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Archive for the ‘Elder/Pastor’ Category

I’ve been thinking about what it means to seek Jesus a lot over the last several weeks…actually the last 3 months. I’ve asked myself, “Kevin, are you really seeking Jesus or are you just going through the motions?” Now, I’m not trying to be super-spiritual and I’m not trying to be ethereal or out in left field. I’m simply saying, I believe there is a pursuit of Jesus that I’ve been missing. And I think a lot of people are missing it.

It seems to me that we’ve gotten to the place in our evangelism that we bring people to Jesus and we stop. We get people saved and then what? It’s like every service, every message has to be the same. And that’s needed! Of course we’ve got to get people to Jesus, but Jesus said we are to: “Go and make disciples…” Do you see that word: DISCIPLE. He didn’t say, “Go and make converts…” Conversion is the first step…yes…but there is more! We’ve got to be teaching people! We’ve got to be growing people. We’ve got teach people how to climb in their faith toward Jesus! That’s what we’ve been saying this year…

The question is…how much time does it take to climb? Can you hike a mountain in 2 minutes? Let me ask you this…can you and I seek Jesus in 2 minutes? Can He be found in our 20-second prayers over our meals or the prayer that’s quickly uttered as we fall asleep? Can we never read the Word of God and expect to call ourselves disciples of Christ? There is nothing disciplined about that.

Disciple

Discipline

Those two words have the same root! If we want to truly be a disciple, we are going to have to be disciplined. It’s no different than a ball team. They have to practice before they play. They must run, work-out, lift weights…eat right…you name it. It takes discipline to make champions. And you know what…the same is true as believers in Christ. God is person and He desires to be wanted. I’ll say that again: He desires to be wanted. Just like you desire to be wanted. Don’t you want to be wanted? Loved? Sure you do! So do I! After all, we are created in the image of God and it’s our spirits that must seek Him (for He is Spirit).

Lately, I’ve been trying to retrain my mind to think on Jesus. To set my mind on things above. But, some might say, “Kevin, be careful that you don’t get so heavenly minded that you are no earthly good.” Can I say this kindly to you… I’ve never met any single person that I believe were “too heavily minded.” I see people who are attached to this earth. I see that so much in myself. I spend so much time thinking about myself and my needs and my wants and my comfort and my desires… My problem is me. And your problem is probably you. It’s easy for the universe to revolve around ourselves.

I had to go to a place that I died to myself. And that’s a daily thing… Jesus said it would be a daily thing! And boy is it! It feels like some days I’m taking some major ground in moving up that mountain and other days I’m stuck or even losing ground. What do I mean?

I’m seeking the Lord throughout the day in that I’m trying to think about Him as I live life. I’m thinking about Him as I drive. I honestly don’t listen to the radio much anymore. I just keep it off and talk to the Lord. It’s been an amazing thing how much time I’ve gained. Folks, He wants to talk to us. He’s waiting! But, the truth is…we like our “noise.” We walk into our homes and we flip on the TV. We get in the car and we’re on the radio. We have an idle moment and we grab the phone to check social media. Believe me…I’m chief of sinners! And so, I’m seeking to NOT do these things as much. Am I becoming a hermit? No! But, there is something to be said for mediating on the Lord. There’s something to be said for “being still and know that He is God.”

Can you get still? For how long? 5 minutes? 10? Maybe that’s scary. Maybe you don’t want to be alone with your thoughts. Sometimes that can be scary… I must admit that! But, listen…you and I are not alone…not as followers of Christ! He’s with us! His Spirit dwells in our spirit and He bears witness with us. But, can we hear Him? Are we hearing from Him?

The Lord wants a relationship with us. He wants to talk to us. That’s why He came to die. He came so that we can know Him…and that we might not only be with Him forever in heaven, but have Him to guide our lives on this side of glory. I can tell you this…as I’ve been thinking on Jesus and focusing my mind more and more on Him, I’m changing in my spirit. There is more joy and more of a sense of peace and ease in my soul. I’m not as easily upset or “torn out of my frame” on things that really don’t matter.

The Scripture says:

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9

How can we grow in our faith? Simple. Go after Jesus! Ask and it shall be given…seek and you will find…knock and the door will be opened. All of that requires action! Go! Go! Go! Or in my vernacular these days…Climb, climb, climb!

It means when I’m walking through the parking lot at the hospital I look at the sky and see the clouds and I think, “Jesus, thank you for watching over me and caring for me and for what you will do to give me the words for this situation and this family.” Before I walk into my home and turn the handle on my door, I think, “Lord, help me to have saved enough of my time and patience to be what my family needs me to be for them tonight.” It’s driving down the road with the kids in the back of the van and saying, “Hey guys…look at the window…tell me what you see. Who made that?” It’s training our minds to “see” and “hear” with our spirit. Do you see? It’s just an intentional mindset and it’s that intentionality that’s slowly but surely changing this bald-headed man. I’m actually experiencing the presence of Jesus more and more in my life! It’s wonderful!!

Therefore, in the light of what I’ve just written, here’s this week’s TMT:

http://mpbc.ws/media/?sapurl=Lys3ZWViL2xiL21pLytmMzV2cmN0P2F1dG9wbGF5PXRydWUmYnJhbmRpbmc9dHJ1ZSZlbWJlZD10cnVl

Kevin

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Snow is in the forecast again and I’m telling you…we’re not done with it after this round this weekend. Weather runs via patterns. Once a pattern sets up…it’s hard to break it. Hmmm…sounds like habits. You know… old habits are hard to break. It seems it works in the weather too. Here’s the forecast for snow through the end of the month via weatherbell.com.

I guess Andrew will need to be ready to do this again…

I don’t think we’re in for another 18-20″ but I do believe we could see 3-6″ if snow and ice doesn’t cut into it. It does look to be cold enough to be frozen for NW North Carolina. And I’m saying it now…look out for the following weekend. Remember, when a pattern sets up, it’s hard for that pattern to be eroded during a season. It’s been so wet for the year 2018 and going into 2019, I still believe we’ll see that flow out of the Gulf.

I must say this past Sunday was a gut-wrenching Sunday for me. Preaching the message on “Consider Jesus” was one of the most spiritually and emotionally rigorous messages I’ve ever preached. I was wrung out Sunday afternoon. I had nothing left. I believe the Lord used it and will continue to use it. Why? Because I shared my heart and I held nothing back and I admitted my failures and faults in hopes that transparency would help others. I pray it does.

Many have asked when it will be loaded to the App and the website (www.mpbc.ws). The truth is…I’m not sure. It normally takes about a week to edit the messages for the website and the TV stations we’re on (Spectrum/Charter and Wilkes Communications). But, the holidays have slowed things down a bit. Keep checking back. I did my Two-Minute Tuesday on the subject earlier today. “Do You Have Peace with God? Are You Pursuing God?” Here you go: http://mpbc.ws/media/?sapurl=Lys3ZWViL2xiL21pLyszamZ5d3JuP2F1dG9wbGF5PXRydWUmYnJhbmRpbmc9dHJ1ZSZlbWJlZD10cnVl

With that theme…we’re hoping to climb the mountain…like Moriah…like Sinai…and like our Lord did (Calvary) and seek to experience His presence and power in our lives. I pray we can experience the presence of the Lord in our everyday lives… To the point that we will desire to pursue the presence of Jesus in our lives more than we desire to pamper our lives. However we will only experience the presence of the Lord to the degree that we deny ourselves and take up our cross and follow Him.

Abraham had to offer up Isaac in order to get him back. I literally had to offer up my family and even my voice in order to get them back. It was a death in each area of my life. I grieved as if it all really happened (lost my family and my voice and subsequently my career as a pastor). (Note: this probably sounds crazy as you read that…but, you’ll just have to watch the message at some point to understand it.)

Have I said lately how much I love these two guys…

Dale Jennings and Brad Cordray. I’m blessed to serve with these guys and I praise the Lord for them. I thought it was a good picture. They make me look pretty swell, don’t they! 🙂

 

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On The Way To Israel!

Next Monday morning, we’re on our way to Israel! Wow! I can’t believe it! I never thought I’d get back there again! It’s without question one of the greatest experiences of my life! I am honestly more excited this time around than I was in 2007, when I went the first time. Why? Because I know what to expect and I get to go with my wife! I remember back in 2007 that I had goose bumps so much…that I stopped having the ability to have goosebumps after the 3rd day. It was amazing!

I’ve had the privilege of traveling to many places in the world…including Hawaii…but, nothing touches the place where Jesus walked. I guess it’s just the way I’m wired. But, it’s the truth. I’m so thankful to be able to go back and to do it with 37 other people. It’s going to be a wonderful time of seeing and experiencing where the Lord Jesus (God in the flesh) walked this earth 2000 years ago.

Here was our group from 2007.

I was traveling with a group from Old Town Baptist Church in Winston-Salem and pastor Rick Speas. He is just to my left in the picture. He was a pastor here at Mt. Pleasant for 9 years. He is a blessing in my life to this day!

In case you are interested…here is the itinerary for the trip if you want to follow along…

I’ll be sharing on Sunday, November 18th about the trip during all three services, including pictures and some video vignettes, as well. It will be the Sunday before Thanksgiving and what better way to be thankful than to be reminded of all that Jesus did for us…by actually seeing where He did them!

We had a great time carving pumpkins this year…

It’s a family affair and I love the blessing of doing it all together. Oh the traditions! Aren’t they great!

Look how diligent Josh and Clark are being! Can you tell they are getting into it! Total concentration! Kandace is laughing at Clark because he’s being so detailed. That’s a guy thing! We work like it’s the most important thing in the world. I laughed out loud as I was taking the picture…because I had just “been in the zone” myself with the pumpkin I was carving. 🙂

I’m looking forward to a great time for Trunk or Treat at the church tonight!

Our theme is a “dragway” this year. See the light tree in the background! And how about the “trunks” of the cars? Cute, huh! Get it “Trunk” or Treat! Last year we had over 1,000 people go through the church! That’s amazing! The people kept telling us: “Thank you for providing a safe place for our kids to come and get candy and for feeding us, etc.” We provide a hot dog supper and great candy (good stuff…you know…Snickers and Reece’s and Kit Kat, and Milky Way…not the cheap candy). We want folks to know we care for them.

It’s been asked… “If your church ceased to exist, would your community miss it?” Did you read that carefully? Not “would your CHURCH MEMBERS miss it,” but “COMMUNITY.” So often we can get locked into “tithing to ourselves.” Are we really meaning anything to the community? While they are at Trunk or Treat, they’ll leave with information about the church and about Jesus.

“Lord, help people to know that they are loved by you!”

Here’s the Two-Minute Tuesday this week: “The State of Theology-What Do People Really Believe in 2018?” You might be surprised. I was! Things are actually improving!

http://mpbc.ws/media/?sapurl=Lys3ZWViL2xiL21pLytmNXY2dno3P2JyYW5kaW5nPXRydWUmZW1iZWQ9dHJ1ZQ==

Off to Israel! 🙂

Kevin

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I Finally Did It

Is there something in your life that you know you need to do and you know it, but you’ve been putting it off? Me too! But, I finally did it. Did what?

I’ve set up specified counseling hours. Yep, I had to finally break down and do it. It finally hit me that I’m pretty much counseling all the time…all hours of the day…every day…you name it. This included “days off,” which usually only comes on Saturdays. (As you know, Sunday is a work day for me… 🙂 And with three sermons…I’m running around like a chicken with his head cut off!) So, it became apparent to me when we topped 700 people a couple of Sundays ago: “Kevin it’s time. There is no way to keep up this pace…working all day and then coming home and answering emails and messages throughout the evening.”

Part of the issue is that we’re on local TV (two stations) and I’m getting thousands of view each week for the “Two-Minute Tuesday” on Facebook. Last week’s TMT got almost 14,000 views. Thus, people contact me through Facebook and ask for help, counseling, advice, etc. It’s truly non-stop.

Now, hear (or in this case, “read” my heart)…I LOVE people and I LOVE what I do! What a blessing! What a privilege and a joy! It truly is! But, there has to be “down times.” And I can’t shepherd half of Facebook. 🙂 So, I’ve made the policy that I only counsel church members or those who are actively attending the church. Peter said, “Shepherd the flock among you.” I take that admonition seriously. You can’t be all things to all people and no one can be “on” all the time. Not even a car can go “pedal to the metal” all the time. Even race horses don’t run every race. They have to have time to recover.

Recently, I read this book and was reminded again, “It’s time!” by what I read…

 It’s an excellent book and I’ve been using the nuggets in it a lot! One of those nuggets: a sabbath. A day where you totally unplug. A day where you don’t work unless it’s an emergency. What’s an emergency? Well, that’s different to different people. Everyone’s problem is an emergency to them. But, to me… an emergency is something that’s life-threatening. Again, to some people, an emergency is when the microwave doesn’t work. (wink, wink) Yes, if it’s an emergency…I’m on it. But, otherwise, going forward, counseling will need to take place during the hours I’ve set aside for that purpose. In fact, I’ve asked Pastor Dale to set hours as well. That way, we can do a better job of controlling our schedules and our time.

My counseling hours (which will be posted in this week’s bulletin) are:

  • Monday 1:30-4:30 pm
  • Wednesday 3-5 pm
  • Wednesday after Service

Pastor Dale’s hours:

  • Tuesday 1-3 pm
  • Wednesday after Service
  • Thursday 9-11 am

The sessions are 1 hour in length. We both counsel for these needs: marriage, financial and family counseling. We do NOT offer counseling for: drug/alcohol/substance abuse or psychiatric issues. For those areas we encourage folks to contact SureCord at 336.957.1710. SureCord is the Christian Counseling service MPBC supports through the Brushy Mountain Baptist Association. They are located in the Brushy Mountain Association Office on Highway 268-West near the Wilkes YMCA. https://www.surecord.com

I’ve been pastoring for 13 years and in the early years I could work in all the people when we had 285 people. But now that we have 700+ people attending (and truthfully about 850 who attend at least once or twice in a month’s period of time)…so, I finally had to do it.

Now what about you? What do you need to do? You know you need to do it. You’ve been feeling prompted by the Lord to do it. And now it’s time. Maybe it’s a difficult conversation. Maybe it’s something that’s been festering and needs to be addressed at home or at work or with a child. You dread it. You wonder how it’s going go? You are afraid it might be difficult and people might not understand it. I get it. Believe me, I do!

I think about all the ramifications of everything I do. I’ve thought about how some might even react to having to make an appointment to talk to me. I’ve thought about those who will not understand or complain: “He’s not accessible enough!!” You know what…there comes a time and place in your life that you have to do what you know the Lord has told you to do and let the chips fall where they may. I serve an audience of ONE. So do you! As a believer in Christ, we have to answer to Him primarily, first and foremost. My advice: Do what you know to do is right. Do it now and you’ll reap a harvest of peace from it. I already feel better about things just knowing that I can actually have some control over my life again. And I know my wife and family will be happy about that too!

This week’s Two-Minute Tuesday is about problem. We’ve all got them. How do you see them? As obstacles? As something to be swept under the rug? How about this: “Making Your Problems Work for You.”

Kevin

 

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Last weekend was amazing! I had one of those life-changing weekends. How often can you say that in life, right? But, it’s true. I was able to go to Atlanta and attend Passion City Church. You’ll notice they don’t have their name on the side of the building. Just the address.

515. That’s how they are known. They have another campus in Cumberland, Georgia about 30 minutes away. They are called: “Cumberland.” I like that. Our logo for MPBC is a cross with a circle around it. Just pointing to Jesus. People were lined up to get on a shuttle to go to their car at a remote parking lot.

The church has three Sunday services: 9 am, 11:45 am and 5 pm. It’s mostly a Millennial church. I was an old guy as I looked around. Most were 35 years old and younger.

Did you notice that sign on the wall in the background? “Jesus is Life.”

When someone gives their life to Christ, they go to that center table under the sign and write their name on a light bulb. Then they climb that later (to the right) and screw in their bulb. How about that! So cool!!! And so true! JESUS IS LIFE!!! If we try to have life any other way, we’re settling for Satan’s counterfeit. Whatever we can’t “get enough of” is our god.

It was wonderful to sit back and just drink in all the Lord is doing at that church! Normally, on Sundays, it’s really kind of tough for me to worship 100% because I’m so focused on the sermon, the time, remembering everything I need to announce, etc. But, Sunday was amazing!

The church at 515 seats about 1200-1400 the best I could tell. Cumberland seat around 600, but they have plans to expand. They also have a church they’ve started in Washington, D.C. So, I’m guessing they probably average attendance for all three campuses of about 8,000 or so.

We sat near the back so we could take it all in. I feasted, let me tell you! Thank you Lord! I needed that. Sometimes a pastor needs to go somewhere just to have his own soul fed. I’m so thankful for the church allowing the pastor/elders to have a “conference” line item, so we can go do these things. Truth is: I would never spend money to go do it on my own, because I don’t have it to spend. I’m trying to raise a family and pay bills and I just don’t spend money on myself, and yet, I know I need time to get away from time to time to re-energize. Thanks to MPBC for my “conference” line item in the budget!

They have these metal containers like you see hauled on the back of tractor-trailers where they greet people and talk with folks after the services who are inquiring about being saved or want to join the church, etc.

The pastor of the church is Louie Giglio.

He’s 10 years older than me (60) and was going strong! It really gave me encouragement! I’m preaching three sermons every Sunday like Louie and I thought, “Lord, you are giving a 60-year-old man the strength to do that every week, and you are doing that for me too! Thank you Lord!” He is lived streamed from either the Cumberland campus or the 515 campus. Can I tell you something? It took me 10 minutes to realize he wasn’t at 515. Why? Because I was watching the screen because we were in the back.

I guess I have mixed emotions about live-streaming and satellite campuses. Each site at 515, Cumberland and D.C. have campus pastors and their own praise teams, etc. at each location. Yes, I get it in big cities. Traffic is horrible and it’s just tough to get around. In Wilkes County, people drive long distances to go to town or wherever. We are the third largest county (landmass) in the 100-county state of NC. So, people are used to driving 20-minutes to town (or more) to go to the grocery store. Therefore, people drive to church great distances too. We have folks driving 30 minutes or more to come to MPBC. Again, a lot of these dynamics for churches depend on the setting. I don’t see MPBC doing satellite churches anytime soon, if ever. I just don’t know if that would work in our rural area. I still believe people around here will drive to wherever they want to go. We’re not Atlanta or Charlotte or D.C.

I learned a lot this weekend and I was blessed beyond measure. One of the blessings was spending time with a family that we adopted with from China. The Windsor family. Their daughter and Clara were adopted at the same time, same town, 12 years ago. What a blessing they are to our family! They hosted us at a Braves game Saturday night. We had great seats!

Yes indeed! What a weekend! Thank you Lord! Now it’s on to the Iron Men Conference tomorrow night and three services here on Sunday! We have over 260 men and boys signed up for the conference tomorrow night. Will you pray for us! It doesn’t matter how hard I’ve worked on this and the men in the Praise Team, etc., if the Lord doesn’t empower it! We need His anointing and blessing. Would you stop right now and breathe a five-second prayer for us, please? I believe lives will be changed tomorrow night! I know mine has in preparing for it!

You can still sign-up, but you have to do it today: http://www.mpbc.ws/signuptable.

Here’s the past three week’s Two-Minute Tuesday’s. I forgot to load them on the last couple of blog posts. Sorry about that! 🙂

Two weeks ago: “Cheap Sex and the Decline of Marriage.” http://mpbc.ws/media/?sapurl=Lys3ZWViL2xiL21pLysycTNuZG10P2JyYW5kaW5nPXRydWUmZW1iZWQ9dHJ1ZQ==

Last week: “So You Don’t Think God Will Judge-Francis Chan.” http://mpbc.ws/media/?sapurl=Lys3ZWViL2xiL21pLys3czhydzVoP2F1dG9wbGF5PXRydWUmYnJhbmRpbmc9dHJ1ZSZlbWJlZD10cnVl

This week: “Helping Our Wives and Jumping Hurdles.” http://mpbc.ws/media/?sapurl=Lys3ZWViL2xiL21pLyt3NW5wYzlwP2JyYW5kaW5nPXRydWUmZW1iZWQ9dHJ1ZQ==

Blessings,

Kevin

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Did that title grab your attention? If it did, then I did my job. I am an old marketing guy, remember that. Thus, I know that the title of a sermon, article, blog post, tag line, etc. must be catchy in order to grab and lure people to read your stuff.

This is why we exist. What am I talking about? The Church. I’m talking about the Church of Jesus Christ. So, do you know why we exist? We exist to go and share the Gospel. These are our marching orders:

Matthew 28:19-20

19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Sadly, 51% of church goers have no clue that what you just read is the Great Commission.

That’s so sad that I can’t even comment on it. My question is: Are you going? I ask myself: Is our church going? If not, why not? We’ve got to be “going” folks…in everything we do! I’m talking about seeing your life, your marriage, your career, your home, your hobbies…EVERYTHING as ways to leverage the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the life of others. Use what you have and where you are to reach people. And here’s the thing…if it’s not happening in your church, then you should go somewhere that is reaching out.

The truth is: most churches “tithe to themselves,” as I’ve heard it stated. They give to themselves in how they spend money. They do stuff for them…not, the people outside the walls of the church.

Believe me…I think about this a lot. As a pastor, I think about, “Kevin, what are we doing as a church to reach people?” In other words, I’m thinking about what the motive is in each ministry and program of the church. And here’s the truth: If it’s not reaching people for Jesus, we need to ask ourselves…why in the world are we doing it?

Now, I say all of that to say how thankful I am for MPBC. No, our church isn’t perfect…far from it. Because we have non-perfect people attending it. But, I do believe we have a desire to reach people. And as I look at our annual church calendar, I see that in the things that we plan and do. We are trying to reach people with the Gospel of Jesus and we seek to bring them into the body and train them for works of ministry. In other words, it’s my job to teach and equip people to be Gospel-sharing people. We’ve got to be making disciples. And that must start in our homes and then spoke out into the world into every area of our lives (work, hobbies, buying groceries, you name it).

This past weekend we had 1,307 people go through the doors to watch and experience our annual Passion Play. It was incredible! The weather was tough in that we were dodging snow flakes and sleet, but we were able to do three of the four showings. And we still had 1,307 people! Crazy!

Now, anyone who knows me at all knows that I don’t have people repeat a prayer after me and then “crown someone saved” by snapping my fingers and doing that kind of invitation. But, like the Apostle Peter at Pentecost, I give people an opportunity to pray in their own words and receive Jesus and then follow-up with us (the Elders/Pastors of the church). With that said, we had in the neighborhood of three dozen people who made professions of faith with triple that of folks who said they were believers, who prayed to recommit their lives to a closer, more dedicated walk with Jesus. That’s astounding! Truly it was and is amazing to see how the Holy Spirit moves when the depiction of all that Jesus did for us is displayed on a stage.

Here are some of the pictures of those scenes and the preparation and work that went into the play.

I can’t tell you how much this brings our church together to attempt to do something for the Lord that’s much bigger than all of us! It involves over 180 people. It brings wonderful camaraderie.

Praise the Lord for all that He accomplished!

What’s next? Our Community Easter Egg Hunt this Saturday at 2 pm.

Yep! We’re hiding 10,000 Easter Eggs and we’re going to use it to share the Gospel. We’ll start out in the church, where we’ll gather everyone up to share the resurrection and then to the field to hunt those eggs. The truth is: there will be a lot of folks who will bring their kids to hunt Easter Eggs with candy in them that perhaps would never come to church the next day, Easter Sunday, for service. So, we GO! That’s right…we GO and get outside of the walls and compel them to come in…even with Easter Eggs.

What’s after that? Our Soccer League (Saturdays from April 14th through May 19th).

Again, folks might bring their kids to play soccer and hear the Gospel on a field, who may never come to a church service. That’s “GOING” and that’s reaching out. And it’s a ton of work and it takes a ton of people to pull all of this off. I’m so thankful for a church that wants to GO! Again, we’re not perfect…but, we’re trying and we’re praying the Lord will continue to have favor on us and anoint these efforts for His kingdom and His glory.

Might I say that we also have another team heading to Mexico/Texas this Saturday. They are going to be placing the windows in the second floor of the church in Progreso, Mexico and sharing the Gospel in Weslaco, TX. Pray for them, would you please!

I celebrated my 50th birthday yesterday and the day before, 3.27, we celebrated the fact that 12 years ago was “Gotcha Day” in China for this little girl:

Look at her now…

Where has the time gone? Thank you Lord for our dear, sweet Clara! You ordained it that we would have the privilege of raising her! What a blessing!

Here’s this week’s Two-Minute Tuesday, “You Can’t Be Neutral About This…”

http://mpbc.ws/media/?sapurl=Lys3ZWViL2xiL21pLytjNW42MzZ3P2JyYW5kaW5nPXRydWUmZW1iZWQ9dHJ1ZQ==

Kevin

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We know God is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. We know that He is Sovereign over all. We know that He has a plan for all of our lives. And we know His will is perfect for our lives. But, how often do we really feel like we’re “in the will of God?” My great-uncle once told me, “Kevin, I feel like every now and again I my life sweeps across the will of God, but all too often, I didn’t realize it until I was out of His will again.” You’ll get a hearty Amen from me on that! It’s not that I feel I’m walking in the path of sinners, but it’s kind of like hitting a golf ball. You’ve really got to tag that little ball in the sweet spot of the club before it will really take off. You can be close to the sweet spot, but still shank it right into a pond.

Well, I believe I’ve witnessed the will of God quite a bit lately. Three examples I can give you that I really believe I’ve seen the hand of the Lord moving and working. And they just happened to all occur on the same weekend.

Many of you know I went to Texas and Mexico over the weekend of January 20-21. Andrew went with me. He’s a joy to be with (and I mean that…not just because he’s my boy…but, he truly is a good kid). This is us on the plane…

God’s beauty…

He loved the Mexican “Coca Cola.” Honestly, they do seem to taste sweeter and are more stout! 🙂

Andrew was so inspired being in Mexico that we’ve pulled out our Rosetta Stone and he’s learning some more Spanish.

We were there for this…

Can you make that out?

  • Baptist Church
  • Mount
  • Pleasant
  • MPBC
  • Fund Independent

They renamed their church after our church to thank us for the 9 years of work we’ve done to help build the church. What a joy!

This is Pastor Oscar and his wife Miriam and their boys, Oscarito and Eli.

What a wonderful family! Pastor Oscar and Miriam were planted by this couple…

Pastor Lupe Garcia and his wife. They are from Rio Bravo, about 45 minutes away. Oscar and Miriam went to Progreso on faith and saw the need for a church there. Progreso is a border town and there are tons of US visitors. The need for a church was great and Pastor Oscar said he’d go.

It was a great service!

This is the original group that grew from Pastor Oscar and Miriam’s work.

Oh how I love these people! We had a great time of celebration afterward upstairs (what we have helped build over the last three years)…

See those holes in the walls? We’ll be helping to put windows in those holes and to stucco the walls and ceiling. Lot’s to do this “mission season.” It’s gratifying to see all of this. It’s also gratifying to see MPBC here at home who loves people so much that we’re willing to work, raise money, sacrifice and give for the work of the kingdom and our brothers and sister in Progreso. Thank you MPBC! I believe it’s one of the main reasons the Lord has blessed us so much as a church.

Well, that’s #1. Blessing #2…

See these people…

That’s Pastor Jason and Katie Church and their wonderful boys, Caleb (beside of Jacob), Wesley (beside of Andrew) and Liam (on the end of the table next to Katie). What a wonderful family! They’ve been in Weslaco for almost 6 years. They have been serving the Lord in building a church called “Church of No Walls” and being the caretakers of our properties (MPBC) in Weslaco, for teams to come down and work in TX/MX from our church and others. They’ve done a fantastic job!

We’ve been praying for Pastor Jason and their church! We’ve helped to establish a storefront church on Texas Blvd, (Main Street), Weslaco.

They’ve been working so hard to grow the church and reach the people of Weslaco. We’ve been praying with them and for them as they seek to reach the community. Now take a look at this church…

That’s New Life Baptist Church on 6th Street in Weslaco (two streets over from Main Street). See this man with Jason…

That’s Pastor Manny Portillo. Pastor Dale Jennings and I Skyped with Pastor Jason and Pastor Manny several weeks ago. Pastor Manny is the current pastor of New Life Baptist Church. Yet, Pastor Manny came to Pastor Jason (they’ve known each other for several years) and said, “Jason, I believe the Lord has told me to come ask you to come and lead the church: New Life Baptist. You see, Manny is also a chaplain for Hospice and his job is so busy that there are times he is called out on Sunday mornings and can’t preach at the church. He is unable to keep office hours or really be there for the people. Pastor Manny knew of Jason’s work and Manny went to his leadership and said, “I believe Jason is the man for our church.”

The leadership met and take a look…

Jason is now serving as one of the pastors along with the Music Pastor, Steve Chamblin. This is pastor Steve…

The church was one of the first four churches established in Weslaco. This sign is outside of the church…

Here’s some of the old history photos of the church in the early 1920’s-30’s…

Unfortunately, over the years, the church had dwindled down to just six people. Those six knew they had to do something. They asked Pastor Manny to help them and he did. He along with those good people grew the church as far as they could take it. But again, Pastor Manny’s job keeps him so busy that he can’t do all that he wants to do and needs to do. So, Pastor Manny and New Life is looking to Pastor Jason to help the church to go to the next level.

Well, I was there and I saw just how much the people love Pastor Jason and Katie and their family!

Jason is filling the pulpit now…

Katie is part of the Praise Team…

Jason is keeping office hours four days a week from 9 am – 2 pm. Here’s his office…

Now someone is at the church to help meet the needs of the people. Talk about a shot in the arm to the church! What a blessing! And oh…the church is so nice. Those six folks sacrificed so much to keep it all going. And there is no debt on any of the buildings or property!

It’s beautiful!

It can hold over 400 people…

Here’s the kitchen…

It has a large field…

A beautiful gym with stage (I took the picture from the stage).

They had a movie night last Wed. night in the gym and showed the film via a screen from the stage. I was able to attend Sunday School and hear the people gush over Pastor Jason and all he is doing for the church.

I know that at least three, possibly four of the people in that SS class were of the original six that I mentioned earlier. But, here’s what I’m really thankful for…

Lives are being touched…

What a blessing! And in case you are wondering, nothing changes with the work with MPBC. We see this as a God-send! We are excited as a church (MPBC) to partner with New Life. And New Life is so excited to have Church of No Walls and their folks join them. The New Life folks said they see MPBC as another way of reaching people in the Weslaco area! Oh how I love seeing God’s hand! He’s working folks! Believe me! It’s amazing to see! Brothers and sisters in North Carolina, Texas and Mexico working together!

Blessing #3…

Andrew and I go to the airport on Sunday after church and lunch to prepare for our trip home and I’m so excited to listen to my niece, Leah Church and the Carolina TarHeels play Duke. At the airport I was able to get wifi and watch the final quarter (and the eventual overtime) on my phone. Andrew and I were going nuts! Carolina was down to the Blue Devils by 19 points, but came all the way back to tie. Leah was popping three-pointers all over the place. She ended up with five three’s for the game and she hit two monster 3’s in overtime to ice the game.

I was so happy that I was almost crying! (Actually I did wipe away a tear or two.) Why? Because Leah has worked so hard to get to this point in her life.

And she gave all the glory to Jesus Christ. You can read about that here in this article in the Daily TarHeel. It’s a great article about Leah and team and the huge comeback that was truly amazing! It’s titled “Take Me to Church.” (Gotta love that title!)

http://www.dailytarheel.com/article/2018/01/church-wbbside-0121

What a fantastic and amazing weekend Andrew and I experienced. All in God’s amazing timing!

This week’s Two-Minute Tuesday: “What Happens When Things Go UNRESOLVED.”

http://mpbc.ws/media/?sapurl=Lys3ZWViL2xiL21pLytod3MzczZ2P2JyYW5kaW5nPXRydWUmZW1iZWQ9dHJ1ZQ==

I also want to tell you how thankful I am for this young lady…

I can’t believe I’ve got another daughter in her 20’s! Kandace turned 20 on Sunday! Man am I feeling old! I’m so proud of this young lady!

She loves her family…

and the Lord…

and she works hard at her job at Cook’s…

for her students at the dance studio…

and she’s a pretty fantastic lady any way you look at her! I’m a blessed man!

Happy Birthday Kandace! I love you with all my heart!

Kevin

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