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I wanted to make everyone aware of our Schedule for the “Renewing the Family Conference” this Friday and Saturday night (6:00-8:30 pm) and Sunday morning (all services, 8:20, 9:40, 11 am) here at MPBC. We are super excited about all the Lord is going to do!

Here’s a tentative line-up so that you can plan.

Friday Night:

Session 1: “From Hell to Eternity”-Phil’s Story of combat in Vietnam (this will NOT be guts and gore and okay for children) to coming home and almost destroying His marriage, and how Susy, his wife, learned to love him again.

Session 2: “Making Your Marriage Even Stronger.” Even if you have a good marriage, there are areas that could be improved. Phil’s wit and humor will bring great encouragement in this session.

Saturday Night:

Session 1: “Resolving Conflict and Bringing Comfort to the Home.” We all struggle with busy, hectic, pressure-filled lives. So do our children. Even they feel it. This session will help to bring balance and practical Scriptural application of how to have a peaceful home.

Session 2: ““What To Do When One of Your Children Goes Crazy Wrong!” Just because you have adult children doesn’t mean you stop being their parents. In fact, it’s as they get older, they will come to lean on you and value you even more. What do you do when one goes off the rails?

Sunday Morning (All Three Services):

“Moving From Pain and Anger to Healing and Discipleship within the Home.” The process of family is never easy because we are all fallible humans. Yet, there is hope for experiencing love, nurture and joy for those we love the most. Then there is the next step of discipling (even older children) and even one another (in our marriages), even if that means you are an empty-nester. 

Phil serves as President of Discipleship Network of America. The ministry is instrumental in winning, teaching, encouraging and discipling others to become disciple makers in their work, marriage, family, neighborhood, and church.

Phil is a popular national speaker at men’s events and speaks to all branches of the U. S. military. He has been featured twice on Focus On the Family. He is the author of Eternal Impact: Investing in the Lives of Others, A Father’s Reward – Raising Your Children to Walk in the Truth, Optimize Your Marriage, Just An Ordinary Man: Principles of Godly Leadership, Brave, Strong, and Tender. He is a former machine gunner who served in Vietnam with the United States Marine Corps in 1967-1968. Phil has degrees from SMU and Emory University School of Law. Phil was a successful lawyer as senior partner of a 50-attorney law firm. Phil is on the Steering Committee of the National Coalition of Men’s Ministries, a former elder of his church.

I’m really excited about all the Lord is going to do! I just got a reply back on Facebook from a lady who has seen Phil and experienced one of his conferences, like I have. She said this:

Cindy Plotts DiMarco I have had the rich privilege of hearing him speak. Everyone that goes is in for a huge blessing!!!

Amen Cindy!

Come join us folks!

Kevin

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Guys, (and yes, I’m speaking to the males reading this), it’s time we step up. The ladies have been pulling the load for far too long and it bothers me.

Men, we get so jacked up about so many things. Sports, hunting, video games, Fantasy Football, working out, food.

Jersey City, New Jersey, USA --- Jersey City, New Jersey, Man watching tv in living room --- Image by © Tetra Images/Corbis

Earlier this week I read a great blog post from John Piper and I want to share a good chunk of it here. I pray that men will read this and step up (and that includes this bald-headed fella!).

But what about leading our homes? That seems to take a back burner. I see this more and more and more. Men becoming disengaged to the point that all they do is bring home a paycheck and little else. This is a tragedy even in the church.

From: “What Does It Mean For a Man to Lead His Family Spiritually?” Full article here: http://www.churchleaders.com/pastors/pastor-articles/271926-what-does-it-mean-for-a-man-to-lead-his-family-spiritually.html?mkt_tok=3RkMMJWWfF9wsRojsqTBZKXonjHpfsX67OwtWqCyhokz2EFye%2BLIHETpodcMSsBnM6%2BTFAwTG5toziV8R7DEJM1u2dkQXhXh

The point is: She ought not to have to feel that she is constantly doing the initiating, prodding to get this man to talk about things that need to be talked about, plan things that need to be planned, do things that need to be done. So here are some of the kind of things where I think a husband should be taking active initiative:

What is the overall moral vision of the family? He should take initiative, asking that question and pursuing an answer with his wife at his side. What do we believe about God and the world and family and culture? All families stand for something. All families are known for something. All families are called to glorify God according to their gifts. What does that look like? And that is the man’s responsibility. Pursue that. Figure that out. A man feels responsibility to take initiatives to form and carry through that moral vision of the family and, of course, he is doing it through the constant interaction with his wife. She would not be thrilled to be left out of that formulation, but I think most Christian women are thrilled that the husband is taking the initiative and drawing her in to see to it that they have such a moral vision for the family.

And this would include initiatives like: Let’s clarify the expectations we have for our children and how they will be disciplined and then how my leadership will relate to the discipline and your leadership as the mother will relate to their discipline and how they are going to spend their leisure and so on. It includes things like taking initiatives in deciding on where the family goes to church and how they participate and whether they get there or not. It includes things like ministries, what the family is doing in ministry, and how they are involved together in the neighborhood and missions. It includes things like taking initiatives with lifestyle issues for the family, like what are we going to do with social media and television and entertainment and leisure and sports and vacations.

Every family has to make hundreds and hundreds of decisions about these things, and one of the things that depresses a wife is when a lackadaisical husband never thinks about what needs to be done and has to be constantly prodded to figure things out. She wants, of course, to have input. She has probably got more insight on a lot of these things than he does. But she wants him to take initiative. We need to think about these things. He needs to say: Let’s sit down. Let’s talk. Let’s pray. She wants him to do that.

It includes things like finances and how the family spends its money and what they are going to save for and what kind of insurance they are going to have and retirement plans and pensions and the whole financial vision of the family, including how much they give to the church and all these things. The husband should feel a special responsibility to take initiatives to work it out with his wife constantly being drawn into that initiative. She is going to have superior wisdom on many of these things, but she longs for a husband to take initiative to put the process in motion by which these things can be worked out and problems can be solved and plans can be made.

Finally, perhaps most important: Yes, the husband should feel a special responsibility to lead the family in a pattern of prayer and Bible reading and worship. And here again the issue is not competency. He may have an eighth grade education and his wife may have a college degree. He can still take initiatives to see that the family is a prayer-saturated, Bible-saturated family by working it out with his wife, how she uses her gifts which may exceed his own in Bible reading and Bible explaining.

So I hope those few examples give a taste of what it means for a husband and a wife to model Christ and the church for a very needy world who needs badly to see it.

Father playing with daughters

Hey would you mind praying we can get our ladies from Charlotte on Saturday. With the weather forecast calling for a monster storm heading our way, it’s causing me some concern about them even being able to get home. As many of you know, Pam and Kandace are part of a group from our church in China. They’ve been there for two weeks and will be flying back later this week. They are to fly to Vancouver, Canada and then to New York (early Saturday morning). They are then supposed to land in Charlotte at 11:21 am on Saturday. Folks, that’s going to be really, really dicey if the weather forecast verifies. Pray that we can get them. I love you all!

Kevin

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You know sometimes in life, you get your socks blessed off. You didn’t ask for it and you really don’t feel you have earned it. You just get blessed. I attribute that to the Lord’s blessings. Sometimes He will bless us above and beyond what we can imagine.

Pam and I have had that happen to us recently. We had a friend who blessed us immensely. Here’s the story. I was communicating with this friend via email and was asked, “When is your anniversary by the way?” I replied back, “Dec. 22nd the Big 25.” He replied back, “Wow! What a milestone! Would you and Pam like to visit Oahu?” Here was my reply:

“Uhhhh! Pardon me while I pick my tongue up off the floor and put it back in my mouth! 🙂 I’m literally speechless. Seriously! I am so blown away right now that I have a lump in my throat!!! Oh my! Oh my!!! Pam and I were talking about maybe going a couple of days to Charleston…but…wait a minute…Oahu or Charleston!!?? Duh!!! Okay…so let me see if I can think…”

We went on to communicate back and forth and ultimately, this is the gist: Pam and I are going to Hawaii for a week Dec. 8-15 all expense paid. Can you believe that!! I feel so guilty even typing those words. We don’t deserve something like that, but let me tell you something  I’ve learned: Be willing to be humble enough to accept the blessings the Lord brings. The Lord uses people and circumstances to bless us beyond anything we deserve.

When Pam and I were married all I could afford was a 2-night, 3 day honeymoon to Pigeon Forge. Many of our friends had these exotic honeymoons to very nice places and well…Pigeon Forge is nice…but, not exactly exotic. 🙂 So, for years, I’ve told Pam, “Maybe one of these days we can go someplace nice.” Well, the years have passed and the best I’ve been able to do is a meal and a card. Now, don’t get me wrong… Pam is grateful and so am I. We are blessed beyond measure.

Here’s what’s really cool. When I was talking to this family friend via email, it was about 9:00 at night. So, when we were finished communicating, I said, “Pam do you have a second you could look at something on the computer for me?” She said, “Sure.” I stood beside of her and watched her facial expression change as she read the email…

“Wow! What a milestone! Would you and Pam like to visit Oahu?”

Pam turned and looked at me with this look of bewildered excitement. She said, “What in the world!! Is he serious!!” I said, “Keep reading.” She did and when she was finished she was like me: speechless. I wish I could have captured that look. I should have videoed it or taken her picture. But, the truth is: I’ll always remember that look. It will be etched in my brain forever.

We will be going to the island of Oahu. See it below…

hawaii

We will be staying in Honolulu on the island of Oahu. Again…even typing those words literally blows my mind and I’m not sure it’s even sunk in yet. Honestly, I could never thank our family friend enough for this privilege for this “once in a lifetime” opportunity. He is an amazing man. And no…he doesn’t go to our church or for that matter, he doesn’t even live in this county. No, check that…he doesn’t even live in this state. So, let your mind rest. 🙂

The timing couldn’t be better. We have Josh and Katy here and they can help with things here at home, along with Kandace, of course, while we are away. And things tend to slow down a bit (at the church during December) because there is so much that families are doing with their work, school, parties, etc.

You know, this just goes to show when you try to put the Lord first in your life (and by no means have Pam and I been perfect), the Lord blesses. And the truth is, those blessings aren’t all relegated to heaven. They can be bestowed upon us here as well. For years and years Pam and I have tried to faithfully give to the church and to the Lord’s work. We’ve been giving to a Building Fund for 20+ years and that would have paid for about 30 trips to Hawaii. Yet, we wanted to “store up for ourselves treasures in heaven” and honor the Lord with the money He has given us to steward. And what do you know… He chose to bless us (even here and now) for that sacrifice. I’m convinced of that. I’m convinced as His children, He will go above and beyond what you can think, dream or imagine. But, sometimes you just have to wait. You have to be patient. You do the right things and your sacrifice. And in the end…well, things like this come and it blows you away.

So, I pray that this news of our blessing comes to you as an encouragement. Maybe you won’t be going to Hawaii some day. I’m certainly not guaranteeing that. But, I am convinced the Lord will provide and sustain us and as we choose to seek Him and put His kingdom first, He will often times in His mercy, faithfulness and goodness…bless our socks off!

So, Hawaii…here we come!!! Thank you Lord for your kindness to us!!!

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I’ve learned something about social media and my new foray into Twitter. (I’ve only been on it about 2 months.) For many of our young people Twitter seems to be a place to talk about the desire for a relationship or how to recover from a bad one. I see tweets like this:

“If only I could find Mr. Right. Where are you hiding!”

“You’ll miss me one day…”

“Whoever I end up with is going to be so lucky, cause I’ve done so much for the wrong people.  I can only imagine what I’ll do for the right one.”

“Did you have to do that to me. I thought I could trust you.”

So sad.

I hear parents talk about how their kids are now dating “so and so” and I rack my brain and try to think about how old they are…Hmm…let’s see…they’re 11! Oh my!

Solomon said, “Don’t awaken love too soon.”

But, then we can easily move to the other extreme and see that people are now deferring marriage altogether. Marriage is totally out of favor now. I heard one stat a few weeks ago that over 50% of couples under the age of 30 are cohabitating. The question I have is: From what grid are we using to give us our reasoning for how we do relationships? Could it be that we are summarily dismissing the Word of God or even worse…we don’t want to even know what the Bible teaches on the subject because it might implicate and indict what we’re currently doing?

I wrote a book (more like a booklet) about dating last year and I guess I shouldn’t be disheartened, but it’s certainly not flying off the shelves of Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Now don’t get me wrong…it’s selling copies…but it’s certainly not a top seller (nor did I expect it to)…   411ESCnsQbL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_

It’s on Kindle for only 99 cents and it would take maybe an hour to read (that’s if you are a slow reader). You see, I wanted to know what the Bible says about relationships so I took the time to take the passages of Scripture about relationships, marriage, etc. and put them concisely in this small 35 page book. But, I’m afraid most people won’t take the time to read it. Why? Well it’s hard to type these words, but I believe people are more interested in fitting in than being Biblical.

Truth is: If they did read it and then felt convicted and didn’t follow through with changes, then…well…let’s just not go there. You get the picture and I guess you can’t say I haven’t tried. Look, I’m just trying to say that I’ve got it all figured out. I don’t. I promise! I’m just trying to save people from a lot of heartaches. I’m trying to share with folks what I wish someone had told me. I hurt for this young person who tweeted this: “Whoever I end up with is going to be so lucky, cause I’ve done so much for the wrong people.  I can only imagine what I’ll do for the right one.”

Ugh! I hurt for that person. Can you feel their hurt and pain? Yet, God has given us principles to follow if we will simply choose to do so. It’s like a man thirsting to death, and yet there’s a canteen of water right beside of him. But he ignores the canteen and crawls right past it looking for a watering hole. I believe many are looking for the watering hole when the canteen (the word of God) is at their reach if they’ll just take it and drink.

Can I say it again? UGH! So, if you are reading this and you haven’t read my book, it’s okay. Maybe you’ll read this blog post from a young lady who followed what the Scriptures teach.

Now let me say this (and I said as much in my book): Every situation is DIFFERENT. The way the Lord leads us to our spouse is as different and unique for all of us as our individual salvation experiences, but the principles are the guard rails for that road. I hope you’ll take the time to read this beautiful story of trusting God and His timing… FullSizeRender (3) This is Margaret Wilkes and Wyatt and here’s a couple of paragraphs to whet your appetite… (YES, I’m trying to convince you to read her blog post that will take about 6-7 minutes.)

I came to a point in my life where I just “gave it up.” I realized that what I really wanted was God’s will for my life. If that meant being single, then so be it. “…..and if I am an *old maid,* it’s ok, I will just be the most fabulous old maid that ever lived.” said I. “Or I will just be a nun! That’s an idea!” 

Kidding aside, I know plenty of single folks who are amazing and are a very integral part of the body of Christ. But if His will meant getting married one day, then so be it. I would learn and be useful until that time. I realized that I had been living with the subconscious thought in my mind that told me “your life won’t really begin or be truly wonderful until you get a boyfriend or get married or have your own family!” (BIG LIE!) I decided to trust that if God wanted me to be in a relationship someday, I simply needed be faithful to what he had me doing at the moment and NOT CONCERN MYSELF about if and when my man would make his appearance. God can handle the details.

Read full post at: http://astepheavenward.blogspot.com/2015/01/the-times-they-are-changin.html

I read an article a while back about the negative consequences of delaying marriage in our culture.

Here’s a couple of paragraphs…

“We [in the church] are teaching kids at 14 to wait until they get married before they have sex,” says Marshall. “Historically, that might have been until they were 21. If they’re not getting married until they’re 30, that looks like a really tough hurdle. As a public policy person looking at these questions, we look at the aggregate data. As the typical age of first marriage is climbing, we’re also seeing cohabitation rates climb. We’re seeing unwed childbearing climb dramatically.” Without the “easy out” of premarital sex and cohabitation, Christian young people often find themselves in a struggle to keep themselves for a honeymoon that could be a decade or more away.

The average age for marriage among American men is now 29. For women it’s 27. This means churches are asking Christian students to spend, on average, 15 years fighting the strongest hormones of their lives. It’s an expectation no previous generation of believers has faced. But increased emphasis on self-betterment isn’t entirely to blame. As Karen Swallow Prior writes at The Atlantic, our culture’s conception of marriage itself…is now “something [young people] do after they have all their ducks in a row, rather than a foundation for launching into adulthood and parenthood.” 

Full article here: http://www.summit.org/blogs/summit-announcements/the-consequences-of-putting-off-marriage-for-christians-and-for-culture/

I suppose the current debates over whether marriage is a good, over whether children need mothers and fathers, over whether sexual expression should be bound by the covenant-reality of the male-female one-flesh union versus homosexuality will continue. Our nation has now embraced and even celebrates casual sexuality, cohabitation, no-fault divorce, homosexuality, and abortion rights as parts of a sexual revolution that rips down “old, out-dated” ways. Yet, as a believer, I must stand on God’s unchanging Word.

The apostle Paul warned that the sexually immoral person sins not just against another but “against his own body” (1 Corinthians 6:18). He compared the spiritual union formed between Christ and the believer with the union brought about in the sexual act. Even one who is “joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her,” Paul wrote, (citing Genesis). You see, the sexual act, mysteriously, forms a real and personal union. Immorality whether that be cohabitation, homosexuality, adultery, sex before marriage for teens…all of these things are not just some sort of “naughtiness,” but is a description of a different gospel. They are not part of the mystery of the Church (the Bride) and Jesus (the Groom). This is why attempts to “free” sexuality from marriage as the union of a man and a woman do not lead to freedom, but bondage.

I know some will read this post and say, “There he goes again! Kevin just won’t let up on this stuff.” The truth is I can’t because I can’t get this out of my mind…

TWEET: “Whoever I end up with is going to be so lucky, cause I’ve done so much for the wrong people.  I can only imagine what I’ll do for the right one.”

Yes, I know, many will tell me that people will not hear us if we limit people to the Bible’s definition of sexuality. They won’t say it out loud, but they are whispering this: “Tone it down… or at least avoid the conversation of what we believe about the definition of marriage, and you’ll win more people to your side.” Wrong! To throw out or minimize what the Bible says about sexual ethics is to throw out the baby with the bath water.

Jesus has invited us to a wedding. His wedding. His wedding with the church. Like it our lump it. That’s the truth. That’s why Jesus said to the woman both “go get your husband” and “come here.” So must we. It has been said, “Lust is the craving for salt of someone who is dying of thirst.” Our young people are looking for a love that is stronger than death. They cannot articulate it in a tweet, but what they are looking for is God.

So, we must both articulate and embody a correct understanding of marriage. For you see, marriage is the very picture of the mystery that defines Christ and the Church. And the last time I read the Bible I see that Jesus loved His bride so much that He died for her and is now waiting in a state of betrothal for the day when His Father says, “Go get her!” Now that’s true love and that’s no mistake and that would be a great tweet. 🙂

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Here We Go…

Here we go…

It’s come to this. These 9 folks will decide if gay marriage is to be legal in all 50 states by the end of June.

Supreme_Court_US_2010

The US Supreme Court has said they will hear the case in April and decide by June. Can I make a prognostication? They will say: “Gay is Okay.” Expect to see that as the headlines in the newspapers by early July. Why do I think this way? Simple. Because of the makeup of the court. Look above. First row…going left to right.

Justice Thomas will vote against gay marriage, so will Scalia, and Roberts. Kennedy will vote for gay marriage (he’s the swing vote) and so will Ginsburg. Back row. Sotomayor and Breyer will vote for it, while Alito votes no, with Kagan rounding out the yes votes. So that’s 5 to 4 FOR Gay Marriage.

Let me tell you why I believe Kennedy will be the deciding “yes” vote for gay marriage. First of all, the four conservative justices aren’t going to budge and the four liberal judges aren’t going to budge. They are dyed in the wool. Done deal. Kennedy has bounced around through the years as the one “moderate.” Yet, it’s different when it comes to this issue. Here’s why.

Now there are just 14 states in which same-sex couples cannot wed. The court’s decision to get involved is another marker of the rapid change that has redefined societal norms in the space of a generation.

The court will be weighing in on major gay rights issues for the fourth time in 27 years. In the first of those, in 1986, the court upheld Georgia’s anti-sodomy law in a devastating defeat for gay rights advocates. But the three subsequent rulings, all written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, were major victories for gay men and lesbians. Thus, in its most recent case in 2013, the court struck down part of a federal anti-gay marriage law in a decision that has paved the way for a wave of lower court rulings across the country in favor of same-sex marriage rights.

The way has been paved by what you just read in bold above. Kennedy will go with the liberals on this one. It shouldn’t surprise you that Attorney General Eric Holder said the Obama administration would urge the court “to make marriage equality a reality for all Americans.”

Here we go! By mid-summer gay marriage will be considered a civil right for all Americans and if you are on the opposite end of that stance, you will be labeled a hate-monger and bigot. So be ready and be prepared to lovingly give a reason for your hope.

Let me give you some reasons (contrary to what the Supreme Court will say).

Check out this site: http://suchweresomeofyou.org

It’s excellent. Read the accounts of folks who have been delivered from the homosexual lifestyle by the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Bible records in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11.

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Did you see the word “were” over and over in verse 11. Homosexuals CAN be delivered by the power of Jesus Christ just like the idolater, adulterer, thief, greedy person, and drunk. There IS deliverance or the word of God is a lie and so is God.

At the website listed above you will find a documentary that was inspired by the above passage of Scripture that declares that in Jesus’ day there was a population who had been so transformed by their relationship with Him that they were no longer “same-sex attracted” or at the very least, actively homosexual. They had found such a measure of healing from the brokenness and strongholds associated with what we now call homosexuality that they no longer considered themselves homosexual, nor did they act in that way.

“Such Were Some of You” features interviews with a “cloud of present-day witnesses” who testify to the same life-transforming power of Jesus Christ. They describe the development of their same-sex attractions, what the gay lifestyle was like, what their conversion process was like, and the various ways that Jesus has brought healing to their broken places. “Such Were Some of You” lays out the facts about healing homosexual confusion and rejoices in the reality that Jesus Christ can heal anyone from anything while providing grace for the journey.

But, as I said earlier, if you ascribe to the truth of God’s word that there is deliverance from the gay lifestyle, you will be blasted. If you don’t believe me, check out this 2 1/2 minute video clip from Richmond, Virginia.

http://www.fox8live.com/clip/10934328/billboard-in-richmond-claims-nobody-is-born-gay

Did you see how stunned the people were? Even the news reporter seemed stunned that anyone could possibly say there is deliverance from homosexuality. You see, when the Supreme Court is done this summer, it will be “Katy bar the door, trouble is in store.”

Folks I’m with Peter Mead, who wrote an article about the Word of God and preaching titled: “Great Preaching Leads to Godly Change. See article here: http://www.churchleaders.com/pastors/preaching-teaching/243224-great-preaching-leads-godly-change.html?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=clpastors_newsletter&utm_content=12/4/2014+10:20:50+AM

He says this:

Call it heart, call it values, call it appetites, whatever. The gospel transforms a life from the inside-out, from the heart outward. It takes the Spirit to plant an appetite (a relish) for Christ in the affections of someone. This is where I feel relieved of the pressure to bring about transformation, but also the incredible privilege of my position as preacher. I don’t twist arms to conform to behavioral standards for the sake of church conformity. I do present Christ and the Gospel in all its wonder and majesty and sweetness, and I do so absolutely dependent on God to bring about transformation.

Biblical preaching transforms lives, but it occurs from the inside out. Anything more superficial will tempt me into acting like a mini-god pressuring mini-gods into self-moved determination, and that just smacks of a fallen world perspective on the whole thing. God’s Word invites us to trust Him, we should do the same.

Amen Brother! You hit the nail on the head. We want to see people changed. We want to see people delivered from their sin, not be excused of it. I don’t want a drunk to stay drunk by saying everything is okay with how they are living anymore than I would want a man to continue to commit adultery against his wife and me say, “It’s okay…you were born an adulterer, you can’t help yourself, so go ahead.” Oh how that is a smack in the face of the life-giving and life-changing power of the Gospel (Good News) of Jesus Christ.

At some point people have to seek their identity in Christ. They don’t define themselves by saying, “I’m gay.” They define themselves by saying, “I’m a follower of Jesus. ” It’s all about identity. If you seek to continue to identify yourself by your sin, (no matter what it is), then you have likely not been regenerated and born again in Christ.

Oh, I pray that we, as believers, will not cave in to the culture, the Supreme Court, or even a friend or loved one who says they were born gay. I pray we will give them the life-altering Gospel of Jesus and watch the transformation.

11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Before I go…I’ve got to share couple of things that happened last week.

First, we lost a family pet. A wonderful, lively, out-going cat named Oreo. It just about crushed the kids, but the Lord used it to help us rejoice in the time we had together. Do you remember losing a family pet when you were a kid? It can be gut-wrenching. He was so sick…

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This is Kandace and Clara at the vet. Andrew, Pam and I were behind them. We had to say goodbye. He was only two years old and was eaten up with lymphoma. Thank you Lord for blessing us with such a wonderful, loving, cuddly, crazy, rambunctious cat. We’ll miss him, but in the “missing,” we’ll be grateful for the time we had with him.

Now for some lighter news. Just a few quick Papa and Charlotte pictures from the past weekend. Josh and Katy were in town. Check out this precious little girl…

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I love this next one. It shows why I am convinced the Scriptures teach that the meeting or gathering (we call it worship service) should include children.

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She is watching me on the screen above her head. Josh is holding her and Pam said, she kept craning her head to see me and she just stared and stared at me on the screen. Jesus said, “Suffer the little children to come unto me.” I’m so thankful MPBC sees the undeniable truth of the entire body (family) being together in the meeting/gathering/worship.

One last one. This was up at mom’s, where we had lunch in her dining room. Isn’t she just adorable?

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I know, I know… I’m a doting grandfather… But, I just can’t help myself.

For the winter-weather fans out there, the pattern is finally changing. Haven’t seen it yet? 66 degrees today? Well, it’s coming. By next week at this time you’ll be shivering and don’t be surprised if there is a bit of the white stuff on the ground. 🙂

 

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Warp Speed!

I remember being mesmerized by this scene in Star Wars when I was a kid.

millenium-falcon-hyperspace

That’s Hans Solo taking the Millennium Falcon into warp speed. Bang!! Stars streaming by at the speed of light…warp speed!!

Remember my last post? I hate to sound like the proverbial “I told you so” kind of person, but folks, we just hit warp speed and it happened what seems like the blink of an eye.

This happened in our sleepy little county on Monday…

Gay marriage2

The first gay marriage is official in Wilkes County.

I thought it might take till the first of the year for the Supreme Court’s “non-action” on gay marriage (which basically made it legal in our nation) to trickle down to our fair city. But, nope! We are moving at warp speed now folks. It’s making my head spin. How ’bout yours?

Hey, did you hear that the mayor of Houston, Texas is wanting to screen sermons preached by the clergy in her city. Google it if you don’t believe me. Just Google: “Houston Demands Oversight of Sermons.” The mayor, who is a lesbian is married to another lesbian has said she want’s no “anti-homosexual messages” in her city.

Folks, I’ve been saying this would happen eventually, but man oh man…I never thought it would be this fast. Now let me say this: I don’t believe the kind lady has a leg to stand on legally. But, it’s only a matter of time. You see, this nation is now being run by the Judicial Branch in our nation. Forget the Executive (President) and Legislative (House and Senate) branches. They have no power over the courts who can basically declare any ruling they make or the “people” in a state-wide vote UNCONSTITUTIONAL. We continue to see legislation of laws in this land from the bench.

You know what? So be it. There is nothing we can do about it now. I said earlier we are moving at warp speed and we are, but we’ve been on this path since the 1960’s. Our judges have been educated in our best universities and are as liberal as the day is long. So, welcome to warp speed down the path of full-on secular humanism and a post modern nation. But, be that as it may, I’m not distraught anymore. I trust the Lord, not our government.

I see this picture and this is what I think…

Gay marriage2

“You are wrong, but I love you and Jesus loves you.”

I can see this picture and say…

Drunk-Man-with-Empty-Shot-Glasses460x300

“You are wrong, but I love you and Jesus loves you.”

The same is true for this person…

burglar

Or this person…

man-smoking-weed-630x418

Or this person…

Gluttony poster

You see, these are all sins according to the Word of God. So, I want to be clear that I am not elevating any sin over another one. Sin is sin in the eyes of God and Jesus died for them all. But, we are moving at warp speed in the public eye regarding homosexuality.

Thievery is not accepted as something that you are “born with,” nor is being an “adulterer.” I don’t think being a public drunk and having a “Drunken Agenda” will every be accepted in the public eye. But, it’s warp speed we go!

I saw this coming. I asked the Deacons last fall (one year ago) to put in place a new clause in our by-laws to cover us when this day (of public acceptance of gay marriage) comes to our county. I honestly never imagined it would be this fast. But, the church approved this new section (below) for our by-laws.  Notice our position on cohabitation, adultery and pornography.

ARTICLE VII—STATEMENT ON MARRIAGE AND SEXUALITY

We believe the term “marriage” has only one meaning and that is marriage sanctioned by God which joins one man and one woman in a single, exclusive union, as delineated in Scripture.

 

We believe that God intends sexual intimacy to only occur between a man and a woman who are married to each other. We believe that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of a marriage between a man and a woman.

 

We believe that any form of sexual immorality, such as adultery, fornication, homosexuality, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, pornography or any attempt to change one’s sex, or disagreement with one’s biological sex, is sinful and offensive to God.

 

We believe that in order to preserve the function and integrity of the church as the local Body of Christ, and to provide a biblical role model to the church members and the community, it is imperative that all persons employed by the church in any capacity, or who serve as volunteers, should abide by and agree to this Statement on Marriage and Sexuality and conduct themselves accordingly.

 

We believe that God offers redemption and restoration to all who confess and forsake their sin, seeking His mercy and forgiveness through Jesus Christ.

 

We believe that every person must be afforded compassion, love, kindness, respect, and dignity. Hateful and harassing behavior or attitudes directed toward any individual are to be repudiated and are not in accord with scripture nor the doctrines of the church.

Source: Alliance Defending Freedom (7.13.12)

I hope you noticed the last three sentences. That’s the key. But, please understand that I’m not afraid to preach the full counsel of Scripture.  I must preach the full truth of God’s Word and call people to repentance no matter the name of the sin. Just because the sin is no longer considered sin by the culture is immaterial to the preacher and teacher of God’s truth. So, please make plans to come see me in a prison near you. Because we are moving at warp speed.

So let’s not get distracted from preaching and teaching truth in love. That’s going to always be the key. Jesus came bringing love, but preaching repentance and we must too. It’s a balancing act to be sure. But, if we err, let’s make sure we don’t compromise the Word of God just to be liked or accepted or not be seen by some family member or co-worker as “bigoted.”

I love this quote:

We don’t celebrate homosexual practice, we acknowledge God’s clear revealed word that it is sin; and we don’t hate those who embrace homosexuality, we love them enough to not just collapse under the societal pressure. We speak the truth in love into this confusion, saying, simultaneously, “That’s wrong” and “I love you.”

See the rest of the article here…

http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/why-homosexuality-is-not-like-other-sins

It’s the best, most balanced article I’ve read on the subject.

Want to see a blast from the past? I had hair…

Mt Pleasant Championship

See the dude in the back…far left. That would be me. 🙂 I’m standing beside of my dad. I scored 33 in the championship game and my dad scored 17. I was 22 and my dad was 42. I would be married six months later. You know what? It seems like somebody just took me from there to here like Hans Solo…

WARP SPEED!

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Have you ever looked through a pair of glasses that were scratched up?

Eyeglasses That Need Repair

I had a pair of sunglasses that I wore when I mowed the yard and they got so scratched up that looking through them finally starting giving me a headache. That can happen when what you are looking through is compromised.

I really believe what a lot of folks are “looking through” has been comprised. I’m amazed at the worldview that many Christians have today. I talked about this last week when I blogged about the “New Grace.” You remember:

Going

Right

Ahead

Comprising

Everything

So why do we compromise? Why is it that “anything and everything goes” today? It’s our worldview. It’s the set of glasses we’re looking through. They are all scratched up.

Let me give you an example.

Duggars

That’s two of the Duggar children. I’m sure (unless you live under a rock) you’ve heard of this family. Pictured above are: Ben Seewald, Jessa Duggar, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, Jill Duggar and Derick Dillard.

Jessa and Jill are being pounded by the media because they are choosing not to kiss until their wedding day. Here’s an excerpt from an article found on the Today Show website.

“Courting” is the theme on the new season of TLC’s hit reality show “19 Kids and Counting,” which stars the Duggar family and premieres tonight.

Two Duggar daughters – Jessa, 20, and Jill, 22 – begin relationships with their respective beaus, Ben Seewald, 18, and Derick Dillard, 25. And just like a high stakes basketball game, the Duggars’ style of courting involves plenty of rules, plus refereeing done under the watchful eyes of dad Jim Bob and mom Michelle.

TODAY.com caught up with Jim Bob and Michelle to learn more about their views on courting. As Michelle pointed out, “love is in the air” in the Duggar household this spring.

Rule 1: Courting is not dating; it’s “dating with a purpose.”

There are two main distinctions that make dating different than courting, says Jim Bob. Dating is spending time with someone alone, not necessarily with the end goal of marriage. Not so with courtship, which is carefully monitored and not for the commitment-phobic. “Courtship is really waiting for the one God has for you and praying through the whole process,” the father of 19 says. “It’s really examining the person and considering, ‘Would this be the guy I want to be the father of my kids?’” says Michelle.

To see the rest, go http://www.today.com/moms/duggars-7-rules-courtship-love-air-no-kissing-2D79464674.

Now here’s my point. I can expect the media to think the Duggar girls are nuts…but, not Christians! But, let me tell you…many “so-called” Christians are riding them just as hard as the mainstream media. In fact, some Christians have said they are ashamed of such strange and weird people like Jessa and Jill.

Well give me “strange and weird” any day! As a Christian, I’m called to be peculiar. But, here’s the deal… These “Christians” have on scratched glasses. They are looking at relationships through the lenses of the WORLD and NOT through the lens of Scripture (the BIBLE). Is that you? What’s your worldview? Am I saying that you have to do things exactly like the Duggars? No. But, let’s look at the subject of dating and courting through the lens of Scripture (an open Bible) and then discuss it. So many people today want to discuss issues with the “World” as their glasses. It’s one of the reasons I wrote my book:

Kevin book

Let’s take another example.

LGBT

Born that way…

What set of glasses do you have on?

If it’s the worldview of our culture…then you will say people are born gay, like a black man is born black. If your worldview is the Bible, you will say gay people can be healed.

I read an article that was very enlightening on the matter last week. Get this… The title of the article is almost shocking to our culture today:

Even LBGT Historians Admit No One is ‘Born Gay’

What? Can you hear the outcry? Here’s the upshot of the article…

Whether it’s Macklemore’s “Same Love” or Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way,” our culture is pretty convinced that homosexuality is inherent from birth. But, as it turns out, those within the LGBT movement aren’t that convinced themselves. In an article in The Daily Caller, gay writer David Benkof presented the solid case of the historians – several of whom are also LGBT – who maintain that the sexual orientation of homosexuality didn’t exist until about 150 years ago. While same-sex relationships and behavior have happened from time to time throughout history, LGBT scholarly studies show zero evidence of any culture with gay “oriented” individuals at any point in history. The mountain of scholarly research also continues to show no “gay gene” accounting for sexual orientation from birth.

Can you say, “Wow!” You’ll never hear Brian Williams talk about that on the NBC Nightly News! Why? Because it doesn’t fit the worldview of NBC News.

Here’s another one…

The origin of life…

Big Bang

A little less than three weeks ago this was reported:

Big Bang Proven (March 27, 2014)

Here’s the upshot from an article that can be found at apologeticspress.org.

“Theory No More?”

“Scientists Make ‘Big Bang’ Breakthrough with Find”

“Big Bang’s Smoking Gun”

“Scientists Find Cosmic Ripples from Birth of Universe”

These titles are a sampling of the headlines after Caltech publicly announced some of their groundbreaking research. The impression being given is that the Big Bang has been finally proven. It has been “confirmed.” As usual, many in the media have shown themselves to be irresponsible with their overstatements and wild implications. Since most people only read article titles and never actually read the details of an article, false impressions are immediately spread to the four winds, and usually, never to be corrected.

Theory No More? Scientists Make ‘Big Bang’ Breakthrough with Find” (2014, emp. added). “Space Ripples Reveal Big Bang’s Smoking Gun” (Overbye, 2014, emp. added). “Big Bang’s ‘Smoking Gun’ Confirms Early Universe’s Exponential Growth” (Vergano, 2014, emp. added). “Scientists Find Cosmic Ripples from Birth of Universe” (2014, emp. added). These titles are a sampling of the headlines after Caltech publicly announced some of their groundbreaking research. The impression being given (and, based on the many that have contacted us since the announcement, being accepted) is that the Big Bang has been finally proven. It has been “confirmed.” As usual, many in the media have shown themselves to be irresponsible with their overstatements and wild implications. Since most people only read article titles and never actually read the details of an article, false impressions are immediately spread to the four winds, and usually, never to be corrected.
Read more at http://savingourfuture.com/2014/03/big-bang-just-proven-astronomers/#zBGClEHd6fTwSJUC.99

You see, it all depends on your worldview. When you don’t want accountability and you don’t want a God, you have to look for a way to explain the universe without Him. When you want to live life with no strings and no consequences…you make it up. And there you have the worldview of “Evolutionists.” But, the Bible teaches, “In the beginning God…” You can’t have it both ways…

What’s your worldview?

In America we continue to decline in our thinking because we no longer regard the Bible in high esteem. Amazingly, we still own a bunch of copies and many still believe it’s God’s Word, but we don’t put on those glasses too much.

Here’s the latest Barna research on the Bible…

Bible

That 56% number has dropped exponentially in the last 50 years. In 1950 you had to look long and hard to find someone who didn’t believe the Bible was the Word of God. Not today. Why?

Because we’ve fed the last three to four generations a steady diet of secular humanism, postmodernism and downright lies. Therefore, anything goes! Except anything that the Bible teaches.

So…

What’s your worldview?

So, decide which glasses you’re going to wear and please, please, please…keep ’em on. Why? So, we’ll know if you ascribe to the tenets and principles of Scripture or not. Don’t take off your Bible glasses and put on the “world’s” glasses. You’ll make yourself sick!

Oh by the way…we’ve got a mission team in Mexico and south Texas.

Mexico Team-April 2014

They are working hard. Here’s the progress so far:

second floor

We are putting on the second floor of the church in Progreso, Mexico and teaching multiple Bible Studies (backyard Bible clubs) in Texas in Mexico. You can keep up with all the happenings here: http://mpbc.ws/missions/2014MexicoMissions/days12.html

 

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