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 Church scare 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
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Also I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Who shall I send, and who will go for US?"
I've waited about posting from last Saturday night, until I could collect my thoughts. As most of you know we took care of some family business, so to speak, in the ordination of Seth Barber. It was truly an incredible evening as family, friends and regular attend-ees to VRC gathered together.
Seth is the first person that we have ordained under the covering of Vineyard Recovery Church. During the service, I opened the room up to anyone who wanted to either share a memory of Seth or wanted to pray a blessing over Seth and Emily. Several stood, including Steve and Marilyn Yarbrough, founders of Rapha. Each story only emphasized the miraculous work God has done in Seth.
I shared our (Vineyard) view of ordination is a bit different from others, that John Wimber, founder of the Vineyard, was always being asked by people if he would ordain them into the ministry. John's reply was always, "Go get the puppies and I'll give you the papers." In other words, go show me you can pastor, that you actually do have a call, and I will give you the papers of ordination. After sharing that, I said that Seth comes to us with all manner of puppies. He has proven that indeed he has been called to the ministry.
To top everything off, we also had two others who wanted to be baptized. So the entire group moved from our regular meeting room over to the Great hall.
There was family of the two men being baptized present and you could tell that this was a huge milestone for them. To see their sons being baptized was just the beginning of this new life these two men have laid hold of. It was one more stone laid in a wall of hope that God was erecting in the lives of these families.
At the end of the evening as I locked the door, once again I looked back into that empty room and said, "Wow, God! How are you going to top this?" Funny part is that when we meet again this coming Saturday, I know He will. He's kind of like that, isn't He?
God on you...
Monday, September 22, 2014
I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing. Therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live.
Today, I choose life. With all its problems and troubles. With feelings that go up into the positive and crash to the depths of negative. I choose life. Life that has God as its source. Life that is not defined or dictated to by society or commercialism.
Today, I choose to be sober. I choose because the worst day sober is better than the best day drunk or high. I choose to be filled with God's Spirit and allow Him to control my tongue and my actions. I will not bow my knee to, nor will I partner with Meth, Crack, Weed, Alcohol or any other darkness that seeks to overpower me and control me. I choose to bow my knee to the One who created me........God.
Today, I choose God. I choose to give up my will and life to His care. To simply turn my entire being into a receiver....all my senses....my intuition....my heart...all tuned to hear what God has to say. Why? Because I am following His directives. Some are pretty simple. Don't use! Don't get drunk or high! You may say, "well everyone know that!" To which I would reply...did you notice that I never mentioned my brain or intellect in the list of being a receiver? Because we follow by faith, by what is in our heart...we don't rely totally on intellect or brain power. Proverbs 3:5-6 -- Trust in the Lord with all your HEART.....and lean not on your own UNDERSTANDING. Now He isn't saying check your noodle in at the door and become a machine. He is saying find the value of not totally relying on your own ability.
Today, I choose to forgive those who I have held hard feelings (that's a nice way of saying "a grudge") against. It matter not if I am justified in holding that grudge. I don't get to make that call. I choose to turn loose of it and move forward with my life. Chances are the person I'm holding the grudge against isn't even aware that such is happening. I'm the one who is suffering, not them.
Today, I choose to love as I Corinthians 13 defines love. I choose to love those that I don't really want to. I choose to love the outcast, the marginalized, the homeless and the oppressed. I choose to love my enemies. I choose to love those who God puts in my path. I choose to love as God loves. My Bible says that "God so loved the world". He loved mankind and His creation with a total love. Doesn't mean He excuses sin or wrong doing, but even such as that will not stop Him from loving.
I think maybe if I work on this today, it might turn out to be a good day. I choose to do so.
How about you?
God on you...
Saturday, September 20, 2014
One of the real joy's in my life is this blog. To be able to post every day some little something that God has given me is something I look forward to.
To be honest with you, the Greene Street Letters has gone on a lot longer than I anticipated. But you know...life is hectic. Over the past few weeks, God (and my wife) has been giving me little signs and big hints that I needed to pull back a little. I won't bore you with all the details but my schedule had built back up till I was working, speaking, and going more than when I had my heart attack. So, I'm going to listen to God..........and my wife.........and my doctor and I'm going to scale down my schedule.
I'm still going to be posting here at the Greene Street Letters, but it will only be Monday through Friday. I will be taking Saturday and Sunday off, as far as the letter goes. In fact, if you need a "GSL" fix, there are over 2300 postings in the archive, so feel free to go back and read those you may have missed.
People ask me all the time how I am able to get up every morning and write something for GSL. The answer is simple. I don't know. I never know what I'm going to write until I sit down here at my computer. A verse will come to me. Or I will remember something I've read or something someone told me. Anyway, the words come...the typing sets in...and the letter is posted for the day.
Many thanks to all of you who stop by here and catch a posting. Whether you follow it every day or every now and then, I appreciate you. And I hope that you keep coming back. The other thing is that maybe it will encourage you to write. Maybe start a journal, or even your own blog...we need more out there for others to find and meet this Jesus we love so much.
Well, the coffee is calling and I must be about the day...
God on you...
Friday, September 19, 2014
..........I will fear no evil.........
Fear plays a major part in addiction and recovery.
We don't like to admit that statement.
We won't admit that statement.
But fear is a by product of not knowing God....
And not trusting God. One who is caught in the storm of addiction is very much aware of how powerless they have become. Such powerlessness invades every thought....every waking moment of every day. It brings on such hopelessness that the only thing a person can think about is the next high. At least in that place of being high, the individual doesn't have to think about anything at all. Once that person comes back to reality, the fear kicks in again. Fear that they won't have enough of whatever their drug of choice is. Fear that if they have to detox the pain will be unbearable. Fear becomes the fuel that drives a person back to the darkness.
Fear is also a part of human nature ( I believe I can make that statement).
I'm not excusing our fears....But I do believe that God understands it is part of our make up.
Why else, all through out the Bible, when an angel would appear suddenly, would their first words usually be..."Do not be afraid...Do not fear?" In other words....when the fear comes, for whatever reason, our first instinct should be to turn to God. Jesus told His disciples "Let not your hearts be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in me."
I like the passage from the 23rd Psalm....
It talks about a location....the valley of the shadow of death.
Valley's are depressions in the contour of the land, usually deep areas that lie between two mountains. Here, in the 23rd Psalm, we have a valley that is located in a shadow. Double whammy! Not only is it a dark place.....but the darkness is because of death. To be honest with you, doesn't death cast a dark shadow over everything we do...everywhere we go? Death is the final destination that lays claim to every human. But the shadow...the reminder of it stretches across the horizon. We walk in that shadow, but like King David, I want to be able to proclaim that "I will fear no evil". David makes a statement concerning his future....the "I Will" part. He didn't say "I use to not fear"...or...."I'm not fearing today..." He clearly states his state of mine and heart and his conviction that God is who God claims He is. By trusting in God, David can declare with all confidence that he (David) will not fear these dark shadows that lie across the path of righteousness that God has placed him on. Why? Because the presence and protection of God is always there to drive away the emotions and mental images that come to us when fear tries to lay hold of us.
David goes on to say, "I will fear no evil. for You (God) are with me.
The presence of God is always with us. We may not always be aware of Him. We may not think much about it, but such doesn't mean it is any less true. God is there with me. He is not a silent bystander. He is not passive presence. His is one that is always guiding me through my day. This is why in recovery you will here the statement "One day at a time".
(1.) That's all the time we are given....just today.
(2) Take care of whatever comes at us today as we travel this journey.
(3) Realize that our Higher POWER Jesus is there to take us through whatever happens.
I can do 24 hours.
I don't know what tomorrow may hold, but I can do today.
So, today I choose to turn will and life over to His care.
Turn will and life over and simply follow Him.
God on you..
Thursday, September 18, 2014
The following was written by a young man currently in the program at Rapha. It is his own personal experience of life before running into Jesus.......
And life after his salvation experience.....
The words turn to ashes in my mouth as I try and reformulate them to something with impact.
And I say, "Come down from your cross."
I know everyone needs saving...
Why don't you save yourself, to save me the satisfaction of saying "No" so everyone can let go of this silly superstition.
It's running rampant on the planet and I've failed to make contact.
So You contacted me, and it wasn't long distance. It was extremely loud and incredibly close.
Close enough to hear you even when you whispered.
A whisper so loud it could shatter bone and yet, at the same time, mend a broken heart
You couldn't stand the separation. You loved me when I was falling apart....for that, I am grateful.
I used to be so hateful.
I never cared one bit about who laid the foundation.
And me, just like Job with my questions, You came back with an answer very clear.
To put it all out there, made me take a second look.
I understood that I don't have to understand it. And would you believe it if I said that it helped me.
It's really not so crazy when I think on it.
I mean I was crazy anyway in the asylum of my flesh....
Crazy thoughts of where I would die and that I would soon decay, but the SON rose up this morning and for now it truly is another day.
Another day of life.
A life that I'm living because you're living with me...
Living in me.
Because of you, if I want it, I can part the sea...
I don't have to see...
I only have to be.
Here in the moment...
One breath at a time, as you take my breath away in the face of creation.
God on you....