Monday, August 31, 2009
First day back to work.
First day back in class.
Monday seems like the first day of the week.
The day of new beginnings.
We have a chance to make good on this week.
To do the things we should do.
To carry out the duties and call that God has placed on every believer.
A day of new beginnings.
What happened last week doesn't matter, in the sense that through repentance, confession and prayer........receiving God's forgiveness, we can stand here on Monday with a clean slate.
Psalm 5:8 reads:
Lead me in the right path, O Lord, or my enemies will conquer me.
Tell me clearly what to do, and show me which way to turn.
We tend to forget that these words were written by a King............David to be exact.
Even as King, David sought the Lord for direction.
We tend to want to use God as our "get out of jail free" card. "Hey God! I'll take it from here, but you remain on standby in case I get in trouble, then you can bail me out." How wrong could we be?
Every destination should be the result of consultation with God and following his directive.
Now, let's not make this "hearing God" so difficult. We want this "hearing God" to be so mystical and beyond our reach that we have an excuse for not getting life right. Trouble is, God made it very clear when Jesus said, "My sheep hear my voice and know me."
Learn to listen.
Go out and make Monday a great day.
Make it a "God" day.
God on you...........
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Feel free to visit the archives though and see what is there.
Thanks for stopping by the Greene Street Letters...
God on you.....
Friday, August 28, 2009
My computer screen illuminates the room with images and info
Words that draw you into the music.
They will discover what is truly inside themselves after seven weeks.
That it will produce a harvest.
I may not see the harvest but I know that you will oversee these men.
With whatever problem may be lurking in the shadows.
With whatever situation that may rear it's ugly head.
I will seek you.
I will seek you and your Kingdom.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
All athletes practice strict self-control. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run straight to the goal with purpose in every step. I am not like a boxer who misses his punches. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.
I have come to the conclusion that we are truly called to discipline (duh?) ourselves. I found myself at the doctor a few days ago and as I was sitting there, my mind was stuck on "you have got to control your appetite." Actually the word that came with that thought was "flesh." I have got to control my flesh. I don't think this was me simply thinking that I need to will myself and my appetite to do what I want it to, but I do believe that it was God telling me that it is important for me to bring discipline to an area of my life that I have struggled with for a long time..........my eating.
So after my consultation with the doctor, he explained what I needed to do and the benefits of seeing it through. It will be hard because I have given my appetite everything it has asked for. Even when I knew it was bad for me. It will take great grace from God to see me through this but I believe that is what this is all about.......God's grace. It isn't about me "looking better" or "making my life better" it is simply about bringing under God's grace an appetite that was out of control.
I don't have a low self-esteem problem so loosing weight isn't about "how my life is better and I feel better about myself." It is about God being God over every area of my life. Even those areas that I tried to believe He didn't really care about. Truth is, He does.
So pray for me if you will.
God on you..............
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
I have a picture of me when I was 4 years old.
I'm standing in the back yard with a pair of my father's work boots on.
They come up to my knees and are huge.
I remember clumping around in them trying to be like my dad.
I was trying to imitate him, be like him, walk like him.
Paul wrote in Ephesians we are to do the same thing except that the imitation we reveal comes from an inward change not just outward behavior.
In the verses from Ephesians, Paul refers to believers as "dearly loved children". Now some could take offense at that but it is really a wonderful label.
We are to be "child like" in our relationship with God, not childish.
Children have a wonderful capacity to believe what is told them.
We should do likewise in this relationship. Take God at His word and simply be who He has called us to be.
I have this kind of warped view of how thing work.
I have never believed that God has called us to "Do" first.
He has called us to "be". We are referred to as human beings, not human doings. Stay with me here. If I concentrate and expend my energy on being the man God has called me to be, then the doing will follow. This doesn't meant that I spend months or years on learning how to be before I ever do. No! The doing follows as you grow in God. Whereas you use to fear sharing your story with others, you will suddenly find a boldness and a willingness to incorporate what God has done for you into your conversation.
Somehow our thinking has been twisted. We bought the idea that if we "do" a bunch of stuff, then God will look at us like we are really growing when, in fact, we have not changed or grown in Him. Wouldn't you be really bummed to have spent your entire life running around making apple pies for God only to discover that God doesn't like apple pies? Sure you would. But what if you spent your life becoming the person God has always wanted you to be? That would be worth the time and energy as you allowed the Holy Spirit to truly guide you.
As Paul wrote......
"Think on these things."
God on you...
Monday, August 24, 2009
She is the greatest thing that happened to me. Not in the sense that I find fulfillment in her, God never intended us to find fulfillment in anyone other than him. Vicki brings a stability and completeness to me that aids me in finding God. She balances out our life together. After all these years I have found that we both bring strengths and weaknesses to the marriage. It is from this place that we find balance.
She still causes my heart to skip a beat when I see her.
She still is the love of my life.
She is everything God defined who woman and wife were to be.
She is strong and yet at the same time there is a fragility to her that reveals a side some never get to see.
She loves with a passion that is not selfish but continually gives away.
We, her family....her sons and daughters, grandchildren and husband are the recipient of this love.
She finds pleasure in the simplest of things. Cool mornings, a cup of hot coffee and the morning paper. Hugs from Tyler and Ashley. Holding hands and just taking a walk.
I love her in a way that is far beyond what I first felt back in 1972 when we married.
God has blessed us beyond measure.
So if you run into this lady............let it be known that her husband is crazy, head over heels in love with her.
Her laugh is unique and her smile is contagious.
I love you, Vicki
Jim Bentley / Wayne Wimpee / yours truly was in that area a month before it took place.
WoW! You guys were near the area. You almost were there. You might have breathed some of the air that would latter be breathed by the WHO or Jimi Hendrix. WoW!
WoW! Not lightning bolts or earthquakes, but goodness and kindness.
How about you?
Are you willing?
God on you............
Sunday, August 23, 2009
It was wonderful to see everyone and spend time talking and sharing memories of our time together at Etowah High School, but with a lot of my former classmates, there was a real sadness to their voices and their stories. Their faces didn't reveal this sadness as they were smiles and giggles and hugs all around, but the tone of what they shared let me know that maybe life didn't turn out like they had planned. Isn't that the way it always is? We have these really big plans and ideas about what we want to do and how we want to be and then situations and circumstances seem to thwart us at every turn.
I never was good at making plans.
By that, I mean long range goals or visions of what I hoped to accomplished. I am a "today" person. Always have been. I seem to thrive in the moment and adjust myself accordingly. This behavior is central to anyone in recovery from drugs and alcohol. One day at a time. Cliche' but very true. You take care of today and if you do that successfully, then your tomorrow is set up for you to succeed.
Last night's gathering only drove home the point that we don't have much time left here on this earth. Now, I'm not trying to be morbid or a harbinger of death, I just am stating a fact. We have less time now than when we graduated back in 1969. I want my time to be spent "being" the man God created me to be and do what He desires for me to do. Simple as that. Listen today and obey today.
If the truth be known, I would like for myself the description given in the last verse of the book of Job.
It describes Job this way:
"And so he died, old and full of years."
Isn't that a great line...........Old and full of years.
He died satisfied. The events and misery of his life was replaced in the later years by the goodness of God. That is my heart's cry, that is to simply die old and full of years.
I want to see my grand children grow up, finish school and have families of their own.
I want to see my sons and daughters grow deeper in their love for God and for each other.
I want to see my wife continue to grow in the place God has her.
I tell you that I truly am the richest man on this earth.
God has blessed me beyond measure.
Thank you Lord.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true:
"Death has been swallowed up in victory."
"Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?"
Here is to all the members of the graduating class of Etowah High School 1969 who are not with us today. In memory we celebrate your life tonight.
Even though this is an important event for us, there is a far greater event scheduled in the marriage supper of the Lamb. When the saints, the children of God, will be gathered to be presented to Jesus.
I can't wrap my head around how this is going to be. What it will look like, sound like and smell like. It is too much for my brain, but my heart knows that it is true. It will happen.
Please seek God and make sure that you are saved.
This decision to either receive or reject Jesus' offer of life is too big to play with.
May He find you and may you find Him today.
God on you......
Friday, August 21, 2009
This is the length of time Israel wandered in the wilderness after leaving Egypt.
Freedom had been granted them by God through the defeat of Pharohs and the false gods of Egypt.
Moses had led them out to begin the journey to what God referred to as the promise land, but a funny thing happened along the way.
The people begin to complain. "It's too hot." "I'm thirsty." "It would have been better to remain in Egypt rather than to be led out here in the desert to die."
God had had enough. He deemed that the children (because that was how they were acting) of Israel wander in the desert for 40 years until all who had come out of Egypt had died.
I have a good perspective on this length of time because tomorrow night I will go to join my fellow classmates in celebrating our 40th anniversary of graduation from Etowah High School.
So what has happened lo these past 40 years?
1969 - Graduated High School in May / Took a trip with youth group to Geneva, New York / that fall started at Gadsden State Junior College.
1970 - Joined National Guard in April / Left in May for Basic Training and A.I.T. at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.
1971 - Vicki Campbell and I start going steady / We become engaged later that year.
1972 - Vicki and I are married September 1st.
1973 - We move to Hanceville / Blountsville
1974 - Our first son, Chad is born in March
1975 - We move back to Gadsden
1976 - I work for Independent Insurance Company
1977 - Our second son, Joshua, is born / My wife's father, Eldred, dies of a heart attack.
1978- I become manager of Pizza Boy in Anniston
1979 - We move back to Gadsden from Anniston / Vicki and I begin to attend Central United Methodist Church where I meet up with a group called Christian Brothers.
1980 - We come back to God after a long journey in darkness
1981 - My mom dies from pancreatic cancer
1983 - David Finlayson and I begin to play under the name DREAMER
1985 - My dad dies from cancer
1986 - 1988 - I begin to play with a band / Son's & Brother's. We play all over the state. Mostly original music. I begin to write more songs.
1989 - I attend my 20th anniversary High School reunion / Brook Finlayson, David Finlayson and I play under the name THE GUISE.
1991- I go to the Vineyard for the first time / July 15th, invited by Brook Finlayson to play bass with the worship team. I am taken by the worship.
1992 - What was the worship team at Vineyard Gadsden becomes PERMANENT WAVE BAND. the name comes from the description of what God was doing at the time as the renewal was beginning to be raised up. We were given the title of 3rd wave evangelicals. SO we took that and made it Permanent Wave.
1993- I leave Western Sizzlin to go to work for the Electronics Department of Mid-South
1994 - May 20 God speaks to me to start a home group for worship, sharing, and learning how to minister. I contact Jim Bentley, Pastor of Gadsden Vineyard. He offers me a place to learn how to conduct a home meeting.
1997 - I am ordained as a minister on July 6th / I take over the Sunday morning service at Vineyard. I call it "NEW COMPASSIONS" based on the verse from Lamentations Chapter 3 which states that the Lord's Compassions are made new every morning. Vicki and I celebrate 25 years of marriage by renewing our vows.
1998 - I begin full time ministry on August 1st. / Later that month I begin to go to Rapha Ministries as a volunteer worker. (Rapha is a Christ Centered Drug and alcohol rehab)
1999- August 21st we begin a Saturday night service at the Vineyard for people in recovery or still trapped in their addiction. My oldest son, Chad, and his fiance', Robin, are married.
2000 - We move to an every Saturday night service.
2002 - I begin a Sunday morning service as well as a Wednesday night meeting. My grand son, Tyler, is born
2003 - We close down the Saturday night meeting.
2004 - I continue to pastor at Vineyard Gadsden, but now also work full time as staff Pastor at Rapha. My youngest son, Josh, and his fiance', Heather, are married.
2005 - Later part of the year, God reveals that my time with Vineyard Gadsden as a staff member was coming to an end.
2006 - My time ends as a staff member of Gadsden Vineyard. I preach my last sermon at Gadsden Vineyard on April 28th. That same day, I preach my first sermon at Rapha. We being a Sunday Morning service with Rapha. My grand daughter, Ashley, is born.
2008 - We move the Sunday morning service to Saturday night and see an increase in what God is doing.
2009 - 40 years have passed. Here I am today, August 21st / 57 years old. / I continue to see the hand of God at work. I am humbled that he continues to work through me and in me. I pray that God would give me 58 more years to serve him. No matter what happens, I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have entrusted to him until that day.
God on you.....
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Tme to get rid of all the junk that we carry around.
and a whole host of other such things that eat at our soul, fill our head with junk thoughts, and keep us from seeing and hearing Jesus and the truth.
Chunk it today....
Tell Jesus, " I am so tired of carrying this stufff around. I give it to you. Forgive me for trying to live my life and control it without you. Please let Your Holy Spirit come and juice me, fill me, dwell and live inside me.I will follow you."
Amen and Amen
God on you today....
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God.
From time to time, I find myself whining and complaining about how "dark" spiritually our nation has become. The Government is corrupt. People are self-centered. Some churches only tickle the ears with smooth words and false promises. Where is God?
Yet every time I act this way, I am reminded of Noah.
Think about this.
He was the only righteous and blameless man on the face of the planet. Everyone else was corrupt. Imagine the pressure that came from neighbors and so-called friends. I don't think Mr. Noah got invited to too many parties and get together, do you?
I love the last part of this verse. He Walked With God!
Noah wasn't guided or lead by the call and dictates of this world. His mind, heart, spirit and soul were set on following God. He did not have access to a Bible. He didn't have Christian radio and television. He simply had a relationship. In our day and time, we feel like we have to have all the trappings..........the worship Cd's, the latest DVD from the latest conference. The hottest, greatest new word from the Christian author of the month. Funny...........Noah just had God.
Maybe simpler is better.
Noah simply did everything God told him to do.
He trusted that God knew best.
God gave him a plan to survive. Build an ark,leave everything else to God.
Noah carried out the plan.
Day after day. Year after year...building that ark.
Do you think there were day's that Noah wanted to quit? I do.
It would be hot. Sun beating down. Neighbor's walking by where the ark was being built. "Hey Noah! You want to go fishing? Oh yeah, that's right....you've got to build a boat and we don't even live near any body of water large enough to float it........bwahhhhhh!"
Noah kept on.
We don't always understand the "whys" of God. We are called to "do".
Noah, during the most corrupt time the world has ever known, walked with God...was blameless among his generation. God used this man to save humanity.
Not a bad way to be remembered.
God on you....
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
There was (and continues to be) so much really good music that is written by men and women who hearts are turned to Jesus. At the same time, Coroporate Christian Music is being churned out like pre-formed patties from the local Hamburger chain. All fluff and no substance.
This is the music I was brought too when I was saved. Terry Taylor, Daniel Amos, Phil Keaggy, Larry Norman, Randy Stonehill, Honeytree, and others.
There is such a difference in the music these people wrote and played and recorded and what is being passed off today as "Christian" music."
Enjoy this song and worship!
God on you.
Monday, August 17, 2009
Glenn still burns for Jesus.
One of the original Jesus People, Glenn started a commune in dowtown Chicago in the early 70's. He gathered the hopeless and the homeless. He provided food and shelter for what has come to be a family. They give back to the neighborhood and city they live in.
No one would have picked Glenn to head up such a project and that my friend is the heart of the gospel. Those who can't or shouldn't, are picked by Jesus to do. TO give away freely what has been given to them.
Glenn also is lead singer and guitarist for REZ BAND.....one of the kickingest groups that came out of the Jesus movement. They still have a message and punch today that is not covered over with the syrupy stuff that is being produced in corporate Christian Music places.
God bless Jesus People!
God bless Glenn Kaiser
For Thou hast delivered my soul from death, Indeed my feet from stumbling, So that I may walk before God in the light of the living.
There are some things concerning God and the relationship we have with Him that we will truly not fully understand until we move from this life to the next.
The extent of deliverance that was afforded us by God's hand.
The love and compassion that was poured out upon us that enabled us to carry on and not quit or give up.
The obstacles that were either cleared out of our path or placed in such a way that we walked through them and over them and didn't stumble or fall.
It is for this reason that God calls us to remembrance. To take time from our day to reflect on the events that have happened. To ask God to reveal himself in those events so that we can see where we succeeded and where we failed. This is all part of the learning process and growing in His Spirit.
To rejoice for the journey and what we are being taught.
To praise Him for the fact that He hasn't simply cast us out and commanded us to do the best we could. No! He calls us to follow. To watch and wait and move when He moves.
Thank you, Father for your loving hand of guidance today.
May it rest upon all who read this.
May we become more aware of your presence and voice with each passing day so that we may be obedient.
In Jesus name,
God on you......
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Matthew 13:45-46 - Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had, and bought it.
There are a million different explanations that people give for this verse. Some try to spiritualize it and make it out to be a metaphor for following Jesus. They reason that you only have to mentally surrender everything you are and have in your mind and that by doing so, you are free to follow Jesus but still keep "your stuff." I don't know that I see it this way. I think pretty much what you see and read is what you get. Simply put, it costs everything to follow Jesus. Your family, your possessions, your job, your future.....everything. How could anyone ever hope to be willing to take on such a task? well, the answer is found in the verses we read. We must realize the value of what we have found........the kingdom of heaven. We must weigh this against our life and situation, coming to the knowledge that the things of God totally outweigh the things of this world and of my life.
It isn't an easy thing to do and I believe because of this, that is why so many are either falling away or not trying. They cannot see the value of the kingdom of heaven. The value of life with Christ. In other words, hearts are still in love with the things of the world. We cannot love God and world at the same time. I know this all too well as my old nature truly wants to have the old life I use to have. Truth of the matter is, I don't really want that life....but the temptation and thought to return to it visits me from time to time.
I pray that my heart only intensifies in love for the kingdom of God and for his son, Jesus. As each day passes and I get a little older, I find less of this world that draws my attention. I don't know how to explain it. Maybe it's the Spirit of God at work in me changing me and my outlook. I find myself spending more and more time in the Bible. Not because I have to, but because I want to. Hear me! This is not a blog to promote me or my lifestyle. I can only speak from what I know and what I know is what takes place around me and in me. I can walk through Wal-mart and look at magazine and books and think to myself, "I would like to buy this and take it home to read it." That thought is followed by, "No you wouldn't........remember...you're studying Hebrews. Wouldn't you like to find out what comes next?"
I am longing to see more of God in our meetings on Saturday night and I know, as spiritual authority at Rapha, that will happen as I surrender more and chase God. That is what I am striving for. Like the apostle Paul, who I never claim to be like, I want to forget the past. Put the past behind me and strain forward to lay hold of that which has lain hold of me.
I want to see the pearl of great price and sell everything to possess it. Only by your will and your spirit, God. Help me!
Sell everything you own and buy this pearl.
God on you...
For the word of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
We saw the power of God and the word of the cross last night in our service.
I had a message prepared, but I threw it out because God wasn't really interested in hearing what I had to say. He had His own agenda. I tend to let Him take over since it is His meeting and His church.
We had two testimonies concerning God's intervention in the lives of people.
One of those who testified desperately needed a new car. Not necessarily a 2009 vehicle, but something more current than what they were driving. Their current vehicle was on its last legs and was only a matter of time before it would die on them. Not having good credit seemed to be the sticking point in buying a newer car. But God worked it out. Not only did He work it out, they were able to secure a good deal that would allow them to pay the car off in no time. The price was knocked down $3000.00 which made the care more than affordable. You Go God!
The next testimony came from a man whose son had come to see him during our last visitation. They approached me and asked if I would pray for the son. He had been diagnosed with cancer of the bladder and looked like he was going to have to go through a series of surgeries. We prayed for God's healing to take place. It did! The son went to his doctor for a check up before surgery was scheduled..........and they could find no sign of cancer. The doctor said it was a miracle. Praise God!!!!
Foolishness to some is the cross of Christ.
To us who are being saved, it is the power of God.
God on you......
Saturday, August 15, 2009
V.1 - O Lord, our Lord, How majestic is thy name in all the earth, who has displayed thy splendor above the heavens!
I love the way David states this. He claims God for himself as he writes "O Lord, our Lord." We have to truly understand that we are His and He is ours. We abide in Jesus and Jesus abides in us.We can see the name of the Lord if we look around ourselves.
God told Moses that His name was "I AM". The name of God is open ended and by that I mean you can add to the name of God what ever it is you need Him to do. If you need salvation for your life today, then you can cry out to God whose name is "I AM SALVATION." If you need peace and assurance in your life and heart, then cry out to God whose name is "I AM PEACE AND ASSURANCE."
V.4 - What is man, that Thou dost take thought of him? And the son of man, that thou dost care for him?
Me, with all my mess........all my sin.........all my stuff that I carry around......and God still takes notice of me and wants to have relationship with me. Why? Because I am part of His creation. I am the reason that Jesus walked out God's plan for restoration. Jesus willingly went to the cross and gave His life. No one took it. No one killed him. He gave up His life to pay the price for me and everyone else who has lived and is living and will live. That if we confess with our mouths that Jesus Christ is Lord, and believe in our hearts that God has raised Him from the dead, we will be saved. Dude! That is heavy duty stuff.
Find God today.Open up your heart to the pure, unadulterated fact that your Father in heaven loves you and wants you to come to Him. Whatever your problem............whatever your situation.........what ever your lot in life..........His desire is that you come to Him and begin anew this relationship you were created to have.
Turn your eyes upon Jesus....
Look full in His wonderful face....
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim...
in the light of His glory and grace........
God on you.............
Friday, August 14, 2009
You say, "I am rich. I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing. But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked."
We have two types of churches in America.
1.) The professing church - They gather on Sunday's. Sing the songs. Put money in the offering plate and go away lost in their sin, thinking themselves to be at peace with God.
2.) The true church - these people exists sometimes within the professing church. They have a heart for God and for His work. They don't wait for someone in the church to tell them what to do, they are about their Father's business daily. They love His word. They love to talk and listen to the Father.
Which group do you belong to?
God on you......
Thursday, August 13, 2009
The weather is definitely "Alabama". Hot and humid. Sticky and miserable. Yet even in this, I thanked God for His love and presence. I always, in a jokingly way, tell the guys when they complain about how hot it is, to think about hell. That will cool you off.
Interesting thing in my reading this morning.
I Timothy 1:2 - To Timothy my true son in the faith: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
Paul has written many letters to many different churches and people, yet here in I Timothy, we have the only time that Paul used the word "mercy" in one of the introduction in his letters.
Mercy is God giving us what we don't deserve and keeping from us that which we do deserve.
What is it I don't deserve? Eternal life with Him. Salvation. Reconciliation. All of those are thing that God, from a heart of love, pours out on those who receive him. What is it I do deserve? Easy........hell! I earned it. I worked for it before I met Jesus. Hell was to be my reward for the sin I committed. But here again, God paid my price for me to redeem me into the Kingdom of heaven.
The richness of God's mercy. It has substance beyond that which I can comprehend. Mercy that elevates me to life with God. Mercy that was given to grow me, stretch me and make me into the man God wants me to be. Hebrews says that I find grace at the Mercy seat or throne of God. Think on it. God who will ultimately come to judge the world for their sin, sits on a throne of mercy that is made available to me. I can come before Him with my prayers and petitions. What mercy that is! My life isn't a series of random events that unravel and unfold, but rather is directed by the hand of God and through it all...................Mercy is poured out to me.
Think on God's mercy today. I mean really ponder it. How would your life have turned out had God not shown you mercy? Where would you be today if not for God's mercy?
Then thank God for mercy. Be grateful today. No matter what you state in this life, no matter what your circumstances, they could be worse. Be grateful today.
God on you.......
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
10 years ago.
I was associate pastor for Gadsden Vineyard Church and was putting the final plans together to begin hosting a Saturday night service for people in recovery and those who may be trapped in addiction.
There was no such animal as Celebrate Recovery at this time.
No other churches were having Recovery meetings.
I wasn't sure how it was going to play out or what it would even look like.
I just knew that God was leading me in this direction.
On this day 10 years ago, Wayne Wimpee (a good friend and brother) stopped by the church and told me that God had given him a verse for me. Cool! I'm always up for anything God wants to do.
Wayne felt like it was connected to the meeting we were going to hold, which we referred to a HOUSE OF BLUE. A lot of people have asked me about that name and why we didn't use BLUES as in the concert hall made famous by Dan Akroyd. Well, we felt that blue (singular) was appropriate because it is the color of revelation. Blue is the color of an open heaven, one in which God's communication comes through to us. That was the heart of what we were doing as a group. We wanted people to run into the real God. We wanted them to go away from the meeting with a "Wow!" factor going on their hearts. And that is what happened.
The verse that Wayne brought to me was Psalm 134
Praise the Lord, all you servants of the Lord who minster by night in the house of the Lord.
Lift you your hands in the sanctuary and praise the Lord. May the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth bless you from Zion.
I have held onto this verse ever since that day and it has defined who we were and are.
In May of 2008 we moved our Sunday service at Rapha to Saturday night and the dynamic of the meeting changed drastically. Why? Because I have God's favor to do a Saturday night meeting. Why? Because the people I deal with come alive on Saturday night. They use to come alive for the devil but now they do so for Jesus.
It is a sight to see.........
God on you.....
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
It's isn't your typical church meeting but it does reflect who we are as we are seeking to follow Christ from our addictive past to our new future.
If you would like to receive a CD copy of our meetings, just E-mail me at
I would be happy to mail you one each week.
God on you.......
How many times have I skipped over them without much thought? A bazillion.
"what words," you may be asking.
In the beginning God created.............
Just that little word "created". To understand what is wrapped up in that is more than my mind can grasp.
The idea that God, first of all, was before time is pretty good one to wrestle with. What went on? What did He do? Where was He? But when the first second of the first day of the first moment of creation took place, there was God and He had a plan.
To have a plan means that God possesses logical, orderly thought process. I'm not trying to give God human characteristics, but our way of thinking sprang from His way of processing and thinking. I am well aware that Scripture says that His thoughts are higher than mine. That is a really nice and sweet way of God saying, "Hey boys.....don't even try to understand some things. That is why I gave you faith."
Looking at the colors in a sunrise takes my breath sometimes.
Feeling my grand daughter's little arms around my neck fills me with love.
Seeing the dog collar my dog wore before she died fills me with sadness.
Seeing my wife's face first thing in the morning fills me with peace and comfort.
All of these things are a part of God's creation.
To fathom the depths of His love for this creation is beyond my comprehension.
Yet I know His love is a part of it all.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
In this creation, we can look around and see the destruction that sin has brought to it.
But I am comforted to know that God's plan is to restore this entire world back to the way it was originally intended to be.
Today, I want to simply find comfort that God's plan has not been thwarted or stopped.
That no matter how much darkness I see......
No matter if it 'feels' like darkness is winning......
God is in control.
I find much peace in this thought.
God on you.......
Monday, August 10, 2009
Had to put our family dog down on Saturday. She got loose from our backyard and vanished. She showed up Saturday afternoon around 4:15 p.m. in my neighbor's yard and she was hurt bad. The injuries were more than we knew what to do with so we called the vet and met him at his office. He told us that Chance might have a better chance of surviving had she been younger, but due to being 13 years old, her age made it a sure bet that she would not survive. It was a hard decision but we opted to have her put to sleep rather than watch here suffer.
I held her and told her what a good dog she was, and she truly was that.
It didn't take long. Now she doesn't have to suffer any more.
I made the statement Saturday night at our service that I was glad Chance was in heaven. The guys all had this really weird look on their faces as if to say, "You don't believe that there are animals in heaven do you?" Well, yes they are. Haven't you ever read in Revelation where Jesus is going to return? Well He isn't coming back in a Kia Rio....He's coming back on a white horse. Last time I checked, horses were animals. "Well, Mike, I think white horses are a metaphor." Really? Prove it! I think they are animals. Nuff of that.
The meeting Saturday evening was really good.
Message was from Hebrews 12:1 about finishing the race.
Worship was passionate and the guys seem to be learning how to turn loose and worship in freedom.
This week is full of possibilities and problems and good things.
Let's see what happens and let's wait on God as the week unfolds.
God on you..........
Saturday, August 8, 2009
Not a very educated man, but a smart man.
Common sense and a desire to provide for his family was what drove him.
He worked a blue collar job at Republic Steel plant.
He was a millwright. He worked with a team of men who made sure the machinery was maintained and kept running. Should something break, the millwright's went in to repair it.
My Dad went to work every day. Rain, shine, sleet, snow, heat, cold.....it didn't matter. He went to work.
He never missed. Not one time did I hear him complain or even contemplate changing jobs.
He did what he had to do without fanfare.
He did it because that was what dad's did. They worked. They earned a living to provide for their families.
I think we have lost some of this attitude in the family of God.
Times have seem to set a standard where every one gets to be recognized for simply doing what they should be doing all along.
We have this collective conscious that seems to dictate the need to pull people into the spotlight for adulation and adoration from the believing masses. Where is that in Scripture? I don't read it anywhere.
II Timothy 1:15 reads:
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
We find our approval in living for God, not in the praise of man.
We find out contentment in doing what is expected of us, not in the praise of man.
There is only one spotlight and that place is occupied by God. I don't share time with Him.
Think about it.
In Scripture we read where rewards, crowns, will be given out at the judgment of works of the believers. How many crowns will I get? At least one, simply for overcoming to the end. After everyone has been given their reward, we will take them and lay them at the feet of Jesus because He is the sole reason we got them in the first place.
Conduct your life and your walk with God in humility (I'm talking to myself now)
Do it quietly and with the purpose that God has called us all to.
Be leery of those who seek attention and praise for themselves.
Give away freely.
Ask and keep asking your Father.
Let God be God in your life.
God on you......
Thursday, August 6, 2009
One of the first Jesus songs I learned after being born again.
Larry Norman spoke the only way he knew how. Through his music.
It was an honest look at Jesus. The voice was true, the word was power and the Holy Spirit changed lives.
Larry is a part of my Christian heritage as important as Martin Luther or Calvin. You may disagree and I would find no fault with you. But God used Larry Norman to change my view of Christianity. Larry put to music the truth that Scripture tells us. Please do not misunderstand me. Nothing replaces the truth of God. But to those of us who are touched by Music, well God used Larry to fill in a lot of the chinks.
I miss Larry....
As I do Mark.....
Hope to see'em one day. Mabye make some tunes together.
God on you............
Honeytree....what a voice.
Compared to todays recordings and style this is pretty tame stuff, but you sometimes forget what was going on when this song came out.
The Jesus People movement had spread across the country from California. Even here in Gadsden, Alabama we were affected by it. Campus Crusade for Christ came into our school and we listened. They were young like us and the told us things that we were not hearing in our church. They "let us play" by that I mean they let us be leaders of groups and teach Bible Studies.
The music that came from the Jesus People Revival was new. There wasn't anything called Contemporary Christian Music (which is a term I've always hated). Stephen Chapman of the group DOGWOOD said that he played "Journey" music.
Honeytree is one of the founding members of the music that took our hearts captive. Her voice, her style, her love for Jesus is all very evident as she sings this song, Pioneer. And by the way....Those of you who might bring up the ugly topic of "Well, they only do it for the money!" There wasn't any money to be made in Jesus Music when it first came out. People such as Barry McQuire, Love Song, Andre Crouch, Phil Keaggy, 2nd Chapter of Acts toured and sang and played because they love Jesus, not because they thought they could get rich.
Enjoy the song PIONEER.
God on you......
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Study in the Word about Jesus and the cross He carried.
God on you................
In referring to church, John Wimber use to say that you had two kinds.
1.) Structure in search of life, or
2.) Life in search of structure.
He maintained that most churches were structure related and sought to fill the structure with life. Events were planned. Agenda's were set. People were put in place and the energy of the people was to bring life to those spots. John held that this view was more man driven than God driven.
John held that if a group of people were hungry for God and were chasing Him in their daily lives (in other words searching for life), then this chase would seek out structure. He earnestly believed that the life had to come first. With the life came the ability to adapt and change as God directed. If you were structure oriented then the structure (or the way you do church) would become static and unchangeable. How many times have you heard the phrase when referencing church life, "We've never done it that way before." Almost a battle cry to the stubbornness and hardness that sets in when a church looses the life it so desperately needs. Through my own experience, change is the fuel that runs the kingdom of God. Not change that we can invent, but change as God directs in turning us into the body He desires us to be.
This brings me to the point about the body of Christ. I interact a lot with the body through the different people I have connection with. The body of Christ comes alive for me when the phone rings and it's Seth Barber wanting to share about what is going on at the Grace Recovery Meeting. The body of Christ is when I see Debbie Handy and she pours out her heart concerning what God is doing in Worship and how there seems to be a new season or a freshness to the music. The body of Christ is when Barry Hooks and I sit down and go over scripture and it relates to those in recovery. The body of Christ is when I am walking across the compound and I see John Arrington meeting the needs of those who haven't any means. It is breakfast with Jim Bentley and Bobby Sparks. It is a Thursday morning meeting with Lane Smith. It is a phone call from Donnie George asking me to come to Celebrate Recovery in Centre. The body of Christ is so varied and vast that it seems to evade a definition that comes from the mind of man. Since it is His body.....
I think I'll Jesus define who and what it is!
Thanks for stopping by GREENE STREET today.
God on you.......
Monday, August 3, 2009
Seems as thought they roll around too often and too quick.
Here we are going into August and it only seems like New Years Day was only a couple of weeks ago. I don't think time really flies just my perception of it. Last time I checked there was still 24 hours in a day and those hours were still made up of 60 minutes.
We baptized two on Saturday. I've said it before and I'll continue to say it. The two biggest thrills I get in life are seeing someone come to a saving knowledge of Christ and then be baptized. I can't imagine what it must have been like to have been John the Baptizer, standing in the Jordan day after day as an endless line of people came to be baptized.
Not sure what the week has in store.
I guess I'll just leave that up to God and try and follow where he is leading.
We have a good number of new men here in the camp so that means a lot of time talking. Trying to get an understanding of what is going on in their lives. Lot of prayer over each man that God would draw them from the blindness and spiritual darkness they have been living in and begin to speak to their hearts, minds and spirits.
I am on the upside of this crud (for those who may not be familiar with the term 'crud', it is any sickness..in this case it is an upper respiratory infection). Feel really good during the day time but the night time comes and I am hammered down. Hard for me to sleep, so I spend time in my chair in the living room watching infomercials about "shamwow's" and "colon cleansing". Television just doesn't get any better than this.
In all of this that I have shared there is one inescapable truth.
God is still God.
God is still in control.
His word is still "yes and amen."
For I am not ashamed of the Gospel (Good news) of Christ, for it is God's power working unto salvation (for deliverance from eternal death) to everyone who believes with a personal trust and a confident surrender and firm reliance to the Jew first and also the Greek.
May you find Him today....
God on you........
Sunday, August 2, 2009
God had warned them repeatedly to turn from their sin, but His word fell on deaf ears and hard hearts. This lead me to begin looking at the state of our country and the church today. The very last thing I want to do is cast dispersion or lump into one group . There are those churches and people who do hold fast to the word of God in their life. I fear that these are the minority.
We have lost our moral fiber and desire for God. Self has become the monument erected to the good name of humanity. We almost have a "Bable" mentality. Genesis 11:4......Let us make a name for ourselves.
On the surface it sounds good but behind the words is a heart of pride that seeks to exalt itself over the Lord God. They were seeking to build up and reach God in their own efforts and strength.
Today people are doing the same thing only God is not in the picture anymore. We have fallen totally under the belief found in Genesis 3 that was spoken by the serpent.
The great lie of Genesis 3:5 - For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God knowing the difference between good and evil and blessing and calamity.
We have pushed God aside. We are gods in our day and time. We are a force to be reckoned with. Oh we give the obligatory mention of being a Christian, but only when it benefits us.We actually seek to create God in our image rather than be conformed to His.
Today's pulpit if for personality not power and purity. Sound mad? Maybe I am. But I want to be careful lest I find myself becoming a Pharisee. There is a fine line between speaking the truth of God and judging by the flesh.
Now is the day...
Now is the time to repent and turn to God.
The Federal Government isn't going to save you.
The wisdom of the age is not going to bring you comfort.
That comes only from the one who created you.....The Lord God himself.
God on you..
Last night's service was really good and with each one that passes, we are learning what God is trying to do with us. We are turning into a time of celebration and testimony. A time where the group gets to share and add what God is doing in their life. It doesn't have to be about me and some teaching that I have. Being the pastor, I am the least important part of this equation. I am merely to help guide and facilitate the group.
Shane Elmore came back and as always, had something to share. Shane is a true work and evidence that God can bring a life back from the edge. Shane didn't really want to be at Rapha when he first got there. He was consumed with his girlfriend and what was going on in the outside world. He didn't really care about getting sober and learning how to live life on God's terms. But that all changed. Shane was caught with a cell phone which is a major offense. After much deliberation, the staff decided to send Shane back through the 7 week program. This got his attention and dedicated himself to the task of finding this God and doing what He said to do. Since leaving Rapha, Shane has started a Celebrate Recovery in his home town and oversees it. He makes a circuit of celebrate recovery's in other churches and helps any way he can. He truly is proof of what Rapha stands for.When Shane speaks to our group, he carries some weight since he has "been there / done that".
The worship music was right on as each song seem to speak to the room. Debbie Handy, Wayne Wimpee, Barry Hooks and I comprised the worship team. We have been playing together at Rapha for 3 years and have become comfortable with each other to the point that we can follow each other should the Holy Spirit take us off into new areas during the middle of a song.
I guess my favorite part was when we sang "I CAN SEE CLEARLY NOW". The room came alive and the guys did not hold back as they sang. Like I said at the first, it was a good night.
The verse we used last night:
And they have overcome (conquered) him by the means of the blood of the Lamb and by the utterance of their testimony, for they did not love and cling to life even when face with death (holding their lives cheap til they had to die for their witnessing).
As is the custom each week, as I closing the door to the chapel, I look back into the room thanking God for letting us be together and for what He had done there tonight. My last thought is always, "Boy God! How are you going to top that next week?"
God on you.....
Saturday, August 1, 2009
Today is the anniversary of when I moved into full time ministry. Prior to this, I was bi-vocational, working out of Mid-South Electronics and serving at Associate pastor for Gadsden Vineyard Church.
I remember how excited I was to leave Mid-South and pursue what I thought to be a higher calling. Oh, I had all these romantic notions and ideas about what was going to happen. Truth be known, I didn't have a clue. I remember that Jim Bentley and I spent all day getting my office up and running. Computer, desks, lamps, chairs, folders, file cabinets, moving in my books and Bibles. At the end of the day we both plopped down in chairs in my new office. Looking at each other, wondering, "what now?" Is this how it was going to be? A whole lot of waiting for someone to come by, maybe us going out to visit at the hospital. Well, it didn't take long for time to become a precious commodity. The days became full, as well as the nights, with appointments and sessions with people in need of counseling. Throw in sermons and messages and teachings and there wasn't a lot of free time left. God was good to grow me and stretch me during those first days. He continues to stretch me and show me things I had never considered. Each day is a new day with God, filled with endless possibilities.
I wonder what the next 11 years will hold?
God on you......
Abraham had watched Isaac grow. He had spent hours with him, strolling outside the camp. Showing him the stars and reminding him of how...