#3 — THE SHELTERED LIFE

#3 — THE SHELTERED LIFE
“Those who live in the SHELTER of the Most High, will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” (Psalm 91:1 NLT) So, let me ask you something, “Have YOU ever been taken to a shelter, in a hurricane?” This was a first for me. And for some reason, I had an image in my head of all those people trying to get in the Superdome, when Hurricane Katrina ripped through, Louisiana. It looked like total mayhem when I saw it on the news. FYI, I don’t handle mayhem very well. My whole body tightens up when I’m in a place of mayhem. Thankfully, mayhem didn’t show up.

When Margie, our granddaughter, Adalie, my electric power-chair with all my breathing equipment, and I were rescued, they loaded all of us into the front seat of a dump-truck. The guy driving was from Pennsylvania. He told me his boss urged all of his employees to go out and help anyone they can, even though they wouldn’t get paid. He said, “So, since I can’t work, I think I will go out and save some people!” And that’s exactly what he was doing when he picked us up. The shelter was a local school and he made sure we had all of our “stuff” with us. Things were looking up.

The rain was pouring down as we made our way to the inside. People were giving us towels and blankets and even had a nurse come over in case I needed anything. A high school girl was volunteering at the shelter and quickly made friends with Adalie. She asked me if it would be alright to take her several tables down where they had shoes, clothing and toys for children. I forgot that Adalie was still in her pajamas with no shoes. As she scooped up Adalie in her arms I tried my best to hold my tears back. It’s no coincidence that she was there at the time Adalie needed some normalcy.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE… After a couple of hours they made an announcement that everyone was being shuttled to several other shelters. By then, I had already seen the Hand of God at work on our behalf. I have learned, if we can “recognize” when God is doing something outside of our comfort zone, it’s best if we follow His plan instead of fighting Him for ours. So, that’s what I did. They loaded us, and all our stuff, on a brand-new bus that had an awesome wheelchair lift. We went to a much larger shelter at the Bay Harbour United Methodist Church.

By now it’s late afternoon on Sunday. These wonderful people (volunteers) directed us to a room that was helping people with medical issues. They allowed Margie to give me a breathing treatment because I was exhausted. As I was doing that Margie made a phone call to her good friend who lives out-of-state. When she began to describe our flooded house she lost it. She was crying and tried her best to be discreet, but a paramedic across the room saw it. She walked over to Margie and gave her a big tight hug until she could gather herself together. All eyes were on them and when the paramedic walked away she said, “Sometimes, all they need is a hug.” And right after that, little Adalie, who hadn’t slept in hours and hours, crawled up in Margie’s lap and said, “MiMi, don’t worry. It’s gonna be alright!”

GOD’S PLAN!

In Him, Pastor Kevin Kinchen

#2 — GOOD NEIGHBORS, BOATS, AND HELICOPTERS, OH MY!

#2 — GOOD NEIGHBORS, BOATS, AND HELICOPTERS, OH MY!
“He reached down from heaven and rescued me; He drew me out of deep waters.” (2Samuel 22:17 NLT) OK, maybe it wasn’t “deep waters” like it said in that Scripture, but when it’s running through your house it seems like a tidal wave.

Here was our situation. Margie and I were babysitting (Because Harvey wasn’t going to do anything, remember?) little Adalie, who was about to turn three. As the storm progressed it became obvious that we “might” encounter some water. I was still believing that everything was going to be alright. I reminded Margie of the time when the disciples were freaking out in the middle of a storm, while Jesus was sleeping in the boat. I asked her, “Are you going to be like the disciples or like, Jesus?” I don’t remember all of the things she said, but I do remember her saying, “I TOLD YOU I DID NOT HAVE A GOOD FEELING ABOUT THIS… WE SHOULD HAVE LEFT A LONG TIME AGO!” I muttered under my breath, “God, why does she ALWAYS get to be right?”

By now, it’s probably 4 a.m. Sunday morning, and I wheel over to my front door to check for water. And there it was. I asked Margie to get some towels… and within the next 15 minutes our entire house was flooded and rising. Several of my neighbors appeared out of nowhere and they carried me, my wheelchair, and Adalie upstairs. Courtney and Jayce, with their baby, Judah, were stranded at Josh and Lauren’s house. His house didn’t flood but the water was so high that nobody could get in or out. AT THAT MOMENT, I felt 100% helpless. I’ve never had such an overwhelming, paralyzing, and vulnerable feeling. Here I was, upstairs, in a wheelchair, with my granddaughter Adalie. Margie is trying to move a few things upstairs, and in my eyes, there’s nobody that can help us. Maybe some of you know exactly what I’m talking about. BUT, remember the verse in 2 Samuel. It says, “HE drew me out of deep waters.” Who did it? God did it. I should have remembered that God always has a plan… whether we see it or not.

By mid-morning Courtney had put us on the 911 list to be rescued, my two sons were calling their friends with boats and big trucks, and we had at least 12 men standing in the water that was flowing in our foyer. One of the guys, Dustin Drew, found out that you couldn’t drive to my house because of the high water. So, he pulled over and walked almost a mile through high water while pushing a small boat. (Which was perfect for Adalie) Another guy that lives maybe 5 houses down “just happened” to work for Coast Guard. He was talking to the HELICOPTER hovering over my house. What??? I turned it down though, too many memories with a backhoe, right? Then a flatbed boat showed up at my front door. My neighbor, Lawrence, took charge and the men loaded me, with all my breathing equipment into the boat. Adalie loved the “adventure” in her boat and Margie walked behind my boat. (A story in itself.) So, here’s this crowd of friends, paramedics, Coast Guard, neighbors from near and far… and EVERY ONE OF THEM WERE FOCUSED ON OUR SAFETY AND OUR LIVES. It was an epic moment as people worked from their HEART, instead of working from their POCKET.

Oh, remember that overwhelming, paralyzing, and vulnerable feeling I had? It is long gone! God ALWAYS has a plan and HE will never leave us! Never!

In Him, Pastor Kevin Kinchen

#1 — THAT VOICE ON THE INSIDE OF YOUR BRAIN

#1 — THAT VOICE ON THE INSIDE OF YOUR BRAIN

Well, as you might already know, I haven’t posted much since Hurricane Harvey came through town. I haven’t posted much because there is so much to post. So, I decided to start writing and post whatever comes out.

I have lived in the Friendswood, Alvin, Dickinson area for 55 years and I have never been flooded, never told to evacuate (voluntarily or mandatory) and, certainly, never had to be rescued from my home… “because the only ones who have to be rescued are the people that don’t have a clue or they’re not paying attention. RIGHT?” W-R-O-N-G. Sooooo, wrong!

You know that “voice” on the inside of your brain, the one that showed up in your late 40’s or early 50’s, yeah, that one. I’ve heard it can show up in the 20’s and 30’s too. Regardless, that “voice” is NOT God. That’s an imposter trying to convince you that you still have “it,” whatever “it” is. “It” made sense to me. Our house never flooded, and in fact, no one ever floods in our entire subdivision. PLUS, we have a two-story house so we could always live up there. After all, I’m the man who takes care of my family… well, OK, she has to bathe me and dress me, but I’m still… well wait, she also feeds me through a tube, but I could do it if I wanted too….all I would need is two new arms. So, we’re OK. Umm, one more thing… I can’t walk, so the upstairs might not work out for us. Oh, and I need help in the bathroom, my medicine, my breathing exercises…. AND THAT, MY FRIEND, is when I realized “we should get help.” And help came from everywhere, by everyone. I will tell you about that in the next one.

In Him, Pastor Kevin Kinchen

 

Tongue-Tied

TONGUE-TIED
When the doctors diagnosed ALS in 2008, one of the last tests they did was, “Kevin, stick your tongue out while looking in the mirror, please.” So, I did… I was shocked! My tongue was moving around like it was stuffed with live worms. “What is that???” It was the muscles in my tongue, firing without my permission. I couldn’t feel it moving, but I also couldn’t control it. That means it was working those muscles 24/7, which has drastically impeded my speech… and there is nothing “I” can do to stop it. Needless to say, I now see the tongue in a different way. And….. so does God.

In James, Chapter 3, it says, “A careless or wrongly placed WORD out of your mouth can do that (start a raging fire with one spark). By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell.” Then it says, “You can tame a tiger, but you can’t tame a tongue — it’s never been done. The tongue runs wild, a wanton killer. With our tongues we bless God our Father; with the same tongues we curse the very men and women “He made in His image.”

Listen, every one of us have hurt others with our words. Plus, we’ve hurt ourselves by the negative words we have spoken like, “I’m so stupid!” or, “We don’t ever have enough money!” It’s time for ALL of us to THINK before we unleash our tongues and SPEAK. We have to understand that we are “created in the image” (and likeness) of God. And how did God create the world and everything in it? He spoke it into being with His WORDS. We also create the world around us by the words we speak.

But, how can we tame our tongue when the Bible says, “you can’t tame a tongue — it’s never been done.” Remember when I said my tongue has, “drastically impeded my speech… and there is nothing “I” can do to stop it.” Well, that’s true, I can’t do it. But I “know” the One who CAN stop those muscles from mis-firing and even restore them. HE IS the only One who HAS tamed the tongue,.. JESUS. The only One who can tame the tongue, which will end up changing our vocabulary, is Jesus. When we surrender our life to Jesus, including the words we speak, He will lead us down a path that glorifies God and blesses us.

That’s serious “truth” we all need to think about.
Pastor Kevin Kinchen

There is more to the story of Easter…

THERE IS MORE TO THE STORY OF EASTER….
There’s an unnoticed part of the Easter story that I think is important. At every Passover festival the governor would free one prisoner that the crowd wanted. When Jesus went before Pilate, a man named Barabbas was also on trial. Barabbas was a well-known criminal who was in prison for rioting and murdering. This was no coincidence. It was a divine setup.

The name, Barabbas, is a combination of two words, Bar, which means “son of” and abba, which means “father.” But, “abba” also shows intimacy, similar to us saying, “daddy.” So, Barabbas was not just “the son of the father,” he was “the son of his dear father.” In fact, Jesus had just used the word “abba” in the Garden of Gethsemane when He cried out, “Abba, Father, everything is possible for You. Please take this cup of suffering away from Me. Yet I want Your will to be done, not Mine.” (Mark 14:36)

The crowd of angry people shouted for Pilate to release Barabbas and crucify Jesus. And that’s what Pilate did. Barabbas, the prisoner and murderer, was released AND Jesus Christ, the one who was innocent, was sentenced to death by crucifixion. Though it seems so wrong and unfair to us, Jesus was obeying the plan His Father had given Him. So, what’s the unnoticed part of Easter? Read this carefully………

HERE YOU HAVE BARABBAS, the “son of his dear father” that was a sinner, to the extent of rioting and murdering, and deemed guilty; who deserved to be crucified.
THEN YOU HAVE JESUS, the “Son of His dear Father“ that had never sinned, to the extent of loving everyone, and innocent; who did NOT deserve to be crucified.

So why did these two men end up in “each other’s shoes” so to speak??? LOVE. YES, LOVE. It was all about love. It was about His love for you and me. As Barabbas walked toward his freedom, Jesus walked toward his death. Barabbas didn’t deserve freedom, Jesus didn’t deserve death. But, Jesus chose death so you and I would never forget….. no matter how much we’ve sinned, no matter how much we deserved, we are always a “Son (or daughter) of our dear Father“ because of Jesus. He “wore our shoes“ so we wouldn’t have to wear His…. to the cross. And when we invited Him into our heart, He forgave our carnal life, as natural men and women, so we could embrace His spiritual life as children of God.

So, be thankful this Easter Weekend, that OUR FREEDOM, OUR NEW LIFE, didn’t come from an angry crowd shouting for our release. Our freedom and our new life, came because a passionate loving Father, and His obedient Son paid the ultimate price… for everyone who believes in Him.

“So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when He adopted you as His own children. Now we call Him, ‘Abba, Father.’ For His Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children.” (Romans 8:15-16)

In Him,
Pastor Kevin Kinchen