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Archive for the ‘Mens Ministry’ Category

Real Men Needed

It was an amazing scene last Friday night:

That’s 200+ men who came out on a Friday night to hear teaching on how to be a “Man of Another Sort.” That says a lot right off of the bat… Friday nights are precious and to have men and boys to give up their Friday evening to come hear our all-male Praise Team and this bald-headed guy preach…well, that was phenomenal!

We are working hard to get it loaded to the website. So, be patient with us. We want the conference on the two local TV channels (Spectrum-Charter and Wilkes Communications) as well. I believe the Lord used the evening and I certainly felt the prayers of so many people, particularly our wives. They love us and want us to be the best we can be. I’m so grateful for my wife.

You see, in my humble opinion we live in a society today where being a “man” is not always popular. Truth is, in many circles, we’re not even sure what a “man” is anymore. Men have been emasculated by the society for years. In fact, saying, “I feel like a man,” is considered in some circles to be threatening. Now, I’m not saying this because I am a man and I’ve got some inferiority complex. I don’t. I also don’t have a chip on my shoulder. But, I do believe we need to teach our boys how to be men. But, what does that mean? Does a man rule with an iron fist? Is he a chauvinist brute? No! Yet, it’s true… Men have done some really stupid stuff over the years and we’ve brought on ourselves a heap of justified criticism and critique. Men can be pigs…no question about it.

But, that’s not the kind of man I’m talking about. I’m talking about men who are servant-leaders. Men who are willing to bend the knee and take the towel and the basin. Men who are willing to die for their wives (as Christ died for the church) and that means a lot more than just taking a bullet in the head for her. That means we’re willing to do the laundry, load the dishwasher, bathe the kids, pick up the groceries. You get it. We lead by being humble, just like Jesus. I defer to Pam. I listen to her. I trust her judgment more than mine. (Can I get a witness men!)

Listen, men, plain and honest need all the help we can get! God gave Adam a “helper” in Eve. Read carefully: WOMEN DON’T NEED HELP. They can do it all on their own, if need be (and many do). Men need help! So, why would I ever (in my right mind) go against my helper. If Pam and I ever disagree, I don’t go against her wishes and say, “I’m the man and I’m supposed to lead…so I trump you!” Are you kidding! No way! We are one flesh in the Lord and if she doesn’t feel right about something (a decision or whatever), then I dare to stand still and wait. We wait to be in agreement. Why? Because there is one Holy Spirit. He’s not going to tell her one thing and me another. He will have us in agreement. There is no part of God that operates in confusion and certainly that is true of the Holy Spirit.

I shared the Top 10 Marriage Killers (from my perspective as a man in my 13-year pastor/counseling):

Top 10 Marriage Killers:

  1. tearing her down with words
  2. not listening to her, really listening to her
  3. comparing and contrasting your wrongs against hers
  4. responding with defensiveness or with sarcasm
  5. never saying, “I’m sorry”
  6. demanding she changes, but refusing to do so yourself
  7. thinking more of what you deserve, and she can give you, instead of what you can give her
  8. preserving your own well-being at her expense
  9. refusing to show humility with her or the kids
  10. reading this list and thinking she should be reading it…

I believe we grew as men last week. I know I did!

The Praise Team did great! I knew they would. They always do! Pastor Brad Cordray, Martin Moore, Geoff Farmer, Seth Rhoades, Derek Harless, Steve Bryan, Gary Foster, Justin Gourley, Scott Heacock. What a group of dedicated men! It was truly a blessing! We worshipped together and that’s a cool thing! To hear a room full of men singing in those baritone/bass voices is powerful! I’m telling you…it’s goosebump stuff!

I felt like I kind of fumbled through the two messages. I probably should have done more to include the boys that came. Perhaps even asking them to sign the Resolutions that the men did (as kind of “future promise”), but I never felt led in that direction as I prepared. However, I know there are things I can do to improve it for the years ahead. And yes, we will be making this an annual event!

I don’t know how it is with you…but, Satan is always telling me how worthless I am anyway. I struggle mightily with self-doubt and feeling like I can’t ever quite do enough. But, I do believe the Lord uses our weaknesses and turns them into something good for His glory, if our hearts are in the right place. Throughout Friday afternoon I felt so excited and nervous at the same time that I felt like a caged cat. I received this passage of Scripture from a sister in the church that really encouraged me:

And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. 1 Corinthians 2:3-5

So true! The Lord knew I needed that!

Ultimately, after all is said and done, I’ve gotten a ton of texts and emails that have been very encouraging and kind. Men want to do it again and we’ll work toward that next year!

Here’s this week’s Two-Minute Tuesday, “Answering the Top Three Argument Skeptics Make.” It might surprise you how easy it is to answer a skeptic.

http://mpbc.ws/media/?sapurl=Lys3ZWViL2xiL21pLyt2bnF2d3lrP2JyYW5kaW5nPXRydWUmZW1iZWQ9dHJ1ZQ==

Kevin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The pastor of the church is Louie Giglio.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blessings,

Kevin

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All Wound Up

Here I am after midnight and I’m all wound up. I’ve been working for the last two days on the Iron Men Conference and I really believe it’s going to be good. Iron Men was very special in my life for almost 6 years. Every Wednesday our group met. But, the church grew so large, that I couldn’t do it any longer. Here’s a picture of the last day of Iron Men.

As I’ve been preparing and working on the conference for August 3rd, the Lord has touched my heart and I’m excited to see what He’s going to do to encourage other men and their sons, friends, coworkers, buddies, etc. It will be at 6:30 in the MPBC Reach Center. You can click her to register (so we’ll have enough refreshments): http://www.mpbc.ws/signuptable/ We’ve got over 150 signed up now!

I’m staying by myself at a small condo on Beech Mountain that a friend has allowed me to use. I’ve only done this twice in my 13 years of preaching. I need to do it more often. But, I feel guilty for not being at home helping out. But, I knew I needed to get away for a couple of days to really lock in on what the Lord wants for the men.

I’ve not budged other than to go to a small store and by some bologna, salsa, a couple of peaches and pizza. I know! Not very healthy! But, I did get on an elliptical last night for 30 minutes.

Look what I saw from my window. See the four deer…

I mentioned going to the local store. It’s Fred’s Mercantile. It’s truly an old-timey General Store. Well, right in front of it…this caught my eye.

That’s an official NOAA weather collection rain gauge. How about that! I’ve never seen one of those. Pretty cool, huh!

Beech Mountain is such a pretty place…

I snapped that picture with those gorgeous Black-Eyed-Susans on the way back from Fred’s (with my bologna in hand). Ha! That’s Ski Beech in the background. It’s amazing! It was 89 degrees when I left home. It was 81 degrees in Boone. Oh…can you tell I was driving through Boone…

And then I got to Beech and it was 73 degrees. Amazing! A full 16 degrees cooler at the elevation of 5,500 feet. My house is 1,300. Boone is 3,300. Truly phenomenal what elevation does to the temperatures. Speaking of temps… It’s going to be cooler for the rest of the summer according to the Climate Forecasting System Model.

No more “Dog Days” of summer for us! By the way, I learned something about “Dog Days.” They aren’t what you think. According to Brad Panovich, weather forecaster from Charlotte, here is a correct understanding of “Dog Days:”

“The dog days of summer are upon us, and you might think that they have something to do with hot and humid weather. Well, that isn’t exactly where the term originated from. The dog days of summer are actually July 3rd through August 11th.  

The Heat of 2 stars?

Those days are the 20 days before and 20 days after the “Dog” star Sirius rises and falls in conjunction with the sun. Sirius is the brightest star in the constellations Canis Major. The ancient Romans believed that its heat added to the heat of the sun, creating a stretch of hot and humid weather. During the time between July and August, the “dog” star rising with our sun made the ancients think the heat of two stars where making us hotter. In modern times we know that there is no heat generated from this very distant start, but the term stuck. So even in modern times, we consider the hot and muggy time of the summer between late July and mid-August as the dog days of summer.” http://wxbrad.com/dog-days-of-summer-arent-what-you-might-think/ 

You learn something new every day!

You know, I’ve only been gone two days. (I’ll be heading back today, Thursday), but I still miss my family. Truly, I’m a family man. I really love being with my bride, children and grandchildren. So, I’ve sent them several texts…including this one of me blowing a kiss.

Yes, I’m goofy! I know it! Last week we went up on our little mountain, Rendezvous (elevation 2,400 feet) for a picnic… (And yes, it’s noticeably cooler up there than at my house at 1,300 feet, even though we are only a 3 minute drive from the bottom of the mountain. It’s about a 10 minute drive up a gravel road to the gate.

That’s looking back southwest toward my home, just beyond CC Hayes Road. Gorgeous!

Speaking of gorgeous… Kandace and Clark have picked their venue for their wedding next April.

That’s Fussell Farm in Wilbar, NC. http://www.fussellfarmvenue.com.  www.facebook.com/fussellfarmvenue/  It’s about 15-20 minutes from our house and it’s absolutely stunning! It’s a smaller venue and Kandace and Clark will be inviting folks who have meant a lot to them in their lives and has made a direct impact on their lives. I hope folks will understand that not everyone we know can be invited. We’re so excited for them!

Well, it’s 12:30 am and I’m tired now. I guess I’ve finally wound down. So, I’m going to hit the sack. I’ll be back at it shortly!

Blessings to you all!

Kevin

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As human beings we are prone to get weary. That’s why we need sleep. Sometimes I lament that fact. I had a co-worker tell me years ago, “I’m still trying to figure out what to do with that 5 1/2 hours every night that I waste sleeping.” I laughed when he would say it and found myself saying, “You know, there’s some truth in that.” Or so I thought.

Truly, years ago, I though sleep was a colossal waste of time. Why did the Lord make it to where we would spend 1/3 of our lives sleeping. Think about that. 1/3 or our lives (on average) is spent in a bed sleeping. Does that seem like a waste to you? Why do we need sleep? Why did the Lord make it to where we would absolutely conk-out after a long day of work? Why not keep working? Why not live this life (as brief as it is) and go, go, go 24-hours per day?

Well, there are perhaps many reasons for why the Lord made us to rest, but the chief reason (in my humble opinion) is because He rested. He created the universe and all that exists in it in 6 days and then rested. Think about our culture. We have an “end” to the week that we call a “weekend.” And what are we to do? Rest. But, so often we don’t. We pack so much into the “weekend” that we wear ourselves out.

I’m chief of sinners here. In fact, for me, my weekend is not the typical weekend. Sunday is work day for me. Believe me…preaching three services is a challenge…but, I love it and I’m grateful to have the strength and the health to do it. So, after almost 13 years of ministry, I’ve started trying to take Fridays off, so I can truly have a “weekend.” Yet, there’s many weeks I don’t get a Friday off, or a Saturday for that matter. There is truly very little consistency in my weeks. I can’t really count on having a day off, unless I’m on vacation…and even then…depending on the severity of the situation, I might be “working” even then. After all, during a typical week, people get sick on Fridays and Saturdays too. There are weddings to do and funerals. No, I’m not complaining. I’m just admitting that we all get weary at times.

Therefore, I’ve learned through the years that if my family is going to have some part of me, I’ve got to try to squeeze in the time somehow. That’s a challenge, but a necessary challenge.

Are you tired today? Weary? When is the last time you rested? When is the last time you took your foot off of the gas and rested. (I’m saying this to myself as well.) Rest is good. Rest is necessary and rest will make us better people. Rest!

Here’s this week’s Two-Minute Tuesday, “Don’t Give Up.” I pray it’s an encouragement to folks not to give up in the mundane of life.

http://mpbc.ws/media/?sapurl=Lys3ZWViL2xiL21pLytyaG45aHl6P2JyYW5kaW5nPXRydWUmZW1iZWQ9dHJ1ZQ==

Hey, hey…I’m excited about this:

It’s our upcoming Men’s Conference on Friday, August 3rd at 6:30 pm here at the church. For 5 1/2 years we had a group of men that met for lunch on Wednesdays at noon to study Scripture. It was wonderful. 

Unfortunately, as the church continued to grow and approach 500 people, it became utterly impossible to keep up the pace. Remember the word from earlier: Weary. I was big-time weary. Yes, it was a very difficult decision, but I had to stop. Without knowing it, the group of about 30 men (who consistently came…even though at times we could have 50+) became like another church. Many of the men were from MPBC, but many weren’t and they seemed to gravitate to me for counseling, insight, etc.

I miss it. I truly do. But, I know I did the right thing for me, the church and my family. However, I believe there will be another group like this one day. It won’t be me leading it, but I believe there will be a time when this group begins again. Stay tuned on that. 🙂

In the meantime, we’re going to seek to bring men and boys together on August 3rd for a time of encouragement, challenge and fellowship. I really believe it’s going to be fantastic! We’re going to have an all-male Praise Team and I’m going to share a couple of messages under the theme of “Men of Another Sort.” I believe when all is said and done that evening, we’ll have men and sons who will be glad they came and experienced a renewal in their lives.

Would you pray for me and for the conference? I’d greatly appreciate it! And would you invite men and boys to come? Come from all over! This is for all…not just for MPBC. You can click here to sign up for the conference:

http://mpbc.ws/signuptable/

You don’t need a ticket to get in…but, we’re seeking to get a number so we’ll know how many will be attending for our refreshments. Please pass the word. Copy and paste that link above and share it…would you please! Thanks so much!

One last thing… Tonight we finish up our VBS. It’s been a great week and I’m excited that we’ll be sharing with the children under the theme “Game On,” this message from Leah Church.

As many of you know, Leah is my niece and she plays basketball for the UNC TarHeels. She just completed her freshman year. She is an amazing talent and she has an amazing testimony. We’ll be sharing this video tonight with the children and it’s excellent. I thought you might like to see it or share it with your family as well.

Kevin

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One of the questions I’m asked the most is by parents. It goes like this: “Pastor, I’m so afraid my child will walk away from the Lord when they get older, what can I do?”

Well, first of all, their concern is valid. Studies continue to show that 70% or more of children who have been raised in Christian homes, will walk away from the faith by their 20th birthday.

That thought still jolts me.  Why does this happen?  Why do we lose children, even though they grew up in a “Christian” home?  Well, one of the primary reasons is because of the pagan culture we live in today.  We live in a culture that is in total opposition to what the Bible teaches about life and living, and our children are immersed in that culture. We know we can’t keep our children in a bubble…yes…they must be protected and nurtured…but, they are going to be exposed to the pagan forces of this world in ways that we’ll never be able to totally control.

So, what does the Bible say about raising children in a way that we will not lose them?  I’m glad you asked!

Deuteronomy 6:4-15

4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. 7Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

10 When the LORD your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you—a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, 11 houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant—then when you eat and are satisfied, 12 be careful that you do not forget the LORD, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

13 Fear the LORD your God, serve him only and take your oaths in his name. 14 Do not follow other gods, the gods of the peoples around you; 15for the LORD your God, who is among you, is a jealous God and his anger will burn against you, and he will destroy you from the face of the land.

I believe there are five things that we must understand if we don’t want to lose our children.

#1 We must worship God without rivals

4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Deut. 6:4

What are rivals today?  Well, I’ll give you what I think the number one rival is.  Now this is strictly my opinion and I guess since it’s my blog…that’s what we’ll go with…ha!  I sincerely believe the #1 rival of God in our children’s lives (and ours too for that matter), is too many activities…i.e., sports, classes of all kinds, running every night of the week, etc.  Now please understand I have nothing against any of these things. My kids are involved in all sorts of things. But, there has to be a balance. We can’t be gone every night of the week and expect to raise Godly children. There must be time to teach the things of God.  Can I be bold?  I’ve learned that for most of us…when we were kids and we win trophies at 12, that most of the time by the age of 40 they end up in the basement or attic or the landfill.

When we are never with our kids except for running them to and fro from this thing to that…then guess who is raising our kids?  Not us!  It’s the teachers, coaches, etc.  Is this ok?  Perhaps, you might say…”They are good people.”  But, guess who’s responsibility it is to raise our children?  Parents… That’s you and me!

#2 We must build homes on God’s Love

5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.  Deut. 6:4-6

Love is a decision.  It is a decision of the will…a choice we make, however, it is not void of emotion or feeling…men, nor is it led by just emotion and feelings, ladies.  You’ve heard the man who says, I don’t need to tell her I love her, once at the altar was good enough, if I change my mind, I’ll let her know.  While that may be funny…it’s certainly the wrong philosophy!

What emotion does your children see you exhibit toward the Lord?  I tell you, I try to make my kids blush at least once per week as I love and dote on my wife in front of them.  Nothing out-of-place or wrong here…just hugs and kisses that make them say, “Aw daddy!”  But, they love it.  They feel secure when they see that I show love and affection for their mother and it models it for their future marriages.  By the way, where do you think children learn to love God?  From us!!!  If we get mad and walk out on each other, then it teaches the kids that God made do the same to them.

#3 Teach them diligently (Impress it on them)

7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Deut. 6:7

We do what we call ROP (Rite of Passage) at our church. https://www.amazon.com/Rite-Passage-Home-Church-Christ-Centered/dp/1893729958/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

It’s a Scriptural program.  Why do we need ROP?  Well, when does a young person become an adult?  Well, we don’t seem to know.  So, we, the church want to help.  But, it’s not the churches job to do the work of raising everyone’s child.  The Bible tells us that parents are responsible for raising the children…not the schools, coaches, teachers or, again, the churches.

But, it goes deeper than that.  We say it’s the job of parents to raise the children, but do you know who Moses was talking to specifically here?  He’s using the masculine singular in this passage in Deut. 6?  And that means the Lord is principally talking the Fathers and tells the Fathers it’s their responsibility to lead.  You say this is Old Testament.

Well, Ephesians 6:1-4 tells us something very important…particularly look at verse 4.

1Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2“Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— 3“that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” 4Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

Who’s the direction given to?  The Fathers!  Do you see that?  It’s the Father’s job to lead out in the training and instruction of the Lord! It’s not that the mom’s aren’t involved. Of course they are! In fact, mom’s often are the ones who have the greatest impact on a child in many ways. Yet, the dad’s are to set the tone and be INTENTIONALLY INVOLVED. Boy have we missed that in our culture!  Please hear my heart.  It’s not the church’s job to disciple your children.  Anything the Bible tells you to do that I, as a Pastor or the church, does for you, in essence, serves to cripple you and impair you from doing your job.  I or other pastors are simply crippling you and ultimately, (speaking for myself), I’m being disobedient to the Word.

Have you ever thought about this?  What we make our children crave, love and desire is more important and has more impact on their lives than what we make them learn?  You may need to read that again.  What do your children crave and desire?  If it’s not God and the things of God, then you have a priority problem in your home.

# 4 Mark your home as God’s territory

8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.  Deut. 6:8-9

I encourage people to place verses of Scripture on their bathroom mirrors, the walls of their houses in frames, etc.  Even make smells in your house mean something.  Pictures on the walls should depict your home as marked territory of God.  As believers in Christ we should say, “I’m not going to have anything in my house that doesn’t point to Jesus and show that we are His children.”  Make it a goal to touch all the senses of your children in your home.  We have food from a CrockPot many Sundays because of the hectic pace of the day. Pam puts the food on and it cooks while we’re gone and the children associate the smell of food from the CrockPot very often with the Lord’s Day.  Isn’t that neat?

Another example is the use of a Bible…an actual Bible that you read from in your home. Then pass that Bible down to your kids. I’ve done this with my Bibles as I use them and wear them out. Each of my four kids have an old Bible of mine now. I’m working on the grandchildren now. I pray those old Bibles mark their minds that Daddy (Papa for the grands) loves the Word of God…and loves them!

#5 Keep your prosperity in check

10 When the LORD your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you—a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, 11 houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant—then when you eat and are satisfied, 12 be careful that you do not forget the LORD, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 13 Fear the LORD your God, serve him only and take your oaths in his name. 14 Do not follow other gods, the gods of the peoples around you; 15 for the LORD your God, who is among you, is a jealous God and his anger will burn against you, and he will destroy you from the face of the land.  Deut. 6:10-15

This is simple.  Our children don’t want things…they want you!  Did you see what happened?  The people got all the stuff and they forgot God.  It’s happened in America too.  By the way, you’ve seen the poster that says, “He has the most toys in the end wins.”  Well the truth is, “He who has the most toys in the end still dies!”

As another side note, (this is for the ladies who may be reading this), it’s ok to want to and have the desire to spend your time raising your family.  Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.  This used to never be questioned.  75 years ago…when this nation had a lot less…all the mommies stayed home and took care of their families.  Now look at what we have?  We’ve gotten “wealthy” and prosperous with our two-income families (trying to have it all) and look at the moral decay of our nation.  Now, don’t misquote me and say that just because women have gone en masse into the workforce over the last 75 years that is the reason why the country is sliding into moral decay.  But, I promise you…isn’t hasn’t helped.  It is God’s ultimate and first purpose for a mom to be able to manage and care for her home as the first priority.  If you can work outside the home while making your home the first priority…then that’s wonderful. But, the home is to be the first priority. The Bible tells us so.

3Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. 4Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.  Titus 2:3-5

By the way, it’s ok to come home from work at quitting time too, dads!  One of our biggest problems is that we’re like hamsters running on a wheel.  We are all running around crazy and are worn out and tired and beat to death.  I just read a statistic last week that said kids, when asked what they wanted most from their parents, wanted them to not be so stressed out and tired all the time.  That’s pretty amazing.  Of all the things they could have wanted and that’s what crept to number one.

One last thing…do you know what else the study revealed.  It was simply…this:  If you were to ask your child if they could trade more of Dad and Mom in the home for more house, more vacations, more stuff, more gadgets and trinkets (those are my words for what was said to be “material possessions”), what do you think the kids would say they wanted?  They said, “No.  I’d take more mom and dad.”  Don’t believe this is true?  Just ask them.  They want you!  I promise.

I’ll say it this way…

At the end of your life, the most important thing that you will leave to those you love is the memory of simply being with them. It won’t be the houses, cars, money, material stuff… No, it will be you. Just you. And the truth is: that’s what matters the most to the ones you love most now…today…at this very moment. So, think about that as you pursue life and remember that people are more important than things…every time!

So, how do we make sure we don’t lose our kids to the world?  We must:  #1 Worship God without rivals, #2 Build our homes on God’s love, #3 Teach them diligently, #4 Mark you home as God’s territory and #5 Keep your prosperity in check.  I’d add one last thing…pray, pray, and pray some more…for all you are worth!  We’re in the battle of a lifetime for our children.  Let’s not lose them!  The statistics are stacked against us!  But, we can do all things through Christ and we’re more than conquerors…but, we better prioritize our lives and be INTENTIONAL if we want to have our kids in the percentage who will remain faithful and serve Christ.

Happy Birthday to this lovely young lady…who is now a teenager today!!! Amazing!!! I love you with all my heart Clara!!!

Here is this week’s Two-Minute Tuesday. It fits the topic of today’s post quite well.

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A Fresh Outpouring!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love

Give

Sacrifice

Swallow Hard and do the hard thing!

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

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

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

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

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

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

That’s beautiful!

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

Here’s the one with Kim…

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

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

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

Does that remind you of Psalm 1?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Looking forward to a great time!

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

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

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

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

Enjoying the journey!!!

Kevin

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Do you struggle with focus? Are you doing what you are supposed to be doing? Do you know what that is? Do you understand God’s will for your life?

I’ve written extensively about these topics in the past and I’ll not go into the details again here. However, you can simply type “God’s will” into the search box above and see past posts. Yet, I bring up those questions of “focus” to focus us on what’s important.

What is important in your life? Perhaps these (in no certain order):

  • Family
  • God
  • Health
  • Money
  • Relationships

All of these areas require focus, do they not? You and I have to be focused, for instance, on not overspending if we want to see that we don’t end up out of money and broke. Do you check your bank account often? I do. I do that so that I stay focused and I can invest money where it’s needed the most and can be used for eternal things. I’m trying to be focused.

Let’s take another area of life. Let’s pick “Family.” Are you focused? How is your relationship with your spouse? Your children? It’s mostly going to be a function of time. Yep…time. It’s impossible for us to grow our relationship with anyone unless we spend time with them. I think you’d agree. So, do you talk? Do you communicate with your family? Do you have “down time” where you can chat with your family members? If we don’t make time to do so, it will never happen. The truth is: we DO NOT have time to develop relationships in our lives…we have to MAKE TIME! It’s got to be intentional.

So, how is it with your kids, mom and dad? How is it going for them in their lives? Do you have teenagers? The only way you are going to really know how things are going with them is to spend time with them and verbally talk. Oh, I know you can read their tweets and see what they post on Instagram. But, it’s got to be more than that! If that’s how you communicate, then you are no more to them than an acquaintance who happens to live in the same house.

I read an article recently about why our kids walk away from them faith. It’s excellent. http://theaquilareport.com/why-christian-kids-leave-the-faith/

Bottom line: we’ve got to be spending intentional time. Focused time. If you look at your children’s lives and you ask yourself: “Do I really know what’s going on inside of their heads?”, and the answer you got in return is a bit fuzzy, then you need to take time to go to their room tonight and sit down and say, “How’s it going?” It’s that simple. Once they say, “Fine.” Ask it again and add the word “really.”

How’s it going, really?

Try it. It works. Why? Because they’ll see you care. They’ll see they are more to you than just their kid that you hope doesn’t flunk out of school, or gets into trouble or might embarrass you. They will see that you really do care. And let me add this. Prepare to lose sleep. Why? Because you are worried about them? No, not necessarily. You’ll lose sleep because once you get them talking, they will talk your ears off. They will literally share their heart and how they feel with words and emotions that run the gamut of their feelings and that will TAKE A WHILE. That might mean that a conversation you start at 10:45 pm doesn’t end until 12:30 am, but it will be worth every minute of it, I promise you!

Will you be tired the next day? Probably…but, even in that…the Lord will give you energy that sleep can’t give and He’ll do the same for your child. He is faithful and His mercies are new each morning!

I love my children. I know you know that. But, I just have to say it again! I dearly love my children! I’m so grateful and thankful for them and their unique personalities and idiosyncrasies and little quirky ways. I love the fact that they put up with a dad that makes a lot of mistakes and fumbles and bumbles around trying to be a good daddy, but often ends up being a babbling goofball. I’m grateful for a fantastic wife and mom, who already does the things I’ve mentioned (very well, I might add). But, it’s the dad’s who so often struggle with spending the intentional, concerted time with our children. Dads, can I get a witness?

We long for peace and for serenity and that’s why we’ll often sweep things under the rug or just hope difficulties go away. Why? Because we aren’t good at multi-tasking and we don’t want any more on our plates than we already have. So, it’s easy to stick our heads in the sand and the next thing you know…we don’t have a relationship with our children that’s any closer or vibrant than one of their acquaintances. That’s sad. But, it’s happening in many of our homes.

Dad, think about your children. Think about how they look (even if they are adults now). Think about clasping your hands on their cheeks and looking them in the eyes and saying,

“Let me look at you. Let me remember how you look. Let me look into your eyes and see your heart and know how I can love you, pray for you, support you and encourage you. Let me be here for you. Let me know what I can do.”

I dearly and I mean dearly love these people and so I’m bound and determined to stay connected with them and to intentional love them.

IMG_0729

Of course this includes my new granddaughter Evelyn. A new family picture forthcoming soon! 🙂 May we never allow our lofty goals for our children to interfere with simply recognizing that they are OUR children and are a gift from God.

By the way, some have asked: “What about the Weather? What’s the latest winter forecast?” Well, I’ll link to my good buddy Joe Bastardi for the latest on winter. Click the link below and then click on “Saturday Summary.”

http://www.weatherbell.com/#premium

Here’s what the forecast calls for in the next two weeks… This is Dec 8-13th.

cyw9kgdwgaadby5-jpg-large

That’s cold air folks and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a bit of ice or snow during that period of time. No, I’m not saying a huge storm. But, with the jet stream finally shifting and the Gulf of Mexico finally opening for business and injecting moisture this way…well…you heard it here first. 🙂

Kevin

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