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Katy wrote a great blog post today and I want you to see it. Particularly for families with young children and who are trying to decide what to do about dating as their children get older. What Katy shares might be of interest to you.

“I Had A Choice” (by: Katy Isaacs)

Every once in a while I have someone come to me and ask this question:

“Did you have a choice? Ya know, did your parents arrange your marriage? Did they tell you that you weren’t allowed to go to a college campus at 18-years-old? Did you have a choice as to what you did with your life?”
That question doesn’t make me angry, in fact, I’m glad people ask. I see how it must look. I just want to set the record straight for anyone who has wondered. 
As a young teenager my parents looked me in the eye and said, “What we want what is best for you, but in the end, it’s your choice what you do with your life and your heart. If you want to have “turn-style” dating relationships, we won’t stop you. We just want you to be protected from getting hurt.” There, I had my choice. People have always joked that I was sheltered. Someone offered me an energy drink at 13 years old and I turned it down, as I was not entirely sure it wasn’t alcoholic. Now I laugh. Better safe than sorry, right? 🙂 
My dad stood in front of the church he pastors for years encouraging young people to live a biblical lifestyle regarding purity. And though it’s shocking, I actually wanted to strive for not just what he taught, but more simply… what the Bible teaches. I wasn’t perfect, but I decided to try – with God’s help – to be pure until marriage. I married someone who my daddy certainly didn’t choose for me. Josh was all my idea (God’s idea really, but you know what I mean). I married very young because at the time, I knew if I didn’t get married I was going to be a very lonely and hurting young woman. I knew without a doubt that Josh was the man for me and to put off marriage for four years until he was out of the military and I was through college just to please the social norms was preposterous. We discussed many times back in 2011 and 2012 whether we should wait to get married in the fall of 2015 when he got out of the Marines. It didn’t take long to realize we might easily compromise our standards and boundaries if we waited that long. We were both ready to start our lives together and I’m SO thankful we did in 2012. 
I chose this path and I’m glad I did. I don’t look down on others who do differently than I did. For some ladies, four years on a college campus (maybe more) is good. Some God allows to stay single till they are in their thirties or older (maybe not marrying at all). Some never have children and others have many. Some make a lot of money at a white-collar job, while others make minimum wage. It’s all okay. Because God’s Word is ultimately what I encourage anyone to follow; it is absolute truth. No one forced me to marry young and be a stay-at-home mom. I realize it is unusual for a teenage daughter to actually agree with her parents on things, but regarding many, many things, I did and still do. Just because I married young, had a baby young and chose to take my college education at a slower pace while choosing to teach music and write doesn’t mean I was led around by the nose without any say in the matters. The path I chose is the one God told me to walk. I was faced with very real and scary challenges early on and I am thankful that I had chosen the path myself or I likely would have become very bitter toward my parents. Yet, I knew that challenges come in all areas of life and that it was normal to have hard times even when you follow God’s plan. 
I’m in no way perfect nor think that I am. The way I did things, while I believe closely followed Scripture, was still flawed. There were things I wish I had done better… differently. Yet, all in all I’m thankful I was guided. Yes, guided not forced to do as I did. 
Like I said in my book, there is nothing wrong with having an “unbroken” heart on your wedding day.  There is NO shame in being pure. These days young people seem to push that the more scars the better. It shows you’re tough and resilient and you know what? Stories like that are amazing and God uses them and He heals their wounds and puts hearts broken back together. However, the story of the person who doesn’t have the scars is also a beautiful testimony. It too is of redemption… from what could have been… from what God protected you from. 
I encourage you to rejoice in all testimonies. In the end, as long as they end at the feet of Jesus, that’s all that matters. 

Conclusion

In this book, I’ve tried to describe to you what the Bible says about premarital relationships and show you the parallels of how God describes His relationship with His Son and His church. If you want a bottom line though, it will be impossible for me to give you one. I’ve tried to show you what God has designed for two people of the opposite sex to do to get to know each other, under the protection of a loving family, who will help guard the couple against impurity until marriage.

Some will say: “But, I’m afraid I won’t have the discipline, focus or time to make this a reality in the lives of my children.” Some might say, “But, I want details! I need details! How am I supposed to navigate these waters without more information?” Well, I’ll summarize these questions by saying this to you one last time: If you were looking for a detailed, formulaic, step-by-step process for handling premarital relationships, you won’t get that from me. Why? Because I’m convinced God wants us to look to Him through this process and for all things in life. He wants us to depend on Him. He wants us to seek Him in prayer and rest in Him. Isn’t that the Christian life in a nutshell: “Walking by faith and not by sight?”

My goals here were to bring you encouragement, inspiration and hope as you consider what the Bible teaches about premarital relationships. My heartfelt prayer is that this book will impact your life and that of the lives of your children by potentially saving them from the “mini-divorces” that are so common even in Christendom today. I pray the next generation of children will not have the emotional, relationship-baggage that many of us have had to deal with in our adult lives.

I believe the focus of all life should be Jesus Christ and our desire should be to bring Him glory. He offers salvation to all who will repent of their sins and call on His name and for those who have received this great gift, much is required. We’re called to take the message of His good news to the world. It’s called the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20).

I see marriage as a crucible that refines us for eternity. God has used my marriage to my lovely bride to help me be a better servant for Christ. We have leveraged our relationship together for our Lord and Master, King Jesus. Pam and I understand the finish line in this life is not marriage; it is heaven! Let’s teach this lifestyle to our children today. It’s not too late to start. It’s not how you star; it’s how you finish. In Christ, we can make up for lost time.

Jesus is coming again to gather his bride, the Church, to Himself. He’ll take us to the prepared place (heaven), where a wedding will commence, followed by a grand reception. Marriage is part of God’s divine plan to make us holy and that won’t necessarily always make us happy. But, it’s part of the sanctifying process to prepare us for the ultimate marriage in heaven. To the young person reading this book I conclude with these words: I pray that you will one day find as much joy in marriage as I have and that you will remember the ultimate goal in all of life is glorifying God through his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Blessings!

Kevin

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I was raised to work. It didn’t matter if I was helping my grandfather in a chicken house, picking beans, mowing the yard or doing my homework. I was raised to work. I didn’t always like it, but there were no if’s, and’s or but’s about it. If you saw an adult working you had one option: work. You were to jump in and help no matter what they were doing and if they didn’t want you to help, they’d let you know.

That’s not the case today. I just read this article: 3 Reasons Millennials Are Getting Fired

http://www.inc.com/jt-odonnell/3-reasons-millennials-are-getting-fired.html?utm_source=ThomRainer.com&utm_campaign=79028610c9-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_TEDS&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_10c78481d1-79028610c9-81457525

1. Employers don’t want to be parents.

Growing up, Millennials were coached their entire lives and they unknowingly assume their employer will too. However, the relationship isn’t the same. An employer pays us to do a job. DO YOUR JOB!

2. The anti-work attitude isn’t appreciated (or tolerated).

A great way to look at how some employers feel is the way the dysfunctional phone/cable companies work. It’s annoying when they announce they can come out only on a certain day. They can’t tell you what time, and then they say they’ll call the day of and give you a four-hour window when they’ll arrive. While the phone/cable companies have us trapped, employers don’t feel the same about Millennials. They’ll fire the Millennial worker and find someone who can work when they need them to–and without the attitude.

3. Millennials’ happiness isn’t the employer’s responsibility.

Millennials are pretty vocal about wanting work to be a “fun” place to go. Besides career development, they also desire lots of cool perks and benefits to make their job feel more rewarding. Besides nice work spaces, amenities like gym memberships, healthy meals on-site, in-house parties, etc., are being used in an effort to attract and maintain Millennial workers. Unfortunately, this is backfiring on employers–and that makes them angry. In spite of all the perks to keep them happy, Millennials are getting to these jobs and quickly showing visible signs of disappointment and dissatisfaction within months of joining the company.

I thought this was a great tip in the article: “In the early days and weeks of a new job, Millennials can make up for what they lack in skills by being consistently on time. When an employer sees their commitment to their work, they will earn her trust and respect, resulting in her being comfortable with their taking time off, and even providing them with a more flexible work schedule. When Millennials prove they can deliver on their company’s terms, their company will give them more of what they want.”

Doesn’t that make sense? It does to me. The entire article could be boiled down to two words: WORK HARD. Come on people, how hard is that? Is it wrong to give your best just because it’s the right thing to do? Do you have to incentivize everything just so people will do what they’re getting paid to do?

Why don’t people want to work? Could it be that they’ve not been trained to work as children? Could it be that we do the stuff for them that they could be doing for themselves? I mean, come on folks, your kid knows how to upload a photo to Instagram and you don’t know how to do either one and you mean to tell me they can’t learn how to wash a load of towels or unload the dishwasher? Are you kidding me? They can program your TV to replay a movie you’ve been wanting to see, but they can’t learn to cut up some lettuce tomatoes and carrots and make a salad? Are they incapable of learning how to set the table for a meal? Surely not!

The truth is: We don’t expect them to! Truly, our children will rise to the level of our expectations. Period. End of sentence. Why don’t we expect more? Honestly, we are hurting them in the long run when we do everything for them.

Think of it this way. If your home were a profit center at your place of work, what kind of return on investment (ROI) are you getting from your child? Are they a blessing in your home? Do they see their home as a place to chill or a place to help in the family economy.

Yes, I know I’m accused of talking about the past too much. I know that rings as hollow after a while, but there is something to be said for what our ancestors in this country gave to us. They built their own houses, worked on farms, made their own furniture and clothes, slopped the hogs, milked the cows, plowed the north 40 and the children were expected to be part of that economy.

What is it like in your house? Are you raising a child that can be a productive employee one day? Can they fold clothes? Can they load the dishwasher? Can they take a bath without being bribed? Is an allowance required before they’ll do anything to help you? Do you owe them all the benefits and amenities of your efforts and work and expect nothing in return? If you are, then you are actually preparing your child for failure.

Am I saying to treat your child like a “work-hand” on a ranch? No way! I’m saying, we should have expectations for our children that equate with Christians principles. We should expect them to be helpful, resourceful, respectful and diligent. Read the book of Proverbs and you’ll see what I mean.

Have you see this?

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Honestly, if I think about it too long, it just makes me really, really mad. So, I’ll move on!

I’m so thankful to have these two back.

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They made it back from a marathon 72 hours of traveling from China. The snow storm really threw the airports for a loop. We’ve got four more ladies trying to get back too. They ended up having to drive from NY back home. Last I heard, they should be home around supper time tonight.

While Pam and Kan were gone, my mom had us up for dinner one night. It’s a treat to see mom and dad with their great-granddaughter.

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Isn’t it great when it snows? Thinks slow down and you get to hang out with family! Like playing “Just Dance” on the Wii.

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Or, of course, sledding down the hill behind our house.

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Check out the ride:

Clara, Andrew and I love walking down to the creek below our house when it snows.

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It’s so pretty down there when it snows.

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Here’s this week’s Two-Minute Tuesday: “Who Will Evangelicals Vote For In Iowa?”

Oh…in case you are looking at the forecast for the weekend and early next week and think that winter might be over. Wrong! Yes, it’s going to hit 60 degrees by this weekend, but do you remember December? We hit 70 on Christmas day and I told you the pattern would flip. I also told you that weather patterns tend to repeat themselves (particularly in winter). Well, I believe we’ll see another flip in the weather by mid-Feb. So, if you are a snow lover, don’t give up on winter until after the NCAA basketball tournament is in its second weekend (mid-March). 🙂

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

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

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

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

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A quick selfie of proud mom and dad…

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

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

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

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

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

Kandace said this on Facebook. It was so nice:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Surely not!! 🙂

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

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And here are the specific shows by age group…

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

Who do you think watches the most TV?

Younger or Older Americans?

If you said the kids…you’d be wrong…

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

I got a charge out of these images…

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

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

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

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Will this be how it ends up?

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is the entire family…

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

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

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

Andrew loves playing with her in the floor…

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

Here’s Kan and Charlotte…

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

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Yes siree-bob…and there you have it…

It was a wonderful weekend indeed!

 

 

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I love this:

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

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

What is ROP?

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

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

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

I wrote about this extensively in my book:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Well said!

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

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

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

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

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

She said this:

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

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

http://heartsonthingsabove.blogspot.com

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

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Woohoo!!

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Imagine if you were a teacher and the majority of your students failed the class. Imagine if you were a choir director and only a few choir members ever learned their part, rendering each performance before an audience as an utter disaster. Imagine if you were a running a manufacturing company where the machines broke down the majority of the time delaying shipment after shipment. That would get frustrating wouldn’t it?

Think about it. The teacher would be dismayed that her students never studied and failed so often on tests, while the choir director (who sought excellence) would be discouraged because he couldn’t get a good performance, and certainly the manufacturer would be devastated when his company went belly up because he couldn’t count on the machines.

Can I tell you wonderful, faithful readers of this silly little blog something: Sometimes I get a bit dismayed like the people mentioned above. Want to know why? It’s real simple:

I care.

I really do.

I care a lot!

I try my very best to teach and preach the Word of God and to be as faithful to the Scriptures as much as I possibly can. I study, pray, prepare and work hard so that when I stand to teach/preach, I can do my very best. Consequently, I suppose I have high expectations. I suppose I care enough about what I’m teaching and working hard to preach week in and week out that I want people to succeed. I want people to “get it.” I want people to walk with the Lord in a genuine, powerful way. Bottom line: if I’m preaching and teaching month after month and year after year, then I want to see results. Is that expecting too much? I want to see people grow and mature in their faith and walk with Christ.

Is that okay? Is that over the top?

Let’s say you are teaching someone how to hit a baseball. Let’s say you are being paid to teach someone to “lay wood on leather.” Yet, the athlete you are training athlete simply refuses to buy into what you are saying and continually goes zero for four at the plate in games. That would get a bit old, would it not? Sure it would. In fact, you would begin to question if you were making any difference at all.

The truth is I think pastors/elders go through these same questions from time to time. We ask, “Am I making a difference?” We ask, “Are the majority of people really getting it?” Again, this is no different from a teacher desiring for their students to play well in front of an audience or do well on a test. Yet, as a pastor, (believe it or not) I’m sometimes looked at by people who believe that I shouldn’t care so much. But, I’m not alone.

Today, I met with a young pastor in Statesville, NC. He pastors in Charlotte and he’s solid. Real solid. I was very encouraged and it was great to hear his story and to offer insight to him (as he did for me). Yet, he is facing a lot of what most of us “pastors” face in our world today. He is coming to the place where he is realizing that he can prepare, pray, work hard and do everything in his power to pass along the truths of God’s word and it still might not bring a tremendous amount of change in a lot of lives. In other words, he can do everything right as a pastor and still not have a “passing grade” (in his mind). I told him, “Brother, you are going to have to come to terms with that and it’s hard! And let me tell you…it is hard! Real hard! I’m being honest here…this truth is really, really hard to swallow! Especially if you are a “results” guy like me. Why? Because, I want to see everyone “get it.” I want to see everybody growing.

You see, settling for less than the best is like telling the batting coach, “Hey, don’t worry if he strikes out 3 out of every 4 times he steps up to the plate.” That’s like telling the dance teacher, “So what if she doesn’t point her toes…after all, she’s doing most of the dance right.” No, no, no! That’s not acceptable…not if you are seeking excellence. It’s not acceptable for the choir director to allow sloppy “cut-offs.” No sir! She expects you to “cut off” when her middle fingers touch her thumbs and not a nanosecond later. Right? Exactly! Excellence is the goal.

I love what Paul says in Philippians 1. Try to feel the heart of Paul for the believers in Philippi. Try to feel his yearning for them like a father for his children.

Philippians 1:8-11

8 For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. 9 And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

Paul wanted them to “approve what is excellent.” He wanted them to be “pure and blameless.” He wanted them to be “filled with the fruit of righteousness.” Hey!! I know how Paul feels! I really do!

Well, the young pastor and I discussed how it’s hard not to care when you see things that you wish you didn’t see and when you point out these things, you are accused of being the “police of the world.” Perhaps pastors are supposed to preach and not care about the results. Perhaps pastors are supposed to stand in the pulpit week after week and month after month and preach with all they’ve got and not care if there is any growth…any excellence. Wrong! I don’t buy that for a second. You know me better than that.

So, I say this to anyone who thinks that I should be like a second grade teacher who teaches 1 +1 = 2, and yet not care if the student says 3 on the test. Look the other way! Don’t worry if they get it wrong. Just teach. Don’t worry about the results. I’m sorry, that’s 100% wrong and it must be pointed out to the student that it’s wrong or they will never learn the truth. The school principal would expect as much, correct?

Does God expect any less of me? I think not.

Therefore, if I see that something is way out of line in a person’s life (who professes to be a believer), then I’m obligated as a shepherd (someone who really and truly cares for his flock) to check on them and see what’s wrong. I’m obligated (if I really care) to say, “Hey, is everything okay?” And if that happens to be you someday, don’t think I’m trying to get “all up in your business” or I’m trying to be the “police” of your life, or that I’m trying to “look down my pastoral nose” at you. I’m not. I promise. It’s just that I care. I really do. I care about you. I care about what happens to you and I care about your life.

Isn’t that what a shepherd is supposed to do for his flock? So, I ask you now to pardon me if I am too passionate or if I expect too much. I promise you…and I really mean this…I promise you I don’t expect any more out of you than I do out of myself. I promise you that if I were your baseball coach and you had the ability to bat .500, then I won’t be happy with .250. I promise you, if I were your guitar teacher and you have the ability to play a difficult song, but you refuse to try…then I’m going to tell you to “step it up.” I promos you, if I’m running a manufacturing company and you always show up late, then I’m going to say, “Get here on time, or else.” Is that too much to ask? If it is…then, I guess I care too much. And if I care too much, then I humbly ask you to forgive me. But, my plan is to continue to preach and teach and give the Lord everything I’ve got and I hope and pray (with all my heart) that will be okay, and that we’ll all continue to grow and mature together…striving for excellence.

Speaking of growing… Something blew my mind last week.

I read this on one of my favorite weather blogs (you know I’m a weather geek):

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A Final Notice To The Viewers

This is quite likely the most difficult post I’ve had to write in the last five years of running The Weather Centre, and I can assure you it wasn’t easy actually sitting down to hammer it out, either. After all, this has been my livelihood for so long, I can’t really remember what occupied the majority of my time before this. That’s why it makes me sad to announce that The Weather Centre blog will close permanently on our five-year anniversary: April 26th, 2015.
I couldn’t believe what I was reading! I read this guys posts every week. He’s brilliant. He’s weather forecasting was fantastic. In fact, he was probably one of the most accurate forecasters for last year’s winter (cold/snow) of anyone on the net. I thought to myself, “Why in the world is he quitting.” I continued to read:
When I started The Weather Centre on April 26th, 2010, I wasn’t much of a forecaster. At the time, I made the blog solely because I had an interest in weather, and because there happened to be a severe weather event on the way on April 30th of that year. My initial posts, if you dive back to look at them (example here, here, and here), were simply maps with some crude MS Paint drawings on them if even that, describing the upcoming pattern for that late April set-up.
As a matter of fact, I wasn’t even much of a person yet. I started The Weather Centre blog when I was 12 years old, just rounding out 7th grade. In case you’re wondering, yes, you’ve been receiving the musings of a teenage aspiring meteorologist for the last five years… 
Over the past five years, I’ve had more than a few people ask me how old I am, or what my credentials are in the forecasting world. To be quite frank, I never answered those questions, because I’ve grown to learn that it really does not matter. I see degreed meteorologists publicly shaking their heads on Twitter, Facebook, or on other public social media at something a kid just like me may have done…

Isn’t that marvelous? Oh the power of a teenager. They can do so much! Mary was a teenage girl who gave birth to God. Jesus had a rag-tag bunch of teenagers following Him around as a Rabbi. Amazing! Just remember, our teenagers will strive to our level of expectations.

Here’s a few more comments from this young man, Andrew, on his final blog post:

Before I close up shop here, I want to go over the achievements we as a community have accomplished. 
– In five years, The Weather Centre has accumulated over 5,650,000 page views. I can safely say I would never have dreamed that so many people would have wanted to read my weather discussions, and it is such an incredible honor to have run such a successful blog.
– The Weather Centre was featured and/or mentioned on the Toronto Star, the New York Times, the Huffington Post, NPR, Yahoo, and countless other meteorological and news entities. Every one of them made me more proud to do what I do.
– We formed a community of over 3,700 Facebook fans, and close to 1,300 Twitter followers. I have found that you all are the best group of weather enthusiasts I have come across on the Internet, and it is an immense privilege to say that. I am forever grateful to have had the opportunity to converse with all of you.
So, for the last time, I want to extend a thank you. I want to thank you, the viewer, reading this right now, for supporting not only this blog, but me for the last five years. Thanks in large part to The Weather Centre, I have grown into a person I never thought I would become, and I’m incredibly excited to see where my life takes me next. I’m leaving not out of selfishness, but because this chapter of my life is naturally coming to a close. In the next several months, I’m going off to college to start my studies to become a degreed meteorologist, my life’s dream. In addition, research projects that I began this past winter are quickly showing signs of verification. One of them, forecasting the EF-strength of tornadoes before they form, is looking very promising, and I’ll need to devote a significant amount of time to improving my research, my studies, and everything else that makes life worth living. The one thing I ask of you is that you do what I’ve done. Go out and teach others about the weather; there are so many people that want to understand the weather but find everything too complicated. This blog provides a great resource for you to continue on.
Once again, thank you for these last five years. They’ve been the best five years I’ve ever experienced, and I’m incredibly proud to say we’ve accomplished the goal that’s been in place since I first started The Weather Centre: to show others that weather can be easy to understand, to learn, and to share with others.
The last couple of weeks before April 26th will be mainly cleaning up some things, probably issuing some sort of winter prediction for 2015-2016 (it’s only fitting, given our preliminary winter forecasts used to be issued in early June), and enjoying the ride. You’ll still find me tweeting about the weather even after we close, and perhaps an occasional post on the Facebook page as well; you can follow the Twitter account at https://twitter.com/TheWxCentre, and our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/TheWeatherCentre
Sincerely,
Andrew Racki

Way to go Andrew! Here’s his picture:

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I’m sure going to miss reading your excellent blog and gleaning from your excellent forecasts. I can’t wait to see you on TV one day. Who knows, you might even be Jim Cantore’s (The Weather Channel) replacement!

You know, I think Andrew really cares about the weather. I think he really cared about offering phenomenal weather forecasts and I can truly relate to that. Because I really care too! wink, wink 🙂

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

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

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

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

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

Paul said it this way:

Romans 14:2-6

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s a few things I believe in greatly!

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

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

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

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

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

Figure-2-High-Res

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

Figure-3-High-Res

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

How about belief in God…

Figure-4-High-Res

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

Here’s the conclusion of the study:

Conclusion 

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

For my second belief that I feel very strongly…

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

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

dancersiran

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#1 Homeschool

#2 Obama is not a friend to Christians or Israel

#3 Climate Change (Global Warming) is Totally Overblown

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

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I’ve been working on the sermon for tomorrow night and I’m convinced that all of us struggle with priorities. I’m teaching from the book of Philippians and I love this book because in it we get a real simple view of life. Paul nails it when he tells us the priority in life.

Philippians 1:27

27 Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel.

See those words in italics? Paul says ONLY let your manner of life be worthy of the Gospel. Is that true of our lives. Truly the priority of life is one word:

Jesus.

Too simplistic? Sorry if it seems that way, but it’s the truth. Jesus is the LIFE! Without Jesus there is no life. Everything was created by Him and for Him. But, is He a priority for our lives? I don’t know.

I remember growing up and going to church and just treating Jesus as an “add on.” He’s just someone who you need in your toolbox in case there is a problem. Ultimately, you’ve got to have Him to go to heaven, so you better get saved and stay out of Hell. And that’s how most people view Jesus. They “get saved” when they are a kid by praying a “sinner’s prayer” and walking an aisle. They get baptized and presto…that’s it. Now go on your merry way and live life. Go chase the American Dream and play sports, make good grades, have girlfriends and boyfriends, go to the prom, go to college, get a job, make money, get married, have kids, save for college and then your retirement and then finish off life in a rocking chair on a porch. Yep…that’s the American Dream and there’s nothing spiritual or eternal about it. It’s all about the here and now. It’s all about security, comfort and ease now. The kingdom? Who’s kingdom? God’s? No… I’ll choose this kingdom…down here…right now. I’ll take the next 50 years over the next 5 million in heaven.

Therefore, most people are so busy chasing the American Dream that by the time they slow down long enough to check their priorities, it’s often too late to do anything about it. I think about all the families I have counseled through the years who lament the fact, “If I only knew then what I know now. I would have done things differently with my kids.” Truth is… The majority of you reading this blog have it figured out, (whatever that means :)), already. In other words, you have your priorities straight and you ARE seeking to put the things of God first. But, you are few and far between. Even in our churches many families live just like the world and chase what the world is chasing. If you didn’t know any better, you couldn’t tell the difference except for the fact that they might come to church on Sunday for a couple of hours.

Sometimes people ask me if I get frustrated? The answer is, “Yes.” I’d be lying if I said I didn’t. At times I feel like I’m spitting in the wind. I preach and teach and preach and teach and preach and teach, and yet I see very little difference in how “Christian families” are living versus others. I write books about “Raising Christ-centered Young Adults” and “Biblical Relationships” and very few people seem to know anything about what’s inside them. I watch families see their kids go down the same paths they (as parents) did and then they lament the heartbreak in their kids lives (after the fact). I feel like saying, “Hey…Don’t you know I’ve been sounding the warning alarm for years! What part are you missing? You know Matthew 6:33, ‘Seek FIRST the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you.'”

You know, maybe it shouldn’t bother me, but if you were doing your job day in and day out and week in and week out and you saw very little difference, wouldn’t it bother you a bit? I bet it would and if you cared, it should. Am I frustrated to the point of being upset? Nope. Honestly I’m not. I don’t want you to get the impression that I am. Truthfully, I got over those feelings a long time ago. I totally get what I am. I’m a seed sower. I’m not responsible for the harvest. I just put the Gospel out there the best I know how and allow the Holy Spirit to do the rest. So, there’s a relief in knowing that I work hard and prepare hard and try to do the best I can to encourage and teach and train and then I just choose to rest in the knowledge that I serve an audience of One.

Maybe you feel this way too? Maybe you have been dealing with someone at work or in your family that just “doesn’t get it.” Well, don’t be discouraged. The Holy Spirit has to drive the train. We are just riding in the passenger cars with our heads out the windows sowing seed. So, I’ll keep on keeping on and I am SO grateful to do so, I rejoice in the knowledge that some get it and seek to walk the narrow way. I am totally stoked to know that some people and some families will choose to take the road less travelled and place a priority on the things of God. They’ll choose to face the persecution and endure the ridicule that comes with walking that narrow way. For you see, it’s those little victories that keep you pressing on and moving forward with a vigor and excitement (which I have). And the same is true of you. Don’t lose heart and don’t give up.

By the way, if you are reading this and your priorities are centered on things that aren’t “eternal,” and you aren’t intentional in how you are making eternal investments in your children, then take a look at this below. It’s going to be in our bulletin on Sunday:

Making the Investment in Our Children

We all know raising children is hard! It is a difficult, time-consuming and often thankless job. Yet, the Bible teaches that children are a heritage from the Lord (Psalm 127). They are indeed a reward from him. Our life is a race and we must realize the investment that must be made if we are going to pass to our children the baton of faith in Jesus Christ.

You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. Deuteronomy 6:5-7

The Scripture tells us we must be talking about the Lord consistently and constantly to our children. We do this when we are sitting together and talking about the Lord and his commands. Watching TV or a movie together doesn’t qualify. That’s not teaching time. That’s entertainment time. There must be times where the Scriptures are read and discussed in our homes and we can slow down and focus.

Yet, there is a price to be paid to get everyone’s schedules together and place a priority on conversation, discussion and the study of the Word of God. Often this means a “downsizing” of our lives to make time for the things of God. This means a priority must be given to the things of God over the American Dream and even over sports and academics. We must care more about our kids making God’s team than making some other “team.”

If you do make the decision to pay the price and truly come together as a family, then you may wonder where to begin. First, you begin by coming together physically in the same room. This can be in the den, kitchen or even someone’s bedroom. A great place to have devotion time is around the dinner table. By the way, if you seldom have supper at a table, you are most likely over-scheduled. Second, you must schedule it in your week or it won’t happen. Third, don’t preach a sermon. Just read Scripture and talk about it. This is simply a back and forth conversation. Act it out. Make it fun. You can also simply use my “Daily Devotions.” They are online at the church website: www.mpbc.ws. Remember, the time you spend will depend on the age and maturity of the children in your home.

Think about what a typical week looks like in your home. Think about last week for instance or the week before. What did you do each night during the past two weeks? How did you spend your time? Were you on the go every night? Were you home much? What needs to change? What price are you willing to pay to make the eternal investments into your children? (From Pastor Kevin’s Book: ROP, Raising Christ-Centered Young Adults, Energion Publications, 2012)

Want to see a few pictures from the past week? Homeschool time. Clara reading to Charlotte as Andrew looks on.

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Josh is on deployment in Key West, Florida. I’ll be taking Katy to the airport on Thursday in Charlotte for her and Charlotte to go be with him. We are so grateful to the wonderful man who bought the tickets to bless my girls. You know who you are! Thank you!

It’s been a joy having Katy and Charlotte with us for a few days. Charlotte is eating her first baby food…

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Can you tell we love this little girl?

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Here’s Andrew whacking a board with his foot. Better watch out for this dude!

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Hey…need a couple of laughs?

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Gotta love it!

 

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