Welcome to the Greene Street Letters. It has become my venue for sharing what is going on at Vineyard Recovery Church. Don't let the word Churchscare you. The Greene Street Letters is a daily posting to simply say that there is more to life than what you see. More to life than "stuff". My simple take of 60+ years of following Jesus. Some days were good days...some days I managed to get off in the ditch. He is worthy of the pursuit, so that is what I do........I pursue Jesus in everything I do. Not the Jesus of the church. Not the Jesus of the denomination. Nothing wrong with those things, but Jesus is so much more. Thanks for dropping by and I hope you return from time to time to stop and ponder your own relationship with Jesus. God on you....mb
Galatians 1:4 Jesus gave his life for our sins, just as God our Father planned, in order to rescue (or deliver us from) this evil world in which we live. Lot's of smiling faces at Vineyard ReCovery last night. Back slaps....hugs...hand shakes....and "how are you doing?" filled the room as we gathered for another meeting. This was all punctuated by cups of coffee, along with the most incredible cookie ever made ( all compliments of one Miss Carrie Elrod). It's Christmas, so the potential for depression and gloom was there also. You see, if you're struggling with addiction, the holiday seasons are poisonous to you. Every where you turn, society portrays it's version of what this season is suppose to look like, and your life does not even come close to what we see on T.V. or in the advertising. Last night was all about Christmas trees, and the presents we find underneath them. Large ones...small ones.....all wrapped in brightly colored paper, with bows and such adorning them. I asked the question, "How do you know which one is yours?" Of course the correct response is "the one with my name on it". So we have this package that has been given to us by someone else. Hopefully it is someone who knows us well, and understands what we need. This opens up another question. Do we truly want someone to give us what we need? Or do we want them to give us a present that is what we want? If we are truly honest, most of us would say...."Dude!!! Give me what I want". But sometimes it really is about what we need. Jesus has a Christmas tree.... The Cross..... And there are presents at the foot of it..... Packages that have our names on them.... Presents that contain Mercy..... There's one that has hope in it,and it fits me perfectly.... There's a small package there at the cross that is filled with Salvation and Deliverance. But the real gift is found in the person of Jesus. We read in Romans 6:23- .....but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. Notice that the verse didn't say....The free gift FROM God... The real gift IS God..... For in Him we find everything we need.... But at the same time, when we begin to open and understand that He is the gift, we find that we receive everything we could ever want or desire. Watchman Nee writes in his book The Normal Christian Life "The shed blood of Christ deals with what we have done (our sin), whereas the Cross deals with what we are. Sinner's in need of a Savior." May you find this Christmas Cross this season.... May you be introduced to the one who gave all so that we might be all. Merry Christmas from the "B's" in Attalla. God on you....
Galatians 1:6 I am shocked that you are turning away so soon from God, who called you to Himself through the loving mercy of Christ. You are following a different way that Pretends to be the Good News. Been a long time in this recovery stuff.... Seen a lot of people make the move from addiction to sobriety. Seen some try to do it in their own strength and ability.... Putting sheer will against this thing....this enemy that has had them under its thumb. Those seem to fail more often than not. But the ones that amaze me the most are what I called "Fireworks". The explode into a night sky, lighting up everything around them. They are noisy and create quiet a scene. But as soon as they are there for everyone to see, they fade and vanish into the night They enter into recovery and receive some teaching, and all of a sudden the lights come on. Such "light-coming-on" involves a religious experience that sets them on fire. But rather than listen to the voices of reason that are trying to help them, they reject them. "I've got Jesus.....I don't need anything or anyone else".... I do not doubt the experience. I do not doubt the encounter the person had with Christ. What I see is a person who is all caught up in the euphoria of meeting Jesus to the point that they think this is the pinnacle, rather than the beginning, of a relationship with Him. Because they have no solid foundation of truth in their hearts, along with the simple fact that are like new born babies, they fall away at the least sign of trouble. They go back to old ways and old thoughts when they encounter something that is perceived by them to be hard or difficult. Rather than seek advice and direction from God (or even others who have some years of following Jesus) they make their own choices. I think maybe Matthew 13: 6-7 sums it up best. Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. But the plants soon wilted under the hot sun, and since they didn't have deep roots they died. Jesus goes on in Matthew 13:20-21 to explain what He was really saying. The seed on the rock soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. But since they don't have deep roots, they don't last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God's word.
We all need to remember that his journey we call recovery is not 100-meter dash, with the winner being the fastest. It is a marathon.....long, hard, and time consuming....but won only by those who stay the course. Won by those who are dedicated to the idea of "slow and steady wins the race". To those who are bound by the idea of "Spiritual progress" rather than spiritual perfection. So lace up those shoes and lets be about the business of overcoming this day that has been set before us.... Just this day....this 24 hour period.... Just this day....not tomorrow. One day at a time..... God on you.... mbb
Step # 12 - Having had a spiritual awakening, we try to carry the message of Christ's grace and restoration power to others who are chemically dependent and to practice these principals in every aspect of our lives.
I Thessalonians 2:12 - So that you may walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own Kingdom and glory.
Thought:God continues to transform my life as I walk in His principals.
Step # 12 is the "give away" step. By sharing our message and being there for others who are trapped in addiction, we are unknowingly helping our own recovery and sobriety. It is the Spirit of God inside that we are learning to listen to and follow in our every day decision making. Not relying on our own wisdom or understanding. We now have a clearly defined set of live giving boundaries in which to live and work and play. The 12 steps are these boundaries that we find a spacious, good life in.
Practicing the 12 steps means incorporating the principals into our thoughts and behaviors every day. It means admitting our powerlessness in difficult situations. It means believing and trusting God to take care of the things that we cannot. It means turning our situations and ourselves over to Him, and it means continuing to take our inventories, make our amends and deepen our relationship with God.
Today.... Just today.... I will trust you, God. I will trust you with my life, both here and in eternity. I will trust you with my family. I will trust you that you will in fact guide me and give me insight and wisdom through your direction to make not just good choices today, but godly choices. I thank you for this 24-hour period you have given to me today as a present. I pray that I spend the 24 hours wisely and not squander them away on my own selfishness. I look to you to reveal the "real" me in every situation. That I may put aside any wrong or sin that you show me, through repentance and confession. You are God... I am not... Help to remember my place in this relationship. I bless you and thank you for another day of sobriety and for allowing me to participate in Your Kingdom rule here on earth, in my town and in my home. I thank you for the physical, tangible Word that you have given to us and that you have given me a hunger to not just read it, but to study it. Help me, Lord, to give away through the telling of my story to others. In Jesus name... Amen...
Merry Christmas! There I said it.... It's the first day of December, in the year of our Lord, 2016. To me, this truly is the season to remember the birth of our Lord and Savior. To focus on the simple fact that God stepped out of heaven, and came into our time and space to carry out His divine plan so that humanity could be brought back into realtionship with Him. My Christmas wish this year is for you and your family is that you find Jesus Christ in a way that you never have before. That your hearts would be filled with the wonder and joy of knowing Jesus. That for all of us, this season would be more than presents and food and family but that it would be the realization that without Christ, we are hopeless and lost. He makes all things possible.
My Christmas wish for you is that your hopes and dreams come in line with God's hopes and dreams for your life. That you, in this next year, would experience the joy of walking by God's Holy Spirit leading you every day, everyway .
My Christmas wish for you is that you would look outward and not inward. That your focus would shift to helping and giving away what God has so freely given to you. You don't need a program or an agenda or a church group. All you need is a heart that wants to give away. Find someone and do it. Simple as that. Give a meal or a ride or share your story with another. Look at the faces today as you walk about and ask God, "who do you want me to help?" Some of my most wonderful times have come in the most unusual places. Praying for people in Wal-mart. I remember being at Wal-mart some months ago and I was looking for some paint. I happened to step back and bumped into an elderly woman. "Excuse me, I 'm so sorry.....are you all right?" I asked. She laughed and said yes, but you could tell that she was not doing well. I asked again if she were all right and she began to tell me about her grandson and how he'd gotten into trouble with the law over drugs. I asked is I could pray for her and she said sure. When I started praying, she said, "you mean right here? right now?" I kind of laughed and said what better place and what better time. It wasn't a long prayer, just to the point. When I finished, she hugged my neck and said she never thought about God coming to Wal-mart but he had. You don't have to be a theologian or a Bible master, you just have to be willing to go out on the limb and ask...."Hey can I pray for you." The prayer doesn't have to be eloquent or wordy....Just from the heart. Try it .....you might find out that God really does show up at Wal-mart.
My Christmas wish for you is peace in your home. If you don't have peace there, you don't have peace anywhere. I pray that tonight would begin a time where Christ would rule over and in your home. That those who come to visit would be be overtaken by divine peace and even comment on how wonderful your home feels.
I hope each of you is overwhelmed by Jesus today and tonight. That the weight of God's glory would settle over you and you find the truth about yourself and this Jesus I have written about.
"And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom and teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God"....................Colossians 3:15-16
Merry Christmas from the Bynum's God on you..... mb