three javelins through his heart. More tragedy!

David go back! David!!! David, think back to the moment you learned of the rape of your daughter by your son. Yes, you were angry! Yes, you were distraught. But, you did nothing (at least Scripture is silent from all I can see). Dad, we have to act when we know something is wrong. We have to speak up. I know you want peace. I know you don’t want to deal with it, but you must, or you might just lose your family! Am I being melodramatic! No. I don’t mean to be. But, you tell me…where do family split-ups start? They start somewhere, don’t they! And then the holidays come and it’s either awkward or well…they don’t show up.

It takes work to be part of a family. It takes being humble enough to take a knee and wash people’s feet. Even the feet of our family members. Those are the hardest feet to wash, folks. And you know that’s the truth. Family can thrill us or kill us. Do you know what I’m talking about? I think you do.

I’m grateful that I don’t have to deal with this in my family. I’m grateful that we are all together and solid. That doesn’t mean we always agree on everything. That would be absurd. Who agrees on everything? But, we have agreed to work through stuff and to talk. Always talk. When the talking stops, it’s over.

I heard it said earlier today, “Hope begins when you are standing in the dark, but then you look up and see the light.” Are you standing in the dark…look up. See the light. Look to the Lord. Forgiveness and love can overcome anything. Will it be easy? Nope! But, I bet if David could go back, he’d address the situation with Amnon and Tamar and Absalom.

Do the hard things and watch how God will use our families to shape us and mold us into the people He wants us to be! Love, forgive, give, sacrifice, swallow hard and do the hard thing. Yep, that about covers any relationship. Let’s hit those again:

Love

Give

Sacrifice

Swallow Hard and do the hard thing!

Let’s see, come to think of it…isn’t that what Jesus did?

I love this article by Andrew Seu Peterson of World magazine, https://world.wng.org/2016/09/forgive_those_debtors

Here’s a beautiful excerpt that will rock your world. It did mine!

…human forgiving is supposed to imitate God’s own manner of mentally removing transgression as far as east is from west (Psalm 103:12) and of tossing the offense into the sea of forgetfulness, then when we forgive-but-don’t-forget, we never give a chance to the other person to change.

Relations become frozen. You see a person who was a jerk to you 10 years ago, and you think as he approaches, “Oh, there’s that jerk.” But he may not be a jerk anymore. If he has the Holy Spirit in him, assume that he is not. Start in with that assumption. God has been dealing with him in many ways since you last interacted. Give your brother a clean slate every day. You know you want one too.

Christianity should be all about believing in and hoping for change—not only for ourselves but for other people. “Love believes all things. Love hopes all things.” Freezing our opinions based on past interactions gunks up the works and brings the life of the church to a grinding halt. We file brothers away in the file of “foolish,” or “proud,” or “liar,” and give them no chance to surprise us with their new growth.

That’s beautiful!

Well, we had a great time at Thanksgiving with family at my mom and dad’s. Everyone was together. Bless Kim’s heart for taking the picture. 

Here’s the one with Kim…

Took some time to go to the creek with the kids.

Clara wanted to build a monument to remind us that we had been here…

How cool is that. I saw this while we were down at the creek…

Does that remind you of Psalm 1?

1 Blessed is the man
    who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
    nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and on his law he meditates day and night.

He is like a tree
    planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
    and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.

That’s good stuff! You know that picture of the tree and that little monument remind me of what’s important in life. What are we going to build of our lives in this stream of time? Where are we going to plant ourselves? The truth is…it will soon enough be gone. So we better plant well and build well and enjoy the journey!

I must say that I’m enjoying the journey these days. The Lord has blessed immensely. The kids are doing great and the grandkids! We’ve seen 7 saved at church in the last three weeks. We’ve got six to baptize on Dec. 31st. God is good! Please keep blessing us Lord! It’s all of you! I’m praying and believing that this fresh outpouring of His Spirit will continue. Would you join me? Would you ask the Lord to bless you with a fresh outpouring of His presence? Not a fresh outpouring of money or a new job or promotion. No. Just a fresh outpouring of His presence. Isn’t that better? I believe it is and I bet you do too. There is nothing greater on the face of this earth than to be in the presence of God. Can I get an “Amen!?!”

I’m looking forward to tomorrow. I’m going to Chapel Hill with the family to watch Leah play for the Lady TarHeels. In the last game I saw Leah play, she nailed at three-pointer at the buzzer before the end of the first half. Here’s a picture of that…

Talk about concentration! Proud of that young lady! She’s played in all three games since she’s bounced back from her foot injury earlier in the year. That’s amazing for a Wilkes County girl from Purlear, NC. This is the University of North Carolina! It still blows my mind! God is good!

Get this…Kandace is going to be singing the national anthem at the game tomorrow at 3 pm against Hartford. It’s kind of old hat for Kan. She’s sung at the Grand Ole Opry and in front of 8,000 people at FaithFest. I think she can handle it. (But, I’m still praying for her and super proud of her for the opportunity and the gift the Lord has given her to sing.) God is good!

You can watch the game tomorrow afternoon by clicking on the link below the picture:

http://www.espn.com/watch/_/id/3228060/hartford-vs-north-carolina-w-basketball

Looking forward to a great time!

Here’s this week’s Two-Minute Tuesday: “The #1 Thing Parents Can Do to Ensure Their Kids Are Faithful Christians When They Grow Up”

http://mpbc.ws/media/?sapurl=Lys3ZWViL2xiL21pLytzaHZqM3A5P2F1dG9wbGF5PXRydWUmYnJhbmRpbmc9dHJ1ZSZlbWJlZD10cnVl

I missed getting you last week’s TMT. In case you are interested, it’s here: “Should Christians Stop Quoting the Bible?”

http://mpbc.ws/media/?sapurl=Lys3ZWViL2xiL21pLytjaHcyZDJqP2JyYW5kaW5nPXRydWUmZW1iZWQ9dHJ1ZQ==

Enjoying the journey!!!

Kevin

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Tornado!!!

Monday afternoon I walked outside at the church at about 3:20 pm and realized the air felt strange. Hot and cold air swirling and so were the clouds. I went back inside and pulled up the radar. I saw the massive line of storms developing to our west and I saw they were coming in from the south.

Hey folks, when we get weather coming from the south or the north, watch out! That’s when we can get straight line winds and yes, tornadoes. Typically we are insulated here in the foothills from these weather phenomena because we’re protected by the mountains as the fronts come in from west to east. But, not on Monday. We had a freight train coming from the south.

I got on Facebook and said:

Strong line of storms will be coming through Wilkes this evening as folks are getting off of work. 5:30-6:30 pm timeframe. We’re under a tornado watch. So, know where you’re gonna go in threatening weather. Have a plan.

I meant it! Sometimes people like me (weather nuts) can be a bit overly dramatic about the weather. I admit it! 🙂 But, I was concerned. Real concerned! Then at about 4:45, I pulled the radar back up at my desk and I saw what was coming through Hickory. I saw the hook-echo in the signature of the line headed our way. That’s when I left the church and headed home. I knew my daughter Katy was going to head to dance class in N. Wilkesboro at Tonya’s Academy of Dance. I thought, “Surely, she won’t go.” After all, I had been texting my family since 3:30 telling them to “keep an eye to the sky.” My daughter, Kandace was at work at Cook’s Sporting Goods, but would soon be leaving to go to Tonya’s to teach dance.

Here were both of my daughters and my two grand daughters exposed to this line of storms. But, surely Katy wouldn’t be going! Surely! Nope! I pulled it right at 5:03 pm and sure enough less than a couple of minutes later, there she went down the driveway. What!!! What in the world is she doing!!!

Well, Katy teaches piano on Monday afternoons and Pam goes to watch the girls while she teaches. The dance class at Tonya’s is at 5:30 pm and we live about 20 minutes away, so Katy has to high-tail it down there to make it before the class starts. She was so busy teaching her piano class and Pam was so busy taking care of Charlotte and Evelyn, well…why pay attention to the “wolf-crying meteorologist want-to-be” like me??? Right??? After all, it seems (to them and perhaps many others) that I’m always saying, “The weather is going to get rough!” Yes, I’m paranoid! I admit it!

When I was about 4 or 5 years old I remember living in a mobile home with my family and it was in the afternoon and there was a tornado warning and remember going to my grandparents home (right beside of our trailer) to seek shelter in their basement (me, my mom and my sister). I still remember that vividly!

So, yes…I am constantly texting my family about weather fronts. But, this time was different and I tried to express that. But, they were all so busy! Kandace had to get from Cook’s to the dance studio ASAP too and so…there you have it… A perfect storm of: “EVERYBODY IS OUT IN THIS MESS!!” Yikes!

No sooner do I get in the door at my house than Pam pulls in from watching the grand babies and I said, “Why in the blue blazes is Katy going to dance! Is she out of her mind!” I pointed to the television and there was the blue screen that said: Wilkes County, NC TORNADO WARNING…a tornado that is radar-indicated is moving from Boomer toward Wilkesboro and N. Wilkesboro. Van Denton was on FOX-8 and Lanie Pope on WXII-12 saying, “Take cover Wilkes County residents: NOW!”

I told Pam, “Call Katy and tell her to turn around!” Pam tried and couldn’t get through. By now it was on!!! The cell lines were jammed! Everybody and their brother was calling and texting and the systems were overloaded. But, then Katy gets through to Pam. Pam said, “It’s Katy!” Hallelujah! “Tell her to turn around!” Pam told her. “What?” “Oh no!” Pam was saying with fear in her voice. I said, “What’s going on!” She said, “She’s trying to find a place to take cover in Millers Creek. She said it’s like the wind is picking up the van and the rain is white blowing sideways. “I can’t see anything!” Katy said. It was panic mode.

At that moment, my cell phone is buzzing… “Kandace Brown” I swiped it! “Daddy, what’s happening!” I said, “Kandace you’ve got to get out of the building NOW!” (You see, Tonya’s classes meet in a second story building that’s old…real old and I knew that building could never stand a direct hit.) At this point I had my computer pulled up and I could see the swirl on the radar coming just to the east of them…but, it was going to be close.)

“Kandace, get those kids out of that building and go to the ground floor of the Wilkes County Library next door. Now baby! Go!” She said, “Are you sure Daddy, I’m scared!” I said, “I’m sure baby…go.” Kandace is brave and strong but she was frightened and I knew Tonya was too. I could hear here in the background. They had about 40 little girls to take care of. Ultimately, they were able to get them to safety in the lower level of their building because the shop owner below let them in.

Meanwhile, back to Millers Creek and Katy and my granddaughters. They had gotten out of their van at a produce stand across from Millers Creek Baptist Church. They were holed up in the back of it…drenched, soaking wet. What a scene! Chaos unleashed on Wilkes County. It was amazing! Thankfully, everyone was safe. Oh…and I shouldn’t neglect to tell you that Josh, my son-in-law was driving in the mess too! He goes from Wilkes Communications in Wilkesboro over to N. Wilkesboro to the dance studio to meet Katy and the girls on Monday evenings. He was driving around trying to avoid the flying debris that was blowing around right behind Tonya’s studio. What an amazing scene! This is the Jewelry store just down the street…

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The damage around the county was amazing…

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Thankfully no one was killed in the storm. Yet, tragically, a lineman (a bi-vocational pastor) was killed. Here’s the news report:

The victim was identified as Brian Keith Wilmoth, 31, of Wilkes County. The sheriff’s office said Wilmoth, an employee of Asplundh Tree Expert Company, was operating a chainsaw and cutting a tree that had fallen on a power line. As Wilmoth cut the tree in two, the power lines sprang upward, throwing the tree back on to Wilmoth. Here’s the full story: http://www.wxii12.com/article/wilkes-county-man-killed-after-cutting-down-tree-in-county-hit-by-storm/13090052

Please join me in praying for this precious family…

My heart breaks for that sweet lady, his wife. I saw an interview on TV where she said, “The Lord will take care of us and I know my husband is with Him now and it’s going to be okay.” I have tears in my eyes typing those words. What a Christian lady! I just sent the family some money. They’ll need it. You can do so here: https://www.gofundme.com/support-for-karla-wilmoth/thankyou?d=nsbldhX1mz6AifZ87plLIYyVTedZ9UyUeKbZk07eWqY%3D#

I’m so blessed that my family is safe! I know many suffered without power for several days. We were without power for a day. But, even in that…we see the Lord is good.

This week’s Two-Minute Tuesday was about that, “When Everything Stops.” http://subspla.sh/w4j8fkp

Next week, Pastor Dale, Kandace, Clara and I head to the Philippines to share the Gospel. We’ll be speaking to as many as 5,000 people while we’re gone. That includes government workers and public school children. Pray that people will be touched and lives saved for Jesus Christ. Would you pray for us, please? We’ll be leaving after church on Wed. night and return about 2 am on Saturday morning, Nov. 11th. Thank you!

Kevin

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Why?

When a tragedy like what took place in Las Vegas earlier this week takes place, the human heart wants to know: Why? Almost 60 people killed. Over 500 injured. Why? Why would someone do that? Human beings have a natural aversion to killing another human being. So, what could have possibly happened in the heart of a human being to bring them to the place to do something so EVIL?

Yes, I used the word: EVIL. More and more people in our culture that preaches a mantra of: “not hurting anyone’s feelings,” and don’t “judge,” well…there’s an aversion to call any one or any thing: “evil.” However, that’s what the murderous act in Las Vegas was: plain, unadulterated evil! I obviously didn’t know the man, nor his heart. And I won’t say his name, because that’s what many of these people want. They want to go out in a blaze of glory and be remembered as their name and face are plastered on every media outlet. But, I will say this. I have a pretty good idea he’s in Hell today. I believe he was tricked by Satan. For, I believe Satan was speaking into his mind. And the ultimate diabolicalness of the deceit of Satan is the horrible fact that this killer most assuredly left this world from that 32nd floor hotel room and entered the horrors of Hell. To say this whole situation is “sad” is such a gross understatement. It’s demented and twisted and Satan’s fingerprints are all over it.

So, why do things like this happen? Why does ISIS decapitate people? Why do babies die and people get cancer? Why? Well, I appreciate what the president said on Monday:

…Hundreds of our fellow citizens are now mourning the sudden loss of a loved one, a parent, a child, a brother or sister. We cannot fathom their pain, we cannot imagine their loss. To the families of the victims, we are praying for you and we are here for you. And we ask God to help see you through this very dark period.

We call upon the bonds that unite us, our faith, our family, and our shared values. We call upon the bonds of citizenship, the ties of community, and the comfort of our common humanity. Our unity cannot be shattered by evil, our bonds cannot be broken by violence, and though we feel such great anger, at the senseless murder of our fellow citizens, it is our love that defines us today. And always will. Forever.

In times such as these, I know we are searching for some kind of meaning in the chaos, some kind of light in the darkness. The answers do not come easy. But we can take solace knowing that even the darkest space can be brightened by a single light and even the most terrible despair can be illuminated by a single ray of hope.

I appreciate the fact that every President in my lifetime has chosen to use Scripture during times of turmoil and trouble. Barack Obama did when Gabrielle Giffords was shot. He used the book of Job. George W. Bush quoted Psalms on the rubble of 9/11. Bill Clinton used Scripture after the Oklahoma City bombing. Ronald Reagan quoted Scripture after the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion and said, “(they) waved goodbye and slipped the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of God.” I’ll never forget that speech.

You know, whether we realize it or not, that is what we expect our presidents to do. We expect them to try to bring comfort as “Comforter in Chief.” And where do they almost always turn? The Bible. They turn to Scripture. I’m truly grateful, even though we are becoming more and more a post-christian and secular nation, we still look to an authority outside of ourselves to explain pain and the “unexplainable.” Honestly, even if the men quoting the Scripture don’t read it in private, (because I’m not saying that any of the Presidents I’ve mentioned were big-time church goers or super dedicated Christians… Truthfully, most weren’t), but I’m still grateful that they quote Scripture in public. Because what else could they quote that could have such comforting impact? Nothing! Because the Word of God is supernatural. It’s, after all, God’s Word!

But the question remains. Why? We still ask: “Why?” We still want an answer to the question. After all, we aren’t animals, (contrary to what those with an evolutionary mindset believe), therefore we want an answer. Think about it. A tiger sees a wounded rabbit and thinks nothing of eating it. However, as a human being (a moral agent), we see the rabbit and think, “Aw, I want to help it’s little injured leg.” That’s why we ask: “Why?” Because we are created in the image of God. We are moral beings and we have a conscience and we want answers. And the hard truth is: some people allow sin to dominate them to the point that their consciences are seared and they surrender to the forces of evil in the spiritual realm and they are doomed.

You know, humankind had a choice in the Garden of Eden and that shooter had a choice too. So do you. So do I. Yes, I get a choice. You get a choice. You and I get to decide how we’re going to live our lives. We aren’t robots. Is God sovereign? Yes, of course. But, in the paradox of His sovereignty, He gives man the responsibility to “own” their own decisions.

Sin came into the world as the juice of the forbidden fruit was trickling down the throats of Adam and Eve. And as they wiped that juice from their chins, preparations were being made in Heaven for Jesus to come to set aright that which had been made terribly wrong. Jesus would come and be executed so that humankind would have an opportunity to know pardon from our inexorable death sentence.

So, we’ll continue to ask: “Why did he do it?” Why would a man kill that many people? We may never know the answer. But, I must tell you that I still ask the question: “God, why would you do it?” How could you have sent your one and only son to die for men and women who would hate you? How could you watch your son drink the bitter poison of separation from you on the cross and endure the Hell of that separation…alone?! I’ll never know the answer to that question either. But, in the meantime, I will trust my Father and His sovereignty and the fact that until Jesus returns, evil exists in this sin-fallen world and the only place to find comfort is in God’s Word…as our presidents have shown us.

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We had such a wonderful week on vacation. I know most folks have Facebook, but in case some of you don’t, here’s the obligatory picture with the castle in the background.

I’m grateful for the time off and the time to recharge. Everyone needs a break from time to time.

Might I say that one of my favorite times was spending time with my grandkids at the bus stop and on the bus and at the parks. What a joy! Here’s Evelyn and me at the bus stop.

Ain’t she cute! (I’m biased I know!) Riding the bus to the parks was a hoot. Honestly, it’s just time to sit and be with your family.

I know that sounds simple and it is…but, there is something tranquil just riding on a bus with your family and just chatting and even holding hands.

Call me crazy…but, I really enjoyed those rides to the parks.

One of my jobs was to watch the little guys while the bigger “kids” ride all of those wild and crazy rides. I’m way too old for those! Sometimes we could even pull this off…

Precious!!

Here’s one of my favorite pictures…

Oh…oh…oh…and the rides… Vicarious living is so much fun when you see things through your grandchildren’s eyes. Evelyn loved “It’s a Small World.”

She clapped and clapped! 10 months old and loved every minute of it! What a joy!

Pam and I even got to ride my favorite ride: “Soar-in.”

That ride has you flying around the world seeing God’s beauty, from whale’s jumping out of the ocean waters to elephants throwing dirt around in Africa. And you get to smell the dirt! It’s amazing! I always have tears in my eyes when I’m done.

You see, Walt Disney figured out the “human experience.” Disney employs 73,000 people! Is that amazing or what! Sadly, he never got to see Disney World in Orlando open. He died in 1966, five years before it opened in 1971. But, here’s the thing Disney figured out. People live amusement parks. Why? Because life is hard and they want to laugh and they want to be with other people and experience something exciting and fun. That’s why people love sporting events. It’s a joy to experience things together. That’s the same for congregating in a church. That’s why our church services can’t be boring! They just can’t! No! I’m not talking about having the Praise Team drummer entering the stage from cables in the ceiling. No! But, I’m saying, the reason so many people are forsaking the church is they feel it’s irrelevant. We’re doing church like we did in 1975. The music is boring. And the preaching is even worse.

And so, let me be blunt… Churches are in competition today with golf courses, amusement parks, fishing, sleeping in, eating brunch…you name it. All those things are happening on Sunday mornings. So, pastor…you better have your act together. Music leader, you better have your act together. And please, please…before everyone gets all up in arms and say, “Come on Kevin, people should simply come because they well…should simply want to come.” Well, I get that sentiment. I do. But, the truth is, for a lot of Christians today are not going to go to church unless there is something in it for them.

When I was growing up, you went to church no matter who was preaching or what was going on. Not today. If the lead pastor isn’t there…yep…Sunday off! “We’re not going today.” That would never be said by my grandparents. They would say, “We’re going no matter what.” You see, that’s what Christians did in the 80’s. You went to church no matter what was going on.

So, we can lament the fact that only about 36% of Americans go to church today, versus about 68% just 40 years ago. But, we must come to the sobering realization that if we don’t teach and preach well and the music is bad…well, you are going to struggle to keep people. You might think about the best restaurants you go to for a few minutes. What makes them good? As a pastor, I’m thinking that way about church.

So, this Sunday, when you come to the church, you’re going to get coffee and some muffins when you arrive. You are going to be taken care of from the moment you drive into our parking area with our First Impressions Team…to the Hospitality Team who will take care of you upon your entrance into the building to the Security Team who will make sure we’re all safe while we’re here. We’re going to make sure that the music and preaching is as good as we can possibly be, because Jesus deserves our best. I’m excited about Jesus and the fact that He saved my soul from Hell and that’s what I hope to get across every time I have the privilege to preach.

Can you tell I’ve been on vacation? I’m fired up and ready to go! Praise the Lord!

One last picture…

Dole whip! Such fun!!

Kevin

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1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. John 1:1-4

Remember that old cheer?

It was fun to chant that at a game about your favorite team and then point to the other side as you shouted back for a retort.

So, I just have to say it…I love Jesus!  I can’t help but shout it!  “I love Jesus!”  Sound strange?  It shouldn’t.  But, it seems kind of “over the top” to hear a man say, “I love Jesus!”  But, I do.  I sincerely do.  My love for this God-man has grown much through the years. I’m still blown away by the fact that Jesus died for me!

I was saved as a ten-year old boy.

I’m in the back in the middle.  Check out the hair and those short-shorts! Yikes!

At the time of this photo, I had only been a Christian for a short while.  What did I know about Jesus?  Not much.  But, let me tell you…almost 40 years later…boy, have things changed.  I sincerely and genuinely know Jesus.  I mean I KNOW Him.  I talk to Him.  I understand more and more about His character and His heart.  Why?  Is it because I go to church, or that I’m a pastor or that I’ve been a member of a church for basically all my life?  Nope!

I know Jesus because I have fallen in love with His Word.  I love the Bible.  I read it because I want to…not because I have to.  People often say to me, “Well you have to read the Bible, you are a Pastor.”  They say that I’ve learned the Bible because I’m a preacher.  I kindly tell them that I learned the Bible (and that’s a relative term…learned…because I’m still a novice), by simply reading it well before I ever became a pastor.

Do you love Jesus?  If you say, “Yes,” then can I ask you a bold question?  How much do you “read Him?”  Jesus is the Word, you know.  He became flesh and dwelled among us (John 1:1).  Consequently, if you and I love Jesus, we will read the Bible.  It’s that simple. If we don’t read the Bible, then can we honestly say that we really, truly and genuinely love Jesus.   You say that’s being “legalistic.”  Well, I don’t believe it is and I will respectfully disagree.  For instance, if you love Carolina Basketball…(and I do)…then you will read news articles or online articles about the Tar Heels.  If you love hunting…you will read hunting magazines.  You get the idea.  So, what do you love?

What do you read?

Honestly and truly, I love Jesus.  And I do desire to read the Bible. I’m not saying it’s always going to be easy to just pick up the Bible and read it, but the Lord will help us and give us the desire to do so.

So…here goes…I’m standing now…and shouting with hands cupped beside of my mouth…”I love Jesus, yes I do…I love Jesus…how ’bout you?”

Kevin

PS, Let’s please keep in prayer the folks in Texas and now the folks in Florida and all the way up the East Coast. We could get strong winds here too. I’m praying Irma is not another Hugo. We were without power for 8 days in 1989 when it came through.

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One Race-The Human Race

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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