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What a wonderful time of year! Graduation is in the air everywhere! And I got the privilege of watching another daughter graduate from high school this past Saturday! What a great and wonderful weekend!

Yep, Kandace walked the plank 🙂 on Saturday at the Benton Convention Center in Winston-Salem with a bazillion other homeschool graduates. It was fantastic!

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I don’t know if you can see it or not, but there’s a big lump in my throat as she was preparing to put on that cap and gown.

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Then, as she walked by at the end, I had another big lump in my throat! See here there in the middle? The big guy beside of her is going to be playing football for NC State next year.

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A quick selfie of proud mom and dad…

IMG_2480 I had a better one, but a lady behind us kept “photo-bombing” us.

The place was packed! They had to do the graduation in two large ballrooms because there were so many graduates. This was the back part (where the parents and grandparents sat) of our ballroom.

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Here’s the other room, called the North Main ballroom…

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Talk about a lump in your throat! Check this out…

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That’s graduation from kindergarten and high school. What happened! It truly seems just like yesterday. That little cutie is now my beautiful high school graduate with 9 college credit hours and three classes already on her resume. Wow!

Kandace said this on Facebook. It was so nice:

I owe my entire schooling career thus far to my parents and especially my mom. Mama has been my one and only teacher from the very beginning and I am so beyond thankful for the time and effort she has put into my life over the years. Daddy has been the math man, “principal,” and driver over the years. It was so special having my parents hand me my diploma today. They have poured all of their knowledge into me and for that I am so grateful.

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What a wonderful day last Saturday was for our family! We’re so delighted and thankful for the Lord’s blessings in Kandace! She is a jewel!

She will continue her education online with the College Level Examination Program (CLEP) exams. As I mentioned, she already has three college classes under her belt. Her desire is to complete a degree in Christian Ministries, with a concentration in Missions through Liberty University. She will also continue to teach clogging and is also teaching violin lessons. She’s busy at church with all the mission work (trips to TX-June, Philippines-Oct, China-January), and singing and playing (violin) in the Praise Team and singing in the choir, and helping with the Children’s Choir. Yep, I’m one blessed daddy!

While we were in Winston, we took this picture in front of the First Baptist Church. Talk about a huge and beautiful church!! Wow!!!

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I also had the privilege of being one of the speakers at the conference…

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Like a Baptist Church, nobody wants to sit up front. I guess they are afraid I might get a little holy water (my spit) on them. Ha! 🙂

I’ve been accused of being animated when I speak!!

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Surely not!! 🙂

Hey are you curious about what people are watching on TV today? According to Barna Research…

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And here are the specific shows by age group…

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Okay, here’s the thing that might surprise you.

Who do you think watches the most TV?

Younger or Older Americans?

If you said the kids…you’d be wrong…

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Boomer and Elders watch the most TV. They watch 5-7 days per week at a clip of 4-5 hours per day. The truth is, the new “TV” for the younger generations are the smart phones. If you did the math on the smart phones and added that to the “TV watching,” I’m totally convinced the younger generations spend even more time in the front of a “screen” of some sort. It’s been said that we’re allowing our lives to be run by the “squares” (TV, phones, tablets, I-pads, etc.). I would imagine that would be true. I don’t know how I would do my job and survive without my computer and phone. It’s just gotten to that place in life for me. Yet, I know that I must have times (and this is true of my family) that we put down the technology.

I got a charge out of these images…

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Hey…this one is one of my favorites. If Jesus were to come back today, this is what we’d do…

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Seriously, shouldn’t there be some time away from the squares and the phones? For our family, we have a “no device” rule at the dinner table. That is a “no-technology zone.” It must be, otherwise, we’d never talk. There must be times that we just sit and talk, right? Surely, we can still survive without a gadget. I hope! 🙂

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Is this what we’re turning into in our homes?

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Will this be how it ends up?

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Yikes! Lord help us! Or should I say, “Lord help me.” Why? Because, I’m the chief of sinners, here! I’m constantly trying to put the cell phone away when I’m home, but I’ll admit it’s a temptation and a struggle. I’m working on it…constantly!

You know, I show you a lot of pictures of Charlotte, my 6-month-0ld grand baby. Well, I want to show you a picture of this little girl and ask you to pray for her.

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This is Anna Grace Matthews. She was 6-months old yesterday. Charlotte is just two days older than Anna Grace. Anna Grace has Downs Syndrome and she had major heart problems (as a complication of DS) when she was born. She is the granddaughter of church members, Ronald and Sharron Huffman and the daughter of Chris and Melanie Matthews. Melanie and I grew up together. She’s a wonderful, godly lady!

Well, Anna Grace has completed surgery at Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville, TN. The surgery was a success to repair her heart, but she has a ways to go. Would you pray for her as the Lord brings her to mind?

This was her picture yesterday as Melanie and Chris brought her home…

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Did I say something about “lumps in the throat” earlier? 🙂 Praise the Lord for the miracles of modern, medical technology!

This is the entire family…

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Their story and journey can be found here. Have tissues ready. God’s power is evident…

http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/annagracemathews/journal/view/id/5563d9534db921663a445580

I’ll finish up with a few shots of Charlotte. Josh, Katy and Charlotte were in this weekend for Memorial Day (thank you to all the Veterans and the memory of those who served our nation with such great honor and dignity to provide our political freedom as a country).

Andrew loves playing with her in the floor…

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If you ask me…that’s a Gerber baby if there’s ever been one. But, I’m a bit biased, I’m aware. 🙂

Here’s Kan and Charlotte…

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And one of the whole gang (minus the picture-taker, my lovely wife):

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Yes siree-bob…and there you have it…

It was a wonderful weekend indeed!

 

 

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I love this:

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(L-R) Jonah Horton, Jonah Brooks and Michael Davis. I have confidence in those young men!

Those three young men just completed this year’s Rite of Passage (ROP) here at the church. It’s always a privilege to watch another group come through. We’ve seen 66 young adults go through ROP since 2008 at the church.

What is ROP?

It’s simply a tool from Scripture, which points to a journey that is designed to move our children from childhood to young adulthood. It’s a “raising of the bar of expectations.” Because children will rise to our level of expectations as adults. Seldom will children reach further than our expectations of them.

The model for ROP comes from Luke chapter 2. Remember Jesus in the Temple? He was 12 years of old and yet, He knew exactly where he was headed in life and the ultimate purpose and goal of His life. He said, “Didn’t you know I had to be about my Father’s business?” Yes, at 12 years of age, He knew exactly what He was to be doing. He was confident in His mission in life. And so, if Jesus is our example in all things, (and He should be), then He is certainly our example for 12 year olds.

Thus, there was a transition in Jesus’ life at the age of 12. He knew He had to be “about the Father’s business.” We learn from Luke 2 that Jesus was submissive to His parents and the Bible says that He “grew in wisdom and stature and favor with God and men.” And so we follow Jesus’ here at MPBC. Therefore, at the age of 12 (and up to age 18), you can participate in our annual ROP. It’s a way of marking time and saying, “We believe in you as a young adult and we have confidence in you in Christ.”

I wrote about this extensively in my book:

http://www.amazon.com/Rite-Passage-Church-Kevin-Brown-ebook/dp/B008A3D9D4

I’m very proud of the young men who completed ROP this year! It gives me great encouragement and hope for the Millennial Generation and let’s me know that the sky is not falling, contrary to Chicken Little.

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You see, things are changing in the way we look at young adults and Christianity in this country. There is soon going to be a “weeding out” of the fake versus the real.

I read an article recently (Found here: http://www.millennialevangelical.com/millennials-are-leaving-the-church-they-faked-caring-about-as-kids/) that shared the truth that Christianity (according to polls) is declining in America, but here’s why:

Back in the day, it was “culturally savvy” to call yourself a Christian. It had cultural value—there were benefits to being a “Christian” in American society. As a result, a lot of people called themselves “Christians” who didn’t actually possess true, convictional Christian faith. These people are called “nominals,” or people who are Christians in “name only.”

Today, a number of years after “back in the day,” it is definitely not culturally savvy to be a Christian. People don’t like Christians in most parts of the country. It costs a lot more social currency to be a Christian than it used to. As a result, many of the people who called themselves “Christians,” simply because it was more beneficial than costly to do so, are starting to check “none” on the list of faith options on social surveys. So, you could say, nominal Christianity is declining, but you cannot say Jesus is losing followers.

Christianity may be “losing ground,” but only because it was ground it never really occupied in the first place. American Christianity is bleeding, there’s no doubt about that. As one lets blood from a wound to prevent infection, so the American church must willingly release the nominal Christians whose unbelief in the lifeblood of the church makes them enemies of it.

 

Blogger Matt Walsh has this to say about Christianity. The title really caught my eye:

http://themattwalshblog.com/2015/05/14/young-people/

“Maybe Christianity In America Is Dying Because It’s Boring Everyone To Death”

What is said here is powerful and without question is controversial (in some circles), but it’s something that needs to be said. I’ve cut and pasted a good chunk of the article here because it needs to be said:

…some 70 percent of us might “identify” as Christian, but how many actually subscribe not to Christianity, but to Convenient Christianity? (Convenientanity, if you like.) How many are the type who call themselves Christian but don’t consider the Bible to be a particularly authoritative document? How many are in the group who see Christianity as nothing more demanding or complex than the 30 second life lessons speech Bob Saget gives to one of the Olson twins at the end of each Full House episode? How many believe that morality and faith can be severed from each other? How many believe in a Christianity that doesn’t include the existence of sin or Hell? How many are relativists? How many are prosperity gospel proponents? How many say they’re Christian but only because they’ve convinced themselves that Jesus loves gay marriage and abortion?

And what happens when you don’t factor these Convenientists — members of the Church of Convenience, proponents of Convenientism — into the equation at all? Are we still at 70 percent? Not hardly. What’s the real number? Forty percent? Thirty? Ten? Less? I don’t know, but it’s depressing, whatever it is.

So while everyone offers their own diagnosis of the cause of this catastrophe, this is mine. The light of the Faith grows dimmer in this culture because of that…kind of Christianity, generally. The lame and bored kind. The flavorless, tame brand.

Every branch of the Faith has become infected by it, and if we want to understand why Christianity is not out winning souls and conquering the culture, look there. Yet many of our fearless leaders, pastors, and pundits think this is, rather than the disease, the remedy. It’s the same remedy they’ve tried for half a century. As the problem gets worse, they don’t change the medication, they just keep upping the dosage. They tell us that in order to bring the sheep into the fold — especially the millennial sheep — Christianity must be as un-Christian as possible. It must be stripped it of its truth, of its sacredness, of its sacrifice, of its morality, of its tradition, of its history, of its hardships, of its joy, and whatever is left will be enough to, if not engage and excite people, at least not scare them away.

And that’s been the strategy of the American church for decades: just try not to scare people. They put on this milquetoast, tedious, effeminate charade, feigning hipness and relevance…

There are still plenty of Christians who desire the true faith, but they are mostly ignored or scolded by the very people who should be leading them. And the Convenientists, of course, find no happiness in their secular Christianity, nor do they find it in secular secularism. Even if they don’t know it, they yearn in the pit of their souls for the true message of Christ, but they rarely hear it. And when they do hear it, there are a million competing voices, many from inside the church, warning them that if they go down this road it might involve changing their behavior and their lifestyle, which is a total hassle, man.

Often that’s enough to dissuade any further investigation. And that’s how we ended up here. That’s it. That’s the problem. It’s plain as day, yet every time this conversation comes up, we’re told that Christianity is declining because Christians are too religious, too bold, too outspoken, too moral, and too firm in their beliefs. That’s the conventional wisdom, but as we’ve seen a thousand times over, the conventional wisdom of an unwise society should never be taken seriously.

If the faith is to regain lost ground in this country, it will only happen when Christianity is presented and understood as what it is: a warrior’s religion. A faith for fighters and soldiers. CS Lewis said it best (as usual):

Enemy-occupied territory–that is what this world is. Christianity is the story of how the rightful king has landed, you might say landed in disguise, and is calling us all to take part in a great campaign of sabotage.

There. There it is, explained more compellingly in two sentences than many pastors can muster in a lifetime of sermons. This is frightening, militant language, but it’s exciting, it’s exhilarating, and it is, most importantly, accurate. As Christians, we are fighting a war against the Devil himself. We are advancing against the darkest forces of the universe, and we march with God by our side. And all the while, all around us, on a dimension invisible to mortal eyes, angels and demons and supernatural forces, both good and evil, work to defend or destroy us.

That’s how you stop the “decline” of Christianity in America. Tell people the truth. The truth, that’s all. Move them. Love them. Make them feel anger, and fear, and longing, and sadness, and happiness, and hope, and determination. All of these things. These are all a part of our Faith, because our Faith is everything. As Chesterton said, “there is more in it; it finds more in existence to think about; it gets more out of life.” Yes, Christianity gets more out of life. And whatever it gets might not be comfortable, convenient, or relaxing, but at least it isn’t boring. And best of all, it’s true.

Well said!

So, I’m hopeful and I’m confident there will be a sifting of Christianity in America and the wheat will be left and the chaff will blow away. What’s left will be strong, courageous and profoundly faithful to Jesus Christ.

And it’s this generation that will do hard things, like end abortion. This video is five minutes long and it’s powerful. It’s a video of young people who could have been aborted but weren’t. It’s amazing…

My Generation Will End Abortion, https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ylD7ajPflqo

I must tell you that my kids aren’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but I am proud of my children. Kandace is graduating from high school this weekend at the Benton Convention Center in Winston-Salem.

She finished teaching her last clogging class last night. Here she is when she started (left) and then on the (right) is where she walked out of studio last night.

She said this:

From my first day of dance to walking out of the studio tonight on my last. So bittersweet. I can’t believe it’s over. So many memories were made here. Time really does fly. 💜

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She sure has grown up. Here she is with her dance teacher, Tonya Wentz:
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She’s now passing the baton to Clara…
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I am so thankful for Kandace and for Clara and for these two:
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I bet this next picture will make you say, “Aw!!!!”
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I love Josh! What a phenomenal man he is!
Katy has been so busy being a mom that’s she’s not had time to blog much. But, she did the other day and here’s an excerpt:
…what I am saying is: don’t sweat the small things of life… and small things are usually material things. It sounds so simple, but it’s hard to apply to life. So. Here I am admitting that maybe I can’t make baby food all natural and do cloth diapers and cook and clean, pack to move home and a million other things and then wonder why there isn’t time to just sit beside the hubby on the couch or maybe write once in a blue moon or even touch that keyboard I haven’t hardly glanced at in months. Just maybe life is going to pass me by and what will I be able to say? Boy, I sure got all those clothes washed and look how much money we saved making baby food? None of that will matter. Time. Time will matter and what I did with it. Did I make a difference? And I used to think only “differences” could be made on extravagant mission trips or on big stages…. Ahh, that was a foolish thing to think. The biggest differences are made not from podiums or classrooms. They are made right at home.
 
So here I sit in my little home (only to be home for two more months) and savor each moment for what it is: a precious gift only given once. That is precisely why I shall stay home with my Rosebud as she grows never to leave her, for she is my legacy and a legacy can only be made with a whole lotta time, effort and love. I may not be good at this mommy thing all the time, but it’s right where God placed me and that helps me know… He thinks I’m good enough for the job.

http://heartsonthingsabove.blogspot.com

And just so you’ll know…she’s now sitting up on her own…

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Woohoo!!

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We all have a grid and a matrix in our brain from which we operate. The Scripture teaches that we are to renew our minds so that our lives can be transformed so that we won’t follow the patterns of this world. That transformation can only take place through the Word of God. It’s that simple.

The Word of God transforms the human mind. It will change the way we think and how we make decisions. The older I get and the longer I seek to walk with the Lord by devouring His word, the more I recognize just how bad my thinking has been, say 15-20 years ago. I was so driven by the American Dream 20 years ago. I’m ashamed to admit it. I never took a mission trip until I became a pastor. Can you believe that? I believed I was too busy to go. Can you see what I’m talking about. That’s bad thinking.

I believed the Word of God, but in so many areas of my life, I just didn’t apply it. The truth is, I’m sure that’s still very true in my life. I’m certain I’m blind to my own ignorance. I continue to ask the Lord to help me see these areas in my life as I hold up the Word of God to my life. I sincerely want to allow the Bible to be the “lamp to my feet and the light to my path.” If I’ll allow the Word of God to penetrate my thinking, then my life will be what God intends it to be. Otherwise, I’ll struggle mightily.

I’m pretty opinionated. I know that. I believe passionately. I’m not half-hearted in anything I do. I was raised to give it all I’ve got. That’s true whether I’m preaching, gardening or I’m pulling hard for the TarHeels on the basketball court. 🙂 Passion can be good and bad. It depends on how one uses it.

In my past, (and I’m sure it’s still true), I’ve lopped my belief and view toward certain areas of life into what I call dogmatism. There was zero “give” on my part. If you didn’t do it the way I was doing it, or my family did it, then I thought you were dead wrong and “not with the program.” I see now that I’ve been off-base in many ways with this line of thinking. I’ll show you why in a moment. But, for now, please understand there is “no give” on doctrine, but on style there should be mercy.

Paul said it this way:

Romans 14:2-6

2 One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. 3 Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. 4 Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

5 One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God.

Now, with all that said, I’ll give you an example. My family and I choose not to eat out on Sunday after service. Why? We don’t want anyone at the restaurant to say, “Because of you, I wasn’t able to go to church because I had to prepare your lunch.” I used to be very dogmatic about this and tried to push this belief to others. That’s wrong. It’s my personal belief and I’m convinced (in my own mind) that it’s the right thing to do, so as not to be a stumbling block. But, the Scripture above makes it clear that this is “style” not “doctrine.” Do you see the difference?

Can you think of any areas in your life that you might place in the “style” versus “doctrine” category? I bet you can. It might be clothing. It might be hair style. It might be method of education. It might be a myriad of things.

So, I’m going to share with you some things I believe in very, very much and I’m convinced in my mind that these are things that I support and will continue to be a proponent of going forward in my life. These are hills that I’ll die on…but, I won’t kill you on this hill. You might not believe this way, and you know what… I’m not going to look down my nose at you because you do or don’t. I’m not going to condemn you because you “eat meat offered to idols” and I don’t. You might like to eat Sunday lunch at a restaurant and that’s totally up to you and that doesn’t make you better or worse than me, nor does it make me better than you because I don’t. Again:

5 One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God.

Here’s a few things I believe in greatly!

First, I believe homeschooling is a fantastic form of education and I believe it is the best way to educate my children. But, I’m not going to preach this from the pulpit, nor am I going to not allow my kids to play with yours because you choose not to homeschool. Yet, I will tell you that I firmly believe this method of education (homeschooling using the Bible) is the most reliable way to transfer the gospel to the next generation. Did you read what I just wrote. Here it is again:

I firmly believe this method of education (homeschooling using the Bible) is the most reliable way to transfer the gospel to the next generation.

I didn’t say it was the best way to train a physicist or engineer or even a ditch digger. I said, I believe it’s the best and most reliable method of education to transfer the GOSPEL to the next generation. Now, if you aren’t concerned that much with that…then, so be it. If you want a “brainiac” who will go to an Ivy League school or your desire is for you kid to be “All-State” in an athletic endeavor, then this method is probably not for you. Yet, eternal things are what I’m speaking of here.

Let me give you some statistics to digest and think about regarding various methods of education. These stats come from here: https://generationswithvision.com/article/the-gen2-survey/ This survey was conducted after interviewing 10,000 millennials who have graduated from homeschools, Christian schools, and public schools.

Here’s a breakdown of “type of education” and how they feel about supporting gay marriage:

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How about having sex before marriage in a co-habitation relationship:

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It shouldn’t surprise anyone that only 9% of Homeschoolers have engaged in sex outside of marriage (co-habitation) versus the highest category (public school) at 34%.

How about belief in God…

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This should make sense. The longer you have been educated in a public school environment, the less likely you will believe in God, while those educated at home are much more likely to believe in God.

Here’s the conclusion of the study:

Conclusion 

Ultimately, we must concede that truth is not determined by these “scientific studies.” Truth is obtained by the study of Scripture. Cause and effect relationships explained in Scripture may be believed with certainty (e.g. 1 John 1:9). God has assigned means to bring about certain effects. The means by which our children come to salvation include family discipleship (Deut. 6:7, Prov. 1:7, Eph. 6:4), and the preaching of the Word (Rom. 10:14).  Apostasy comes about by submitting our children to false teachers (Luke 21:8, 2 John 7-8). These deceivers usually teach in the academic and cultural institutions of the day. They present false worldviews. This is the means by which the great apostasies occur.

For my second belief that I feel very strongly…

I believe Barack and Michelle Obama do not understand what it means to be a Christian. Another case in point is the fact that Michelle Obama hosted a celebration event for the Iranian New Year. All of this was happening while President Obama refused to meet with Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu when he came to speak to Congress. Amazing!!!

Mrs. Obama celebrated what is called “The Nowruz Celebration,” which marks the Persian New Year — traditionally celebrated in Iran and Afghanistan. Here’s a picture from the event…

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That’s the Silk Road Dance Company performing in the East Room of the White House in celebration of the 3,000-year-old holiday. Really Mrs. Obama? The Persian New Year? She actually said, “…it is an important American tradition that helped shape us as a nation.” Are you serious?? I’m sure you are like me and you’ve probably never heard of this holiday before today. If you ask me, hosting that event at the White House was a shameless political move and showed the Obamas’ growing bias FOR Islamic culture, while ditching Israel. What’s next? I wonder if they’ll have an ISIS Day “egg” hunt in the Rose Garden??

You see Obama goes with the United Nation’s on almost everything and the UN despises Israel. Virginia Foxx spoke on the House floor about the United Nations (U.N.) last week. This was in her letter to constituents last week:

She said, “Last week the U.N.’s Commission on the Status of Women adopted a resolution that singles out and condemns Israel, a country that has guaranteed women equality in work, education, health and social welfare for more than 60 years, for violating the rights of women.

It is mind-boggling that the commission believes that Israel is the only one of the 193 U.N. member states worthy of condemnation for its record on women’s rights. What about Sudan where the legal age of marriage for girls is 10 years old? Or Iran where a woman’s testimony is only worth half of a man’s in court? Or India where statistics show a rape occurs every 22 minutes? You might be surprised to learn they all sit on the Commission on the Status of Women.

Some of the world’s worst violators of women’s rights sit on a commission that calls itself “the principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women.” It’s clear from the facts that this single-minded attack is just the latest salvo in the U.N.’s never ending anti-Israel agenda, and I am proud to stand up for our friend and ally.”

Third, I believe Climate Change is one of the most overblown, most ridiculous hoaxes that has been perpetrated on the world since Darwin and Evolution. John Coleman, an award-winning meteorologist and weatherman with sixty years of experience and founder of the Weather Channel, produced a video explaining the history of the man-made global warming hoax (see video link below).

Coleman is a former broadcast meteorologist of the year of the American Meteorological Society (AMS). He eventually quit the AMS. He said, “…politics has gotten in the way of the science.” Coleman says that there is no man-made global warming. He said: “I love our wonderful planet Earth. If I thought it was threatened by global warming, I would devote my life to stopping the warming!”

Coleman says that $4.7 billion in taxpayer money is funding “bogus reports” and “bogus research.” He says that any warming or “climate change” is extremely negligible from a long-term perspective and certainly nothing unusual or alarming. The video below is fairly lengthy, but if you’ll go to the 11:30 mark, he begins a detailed explanation about  how the global warming hoax was started and how Al Gore got involved in the movement.  Watch here:

For another article on why Climate Change is “Not Your Fault,” see here: https://answersingenesis.org/environmental-science/climate-change/globe-is-warming-but-its-not-your-fault/?utm_source=articlesmedia&utm_medium=email&utm_content=featurebutton&utm_campaign=20150307&mc_cid=ffd49ec350&mc_eid=4e7fcdcd8b

Well, there you have it. Three things that I firmly believe…

#1 Homeschool

#2 Obama is not a friend to Christians or Israel

#3 Climate Change (Global Warming) is Totally Overblown

Now you might disagree with me on all three of these issues and that’s totally okay. We can still have lunch together…just as long as it’s not on Sunday. Ha! 🙂

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Well, things are getting back to normal somewhat, I guess. My bride is still down east with Katy, Josh and Charlotte. It’s a blessing for Katy to have her Momma at her side. Pam is a wonderful wife and mother. Anybody who knows her knows that.

Kandace is doing a yeoman’s job of holding down the fort at home. Obviously I have to work. We have a big church and much to do and people have needs, so Kandace has really stepped up. She’s a trooper! She’s doing double, (maybe I should say) triple duty of being a homeschool teacher, house manager and student. She’s studying for her next CLEP test and cooking and teaching. But, then again, she tells me all the time, “Dad, I can do it…I’ve been to Ethiopia!” Ha! Got to love it!

What is CLEP? It stands for “College-Level Examination Program.” Their website is here: http://clep.collegeboard.org/started

The upshot is this. You can study and take a test and get college credit for what you already know. CLEP offers the opportunity to earn qualifying scores on any of 33 college subject examinations and can accelerate a person’s education.

One CLEP exam costs $80. For active duty military personnel, CLEP exams are free – find out more! The 90 to 120-minute exams, which cost $80 each, are administered at 1,800 test centers, and 2,900 colleges and universities. Kandace is doing this. Next up: Psychology.

Here’s a sample question:

The behavioral research perspective is similar to the sociocultural research perspective because both focus on how behavior and mental processes are explained by

  • A.

    internal factors such as genes

  • B.

    the external environment

  • C.

    memory systems

  • D.

    evolution

  • E.

    problem-solving skills and reasoning

 

Think you know the answer? The answer is: B. Pretty tough, huh?

Anyway, kudos to my soon to be 17-year-old! I’m proud of you girl!

Kandace and Charlotte 2

Here’s the latest greatest of Charlotte that Pam sent me today:

IMG_1373

Ain’t she a doll.

Can I tell you something? I think the truth is the other way around versus this picture…

IMG_2596

I sure do miss that little girl… photo

 

Can you handle one more?

Smiling…

smiling

Can you tell that I’m smitten? Yep! I sure am!

By the way, for all of you snow fans who think the warm temperatures coming over the next couple of weeks mean we won’t have a cold winter, don’t be dismayed. We are simply seeing a pattern shift. Here are the temps for the next couple of weeks:

814temp.new

The red means 70% chance that it will be warmer than normal and the brown (in NC) about 33% chance of it being warmer than normal. So, through the middle of December it will be warmer than normal, but by the time we move toward Christmas and beyond it will begin to go back to more normal and then January through early March still look cold (which means precipitation has a chance to be snow/ice).

Here’s the precipitation forecast for the next couple of weeks. You’ll see we forecasted to be dryer than normal.

814prcp.new

We talked about this a few weeks ago and the thinking of the “good” meteorologists out there hasn’t changed. I say “good.” What do I mean? I’m talking about the NON-Climate-Change alarmists. I’m talking about weather folks who don’t have an “agenda.” You won’t find many of them still out there, but there are a few.

Somebody asked me the other day about a “white Christmas.” I said, “I doubt it.” In Wilkes County, NC our chance of a white Christmas are typically around 10%. That’s not much. It can happen, but obviously 90% of the years it doesn’t. Could this be the year? It’s possible. But, I don’t think the pattern will have shifted enough in time to produce that. Remember, winter doesn’t start until Dec. 21. That’s only 4 days before Christmas. So, keep that in mind. It’s early in the season (at Christmas) to get snow.

 

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Glass Boxes

Before I head out for a few days…you’ve just got to ready Katy’s latest masterpiece. She’s outdone herself with a fantastic blog post today. It’s about glass boxes. She describes her own. Give it a read…

My Glass Box

I was a Pastor’s kid. Technically, I still am. Although where I live now no one really knows. But for many years everyone knew. What’s more, I was homeschooled. For a few of my “preteen” years I didn’t rebel as much as I questioned why I had to live in what daddy called the “glass box.” It seemed that everyone watched my every action all the time. If anyone didn’t completely 100% approve my line of action, they told me and my parents. I was a good child. I wanted people to like me, but what kid likes having a couple hundred parents? None. Nada. That was me, Katy Brown with a bunch of people making sure I acted good all the time. While their kids ran wild, they told me what I should and shouldn’t do. If I ever said something that sounded dumb (which happened sometimes), inevitably someone chuckled and huffed, “She is a homeschooler.” If I said something too smart and mature (which also happened occasionally), I still got the, “She’s just a homeschooler.” Couldn’t win to save my life. On the other hand, if I gave my opinion too strongly, someone would roll their eyes and say, “She is a pastor’s kid after all. Trying to be difficult.” It was as though I had some disease. A double disease – as if one wasn’t bad enough. Some of the children around me were afraid to say or do anything too “worldly” or I would probably “mess up all their fun.” But the best was youth. Yes, sitting on the front row in youth class when our church still had a youth program and trying to remind myself as a 12-year-old to not answer all the questions or I would look like a dork. Of course there were usually about three empty seats on either side of me.

I guess I sound whiny, because I was whiny… until I realized that it just doesn’t matter. For one thing, I found that it was absolutely impossible to please everyone and second of all, I found that the only One who mattered pleasing deserved being pleased regardless of whether I was a pastor’s kid or a homeschooler.

There I stood in my glass box and you know what? I was okay with it. Why should it bother me anyway? Was I trying to sneak around in disobedience… no. Was I wanting to keep my actions a secret so people couldn’t see the “real” me? No. So it didn’t matter. If it bothered people, it bothered them. If people wanted to press their noses up against the glass and inspect my every move, fine. I didn’t care, because it wouldn’t change one iota of what I was doing. If I pleased God, then it mattered not if man was pleased.

As Christians, we are all in a glass box. The world inspects us and takes note of what we say and do. We are “Jesus” to the world around us. It shouldn’t bother you that people examine your life. If it does then you should question whether or not you are truly following Jesus. None of us are perfect and we will all stumble and there will be those who point it out and remind us that they are watching, but when we stand back up, say “I’m sorry” with true remorse and move on, we are rising above.

So Windex those glass walls and don’t let it bother you when people look in on your life. The truth is, they are probably looking for a role model. Be one that they can imitate and draw closer to God through. Your life may very well touch someone else’s. Goodness, I wrote a whole book about myself. The good, bad and ugly. When I opened the freshly printed page of one of my new books, I momentarily panicked, realizing I had actually let the most broken, crooked pieces of my heart show on those pages. I had bared it all, because God had told me to so that perhaps one person might come closer to Jesus. It was all for Him.

I can’t complain about my glass box. It’s actually a good place to be!

1 Peter 2:21

For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.

Ephesians 5:1-2

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Posted by Katy Isaacs at3:27 PM http://heartsonthingsabove.blogspot.com/2014/09/my-glass-box.html

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For years now I’ve been preaching, teaching, writing and blogging about the importance of raising Christ-Centered young adults and children. Sometimes I feel like it falls on deaf ears.

Do you ever feel that way?

You try and try and try and yet, it feels as if you are barely making a dent?

Sometimes that’s how I feel? I get a bit discouraged from time to time. Just being honest. After all…it’s my blog, right? Am I allowed to be honest? Or am I supposed to be all “pastoral” here too?

I mean people listen and hear the Word of God for weeks and weeks…months and months and…even year after year but they won’t heed the Word of God and then they come to me in a crisis and won’t me to fix it. Think about the audacity of that. Months and months…even years of doing it “my way” (as Frank Sinatra used to sing) and then they want me “the Pastor” to snap my fingers in a counseling session and make it better. Well, I love Jesus and I believe He walked on water, but I can’t! I’m not Him.

Do you know what I do? I just point them right back to the Word of God that they’ve been hearing with deaf ears. I will not back down from teaching the Word of God and using it to help lives. Why? It’s supernatural and it’s all we’ve got. And it’s all we need. All I can do is hope people will become “doers” of the Word and not “hearers” only.

So, I continue to teach and preach because God has told me to. I can’t help it. I’m just mule-headed and stubborn enough to do it and that’s how God made me.

This past weekend I spoke at the North Carolina Homeschool Conference in Winston-Salem.

NCHE Conference

I taught with all I had! And you know what. There were some really good folks there. They wanted…no…check that…they were hungry for how to go about teaching and training their children to follow Christ. You see homeschooling is more than just a method of education, it’s truly a lifestyle. It’s a lifestyle where Pam and I have total control and total stewardship of our children. Scary? Yep. Yet, that’s the way God set it up. It’s my job to teach and train my children. In fact, I’m mandated in Ephesians 6:4 to do so.

4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4

I’m to bring up my children in the discipline and instruction OF THE LORD. That’s what the Bible says. As a father that’s my job to educate my children in the ways of the Lord. The rest is fluff. But, that line of thinking will just about get you killed in this “education is everything” society we live in today. Education trumps God. Just look at what we value in our homes. We’ll pick Dancing with the Stars, The Voice and American Idol over talking about the Bible.

I loved what speaker Todd Wilson shared in the keynote on Saturday morning. He had four points…

Todd Wilson

#1 Home is the best place on earth. #2 Parents are the best teachers of their children. #3 Each child is a masterpiece and #4 Relationships with our kids come first.

It was powerful, humorous and blessed my heart. As a man who preaches and teaches at least three times every single week, sometimes I get dry. Man oh man…I was fueled up and reinvigorated this weekend. I was reminded that it is my job to train my children in the ways of the Lord in all facets of their lives.

I want to follow Psalm 78 and be the faithful father and not the stubborn father.

5 [God] established a testimony in Jacob
    and appointed a law in Israel,
which he commanded our fathers
    to teach to their children,
6 that the next generation might know them,
    the children yet unborn,
and arise and tell them to their children,
7     so that they should set their hope in God
and not forget the works of God,
    but keep his commandments;
8 and that they should not be like their fathers,
    a stubborn and rebellious generation,
a generation whose heart was not steadfast,
    whose spirit was not faithful to God.

I am to teach my children to set their hope in God…not a diploma and not getting a high paying job. Life is not about the American Dream. Think about it. Share the Gospel in China and what do you tell them to hope for? Share the Gospel in Ethiopia with people who live in a hut with a dirt floor and what do you tell them to hope for? Are they going to get rich and live comfortably like all of the Americans chasing the DREAM?

Are American Christians really teaching their children to love and desire Jesus or love and desire money, success, material possessions and a comfortable lives? I’m passionate about this. I see it over and over and over again. We SAY one thing and DO another (even in Christendom). We sing songs about our love for Jesus, but live like He’s a nuisance who cramps our style. We often treat Him as a cosmic therapist to make us happy or as a divine butler to bring us stuff.

Lord forgive us and Lord help us to teach our children. Help us to spend time with them. Help us to teach them when we sit down, lie down, rise up and walk along the way (Deut. 6:7). But, in order to do this…we’ve got to be around them. They’ve got to be in our presence in order for us to do so.

Here’s three of my lovely ladies…

The ladies

We had a wonderful time. And Clara got her one of her favorite things…

Clara and Krispy Kreme

Oh the simple things in life. That’s what really matters…

It’s listening to my daughter singing with Andrew Greer this past Sunday.

Kandace and Andrew Greer

It’s seeing Andrew on a “one wheel” tractor that his grandpa refurbished…

Andrew on one wheel tractor

Those are the things that really make me smile.

So what if they don’t make a million dollars? So what if they don’t live in two-story house with four bedrooms and two baths? So what if they live in a mobile home or even 7,000 miles away on the mission field? What really matters…I mean REALLY matters is that they know Jesus and make Him known.

I teach my children all the time that ALL education and ALL learning is really about God Himself. Jesus is the preeminent One. He holds everything together. So, when we’re teaching our children biology, we are teaching them how God put the body together. When I’m teaching Kandace the quadratic equation, I’m teaching her how precise and absolutely succinct our Heavenly Father is in mathematical precision. When we teach about civics and government, I point out the three branches of government in our republic and liken them to the Trinity. When we are teaching about persecution and suffering, I give my children those experiences by taking them to third-world countries on mission trips. I teach my children to do hard things and I’m not necessarily interested in them having it “better” than I had it. What’s “better” about “comfortable?” Was the Apostle Paul comfortable? How about Stephen or the prophet Jeremiah or Jesus on the cross?

Oh I’m passionate and I don’t apologize for it. I’m tired of mediocrity in Christendom and lack of committed dedication. I’m ready to see people put their money where their mouth is and convictions where their time is mostly spent.

If you are a parent, what do you really want for your children? What do you desire? What would be your greatest joy for your child to accomplish? Would it be something in academics or athletics? What about spiritually?

I thank God every day for the privilege of being with my children and for being with them a lot! And so does Pam! We love them and desire to give them our very best.

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. 3 John 4

So, I’ll keep on preaching, teaching, writing and blogging. Maybe I’m deluded. Maybe I’m over the top. Maybe I’m off my rocker. But, at least I’m passionate, right? 🙂

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I witnessed something really cool this afternoon. I witnessed this:

Brays That’s Travis and Rebekah Bray and their son Jacob (standing) and their newly adopted son, Jace. Judge Michael Duncan is presiding over this wonderful adoption ceremony this afternoon. I was asked to pray over the family.

Bray 2

Having adopted twice, this experience brought back all of those memories with Clara and Andrew. Now I said, “memories.” I don’t quantify those memories for you. Why? Because it wasn’t all a bed of roses.

See the look on Andrew’s face in China?

Andrew 046 (7)

Check out Clara in China…

Clara crying

Would we do it again? ABSOLUTELY! The smiles eventually come…

Andrew and Katy

Clara at her best

But, adopting a child is a change to your family and your lifestyle and it’s a selfless act. Now I don’t say that to sound like we’re patting ourselves on the backs for adopting. I’m just stating to you these facts. Adding a person to your family from another family, set of circumstances and an environment that you didn’t come from can be challenging. That’s why most won’t do it. It’s simply too hard and too emotionally gut-wrenching. But, oh, oh, oh the rewards! I can’t describe to you the rewards and what our two adopted children mean to me and Pam and Katy and Kandace.

To say that adoption changed our lives might be the greatest understatement that could be made about our family.  I think back to all the surgeries for Andrew…

Andrew before surgery

Yet, now here we all are…

Family-Christmas 2013

If you’ve never considered adoption, just be reminded that if you are a child of God, you’ve been adopted (Romans 8:15). 🙂

Have you seen the Most (and Least) Bible-minded cities in America? Barna Research reported earlier this week those cities. It should not surprise us that the northeast and far west are the least Bible-minded, while the most Bible-minded are in the south. Yet, I was surprised that the Midwest is becoming less and less Bible-minded.

bible-minded-large

How long can the south hold out? Answer? As long as the Word of God is still preached, taught and lived. As the Church goes, so goes the nation. When the Church gets watered down and diluted, the culture goes with it. Want to see what America will look like in 15-20 years? Look no further than the mother country of England. England’s churches are almost defunct.

Paul told Timothy that the Church must stand as a pillar and a buttress for the truth (1 Timothy 3:15). I, for one, am going to stand on the Word of God. I will not back down from teaching and preaching the truth of God’s Word. I will not water it down. I will not back down. I will not live in the fear of man. I will not be bought or bribed. I will stand if that means death. There is no truth, but God’s truth, which is found in His Word. Sorry for sounding like I’m preaching. I just couldn’t help it.

What’s your grid? How do you make decisions? Something drives your thinking. I want my thinking to be driven by the Word of God. I no longer want to conform to the patterns of this world. I want my mind renewed. I want to be a living sacrifice for my Savior (Romans 12:1-2).

Do you know this guy?

That’s Kevin Durant. He will likely be the NBA’s MVP this year. He is a Christian and he’s a breath of fresh air. Yet, after being interviewed by an ESPN reporter, (who laughed whether at him or with him it’s hard to tell). He has been maligned for thanking God and Jesus Christ for his ability.

28-second video…

I’m grateful Kevin had the courage to share his faith. But, that’s dying…

Did you know that the poorer you are the more likely you are to share your faith…

I guess when you’ve got a lot of “jack” (that’s money), then you don’t need Jesus and you won’t likely share Him.

As reported by ABP News (Full article here…)

“Annual baptisms in Southern Baptist churches have declined by 100,000 in the last 12 years, last year dropping to the smallest number in 64 years. LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention released figures June 5 reporting 314,959 baptisms in 2012, down 18,385 – or 5.5 percent – from 2011. Total membership of 15,872,404 marked the sixth straight year of statistical decline for the nation’s second-largest faith group behind Roman Catholics. Membership dropped by 105,000 – two-thirds of a percent. Weekly worship attendance, meanwhile, fell below 6 million to 5,966,735, down 3 percent.”

Christianity is in decline in America. Want more evidence? Here are more trends from Barna Research?

Millennials have more trust in Universities than in the Church. That’s sad. Churches have stopped giving answers for why we believe what we believe. I’m convinced we must teach apologetics and give answers for the tough questions of life. If pastors don’t begin to teach and preach in a way that helps people develop and appetite for the Word of God, then we’ll lose the next generation. We’ve got to help folks have a desire to “eat their vegetables.”

Here’s a couple of other interesting charts:

I’m not surprised by those findings. And I’m not surprised by this…

This is another reason that homeschooling continues to grow exponentially in this country. We need to pray for our public school teachers and administrators who love the Lord and try to impact our young students as best they can. But, their hands are tied. They can’t discipline. They can’t talk about the Lord Jesus and they can’t teach from the Bible. Thus, they have perhaps the hardest job in the world: Teaching and educating without being able to teach and educate about the author of all knowledge and all learning: Almighty God.

One of the reasons our country continues to free-fall morally is because a Biblical worldview is no longer embraced. You just saw that with the map above. It’s just a matter of time before the rest of the country follows suit if we don’t transfer our faith in Christ to the next generation.

Do you have a Biblical worldview? Are you sure? Here’s how you can find out.

Click here to take the free test…

I took the “Free” Biblical Knowledge Test. It took 5 minutes and I got 30 out of 32 questions right (94%). See how you do. Tell your kids about it and see how they do. Then ask yourself. Do I have a Biblical worldview? If yes, then what about your kids?

The trends aren’t good folks. We’ve got to teach, teach, teach and teach some more about the things of God and His Word, or we’re going to continue to see more and more “least Bible-minded” churches.

Well, after all of that joyful news… I’ll share a new book that I just discovered. The title?

“Understanding Women”

It’s out in paperback in some outlets…

Book Women

I hope you’re laughing! I sure am!

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