Thursday, July 31, 2008

Change Me On The Inside


II Corinthians 7:1
Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
Ephesians 4:27
And do not give the devil an opportunity.
This has been a day of struggle.
It has been a day of uncovering.
Funny how this works. We pray for God to come and uncover attitudes and sin that are offensive to him, and when He does, we loose control because ......we have been uncovered.
Daily....I am to cleanse myself from "all" defilement. Not a suggestion. In the process of this cleansing, holiness is being perfected in me. As I participate in this process, I am all too keenly aware of my heart in light of God's mercy and grace. It is this awareness of how short I fall before God, coupled with the knowledge that God is wanting to grow me, that causes me not to give up but press on.
We glide by the Ephesians 4:27 verse quickly. Not much on the surface.
Don't give the devil an opportunity. "Don't worry, I'm not."
Well, here is the rub.
The devil isn't going to come and knock on your front door, dressed in his devil suit carrying around all his devil stuff and proclaim, 'You better let me in and give me this opportunity.
No.
He is going to wait until you are in the middle of an emotional situation and then come and agree with you. He'll slide in and put his arm around you and whisper in your ear...."You know. You have a right to be mad at (insert name). He treated you like dirt. He called you names."
The longer we sit there listening, the more our flesh agrees with what we are hearing.
We have given him (devil) an opportunity to drive a wedge between us and someone else. More importantly, we have allowed him to draw our focus from God and place it solely on ourselves.
We have a pity party to end all pity parties.
God help us.

we read in James 1: 2-4
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Where do these battles take place?
In our mind and our emotions.
If we give sway to living by these faculties, we will forever be assaulted by the schemes of the devil. By faith we look beyond what we are feeling and thinking. By faith, we trust in the Lord with all our hearts and lean not on our own understanding.
SO why do we run around trying to understand with our emotions and our feelings?
They are such a part of our human condition that we don't truly realize that unless we build our foundation upon Jesus the Christ, we will always be tossed about.

By faith you are saved.
By faith Jesus sustains you.
By faith, Jesus is all sufficient.
No matter what the world throws at you.
No matter what the devil brings to your doorstep.
No matter what everyone is saying...
By faith, Jesus is all sufficient to take you through every thing you face.
Stand still and Know that He is God.
For the battle is the Lord's and not yours.
God on you.....
mb

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Dare We Believe?

It is amazing to me what one can find if you look. When ever I go to a bookstore, I always search out to see if they have a discount table or a cut rate book bin. Over the years, these are the places that I have found some hidden jewels that seem to escape the over-the-top merchandising that goes on by Christian publishers.

I was at a local bookstore, in fact I wasn't even in the store. They had a roll around cart on the sidewalk loaded with different selections that had been marked down. I saw it. Why Revival Still Tarries. An updated answer to Leonard Ravenhill's Why Revival Tarries. Struck by the thought that someone would update a classic, I purchased the book.

Written by Chad Taylor, Why Revival Still Tarries hits home to the Christian. This is not a book for the lost. It is not a book for the casual Christian (if there is such a definition). It is for the believer who is looking around at church and the business of the church and finds themselves a bit queasy over what they see.

Taylor writes, "Why does revival still tarry? Because God's people still tarry. We have not left the catacombs of complacency and entered the battlefield of humanity. We linger in the conference lines and meeting halls hoping the Lord will "touch us" one more time. It's not a touch of casualness that God longs to give us, but a taste of His fire (pg.9)

Such language strikes at the very heart of the church today.
A church who has traded the eternal things of God in order to get the lost inside their walls. Once there, the church has nothing to offer except entertainment, coffee and a danish.

Why does revival still tarry? Because our hearts are yet to be broken. We walk around with our pride and dignity still intact. Until we truly listen to the message of the Cross and the gospel of Jesus, we will not understand what God expects of us as His children.

God on you......

mb

Home for Me

I have a new blog home for my everyday thoughts.

http://hanszarkov.wordpress.com

I am not abandoning this blog or the monster blog.
This new address is where I'll post family stuff.

By the way: ON August 9th....Rick and Beckie Trussell will be coming to Rapha to lead worship.
These guys have a heart for worship like no one else I've ever met. It will be a night of simply proclaiming the greatness of the Lord.
Come and be with us....
mb

Monday, July 28, 2008

Say It Loud

Mt. 11:28-30 (Msg.)
Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me---watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly.

What if we truly lived according to Scripture?
I mean lived it for ourselves.
We didn't seek anyone else to tell us what Scripture said?
We didn't discard the Bible in favor of the latest, hot book on the Christian market.
What if we took Jesus at his word and came to Him.
Came to him burned out and beat up in need of healing.

I'm not talking about a fuzzy feel good healing.
I'm talking about a radical, God-transforming touch that reached from the soles of our feet to the crown of our heads. Changed by the Holy Spirit.
I can think of a million reasons why it shouldn't happen.
But I can't give you one why it couldn't.
My lack of trust? Maybe.
My lack of faith? Probably.
But that is no obstacle to God.
When?
When will I turn loose and fall into the hands of the living God?
IF I fall.......................
Will it be fearful to do so?
In those hands is the only place I can survive.

I do not want my walk with God to be shallow and empty.
A cardboard cut out of the real thing.
I realize that even as I write these things, I am assailed by the enemy trying to show me my past.
The blessing that comes is that my past has been put under the blood of Christ.
Forgiven
Forgotten
Free.

Seems as though I walk a tight rope between reaching God's glory and falling into my past.
Balanced there between the two, I surrender to God.
Life is a daily battle, but we win.
Those who overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony.
Do you see that?
Those who overcome.
It doesn't talk about success.
It didn't mention being the best or number 1.
It simply says, 'Those who overcome".

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

mb

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Would We Continue To Worship?

The book of Job.
Nothing sends shivers up a believer's spine quite like this book.
We nod our heads in agreement of what is written, and silently pray, "Oh God! Please...not me."
This book brings us face to face with the sovereignty of God. His right and power to choose as He pleases to bring about the fulfillment of His plan.

If you get down to the crux of the account of Job in Scripture, the devil accuses God of a "worship for hire" scheme. He insinuates that God has to bribe people to worship Him by blessing them and giving them riches and gifts. God isn't drawn into a cosmic showdown with the devil, but does agree to reveal the truth. Even here at this point of the story we see an incredible thing happen. God, not the devil, defines how far this event with Job can go. God tells the devil what he can and cannot do. Sometimes we forget that the devil is God's devil. Many believer's have a hard time with the concept that God does have a say so in what the devil is doing.

Many want God to justify his actions.
Why do good people die and bad people prosper.
Why do I have to ask God for things if He already knows that I need them.
We want fairness in this world and yet every time we read from Job we see the unfairness.
We need to remember that we are looking at Job through our eyes, not God's.
OF course we see the unfairness. We can't see beyond to the true heart and nature of God who is completing a greater work than we could ever comprehend.
Seems to me when I'm whining and crying about the unfairness of life, it really reveals how small I am. How petty I am. How small is my trust in God. What a stinker I am.

In all of the loss that Job experienced, he made some pretty profound statements.
"Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return there.
The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away;

Blessed by the name of the Lord."

"Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?

Job wasn't some kind of super human with abilities far beyond those of mortal men. No! He was a poor schmo like you and me. Slogging through the day to day tyring to take care of his family.
But, according to God, Job was a blameless and upright man. One who feared God and shunned evil. A man who held fast to his integrity.

Job was a man who took his relationship with God seriously and recognized the right-ness of walking daily with God. Maybe that is what I need. A good dose of character building. To shed my whiney-moaning-woe-is-me-no-one-loves-me-life-ain't-fair-attitude and embrace a mindset that God is greater than any of my problems. When life doesn't go the way I think it should, then is the time I fall on the wisdom that God is indeed in control and knows far better than I what needs to be done. My job? To worship Him!

I like what scripture says happened when Job received the tidal wave of bad news concerning his family and worldly goods being destroyed.
Job got up.
Tore his clothes as a symbol of grief.
Shaved his head.
Fell to the ground and worshipped.
Worshipped!!!!

Oh God, please help me to move from the nursery to being a grownup in you.
Help me to have vision that looks beyond my flesh.

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

mb

Friday, July 25, 2008

Tomorrow Night

This week has been an intense week of teaching concerning the Kingdom Of God and what is expected of us as followers of Jesus.

The discussion has been upbeat and very passionate as each man spoke of what it meant to them to follow Jesus. In the end we had to look at the Scripture to see what God said. We each saw our misplaced belief's compared to what Scripture says.

I am looking forward to tomorrow night.
We are planning to have our first communion service since we made the switch to Saturday night.
For some of these men it will be their first time to take communion.

Continue to pray for us as we desire to be under prayer cover as we walk out what we hear God telling us to.

If you are free, come and join us tomorrow night----7 p.m.

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

mb

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Why? What are we living for?

II Corinthians 5:15
And He died for all, so that those who live might live no longer to and for themselves, but to and for Him who died and was raised for their sake.

I find that my own desires seek to usurp attention and devotion that should be reserved for Jesus and Him alone. My wants are like little children who don't get their way. Praise God for His grace. It covers me and helps me to focus on what is truly important.

His Grace is sufficient.
He is all sufficient.
I find all that I need in Him.
I do not have to look to myself or to the world to be my savior.
My Savior was brought forth from death unto life by the power of the Holy Spirit.

I see death and darkness everyday.
I see people choose death and darkness and what's more...walk into it willingly.
I also see the power of God who can snatch away from the fires of hell.
There are no gray areas.
Society and culture creates the gray in an effort to obscure God's truth.
Living in a world that is defined by a truth greater than we can comprehend is more than some people can take.
The very thought that morality and Holiness is as clearly defined as black and white unnerves a lot of people. That means they are without excuse for their failures. Their failure becomes simply a matter of choice.
They seek to create a false reality that exist in shades of gray. Where things aren't defined and are blurred, open to interpretation by anyone.

Those times and days are quickly coming to an end and we all will find out exactly if what we claim to believe in is true or not. That is why I no longer live to myself but for the one who ransomed me from the sin penalty.

Jesus at the center of your life.
Your hope and salvation for this life and the next.

Come and be with us this Saturday night for a night of worship and prayer.
7 p.m. / Church@Rapha.

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

Monday, July 21, 2008

What Must I Do?

Acts 2:37
When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?"

Unusual response?
Or is it?
Is the response of the people to the message of Peter really that unusual? Or have we moved so far away from the truth of God, that we no longer recognize truth.

The Holy Spirit had come in power to all believer's.
The religious system of the day was in disarray as an invasion had taken place.
The very heart of what was once considered to be the only way to God, was now threatened by God himself through the death and resurrection of Jesus.

Peter, full of the Holy Spirit, now stands and delivers the first Pentecostal message. Upon completion those in attendance cried out, "What shall we do? What is expected of us? We know we have heard something that has stricken our hearts, but how are we to respond?

Peter replies, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins."

The ball was in the court of those whose hearts had been touched. They either responded or rejected.

I see so much manipulation today in church to "Bring People to the Lord". I confess that I have been part of that crowd. No more! I see no fruit from people coming forward to simply say a few words and have their feelings soothed, only to go away back to sin from which they never fully left. It has been hard for me, a pastor, to turn loose of this behavior. To learn to trust God with his message that He will bring about the result he desires.

That doesn't mean I do nothing.
I pray and cry out to God!
I pray for those in attendance that their hearts would be opened to the truth of God and the state of their own heart.
I teach the gospel in the simplest of terms.
I trust God with the rest.
I still struggle, but I am learning to listen and trust God.

If you are having trouble with what I have written, then pray for yourself and pray for me that we both might come to the truth and realization of just how powerful God truly is.

God on you.....
mb

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Last Night

Psalm 42:8
.........And in the night His song shall be with me----a prayer to the God of my life.

I'm always a bit hesitant after we have a really intense service where God is ministering to those who have come to be a part (such as last Saturday's service). There is a stirring of our emotions simply because we are creatures of emotion. The danger for me comes when I set out (whether intentionally or not) to recreate something that happened in order for God to come again. Last night was the case. I kept pushing that thought back...."Go ahead....you can recreate it...sing songs that were similar......play the same guitar......do the service in the same order." I'm not attributing this to the devil as it was probably more my flesh than anything.

So, that being said, we set about to gather and worship.

Songs that were chosen for worship seem to focus on our gratitude for what Jesus has done for us. From the cross to the throne, He walked out the call of His Father to be the "Lamb who takes away the sins of the world". Everything seem to blow the roof off when we sang "You Have Redeemed My Soul." There was a sense of freedom that came to the room as worship took place.

Seth Barber spoke on the narrow way to life and the broad way to death.
Very somber word, but powerful.
Seth has a way of speaking plain and simple. A no frills message that was completely the heart of the Gospel. Seth has lived the words that he teaches. He has been redeemed from the pit of death. He has been given new life and carries around a gratitude for God's gift.

Ministry was powerful.
Nine men came forward to be saved.
We don't lead a sinner's prayer. We encourage each man to confess to God in their words. God looks at the heart and intent. Sometimes I think the church falls to heavy on "say these words". Almost as if it were a magic formula or a mystical spell, spoken with no thought as to the state of the heart.
As we prayed over the men, there were tears......many tears. One man stood with face downward, tears streaming from his eyes, praying..."Oh Jesus forgive me, Oh Jesus forgive me, Oh Jesus forgive me."

Saturday night is a different breed of church. That doesn't mean it's better.....just different. I think it has something to do with the fact that Saturday use to be the "devil's" night in the lives of these men. This was the night for getting high and all manner of evil. Now it is becoming a night for God.

Until next time....
Keep praying for all of us here at Rapha.

mb

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Gathered For A Purpose


Sometimes when describing what God is currently doing among a community of believer's, we tend to embellish or exaggerate. This is not what I desire to do, but simply relate the happenings as best I can.
We are seeing an increase in passion for Jesus. We are seeing men with the beginning hunger pangs for the Word of God. They are beginning to study and not just read the Word.
We are seeing men in the infant stages of learning how to worship. Men who are becoming free in their expression of love to God. My wife, Vicki, brought up a point that I had not thought of. Each week our prayer, as leadership of the meeting, is that God would bring a release of freedom to our group so that real worship could take place. Vicki said, "We need to realize that for some of these men, real worship and free worship is simply singing out loud for the first time in their lives." That struck me as something I have overlooked. Thank you God!
Praise Report!
The CHURCH@ RAPHA is not the proud owner of a 16-channel Mackie Sound Board. Since we began meeting back on April 28, 2006, we have been praying and moving toward equipping the chapel with the things needed to help our worship team. We are grateful that God has provided the means necessary to capture the sound of our worship and our teaching and that we have the capability to send out Cd's to anyone who desires to have one. God has been faithful and we have come a long way since the beginning when I would have to borrow sound equipment from Gadsden Vineyard Church.
This Saturday night, Seth Barber will be our speaker. If you haven't heard Seth, come and join us as he is a recovering addict with 5+ years clean time. Seth heads up GRACE Meeting every Thursday night at Gadsden Vineyard Church. His meeting starts at 7 p.m.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Me worship

If this wasn't true....it would be funny.
Take a look at the number of songs that we sing that have "me" at the center.

I thought we were to worship God?

mb

How Did He Do That?

Genesis 6:22
Thus Noah did according to all that God commanded him, so he did.

Genesis 7:5
And Noah did according to all that the Lord commanded him.

I read those verses and the same thought keeps coming to my mind.
"How'd he do that?"
I am puzzled because of the differences between the time Noah lived and the time and space I currently occupy.
Noah didn't have the luxuries that our time has.
He didn't have a printed Bible. The Bible didn't even exist during Noah's day. Oh sure......He was living it out and everyday was part of the mosaic that would be put down in print for generations and centuries to read.
Noah didn't have media such as television or radio or computers and I-phones. There wasn't such as thing as 24 hour-a-day Christian TV (to be honest with you after watching it, I'm not so sure that we have 24 hour-a-day Christian TV.
There weren't any churches.
There weren't any group's to meet with for support.

I think Noah truly shows me an example that may be the heart of relationship. Noah had God! Or should I say "God had Noah!".
It's pretty simple. Noah "walked" with God. That means (I think) every moment Noah shunned the things of the world and turned to God for direction. Now he may have done so out of fear, or out of repulsion for what he saw going on around him, but whatever reason, Noah made a decision to walk with God. This decision brought grace to Noah. I like the way Genesis 6:8 puts it; "Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord". The idea that God's attention would be turned to Noah because of Noah's heart was for God speaks volume's.

Noah found.
What he found was not lost. It had been there waiting for Noah to stumble upon it, but it took Noah's determination not to be a part of the evil of the world to uncover this grace. I'm not smart enough to determine which came first----the chicken or the egg. Same here; which came first? Grace or Noah finding it. Truth is, it could be like the Scripture where God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. Abraham was going about the business of preparing the sacrifice. What Abraham didn't know was that on the back side of the mountain where he and Isaac were, a ram was making his way to the top. It wasn't until the moment arrived where Abraham's heart was revealed, that the ram showed up and God ordered Abraham to kill it for the sacrifice. We don't see the things God has provided until the time for their need is upon us.

All I know is that I want to be like Noah and "do all according to God's commands".

God on you.......

mb

Sunday, July 13, 2008

It Happened!

Psalm 34:8
Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.

Last nights meeting at Rapha was the realization of something I have been praying about for years.
A meeting where God would take it away from us (the leadership) and give it to those present.
You pray about something and you even try to visualize what it would look like, but somehow what you see in your mind always comes up short to what you know the truth to be.

As we entered the meeting,I felt that I was to teach first and we were to worship afterwards.
Midway through the worship set, people began to stir in their chairs. Several got up and went to to others in the room to talk with. Later we found out that Repentance was taking place and these who got up were going to ask forgiveness for feelings and thoughts they had harbored.

Men got down on their knees and put their faces in their chairs and began to pray without any prodding or manipulation from anyone. The room was tender and you could sense God's pleasure. Those who were worshipping sang louder and with passion.

Some came forward to share what God had put on their hearts. Tears! Many tears! And gratitude for who God was. Others came forward to share a verse or a thought. Each one grateful for what was happening at that moment.

Even after the service was over, people hung around talking and laughing, praying for one another. Many hugs and slapping backs, shaking hands and words of encouragement. Two were saved and came to the knowledge of Jesus and the cross.

I guess they thing that spoke to me the most was after everyone had left the room. I was taking all my "stuff" to my office and as I was walking across the compound, off in the distance I heard two of the men singing........"How great is our God....Sing with me...How great is our God....All will see...How great....How great....Is our God!"

Under whispered breath, I replied..."Amen!"

mb

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Angels Tuck You In

This song is from one of my favorite groups DANIEL AMOS. The song is from their album (Dated myself didn't I?) DOPPELGANGER and addresses the notion that believer's are free from pain and hurt in this world.

I guess som folks didn't get the memo in Hebrews Chapter 11 about some believers that were sawn into and fed to the wild beasts. Oh well! We serve a perfect God in an imperfect world

Enjoy the song!
mb

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Do Not Turn Your Face From Us O' Lord!


May I not bring shame to your Holy Name, Father.
May you not turn your face from me due to unconfessed sin or iniquity.
May I not forget the price you paid to ransom me from the fires of Hell.
May I not forget the call that comes to every believer who embraces the life of following Jesus.
May I not become cold or uncompassionate to those around me, but let me have the heart of Christ.
May I not let my heart grow cold or my ears dull that I cannot hear or feel your presence.
May my love be pure and found in you rather than the things of this world.
May my eyes see a higher vision that what the world offers. May I see the portals of heaven.
May I not become so proud that I cannot help my brother or sister in need.
May what I have become theirs if need dictates it.
May I not take for granted my next breath or my next heart beat but be thankful for all my days.
May I not forget to love as you love, O' Lord.
and....
May I never lose sight of your face.
May I glory in the cross of Christ.
May I weigh my life like the apostle Paul and count it all dung compared to the surpassing knowledge of knowing you, Jesus.
Thank you for this day....
mb

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


"RAPHA---If you are ready to change......we are here to help!
Some think that we do some kind of Christian Voo-doo out here. People bring their sons, fathers, husbands and brothers to Rapha thinking that we are miracle workers. We aren't.
We are called to point, show the way, direct and guide to the only one who can bring change to a life that is trapped in the misery that is addiction.
Recovery is found in a person not a program. That person being Jesus Christ.The program is merely a defining set of boundaries to walk out a new life. Principals and directions that bring definition to a life that has been spent in unfettered abandonment to sin and the destruction that accompanies that lifestyle.
Part of my call, as staff pastor, is to introduce the men to Jesus. Not the Jesus that our culture and society has knowledge of, but the real-deal Jesus of Scripture. I do this through afternoon and evening Bible Studies and our Saturday night meeting.
I am constantly asked by men to pray for them that they may know God's will.
That is what Rapha is about.......leading me to the truth of God, His word, and His expectations.
What is God's will?
John 17:3 - Now this is eternal life; that they may know you, the only true God and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
Simple, yes? YES! The will of God is for us to KNOW Him. Not with information and head knowledge, but a knowing with our hearts. Western society thinks knowlege about God is the same as knowlege of God. It's not!
We are called to a life of pursuit of God under the direction and leading of the Holy Spirit.
Anything that gets in the way is ignored and passed by.
Worship has been the hot "buzzword" in the church for sometime. Of course when we hear the word "worship" we automatically think music, bands, choirs, overheads and PowerPoint's. Wonder what the church (the real church) did before all of this was in Vogue? Well, truth be known, worship is a lifestyle. A life that is pleasing to God. 24/7 - 365. You don't do it because you have to, you do it because you want to, you have to, there is nothing else you could think of that would be better.
Changing addictive behavior is not simply getting off drugs and alcohol, it is changing a lifestyle. Changing a belief system that has lied to you all these years that you were trapped in your addiction. Change that only comes from being born again.
See you Saturday night, 7 p.m.
Come prayed up and ready to meet with God!
God on you......
mb

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Rushing Wind - Keith Green

How small I seem when I think of God.
How small are my dreams when they come from me.
How feeble are the attempts I make to point others to Christ.
How shallow are my dreams when they spring from my mind.

Only by the filling of the Holy Spirit....
Only by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit...
Only by the Promise can I truly be a witness.
Clothed in power...
To the uttermost parts of the earth....

As Keith put it, "blowing out the dust within, daily come and cleanse this temple. I've been born again."

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

mb

Power Of A Promise

Matthew 28:6
He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying.

Four Words.
But what majesty is found in them.
On the surface they carry no significant authority.
They could be used in various and sundry ways in sentences everyday.
But take into account who spoke them and the event they are tied to and they become beacons for the truth of God.

"Just as He said."
In Matthew 28 we are reading of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. All through out the book, He has told His disciples what was to take place. Funny part was that He told them in plain language and yet they still do not understand. I think that speaks volumes concerning the human condition and our inability to "hear".
"Just as He said."
A proclamation that Jesus indeeds has the authority and power to back up His words. As we behold the truth of who Jesus is and what He has promised to do, then the words ring in our ears that God has indeed come down and invaded our time and space.

"Just as He said."
What about today?
The promises of Scripture are available to all who believe.
Sunday was the 11th anniversary of my ordination as pastor. I remember that God spoke to Vicki and I shortly after the service. He told us that we had to make a decision, that He could be our portion or the world could be our portion. It sounds like a no-brainer and it was, but even when we realized that this was God truly saying these things, we wondered what would it mean for God to be our portion?
It meant that no matter what we faced, we were not to plan and work in our strength or effort. We were to wait for God to direct us. What ever took place would be from "our portion". Now 11 years later, I can look back at the many times and circumstances where we faced problems and people and had no clue on how to handle or come up with a solution. But we held fast to what God had spoke to us....I will be your portion.
Each time, He took us through whatever was in front of us.
Each time I heard the words....."Just as He said".
The power of a promise.
Only God can deliver.

God on you.......

mb

Sunday, July 6, 2008

By The Seat Of Their Pants

Here they are. Dr. Bob and Bill W. ---co-founders of Alcoholics Anonymous. Two men who were brought together by their struggles with alcohol and through their friendship found sobriety. Of course we know that there was much more at work here than chance or fate or karma. God was the instigator and power behind what we now know as 12 Steps. Dr. Bob and Bill W. were the instruments used to birth the AA/12 Step movement. And movement is what it is!

Love it or hate, you cannot argue with the success of AA, a teaching based on 3 things.
1.) The Sermon on the mount
2.) I Corinthians 13
3.) The Book of James
AA Stresses that only a power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity. That power is Jesus Christ.........not a door knob or a tree..............Just Jesus!

In the AA big book, under the HOW IT WORKS section, you can read the following.
"rarely have we seen any fail who rigorously follows these steps".
The following of the steps is not through human effort, it is a plan of surrender to God.
How original is that? Imagine! Surrender of your life and will to God in order to achieve not just sobriety, but new found life.

Here is the original cover for the AA Big Book. Of course included in these 12 Steps is a pointer to the BIGGER BOOK which should be our practical direction for everyday life. So our job is "having had a spiritual awakening, we take the message to others who are trapped in their addiction."

See you Saturday, July 12......7:00 p.m. .........Church@Rapha

God on you.......

mb

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Good Morning!

Weather has been wonderful. A present from God that we usually don't have in July.
Rich Delafino is visiting at Rapha for the next two weeks. Rich is a retired New York City Detective who has been coming to Rapha for 9 years. He takes his vacation each year to come down and teach and hang out with the men.

Rich brings a zeal and fire that touches everyone he comes in contact with. Some find him abrasive and in-your-face, but truth be known, Rich wants the men to know what the believe. He takes no short cuts or tries to sugar coat the message of God. It is clear and simple. "You are a sinner in need of being saved. Jesus is the only way. If you don't your destiny is hell."

I want to thank Seth Barber, Barry Hooks, Todd Bagley for filling in for me last week while I was on vacation. I have listened to a CD of the Saturday night meeting and it was really good.....start to finish.

Don't forget this week that we will not be having the Saturday night meeting, but will return on July 12th.

IF you would like a copy of any of the services we do here at Rapha, feel free to email me and let me know.
My address is:
www.GreeneStreet91@bellsouth.net

Until next posting.....
God on you............

mb

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Random Thoughts

Romans 6:2
"How can we who died to sin still live in it?"

I find myself trying to justify or at least explain why we still sin after being saved.
I'm not sure that there is any justification.
I hear people say, "Well, I'm not perfect." I would agree. None are, not even me.
But yet God says, "Be perfect as I am perfect."
This tells me that there is a standard to strive for and I am not excluded from this call simply because I am human.
If we never strive for it, through the work of the Holy Spirit in us, we will never move forward. We will be forever caught in the cycle of sin.

Verse 6 reads: We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.

Sin is no longer my master.
Sin no longer fills my thoughts and desires.
Sin no longer dictates to me what I do or do not do.
But I still have a nature that wants to sin.
This is where I am to walk or live my life according to the Spirit of God and not the nature of my old self.
The Holy Spirit enables me to rise above the calling of my flesh.
To deny the darkness it so readily wants to embrace.
The Holy Spirit is the one wooing me and drawing me to Jesus and new life.

Part of our problem is that we live in a society that dictates that we feed every whim and desire that we have. In other words, society has and is programing itself to sin.
Nothing is sacred.
Anything goes as long as it fulfills a desire or whim that you have.
Deny yourself nothing. That is the battle cry of America.
The land of opportunity (to sin).
Unfortunately what this creates is a false sense of the power of sin.
We believe that sin has more power to enslave us than God has to free us.

Romans 6:12 reads:
Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions.

It's all a question of "Who are you listening to?"
Your soulish nature?
Or the voice of the Holy Spirit?

Hebrews 10:22
Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

Do you have need of repentance?
Do you need to spend time with God?
Don't delay.

God on you......
mb

REMEMBER:
We are not meeting this Saturday JULY 5.
We will return on JULY 12.

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