Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Old Wineskins



I'm an old wineskin.
When we read the passage from Luke 5, where Jesus talks about old patches and old wineskin's, we tend to discard the old. Jesus even says that the New and Old cannot mingle. It doesn't work. But no where does he say that the Old is not fit for consumption.
Now before you go all theological on me, I do understand that the passage in Luke is talking about the New covenant coming to replace the old one.
But this morning, I think God will give me liberty to apply it in a different way. Apply it to something that is relevant in my life today.
The wine or call on my life has been born from two different movements that affected me tremendously.
The Jesus people movement that took place in the late 60's....
and the renewal that happened back in the early 90's.
Both of these visitations by God's Holy Spirit had a tremendous impact on my life and shaped it so that who I am today is a by product of those times.
When I say "impact" that is truly what I mean.
It shaped my view of God and His Holy Spirit.
It introduced me to the works of Christ and that I was called to "do the stuff" as John Wimber use to say.
My wine has been aging for 40 + years.
Anyone who knows anything about wine knows that aged wine is richer and fuller.
Does that mean we should ignore or discount what God is doing today?
Never.
Recognize God at work and bless it.
Recognize that others are having the wineskin's filled with the wonderful presence of the Holy Spirit.
But it doesn't mean that your wineskin has lost it viability or importance.
It doesn't mean that you need to discard what God has filled you with to run after something new.
Here's the tricky part.
If God so leads you to be filled with this "NEW" wine, then go drink it up.
But only if God is leading.
Don't let your taste or your own desire be the motivating factor that would cause you to chase this.

If you have been called to drink this new wine, this fresh move of His Spirit, then do so in humility.
Don't lash out at those who have come before you as being of no relevance.
A great price was paid by a lot of people so that you could, in fact, drink this new wine.
Honor those who have come before you for their sacrifice and diligence in keeping the wine and not wasting it.
Pay homage to those who are filled with the old wine.
They haven't carried it for this much time and not grown in wisdom and maturity.
Yes sir! I'm an old wineskin and proud of it.
My wineskin still bulges with the fruit of the Holy Spirit working in me.
I continue to pour from my wineskin on those who are broken and hurting.
I pour liberally not afraid of running out or being selfish with it.
Yes sir! I'm an old wineskin.

God on you....
mb

Monday, August 30, 2010

Hard Morning...

Something about Sunday night sleep that just isn't as good as Saturday night sleep.
Maybe it because you know that Monday starts the routine all over again.
Maybe there is a Sunday night "blue funk" that settle over the domain and you are grateful for the weekend, just sad to see that it is over.
No matter...
We get another chance to get it right this week. For that, I am grateful.
Listening to James Ryles yesterday at the Church on Greene Street, he taught from Psalm 19:7-11.

V.7 -  The instructions of the LORD are perfect, reviving the soul. The decrees of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple.
           A.) Instructions? His Word...the Bible. More than a book it's God-breathed words are empowered by God and contain the capability of reviving, bringing back to life......raising from the spiritual dead...me!

V.8 - The commandments of the LORD are right, bringing  joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are clear, giving insight for living.
         A.) Seems to be (here we go again)....a lot of JESUS "+" theology out there. "Oh, yeah, get saved but then you can attain this level and you can have God pour this on you and you can do this or that."
         B.) God's commandments bring JOY to the heart. Hearing them........doing them..........thinking on them.....talking about them.......studying them.

I still feel as though Scripture is viewed as something that is needed (kind of like taking a dose of Castor oil) but not desired. I hear several people make the comment......"well, you know....I just don't like to read." Well, you know.....read anyway. Maybe we should pray that God would give us a hunger and desire to read His word and then begin whether we want to or not.

Psalm 119:18 -  Open my eyes to see the wonderful truth in your instructions.

Psalm 119:130 -  The teaching (or unfolding ) of your word gives light, so even the simple can understand.

The Bible is the greatest gatherings of words, thoughts and instructions ever put together in one book. Penned by the hand of men moved by the Spirit of God.
Fall in love with this book today!

God on you.....
mb

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Daniel Amos - Doppelganger - New Car

"I'm One OF The King's Kids..." I'm a brat for Jesus.
Thank you Daniel Amos for this song and keeping me from going over the deep. Feet on the Rock, name on the Roll (Thank's Larry).

There's That Word Again------LOVE!

Ephesians 4:15
But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head even Christ.

A wise man once told me, "When your need to love someone outweighs your need to be right (in an argument) then you will know and understand how much you have grown in Jesus."
No matter what I am engaged in, the love of God has to cover it.
Does this mean that we excuse behavior of others who may be taking liberty with the things of God? No.
But we always come from a place of love so that our words are not tainted by our own flesh.

Matthew 5:9 reads Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God.
Yes, we are called to defend the word of God.
Yes, we are called to stand for those who cannot stand for themselves.

Yes, we are called to usher in the Kingdom of God here in this fallen world.
But I cannot carry out such a task operating from my flesh.


Why such a posting today? And then there is that one I posted here yesterday.
What's going on?

There is a lot self-centered and childishness going on in the body of Christ.
There seems to be a shifting of focus from Jesus and His Lordship to "It's All About Me!"
Feelings seem to play a big part in this mindset.
Feelings played a big part in the renewal back in the 90's.
Feelings was the catch word....excuse me, let me rephrase that.....Experience.
Come and let Jesus cover your senses.....sight, touch, smell, taste and hear the goodness of God.
One word that got lost in all of this was FAITH.
II Corinthians 5:7 kind of lays it out .....We walk by faith and not by sight.
The experience became more than central to the meetings. Like Wimber said, "You have to pull everything into context and find the radical middle ground in which to live." Maybe we had been dry and dead spiritually for such a long time that we needed this fresh rain from God. Never let it be said that the renewal was dull.
But I don't know that we handled it very well. Some came simply for the experience. The feeling superseded God. We came for the gift and not the giver. The experience became center stage for what was happening. The problem with relying solely on an experience with God is that it truly uncovers the lack of maturity that a person possesses. Any experience with God should propel the person forward to grow and mature as a believer. I'm not sure that I actually accomplished that during the 90's. I found myself measuring our worship by what it did for me. "Oh that was a great worship set...I could feel the presence of God." Subtly, I think a lot of us worship leaders planned our songs and music around the idea of getting God to come so we could experience His presence. To be truthful it was like I was trying to cajole or manipulate God into doing something that would benefit me. I learned.

Here is what I have learned.
You can't get any "Saveder" than you are. If you have been saved by the blood of Jesus, you cannot attain any greater salvation by works or even faith. A greater faith does not mean a greater salvation. There are some in teaching/ leadership positions who share that there are certain other things you can do that will separate you from the average-run-of-the-mill believer. If you do these things, or live in this way, then you will really get to be in the presence of God. I call this a JESUS "+" Salvation. You have the finished work of Jesus Christ, but ...........Oh yeah, you really need to do these things and they will propel you into a higher plane with Christ. 


You can't get any more in the presence of God than you currently can. Yes, there are times when we need to meditate on the Word of God........pull aside to be still and pray. The Spirit of God resides in each believer. To think that there are disciplines that pull you to a greater level of God's presence....I don't see it in Scripture. What could I do that cause that? God is the one who draws, not effort on my part.

You cannot receive any more favor from God than you currently have.  Jesus, before he had done anything, was identified by the Father as "This is my Son in whom I am well pleased." I believe that stands for all of God's children. We have His favor.

As you walk daily with God, you will seek to become less so that He can become more. All you share will point to Christ, not yourself. Not your accomplishments. Not your plans. Christ will be raised up through the live we live.

I think I better stop for now. It's time for me to go to Rapha.
Have a good day.
God on you.......

mb

Friday, August 27, 2010

Sticks And Stones For Jesus!

I wrote this particular posting for my own personal need. It stems from a need to be reminded of who I am in the body of Christ and that my own "views" are not on the same level and authority as Scripture. By that, I mean that I do not possess the liberty or freedom to say things to other people who may disagree with my teaching, doing so by using the name of God to cover my own fleshly anger. When ever we look to someone else, maybe their teaching or style of ministry, it is dangerous for us to begin such a view with the idea that "I am right and he is wrong." Yet this is the place I find most people start from. I am basing what I see in you and measuring it against what I know about myself. My views and my life become the yardstick for measurement. Well, I don't think so. I do not have the luxury or the right to act in such a manner. We all stand measured against the truth and Word of God.

 If I claim to speak and teach in the name of God, then I am open to criticism and correction. That is part of the call we receive when we say yes to God. I do not get to decide what is and what isn't an attack by someone else. God will reveal this for what it truly is.  It is so easy, and in fact has become the norm even among God's people to resort to name calling when one is challenged on what they have said or taught. When someone dares question a particular teaching or view that we may have given, it is easy to strike out by saying.."It's a religious spirit on you that is causing you to say these things...I won't accept them." Excuse me? If I come to you and try to speak truth in love about something you taught, don't resort to religious word wrangling. Dude, if I have a religious spirit on me, then please pray for me and even seek to cast it out. Don't simply name it and turn your back on me. There is no love in such behavior. Since there is no love.....well, you get my drift. What happened to "pray for you enemies" and "bless those who persecute you for My name sake."


I have seen and heard people who would couch their teaching in such phrasing as "The Lord who does not lie has revealed this me!" Who in their right mind would speak against such a statement when confronting someone in love about wrong teaching?. Yet we use such language to keep people from speaking against us. I am a student of John Wimber who simply said, "You don't have to hype what your are teaching in a bunch of religious jargon. If you have spoken wrongly, the Holy Spirit will reveal it and it is your duty to repent, confess and turn away from such things."

Jesus was speaking about real attacks that come when we speak or teach the truth. Here again, why is it we automatically assume that anyone who speaks against us is in chaoots with the devil? Are we so insecure that we do not want to be corrected by Jesus? So when threatened, we place oursleves under the persecuted for Christ banner.

I remember when all the PTL stuff was going on with Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker. Every day was the same ol' thing. "The forces of hell are seeking to shut down PTL and destroy the work God has started." Well, what do you know....It was God who wanted it shut down. Do you think He might have been embarrasssed by them using His name for their own gain? I think so. That is why we have to be careful as to what we say when we are questioned about things we teach or in the way we minister. When we, whether on purpose or not, exalt our own status above others, we are not moving with the heart of God. If we do not move with a servants heart, we miss the point. I see far to many who desire to be servants..................they just want to serve in the spotlight. 

We should always speak from a place of humility. Say what God would have us say and then move as the Holy Spirit directs. We do not engage in word play and prophetic "one-ups-menship". If I am not drawing Glory to Jesus through what I say and do, then I should be quiet. IF I am at the center of the teaching and ministry, I should be quiet. One thing I learned from the renewal back in the '90's...most of what people speak as prophetic........isn't. Oh there were some who gave some incredible words and illuminations of God's Word. But you know what I noticed about those people? They were people who God was working and moving on their character and integrity. We do not get to discard all the mess of our character at the expense of playing in the "spiritual" kiddie pool. Sure God will let us play and splash around...laugh, dunk each other...hoot and holler....but at some point, the character I possess and must fall under God's hand as he seeks to grow me and stretch me.

Please pray for me during these days.
Things is a stirring in the body of Christ.

I've been waiting for 7 years, and I am now just beginning to see God move in a way he showed me on Oct. 3, 2003 at a cabin in North Georgia.
Now more than ever, we need the Love of God to cover all we say and all we do.
Be humble and able to receive correction.
Be humble so as to s
peak the truth in love.
Uncover the works of the enemy.
Let the body of Christ come forth and may we proclaim with one voice, "Your Kingdom come...Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven!"
NOW FOR THE REAL TEACHING!!!

Teaching by: A.W. Towzer

“But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies … 2 Pet. 2:1

Whatever it may be in our Christian experience that originates outside of Scriptures should, for that very reason, be suspect until it can be shown to be in accord with them.
If it should be found to be contrary to the Word of revealed truth no true Christian will accept it as being from God. However high the emotional content, no experience can be proved to be genuine unless we can find chapter and verse authority for it in Scriptures. “To the word and to the testimony” must always be the last and final proof.
Whatever is new or singular should also be viewed with caution until it can furnish scriptural proof of its validity. Throughout the twentieth century quite a number of unscriptural notions have gained acceptance among Christians by claiming that they were among truths that were to be revealed in the last days.

The truth is that the Bible does not teach that there will be new light and advanced spiritual experiences in the latter days; it teaches the exact opposite! Nothing in Daniel or the New Testament epistles can be tortured into advocating the idea that we of the end of the Christian era shall enjoy light that was not known at its beginning.
Beware of any man who claims to be wiser than the apostles or holier than the martyrs of the Early Church. The best way to deal with him is to rise and leave his presence!”

As a teacher....
As a pastor....
I am totally in touch with my inadequacy to do what I do.

I know that I have been called by God and as such, have been empowered and equipped to speak, minister and move under the guidance of His Holy Spirit.
But I'm also aware that I must be ready to give an account to those who may question what I do and why I do it. I do so under a Spirit of love.

I have been attacked.
I have been called names.
I have been accused.
When such times came to me, my first impression has been to be sick. Yes, that's right, sick. I get a nauseated feeling and feel like I could throw up. Why? Because the first thing I must do is go to God and be totally honest with Him. "Oh God....have I been in error? Have I taught a gospel other that the one You desire me to teach? I have to always examine myself in the light of God's word and the truth of God. I have to be ready to repent and confess if, in fact, I do find myself in error in my teaching. 

If I emerge from this time of being under the microscope of the Holy Spirit, and nothing has been found to be in error, then I must bless the ones who have attacked me. Not from a holier than thou position or one that is right while they are wrong. I bless from a place of  humility. I do not rail against what has happened or the things that were spoken about me. I do not have to defend myself, God will do that. I pray for those who have spoken about me. IF anything, such events such as these cause me to guard my own tongue which so easily is influenced by my flesh. To guard myself from launching out into tirades and hurtful, accusing words that only divide.

Does this mean that we should not speak out when discernment causes us to "see" something going on within the local body that does not fit with Scripture? No....First and foremost we have to ask ourselves,"Do I have the authority to do so? Or is God simply making me aware of something going on?" I see too many who are too quick to draw swords and begin whacking away. On the other hand, there are those who never loose the sword, they simply wear it around like a medal or award. There is a healthy balance that we need to seek in such matters and that balance is found at the feet of Jesus. What is He telling you to do?
We all should realize that if we claim to be a part of the body of Christ, then we answer to each other.
Let Love cover everything we do!
Speak the TRUTH in love!

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

Change Is In The Air...

Nights are more pleasant and not as oppressive. That is good.
Days are beginning to cool down and not be as humid. That is good.
I am being changed. That is most good.
Changed? How?
I am being drawn to return to my heritage.
We all have a spiritual "DNA" inside of us.
It is formed and shaped by the church or community of believers that we first came to.
For me, that would be Southern Baptist....I was saved and baptized into this family at the age of 9. I spent 9 years with them. They helped to form my view of "taking the message out."
The Great commission was the battle cry of our family. Tell the good news of Jesus and share the plan of salvation. There was a single mission that was the focus of our efforts.
Not only did they live it, they gave their money to support others who went to places we never could have.
I am grateful for Rev. Lewis Wood, Rev. Don Gentry and Rev. D.E. Hendrix for the life they brought to our community and our church.

I then lost touch with the "DNA" that God had begun to form in me.
In fact, I walked away from God for 7 years.
7 years of doing what I wanted to do. It was fun at first. Little things like sleeping in on Sunday mornings and lazing around with the paper and a cup of coffee. We worked hard and we deserved to have some time off. Unfortunately, God didn't see it that way. 1979 found Vicki and I beginning the process of being grafted into another part of the Vine. Central Methodist Church. Methodist? You got to be kidding? Nope. It was a God-leading journey. The very first time we went, Bro. George Creel stood at the pulpit and with his opening words, I was hooked. I can't explain it other than I had never heard the Word of God taught like Bro. George did that morning We went back. We went back some more. For 14 years, we became students of the Word. We took notebooks and pens and our Bible to each service. Scribbling notes and writing down Scripture references that we would later look up and discuss. It was an incredible time of learning for Vicki and I. We were introduced to the Holy Spirit and His workings. It changed us.God deemed that we were ready to move on.

In the fall of 1993, God lead us out to begin puting place the next part of His plan.
May 20, 1994, I was eating lunch at Mid-South Electrics and was finishing up a book (THE OPEN DOOR). The book was written by a pastor who said that we had lost the heart and soul of what God intended church to be. A chasm had been created between the clergy and the laity (I hate those two words)
and that God wanted to return the church to it's rightful place. This book changed me. It filled my thoughts and I could not shake what I had read. God spoke. I was to start a home group. Teaching, worship, ministry. This lead us to the Vineyard and Jim Bentley. I knew that a spiritual cover was needed if we were going to do this and the Vineyard was the only one that I felt would grant us that covering. Jim agreed and became a mentor to me, showing me how to lead a home group.

Home group lead to my ordination as a pastor.
Pastoring lead to full time ministry.
Full time ministry lead to Rapha Drug and Alcohol Rehab.
Rapha Drug and Alcohol lead to me being there for the last 12 years.
During all of that time, God has changed me and continues to change me.
I am learning how to love again.
Love with a unique twist to it.
He is equipping me to be able to "Speak" the truth in love.
This isn't the squishy, syrupy, kind of love the world has taught us to operate by...
But pure, undefiled, heaven sent love that desires to see everyone come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
Love....
Gotta love it!
thanks Lord!

God on you......
mb

Thursday, August 26, 2010

There is hope & life after Alcohol Addiction & Drug Addiction.


For God had such an affection and love for the creation that he had spoken into existence, He had to do something. He saw the ravages of sin....He saw the destruction that was taking place and taking a toll. He felt the pain of those who, through tempted choices, had now lost the simple will to stop. He had to do something.
He chose to pay the price for everyone lost in the darkness, realizing that they were powerless. He paid the price not out of pity but compassion. He paid the price not out of anger but out of a love that I will not be able to understand until I stand face to face with Him. He paid the price.
He sent His Son, Jesus.
He gave His Son, Jesus.
To be the price to rescue and redeem all of us from the ultimate penalty that comes with our sin. The Second Death! An eternal separation from God and everything good and holy. He, Jesus, was sent to be that propitiation for our sin. He became the payment. I go to pay my electric bill and I pull money from my wallet. I go to pay a grocery bill and I pull a debit card out. I go to pay my cable bill and I write a check. God pulled the very heart of who he is out and then watched Him die.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Thank you God!! Think on these things.
God on you....
mb

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

All You Need Is Love


Dionne Warwick sang, "What the world needs now is love, sweet love."
Beatles said, "All you need is love" and then they broke up.
Linda Ronstadt wanted to know "When will I be loved?"
I guess love has been the topic of more poems and songs since the beginning of time.
We are born with an inward desire to be loved and affirmed.
Because we have rejected God, we search for that love (As Mickey Gilley sang) IN ALL THE WRONG PLACES.
We twist the meaning of love.
For some love means sex.
Love means power.
Love means greed.
To God, love means sacrifice.
For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son....
God loved...
God gave....
The two go together.
Never, never ever will you read   He loved, He took.
Real love creates the desire to give it away.
To demonstrate it.
Boy, does this world need a demonstration of God's love.
Actually what the world needs is to have their eyes and heart's opened to measure of God's love that has been poured out upon us.

Book of Joel speaks of the Last Days.
Joel writes that Spirit of God will be poured out on ALL FLESH.
Not just the saved or the sanctified, but the sinful as well.
But because of the fall of humanity in the Garden of Eden,
Mankind possesses a hardness of the heart which causes rejection.
My prayer is that today, someone may see God in me as I love them.
I know it sounds all "hippie/ 60's " kind of theology, but the truth is.....
Everything God does stems from a heart of love.

Granted HIS love is purer and more complete than any love found here on this earth.
That is why I am in need of such a love.
That is why I am grateful this morning that the Love of God has consumed me.
To ponder the thought that "God is love".
Not that "God simply loves"....He is love.
You cannot begin with God and separate love from Him.
He is love.

Let Him love you today.
In turn, give the love you receive away to someone else.
Wow!

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

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

He'll Take Care Of The Rest

Found myself in Luke 1 yesterday.
All the angelic activity that burst on the scene after 400 years of silence from heaven, must have left people thinking to themselves, "What in the wide world of sports is going on?"
Zechariah finally gets his turn to serve in the temple, not only that but he get the sweet job of going into the holy place and burning incense on the altar. Dressed in his temple finest, ol' Zach is moving around enjoying every moment when suddenly......BLAMMO! the angel Gabriel shows up with a message. "Hey Zach, don't be afraid but you and your wife's prayers have been heard and Father God is going to answer them. Your going to have a baby boy!" Zachariah found this a little hard to swallow since he and Elizabeth were way beyond child bearing years. I love it, in that God's plans are not based on whether we swallow or not. God simply carries them out. Of course when God shows up to work in someone, that "someone" always feels inadequate or not able to carry out the task. That is human nature. God is not surprised in that.

I remember when I accepted the call to pastor. I had been running from it for 30+ years.
When I finally said "YES" and turned my will over to God, the first thing that came to my mind scared me to death. I mean it petrified me. It was my "I can't do this" moment. What was it? The thought that I had to come up with a message each week. Something new....something amazing....something stupendous. When in fact it was none of those things. All I had to do was study, pray, listen and then talk. Sure some weeks are harder than others. I've even prepared lessons and teaching that I had to lay aside the moment I stood before a congregation to give them. Now that is scary! But through it all, God has been faithful to give me what I needed to say for that moment.

I guess what I think we are to pick up on from this posting is that God is only looking for people who will say yes. Once we have made the commitment, He will take care of the rest. If you look at what the angel told Mary (the Virgin) you will see the truth of what I have written.
V31 -  You are going to have a baby so you need to name him Jesus. (that's her part)
V32 - He will be very great
          He will be called SON OF THE MOST HIGH
          He will receive the throne of David
V33 - He will reign over Israel forever
          His kingdom will never end

All Mary had to do was surrender and allow God to work. God did the rest. IT is no different today. We surrender ourselves to God's will and then allow Him to birth from us the works and deeds that He desires to bring out for His Kingdom work here on this earth. Cool huh?

make today a "I-will-cooperate-with-God-day", then see what happens.

God on you...
mb

Monday, August 23, 2010

I have just downloaded the message from 8 /14/2010 Saturday Service.
"For nothing is impossible with God" Luke 1:37.

I will download last Saturday night's message ( 8 /21/2010) Later this afternoon.

"Break Up the Fallow Ground...A harvest is coming".  (Hosea 10:12)

How Much?

A man comes to Rapha to enter the program.
He doesn't know what to expect or how this "recovery" thing works out.
His main focus is the fact that someone is asking him to give up his best friend, his lover, his confidant.....a.k.a. drugs and alcohol.
The man cannot think about anything else but what he is going to have to give up.
He doesn't see the life that he could have.
He doesn't understand that recovery is more than the absence of drugs and alcohol.
But he comes to Rapha anyway.
He may be ordered by the courts....
He may be entering back into society after years in a penitentiary.
He may simply be between stays at the Etowah County Detention Center.
He may simply be worn out and tired.
The best man to work with in recovery is one who is sick and tired of being sick and tired. They will pretty much do whatever it takes to recover.

He arrives at Rapha and begins to hear about "Jesus."
He thought he knew about Jesus, but finds out that he really didn't.
By the time this man finished Phase I of the program, which is seven weeks, he will have been introduced to the following.

7 hours of soaking prayer- He gets to simply lay in the presence of God as he is being prayed over.
7 Saturday night meetings (voluntary) where he is taught what it means to be a part of a church. He gets to participate and learn how to worship. He is afforded the opportunity to receive more prayer during the "clinic" time, or ministry time as some call it.
14 hours of Bible study (these are mandatory) during the week. We go back to basic teaching of "Who is Jesus and why did he come to our time and space." We teach basic Bible understanding (memorize the books so you'll know where they are-- We explain how to study, where to start, what it means when someone says look up chapter so and so and read verse so and so.) Never take it for granted that everyone knows how to use the Bible.
14 hours of Voluntary Bible study -  These Bible studies are held at 9 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday nights. They are a little more in depth and we try to begin to lay out what it means to be a disciple.
21 hours of morning devotional - Each morning the camp meets in the day room for morning devotional. It is an interactive time where each man is given an opportunity to share what is going on in their life. A really good way to start the day.
7 hours Sunday Morning - Each Sunday the men are taken to a local church for services. Here they get a broader view of the Body of Christ.

Total- 70 Hours- Planned interaction that helps them to understand and make a decisions as to God's offer of Salvation. 70 hours that is devoted to nothing but Scripture and ministry to the individual. This doesn't even take into account the 84 hours of classroom instruction that points a client to the fact that Jesus is the only higher power than can break this addictive cycle and give new life. These hours I have listed does not take into account the voluntary Bible studies that take place, or the prayer meetings that are held in the chapel by the men. As each man moves through his seven weeks, we find that some really are changed and they become leaders in their group. They put together the Bible studies for their dorm and then lead them.

I am blessed beyond measure to be able to drive out to Rapha each day and be a part of what God is doing there. I get to witness the greatest miracle in the world........a life changed by the power of the Holy Spirit.
That is worth getting up for each day.
God on you....
mb

Saturday, August 21, 2010

What Is Up With This Blog?

I changed the picture used as background for this blog.
I like space ships.
Or rather should I say, as a kid from the 1950's, "I like rocket ships."
Space travel was coming into its own during the 50's.
Russia had launched Sputnik and not to be outdone, America launched Explorer.
We dreamed.
We sat in front of black and white televisions to count down with mission control for the lift off.
We all used  the term "A-o.k." when answering Mom if we were alright.
We had hero's..........they were called Astronauts.
Even the very name (Astronaut) sounded exciting and like something straight out of Buck Rogers or Flash Gordon...only this was real.

At that time, my whole world revolved around space travel.
I had models of rockets all over my bedroom.
I even began building and launching rockets that I had purchased from the Estes Company.
We kid's of the 50's were dreaming big.
Even to this day, I can be out at night and look up in the sky, see the moon and get a chill as I think to myself, "We have been there. Someone from this planet actually walked on the moon."
The possibilities seem endless when we thought of space travel.
It seemed like there wasn't anything that man couldn't accomplish in his strength and sheer might of his will.
But there were things we could not conquer.
As we looked around here on our own planet we saw the destruction and hate that man has for his fellow human.

We grew up.
Dreams of FUTURE life and cities that had buildings that stretched to the heavens, not to mention flying cars, were all tucked away as the years began to gather speed and roll by.
I came to the realization that I don't have any hero's any more.
No one that I look up to as a role model.
Maybe that is because I am older than most I would look to.
Maybe it is because I have lost the ability to dream. I don't know.
I wrote this blog not to depress you but to encourage you.
"Well, Mike, you sure have a funny way of encouraging."
Maybe I do.
You see I have found that the words of Jesus have shown me that I can dream again.
The words of Jesus have inspired me to start looking up again.
I have hope.
I have purpose.
When I read that Jesus said, "If I go to prepare a place for you, will I not return to get you?"
I place my faith and trust on what He said.
No matter how bad things get, I have hope.
No matter how dark the world gets spiritually, the light of Christ will over power it.
I have seen the best  (space travel) and the worst (war, crime, greed) that man has to offer.
But when I look to Jesus, I can only see life and life abundant.........
not only here and now, but stretching into eternity.
Thank you Jesus!

Thanks for letting me "double" post today.
God on you......
mb

GLAD - History of A Cappella

Saturday is kind of a "fun" day for me. Yes, we have our service tonight, but everything is prepared and ready. I tend to spend my morning taking care of what I call "grunt" work. Setting up equipment, making sure the A/C is on. Getting copies of the worship music ready and pulling the overheads.

I also like to add a little fun posting to the blog. GLAD is such a group that can make you smile and cause you to marvel at the incredible instrument that God created called the human voice. Granted, in my case, my instrument is not as well tuned or polished as those in this particular group.

One of the reasons I love this video is that it shows the connection between culture and music especially when it comes to worship or, what some refer to as gospel. There has been and probably will continue to be a tension between groups of people about what is and what isn't acceptable as "God" music. I'm not hear to debate such issues, just to let you know that for some this is a real sticking point. Pretty much what it all boils down to is "preference". We all have certain styles and types of music that we like. Can God use these styles? Yes. Do I like them all? No. But I can recognize the value of it when God is being glorified in the music. There in is the key..............Is God being glorified? Enjoy this video from the group GLAD as they take a standard hymn and present in many different forms and styles.

Until Monday..........God on you......

mb

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Book Of John



John Wimber....Pastor/ teacher / follower of Jesus.
If you asked John who he was, he would reply, "I'm just an old fat man trying to get to heaven."
John had ample parts of humanness in him.
John had a heart that broke when the humanness (sin nature) would rear it's ugly head.
John was just crazy enough to believe that Jesus was who He said He was...
and that the works that Jesus did are still available to all who want to partake in God's Kingdom.
John called us moving and ministering in the Kingdom of God...."DOING THE STUFF."
John had his encourager's --- John had his detractors.
As with anyone who has a call on their life, there are voices that would accuse and criticize.
John knew that this was part of the call.
John never grew beyond repentance or thought himself to be above saying, "I messed up, forgive me Lord."

I have never heard anyone speak the truth of God and the Kingdom like John Wimber.
It was natural and without hype.
John's heart was that everyone who is saved is called to do the works of Jesus.
Pray for the sick.
Cast out demons..
Visit the sick
Feed the poor
Visit those in jail.
And yes....
even raise the dead.

From time to time someone will ask me where I went to Seminary for my training.
          I always laugh and say, "The Full Gospel Closet."
During my time at Gadsden Vineyard, I had the incredible opportunity to spend 8 years going through a closet full of teaching and instruction by John Wimber and those close to him.
It formed my view of the Kingdom of God, which I believe is the central message that Jesus taught.
I saw that the Kingdom was here but not complete 
Mark 1:15 -- The Kingdom ( or rule and reign of God) is near
Matthew 12:28 -  The Kingdom is among us.
Luke 17:21 - Kingdom of God is already here.
We are aware of God's rule and reign in our lives and the dynamics of God at work around us, but we also realize that the work has not been completed.

Probably the greatest single most powerful prayer a believer could pray is found in Matthew 6:10
"May Your Kingdom rule and reign come soon -- May Your Kingdom will be done on earth as it is being done in heaven."
It all comes down to us, as believers and followers of Jesus, allowing the Kingdom of God to be expressed in our midst (our daily lives).
Where the Kingdom is being expressed (or manifested)
1.) People are delivered-- saved and/ or healed from the many expressions of sin
2.) God demonstrates His power over nature due to satanic interference
3.) The Power of God is manifested.

My prayer is that we see an increase of the Kingdom of God in this age.
That God would assert His power and authority over the evil one (devil) and the deeds or works that define and reveal lives that are trapped in sin and bondage.

Galatians 1:4 reads: Jesus gave his life for our sins, just as God our Father planned, on order to rescue us from (or out of) this (present) evil world (age) in which we live.
With the coming of Jesus, the future age has come into this present time and space. The Kingdom of God has been fulfilled but not consummated.
We will see the consummation when Jesus takes His bride (the church).
The New Testament was written from the view that God's Kingdom had interrupted human history. It had invaded our time and space, declaring war on the works of Satan.
Where God's will is being expressed, there the Kingdom is......
Where God's Kingdom is being expressed, there we find healing.

Please do not misinterpret my love and affection for John Wimber as if I am placing him on a pedestal to worship -- I'm not.
                          I am merely grateful for such a man as John and the teachings he poured his life into.
I am a disciple of Christ...
     Christ taught me through John Wimber.
What I teach others is the from the Word of God
but it rings with the accent and love of John Wimber....

Thanks for letting me ramble this morning.
God on you...
mb

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Time Enough At Last

Someday I will be able to say that phrase....."time enough at last."
It may not happen until I stand on the other side of eternity. Standing in the presence of the Lord.
Time is not a commodity that we have a huge supply of.
Time is running out.
Time is not my friend, nor does it wish to be.
Time is the measurement created by God in which his plans for this planet unfold. I have to find where God wants me to fit in this kingdom plan that is ever on going.

Paul has an interesting take on time and the way his life fits within the boundaries of birth and death.
Philippians 1:20-23 -  For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past. And I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I love or die. For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. But if I live, I can do more fruitful work for Christ. So I really don't know which is better. I'm torn between two desires. I long to go and be with Christ, which would be far better for me. But for your sakes, it is better that I continue to live.

Paul was wanting to be a little selfish and say, "Hey, I wouldn't really mind dying right now. It's hard here. It's a very dark place I'm walking in." But Paul saw a greater good. Paul had a Gethsemane moment just as Jesus did....."Here is what I want Father, but not my will....yours! Whenever my vision begins to turn inward and I find myself in a selfish mood, I know that this is not God's will. When the Kingdom of God, in my eyes, is about what happens to me. That is not God. I want God and His will to be center. My focus should be "How does my life fit into the Kingdom of God ,"not "How does the Kingdom of God fit into my life."

Paul goes on to write in verse 25 - Knowing this, I am convinced that I will remain alive so I can continue to help all of you grow and experience the joy of your faith.  Paul saw himself simply as an instrument used by God for the greater good of mankind. Today, the view seems to be a selfish, petty perception....."God love me...God wants to bless me....I am special....I'm one of the King's kids...I want a blessing." Does God want to bless me? Yes. Does God love me? Yes. But it is time to move out from the nursery. It is time to grow and take a rightful place in the kingdom of God.
Get into the Word of God and began letting is soak down in you.
Stay in touch and commune with God through His Holy Spirit.
Ask God to teach you to pray and then do so.
Love the ones no one loves.
Visit the sick and pray for them.
In other words.....be the body of Christ today.

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

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Truth Won't Fade Away

Title for today's posting comes from a Procol Harum song....The Truth Won't Fade Away."
I think it's more evident than ever.
The truth uncovers.
It reveals.
The absolute truth of God, the standard by which all of humanity is measured stands as strong today as ever before.
The truth of God knows no denomination.
You don't own and possess the truth of God....
The truth of God owns you and possess you.
It isn't something you bandy about like a badge or medal.
It is the course set for all who claim Jesus as Lord and Savior over their lives.
We follow the truth of God.

Jesus spoke out and told those around Him, "Hey! I am the way, the TRUTH, and the life.
God the Father is the direction or "way" that we want to travel toward.
God the Son is the reality of life here in fallen world.
The world system which is governed by Satan, is corrupt and seeks to create and keep people from the truth. So he, the devil, throws out all sorts of baubles and bangles and shiny trinkets that draw our attention away from the truth. The truth of who the devil really is and the truth of who God really is.
God the Holy Spirit brings life to us. Not life as this world dictates and offers, for that is not life at all but merely existence. The Holy Spirit of God comes in power.....power that breaks the back of sin. Power that looses the tongue to proclaim the glory of God. Power that points my feet in the direction God has chosen for me to walk.

No matter dark spiritually this world may become, the truth will stand like a light because the truth won't fade away.
No matter how many voices seek to drown out the truth with intellectual babble, one voice will rise above the din because the truth won't fade away.
I leave you with this truth found in Colossians 1:12
"Giving thanks unto the Father, who has made us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light....who has delivered us from the power of darkness and has translated us into the kingdom
of his dear son."

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

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

For Those Who Are Willing To Go To Any Lengths.....

Isaiah 1:19-20
If you be willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land.....
But if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured with the sword for the mouth of the LORD has spoken it.

Why can we not see that there is a nature, a mind-set, call it what you will, that exist in each of us that woos us to make decisions that run contrary to the will of God?
Sin nature, Flesh, the old man.........I really don't care what you call it, but the hard, cold truth is that it only brings destruction and 2nd death to those who reject God.
I see it manifest every day.
Someone in our program will make a choice that is so wrong......
They may be facing prison time.
They may be on the brink of loosing their family...
Rapha may, in fact, be their last chance.....
And a decision will be made to do something really stupid and when they are uncovered for making such a decision, they loose everything.
Praise God! He did not leave us to the tug and pull of this "old mind" but through the shed blood of Jesus, broke the power and penalty of sin forever. That, my friend, is the good news. I have been offered a way out of the destruction that comes with sin-choices.

Verse 20 says that by refusing God's offer of salvation and blessing, you will be devoured with the sword.
A real sword?
I think when Isaiah was writing these verses, the possibility of real swords coming into play was very possible. But I also believe that God is talking about the WORD of God.
The Bible or WORD of God is described later as a living, active word that is sharper than any two-edged sword.
I believe the enemies of God will be destroyed by the truth of the Word of God.
In our society when someone does wrong and is brought to justice, the cry from the accused is "Give me another chance."  I am for 2nd chances. I am for 3rd chances. But what I read in Scripture is that there comes a point where God says, "No more..you have to answer for what you have done."

Maybe our sins and destruction piles up to the point where God has to take action because of the justice and righteousness that are a part of His character. Even if this is true, God does not sit back and wait for judgement to come to an individual or a nation. He sends His Word in an effort to get us to turn away from our sin and confess and repent. God looses His Holy Spirit to bring conviction to our hearts so that we will wake up before it is too late. That is a God of love. I am truly grateful that he does not cast us aside to the trash heap, but is willing to love and woo us back into right standing with Him.

Psalm 42:1-2
As the deer pants after the water brooks, so my soul long for you, O God. My soul is thirsty for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?

Have a good day, and thanks for stopping by the GREENE STREET LETTERS.
God on you......
mb

Monday, August 16, 2010

Hearing God Through All The Noise!

The following is a story written by Gentry Estes of the Mobile-Press Register Newspaper.

TUSCALOOSA -- It's OK if you don't quite understand. Glen Coffee expected that.

At the same time, that didn't prevent the former Alabama running back from walking away suddenly after only one season of a promising NFL career with the San Francisco 49ers. Coffee announced his unexpected retirement at age 23 with a brief statement Friday, prompting widespread speculation as to the reasons.

Coffee had been "wrestling" with the decision for a while, he said in a Saturday interview. He said he came to the conclusion that God had another plan for him other than football, and leaving the sport "was just me doing what I should have done a long time ago."
"I feel like it's His will," Coffee said. "It's something that I really felt like I shouldn't have entered the NFL in the first place. I don't know what call God has for my life, but it wasn't football. ... I'll be happier, not necessarily because I'm without football, but because I'm letting Him do his work. Whether it was leaving football or leaving something else, another job, it doesn't matter. I'll be happy because I'm following His will."

Coffee's next step, he said, will be a return to the University of Alabama to finish work on his undergraduate degree before possibly beginning graduate school.
In many ways, Coffee feels his path away from football began while he was at Alabama. In the midst of his Crimson Tide career, he found Christianity and embraced it. He was baptized during the 2007 season, and soon after began accepting speaking engagements to spread his faith.

Religion eventually spurred his decision to leave pro football, he said.
"A lot of people aren't going to understand and realize because they don't have the wisdom to understand," Coffee said. "Their eyes aren't open like mine are open. True happiness is glorifying God and glorifying Christ. That's what true happiness is. ... And for me, that wasn't the NFL. That wasn't where I needed to be."
Coffee seems likely to enter the ministry or a similar career in the religious field, but said he won't force it.
"That will come to me," he said. "There are people asking me to speak right now, so that ministry comes. That's a ministry in itself."

A once-touted prospect from Ft. Walton Beach, Fla., Coffee established himself as one of Alabama's better tailbacks of the past decade. As a junior in 2008, he rushed for 1,383 yards and 10 touchdowns, a driving force on a Crimson Tide team that went 12-2 and reached the SEC title game for the first time in nine years.
He chose to forego his final year of collegiate eligibility and enter the 2009 NFL draft; the 49ers selected him in the third round.

Alabama coach Nick Saban said he was surprised Coffee gave up football and said they had not discussed the decision.
"I really was surprised," Saban said. "Glen was such a warrior-type competitor when he was here. He was a guy that just played fantastic football for us and improved dramatically in the two years he was on the team (under Saban). He always seemed to be a guy that really loved the game."
Coffee said he later regretted leaving school early, but that wasn't because Alabama won the national title without him in 2009.

"When I gave my life to Christ, I had that (2008) season," Coffee said. "So I said, 'Well, if I get paid for football, I'll be OK.' But that wasn't the case. ... I would have liked to have stayed with my teammates, because I left there for the wrong reasons. I left because I was done with football. It's crazy if you think about it. You leave football to go to another level of football, and you think you're going to be happier. Money or no money, that wasn't the case."
He rushed for 226 yards on 83 carries last season for the 49ers last season. Though he was a backup to star running back Frank Gore, Coffee remained No. 2 on San Francisco's depth chart, ahead of rookie Anthony Dixon of Mississippi State.

"I appreciate his honesty," 49ers coach Mike Singletary said, "and I appreciate him not coming out here and going through the motions."
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
There will be a number of people who don't understand why Glen Coffee has done what he has.
To answer a call that God has placed on your life is a serious matter, and Glen's attitude through this entire time has been one of great character and maturity.

I bless Glen Coffee wherever God may take him.

God on you...
mb

My Desire

When I read the Psalms, I find myself at odds with my own life.
I read King David's words that were written during the hardest, darkest times of his life.
Anointed to be King, on the run for his life from Saul, David wrote such piercing words as.....
"The Lord is my light and my salvation. Whom shall I fear? The is the strength of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?

You see, this is how I want my life to be. I do not want to be a casual Christian that uses the name of God around like a magic talisman to get what I want out of life.
I know that the days are getting darker spiritually.
I know that the economy has gone South and does not look promising.
I see the governments and rulers of this world all jockeying for position in some weird global game of chess.
Yet, in the midst of it all, I see the hand of God at work.
It is from this place that I want to truly trust Him.
Trust Him for something greater than the salvation of a lifestyle.
"Oh God, don't let me loose the comfort that I have and the material things you have surrounded me with!" That is not the prayer I want to pray. That is a prayer from my flesh. That is where the battle is.
I do not want to be an ungrateful believer.
I want to walk in faith.
I want my very being to resonate with the truth that God is who He says He is and that His plans are yes and amen!
They are not held captive by any government or military.
God answers to no dictator or president.
His plans are not swayed and held captive by public opinion.
He is the living Almighty God who rules the heavens and the earth.

David writes in Psalm 27 the desire of my heart today.
One thing I have desired of the LORD, that will I seek after, that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD and to enquire in his temple.
The wonderful part in these verses is that things have changed.
In King David's day, if you wanted to converse or be in God's presence, you had to physically go to the Temple. Today, those who are true believers are the temple. The Spirit of God resides inside of me. I can't explain the "how to's" of this but I know it to be true.

I want to find gratitude to God in every minute of every day.
I want to truly give a praise offering with my lips continually through the day.
Let Him guide you as you walk through your circumstances and situations today.
Don't be led by your emotions or by what you see.
Let God's Spirit and your faith in God's ability be the voice you listen to.

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

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Why?


Allthough I have been a part of recovery and working with people who are addicted for several years, I still don't have all the answers. Some days I'm not sure I have any answers.
If you check out a word search on the Internet for recovery or addict or even 12 step, you'll find a lot of different opinions and views about what does and what does not work in recovery.
You'll find those who claim that A.A. is a bunch of hooey and the whole "God" concept is trash.
But how do you explain people like Barry who got sober after years of A.A., through an encounter with God?
Barry will tell you that all the pieces of A.A. began to make since after his (what he refers to ) Damascus Road Experience.
There is a lot of finger pointing out there by different groups, all claiming that theirs is the road to recovery.
"Go to these meetings."
"Read our publications"
"Be a member of our group"
All claiming to have a modicum of success when it comes to helping people live a life of sobriety.

I happen to believe that sobriety is a small part of recovery.
It is the aim initially of anyone who come to a rehab. To simply be free of the effects of alcohol and/ or drugs.
I see much more to this than the absence of our D.O.C.

I see, at the heart of our addiction, a broken relationship that started years ago in a garden where humanity lived in harmony with God.
The power to choose brought about our downfall as a species.
It broke our relationship with God....(Yes! Virginia, there is a God.)
But rather than leave us in the destructive state of being, God provided the way out and back into a life with Him.
Our power to choose (and the subsequent bad choice made by man and woman in the garden) has been at the heart of our addiction.
I may in fact have a genetic bent in my DNA that makes me incapable of processing alcohol and drugs like other people.
It truly doesn't matter what the cause it....
At the end of the day, we have lost our ability to choose when it comes to alcohol and drugs.
I believe that there is a simple statement made in Scripture that gives me hope.
Luke 1:37 --- For with God, nothing is impossible.
Flip that around and read the negative side.....
For without God nothing is possible.

I have seen a person awakened to the fact of who God is and what He says He will do.
I have seen that same person who could not stop using...give himself totally to following a few simple steps.
There isn't any power in the steps.
There isn't any magic in the steps.
The power comes through the surrender of life and will to God as we understood Him.
All it requires is a "giving up" of our will.
I can't choose to stop drinking or drugging...I have proven this through my behavior and destruction that followed.
But I have chosen to surrender.
I have chosen to seek God.
I have chosen to walk out 12 steps.
A friend of mine made the statement that "you cannot walk out the twelves steps and not hit your head on the cross of Christ."
I believe this.

I don't wish to debate or argue points about what does and does not work when it comes to recovery.
I just know that in our case, as a faith based rehab, rarely have we seen anyone fail who thoroughly follows the steps.
They lead to Jesus....
The giver of life.

God bless you today.
mb

What An Incredible Time

I love technology and I hate technology.
There I said it.
I am intimidated at times by the gadgets and thingy-bobs that all the big corps. produce for our "pleasure."
But today...
I am encouraged.

Jim Bentley, Senior pastor of Gadsden Vineyard Church, sent me a text (I really don't do texting so don't expect me to return any you might send me). The crux of his text was the announcement that Gadsden Vineyard Church was now streaming live over the Internet. How cool is that?
Seeing how Sunday is our day of rest, I can now view the service in my office here at Rapha or at home.

To watch Gadsden Vineyard go to:
http://www.ustream.tv/
and go to channel : gadsden vineyard church.

God on you.......
mb

Saturday, August 14, 2010

My Saturday

I do love Saturday.
I have to work but that isn't a big deal.
I've worked most Saturday's my entire life.
It's funny how I still get up at the same time on Saturday (5:30 a.m.) but the feel of the day is totally different than during the week.
I don't know if its because my Saturday's are kind of a piddling day. By that, I mean that I am free to focus on the meeting that we have on Saturday nights. I don't have any classes to teach or lessons to prepare.
I do make myself available for the men in case they want to talk or they need something.

Usually I put the final touch on the teaching for the meeting.
Get the chapel set up with the equipment we use for worship.
Pray......
Meditate (not medicate).
Pray some more.
I just love Saturday.

I'm excited because Seth Barber will be back to speak the last Saturday of this month.
Seth has had back surgery and been out of commission for a while, but the Lord has brought healing and renewed strength. I am always excited when Seth comes because he brings the Word straight up and in your face. He speaks the truth about God and recovery like no one else I know.

I'm also excited that Jonathan Bright will be speaking on September 4th.
Jonathan came through the program a few years ago and has done well.
He has chase God all these years and has spoke at a number of different churches and meetings.
Jonathan started a recovery meeting at his church and has helped lead the way for many who were looking to break free of addiction.
Now, Jonathan has answered God's call into ministry. I'm excited to be having Jonathan come to Rapha and give back to the guys (the 12th step) who are in our program.

Scripture of the day:
1 Samuel 8:21
So Samuel told the LORD what the people had said, and the LORD replied, "Do as they say, and give them a king." The Samuel agreed and sent the people home.

This verse scares me more than any other I read in the Bible.
It speaks of the terrible power that humanity possesses.
That power being the ability to reject God and demand our own way.
For God to tell Samuel that He is going to allow the people to have their way, knowing full well that it is not only wrong, but will lead them into sin as a nation....that is scary. The people of Samuel's day wanted to be ruled by a king not by God. We need to remember that sometimes God gives us exactly what we ask for. That scares me.
I'm reminded of when President Clinton was making his first run at the presidency.
The Republicans were yelling and screaming about "Character of a man", but the Democrats kept saying, "It isn't about character..its the economy."
To me this is the same type of ideology we find in the I Samuel passage.
Never mind that the character of the man defines how he will rule, let's elect him because he will give us what we want. We have seen Presidents, Congressional people and Supreme Court Judges be placed in seats of power at the expense of having Character or the true integrity that comes only from God and His Spirit living in that person. We have seen the outcome of such people being given the authority to rule.

The other thing about the I Samuel passage was the fact that the people wanted to be like "other nations".
They rejected the unique identity that God had forged within them so they could act like, sound like and live like those nations which surrounded them.
Have we rejected God's identity for this nation?
I do believe we have.
I think we have sold our birthright in order for the Federal government to take care of us.
When I read that churches on the gulf coast have put in applications to BP for money they lost due to the oil spill......well, it breaks my heart.
To think that a church has discarded looking to God to meet their needs and has turned to man....
Call me old fashion.
Call me out of touch.
The church belongs to Christ....If he has indeed ordained that a particular church exist, then He will fund and provide for it. I'm not saying that times aren't hard..........they are. I'm not saying that the economy isn't bad......it is. What I am saying is that we look to heaven and to God for our provision, not a company.
O.k. I've ranted enough now.
Whatever your lot today....look to God!
Tell Him of your needs!
Make sure your heart is right and that sin has been dealt with and then look for the blessings of God.

God on you.....
mb

Friday, August 13, 2010

Graham Ord "To You O Lord" - www.worshipcafe.net

Graham Ord...playing one of my favorite worship songs..."To You O' Lord".

Thanks to everyone at the Vineyard who taught me how to worship back on July 15, 1991. I didn't fully understand what I was seeing that Sunday night as the music started, but I knew that I had never seen anything like it before. The people there that night didn't just sing the words, they lived them. They breathed them. They danced them. They gave of themselves completely during the worship time.
Rick Lynn, Dianne Johnson, Kenny Young, Debbie Handy, Nori Kelley, Brook Finlayson.....All of you stretched me during this time, in what I believed and didn't believe to be true concerning worship.

Lot of music under the bridge.
Lot of time spent listening and trying to find the Spirit and follow Him.
Those were good days, but they are not the high-water mark I use for worship.
I believe that the best days lie ahead. As the world grows darker and darker spiritually, the light and fire of worship will burn brighter and brighter and there will be those unfortunate souls wandering in the darkness who will be drawn to the light. Praise God!

Until Tomorrow..
God on you......

mb

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Woooo---Hoooo!


Psalm 19:8
The commandments of the LORD are right, bringing JOY to the heart.

Psalm 5:11
But let all who take refuge in you rejoice. Let them sing joyful praises forever. Protect them, so all who love your name may be filled with JOY.

Jude : 24
And now, all glory to God, who is able to keep you from stumbling, and who will bring you into his glorious presence innocent of sin and with great JOY.

Romans 15:13
Now the God of hope fill you with all JOY and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.

Kick up your heels for Jesus and in Jesus today.
Laugh out loud at your circumstances.
Everything that is trying to stop you is temporary.
                                                  Only the things of Jesus are eternal.

I know this sounds nutty but you know what..I'm asking that you be completely drenched in           the joyful presence of the Lord.
It's His JOY we are talking about anyway...
Not mine...
                                                                          not yours...
                                                                          But God's.

I think one of the strangest verses I've ever read is in Hebrews 12:2 where it reads.....who for the JOY that was set before him endured the cross.....
Dude, that is some serious joy there.
I know it is not born of this world and is given from the heart of Father God....
But I need that...
Joy that gives me vision to look beyond my circumstances...not excuse them, but look beyond them and see the hand of God directing and guiding me.
That is a comfort knowing that God is in control and not me.

                                                                  Find that Joy today.

God on you....
mb

Do We Value It?

I Samuel 3:1
"....the word of the LORD was precious in those days, there was no open vision."

Do we value the word of God today?
I know that we sell tons of Bibles in this country.

This version and that version...
Camo Bibles...
Leather Bibles....
Paperback Bibles....
Children Bibles......
But do we consider it to be precious?
I'm kind of crazy in that I believe that the Bible is a practical book for practical living in an unpractical world.
I do not discount people who say, "God spoke to me and told me."
God has spoken to me and guided me over the years.
But I do discount people who shun the Word of God at the expense of "hearing".
I do not think you can live like that, nor do I believe that the Father wants you too.

I'm in a position where I get to study everyday.
I have between 3 and 4 hours everyday and it is glorious.
There is not a day that goes by that God does not reveal himself in the Word.
I get answers to prayer through my study.
I hear conversations in my Spirit as Paul prays or King David is downcast and on the run from Saul.
I am strengthened as Moses leads the people forward into the midst of the Red Sea.
Turning to the New Testament and finding those words in RED bring peace and assurance to my soul.
Those RED words being the words of Christ. I don't know who decided to make the RED, but everytime I see them, I am reminded of the price Jesus paid for my salvation....His blood.
John Wimber, founder of the Association of Vineyard Churches, use to say that the bread was in the RED . He believed that you could spend a couple of years just studying the words of Jesus.

If you are new to reading the Bible, begin in the book of John in the New Testament.
"In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God."
Incredible passage that bridges the gap of Father and Son in the Godhead.
Jesus, the express representation of the Father.
Given to us so that we might understand the Father.
Man, you gotta love this book!

Spend time in the Word today.
Ask God to give you a hunger for it if you find it difficult to actually sit down and read.
Get you a copy of an Audio Bible and keep it playing as you drive or work around the house.
Get the word inside of you.

God on you.....
mb

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

You Gotta Love God!

During our quiet time this morning, I found an entry in one of my journals from this day back in 1995. The verse that I wrote about was Isaiah 31:4---For thus has the Lord spoken unto me, "like as the lion and the young lion roaring on his prey, when a multitude of shepherds is called forth against him, he will not be afraid of their voice nor abase himself for the noise of them. So shall the Lord of hosts come down to fight for mount Zion, and for the hill thereof."

Sounds cryptic doesn't it?
What do we see first? References to Lion's. Could that be Jesus, the Lion of the tribe of Judah? I think so.
The lion is roaring against his prey. What would Jesus' prey be. Well, a lion goes after the weak and crippled of the herd. Jesus said that he came for the sick and afflicted. That the Spirit of the Lord rested upon him and anointed him to preach good news. So here we have a picture of Jesus as the lion, with his prey or the ones that he has gathered unto himself. You may be thinking, "Yeah...but this prey is dead." Of course it is....does Jesus not bid us to come and die? He does. Die in the manner of our old fleshly nature, that sin nature. That nature at work within us that causes us to "Do that which we do not want to do."

Notice what else happens in this verse. It says that "a multitude of shepherds is called forth against him."
Shepherds in this case would be those men (and women) who have been deceived by the spirit of this world. They have a form of godliness but deny the power thereof. Philippians 3:18 describes them as "enemies of the cross of Christ." Pastor's and preachers who profess a love for Christ....who use the name of Christ, but in truth do not teach or share about the atoning blood of Christ. Do not teach of the power of his resurrection and the gospel of Christ. If you check out teaching on the Internet or on TV, you won't find many who teach or preach on the following: Sin, hell, blood of Jesus, justification, reconciliation, sanctification, regeneration. But what you will find is a man-centered gospel that tickles the ears of those who listen. The message is about "YOUR" destiny. "YOUR" life of fulfillment. "YOUR" joy and "YOUR" happiness. You will not hear where any of those things above, like they are important, is directly tied to the state and condition of your heart. In other words, the blessing of God only come to those who are obedient. Blessing are not free nor are they a right. The blessing of God falls on the shoulders of those men and women who are following Jesus and living the Kingdom of God every day.

These men and women who preach a different gospel have come out against the very LORD who died to save them. If you read on in Isaiah 31:4 you will see where it speaks of the LORD not being afraid of their voice, nor will he lower himself to their level. Don't be mislead by all the voices out there today all claiming to speak for God. I also do not want you to be afraid that you might be mislead or deceived. Ground yourself in the Word of God. Ask God to give you wisdom and discernment. Jesus said that, "His sheep know his voice and they follow Him." Cool huh?

If I haven't told you lately, thank you for stopping by GREENE STREET LETTERS and reading the posting.
Pass this blog along to family and friends if you feel lead to. Don't hesitate to use anything that is written here in your own blog or facebook or whichever social network site you use.
Until tomorrow....

God on you....
mb

Tuesday Bible Study

Psalm 119:130 The entrance (or unfolding) of Your words gives light. it gives understanding to the simple. Pulled up at the camp last ...