Saturday, July 31, 2010

Forever Young


To my loving wife, Vicki.......

To my children.....Chad & Robin, Josh & Heather

To my grandchildren.....Tyler & Ashley

To Permanent Wave who first played this for me.......Debbie, Kim, Kenny, Brook and Nori.

To every man who has come through Rapha......You know who you are.

To Barry.....thanks for sharing your wisdom and your Martin Guitar. I'll see you in heaven and we will play for the King.

To every person who ever fought the demons of addicition and won....

To those who lost the battle......

To those of you who are standing on the mountaintop.....

and those who are lost in the valley.........

To those who have found a way to laugh again.......

To those whose eyes are filled with tears and their hearts with sadness.......

God is who He truly says He is.....

God will do what He truly said He would do......

For all us who battle daily.......

Love deep and hard......

Don't hold back......

Lay hold of the new birth Jesus offers and give yourself to it.

Be filled with Holy Spirit.....

Feast on the Word of God........

and......

Stay forever young!

God on you...

mb

Saturday 10:32 a.m.

Hot!
Alabama Hot!
What's it like? If you never visited Alabama during the summer months, especially during late July and early August, it is pretty grueling. Imagine take a sponge full of water...putting said sponge in microwave and heat it, then take the sponge out and place it firmly over your mouth and nose and then breathe. Humidity and heat in 'Bama. Gotta love it. It makes me wonder how we survived growing up when we didn't have A/C. I think in my entire community, there were maybe 1 or 2 people who actually had air conditioning. I guess it is just what you become 'clim-a-tized' too.

Guys here at Rapha have left for pass. I pray that they have a good weekend and are able to begin the process of mending relationships. Pass weekend is huge for these guys as it gives them the opportunity to work the steps of recovery. Part of that process is making amends to those we have harmed. Making amends is more than simply saying, "I'm sorry". Making amends is a change of behavior and a restoration to those we have wronged.

Verse of the day:
Romans 5:1
Therefore, since we have been made right in God's sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.
Everything I have, material and spiritual, is because of what Jesus has done for me, in me and through me.
What an incredible Savior that he initiates and then carries through to see that I get everything I need to walk out this life daily.

My place in all of this?
Matthew 6:33
And he will give you all you need from day to day if you live for him and make the Kingdom of God (God's rule and reign in my life) your primary concern.
God doesn't lavish his goodness, mercy and grace on those who have no intention of allowing Him to work in their hearts and lives. I have always believed that God's blessings are contingent on my obedience to Him. But in the simple effort of saying "Yes, Lord...whatever you want me to do, I will do," God's blessing come.

I wish I had insightful and thoughtful words of wisdom to give you today.
I don't.
But what I do have, I share because this is where I find myself.
Don't quit....
Don't look back....

Don't be afraid or discouraged....God in fact has heard your prayers and cries and He is standing right there with you. He will take you through whatever you may be facing at this moment.
God's word is "yes and amen". That means you can take it to the bank. God does not lead you around or try to keep you on a short leash. There is full-blown, miles and miles of freedom in Christ Jesus.
Do look for someone to encourage today. You may find them at the gas pump or at Wal-mart  or even in the next room, but someone needs to hear an encouraging word.

Until Monday...have a great weekend.
God on you.....
mb

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Few - Piper/Washer/Ravenhill/Conway/Leiter


My greatest fear is to stand before Jesus and have Him say, "Why did you compromise my word?" I am being and have been stirred over the past 7 years to share, teach....whatever it took, the whole gospel of Christ. Not bound or restrained by mans rules or dictates, but free in the unction of the Holy Spirit to make sure that I do not water down or make empty the cross of Christ.
Please hear my heart as I write this posting today. I do not come to you as one who is teaching down to you. No! I come to you as a Romans 7 man, just as Paul wrote. "Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! "
Truth is never popular. In this day and age of "opinion", an ocean of voices seek to drown out the truth, but the truth of God is an anvil that has worn out many hammers. Now more than ever, in our day and age, we are in need of this truth. Truth that is only found in Christ.
Seek ye first the kingdom of God.....and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.
God on you today!
mb

Prayer - Ravenhill


The church of this age and day has created a "god" of ease. A god that is only concerned with the comfort of our flesh, and not the growth of our character. The church of this age and day has molded and shaped the cross of Christ to fit their own selfish desires. We go to conferences and meeting and during worship, we shed many tears for various reason, but when was the last time tears were shed for those who do not know Jesus?
This is not a post of condemnation but rather a call to change. Just as God is changing my wife and I, the only choice we have is to follow Christ. Follow! We do not get to bargain or compromise. Ours is to simply follow. God has shown me that I can no longer do business with the world, on the world's terms. As Paul wrote..."The world is dead to me and I to the world." In other words a severance has taken place and Paul's devotion and heart belong solely to Christ.
The church of this age and day no longer looks to heaven for comfort. In fact, I feel as though some are embarrassed by the idea of heaven. Life is too good here on planet earth to be concerned with heaven. I had one person tell me that "Heaven sounds so religious." RELIGIOUS! The sitting government of God Almighty resides there. RELIGIOUS! Are we turning into what the prophet Malachi described?
Malachi 1:12-13- But you are profaning it (God's Holy name, in that you say, 'The table of the LORD is defiled, and as for it's fruit, its food is to be despised." You also say, "My, how tiresome it is!" And you disdainfully sniff at it, says the LORD of hosts. And you bring what was taken by robbery, and what is lame or sick....so you bring the offering! Should I receive that from your hand? Says the Lord.
Do not let the pursuit of comfort and fullness of stomach be your main objective. You will be sorely disappointed "when" the day of evil comes.
What do I know for sure?
My God still does the impossible. My God strengthens those whose hearts are committed to Him. My God will meet my needs. I need not fear the "terror by night", nor the "arrow that flies by day," for my God is a refuge and fortress.
Take comfort in your relationship with Jesus today, knowing that nothing that happens has caught him of guard or unaware. Rest in his strength and in the power of his word.
God on you.....
mb.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Behind The Curtain


I walked into the diner yesterday morning for breakfast and a meeting.
I have a standing appointment every Wednesday.
Waitress knows my name.
She knows how I like my coffee.
I guess familiarity has some good qualities.
The regulars are there.
Each with their own meal....
Each with their own thoughts.....
Each with their own..............................................................problems.

You couldn't tell by simply gazing around the room.
Everything looks at peace.
Casual chatter and the rattling of plates and silverware.
The air punctuated by the voice of a waitress calling out the order to the cook.
"Pull one bacon.....hash browns...scattered, smothered and covered."

Yet this morning I see things differently.
I'm sure when the people stop to look at me, they see the same things I see in them.
Someone who is simply trying to get through this life.
Yet in this casual setting....
In this place of food and company....
each of us had our own problems and situations that haunted us like some deep, dark demon.
The guy in the corner.....
He is an alcoholic.
He is a regular but sometimes has to go to the hospital because of his liver.
He is afraid. Unsure.
This diner affords him some normality in his life.
The waitresses know his name and they take care of him.
He construes this to mean friendship and relationship.

The other man, late 30's ...early 40's.....dresses like a jock.
He probably played sports in high school but those dreams have been covered in the dust of life.
Yet he still tries to find his identity from the past.
Baseball cap.....
shades......
sweat shorts and jersey....
Always sits at the counter........drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes.
Usually has a newspaper, turned to the sports section.
Makes small talk with the waitresses.

Me?
I'm simply a tired old, fat man trying to get to heaven (as John Wimber liked to say).
My problems are there for all to see.
I have longed since lost the energy to put up a front or try to be something I'm not.
I do not write this to bolster any ego, especially my own.
I simply write it as truth.
You see, in many ways I am very fortunate in that God has put me in a place where problems and character defects are out in the open.
 Being a pastor at a drug and alcohol rehab, you know that every one who comes here does so because they have a major life problem. You can't deny it and you sure can't run away from it.
We don't get many in here who don't have any problems at all.
To me, this puts everyone ahead of the curve.
They have to openly acknowledge "HEY! I'VE GOT A PROBLEM! AND I NEED HELP!"

Unlike the folks at the diner...who drift in and out and carrying around the weight of their own brokenness.
Maybe I should stand one day when I go to that diner and make an announcement.....
"Excuse me....could I have your attention please."
"I have been coming here for 13 years, so I have seen a lot of you on numerous occasions."
"You know....I don't see much joy in your face. I see a lot of pain and heartache."
"For some of you, the pain is the only thing you have left that lets you know you are alive."
"You really don't have to carry this around anymore. Jesus.............yes, that's right, Jesus....!"
"Not the God you thought you knew from church, or the God of the religious television show you watch to make fun of....
 But the real, deal Jesus.......He wants to have relationship with you."
"I know this may offend some of you....I know that you didn't come here to be preached at."
"Well, you know what.....I didn't either, but week after week I see your faces. Eyes that have seen too much and scars and lines that measure out the bad choices you have made. You have forgotten how to laugh........let alone smile."
"There was this long-haired, hippe-type guy back in the 70's who wrote some songs about Jesus simply because he ran into him and it changed his life."
"One of the lines from a song he wrote says, "Why don't you check into Jesus, He's got the answers."

God bless everyone who sits in that diner today.
From the waitress who needs healing for her back because shes always in pain....
to the customer who seeks shelter there for more than food and drink.
If ever there was a place that needed you to be God at, it is this diner.
Amen!

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

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Back To Normal?

Normal...
What a strange word.
Normal in my world may seen abnormal in yours.
Normal in yours may seem all whacked out in mine.
Which ever it may be, we are settling back into "normal."
Trips are over.
Our youngest son and his wife are 5 hours closer to us now than they were last Saturday.
Vicki and I could actually get up one morning and decide, "Hey! Let's drive over and see Josh and Heather!" What a present.

Spent time with Chad and his family Sunday evening.
Chad had just flown back from Paris.
He is taking a group of High School students next year to Paris for a tour.
He is braver than I am.
High School students? I'd have them all leashed together with a taser in my hand. First one that steps out of line....ZAPPPPP! Not really.
Chad had some pretty amazing photo's of the sights of Paris.

This weekend was all about trust.
I found out exactly how much fear can derail your trust in God.
Fear of the unknown.
Fear of events and circumstances that could possibly happen.
Did you catch that?
Not circumstances that did happen, but in my mind...might happen.
God was all up in the trust issue this weekend.
"Do you trust me?" He said.
"You know I do," I replied.
He then went on to ask me over and over "Do you trust me?"
Finally I got it.
If I trusted Him, I would turn loose of the unknown and let Him lead me into it.
I would lay aside whatever fear was trying to rear its ugly head, and lay hold of Him for the journey.
Sometimes I'm very slow.

Psalm 20:7
Some trust in chariots, and some in horses, but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.
Wow!
I do not want to place my trust in my own abilities or even lack of abilities.
I want turning to God to be so natural and easy that it is the first thing I do, instead of waiting until I'm in a full blown "OH GOD! OH GOD!" mode.
This is the lesson I learned this past weekend.
Trust Him in the little things, like moving from one state to another.
Trust Him in keeping everything under control and on schedule.
Trust Him.
I keep hearing a song from my growing up years.....
"Only trust Him....Only Trust Him.....Only Trust Him now."

Thanks for reminding me, Lord.
God on you...
mb

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Great Move....Part 2

We are half way there.
Where?
To Athens, Georgia.

Vicki and I are helping our son, Josh, and his wife, Heather, complete the move from Arkadelphia, Arkansas to Athens, Georgia.
We left out Saturday morning at 3:30 a.m. headed for Arkadelphia.
Arrived around 11 a.m.

Helped load up our van and car. Helped to clean up the house and then moved on to the hotel.
After supper, Vicki conked out around 7.
I soon followed at 8.

"BOING!!!!" Up at 1:30 a.m. / gassed up and on the highway by 2:30.
Back to Bama.
Josh and Heather made it to our house around 4 p.m.

Today is part 2.
Josh and Heather headed out at 5 a.m.
Vicki and I will follow at 10.
We will take Josh's car to him and help finish up the unloading.
Dinner, some hugs and kisses, and it's back home to Bama.

What have I learned about all of this?
God honors the prayers of his children.
Much prayer has gone into this move, and God has been there at every turn.
When ever a problem stuck its ugly head up, God was there to give us direction and wisdom to find a way.

Saturday / Sunday =  16 hours of driving and 939 miles.
Monday =  approx. 6 more hours of driving.
If I ever drive a long trip again, it will probably be to the beach to sit and relax.
Sounds like a good idea.
But not today.
Until tomorrow....
God on you............
mb

Friday, July 23, 2010


Vicki and I are going to be out of pocket this weekend, so I won't be posting tomorrow.
Feel free to go through the archives and see if there is anything that catches your fancy.
Truth be known, I didn't know I had a fancy.
I didn't know that I had a "yet" either.
The only reason I know now is from reading a newspaper article that told of a man who had been shot during a robbery. It went on to read that the bullet was still in him yet the doctors were working furiously to remove it.



                                                                   See you Monday!!!
God on you...
mb

Thursday, July 22, 2010

What Is The Greene Street Letters Really About?


Why?
Why write something every day and post it on a blog?
Ego?
Nope, I don't really have one...well, maybe a little one but I have to kind of turn it over to God everyday...you know the whole "humble" yourself deal. I really do have to humble myself because left unchecked, I'll run around looking for others to affirm me and make me feel good about myself. How sick is that?

It's not that I consider myself to even be some kind of spiritual goo-roo! I'm not (don't laugh..I misspelled guru on purpose).
Do I think my writing and insight and spiritual wisdom to be superior to others who blog?
Nope sure don't. In fact I wonder at times why I do keep writing.
Well, here is the deal.
I do it because God said to.
He told me to be consistent with my writing.
Don't get caught up in controversy or debate.
Proclaim the simple message of the Cross!
Jesus Saves!
Someone will need to read what I have written.
Someone will receive encouragement from it.
Someone may even have their heart and mind opened and take another look at Jesus.
Someone somewhere will need what is written in this blog.

That's the neat part.
God is in control.
I'm simply obedient to what He has called me to do.
I have found myself here at Rapha Treatment Center (Christ centered alcohol/drug rehab) for 12 years.
This place has been my school, my seminary, my college, my testing place....in other words, God has grown me and stretched me over these past years.
My concept of what love and grace is has changed.
Love is harder than what some in the church thinks it is.
Sometimes love says "NO".
Through it all, I have come to have a deeper appreciation for the work of the Holy Spirit.
I have seen some incredible things happen when a person totally corrupted by sin is brought into conviction by God's Holy Spirit. I will never tire of seeing a person saved and brought into a new life and relationship with Jesus.

I have no aspirations for the GREENE STREET LETTERS other than keep on writing until God says quit or He takes me home.
I hope that you find encouragement here and a new drive to not give up or go back to an old lifestyle.
I pray that God would touch you and remove any thoughts of suicide you may have entertained during the past few days or weeks. You are truly precious to God.

"For God so loved the world (that would be you included in the whole "world" thing)
That he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
JOHN 3:16

God on you.....
mb

Think On These Things...


I don't hear many people talking about hope or heaven.
Hope in Christ.
                                Heaven a place where the governmental presence of God rules.
Seems as though many have traded in heaven for earth.
I mean, if you can get all you want here and now...
why be concerned about the here after.
Fill my plate now here on this side of eternity and let me enjoy...
I know I'm saved and I'm sure heaven is pretty neat, but I live here and now.
Seems as though that kind of thinking is not very, how shall I say this.....
heavenly.

I Thessalonians 5:1-11
But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, "Peace and safety!" then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night  nor of darkness. Therefore, let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.
THEREFORE COMFORT EACH OTHER AND EDIFY ONE ANOTHER, JUST AS YOU ARE ALSO DOING.

Jesus is coming back.
This isn't a Pentecostal saying.
It isn't a fundamentalist truth.
It isn't the backbone of the Baptist Church.
IT IS THE WORD OF GOD!
It is a promise.
We will either spend the rest of our days with one eye on our work and one eye on the times around us, or we will become apathetic, complacent and quit looking all together.
I do not want Christ to come back and find me asleep.....
find me not truly believing...
I desire to be ready.

Jesus isn't concerned with whether you are a
pre-trib rapture believer
or a
mid-trib rapture believer
or a
post-trib rapture believer
Jesus' plans are not contingent on my theology.
(that is not an excuse for us to be sloppy in our belief's)
Jesus is coming!
I simply want to walk out today and make sure that I tell my story to someone
who hasn't heard or doesn't understand the good news of Christ.

When the trumpet does blow...
When the shout is given.....
When it happens......
Man! That is going to be cool times ten.

I Thessalonians 4:18
Therefore comfort one another with these words......

God on you.
mb



John 15:1 --  "I AM the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman."

Words of Jesus.
Jesus identifies himself along with his relationship with his Father.
He understands the exact nature of his position in the Godhead.
He is the Son and is submissive to the Father.
What the Father asks....
The Son does.
Oh that I could learn and understand my position in Christ.
I fit into this wonderful hierarchy of heaven, based solely on my salvation.
I am a son.
I am an heir.
I am a friend.
I am a servant.

Jesus, in the opening words of John 15, makes an interesting statement.
He says, "I AM the true vine."
Why would he have to say this?
Why would He say this?
Why identify himself?

Because Jesus knew that there were false vines out there.
He could distinguish them, but he knew that we lacked discernment and would fall prey to these "false" vines.
It is written in Romans 10:17 that  faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.
Do you realize how many voices are out there today all claiming the same thing?
Do you realize how easily people are swayed by the mannerisms and image of those who belong to the false vine?
Jesus simply and clearly states....."Hey guys...I'm the one you're listening for."
"I am the true vine."
Jesus is the complete that my can fill my soul.
Jesus is the complete that can satisfy a hunger that will not go away.
Jesus is the complete that can bring rest to my wandering eyes and feet.
He makes me lie down in green pastures to rest and be restored.
He is the true vine that keeps every promise the Father has spoken.

This is why King David could write, "The Lord is my shepherd...I shall not want."
Do you really understand the words that David wrote?
DO I really understand the words that David wrote?
Read again the words of Ps. 23...
The Lord is my shepherd.....I.....SHALL......NOT......Want.
There is a satisfaction that we do not realize when we come to Jesus.
There is a wholeness that comes to our spirit, soul and body when we come to Jesus.
I....shall....not....want.
Wow!
Father God...
Help me this day to truly realize that I shall not want in this relationship with you.
Lord, I know that it speaks not of material things that would only stir my flesh, but of the eternal things that you have promised to those whose hearts are totally committed to you.
Lord, plant us deep in your vine today and receive the nourishment only you can give.
Thank you...
In Jesus name..
amen!

God on you...
mb

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

High Noon er....Midnight Showdown!

Man, I love it in Scripture when God goes off. I mean it's like God shows up and read the riot act.
I was cruising in Exodus last night and listening to a message at the same time when I came to a place that just jumped off the page at me.
Exodus 14:13-  But Moses told the people, "Don't be afraid. Just stand where you are and watch the LORD rescue you. The Egyptians that you see today will never be seen again."
God put all of this trap together. Had Israel march to this particular location with the Red Sea at their backs and no way out. He lured the Egyptian army, blinded by their pride and anger, to chase after the Israelites. Don't you know that when Pharaoh saw the location the Israelites were camped in, he thought to himself, "Hmmmm....this God of the Hebrews is no tactician when it comes to military campaigns."

A rag tag bunch of ex-slaves against the military might of Egypt.
On the surface it looks like a no brainer.
The Egyptian army will be home before daybreak with the slaves in tow, just in time for biscuits and gravy.
As the Egyptians drew closer and closer, Moses stands, stirred by God, and says,"Hey guys...pay attention. This army you see today.....you will never see again."
God moved on their behalf.
Sometimes God leads us to places that seem dangerous to our spiritual health and well being. He does so that he can manifest His glory and power against the forces of darkness. It is a battle and we are a part of it.

Where does God have you today?
Does it seem like the impossible place?
Does it seem like God has deserted you and left you to be at the mercy of the enemy?
Well, He hasn't.
Stand still and see the salvation of God.
The enemy you see today............
you will see no more.
Cool, huh?
You go God!

God on you.......
mb

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Jesus Said, "GO"! - by Jackie Pullinger{What will you do??]

The call to follow Jesus is a call of great distance.

Oh it's not measured in mile or days. In weeks or years. It is measured by the death of one life being born into a new one. Theses two lives, one of Spirit and one of flesh, can never coexist together.

We are called to abandon everything. In our modern day, we seek to redefine what Jesus meant when He said "everything." Surely He did not actually mean everything did He? I think He did. I think anything I seek to hold on too from my past life, whether it be a physical tangible object or an idea or concept, keeps me from actually following. To surrender. To die. To be born again and simply follow. Follow where? Where ever Jesus bids you to go. I know it sounds to vague..to unknown, but it is in the simple act of taking Jesus by the hand and say, "Yes Lord! that we find the true freedom our hearts have longed for. Freedom to move and speak without fear. Freedom to live and embrace the will of God. How crazy is this thought? For most, we are content to sit in pews and pay others to go for Jesus. We will give our money....
We will give our support.....
We will give our prayers.....but we with hold the very thing God wants........ourselves.......our bodies and minds and spirits and heart and yes, even our "not knowing" what to do next. It is from this place that Jesus casts us out to the sea and says, "Go to the deep water and let down your nets for a catch."

My response.......?

"Yes Lord!"

God on you....

mb

Lot's Of Activity

In the midst of everything going on...............
1.) God is still in control (even over the U.S. Government)
2.) His plans are yes and amen (they can't be stopped)
3.) He loves His children  (Even when we mess up)
4.) He looks for those whose hearts are committed to Him (II Chron. 16:9)
5.) Oil and Water don't mix  (Check out the gulf spill) (The things of the Spirit will not coexist with the things of this world).
6.) It's His church not ours. Sometimes I think He might want it back since we aren't going to do what He says.
7.) It's the little things that draw His attention.
               a.) Sparrows falling from the trees
               b.) Numbers of hair on our heads  (it won't take Him long to number mine!)
               c.) Prayers of children. Adults may discredit the power of a child's prayer, but not God.
8.) Jesus has not come for us yet, so the sounds of construction are still being heard in heaven.
9.) John the Baptist was not Baptist (sorry to disappoint you.) I usually try to refer to John as "John the baptizer".
10.) The path to life truly is narrow.
11.) You can drive a semi-truck sideways down the road to destruction.
12.) There is power in the Word of God. It focuses my mind and spirit and allows God's Spirit to speak to me.
13.) True love still exist............even after 38 years of marriage. God truly put us together...the devil tried to take us apart. God won! Thank you Vicki for being there, always.
14.) I think my Grandfather Perry is the first person I would like to hang out with when I get to heaven (after being the presence of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. How cool is this going to be?
15.) Worship here is only a pale comparison to the real deal around the throne in heaven.

These are just a few things that were rambling around in my head.
Thanks for letting me list them.
Feel free to add to the list with your comments.


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

Monday, July 19, 2010

Lagos,Reinhard Bonnke


Every person who stands to preach or proclaim the Word of God has detractors and supporters. Voices that cry "False prophet!" or "Truly a person of God!" I am no different. I have been spoken against by others on serveral occasions. Each time, I find myself asking God, "Show me the truth concerning these attacks." If there is spiritual blindness in me, help me to see and to seek Your removal of it.Such is the persecution that comes with preaching the truth. I am above no one. I submit myself to God and to others that they may show me any falsehood or deception in my heart.
My message? "JESUS the CHRIST!" His blood and His blood alone is the open door to a relationship and new life in God.

The reason I began this post in this manner is that I know some have their opinions concerning Reinhard Bonnke. No matter what you think, or how you feel...he stands to proclaim the Word of God in places that not too many actually visit. He goes into the darkest places (spiritually) in Africa to bring the news that there is freedom for the captives and liberty to the prisoner. I remember the first time I saw one of the crusades Reinhard Bonnke preached at. It was years ago and I was going through an illness and could not sleep. I got up from bed and made my way to the living room, turning on the TV.
There I a camera shot of not thousands, not tens of thousands, but a million people standing to here the Word. As Reinhard Bonnke proclaimed the gospel of Jesus, I began to weep thinking to myself, "This is beyond comprehension!" Here in America we think we have done something if we can get a football stadium full. Here, in Africa...in Laos.....a million people had shown up for one thing....to hear the word of God.
Have our hearts, here in America, become so dull that we no longer have need of such a message as the gospel? Are we complacent and apathetic to the point that we have no fear of God (that is called lawlessness)? Oh God! That you would burn Africa with Your Holy Spirit and bring healing and revival.
God! Do not forget us here in America...in some ways we are more lost than those in Africa. We had the Word and traded it for the temporal things to satisfy our flesh. In your mercy, remember us and send revival!

God on you...
mb

New Week ~ Another Opportunity

We get to try again this week.
We get another opportunity to "hear" God.
To do what He says do.
I am grateful for each week that I am given, knowing all to well that I only have a limited number of them here on this side of eternity.

We had our second meeting of the "new and improved" Saturday night gathering.
What really has happened is that God has taken the simplest of things and used them to usher in His Kingdom. What might it be? New teaching? Fresh anointing? Guest speakers? Nope. It was coffee and cookies. My wife's cookies. Jesus was in the business of feeding body and soul. He took a "Happy Meal" (two fish sticks and 5 biscuits) and fed 5000. So through a simple thing like coffee and cookies, God has opened up something entirely new in our Saturday night meeting.

As my wife bakes the cookies on Saturday, she prays over the ingredients.
Sugar-- that whoever eats the cookie will be made aware of the sweetness of the Father.
Flour -- that they will be aware that Jesus is the bread of life.
Raisins -  that sin robs us and dries us out like the sun does grapes.
there are so many other things she prays as she bakes that by the time the cookies come to Rapha, well, lets just say that the guys are truly being fed physically and spiritually.

We set aside some time to just fellowship on Saturday night. To talk and mingle and pray for each other. That alone sets the tone for our service. So I am excited about what is taking place and the fruit we are beginning to see come from it.
Until Tomorrow.....
God on you............
mb

New Message From Saturday night now downloaded:  LIVING IN BALANCE.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Don francisco

There are those who sing.....and then, there are those............who..................sing! What flows from their fingertips and touches strings and keys, becomes a voice unto God. What springs from the heart and finds its way to their lips, comes forth as the fruit of praise.

Don Francisco is such a man. He writes what he lives and he lives what he believes. Like Peter, Don is passionate for Christ. Like Peter, there are those times of denial that lead to sweet forgiveness and restoration.

Thank you Don and Wendy for not selling out.
Thank you for honest song writing.

God on you........

mb

Friday, July 16, 2010

Justified



Romans 5:1
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ..

Within what is percieved as Christianity today, there are some words and terms that have fallen out of favor.
We no longer need them because we have moved beyond to a new awarness. Or so we think.
What are these words?
Hell.
Sin.
Sanctification.
Reconcilliation
and
JUSTIFICATION!

Justified! What an amazing word.
Made Right.
Innocent.
Put in Right Standing.
Not by our own works or way. Not by our intellect and the ability to solve problems. Not by our image or interaction with others. Not by how much we give to the church or to the poor. Not by how many conferences we attended or even how spiritual we may appear.
Not by our Christian t-shirts or even the fact that we have that fish on the bumper of our car.
(IF we are truly bold witnessess, we will have the Greek letters inside the fish)

Justified....made right by the blood of Jesus the Christ.
It is my faith in Christ and the work He accomplished on Calvary that justifies me before God.
It is the shed blood of Jesus that allows God to even look at me. If not for the blood, I am lost.
IF not for the blood of Jesus, mankind stands condemned before almighty God.
I know this in my head, but when I consider what He has done for me, I am overcome.
By faith (my relying on, clinging to and trusting in Christ) I am laid hold of by God.
Claimed as His possession.
Bought with a price.

Romans 4:24-25
"It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification."
I am broke free from the slavery, bondage and ways of this world, and transplanted into God's kingdom.
What is God's Kingdom?
Wherever His rule and reign are being carried out and obeyed in the hearts of people.
That is why the Apostle Paul said that the world is crucified to him (dead) and he is crucified to the world.
The world had nothing to offer Paul.
Paul had a mission, just as Christ has given each of us a mission.
There is someone out there who needs to hear our story.
There is someone out there who needs this justification that God offers.
To be made in right standing with God.
God is no longer an enemy to you, but becomes your source of strength and life.
Justified.

Justified.
Receive.
Believe.
Don't be deceived.

God on you....
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Thursday, July 15, 2010

It's Everywhere

Seems to be a lot of hurting people out there.
More than usual.
or maybe I just been more aware of those around me.
Family issues.
Personal battles that seem unwinable.
Spiritual doubts and fears.
There is a lot of pain out there.
Physical....
emotional....
and
spiritual.

Talked to a young man yesterday who is in one such situation.
He had an accident that has left him in a lot of physical pain.
This incident seems to be a central point from which his entire world has unraveled.
He is alone.
He has to live with someone else because he can't support himself.
He has considered suicide.
As we talked, he never really asked for anything but you could hear it in his voice. What, you may ask?
That someone would tell him that his life would get better.
That the pain would go away.
The things that he had lost would be restored and it would be as it was before the accident.
I could not tell him that.
It would have been easy to say soothing words.
But those words would only serve as false hope.
Our hope is not in the state of our circumstances....
Our hope lies in a person...
Jesus Christ.

So what did I pray for this young man.
Joy!
God's joy.
If you read Scripture, it truly must be something divine and not of this world.
We read in Hebrews 12:2....
"who for the joy set before him endured the cross...."
Did you catch that?
God's joy, set before Jesus, helped him to endure.
Jesus was not looking at the "now"
He was looking for the will of God in the now.

It was hard listening to this young man's voice.
Sometimes it trailed off into tears....
Sometimes it got a really dark tone to it...
But I know that by the time we finished talking
he had taken his eyes from his problems and put them on Jesus.
As humans, we might have to take our eyes off our problems a million times a day to focus on Jesus.
That's o.k.

Father God.....
Give us your joy that we might endure.
I rest upon the assurance that Your grace is sufficient.
Sufficient for whatever comes my way today.
Sufficient for what ever life hands me.
I would that we find that grace today.
I would that you set Your joy between me and my problems.
Not as a means for escape...
but for strengthening
and
keeping me focused on what really matters....
YOU!

In Jesus name...
Amen!

God on you today..
mb

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

My Prayer.....

God has blessed me far beyond what I deserve.
Truth be known, if not for Jesus.........I deserve hell.
He keeps me balanced in the way I see life. I know it's Him because I would not have such thoughts left to my devices and ways. For my own personal life, I find that the words of Proverbs 30:7-9 are a prayer that I send up on a regular basis.

Proverbs 30:7-9
Two things I ask of you, O Lord
Do not refuse me before I die.
Keep falsehood and lies far from me.
Give me neither poverty nor riches,

but give me only my daily bread.
Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you
and say, 'Who is the Lord?"
Or I may become poor and steal, and so
dishonor the name of my God.

I desire only to possess that which God wants me to have.
Nothing more...
Nothing less....
A "divine" balance, if you will, of the Kingdom of God brought forth and played out in my life and the life of my family.
Who could as for more?

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

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

HOME



Feeling like a worn out leather jacket
to tired to sell-- to old to give away
torn and ripped in all the wrong places
saw the coming light of a better day

Hanging loose against the shoulders
holding on to simply stay alive
funny how the years have gone by quickly
through the good and bad trying to stay alive

But I'm just another pair of shoes on the sidewalk
Just another nameless face you will forget
and I know my past haunts me like my shadow
like an empty pocket, trying to pay a debt

Spent my days at the bottom of the bottle
living life with a whiskey colored hue
searching for a higher, greater power
who would simply show me what I was to do.

I found myself in the company of others
whose stories seem to circle like my own
I was one of many kindred in this meeting
but I was one of the few who'd found a home

Now I feel those years slowly fall around me
and the weight of all my pain went away
and with each step that I took, I found freedom
and I'm still alive and kickin' here today.

Because I heard a voice that sounded so familiar
said He was the way, the truth and the life
this greater power took my sweet surrender
and together we stepped out from the night.

written: mbb
7/12/ 10


Monday, July 12, 2010

Great Weekend

The message from Saturday night is downloaded and ready to listen to.
Saturday night was a kind of "turning of the page" so to speak.
God has been dealing with Barry, Vicki and me over the past two weeks and the three of us have spent a great deal of time sharing and praying together.

I don't know if I can put down into words what came from our meetings, but I do know this.
Our primary goal here is to bring recovery.
Several have trouble with the term "God as we understood Him"  and our "higher power" when referring to the steps of A.A.
Make no bones about it, in our group when we speak of a higher power, we speak of Jesus Christ.
You can't get any higher than Him.

We must bring three things to recovery:  
1.) Willingness to change
2.) Rigorous honesty
3.) Open mind
We are ready for Jesus to do for us that which we could not do for ourselves.
To clean away all the rubble, garbage and destruction of our past behaviors as we begin a journey of spiritual progress to this promised new life.

We meet each problem head on and do not run away, knowing that God will take us through whatever comes our way, for His promises are yes and amen!

Have a great Monday....
mb

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Keith Green - "Scripture Song Medley"

Long before Time Life discovered that there was a buck to be made in the name of Jesus, there were men and women who traveled this land singing of Jesus because that is what they were called to do.
They did not get rich, for riches was not their aim.
They were not well known outside of the Jesus people movement, but their hearts burned with a fire and passion for Jesus. They didn't just talk about Jesus..................they lived it.

Enjoy!

God on you....

mb

Hello 21st Century

I am a dinosaur living in a Techno-culture.
At one time, I was the goo-ru of techdom.
People came to me to hook up their stuff.
Home Stereos...
Car Stereos...
VCR's -- why I could even set the clock.
Cable boxes...
I was good.
Then it all changed.
Music systems got smaller and smaller.
I resisted.
Turntables and records gave way to 8-tracks
8-tracks gave way to cassettes
Cassettes gave way to Cd's
And now
Cd's are slowly dying out to downloads, Ipods, Iphones, Me-phones, you-phones.

Back in the ol' days we carried around what looked like a tool box, but it contained
24  8-track tapes.
This was replaced with a case that could carry  60 cassettes.
Which was shoved out of the way with a case that carried over a 100 Cd's.
Then came the mp3.
1000's of songs in a doo-hickey that fit in your shirt pocket.
I fought against mp3 - it was of the devil.
Well, it isn't.

My son took me to Wal-mart last night and we purchased my own personal mp3 player.
Since I'm not so crazy about the ear-phones, I also got a docking station to
play the mp3 through.
Little bitty thing that sets on the table next to my recliner.
After a few minutes, I had downloaded a number of my Cd's.
Presto-change-o....music.
Not just any music but good music.
Coming from that little bitty box sitting there on the table.

I've written all of this to show you what I learned.
I was so concerned about the manner in which the music was being delivered that
I lost sight that it was about the music all along.
What difference did it make if the tunes came from Vinyl or digital.
The end result is the same.
The ability to hear.
The ability to enjoy.
The ability to be moved by the music.

Funny....we make churches like this.
Old fashioned churches.
New fangled churches.
Mega churches.
Store front churches.
Home churches...
Each one feels like the way they approach the Word of God is the best, when
in fact,
they loose sight that it's about the Word of God....That and that alone.
Just as we get caught up in the vehicle and the manner we receive music,
we should not fall into the trap that our way of doing church or delivering the Word is
the best or only way.

This is my simple take on what is going on in me and around me.
God's blessing on you...
mb

Friday, July 9, 2010

I Want What He Has!

Reading in the book of Genesis today.
Chapter 6 where everything begins to unravel.
God has watched as mankind has spiraled downward into complete darkness spiritually.
God's patience is greater than mine (duh?).
He waited and talked and shared and warned but no one listened.
Now there is only one man.
One human being on the face of the planet that is following him.
Wow! Do you think Noah was ever intimidated? Do you think he felt out of place amidst all the glitz and glamour that sin has to offer? Do you think that he thought to himself, " What if I'm wrong? What if the way I see things is not right? After all.....EVERYONE IS DOING IT!"

Verse 8 in Chapter 6 of Genesis is so powerful when you really stop and chew on it.
But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.
The word found, according to Strong's Concordance, means to exist, to occur, to appear. In other words, Noah was living right and the Grace of God........The empowering presence of God which enabled Noah to be who he was created to be and for Noah to be able to do all that he was created to do...was imparted to him.

Noah found grace.
In the middle of the darkest time the earth has ever known. When the heart of God and the purposes of God could only be found in one individual, God gave grace to Noah.
Noah didn't have 24 hour Christian TV and Radio.
There was no Zondervan or Destiny printing houses.
No Time Life Worship series on CD or Ipod to listen to.
Just Noah and God.
Maybe we clutter our lives up with a bunch of stuff that may not be as important as we think it is.
Maybe all we truly need is the presence of God.

Another interesting thing I saw in my reading this morning was in Chapter 6 - verse 22 -- "thus did Noah according to all that God commanded him, so did he."
If you go over to Chapter 7 and read verse 5, you'll see almost the same thing. "And Noah did according unto all that the Lord commanded him."
Did you catch that subtle shift in Noah's relationship with God.
Verse 22 -- God commanded.
Verse 5 --- Lord commanded.
Something happened that moved Noah in his relationship to seeing God not just as God, but as Lord.
Noah submitted and grew in this relationship to the point that he surrendered his life completely to God.
Making God Lord over his life. Now that's what I'm talking about.
You be Lord over me today.
I give up.
I hoist the white flag.
I throw down my guns..
My hands are raised.
My heart submitted to you, Lord.
Now, lets build an ark.

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

Thursday, July 8, 2010

My Story


Here is where we have met for the last 4 years.
The chapel @ Rapha.
We come together every Saturday night and wait for God.
I have tried to make the meeting into several different venues.
I have tried to make it a church.
I thought that was what God wanted. Silly me.
It wasn't.
You can't take something and make it what it never was intended to be.
That is my "religious" part that causes me to work in this manner.

On May 20, 2001, I had a conversation with God.
I had been hosting a Saturday night recovery meeting for almost 2 years at the point.
The conversation went something like this:

"What now God?"'
"Grow a church!"
"I can't build a church. I don't know how."
"I didn't say build, I said grow."
"I don't get it."
"I said in Scripture that I (God) would build my church. I even said that unless I (God) build it, you will labor in vain."
"I will build it...you will grow from it."
"Does that mean that I have been running around doing a bunch of stuff that I thought mattered and that somehow it would all come together?  And that because of my efforts, you would recognize it and call it church?"
"Pretty  much. I appreciate all you do, even when you do it and don't consult me for instruction."
"I can't bless when you act outside of what I desire to build."
"I guess growing is a different animal than building, isn't it?"
"Now you seeing things my way."
"Don't be concerned so much with the structure as with the life I want to bring to the church."

This is where I have missed it over the years.
I was more concerned with what it looked like.
I measured what God was doing by what was visibly happening when we met.
Bad move on my part.

This past week, God has stirred Barry, Vicki and me with a new vision and insight into what He wants to accomplish here at Rapha on Saturday night.
I have, in the past, been trying to take the precepts and thoughts behind A.A. and fit them into a mold that would look like a church.
God is not instructing us on how to take the church and fit it into the mold of A.A.

This has been an incredible week of being reset and being taught.
God has been speaking through His Scripture to me about His heart for the lost.
His (God) desire is to give me His heart, His burden and His plan for those in addiction.
Because of the nature of the problem that is addiction, the approach will be different than what a
traditional, main line church may use.

Pray for us as we embark on this change.
I know this.
If what I have heard is God, it will work and prosper and men and women will be brought into the Kingdom of God.
If what I have heard isn't God.....
It will wither and die and we all will know that we heard wrongly.

God on you.....
mb

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

I Will Give To You.......................

Acts 1:8
But you shall receive power (ability, efficiency, and might) when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be My witnesses in Jerusalem and all Judea and Samaria and to the ends
(the very bounds) of the earth.

Over the past few days, God has taken me on this journey through two books.
1.) The Bible
2.) The big book of A.A.
One, the Bible, being the infallible word of the living God,
and the other, big book of A.A., the thoughts and understanding of a man who was delivered from the power of alcohol.

Because the call God has given to me involves serving people in addiction, I find that the Bible is revealing some truth that the big book shares.
I chose the verse of Acts 1:8 because this is where my journey has begun.
Monday afternoon as I was mowing, I was talking to God.
(Before you think me crazy, I have some of my best conversations with God while mowing.)
During the course of our time together, He brought the Acts 1:8 passage to my mind.
I wasn't dwelling on Acts.
I had not even been reading in that particular book.
But there it was in my mind......."Acts 1:8"

Suddenly I saw it in a way I had never seen before.
Acts 1:8 contains the very essence of the Twelve Steps.
It has Step#1 ( the beginning)
and
Step # 12 ( the ending)
It begins with Jesus saying to his disciples, I am going to give you something.
What?
Power.
Step # 1 involves the recognition , the confession and admittance that we are powerless.
God does for us what we could not do for ourselves...He gives us power.
This power, the Holy Ghost, is the one who brings change to us.
It is the beginning of a relationship between us and God.

Then at the end of Acts 1:8 Jesus states that "You will be my witnesses" and we are too take his message to the world.
Step #12 tells us that "having had this spiritual awakening, we seek to take the message."
Here is the part that I think the church misses.
A person in recovery takes the message to others because in the very act of doing so, it helps them to remain sober, strong, and on the right track.

What if this idea that the reason we share is not only because Jesus commanded us to, but there was a benefit that strengthened us and helped us to not fall back into our old ways and lifestyles.
That the reason for taking the message to others was that it enabled you to remain strong and on the right track.

Think on these things.

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

Little Life? Or Big LIFE?

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