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

Monday, March 2, 2015

Being The Church....Not Doing Church

Psalm 8:6-9
You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands. You have put all things under his feet. All sheep and oxen--
Even the beasts of the field. The birds of the air, and the fish of the sea that pass through the paths of the sea.
O Lord, our Lord...How excellent is Your name in all the earth.

The passage from Psalms kind of jumped out at me this morning.
According to the best as I understand it, we have been given dominion over the work of God's hands.....
Does this mean the physical world that we see?
Does it mean the Kingdom work that is going on around us?
Being the people of God, interacting and moving according to His plans....?

I think maybe it does.

In Matthew 4:4, we are called to live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God....In other words, there is spiritual nourishment that sustains our lives when we not only hear, but do the Words of Christ.

Exercise in the Kingdom would include taking what we hear God say, and then being responsible for seeing it carried out.
Feeding the hungry....
Praying for those we are directed to pray for.

Visiting the ones who are in jail or prison.
Healing the sick....
Raising the dead....
And finally, according to Matthew 11:5, preaching (proclaiming / declaring) the incredibly good news that there is freedom from the bondage of this world in Jesus.

God did not give us dominion so we could be a passive church.
God did not tell us to feast and live on His word, so we could occupy a seat at church.
He did not call us to be a spectator watching others do the kingdom work.

You need to understand the place I'm coming from, when I say these things.
I do not believe in simply being active for activities sake.
What I am saying is that we all, if we truly believe and are followers of Jesus, have been given dominion and authority, backed with His POWER, to infect....effect...and affect our corner of the Kingdom.

Kind of a Matthew 25 mandate to do the works of Jesus.

We have a call not to be religious so others will see Jesus....
We have a call to be His body, or corporate gathering of people each trying to hear what they should do.

It is a life of taking risks....
It is being at the grocery store and seeing that women in a wheel chair and suddenly you have this faint thought, "I need to go pray for her". But you pass it off because that just isn't you. Well, what if it were God? What if that was your assignment for the day? 
You think to yourself, "I wouldn't know what to pray!"
If you ask God, He just might tell you.
Maybe she needs an encouraging word from you.
Maybe, just maybe, God wants to heal her....you never know with God what is going to happen.

What's the worse that could happen?
You go over and let her know that God has put her on your heart and you'd like to pray for her. If that doesn't scream the "LOVE OF GOD", then nothing does. It is the mystery of God's Kingdom...the not knowing in advance but willing to take a risk. Stepping out there to speak truth and love.
I have seen people do that and stop potential suicides.
Simply because they thought they heard God say, "Go and pray for that person". The person they were suppose to pray for was contemplating suicide because they thought that no one cared and they had nothing to live for.

This isn't some kind of made up example to get you to believe in what I'm writing. I have witnessed such by a man who had an encounter that he had no way of knowing that God speaking through him would stop a suicide. The man was simply following through on what God had told him to do, which was go over and talk to this man who had caught his attention.
That is what we were created for.
That is what we have been called to do.

Walk in the authority and power of God.
Think on these things...
And watch for appointments today that God may set up for you.

God on you...

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Sunday Video Of Wimber Teaching

I run into a lot of people who read this blog and, from time to time, they ask me why I focus so much on John Wimber. "Why do you post video's of a man who died years before? Why do you continue to talk about a man you never met?" Well, while this is true, I never met Wimber, I do have his voice and his teaching stuck in my brain, from spending countless hours of listening and studying under his teachings.

Marty Boller, author of the book The Wisdom of Wimber: As I see it gave the best answer for those who asked him why he continued to tell of John Wimber:
Now, over the years, well-meaning folks have come up to me, saying, "Marty, be careful. Don't idolize a man. Remember. You're a disciple of Jesus, not John Wimber." My response to these nice folks who are looking out for me is this. "I followed John and his teachings for one reason. Because, as I see it, John Wimber was a man who had been around Jesus. And quite honestly, I can't say that about many pastors I've met over the years. Oh sure, there are well-meaning leaders who refer to Jesus in their teachings and point to Christ with their ministries, but in John's case, I always sensed that he was one who wasn't all that interested in building himself a ministry, or gathering people into his crowd."

Once again, as I promised, it is Sunday and here is John sharing some of his testimony.
God on you...

Saturday, February 28, 2015

It Really Is About Our Character

I Kings 2:2
King David talking to his son, Solomon: "I go the way of all the earth. Be strong, therefore, and prove yourself a man, and keep the charge of the LORD you God to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His judgments, and His testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn.

Being saved....
Being born again...

Whatever you want to call it, is an event that, over time, produces change in an individual.
I have said on numerous occasions that when you are saved, you will do business with the world in a new way. You would see things differently. Some thought that there was something that was going to happen to you eyes, or your sense of how to deal with people would change. Well, the real change that takes place is a change in your character.
This is evidenced by the work of God's Holy Spirit in you, as you learn to recognize what's taking place, and cooperate with the work. All part of the journey we call the Twelve Steps. A journey that takes you through an inward change that produces an outward change in our behavior.

Step #6
We were entirely ready to have God remove ALL these defects of character.
James 4:10 - Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in due time.

Working Step #6 requires us to lay aside all our pretenses and estimations of our own self-worth, good and bad. We are entirely....completely....nothing else to gain or lose...ready for God to begin the change we need so desperately.

Philippians 3:12-14
I don't mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus has possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.
Paul the Apostle, was well aware of the needed inward change that must take place if true salvation has happened. We no longer can conduct ourselves in the way we use to. In the I Kings passage above, where David is instructing his son, Solomon, on what must take place after David's death, David commissioned Solomon to prove himself a man.

How so?
How does one go about this?
By being a person of integrity...
Someone who heeds the directives and leading of God in their life, even when it runs counter to the ways of the world.
A person who speaks truth in love...
Who helps those who truly need help...
Who never has an over inflated view of themselves, and has no need to be self-promoting. Walking in humility before everyone. Having no need for the spotlight, but moves about confident in who they are.
How can they do this?
Through the inward work of the Holy Spirit, as their character is changed.

I will be sharing more on this message tonight at Vineyard ReCovery Church.
Meeting starts at 7 p.m.
Hope to see you there...

God on you...


Friday, February 27, 2015

Downloading For Jesus

to defeat every lie...
to shatter every deception...
to keep us focused and alert...
Unless we know it...
We will turn to our own vain thoughts and imaginations.

I am always in a state of "Downloading" from God.....
I read...
I study....
I try to listen for what God is telling me, even though, at times, I'm not very good at it.
I apply what I have learned to my daily walk.
I know that left to my own devices and my own train of thought, I will wander off into areas that are not good for me.

I will temporarily forget God and begin to follow my old desires.
I will again operate from old patterns of sinful behavior, which come from old sinful thoughts.
Such is why I have a need to stay connected to God and to others who are in the same situation I am in.
I am in need of community.....
Not just so we can gather and chat about the ballgame, or how hard our week was....
But that we can corporately share what God has been doing in our lives. So we can be an encouragement to others....
And receive from God, as we give back to Him through our worship....our time...and yes, even our finances.

We are always in a state of flux, or change, if you will.
We are either changing for the better....
Or we are changing for the worse.....
No one ever remains the same.
If such is true...
And I believe it to be...
Then I want to grow in my understanding of who God truly is.
I want to truly work Steps #1, 2 and 3 in this journey of being "downloaded" with God's power and capability. To allow myself to have a real relationship with Him.

These three steps are the beginning where we realize we are not as smart as we thought we were. We realize exactly how incapable we were of actually having a real life. We weren't living. We were existing. Self  had become our god....but unlike the One, true God, Self  was never satisfied. No matter what we gave Self, it only demanded more and more. 

We traded our families....
We gave away our relationships....
We laid aside our hopes and dreams....
We sacrificed our health...
We lost our freedom....
We surrendered our future...
All because we listened to Self.
Only God can break this kind of power.

Luke 9:23-25 shows us the ultimate download to a new life.
Then He said to the crowd,"If any of you wants to be
My follower...
You must turn from your selfish ways,
Take up your cross daily, and follow me.
If you try to hang on to our life....
You will lose it.
But if you give up your life for my sake,
you will save it.
And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world
but are yourself lost or destroyed?"

Jesus declared that He was "The Truth".....
He also said, in John chapter 8 verse 31 and 32, that we were truly His followers if we remain faithful to His teachings. In other words, if we apply what we have been taught to our daily lives. If we live in this manner, Jesus said that we would know the truth. We would experience what the truth is daily, and we will be set free from the things of the world, and the old patterns of sinful behavior that sought to keep us in the bondage of addiction.
Now I don't know about you....
But I'll buy that for a dollar...
Hope to see you tomorrow night at Vineyard ReCovery Church.

God on you...

Thursday, February 26, 2015

New Season...New Direction

The words of Jesus....
"Follow Me!"
Simple words...yet words, when heard by people, can contain some fear and doubt.
"Follow You where?"
"How long are we going to be gone?"

Yet the words keep coming.....
"Follow Me!  Follow Me! Follow Me!"

Over the past 21 years, I have tried to heed such words when the came.
I've tried to be a person who spent his energy and time listening for what God wanted to do.

I have this crazy idea that this whole "Following Jesus" thing involves seasons and times. In other words,nothing lasts forever. This has been pretty evident in my own life if you look back at the places I've been and the meetings God has called me to.
Names such as New Compassions.....House of Blue....Doing the Stuff:101...Journey Place....Vineyard After Dark....The Church@Rapah have all been stops along the way in my journey. Each one different, but all have been used by God to equip me for what was next. 

I've said all of this to simply lay out for you the next leg of this journey.
Last Monday, February 23rd, I submitted my resignation to the staff at Rapha Treatment Center. I never thought such a thing would ever take place but, like I said, nothing is forever. This was not a hasty decision, but one that had been brewing for sometime. I won't go into the particulars other than to say never have I heard God more clearer than on this decision. I will still retain my office there on the compound, and I will still minister to those who are coming through the program, but I will not be considered an employee of Rapha.

As many of you know, I spoke last Sunday night at Catalyst Recovery's meeting. Since the meeting is held at the Vineyard, I went a little early and was in my office praying and looking over the scripture I felt God wanted me to share. As I did this, I was suddenly totally overwhelmed with a deep sense of satisfaction. A knowing that I was where I was suppose to be, doing what I had been called to do. All in this feeling of satisfaction, I heard, in my spirit, God say, "This is who you really are...this is what I have really called you to be." In other words, God was releasing me from Rapha to take the next step. What is the next step? Well, it involves Vineyard ReCovery Church. To focus my attention and effort to hear God as to where He wants to take us. To be a voice to those who are seeking a way out of addiction. More than that, I want to show them that Jesus is the answer to more than just being clean and sober. He is the source of life...real life.

Rapha has been a part of my life for 17 years now. It has been the place where I was trained to hear God "on the fly" as I like o refer to it. A place where God showed me the extent of what the human heart was capable of doing and, at the same time, what the heart of God was capable of doing. I will forever be indebted to Steve and Marilyn Yarbrough, Bill Hayes, Barry Hooks for their support and for giving me a place at Rapha.

So as Vicki and I enter this next part of our journey, I would ask that you pray for us. If you feel a tug and a pull from God to "Follow Him"...then by all means....do it.
You never know where He might be taking you....

God on you....