Thursday, December 31, 2009

Last Day

We humans are obsessed with keeping lists and organizing our lives.
We count down our calenders with great zeal and this being the last day of 2009, there will be many celebrations tonight.
Celebrations for what?
For simply having made it another year?
For having come to grips with our mortality?
Or is it simple a good reason to drink more than we should, eat more than we need to and cast aside our Morales in an effort to live up to the phrase, 'Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die.' Not a very happy entrance to 2010 is it?
Yet tonight, millions all over this planet will gather to celebrate.
Maybe it's a way to make us feel good about ourselves.
That when we actually stop to take stock of our life, we find our self in the liability row rather than on the asset side. That would be sobering also wouldn't it? To think that your life so far has counted for nothing. To come to the realization that you you have just wasted 365 presents given to you by God. Wow! Let's celebrate and forget about all this heavy duty responsibility.

I'm not saying we should all run off to the middle East and become monks and monk-ettes. I am saying that we should realize what life here on this planet was given to us for.
John 17:3 - And this is eternal life, to know you, the only true God and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth.
To know....
To be intimate with, not simply a nod of the head with an ascent to intellectualizing this relationship.
To consider for one moment that you have survived these past 365 days not because of your wits or smarts or street savvy, but because God saw fit for you to. That somewhere along the way of these 365 days, God, in fact, was speaking to you. Maybe you missed what He said or maybe you heard it but chose to ignore it. I don't know. I do know that we don't have time here in this world to simply fritter way this gift He has given to us.

SO here we are today, December 31, 2009.
There will never be another 12/31/09 are experiencing it right now.
So did you become a little more like Jesus this year?
Did you study His word and fall in love with his teachings?
Did you practice what you read in your everyday life?
Did you learn to love more, not as the world would have you love but as we are instructed by Jesus?
I think we have the makings of a good years in 2010.
Let's not waste today.
Happy New Year and............
God on you...........
mb

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

My List



Today I am grateful for
7 year old grand son named Tyler
3 year old grand daughter named Ashley
Sons Chad and Joshua
Daughters in law Robin and Heather
my wonderful wife, Vicki
I am grateful for Rapha
For Steve and Marilyn and Susan Joy, leaving what they knew
to start a new adventure 12 years ago.
I have been the recipient and beneficiary of the struggle they went through
to be obedient to God to make Rapha a reality.
I am grateful for Bill who keeps the camp running.
With great wisdom and a heart for those who are hurting, Bill
meets everyone who comes to Rapha with words of encouragement.

I am grateful for Barry and Brendon
my buds and brothers.
The wisdom they share with me makes me a better man.
I am grateful for Debbie and Wayne for sharing their
musical ability and letting me play with them.
For all the worship that has gone up through our feeble efforts
to learn how to worship.
God is so patient with us...wrong chords, wrong notes, wrong words....
but hearts that were right cover all the human mistakes.
God likes it when we try.
I am grateful for my brother Wayne and his wife Sue.
They shared their home with me as I was growing up.
They showed me what real home was like.
I am grateful for my brothers heart and his desire to grow even more.
He is not content to be the man he is...
He desires that God continue to change him and make him into the man
God wants him to be.
I am grateful for Jim Bentley.
For meeting him in Mrs. Hicks 12th grade home room.
For the years we spent together searching for God.
"There has to be more to God than they are telling us"
this was our battle cry during our early years of chasing God.
I am grateful that God put the following men in my life
Keith Green
Leonard Ravenhill
A.W. Tozer
John Wimber
Randy Clark
George Creel
Don Gentry
Lewis Woods
Lewis Perry
Danny Daniels
Don Rakestraw
Nori Kelley
David Asbury
David and Brook Finlayson
Bobby Sparks
Chris Connor
Wayne Finley
John Wesley
Jonathan Edwards
And too many more to even mention.
Looking back on this...
I have been blessed beyond measure.
My life has been and continues to be full.
I pray that I can give away to others
what has been freely given to me.
God on you....
mb

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Leave Everything

I have been parked in Genesis 12 for a few hours and have come to a conclusion. God told Abram to leave his family, his land, everything that he knew and was comfortable with and would show him where to go. I don't care how you slice this.........realistically or metaphorically, that is a pretty scary word to receive from God. Leave everything. All your bud's and bud-ette's...all your hang outs and go. "Go where? For how long? Why? What will I find there?" That would be my way of handling it. I guess God knew best when he called Abram. The funny part is that God was serious. Why is it I do not really believe God requires the same of me? Is it because I'm not Chaldean or Hebrew? Is it because I'm not Jewish? Have I built a belief system concerning God that says, "Those things happened in the Old Testament. God doesn't do that today."

I don't think God has changed.
I don't think God's ways have changed.
Maybe we aren't listening as much as we should be.
Oh, I don't mean that God is going to uproot all of Christianity and send them on journey's all over the globe (although He does have the discretion to do so). What I do believe is at the heart of these verse in Genesis 12 is that there is a separation that is to take place between our old life and lifestyle and the new life and lifestyle God expects from us.
There is a separation that takes place through our salvation of being set aside holy unto God.
I Peter 2:9-10 reads:
But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are a kingdom of priests, God's holy nation, his very own possession. This is so you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, now you are the people of God. Once you received none of God's mercy, not you have received his mercy.

I do know this.
God gave Abram instructions.
God said that if Abram followed them and obeyed God, then there would be some pretty neat promises poured out upon Abram. What's the point? The point is that when we obey God, doing what he tells us to, then we are under the grace of God and the blessing will follow our obedience. As a wise man once told me, "Salvation is free.........blessing are dependent upon our obedience." Made sense to me.

Is God calling us to a new land. A new place in which to be fruitful and settle down? No. But I do believe He is calling us to a new "life".
A place where we can grow and mature in our faith.
A place where the quality of our prayers changes and we see God act in ways we have never seen before.
That is my word for 2010.
Grow up in God! All of us.
It's time we move out of God's nursery where we have remained babes in Christ, to take our rightful place as priests in serving God.

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

Count Down To The Next Thing

Just put the message from Saturday night (12/26) on this blog.
Seth Barber was our speaker, sharing a message from Matthew 19:16-26.
Speaking from the 12 steps Seth quotes that "Those who are willing to go to any length to follow these steps" are ready for change.

Having worked in recovery for the last 12 years, I have seen the truth in this statement. It is not that someone who is ready to change has the power and ability to do so, but that a desire to change leads to Jesus Christ. He and He alone has the power and ability to bring the change to our lives that we so readily desire. The steps are merely guides or boundaries in which we operate as God works in us and through us to restore and renew through salvation.

Listen to the message and let God speak to your heart.

The hardest part or idea to get across is that God does the work in recovery, we simply cooperate with Him.

Step#1 - The admission that we cannot live life and manage it in a healthy way. We see this through the destruction and broken relationships we have left behind.

Step#2 - Recognize that there is a power greater than ourselves (that would be Jesus Christ) who can restore us to sanity.

Step#3 - Make a conscious decision (through conviction and repentance because of the Holy Spirit making us aware of our sinful nature and ways) to turn our will and our lives over to God as we understood him.

Some have trouble with this statement (God as we understood him). It simply means that the understanding of God we have today as we come to him for the change that only he can bring. Knowing that as we grow in relationship with him, our understanding of who God is will also change. The God I know today will not be the same as a month from now as I grow in him.
God on you......
mb

Monday, December 28, 2009

Seeing Beyond


Sometimes seeing means not using your natural eyes,
but rather the "eyes" of your spirit.
Seeing means letting God reveal things to you.
Things, that in your mind, will seem faint and distant almost
like a whisper.
But to your spirit, you will have a knowing that God is in fact
communicating with you.
Seeing with "eyes" of your spirit means that what is
discerned does not always match up with the logic of your mind.
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart"
"Lean not on your own understanding"
This doesn't mean we check our brains and intellect at the door
when we start this new life with Christ.
It means that we establish ourselves in his word (Bible)
and communicate with him through prayer.
It also means that we spend time listening as we pray.
Ps. 103 is a good chapter that speaks of this new life we have given ourselves to.
V.1 - Praise the LORD, I tell myself, with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name.
I think the KJV reads, "Praise the Lord, O my soul".
I like this.
David is speaking to his inner parts not allowing them (the desires and wants and lusts) to dictate how his body responds.
V.2 - Praise the LORD, I tell myself, and never forget the good things he does for me.
When we remember what God has done in the past, it strengthens us for the hard times and situations we are currently facing.
Remembering brings hope.
V.3 - He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases.
What part falls under "ALL"?
Everything.
All my sins.....My what a glorious thought that when I confess and repent and turn from my sins, God forgives everyone of them.
Check out the rest of Psalm 103 for yourself.
Read it slowly and put yourself in the verses.
Everywhere you see the word me, I or mine...insert your own name and see the precious promises that God has spoken.
2010 is fast approaching.
Prepare yourself to enter this next year with a mandate to follow God as you never have before.
God on you.....
mb

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Red Letter Words

Matthew 15:34
"How many loaves do you have?" Jesus asked.

As we approach the end of the Christmas season, we began to look to the new year. 2010....what will it hold in store for us? How will we enter it? Do we look to grow spiritually this next year?
In the verse I wrote above (Mt. 15:34) Jesus and his disciples have encountered a group of people who have followed them around. Jesus has been teaching them and realizes the need for these people to have food. Isn't that just like Jesus? Always concerned with people and their needs. Too bad I can't wrap my head around this thought and realize that Jesus truly does care for us. Anyway, Jesus puts the tasks of feeding the people back on his disciples. I think Jesus truly knows that the disciples do not have the capability of feeding such a crowd, nor do they have the money to purchase the needed food. But he ask his disciples a question. "How many loaves do you have?"

Bread is the common food of the day. It sustains life in and of itself with no need for anything to be added. Oh a little peanut butter or some banana's would be find. Maybe a slab of ham with some mustard. Did you catch that? I was adding to what Jesus wanted to provide. I was speaking from a place where Jesus isn't enough, I want to add something to make it better. Truth is, we need not add anything to what Jesus provides. He gives the best and the most simple to us for our own good. My own fleshly appetites get in the way and want to take over for Jesus so I can do it better and bigger.

Jesus asks the disciples, "How many loaves do you have?" They came back with the number 7. Hmmmm! Seven? The number of completion? The number of perfection? God took six days to create and then rested in completion on the seventh. SO what looks like only 7 loaves of bread (since we are in the Southern United States, we'll go with 7 biscuits), becomes the complete provision for Jesus to feed a multitude.

The feeding could not take place until the 7 loaves of bread had been brought to him. In the realm of natural understanding, this did not add up. You can't feed a multitude with only 7 loaves of bread. You're right....I can't.........but Jesus can. He told the disciples to bring to him what they possessed. Maybe that is what 2010 is about. Bringing to Jesus the things that we possess, all our talents, our strength, our finances, our intellect, our will, our passion and drive and give it to him, because we are not able to accomplish much outside of Jesus. We bring to him what we have and allow him to multiply and do so much more with it. Not a bad new years resolution....
Take it all to Jesus!

God on you.......
mb

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas To All

ISAIAH 9:6
"And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace...."

From the entire Bynum Family
Michael, Vicki, Chad, Robin, Tyler, Ashley, Josh, Heather
We wish you and your family a glorious Christmas.
That you may find, not in the presents but in the heart,
the reality of Christ.
Sin has been defeated.
No longer do you have to live in spiritual darkness
but can be brought into a right standing with God
through the shed blood of Christ.
No matter how dark your life may be, God is light.
No matter how deep the hole you may think you are in....
God is deeper still.
Know that we love you
We pray for all who visit this web site
Merry Christmas!
The Bynum's

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Who Were They?


We don't know their names....
Just a collective group of men doing a job....
A group of men outside the city on a hillside....
A group whose very lives reflected this truth of being "outside"...
They did not fit into the mold of being great men....
We don't even know their names.
Some may have had families......wives and children...
Others may have been single....
Being a shepherd was a lonely, hard job...
that usually gave birth to lonely, hard men...
We don't know their names....
Looking forward to the night....
they settled down for a meal and to share the warmth of
each others company and the fire in their midst.
Conversation of what might have been instead of what was....
We don't even know their names....
We not know their names....
but God did!
He specifically sent angelic messenger to them to announce
the birth of His Son, Jesus.
TO reinforce this announcement, the host of heaven (other angels)
joined in a collective praise to God
We don't even know their names.
The very first persons who knew of the culmination that would be the birth
of Messiah, the Christ, the anointed one...
Outside of Mary, Elizabeth and Zacharias and Joseph.....
were shepherds.
The very ones that were "outside" the city.
There was life in the city.
There was religion in the city.
There was culture in the city.
There was commerce in the city.
But God was outside with the Shepherds.
We don't even know their names.
I guess if I could take anything away from this story,
it would be that being on the inside does not always tie
you to God.
Sometimes, it is being on the outside...
the fringe....
that is where you find God.....
We don't even know their names.....
Merry Christmas!
mb

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Two's Day

Happy Birthday to my wife, Vicki! We had a family Boo-ha-ha at the Red Lobster last night.
Much food, much laughter, much love. It doesn't get any better than that.

I have down loaded the message from December 12th. Feel free to listen or download it. It has been a real blessing to me to be able to make our messages available to anyone who would like to hear them.

One of most favorite prophetic scriptures is found in the book of Micah.
Chapter 5 - verse 2.
But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting.

Here in these verses, we have the exact location of Jesus' birth. Not only the city (Bethlehem) but the location within that city (Ephrathah). Kind of like saying, "Hey! He is going to be born on 128th street and 4th Avenue." Even though this information was there written down in Scripture, the religious rulers missed it. Guy's from the East saw and understood what was going on. The wise men showed up in Bethlehem looking for the new born King. Herod and all his cronies stood there like bumps on a stump saying, "What king?" When questioned by Herod the spiritual ghuru's all began to quote prophecies but it was too little too late.They didn't "see" with the hearts and eyes that truth was given by God to those who would see.

I guess this is one of the things I fear the most in my relationship with God. Not that I do something wrong or mess up but that I simply "don't see" what is He is trying to communicate with me. I pray that God would keep my spiritual eyes clear and full of light so that I could see and hear and understand what is being communicated to me.

Let this be the season that we all see a little more clearer.
Here a little better the voice of God.
Feel the wind of His presence with even the slightest shift.
Merry Christmas!
mb

Monday, December 21, 2009

I'm Back


Yep! I'm back after a few days off. Vicki and I flew to Iowa City, Iowa last Thursday to see our son, Joshua, and his wife, Heather, graduate from the University of Iowa. Both received DMA's in Music Performance.
It was great to be able to spend with them both which was my Christmas present this year. The older I get, the more family and friends mean to me.
To get together to share a cup of coffee and some pie, to talk and laugh and just enjoy each other is better than any gift I could ever imagine.
Iowa in December? Cold. Three degrees cold. Snow piled up cold. Currier and Ives Christmas Prints cold. Vicki checked out the temp before we left and saw that it was 3 degrees for the high that day. She came to me and said, "I don't have clothes for 3." Truth is, I don't know many who do. God was gracious because the day we landed, the temperature was 28 degrees. It was wonderful to see the snow, but I'm not to crazy about driving in it. Slick spots and curves do not go together well.
We are counting down the days till Christmas. Somewhere in all the craziness and the hustle and bustle of the day is the birth of Christ. We celebrate the day, but not the reason sometimes. Oh, we give lip service to it. We may even take a moment of silence as a way to observe it. But what does it mean to celebrate the birth of Jesus? Truth is, the world doesn't understand. I think the answer may be found in the salutation that the angel gave to the shepherds when announcing the birth of the Christ child.
Luke 2:13-14
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth Peace to men on whom his favor rests."
Did you catch that?
It isn't peace on earth and goodwill to men.
It is Peace, the peace that comes from being saved and having a right relationship with Jesus.
This peace that rests only on those on whom God's favor rests.
What does that mean?
It means we are no longer enemies of God.
We have, through our salvation, have been made and put in right standings with God.
Our names are written in the Lamb's book of life and from there, upon pronouncement, we will be ushered into everlasting life.
What an incredible thought!
The things of earth do not matter.
The world doesn't know what to do with Jesus.
The world has no place for him. There was no room at the end when he was born and there is no room in the heart of sinful man today for Christ.
Christ continues to call out, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."
Today, if you haven't done so ever before, listen for the voice of Jesus in your heart.
Listen to his offer of peace............real peace.
This could be the best Christmas you have ever had.
Merry Christmas!
Good to be home.....
See you tomorrow right here at the Greene Street Letters.
mb

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Merry Christmas

I am going to be taking a few days off from the blog.
It is adventure time and the shire grows incredibly small
at this time of year.
The need to wander comes up and I must satisfy it.
I will return on Monday, December 21st
with new postings.
Thanks again to everyone who stops
by to read
The Greene Street Letters.
mb

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Liability

I know that relationship with God is not a balance sheet like in accounting, but I find myself sometimes with more on the liability side than on the asset side.
Maybe that is normal human behavior..........see the worst in yourself. After all the number one thing I hear from others when questioned about why they don't get saved is, "I'm not worthy."
Who decided this? They did. Why? Because they gauged their own self value against their past deeds and sins and they came up woefully short. I guess that is why scripture says, "There are none good, no not one."

For me, I am aware of how much time I waste.
Not that I need to have every minute of every day crammed with some form of religious activity.
But I do think I need to be a better steward of the time God gives me.
I find that my prayer life is not what "I THINK IT SHOULD BE." I guess I'll spend some time in prayer and ask God what He thinks. Ask Him to show me what the truth is about myself.
The very last thing I want to do is fall into a legalism trap where love for Him slides away and life becomes duty simply because duty is the name of the game. I think there is a healthy balance to life with Jesus. I just need to find it or be open to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

I don't know about you, but I grow weary sometimes of discovering new and stinky things about myself as far as my character and behavior goes. I know that God is giving me an opportunity to change and to allow Him to work in me, but you'd think (or at least in my flesh I feel this way) that you'd reach a place where you could take a breather or maybe even graduate to "Complete Human Being." I think that only happens when we die (Or Jesus comes back to get us). On the positive side, I guess I should rejoice that God is continuing to work on and in me. I'm kind of like I-20 in Atlanta.......always a work in progress. The fact that the work continues should be a source of encouragement not discouragement. Thank you, Lord that you haven't given up on me.

It's all part of the "growing up" process. I want to grow up before I grow older. Sometime growth comes through the pain we experience. One of my most favorite lines comes from a Pat Terry song....

And it's funny how pain can touch you...
And it only makes you better or it robs your heart and soul....
All and all it defines the separation.........

between growing up.......
and growing old............

Merry Christmas....
May you find Christ this year like you've never found him before.....

mb

Monday, December 14, 2009

Monday Already?

Weekends seem to fly by.
Fighting the "crud" this past week so yesterday was a day for rest and sleep.
It wasn't pretty.
Unlike the poem The Night Before Christmas, Mom was not in her nightgown and I was not in my cap, but we had in fact settled down for a long winter's nap.
She was on the couch covered up and I was in my recliner asleep, waking up only long enough to check out the score of the ballgames.

Saturday night meeting was very good.
The worship came together and all of us seem to find it easy to enter into God's presence.
I am grateful for that because some times it is a struggle to kind of center yourself and focus on God.
I taught on The Forgotten Man-- referring to Joseph, Jesus' earthly father.
In Joseph we see all the attributes of not just a man, but a godly man.
One who sought the will of God even at the expense of his own reputation.
We see Joseph's entry into Scripture in Matthew 1:16 where it lists his name only in conjunction with "husband of Mary". The first mention of Joseph and it is tied to the fact that his major contribution is he is the husband of Mary. Yet, with all the focus on Mary and the Christ child, Joseph went about the business of providing everything they needed, never seeking the limelight for himself.
I would that I could be like Joseph.
I would that all men would be like Joseph.

Get into the story and read for yourself all the attributes that Josephs displayed during Jesus' early years.

Merry Christmas!
See you tomorrow
mb

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Christmas Is Just The Beginning

Please, take the time to visit a good friend of mine and his blog.
Bobby Sparks posted an article by A.W. Tozer on Christmas that is well worth the read.
Everyone talks about Christmas.
How it has changed.
How it's all about the world and "stuff".
Do something in your own family this year to pull Christmas back from the commercialism.
Here is a link to Bobby's blog:

http://www.bobbysparks.blogspot.com

Merry Christmas!
mb

Cloudy and Clear

Cloudy and clear?
I refer to the weather and the ability to hear God.
I'm not always good at hearing God. Sometimes, well most of the time, when God communicates with me, I perceive it to be very, very faint......almost a whisper.
I have woke up the past two mornings at 2:30 and 2:35.
Really wasn't anything pressing on my mind or any sense of urgency.
I simply got up, grabbed my journal and Bible and went to the living room.
My quiet time was very good as I found myself in Deuteronomy 29.
In this chapter, Moses is talking to the people as God is going to renew the Covenant between Himself and the people.

V.18
Make sure there is no man or woman, clan or tribe among you today whose heart turns away from the Lord our God to go and worship the gods of those nations. Make sure there is no root among you that produces such bitter poison.

The idea is that we need to stay in check and guard ourselves against influences from the world that will draw us away from God. Daily I hear stories that say, "I have been saved but I made this choice to do what I did." The desires of the flesh trumped the call of God and permission was given to the body to go and defile itself.

V.19
When such a person hears the words of this oath, he invokes a blessing on himself and therefore thinks, "I will be safe, even though I persist in going my own way." This will bring disaster on the watered land as well as the dry."

We are called to relationship with God not religion.
This relationship denies the flesh and seeks God first.
It is not a "Get out of Hell" card that you can use at the appropriate time.
Take time this Christmas season as we approach the end of the year, to review and look over the state of your relationship with God.
Are you playing at being a follower of Jesus?
Do you have real peace?
Do you have contentment?
I would ask myself, "Why don't I?"
Reflect on the greatest gift ever given.....

"For unto you this day is born in the city of David, a Savior who is Christ the Lord!"
This event may have taken place over 2000+ years ago, but the power of it is still here with us today, able to save the most vilest of sinners. As Corrie Ten Boom so aptly put it, "There is no hole that is so deep that God is not deeper still."
Search for Him today.


Merry Christmas!
mb

Friday, December 11, 2009

Count The Cost


We are called to make a decision for Christ. Pastors will stand at the edge of the platform while the choir sings "Softly and Tenderly". "Come forward and ask Jesus into your heart."
No man ever decided for Christ, unless Christ had first decided on the man.
He chooses us.
He calls us.
A very simple call......"Follow me."
Ours is a very simple reply......"Yes, Lord."
Some hastily come forward without considering the cost of following this Jesus. I think that may be the reason so many fall away from the faith. They acted on emotion or intellect rather than accepting a call from the Holy Spirit. The first sign of trouble or temptation comes and they are so easily swayed to return to their old lifestyle, casting aside their "salvation" in order to be free from what they perceive to be the constraints of religion. How wrong they are.
In Christ, I am liberated to live life to its fullest. To live life the way I ought to, not the way I want to.
To spend hours studying the Word of God and sitting silent waiting for God to speak. To tell my story over and over as God adds to it every day. A verse here, an encounter there, a healing here. IT all adds up to a life spend for Him. What better way to spend yourself than on the Kingdom of God.
Food for thought
Merry Christmas...
mb

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Forgotten Man


In all the rush and haste of the Christmas season, one name and one name alone stands over in the corner aside from everything else. A forgotten man.....A man of great character.....
Joseph.....
Earthly father of Jesus.
We focus on Mary and the wonderful gift that she gave God. A body in which to come and live among his creation. A body that would become the payment for the sin of the world.
She gave her reputation, her future, her very self to God in order for the Holy Spirit to conceive a baby within her womb.
But always near by was Joseph.
He wanted to put her away upon learning of the pregnancy. Put her away is a polite term for ending the marriage arrangement. He would do so according to the law because.....that was just who Joseph was. A man of integrity and of his word.
God considered such a move on Joseph's part and sent an angel to warn him in a dream that everything that was happening was because God had deemed it to.
Don't you think that Joseph may have wished that the real events he found himself caught up in were a dream?
Joseph took Mary with him to Bethlehem.
Searching for a place for them to stay, finding none, he settled for a stall. Not really the kind of place you'd want for your wife who was expecting. But then again, beauty and splendor are sometimes seen in the unseen.
Joseph delivered the baby into Mary's arms.
He took care of the needs of his wife and his adopted son.
I think, as Jesus grew, he developed a love for Joseph. Here was a man who was unselfish and went about the business of husband and father with much love and integrity.
Joseph....he is a forgotten man.
But doesn't the Bible say something about the last shall be first?
Joseph took the lower place in this great plan that was played out in the midst of harshest times.
Joseph sought no honor for himself.
We don't read much of Joseph after Jesus' twelfth birthday.
As unannounced as his entry into Scripture, so was his departure.
He took on the task given to him and he saw it to completion.
I think we need more men like Joseph.
Merry Christmas
mb

Wednesday, December 9, 2009




The Fall of '69....
Freshman year in college.
Beautiful autumn afternoon and I'm walking across the campus.
Off in the distance I see a young man coming toward me.
Long blond hair, sweat shirt, jeans and sneakers.
As he draws closer to me, he suddenly lifts one arm into the sky
and holds aloft his index finger...
With a smile on his face he looks at me and says,"One way man! One way Jesus!"
This was a confirmation to me that the Jesus People movement that had begun
in California was now here in Alabama.
I remember the year before, 1968, during the fall, sitting at a table
with a young man from South Africa.
Winston Kennedy.
He had a passion that was contagious.
He loved Jesus and he loved to share his story.
On this particular night, Winston shared with me things from the Scripture that
I'd never heard before.
I had been raised in church but nothing like what he shared had ever been spoken to me.
Part of me was excited almost as if I'd stumbled upon some ancient secret that had long been buried and was waiting to be discovered.
Another part of me was fearful.
"Why had I not ever heard such things as this?"
"Why had my own church never spoken such things?"
I remember leaving that restaurant with the words of my best friend, Jim, ringing in my ears.
"There has to be more to this God than we are begin told."
"There has to be more"
Those words have followed me since 1968.
It has caused within me a desire to know God.
To not rest on what I already know but to never cease from following Him.
The longer I follow Him,
The better I get to know Him.
The better I get to know Him, the easier it becomes to trust Him.
The more I trust Him, the easier it gets to not be swayed by the corruption of this world.
I never assume that I have the complete knowledge of God.
I know only part.
I've said it before but my theology is fairly simple....
Like Paul, "I determine to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified."
Even within this simple statement of belief, God continues to unravel and illuminate my understanding of who He truly is.
Understanding that is not measured by intellect or information,
but rather by the change in my life as I grow
through the work of the Holy Spirit in me.
May you find a renewed passion for Jesus this holiday season.
May you fall in love with Him all over again.
Merry Christmas.
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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Hidden Places Of Worship

II Kings 17:9-10
And the sons of Israel did things secretly which were not right, against the Lord their God. Moreover, they built for themselves high places in all their towns, from watchtower to fortified city. And they set for themselves sacred pillars and Asherim on every high hill and under every green tree.
I find it rather odd that Israel could refer to God as "their" God but at the same time
carry on an illicit affair with other gods.
Not only believing in them but going as far as erecting and dedicating specific locations
for the sole purpose of worshipping these false deities.
Saying with their lips, "You alone are our Lord!" and all the while their affections and attention is set upon other gods.
I pray that I never find myself in this type of relationship with God.
One where I offer only lip service to him while all the time I am focused on serving another.
This is a good time of year for such a thing as I have written about to happen.
This time of year, people give lip service to the birth of Jesus.
We may even read an obligatory passage from Luke Chapter 2 in
order to soothe the religious spirit that rises up.
But our affections are turned toward gifts, parties, gatherings, and other such things.
Are these things evil? I don't think so.
But when we live the other 11 months of the year by not following the directives and
instructions of God, only to try and make up during the month of December......
Well, there is something wrong with what how we perceive relationship with God
to be lived out.
To me Christmas should be the culmination of a year spent growing in Christ.
To celebrate the beginning of the end of the power that sin held sway over mankind.
Christmas should be a time of gratitude and helping those who are struggling.
Truth be known, this is how we should live 24/7---365!
How can we ignore people for 11 months only to turn around in the 12th month and
pass along a bag of oranges and say, "God bless you!"?
Yes, December is a time marked to celebrate the birth of Christ....
but shouldn't every day be a celebration of living for Him?
Shouldn't we work and strive to love as He loved?
To do unto the least of our brethren as we would do unto Christ?
Look for Jesus today!
You'll see him.
You'll find him.
It won't be in the places you think you'd find him.
Merry Christmas!
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Monday, December 7, 2009

New Message Is Here!

Barry finished what I needed to download last Saturday nights message so you can listen to here on this blog.
Enjoy and may God place something inside of you that you can call on in the days ahead.
God on you............
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Monday --- T minus 18 Days & Counting

We have had a round of sickness go through the camp so the Monday download from Saturday night's service will be a little late. I promise I will get it on this blog as soon as possible.
Friday night, we hope to put up our Christmas tree here at Rapha. Vicki always does it up right, as she brings Christmas goodies and her "killer" hot chocolate for the guys. It's always funny when we put the tree up. At first the men stand off and don't say much as they just want to watch. Last year I even had some say, "I ain't puttin' up no tree and they can't make me!" These were the same ones who came through the door and jumped into the frey with both feet. Slinging icicles all over the place. Hollering at one another about the placement of Christmas ornaments.

Saturday nights meeting was special and different. Due to illness and my inability to sing, we had "Canned" worship. I played some selections by John Michael Talbot and it really set the tone for the evening. Teaching was on darkness and how Jesus truly is the "light of the world".
I hope you enjoy the teaching when I finally get it loaded.

Merry Christmas!
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Friday, December 4, 2009

It's All About The Timing

Luke 2:6
"And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born."
We read this verse and all nod in agreement that God's plan was moving
into the next phase or part or whatever you wish to call it.
God was sending his son, Jesus, into enemy territory to become
one of us.
To live among us.
Work among us.
Listen to us as we lived our lives around him.
The Luke 2 verse states that "the time came"
Most would think, well it means that the nine months for the
pregnancy was coming to an end.
That is one way to look at it.
Why not look even deeper into the term "the time came"
God had been enacting his plan for the salvation of humanity
ever since Genesis 3:15.
What if the phrase "the time came" actually referred to the
state of the world.
That everything was in place for Jesus to step from the throne room
of heaven, into a dark stable in Bethlehem.
All the pieces had come together for God to send His son.
The world was under Roman rule.
For the first time, a common language was used throughout the world.
This would be handy for the scriptures to be written and shared.
There was a common law.
Rome had built an incredible system of roads and highways for the
transportation of its army.
These roads that would transport the legions of Rome
would also transport the legions of Christ as
disciples and apostles traveled through out the land
taking the message of the gospel.
"The time came"
Elizabeth had already given birth to a son, John later named 'the baptizer'.
Roman rule had dictated that a census needed to be taken.
Strange that it would happen at this time because this
forced Joseph and Mary to return to Bethlehem, the
place of Joseph's ancestry.
God used a Roman ruler to make sure that prophecy would be fulfilled by seeing that the Christ child would be born in Bethlehem...the house of bread.
"The time came"
Reckon what events in our own personal lives are part of this process?
"The time came"
What is it God has done around you or through you that is all part of the plan
to bring you into His family?
What is happening today that could possibly be God declaring today to be
the day for the next part of His will and plan for you
to take place.
Never discount or dismiss God's ability to move the natural world around you
to effect His kingdom in you.
Never disconnect God's Scripture as being relevant to your life today.
Today might very well be
"the time came"
And Jesus called his children home.
Merry Christmas!
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Thursday, December 3, 2009

I Miss Him After All These Years



Last Wednesday was the anniversary of the day my dad died.
It's been 24 years and it seems like only yesterday.
I still find myself when certain things happen, thinking
"I need to call dad and tell him about this."
24 years is a long time. A lot has happened to me and my family. We have changed.
My oldest son was 10 years old when dad died.
My youngest was 8.
They remember him but not with great clarity.
My oldest is not 35 and youngest 32. Both married with families and jobs and future concerns, balancing life and chasing God.
My oldest son has a tendency to stand exactly like my dad did,
and he isn't even aware that he does it.
My dad didn't come to be saved until shortly before his death.
For that I am grateful.
Cancer robbed his brain and the ability to think straight.Near the end, my dad was no longer himself.
I remember getting the call at work on Tuesday that I had better
get to the nursing home where dad was.
Time was short and the doctor didn't expect him to make it through the night.
It's hard for a son to walk in and see what's left of his father.
By that, I mean a man who was tall and strong and had a voice
that was brusk and husky. Now here he lay a mere shadow of
the man he use to be.
Wires and tubes and equipment all around him.
The look in his eyes was of bewilderment as if to say
"Where am I? What's happened to me?"
Dad drifted in and out of sleep that afternoon and around 5 p.m. seemed
to make a swift turn around.
He woke up hungry ready to eat supper.
I stayed with him as the rest of the family left.
As dad ate supper we talked. I don't remember much about the conversation other
than he seemed in really good spirits.
He pushed his tray away and announced that he was finished with supper
and that he wanted to sleep some more.
I sat next to him praying over him asking for God's mercy to
be extended to Huley Benton Bynum.
Around 9 p.m. dad woke up.
Looking around the room, he turned to me and asked, "who are all these people?"
"What people?" I replied as there was no one in the room except for dad and me.
"They are everywhere! Look how bright their clothes are!"
I believe that at the point, the veil between this reality and the reality of heaven
was parted and my dad saw what lay beyond.
He continued for a few more minutes talking about all the people and what
they looked like.
Conversation seemed to be going on but he couldn't make out what they were saying.
Eventually he lay his head back on his pillow and closed his eyes drifting into sleep.
I stood over his bed and looked into the face of a man I had seen a gajillion times.
That night it was like I was seeing him for the first time.
He looked so peaceful.
He had lived a hard life.
Times were hard as he grew up.
He worked and his hands were hard and calloused to show the years of hard labor he had spent.
His wife, my mother, had departed this world four years earlier and somehow
I don't think he ever recovered from her death.
My mom and he had enjoyed the last few years of her life, going places and
meeting friends for meals and good times.
Without her, he seemed to be incomplete.
Now it was his turn.
Around 4 a.m. the nurse came by and said, "Don't you live nearby?" I replied, "yes."
She said, "why don't you run home and shower, change clothes and come back."
I didn't really want to but I was tired.
She said that she would sit with dad while I was gone.
I left.
As I walked in the front door of my home, the phone rang.
It was the nurse.
Dad had died shortly after I left.
She was very apologetic.
I assured her it was o.k., but deep inside I wished I had been there
with him.
Even to this day, the thought of my dad dieing alone is painful.
On the anniversary of his death, I remember all the good things about him.
How he loved his family.
His laugh.
His love for dogs.
At the end...
How he came to Jesus, old in years but innocent like a child.
I look forward to the day when family will
be reunited.
After all....
Family is all we have.
Merry Christmas!
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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

My Plans

The plans I make for my life aren't always God's plans.
Let me rephrase that.
The plans I make for my life are never the same as God's plans.
The one lesson I have come to learn is that when Scripture says I am to "Trust in the Lord"....it means just what it says.
I don't have to spiritualize it.
I don't have to say, "Well, it is speaking metaphorically".
What is, is.
I don't know how you feel about this, but God isn't too interested in our plans.
My plans usually involved what will bring comfort to me.
What can aid me in getting an advantage in life.
Plans that benefit me and bring nothing to God.

I hear some quote (I've been guilty of it) Jeremiah 29:11 - "For I know the plans I have for you", declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." We tend to quote this verse in a way that makes us thing that everything that is going to happen to us will be okey-dokey and top of the world. I don't know that it plays out like we tend to view it will.

Case in point: One couple, Joseph and Mary.
They had plans.
They were going about the business of making their plans and dreams come true.
Weddings....
Betrothals......
Parties.......
Family.......
A home and children.......
All the things a young couple looks forward to.
But before any of it can happen, God shows up. Well, actually the angel Gabriel speaking on behalf of God.

Here is a Michael B paraphrase of what the angel told Mary.....
"I appreciate all you have done. I know you have plans for your future, but God has other plans."
"You are going to become pregnant and give birth to His Son. The one you and your people have been searching for-----The Messiah...... The Christ."

Mary is thinking....."Wait a minute. If I'm pregnant before I am married to Joseph.......This might not be a good thing."
Here is the rub.
In life, we can reach for the good things.......
Or we can wait and receive the God things.....
Yes, there would be talk about Mary and her pregnancy.
Yes, there would be those who would cut ties to Mary and shun her.
But the plans of God took precedent over the plans of Joseph and Mary.
They became THE couple, picked by God to fulfill this particular portion of his eternal plan to redeem mankind and break the penalty of sin.

I must.....I must.....I must be willing to lay down my plans to pick up and receive God's.
It may not look like what I think it should.
It may not involve what I would want to do.
But in the end, the words of Jeremiah 29:11 still ring true.

Mary spoke and said, "I am the Lord's servant, may it be to me as you have said."

Merry Christmas!
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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Listen.....

Now is the time to see Christ anew.
Not with the tainted eyes of the world who only acknowledge a cardboard copy of the real person.
But with the eyes of one whose sin has been forgiven.
Each day that passes not only the person of Jesus, but the name is pushed farther and farther from the collective mind of this nation.
We no longer wish anyone to say "Merry Christmas" for that contains the name of Christ and it is an offense to people of intellect.
We wish to say "Happy Holiday's" because that is not offensive at all.
We wish to place the manger and Mary and Joseph and the shepherds and the wise men deeper and deeper into the back until they are no longer relevant.

There will be a price to pay for our arrogance.
There will be a price to pay for following the leading of darkened hearts.
Oh we can pat ourselves on the back and tell of how far humanity has come.
But when the distance humanity has come is measured in how far from the cross they are, this is dangerous territory to be living in.

Now more than ever we are in need of revival.
We are in need of a move by God's Holy Ghost because we are incapable of saving ourselves form this moral mess we have created.
The world says "Come and drink long and deep from the accomplishments of mankind!"
God says to "Be filled with the Holy Ghost!".
These two cannot be nor will they ever be in harmony with each other.

We need an awakening from God that will shake us to the very core of our being.
To awaken us to the folly of mankind.
To show us that we have traded the eternal things of God for the temporary things of this world. God forgive us!

Did you ever wonder why Christmas is such a terrible time for people? Why so many commit suicide during this time? Because the Christmas that the worlds offers is empty and only a facade. It purposes to show unity and love and family. Instead it only magnifies the emptiness in people because of the false hope it offers. Buy this! Spend money here! Don't leave home without your plastic! Fill up the emptiness with stuff. The world has become Esaau ready to sell it's eternal birthright for a bowl of stew that satisfies only temporary.

Scripture says in Luke Chapter 2 that the angels proclaimed on the night of Jesus' birth to the shepherds......"Peace on earth and goodwill to all men on whom His (God's) favor rests."
Those who know this peace and goodwill are those whose lives are lived out in shadow of the cross. It isn't about presents or eggnog. It isn't about Perry Como or Bing Crosby...it is about God stepping down into time and space to redeem mankind.

If ever there was a time we needed an intervention from God, it is now.
If ever a people were in need to be touched by God, we are those people.

God on you........
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411 on Luke

There will be a ton of messages taught using the book of Luke as the text during this Christmas season. It is all about the birth of Christ. To me, if you begin to read Luke and have a basic understanding of what was going on when all of these "divine" encounters began to take place you see the Christmas story in a new fashion or way.

So here are some facts that you might not have known about Luke and book that bears his name.

1.) Luke was a physician (Colossians 4:14)

2.) He was the only Gentile contributor to the New Testament

3.) Luke gives us the longest account of Jesus' birth (Could it have something to do with him being a physician?)

4.) Luke records 20 miracles / 6 of which are not recorded in the other gospels.

5.) He gives us 23 parables (teachings of Jesus) -- 18 of them found nowhere else.
A.) In particular, he gives us the parable of the prodigal son and of the good Samaritan.

6.) Luke records Jesus' appearing to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus.

Here is some insight to events prior to Jesus' birth.

1.) Between the end of the Old Testament writings and the announcement of the birth of the Christ child, there was a period of 400 years where no communication came from heaven. This was prophesied in Amos 8:11.

2.) Many self-proclaimed messiahs came and went during this time.

3.) Serving God had become even more a matter of ritual and tradition. Within all this silence and lack of communication from God, we found that some still remained true to God's call to be a holy people.......such as Zechariah and Elizabeth, the parents of John the baptizer.

Throw into this mix a sudden intrusion into our time and space of angelic visitors with communication from the throne of God as to coming events and you have God at work bringing forth his plans.

Don't let the commercialization of Christmas rob you of re-learning the true story of Christmas. A story of political intrigue and mystery. A story of families whose very lives were changed forever as they were called to follow God. A story of a baby boy whose birth shook the political foundation of a nation as a king searched to have him killed. People fleeing for their lives in the middle of the night, being warned in dreams of the intent of King to have their son killed.

Celebrate this birth.....
Hear the words again for the first time....."Unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, Christ the Lord."

Merry Christmas!
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Monday, November 30, 2009

Monday Offerings

Good Monday Morning! Thanksgiving is over and the world has entered the Christmas season with a vengeance. I pray that during this time you'll remember and maybe rediscover the reason for Christmas.

Today's audio offering is the message from Saturday night on STEP # 12. The need to know the "certainty of the things you have been taught."

The music is a really incredible version of Midnight Hour. Over the years of attending conferences and hosting watch nights, we have found that after midnight is when there is an intensity with meeting with God. The ol' timers use to refer to praying this way as "pushing through". They would tarry in prayer until God came which was usually late in the evening. I'm not so sure it isn't God's way of weeding out those who truly want from those who are not serious about meeting with Him.

Hope you enjoy the audio portions located on this blog.
God on you........
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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Know.....Not Believe

Sometimes in the process of putting together a message for our service, I will find myself parked in certain portions of Scripture that seem really odd at first glance. Such was the case yesterday as I was reading in Luke. It being the Christmas season, I though it might be good to begin to look into the portions of scripture that deal with the birth of Jesus.
Reading in Luke chapter 1, I found myself locked onto a particular verse........verse 4.

"So that you may know the certainty of the things that you have been taught."

Luke writing to a man named Theophilus wanting to provide for him an orderly account of the events surrounding Jesus' life and death (and resurrection). Luke driven by the thought of wanting his friend to know, understand, come to grips with and be settled once and for all time in his mind and life the value and truth of all that he had been taught.

Do you know without a shadow of doubt of the certainty of the things you have been taught? Or do you find yourself swayed and buffeted by popular opinion? Everyone has an opinion, especially during this time and day. Each person holds high their opinion as being a banner of truth. Truth has become an understanding that has no part in the everyday practice and ability to live life.
Truth may be that it is alright for you to be unfaithful to your spouse.
Or that cheating on your taxes is not a bad thing as long as you don't get caught.
When we do not know the certainty of the things we have been taught, then we are open to compromise and we will trade the eternal things of God for the shiny, flashy, temporary things of this world.

If we are not being taught the basic Biblical principals of God, how can we expect to live a life that is truly within the calling of salvation? We somehow have a constructed a religion that has found its place in the mainstream of Christianity that allows for the sin to be forgiven and justified without asking anything of the sinner. That is why it is important for you to know the certainty of the things you have been taught. If you are not being taught or you consider such things a foolishness ask yourself this question, "Why am I upset by reading this post?" Is it that the Holy Spirit has uncovered things in your life that you thought were o.k. but, in truth, were an offense to God?

Repent and turn to God.
Become a student of the Word of God.
Ask God to show you how to live.
Do it!

God on you...........
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Friday, November 27, 2009

Happy Day After

Happy D.A. Thanksgiving.
We had more food than the law allows and much nap time in the afternoon. Throw in some football games and family and you had the making of a Hallmark moment.
It was a good day for the Bynum's.

My brother called around 10 a.m. and announced that he was at home, that the doctor had released him. Wayne still has a ways to go in his recovery but we are all grateful for God's protection over him during this time.

Vicki will be preparing supper (dinner to you city folk) today at Rapha.
Turkey hash / pinto beans / turnip greens / and assorted other veggies.
She will make mini-pecan and pumpkin pies for each man.
Gallons of coffee and tea. So I look for a good time to be had by all.
This is her gift to Rapha as she likes to cook a meal out here.

I will turn my attention to our meeting tomorrow night in preparation for what God has shown me this week. Always kind of a nervous time for me. You'd think after 13 years of doing this I'd be better at it. Truth is, I am always asking, "What do you want to do, Lord?" and then wait for His answer. I guess it's the way He equipped me to pastor.

This will be all for today.
Thanks to each of you who stop by to read the Greene Street Letters.
Since Thanksgiving is over, I can officially say MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Until tomorrow.
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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Prayer Update

Thanks to everyone who prayed for my brother. Vicki and I drove to Birmingham to see him yesterday. Doctors were able to repair his shattered wrist, reconnecting the veins and arteries so he will have use of his hand. It was a major injury but Wayne (my brother) is in good spirits and upbeat about everything.
Since he lives close to UAB the doctor may release Wayne tomorrow. Wayne will be able to make trips easily back to UAB for therapy and further examinations of his wrist.
God is good.....
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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

There's Nothing Wrong With The Church!


In Matthew 16:18 we read Jesus' words....
"....And on this rock I will build My church and the gates of Hades (the powers of the infernal region) shall not overpower it (or be strong to its detriment or hold out against it.)
Psalm 127:1
Except the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; except the Lord keeps the city, the watchman wakes but in vain.
Jeremiah 7:4
Trust not in the lying words (of the false prophets who maintain that God will protect Jerusalem because His temple is there), saying, "This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord.
Matthew 21:13
He said to them, The Scripture says, My house shall be called a house of prayer; but you have made it a den of robbers.
Revelation 21:22
I saw no temple in the city, for the Lord God Omnipotent (Himself) and the Lamb (Himself) are its temple.
Jesus is pretty specific when it comes to speaking about HIS church.
You need to understand that I am writing this as someone who pastor's a church ( not a building but a group of people in community with one another learning how to be children of God)
I have to luxury of not having to function with a lot of "stuff".
I don't have to worry about programs or agendas.
I don't have to spend energy looking for bodies to fill teaching positions in Sunday School or to be on this board or that board.
I have the incredible (and believe you me I know that I am blessed beyond measure) privilege of simply teaching the Word of God to a group of men.
I have been surrounded or joined or met up (ever how you want to phrase it) with a group of people who share the same vision that I do.
Introduce people to Jesus.
Pretty simple huh?
Tell the story. Show them the cross and pray that God would come and heal blinded eyes, hearts and minds to the truth of the Gospel.
From time to time my old flesh gets in the way of what God wants to do and I find myself trying to make the church@Rapha into an animal it was never created to be.
God is patient because He knows me all too well. He knows that I will not beat my head against a wall for a long time before I come to my senses and say, "Hey! This isn't working."
Over the past 2 years, I have been content to let Saturday night service be what God wants it to be.
To simply let Him direct us in what to sing, what to teach and how to minister . In this current economic crisis (Which I tend to think may be more of God's work than we truly want to admit) God is showing us what truly is important.
The church has existed with a call given to us by Jesus.
Go!
Make disciples!
Teach them to do and say and act and walk and behave the way I taught you!
End of story.
In the going, feed the poor, visit the sick, pray for the demonized and don't stop.
Don't only tell about the Kingdom of God....
Demonstrate it as you allow the Holy Spirit to operate through you.
(that is the scary part!)
I believe that the church (the real church..true church....that which extends across denominational lines) is invisible.
It has not need to promote itself and is more concerned about "doing the stuff" or what Jesus has called us to.
That is a church that I want to be a part of....
Amen and amen.
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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 ...