100k Views This Calendar Year … Thank You!

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I received notice today that for the calendar year 2017, this blog celebrated passing 100 thousand views.

Wow! Thank you for allowing me to serve you online in this blog. Plus there are many who follow this blog through email delivery and WordPress Reader. What a privilege and honor for me.

I’m often asked why I created the blog and take time to “feed” it. Simple reasons … I want to enjoy living for Christ and walking together with you in Christ. As a pastor and biblical counselor, I love glorifying God in life with other people who also follow Christ. So the blog addresses issues related to every day living such as family, culture, faith, people who need care, people who give care, and personal growth. I write as a friend, neighbor, pastor, and counselor.

If you have questions you want answered, suggested topics, or just want to drop me a note, please use this link.

Again, thank you and God bless you as we walk together through life as friends in Christ.

Kevin’s Blog | Walking together through life as friends in Christ sharing wisdom along the journey

© 2017 PASTORKEVINSBLOG.COM

A Better Kind of Independence Day … 2 Corinthians 5

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Blog-A-Better-Kind-of-Independence-Day-07.04.17July 4th means so much to us as Americans. On this day, July 4, 1776, the United States adopted the Declaration of Independence that formally declared our independence from the British Empire as the thirteen American colonies became a new nation. For this special occurrence we are both grateful and appreciative. We understand the significance of our independence and freedom we enjoy; in addition, we recognize what it cost to initially gain our freedom and, since that time, to defend it.

Today is special for another even better reason. In the wee hours of this morning, my sweet friend Miss Coialeen Monday moved from this life to the next one. She looked forward to the end of this 91-year journey to begin a new eternal journey with her precious Savior, Jesus Christ. We often sat and discussed the joys of heaven that awaited her. She recognized the truth of 2 Corinthians 5:8, “We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.”

What makes this a better kind of Independence Day?

The Christian’s Eyes Are Looking toward Eternity (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

As Miss Monday increasingly became weaker, she realized the truth that even as her outward man was perishing, her inward man was being renewed. She looked forward with pleasure to the eternal rather than the temporary. She understood that her sickness was just a light affliction as she made her way toward heaven. This earth and her life were not her final goal. She often would pray with me as we considered the far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory – that which awaited for her.

This Earthly Body Changes to an Eternal Body (2 Corinthians 5:1-5)

God builds in the Christian a desire for eternity. I often explain it as a built-in homesickness for heaven. Our eternal body waits as this earthly body moves toward death. Paul describes this work of the Spirit with the word “groan.” In this body we groan for our eternal body. We groan to put off the sin and suffering of the present and for our resurrected bodies and life. We anticipate it. We think about it. We long for it. For the past three years Miss Monday has regularly said how she longs to go to heaven. She dearly loved her friends. She enjoyed working in her garden and living in her house. She made friends with the birds who would wait each morning for food. She enjoyed living. However, her life – as good as it was – was not to be compared to her future body and life.

Understanding the Future Impacts Our Present (2 Corinthians 5:6-10)

The Bible makes it clear that this life is not the end-all of existence. While at home in our bodies here on earth, we are away from the presence of God in heaven. We live by faith in what the Bible teaches and not in only what we can see around us in this world on this side of eternity. In fact, because of our eternal future with Christ, we simply and sincerely desire to be with the Lord. Paul wrote, “We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8).

Sweet words for the believer in Jesus Christ… “Absent from the body, to be present with the Lord.” Miss Monday understood this. She recognized the next step from this world was into the presence of her Lord. Her nightly prayer was, “Lord, let me go to sleep and wake up in heaven if it is your plan.” Last night she did just that.

Because we understand the significance of going to heaven, every day we make it our aim to honor God in everything we do. We live the kind of life that magnifies the grace and holiness of Jesus Christ. We seek to imitate Him. We desire to live today on earth just as if we were with Him in heaven. We recognize as Christians that one day we will all appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ to account for how we lived on earth as we anticipated our future eternal life with Christ.

Our Confidence Is in God through Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20-21)

Why can we have this confidence? How did Miss Monday have this assurance? Because she placed her personal trust in Jesus Christ. She understood what Paul taught: “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). God placed the Christian’s sin on Christ and placed Christ’s righteousness on the Christian. In other words, God punished Jesus because God held our sin against Jesus and not us. He blesses us with righteousness as those who are in Christ and provides for us heaven – all because He sees us through Jesus’ righteousness.

For this reason we excitedly share the good news of the Gospel. Any person can look forward to and long for heaven because Jesus Christ paid for everyone’s sins on the cross. Because of the payment for sin, God now offers forgiveness through Jesus to each one of us. However, we can only enjoy forgiveness and the promise of heaven if we go to God in humble repentance for our sins and ask Him to forgive our sins through the personal work of Jesus – His perfect life, sacrificial death on the cross, victorious resurrection from the grave, and His ascension back into heaven. This is the only way we can have the confident assurance of eternal life after death.

Today We Celebrate a Better Independence Day!

As I sit in an empty house that once was the dwelling of a sweet friend, my mind is not on death. My thoughts are on life. Her confidence was in the person of Jesus Christ. She depended not upon her own ideas or works to earn her salvation; instead, she trusted in the finished work of Christ on the cross. She has given up this earthly tent for something greater and better. Jesus won her independence and eternal life on the cross. This morning, she peacefully realized for so long what she had desired and prayed. She met her Savior. This Independence Day begins the first of an eternity of days where she will rejoice over the marvelous grace and mercy of God through Christ that provided her eternal life. So I sit here this morning not thinking about her death but considering her new life. The sweet memories of my friend are being swallowed with wonder as I consider what she is now experiencing.

Join the Conversation

What about you? Have you placed your personal trust and faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins? And, if you have, are you longing to be with Him in His presence?

2 Corinthians 4:16-5:21

4:16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

5:1 For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.

So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.

Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. 11 Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences. …

20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. 21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Pastor Kevin’s Blog | Walking together through life as friends in Christ sharing wisdom along the journey

© 2017 PASTORKEVINSBLOG.COM

The Link

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I’m happy to share some good links that I have found this week. I think you’ll enjoy these articles. Enjoy your day in God’s Grace (Rom 5:2)!

Powerful Testimony of Sportscaster James Brown – James Brown explains his incredible 74-pound weight loss – and his explanation is totally unexpected. You’ll enjoy reading this powerful testimony and his ultimate motivation for losing all his weight. This is worth your two minutes to read it.

Have you not known?
Have you not heard?
The everlasting God, the Lord,
The Creator of the ends of the earth,
Neither faints nor is weary.
His understanding is unsearchable.
– Isaiah 40:28

The Gospel as Simple as 3-2-1 – This video posted by Justin Taylor from the Gospel Coalition gives a simple explanation of the Gospel using the numbers 3-2-1. John Piper said this is the video he would show all his unsaved friends.

Not Sure Where You Want To Vacation? – This is a link from ExploreBranson.com and includes some gorgeous pictures of the Ozarks. If you have never visited us in the Ozarks, these pictures may convince you that it would be a good idea. Branson offers family fun for everyone. When in the area, stop by and say hi to us.

If you love country music… – This is a must-see video that you will enjoy featuring 30 of the most famous and award winning country music stars and classics. This video was made in honor of the 50th annual CMA Awards. If you like video production, this is an amazing feat. Plus, if you’re from West Virginia, you’ll really enjoy this one.

Rental Car Help – Have you ever wondered if it is a good idea to prepay for the gas in your rental car. This article provides you six reasons why prepaying for gas is never a good idea.

9 Reasons Why to Celebrate Wedding Anniversaries – In case you missed this recently, here are 9 reasons why to celebrate wedding anniversaries – and none of them are to stay out of the doghouse or off the couch. I think you’ll be challenged to consider some key thoughts regarding faithfulness in marriage.

Blog-When-You-Cant-Grace-Can-08.07.14

Pastor Kevin’s Blog | Walking together through life as friends in Christ sharing wisdom along the journey

© 2017 PASTORKEVINSBLOG.COM

Characteristics of a GOOD Fisherman

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If it is worth doing, it is worth doing well. This general life principle provides guidance to all of us. This, no doubt, is also true to fishing.

If you are going to fish, of course you want to know the characteristics of a GOOD fisherman.

Recently at our 42nd annual trip to Kentucky Lake as an extended family, we all sat together and discussed the question, “What are the characteristics of a good fisherman?” The answers varied.

  • Patient
  • Persistence
  • Determination
  • Have the Right Equipment
  • Know Your Target
  • Know Your Surroundings
  • Use Proper Bait
  • Practice
  • Understand the Process
  • Put in the Hard Work
  • Have a Right Attitude
  • Anticipation
  • Enjoy the Process
  • Fish Legally
  • Have the Right Timing
  • Committed Resources

To catch good fish is not easy. Anyone can grab a pole and some bait and try. However, it takes skill, education, practice, and persistence to become a GOOD fisherman.

Jesus understood this.

Jesus chose fishing as one of his primary metaphors to capture the discipleship process. When calling Peter, James, John, and Andrew, Jesus says, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:18-22; Mark 1:17; Luke 5:1-11). When challenging these men, primarily Peter, to become fully devoted followers, Jesus called them from fishing for fish to fishing for men.

Jesus further described the discipleship process in three aspects: going, assimilating, and teaching (Matthew 28:19-20). Although not directly referring to fishing, it is certainly true that you cannot be a GOOD fisherman without first going to a body of water with the intention of catching fish.

The characteristics of a GOOD fisherman of fish also apply to becoming a GOOD fisherman of men.

  • Fish legally – follow the rules. A GOOD fisherman understands and submits to applicable regulations for a particular body of water. This is also true to fishing for men. We must fish God’s way. Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father but through me” (John 14:7). People do not receive eternal life or become followers of Jesus Christ by creating their own ways or following their own rules. The only way to obtain eternal life is through Jesus.

 

  • Use Proper Bait – the Gospel of Jesus Christ. A GOOD fisherman uses proper bait to catch the particular species desired. The message of the Gospel draws people to follow Jesus Christ. The story of the birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus is the message of the Gospel for sinful mankind. Jesus willingly chose to sacrifice His life in order to provide eternal life for us. “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned…For if by one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many. …For if by one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:1-21).

 

  • Have the Right Equipment – the Word of God. A GOOD fisherman has and uses the right equipment for the occasion. Likewise, a GOOD fisherman of men uses the right equipment. The Bible teaches that “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17). The only way to have faith is through the declared propositional truth of the Bible.

 

  • Understand the Right Presentation – a spirit of grace. A GOOD fisherman understands how to present the bait or lure to the fish. Often the weather, water conditions, and species demand a particular presentation in order to catch fish. In fishing for men, we must also present the compelling message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ appropriately. The Gospel demands compassion, love, and a spirit of grace. We speak truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). In the process we choose our words wisely, choose the timing of our conversation wisely, and choose the particular aspect of the Gospel to highlight wisely.

 

  • Have the Right Attitude – go with anticipation. A GOOD fisherman fishes with anticipation of catching fish. It makes it extremely hard to catch fish without the right attitude. This is also true to catching men. We share the Gospel with anticipation of God using our meager efforts to draw people to Himself (John 6:44). As we seek to present Christ to others, we recognize that ultimately God is the One who draws people to Himself. So regardless of the person, we share Christ resting in God’s grace and mercy to bring salvation (Ephesians 2:1-10). Only the Spirit of God can do the work of salvation in another person’s heart (John 16:8).

 

A GOOD fisherman actually fishes.

It is not enough to just talk about fishing, learn about fishing, or desire to fish. To be a GOOD fisherman, you must actually do something. You must wet a hook – engage in the process of fishing. Peter and the other disciples understood this when Jesus told them to cast their net on the right side of the boat (John 21:6). They caught an incredible amount of fish – impossible though unless they had been willing to actually cast the net. Likewise, we all must cast the net as GOOD fishermen of men. Your neighbor, coworker, family member, or anyone with whom you come into contact need the message of Jesus Christ for salvation. Opportunities are everywhere. We must take advantage of those opportunities and lovingly share the great news of the Gospel.

Join the Conversation

What other ways can you think of that correlates well the ideas of being GOOD fishermen of fish and men?

Pastor Kevin’s Blog | Walking together through life as friends in Christ sharing wisdom along the journey

© 2017 PASTORKEVINSBLOG.COM

Generational Father’s Day, a Heritage of the Lord

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On this Father’s Day, I want to encourage and challenge the men I know, as well as rejoice over God’s grace in my own life. My Dad and my Grandad have both been my heroes growing up. I am grateful God allowed us to grow up with both men active in our daily lives. Whereas many children of ministry parents, including my own, do not get to live close to family or grandparents, we had the privilege of living in the same town as both sets of our grandparents. My one grandfather died when we were very young; however, my Grandad Carson only lived about ten minutes away from us and we saw each other often during the week. I had the privilege to watch Dad and Grandad as they worked, played, worshipped, parented, and husbanded. I appreciate in greater words than pen can write what I observed and learned.

Over the years Psalm 71:16-18 have been three of my favorite verses. There is an incredible challenge here for each of us as fathers.

16  I will go in the strength of the Lord God;
I will make mention of Your righteousness, of Yours only.
17  O God, You have taught me from my youth;
And to this day I declare Your wondrous works.
18    Now also when I am old and grayheaded,
O God, do not forsake me,
Until I declare Your strength to this generation,
Your power to everyone who is to come.

The psalmist here emphasizes three elements that challenge each one of us as fathers.

First, he recognized God as his teacher. Now we know that God literally does not teach us in a classroom; however, through God’s Word as it gets applied in life’s circumstances, God teaches each of us. In this psalm, the author has lived a life close to the Lord. He has observed God’s ways and recognizes God’s kindness as His protector and sovereign Lord. He has enjoyed sweet communion with God since childhood. As a middle-aged man, I can look back and say with this psalmist, I know God and have been taught by Him. I do not know Him as much as I desire yet; however, I have today to keep learning Him.

Second, he committed to declaring God’s wondrous works and God’s power to his generation and those that are to come. His goal was simple – declare God. God’s character and His words are worthy of our worship. I hope to do the same. As a Christian since childhood, I can say like this psalmist that I have been taught from my youth. I have heard both my Dad and Grandad regularly teach from God’s Word in formal settings and of course in daily life. I have watched them as they lived it out when it was convenient and when it was not. I am grateful for my examples and teachers.

Third, our commitment cannot just be to our generation, we must live life in the present with an eye for the future. Yes, it is vitally important to live today with those around us for God’s glory. We cannot fail in daily living. The psalmist is concerned that although he has lived consistent throughout his life to this point, that somehow now as an older man he will be unfaithful. Why? Because he understood the necessity of today and also the hope of the future generation. He saw the bigger picture than what was immediately in front of him. He understood that what is said and done matters to more than just oneself. He recognized the importance of being a leader. He depended upon the Lord to grant him the strength to be faithful to his generation and also to the next. He recognized that although leaving a physical inheritance – no matter the size – is important, it is more important and absolutely necessary to leave a heritage of loving and serving God. I am so grateful that I have had the privilege of that kind of heritage myself, and certainly recognize this as the gift of the Lord. I desire to leave that same kind of heritage to my children and their children as well.

What then is our challenge today men on Father’s Day?

  1. Live life with God as your teacher. Read the Word. Study the Word. Memorize the Word. Go to church. Be around other godly men. Read good theological literature that helps you apply God’s Word in your life. Soak up God’s Word until it consumed you. Have men push and challenge you on how you live it. Be consistently learning from God.

 

  1. Share what you learn with others. As you love and learn God in Jesus Christ through the power of the Spirit, make sure that you share it with others. Do not neglect the privilege and responsibility of living an outward faith – a walk with the Lord. Your faith was never meant to be private. Live it. Live it consistently around people – at home, at work, at play, at church. Share it regularly.

 

  1. Consider the heritage you leave for this generation and the next generation. Your children are watching you know. They see. They learn. They know what is important to you and what is not important to you. They get you more than you know. You will be known for something. If the future, your children will laugh and tell stories about you. In the future they will sit around and remanence. For what will you be known? What heritage will you leave? When you die, may your family never wonder about your walk with God. I often tell men to live life today so that when you near death your family will not wonder if you will go to heaven.

This Father’s Day I am grateful for my godly heritage. God’s grace in the likeness of a Dad and Grandad is marvelous and undeserved. I commit myself to leaving the same kind of heritage by God’s grace.

Join the Conversation

What about you today father, will you commit yourself to leaving that kind of heritage?