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It’s up to $1.5 BILLION!!

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Got your lottery ticket yet?

Not me.

I won’t be buying any. In fact, I don’t want any. (Someone gave me a lottery ticket one time, and after I got home I tore it up and threw it away.) Why? Because I do not want to be lured into anything that could be detrimental to others. Truly, the lottery is killing a lot of poor families. There are folks who buy lottery tickets (because they are addicted to gambling) versus food for their family. That’s so sad.

Somebody asked me the other day, “Pastor, what if someone won the lottery and wanted to pay off the building debt with their tithe?” I said, “I would politely say, ‘No thanks.'” Why? Because in my heart and mind, that’s money that was won by gambling. The person then asked, “Preacher, don’t you think people put ‘dirty money’ in the offering plate every week?” I said, “Yes…but I don’t know that it’s ‘dirty money.’ With the scenario you just described, I’d know about it.” Now, that’s a personal preference and I can’t be dogmatic about it.

In fact, as I said in my “Two-Minute Tuesday” today, I don’t believe buying a lottery ticket is a sin, but I do believe it “feeds the greed” within us and places our trust on man and not God.

According to The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, here are three (3) interesting facts about state lotteries.

  1. In 2014 lotteries took in $70.1 billion in sales. That’s more than Americans in every state spent on books, recorded music, video games, and tickets to sporting events and movies.
  2. In five states, people spend more than $600 dollars per person per year on lottery tickets: Rhode Island, South Dakota, Massachusetts, West Virginia, and Delaware.
  3. The poorest 1/3 of households purchase 1/2 of all lottery tickets.

The Bible is clear:

Hebrews 13:5

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Proverbs 10:4

A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.

1 Timothy 6:17

…nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.

As for me…I’m going to store up treasures in heaven where moths and rust won’t destroy and thieves won’t break in and steal. Jesus said, “You can’t serve God and money.” The Bible says: “Godliness with contentment is GREAT gain.” And “If a man doesn’t work…let him not eat.” So, that’s my take on the lottery.

Here’s the video. (You’ll note when I cut the video, which I actually taped on Monday, the jackpot was only $1.3 billion):

When are we going to have a scene like this:

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Well, most of the weather prognosticators thought we would have had some by now. The El Nino was so strong that it overwhelmed December and it’s been slow for the pattern to change. But, it finally flipped last week. We are now firmly in a “Negative” pattern, which is code for COLD. The problem is (as always) getting the moisture synced up with the cold. That’s the hard part. We had plenty of moisture, but no cold air. And now we’ve got the cold air, but the moisture is limited. Will the two come together? Well, that will mean that the northern jet stream  will need to buckle south and provide the cold air at the same time the southern jet stream sends moisture from the Gulf of Mexico. Again…it’s all timing.

What I’m seeing is the two weeks we’re going to be close, but probably no cigar (as the old saying goes). We’ll be a bit too warm (even though this weekend might be a closer call than some are now saying). But, I do believe as we move toward the end of the month and into February that we’re finally going to see wintry precipitation. But, here’s the truth. The pattern for the remainder of the winter, (once it sets up), normally persists throughout the rest of the winter. So, whatever happens in the next 3 weeks will tell the tale. Personally, I still believe we’ll see some snow, but the biggest chance looks to be February. Remember it snowed three times last February in the winter I called “Delayed but not Denied” and we could be in for a repeat performance. We’ll see.

Please be in prayer for these lovely ladies…

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That’s (Left to Right), Kristie Cothren, Michele and Julianna Cordray, Lakyn and Melanie Parrish, Jennifer Spencer, Tabitha Garza and Kandace and Pam Brown. 9 strong! And they’re in China right now helping minister to some really, really needy orphans and workers. Please lift the up to the Father, will you? They are living in pretty tough conditions. It got down to almost 40 degrees in their rooms the other night because there was no power. I Facetimed (is that a word?) with Pam and Kan this morning (which was about 9 pm their time…since they are 13 hours ahead) and they were doing well. They were tired and getting ready for bed. The food is kind of rough and the beds are hard as bricks. But, that’s mission work, folks and they’re used to that. But, nonetheless, thanks for the prayers.

How am I doing? Peachy! I’ve got wonderful help. Katy is a fabulous cook and my mom and dad are nearby and I’ve had tons of offers from others (probably many of you reading this). So, thank you, thank you, thank you! And get this! I’ve not even had to fix country ham and scrambled eggs yet (my specialty). 🙂

And I have a wonderful ministry assistant…

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My love to you all!

Kevin

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This is Kandace’s blog and it’s excellent (sorry I’m biased) and I wanted you to see her perspective from our mission journey. Enjoy!

Walk By Faith, Not By Sight

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Philippines Trip 2015

What a week this has been. I’m sitting here typing this in the Detroit airport because we have a four hour layover until our flight to Charlotte. I thought I’d go ahead and get working on this blog while it is all fresh on my mind. My ankles are swollen, I’ve had the same pair of Chacos on for almost a whole day, the powder that I hurriedly put on my face yesterday morning has melted off of my face, the circles under my eyes are probably scaring the people around me, and I’m running on about 3 hours of sleep, but I am happy.

There is no feeling that can compare to the feeling that you have after you’ve been on a mission trip. Yes, you are exhausted, sick of airplanes, airplane food, and sitting, but you feel a certain joy that’s impossible to describe to someone who has never been on a mission trip before. You know that you have done something worthwhile and important. You have made a small dent on another part of the world.

This trip was different than any other trip that I’ve been on. I did things on this trip that I have never done before. It was a lot of new territory for me and at times it was intimidating, but it stretched me and now I feel even more prepared for the other trips that I will go on in the years to come. I didn’t really know what to expect. Everything was pretty hazy before we left. I did try my best to prepare some different things. I can’t stand not having a laid out/thought out game plan. I guess that’s the “Brown” coming out of me. 🙂

Let me start from the beginning of the trip. We left on Wednesday night after church and drove straight to a hotel near the airport in Charlotte, NC. I was blown away by all of the people from the church that came to tell me bye and that they were praying for us. What an amazing church family I have. We were up bright and early the next morning to head to the airport. We flew to Detroit first and then flew the 13 and a half hour flight to Tokyo, Japan. I haven’t flown on a plane for that long since I was 8 when we adopted Clara. I only slept for about an hour and a half of the entire flight. By the time we reached Tokyo at 3 in the morning I was worn out. I experienced deja vu over and over again as we walked through the airport. It was the same airport we had had a stop over at when we went to get Clara. Pretty crazy to have walked through the same place again 10 years later! From there we flew to Manila, Philippines. As soon as we stepped off the plane a wave of sticky heat hit me right in the face. There were Ebola warning signs posted everywhere. That unnerved me a bit. We were also handed a paper in the immigration line that listed potential sicknesses you could get while you were there. I tried not to dwell on the thought of getting some incurable Philippine sickness and being banned from the U.S. I guess when you have only slept for about 4 out of the last 48 hours your brain automatically thinks up the most ridiculous scenarios that it can comprehend.

We finally got our bags and met Pastor Dave outside of the airport by about 10:30 Friday night. We hopped in a little Filipino size car and made it to our condo at about 12:45. The condo was only about 15 miles from the airport. The traffic was so bad that it took us over 2 hours to get there. It was quite a sight! We got to know Pastor Dave and one of the deacons in the church named Romano on the way there. They kept us entertained the whole way! Exhausted was an understatement by the time we made it to our beds though.

We got some rest and were up the next morning (Saturday) to do a crusade at Exodus Elementary School. There were about 550 people there! The principal was so kind to let us use their outside gym area. It’s awesome to see people in the school system who still allow people to come in and share about Jesus. It was a wonderful service. Many prayed to accept Jesus!

12027109_977735408936535_2037930773761725981_oAt Exodus Elementary on Saturday morning.

The next day (Sunday) we had a wonderful service at Shekinah Glory Baptist Church. They are such wonderful people. They immediately accepted us into their church family. Dad preached and many said that they prayed to accept him. I spoke to a group of the girls at the church after the service. Dad spoke to the adults and Pastor Dale spoke to the young men. I loved talking to those young women and sisters in Christ. They listened to me with their whole hearts and we had a question and answer time afterwards. They asked me some challenging questions and we all chipped in to answer them. It was so encouraging to see that people like me who live across the world deal with the exact same struggles and temptations that I deal with. We are different in some ways, but are so alike in others. We are alike in Christ. It was a wonderful time that I will never forget.

12182438_977967165580026_1977110929367950333_oSharing with girls/women at Shekinah Glory.

On Sunday night Shekinah Glory had their 25th Anniversary Homecoming Service. It was a huge celebration! It was such a blessing to watch the church members sing and speak about that last 25 years in their church. The members of Shekinah Glory are so devoted to their church and reaching the people of the Philippines. It was very encouraging to see how this has been lived out so faithfully by these people. It was a wonderful time of worship for us all.

12182418_977944518915624_3698578133049007073_oA picture of the whole church after the Homecoming service.

On Monday morning Dad spoke at the Flag Ceremony in Pasig City. The Mayor and most  of the city officials were there. It was an unbelievable opportunity! Monday was also supposed to be our first day sharing at the schools, but with the typhoon (more on that later) school had been canceled. We instead went to a couple of different prisons in Pasig City. The conditions in those prisons we appalling. Those are truly the desolate and desperate people of the earth. My heart broke for the women/girls I saw behind those bars. They just needed something to believe in. They needed someone to love them and show them their self worth. I sang Amazing Grace to them before Dad spoke. It amazed me at how many of the people knew the words and sang along with me. Dad’s sermon of salvation and freedom in Christ touched many. It was powerful. God was there in a tiny prison in the Philippines. He was there speaking into the hearts of murderers and thieves. People who only knew hopelessness, pain, and sorrow. You are never too far gone. I saw that first hand in those prisons.

121815Dad speaking at the Flag Ceremony in Pasig City.

DSC_0315Speaking in the prison.

DSC_0337Standing outside of one of the prisons with the group from Shekinah.

That night we experienced something that was pretty crazy. We had already been dealing with the torrential rains and high winds that typhoon Lando was bringing in, but we never expected an earthquake! I was sitting on my bed typing out an update for the day when the dogs upstairs in our condominium building started barking VERY loudly. They had barked before quite often, but this time it sounded different. It was more like frantic barking. I found that kind of curious… I glanced at my clock and it said 9:49. I went back to my typing, but not a minute later my bed started shaking. The table and lamp began to rattle and then my door began to sway quickly back and forth. I knew immediately that it was an earthquake. Dad wasn’t so sure. I usually jump to unrealistic conclusions. At first he said it was the wind that was making the building sway. Either way, it was concerning considering that we were staying in a five story building and our room was on the second floor. It went on for about another 30 seconds and then stopped. Not long after that I saw on twitter that there had indeed been an earthquake only about 60 miles away from Manila, Philippines. Needless to say, I slept a little uneasily after that!

On Tuesday we spoke at one of the largest high schools in the area. We shared the gospel with hundreds of students all day long. We went from class to class and spoke over and over again. It was exhausting, but awesome work! I shared my testimony with them. I think many of them were able to relate to it in some way. I had struggled with knowing if I was truly saved or not for years. It was a hard, hard time for me. I didn’t know how to have a relationship with Christ and for the longest time I didn’t even want to have one with him at all. I had to get to the bottom of my emptiness to be able to see what I was missing in my life. As I shared this, I saw many of them cry and nod their heads at what I was saying. The Lord was all over that work.

Untitled 2 copy 2Dad speaking at one of the schools.

DSC_0428Me speaking with a class.

There was one girl who had cried the whole time we were in her class. I felt the Lord prompting me to talk to her. After we had finished our sharing time I asked her if she would be willing to talk to me outside of the class for a minute. She agreed although I could tell that she was a little afraid. I asked her if she was alright and if she wanted to tell me something and she said that her Uncle had been murdered by Muslims. There was so much fear in her eyes. She didn’t go into a lot of detail and I didn’t push her, but I asked her if I could pray over her. I prayed and she cried and then we shared a long hug. Her name is Wendy. I will always remember her. God put her into my path for a reason. I’m sure of that. Please pray for her and her family.

12132616_931900306885113_9213543123360586474_oSpeaking with Wendy.

On Wednesday we went to another school and shared with almost a thousand students at one time. Afterwards, they asked us for pictures with them and for our autographs. They treat us like we are celebrities there. They are so amazed that Americans would come there to see them and invest in their lives. We finished it off by going to another school and sharing for the rest of the afternoon. By the end of the night our voices were gone, our feet were numb from standing all day, and we were beyond exhausted, but I have never felt so satisfied. Knowing that we had shared with so many people in those two days was an amazing thought.

1545064_933479666727177_2986322752695151417_n copyDad speaking to the big group of students at Star of Hope High School.

DSC_0474Me speaking at Star of Hope.

During our days at the schools some of the young people from the church had come along to help translate and hand out tracts. I got to know all of them so much better during that time. There was always laughter and a lively conversation going on. They taught me things about the Philippines and I taught them things about the America (although they already knew almost everything there is to know about America) and we talked about our common interests. We made enough inside jokes to last a lifetime. 😉 I made some true friends for life and I’m so thankful for Facebook so that I can keep up with them! Gotta love technology! I will miss those Jeepnee rides and conversations so much, but there will many more in the years to come. I can’t wait to go back and see my Filipino friends again.

12185569_978003075576435_1971313304603308705_oMe with the Shekinah Glory young people. I love them all so much!

Thursday morning we started a long two days of travel home. I slept the majority of the plane rides home. Exhaustion had finally taken over. That Chick-Fil-A sandwich in Detroit was so good! I love my American cuisine. 😉

This trip changed my life. I know that’s a pretty cliche thing to say, but it’s true. I will never forget my first trip to the Philippines. It’s in my blood now and I’m already planning my next trip. God did so many amazing things. This blog barely scratches the surface of it all. He did a tremendous work in my life through those people. I am so excited for the things to come with this new mission opportunity. I can hardly wait to go back!

Paalam!

Kandace

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Insights on a Nation

What a week! Last week in the Philippines was an amazing time for Pastor Dale Jennings, Kandace and me. Here we are on the plane headed out from Charlotte to Detroit, then to Tokyo, Japan and then Manila, Philippines.

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What an experience! The time difference is 12 hours, so it takes several days to get your body clock adjusted. I kept waking up between 3-4 am ready to go! Once I finally got regulated, it was time to come home. I’m still waking up at the same time here (back home). It’s giving me time to pray (during the 4th watch of the night…as David used to pray). 🙂

There is no way I can possibly share all the occurrences during our 8-day trip. So, I’ll give you the highlights and share some insights about what I learned.

Of course initially, everyone was concerned about Typhoon Lando. Here is a local Filipino station sharing about the coming landfall. 12049474_933479826727161_5658451602922851129_n copy

Thankfully, it was north of us and we just saw about 3-5 inches of rain and about 35-40 mph winds. It devastated the northern part of the island in the are of Luzon. We were south of Manila (the capital).

phil-MMAP-md copy

Amazingly on Monday night of last week there was a 5.4 magnitude earthquake on the island just south of Manila in a town called Occidental Mindoro. It happened at 9:50 am and I was lying in bed on my side (I had just gone to bed) and the next thing I know… I’m lying on my stomach. I had rolled over without desiring to roll over! Kandace burst into the room and said, “Daddy, the building is shaking!” Needless to say, it was a bit harrowing. But, thankfully there were no aftershocks. I slept on the couch that night just in case we needed to make a quick exit. I had our passports, my wallet, phone and tennis shoes beside the sofa!

Here’s the pastor and his wife of the church in Cainta, Rizal.

1531633_754529604585084_4951127547106669814_oThat is Pastor David Dela Paz and his wife, Ethel. What a wonderful couple. This is inside their church. 12029691_933459560062521_1642195109131130381_o copy

The church has about 75-80 people. They are trying to reach a city of nearly 3 million people. They are the only Bible-believing and teaching church in the city. The Philippines are made up of about 7000 islands and the people are close to 90% Catholic. Yet, most are “Cultural Catholics.” It reminds me a lot of Mexico. The country has very few people who actually go to church. The people are by and large good and honorable people, but they are being heavily influenced by the west.

They have all the garbage of America on their TVs: HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, MTV, etc. It’s just a matter of time before the entertainment of the west infiltrates them to the point that they become pagan. It saddened me greatly to see this happening. I saw the same thing happening in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. The clothes the people wear start looking American and the way they act does too. It seems that what “entertains” a people and culture will drive that culture. Just think about America over the last 50 years. I rest my case.

It’s like Hugh Hefner of Playboy Magazine. He said (last week) the magazine would no longer show nude women. Why? Because you can get porn at the click of a button. That’s why I have “Covenant Eyes” on all my devices. He said, “My job is done.” What was his job? He said, “revolutionizing American thinking about nudity.” Yep, Mr. Hefner, I’d say you did a real good job of allowing Satan to use you to corrupt many of our men to the point that only Viagra and Cialis is effective in helping them to be intimate with their wives. Yep, I’d say you really did help to revolutionize this country, indeed.

We will have to take this country back one family at a time and it’s my job to see that I get the job done in my home with my family and then as a leader in the church to guide and equip the flock to do the same. We must return to God’s word and teach it and live it, or we will go the way of the trash pile of the other major civilizations and cultures of the past.

One of the coolest things was to watch my daughter at work.

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She taught and she sang…

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The students thought she was some sort of famous person. They wanted her autograph.

12003872_933480340060443_7430117168797336166_n copySee the guy with the umbrella over her head. Amazing! She handled it in stride and gave the Lord the glory. Needless to say, I was very proud of her and how she handled a lot of stuff that could have easily gone to her head. The truth is…Americans are automatically seen as some sort of “rock star” there. I was a freak of nature (being so tall). Most of the Filipinos are very short. So, I was gawked at everywhere we went. “Wow! Look at the giant!”

The teaching in the schools was amazing! Here I am (with my translator, Pastor Dave, to the right) in front of close to 1,000 students.

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Can you imagine that!?! We were actually allowed to go into the public schools and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Unreal! That would NEVER happen here in the U.S. Yet, it used to… 50 years ago… Even up to the time I was in the fifth grade, we read the Bible in class and prayed every morning before school started. But, we’ve got so “smart and civilized” today. Yes, today we’re so intelligent that we’ve pushed God right out of the classroom and replaced Him with evolution and secular humanism. And look at where that’s getting us as a nation. Are we better off today than we were when you are a kid? We’re a disaster waiting to happen unless we return to the Lord. Well, enough of that…I’m a broken record on that. Sorry! 🙂

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The students seemed to enjoy what we shared.

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We had between 30 and 50 minutes in each class. The older the students, the more time we had. Here’s Pastor Dale helping me by imitating Jesus on the cross. Our translator, Xervoz (pronounced Serve-OS) is to the right.

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We were able to pray with the students after sharing the plan of salvation. We supplied them with tracts that contained the Gospel of John and the “Seven Steps to Knowing God.” Again, I was a just blown away that we were allowed to do this in public schools. Obviously the Filipino government has learned about the erroneous “Separation of Church and State” that we have in America. But, one day, I’m confident they will. Therefore, we must strike while the iron is hot and that’s why I’ll be going back taking more people in the future. You talk about ROI (Return On Investment)! We were able to share with well over 5,000 students (and that’s a conservative number) while we were there. And not only that, we got to go into the prisons.

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Do you see above in the left side of the picture? Those are women. The men were in front of me and the women to the left in this prison in Pasig City. They were packed in there like sardines and the heat and the odor was almost unbearable. Many of the men had to sit on the floor with the legs spread out and other men between their legs to get everyone in the holding cell to listen to us speak. It was humbling to say the least. Here’s the crazy thing. If you asked them if they are a Christian, the prisoners will all shout, “YES!” But, the truth is I’m afraid, once again…most are just “cultural Catholics” and have no relationship with Jesus. It was heartbreaking, but I poured my heart out about how to know Jesus personally and to have a real relationship with Him. Many prayed to receive Christ. And like with the students in the schools, only God knows.

Here’s something that was really cool. 121815

That’s me sharing in front of over 1000 government workers, city officials and the mayor of Pasig City. I was allowed to share the Gospel with them. I did! And I didn’t hold back. I shared in about 3 minutes and they were very receptive. Again, I’m absolutely astounded to have had these opportunities. I shook the mayors hand, a very nice lady, who thanked me for coming. That’s her (below in the white shirt preparing to come to the podium.)

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Perhaps one of the neatest things for me was the opportunity to meet the Chief of Police in a city called Tay Tay. His name is Colonel Jong. He loves (of all things) basketball. And get this…well…just take a look at what we did…

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Can you tell we worked up a sweat?

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I would guess Colonel Jong is about 5’4″ tall. Needless to say, I towered over him. He asked me to bend over for the picture. 🙂

But, here’s the thing… He allowed me to speak to his police force and the Assistant Mayor came as well. What an opportunity to share the Gospel…again!

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Overall, it was a fantastic journey! And the thing that I enjoyed the most (beyond sharing the Gospel) was being with this wonderful, beautiful, godly young lady…

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I’m a blessed man indeed!

I’m so grateful for a loving and mission minded church that’s willing to send missionaries to share the Gospel throughout the world. We’ve got another team heading out in January to China. Pam and Kandace will be on that one too! Woohoo! What a joy to “seek and save that which is lost and to share the love of Jesus.”

I took this picture this morning at the DMV…

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I had to get my license renewed (another 8 years…I’ll be 55 when I renew again…Lord willing.) 🙂

God’s beauty! And to Him be the glory!

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Off to the Philippines

See this map…

Cainta.10

See the city beside of Manila that Cainta? That’s where I’m headed for the next week and a half. To be specific that is Cainta Rizal, Philippines. Here’s a bigger map of the Philippines. You’ll see it’s beside of Malaysia.

phil-MMAP-md copyAnd finally, here’s a map that will show you how small the Philippine islands are compared to the rest of the world. See the orange arrow (bottom-right).

eb9eb4511cea47ab33a33bc3e606ea68You’ll see how close the Philippines are to the Equator.

It’s hot there. It will be around 90 degrees with oppressive humidity and a good chance of rain most days while we’re there.

I’m not the only one going. Kandace is going as well as my dear friend and fellow pastor Dale Jennings. Pastor Dale has been many times and is leading the trip. This is my and Kandace’s first trip. I’m going to be looking and praying to see if the Lord might want us at MPBC to ramp up the work there. There is so much to be done. There are less than 2% Christians there. Yet, 90% of the people will tell you they are Christians because they are Catholic. Yet, most are cultural Catholics (don’t attend mass) and have no relationship with Christ anyway. But, they’ll tell you they are Christians. (Sounds like America doesn’t it?)

Here’s the crazy thing. We are going to get to go into the schools and even talk to government officials about Jesus. Isn’t that amazing! The thoughts of doing something like that here in America is…well…you’ve got a better chance of flapping your arms and getting to Mars than you do talking about Jesus in a public school in an “Assembly” setting or going to the local mayor’s meeting and sharing John 14:6. We’ve sunk so far as a nation. Yet, for now…we have open doors to the Philippines and thousands of teenagers. On Monday of next week we will be speaking at Star of Hope High School, Repsci High School and Nageayong High School. On Tuesday, the 20th we’ll be sharing with 4,000+ students at M.I. Santos High School.

I’m going to tell you who will likely make the greatest impact…

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…that young lady in the purple. Kandace will tremendously impact those young adults with her testimony and story of how you can have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. She’s also going to be singing. They’ll love her! (Sorry, I couldn’t help but get a picture of Charlotte thrown in there to boot :)).

On Wednesday we’ll be going to three different prisons in Cainta, Pasig and Taytay sharing with the inmates, army and prison authorities.

If I may back up a second. On Saturday we’ll be speaking at an Evangelistic Crusade at 8 am at an Elementary School. And then that afternoon we’ll be at the church (Shekinah Glory Baptist Church) sharing with about 8 churches, their pastors and members. It will be a time of encouragement for these churches. On Sunday 9 am, we’ll be having a crusade at the church where I will be preaching and Kandace singing. Later in the morning, I have the privilege of sharing with the adults, while Dale and Kandace share with the young adults and students. That night I’ll be preaching at their 25th Silver Anniversary Celebration of the existence of Shekinah Glory Baptist Church.

We’ll head back on Thursday, October 22nd, arriving back in Charlotte around 10 pm that night. It will be in the wee hours of Friday the 23rd when we arrive back home to Purlear.

Can I ask you to pray for us? There are around 100 million people in the area where we will be ministering. Again, 90% are Catholic, 5% Muslim and Cults and less than 2% Evangelical Christian. Pray for stamina and strength. On Monday and Tuesday particularly we will be speaking over and over again as the students are brought in at about 30-45 minutes until we run through all students of the schools. We go to bed late and get up early. We are 12 hours ahead. So, when it’s 8 am here, it’s 8 pm there. Pray I can handle the flight. The older I get, the less I like being on a plane. I’m not made for a plane at 6’6″ tall. Thankfully, Pastor Dale got us a bulkhead seat (an exit row) for the 13 hour 10 minute jaunt from Detroit to Tokyo (the longest leg of the journey). Thank you Dale! And yes, when he told me, I kissed him on top of the head!!! (He’s getting used to that and smiles and tolerates my silliness!)

Pray for our families back home as we will miss them. Pray most of all that we might say something that would be used by the Holy Spirit to save lives. Pray for boldness. Strong stomachs (eating strange food), good health, decent rest and no “Satanic wrenches” thrown into things.

Thank you for doing so and I’ll update you when I get back. If we have some kind of internet connection, I might try to put out a quick update if I can via the net. So, check back here next week. I love you all!

Kevin, Kandace and Pastor Dale

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NOTE: MPBC FOLKS, you’ll be getting the full report tomorrow night during the service of what’s listed below…

Through the years I’ve had people ask me, “Why do you go all the way to Texas to minister to Hispanics? Why don’t you do it right here?” Well, the answer is a bit trite, but it is the truth: God told us to…

Just as Peter was led to Joppa to raise Dorcas (Tabitha) from the dead and he would later go to Caeserea to share the Gospel with a Gentile, centurion soldier, Cornelius… Just as Philip would leave an area of revival to go and share the Gospel with a eunuch from Ethiopia. Just as Jesus would share with Zacchaeus in a tree and a Samaritan woman at a well and a man with a withered hand outside a synagogue… So, we must do the same and follow their example and go share the Gospel.

What’s the example I’m speaking of?

Most often in Scripture we see the Gospel transferring from person to person. Yes, there was a great revival at Pentecost, (3,000 saved in one day) but throughout the Epistles, you see the Gospel traveling mostly from person to person and from household to household. Lydia and her entire household was saved. So was the Philippian jailer’s. Do you see the pattern? Without question, spreading the Gospel can be done by mega churches and mega crusades, but it is most often done by sharing one on one or with households of people.

That’s why we go to Weslaco, Texas. That’s why we walk across the street or over to the next cubicle. But, there is more than just sharing the Gospel. There is the mandate to “make disciples.” Remember this…

Matthew 28:18-20

18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Disciple-making takes time and it’s not easy. It’s a “roll up your sleeves” proposition. Therefore, it’s just easier to stay in our cocoons of safety and not do it. (Sadly, I’m speaking from experience here.) It’s much easier to write a check or fund a ministry than it is to actually care enough about people to do anything.

Back to the question. Why do you go all the way to Texas to do ministry? Why not just do it here in North Carolina? Well, Jesus gave us this command and His final directive before He ascended into heaven from the Mount of Olives…

Acts 1:8

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.

I had a man say to me one time, “Before we go anywhere else we need to share the Gospel with everyone in our Jerusalem.” I told the man (kindly) that he was wrong. Jesus was teaching that we must do it all. We must do ministry and share the Gospel in our Jerusalem, (Local) Judea, (State), Samaria (Nation), and to the end of the earth (World). We do it all at the same time…

  • Local
  • State
  • Nation
  • World

If we didn’t do ministry (all-as-you-go-style), we’d never share the Gospel beyond our local communities. We’ll never be able to totally cover our neighborhoods or towns. So, we go as the Holy Spirit directs and do all that we can as we go.

I don’t know if I’ve ever shared with you how the Lord brought us to Texas and Mexico. Years ago, back in 2008 I met a local doctor at our county hospital and he had just returned from doing work in Texas and Mexico. He shared with me and I was so intrigued, I asked him to come to the church and share. He did on a Sunday night about a month later and the church was hooked. So, off to Mexico and Texas we headed in 2009.

This is an aerial view of the mission house (green roof) and the house in front of it (bottom left), which we call the “front house,” where a missionary named Harold Ward and his wife lived.

Weslaco Mission House

Mr. Ward and his wife retired to Texas where they bought that green-roofed building, which was a cantina (bar). He turned it into a place where mission teams could come and live for a week and do work in Mexico building churches for those whose congregations couldn’t afford to do so. This is a screen shot of the old website that was used to describe the work.

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As you can see, the mission house was named after Mr. Ward and it was called, “The King’s Ward.”

I couldn’t find a picture of that 2009 team. If anyone has a copy, can you email me please? Here’s a picture of the 2010 team.

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We went into Mexico and help to build a church for a small church called El Laurel. That’s the pastor, Oscar Martinez to the right.

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As you can tell they were meeting in the front yard of their home. This was their home…

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In the last six years, we’ve gone from this…

3 Progresso Early Stages

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…to help them build this:

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This is the inside of what they call the “Temple” with one of our June teams from last year.

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As you might remember, the mission house went up for sale three years ago and MPBC raised over $90,000 and bought it. Can you believe we bought two houses, three vans and trailer for just $90,000? God is good! But, over the last year or so there has been a transition in the work in Mexico because of the danger from the drug cartels.

There is a tremendous amount of corruption in Mexico. It’s hard to trust the government or even the police for that matter. So, we did not take our team in last week. We stayed in Weslaco and really poured our hearts and lives into this church.

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That’s Jason Church to the right. He’s the pastor of “Church of No Walls.” He and his wife, Katie, left their home here in Wilkes County 3 years ago to go to Weslaco (sight unseen) and become missionaries to the people of Weslaco, Texas. They now have two precious boys, Caleb and Wesley.

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The church has grown rapidly under Jason’s leadership and direction. Jason loves people. He’s a soul-winning machine.

Here he’s praying with a man in a rest home we visited.

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This picture really gets me…

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Here he is with Brent Edmiston praying with a young man named Isaiah. Isaiah has a tough life and doesn’t have a male (father) in his life. Jason is that man. He has a passion for the people of Weslaco.

Kandace shared about the darkness of this town from our MPBC Team site on her blog and on Facebook. Here’s the links:

http://kandace098.blogspot.com/2015/06/texas-mission-trip-2015.html

https://www.facebook.com/pages/MPBC-Texas-June-2015-Team/1443431869295397?fref=ts

Here’s an excerpt of her description of the conditions there:

There aren’t many places that you can go to in America where someone has never heard of Billy Graham or where in the local Walmart there are books with 7 steps on how to overcome Satan’s hold on your life. But, that’s what you’ll find in Weslaco, TX. There is an oppression there that you can feel very deeply. These people desperately need someone to put their hope in (Jesus). 

Jason and Katie have done a great job teaching the Bible and showing love. The people are just so in need of someone to care and love them. I can’t count how many times I thanked God on the trip that Jason and Katie are there to help these people. They finally have a steady place to go to get love and encouragement. So many relationships were formed and made stronger this past week. It was so encouraging to know that when we left, the people have Jason and Katie there to continue this work. 
The Church of No Walls is bursting at the seams. I know God has great things in store. Please pray for Jason and Katie as they continue to try to reach the adults and children in the community. I am so excited to see what God does in Weslaco, Texas. He has already started a great work! 

Here’s the church where we were eating with them in the Mission House last week.

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We were spread out in the dining hall, kitchen, and game room. We used the men’s and women’s sleeping quarters for counseling rooms. It was wonderful! Many, many lives are being touched.

I want to show you a note that one of the teenage girls left for me on my bunk in the men’s quarters. She didn’t know who would be getting it and that’s why she addressed it: “Dear Reader.”

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Now folks, if that don’t light your fire, your wood is all wet! 🙂

Here’s a letter from this young girl’s mother. Her name is Vanessa and she just gave her life to the Lord about 3 weeks ago. Jason and Katie led her to Christ and one of her sons (she has four children total) made a profession of faith Friday night at the celebration service at the mission house. There’s a total of three pictures showing Vanessa’s letter.

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Isn’t that powerful!

As I’ve mentioned, the growth of the church is so pronounced that we have started investigating renting a building on Texas Blvd (which is main street) in Weslaco.  We are sensing the Lord is in this next step. A building will give the church greater legitimacy versus meeting in a house in a residential area. At this point, the members of the church don’t have enough money to rent a building on their own, so we (MPBC) will have to help support them until they can do so. Yet, our fundraising has been so good over the last year that we should be able to do so with little problem.

I’ll conclude by showing you two of my favorite pictures from the trip.

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Those are some of the girls’ and ladies’ feet from our team and the ladies in Wesalco. That’s the body of Christ folks! And how about this picture of the men and young men…

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Again, that’s the body of Christ in action.

Why do we go?

We go because I ran into a doctor at Wilkes Regional Medical Center 8 years ago and the Lord has directed us from there. We go because Jesus said to go and make disciples of all nations. And that’s why we’ll be sending people to the Philippines in October and China in January. We go because Jesus said:

Acts 1:8

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.

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I can’t get that phrase out of my mind.

“Preach the Word.”

That’s our marching order in a nutshell.

Go and make disciples…

You are my witnesses…

You are my ambassadors…

As followers of Christ. As Christians (which literally means: little Christ), we have been commanded to continue the work that Jesus started. While He was here He said, “I am come to seek and save that which is lost.” We must continue the will of our Master.

But, we are called by the world to compromise that mission over and over again. We are wooed by Satan to live for our own kingdom, our own desires, our own goals.

Here we are in 2015. We’re firmly entrenched into the year. We’re already 13 days in… Will we live this year for the King of Kings and Lord of Lords? It’s your choice and it’s mine.

I preached a message last week about this command the Holy Spirit inspired the Apostle Paul to write to Timothy…

“Preach the word…”

I just can’t get it off my mind. I know most people think that command is just for “preachers.” But, the truth is: we’re all preachers! We all have our place of ministry. Your ministry is where you’re at! You understand that don’t you? Your ministry is where you are! It’s where you live, work, play, eat out, go to the grocery store, etc. It’s your job to reach the people in your circle of influence, your sphere of impact.

Yet, if you are going to reach people in your circle who don’t know Jesus, you are going to have to love them with the truth, not compromise. Do you get that? The truth…not compromise.

I love what Dr. David Black says:

“There can be no peace and joy until there is first righteousness. It is a great disservice to soothe unsaved people with a false peace and bestir them with an artificial joy when they are not right with God. Pain killers are not enough. The broken bones must be set first.”

I was tempted last week to compromise the truth of God’s word. I fought it in my mind for about 10 seconds and then I heard the voice of the Spirit and He said, “Kevin, preach the word.”

Paul was right.

1 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. 2 Timothy 4:1-5

Do you understand that we will suffer for proclaiming the truth? That’s why Paul told Timothy he better be ready to endure suffering. The only way we’ll fulfill our ministry is to be willing and ready to suffer for the truth, just as Jesus did.

Will we proclaim the Gospel?

“If we have lost the clear proclamation of the gospel—(Jesus’ death on the cross for our sin and in our place)—or if we downplay repentance and forgiveness, I think we’ve removed the intentional stumbling block of the cross.” Ed Stetzer, President, LifeWay Christian Bookstores

Jesus is stumbling block to this world. He’s not a fluffy cushion. He’s the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

“The message we have been given to preach is countercultural, status quo challenging…it cuts against the grain of surrounding culture, it convicts of sin, and it calls people to put their faith in Jesus Christ. It calls them to change direction.” Mark Dever, Pastor, Capitol Hill Baptist Church, Washington, D.C.

We live in a culture now where a Baptist Church has to write in their ad for a pastor that he must believe the Bible. Are you kidding? Click on the picture below from the Biblical Recorder if you don’t believe me.

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Oh the itching ears of our day! They no longer want truth. They want a graven image…a god that suits their lifestyles, their habits, their inhibitions, their sins. What a slap in the face of Christ who died to set us free from our sins. The culture (even some in Christendom) want us to accept sin and “love” the person. Well, the greatest love we can show a person who is sick is to help them hold their nose as they swallow the medicine that will save their lives. A diabetic will have to endure the stick of the needle for the life-giving insulin. The pain lasts for a moment. For a sinner, they must understand the bad new, before they can understand and grasp the Good News. The good news of the Gospel is that Jesus died in our place so that we can receive His mercy and grace and forgiveness. But, they must hear the bad news.

Oswald Chambers wrote almost 100 years ago:

“In dealing with other people, our stance should always be to drive them toward making a decision of their will. That is how surrendering to God begins. The theme of the world’s religion today is to serve in a pleasant, non-confrontational manner. But our only priority must be to present Jesus Christ crucified— to lift Him up all the time (1 Corinthians 2:2).

Every belief that is not firmly rooted in the Cross of Christ will lead people astray. The calling of a New Testament worker is to expose sin and to reveal Jesus Christ as Savior… We are sent by God to lift up Jesus Christ, not to give wonderfully beautiful speeches. We must be willing to examine others as deeply as God has examined us. We must also be sharply intent on sensing those Scripture passages that will drive the truth home, and then not be afraid to apply them.” Oswald Chamber, My Utmost For His Highest

Will we preach the Word? Will we compromise and look the other way when pushed? Will we accept sin as normal because the culture does?

Theologian John Stott once said, “There are many popular preachers today, but not many powerful ones.” Yes, many preachers can elicit all kinds of wild emotions, but that doesn’t necessarily transform lives.

George Barna, the research guru has it right when he describes the idea of a “market-driven, consumer satisfaction” philosophy in our churches today.

“Consumer satisfaction means that the standard of righteousness cannot be raised too high. And there you have the seeds of a ‘watered down gospel’ sown in the very philosophy that drives many ministries and many churches today. And make no mistake about it, this methodology, this new philosophy of ministry is altering the message the church conveys to the world. 

Unfortunately, the market-driven philosophy appeals to the very worst mood of our age. It caters to people whose first love is self and who do not care for God unless they can have Him without disrupting their lifestyles. Promise such people a religion that will allow them to be comfortable in their materialism and comfortable in their self-love and they will respond in droves.” George Barna, Barna Research Group

God forbid! Al Mohler recently wrote:

“The sacred desk (the pulpit) has become an advice center and the pew has become the therapist’s couch. The problem, of course, is the sinner does not know what his most urgent need is. He is blind to his need for redemption and reconciliation to God, and focuses on… personal fulfillment, financial security, family peace, and career advancement.

In the end, the Christian preacher simply must confront the congregation with the Word of God. That confrontation will be at times awkward, challenging and difficult. After all, this is the Word that pierces us like a sword. The evangelical preacher must set his aim at letting the sword loose, neither hiding it nor dulling its edge.” Al Mohler, President Southern Seminary

Methodist writer, Bill McKibbens said this about our modern-day churches:

“The pastors focus relentlessly on you and your individual needs. Their goal is to service consumers… The result is often a kind of soft-focus, comfortable, suburban faith. A New York Times reporter visiting one booming mega-church outside Phoenix recently found the typical scene: a drive-through latte stand…sermons about ‘how to reach your financial goals, how to invest your money and reduce your debt.’ On Sundays children played with church-distributed Xboxes, and many congregants had signed up for a twice-weekly aerobics class called ‘Firm Believers.’” Bill McKibbens

Is this what we’ve become? I pray not!

Preach the word dear friend and follower of Jesus. Be prepared to lose friends over it. Be prepared to be called “closed-minded.” Be prepared to be called names that can’t be repeated here. Yes, preach the word! Preach it in love. Preach it seasoned with grace. Preach it with clarity and boldness, but for the love of the King…preach the Word!

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Want to see the latest winter forecast…stay tuned…it’s coming up… But, before I share that with you, I wanted to tell you about a couple of cool things going on this week.

First of all, I had the privilege of offering the dedication prayer at the new Samaritan’s Purse hangar at the Wilkes County airport earlier today. I had the opportunity to meet Franklin Graham for the first time.

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He is a very down to earth, kind and gracious man. I also had the opportunity to meet his wife, Jane. She, too, is a wonderful, delightful lady.

Franklin is maliciously maligned because he stands for truth, God’s Word and proclaims the name of Jesus Christ. If you don’t believe me, take a look at the link on Wikipedia about him. It’s all about “Controversy.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franklin_Graham

What he’s done leading Samaritan’s Purse is astounding! The way this organization reaches out to help those in need throughout the world is amazing! The new building they’re in (the old Lowe’s Home Improvement hangar) is phenomenal. You could eat off the floors. This is a shot of the small plane and helicopter they use. There are a total of 5 or 6 hangars that they now own at the Wilkes County Airport.

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They had several of their large “Disaster Relief” trucks parked outside the hangars. Here’s one of them.

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Inside of these trucks is amazing! Take a look at this kitchen:

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Here’s part of the “Command Center.”

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They fed us a wonderful BBQ dinner and it was nice to see a lot of the local dignitaries there. Bottom line: Samaritan’s Purse is a class act and they are doing the work of the Lord the right way. Helping people in need by giving them food (help/relief) in one hand, and the Gospel in the other.

Here’s a picture of Fairview Baptist in Hiddennite, NC.

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I’m starting my third night with them tonight. You’ll see the church is in the shape of an octagon. It’s really neat. Here’s the inside:

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I’m preaching on “A Call to Purity.” The last two nights have been wonderful. The pastor is a whopping 26-years old. This is Durant Barr.

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He’s a jewel! He is pastoring his wife’s grandfather’s church (where he pastored around 40 years). Talk about tough shoes to fill! In fact, I told Durant, “Brother you can’t fill his shoes. Just walk in yours and you’ll be fine.” The people really love him and his wife, Kayla.

Barr

It’s been a wonderful time. I must say that you can’t always judge what’s going on if there is a full altar or not at the end of a service, but there has been a full altar both nights. I believe the church is sincere and desires revival and renewal and it’s been an easy time preaching. We talked about prayer on Sunday night and last night we talked about knowing the will of God. There are some really good people there. Pray for us as we finish up the next two nights.

Well, let’s talk weather.

Here’s what I’m going with for temperatures and snowfall for the coming winter. I’m riding the coattails of Joe Bastardi and http://www.weatherbell.coom. Snowfall first…

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You’ll see the bull’s eye is the Ohio and Tennessee valleys. North Carolina is in the 133% of normal range. That puts us in line for about 14-15 inches (in Western NC), if this pans out. But, understand something, please. This is an “AVERAGE” forecast. I’m here to tell you that somebody is going to get a ton of snow this year. I’m convinced based on the patterns we are seeing set up that somebody is NC is going to see a snowfall that eclipses a foot. There is zero chance of forecasting something like that. But, I believe there is a 50/50 chance of North Carolina seeing a couple of major snowfalls (4″-6″ or better) and somebody is going to see a lot more than that.

Here’s the temperature forecast. It’s based on Celsius. So, this would be about 8 degrees Fahrenheit below normal.

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That’s cold folks! Now remember, there will be fluctuations during the winter. It won’t be cold all winter, but it will be colder than normal and here’s one reason why.

This map shows the snow cover right now in northern Canada and Siberia. It’s TWICE as much as normal. Folks, that’s where we get our cold air.

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So, count on cold shots similar to last year.

One more thing. All the Global Warming folks (they call it Climate Change now) scream about increasing temperatures. Well, take a look at this chart.

IMG_1634You will see the temperature change from around 400 BC to the year 2000. Look at the ups and down. Yes, the temperatures haven risen (globally) in the last 50 years, but look at the temps in 400 A.D. and 950-1000 A.D. We’ve not reached those yet. So, calm down Al Gore. You said all the Arctic ice caps would be gone by 2014. Well, it’s 2014 and we’ve got twice as much snow on the ground right now in the Arctic than normal. 🙂

I’m going to list some other very reputable weather sites for their forecast for the winter. They are all pretty much in agreement: Colder/Snowier!

Ray’s Weather in Boone: http://raysweather.com/public/FearlessForecast.pdf

NC Piedmont: http://www.ncpiedmontweather.com/2014/10/winter-forecast-final-outlook-2014-2015/

Finally, here’s John Piper’s thoughts on Halloween…

http://www.churchleaders.com/children/childrens-ministry-videos/156066-john_piper_on_halloween.html?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=cl_topvideos&utm_content=CL+TodaysVideo+-+20141024

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