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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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I love basketball. You know that. And you know that I’m unashamedly a Heels fan! That will never change. I’m too old to change now! I’ll stick with the Heels…thick or thin, to death. That’s what you do for teams. You don’t wilt if they have a bad year (even though the Heels seldom have a bad year…after all, they are the reigning National Champions). But, I’m most especially now because of the fact that Leah, my niece, is playing ball for the Lady Heels. In fact, we got to go down and watch her play last weekend.

The really neat thing was to see Leah and Kandace together. Cousins and friends for life!

How cool is that? They will have so many stories to tell their families one day!

I was nervous for Kandace. I don’t know why. She’s sung at the Grand Ole Opry and at FaithFest in front of thousands and thousands of people. But, the National Anthem is not an easy song. If you start out too high, you’re dead! Kandace did a great job singing it! Really! It was fantastic to be honest! Kandace has a gift!

I tell her that all the time! I’m prejudiced. I know that! But, she’s my girl! 🙂

Leah, too is doing an amazing job as a freshman at Carolina. She’s getting playing time, which is unheard of for a freshman. In fact, she started Wednesday night’s game. Here’s the box score.

That’s amazing for a freshman! She’s a three-point-shooting-machine!

Truly, it was so wonderful to have the privilege to be with my family this past weekend and celebrate all the Lord is doing for and through our family.

I shot baskets on that floor, (Carmichael Arena…back then, it was Carmichael Auditorium), when I was 9 years old at the UNC Basketball camp. What great memories and we’re going to be making a lot more over the next 3 1/2 years!

See this lady with me…

That’s my bride of almost 27 years (27 on 12.22.17). Ain’t she pretty? Yep! I out-punted my coverage when the Lord blessed me with her! They don’t come any better than Pam Brown and anybody who knows her, knows that’s the truth! She loves the Lord and she loves her family and she loves people! She’s a fantastic woman, Christian and pastor’s wife. In fact, I’ll say it this way. I’m thankful to be the husband of Pamela Sheets Brown! She’s wonderful!

Hey, are you ready for some snow? It looks like we might get some tomorrow. Here’s the official forecast via the Weather Channel for tomorrow.

I think this is a bit overdone. We’re on the western fringe in Wilkes County. So, we could miss out on these totals. 50 miles one way or the other will make all the difference. Van Denton is saying only around 1″ for our area. We’ll see.

Hmm. Let’s see. I think I know a man who said something about this a few days ago on Facebook.

Back on December 1st, (one week ago), I said this:

Folks, the weather pattern is getting ready to change, big-time by the middle of next week, potentially through Christmas. And this model (shown above) shows the potential for snow on the ground by December 17th. I’m not saying this is going to happen, but it’s certainly a possibility! And it’s most definitely going to feel like Christmas!

Now, I’m not that smart. This is a map from Weatherbell.com. But, they are spot on! The national weather services really WAY too much on models to forecast the weather and they truly aren’t that goo. The guys at WeatherBell still do it the old-fashioned way. They look at the models, yes…but, they also look at the past to help predict the future.

The Lord is good! Basketball, anniversaries and snow! Wow! Wonderful times! Thank you Lord!

Here’s this week’s Two-Minute Tuesday: ““Why What Is Happening at the Supreme Court This Morning Will Affect You!”

http://mpbc.ws/media/?sapurl=Lys3ZWViL2xiL21pLys5N2hrOThyP2JyYW5kaW5nPXRydWUmZW1iZWQ9dHJ1ZQ==

Finally, may we never forget…

Today marks the 76th anniversary of the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor that claimed 2,403 American lives on December 7, 1941. A day that truly lives in infamy!

The attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise attack by Japan on the morning of December 7, 1941. Japan intended the attack to keep the US Pacific Fleet from interfering with military actions they planned in Southwest Asia. Over the course of seven hours there were coordinated Japanese attacks on the U.S.-held Philippines, Guam and Wake Island and on the British Empire’s Malaya, Singapore and Hong Kong.

The attack commenced at 7:48 a.m. Hawaiian Time. The base was attacked by 353 Imperial Japanese aircraft in two waves, launched from six aircraft carriers. All eight U.S. Navy battleships in the harbor were damaged, with four sunk. All but the USS Arizona were later raised, and six were returned to service and went on to fight in the war. Again, 2,403 Americans were killed and 1,178 others were wounded.

The attack came as a profound shock to the American people and led directly to the our entry into World War II in both the Pacific and European theaters. The following day, December 8, the United States declared war on Japan, and several days later, on December 11, Germany and Italy declared war on the U.S. Most Americans felt we should not intervene in the war prior to the bombing of Pearl Harbor. That all disappeared after the attack.

There were numerous historical precedents for unannounced military action by Japan, but the lack of any formal warning, particularly while negotiations were still apparently ongoing, led President Franklin D. Roosevelt to say, the day December 7, 1941, would be “a date which will live in infamy.” 

President Trump said earlier today: “We remember the lives that were lost, the families torn from loved ones, and the heroes who rose to America’s defense,” the President said. “As the smoke billowed that day from our sinking ships, our entire nation rose up to show our enemies America’s unbending strength, might, and resolve.”

I’m grateful all those who defended our nation so that we can be the people we are today and be blessed with all the freedoms we enjoy today.

Kevin

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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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Thursday is Thanksgiving and for many in our country, particularly our younger generations, there is less and less knowledge about the reason we even celebrate Thanksgiving. I’m grateful and thankful for the proclamation offered by our current President describing why we will celebrate this Thursday. I’m grateful for the fact that he singularly mentions “Almighty God” and not some nuanced verbal innuendo about any and every “background and belief.” It’s interesting to me how the history of Thanksgiving is being re-written by the progressive liberals of our nation who propagate a false narrative through our nation’s educational system via revised History text books studied by our nation’s school children today.

There are actually those today who teach that the Pilgrims came to America and slaughtered the Indians and we should be ashamed to celebrate anything they did. Amazing! If you don’t believe this type of thinking impacts a culture, just read this one paragraph from President Barack Obama’s proclamation for Thanksgiving in 2016. Note the phrase I’ve highlighted…

In the same spirit of togetherness and thanksgiving that inspired the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag, we pay tribute to people of every background and belief who contribute in their own unique ways to our country’s story.  Each of us brings our own traditions, cultures, and recipes to this quintessential American holiday — whether around dinner tables, in soup kitchens, or at home cheering on our favorite sports teams — but we are all united in appreciation of the bounty of our Nation.  Let us express our gratitude by welcoming others to our celebrations and recognize those who volunteer today to ensure a dinner is possible for those who might have gone without.  Together, we can secure our founding ideals as the birthright of all future generations of Americans.

Did you catch the line I highlighted in bold? I’m sorry!

…we pay tribute to people of every background and belief who contribute in their own unique ways to our country’s story.

That’s not what Thanksgiving was about at all! The holiday of Thanksgiving is NOT about “every background and belief” at all! It’s a Christian holiday where people prayed to Almighty God…the God of the Bible. So, let’s make sure our children and grandchildren have a proper understanding of Thanksgiving. You might think they believe and understand what you and I understand, but don’t be too sure. You better know what’s in the text books. But, I can tell you a place that you can get a quick primer on a proper rendering of “Thanksgiving.” Where? By reading our current President’s proclamation for this year’s Thanksgiving 2017.

THANKSGIVING DAY, 2017

– – – – – – –

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

On Thanksgiving Day, as we have for nearly four centuries, Americans give thanks to Almighty God for our abundant blessings.  We gather with the people we love to show gratitude for our freedom, for our friends and families, and for the prosperous Nation we call home.

In July 1620, more than 100 Pilgrims boarded the Mayflower, fleeing religious persecution and seeking freedom and opportunity in a new and unfamiliar place.  These dauntless souls arrived in Plymouth, Massachusetts, in the freezing cold of December 1620.  They were greeted by sickness and severe weather, and quickly lost 46 of their fellow travelers.  Those who endured the incredible hardship of their first year in America, however, had many reasons for gratitude.  They had survived.  They were free.  And, with the help of the Wampanoag tribe, and a bountiful harvest, they were regaining their health and strength.  In thanks to God for these blessings, the new governor of the Plymouth Colony, William Bradford, proclaimed a day of thanksgiving and gathered with the Wampanoag tribe for three days of celebration.

For the next two centuries, many individual colonies and states, primarily in the Northeast, carried on the tradition of fall Thanksgiving festivities.  But each state celebrated it on a different day, and sometime on an occasional basis.  It was not until 1863 that the holiday was celebrated on one day, nationwide.  In the aftermath of the Battle of Gettysburg, of one of the bloodiest battles of our Nation’s Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed that the country would set aside one day to remember its many blessings.  “In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity,” President Lincoln proclaimed, we recall the “bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come.”  As President Lincoln recognized: “No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things.  They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.”

Today, we continue to celebrate Thanksgiving with a grateful and charitable spirit.  When we open our hearts and extend our hands to those in need, we show humility for the bountiful gifts we have received.  In the aftermath of a succession of tragedies that have stunned and shocked our Nation — Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria; the wildfires that ravaged the West; and, the horrific acts of violence and terror in Las Vegas, New York City, and Sutherland Springs — we have witnessed the generous nature of the American people.  In the midst of heartache and turmoil, we are grateful for the swift action of the first responders, law enforcement personnel, military and medical professionals, volunteers, and everyday heroes who embodied our infinite capacity to extend compassion and humanity to our fellow man.  As we mourn these painful events, we are ever confident that the perseverance and optimism of the American people will prevail.

We can see, in the courageous Pilgrims who stood on Plymouth Rock in new land, the intrepidness that lies at the core of our American spirit.  Just as the Pilgrims did, today Americans stand strong, willing to fight for their families and their futures, to uphold our values, and to confront any challenge.

This Thanksgiving, in addition to rejoicing in precious time spent with loved ones, let us find ways to serve and encourage each other in both word and deed.  We also offer a special word of thanks for the brave men and women of our Armed Forces, many of whom must celebrate this holiday separated from the ones for whom they are most thankful.  As one people, we seek God’s protection, guidance, and wisdom, as we stand humbled by the abundance of our great Nation and the blessings of freedom, family, and faith.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Thursday, November 23, 2017, as a National Day of Thanksgiving.  I encourage all Americans to gather, in homes and places of worship, to offer a prayer of thanks to God for our many blessings.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this seventeenth day of November, in the year of our Lord two thousand seventeen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-second.

Now say what you like about our current President. Like him or hate him. But, this proclamation is spot on regarding an accurate historical accounting of the first Thanksgiving. Thank you Mr. President for this proper rendering of the history of why our nation celebrates Thanksgiving. Yes, as you said in your first paragraph: “…Americans give thanks to Almighty God for our abundant blessings.” Amen and amen!

Therefore, from my family, we offer to you and yours our desire that you may have a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving! May Almighty God bless you and keep you in His abundant blessings today and in the coming year!

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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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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My Help Comes From…

Where does your help come from? The Psalmist said:

1 I lift up my eyes to the hills.
    From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
    who made heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1-2

Mine comes from the Lord. But not always. Why? Because sometimes I don’t turn to Him. I turn to myself and that’s when I get weak. Does that ever happen to you? You are a believer in Christ, and you know that He is the One who will provide your strength. But it’s easy to look to our devices, isn’t it? When we do that, it’s almost like getting pounded by a hurricane. I was thinking about these past two hurricanes: Harvey and Irma. Man, did they beat up Texas and Florida. Pounding… Rain… Wind…

The truth is for me and my family, we’re going to try again to go on vacation to Florida. Yet, we might get run out by Hurricane Jose. Many of you know, last week we couldn’t go because of Irma. But, we’re going to try it again. Lord willing, we’ll leave later today. I’m SO ready for some rest and relaxation. This last couple of weeks has been so up and down with the weather and many different circumstances that after a while, it all just wears on you. You know how that is. You are ready to “do this thing.”

Life has a way of beating you like waves on a shore line. It’s the constant beating that wears you out. It was like watching Mike Bettes of the Weather Channel enduring the eye wall of Hurricane Irma last Sunday afternoon. I was tired for him.

I was so glad when the eye wall finally passed…

Have you been there in your life? Sure you have! We all have. You get to a place that you say, “Lord, I need a respite. I need a break.” Those who have been caregivers for sick loved ones know this so well. Weeks and months that turn into years can really pound a soul. I pray for those I know in those situations. The Lord will sustain and we are incapable of outrunning His mercy and grace.

I love Psalm 121 and it provides the insight I often need to set my mind and my spirit back on course.

1 I lift up my eyes to the hills.
    From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
    who made heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot be moved;
    he who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, he who keeps Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is your keeper;
    the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
    nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all evil;
    he will keep your life.
The Lord will keep
    your going out and your coming in
    from this time forth and forevermore.

I’m so thankful for the Lord’s strength and help. I’m so grateful for times of rest and I’ve learned that you better get them where you can and when you can, because you never know if you’re going to get hit by another hurricane. But, even then, the Lord is with us and He is our keeper and He is our fortress and help in times of trouble.

I’ll be back with you on September 25th. 🙂

Kevin

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