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, July 28, 2014

The Latest From WIND

Nori Kelley / Barbie Kelley / Doug Sturgill
Joe Pfau

The latest musical offering from the band, Wind, is a must have if you are tired of the churned-out, vanilla music that falls under the limited name of Contemporary Christian Music. Like a good friend of mine, David Finlayson, I've always hated that label. In fact I'm not to fond of any music labels. Stephen Chapman, formerly of the group DOGWOOD, use to refer to his music as "Journey Music". It was simply the songs that God gave him as Stephen lived and walked out each day. 

It has been the greatest pleasure of mine to watch and listen as Nori Kelley has grown and matured as a musician, producer and song writer. Been doing so for about 34 years and I guessed you could say that I am a bit jaded when it comes to writing about Nori and the band WIND. Speaking on the band, each member is an accomplished musician in their own right. But WIND is the perfect vehicle where the sum is greater than the parts. WIND is like a glove that God puts on to make music......and what music does God make.

Beginning with Spring Rain, continuing through Storm, WIND's current album, Wave, opens with the sound of nature. Your senses are greeted with a night symphony of nature. Cricket's, peepers, and the sound of flowing water greet you with an invitation to come on a journey. Then as if to highlight the song, an Irish Whistle draws you in. The lilting sound carries with it emotion, not mournful, but rather like a promise yet to be fulfilled. Come and see what is around the next bend. Come and follow the river and let it take you away. The river gets to define the song. It has already plotted the course and is there to transport you. Your job? To listen with your spirit, and not just your ears.

Songs on the new Cd include:
Day River
I Forgive Them
I'm In Love With You
All Around The World
Crazy Love
Here We Go Again
Life Is Mine
Floydian Slip
All The Day Long
My Shepherd
Bonus Track
The Good Old Way

You can purchase downloads of WAVE at www.windmusic.us
I promise....
You won't be disappointed in the latest musical offering from WIND.

God on you....

Sunday, July 27, 2014

We All Need The Real Jesus

Matthew 8:2-3
And behold, a leper came and worshiped Him, saying, "Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean."
Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, "I AM WILLING! Be cleansed." Immediately his leprosy was cleansed.

I knew that last nights message for Vineyard Recovery Church was to be about healing.
I knew that this was truly on God's heart and, I confess, that I saw the evening, in my mind, being played out a certain way. By that, I mean that I saw certain situations and people being used during the service. Of course God had other thoughts of His own, and His are much better than mine.

Around 2 p.m. I began to receive phone calls from people asking for prayer. They were people that I had not heard from in a number of years.. So why now? Why call now since I haven't heard from them in a while? Because it was God speaking.

Prayers for family that had suffered a heart attack that had done quiet extensive damage.
Prayers for a diagnosis of leukemia. Doctor's gave a prognosis of 2 months to a year left to live.
Prayers of cancer.
On and on the calls came. Some even under the guise of "I'm doing quiet well" but you could hear behind the voice that the individual was suffering. Their only request was for me to pray for them...........the conversation ended with "and please....don't stop praying." 
So many voices all looking for answers to their problem and situation.
They have turned to God.
It doesn't matter much about how correct your theology is when sickness comes. I mean the kind of sickness that threatens your life.
It doesn't matter what denominational flag you march under when the kingdom of darkness has invaded your body with an illness or a condition.
Suddenly God becomes real and the heart suddenly connects with the truth that He alone can heal. 

The best place to be in all of this, is in His hands.
To be at peace with yourself.....
Peace with others....
And at peace with God.

We do pray for healing....
We do not listen to the doctor's or what the tests may have revealed.
We pray healing down upon the body.

We have been given authority and His power to carry out the Kingdom mandate here on earth. Here in the middle of enemy territory, we will exercise the Kingdom call of Christ to be His vessel for healing and restoration.

For that very reason........for those who called yesterday.......
This morning I speak to the condition of heart attack and I say be healed in the name of Jesus.
I speak to leukemia and say be healed in the name of Jesus.
I speak to cancer......in every part of the body.....be healed in the name of Jesus.

Let Your Kingdom Come to each of these lives. Let your Kingdom "Will" be played out in each of these lives.
In the name of Jesus....

God on you....

Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Heal......To Help......To Hug

Why Vineyard Recovery Church? 
Why does it exist?
Aren't there enough churches already?
Good questions.
Questions I have to ask myself all along this journey we call life.

Why does VRC exist?
Well, we are downtown for a reason. 
"To Heal.......To Help.........To Hug.'
In other words, we are an outpost for the Kingdom of God.
Our mission is to simply "Follow In His Steps."

His steps, those of Jesus, have led us to this place and this point in time.
We want to be more than just another meeting.
We want those who come on Saturday night to be able to experience God's love and presence.

O.K....I'm about to use a word that freak's out a lot of folks, especially the religious crowd..........I want whoever comes on Saturday night to Feel the love of God. 

Being a believer of the born-again kind, then VRC was conceived and born from heaven. John 3:3 tells us that "Unless one is born again (or born from above) he cannot see the kingdom of God." I didn't come up with the idea of VRC. It was given to me as a directive from God. The exact words that I heard (in my spirit) were...."I want you to return to the Vineyard. I want you to move the Saturday night meeting from Rapha to the Vineyard. It will be my meeting. I will build it." Pretty simple right? Just do it. And that is exactly what I've done, with the exception of me getting in the way from time to time.

Our goal, as a church, is very simple.
Empowered by the Holy Spirit.......
We want to:
1.) Speak the word.
2.) Do the works of Jesus.
3.) See the wonders of the Kingdom.
In my heart, I believe that the people who are the church (eklesia- the called ones) have been commissioned, or called if you will, to advance God's kingdom. Collectively, we have been given the task to push back darkness and re-establish new boundaries of the Kingdom of God. According to Scripture, those boundaries that the kingdom of God is to operate in is the "ends of the earth". So we have a lot of work to do. 

So how do you push the Kingdom of God forward?
How do you push back against a kingdom of darkness overseen by the Devil?
It is very simple. No need to complicate it.
Every time we pray for someone....
Every time we feed someone....
Every time we minister to someone....
The Kingdom of God is being advanced.
Seeds are planted in the lives of those we reach out to.
We may never see the fruit that comes from that seed, but we rest in the knowledge and understanding that (1) it's good seed, and (2) we have been called to plant.

VRC, and the church at large, is in the thick of a war, whether we like it or not, whether we know it or not. 
"We are instruments of God's rule confronting and destroying evil in all its forms. We are the called of God enforcing and advancing, for the sake of this world, the victory that Jesus has already accomplished" --John Wimber.

Keep in mind that the Kingdom of God we read about in Scripture is not an event, but rather an intervention of God into human history. It is His dynamic rule and reign here on planet earth. Where ever people are falling in love with Jesus, and are following Him.......there you have the Kingdom of God.
We get a taste of the "power of the coming age" right now. 

Hebrews 6:5 - And have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come. 

VRC has been commissioned and given a mandate to be an expression of God's love and kingdom to a segment of society that has been marginalized because of their condition. Because of a choice they made, they have been affected spiritually....physically.........mentally......emotionally .....and financially. I speak of addiction. All addiction begins with a choice...I want those who come on Saturday night to realize that healing also begins with a choice. A choice to answer the invitation to new life with Christ.
Come and visit with us. We'd love to see you. VRC starts at 7 p.m., every Saturday night. Downtown at Gadsden Vineyard, located on Broad Street, between 4th and 5th streets.

God on you....


Friday, July 25, 2014

God And The Doctor: 1 ----- The Devil and Oxy's - 0

A story of divine encounter for your approval::
Young man shared his encounter with me last night at our Big Book study at Rapha.
This particular individual had to go to a "Doc-in-a-box" because of an injury he received before coming to treatment. Sitting in the waiting room, there were posters all over the walls for different types of drugs, some of which use to be this young man's drug of choice. The walls were screaming  "LORTAB'S" and "OXY's". Trying not to look at the poster's, he tried thinking about other things, but he kept returning to the 36" by 36" full color, glossy temptation that seem to grow large with each passing moment.

 "What if the doctor gives me a script for oxy's? What'll I do?" He rationalized that it had to be an o.k. thing because after all, it's a doctor who is writing the script." This was countered with "don't do it! You've come to far." The nurse stepped to the window and called his name. He got up and made his way to the exam room.

The doctor came in and small talk ensued. He examined the injury and suddenly asked the young man about the bracelet he was wearing. It was a Vineyard Recovery Church bracelet which has Ps. 107:20 written on it. The young man told him about VRC and what all went on. The doctor then asked "What does the scripture say?" The young man said "He (God) sent His word and healed them and delivered them from their destruction." The doctor lets out a "Yeah!"...."That's what I'm talking about....Amen! You know that He is! He is the Healer! Yeah, that's what I'm talking about!" All of this kind of caught the young man by surprise. The doctor became more animated..."The healer...The Great Physician! You know what..we're going to pray divine antibiotics down on this leg! Yeah! yeah! We're going to pray that God would just heal this leg." Now the Doctor was up and moving....God was in the room. The doctor's voice got louder and louder...."We believe in medicine...we believe in doctor's and hospital's...but we rest on the One and Only God who brings healing! Yeah...Yeah...that's it!" 

The young man said every thought he'd struggled with about using was suddenly gone. There was a peace and joy that seemed to flood the room where the two of them were. Prayer ensued for the leg and the presence of God grew even stronger in that room. By the time it was over, the young man was, in his own words, "Intoxicated with the presence of Jesus".  He walked out a lot higher than when he entered. 

All of a sudden, for one young man struggling with his addiction, God came and blew the doors off and drove out the temptation and replaced it with incredible joy. Using, of all things, a small, rubber bracelet with a scripture on it. Never under estimate the power of the Word of God.

God on you....


Thursday, July 24, 2014

He Isn't The Grim Reaper or Casper the Friendly Ghost

John 16:13-14
However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth. For He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak, and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.

John 14:15-17
If you love Me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father and He will give you another Helper that He may abide with you forever. The Spirit of truth whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you know Him, for He dwells with you, and will be in you. 

The Spirit of God.....
The Holy Ghost.....
The Holy Spirit.....

Why all this attention? Why focus on Him. Oh yeah, by the way...The Holy Spirit of God is a "HE".....not an "It"..
Some how along the way, we don't think much about Him.
I've been accused of worshiping the Holy Spirit and forsaking Jesus altogether. That I spend way too much time talking about Holy Spirit and have bumped Jesus from His rightful place in the church. Well, nothing could be further from the truth than such a statement.

The Holy Spirit, given to us by God, is the great connector between heaven and earth. He is the communicator given to us by God that speaks to us from the Father's heart. He is power....He is the grace enabler. He is truth beyond any truth we may know. He is the great convictor that uncovers not just my actions, but the motives and intent behind my actions. He is the healer, the comforter. He is the Spirit of God living in each follower of Jesus.

Scripture tells us that He will reveal things to come. We don't really believe that, but it's true. He is our teacher, yet we run to the bookstore for the latest, greatest book in hopes of learning something new. Maybe it would serve us well to spend time alone so that God can teach us through His Holy Spirit. He is the voice of God in us. When God speaks to our spirit, It comes through His Spirit. That is why we can receive what some refer to as "words of knowledge".....or, as we like to refer to it in the Vineyard as "reading someones mail.". My wife hears way better than me when the Holy Spirit is working during ministry to someone. I remember one time that Vicki was talking with a woman. Vicki knew that this woman was struggling and having a hard time coping with issues and life. During the conversation, the Holy Spirit revealed to Vicki that this woman had been sexually abused by a close relative. With great love and tenderness, Vicki asked her, "You've been sexually abused by someone you trusted in your family, haven't you? That opened the door for healing to come to this woman. Such is the work of God's Holy Spirit in each of us who claim to be a follower of Jesus.

Romans 8:26
Likewise the Spirit also helps us in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groaning's which cannot be uttered. 
The Spirit gives language to the pain of the heart.
The Spirit prays for us and conveys to the Father, through Christ, our condition and state of being. The Father receives from the Son, who also is praying....and from this three way conversation, executes His will to us. 

As Keith Green proclaimed about God's Holy Spirit, referencing Acts Chapter 2...
Rushing Wind blow through this temple...
Blowing out the dust within....

Daily cleanse me by Your Spirit....
For I've been born again.....

Worship God.....
Give Glory to the Son.......

And allow the Spirit to not just occupy, but live within you!

Here is Keith and this incredible song......"Rushing Wind".

God on you....