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

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Walking The Path Uncovers The Heart

Hosea 14:9-10
Let those who are wise understand these things. Let those with discernment listen carefully. The paths of the LORD are true and right,and righteous people live by walking in them. But in those paths sinners stumble and fall.

The paths of the Lord...
The instruction of the Lord...

The discipline of the Lord we Are called to incorporate in our lives.
All boil down to one simple thing.
We are to look to Him in everything we undertake.
I know all to well what  happens when I turn from His instruction to embrace my own.
It ain't good!

I know what it's like to pretend so others will think you religious and good.
Playing the church game where you know the lingo and can sing all the songs, yet on the inside you are dying. But never let'em see this! Keep it hidden and put that big old fake smile on. There is one certainty for everyone who tries to walk the path of the Lord playing this game.....He will uncover you.

I guess it is true that my greatest enemy is myself.

No wonder Jesus calls us to "deny ourselves and take up our cross daily".
If you think about it....
I mean really stop and think about it, on the surface this doesn't sound  like something I really want to do. But maybe that's the problem. It's ME that is deciding instead of simply turning my stinking will over to His care so I can embrace His will.

As Bob Dylan use to sing..."You Gotta Serve Somebody".
It might be the devil....
Or it might be the Lord...
But you're gonna have to serve somebody.

Isn't it amazing that the greatest truth is always the simplest?
I think maybe I want to complicate it so I can have an excuse of why I didn't embrace the truth.

So the path you choose will ultimately uncover your heart (which isn't a bad thing).
Once uncovered, you have a choice to either follow Jesus, or join up with the devil and see how much damage you can do before it's all over.

I think maybe I'll choose Jesus.

God on you....

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Don't Look But Something Is Behind You

Running late this morning! We had a late night game of Risk, and when there are four male egos at stake....quitting is not the word used much. Anyway, here I am ready to go.

Psalm 23:6
Surely Your goodness and unfailing love (Mercy) will pursue me (Follow Me) all the days of my life,and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Not a bad way to go through life. The Lord's goodness and unfailing love trailing behind you.
Always remember, His call to us is to simply follow Him. That means that He is always ahead of us. He is always scouting out the day and warning us of impending problems. Maybe that is why we need to learn to listen more, so we can be made aware of what's up ahead. Whatever we may run into, I need to always remember that He has gone first.

So,with that picture fresh in our minds, why does goodness and unfailing love need to come dragging up the rear? Well, if God has taken care of our future, then would it not stand to reason that His love and mercy have taken care of our past? People from your past will continue to speak bad of you and the things you have done. They will not forgive you, and may even try to make you pay for what you've done in one way or another. But what a comfort it should be to know that God's love and mercy has separated you from that past.
What's done is done...I wish there were do overs, but it just doesn't work out that way.
Oh, we can make our amends and restitution, but the memories will still remain. Those memories will still come up from time to time, but God's unfailing mercy and love will remove the emotional pain that tries to come with the memory. God will remind you that the past is not who you are. It is what you do, here in the present that determines what you will be in the future. 

Life is too hard to try and drag your past with you into the future. Let it go and remember what is chasing you......God's goodness and unfailing love.

One last point.
King David wrote that he wanted to dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Not a bad wish.....
But we don't have to have that mindset any more.
We don't have to "go to the Temple"....to find the presence of God.
If you are saved.....born again....or whatever term you use to describe your new found relationship with Jesus....then you ARE the Temple.
God dwells in you.....

Forever and beyond.
How cool is that?
Way cool.

So as you make your way through your day, remember who is walking in front of you....
Remember who is trailing after you..
And remember who lives in you......

That makes for peace of mind, if you know what I mean.

God on you.....


Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Doing? Or Being?

Psalm 51:16-17
You do not desire a sacrifice,or I would offer one. You do not want a burnt offering. The sacrifice you desire is  broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.

Isn't it amazing what our mind will convince us to do?
Maybe that's part of our problem. We listen to our mind, and not our heart.
God's conviction comes to the heart, not the mind.
The Holy Spirit speaks through our heart and not our mind.
Now this doesn't mean that I chunk my noodle and go by feelings....
But it does mean that I put into perspective the way my thoughts come to me.

Somehow we think hooking up with God is all about doing better.
Acting holy, and going to church.

Singing all the worship songs and not cussing.


When in fact, all God is concerned with is the state of your being, not doing.
Doing for God will get you nowhere, especially when the doing is you coming up with stuff you think God likes.
It's kind of like making apple pies for God.
But you never considered the fact that maybe God doesn't like apple pie.

The one thing I have taught over and over is a simple truth.
We are called "human" what?

The answer? "Beings".
We are not called "Human doings".
God is more interested in us being the person He created us to be, rather that what we can come up with to do for Him.
If I concentrate on the "Being" part, the "Doing" will follow. And my doing for God will be second nature. I won't think a thing about it. It will just be a natural part of who I am.

Romans 12:1 calls us a "Living Sacrifice". Now in my book, those two words don't go together. Living and sacrifice. But the truth is, we give our whole "being" to Him in an act of obedience. I think this is all part of the "turning will and live over to the care of God." In other words, I quit trying to drive the train, and sit back to enjoy the ride.

Psalm 51:10
Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a right (loyal) spirit within me.
Notice what isn't said in the above verse.
"Give me the strength to do a whole bunch of stuff so I can win your favor. Then maybe you'll let me into heaven when my life is over."
It's all about God doing for me what I cannot do for myself.
I cannot create a clean heart within myself.
I cannot reset and restore my spirit so that it operates in a right manner.
Only God can do that for me.

Recovery is more than the simple act of not using or drinking.
It is about a total inner change of heart, spirit and mind, under the hand of a loving God whose desire is to see you made whole again.
Sounds like a good deal to me.
How about you?

God on you....

Monday, June 27, 2016

Lighten Up

Timely wisdom that didn't come from me...
"Don't forget to laugh today!"
I love it that God invented laughter and humor.
I love it that when we laugh, our spirit become lighter.
Laughter is good stuff in my book.

The one thing I don't hear, but it lurks there in the mindset of those who are looking at beginning this road to recovery is, "I'll never have fun again."
You really believe that?
You, coming from a life that included orange jump suits, night rides in the back seat of our city civil servants cars.(also the simple fact that such rides usually included wearing bracelets)have made the determination that the fun you were currently having is over?

Oh son....you don't  know what real fun is.

In many cases, such people have not really laughed in a long time.
They have forgotten how to have fun.

In their world fun with out a substance to indulge in is a foreign concept.
That is the sadness that sin/addiction brings to the table.
I guess you could call it "false/fun"
A pseudo copy of the real deal.

My take on life is that every now and then we need to cut loose and just have some fun.
Be it with family or friends....we need to just be free to laugh and enjoy ourselves.
It would do us all some good.
Oh yeah, don't be afraid to laugh at yourself.
Listen up Buttercup...the world doesn't spend that much time checking out your every move, so it's o.k. to laugh when you mess up.
Laugh when you pronounce a word wrong.

This whole laughter thing is a lot better when you can share it with someone.
I've heard is said that "misery loves company"....This might be true, but take my word
Laughter and fun is better when you share it.

I may offend some with the following statement.
When Jesus was here, I'm pretty sure he laughed.
I'm even pretty sure He had some fun, especially with the disciples.
Those bunch of knuckleheads were prime targets for a joke.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to be irreverent. But think about it.....Is God not the creator of everything? Would that not include humor and laughter? I think maybe the answer is yes.

Life is too short to walk around in the doldrums, with that little grey cloud of despair always overhead. Find something to laugh about today.
Find something that gives you pleasure today, and go out and enjoy.

God on you.....

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Living Life

John 10:10
....."My Purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life...."

Life.....something that we sometimes take for granted.
The simple act of breathing is more than it appears to be.
Life is messy.....Life is hard, and yet, at the same time, it is the most wonderful gift God could have ever given to us.
So why did God grant us another day?
Why did He stretch out the next 24 hours before us?
So we could live it.
That's right...God granted us life so we could live it.
Enjoy everything that is possible to enjoy in this dark, fallen world.
Fall in love a little more with Jesus, as we chase after Him.
Burn with a purpose. I can't think of anything worse than to simply move through life without the original purpose God called us to.
What is that purpose?
To worship Him.
No, God does not have an ego that needs to be stroked by His little creation.
You see, when we enter into worship....when we begin to praise Him for simply being Himself, an avenue of communication is opened between heaven and this side where we live. A back and forth communication begins to take place. One of the amazing things that happens, is that we lose focus on the situations and circumstances that weigh us down, and call for attention.....that focus is suddenly shifted to God. He kind of fills the picture until He is all we see, or want to see. As Mary, the mother of Jesus, said when the angel came to tell her of her being chosen  by God...."My Soul Magnifies The Lord".  In other words, her brain and her heart had no room for anything else but God.
That is the way I want to live.
Some might say I'm dealing in pie-in-the-sky theology. I say let's try it and see if we can connect with God on a level that puts us in that place. A place where God fills up my very senses and thoughts. That I am fed by His shear presence, and have no desire to chase anything or anyone else.
Real satisfaction can come only from God's hand.
Everything else pales in comparison to God.
Accept no imitations.

God on you.....