Monday, June 30, 2008

Do You?

Proverbs 3:5
Trust in the Lord with all your heart..........

II Corinthians 5:7
Walk by Faith and not by sight

How quick we are to talk about our trust and our faith. We may not do so in a bragging way, but it does find it's way into conversations among believers.

What is it we have had to trust God for?
Where has our walk taken us that we truly have to move by his direction and not by what our senses and feelings tell us?
Have we trusted God for our lives? Have we been in a situation where there are no answers to what we are facing, yet without God's intervention, we would not make it?

These are things that are stirring in me right now.
How easy I say I trust, when I haven't been tested to the point of falling completely on Him.
How easy I say I walk by faith when my own faith seems so shallow and empty.
I'm not asking God to put me in situations that require me to "fish or cut bait" so to speak. But I know that a time is coming when we all are going to find out whether what we truly believe is true or not.

I am not going to sit here and make bold statements about what I would or wouldn't do for God.
I talked with a young man who made the statement to me that "He wanted to die for Jesus because that would be so cool." I reminded him that living for Jesus was what He desired, not our death. Living for Jesus is so much harder than checking out to God. Really, like Peter in John 21, we are all approaching the age where we will be led around by the hand. We don't get to make the call of what we will or will not do. All we can say is, "Here am I, send me!"

There is so much in the air right now what with revival/renewal news, the oil situation, food shortages. I look to the amplified Bible for it's definition of trust; To cling to, rely on, adhere to, believe in......to us as believer's it means a rejection of the world and the way it does business and a total laying hold of God. Being found "in" Jesus, as a means of following His direction.

Trust....
Cling to....
Walk by faith....
Not just fancy words that give us hope.
Our hope is not found in words....
But rather in THE WORD.
The Christ Jesus.
As Larry Norman so aptly put it, "The world is in a mess, I wonder who began it. Don't ask me, my friend, I'm only visiting this planet.

God on you.......

mb

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Remember

We will not be having a Saturday meeting on July 5th.
We will be back the following week.

michael b

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Since I Laid My Burdens Down

1970's saw some pretty amazing people raised up in ministry.
Jesus People U.S.A. out of Chicago.
led by Glenn Kaiser, they moved into old downtown buildings. Bought them legally and began renovation. Created work teams and sent them through out the city working and helping for free.

Pretty soon people started showing up to help and become a part of Jesus People. They all lived in this huge building right there in Chicago.

Guess what?
The work continues today.
Glenn and Wendy Kaiser have gotten older, but the fire burns just as bright.

That is why I love this song....
The man singing it understands the true nature of laying down your burdens.

God on you....

mb

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Attention:
We will not be having a Saturday night meeting on July 5th.

Take the night off and enjoy your family!
mb

And God Came Down!

Psalm 119:130
The unfolding of your words gives light. It gives understanding to the simple.

Last night was a night of unfolding for a lot of the men.
During our 9 p.m. Bible study, the word was powerfull as we were in the 32nd chapter of Genesis. We were looking at the behavior of Jacob as he wavered back and forth from crying out to God to save him from his brother Essau, to manipulating events and people in order to win favor with his brother.

Manipulation is one of the key character defects in an addictive lifestyle, so this chapter really hit home hard with those who were present for the Bible study. The one thing that I am trying to do is make this scripture come alive. To read it like the people were real people with real problems. You and I know that they were real people, but for what ever reason, some pastors have a tendency to not covey that message. It's like they make the stories seem distant and not relevant to life today. When you can start talking about deception and manipulation and trying to work situations into our favor.................well, people can truly identify that. Throw a God into the mix who is working his plan for humanity and you've got the making for some learning.

At the end of the study I opened the floor to those who needed prayer.
One came forward and asked for more understanding about the Word of God.
He kind of was embarrassed to ask, but I assured him that it was very scriptural (James 1) and that God would grant this prayer. This whole "God is really real" thing is new to this man and he is running into God every day in different ways. God is speaking to him and he is still trying to wrap his mind and heart around the fact that God would do this.

Next a man came up who was so full of gratitude for what God has done for him that he was about to bust. He could barely get the words out "I just want to thank God for everything." Of course this gratitude was mixed with a lot of "Why me?" He wondered why God had chosen him to give him this new life. There was a lot of "I'm not worthy to receive" in his language. I assured him that none of us were worthy and that is where the gratitude comes from. I asked him if he truly wanted to do something foolish. He replied, "Yes..". I told him that I wanted him to shout "Thank you Lord!" at the top of his lungs, as loud as he could. He closed his eyes and then what came out was an explosion. "THHHANNNK YOUUUUU LORRRRRD!!!" as quickly as he said it, The Holy Spirit covered this man and he sank to the floor. He was more surprised than anyone and lay there as if trying to make sense of what had just happened. It was truly like with the man's "thank you".....God came down and said, 'Your welcome" and blasted this man.

We ministered to him long after the meeting had finished.
It was something new and something he was going to have to chew on for a while.
He had never had anything like this happen to him before.
We left him with scripture to read and asked him to write down any question he might come up with about what had happened. We agreed to meet and talk with him at a later time.

That is why I do what I do.
To see that one individual have his world completely undone by God.
As Todd Bagley so aptly put it........"You and God were breathing the same air."

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

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

New Every Morning

Lamentations 3:22-23
Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.

It is hard watching others struggle in this thing we call life.
To see them have their hearts touched by God and awakened for the first time in their life to the fact that this God may be who He claims to be.
Yet with this awakening, you see the warfare come as they walk away from darkness.
The devil does not give up those he owned easily.

That is why the verses from Lamentations mean so much to me.
No matter what happens, we are covered in the Lord's mercy.
It is His mercy that keeps me from being consumed.
It is His mercy that draws me to Him.

We read in Ephesians 4:16- Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Where would this throne be located? In the presence of God. It isn't a place that we have to travel to as much as it is a place we cry out for. It isn't a place that we physically move toward as much as it is a place we bow down to.

No matter what comes our way today....
Mercy triumphs.
No matter what darkness seeks to consume us today....
Mercy triumphs.
No matter what state we find ourselves in today....
Mercy triumphs.

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

Sunday, June 15, 2008

3rd Meeting


I could write a number of things about last nights meeting.

I could write how it was an incredible end to a day "from hell". A day filled with warfare and destruction the likes of which I have never seen before.
I could write of God's faithfulness in the middle of all it. When I was moving from one problem to another not knowing what to do, yet God was constantly whispering to me....."I am in control."
nothing catches Him off guard.
I could write how the sun came up on Saturday with an uncovering (as God always does) to give people an opportunity to repent. I really don't know how many took advantage or was broken by their own deception. Funny how stubborn and arrogant men become when confronted with the consequences of their own actions. But I know that God's heart is to restore.

Then in the afternoon, a present from God. I received a call from someone who has been trying to arrange a marriage ceremony for some time. They wanted to know if today was a good day for me to officiate their wedding. My first response was "No...it has been too hard today." But I chose not to say that but told them to come on and I would do the wedding. Little did I know that God was behind this.
The couple showed up with family following and we made our way into the chapel for the ceremony. It was tender and I could tell that it was truly something that the couple desired to do......be legal in the eyes of God. Upon completion and as the groom kissed his bride, God spoke to me again in the softest of whispers......"Even among all the hell and warfare.....amidst the plans of the enemy disrupting everything............I will still have my bride (church) and we will be united." How cool was that? A day that began with conflict ended with God in control and still on His throne. His plans were not thwarted or stopped, by no one or no other kingdom.
Last night's meeting was a time of word and power.
The ministry was to those who had problems with short term memory. I asked for those who wanted to be healed, to come forward and we would pray for them. (Just so you'll know...I have no power to heal or claim any such power).
We anointed each man with oil and began to pray over them. What happened next was...well you had to be there. Several of the men began to weep....not cry...weep. Holy Spirit was moving and these men began to repent and confess. It was happening all over the room as the ministry team moved around from person to person.

We left afterwards spiritually energized because of what had happened.
We have had three meetings: each one with a different feel and different personality. So I guess the key is to let God be God and get out of his way. I can do that.....

Happy Father's Day!
mb

Saturday, June 14, 2008

What Seeds Are You Planting?

Galatians 6:7
Do not be deceived; God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sow. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction. The one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.

Here again is one of those verses that we read and all agree on. We see evidence of it in other people's lives. We see the destruction in their lives that comes from not being honest. Yet.....we don't really stop to look within ourselves and ask God, "Is there anything in me that might produce a harvest of destruction?" I don't ever won't to assume anything when it comes to my relationship with God. I don't want to move from relationship to religion. That I begin to simply have a form of godliness and in the process denying the power that comes with relationship. What power? The power of the Holy Spirit to convict me of my sins. The one thing that religion does is numbs you to the voice of the Holy Spirit. We have hidden sin and will do anything to hold on to it, or we have bought into the lie that our sin is so horrible and so powerful that we will never escape from its hold over our hearts and lives. We become so miserable and desperate that rather than confess and repent and look to God to deliver and break the hold, we simply try to act more religious. Read our Bible's more. Pray more. Sing louder during worship. Give more money. Rather than falling to our knees crying out to God, "Save me and deliver me!"

As I write this, I want you to understand that this is directed toward me first.
GOD WILL NOT BE MOCKED!
You don't put anything over on him.
You are not a play-ah in the kingdom.
He will uncover you.
He will expose your sin.
Then you will either confess and repent or turn and your heart grow harder.
God help us all!

mb

Friday, June 13, 2008

There Is A Fountain Filled With Blood

Let me never forget the price paid for my ransom.
Let me never forget the newness I felt when first you came to me.
Let me never forget the power You possess, O'Lord, to change even the hardest heart.
Let me never forget Your blood...




more about "There Is A Fountain Filled With Blood", posted with vodpod

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Shallow

Luke 5:4
"Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch."

Saturday approaches. Another opportunity to be with God.
Another opportunity for corporate worship. To sing with one voice. To beat with one heart. To listen with one ear. But we cannot stand on the shore and accomplish these things. For standing on the shore is the safe place. You risk nothing by standing on the shore. You risk nothing by watching everyone else be touched by God. You can be standing in the middle of a room where God is moving and you not be affected by it because you refuse to open your heart and say, "YES! Come and take me Lord....I choose to follow you."

I think God is saying,"Measure yourself and your relationship with me.......now let me show you how much you lack because you are content to stand on the shore."
I'm tired of playing safe with God. I'm tired of skirting speaking His Word in ways that only seem to want to ease people into salvation. I'm not talking of beating anyone into submission or trying to scare anyone into repentance. I'm talking about just letting the Spirit of God settle over people and show the truth. Wow! What a concept. Me getting out of the way.

Jesus commanded his disciples to leave the safe waters and go out to where they had not fished. It is in the uncharted places and locations that Jesus leads us to that we will find the greatest blessings........because of our obedience.

So the word I'm hearing for this week's meeting is 'LAUNCH OUT INTO THE DEEP."

God on you.....
mb

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Uncovering

It has been a week of uncovering for me.
God showing me attitudes and sin that I needed to surrender.
Funny how you think (sometimes the mind set of believer's) that you are sin free and words such as forgiveness and repentance are only for the unsaved, not for the believer. After all our heavenly ticket has been punched and we merely are awaiting departure. We forget that as the apostle Paul stated, "we are to work out our salvation with fear and trembling."

We run around under grace like children under a yard sprinkler. What we don't realize is that you can get dirty as you run around the sprinkler, especially when you get out from under the water. When we move out from under God's grace, we are on the path of sin. Yes, you can fall from grace.

Galatians 5:4
You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law. You have fallen from grace.

Grace is God's empowering presence in me that enables me to be who I have been called to be and do what I have been called to do. When I choose any other way, I forfeit the grace of God. Upon realization that I have done such, through confession and repentance, I am restored to the grace that enables me to walk in manner worthy of my calling.

I think that is what this week is all about. Uncovering and opportunity. One of the prayers that I am constantly praying for myself and everyone at Rapha is...."Lord...don't let us get away with anything."
Uncovering of sin and opportunity to repent and change. I am in need of the Holy Spirit to convict and uncover, but more than that, I am in need of the Holy Spirit leading me into all truth.
What falls under "ALL" truth? Every truth that is from God.
The greatest truth that the Holy Spirit reveals is who I am in the light of who God is. This uncovering not just of my deeds and behaviors, but of the motive that is in my heart that produced the deeds and behaviors. There is where real repentence can take place. No a shallow, hollow confession of "I'm sorry for what I've done." No! It repentence for who we are.
Come and undo all of us!

Pray for us!
Saturday night 7 p.m. CHURCH@RAPHA meets.

God on you.......
mb

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Revival Hymn

http://video.google.com/googleplayer.swf?docId=2609149243719622443

Click on this link to a video where you will hear voices that burn with a passion for God.
Voices that by today's standard, seem antiquated and out of touch.
But then the message of the cross was never timely or well received was it?
The message of God does not bend it's knee to be culture current.
Culture will bend it's knee and proclaim the truth of who Jesus the Christ is, just as Peter did,"You are the Christ .....the Son of the Living God.

I confess to you today that the move of God I have been looking for was shallow.
I did not see the depth that God wanted to to take me into. Not a depth of feeling, but of dying. Dying is an ongoing process as we keep trying to resurrect our flesh. Revival kills the flesh and awakens the spirit.
I did not see the true strength of the fire that He wanted to bring. It wasn't to singe me.It was to refine and destroy the wood, hay and stubble that I have collected thinking I could build something of lasting value. Only the eternal God can do such.
I want to clearly get out of His way and let Him move on US!
Not for my flesh to be fed or for miracles to happen, no...just the truth of who I am as measured against who He is.
It isn't about ME, it's about Him. It's about His church, His bride.
Oh to say the words of David......"Better to be a door keeper in the house of the Lord than to live in the tents of the rich."
God help me!

Great Video....

Monday, June 9, 2008

Step By Step

Ecclesiastes 3:1
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.

Writing in my journal on Sunday, God showed me something that was encouraging.
I was jotting down the events of Saturday night; who received prayer, what ministry took place and other such things. All of a sudden the Saturday's date came to my mind---June 7, 2008.
Then I saw it written in my mind, a kind of picture......I saw ......6----7-----8. Numerical sequence of numbers. It wasn't the sequence that got me excited as much as the consecutive numbers which reveals steps.

God (I believe) was trying to show me that he was indeed working a process in all of our lives that were coming to the meeting. We all were being moved forward one step at a time. Spiritual progress not perfection, that is cry of recovery. One day at a time.

I saw the number 6.
The number for man 0r mankind. The creation part that is being restored in all of this work that God is doing. It is about the total restoration of all of creation but indeed, mankind is at the center of the work because God has chosen to redeem, reconcile and recover, that which was lost.

I saw the number 7.
The number for perfection or completeness. God had taken man (6) and through the work of Christ on the cross and his resurrection, and our salvation,we are being made into the restored image of our elder brother Jesus.

I saw the number 8.
The number for new beginnings. That is where a lot of men are coming into after their salvation experience.....a new beginning. New creation with new behaviors and new attitudes. God is indeed at work.

So in week #2 of our meeting, we are set on a spiritual journey. One that will bring completeness to our empty lives. One that will give meaning to the insane lives we have lived in the past.

What an adventure.
What are you waiting for?

God on you.....

mb

Word and Spirit

II Peter 1:3
His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness thorough our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

The one thing I want everyone to come away with from the Saturday night meeting is that believer's have been given the ability and authority to face what ever life may send their way.

Saturday night is to be a time of celebration and sharing. Of mutual encouragement and praying for one another. A time to embrace the high points of life, as well as a time to come together for those who are struggling. Saturday night is to be a time of honesty and transparency as we gather to worship.

Saturday night is a time of coming together for the Holy Spirit to come and bring out the gifts that he has given to us. At our last meeting, instead of a message from one person, we had a message from a dozen people. We opened up the room for sharing Scripture that had impacted and changed the lives of those in the room. It was a good cross section of the Word of God as hands were raised and verses read. I would question each one who read asking, "What does that verse mean to you? Why did you choose that one?" They would proceed to explain, through examples from their own life how that particular verse had opened their eyes and heart to what God was trying to show them.

Some churches personality swings heavily toward the "WORD" side. By that, I mean that these fellowship's teach the word like no other. They are keepers of Scripture and exhort their members to be students of God's word. In all of this though, they do not give place for the Holy Spirit to work. They do not encourage the people to allow the Spirit to operate in their lives, as a result the meetings lean heavy toward "the Law" and are very dry and legalistic.

Some churches personality swings heavily toward the "SPIRIT" side. Here it it almost like a spiritual free for all. Meetings are full of emotion and there are visible signs of people being touched in a might way by God's spirit. Because there is not an emphasis on teaching the word, these tend to seek after the feeling. They are almost like kites without strings that are blown about with no anchor.

I believe that God wants the marriage of these two....WORD and SPIRIT. A meeting where the Word of God is taught and is done so in a practical, applicable way. At the same time, allowing the Spirit of God freedom to move in the meeting. That is the healthy middle ground I strive for in our Saturday night meeting. A good foundation from where we can launch out and be with the Holy Spirit.

Pray for us....
God on you......

mb

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Day After


We are always trying to see what is next.
What is God doing? What part do I play in this?
We had our second Saturday night meeting yesterday. I knew going in it would be hard. Just from the sheer fact of having one meeting under our belts, whether we mean to or not, it becomes the measuring stick for other meetings.
I love how the men are trying to hear God. To others it might appear to be a hodge-podge of non related behaviors, but I could see God at work in the lives of the ones who are buying into God by surrendering themselves. One man in particular was lead to take a white t-shirt and write on it.When he came into the chapel, there on his shirt were the words HEAVEN AWAITS YOUR HEART. This particular individual has been touched in a mighty way by God and he was doing the only thing he knew how......simply do what he was hearing.
I spoke on restoration last night, defining it as "the setting right to original order or life". I felt that God is stepping up restoration during this season and that He very much wants this to fall to those in recovery.

We had visitor's from Illinois and that was good. I wasn't sure how they would take our brand or style of service, but they seemed to be at ease. They even participated during the sharing time, thanking God for leading them to Rapha to seek help for their son.

We saw restoration at work as one man had a praise report. He has struggled for a time over losing his children to DHR. It has been a battle, but he has done everything that God has directed him to do. Now he is beginning to see the fruit of his changing. He is beginning to understand the reality of who God truly is.
I think that thing that is most important to me is that those who come to the meeting realize that as believers, we are part of something that is bigger than our understanding. We are a part of the body of Christ and as such, we have brothers and sisters we have yet to meet.
As hard as last night was for me, it is one more stone in place of what God is doing at the CHURCH@RAPHA.
until next time....
God on you....
mb

Friday, June 6, 2008

Friday Posting

This week has been one for the books:
1.) We continue to see an increase in God's presence during our meetings. We totally understand that our goal is to glorify Him, not create an "emotional" oasis where we get our flesh touched and excited.

2.) Spiritual warfare is on the increase. We began to see more demonic attacks on the guys. This translates into more time spent in explaining what was going on, to give the men a better understanding of how the enemy works.

3.) These spiritual warfare attacks were very personal and were aimed at places these men were working to break free from. Such as family issues and character defects, we have seen men receive letters and phone calls that gave them bad news. To the man, I have watched them not cower and give up, but come, like Nicodemus at night, and ask "What must I do to fight this?"

4.) God is speaking more through His Word. There is an increase in Bible study and along with it, Bible questions.

5.) I see more men who are falling in love with Jesus. They don't have a lot of answers, but they have a zeal and a passion to learn.

There are a lot of people running around talking about different movements that are happening right now in our country. Some claim that a new renewal is taking place. Some claim that God is doing a new work.

I just know that we are seeing God in a way we haven't seen Him in a long time.
When you deal with the issues that are found in recovery, for God to show up like He has is life.
I make no claim to what God is doing other than God IS at work. I'm not calling it renewal or revival or the next great move. I'm simply calling on God as we worship Him.

Pray for us that we we simply be obedient to what God is doing today.

NEXT MEETING: JUNE 7th----7 p.m. at CHURCH@RAPHA

God on you.......

mb

Thursday, June 5, 2008

First Stone In Place


"And on this rock I will build My church"...Matthew 16:18
Every kingdom work begins with the foundational stone or belief that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. The Christ...........the chosen one by the Father sent to be the propitiation for our sins. The Christ........the anointed one chosen to stand in for humanity and carry upon himself the full weight and punishment for all sin for all time. The Son of the living God..........Son not by birth or lineage, but Son by position. Second part of the Trinity.........Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Upon this simple truth will be erected a living temple made of people who have been brought under the atoning work and blood of Jesus.
My aim is to let God build his church at Rapha. I dare not have a say so in the process. Mine is only to do and obey. I desire not to implement anything that would detract from God is wanting to do. A page has truly turned in this journey he has called Vicki and I to. Even though that chapel has sat on the property at Rapha for a number of years, after last Saturday night, it has taken on new meaning. It is the altar now on which we will climb and become living sacrifices. A place where God's stones will gather and proclaim his majesty and greatness.
We have all talked about last Saturday evening and the affect it had on us. But last Saturday was not the high water mark of what God is wanting to do. That will come when we begin to see the harvest in the lives of people. I know that each person who comes to the meeting will come for various reasons, but ultimately, I want us all to meet God. To spend time in his presence as a community of believers and be changed forever.
See you Saturday night....7 p.m.
God on you........
mb

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Provison

Listening to a Bill Johnson CD yesterday only confirmed some things that I knew but did not have language for.
1.) God is our provider
2.) His provision is not limited by human institutions
3.) World economics do not hinder what God truly wants to do
4.) Jesus is all sufficient........in every area of my life........in every way.

Genesis 26:1 begins with, "There was a famine in the land." This conjures up images of dry, broken earth. Fields that should be green with vegetation lie cracked and are a dull brown because of the dry earth.

Who could forget last years drought, that some say is being carried over this year. During the summer last year, there was this uneasiness about water levels and whether some cities would even have enough water to supply to their people.

Truth is, I think last years drought was God's way of getting our attention and telling us that there is more at stake here than water. We are suffering from a drought of trust. God is wanting us to walk our lives out under his direction, but many seem bent on supplanting God with their own plans and ways. Our rejection of God, as a nation, only brings hardship and bondage. Yet within all of this, there is always a remnant willing to do and say whatever God lays on their hearts.

It doesn't take a prophet or a scientist to realize that our economy is in dire straits. Gas prices going through the roof, followed by food prices on the increase. We have a government that is so self-centered that the people suffer because of it. It doesn't look good. Unless of course, God is your provision.

Do you remember the verse at the first of this posting? "There was a famine in the land......."
If you drop down to verse 12, you will read ,"Then Isaac sowed in that land, and reaped in the same year a hundredfold; and the Lord blessed him." There in the land of famine, a man did the most insane thing by planting a crop. You see, God is not limited even by the laws of nature when it comes to his desire to give us a harvest. But..............(the big one) You must plant! You must ignore what is going on around you and under the direction of God, lay your crop out. Tend it, take care of it, pray over it and realize that God, and Him alone, is the only one who can increase what you put in the ground.

Quit looking around at the situations and ask God what and where does He want you to plant?
He is the all sufficient provider.
He is the great I AM.

I truly believe that our Saturday night meeting is a fertile place to plant in land that is experiencing famine. It is not anything that I or anyone else has done, but God has chosen to bring forth harvest.
pray for all of us involved in the meeting that we are good stewards of what God is giving to us.

God on you........

mb

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Don't Waste Your Life: Risk

As Steve Camp put it so well in his song;
"Living Dangerously in the Hands of God."

to live dangerously is not to live recklessly but to live in complete assurance that God has his hand not only on us, but on our situations and daily struggles.
Don't stand on the shore wacthing everyone else enjoy the water. Jump! Jump into the deep end with God.

mb

Hello? Anyone There?

Psalms 5:1
Give ear to my words, O Lord, consider my sighing.
Do you ever truly ask God to listen to you? Did you ask him for his attention when you pray? Not from a standpoint of "I'm special....I deserve your full attention" but from the place of being a child of His. I like how King David put this....."Consider my sighing." He wasn't talking about taking deep breaths, he was talking about a longing, a groaning that takes place deep within a person. A longing brought about by a need or situation they are facing where there aren't any answers. He says, "Hey God! Don't just listen to me......search my heart." This is, in fact, the very nature and way of God. He searches our hearts when we pray to find the motive behind what we are praying for.

Psalms 5:2
Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God, for to you I pray.
David truly understands the divine pecking order here. David, King....warrior....prophet....psalmist.......realizes that there is a King above him. One who has given to David all the authority and success that he possesses.

Psalms 5:3
In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; In the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.
David begins his day in pray. The King of a nation that God has specifically chosen to be his own, rises from his bed each morning and spends time in prayer. Not only that, but after praying, David waits expectantly for God to answer his prayers. I don't think this means that David sat around until the answers came, but He did move through his day with a spirit of expectation that at any moment he would see the answers to what he had prayed.

I think the greatest disservice we do to God is go and meet with Him and not expect anything. To go and gather with other believer's and not expect Him to come into our midst. Not expect Him to work in us or touch us or speak to us. I expect God to come!
I try not to limit what He wants to do through unbelief or doubt. I simply want to worship Him.

That is what our Saturday night meeting at the Church@Rapha is all about. EXPECTATION!
We don't know what is going to happen in the service. We don't want to hold to our order of service too tight and not allow God a place to move.

I talked with the men yesterday about how great last Saturday night was. As great as it was, today was a new day with God. We learn that we have to lay Saturday down and move on. IT is so easy for us to get swept up in a moment where God manifests in our midst and we see Him move on people. Life goes on and we have to move with Him. We can't live on last Saturday night for a week. There are things that have happened this week to people that wasn't a part of the equation last Saturday, so we need to come together to meet with God this week.

Be desperate for God!
Be hungry for God!

God on you......

mb

Monday, June 2, 2008

Time to Move On

Exodus 40:36
In all the travels of the Israelites, whenever the cloud lifted from above the Tabernacle, they would set out.

This was an important lesson I learned years ago when I was pastor of the Saturday evening service at Gadsden Vineyard Church. Sometimes the meetings we held were so powerful in what God was doing, that we would live off of that night for 3 or 4 days. We continue to talk about it. Go back over it almost like a blow by blow description. What I found out that after 3 or 4 days of living on a Saturday night meeting, you'd wake up and it would be Wednesday or Thursday and God would have moved on. You spent the rest of the week playing catch up.

I truly believe God wants us to enjoy the moments where there is great intimacy between Him and His people. But.....................He wants us to realize that this journey is an every day-get-up-what-do-you-want-me-to-do-today journey. We do not have the luxury of living in the past, even with God. He calls us to remember the past. Remember His goodness, but live in the day. Live in the present here and now and not the sweet-sweet-memory of the past.

Get up and move when you see Him moving!

God on you........
See you Saturday night!

mb

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Our First Meeting

There was much prayer and focus prior to last night's meeting and as such, I tried to keep everything loose and not get in the way of God. Since we had done a Saturday night Church for a number of years, the one thing I did not want to fall prey to was the mindset of trying to make the Rapha service look like what had been done before. I simply wanted God to come and for us to glorify Him through our worship and teaching.

The day was spent in preparation. The guys pitched in and cleaned up the chapel, getting it ready for the meeting. Equipment was set up, chairs in place and the room made ready.
The worship team arrived at 6 p.m. which gave us ample time to go over the worship music. This was a big plus that we were not able to take advantage of when we had the morning service. We started so early, it was hard for everyone to get to Rapha so we could run over the music.

The thing I truly liked about the worship was that it wasn't just me trying to hear God on the song selection. We pulled songs from each member and had a collective worship set.

7 o'clock came and we opened the doors to let everyone in. There were several visitors and former clients. It was good to see everyone. My hope is that we are able to get the word out so that everyone who came through the program will feel welcomed and want to come out on Saturday night.

Worship was like a pot of water put on to boil. It slowly heated up as the worship team moved through the songs and at one point, you could feel God's presence in a powerful way. The crowd took over the song we were singing and continued to sing and worship. The team simply stopped singing and continued to play as the room filled with voices crying out to God. It was a moment.

Each song seemed to build and take us to a new level with God. I stood there soaking in what was happening, knowing that we had heard right in making the transition from Sunday Morning to Saturday night. I can't explain the difference between a day time service and a night time service. It seems that everyone was more free and uninhibited in their worship. The room was more receptive to hearing God and not only that, but responding to what they were hearing.

Seth spoke and, as always, brought a powerful word from Matthew 14:22. He compared the disciples rowing and straining to row across the Lake to our own efforts in trying to live life on our own terms and in our own strength......Impossible! Seth has a unique to way of taking the Scripture and putting it in terms that strike the hearts of those in the room.

Ministry time was everything I had been praying for. Many came forward to be prayed for and have God touch them. It was wonderful having a number of people on the ministry team praying, being servants in this work. I stood and looked around the room at all the different groups of people gathered around someone praying and asking God to come and touch them and change them.

God was good to us last night.
But now it is time to lay last night down and begin the journey toward next Saturday. Please be in prayer for the meeting. Not that God would come and duplicate what happened last night, but that he would simply come and be in our midst.
See you at 7 p.m. / June 8th

God on you.......

mb

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 ...