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?

mb

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........
mb

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.....

mb

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.

mb

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.
mb


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!

mb

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....

mb

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.

mb

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.

mb

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.........

mb

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..........

mb

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......
mb

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!
mb

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.
mb

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.

mb

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........
mb


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.....
mb

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Homecoming

Vicki and I traveled to Marietta, Georgia yesterday.
It was a beautiful day for the trip. Sun beaming down, temperatures very comfortable and not a cloud in the sky.
We had wonderful conversation on the way over. A kind of a day where we got to connect once again.
The reason for the trip?
The death of and funeral for my cousin, Nadja Haley.
Nadja was a wonderful woman who loved Jesus completely.
She was a giver who had no thought as to her own needs.
It was her faith in Christ that made yesterday so wonderful.

Funerals are never easy, but there is a hope and comfort present when the one who has died is a follower of Jesus. Nadja lived her life this way.
There was grief over her death.
Tears were shed.
But covering the entire service was the peace of God calmly whispering, "She is with me. It is going to be alright."

Several people stood to speak about what Nadja had meant to them.
The words that she had spoken that brought them comfort.
The little things she did to point to Jesus in their lives.

It was a good day.
A day to reflect on life here and what life will be like when we cross through the veil into Jesus' presence.

Nadja now knows the truth of what she believed.
She now knows that it was a belief not held in vain.
The promises of God are yes and amen.
The words of God are true.
She stands with others in the presence of Jesus.
Oh what that must be like!

Happy Homecoming, Nadja!

mb

Little Life? Or Big LIFE?

Great story in the news today about scientist (gotta love these guys and gals) are doing a study to determine what death really is and ...