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Archive for the ‘Suffering’ Category

Suicide-The Newest Fad

Is that title provocative or what? Yet, it’s the truth. Suicide is becoming a fad in our culture. More and more young people, particularly, believe it’s the way out of the problems. Suicide is now the second leading cause of death among 10-24 year olds.

I was watching a documentary on this the other day and I saw where one of the counselors being interviewed, (about helping a High School address a recent suicide), said, “We don’t recommend having memorial services for the deceased so that the high schoolers can attend.” The reporter asked why? The counselor said, “Because there is too much ‘glorification’ of suicide right now. If these kids know that the whole school is going to stop and weep over them…well…it’s something glamorous…and we don’t recommend it to school guidance counselors.” That makes total sense to me.

As a pastor, one of the most troubling things I deal with is the subject of depression and suicide. Truly they go hand-in-hand. It’s deep and dark depression that leads to suicidal thoughts and ultimately the act of suicide. Let me say this: I’m not trained to handle suicide. I tell folks this all the time. If you want to talk and you want me to share with you and listen to you and encourage you…yes, please come see me. But, I’m not trained in the brain. I don’t understand all of the nuances of how the mind works. Therefore, I never want to say or do anything that would lead to more harm.

You see, I believe there is a balance in working with people. You (I’m speaking of myself) have to know yourself and what you can handle and are capable of handling. I, as a pastor, feel I can handle marriage counseling, financial counseling, family counseling, behavioral counseling (to a point). But, when it gets to be issues of someone is on the phone and they’re on a ledge about to jump…no…don’t call me first…call 911 first. I’m not trained to talk people off a building rooftop. The same is true with drug addiction. That’s over my head.

Honestly, I didn’t believe this way when I started out pastoring 12 years ago. I thought I had to have all the answers. I thought, “There paying me to have the answers.” I realized that wasn’t true. I realized there are issues that I’m not equipped to handle and I’m a better pastor to admit that versus trying to make it look like I know what I’m talking about. That’s nothing but blatant pride! So, I’m honest with people. I’m candid with people. I try to lower their expectations. I’m not a miracle worker and I don’t have a magic wand.

Here’s the truth. By the time a lot of people call me for counseling, they’ve already made up their mind. Let’s take marriage counseling for instance. What I’ve seen through the years is that one or both of the spouses has already given up and they simply agree to counseling to check it off the list so that they can tell everyone that they “exhausted all possible avenues,” including counseling. The truth is: I can tell in the first 15 minutes if one or both have already given up. That’s tough when that happens, because then it will only be a miracle from the hand of God that can save the marriage. Only God can change the human heart. I can only do so much and the same is true of you.

Today’s Two-Minute Tuesday is: “Exit: The Appeal of Suicide.”

https://subsplash.com/mpbc/v/q9puzbu

The movie is excellent. It’s about 37 minutes long, but it’s not something I can show in church (with our children). However, if you know of anyone who is in that dark place or dealing with depression or suicide, I would encourage you to pass along this website:

http://www.theexitmovie.com

Without question, we all go through seasons of time in our lives that are very dark and very difficult. I think of the Apostle Paul when he said that he was “so burdened beyond his strength.”

2 Corinthians 1:3-11

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.

For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. 10 He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. 11 You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.

Verse 9 said he felt “the sentence of death” on his life. Maybe you have been there. Maybe you are there. Know that you are not alone. Know that you are loved and are valuable to God. He loves you so much, He sent Jesus to die for you…to save you…so that you might have eternal life.

Jesus, Himself, would cry out on the cross in His grief and anguish. He, too, felt such terrible stress and pain in the Garden of Gethsemane that He literally sweat drops of blood. He’s been there. The writer of Hebrews says:

15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Hebrews 4:15

Jesus loves us and He is able to bring meaning, purpose and hope into the life of each and every soul that will come to Him. He says:

28 “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

I know in my own life of almost 50 years the there is no one or nothing that can give strength, power, purpose and meaning outside of Jesus Christ. Anything else is counterfeit and won’t last. If you need help, get help. Talk to a Christian counselor or pastor or trusted Christian friend.

The most important thing for those of us who are trying to help and encourage people is to know that we don’t have to have all the answers. We just need to be there and listen. Just be a shoulder for others to lean on.

I think of the first century church. There were no counseling services like we have today. It was just Christians helping Christians and the Holy Spirit to comfort, teach and guide. I believe Peter said as much in:

2 Peter 1:3-11

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. 11 For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

I do believe there is a place for professional counseling, (I’ve already said that), but I believe the greatest Counselor is the Wonderful Counselor and that’s the Lord Jesus Christ, who operates in our lives through the Holy Spirit. If you are struggling today in any way…look to Christ. Bow your head and pray right now. Call on the name of the Lord! He’s waiting and He loves you!!

Kevin

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Does it feel this way to anyone else? America has been placed on a fast track to destruction? I sure feel that way. I shared in my “Two-Minute Tuesday” (TMT) on Facebook today about Scottish historian, Alexander Tytler’s “Cycle in History,” regarding the rise and fall of nations and empires.

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In order to truly “get” the rest of this post, you’ll need to watch today’s TMT here in order to understand what I’m saying.

http://subsplash.com/mpbc/v/743d6d8

As I was discussing this TMT and this whole idea with a man earlier today, he said the following to me [Note: my words in parenthesis]:

One thing different from past cultures (that ended) in bondage to ours, (currently today), is that America’s drive towards bondage has happened in turbo. We broke the sound barrier speeding through complacency and apathy to get us where we are now.  Only hope is that breaking free will happen at a blistering pace as well, but as seen in history that event usually takes a long time to get to. Good time to shine light when everything around us is dark. Like moths to a flame they will come looking for freedom from darkness.

I said, “Amen Brother!”

Truly, our only hope as a country is to come to Christ. My fear is that we’re too late. We are quickly moving to “Dependence” and “Bondage” will soon follow. However, after Bondage and the pain that comes from it comes the opportunity for “Spiritual Faith” again. That’s my hope and that’s my trust! 🙂

And here’s what’s amazing. I had a man respond to my TMT and our conversation proved my point exactly. His comment is in BOLD.

I suspect this won’t be well-received, but I wish I heard more from preachers about unconditional love, peace, humility, and charity, and much less about promoting right-wing politics.
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D Kevin BrownThanks David, but this was not a political message, but a message of history. I shared about two distinctly different world views. One worldview that focuses on the acceptance of what man believes (secular humanism-where each person decides what is right and wrong), versus the worldview where God’s Word is the authority and we are held accountable to the standards of God. The former is “accepting” of all things depending on human reasoning, the latter submits to Almighty God and that which corresponds with His timeless Word. The adjectives you have described above are code words for “preaching that tickles the ears of man” and says, “Live any way you like and have standards that are politically correct based on the changing winds of culture.” America will soon crumble under the weight of the former worldview. Tytler’s Historical Chart will prove to be true. I stand as a voice crying out in the wilderness. Thus, I will not be well-received (just as you stated that you wouldn’t in your comment). Therefore we are in similar company. 🙂 How about that? Thanks again for your comment. I can see you have a heart filled with good will and I appreciate that about you and how you chose to respond to what you disagreed with in my TMT without attacking me personally (as often happens to me). Thank you David! 🙂
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His comment in Bold.

Thank you, Kevin. I appreciate your response and I too prefer debates over ideas rather than attacks on people. But I suspect your message comes across as more political than you may realize. The reference to “progressive liberals” and “pushing for socialism” are overtly political and condemn well-meaning groups of people. Your ministry is yours to carry out as you see fit, but as a relatively progressive and relatively liberal person I might point out that the conservative politics – both implicit and explicit – promoted by churches is often what closes people’s otherwise open ears.
Like · Reply · 16 mins

D Kevin BrownThanks David. Apparently in many people’s view today, what is discussed in church must stay in church and anything that deviates from the politically correct agenda is seen as “political.” The ultimate goal of many in this country to take Christians like me, who believe in the absolute truth of God’s word and His standards and call it “hate speech” and discrimination and then lock us up and put us away for good. That scenario may very well come true in post-Christian America. But, until then, I will speak from the side of truth.

My ministry is to equip the saints so that they might see the truth and then apply that to a lost and dying culture. My greatest desire and concern is for people to come to know the love of Jesus and seek His Lordship over their lives in humble surrender and repentance. However, there will be those who will see that heart-felt desire of mine that is truly born out of a heart of love for the souls of people, as the exact opposite. That’s unfortunate and I can’t help that. Thus the picture I used for the TMT.

Again, I don’t seek to condemn anyone, but if I don’t agree with you, will you condemn me? Am I allowed to believe what I believe or am I only allowed to believe what I’m told to believe? Do I still have a right to believe what the Bible teaches as orthodox teaching for the last 2000 years, or am I to wilt under the tantamount pressure of a culture which has chosen to summarily discard orthodox Biblical teaching? My answer is that I must contend for the faith in an orthodox biblical manner and be labeled in whatever way the world chooses. The Romans killed Jesus for speaking the truth and He was the kindest, most gentle and loving man, (the God-man), Who ever lived.

I must confess the words of Jesus when He said: “A servant is not above His master.” Matthew 10:25. I willing surrender my life to Him as my Master whatever fate may come my way for adhering to His teachings. After all Jesus said in Matthew 10:34-39, 34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36 And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. 37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

His comments in Bold

No, I do not seek to condemn you, and I’ve not seen evidence of anyone in this country trying to lock people up and put them away for good for being Christians. I’m only trying to offer some perspective on why it may seem that some close their ears. Good luck and best wishes to you.
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D Kevin BrownThanks David…you are kind and I appreciate your kindness. We just see things from two different perspectives as my TMT speaks of. Regarding locking up…it has happened with a clerk of court in KY. I wish you the best as well. 🙂 Thanks again for your perspective. We just disagree on where the authority comes from behind our premises. Mine is from Scripture and yours is from the culture at large (that’s my opinion at least). And by the way, just in case I ever end up in jail for preaching and teaching what the Bible has taught for centuries as truth…you might remember this conversation because it will most definitely be me that gets locked up, not you. 🙂 I can promise you that. I’m now in the minority in our post-Christian culture. Blessings to you David! 🙂
Like · Reply · Just now

Dear reader, do you see how this kind gentleman just proved my point? If you watch my video again, you’ll see it as plain as day. It’s almost startling…

Last thought…
Ravi Zacharias is one of my most favorite apologists of all time and this is what he has to say about the culture of political correctness today. It’s brilliant and only 2:46 long.
Blessings all!
Kevin

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I wrote a Daily Devotion on Monday that described the grief I experienced with the loss of my grandfather, C.M. Brown. That’s him below.CM BrownYou also see a photo to the left of me with my grandpa when I was turning 11 years old. (My dad is in the right corner of the photo). That devotion seemed to strike a chord and resonated with many. I received several emails indicating as such. And let me tell you…when you get 7 or 8 emails on a topic, you know you hit something solid…because the politicians will tell you…for every email or phone call they get it actually could represent the sentiments of hundreds (and in their case…thousands).

I’m glad my feeble attempt to describe my battle with grief seemed to help. I will share it below and hope it might do the same here.

https://dkevinbrowndailydevotions.wordpress.com/2016/08/21/your-tears-arent-wasted/

Did you know the Lord stores our tears in a bottle?

Say what?

Yes, it’s true! The Bible teaches that the Lord stores every one of our tears in a bottle and records each one of them. See it…

Psalm 56:8

You have kept count of my tossing; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?

Now tell me if that’s not amazing to you! It’s certainly amazing to me! Can you fathom the fact that God has chronicled each and every tear you’ve ever cried. That’s beyond what the mind can comprehend. How does He do that? Don’t ask me! I can’t fathom how the Lord said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. Therefore, keeping our tears chronicled in a bottle is not a problem for Him.

Have you every tried to think about how many tears you’ve cried? When was the time you cried the most? Was it a death? Was it a break-up? When was it? How did it happen? Were you a Christian at the time or were you lost? Think about that season of time in your life.

I’m thinking of when my grandfather died when I was 17 years old. I honestly didn’t think I could get past it. At that time in my life I had never experienced such grief and pain. It was crippling. My grandfather played such a huge role in shaping my life. He impacted me in almost every way imaginable as a young man. When he died I was angry, frustrated and quite honestly very disillusioned that God didn’t heal him. He was only 66 years old and I prayed for all I was worth that the Lord will bring him back from the cancer that was ravaging his body. But, God (in His providence) chose to take him home to heaven.

To say that I cried would be an understatement. I cried until I had no tears left. You know what that’s like don’t you. We all do. And the truth is…I’ve never lost a child or a spouse and I acknowledge in my heart and mind that would have to be worse to a degree that I’m certain I can’t comprehend. Yet, some of you reading this know what that’s like. You’ve lost your spouse or a child. The grief and pain almost took you under and held you down like being drowned in the ocean. Gasping for air…gasping for life…and when you think you can’t even survive to take the next breath…the Lord comes and delivers you to the next moment. The next minute… The next hour and finally… a day passes… a week passes… a month and then it’s a year.

The hurt and the pain never goes away…it comes back at times with such a vengeance that you’re left dumbfounded because you thought “I’m beyond this.” It even happens months later or even years. It’s a smell… It’s a flash of a memory… It’s a place on the highway or a season (Christmas) and it all comes rushing back and you cry and you hurt and you… Well…you know what you do, because it’s your life. You’ve lived it. And in all those terrible times…the Lord is there chronicling your tears. He knows. He feels the pain with you.

Never forget the shortest verse in the Bible: “Jesus wept” (John 11:35). And when Jesus cried at the tomb of Lazarus, the Father in heaven chronicled those tears as well. Jesus knows… God knows… and I’m comforted by that! I’m comforted that He knows my pain…your pain…our pain. And one day…He’ll wipe away ever tear. There will be no more mourning and no more crying. Hallelujah!

What will the Lord do with those bottles of tears? I have no idea. That will be something that we’ll learn together. Just know that in the meantime, God gave you those tear ducts to be used to bring comfort while we’re here and not a single one of them are wasted because they’re in God’s bottles.

Hey…

Did you hear about the school system in Florida that sent home notes to the parents asking permission for their children to be able to recite the Pledge of Allegiance? Yep. As dumb as that sounds…it’s happening right here in the good old U-S of A! Amazing. Here’s the note:

POA-Request

Hey folks…if you are offended to have to recite the pledge of allegiance…you might consider moving to another country. True? I mean, come on people! Have we lost our ever-loving minds? I literally just shake my head.

I guess nothing should surprise me anymore. We have seen so many abhorrent behaviors normalized now in this country. Gay marriage has been normalized by the media, entertainment, music, TV, colleges and universities and our politicians. Even our so-called “Christian athletes” are drinking in the anti-biblical messages of our day. Russell Wilson, (according to himself: a devout Catholic) is quarterback of the Seattle Seahawks, (who said several months ago that he would not have sex with his girlfriend until they were married), was just married. Many don’t realize this is his second wife. Ashton Meem, was Wilson’s wife of two years until 2104 when he divorced her. He is now married again. This time to pop star Ciara Harris. Here’s the wedding photo.

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Where is that? Not in NC…where he originally planned to have the wedding…but, in Europe at a medieval castle outside of Liverpool, England. Why? He was embarrassed by the HB2 bill.

Oh Come on Russell! That seems a bit hypocritical to me Which Biblical passages are you going to adhere to sir? Will it be just the ones that suit you or the ones that aren’t politically correct? It’s almost crazy that he would take a stand not to have heterosexual sex with his girlfriend, Ciara (as was reported on numerous occasions, until they were married) but is okay with men coming into women’s bathrooms. Maybe he’s okay showering with women in the Seahawks locker room…but I wouldn’t be and I doubt his new wife will be either.

Here’s my point: we’ve seen the “normalization” of almost every type of aberrant behavior in this country. Anything goes. Do what you want! It’s all about FEELINGS! And this kind of deviancy is blasted in our faces on TV and in the news and in our schools and universities, on social media and the like…non-stop…24/7. There is simply no escaping it. And it’s engrained n our society now. And what is more… If you don’t bow down to the “sex gods” of our day, you’re on the wrong side of history. I’ve been told that so many times over the last year that I need to: “move on” when it comes to gay marriage and transgendered rights and people baking cakes and t-shirts and taking pictures… (forcibly against their consciences)… that I can’t keep up with it all.

Well folks…I’m not MOVING ON…because I can’t. I can’t teach and preach God’s Word for a living and say that these “normalized” lifestyles are “right” and biblical any more than a 2nd grade math teacher can teach 1 +1 = 3. It’s wrong! Period. And these kinds of lifestyles have been for thousands of years in every society on earth…from the tribes of Africa to the plains of the American west to everywhere in between until the last 25-30 years. Even Obama and Clinton both said “same-sex” marriage was wrong, until just a few years ago.

Folks, somebody has to teach the truth! Somebody has to hold up the Word of God as the authority for life. Somebody has to say, “Every man doing what is right in his own eyes” will lead to sufferable consequences. So, will you stand or will you wilt?

You know, even so-called Christian sites that send me emails are wilting. They are falling in line with the mantra of today to accept all of this politically correct stuff and they are nothing more than like the proverbial sheep being led to the slaughter. Don’t fall for it folks. Be encouraged.

Be encouraged there are still vestiges of good. Did you hear about the ruling out of Texas yesterday?

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/fc9eb93fd45f4629b7813bdb5f5f1821/texas-judge-temporarily-blocks-obamas-transgender-directive

I’m grateful for the judge, Reed O’Connor (appointed by George W. Bush…that ought to tell you something… because it would have been a different story with an Obama appointee)…

Reed-OConnor_bigHe stood on principle versus political correctness. But, again…you know where this is going don’t you? Yep…Supreme Court. The court that’s split 4-4 with a vacant seat. Again…that’s why November is so important.

So stand good people…stand in love and stand in compassion…but stand. And don’t ever forget…what people need is Jesus. They need Jesus. Not a pat on the head to continue to live a lifestyle that the Bible teaches as sin. People need Jesus. Let’s never forget that.

Kevin

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Take a look at this picture…

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That’s Katy’s and Charlotte’s closet. Yep, that’s hangers hanging on a stick that’s duct-taped to the framing of the stairwell in my basement. Katy, Josh and Charlotte have been living like this for 9 months and let me tell you…they’re troopers. They have been through a lot living in a basement with no window and those wonderful little creatures that live in all basements (the jumping little crickets). 🙂

Charlotte’s room is…well…just the only room…bedroom for her and her parents…but she’s making do! Tea party time…

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Josh has really been a trooper…

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But, this Papa has really had a blast!

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Seasons come and seasons go. And so do the seasons of our lives. Lord willing the house will be delivered tomorrow and set-up on Thursday. It seems like it’s been a long time coming since the error from the factory delayed things close to 3 weeks. 3 weeks. Not too long in the scheme of things for sure. But, three weeks is three weeks when you are waiting and praying for something to happen that you have zero control over. So, we live through seasons of time and we wait. Like Pam is waiting for her knee to heal from ACL surgery. She’s one tough cookie! I’m so thankful for her! So, we wait…

And you are waiting too, aren’t you? I know you are. What are you waiting on? A raise? A wife? A baby? Retirement? Vacation? Warm weather? A child to come home? A relationship to get better? The economy to improve? For your attitude to get better? Your health to improve? Someone you love health to improve? For a desire to go away? Or for a desire to come? What are you waiting for?

Christians wait and wait, don’t we? We spend the majority of our lives waiting. So how are you waiting? Anxiously? Impatiently? Grudgingly? Angrily? Joyously? Contented? Hey, for me…if I’m honest…it’s all of the above! 🙂

Seasons…yes, seasons…they come and go and this season in your life will end too. Solomon said it best in Ecclesiastes 3:

1 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.

Whatever season you are living through right now, please know that this too shall pass…just like the seasons.

With all the craziness going on in the world right now, may we consider the words of Dr. Graham:

 

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Here’s today’s Two-Minute Tuesday:

http://subsplash.com/mpbc/v/8ad1695

I, personally, am grateful for our Governor and Lt. Governor for standing for common, moral decency. Honestly, I absolutely do not even want to think about having a man (who feels like a woman) looking at my 11-year-old daughter, Clara in a public restroom. How about the rights of my innocent daughter? Do they matter? Everyone, it seems today has rights except for Christians.

As I said to the congregation on Sunday… I want to help folks who are confused and don’t know what they are (male or female). I don’t want to pat them on the head and tell them that everything is okay, when most likely they are torn and confused and very lonely inside. I want to roll up my sleeves and help people to know the love and the joy and peace of knowing Jesus. I want to help them to be able to identify with Him, not their lifestyle or a letter of the alphabet. Jesus came to deliver us from ourselves. Did you read that? Jesus came to deliver us from ourselves! That’s me included! I was a sinner and I needed to be shown my sin so that I could come to the realization that I needed to repent and call on Jesus (the Savior) to save my soul. I’m so thankful for the marvelous grace of God in sending His Son to deliver me! Praise His name!

I’ll take that message up the mountain next week to Warrensville Baptist Church in Ashe County.

church pic summer 1

I’m excited to be with the good folks in Warrensville and Pastor Wade Huntsinger and his wife:

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The service Sunday night begins at 6 pm, while Monday through Wednesday services will be at 7 pm. Pray for us! I’m praying and I’m asking the Lord to help me be an encouragement to this good church in the mountains!

Hey…speaking of preaching…

Check this out…

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That’s the FitBit my family bought for me as my birthday gift. The picture is blurry because I was running on the treadmill when I took it! Yikes! Now get this. After I finished preaching the three messages on Sunday, I looked and it said that I had walked 3.1 miles (that’s a 5K folks). It showed my average heart rate was 90 bpm and that I burned close to 700 calories! Can you tell I move around a lot when I preach. That’s basically 1 mile per sermon (since I preach three times). That’s nuts! I would have never guessed that! I worked out today and in 30 minutes I traveled 3.2 miles and averaged a heart rate of 153 bpm and burned almost 450 calories. What a cool tool!

Pam wanted me to get one because she says I hold my breath when I sleep. The truth is I know I do. But, it’s not killed me yet! 🙂 Overall, this thing shows I’m sleeping fairly well. I wake up several times per night and I’m restless some…but, overall…I’m doing okay. Thanks FitBit!!! And thanks Pam and kids for getting me a cool tool to help me! 🙂 It will help me through the…

Seasons of my life… 🙂

Kevin

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Thankful for this…

My post for the week is this week’s Two-Minute Tuesday: “Thankful for this…”

I hope you enjoy it and that you and your family have a wonderful and “thankful” Happy Thanksgiving!

Kevin

http://subsplash.com/mpbc/v/df51fb6

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Persecution

I’ve been thinking a lot about persecution lately. This past Sunday was the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. We prayed for our brothers and sisters around the world who are facing life-threatening persecution. This map shows the current level of persecution around the world.

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You’ll see the United States is not in blue at this point. But, I believe with the trajectory we’re on, it’s just a matter of time.

In an article in Decision Magazine, Billy Graham warns that the immunity to persecution that Christians in our country have enjoyed over the last few centuries is unusual. He says there is no scriptural foundation for a belief that we can forever escape being persecuted for Christ’s sake. In fact, Christ strongly warns his followers that becoming His disciple would not be a popular decision.

I have only felt minor persecution compared to those throughout the world who are being tortured and killed for their faith in Christ. What about you? How much persecution have you felt in your lifetime? The truth is: If we’re not experiencing some level of persecution, we’re likely not standing very strong for Christ and His teachings. That’s pretty blunt, but I believe it’s a true statement.

Most people would almost rather be shot than to look strange or weird by the world. The world system has petrified most Christians with the fear that they will be seen as ignorant or mean if they stand for orthodox Biblical teaching.

Does anything rile you up? Do you have a burning in your soul for injustice? How about the plight of the unborn and the Planned Parenthood situation? Have you emailed your congressman or congresswoman? If you don’t do it, who will? Somebody else is waiting on you. Are you upset that our religious freedoms are going down the tube? Are you concerned at all that our children and grandchildren will likely grow up in a country where they can’t openly speak the name of Jesus in public when they are adults? Yes, you can say, “Well, times are supposed to get worse and I guess it’s God’s will.” But, that’s nothing more than a coward’s cop-out. Why do we, as Christians, continue to give up ground that was taken from Satan only to give it back because we’re scared to stand for truth?

I remember years ago, in 1999, I started hearing about a man in our county who decided that he was offended because the Ten Commandments were displayed in our courthouse. It was this man (this is from our local paper):

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One man was creating a ruckus and because of that the Ten Commandments were going to have to be removed from the Courthouse. This went back and forth for several weeks until Feb. 2000. Well, I couldn’t take it. I said, “Somebody has to do something.” So, I wrote a letter and mailed it to the County Commissioner’s. Here it is:

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I was quoted in the paper…

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You see, at some point, somebody has got to do something. We’re called by Jesus to be salt and light in the world and yet for most Christians, we just like hanging out in the salt shaker. We don’t want to expose ourselves outside the shaker.

Well, ultimately the Ten Commandments were allowed to stay. They had to be posted along with the Magna Carta and the Bill of Rights and a couple of other “historic documents.” Yet, they were allowed to stay.

Guess what’s on the outside of our county courthouse today…

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And the very building from which I spoke on February 22, 2000 now has “In God We Trust” adorned on the front of it as well.

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When I came out of that building on the night of Tuesday, February 22, 2000, I must admit, that I was afraid. Upon arriving (before I was to address the County Commissioners and the media), I was escorted in the back door with a police escort. It was quite intimidating. I was told by one Sheriff’s Deputy, “You better watch your back, son.” Can you hear me swallowing hard? But, I knew for my children’s sake (at the time I just had Katy and Kandace…they were 5 and 2 years of age) that I had to stand upon principle. I was not going to be bullied or cower in fear. And so, yes…I was afraid when I came out of those glass doors (above) of that County Office Building. But, little did I know there was over 2,000 people outside cheering me on! The local radio station was there and news trucks from Winston-Salem was there. I was interviewed by many people, including our local paper. It was amazing. And it was worth it.

Did I look over my shoulder after that? Yes, you better believe I did. The man who was fighting the posting of the Ten Commandments was a black belt in Karate. However, I wrote him a letter and told him that I had no hard feelings toward him, and I shared the gospel with him. I never heard back. But, at least I tried.

And folks, that’s my point. Don’t we at least have to try to do what is in our power to stand for what is right, good and just? Don’t we need to stop watching TV and get off the gadgets long enough to make a difference in our country? The truth is this…if you won’t write a letter to the editor of a newspaper, I doubt you’ll ever board a plane to go to a foreign country or even walk across the yard to share the Gospel with your neighbor. It’s that simple and that blunt.

I hope you are inspired. I hope you will stand for truth and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I love you all!

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Things are changing faster and faster… Or at least that’s the way it seems to me.

Let’s see, we’ve got a lady running for the White House who has allegedly broken federal law with a private email server circulating Top Secret information (being investigated now), while another lady was led from a Court House to jail because she believes in the Biblical definition of marriage.

One gets to run for President…

One now has a rap-sheet…

Amazing! Sometimes I feel like I’ve fallen asleep and I just need to wake up from this bad dream. Do you feel that way? It’s enough to make your head spin.

Well, I’m more focused than ever. I’m more focused than ever to be a pillar and buttress for the truth! We’ve sat on the sidelines for far too long and watched it come to this. Who would have dreamed that we’d live in a nation where Christians would go to jail because they actually believe in the Bible and use the Bible and the principles found therein to make decisions.

You see, the truth is this. The homosexual agenda is not about the ability to marry. At the root of the agenda is to shut down and shut up anyone who disagrees with them. It’s not about tolerance. Tolerance? Are you kidding? We tolerate everything known to man in this country except for Christians. We tolerate Beyoncé and Miley Cyrus dancing naked on stage while we buy tickets for our teenagers to watch them. We tolerate babies being dismembered and their body parts sold for profit by a group that uses our tax money to do so. Everyone tolerates everyone and everything except for Christians. Christians… Oh, I’m sorry, you are free to believe what you want to believe and teach what you want to teach, but don’t you dare bring it into the public square. Don’t you dare bring your religious understanding and Christian worldview to your job. No sir! You leave that stuff at the house and at church. We don’t tolerate or accept anyone telling us we can’t do what we want to do with our bodies, our relationships, our wedding cakes or our wedding pictures. You ARE going to celebrate our lifestyle! You WILL issue our marriage licenses and you’re going to like it or you will be fined, lose your job or been thrown in jail!!!

Please, please…somebody wake me up! I’ve got to be living on Mars. This can’t be happening here! But it is! It’s happening right before our eyes. And what happens in the next few weeks and months will determine the destiny for this nation for the next 100 years. You and I are living in one of the most important seasons of time in the history of our nations. What happens next with religious liberties will determine how your children and grand children will live the rest of their lives.

Part of that is what the Presidential candidates are going to do with this. From what I’ve heard: Huckabee, Cruz and Carson have been staunch supporters of the Kentucky Clerk, while Trump, Christie, Fiorina and Kasich have publicly said the Kentucky Clerk should have just given in and done her job and signed the marriage licenses. Well, the detractors are dead wrong! Dead wrong! Because that makes her complicit. We make accommodations in this country for Muslims to have prayer mats at GITMO, but we can’t make an accommodation to have a lady’s name taken off of a simple form! Come on Governor Steve Beshear! Step up to the plate like you did when you changed the form a few months ago to remove “husband” and “wife” and call it “spouse” and “spouse.” Oh…I’m sorry…you are a flaming liberal and that would go against your tolerance position. This poor lady is now receiving death threats because you have no backbone sir.

So folks, while we’re worrying about the stock market, planning our next vacation and getting our whole foods at the market, our children might one day stand before a tribunal and have to swear allegiance either to the government or to Christ. Many of us will likely be long gone by then, but I want you to think about it now. Because what you and I do or DON’T DO over the next several weeks will tell the tale. Are you ready? I hope you are. You’re going to have to have a strong backbone. You are going to have to be like Peter and John who stood before their highest court, the Sanhedrin and refused to back down. They said, “You decide if we are breaking the law, but as for us…we will continue to preach Jesus” (my paraphrase). Here’s the account from Acts 4. This is now here… It’s happening in America:

Acts 4:13-21

13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus. 14 But seeing the man who was healed standing beside them, they had nothing to say in opposition. 15 But when they had commanded them to leave the council, they conferred with one another, 16 saying, “What shall we do with these men? For that a notable sign has been performed through them is evident to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. 17 But in order that it may spread no further among the people, let us warn them to speak no more to anyone in this name.” 18 So they called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, 20 for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” 21 And when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way to punish them, because of the people, for all were praising God for what had happened.

Do you have that kind of courage? I hope you do, because that’s what it’s going to take going forward. There’s a “new normal” in the land and Christians who hold to the tenets and principles of Scripture are no longer welcome in the public square! If you are a Christian and you want to work in the public square, YOU NEED NOT APPLY!

I described in detail what’s led to this in my video from Tuesday, “Who’s Going to Jail Next?”

Yes, I’m focused. I’m focused on teaching and preaching the Gospel. I got these two emails from two men earlier today that blessed my heart. One was a prayer…

My wife and I visited Mt. Pleasant on Sunday… It really encouraged me to hear the Word preached in the way that you did. So many people in this day and time try to put a politically correct spin on Gods word and don’t want to call out sin for what it is. Thank you!

And here’s the prayer that was emailed to me…

Dear Heavenly Father,  I want to thank you for my pastor.  I am thankful you have placed the conviction in his heart to preach the word of God and only the word of God.  I appreciate the spiritual warfare he is willing to confront daily from me, my family, and the rest of our church as the shepherd he is.  I know very little of the ridicule and criticism he faces almost hourly but can gather it can be overwhelming just from some of the comments and jealous remarks I hear at work when people find out I attend MPBC.  Thank you for strengthening his resolve to not buckle under the pressure and to preach the way you have designed him to preach.  I am thankful for all I have learned under him and how you have used him to grow my faith although I still fall so short of where I feel I should be at this point.  God, I pray for protection for him and his family as Satan cannot be happy about his boldness.  God, I pray that you place him on my heart more often to pray for him.  He needs the prayers more than any human can probably comprehend.  Give him rest and comfort in you.  Strengthen him each night during the few hours of sleep he gets so that his body is able to sustain what is needed for the work ahead.  We love you God.  Thank you just doesn’t seem adequate enough.  In thy name I pray.  AMEN

Oh, my heart has been blessed. Thank you Lord!

So, may I encourage you not to lose focus even though there are detractors. Sharpen your focus on what God has called you to do. Don’t get pulled to the right or to the left. Knuckle down.

That’s what the Weather Channel has figured out. They got away from their focus and they started running all of this “reality TV” and they are tanking. So, they are getting back to doing what you would think the Weather Channel ought to be doing: COVERING LIVE WEATHER. You see, I’m not interested in “Fat Guys in the Woods.” I’m wondering if it’s going to be snowing in my woods. And so, they’re revamping the whole network…

http://money.cnn.com/2015/09/09/media/weather-channel-sam-champion/index.html

I’m focused on preaching, teaching, equipping and holding up the Word of Truth of Jesus Christ to the world!

And that’s what we did Sunday…

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My prayer is to be described like Peter and John were described…

Acts 4:13

13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus. 

Onward we march soldiers!

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