ARCHIVES   MAY-JUNE   2019

 

 

 

Blog 113 for 5-25-2019

 

A TIME TO REMEMBER

 

It is the time of year to remember once again. The memorial and decoration season gives us the opportunity to honor those that have run their race and passed on to receive their eternal reward. My parents taught me much about this season of the year. To them it was a time to decorate the graves of their family members that had passed away. It really was decoration time to them!

 

I remember going with my dad to the cemeteries of Pleasant Springs and Bear Creek Methodist Churches to decorate the graves of my grandparents the first part of May each year. My dad wanted the graves to look good for Decoration Sunday in each of the two churches of my childhood. It really did impact my life, teaching me to honor and respect my relatives that had passed on.

 

This memorial season gives us the opportunity to remember those that have given their lives for the freedom and liberty we all enjoy. Also, I am remembering great, dedicated laymen in the churches I have pastored through the years. So many of these sacrificed much to preserve the churches for others that would follow them. Today I am thinking about so many of them that impacted my life. It was an honor to preach the funerals of a huge number of these, and to follow them to their graves to commit them to their Lord.

 

Dear Lord, help us never to forget!

 

Charles Kirby

 

 

 

 

Blog 112 for 5-18-2019

 

AN ENCOURAGING RELIGIOUS CLIMATE

 

The longer Bess and I are in the Smoky Mountains we are discovering there is a God consciousness here that is different from most places. Bess took the picture of me, standing by an open Bible with a cross, in the open  passageway of the Morristown Mall that thrilled both of us. Most, if not all others, would not allow this. Even though not everyone is in church on Sunday, it appears church attendance is above average here. Baptist churches are everywhere, and most are very small. There is only one Nazarene church in the entire Newport, Morristown, Cosby area. As far as I know, there are only two in the greater Knoxville area, and they are small. It is obvious leadership has been a missing element through the years in these churches. When people are aware that I am a preacher there is an attitude of respect that is obvious, that reminds me of days long gone.

 

A major religious event from Sunday night, April 28, through Wednesday, May 1, was held in a big convention center nearby. It involved a host of churches from all religious backgrounds. Freddie Gage was the preacher and Charles Billingsley was the singer with a mass choir. The crowds were huge! There were 315 people who made first- time decisions for Christ, along with several hundred re-dedications. No doubt the impact of this event will live on and on! Bess and I heard Pastor Haun, the chairman of the crusade, give a tremendous report the Sunday following at First Baptist in Morristown. He could hardly contain himself!

 

It really is past time for God to send a great revival across America! It would be amazing if this religious event, held in the Smokies, would become a springboard for a mighty move of God!

 

Dear Lord, send a great revival in my soul!

Charles Kirby

 

 

 

Blog 111 for 5-11-2019

 

MOTHER’S DAY IS VERY SPECIAL!

 

Mother’s Day has always been a special day for me. Of course, the main reason is because I had a very special and wonderful mother. When I was in elementary school fighting a horrible complex due to my stuttering, she was my rock. Daily I would come home in tears because my classmates would make fun of my stuttering when I would speak. It led me to take “F” rather than to speak. That was a practice I followed through middle, high school and first year of college. As a result, I developed an inferiority complex that tormented me greatly until I was miraculously healed at 18.

 

In the long challenge that I battled for so long, my mother kept praying and encouraging me. She knew God had called me to preach, but I couldn’t because of my impediment. She would say to me that God was going to heal me. She was in the crowd when I preached my first message in my home church. Without a doubt, she was the happiest person that witnessed the miracle of Divine healing when I spoke for the first time in public without stuttering or stammering. It was obvious that God had given me the miracle that she had prayed and believed would come to pass in God’s time.

 

Godly American mothers, through the history of the United States, have been the strength of our nation. There is no greater weapon to mold our society than Godly mothers with a heart for God! May our Lord raise up more mothers in these last days that will impact and save America!

 

Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers!

Charles Kirby

 

 

 

 

 

Blog 110 for 4-13-2019

 

 

 

CHURCHES IN THE MOUNTAINS

 

Since retiring from the pastoral ministry Bess and I have been spending more time in the mountains. As a result, we have had the opportunities to attend many different churches of many denominations. It really has been an eye opening experience for us. Most of these churches are ultra contemporary and very unfriendly with none around to welcome and greet the people coming to worship. Only two churches feature strong Bible preaching, and sing at least one hymn. We leave most of these asking the question, “Why would people want to attend these churches?” On top of all of this, most are dead without life and excitement. I believe it is a major reason for the decline in church attendance across America.

 

There are two churches in the Smokies that stand out according to our evaluation. Both of these are large Baptist churches. Sevierville First Baptist is a wonderful church with pastor Dan Spencer’s solid

1st Baptist Morristown

Bible preaching. We have attended this church more than all others. However, our latest discovery is First Baptist Morristown with pastor Dean Haun. Even though it is a 45 minute drive we believe the difference is worth the distance. The music with choir and orchestra is an inspiring blended worship. Pastor Haun is a dynamic Bible preacher. Every time we leave the services, we know we have been in a great worship experience.

D. Gash

 

Back home in Lakeland, we know we have been spoiled by the dynamic worship led by worship leader, Darrel Gash, at Restoration Fellowship Church. It is choir led that features a blended variety of hymns and choruses. It prepares the congregation for the ministry of the Word to follow.

 

Promoting inspiring worship,

Charles Kirby

 

Blog 113 for 5-25-2019

 

 

 

REMEMBER THE FALLEN MILITARY

MONDAY, MAY 27, 2019

 

May I share a little history of (USA) Memorial Day? It’s a federal holiday in the U.S. for remembering the people, men and women, who died while serving in the country’s armed forces.  Many reading this blog, may remember that it used to be called DECORATION DAY, when people would go to cemetaries and place flowers or flags on the graves. Charles remembers this well.

 

Memorial Day is considered the official start of summer vacation in the U.S.; while Labor Day, the first Monday of September, marks summer’s end. Cemetaries are visited on Memorial Day to honor those who died in military service. You’ve seen, as have I, beautiful National Cemetaries adorned with American Flags on each grave.

 

In 1966, WATERLOO, N.Y., was declared by the Federal Government to be the official birthplace of Memorial Day.  Waterloo first celebrated this special day on May 5, 1866; and, hosted lots of annual events in the ensuing years, remembering the occasion.  Businesses would close; residents would decorate the graves.

 

The Civil War, which ended in 1865, claimed more lives than any conflict in U.S. history; and, it required the establishment of the country’s first National Cemetaries. So on May 5, 1868, the leader of an organization for Northern Civil War Veterans, General John A. Logan, called for a special National Day to honor those who died serving their country. He said that May 30th would be designated for the purpose of decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country. “Those bodies lay in almost every city, village, and hamlet church graveyard in the land,” he said.

On the first Decoration Day, General James Garfield made a speech at ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETARY, and 5,000 participants decorated the graves of the 20,000 UNION and CONFEDERATE soldiers buried there.

 

By 1890, many Northern states had made Decoration Day an official STATE HOLIDAY.  On the other hand, Southern states continued to honor their dead on separate days until after World War I.  It was during and after World War I that the holiday began to recognize and honor all American Military Personnel, who died in ALL wars, not just the CIVIL War.

 

Two other days celebrate those who serve or have served in the armed forces; VETERANS DAY (Nov. 11, 2019) and ARMED FORCES DAY (celebrated May 18, this year).

 

Most of this information came from Wikipedia and googling Memorial Day - History.  May God bless all those who serve, past and present. It’s a blessing to go to a cemetary and see the decorated tombs of those who served and paid the ultimate sacrifice. MAY GOD BLESS AMERICA.

 

Bess

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blog 112 for 5-18-2019

 

IS YOUR CONFIDENCE IN JEHOVAH, STRONG TODAY?

 

Several days ago, I sat down with pen and paper, hoping for inspiration for this blog.  Day after day, I struggled, as to what to write. I guess I’ve had “writer’s block.” I certainly drew a blank for many days. But, time's up...Duane called…”where’s your blog?”

 

So, here I go again, trying to write something that will not only encourage and bless you, but encourage me, as well.  I was sitting on the couch with notebook in hand, when my eyes glanced at a small plaque on the side table. It read, “The Lord Himself watches over you.  The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade.” Psalm 121:5

 

After doing a little study of this chapter 121, and the surrounding chapters, I discovered that beginning with Psalm 120 through Psalm 134, they are called “Songs of Degrees,” or “Songs of Ascents” or “Songs for the Goings up.”

 

These Psalms are called Pilgrims' Songs, suggesting that these were sung by those pilgrims who went up to Jerusalem to worship.  They were songs of desire, hope, and approach. Listen to some of what they were singing, and let your confidence in Jehovah build.

 

  1. Ps. 120 - “In my distress I cried unto the Lord, AND HE HEARD ME…”

  2. Ps. 121 - “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills...MY HELP COMETH FROM THE LORD.”

  3. Ps. 122 - “I was glad when they said unto me, LET US GO INTO THE HOUSE OF THE LORD.”

  4. Ps. 123 - “UNTO THEE LIFT I UP MINE EYES…”

  5. Ps. 124 - “IF IT HAD NOT BEEN THE LORD WHO WAS ON OUR SIDE…”

I could go on through Ps. 134, and may do that in another blog.

 

Can you visualize the pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem to worship, singing songs of confidence, help, hope, praise, assurance, and thanksgiving, remembering from where God had brought them?  By the time they arrived, they were filled with STRONG CONFIDENCE IN JEHOVAH GOD. While exile was difficult, their hearts were filled with confidence in a God who cares, a God who provides, a God who answers, a God who supplies.

 

Are you needing help from the Lord today? He’s only a prayer away.  Think on the miracles He’s done for you and your family. Think of His great faithfulness. Think of His awesome love. Read Ps. 121.                  


Bess

 

 

 

 

 

Blog 111 for 5-11-2019

 

 

I AM SO THANKFUL!

As I reflect on Mother’s Day 2019, I am so grateful that my 2 children belong to Jesus and are daily growing in His love and plan for their lives. The 2nd Sunday of May is always Mother’s Day. And this Sunday, as with the few recent Mother’s Days, I will be miles away from my wonderful children, Chuck and Micki, and their families; but, everyday I pray for them. Today will be no exception. They will be presented to the Throne with their challenges and needs.

 

Today, I want them to know how thankful and blessed I am to have been honored by each one's birth. That God would grant Charles & me, a boy and a girl, is so special.  And we have enjoyed the journey. A son is special; a daughter is special. Baby Chuck came naturally, and was a delight with a great personality. Baby Micki came early by cesarean section and was a great joy.  Oh, how I liked to dress up Micki. How I liked to fix her hair. Not sure either child liked me dressing them alike. And Micki had her own ideas about hair-dos. She didn’t choose my styles. These were wonderful days, as I reminisce today.

 

Life for any of us is not without challenges, obstacles, and hard spots.  Hurts, needs, despair, and hope are in our passage of time. But, through it all, we can learn to trust in God.  We can learn to depend upon His Word. We must everyday, put on the whole armor of God for standing.

 

I sure hope I’ve been the Mother in child rearing that I needed to be.  I hope that in these present years, I remain strong, kind, and helpful to that grown-up son and grown-up daughter.  May I still teach by example. May my influence for righteousness be that bright light that points Chuck and Micki to God.

 

Sacrifice and tears, as well as contentment and joy, are in our bag as moms.  And in some instances, “It’s not an easy road.” But the key, the answer, the strength to carry on, is found in Jesus, His Godly Armor, and the Bible, God’s authoritative Word.

 

Mothers out there...Mothers reading this blog, YOU CAN MAKE IT.  You can get through those teen years. You can get through whatever the challenge is. God has promised, “As our day, so shall our strength be” (Deut. 33:25b). He has promised “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). God will watch over our children.

 

Happy Mother’s Day to all Mothers.  And to my dear children, I am so thankful for you and your families and your faith in Jesus.  Keep Him first. Trust His heart. He loves you with an everlasting love.

 

                                          Love, Mom

 

 

 

 

 

Blog 110 for 4-13-2019

 

 

 

It’s COLLEGE GRADUATION time for our youngest grandson, Chase Robert Luetkemeyer.  He graduates with a two-year degree from Eastern Florida State University in Melbourne, FL, with an Associate of Arts Degree on May 9, 2019.   How time flies. It seems like only yesterday, that he was a preschooler. Early on, he learned how to wash a car, assisted by his dad. And he’s kept on learning through the years. What a precious, delightful grandson he is, all grown up now. This year, he’ll turn 20 on June the 20th. His educational focus is in the technology field; pursuing an Information Technology Degree, as he,  in his own time, completes the four-year degree..

 

It’s CONGRATULATIONS time for Chase. Congrats on this great achievement.  Of course, he is a straight A graduate, having made the President’s List all through these first 2 years.  Wow! I can’t claim that. I went to college, even graduated, but did not make straight A’s. I guess I was too interested in the extracurricular offerings.

 

We’re in the Mountains and won’t be able to be at his graduation, but our hearts are there.  We love everyone of our grandsons, Kyle, Cody, Michael, and Chase. But this is Chase’s Day! Chase’s Graduation Day!  We want to sing his praises. Chase has dreams, ambitions, & desires like anyone else; and, one day he will achieve his highest goals. He thinks working with big corporations like Harris, or Rockwell Collins as a SYSTEMS ADMINISTRATOR might be enticing. Go after it, Chase.  We’re in your corner!!!

 

He has achieved much in his life, going to public school early on, but being home schooled most of the time, making straight A’s continually. He loves sports, and played basketball & soccer in high school, with soccer being his favorite.  In his senior year, he received the MVP Soccer Award, and in basketball, he received the Defensive Player of the Year Award. He likes softball, too, and presently he plays Outfield (and second base sometimes) for his Medi-Share Christian Care Ministry Team.

 

During the summers and while in college, Chase worked part time at Medi-Share Christian Care Ministry...in the Information Technology department there.

 

Chase is a fine Christian young man.  We are so proud of him. Glad God gave him to Bob and Micki, and thereby, giving him to us as a precious and priceless GRANDSON.  Chase, we love you; congratulate you; and wish you the best life has to offer. “Be strong and of good courage…” Deut. 31:6; Josh.1:6; Josh.1:7.

 

“Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart; wait, I say, on the Lord.” Ps. 27:14

 

We’re blessing the Lord for the gift of CHASE.

                                    Grandpa & Grandma Kirby