Thursday, September 30, 2010

Eagles Part II


Yesterday I posted about having our hope renewed and that we would (according to Is. 40) mount up on wings as eagles....
Did you know that eagles are the only animal that can look directly into the sun? It is true. While you and I can only glance at it, eagles can look for extended periods of time. Maybe from the place of hope when we do lift above our problems and situations, we are able too look into the Son of God. That we learn the wonderful practice of abiding in Him as He abides in us. Maybe the words of the song are true and have more meaning than we think they do.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in his wonderful face.
and the things of earth will grow strangely dim
in the light of His glory and grace.

I do....
I do want the things of earth to become strangely dim...
I want my focus to be removed from things that stir my flesh and pull me away from Jesus.
I want to be lifted up by the glory of God.
I want to dwell, live, prosper and grow in the presence of Almighty God.
I want to tell everyone what God has done for me.
I can't help it! I truly was lost and now am found....you know the rest.....was blind but now I see.
Thank you Jesus!!!

Revelation 1:17-18
When I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. But he laid his right hand on me and said, "Don't be afraid! I am the First and the Last. I am the living one who died. Look, I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave."


God on you this morning..
mb

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Rise Up!


I want this to be an encouraging word today.
There are a lot of people out there who are hurting and maybe down to their last bit of hope.
When hope runs dry, darkness takes over.
I'm not talking about the kind of hope the world offers, but hope in Christ.
Hope in stability of the nature of Jesus.
Hope in the authority and power of Jesus.
Hope that cannot be assailed by the forces of hell and the kingdom of darkness.
The hope of Christ is a fortress that has withstood the best the enemy has to throw at it.
So look up today....
lift your eye to the heavens and hear the sound of Jesus.
He will speak to you on the wind.
He will wrap Himself around you with the Holy Spirit and will comfort you.
Don't look to your circumstance or situations.
Don't be drawn into the darkness by another voice that says,"Don't believe!"
Declare this day "I will follow Jesus!"
Declare this day "You are my strength and shield, Jesus!"
Declare this day "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!"

Isaiah 40:31
But those who wait (hope) on the LORD will find new strength. They will fly high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint."
That, my friend, is a promise from one who never breaks a promise.
Rest in it.

God on you....
mb

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

What Do You See?


Approaching my 59th birthday ( or the 30th anniversary of my 29th birthday).
I really do see and have an understanding of how fleeting life is and how it truly is compared to a vapor in Scripture. If you visit a cemetery, you'll see headstones that have a persons name along with birth date and death date. There between the two dates is a hyphen. If you think about it, the hyphen represents the entire life of that individual. All the problems they faced.........How they handled the problems......decisions they made.......how they loved (or didn't love).......every facet of the person who is buried is defined there in that little mark.

Psalm 107:43 reads: Those who are wise will take all of this to heart. They will see in our history the faithful love of the LORD.
Our hyphen is suppose to reveal the history of God in our own personal life.
Prayers we offered to Him and the answers we received. God's hand upon our daily decisions and how we affected those around us. Our hyphen should reveal the ongoing history of God in our daily life. Does it? Will people remember you as someone who loved and encouraged and demonstrated Jesus in everyday life?
Does the world see a difference in you.......the way you approach your problems....that causes them to pause and ask, "Why is this person so different....what makes them not be shaken by events or situations? This is the basis or the beginning of an opportunity to "tell your story". The demonstration of a life lived under the directives of God will draw attention through the moving of the Holy Spirit on those around you. Those around you will be strangely made aware that there is something different about you. They will ask questions which will give you an opening to share what Jesus has done in your life.

Psalm 107:2 reads: Has the LORD redeemed you? Then say so....speak out.
We don't need to be secret agents for the Lord....you know.....Double O nothings!
On the other hand we also don't need to be the church police running around with religious license to bash anyone who doesn't measure up to our own standards.
There is a middle ground that God so desires us to occupy.
Try this!
In your next prayer, ask God to put one person in front of you that you can tell your story to. Ask the Spirit in you to stir them and an opening for conversation may begin.
Now don't be discouraged if you meet someone and the conversation doesn't open up right away....sometimes you may have to "bump" into them several times before it actually moves to a place where you can share your story. It will happen if you remain open to the leading of the Holy Spirit.
Prepare yourself.
Pray....
Study the Word....
Listen for God.....
Watch and be aware as you move through your day for that one person God leads by you.
Read Acts 8:26-39.....Notice how Phillip simply followed the leading of God and see how the encounter ended.

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

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Last Monday Of The Week....

I'm in an unusual position today as I find myself not having to go to Rapha.
In other words........I'm off today.
What a present.
3rd cup of coffee...
Actually sit down and read the Gadsden Times...
Do some yard work.....uh...not today.

Found myself in Genesis 3 this morning and I'm kind of stuck on "figs".
Verse 7 reads that the man and the woman, after eating the fruit and realizing that they were naked, sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves.
Why fig leaves?
Was that the closest tree to them?
Did they just reach for the first covering they thought might provide some cover to their bodies?
The leaves were probably green and lush but after being picked to make aprons, they began to die and wilt and turn brown. Isn't that the way of man? That everything we seek to do outside the will of God dies. It does not produce any real fruit and as time passes, it becomes dry and brittle and simply falls apart. I think I would say yes.

How did they know to do this?
Where did they come up with the idea of "let's take these leaves and sew them or stick them or whatever it was (Bible says sew) that held them together? That is what happens when we try to "do" for ourselves outside of God's will. We come up with "ideas" from out own imagination and mind that have nothing in common or in line with what God's will is. We become creative and even feel good about it....."Wow! Surely this is what God wants, after all I thought it up." Then we find out that it isn't from God and we are uncovered. Like the man and the woman in Genesis 3, we look for the short term solution to our major problems.
The fig leaves took care of a "right now" problem, but they did not offer a long term solution.
God is calling us to walk with Him and see the eternal rather than the temporary.
Choose today which one you will follow.
I think I'll reject the "leaf" suit and take the glory of God.
How 'bout you?

God on you....
mb

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Daniel Amos - Meal.

Boy...you better let me explain this song....
This song (By the group Daniel Amos..yeah...it's not an individual) was recorded before the big machine got a hold of Contemporary Christian Music....( I always hated that term). This album, SHOTGUN ANGEL, is a classic because no one had ever heard such before. You had Daniel Amos and Bethlehem both recording some really incredible music that reflected their new found relationship with Jesus. No one wrote to "make" a hit..they wrote, sang, played and recorded this way because no one knew any other way to do it.
I miss those days in one respect. I have become jaded to the tunes I hear on CD or download.....Not much there to soothe my old bones. Before you say anything, just remember that your bones will one day be old also.

Enjoy this silly, wonderful, amazing song that speaks to the hunger we should have for Jesus!

ONE WAY DUDE!!!!
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Friday, September 24, 2010

The Ability Of The Good Shepherd


Psalm 23:2
He makes me to lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside the still waters.
The care and love that Jesus shows to his "sheep" is beyond my feeble brain's ability to comprehend such a heart.
He makes me lie down......He knows that left to my own will, I will expend myself on things that do not matter. I will fill up my life with useless activity that profits nothing. I will burn myself out worrying about things that are beyond my control. I guess this is where the serenity thing comes into play. "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change." Jesus knows that I need rest, not just bodily but also mentally, emotionally and spiritually. So from time to time, He MAKES me lie down. Even if for nothing else other than to give my brain and mind a rest. I think one of the first things I notice when Vicki and I go on vacation or just get away for a few days, is how my mind is rested and renewed. This, in turn, really brings about a change physically and emotionally. Rest is needed. Rest reconnects us to the Father when we physically and emotionally rest in Him. Psalm 46:10 - Be still, and know that I am God.....

But notice also in Ps.23:2 the shepherd picks out the best spot for this rest too take place. A place where there is plenty of food and water. To me this is a place where there are ample portions of the Word and the Spirit. They are food for my soul. Food that brings health to my inner parts. Lifting up the heart and restoring faith and hope in my dry places. I look to Jesus as the source of my spiritual as well as my physical well being.

Isaiah 40:11
He shall lead his flock like a shepherd. He shall gather the lambs with his arm and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.
I love this illustration of the heart of Jesus. The ultimate shepherd, not because he has too but because he wants to. A shepherd who laid down his life for the flock in order to protect them from the evil one who prowls looking for someone to devour.

Part of AA is saying the Serenity prayer.
A prayer that finds stability of mind....
Stability of spirit....
Stability of purpose
in the relationship with Jesus Christ.
Not that our situations and circumstances are stable, sometimes they are and sometimes they aren't.
The Serenity prayer speaks of the peace and stability that comes within and allows you to not be tossed about by emotion or indecision. It gives the ability to face what I cannot change. It gives me strength to confront and change that which I have ran away from in the past. It gives me wisdom to know which is which.


God....
Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change..
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time,
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardship as a pathway to peace.
Taking, as Jesus did,
this sinful world as it is,
not as I would have it.
Trusting that You will make all things right
if I surrender to Your will,
so that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with You forever in the next....
Amen!
Written By:
Reinhold Niebuhr

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

Thursday, September 23, 2010





John 1:12
But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.

God alone holds the power to either accept or reject those who claim to be his.
He isn't mean spirited and spiteful in this selection. The problem lies with the mindset that the world has adopted toward God.  The world (our society) has created God in its image rather than becoming born again into the image of God. We (humanity) declare that God is a god of love and that he would never reject anyone. The world loves the idea that there are many path's to God. One only needs to find what works and then follow it. How so not true is that belief. God does not reject.... We reject and based on our actions we declare our loyalty to someone other than him. We choose to go against what is right and what isholy, to embrace what we have wrongly delcared to be "fair."  I think that is what some people want...a god who is fair. The last time I told God something wasn't fair, He agreed with me. In fact He told me, "Your right, what you are going through isn't fair, but it also isn't fair that I had to send my Son to die in your place." I quickly understood the concept of fair and I have never played that card again.

I have been accused of being close minded for believing that Jesus is the only way to the Father. I have been called intolerant and even bigoted for believing that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. My reply to such is that I did not make the rules up. I did not decide this truth. It is found in the Bible and as such I either believe or I don't. For me, I'm just crazy enough to think, "Hey! It must be true because I know my own personal track record of following Jesus and the power of this book we call the Bible."

The thing that catches my eye in the John verse is the first three words.........But to all.......
Here we see the love of God manifested in those three words. There are no exclusions to the invitation. There isn't any intolerance to the gift. God has extended it freely. The intolerance comes from those who reject it and try to formulate intent because of their rebellion...."God is a mean god."  Or  "God is not a god of love".  How far from the truth.

But to all who believed him and accepted him.  IN order to accept something, you have to reject something. In this case one who believes and accepts is trading one lifestyle for another. We are rejecting a way of life that the world system tells us to live...........in order to obtain a life in the Kingdom of God. A life of relationship with Him. Now that is cool x 10!

So what is your view of John 1:12?
Feel free to post here at the Greene Street Letters...
God on you.......
mb

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Love Yourself!

Matthew 22:39
A second is equally important. "Love your neighbor as yourself."

Found myself parked in this verse last night. Probably read it a gazillion times and yet God kind of tweaked me to see it in a different fashion.
I don't know that I'll fully be able to put in today's posting all that I came away with, but I will continue it tomorrow if that be the case.

In the Matthew passage, Jesus was being set up by the religious police. They were so confident in their interpretation of the Law that they wanted to trap Jesus. Of course Jesus was aware of their plans and never spoke out of turn or in a way that gave them ammunition to use against him. If you remember, at Jesus' trial they even had to hire people to bring an accusation against Jesus because they did not have grounds to charge him. There is probably an entire other teaching just in that idea alone. The idea of guarding our mouth and being careful of what we say in public. Anyway, I digress.

The idea of loving our neighbor is not far fetched to most of us. It would incorporate doing good to them. Looking out for their best interest. Speaking truth in love and in general, just being a good servant that would follow God's instructions and help our neighbors. The hard part comes when we start looking into the area of "loving ourselves."  We find that to be a little more difficult. In dealing with people in addiction, what you find is that most of them don't even like themselves, much less love. They have created such a history of destruction and broken relationships that the very thought of loving themselves is foreign, yet Jesus commands us to. In Galatians 5:6, Paul writes that "What is important is faith expressing itself in love." In other words, this learning to love our self requires faith in God. Faith that He will indeed direct us on this journey of learning how to love. Faith gives us access to all of God's favor and grace. In this way, learning to love ourselves leans more on God's Spirit in us at work than in our own efforts and strength. Learning to love yourself involves changing the way you see yourself.  In addiction, we all see ourselves in the worst possible light. We see ourselves through our past behavior rather than who we are as a people. We allow our past deeds to color and define who we are rather than letting God do that.

All through out Scripture, we see God renaming people.
Abram to Abraham....
Sarai to Sara.....
Jacob to Israel....
Saul to Paul.....
Simon to Peter.....
God redefines the person and renames them.
Maybe we have named ourselves wrongly based on our past performance or behavior.
Maybe we have gone around with the name  "Junkie" or "alcoholic".
Maybe we have called ourselves "Looser" or "no good /worthless".
Maybe it's time we lay those names down and let God redefine who we are and then see ourselves as being worthy of loving.
Learning to love our self!
What a concept.
God on you.....
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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Some Good Acronyms For Recovery

The world of recovery seems to be full of catchy saying and cute acronyms to aid our somewhat befuddled memory. Here are some that I found at various web sites.

H.A.L.T. is Hungry, Angry, Lonely and Tired. These are four things to avoid because they weaken our resolve to stay sober. Consider these the enemy!

F.E.A.R. There are a couple of different versions to this that I have heard because we have a choice. We can either Face Everything And Recover or Flee Everything And Run.

E.G.O. Edging God Out. You mean it isn’t ALL about me???

H.O.W. Honesty, Open-mindedness, Willingness. The only way to approach the steps and the entire recovery process.

G.O.D. Here is another acronym that has two different versions. The first is Good Orderly Direction which is what our Higher Power offers us when we are willing to believe; and the second is Group Of Drunks, which is what many folks use as their Higher Power before they can believe in anything or anyone else.

F.I.N.E. Frustrated, Insecure, Neurotic, Emotional. How many times has someone said, “How are you?” and your response was “fine” when you actually meant “F.I.N.E.”?

N.U.T.S. Not Using The Steps. I can’t argue with this one. If you are not using the steps, you are definitely NUTS!

S.L.I.P. Sobriety Losing Its Priority. The slip began long before it happened. All of the acronyms above have probably happened for this to occur.

K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple Stupid. Don't over think your recovery and don't complicate that which is very simple.

Psalms 107:20 -  He sent out his Word and healed them, snatching them from the door of death.
This has been a verse that I have relied on time and time again when it comes to remembering the truth about sin, addiction and recovery. The heart and root of all addiction is sin. Our own personal rebellion and independence to do what we want to do, free and unrestricted of any restraints placed on us by others or God.  Not the truth is, as we delve into the world of drugs and alcohol, repeated usage does alter our brains. We no longer think as those who do not use do. We develop a battle between mind and body. The mind says we can use, but the body responds and reveals to us we truly can't process alcohol and drugs in a way that is not destructive. So therein lies the problem. Our brains tells us one thing yet our bodies tell us another. We tend to lean toward the "brain" side, after all, we are in control (or at least that is what our brain tells us). We fall into the delusional trap that "I can work out my problems and I can keep using". 

It isn't until we reach the point of being sick and tired of being sick and tired that we are willing to go to any lengths to break free of this addiction. Breaking free is not found in self-will but in self-surrender.

Psalm 107:27-28
They reeled and staggered like drunkards and were at their wits end. "Lord help!"they cried in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress.
The Higher and Greater Power of Jesus Christ can do for us what we have been unable to do for ourselves.
Why not think on these things today if you are struggling in addiction.
Feel free to leave a comment here at this blog.
Or contact me at rapha7@bellsouth.net with an Email.
Do be prisoner to the lie that addiction whispers in your ear. "Your always going to be like this. You'll never be able to break free."
God can and will aid you in breaking free.

God on you......
mb

Monday, September 20, 2010

Message From Last Saturday Night ( 9/18) now posted in the Pod Casts Section of this blog.
Enjoy! Step #9 - making amends.

I also uploaded a new song "Twelve Steps To Heaven".......
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Quote Of The Day

Taken from a web site dedicated to those in recovery.....
"People have the right to not recover."
Sounds foolish, but at the heart of this quote is the most dangerous power humanity possesses.
The ability to choose.
The ability to say "NO!" to God and walk away from the gift of life.
The ability to remain a slave to a lifestyle that ends in destruction.
This life of addiction has never been beaten by anyone. By that, I mean that after all the years of drugging and drinking, life is better and wonderful and great. That some man or woman would stand up and say, "I've been using for 28 years and my life is more wonderful today than when I first started. How absurd such a statement would be because we know different.

Romans 1:18 reads:
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold down (or suppress) the truth.
The ability to say "No" to God is a power that is beyond frightening.
Say "no" long enough and God may remove his hand from that individual.
The one thing I've learned is that God will give you what you want. If your heart is bent on destruction and drugs and alcohol, and you keep rejecting God's offer of life, He will turn loose and let you go do what it is you want to do. That alone would scare me to death.

Today, I am grateful that God is longsuffering and patient.
I am grateful that God still works with those whose hearts are totally committed to Him (II Chron. 16:9)
I am grateful to Dr. Bob and Bill W. for their gift of Steps to the addiction community.
I am grateful for the Word of God which is living and active and still able to divide even the hardest of hearts.
And I am grateful for Jesus, the Son of God, who gave his life on a hill outside of Jerusalem that I might have real life.
I am grateful that the blood of Jesus has not lost any of its power or ability to save and cleanse.
I am grateful for the Holy Spirit that was placed in me at my conversion.
I am grateful today!

God on you.....
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Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Evidence Of Things Not Seen


Luke 5:20
And when He saw their faith.......
A group of men have brought their friend who is a paraplegic to Jesus to be healed.
They didn't know what would happen.
       They didn't know if they would even be able to get close enough to Jesus for the healing to take place.
  All they knew was
1.) they had a friend that was crippled
2.)Jesus had healed others.
3.)If they didn't make the trip, then their friend would not be healed.

They knew not what the future held if they made the trip.....
but they knew what the future held if they didn't make the trip.
So, in faith....
They gathered up their friend.
In faith, they began that journey into the unknown.
The only thing that was certain to them was that Jesus held the power and authority to heal their friend.

They arrived and the place was packed.
Jesus was seated and was teaching the crowd.
There didn't seem to be any ministry taking place like they had heard about from others who had stories of this Jesus.
It didn't matter.
They had faith.
Their faith was evident.
It "had legs" so to speak.

Dragging their friend up the side of the house, taking him up onto the roof, the friends began to dismantle the roof of a complete strangers house.
Faith dictated that this was the next step.
As the hold in the roof grew larger, the men slowly and lovingly lowered their friend to the floor, right in front of Jesus.
Jesus saw their faith.
He healed the man.
Not only physically.....
but spiritually also.

Faith is not something we keep in our pocket.
It isn't like the cross you wear around your neck as a symbol of your belief.
It is a  force and power given to us by God the Father to be used.
Faith trumps reason every day of the week.
Faith is more powerful than intellect.
Faith is the voice that says,"Take your friend and go to Jesus."
Faith is the voice that whispers to you, "You can live clean and sober."
Faith...
Put legs to your faith today and move out into the places you have been afraid to go to.
Put legs to your faith and abandon yourself into the hand of God.

God on you today!
mb

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Today's Agenda Or Mikey B's List-O-The-Day

STEP # 9
 Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, possible except when to do so would injure them or others.


As we move deeper into September we will actually be doing our first teaching tonight on Step #9. We see the heart of Step #9 in the verse below.
 
Matthew 5:23 -  Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has grievances against you, leave your gift before the altar, and to your way. First be reconciled to your brother and then return to offer your gift.
 
A lot of times at our Saturday night meeting, before we start as the music is beginning, I will ask the men in the room to reach out to a person that they might have been mad at, or gotten into an argument during the day. Anything that might have happened that brought separation between the two men needed to be addressed before we could move into worship. It is amazing to watch as one by one the men will begin to move and find that person they were at odds with. Shaking hands and hugging each other, slapping each other on the back and then the smiles that come with reconciliation is a wonderful thing to behold. Funny part is that when all is said and done, the room just feels cleaner and more ready to worship.
 
Now, with Step #9, we take this motivation to reconcile with the people we have harmed in our past. We being with the easiest ones to make amends for and move through the list of people we have compiled. Each amends made strengthens us in our resolve to live this new life of sobriety. The making of amends sets us free from the guilt and shame we have carried around due to our addiction. We are letting God direct us in this new endeavor to live right and to live according to God's plan for us.

It is easy to get the relationship between yourself and God. By that, I mean you have this interaction daily through prayer and meditation, through the reading of His Word. The hard part is working out what He tells us and what we have read in the Word with those around us.

Romans 13:8
Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.
 
Our meetings at Rapha begin at 7 p.m.
Saturday nights.....
If you're free, come and join us!
 
God on you.......
mb

Friday, September 17, 2010

Today....

Found a penny lying on the ground this morning.
The date on the penny?
1998....
I have a lot of memories that are good that took place in 1998.
Was God speaking to me through that penny?

Did He want me to realize that I was richer because of that penny?
After all, I had one more penny than I did prior to seeing it lying there on the ground.
Did He want me to realize that becoming rich in Him sometimes comes in small increments (if we could measure them)? That it is a continual "enriching" that goes on all day and that it happens in such a way that unless I took time to pray and meditate on His word, I would miss it.
Did He want me to see the phrase "IN GOD WE TRUST" on that penny to remind me that He is my portion in this day............not the Federal government.........not congress..........not any king, ruler or dictator...........Almighty God is Jehovah Jirah.
Did He want me to remember how the sun reflected off the penny which was why I stopped to pick it up? That I am to reflect the Son of God , Jesus in my own life that this reflection might draw others aside and cause them to give pause to the truth they have avoided.
Did He want me to remember that looking down in humility is where the greatest treasures are found.
How many walked by that penny today, never giving thought to it or taking the time to stoop and pick it up? Humility is simply agreeing with God who God says I am.

Wow...all this from a single penny lying on the ground at the Quick shop.
Thank you Lord for this lesson today.

God on you.........
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Thursday, September 16, 2010

"Could I Be Called a Christian" [Examine Yourself]

Luke 9:23-25 - The he said to the crowd, "If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me. IF you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but are yourself lost or destroyed?"

Thank you Steve Camp for this song....
For this reminder....

God on you...

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I'm Back.....


I'm back from the trip to Minnesota / Wisconsin. Barry Hooks and I went to receive training on a new curriculum we are going to install here at Rapha.
We went to HAZELDEN, one of the oldest rehabs in the U.S.
Hazelden is more than just a rehab program.
It is the largest publishing firm on the subject of recovery in the U.S.
It also houses a school for those wishing to receive degrees in counseling.
The place was incredible, the people were warm and friendly and the weather.....
Oh the weather was a present.
Leaving Alabama and the last days of summer heat, we found ourselves, upon arriving in Minnesota, with low 70's and light breezes.
Mornings gave us low 50's and breezes.


This is the new curriculum we will be using.
LIVING IN BALANCE.
A good core teaching on what addiction is and how it affects the mind and body.
It isn't so scientific that you can't understand it, but it does explore the nature of addiction and show it in a way that I believe will benefit those who come through the Rapha program.
There is a lot of interaction that will take place in the groups.
Most written work will take place there in the class room rather than homework. I feel like this will be the greatest benefit keeping all the teaching and interaction current and on track.

As with anything, we have been praying a great deal that God would give us the wisdom to implement this program.
No matter what science says....
God has the last word.
He is the "Power greater than ourselves that can restore us to sanity."
Amen and amen...

God on you...
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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Hijacked

Spoke last night at Celebrate Recovery Centre, Alabama. As always, God was in the house and the Word was working in the heart. This is a video that was shown before the meeting started.....I loved it!

Blessings on Donnie George and everyone else (you know who you are!) that makes CR happen. You guys rule, well........actually Jesus rules, but you guys are all a part.

God on you........

mb

Agenda For The Week



Psalm 24:7-10
Open up, ancient gates! Open up, ancient doors, and let the King of glory enter.
Who is the King of glory? The Lord, strong and mighty. The Lord, invincible in battle.

Open up, ancient gates! Open up, ancient doors, and let the King of glory enter.
Who is the King of glory? The Lord of Heaven's armies...He is the King of glory.


So many opinions about Jesus.
Who he is.....
What his purpose is.....
How does He fit into our history.....
Some say teacher....
Some say He was a prophet...

Other religions even recognize Him as a great, moral man.
At some point in the future.....I don't know when............every eye will see Jesus for who He truly is.
The King of Glory.
There will be no doubt as to His purpose or His presence. Jesus will be seen and the truth will be made plainly evident.
Knees will fall, some by choice others in rebellion, but overcome by the magnitude of Christ...
Tongues will confess......some because of gratitude, others because the truth always wins..the truth always stands unchallenged.

From our knees, we will proclaim with heart of joy that Jesus is Lord over all who claim to be Lord and King over all who claim to be king.
For some, this confession of Jesus will be an admission made in rebellion not from a heart of gratitude.
It will happen.
Bible says so.

Romans 10:9-10
If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved.

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

I will be taking a short break from Greene Street Letters. I will return next Wednesday!
Feel free to wander through the archives and read past postings.
See you then...
mb

Friday, September 10, 2010

Home...


Here it is....
Rapha
What is it?
Drug and alcohol rehab.
What makes this place so special?
God.
That may sound kind of "uppity"..I don't mean for it to.
But the history of Rapha is a testimony to the power of God
and the call upon a families life.
Steve and Marilynn Yarbrough came to Rapha when it was just an empty shell covered in weeds and full of snakes. (sounds kind of prophetic doesn't it?)
They took back the property and began to rebuild and restore.
Little by little, bit by bit God enabled and empowered them to launch what is now
Alabama's largest faith based drug and alcohol rehab.

I came out in 1998 just a year after Rapha opened.
Started out helping with worship in the morning meetings.
This lead to a slot where I taught classes during the day.
Eventually I was given a place on staff and have headed up the spiritual side of the treatment program since 2004.

To me, Rapha is founded on the words found in Psalm 107:20
He sent his word and healed them, snatching them from the door of death.
The power and truth of God is the greatest weapon that can destroy the lies that come with addiction.
I have seen first hand the power to change that comes through the Word of God.
I have seen healing take place for memory loss by reading and praying over the men.
I have seen lives restored as the Word of God is opened up to the hearts, minds and spirits of those
who give themselves to God and to the program.
God IS the power to change...
The program is merely a guide that provides some boundaries in which to live.

I have been privileged to have been a part of Rapha for over 12 years.
That's a lot of men...
That's a lot of change...
That's a lot of growth.
I seen many men change, and with each one who does, it is a celebration.
My prayer is that God would let me be at Rapha all of my days.
I am blessed beyond measure to have been given a place in which to teach, love and council.
Today, I get to go out to Rapha and do it all over again.
Each day is filled with new things....good and bad.
Each day is an opportunity to see God work.
Each day is a chance for me to grow.
Thank you Lord!

God on you...
mb

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Charlie Daniels - Two Out Of Three (Cafe Video)

Romans 7:24-25 - Oh what a wretched man I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in the person of Jesus Christ our Lord.......

This is my most favorite song that Charlie Daniels has recorded. If I had choice between good and bad, I'd pick bad two out of three. How could Jesus love someone like me? Because He is Jesus! His love is not bound by the same restrictions we carry around, namely a sinful nature or flesh. He stands untouched by the destructive power of sin. NO! He defeated that power by taking all the sin, every bit of it, that the world had...taking it upon himself and then gave his life as a ransom for all who were under the penalty of sin. That is why He loves me. His desire is to for me to be (1.) Saved (2) enter into relationship with Him (3) grow and mature in my faith.

How marvelous... How wonderful is the love of Jesus.

God on you all today....

mb

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

What Happened? When Did It Change?







When did everything change?
It wasn't like it was a sudden thing where we suddenly woke up and we didn't recognize where we were or what was going on.
But when did change sneak in?
I was listening to some mp3's I had downloaded last night.
There were sermons from A.W. Tozer and Duncan Campbell.

Leonard Ravenhill and Vance Havner.
All through out the messages, I found a word kept coming up over and over.

They repeated it with great passion and fire as each man spoke the truth of God.
What word you may ask?
CONVICTION!

You don't really hear much from the pulpit or the television about conviction any more.
I even went and looked up the definition of conviction.
Webster's defines conviction as judgement or guilt against a criminal defendant.
That's pretty harsh language there especially when you tie it to a message being given in church.
Yet in John 16:8 we read these words:
And when he (The Holy Spirit) comes, he will CONVICT the world of its sin. and of God' righteousness, and the coming judgment.

When the Holy Spirit is sent (He came on the day of Pentecost- Acts Chapter 2), He will come with a mission. His first work will be to convict the world. Using the definition of Conviction...that means the Holy Spirit will come to reveal to man kind the judgment or guilt that they stand under. In other words, the Holy Spirit will open our spiritual eyes and ears up to the fact we are condemned. We carry around a sentence of death, that being the 2nd death or eternal separation from God. The Holy Spirit's purpose is to make us aware of our need of being saved.

Today it seems that the church merely wants to woo people in and not offend them or hurt their feelings and hope that they have some sort of experience with God. It's like the church wants to set the stage and make everything comfortable where people can come and meet God. None of that "Fire on the Mountain, thunder and lightning, God is in the  house stuff".  When in reality, the only way people can truly be brought into awareness of God is through the work of the Holy Spirit.

Coming to God is not a mental exercise.
Coming to God is not a choice made by a heart that is not broken.
Coming to God is not an appeal to the flesh to turn....
Coming to God is a direct movement as a result of being broken by the Holy Spirit.

Broken by realizing that without God you are doomed.
Broken by realizing that without God you are destined to Hell. Hell is your reward for a life live in rejection of God.


"Blessed are the poor in Spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of God!"
God's favor rests on those who look within themselves and find nothing by emptiness and loneliness. Coming to the realization that they are spiritually bankrupt and in poverty. When you reach that point, the Holy Spirit will direct your heart to the glorious truth that now, for spiritual poverty, you can enter in and possess the Kingdom of God's rule. That your life can be lifted from the ash heap of humanity and seated in the heavens with Jesus Christ.

Conviction! What a beautiful word.
May conviction fall upon the church of Jesus Christ.
May conviction fall hard and heavy and the aisles run wet with the tears of those who are broken, crying out, "What must I do to be saved!"
Let it be so Lord...

God on you....

mb

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

You Are Our Portion

Back in 1998, shortly before I began full time ministry, Vicki and I had to make a decision.
During one of our prayer times, God spoke to both of us. Oh, it wasn't an audible voice, just the Holy Spirit whispering deep in our spirits. Vicki knew and I knew that we had been offered a choice by God to make before we began this next part of our journey with Him.

He told us to decide.
We could either have a portion of His blessings to carry out the work he was laying in front of us......
or.....
We could have Him as our portion.
To me, it kind of sounded like a trick question. You know what I mean? Like in Exodus Chapter Four where God asks Moses.."What is that in your hand?" Now Moses knows it is a staff. He knows that God knows it is a staff. Moses just isn't quiet sure that "staff" is the word that God wants to hear. Get it? We tend to over analyze things.
Bottom line was that we chose God as our portion.
I would like to say that after making that choice, things were wonderful and every decision we made was bathed in the glory of knowing we had chosen right. Truth of the matter, every time we had to make decisions about a need we had, we were always doing so with the thought..."What if we didn't hear God right?"
I sure hope I grow out of this mindset. God has been faithful since the day we made that choice and for that I am grateful. He truly does want us to look to him for our needs. That isn't an excuse to be lazy or to plant yourself in the Lazy Boy with the remote and order up some "God stuff". What it does mean is that we look to God in every situation to be God. Simple as that! Psalm 119:57 reads...You are my portion,O Lord!
The rest of this particular portion from Psalm 119 reads as follows:
I sought your favor with my whole heart. Be merciful unto me according to your word.
I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies.
I made haste and did not delay to keep your commandments.
At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto you because of your righteous judgments...

The earth is full of your mercy. Teach me your ways.

Here in is the way of life that is found in Jesus.
It is more than Sunday mornings and Sunday  nights at church.
It is a yearning, a longing....almost a pulling toward.....to be with Jesus at every moment. He fills you up completely and your heart longs to hear him, see him..just be near him.
As I heard it put once......Having a relationship with Jesus is 366 days a year....25 hours a day....8 days a week. Not because you have too...............because you want to.
It is simply following the Spirit of God daily.
Immersing yourself in God's word.....
Praying as you walk through your day....
And letting God be your portion in this life, in this day.
Have I arrived and gotten it all right?
No!
But I am pressing on with Jesus.

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

Monday, September 6, 2010

What A Weekend!



What a great weekend. Visitation went well and everyone seem to have a really good time except for the ducks. The kids who came to visit chased the ducks all over the camp. I think our web-footed friends finally escaped by getting in the pond, staying there until everyone had left.

Jonathan Bright spoke at the BACK DOOR  Saturday night. He related many of his stories from his time at Rapha ,tying Scripture in to encourage the men to not give up but press on in their recovery. Jonathan and his wife, Tiffany, have answered a call to ministry. They aren't sure of where it is going to take them, but they are prepared for whatever God leads them to do. At the end of his message, as we came to ministry time, 8 men came forward for prayer. Very powerful and God was very much working on these eight. It was the perfect ending to a perfect day. Earlier in the day, I had the opportunity to baptize two in the creek. Here again, is one of my most favorite things God lets me participate in. Families lined up on the bank, us standing down in the creek....God's pleasure and Spirit very evident. The look on the faces of the  men when they come up out of the water......priceless. Thank you Lord.

Yesterday morning Vicki and I drove up to Noccalula Falls to have a time of worship and prayer. With Bibles in tow, we set up in one of the pavilion's located on the campground side. The sun was shining, the wind blowing and God was in HIS house! It was an incredible time of communion and just being together.

Verse for the day:
Romans 12:9-10
Don't just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.

Love is a choice, not a feeling. Today, we choose to love! Today we choose to empty ourselves of our own personal agenda to take up the cross of Christ and go meet the world on Jesus' terms, not ours.
Have a "God" day!

mb

I will be posting Jonathan's message from Saturday night in about an hour. Look for it in the podcast section of  this blog.
Thanks for stopping by...
mb

Saturday, September 4, 2010

SATURDAY!!!!!

Saturday.
Made it.
Visitation today as families will come and fill up Rapha.
There will be laughter and kids running around.
Hugs and kisses.....
Grown men who get all soft and tender.
Grown men sitting in the floor playing Candy Land with their daughters and sons, trying to rebuild the damage drugs and alcohol did.
There will be much food and conversation around tables.
And I get to see it all.
Families who want so bad to see their loved one overcome this battle that has been going on for years.
I get to see it all.


Interesting verse this morning that pretty much sums up my life.
I Corinthians 9:16 --  For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of, for necessity is laid upon me. Yet woe is unto me if I preach not the gospel.
What?
Paul is saying that as someone who preaches the message of Christ, he is the least of the equation. There is God....There is the Word of God.....and there are those who need to hear the Word of God. The one who is preaching, or proclaiming the Word of God is the least relevant of the process. When it reads "For necessity is laid upon me"...it merely means that "I can nothing else but tell the story of Jesus".  I can relate to this.
I guess the greatest fear I had when I answered the call to pastor was the thought of having to come up with a sermon each week. One message. Little did I know that the week itself would provide the message. Something would happen that sparked the Holy Spirit to reveal to me what the message would be. I don't know if my approach is the way other Pastor's go at their sermons, but I know it has served me well for the last 13 years.

Truth be known, it isn't very Vogue to preach the whole council of God these days.
IT isn't very fashionable to speak of the blood of Jesus or hell or sin.
Those things are best left unsaid in some churches. After all, the economy is bad and times are hard....people need an uplifting message. If you start talking about sin and hell, you're libel to run some of them off.
Titus 2:1 reads, "But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine."
"We don't want doctrine. Tell us about all the blessings that God will give us!"
"Tell us about our destiny and the keys to health, wealth and prosperity. Those are the things we want to hear."
Let me tell you about the greatest blessing! Jesus himself.
Verse 13 and 14 read:  Looking for the blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
When our hearts desire anything but Jesus himself....
When our hope lies in what we receive rather than the one who is giving....
When our vision is lowered to the things of this world and is fed by a nature that was born in the garden at the fall of man, we have lost sight of what is important.
Our Christianity is an abomination before God.

It has become a source of "getting" rather than a life of giving.
Jesus is beyond any blessing because HE IS THE BLESSING!
He heals the sick...
He binds up the brokenhearted....
To death He declares, "LIFE".
To the poor, He is the Kingdom of God come down.
He is the great I AM.
He is the Christ.
He is my Lord and Saviour.
and.....
Praise God! He is coming back.
Look up for your redemption is drawing near.

God on you.......
mb

Friday, September 3, 2010

The $64,000.00 Question

Jesus and his disciples left Galilee and went up to the villages near Caesarea Philippi. As they were walking along, he asked the, "Who do people say I am?"

Age old question that is still being asked by Jesus daily to those who claim to be his disciples.
Each morning as I rise, I am faced with this question in my own personal relationship with him.
It isn't a question that gives rise to a verbal answer, although that is part of it.
It is a question that gives rise to the reflection of my life seen by others (and Jesus) as to what I do, what I say, how I conduct myself in the affairs of the day.
In other words, do others see Jesus in me?
In other words, when Jesus looks at me, does he see himself?

My life either reveals the goodness of God, or the falseness of what I claim.
I either reflect Jesus.....
or I reflect the world.
That is why Jesus stayed on the Pharisees and other religious rulers of his day.
He knew that they were all about the show and had no go in their lives, when it came to religion.
They were part of the old covenant of "do"...
Offer animals for forgiveness of sin.....
Wash yourselves in appropriate manner so as not to sin.....
Repeat the Scripture with no heed as to what it truly meant....
An entire system of "Do as I say........not as I do."
Now here before everyone was the Messiah they had been looking for.
Trouble was, Jesus did not fit the mold that had been created in the mind of man.
Even today, Jesus does not fit that mold, because he came not into the world to place himself within the mind of man, but in the hearts of mankind.
It is in the heart that the truth of God is revealed.
It is from the heart that lives are changed.

He is Lord...
He is God...
He is Master...
He is Savior....
He is Yahweh....
He is Jehovah....
He is Messiah....
He is Christ....
He is the hope of mankind...
He is the enemy to the kingdom of darkness...
He is the power to save....
He is judge...
He is Father...
He is Son....
He is Holy Spirit.....
He is the LORD!

I'm telling you right now if that doesn't set you on fire, then your woods wet!
Ask Him to fill you up!
Ask Him to talk to you today!
Give your heart and life over to Him.....

God on you today!
mb

Thursday, September 2, 2010

A radical christ centerd message by john piper

I do not understand the real value and worth of Jesus Christ. I confess that on this side of eternity, my flesh seeks to cut that message and understanding short. I press on to know though. I know in my heart that there is a worth of Jesus Christ that I have fully grasped. Oh it isn't an understanding that is laid hold of by the human mind, it is an understanding that is known and understood in the heart and spirit. It is the Spirit of Almighty God laying hold of me........It is the Spirit of Almighty God speaking to me saying, "Be still and know that I am God!" It is in this stillness that the effort and strength of man falls away, crumbled, lying in the dust and the the magnificent beauty of God stands in power, dominion and purity.That is what I seek to know today.

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

mb

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

38 Years!! Ta Da!!!

"......and a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and the two are united into one."------Matthew 2:24

Seems like forever.....
Seems like only yesterday, we were standing in the courtyard of Twelfth Street Baptist Church.
The occasion?
Vicki and I were married.

Now a days, the things we did for our marriage are pretty tame and normal but back in '72 it wasn't.
I had a good friend of mine play and sing for our wedding. Since he was using his guitar, my wife's grandmother said that we were having a "hippie" wedding.

We even used two pastors for our ceremony. Bro. Herman Cobb, who was Vicki's pastor all of her "growing up" years, and Bro. Harold Chandler, her pastor at the church she was attending before we married.

Lot has happened over the past 38 years.
2 sons...
2 daughters-in-law.
2 grand kids.
I had about a brazillion jobs.
Vicki had 2 jobs.
I was ordained and began full time ministry.
We have had our shares of ups and downs. Fights and arguments. But covering it all was the hand of Almighty God.
He has kept us together.
He has poured out His love over us and in us.
When we consciously decided to put our marriage in the proper place, me occupying the the role as husband (the way God defines it) and she as wife. We began to see the blessings of God poured out.
Truly in the midst of all the turmoil and strife, God made us one. We began greater through the marriage than we ever could have as individuals. Greater not in the sense of accomplishments but in the Spiritual sense that we had surrendered the need to be individuals and had come together as husband and wife to seek God and His kingdom.God truly saw us as one. What affected one, affected the other.

Now, as the years have rolled by, we find ourselves in the next phase of our life together.
I am very comfortable with who I am as a person and with who we are as husband and wife.
Oh we haven't quit working on our marriage. We learned through the lessons of others that you do not have the luxury of simply thinking, "We have arrived in the Marriage Boat so we can cruise now."
Funny part in all of this is that I love my wife more today than ever before.
I thought I knew and understood the concept of love. I didn't.
My love for her is so much richer and fuller today than 38 years ago.
I know that God is the reason for this.
Tonight we will go out for supper (dinner if you're up North). We will laugh and hold hands.
We will share memories and enjoy each others company.
Oh we're older now, no doubt about it.
Our bodies show the evidence of this (some would call it wear and tear).
Ahh, but the hearts. The hearts are still young and still skip a beat when we look into each others eyes.
The hearts still ache when we are apart.
Some might even call us co-dependent. That's o.k use whatever label you want to.
I just know that I love my wife, and tomorrow I will discover that there is another level, a new level of love that has been waiting to be discovered.
God, thank you for marriage.
Thank you for my wife....
Amen.

God on you...
mb

Kingdom Work Doesn't Always Look Like What We Think It Does

Parking lot was crowded yesterday. It was near noon and people were taking care of their business, hurrying in and out of the building. I...