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, May 3, 2016

"Where Have I Been?"

Well, well....the prodigal son has returned! Just had to go off and have an adventure, didn't you?
No, not really...It wasn't any of my doings to not post to this blog for a number of days.
It wasn't me taking time off to cool my jets, or refuel for the long haul.
It was a computer that was older than dirt, that refused a new bit of software.
Poor ol' thang, just couldn't hang with the new stuff.
It crashed.....(the computer)

It burned......(It crashed again)...
Several thousands of people were injured trying to save it...
But alas, time and Microsoft had moved on, leaving my computer standing in the shadows like some kind of jilted bride whose husband to be had run off with someone new.

In other words, I'd gotten just about as much mileage out of our old computer as I could. It just couldn't go on any more. So it gave a loud computer burp and then shut down. There in the silence, staring at a blank screen, I knew that I had just witnessed the death of a machine. Oh, well after a nano second of grief and remembrance.....it suddenly dawned on me..."We can get a new one!!!". Out with the old and in with the new. Such is the march of time and progress. 

Psalm 101:6
My eye shall be on the faithful of the land. That they may dwell with Me. He who walks in a perfect way, He shall serve Me.

God's heart and focus is toward those who do more than show up to church on Sunday to warm a pew.. God's heart and focus is toward those who keep their minds and hearts always focused on Him. Those who, when hard times come, can truly say, "My God is good!". Not an easy task I might add, but one that keeps peace and Grace at the center of life. Such people are not swayed by the hard winds of life, that seem to come out of nowhere and bring destruction with them. I want to be like Job when the hard times come. To be able to be overcome with grief, but like Job, sit down in the dirt and worship the Lord. To be able to say, "God is good during the good times....and He is good during the dark, hard times."

Does God love everyone? Yes.
We have the "God so loved the world" verse to prove it....
But God's heart is that we all draw so close to Him, that you can't tell us apart. Salvation is the process by which we are Spiritually placed in Jesus, and He in us.  My goal is to disappear. Less of me, and more of Him. I really could care less if anyone remembers me after I've died. But I pray that they never forget my Jesus. That something I said during one of my times of teaching would plant a seed deep inside a heart, and that the seed would come forth at the proper time to produce the fruit of God's choosing.

John 15:5 - I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit. For without Me you can do nothing.
Everything I need to survive the day is found in Jesus.
He is the source of all spiritual nourishment to me.
He is my "High Priest" who goes before the Father on my behalf, taking my prayers and petitions.
Where else would I go when life gets hard?
I know my own capabilities and how I only mess things up when I try to run my life.

I have seen the faithfulness of God all throughout my life. Why would I want to go anywhere else? Well, I don't. I will chase this Jesus in the good days....and I will lay hold of Him and walk through whatever darkness comes my way in the bad days.
I think maybe you can take that to the bank....God's faithfulness that is.

God on you...


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Running Late

No, there's nothing wrong with the picture above. It just represents how I felt this morning. Kind of upside down in a right side up world.
Internet was on the fritz, so I wasn't able to post Greene Street Letters.
Sorry about the Techno-fritzy-thing!

I'll pick back up in the morning...
Thank you for your patience...
God on you...


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Prayer Request Tuesday

Luke 22:40
There He told them, "Pray that you will not give in to temptation."

I want to pray...
I want to learn how to be a man who draws the ear of God to his prayers.

I think maybe to become such a person means that you are walking in obedience to whatever God has called you to. I want to be able to pray like the Psalms. David had a way of just putting his business out there for God to hear.

I'm not so sure that God hearing our prayers is a matter of the heart and not our eloquence in speaking. That sometimes in our deepest pain, when all we can say is "Oh God...Oh God...Oh God" He understands exactly what we are saying. 

The one thing I want to stay away from is turning my prayers into a personal shopping list of my needs and wants. I want to be able to touch the heart of God on the behalf of others. I want to be a prayer conduit through which God can speak and reveal his plans to.I guess what I'm trying to say in all of this, is that I want to get better at this prayer thing. I think maybe the only way one can get better is to keep praying....keep listening....and study the Scripture.

Had a really good day at Rapha yesterday.
We've got a good group of men in the program at this time.
They have a hunger to know God better, and that is always a good thing.
I had 10 at the Monday Bible Study, which is a good number. We covered the temptation of Jesus in Matthew 4 and Luke 4. Looking at how Jesus stood his ground against the temptation thrown at Him by the devil. Jesus stopped the devil cold with each temptation by speaking Scripture at him. Maybe there is something to this knowing and studying the Bible. 

Here is prayer list from the guys:

1.) Prayer to get this recovery thing right. To know God better and become the man he needs to be. This is the only way he is going to be able to build relationship with ex-wife and family. 

2.) Prayer request for God to cover his girlfriend with peace as she is taking care of his business while he's in treatment. Also this girl is going through grief and loss in the death of her father.

3.) Several asked for that we would pray that God would grant them wisdom. I told them we would, but that according to James 1:5, they could ask and God would give it to them.

4.) One man asked that we pray that God would help him to stop cursing. He told me that he doesn't like himself very much when he does curse, but that it has been a part of his life for so long that he sometimes doesn't even realize he's doing it.

5.) There was a prayer request asking that God would grant him confidence that he would be able to finish the program, stay as long as he needs to stay, and then carry it with him when he leaves Rapha.

I want to thank all of you who participate in  prayer request Tuesday.
My heart is that each of these request be answered so that the hearts of these men will truly know that God is real and does care for them.
Thanks again...

God on you....


Monday, April 25, 2016

We Have Hope In Jesus

I Corinthians 15:55-56
O death, where is your victory....O death, where is your sting? 

Busy weekend....
Good weekend....

But behind all the speaking and worshiping was the shadow of grief and sadness.
Death had taken one....
Sheldon and Samantha Brown's son was killed in a motorcycle accident late yesterday afternoon.
How strange it was to stand on a stage last night with Todd Bagley and be a part of his worship team. To sing songs that glorified God while friends of ours were dealing with this terrible accident and loss of a son.

But isn't that all part of the mystery? Knowing that what ever has happened, God is still good. Oh our humanity will ask the same questions that have been asked for thousands of years. "Why my child? Why did he have to die?" Or "Where was God in all of this?" I am not going to sit here and give a theological explanation on the nature of God or His view of death. I am not going there because God's view of death is not how you and I view it.
It would not lessen the pain we feel when someone close to us dies.
It would not bring peace to our minds and hearts when friends suffer...
But beyond what we feel...
Beyond what we think, there lies a truth that has been challenged time and time again, and yet still stands.
God is good...

I love what Job said at the end of a day where he lost everything.
All his material possessions...
All his children....
Everything he had worked for was taken from him by our enemy the devil.

Job 1:20 - Job stood up and tore his robe in grief. Then he shaved his head and fell to the ground to worship God.
It goes on to say that with everything that happened to Job, he did not sin by blaming God for what had happened.

I truly do believe that God understands the loss and pain when death takes a loved one.
I believe that His presence and love comes to cover the ones left behind.

He is patient while we muddle through all the "why's " and the questions that have no answers. At least no answer on this side of heaven.

I ask that you pray for Sheldon and Samantha, and all their family.
Let's keep them lifted up in prayer before our Father.....
I want to close with a verse that was given to me by a good friend upon the death of my mother..This verse has grown to mean more to with each passing year.

Psalm 116:15 
Precious in the sight of the LORD is death of his saints.

God on you....

Friday, April 22, 2016

Blind Bartimaeus

Mark 10:51
"What do you want me to do for you?" Jesus asked.
"My Rabbi," the blind man said, "I want to see!"

Isn't it amazing how we are tagged with a label by others as we go through life?
I look at Scripture, and the first one that jumps out of my brain is "Rahab the Harlot".
I know that some have translated that as being Rahab the Innkeeper. I'm not the theologian so I'll not make an issue of it, but still my Bible says Harlot.
God has a way of removing those tags because if you read Matthew 5:1, you'll see where she is jut Rapha. No harlot or reference to such. I think maybe that is because of the power of forgiveness. God's forgiveness uproots and destroys anything the world has tried to saddle us with.

This brings me to "Blind Bartimaeus".

What a label. Too bad old Bartimaeus wasn't a Blues musician, then he'd have the licks and sounds to give creedence to the lablel. Truth be known, Bartimaeus' condition was the reason for the label....still it is a label, and labels have a way of defining us, don't they?
Funny part in this whole story, Bartimaeus' condition was beyond his control. It was something that happened. He may have been born this way, we're not told. But Bartimaeus ran into Jesus.

Jesus and His crew as moving through the city of Jericho and just happened to intersect where Bartimaeus had his "Begging for money" shop set up. Kind of like when you come off the interstate and run into those people who stand with the hand scrawled signs telling you why they need you to give them some money. Anyway, I digress. Bartimaeus heard from the crowd that it was Jesus that was passing by. Evidently he'd heard stories about this man Jesus. Stories of people being healed....the dead being brought back to life. Now here was the real deal Jesus passing by. One of the most beautiful things in the world is when desperation is coupled with hope, which produces a "what have I got to lose" action.

Bartimaeus begins to scream out, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!"

Now that's embarrassing. In fact those around Bartimaeus begin to yell at him to shut up.
Here this important teacher was taking a walking tour through their town and we have this mangy, old blind man messing everything up.....making everyone look bad. Do you know how Bartimaeus responded? He only yelled louder. He didn't care what others thought (now here's a whole other posting about how we need to get outside ourselves and quit caring about what others think). This was his moment. This was either going to draw Jesus' attention or it wasn't. To my way of thinking, Bartimaeus was having one of those moments where it's "Either heal me or kill me, but I can't go on this way!" Such a place is where real change begins to take place. We've had it with the world. We've had it with our state of living. We've tried everything in spite of knowing that Jesus is the real deal answer to our problems. Finally, with nothing left, we cast aside our pride and began to yell like Blind Bartimaeus. "Jesus!!!! Have mercy on me.....And He will. Healed not so that we can continue in our old ways, but healed to be like Bartimaeus.
The last verse of the chapter that has this story of Bartimaeus, reads like this....

Instantly the man could see.......and he followed Jesus down the road.
Maybe that should be the same for us this morning.
We allow Him to give us new sight...
Fresh vision....
And then leave everything and follow Him down the road.

God on you...