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What a Weekend!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The pastor of the church is Louie Giglio.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blessings,

Kevin

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All Wound Up

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beech Mountain is such a pretty place…

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

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

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

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

The Heat of 2 stars?

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

You learn something new every day!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blessings to you all!

Kevin

Wow! What an amazingly busy last couple of weeks it’s been. A trip to Mexico and Texas with the church was fantastic! So much was accomplished in Mexico with Mount Pleasant Baptist of Progreso and with New Life Baptist of Weslaco.

It was a blessing to travel with Pam this time. We’ve never been able to do a mission trip together. Yet, the kids are older now and we could pull it off.

I guess most of you have heard about this by now…

Kandace is engaged! Pam and I couldn’t be more excited. Clark Mayberry is a phenomenal young man! He’s a believer and he loves my daughter and that’s pretty awesome! He’s a graduate of ASU with an accounting degree and lives here in Wilkes, but works in Winston for C-Biz, a company that handles payroll and accounting for smaller companies.

Kandace and Clark plan to tie the knot next Spring, most likely in April 2019. They are such a blessing!

Kan is actually in Nashville right now working on an EP (a three-song Extended Play) that is being produced by some top-notch folks affiliated with the Annie Moses Band (AMB) and Nashville musicians. Kandace has the gift of song writing. AMB has seen that in Kandace and offered this opportunity to her, knowing it’s been a dream of hers to record some of her own music. She’s part of the faculty with the Annie Moses Summer Music Festival. She’s been attending this camp for years. Katy and Clara participated for many years as well. In fact, Andrew participated one year too. We miss Kan. She’ll be back the 16th. But, I suppose I need to begin getting prepared to miss her a whole lot more come next Spring (as she’ll be married) and moving out. Life moves on so quickly, doesn’t it!

Another testament of that is the fact that another July 4th is in the books.

We’ve been going and watching the fireworks across from Memorial Park in North Wilkesboro for years. We like the fire truck parade and all the festivities. But, I must admit, I really enjoy the hum-drum of just a quiet evening at home too.

Charlotte and Evie will come down and we’ll play together. I love it when Charlotte says, “Papa, do you want to play with me?” Truly a joy!

The same is true running up to mom and dad’s (we live beside of them). Here mom is explaining to Andrew how to make 14-day, sweet pickles the old-fashioned way…in a crock.

That’s a lost art and is dying out, unfortunately. Generations and priorities change. The time and effort to do things that takes 14-days are not in vogue. We like things to be accomplished in 14-seconds. 🙂 I’m thankful for mom working so hard to provide these yummy pickles. Let me tell you, a quart jar of those pickles…well…it’s like gold! Thanks mom!

Well, it’s time to get back at it. People to talk to and sermons to write. Blessings on a great summer… Busy…and not-so-busy. 🙂

Kevin

Are you growing spiritually? You either are or you aren’t. There isn’t any middle ground. There is no standing still. Are you growing in your faith? How about your children? Are thy growing spiritually? Mom and Dad, it’s your responsibility that they are growing spiritually. Please don’t think that God has given the Church the responsibility to disciple your child. That’s your job. The Church is to equip ALL the believers in “works of ministry.” There are no special “groups” in Scripture. So, how are things spiritually with your children?

The Two-Minute Tuesday was about that very subject this week. Take a look: “Are Your Kids Spiritually Healthy?”

http://mpbc.ws/media/?sapurl=Lys3ZWViL2xiL21pLytkaDhueTVuP2JyYW5kaW5nPXRydWUmZW1iZWQ9dHJ1ZQ==

Regarding this subject of children/kids, we often have families come to the church and as they are learning about the church, sometimes they’ll ask: “What about ‘Children’s Church,’ ‘Youth Group,’ etc?” I tell them, we don’t have those. We keep everyone together, just as you see in Scripture.

My daughter, Katy, blogged about this not long ago:

https://careercalledhome.wordpress.com/2018/06/16/children-in-the-church-service-why-and-how-its-for-the-best/

Not long ago, we had a family with several children come to the church and the mom and dad told me how excited they were that we didn’t split their family up as soon as they hit the doors of the church. They were so pleased that we worship as a “family.” Yet, people hear this and they say, “That’s great! But what do you do about the teenager who come to church who has no parents with him. What do you do for him?” Or they’ll say, “Hey, it’s great you have families in your church and dad’s who lead their homes well, but there are some dead-beat dads out their today, so what are we supposed to do with the kids of those kinds of dads?”

Well, most churches have asked that question and have come to the conclusion that they must be a substitute where the dads are not getting the job done. Thus, before we realized it, the Church was handling the training for all dads, Christian and non-Christian alike. But, this is a problem. For the past 30-35 years, the Church has undertaken a role that was never intended for the Church to do in the first place. Instead of getting our hands dirty in the hard work of teaching and training, and “adopting” into our families young people who don’t have a family in the church, we often want to take the easy way out and hire someone (a youth pastor) to do it for us.

Yes, we can simply “adopt” these young people into our families. This means inviting them to sit with of our family during service and making them feel they are accepted and belong. Problem is…in many churches today, the youth are never in the service with the “adults.” This is tragic! Paul instructed Titus to teach the elders in Titus 2 that the old should teach, mentor, the young. How can we do this if they are never with us?

Through the years, Pam and I have “adopted” several young adults into our family. One of which is now our son-in-law. We have tried to model and exhibit what a biblical family is to look like. We plug them in to our family life and we try to show them what a Christian family looks like. The most important part of this process is simply to show them love.

Christopher Schlect, in his book, Critique of Modern Youth Ministry, says it this way:

“Ministering to children of unbelievers need not be as difficult as it seems. These children should be drawn to associate with Christian families that will take them in and mentor them while at church, thereby showing those children the family model as illustrated in the Word of God. Invite them over for dinner, where the Biblical model of the family can be exhibited.”

state-of-youth-ministry

I believe it is time to get young people out of these church “game rooms” and get them plugged into our churches and get them on the mission field of life. We need to see our young adults as capable of “being about the Father’s business.” We need to expect them to step up to the level of a teenage apostle or Timothy or David.

Does offering more concerts, camps, lock-ins, pizza blasts, zip-lines, ski trips, and the like stand to give us spiritually mature young adults? No, not if that’s all we give them. A steady diet of activities and fun is not what they need or want. Our society’s youth orientation has bred little more than young adults hyped up on the junk food of entertainment and fun, yet they are starving to death and dying for answers to the difficult and tough questions of the day. Our young people sit in our churches week after week and we see them, but are they really there? Are they really engaged? Do they want to be at church or are they just coming because they have to or because they’ve been lured by the fun and games? Doesn’t our focus need to change?

If you think about it, of all the programs in churches which one is most commonly the largest and well-funded? The answer: youth programs. It seems that evangelical churches, and many mainline churches, began breaking out the youth in their congregations about 30-35 years ago. In fact, there is a feeling in Christendom that you aren’t doing too well as a church if you can’t fund and hire at least a part-time youth minister of some sort. But, what do youth ministries do? Many of these programs, if not managed carefully, can breed immaturity because they hinder younger people from associating with and learning from their elders. Paul told young Timothy to “flee youthful lusts” (2 Timothy 2:22). Yet, it is common to take the young adults on an outing at night and youth pastors have to station chaperones throughout the church bus to make sure everyone is being nice. Is that something we should have to be doing with adults in the church? There should never be a youth function in a church in which everyone, young and old alike, cannot participate.

You see, when we totally separate our young adults from the rest of the church body, we are setting them up for an identity crisis. They don’t know who they are apart from their friends and buddies in the youth group. They know nothing of the functioning of the church, as a whole, outside of their youth room. After all, they have their own culture and music, geared to their own tastes. So, by the time they are 18, and we tell them they must leave the youth groups, they are sent to the “grown up” church where, in some cases many have never been. It is culture shock to say the least!

Despite all of this, some may think that we are trying to take the fun out of the lives of our young adults. Some say, “They’ve got to be kids. Let them have a little fun.” Please understand, I am not against anyone having fun, but is this the role of the church? Are we supposed to set up our churches to be centers for having fun? Somehow I believe we have mistakenly come to believe that teenagers are entitled to more fun than anybody else in the church. We may believe we must put something fun on the calendar every week or two, certainly monthly, so they can have a good time. Let me ask you this question: Do we owe any group in the church a good time? Truth is: Many youth ministries seem to be run like a cruise ship. We hear things like, “When’s the next event? When do we get to eat pizza and hotdogs?” Have you ever wondered why there is such a high turnover rate with youth ministers? They burn out after two or three years of this kind of activity planning.

youth_room_640

Can youth groups be a negative influence on our young people? Yes, some (not all) can. Unfortunately, I believe, (and this is certainly without meaning to), they can become a place of peer-driven frivolity. You see, when we place our young people in these peer-driven groups where the spiritual maturity is usually very low, and yet we desire for them to grow spiritually…we need to ask ourselves… “How?” How can they grow spiritually in these environments? The truth is…most of the time, youth pastors are trying to administrate some sort of crowd control versus being able to really teach. Unfortunately, our young people tend to find their identity in their friends and that can include youth groups. For them, it’s so easy to find their identity in what they wear, drive or have. Some young people have their entire identity wrapped up in the type of clothes they wear, cell phone they carry and who they are dating. This same mentality often transfers into our youth groups and can even be fed within the youth group.

Through the years, I’ve become more and more dismayed that many churches  no longer mix their young people with their adults in any way. They keep the youth in their own rooms, as far away from everyone else in the church as possible, in case they get too loud or rowdy. These rooms often have painted-tie-dyed walls…

youthroom2NEW%20copy

…posters, road signs and leftover sofas from our basements. These rooms are “play rooms” of video games and places to simply “hang out.”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Some youth rooms I’ve seen look more like arcades. Some churches have even given their youth their own building, where they come for an entertainment smorgasbord anytime they want. Is this the structural model we really believe is going to grow mature, solid, faith-filled, Christ-centered, young adults? You sure won’t find this model in Scripture. We must stop kidding ourselves. The numbers, the surveys, and the statistical data do not lie. Many of our young adults continue to abandon their faith and will continue to do so unless we change our strategy and return to the Biblical model, where the church body worships and does life TOGETHER!

Churches should work to promote cross-generational interaction as Paul admonished Titus to teach the elders in Titus 2. In separating the youth from the church body at large, we are in essence saying, “Unlike adults, they can’t handle the weighty things of Scripture.” Thus, it seems okay for us to give them a driver’s license at 16 and put them behind the wheel of a 3,500 pound vehicle and turn them loose on our highways. We expect them to learn algebra, chemistry and calculus. Certainly, they can study and learn Scripture as well. Yes, our young people need to be with adults and be trained…older to younger. In fact, they will graduate from high school and college and go to work in environments with people of all ages. Only in our schools and churches are our young adults segregated by age.

What’s the role of the Church regarding our young people? Well, the Church is certainly here to help and partner with the family to grow our young adults in the way of the Lord. We are to equip all the saints (believers) for works of ministry. Yes, we are to partner with the family in training our young adults…yet, we don’t do the job for the parents. The church’s vision must shift from a consumer-driven focus, regarding our young people, to a partner-driven focus. In other words, the church must stop seeing itself as a vending machine of fun activities to give young people or children something to do to keep them out of trouble. As parents, we must stop seeing the church as a place where we drop off the kids to let the youth pastors train them or give them a little “faith development.”

We must stop thinking the church building and its programs are the conduits through which the gospel is spread. The gospel is spread through people, not programs. What programs existed in the first church? None that I know of with the exception of meeting together to fellowship, break bread, study the gospel and pray (See Acts 2:42-47). Afterwards, they left their homes and went out into the community and shared Jesus. The gospel must travel house by house through the community in the same way it did 2,000 years ago. And in the meantime, let’s continue to worship together and grow spiritually TOGETHER, just as the Bible teaches.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hey, hey…I’m excited about this:

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

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

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

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

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

http://mpbc.ws/signuptable/

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

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

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

Kevin

Needless to say, I was grateful to hear the Supreme Court ruling this week for this man…

That’s Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cake Shop in Colorado. I’m sure you’ve heard about the ruling, in that it’s been all over the news. But, the upshot of the ruling to me is this: The Government (at this point in our history as a nation) is NOT going to force people to go beyond their religious beliefs and convictions to do anything in their proprietary business. Notice I said, “at this point in our history,” because that can easily change.

After the ruling, Jack said this: “People don’t have to share my beliefs to support my freedom. They just need to agree that the decision should be mine to make — not the government’s to make for me… If the government can force me to celebrate events and express views that violate my conscience, they can do it to anyone.”

I agree.

For me as a pastor, this is welcome news. Because I was waiting for the day when I was going to be told I had to marry anyone who comes to me. In other words, I would not be allowed to decline to marry people who came to me living the gay lifestyle. This ruling was a breath of fresh air to me. While people are free to live any way they chose, I should not be forced to condone a lifestyle or belief system that goes against my beliefs. That’s truly the First Amendment in a nutshell. I get to “exercise” my freedom of religion…not “keep it in a closet.”

National Review’s David French wrote: “Americans should take comfort in the fact that the justices took the opportunity to ‘[remind] state authorities that people of faith have the exact same rights — and are entitled to the exact same treatment — as people of different faith or no faith at all.’ And it did so in an opinion that decisively rejected the exact talking points so favored by the anti-religious Left.” French went on to say, “Since the rise of the gay-marriage movement, it has become fashionable to decry dissenters as haters and bigots, to attempt to write them out of polite society in the same way that the larger American body politic has rightfully rejected the Klan… This week, the Supreme Court said ‘enough.'”

While it’s true that Justice Kennedy may never be able to undo the damage he did to religious liberty when he took a wrecking ball to marriage in the June 2015 Obergefell decision, but at least some of it was repaired (Kennedy wrote the majority opinion in the 7-2 decision). French continued in his analysis, “the court breathed a bit of life back into religious-liberty jurisprudence. And the justice who did it is none other than Anthony Kennedy… the justice most responsible for the gay-rights revolution.”

In my mind, the point is this… no one should be kicked out of the public marketplace for peacefully living out his/her faith and for shaping their day-to-day business practices as such. As one attorney I read earlier this week said: “The First Amendment protects Jack’s deeply held beliefs in the sanctity of marriage and his ability to create art reflective of his convictions and conscience. Tolerance should be ‘a two-way street.'”

Speaking of politics… Here’s this week’s Two-Minute Tuesday… “President Obama Admits It.”

http://mpbc.ws/media/?sapurl=Lys3ZWViL2xiL21pLytoenp3enRmP2F1dG9wbGF5PXRydWUmYnJhbmRpbmc9dHJ1ZSZlbWJlZD10cnVl

I have been intrigued by a book that just came out about the 2016 Democratic debacle called, “The World As It Is,” by Ben Rhodes, an advisor to Hillary Clinton and former President Barack Obama. In essence, he said, “They blew it!” and they didn’t understand the American people. He quoted President Obama as saying, “Maybe we pushed too far.” Mr. President, you did. When you care more about which bathroom a person uses versus someone having jobs in the Rustbelt…yes…you pushed too far.

Yes, it’s true that most likely one day the progressive liberals may control the halls of Congress and the Whitehouse and they will have their day. But, for now, Americans have said, “Hold your horses and stop cramming down our throat your Elitist ideas and liberal agenda.” And this week, the Supreme Court said the same thing. Yes, that’s good news for a change.

Kevin

Left Behind

See these two pictures…

The top picture is the Sheetz in Yadkinville, just off of Highway 421. The bottom picture is the Exxon, right beside of the Sheetz, that has been there for years. See the difference? Look at the number of cars. I couldn’t even get a pump at the Sheetz and was waiting when I took the pictures.

The Exxon used to be hopping! I’ve stopped there many times. Look at the picture again. It doesn’t look necessarily “run down.” But, there are bags on all the pumps, except one set of pumps. So, what’s the problem? Simple. It was “left behind.” Why? Because it didn’t stay up with the times. Sheetz provides a lot more than gas. They are a lot more than a service station with candy bars and soft drinks. They are a “store of convenience.” You can buy gas, use the restroom (very, very clean ones I might add) and (and this a big AND) order food via a touchscreen and it’s GOOD!

How many times have you been traveling and didn’t want to stop in two places. You need gas and you need to eat. So, Sheetz has solved that issue. What about the Exxon? They’ve been left behind. It’s that simple.

Think about Walmart. What are they doing now? They’ve got me singing the old Anita Ward song, “Ring my bell…” Why? Because Walmart doesn’t want to be left behind. From what? From the Amazon revolution and door to door deliveries. Walmart wants in on that cash cow. People want convenience and the sooner that folks in the “people” business figure that out, the better.

Hey, you know what? I’m in the people business too. That’s right! As a pastor/elder, I’m in the business of thinking about, “How do we get people to come to our gas station?” Convenience, order, structure, ease of use, getting the value you want, etc. You say, “Okay pastor…you are not being very spiritual.” Well, forgive me if I’ve not included chapter and verse…but, I well say it this way… “Go out into the highway and hedges and COMPEL them to come in.” Jesus said that you know.

So, the pastor/elders are constantly thinking about how do we compel people to come to our station. There are so many competitors… And NO…I’m not talking about other churches. I’m talking about the competitors of the bed (it’s so comfy on Sunday mornings) and the lake (in the summer) and the ski mountains (in winter). Will we get left behind? You see, as a church, it’s true… “It’s a dog eat dog world” out there and sometimes I feel like churches are a milk bone biscuit and we’re getting eaten alive because we are getting left behind.

We must be constantly thinking about improving and making things better. And that’s true of anything. How about your business? How about your life? Are you keeping up? Are you striving for the things of God and seeking Him? He’ll show you the way. Think of it like Chick-Fil-A. They do fast food, right? Wrong! They do “customer experiences” and the chicken is a great “cherry on top of the sundae.” Truett Cathy figured that out a long time ago. The chicken sandwich is a big part of their business…but, it’s an expensive chicken sandwich comparatively speaking (to some). But, the experience of fast, friendly, efficient, excellent service makes the extra buck or two worth it. 🙂

This week’s Two-Minute Tuesday has received the most views in a while. It’s about Oprah’s view of Jesus, NOT being the only way to heaven. Take a look…

http://mpbc.ws/media/?sapurl=Lys3ZWViL2xiL21pLyt4NDVmdjNyP2F1dG9wbGF5PXRydWUmYnJhbmRpbmc9dHJ1ZSZlbWJlZD10cnVl

Finally, in case anyone is interested… I finally got my beans staked and I’ve sought to address the crows coming and eating my corn. My radio in my five gallon bucket is back. It got “shorted out” with the rain a couple of weeks ago. But, I’ve got another one out there now…and not a crow has been seen. They don’t like noise!

Kevin