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That’s a picture of the marker indicating Mount Pleasant Baptist Church was established in 1875. That’s 142 years ago. That’s only 10 years after the end of the Civil War. Needless to say, the church has been around a long time. I love this artwork of Ivo Dean McGee, who is now with the Lord:

That was the church in 1875 when we started. A handful of men from the community started the church and look at what we are today…

Could they have imagined such a place? When I was a boy…this is how the church looked in 1974 when I was six years old…

Times sure have changed in the last 142 years. Here’s the total campus now…

The building at the top right is the old church, (we now call the Prayer Chapel) and the building attached to it making an “L” shape was built in 1960. It’s the administrative office building and houses the old fellowship hall on the ground floor. The building at the back of the Prayer Chapel, which has the drive-thru attached, was completed in 1996. I was the chairman of the building committee for that project. In fact, in 1992, as a wet-behind-the-ears 24-year old, I was named chairman of a committee called the Long Range Planning Committee that would eventually become that Building Committee. We built the Reach Center as the multi-purpose facility that it is and moved into it on July 6, 2006 that’s in the foreground of the picture to the left.

It still blows my mind that we average (year-to-date) over 600+ in attendance with three services each week. I remember as a boy when we had goals for High Attendance Sunday set at 100.

Now, I say all of that to share some things I read recently from Thom Rainer and LifeWay Research. This is Thom:

He’s a phenomenal researcher and I want you to see his study about churches and whether or not they’ll survive. Here’s his study research:

The Study encompassed 1,000 randomly selected churches with available data for 2013 and 2016. The margin of error is +/- 3.1%. (If you’re not a numbers nerd that means this data is incredibly accurate.) The possible weakness of this study is that it only includes churches of my denomination (Southern Baptist).

We took this path because we have a gold mine of data. I do believe, however, this data can be a good approximation of evangelical churches, and a rough approximation of all Protestant churches in North America. We used average worship attendance as our metric rather than church membership. We found:

  • 56 percent (not 80%) of churches are declining.
  • 9 percent of churches are plateaued.
  • 35 percent of churches are growing.

Over 61 percent of churches average fewer than 100 in worship attendance. But if your church has fewer than 100 in worship, it is likely to be a declining church. In fact two out of three of these small churches are declining. There is a direct correlation with the rate of decline in a church and the size of the church. Simply stated, the smaller the church, the greater the rate of decline in attendance. Perhaps these three statements will clarify my point:

  • A declining church with an attendance of 200 or more declines at a rate of 4 percent each year.
  • A declining church with an attendance of less than 100 declines at a rate of 7.6 percent per year.
  • A declining church with an attendance of less than 50 declines at a rate of 8.7 percent a year.

It’s a death spiral. Declining smaller churches decline much more rapidly than larger churches. Once the declining church goes below 100 in attendance, its days are likely numbered. Here is the sad summary statement of the research: Once a church declines below 100 in worship attendance, it is likely to die within just a few years. The life expectancy for many of these churches is ten years or less. Here are some surprising discoveries from this research:

  • If a church is growing, it is highly likely to be growing faster than the community in which it is located. In fact, 91 percent of the growing churches are outpacing the growth of the community. That is a huge number! And it’s really good news if we can move our churches from decline to growth.
  • Growth and evangelistic effectiveness are not limited to any one geographic area. To the contrary, we saw a very low correlation between the geographic region and evangelistic effectiveness. I see such information as very hopeful, because it tells us that demographics and geographic location are not usually limitations for churches.
  • We can no longer use membership in our metrics for churches. It does little good to use membership as a metric in most studies of large numbers of churches. Many churches have bloated membership rolls filled with missing and deceased members. Other churches don’t bother to even measure membership at all. This reality forces us to use worship attendance as our base metric. It is the most common and, usually, the most accurate metric churches keep.

 Here are the summary metrics:

  • 31.8% of churches are growing, and they are growing faster than their respective communities.
  • 61.0% of churches are declining or plateaued, and they are declining more rapidly than their respective communities.

We surmise the following: Culture is not causing churches to compromise. Churches are compromising and culture is saying it’s okay. The way you bring people into a church will show them the expected commitment level for the future. You must have introductory or perspective new member meetings.

  • Regular church attendance has waned in recent years as the commitment level of members continues to drop.
  • Leaders in the church set the example of commitment for the rest of the church. In other words, if leaders in your church sporadically show up, the rest of the members will see that and follow suit.
  • Unfortunately, there are a significant number of Christians who no longer see church attendance as important.

Our conclusions as to why they don’t see it as important:

  1. The importance of the local church in the community has been minimized.
  2. We worship the idols of activities.
  3. We take a lot of vacations and play a lot of sports.
  4. We do not have high expectations of our members.
  5. We make infrequent attendees leaders in our churches.

However, We are encouraged to say that once a church has a turnaround from decline to growth, the outlook becomes very positive. We pray for our churches and their health.

Thom S. Rainer is the president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources. Is the founding dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions and Evangelism. Thom has a Master of Divinity and Ph.D. degrees from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

That’s some good information. And here’s some interesting information from our church clerk, Amber Edmiston:

According to our Chronological Membership Roll

Increase in Members Per Year from 2007 to 2017 (10/1-9/30)

’07-28                         ’12-42                         ’17-60

’08-46                         ’13-95                         Total = 607/11 years = 55.2 people per year

’09-66                         ’14-70

‘10-63                         ’15-49

‘11-36                         ’16-52

That’s pretty amazing! And it shows the hand of God on us. Will it continue? Only God knows. I promise you these three guys are going to keep working hard, praying hard and trusting in Jesus…

Thanks be to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

Kevin

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Why?

When a tragedy like what took place in Las Vegas earlier this week takes place, the human heart wants to know: Why? Almost 60 people killed. Over 500 injured. Why? Why would someone do that? Human beings have a natural aversion to killing another human being. So, what could have possibly happened in the heart of a human being to bring them to the place to do something so EVIL?

Yes, I used the word: EVIL. More and more people in our culture that preaches a mantra of: “not hurting anyone’s feelings,” and don’t “judge,” well…there’s an aversion to call any one or any thing: “evil.” However, that’s what the murderous act in Las Vegas was: plain, unadulterated evil! I obviously didn’t know the man, nor his heart. And I won’t say his name, because that’s what many of these people want. They want to go out in a blaze of glory and be remembered as their name and face are plastered on every media outlet. But, I will say this. I have a pretty good idea he’s in Hell today. I believe he was tricked by Satan. For, I believe Satan was speaking into his mind. And the ultimate diabolicalness of the deceit of Satan is the horrible fact that this killer most assuredly left this world from that 32nd floor hotel room and entered the horrors of Hell. To say this whole situation is “sad” is such a gross understatement. It’s demented and twisted and Satan’s fingerprints are all over it.

So, why do things like this happen? Why does ISIS decapitate people? Why do babies die and people get cancer? Why? Well, I appreciate what the president said on Monday:

…Hundreds of our fellow citizens are now mourning the sudden loss of a loved one, a parent, a child, a brother or sister. We cannot fathom their pain, we cannot imagine their loss. To the families of the victims, we are praying for you and we are here for you. And we ask God to help see you through this very dark period.

We call upon the bonds that unite us, our faith, our family, and our shared values. We call upon the bonds of citizenship, the ties of community, and the comfort of our common humanity. Our unity cannot be shattered by evil, our bonds cannot be broken by violence, and though we feel such great anger, at the senseless murder of our fellow citizens, it is our love that defines us today. And always will. Forever.

In times such as these, I know we are searching for some kind of meaning in the chaos, some kind of light in the darkness. The answers do not come easy. But we can take solace knowing that even the darkest space can be brightened by a single light and even the most terrible despair can be illuminated by a single ray of hope.

I appreciate the fact that every President in my lifetime has chosen to use Scripture during times of turmoil and trouble. Barack Obama did when Gabrielle Giffords was shot. He used the book of Job. George W. Bush quoted Psalms on the rubble of 9/11. Bill Clinton used Scripture after the Oklahoma City bombing. Ronald Reagan quoted Scripture after the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion and said, “(they) waved goodbye and slipped the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of God.” I’ll never forget that speech.

You know, whether we realize it or not, that is what we expect our presidents to do. We expect them to try to bring comfort as “Comforter in Chief.” And where do they almost always turn? The Bible. They turn to Scripture. I’m truly grateful, even though we are becoming more and more a post-christian and secular nation, we still look to an authority outside of ourselves to explain pain and the “unexplainable.” Honestly, even if the men quoting the Scripture don’t read it in private, (because I’m not saying that any of the Presidents I’ve mentioned were big-time church goers or super dedicated Christians… Truthfully, most weren’t), but I’m still grateful that they quote Scripture in public. Because what else could they quote that could have such comforting impact? Nothing! Because the Word of God is supernatural. It’s, after all, God’s Word!

But the question remains. Why? We still ask: “Why?” We still want an answer to the question. After all, we aren’t animals, (contrary to what those with an evolutionary mindset believe), therefore we want an answer. Think about it. A tiger sees a wounded rabbit and thinks nothing of eating it. However, as a human being (a moral agent), we see the rabbit and think, “Aw, I want to help it’s little injured leg.” That’s why we ask: “Why?” Because we are created in the image of God. We are moral beings and we have a conscience and we want answers. And the hard truth is: some people allow sin to dominate them to the point that their consciences are seared and they surrender to the forces of evil in the spiritual realm and they are doomed.

You know, humankind had a choice in the Garden of Eden and that shooter had a choice too. So do you. So do I. Yes, I get a choice. You get a choice. You and I get to decide how we’re going to live our lives. We aren’t robots. Is God sovereign? Yes, of course. But, in the paradox of His sovereignty, He gives man the responsibility to “own” their own decisions.

Sin came into the world as the juice of the forbidden fruit was trickling down the throats of Adam and Eve. And as they wiped that juice from their chins, preparations were being made in Heaven for Jesus to come to set aright that which had been made terribly wrong. Jesus would come and be executed so that humankind would have an opportunity to know pardon from our inexorable death sentence.

So, we’ll continue to ask: “Why did he do it?” Why would a man kill that many people? We may never know the answer. But, I must tell you that I still ask the question: “God, why would you do it?” How could you have sent your one and only son to die for men and women who would hate you? How could you watch your son drink the bitter poison of separation from you on the cross and endure the Hell of that separation…alone?! I’ll never know the answer to that question either. But, in the meantime, I will trust my Father and His sovereignty and the fact that until Jesus returns, evil exists in this sin-fallen world and the only place to find comfort is in God’s Word…as our presidents have shown us.

We had such a wonderful week on vacation. I know most folks have Facebook, but in case some of you don’t, here’s the obligatory picture with the castle in the background.

I’m grateful for the time off and the time to recharge. Everyone needs a break from time to time.

Might I say that one of my favorite times was spending time with my grandkids at the bus stop and on the bus and at the parks. What a joy! Here’s Evelyn and me at the bus stop.

Ain’t she cute! (I’m biased I know!) Riding the bus to the parks was a hoot. Honestly, it’s just time to sit and be with your family.

I know that sounds simple and it is…but, there is something tranquil just riding on a bus with your family and just chatting and even holding hands.

Call me crazy…but, I really enjoyed those rides to the parks.

One of my jobs was to watch the little guys while the bigger “kids” ride all of those wild and crazy rides. I’m way too old for those! Sometimes we could even pull this off…

Precious!!

Here’s one of my favorite pictures…

Oh…oh…oh…and the rides… Vicarious living is so much fun when you see things through your grandchildren’s eyes. Evelyn loved “It’s a Small World.”

She clapped and clapped! 10 months old and loved every minute of it! What a joy!

Pam and I even got to ride my favorite ride: “Soar-in.”

That ride has you flying around the world seeing God’s beauty, from whale’s jumping out of the ocean waters to elephants throwing dirt around in Africa. And you get to smell the dirt! It’s amazing! I always have tears in my eyes when I’m done.

You see, Walt Disney figured out the “human experience.” Disney employs 73,000 people! Is that amazing or what! Sadly, he never got to see Disney World in Orlando open. He died in 1966, five years before it opened in 1971. But, here’s the thing Disney figured out. People live amusement parks. Why? Because life is hard and they want to laugh and they want to be with other people and experience something exciting and fun. That’s why people love sporting events. It’s a joy to experience things together. That’s the same for congregating in a church. That’s why our church services can’t be boring! They just can’t! No! I’m not talking about having the Praise Team drummer entering the stage from cables in the ceiling. No! But, I’m saying, the reason so many people are forsaking the church is they feel it’s irrelevant. We’re doing church like we did in 1975. The music is boring. And the preaching is even worse.

And so, let me be blunt… Churches are in competition today with golf courses, amusement parks, fishing, sleeping in, eating brunch…you name it. All those things are happening on Sunday mornings. So, pastor…you better have your act together. Music leader, you better have your act together. And please, please…before everyone gets all up in arms and say, “Come on Kevin, people should simply come because they well…should simply want to come.” Well, I get that sentiment. I do. But, the truth is, for a lot of Christians today are not going to go to church unless there is something in it for them.

When I was growing up, you went to church no matter who was preaching or what was going on. Not today. If the lead pastor isn’t there…yep…Sunday off! “We’re not going today.” That would never be said by my grandparents. They would say, “We’re going no matter what.” You see, that’s what Christians did in the 80’s. You went to church no matter what was going on.

So, we can lament the fact that only about 36% of Americans go to church today, versus about 68% just 40 years ago. But, we must come to the sobering realization that if we don’t teach and preach well and the music is bad…well, you are going to struggle to keep people. You might think about the best restaurants you go to for a few minutes. What makes them good? As a pastor, I’m thinking that way about church.

So, this Sunday, when you come to the church, you’re going to get coffee and some muffins when you arrive. You are going to be taken care of from the moment you drive into our parking area with our First Impressions Team…to the Hospitality Team who will take care of you upon your entrance into the building to the Security Team who will make sure we’re all safe while we’re here. We’re going to make sure that the music and preaching is as good as we can possibly be, because Jesus deserves our best. I’m excited about Jesus and the fact that He saved my soul from Hell and that’s what I hope to get across every time I have the privilege to preach.

Can you tell I’ve been on vacation? I’m fired up and ready to go! Praise the Lord!

One last picture…

Dole whip! Such fun!!

Kevin

My Help Comes From…

Where does your help come from? The Psalmist said:

1 I lift up my eyes to the hills.
    From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
    who made heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1-2

Mine comes from the Lord. But not always. Why? Because sometimes I don’t turn to Him. I turn to myself and that’s when I get weak. Does that ever happen to you? You are a believer in Christ, and you know that He is the One who will provide your strength. But it’s easy to look to our devices, isn’t it? When we do that, it’s almost like getting pounded by a hurricane. I was thinking about these past two hurricanes: Harvey and Irma. Man, did they beat up Texas and Florida. Pounding… Rain… Wind…

The truth is for me and my family, we’re going to try again to go on vacation to Florida. Yet, we might get run out by Hurricane Jose. Many of you know, last week we couldn’t go because of Irma. But, we’re going to try it again. Lord willing, we’ll leave later today. I’m SO ready for some rest and relaxation. This last couple of weeks has been so up and down with the weather and many different circumstances that after a while, it all just wears on you. You know how that is. You are ready to “do this thing.”

Life has a way of beating you like waves on a shore line. It’s the constant beating that wears you out. It was like watching Mike Bettes of the Weather Channel enduring the eye wall of Hurricane Irma last Sunday afternoon. I was tired for him.

I was so glad when the eye wall finally passed…

Have you been there in your life? Sure you have! We all have. You get to a place that you say, “Lord, I need a respite. I need a break.” Those who have been caregivers for sick loved ones know this so well. Weeks and months that turn into years can really pound a soul. I pray for those I know in those situations. The Lord will sustain and we are incapable of outrunning His mercy and grace.

I love Psalm 121 and it provides the insight I often need to set my mind and my spirit back on course.

1 I lift up my eyes to the hills.
    From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
    who made heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot be moved;
    he who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, he who keeps Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is your keeper;
    the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
    nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all evil;
    he will keep your life.
The Lord will keep
    your going out and your coming in
    from this time forth and forevermore.

I’m so thankful for the Lord’s strength and help. I’m so grateful for times of rest and I’ve learned that you better get them where you can and when you can, because you never know if you’re going to get hit by another hurricane. But, even then, the Lord is with us and He is our keeper and He is our fortress and help in times of trouble.

I’ll be back with you on September 25th. 🙂

Kevin

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. John 1:1-4

Remember that old cheer?

It was fun to chant that at a game about your favorite team and then point to the other side as you shouted back for a retort.

So, I just have to say it…I love Jesus!  I can’t help but shout it!  “I love Jesus!”  Sound strange?  It shouldn’t.  But, it seems kind of “over the top” to hear a man say, “I love Jesus!”  But, I do.  I sincerely do.  My love for this God-man has grown much through the years. I’m still blown away by the fact that Jesus died for me!

I was saved as a ten-year old boy.

I’m in the back in the middle.  Check out the hair and those short-shorts! Yikes!

At the time of this photo, I had only been a Christian for a short while.  What did I know about Jesus?  Not much.  But, let me tell you…almost 40 years later…boy, have things changed.  I sincerely and genuinely know Jesus.  I mean I KNOW Him.  I talk to Him.  I understand more and more about His character and His heart.  Why?  Is it because I go to church, or that I’m a pastor or that I’ve been a member of a church for basically all my life?  Nope!

I know Jesus because I have fallen in love with His Word.  I love the Bible.  I read it because I want to…not because I have to.  People often say to me, “Well you have to read the Bible, you are a Pastor.”  They say that I’ve learned the Bible because I’m a preacher.  I kindly tell them that I learned the Bible (and that’s a relative term…learned…because I’m still a novice), by simply reading it well before I ever became a pastor.

Do you love Jesus?  If you say, “Yes,” then can I ask you a bold question?  How much do you “read Him?”  Jesus is the Word, you know.  He became flesh and dwelled among us (John 1:1).  Consequently, if you and I love Jesus, we will read the Bible.  It’s that simple. If we don’t read the Bible, then can we honestly say that we really, truly and genuinely love Jesus.   You say that’s being “legalistic.”  Well, I don’t believe it is and I will respectfully disagree.  For instance, if you love Carolina Basketball…(and I do)…then you will read news articles or online articles about the Tar Heels.  If you love hunting…you will read hunting magazines.  You get the idea.  So, what do you love?

What do you read?

Honestly and truly, I love Jesus.  And I do desire to read the Bible. I’m not saying it’s always going to be easy to just pick up the Bible and read it, but the Lord will help us and give us the desire to do so.

So…here goes…I’m standing now…and shouting with hands cupped beside of my mouth…”I love Jesus, yes I do…I love Jesus…how ’bout you?”

Kevin

PS, Let’s please keep in prayer the folks in Texas and now the folks in Florida and all the way up the East Coast. We could get strong winds here too. I’m praying Irma is not another Hugo. We were without power for 8 days in 1989 when it came through.

What a week! FaithFest was absolutely fantastic! To say that it was a success would be an understatement. The Wilkes Journal Patriot covered it here: http://www.journalpatriot.com/news/a-festival-based-on-faith/article_6c6a3010-8cb9-11e7-b683-03ae475c9443.html

To think that little ole Wilkes County could host a festival like this was amazing! Crowd estimates were around 8,000 people! Wow! For the first year that’s tremendous!! Truly, some of the best Christian artists in the country were on the stage at Wilkes Community College Saturday. The Gospel was preached and lives touched for all eternity! Now, I’m a bit biased because this was the vision of my brother-in-law Craig Church of Craig Church Ministries: https://craigchurchministries.org. Craig had a vision and the Lord saw it through! Our local businesses followed that vision and made it happen! Praise the Lord for Christian businessmen and businesswomen who love the work of the Lord and His kingdom and used their businesses as a conduit for the spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. https://faithfestnc.com/#sponsors

I must say I am biased in another way too. Kandace was one of the singer/musicians!

Man was I nervous. I tried not to let her know that I was, but I was. I was 10 times more nervous for her than I ever am when I’m in front of a large crowd. I guess that has to do with being a parent. Yes, I’m biased, but she did a fantastic job! You can watch a piece of her set here: https://www.facebook.com/johnlewismusic/videos/1874883719195555/ and here: https://www.facebook.com/FaithFestNC/videos/699993226838023/.

My favorite photo of Kandace was from Carly Blevins…

I love the smile! That’s joy! She had prayed and prepared and the Lord used my girl. I write this with a lump in my throat! I love you Kandace and I praise the Lord for your willingness to allow your life as a 19-year old young lady to be used for the kingdom! I thank you for being willing to stand for the things of Christ in a world that doesn’t necessarily revere the things of Christ as it once did. I thank you for being willing to put yourself on the line for Jesus! And “Thank you Lord! I’m so grateful for my girl.” As the Apostle John said: “I have no greater joy than to see my children walking in the truth.” 3 John 4.

Next year it’s looking like FaithFest might be a two-day event. Friday evening and Saturday. That would be tremendous! Thanks Craig and to all who made it happen! I’m really thankful too for our church, MPBC, that participated with so many workers, volunteers and helpers! Everywhere I looked I saw MPBC people working!

Speaking of working. There is so much to be done in Houston and the surrounding towns. It will literally take years to rebuild. My heart and my wallet goes out to those folks. I encourage you to consider helping our neighbors in Texas and I know of no better group to do that through than our own Samaritan’s Purse. https://www.samaritanspurse.org/disaster/hurricane-harvey/?utm_source=HurricaneHarvey2017Email1&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=m_YHHR-17E1&utm_content=Donate_Button

Did you see there is another one brewing in the Atlantic? It’s already been named: Irma. And she’s a powerhouse. She’s already a category 3. And wouldn’t you know it… Right now she’s headed for Florida.

Yes, she could go north and out to sea or even into the Gulf of Mexico. Let’s pray she goes north and curves out to sea. I’m praying that for our country and I’m praying that for my family. We’re heading to Florida at the end of next week for vacation and I’d really like NOT to have to come home early.

Here’s this week’s TMT: “The Envelope Please.”

https://subsplash.com/mpbc/v/wt4bctq

Kevin

Yes, believe it or not I’m getting people asking me about the winter weather forecast for the upcoming winter. Normally, I put out my thoughts around September, but I’ll give a pre-preview and then finalize it in October. So, here goes.

Let’s look at last winter. It was an El Nino winter. It was even stronger than predicted. The average snow for our area in Wilkesboro is 9.7″ per year. I thought we’d have at least that and perhaps above. So, how did we do? Well, we had 8″ of snow on Friday/Saturday, January 8/9. That was our big storm and our main storm. We had a second snow of 1″ on Sunday, March 12th. So, we were slightly below normal with 9″ compared to the average of 9.7″. Therefore, we ended up having what I would call a “slight bust” for the year on the forecast. Again, the El Nino was stronger and the storms we had were more “wet” than snowy.

Now what is El Nino? Well, it’s part of the driving mechanism for our winters here in the southeast. In fact, I believe the main driver of much of our weather comes from that part of the world. I’m talking about the warmth of the water off the South American west coast. If that water is warm, it’s called El Nino. If it’s cooler, it’s called La Nina.

There are other very complicated factors that play into our weather for the winter such as the North Atlantic Oscillation (called the NAO). If we get into what is called the “negative phase” of the NAO (which is a big blocking High Pressure over Greenland and we can get moisture coming up from the Gulf (driven by the warm waters of the Pacific), BANG…that’s our recipe for winter weather.

Here’s the difference between the negative and positive phases of the NAO.

You can see that the Negative NAO makes it cold and snowy in the southeast.

Currently, the weather patterns have been up and down throughout the summer. We’ve had periods of wet and dry. Remember July was hot and dry and recently we’ve gone through cooler, wetter weather. This seems to be something we’ll see through the fall. September looks to be cooler than normal and then warmer for October and November. Here’s the Weather Channel forecast for September:

Now, no one is putting out a forecast for December and beyond at this point except for the Almanacs. One of my favorites is the Old Farmer’s Almanac. They’ve been forecasting the weather since 1818 using a formula that’s “secret” and by using the “signs of nature.” One of the things they look at is the Moon and its motions because of its influence on the tides. They say, “Ocean tides can be accurately predicted, so part of our formula relies on the belief that we can line up certain weather patterns with a specific position of the Moon in its orbit…”

They are predicting “above normal” precipitation that looks “wet, wintry, and white.” They have noted the dates of “January 20-23, February 4-7 & 16-19, and March 1-3 & 20-23 along the Atlantic Seaboard for some heavy precipitation.” Now, to me, this isn’t a stretch. Truly, we get the majority of our winter weather in Jan-Mar. January 20th through February 10th is the coldest part of the winter. So, to guess that we could have snow during that period is not that risky. However, for them to say that we’ll potentially have 5 events is pretty aggressive. Normally, we’ll have 2-3 events in a normal winter. Here’s their chart…

Sandi Duncan, Managing Editor of the Farmers’ Almanac, stands by the publication’s accuracy track record. “Our predictions over time have been 80% to 85% accurate and continue to be a valuable planning tool for the year ahead.”

I’m a bit less bullish than their predicted 5 events and I will stick with 3-4 events and slightly above normal precipitation and cold with a moderate to weak El Nino. Which is actually good. You say, “It is? I thought a strong El Nino is what we wanted…the warmer the water the better.” No, that’s not true. For snow lovers, we want a moderate El Nino because if the water is too warm it makes the storms too warm and we can’t get snow. That happened three times last year. We were plenty wet…just too warm. The moderate El Nino makes the water not quite as warm. Think of Goldilocks… We want it “just right.”

This “just right” for us is called a “Modoki El Nino” or a “moderate” El Nino.

I know this is technical…but, what you are seeing above is a moderate El Nino. It’s barely above the Zero line and that’s good for snow lovers. Here’s what a weak El Nino does for us…

What forecasters try to do is to look at what are called “analog years” and that is where they look at the past and see which winter in the past might be most similar to the upcoming one and then peg it to that winter. The winter they are looking at is 2010. Remember that winter? It snowed at Christmas. Clara and Andrew were little tykes then…

The snow was majestic as we walked up to mom and dad’s to celebrate…

Will that happen this year? Honestly, there’s no way to predict that. It would be a wild guess, no matter what anyone tells you. It’s such an anomaly here. White Christmases are very rare. I’ve seen two in my lifetime of almost 50 years.

With all of this said, my “preliminary forecast” is for about 14″ of snow. That’s about 45% above average. However, if we get “the big one,” we could get that in one storm. I do believe we’ll have a warmer December to start…but, it should flip (if the Modoki pattern holds) by mid-to-late month into January. So, we’ll see. It’s always fun to try to predict these things. But, as we all know…only the Lord knows! 🙂

We had a great week with our family. Josh celebrated his 29th birthday (he’s getting old isn’t he?).

Charlotte was so excited! Josh is a fantastic son-in-law! Truly, he’s more like a son to me than a son-in-law. He loves my daughter well and he is a wonderful father to Charlotte and Evelyn… That’s his hand holding Evelyn as they play…

We also celebrated mom and dad’s 50th wedding anniversary!

What a testimony of longevity in this day and age where folks throw in the towel so easily. Marriage takes work, folks. It’s that plain and simple. It’s been said, “Marriage is often the anvil the Lord uses to make us into the people he desires.”  I’ve been married almost 27 years and I would agree with that. I’m so hard-headed! I’m a blessed man! If you are struggling in your marriage, you might consider this…

https://www.thecouragecourses.com/p/109320

I love Kirk Cameron and this is an online course that you can do in your home. Marriage takes work, nurture and time. Way too many people treat their marriage like a car they never maintenance and have the oil changed. If you do that with a car, it will leave you stranded. Do it with a marriage, well…expect it to leave you stranded, disillusioned and joyless. Invest in your marriage and talk to each other. Spend time in prayer together. Do that would you? Tonight? Just hold hands and say a pray before you go to sleep. Do that each night and I promise you it will revolutionize your marriage. Why? Ever tried to pray mad? It’s hard! Knowing you’re going to pray every night means you work, talk and sort things out. Yep…that’s the ticket. Talk! Pray together. Grow! 🙂

Here’s a family picture at mom and dad’s as we celebrated…

Something else that happened last week, is that a dog just showed up on our property. I really believe someone set him out.

As you can tell, he’s now a Brown. 🙂 His name is Jack and he’s cross between a Jack Russell and a Chihuahua. He’s about 6 months old. The kids love him! I do too! Our cat, Wendy, died about a month ago. She was 16. I think the Lord knew we could take care of him. He looked to have been abused and he was pretty sick. He’s on antibiotics now and is like night and day versus last week. He’s running, jumping, playing! He’s a dude!

Hey, hey…it’s finally here! Tomorrow is Faithfest!!! Kandace will be singing at it! What an opportunity!

I’m really excited about that and about Faithfest! What a blessing to have this event in our county! Thanks to Craig Church Ministries for putting this together. Will you pray with me that lives will be saved and Christians touched and strengthened? It should be a fabulous day! Kandace sings at 3:25. You can still buy tickets at the gate tomorrow for $25. It all begins at 2:30. Here’s the list of events… https://faithfestnc.com/#schedule

I’ve been teaching Andrew how to hit a golf ball. He can whack one about 85 yards.

That’s pretty good for a little guy like him!

Take a look:

Here’s this week’s Two-Minute Tuesday, “The Real Reason We Don’t Read the Bible.” https://subsplash.com/mpbc/v/ek4kwes

Kevin