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
Saturday, April 19, 2014
Alas and did my Savior bleed, and did my Sovereign die...
Would He devote that sacred head for sinners such as I....
At the cross...at the cross where I first saw the light
And the burden of my heart rolled away...
It was there by faith I received my sight...
And now I am happy all the day.
Tonight as we gather for our meeting, it will be a strange time.
Good Friday has already passed....
Easter isn't here yet.....
We are kind of in a time between the times.
And such will be our focus tonight...
The sheer fact that we do exist in a time between the times.
Paul, in Galatians 1, referred to it as "This present evil age".
We live between Jesus' first appearance here on earth, and His second coming.
Such time has passed, that many view Jesus as one more religious "fairy tale." A good story that has nothing to do with our current day and time, and certainly nothing to do with our personal lives. After all, if in fact this Jesus did do everything people claimed He did.....well, that was over 2000 years ago. Different time. Different culture. Different country.
The one thing that is always left out of the equation in this disproving of the validity of Jesus is the heart.
The heart of man (humanity).
That has not changed.
It still beats with the same greed, lust for power, a penchant for sin, huge amounts of anger. And the list could go on and on and on. That part has not changed. Look around you and see the evidence. Mother's killing their children by drowning them. Sexual perversion that no longer shocks us as a society. Some might throw up the argument, "Yeah, but we didn't pass our children through the fire like the people did when they worshiped the false god, Molech!" I'll give you that one. We didn't pass them through the fire....we just aborted them. We don't even refer to them as children or babies. In an effort to cleanse our conscience, we call them fetuses and tissue. That sounds more humane. Well, let me ask you this. If we gave fetuses and birth tissue the right to vote, how do you think they would vote when it comes to abortion.
As much evil as there is in the hearts of men....
We must never forget that Jesus did not die in vain.
Jesus did not walk out of that tomb on the first day of the week and think to himself, "Well, that was all for nothing." He knew all too well the power and the plans of His heavenly Father. He knew that lives would be changed. And the cross would stand as a defining moment when everything changed here on planet earth. The door was now open for everyone to be made right and reconciled to God. The gift of abundant life and eternal life was now awash over the planet. No wonder our enemy the devil works so hard to tear down and corrupt. He knows that he can never stop or thwart God's plans. That devil must be one frustrated individual.
So tonight as we gather, we will give thanks for the cross of Christ.
We will look forward to His resurrection....
But we will acknowledge that we are living in a time between the times, and we need Him more now than ever.
God on you...
Friday, April 18, 2014
You know...the longer you live the more you become aware of exactly how far away you are from home.
Not your current address or the place that you rent, but the place where your heart is drawn to.
For like Paul, I too realize that I am not a citizen of this world.
I am only passing through.
Heaven is my home.
Such understanding could be ground that would only produce a harvest of depression and sadness, given the current state of our nation and the world....
But it only makes me lean into the wind and rain and push forward. I am painfully aware of the darkness I encounter on a daily basis.
Heaven is my home.
Such thoughts makes me very grateful for those days when the sun warms my face and God warms my heart.
But I am never faraway from the eternal homesickness that tugs at my heart from time to time.
A longing to shake off this mortal coil and be free from the battles and strife of this world.
Do not despair for me.
I am not contemplating suicide on any level.
I am simply sharing what is on my heart.
Every time I find myself in thought concerning heaven and my heavenly Father, I see faces of people.
I see one young man who still doesn't know my God. I see the pain on his face as he wanders around living a life of misery and self inflicted pain. I see needles and bottles. I see yellowed fingers from too many cigarettes. When I look into his eyes..........I see nothing. Dead, lifeless eyes that have seen too much of this world. And I think to myself..."How selfish can you be? You want to leave this old world and this young man needs to hear, once again, the good news of who Jesus is.
I see the face of a young lady. Once full of hope and dreams for the future, she confused the act of sex for love. Her heart longed to be loved by someone. Longed to be courted and favored by someone who truly loved her for who she was. But such love never transpired. Instead, she moved from relationship to relationship, and along the way she became a punching bag for every insult and fist of the men she gave herself to. Oh they told her that they loved her, but the outcome was the same. She gave...and they took. She was beaten down so bad that she could not find any worth or value as a person. How could anyone ever love her.She was damaged goods. No one would ever want to be with her. In my mind, when I see her face, I know that I've got to tell her about the ultimate love. The love of a Father that transcends all love. That in His eyes, she had worth and value. So much in fact that Jesus gave His life so that she could experience this love. She needs to hear this good news called the Gospel.
The world and the system created by the devil and the kingdom of darkness produces all manner of substitutes for the Love of God.
Drugs promise to take away the pain and make you feel good. "You don't need this God love. Haven't you read the Old Testament? God kills everyone. He has a divine mad-on for anyone who cross's Him!" Such is the mantra spoken over and over into the hearts of those who don't know my Jesus.
"Yeah, God created it...but He really doesn't want you find any pleasure in the act."
"This God is a selfish God who gives you a gift and then doesn't want you to enjoy it!"
"C'mon! If it feels good.....then do it!"
"You can buy happiness! You should expend yourself on the pursuit of riches. Riches mean real happiness. Money means power. Power means control and respect."
And the promises of our enemy goes on and on about what he has to offer us that is better than the love God has offered. Such are the lies that manipulate this world. Maybe that's why I need to hang around a bit longer. I need to share the truth and demonstrate the Power of God to anyone who would listen. You see, there are a lot of people who need to hear the truth. There are a lot of people who need to feel the presence and the power of God in their own life.
So while I am missing my home.....
I will stay the course.
I will go Saturday night and share the story of Jesus.
From the cross to the tomb....
But thank God that the story didn't end there.
There was that thing called the Resurrection that totally changed the dynamics of this world..
Now that's what I'm talking about.
He is risen!
Thursday, April 17, 2014
Scheduled to speak....
And nothing to say....
I'd been in prayer for the past two days after receiving an invitation, but there was nothing rising up that would lead me to a message.
Had I missed it?
Was I not suppose to go?
No...I knew I was suppose to be there.
It was going to be one of those times where the message would probably come at the last minute.
So my job was to not be anxious and fearful, but prayerfully wait for God to speak.
Arriving a few minutes early, I sat in the sanctuary as the worship team practiced.
"Holy And Anointed One" written by John Barnett was the first song....
Hmmm....a Vineyard Song.....
"Fall On Your Mercy"....another Vineyard song....
Had I wandered into another Vineyard church and I just didn't know it....
The last song was the message....
"Breathe" by Marie Barnett.
Both John and Marie had been a part of a worship conference that was held at Gadsden Vineyard Church last year. It was the most incredible weekend I'd had in a long time as I sat and worshiped under their music. But the part that caught me, was that the song "Breathe" was actually a prophetic song that Marie sang during a practice time. It wasn't planned...she didn't sit down and try to write a song....this song just rose up from within her and became one of the most recorded worship songs ever.
This is the air I breathe.....and I am desperate for You.
So as I sat there listening to the worship team go through the song, God spoke to me about the times when things come spontaneously. Songs and messages just seem to rise up from within and almost catch you off guard. They may not sound polished or refined, but they carry the fire and weight of the Holy Spirit. They carry power to strike the hearts of those who are listening.
Such was the message for last night. Spontaneously given to me by the Holy Spirit.
It was about the cross of Christ....
The love that it took for Him to stretch himself out on that rough wood and allow mortal men to nail his flesh to it. Love....real love....
As we finished up and moved into a prayer time, one young lady could not wait any longer.
She jumped up and hurried to the front. Falling on her face, she began to weep. Not cry...weep...long, deep sobs. This love I had talked about....this love of God, had touched her and she was undone. She was ready to meet this Jesus she'd heard about.
I don't know what she was expecting when she came to the meeting last night. I don't even know why she was there. But I know that she left it a lot different and changed. I know she left with a new heart and a new beginning. I know that she left as a daughter of the Most High God.
It was a good evening....
God on you...
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Come to me, all who are weary and heavy laden....
Come to me, all whose shoulders are bent under the strain of carrying around things you were never created to carry.
You see, you were not created to view yourself as being worthless.
Your heavenly Father created you through an act of love.
Now, He wasn't naive or oblivious to the ways of this world.
He knew the darkness that existed in the hearts of men.
He knew their penchant and ability to inflict pain and suffering.
He also knew His own ability to love far outweighed anything man could bring to bear.
That is why He extended this invitation to shake off the things of this world and walk with Him.
Not a religious walk.....
Not a spiritual walk....
But one born in relationship.
God knows all about us.
Even the scriptures declare that He knows what we need before we even ask Him.
So, if God is so all knowing....
Why would He want to have anything to do with me?
Because everything He does is fueled by His heart of love.
In spite of my mess, He wants to return me to the way I was suppose to be.
He wants to save me.
He wants to see me make a choice to receive what He has to offer.
He loves me.
At this point of my life, I don't think God ever stops loving us not matter what choice we make.
Doesn't mean He excuses my bad choices which lead to bad consequences....
But He loves us.
In the story of the "Rich, Young Ruler"....Jesus lays out exactly what He sees in this young man. That he has a heart that loves wealth, position and power. So Jesus tells him to go and sell everything he has, give it to the poor, and come and follow Him. The young man could not do this, so he went away...and yet the scriptures says..."Jesus loved him".
The thing that convinces us we are unlovable and Jesus would have nothing to do with us is that sin/flesh nature we each possess. Our sins sends us on the run from Jesus. Our sins separate us from God. God didn't separate Himself from us.
So today, with the thought of God's love hovering all around us, why not lay those burden's down?
Why not turn to Jesus.
Discover the truth about yourself and about Him.
Sounds like a deal to me....
He is risen!
He is risen indeed!
God on you....