Monday, November 30, 2009
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........
Saturday, November 28, 2009
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.
God on you...........
Friday, November 27, 2009
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!
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
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.....
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
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.
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.
Don't only tell about the Kingdom of God....
Demonstrate it as you allow the Holy Spirit to operate through you.
Amen and amen.
I won't go into specific details but the injuries are quite serious. He underwent 5 hours of surgery and the prognosis is good but guarded.
God is an awesome God and I look to Him during this time to be God over my brother and his healing.
Monday, November 23, 2009
1.) A Rapha version of Amazing Grace that I think you might enjoy.
2.) The message: "Iron Sharpens Iron" by Seth Barber.
Seth speaks at the Saturday night meeting once a month and without fail, brings a timely message from his own personal walk.
This particular message from Seth is the need for sponsorship and accountability that comes with working a recovery program. More than this, it reflects the need for anyone in the body of Christ to realize that we are not called to "Lone Ranger" this thing. We don't have the luxury of being that lone gunman. We need community and to surround ourselves with others who are like minded, that have the same goals and drive that we should possess.
I hope you enjoy this offering from the Church@ Rapha
Saturday, November 21, 2009
It's just another typical Saturday here at Rapha.
The guys are all busy with the morning chores trying to finish before the Alabama-Chattanooga ballgame kicks off. Once it starts, the camp will look like a deserted ghost town. I really enjoy being out here on Saturdays as it is a lazy day so to speak. I have enough to keep me busy but the pace is slowed down a lot.
We're entering into the holiday season and since November is here, time will fly by and we will find ourselves standing at the brink of the end of 2009 and the beginning of 2010.
It has been a good year here. We have continued to grow as a program, following where we think God is leading us. The one thing we keep foremost in the front of our minds is that this program, this camp and everything here truly is God's. He ordained it. Like Genesis, He spoke it into existence and has maintained and sustained this program by the Word and His promises.
We are simply keepers and stewards of this program, seeking only to do His will for each day. Whether we are praying over or teaching folks, or putting toilet paper on the little "roll-y" things, we do all for His glory.
I pray that you all have a wonderful day and may you find the grace of God and His favor.
God on you......
Friday, November 20, 2009
Had an "Acts" moment yesterday. You remember the book of Acts? Pentecost? Started with 120 in a 2nd floor apartment and by the end of the day the church had grown to over 3,000. Well, there is a behavior that happens ever so often that always amazes me and it happened yesterday. I was walking from the R.A. office back to my office when a guy chased me down. We made small talk during the walk back to my office when suddenly his eyes were full of tears. I stopped and asked him, "Are you o.k.?" (Here comes the ACTS moment!) He looked at me and said, "What do I have to do to get saved?" I had talked about salvation and the need for Jesus if ever life was going to turn around from all the destruction earlier in the morning class. Now here was this man who had had the light come on in his heart and he suddenly realized that he needed to be saved. Needless to say God is an awesome God and as I write this, the man now has relationship with Jesus. There are some who are saved and then there are others who I like to refer to as being gloriously saved. He fell under the latter category.
As I pondered on this event last night it so did not fit the mold of what we tend to thing salvation should be. It didn't happen in a church. There was no choir singing "Just As I Am" (although I do remember Kenny Meeks on the camp music system singing "We're gonna rise). There wasn't even an invitation being extended. But because of the teaching from the morning, this man had been stirred and was brought face to face with his mortality and need for Jesus. It became such an issue that he chased me down and asked what must he do to be saved. Kind of blows all our religiosity out of the water doesn't it?
God never ceases to amaze me.
You go God!
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Why our teaching falls on deaf ears and hard hearts.
"Why Lord, why are things turning out like this?"
God went on to speak with John, "Now are you ready to see what I can do?"
Let it come...
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
I won't go into his life but suffice it to say that he is living proof of the power of God to transform lives.
He currently heads up a Celebrate Recovery in Georgia as well as attending and working through several other Recovery programs around the area.
Quick to give Jesus the credit, Elmo tells it like it is.
I think this is the one thing that I am more appreciative of than any other. To be associated with a group where "brutal" honesty is the one thing that keeps everyone on track. People who are in recovery don't have time to play games or pretend or put up false fronts. Those type of behaviors have been the downfall in the past. So they are all about transparency and honesty in an effort to walk out their sobriety.
Enjoy Elmo's testimony to the goodness of God and the following message afterwards.
You can hear the message in the player located at the top of this blog. Scroll down till you see "Elmo's Testimony" and then select it to play.
O you of little faith, why do you reason among yourselves because you have brought no bread? Do you not yet understand, or remember the five loaves of the five thousand and how many baskets you took up? Nor the seven loaves of the four thousand and how many large baskets you took up? How is it you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning bread? But to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
The disciples were having an argument among themselves because they felt that Jesus was chastising them for not bringing bread on their journey. They had left in a hurry and no one had thought to bring provision for the group. "Bread? I thought you got it Peter!" "No! Don't look at me, I was getting the boat ready. John, you were in charge of Bread!" "No I wasn't, it was James' job and we all know what a slacker he is!"
I can just hear them quibbling and quarreling over the matter and all the while Jesus, standing there watching them, cannot believe that this group of men have missed the point entirely.
Jesus had warned them to "Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees." Their influence and subtle teaching that infiltrated and attempted to undermine the work Jesus was doing. The disciples were not really hearing what Jesus was saying. Isn't that the way we are?
Hearing but not understanding. Hearing and drawing our own conclusions. Hearing but not truly hearing what God is saying. I feel like I'm in this place right now. I'm receiving what I perceive to be a lot of communication from God but I'm not sure I understand what is being told to me. I don't want to take it and translate it into "Michael-ese". Make it say what I think God is saying. No! I want to wait until it is made clear to me.
In the middle of the disciples argument, Jesus points out to them the futility of their disagreement. He reminds them of the two instances where Father God provided sustenance for the crowd of 5000 and another of 4000. Jesus was revealing to them the pettiness of their faith (which wasn't much) and the focus of their attention (which was way out in left field). They were consumed with "wonder bread" and Jesus was saying that the leaven of the religious guys would be their doom if they did now wake up and understand what was going on right there around them.
The behavior among Jesus' disciples is still around today in our churches. Focused on things that don't really cause us to grow or promote the kingdom of God, we fall prey to neglecting the really purpose God has. We loose sight of what truly is important and weighs on the God's heart. I have heard more than one pastor pray the following, " God! Break our hearts with the things that break yours!" Oh that we really desired this attitude. I do believe that God would grant it to us, and that we might find the things we think are important and life changing are nothing more than fluff and dust.
Today, Lord! Your favor and guidance on us here at Rapha. Our desire is to be light and salt to those who are lost in the darkness and without your "flavor".
Meet our needs and you be our provision.
Your authority and rule be established here over this camp. Set us on fire with your Holy Spirit. Revive us again in this dark time for your kingdom.
In Jesus name,
Monday, November 16, 2009
Just scroll down till you see "Making a Decision" and give it a listen to. Hope you enjoy it.
It was a really good weekend for Vicki and I. We took Sunday morning and spent it in worship and Scripture and prayer. It was a time for us to reconnect and join together in praying over some things we are facing as a couple and as individuals. One thing God has truly shown me is that we each (husband and wife) have to occupy the role He has called us to within the marriage. We do not have the liberty to vacate or abdicate these positions for the sake of our own selfishness or personal agenda. It took me a long time to understand just how important it was for our marriage to be in line with the purposes of God.
Monday brings a new week and new opportunities to tell our story. I believe that when Jesus spoke in Acts 1:8 and said that we would be clothed with power and would be his witnesses, he truly mean that we would simply tell of what He has done for us, through us and with us. Truth be known, a witness can only testify to what they know personally. People today think a witness about God is telling what they have read and heard other people say. Our life, our walk is the message and that is the story we have to tell. The Word of God either validates our life as being a believer or it uncovers us for the fraud we are. We are living, walking, talking, breathing Scripture. Pardon my English but "Ain't God good?"
See you tomorrow.....
God on you...........
Saturday, November 14, 2009
As my wife, Vicki, always says, "If He ain't talking.....I ain't walking."
It involves praying, crying out to God, waiting and listening and then and only when we have heard an answer, do we have permission to set out to carry through on what we have heard God say.
God on you.........
We are a greedy people who seek only their own well being.
Even today, during the singing of the song Amazing Grace, made the comment to me that they were not "wretched" as the song says.
God looks upon our lives and says that "you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked."
We stand at a point in our nation that we are without hope if you don't come and revive us.
I pray that we have not passed a point to where you have removed your hand and no longer choose to work through us."
We cry for you to begin with your people, your church, your bride. Come because we have forsaken you and your plans in order to lay hold of the world's plans.
We have forsaken your heavenly wisdom for the wisdom of the world.
We have created programs and agendas, we have exalted those who teach the word above the Word.
I give you back control of that which you have called me to.
I give back to you those commitments made long ago that have somehow gotten pushed aside and placed on a lower shelf, only to gather dust as I tried to minister in my strength.
And you are not impressed.
May I stand in awe as you come and touch all the dry and dead places, causing life to come forth where before, there wasn't any.
You be God in this camp.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Debating a bunch of stuff that has nothing to do
The Holy Spirit tells me "where and when"
The eternal things of God rests on one simple fact.
Whether it was true or not was the hotly debated topic.
A huge stone was rolled over the entrance and was
Guards were checked and double checked to make sure they were
The stone rolled away.
The soldiers fell down as dead men.
This historical fact of resurrection
My entire being
Cheese on the moon...
Won't your peepers get the creepers when you realize
Oh my! You'll fry as we wave good by to you.
I'm just crazy enough to believe He is who He says He is...
And He will do what He says He will do.
John Piper's wonderful teaching on the Glory of Christ.
Without Christ, the world stands before Him guilty.
Guilty of sin.
Sin against an eternal God which brings to us an eternal punishment.
But God so loved the world that He sent, he gave his only begotten Son that who so ever believes, trusts, relies on, clings to Him will be saved....
I do love the cross.
In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with some of the articles of the house of God, which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the articles into the treasure house of his god.
Been thinking a lot lately about people and their attitudes.
One thing that seems to have raised its ugly little head is the idea of separation between what we read in Scripture and what we see going on in our every day lives.
Yes! We believe in God. Yes! We believe in the Bible. But we do not really believe that the God we read about in Scripture still operates in the affairs of mankind in our day and time.
In the verses above from the book of Daniel, we see where God hands over Judah and in particular the city of Jerusalem to a foreign, pagan kind. Now keep in mind that what God has allowed to happen hasn't come on a divine whim or instant change of mind. God has been warning Judah about what would happen if they did not repent from their sin and return to Him. God sent prophets who spoke many words at many times to the not only the people but the ruling government......."Turn from your wicked ways." After much instruction and information on why they should turn, God set in motion the very thing that would be used to bring the country under judgment. God raise up Nebuchadnezzar to attack Judah and the city of Jerusalem, conquer it and take away captives back to Babylon where they would serve him.
Good story! Lessons to be learned by us. If we do not repent and turn back to God, what will God do to bring us into line? Will He do anything? Will he chastise us or discipline us? Will he use our own government to inflict punishment on a people who claim to be believers?
I think we have way to many believer's and not enough follower's.
Believer's only give a mental ascent and nod to who God is.
Follower's reveal their faith and belief's by the actions of their lives.
They deny themselves.
They lay hold of the cross.
They take it up daily.
They follow wherever Jesus says to go.
Kind of simple............Kind of hard.
None the less required.
Your kingdom is an everlasting Kingdom, and Your dominion endures throughout all generations.
Jesus is LORD of all who claim to be lord,
and KING over all who lay claim to the title of king.
Maranatha, Lord Jesus!
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Do we want to expend ourselves trying to solve or fix whatever thing looms over us?
And then, at the end when no resolve has taken place, take our petition to the throne of God as if to say, "O.K. Lord, it's yours. I've done all I can so now I'm going to need a little help from you."
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
To be a people of prayer.
God on you.......
"The prayers of God's saints are the capital stock in heaven by which Christ carries on His great work upon the earth. The earth is changed, revolutionized; angels move on more powerful, more rapid wings and God's policy is shaped when the prayers of His people are more numerous and more efficient."
Let's lay hold, together, this idea of communicating back to God that which He is desiring to do here on planet earth.
God on you........
We pray wrong prayers.....
We pray doubtful prayers...
After all, Jesus' disciples asked him,
I keep a running prayer all day long as I move about.
God move on your request.
Gotta love it!
Monday, November 9, 2009
"Take up the Cross" is a look at the issues we face in following Jesus.
As people in recovery, the need for being brutally honest with ourselves is necessary to move on in life.
The battle between our will and God's call is at the heart of taking up the cross to follow Jesus.
I also included one of the worship songs we did "Nothing But The Blood".
A twist on the Hymn by the same name.
Hope you enjoy these "Sound bites" from the Church@ Rapha.
God on you.....
Saturday, November 7, 2009
The facts surrounding the death of someone who came through the program are not important, as it is too late to argue any point. You simply desire that those who come through here find that relationship with Jesus and walk out their days clean and sober.
When I read where someone who came through our program dies, it affects me.
Could I have done something more for them while they were here?
Did I miss something that I could have shared with them?
Did I pray for them enough?
All legitimate questions, but in the end it all goes to "did they answer when salvation was offered to them?"
Two men who came through the program died this past week.
I don't know spiritually how they were when they met their end.
I pray that something that was said here or was prayed over them might have awakened before they died and they were able to answer "yes" to God.
I don't know.
All I do know is that these two now fully understand the truth of what they claim to believed.
Beliefs that were lived out through their lives.
They now stand on the other side of eternity, a place that I will follow to.
The decisions that I make here on this side, determine my place on crossing over.
My submission to God and following Him affords me life with Him.
My rejection of God and stubbornness to follow my own sinful desires and wants affords me hell.
I must make a choice.
I pray that God would comfort the families of these two men during this time of grief.
I pray that God's Spirit would come and draw those among the families into an awareness of the need for salvation.
It is a sad day for me...
A sad time....
One for reflection....
for a renewed commitment to share the gospel.
God on you........
Friday, November 6, 2009
What's a "Rapha Ministries?"
They have a broken relationship with Jesus Christ.
We simply believe that getting rigorously honest with ones self
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
There could be. I think I know what the minds behind it were trying to say..that God is a loving God, and that he totally knows what trouble our humanity gets us into. The one thing missing is that he doesn't excuse bad behavior ( or in this case goofy behavior).
We, humanity, are dying of a terminal disease. Sin! It has affected our brains and has caused us to think in ways that are contrary to God's plans. Sin has affected our hearts and created in us desires for things that are not good for us. Things that will destroy our bodies, our minds, and worst of all, the eternal spirit placed inside of us by God.
God realizing the destruction that sin brings to his creation, came up with and implemented the plan to restore and save humanity from this sin disease. Knowing that sin was so powerful and that it would take perfection to break the power of it, God sent his Son, Jesus, to pay the price. I guess you could call Jesus the ultimate scapegoat, paying for something he didn't do. Jesus left the best digs ever....the throne room of heaven, to come down here. He took on the form of man and lived among us for 33 years. Scoping everything out and teaching in our time and space, Jesus spoke about a place beyond anything our minds could comprehend...heaven. He laid out the plan on how to get there. He shared how this new Kingdom would operate and what would be expected of us. He also read us the fine print of what we could expect if we continued on in our selfish-sin-centered lives. (Note to self: Hell is not that appealing).
He is God.
I am not.
God on you......
Monday, November 2, 2009
Made closer to perfect with each passing year...
David is currently doing an internship here at Rapha
Not struggle in a bad way but in a way to understand what it is I truly do believe.
Sometimes I have found myself challenged by things I have read and things I have heard others proclaim to be truth.
There are a lot of voices out there who have a lot of new ideas about who God is and what His purpose is here on good ol' planet earth.
The easy way would be to reject all the voices that make me look at God and His plans in a different light than I currently have. But would I miss something that God may be trying to show me?
The other way would be to openly accept everything that was being said and become led astray into new areas that He doesn't intend for me to occupy.
There has to be a middle ground here in all of this.
I spent time in prayer this morning asking God to show me what it is I need to know.
He led me to A passage in Galatians.
But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who call out, "Abba, Father." SO you are no longer a slave but a son. And since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.
My first allegiance beyond anyone and anything is to God.....
God the Father....
God the Son.....
God the Holy Spirit.....
My life is to be lived under the mandates and directives of the Kingdom of God.
His call supersedes the call of any government, any ruler, any ruling group that speaks contrary to God's precepts.
God sent his Son to be born under the law.
Being under the law brought the penalty of death because of mankind's inability to keep even one portion of the law.
Jesus, being free from sin, even though born under the Law, became the substitutionary sacrifice for humanity that broke the power of 2nd death for the sin of the world.
My acceptance of Jesus as Lord and the confession and belief that my sins are forgiven and I am made in right standing with God, puts me in the place of living for his kingdom and not any kingdom found in this world.
I have chosen to live in Attalla, Alabama.
I am under the laws of the city of Attalla, the state of Alabama and the United States (collectively) of America.
I am grateful to be born in this country. It has afforded me freedoms and privileges that are not found in other nations. But these freedoms and rights do not supersede the decrees of God and His kingdom.
I am not to confuse the two ( God and America) nor think of them as one and the same.
America exists only because God raised it up as a nation to be light and salt to the rest of the world. Like Israel, we too have gone astray to chase after the gods of other nations.
Deuteronomy 32:28-29 sounds like it was written for such a nation as us and for such a time as this.
"They are a nation without sense. There is no discernment in them. If only they were wise and would understand this and discern what their end will be!"
I pray for my country and for the leaders that have been chosen to occupy the halls of our government.
There is a voice that is higher than a nations.
There is an understanding that is broader and more developed than the school's and universities.
There is a way that seems right to man, but its end is death.
May God shake us and awaken us to the truth.
We have rejected him.
We have rejected his truth
and have pursued after the gods of pleasure and want.
Save us O' God.
Parking lot was crowded yesterday. It was near noon and people were taking care of their business, hurrying in and out of the building. I...