Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Verbal Conviction

When was the last time you spoke something from your heart that was a conviction?
That what you spoke ran contrary to the ways and ideas of the people around you and it costs you something because of your conviction.
Most of us would be hard pressed to come up with such a comment or speech or whatever you want to call it.
For the most part, we don't want to rock the boat or create confrontation with others. We are so insecure in what we believe that we keep it hidden, afraid that if we speak up we might be wrong and someone might correct us. Is this truly the way God desires us to live? I think not.

I have spent the better part of this evening pouring over somethings that the Apostle Paul wrote. In Romans 8:18, we read "I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us." Heady stuff.
Now when Paul speaks of "present suffering" he is speaking of suffering that comes because of our faith and belief in Christ. Not economic hardship due to our own ignorance, or choice we make that run contrary to God's teachings. That hardship profits us nothing other than to teach us how not to make bad decisions. Paul is speaking of paying a price for following this Christ. He (Paul) says that every thing that happens to him because of his relationship with Jesus pales in comparison to the coming glory of God to be revealed in each believer.
These were not flowery words to inspire and uplift that Paul wrote. NO! This was the conviction of his heart. The foundation of what he truly believed. Paul saw the world and everything it had to offer and said, "No thanks! I'll take Jesus."

That is where I want to be.
I want to speak the conviction of my heart.
I want to see the truth of God in my own life as I become less so He can become more.
I hunger for you, Lord.
Come tonight!
Come in 2009!

God on you.........
mb

Monday, December 29, 2008

What To Do



We are a celebrating people.
We love a good party.
Don't really have to have a reason to host one.

We tend to look forward to a new year with hope and energy and a possibility for good things to happen.

But if we don't consider change for ourselves, we only fool ourselves.

We "hope" things get better. But don't let the "hope" interfere with my lifestyle. Let me continue in my ways. Let me feed my flesh and live according to its dictates and wants. Funny how we perceive this to be the normal way of living.


We like the idea of a new year.

A new opportunity. A fresh start. A clean slate. I don't want to change, but I do want my circumstances and situations to change. I spent the better part of the holiday's with my family and I came away with some very interesting observations:


1.) We are all getting older. Beginning with Vicki and me, working its way down to the grand children, we are all moving on in life.


2.) The focus this season was on family, not gifts or presents. My sons and daughter-in-laws seem to truly enjoy being together this year. We are all a lot more comfortable with ourselves and with each other.


3.) There is a deeper love for Christ, His church and what He is calling us to as individuals.


4.) There was a realization among my family that times are hard and may get harder. I did not hear a lot of dark, negative, fearful talk among my children. I did hear that God was sovereign and, as such, they will look to Him as their provider.


So as we approach 2009, I do so with a renewed hope that sees beyond the pseudo-salve being handed out by society to make us feel better. I want to go into 2009 with my eyes wide open and my heart full of God. I want to see Him in every event, every situation and every circumstance. I want to praise Him no matter what comes our way.


2009 --- Another year that we get to see God in a way we have never seen Him before.


God on you.........


mb

Friday, December 26, 2008

Countdown



Christmas 2008 has come and gone and now we focus on the end of the year. Kind of a Step#4 for 2008.

There have been good times, hard times, sad times and through it all God has been our central focus. I guess if I had to put anything in this blog about what would be central to 2008 for us at Rapha, it would be the move from Sunday morning church to Saturday night meetings.

Everything changed with that move. The feel of the meeting, the tone of the worship, the text of our messages. It was as if God reset the church and said, "Here is what I want you to do." We have been in much prayer asking God to continue in 2009 to show us what to do.

We will be hosting our last meeting of 2008 this Saturday night, 7 p.m. Seth Barber will be our speaker. If you are free, come and join us. One community of believer's, One heart, One focus toward One God.
God's blessing to each of you........

mb

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Innkeeper by John Piper

What a powerful message. This will so set the tone for our Christmas. Please take the time to sit back and listen and read as John Piper tells of the Innkeeper.

Merry Christmas!
The Bynum's

Monday, December 22, 2008

No Threat


The Shepherds found him just as the angel had told them.
The Magi came later and entered into the house and there he was, in his mother's arms.
The Baby Jesus.
We love Christmas.
We love everything about it.
The sweetness of the season.
The traditions, good and bad.
The carols and readings that fill our churches with wonder and life.
Why do we love Christmas?
Because it is centered around a baby and for the most part.............babies aren't threatening.
Yes, it is Jesus.............but he's a baby.
He isn't the man yet who would take cross and sin upon his shoulders and crush them both through an act of death. This baby we worship during the Christmas season isn't the one who will return to enact judgement on the world for their sins. He's just a baby.
Like everything God does, time is involved. No different with Jesus' growing from baby, to child, to adolescent to man. As Jesus grew so did the people around him, not always in a positive manner. Some grew hard and critical of Joseph and Mary's son. "Is this Joseph the carpenter's son? What good can come from Galilee?"
We need to remember that the celebration of Jesus' birth ushered in a new dawn in God's plan for restoration. It was only the beginning of the change that had been prophesied in the Old Testament. The Magi who came and worshipped the child, did so with the insight that this was not just a child, he was a king. They were not swayed by the surroundings of poverty. They saw a King. Maybe I need that vision today. To see Jesus as he is and not who I think he is, and to hear what he desires me to be, not what I want to be.
Merry Christmas!
The Bynum's

Saturday, December 20, 2008

First Candle Light Service


We had our first ever candle light service at Rapha last night.
It was very much a reflection (no pun intended) of who we are and what God is doing among us.
Darkness.
God bringing light to that darkness and beginning the journey in a new life.
I wasn't sure how the service would go over but knew that this was truly something on God's heart. Worship was played on acoustic guitars and the songs spoke about Jesus being the light of the world, stepping down into darkness. At one point, it became very evident that God was with us. We were singing HERE I AM TO WORSHIP when the men took the song away from the worship team. By that I mean, they sang and we stopped playing. They didn't quit singing and it only intensified. Some stood and raise their hands, faces turned up. Others turned and knelt with the their faces in their chairs. I stood there watching and drinking it all in. "God you are so good," I thought to myself.
At one point, we turned the lights off in the room. Two candles on the communion table provided the only illumination. Slowly we begin to light the candles, each person turning to the one next to them to share their flame and light their candle. The room was bathed in a golden glow from all the candles. We began to sing YOU HAVE REDEEMED MY SOUL.
You have redeemed my soul / from the pit of emptiness / you have redeemed my soul from death. This wasn't just a song anymore. It was a declaration from a room full men that spoke the truth. It was a powerful moment.
After the service, men stood around hugging each other and praying in small groups. For a brief moment in time God came and we had wonderful communion with Him. Now if we can only learn the lesson of this is how life with Him is supposed to be. Oh we don't need candles or worship music, we just need to retain the attitude of gratitude and walk daily with Him.
Merry Christmas from the CHURCH@RAPHA

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Tis The Season To Be Broken....


Broken.
Not a word used much in Christendom anymore.
Broken refers to pottery, our good china and those "other" people who truly need God. You know the ones. They dress funny and they smell bad. Oh, we'd never tell them that to their face, but we think it.
Tis the season to be bright and shiny. To make up for our lack of giving through the year by giving away fruit and nuts and inexpensive toys.
To sing loudly and proclaim Kingdom things with much gusto.
Seems to me it should be the season to be broken before God.
He has let us live another year (almost).
What have I done with this year?
Did I spend for Him or did I live selfishly without thought of anyone else? At this time every year, I am drawn to the passage in Luke where Mary is told of what God's plans are for her and Joseph. These plans did not take into account what Mary and Joseph wanted. In fact God's plans always takes precedent over our own. But it is Mary's response to the Angel's message that always pricks my heart.
Luke 1:38 - Then Mary said, "Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be according to your word." And the angel departed from her.
With those powerful, wonderful words, Mary stood broken before the angel. Her plans for the future lay shattered on the ground. Her wants and needs were now second to what God had spoken. The only thing Mary could lay claim to was her position, a maidservant of the Lord. She was broken and was now ready for God's hand to rest upon her to be put back together.
How many of us celebrate our relationship with God? Most of us I would think.
We celebrate the blessing of God.
We celebrate the presence of God.
But very few of us celebrate the awesome power of God to break us. For only in the breaking can the restoration be made complete.
Merry Christmas from the Bynum's

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Evening Thoughts

It has been a good day.
A long day.
Another day to follow after Him.
I didn't stray today, seem to stay on the path.
Grateful for that.

Matthew 6: 21
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

I think it shows me how much I need to grow in that each time I read this verse and I come to the word "treasure", I envision one of those pirate chests you see on movies. Huge, with metal bands around it and a lid that is curved so that you can store more treasure inside. Kind of sick ain't I? I don't want my mind or my heart to be trapped by the things of this world. I don't want to hang on to the value system of this world. I want to be free to not be drawn by anything of value the world has decided on. I want desperately to be like the Apostle Paul who counted everything (and I think he truly meant everything) as dung, manure, worthless. Everything the world had to offer paled in comparison to the surpassing knowledge of knowing Jesus. That is what I want! That is the heart that I am striving for. One that walks by all the treasure piled up by the side of the road to follow after Jesus.

I want Jesus to be my treasure.
Not what He has done for me.
Not the blessing that have come my way over the years.
But the simple, sheer presence of knowing Him and walking with Him.
I read in Genesis where God would come down in the cool of the day and walk with Adam. That is what my heart desires. That my relationship with Him would be one of intimate conversation. Him speaking deep into me the things He wants me to not just know, but understand.

I see a lot of people in the news today who are on the verge of not only financial collapse but emotional and spiritual collapse because these have become their treasure. Their hearts followed hard after money and power and wealth. But their treasure has been shaken and revealed for the truth. Let your money save you. Let the very thing you worshipped keep you from destruction. It's not going to happen.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
look full in his wonderful face
and the things of earth will grow strangely dim
in the light of His glory and grace.

It All Began With.....


Driving into town this morning set me to thinking about the past. I have found a CD I had put together of the CHRISTIAN BROTHERS 1993 20th Anniversary concert. It was an all day affair at what is now Gadsden Vineyard (C.B. originally owned the building). Several local artists and friends made up the line up. David Finlayson, Joanna Stockard, Barry Goss, Nori Kelley, Permanent Wave all brought original music.
This set me to thinking back on "how did I get here today?"
In 1979, Vicki and I had been married 7 years. We had two sons, Chad and Josh and had just moved into a new home on 4th Street in downtown Gadsden. We had taken a sabbatical from Jesus. That's just a cute way of saying we had back sliden or drifted away or, if you want to be blunt, we were in sin. We had been invited to visit a local church, Central United Methodist, and battled back and forth whether we wanted to go or not. I had a million reasons as to why I didn't want to go but none outweighed the feeling in my heart that we had to.
We made our way on a Sunday Morning in November. Went through all the hoop-la of church activity and settled in for the message. George Creel stood to teach the word and I was drawn into what he was saying like never before. I had never heard such teaching. My heart literally was racing as this man unfolded Scripture unlike anyone I had ever heard. Afterwards, at home, Vicki and I were beside ourselves. This was what we had been looking for, we just didn't know it.

Over the next 14 years, George Creel taught us more, showed us more, trusted us with more than any other pastor we had ever met. We were growing and we didn't even realize it at the time. All we knew was that God was alive and fresh and we wanted nothing more than to follow Him.
During this time at Central Methodist I came into contact with a group of young people who worked in a ministry that was not affiliated with any church. They called themselves Christian Brothers. Formed in the early 70's by Emory Boggs, C.B. was a place where young people could gather and hang out, have community, share and teach, bring original music and just be family. IT was messy, it was not very structured, but you know what? It worked. So during this time, I was being taught the Word of God by George Creel and being shown what Christian Community was truly about by Christian Brothers.
Check back in tomorrow for Part II "Long Strange Trip"
God on you.......
mb

Monday, December 15, 2008

MARK KIELAR REFUTES DENNIS MILLER`S STRAW MAN

I have developed a healthy respect for Mark Kielar. HIs program, WORD PICTURES, comes on Angel One Netword each Saturday morning and I dvr it to show here at Rapha.
IT is a top quality, no bones look at what it means to have relationship with God.

I know that this video is a bit long, but if you have the time, it is well worth it.

God on you........

mb

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Be A Berean

Acts 17:11
These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.

Love of God's Word is tied to our love for Him.
The desire to not just read but to hear Him speak through the pages of the Bible.
To communicate to us the understanding we need in order to walk out this relationship we have been called to.
Today, so many teach that you only have to have the Holy Spirit dwelling in you to live for God.
True.
But the Holy Spirit is there to guide us into all truth and the only place we find pure, unadulterated truth is in the word of God.

It has become vogue to discount the Word for the experience.
The Word is so dry and dull.
It is these things to a heart follows the ideas of man rather than the precepts of Scripture.
You can accuse me of being a Pharisee or of being very legalistic, but you cannot separate the need for the study of God's word to aid in the life of a believer.

We excuse our way out of reading the Bible.
"I don't take in information by reading, I am more visual."
First off, you not taking in information.
You are feasting on the visible communication of God to His children.
It is there to change you.
It is there to warn you.
It is there to encourage you.
Psalm 119:130 reads: The unfolding of Your word brings light and understanding to the simple.

No wonder the maturity of the church is woefully lacking.
We want to remain a spiritual kindergarten rather than grow up to pick up the mantle to go out into the world and live for Jesus.

What can be done?
Ask God to create in your heart the desire to study and read and digest the Bible.
That what you read would become real life.
You might be surprised as God takes you up on your prayer.

God on you.......
Merry Christmas.......

mb

Think On This

Philippians 2:5
Have this attitude among yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus.

Another version says "let this mind be in you."
Having the way we think changed.
Trading my stinking thinking for the mind of Christ.
Seeing the world as He sees it. Not to say that I attain a state of divinity. No. I do not conduct my daily life based on the morals of this world but according to the mind of Christ.

I find this hard to do.
Notice I said hard, not impossible.
For one, a struggle ensues each time as I want to exercise my will and my way in whatever the situation may be. Isn't that the whole package of relationship. A surrender of my will to embrace His? I think so.

Give up....
Let God be in charge.

mb

Thursday, December 11, 2008

You Might Not Want To Watch This....But You Might Need To Watch This!

This is very in your face teaching.
No sugar coating.
Speaking as one who was delivered from Pornography, I know the destruction and pain it can cause. Yet in all of this, the church refuses to discuss it or talk about it. It is the silent sin that is found in churches every Sunday morning, and we don't dare talk about it.
Well, we do talk about it!
We confess!
We repent!
We cry out to God for his mercy and forgiveness.
We are made whole and clean by the Holy Spirit.

God on you........

mb

John 14:1-3
"Let not your heart be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many dwelling places. If it were not so, I would have told you. For I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself, that where I am, you may also be."

Don't let your heart become entangled in the daily struggle here on this planet. Yes, we have to live here. Yes, we have to conduct business here but we no longer follow the dictates or demands of this world. We answer to a higher calling. We are a people, a possession of the eternal God.

No matter what happens to me. No matter what happens to my family, God is in control and my job is simply to rest in Him. Listen for Him. Chase Him. Follow Him. Do what He commands me to do. Rejecting my own selfish interest for a hope and faith that moves me toward Christ.

Don't let your heart be trapped by the news coming from every television and radio. Don't be taken prisoner by the articles on the Internet that would lead you into emotional and mental bondage. Lift your thoughts higher to the throne room of God. Let your eyes gaze on the wonders of Christ and the promises that have been spoken over you through the Word of God.

Merry Christmas!

mb

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Tennessee Ernie Ford - The Star Carol

No one defines Christmas time to me like Tennessee Ernie Ford. His voice rang out through my home during my growing up years. My Mother dearly loved him and so his album, STAR CAROL, was played on our stereo.

The song may not appeal to many who read this blog and I have no problem with that. I posted this more for me than anyone else. To remember where I came from. To remember my Mother and Father and Brother, and the holiday's were important to my family.
Thank you for allowing me this personal moment.
Merry Christmas.

Michael / Vicki

Monday, December 8, 2008

It's Official

Saturday, Christmas came officially to Rapha.
My wife, Vicki, showed up at 10:30 with a huge tree strapped to the top of her van.
Armed with decorations and Christmas goodies we headed to the chapel to set up shop and decorate.
I love this time of year and I especially love Vicki's infectious holiday spirit that seems to fall over everyone who comes close to her.
I heard men walking around the camp saying, "They ain't gonna get me in there putting up no Christmas tree. They can't make me do it."

Next thing you'd know, here were the same men who defied anyone to even suggest putting up a tree, these same men were in the thick of it hanging ornaments and lights. As we sang Christmas carols, the room seem to grow a little softer. Men's faces seem to be more peaceful, and God seemed to be a little more present.

"The first noel the angels did say/ was to certain poor shepherds in fields where they lay."
Voices, not always on key or in time, rang out as we went about the business of recognizing the importance of the season.........the birth of the Christ Child.

Finally finished, we stood back and voila' ........the lights were turned on and the room blazed to life with the finished tree.
It isn't about presents.
It isn't about anything the world uses to try and change the meaning of Christmas.

It is about a baby born to a poor couple.
A baby that contained the fullness of God.
A baby who had come to die for the world.

Happy birthday Jesus!

mb

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Don't Miss The Opportunity

I was at the Gadsden Regional Medical Center yesterday morning trying to locate a certain room that held a certain new Father and Mother along with their certain new born son. As I was wandering the halls trying to track down the room, I came through some double doors and up ahead I saw a woman and a nurse talking. I didn't know what was being said except that the nurse finished her part of the conversation and turned to leave. As she did, the other woman leaned back against the wall and slumped as though a tremendous weight had been placed on her shoulders. I could tell that she was crying as she turned her face to the wall.

Everything in me said to keep moving and don't stop. I guess you could say everything in me that was wrong/bad/selfish/and about a hundred other adjectives. But my heart said, "Talk to her." I walked up to her and asked if she was alright. "My daughter is in labor and they think the baby is having some complications. I am here alone and they want to rush my daughter to Birmingham so they can better take care of her pregnancy,"she said. With every word, she sobbed a little harder. The thing that was weighing on her was that she was alone and she had no one to lean on or to help with decisions.

I asked if I could pray for her.
She answered, "Would you?"
I asked if I could place my hand on her shoulder and she consented.
It wasn't a flowery or complicated prayer. Very simple.
Lord, we recognize you as the source of life.
We ask for healing and a healthy delivery for this baby and mother.
I ask for peace, mercy and Your Spirit to come and comfort this Grand mother right now, right here.
In Jesus name,
Amen.

The woman had stopped crying.
She looked peaceful.
She thanked me that I cared enough to pray for her.
I told her about me not wanting to, but God had other plans. I think this caught her off guard.
I don't know what has transpired since yesterday.
I do know that God set up an appointment with a man who was lost and couldn't find the right hospital room and a woman in need of hearing from her heavenly Father.

Ain't God good?

mb

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Prayer Request

He drove up in front of my office about 8:45 p.m.
Got out and came in.
His daughter was going to give birth to their first grand baby tomorrow, a boy.
But His sister had been rushed to Huntsville Hospital because of bleeding at the base of her brain.
He had no answers to everything that was going on, but he knew that prayer was the key.
He wanted me to pray. As I prepared to pray for his sister, the slightest thought ran through my head......."Take him into dorm 3 and get those guys to pray for his sister."
"Was that really you, God," I asked.

We went to dorm 3.
I explained what was going on to the guys and they all got up from their beds and came over to pray. The gathered around this man and placed their hands on him and words began to form in a chorus of voices. Each one praying to God for healing. Healing to this sister that this man so dearly loves. Tears....tears in the room and God's presence. Afterwards, they each hugged him and gave him a promise that the prayers would continue.

The man left in peace and ready to drive to Huntsville to be with his sister.
I had just witnessed the Kingdom of God at work and it was done so by men that no one else would have picked except for God. He's like that isn't he?
I love this place.
I love these men.

Thanks God!

mb

Keith Green - Asleep In The Light

The clothes change.
Hairstyles change.
Instruments change.
The message never changes.
The church is still asleep in the light.
God help us.....

mb

The Attitude Of Mary

Mary, the mother of Jesus, gets a bum wrap about this time each year.
We either elevate her higher than she should be or we totally discard what she gave unto God.
If you really look at her, you see that she gave everything to be a servant of the Lord.
She gave up her plans for the future.
She gave up friends and possibly family because of the social stigma connected with the birth of Jesus.
Yet before it all began, when the angel came to inform her of God's intention we read of her response.

Luke 1:38
Mary responded, "I am the Lord's servant and I am willing to accept whatever he wants. May everything you have said come true."

The recognition of her position: "I am the Lord's servant."
The surrender of her will: "I am willing to accept whatever He wants."
The faith to believe: "May everything you have said come true."

How we love to wrestle with God. To interject ourselves into his plans as if we were part of a democracy. It isn't a democracy, it is simply God's plan and our obedience. Nothing more, nothing less.

Let us be like Mary.
A willing servant who lays aside every aspect of their life in order to embrace the life God is calling them to.

God on you........

mb

Monday, December 1, 2008

Great Weekend!

Seth Barber spoke at our Saturday night service and, as always, brought the truth of God.
Life is a struggle.
Life is hard.
Accepting Christ (surrendering and giving your life to him) does not make life any easier. It just means that you have a guide now to follow wherever life takes you.

We have a hard time accepting this, especially as believers in Christ. Sometimes I think we need more followers and less believer's. I have found out that believing costs nothing, while following costs everything.

Luke 9:23
Then He said to them, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me."

Take up his cross.
We simply follow where Jesus has already gone.
We die to self.
We die to our desires.
A man on a cross has lost all rights. The only thing he is called to do is die.
If you saw a man walking out from the city carrying a cross, you knew that this man was not coming back.
We are no less called than that.
We want to spiritualize the entire idea of the cross, but you can't.
We want to explain away what Jesus was truly saying, but you can't.
We want the cross to fit into our lives like some piece of art or sculpture.
The cross doesn't fit into your life.
The cross takes your life so you can receive the life that Jesus offers.

There are no arguments when you stand before the cross.
Only the confession of "Oh God, I'm in need of you."

mb

Friday, November 28, 2008

Agony by Leonard Ravenhill

How can you listen to this and not be stirred. Not the emotional, feeling kind of stirring, but by the Holy Spirit. How outdated Leonard Ravenhill sounds. That should clue you in to how far the church of the living God has fallen from where it once stood.

so listen and be stirred.
mb

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Reign Down Upon Us!

Matthew 3:11

I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.:

Is your church on fire? Is there evidence of the Holy Spirit in your midst? In the verse from Matthew, John the baptizer makes the statement that the one following him (Jesus) is mightier. Not just in authority but in power. Jesus was coming on to the scene and everything would be brought under subjection of his authority. Even to the point that He allowed mankind to lay hands on Him and be delivered up to death. Silly us, we thought it was our idea to crucify Jesus. We were simply playing out the part that opened the door for justification/ reconciliation/ salvation/regeneration.


What do you suppose is being played out in our lives today that has God's hand on it. We perceive it to be of our own design and thought, but truly the hand of God works through every situation and circumstance.


Fire. What is the evidence of fire? Light. I don't think there is a fire that does not give off light. SO where there is the fire of God there is the illumination from God that follows. Illumination always leads us into truth as it was written in John 16. "When the comforter comes, he will lead us into all truth." This is where change takes place. We are face to face with the truth of ourselves. We either embrace this truth or we turn our backs and reject God.
When Fire meets oxygen, there is an increase in the rate of combustion. When the Fire of God meets the sinful flesh of man, there is an increase to the consumption that takes place as the flesh is done away with.


I always think of the Romans 12:1 passage where we are called to be "living sacrifices". In my mind I picture someone crawling up on an altar and a fire being lit underneath them. As the flames grow hotter and higher, they begin to burn away the flesh. As the flesh falls from us into the flames, it causes the flames to grow hotter and higher. As we allow God's Holy Spirit to work in us, he burns away everything that is not from him, leaving only the eternal things in place.

Don't run from God's Holy Spirit. Embrace the work that is we are being lead into.

God on you...

mb




Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Lambs and Wolves

Two quotes came to me this week during my readings.
First one:
"Persecution is not the enemy of Christianity. The danger is not persecution from the outside, but seduction from the inside."

Second one:
"Christianity is not in danger of being destroyed. It is in danger of being changed."

Why such thoughts?
Because man has sought to wrestle the church from the hands of Christ and make it, change it, create it in his own image.
We are no better than those who stood at the foot of the tower of Bable and proclaimed, "Let us make a name for ourselves."
We seek to lift what ever church, whatever denomination over the name of Christ. In doing so we have grown fat and sleek and lazy. We sit week after week having our ears tickled, accepting only the things that make us "feel" good about ourselves. When was the last time you were challenged by a sermon you heard? When was the last time you left a service in tears about your condition and relationship with Jesus?

Am I saying that every gathering operates from this "elevation of group" over Jesus? No! But I am saying that it increasingly becoming the norm. Ask yourself a simple question."Why do I go to church?" If not to be challenged in your relationship through the teaching of the Word of God, then you may be missing the point. I hear some say they go to be fed. Flash....you don't get fed at church.
John 4:34
Jesus said to them, "My food is to DO the will of Him who sent me and to finish His work."
As John Wimber aptly stated, "You go to church to read the menu. Then you leave and go out to feast through doing what the menu stated. The meat is in the street, the bread is in the red (words of Christ).

Wake up o'sleeper.
Arise for the hour is now.
To get up from your bed of sickness and be made whole and well through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Walk in a manner worthy of the calling that we have received.

God on you.....

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Monday, November 24, 2008

RED LETTERS

Mark 8:27
"Who do men say that I am?"

If you study Scripture for any length of time you see a pattern where Jesus always throws to the people the idea that they are going to have to decide for themselves who he really is.
Prophet?
Priest?
Lunatic?
Carpenter?
Messiah?

Many make the decision based on their own assumptions and experiences in life. They had heard neighbors talk of this Jesus. He healed a man. He raised a young girl from the dead. He was an incredible teacher. He spoke with authority. He could not be trapped in legal snares set by the Pharisees. Who is this Jesus?

We are in the same boat today. Do you fully know why you believe Jesus to be who he is to you?
For many the belief comes from something as simple as "that is who they say he is at church."
We let others decide who Jesus really is. We let them do the research and spend time with Him and then come and tell us.
We want Max Lucado to tell us who Jesus is. (No offense Mr. Lucado)
We want Joel Osteen to tell us who Jesus is.
We want the Southern Baptist Association or the Association of Vineyard Churches to tell us what to believe about this Jesus.
Bottom line is that Jesus is wanting to reveal Himself to each of us.
He wants to come and intervene in our lives and for us to experience His presence and fullness.

We have relegated belief in Jesus to a mission statement, or a cliched slogan, or a bumper sticker. Jesus still goes straight to the heart of the matter and asks the same question that has crossed centuries, cultures and continents. "Who do men say that I am?"

God on you.........
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Friday, November 21, 2008

Nori And Barbie Kelley

Nori and Barbie Kelley will be here at Rapha, tomorrow night.
Service starts at 7 p.m.
If you haven't ever heard these two, you will be in for a treat tomorrow night. Not only incredible musicians, they have a heart for missions. Currently they are on a kind of fare-well tour before they leave for Japan.

There they will be working closely with local churches to develop worship teams as well as meet and interact with the local population.

Come and worship with WIND tomorrow night!

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Who Let The Dog Out?

Joshua 14:14
Therefore, Hebron became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite until this day, because he followed the Lord God of Israel fully.

Interesting side note- Caleb's name means "dog".
What do you think his parents were thinking when they named him this? I don't know. I hope it doesn't have reference to his looks. I think it may be found in his nature, the reason he was named "dog".

A dog follows his master.
A dog is obedient and waits for his master.
Caleb followed God (as it says in Joshua 14:14) fully. Wholly. With all his heart and soul and mind and strength. Caleb was like a dog following his master.

When the 12 spies were sent out to check out this land God had promised to Israel, Caleb was the first to report to the people. "HEY GUYS! It's everything God has said it would be. Come on let's go now. Let's not wait another moment. We can do this. We can go into this land and take it."
Of course the story goes that the report of the other 10 spies caused the people to doubt and fear and not be obedient to God.

Israel was disciplined by God commanding them to travel 40 years (1 year for each day the spies were in the promise land) until everyone who grumbled and complained and rebelled against God was dead. Imagine how unfair this is. Caleb who had done everything God had asked was now having to endure the 40 year wandering because of someone else's sin. But Caleb followed God fully. He walked every step out of this journey out. But Caleb got to go into the promise land and not only that, but Caleb got to request the portion of land that he desired to settle in.
Caleb asked for Hebron.
Caleb never lost his tenaciousness for following his master, God.

How much dog do you have in you today?
How hard are you willing to follow after God today?
Be a Caleb.....

God on you....

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Up Close And Personal

Ephesians 2:13
But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

Movement without really moving.
Relocation without actually relocating.
What am I speaking of?
The truth of what salvation does to an individual.
Prior to our being saved, we are enemies of Christ and the cross. Oh we may never ever verbalized such a notion, but our lives gave testament to the fact that we were not living for Jesus.

Such a lifestyle separates us from God.
We are far off.
We are like the prodigal son who took his inheritance and traveled to a far off land to squander away what had been given to him.
Fast living.
Women.
Alcohol.
Friends who only hung around him because he had the inheritance. Once gone, so were the friends.
We lived our lives like this.
Maybe not to the extent or in the same way the prodigal did, but we were far off from Jesus just the same.

Scripture says that the prodigal "came to his senses".
What an incredible sentence.
There was a returning in his mind to where he had come from.
He took a look around at his current lot in life and recognized there was a better way back at his father's house.
We came to our senses when brought under the conviction of the Holy Spirit.
Our eyes were opened and we saw life as it really was.
Ugly.
Messy.
Destructive.
There wasn't any glamour to it.
We set out to return to our Father's house.

The Scripture from Ephesians says that we "have been brought near by the blood of Christ."
It wasn't a yellow brick road.
It was a road walked by one man.
With a cross on his back.
A road that was paved with his blood.
That is the only way home.
There is no other way to get to the Father. Only the blood way.
Buddah can't take you there.
Mohammad isn't the path.
Hinduism promises to enlighten you, but only the true light of the Holy Spirit will reveal the blood way.
Some today (in the church) are offended by references to the blood of Christ. They consider such thoughts and ideas as being so offensive it keeps people from coming to church. Excuse me? We have a bloody theology. It cost God everything that was dear to him...HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON. It was bloody. It was messy. It wasn't pretty and if the truth be known, if I'd been there at the cross when Jesus was carrying out the final mandate from the Father, I probably would have thrown up. It was from this so called "mess" that God brought true, total healing to humanity.

I once was far off from God. Sin took me there and kept me.
Now I am brought near through the shed blood of Christ.
Hallelujah....what a Savior.

God on you.......

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Fat and Sassy

II Chronicles 12:1
It took place when the kingdom of Rehoboam was established and strong that he and all Israel with him forsook the law of the Lord.

Times were good.
Food in the pantry.
Bills paid.
Everyone was healthy.
Work was going full speed ahead, in fact, there was loads of overtime.
Relationships were in a better place than they had been in quiet a while.
This is the place of danger.
When life is without hardship. It is here in the ease and comfort that we begin the process of forgetting about God. After all, since everything is going so well, why not simply take the reins back and do the driving yourself?

This is the place of danger.
Does it mean that when we find ourselves in times of prosperity we are going to slip and fall? No. But we should be aware that ease of life and lack of problems should drive us closer to God. In praise and worship for the season we are in. What goes around eventually comes back to bite you. That means that if you are currently free from problem and worry......hang on, it will be back shortly.

During the peaceful and prosperous times, this is the time to lay in a crop (spiritually). Plant the seeds that God is providing so you can reap a harvest at a later time. It could be that the harvest you are reaping today from God is because of things you did months or maybe even years ago. We loose sight of the fact that everything we do in following God only builds on the foundation of Christ. We walk out our daily lives, making our decisions based on the leading of God's Holy Spirit. This decisions may not seem much, in and of themselves. Down the road, you look back at your life and your walk and you will be able to see how what seemed like a little thing actually set up the next big thing God did in your life. Don't discount the little things that God places in front of us.

Don't become complacent or at ease, but remain permanently desperate for God.

God on you....

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Monday, November 17, 2008

He's Alive - Don and Wendy Francisco

Powerful words that evoke powerful emotions. Like Peter, I fear that there is something inside me that, if let loose, would deny Christ in a heart beat. I am very aware of the grace given to me to walk out this realtionship.

Don Francisco is one of the orginal Jesus People Musicians. His songs were merely a reflection of who he was. He wrote music the only way he knew how.His passion comes across and still holds up to this day. Truth is ageless and timeless. It resonates today just as it did when Jesus declared, "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me."

Enjoy this song.

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The End of Paul

Apostle Paul.....writer of letters to the churches.
Not ashamed of the Gospel for it is the power to salvation.
Counted everything as loss in view of the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ.
Ex-con. Prison record.
Had a bounty on his head as others sought to kill him.

Yesterday I got the opportunity to attend a Bible study at Gadsden Vineyard. They meet each Sunday afternoon to study through the Bible. Todd Bagley heads up the meeting and also teaches. It is a wonderful time to gather with a few "zealot's" and feast on God's word. This group has been making their way through the book of ACTS, and yesterday they finished up.
As Todd was teaching, the very last verse of Acts caught my heart. It was speaking of Paul's final days as a prisoner in Rome. "And he kept on receiving all those who came to him, proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching the things concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all freedom of speech and fearless confidence, without hindrance."

The message never changes. It is about the Kingdom of God. The rule and reign of God here on earth in the hearts of his people. The ever increasing Kingdom that has no boundaries or borders. Can not be stopped by any dogma or ideology. The same today as it was when Paul taught it. The Son of man was manifested or appeared to destroy the works of the devil. Sickness, disease, demonic oppression, addiction, adultery and every other sexual sin, greed, hatred, dissention, and every form of godlessness that could be conceived in the heart of man. Jesus came to break it's power and did so by dying on a cross and rising from a borrowed tomb.

Every time someone is prayed for, the Kingdom of God is advanced. Every time someone is fed or sheltered by a believer, the Kingdom of God is advanced. Every time someone carries out any act under the direction of the Holy Spirit, no matter how small it may seem, the Kingdom of God is being advanced. God's Kingdom come, His Kingdom will be done, here on earth as it is being done in heaven. What if we truly believed this. What if we truly believed that we each have been given a mandate from heaven to be the conduit for the work of God to flow through. That we speak the words of God, we carry out the wishes of God and we do so to a lost and dying world that does not know God. What an incredible thought.

To change our little corner of this world for God.
Go for it.
Believe it.
Then walk it out.

God on you today....

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Friday, November 14, 2008

Who Am I Casting Crowns

Way Cool....
Done by a church choir using white gloves and black lights.
Very creative and a blessing....
enjoy....
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Let Us Mesh The Two Together!!

II Kings 17:33-34A
And though they worshiped the Lord, they continued to follow the religious customs of the nations from which they came. And this is still going on among them today.

As a nation we have either discarded the concept of God or have melded it with other "new" belief's in order to make God relevant. Update God, so to speak, for the new generation.
When was God ever not relevant.
Maybe we are the ones who aren't relevant.
I don't think God is walking around heaven wringing his hands saying,"What am I going to do? I have to reinvent myself in order to reach people."
What an absurd idea, yet this very thing is going on all around our nation today.
Reinventing God.
Re-imagining His purpose.
Bringing God into the 21st century.
We make God in our image.

I Peter 2:9 says that we are God's own possession.
Bought for by Him.
Paid for by Jesus, the Son.
Renewed and empowered by the Holy Spirit.
We are called to follow where Jesus has already been.
He spoke out and said that He only did what He saw the Father doing.
Our behavior should be no different.
We create not from our imagination or what we conceive from our own minds, in our own strength, but wait from instruction from on high.
We value our own ability to do for God rather than hear from God.

Draw near to Him and He will draw near to us.
Today!

God on you......

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thought?

Rainy morning. A yard full of leaves, where yesterday there weren't any. Rake, rake, rake and with one good windstorm it looks like we haven't turned our hand.
As I was trying to figure out what to put in this blog today, I was sitting in my office duplicating some movies. I am trying to transfer all of my VCR Tapes (of which I have hundreds) onto DVD's. The movie ONE MILLION YEARS B C was playing when I paused to watch a few moments.

Cave men and women.
Blond headed cave men and women.
Handsome cave men and beautiful cave women.
i don't think it was really like this. I think the portrayal of life in prehistoric times is, how shall I put it? Skewered! Now I know that the studio did not claim to be making a documentary based on true accounts. The movie was for entertainment purposes only. But the fact of the matter is they took a subject and injected what they wanted to make the story appealing to an audience.

Do you think we do this with Scripture?
Do we take it out of context and use it the way we want to, to fit whatever it is we are trying to say? I think sometimes we do.

I have heard a number of preacher/teachers use the following verse to reinforce the idea that we can't know what God is doing around us and in our own lives.Here is the verse.
I Corinthians 2:9
Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.
It does kind of read that way.........
until you add verse 10.'
But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.

Adding verse 10 changes everything.
We have become sloppy in our understanding and lazy in our interpretation.
I should know. I taught this way. But not any more.
We should search the Scripture not to validate or give proof to what we are saying. Rather, we should search Scripture to find truth and then speak it. It's not about me or my ideas, it is all about God revealing himself through His word.

Think on these things........

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Confession Pt. 1

Because of Christ's redemption, I am a new creation of infinite worth.

My identity.
I did not give to myself. I lay no claim as to being the author of it.
I state it as a simple fact.
Because of Christ's redemption.
Because of the work of Christ, He has brought deliverance to me through His death from the guilt and power of sin.

Me responding to His call to relationship, puts me in the place of being reborn.
This new birth gives me a new identity.
One that He sees even when I don't.
A new creation of infinite worth.
What an amazing thought, especially when I walk around with the "I'm-not-worthy-" blues.
I'm sure God chuckles at this attitude.
"Of course you're not worthy. That is why I sent my Son to die in your place."
I am grateful that God sees a worth that is not comprehended by human eyes.
Today.....Lord.
I am grateful.

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Monday, November 10, 2008

11-10-08

Genesis 22:1
Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham.....

Never was good at test.
Didn't like taking them.
Didn't like studying for them.
Just didn't like test.
I guess we never outgrow the need to be tested.
Tests aren't designed to promote failure.
Tests are to reveal the truth we know.
Same with God.
When God tests us it isn't about passing or failing.
It is about understanding who we are and where we are in our spiritual maturity.
On somethings I am a wise, old man full of maturity.
On others that I am tested on, I can't even get out of the crib or walk on my own.
I learn.
I don't beat myself up and heap guilt and shame on myself.
I simply agree with God who God shows me I am and then set about the business of allowing Him to change me.

What test are you facing today?
Don't fret...
God is in control....
Embrace the test and then let God show you how to grow.
Painful?
Yes.
Eternal?
Nope, test are temporary........they just seem eternal.

God on you...

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Thursday, November 6, 2008

Randy Dover

Consummate Guitarist....
Friend.....
Brother in Christ.....
Randy Dover.

He'd suffered with heart problems for years.
Numerous operations that Randy referred to as "Going back on the table".
Randy, more than once, joked that he was living on borrowed time and he didn't know if he could repay it.

Last night a phone call brought the message that Randy had died.
He no longer suffered.
He did not hurt anymore.
His future moved from this side of eternity and slipped quietly through the veil to the other side.
What we claim to believe, Randy now stands in the presence and knows beyond any doubt.
It's true.

I will miss Randy and his laughter.
That craggy face would break into a huge smile followed by this rolling voice of joy.
His eyes would squinch to little slits as he would enjoy a good conversation.

God bless you, Randy Dover.
I know that he already has.

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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Good Morning

It's a new day .
The national election for our next President is over.
You are either jubilant in the choice that has been made or you are feeling down this morning because your candidate lost.

I heard a lot of people talking about the election and their language was tinged with fear.
"We need to pray."
I agreed with that statement.
Any decision as huge as the selection of our next leader should not be done whimsically or without much thought and guidance from God.

But this morning we need to realize something.
President-elect Obama became President because God allowed it to happen.
Romans 13:1
Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.

I have no clue as to how this new administration will govern or whether it will be a time of prosperity or economic depression. I do know that for all l the hand wringing and the "woe is us" attitudes, God is in control.
This election did not take him by surprise or catch him off guard.
We need to guard our optimism and keep everything in perspective.
God is in control.
We have a new President.
Our duty is to pray for him that he would come to the realization that his position has been given to him only because God deemed it so. With such realization, maybe he will become a servant-leader.

Our behavior should not nor can it be based as a response to what others say or do.
If you back up prior to the Romans 13:1 verse you read in Chapter 12 - Verse 21 "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." We are called to pray for this government. I guess the greatest prayer we, as believer's, could pray would "Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven."

Maranatha.....

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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

12 Steps of Recovery Serenity Prayer

Power to Change
Power to Live
Purity of purpose

No magic in the steps.
No formula for success.
Christ at the center of the 12.
Christ is the answer.
A changed life.
A changed heart.
But change.....change must take place.
From the kingdom of darkness to the Kingdom of light.


(Video sent to me by Zman).
God bless you...........

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Forgiveness

At what point do we cease needing forgiveness?
When do we grow beyond this thing called forgiveness?
Seems as though forgiveness is only for those who are weak or maybe those who aren't quiet as mature in the faith as they should be. Least ways that is the perception of some people.

Maybe there is truth to that thought.
I am weak and, as the apostle Paul suggested, I boast of my weakness. For it is in my weakness that I find God and his strength. In my emptiness, He becomes my fullness. In my loneliness, He becomes the ultimate love. In my blindness, He becomes my vision. Wherever there is a minus in my life, He becomes the plus.

Why can't I recognize this fact instead of carrying around the weight of being a failure for Him.
That it's my failure that brings his power to overcome. It is as simple as recognizing how much I can't and how much he can. Instead of walking around beating myself up, I need to rejoice in all things. Every problem, every situation and circumstance that opens a door for God to work in my life. It begins with the me asking forgiveness for sin that I have done. Confession that frees me to receive everything I need from God. How cool is "zero" crud and stuff and then find out that God has replaced it with his stuff. To be free from the pull and tug of the influence that sin brings to our lives.

Have you outgrown forgiveness?

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Monday, November 3, 2008

Did You See Today?

We underestimate God's ability to talk to us.
We tend to walk around with this "I'm not worthy" attitude like it is going to catch God off guard.
God see us and says, "Yep! You're not worthy."
Let's move beyond the worthy thing.
Kind of like the cartoon I saw once.
Jesus is hanging on the cross and at the foot of the cross is this business man dressed in suit, brief case and umbrella. The business man is looking up at the cross and Jesus says to him, "If I'm o.k. and you're o.k. ..........what am I doing up here?"

Verses this morning from Luke 10:23
"How privileged you are to see what you have seen."
We run around looking for something that God hasn't revealed and we miss the very things he is trying to show us.
Dude....let's wake up and be grateful for the things God has placed on our plate.
Our families (what's God trying to show us in them?)
Our jobs (What is God doing in the workplace?)
Our friends (Do we even look for God when we are together and it's not a church function?)

Somehow I have this sneaky suspicion that I miss a lot of what God is saying, showing and doing around me and in me.
Time to open my eyes.

God on you............
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Sunday, November 2, 2008

What A Night!

Danny Daniels?
What can you say about this man?
He is who he is.
He came last night to Rapha to bring some of his view on Jesus.
30+ years of walking with Jesus has given Danny a unique view of Christianity.

Couple this with Danny's passion for music and you got an interesting mix.
I saw things last night I never thought I would see.
I heard a new/old vision for life with Christ.
I watched a man who is gifted use that gift for the glory of God.

I listened to him as he played Somewhere Over the Rainbow.
Never quiet put this song in the category of a worship song.
Danny did.
He changed a word here and a word there to reflect a longing in our hearts to be with Jesus.
Did it work?
How about tears running down the faces of the men who were in that room.

It was a good night and we were all blessed to have been able to spend the evening with Danny.
I pray that God grants him good health and many more trips back this way.
Thank you Danny for sharing yourself with us last night.
God speed....

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Friday, October 31, 2008

Gospel Meets The Blues

Don't forget! Tomorrow night at the Church@ Rapha ....
Danny Daniels will be playing and teaching.

You won't want to miss this. Come and be with us!


Thursday, October 30, 2008

If You Say Go

No other Words needed.....
Why do we not believe this?
Why do we not live for this?
Why is this thought so far down on our list?

Whenever...
Wherever....
I will....

Will He Really?

We read the words.
We ponder them in our minds.
We long for it in our hearts.
But do we truly understand what is being said?
What you may ask?

Revelation 22:20
He who testifies to these things says, "Surely, I am coming quickly."

This is not some random statement that is intended to make us feel good or give us goose bumps. It is true. Not only are the words true, but the intent of the message is true.
Jesus will return.
I do not say these things to elicit a response or a nod of your head, no...I say them so that you may ponder them and hide them in your heart.

Jesus' mother, Mary, is said to have treasured all the things the angel spoke of concerning Jesus' birth, in her heart. She held on to them not to give herself worth, but to give herself hope. She was an outcast due to her pregnancy. She needed hope.

Notice the verse in Revelation 22:
A.) Surely.........
This is certain. It will happen. His return is not contingent on anyone or anything. God the Father holds the key and at the appointed time, he will turn to the Son and say, "Go and get your bride."

B.) I am......
We have heard that name before. I AM.
But here it isn't a name but the declaration of an event.
I am.....

C.) Coming......
To us.
From Heaven.
He will come and if you think now is a strange time, wait until this takes place. Nothing will ever be the same, and I'm alright with that.

D.) Quickly.......
N0t based on earthly time.
According to the Father. He has appointed everything in its own time.

Are you ready?

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

What's the rush?


This isn't going to be one of the posts that harken back to the proverbial "good ol' days".
But it is about waking up to some simple truth.
Ask yourself......
"Am I driving life.......or is life driving me?"
Do I walk in the peace of God or the turmoil of our society?
I struggle with this all the time.
A call from someone who needs a speaker for a meeting.
A letter from someone wanting you to write a letter or call someone on their behalf.
Friends and family planning things.
Me planning things that I want to do....
Life moving all around me.
When I stop to catch my breath....my thought is, "O God....where are you?"
I don't want my thoughts and my heart become so cluttered that I have pushed God off to the side only for emergencies.
I have him encased in a little glass box mounted on the wall with the words "Break glass in case of emergency."
I have to remember that his concern is not all the busy-ness or the agenda of the world.
His concern is my heart and whether or not I am committed to Him.
In my commitment, I will walk in his pace and in his place that he determines for me.
I need to remember this.
God on you today........
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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

RED LETTERS

Matthew 15:28
Then Jesus answered and said to her, "O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire."

Jesus is on the move.
A Canaanite woman comes into contact with Jesus.
Desperate.
Funny what you will do when you are desperate.
Funny what you will do when it concerns your children and you are desperate.
When it is about our kids, we loose some of our pride especially when we have run out of answers.
Desperation.

The woman cries out, "Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David!"
I have often wondered where her husband was.
I take it since he isn't mentioned, then he must not be in the picture.
It may be that this woman was even a woman of low stature.
She may have given birth to her daughter out of wedlock. We're not told

She continues to cry to Jesus that her daughter is demonized.
It's not a disease.
It's not a financial matter.
It is a spiritual matter.
Her daughter is under the control and influence of a demon. Demons never mean well or cause you prosper. They have one goal: to destroy you. So the daughter's safety is in question.

Verse 24
Jesus answers her and tells her he was sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Not Canaan.

Notice what happens:
Scripture says she came and worshipped him.
She didn't take worship lessons.
She didn't draw from her temple experiences.
She did what was in her heart. Probably falling down at his feet
Here is desperation at work.

She begs him, "Lord, help me!"

Jesus responds in a way that we find harsh.
"It is not good to take the children's bread and throw it to the little dogs."

This woman was not going to give up. "Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters table."

Her heart cries out, "I'm not asking for it all, just a crumb from your table Lord for even that is better than any banquet the world could offer."
How many times do I turn my nose up at the little things God is offering to me? I pray not that much, but I fear that I have. It wasn't what I wanted, or it didn't come in the way I wanted it to so I rejected it. God help me to see the error of my ways.

Jesus comments on her faith and tells her that her daughter was healed from that very hour.

Help me to learn today.....

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Monday, October 27, 2008

The Prayer Furnace

Friday night I got to lead worship for a meeting that is headed up by James Wallace.
I've known James for a number of years and his heart is for pastors coming together to pray.
James asked if I could bring our worship team from Rapha and lead the worship for the evening.

If you've never been to a meeting like this, it isn't your ordinary service. It has more of a free flow to it as God directs. There are no speakers, no agenda, no list of to-do's.
Just a group of people praying and worshipping.

It was held at Pastor Joe Simmons Church, New Liberty Tabernacle of Praise, in east Gadsden.
God was very evident during the meeting as several came forward to pray for the city, the pastor's of all the churches and for the government of the town. At one point the front was flooded with people, on their faces in intercession. Much crying and tears, many voices crying out to God.

It was an honor to be asked to lead the worship and God was gracious with bringing intimacy to the room. It was good to get lost in the worship and not worry about the time. Not be constrained by anything or anyone but to simply be with God.

You might consider attending the next Prayer Furnace.

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Friday, October 24, 2008

We Can Fix It!



Matthew 7:26-27
Message Bible
But if you just use my words in Bible Studies and don't work them into your life, you are like as stupid carpenter who built his home on the sandy beach. When a storm rolled in and the waves came up, it collapsed like a house of cards.


Storms don't just roll in without any warning.
Storms just don't appear out of nowhere.
Clouds build up.
Winds begin to blow.
All you have to do is look around and see that the weather is changing. Even with the change, we have this misguided belief that we can 'weather' it out. We can ride out what ever comes our way.

Even as the winds grow in intensity and the water starts to rise, slowly and steadily, we continue to live denial. We may even make petty attempts to stem the tide of the storm. We'll drive down to the building supply and buy lumber to cover our windows with. We nail it up and feel good that we have done something. Yet the wind continues to increase and the water is almost to our doorsteps.

We begin to sandbag and stack around the perimeter of our home. Confident that we can out build the flood. We grow weary and eventually give up. It is lost.

We make our way into the house, closing the door behind us to ride out the storm. Trouble is.....you can't ride it out. You can't outlast it. You can out-tough it. It comes with no regard to your efforts. It will destroy all that you have attempted to do to thwart it.

Lets back up in Matthew 7 and read about the smart builder. Once again reading from the Message Bible.
These words that I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundational words, words to build a life on. If you work these words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who built his house on solid rock. Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hit-----but nothing moved that house. It was fixed to the rock.
Have you checked your foundation lately?
I thought I heard thunder.
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Markets are falling.
God is in control.
Where am I focused?
Where is my heart and my treasure?
Has moth and rust already descended upon my treasure and eaten it?

Funny how when the things you have held closest are removed, fear comes to be your friend.
The things we thought would never change.....are changing.
Maybe not as quickly as we think....
Maybe not as suddenly as others say....
but change has taken place.

Did you even notice it?
Did the Spirit quicken you to pray?
Or did you simply live life as you've always done.
IF the Holy Spirit were taken from your life.....
Would you realize it?
Would your live implode upon itself or would you continue to function as always?
Scary thoughts...
My heart's ability to deceive me.
My will is yours Lord. Take it.
May I simply follow you.
May I walk with you....
May I travel near you today.
Your very presence brings comfort to me.
A peace that transcends the words of ABC and NBC and CBS, CNN and FOX.
Every word that you, O' Lord, speak has weight.
Every word that you speak has purpose.
May I drink from your stream and not the stream of fear and hate, anger and division that comes from our televisions.

Tonight, may I lay my heart and my head down in the knowledge that you are my strength and shield. Protector of my soul.
My God and my Lord.
Glory to you and you alone.
All else may crumble and fall away, but you and your word are forever.

Maranatha.....Lord Jesus!

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

John Wimber

Here is my spiritual poppa.
I never met the man.
never shook his hand and told him what he meant to me...but his teachings and his honesty changed my life.

When I first entered the ministry, I was blessed to have at my disposal hundreds upon hundreds of his teachings on cassette (remember those?) I spent hours listening and cross referencing what I was being taught. I took notes and I digested what John was teaching. Basically, that was my seminary. It's not that I am Bible smart or an expert, I am simply a man who was shown the simplicity of devotion to Jesus. This is the message that I want to pass on to others. To make disciples so they can go out and make disciples.
Enjoy the video.
I do miss this man....

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Monday, October 20, 2008

RED LETTERS

Matthew 26:46
"Rise, let us be going. See my betrayer is at hand."

Jesus knew who it was.
He knew what was ahead.
He understood that this was part of the plan.
He did not turn away or shy from moving forward.

I want to be like this.
Even when the betrayer comes to me, that I seek the greater good. The directions of God and do what He desires of me.
Jesus knew it meant death.
Not only physical but also to carry the entire weight of sin for humanity.
It meant taking upon himself the full wrath and force of God because of sin.
Yet he still told his disciples to get up, we need to be walking this out because the betrayer is coming.

He did not shrink back from the call.
He did not suddenly become religious as if to put himself in a better light.
He simply was Jesus.
He did what Jesus would do.
He said what Jesus would have said.
"Get up boys......it's time to finish this out."

Jesus knew everyone had a part to play and fulfill in this event.
He knew his very own disciples would run away.
He knew his mother would have to watch him die.
He knew that there would be celebration, not public though....in private, of his death by the ruling religious factions.

All of this and still he said, "Rise, let us be going, See, my betrayer is at hand."


How will you walk out today?
How will react to those who would betray me?
Does betrayal keep me from God's plan or do I run away?
Father,
Today, give me strength to not shy from the path you have laid before me.
Help me to walk out your will just for today.

amen.

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Saturday, October 18, 2008

RED LETTERS

Matthew 7:27
And the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell and great was its fall.

Things coming down from above.....
Water rising from below.....
Winds blowing from all directions......
Being beaten from every side......
Collapse.
It wasn't sudden.
It wasn't unexpected.
It happened over a period of time.
But the outcome was never in doubt.
The house would not be able to stand against the weather.
The house itself was well built.
The foundation that was chosen for it to be built on wasn't.
It had no substance to it. It was not solid.
The foundation itself was subject to the weather.
It was affected by the rain, the flood and the wind.
The foundation offered no protection to those who built there.
It could not save them.

Need I write more?
Jesus.
Just Jesus.
On Him.
In Him.
That is the solid place.
A good place to store my faith.
To put my trust.
To secure my hope.
To bind my love.
To lash my salvation.
Jesus.
Just Jesus.

All else is passing away.
All else is crumbling.
Not my hope.
Hope in Jesus.
Just Jesus.

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Friday, October 17, 2008

Friday Musings

Good word...muse.
Sounds mystical as it is not a word that you find in everyday conversation.
We use Amuse.
We use abuse.
But seldom do we use muse.
Sounds like Dr. Seuss doesn't it?

Cloudy overcast day. Sprinkles all around.
Ducks under the porches.
Our two latest additions----rat/cats, are stalking around flexing the feline-ness.
What is a rat/cat?
A cat that chases rats.

We will not be having our meeting tomorrow night but will return on Oct.25th.
Danny Daniels will be here on November 1st.
Nori and Barbie Kelley will be coming through November 22nd.
So November is lining up to be a "music" month.
Good opportunity to worship!

Verse today:
Psalm 18:28
You, O Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God who turns my darkness into light.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Coming November 1st!

Danny Daniels will be coming to Rapha on November 1st for our Saturday night meeting.
Danny, long time worship leader in the Vineyard Church, brings not only great music but teaching and ministry to his meetings.

Danny is not your typical preacher/teacher type person. Danny is...............well....he's Danny.
You'll just have to come and see for yourself. This is not an evening to come and be entertained. It is an opportunity to come and participate in worship.

Meeting starts at 7 p.m.
Hang on....it's going to be good.

God on you.........

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Wednesday - 10/15

Psalms 63:3-4
Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands.

Some days it is hard to find joy.
It is hard to find that place where you are at peace.
Then you realize that peace isn't found in a place, but in a person.

Today I am grateful and at peace.
It usually is my off day but due to some meetings, I am posting here in my office at Rapha.
Sitting here my thoughts turn to memories associated with being here at Rapha.
I remember the first time I drove here. At that time the road was not paved.....dirt. Or mud depending if it had rained.
How many trips have I made down that road?
Daytime, night time....after midnight........early morning. Every time driving out here not knowing what was waiting or what God might have in mind.
That takes me to the simple fact that I was told by someone I love and respect, "We simply show up...that's what we do. Show up and deal with whatever God puts on our plate for that day." Truest words I've ever had spoken to me. Simple yet very defined.
Isn't that the way of the Gospel?
Simple and true.
We tend to over think and complicate God's Kingdom.

Today I do not want to let my mind travel to places of depression or doubt.
Best way to do this is simply praise God and keep his word on my lips as I walk through this day.
Even as I type this, on my stereo is a recording from one of our Vineyard Services from November 2003. The song GLORIFY is playing.
That is what I intend to do today...glorify God.

God on you..........

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Proclamation Or Silence?

Mark 10:48
Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet........

Why the hubub?
Because Bartimaeus would not be quiet.
He was ruining everything.
He was drawing attention to himself.
He was embarrassing everyone.
Referring to Jesus as the "Son of David."
special name reserved for special people and here was ol' Bartimaeus shouting it out for everyone to hear.
Why?
Because something welled up in side Bartimaeus that could not be contained.
Something that superseded the niceties of the day.
Something that was not concerned with protocol or pleasantries, but was more intent on drawing Jesus to where Bartimaeus was.
The need to be healed.
The idea that this could be the one time for Bartimaeus where he could receive.
Bartimaeus called to Jesus for mercy, but realized that the best he (Bartimaeus) could hope for was to simply put himself in Jesus' hands and let Jesus decide what to do.

Jesus calls Bartimaeus over.
Strange request to someone who was blind. "Come to me."
Jesus asks the obvious question.
"What do you want me to do for you?"
Bartimaeus gave the simple answer...."I want to see."
What Bartimaeus did not understand was that his simple act of calling out to Jesus. Calling out long before the words had left his lips that he wanted to see, was what brought about his healing.
Healing takes place the moment we turn to Jesus.
Healing takes place before the words ever leave our lips.
Healing takes place when the heart cries in faith long before the words ever come from our mouth.
Jesus is waiting for us to confess and say what it is we need.
Healing has begun.

What is your heart's cry today?
Don't wait.
Don't let anyone stop you from proclaiming the truth of who Jesus is.

God on you......
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Thursday, October 9, 2008

Signs or Sounds?

I have watched with fascination and awe at the events of the past week in our country and around the world.
I would be hard pressed to ignore the fact that life as we know it is changing even as I write this. But I do so not in fear but in the blessed hope and faith that God in heaven is in control and is working his plan.

In Luke 21:25 we read:
And there will be strange events in the skies---signs in the sun, moon and stars. And down here on earth the nations will be in turmoil, perplexed by the roaring of the seas and strange tides.

The Luke passage says that nations (or peoples) will be in turmoil. Have you read the papers or watched Television? Every nation is struggling with the economic instability. Hanging onto a lifestyle in spite of the consequences of bad choices and even ungodly choices. There is turmoil because our best efforts have failed. We are like the sailors in the story of Jonah. Even after they were told by Jonah of what to do in order to secure their safety, scripture says, "they rowed even harder." We are trying to save oursleves by looking to our own ability. It isn't going to happen.

Luke writes that the nations (peoples) will be perplexed by the roaring of the seas. That means there will be confusion because of so many voices crying out with so many opinions. We are a nation of people who views their personal opinion as being without fault. If you don't believe me then you haven't listened to talk radio. Not only that, but we have lost the ability to be civil to one another. Just disagree with someones opinion and see what names they slam you with. There is no respect for authority at any level in this country. We truly have cast off restraint and the idea of being governed has caused us to run wild.

Luke also writes that we will be perplexed by "Strange Tides."
Tides are influenced by the heavens (the moon).
There will be a greater influence by the prince of the power of the air as he seeks to enslave more and more people. Just as people are carried away by the tides of the ocean, people will be carried away by the tides of demonic influence.

Now is the time to seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.
Lift your eyes and see that you Salvation draws near.

Maranatha Lord Jesus!
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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

I Want To Be a Clone

Back in the 80's Steve Taylor showed up and upset the church world.
His voice sang of churches that had become like an assembly line where the only thing that mattered was the number of people that were brought in. Once inside they could be changed to conform.

Rather than dealing with the heart.
Rather than teaching on repentence.
Rather than even preaching and teaching the Word of God/ Gospel of Jesus....the church adopted a "felt needs" approach to dealing with people.
They were going to entertain the people into heaven.
If you can find any of Steve Taylor's early work like MELTDOWN or STEEPLE CHASE get it.
Thanks Steve for shaking things up.
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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Richie Furay - Man of Many Sorrows

Richie Furay, guitar player and singer/songwriter of Bufflo Springfield, Poco and many other bands, now a pastor in Denver.

This song, to me, portrays a view of Jesus that you want find in many churches. A man of sorrows acquainted with grief.

We don't talk much about joining in to the fellowship of his suffereing. Not very popular. We don't hear much about how he learned obedience through his suffering.

He was a man of many sorrows.
I would like to say enjoy the song, but I don't think we are suppose to.
I think the song is to wake us up to a truth that has been hidden for many years.

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Monday, October 6, 2008

United States Or Israel?

Been parked in Isaiah 5 for the past 3 weeks.
First found myself there on July 12th of this year.
Sounds a lot like what is happening here in our country.

Isaiah 5:9
The Lord Almighty has delcared in my hearing;
"Surely the great houses will become desolate, the fine mansions left without occupants."

Our housing markets continue to decline as mortgauges are defaulted on.

Verse 10
A ten acre vineyard will produce only a bath of wine, a homer of seed will produce only a ephah of grain.

The heartland of the country was hit with floods and tornado's this year, destroying a very high percentage of crops that will not show up in our markets.

Verse 11
Woe to those who rise early in the morning to run after their drinks, who stay up late at night till they are inflamed with wine.

Addiction is on the rise. It's not that we are seeing more people addicted, we are seeing a new type of addict. One that accepts no responsiblity for their own actions. That does not take any responsiblity for his own life or future.

Verse 12
They have harps and lyres at their banquets, tambourines and flutes and wine, but they have no regard for the deeds of the Lord, no respect for the work of his hands.

We have become a self-indulgent, self-absorbed people whose sin has left us blind to the truth of God.

Verse 15
So man will be brought low and mankind humbled, the eyes of the arrogant humbled.

Everything we hold dear to is being shakened by the hand of God. We are going to see what is and what isn't eternal. Where does your trust and hope lie? God isn't interested in our comfort or lifestyle. He is only interested in a total healing of the individual.

Verse 16
But the Lord Almighty will be exalted by his justice, and the holy God will show himself holy by his righteousness.

There is going to be a revelation of who God is in this economic free fall. Not everyone will recognize Him because of being so self centered. They cannot look beyond themselves.

Verse 17
Then sheep will graze as in their own pastures; lambs will feed among the ruins of the rich.

God will feed and provide for his people (We are the sheep of his pasture).

A page has turned in our world.
Not for the better I fear, but for the reality that a showdown is approaching.
God will be God and the world will reject the truth.
Let the Body of Christ draw near and sing praises and tell of His excellent greatness.

Let not our voices be silent.
Let us not judge. The world has already been judged.
Let us proclaim the truth that hearts would be touched and changed.

God is good.....
Yes! He is........
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Sunday, October 5, 2008

Come Together To Repent

Saturday night was a special night.
It was a solemn assembly where we came together and spent the evening with God.
It was a time for repentance.
For Reflection.
Where were we at this time last year?
Where did we want to be this time next year?
Saturday night was a time to pray and listen.
To repent and receive forgiveness.
To cast off the old and embrace the new.
It was a special evening that had no time limit as far as our service was concerned.

During the day, I baptized four men who had been saved.
Each one with a unique story as how they were saved, but each one sharing the common experience of having their life changed.
One by one coming into the water, each one went under and came up a new creation.
There were tears.
There was joy.
There was peace.
I never cease to be amazed at the transforming work of the Holy Spirit.

It was a good day Saturday.

God on you.....
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Tuesday Bible Study

Psalm 119:130 The entrance (or unfolding) of Your words gives light. it gives understanding to the simple. Pulled up at the camp last ...