Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Seeking A Connection

There is an unspoken division among people that looks at the 12 steps as being only for people in addiction. I've heard many a person (good, well meaning folks) distance themselves from the 12 steps because they can't see the truth behind them. "Oh that is for someone who is a drunkard or a drug addict." Really? To me the nature of all addiction is a matter of the heart. The outward behavior is only a symptom of what's wrong on the inside.
Take Step # 11 for instance. How can you look at this step and say that it only applies to someone who is trying to recovery from using?
Step # 11 - We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry it out.
Would this not be for everyone who claims to be a follower of Christ? I think maybe yes it is. I love the phrase "improve our conscious contact" many actually make this a priority in their daily lives? Maybe we should take this truth and apply it to our lives.
we read in Psalm 25:4-5 ---"Show me the right path, O Lord; Point out the road for me to follow. Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you. Sounds like Step # 11 to me.
I want to close today with the Step # 11 prayer:
"My Creator, I am now willing that You should have all of me, good and bad. I pray that you now remove from me, every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows. Grant me strength, as I go out from here, to do your bidding."
Like a good friend of mine as always said, "You can't do the steps and not bump your head on the cross."
God on you...

Tuesday, March 20, 2018


Before I began this posting, I pray and hope that everyone made it o.k. through the storms that rolled through last night. I did what I could to prepare for it, but then Vicki and I prayed God's grace and protection to cover. Please be in prayer for those who did sustain damage.
Mark 5:36
But Jesus overheard them and said to Jairus.."Don't be afraid. Just believe (Have faith).
Jairus, a leader in the synagogue, has come to Jesus asking for his daughter to be healed....she is dying. Funny how when it's your children you will do whatever it takes to see them well. Jairus probably had been at odds with Jesus in the past, but now that tragedy has come to his home and it is his little girl's life....he will go to the only source he knows who could heal her.
As Jesus and Jairus are making their way to where the little girl is a group of men come up to tell them that the girl has died. in in not living any longer. You can't deny the truth of what these men said. It is a is reality. I'm sure that Jarius went numb with this news. I'm sure that there was guilt that he had not left sooner to find Jesus. But as Jairus began to feel the first pains of grief start to wash over him, Jesus speaks the most incredible words....."Don't be afraid...just have faith...only believe."
How many times do I let the world's truth dictate to me? To let what I see rule my life? To allow the situations and circumstances drive me rather than my faith. The world comes and gives me one message; "You're a fool to think anything can be done about your situation".....but I want to hang on to the words of Christ..."Don't be afraid.....Don't listen to that message...Only believe...Only have faith.
Just like Jairus, I have to remember that it was me who came to God in prayer. Why would I pray only to not believe that He will act on it?
Today......only believe God and not the message of this world.
God on you...

Monday, March 19, 2018

Keeping It Real

James 1:3-4
For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
Whether we want to admit it or not, life has a way of pounding on you. When we think of the word endurance, we think of self-reliance.....our own strength.....our own talent and ability to rise above every situation that comes our way. While there are times we can get by on such self efforts, as a follower of Jesus, I am called to rely on HIS strength, HIS ability, and His power. To trust Him to the last uttermost limit.
Truth be known, endurance is faith that is tried almost to the breaking point. Endurance involves waiting and trusting, sprinkled with a heavy layer of Hope. I guess when we find ourselves in such places, we either trust God or we trust man. Is God truly My strength and my help.
Maybe endurance involves possessing this moment in time with patience. We wait until God reveals His plans for us. Reading on in the book of James, we read where the "testing of our faith is like Gold being refined. In such a process, the higher the heat, the purer the gold. I confess that today's words are easy to write, talk and think about......we will only find the truth of them when life tries to put us at odds with the Kingdom of God. When the ruler of this world slyly asks us...."Why don't you take matters into your own hands!" Don't fall for that line. Instead, wait....endure....persevere.....overcome.
God on you...

Saturday, March 17, 2018


There are many levels to this thing we call "Salvation".....
Oh, it's not that they get you a better seat in heaven....
The level's are our awareness of who God really is.

More than a Savior...
More than John 3:16...

More than singing "How Great Thou Art"....

It is that sudden awareness that washes over you when you come to realize that you are being called into a relationship with the real-deal, creator of the universe, burning bush-part the Red Sea God.

The measuring of your own worth against someone who was before time.
Who looked upon your misery and self-inflicted pain...
Someone who came with such a heart of love for you that He stretched himself out upon a cross and allowed himself to receive nails into His flesh. Why? Because He was going to pay a debt you and I could never pay. A sin debt that demanded a blood sacrifice.

And as bad as the physical aspect of the cross was....
It was the moment when God released His full fury on His own Son who hung on that cross.

God's wrath was poured out in fullness on Him because Jesus had taken the sin of the world upon Himself. It was such a horrific moment that God caused darkness to fall upon the earth. No human was worthy to view such a thing. 

How must God have felt when that moment came....
To hear His own Son cry out....."My God! My God! Why have you forsaken me!!"

And it is the realization of what Christ did for me that causes me to find no value in anyone or anything else.

As Marie Barnett sings...."You are the very air I breathe"...."You are my daily bread"...

So this morning, as I type these words....
I am very much in tune to who God is....

Don't let Him simply be a "Gift-giver"....nothing wrong with the blessings and gifts He brings to us. But He is so much more.
See Him today for who He truly is.
See Him in His majesty...
See Him in the glory of His name...
See Him and proclaim "Woe is me for I am undone".

I don't think we can come in contact with God and not be affected by His presence.

I want to stay in His presence daily until I draw my last breath...
Then I will see Him face to face....

More than religion...
More than church....

He is God.....

God on you....


Friday, March 16, 2018

Jesus People

We were the chosen generation. We just knew it. Ours had a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit and we had been set ablaze. It was all about Jesus. It was church in a new way. We didn't reject the word. We rejected the music. We wanted to put our voice to a love song to God. There wasn't any money to be made in Jesus' name so what was coming out during these formative years was heart felt and true. This move of God wasn't about soaking it up and holding on to what God was doing. It was about giving it away. Sharing your faith with others. It was about putting legs to the faith you claimed to have. Feeding people. Helping people. Loving people in Jesus Name. It was a revolution as some in the establishment pointed out. Because it was so radical and so close on the heels of the counter culture revolution of the mid 60's, there was a lot of skepticism from parents and authorities and yes..........even the church. But we felt we were the chosen generation.

There weren't any programs or plans or agenda to this move of God. It was free flowing and each one who "jumped into the river of His Kingdom" sought to do what God put on their hearts. It was a generation that had said all we need was love. We soon found out that the love of the world was not what was needed. We needed the love of God.

We probably became a bit proud and arrogant of our new found love for Jesus. We threw away some great things the church had fought for over the years. Things that I now hold dear and sacred. But....we were the generation that was going to bring change.
In the summer of 1971(It may have been 1972..the date escapes me), a hundred thousand kids showed up in Dallas Texas for EXPLO. To worship and take to the streets to share Jesus. The cry of my generation was "ONE WAY!!! ONE WAY MAN!!! JUST JESUS!! Free and forgiven, children of the Lamb. We were the generation that was going to change things.
Chuck Smith was busy in California baptizing thousands in the Pacific Ocean. The country viewed them as long-haired hippies. God took these rejects in and change the face of church. We were the generation that was going to change everything.But we didn't. Some things changed. New churches who approached God in a new fresh way began to sprout around the country. For some of us here in Gadsden, we found this Jesus revolution through Campus Crusade for Christ. The local staff was from California and they shared with us what was going on. For many, this was new. We were not hearing this in our churches. We were not being told of the power and purity of God that was coming to our generation. 

The Jesus movement in Gadsden came through an office located across from Gadsden High School next to Graham's Drug Store. Seeds were planted in lives through Crusade's work that still are producing fruit to this day.
Time passed. Change came to all of us. It was all part of growing up.
We grew older and cynical. We married and had kids. Raised our families and tried to find our place. The generation's flame grew dim.

There are other generations coming up. I pray that I am not so cynical that when I read where this next generation has already been labeled, I discount it because of my own life. I pray that like Simeon, God would let me see this generation be completely who God has called them to be. That I pass my blessing to them along with what wisdom I have. May I impart what God has so freely given to me.
Did my generation fail?
I don't think so, but neither did we succeed.
I just think we bought into all the hoopla that said we were special. On one hand, we were. But only God gets to define a generation.
I am grateful for the years that he has allowed me to participate in His Kingdom.
I am grateful for where he has my plow today and that my wife has been joined to me to plow the same field. May we never look back.
Peace and Love Baby!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Walking Like Bambi

The days are full of stress. Time is spent in trying to figure out how to simply navigate what life throws at you. on and on. You look around, and with tired eyes you see people that look like they have their lives all together while your's seems to be ripping apart at the seams.
Maybe today's posting is for you.

Habakkuk 3:19
The Lord God is my strength, and He has made my feet like hinds' feet, and makes me walk on my high places.

How incredible is that verse? First off there is the recognition of the source of power/strength needed to function. The Lord God IS ( now) my strength. He has filled me with His Holy Spirit. Never doubt that the Holy Spirit can and will guide you through whatever life tries to drown you with.

God give me the ability to rise above the daily grind. The ability to seek Him first in everything. There is a saying in A.A. that has stuck with me...."God does for me what I could not do for myself." The Habakkuk verse says that God has made my feet like the feet of a mountain deer. I can navigate the high places. I can walk in places that I never could in my own strength and ability.

Lastly...."He makes me walk in high places"... All part of the "Follow Me" call Jesus extends to us. Jesus lifts us up. Life w/ Christ is always an upward movement.
I find that God leads me to this Habakkuk passage periodically to remember that in the darkest of times, He is there to show us the way. Sometime the way out of what we're facing...Sometimes the way through what we're facing. Never doubt the Lord's ability.
God on you.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Count The Cost

Double whammy this morning....
Rainy Sunday morning......
AND the dreaded time change.....
Oh well, this too shall pass.
Passage from Luke 14:27-28 caught my attention this morning.

"And if you do not carry your cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple. But don't begin until you count the cost."
Reckon why no one ever teaches on this? There must be something to it or why else would Jesus have even mentioned it. What if He really meant it? That we needed to sit down and take a look at what it would cost us to become a disciple of His.

What would the cost be? How about everything.....
"You don't mean that do you? Everything?"
I think maybe somehow Jesus truly does mean that.
More than the cost is the simple fact that being a disciple means hardship, persecution. We are not very welcomed people in society today. Try standing up to defend your faith under the onslaught of public opinion. Try being a person whose godly principals guide you through life. You will run into those who hate you simply because you have answered a call to follow Jesus.

To me, the cost of becoming a disciple of Christ is far outweighed by the grace, peace and love directed to me by my heavenly Father. The things that happen to me each day because of my belief far exceeds anything the world could throw at me. Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to come off as "Johnny Holy-Roller". I'm trying to simply state some truth, that maybe from time to time when life gets hard we should examine the cost of following Jesus.

I am reminded in scripture that the coming days are only going to grow darker and darker spiritually. That we will see the human heart as we never have. The times and events of the coming days are only going to uncover and highlight the true heart of humanity, especially those who live life outside the will and love of God. Those who choose to live for themselves.

V1. - You should know that in the last days there will be very difficult times (Stressful)

V2. - For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred.

V.3 - They will be unloving and unforgiving. They will slander other and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good.

V.4 - They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God.

Maybe....just maybe, here on this rainy Sunday morning....
We should sit down and take the time to count the cost of following Jesus.
Then when we finish...
Be about the Kingdom work He has called us to.

God on you...

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Trusting God....Really Trusting God

Psalm 107:20
He sent out his word and healed them, snatching them from the door of death.

Psalm 119:140
Your promises have been thoroughly tested. That is why I love them so much.

If this is Wednesday, then that must mean we had a Bible study at Rapha last night....and we did.
Good group...
large group....
Ready to soak up some word. 

Taught from Genesis 22...God tests Abraham.
God tells him to take his son, Isaac, to Mount Moriah and offer him there as a burnt sacrifice. What? Yeah...Go kill your son Abraham.
Don't you know such a command set off all manner of bells and whistles in ol' Abraham's head. But you know what? He obeyed...He knew that God had sent Isaac as a promise to Sarah and him. Isaac was the son of promise, that through him Abraham and Sarah would have more descendents than stars in the heavens. 

So what does Abraham do?
Load up the whole kit and kaboodle and head out.
All the time trusting God that His word was true.
Abraham was willing to go through with this act of killing his son because he trusted God.

We see Abraham's faith in Genesis 22:5 when he tells his servants to "Wait here...the boy and I will travel a little farther...we will worship there and then we will come right back." 

As the story goes...
Abraham obeyed...
God stopped him short of plunging the knife into Isaac.
God provided a ram for the sacrifice...
God blessed Abraham for his faithfulness and trusting in the promise He had made to him.

So what is this all about?
Testing not temptation.
What is the difference between the two?
Testing is God's way of revealing our hearts so that we can see the true nature we possess. It is His way of helping us understand areas we need to be aware of that need to change. It shows us our level of faith in him. As for Abraham, I think he took the gold prize.

Temptation serves no purpose except to draw us away from obeying God.
Temptation will usually involve feeding our fleshly (or sin) nature.
IT's not a sin to be tempted...
It is a sin when we act on the temptation.
So just be aware of the two and realize the difference.
Have a great Wednesday!

God on you...

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Tuesday Ramblin's

Busy day yesterday.....
Here, there, back again, over yonder...all part of the journey.
Telephone calls from old friends...and close friends.
Burn Cd's from Northside service yesterday.
Lesson # 4 from I Corinthians 13. This whole "series" teaching is a new and strange animal for me.
Not complaining...
I am enjoying it. It is stretching me as I search Scripture and spend time with God to seek what He would have me say.

And now.....
Tuesday morning....
I get to do it all over again...
The journey I mean.
Thinking on God and the awesomeness of who He is...
How strange for me (the mortal and finite) to be trying to understand and grasp someone who is infinite. I don't search for facts or tidbits of intellectual morsel's. I look to and listen for God to show me Himself through the Scripture.

Taught from Psalm 139 over at Elmo's Transitional house yesterday morning. One of my most favorite chapters. Basic premise of the first four verses is "He is God.......I am not." He knows more about me than I know of myself. To think I could ever pull the wool over God's eyes shows exactly what a "goober" I am.

V1. - O Lord, You have searched me and known me. Notice anything? "You have KNOWN me".  Past tense. Even before I knew Him...He not only knows me...but, here again, knows me better than I know myself.

V.2 - You know my sitting down and my rising up. You understand my thought afar off. He knows  the timing of my day...the steps I take and the places I go. In my own noggin of thought, He sees it all. Such understanding of God either excites you and warms your heart....or it scares the diddly-to out of you.

V.3 - You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. The direction my feet take (as a result of following my heart) God knows. I love the part where God is "Acquainted with all my ways." In other words, I can't get away with anything because God knows.

And lastly....the verse that just kind of sums up Psalm 139....
V.4 - For there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O Lord, You know it altogether. Such a thought as this is very humbling to me. It reveals a God that is much larger than my thoughts. A God who possesses all power, all knowledge, all love and all judgement...and yet in spite of His greatness and my mess-uppy-ness...He still wants to have a relationship with me. Sounds like a good deal to me. Take time to consider your understanding of God. I want a God that cannot be contained by human wisdom. I want a God who does not fit in anyone's box. I want to have relationship with the real-deal God.

God on you...

Monday, March 5, 2018

3 Questions And A Hank Williams Tune

 Good Monday morning to you! Looking back on the weekend, I am always amazed at how God orchestrates events and meetings. One of the things I've come to learn over lo these past 21 years is that you hold what you've planned loosely so you can embrace what God wants to do. Sometimes His plans are not what I had planned.

Saturday night was a perfect example. I had been lead to study on a message concerning worship. Since our meeting is a recovery meeting, a lot of the folks who come have never been taught about what worship really is.They do not know that worship is a lifestyle lived unto God, and not a block of time where we sing some songs. Don't get me wrong, those songs are sung TO God as an offering. I digress....

Good week of study, but behind it all was a thought that kept coming to my mind. "The Songs Will Be The Message!". Huh? Does that mean I won't have to speak. That the presence and power of the Holy Spirit will be so powerful that we'll all fall down under the sheer weight of His presence.
The week dragged on and I continued to work on the teaching.

As the worship team showed up and began to unpack their gear...the feeling that the songs would be the message kept growing inside of me. Finally I dropped what I had come up with and listened as the worship team went through the songs for the evening. God was right! The songs were the message.

In the worship of four songs, three of them asked questions, and the final one made a proclamation.
Song # 1 --- "Is there any forgiveness for the things I done?"  Good place to start when you coming to Jesus.....repentance.

Song #2 ---"Is there anyone up there?" This song was about someone who'd come to the place of realizing that life was killing them because of the choices they'd made. A prayer is being offered, once again in repentance, and the question is asked..."Lord, can you hear me...would you answer my prayer."

Song #3 --- "How could you be so good?"  Like the leper who came to Jesus for healing...he knew Jesus possessed the power to heal him, he just wasn't sure he would. In the end, taking a look at life and all that salvation has brought, the question is asked, " could you be so good?"

The last song was my favorite...
Old song, done in a new style.
Song # 4 -- "I saw the light". Old Hank Williams tune. There in the darkness of our a life lived on the wrong side of the tracks, Jesus turns on the light of salvation and no longer do we have to wander in our sin.

That God is something else, isn't He.
It was a good night at VRC.
Can't wait to see what He's going to do next week!

God on you..

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Mom, Dad, And Billy Graham

You'd have to living under a rock not to know who Billy Graham was.
Preacher.....evangelist.....Voice of a generation.....One God.....One hope for all. Truly a voice for generations that pointed to the cross and Jesus Christ as the only hope.
Television has been full of reports and stories about Dr. Graham this past week.
Billy Graham died...
Ninety-nine years of age...
No telling how many lives have been changed by his message.
No telling how many people attended his crusades over the years...
Yet through it all, he remained the same.
I guess everyone has a memory of Billy Graham.
I do, and I'd like to share it here this morning.

The year? 1981....
The time? April...spring was in the air. The trees were full and the birds were adding their songs to the wind. A time of life..........a time of new birth....but for the Bynum household, death was on the door step. My mom as dying of pancreatic cancer.

Found out about it in February of 1981. Doctor's brought the news to dad. My brother and I just stood there by him as the truth settled in over all of us. They, the doctor's, had done all they could. Oh, they would try radiation and chemo, but the bottom line was this was an aggressive cancer and death was what lay in mom's future.

By April of that year, mom took to her bed because she was so weak.
My dad became her caregiver, and I watched him change.
Before mom was sick, my dad was always on the go. There was always something to be done or somewhere to go. I can't tell you the number of times Vicki and I would go to see them, share a meal with them, and at the end of the meal my day would stand and announce, "It was good to see you...stay as long as you like...I've got to go." But now with mom's sickness, his goings ceased. This was the love of his life laying in that bed and he was going to take care of her. My dad never left her side.

At some point, the pain was really bad and mom was suffering. Dad did all he knew to do, and had to stand there and watch. Or did he?  You see, my mom, over the years, had supported Billy Graham's ministry. Every month she sent an offering to help with the crusade or whatever else needed funds. She never missed. I think maybe what happened next was a "God-moment". My dad decided that mom needed a "Special" prayer, and Billy Graham was the man who needed to pray over her.

Going through papers, my dad found a number to call. He picked up the phone and slowly dialed it. A young girl answered the phone with a pleasant voice asking is she could be of assistance. My dad told her of the situation with my mom and asked to speak to Rev. Graham. The young voice on the other end tried to explain that it would not be possible to take care of my dad's request. My dad had all this emotion pent up from watching his wife slowly die before his eyes, explained to this young girl that not only was it going to be possible, it was also going to be highly probable to get Rev. Graham to the phone. Dad told of my mom's faithfulness to send her money in to the ministry, and how she'd never asked for one thing in return, but here at this point she needed prayer and Rev. Graham was the one who needed to pray.  The young girl excused herself and said she'd return in a moment.

The next voice my dad heard was Rev. Graham.
He inquired about mom, as to her condition, then he prayed.
To my dad, heaven had come down into that little house on Gallant Road.
He placed the phone near mom so she could hear the prayer.
At the conclusion, he told mom that there would be others praying for her.
My dad thanked him for taking the time.

Mom died on May 26th. There was sadness in the day, but not the kind that saps the life out of you. Sadness at the separation but hope in the promise that we would be together again at some point.
Rev. Graham's pray made it easier for my dad to turn loose of mom. To truly place her in God's hands.

So as I watched the news reports of Rev. Graham's funeral...
All the dignitaries and governmental officials....
I could not help but think of a simple man and the wife he loved meeting Rev. Graham when he entered heaven to thank him for a prayer he prayed. Come to think of it, I can't wait till I can thank him personally.

God on you...

Seeking A Connection

There is an unspoken division among people that looks at the 12 steps as being only for people in addiction. I've heard many a perso...