Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Seekers - I'll never find another you (1968)

Psalm 95:6 - Come, let us worship and bow down. Let us kneel before the LORD our maker, for he is our God. We are the people he watches over, the sheep under his care.

No matter what my lot today....
No matter what life may bring to me.....joy or sadness......riches or poverty......I still will worship you. These are not flattering words to bolster my own self image or ego...they come from a heart that has fallen in love with the God of the universe. The words come from a heart forever changed by blood that was shed on a hillside outside of Jerusalem over 2000 years ago. Blood that has not lost any of it's ability to lay hold of lives and break the power of sin.

Today....
I worship God with my whole being...every fiber of my existence.....that my life would be a reflection of the goodness of God.

May you find this for yourself.....

God on you....

mb

Friday, October 29, 2010

It's Friiiiiidaaaaay!

The Word of God.
Without the Spirit to guide us, illuminate us and open our eyes.....
The Word of God is just that.....words.
When the connection is made through our relationship with God, then those words come alive as the Spirit breathes life into our spirit.

Psalm 119
Verse 2-3 Blessed are those who obey his decrees and search for him with all their hearts. They do not compromise with evil, and they walk only in his paths.

Verse 5 -  Oh that my actions would consistently reflect your principles!

Verse 9 -  How can a young person stay pure? By obeying your word and following it rules.

Verse 10 -  I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.

Verse 25 - I lie in the dust, completely discouraged. Revive me by your word.

Verse 29 - 30 -  Keep me from lying to myself. Give the privilege of knowing your law. I have chosen to be faithful. I have determined to live by your laws.

Verse 39 - Help me abandon my shameful ways. Your laws are all I want in life.

Verse 83 -  I am shriveled like a wineskin in the smoke, exhausted with waiting. But I cling to your principals and obey them.

Verse 130 -  As your words are taught, they give light so that even the simple can understand them.

Verse 133 -  Guide my steps by your word, so I will not be overcome by any evil.

Verse 162 -  I rejoice in your word like one who finds a great treasure.

John 1:1-2 - In the beginning the Word already existed. He was with God, and he was God. He was in the beginning with God.

II Timothy 4:14-17 -  But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you. You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It straightens us out and teaches us to do what is right. It is God's way of preparing us in every way, fully equipped for every good thing God wants us to do.

Good Scripture today on the importance of studying God's word. Live a balanced life, by that I mean life a life that is filled with the Word of God, but is directed by the Holy Spirit as He takes the Word inside of us and makes it relevant to what is going on around us today.

Feel the Spirit's guiding as you walk through this day.
Love with the love of God.
Speak with the mind of Christ.
Worship as one who has been given much.
Life as though this is our last day, our last hour here on earth.
Tell your story of God's love manifested to you.
Give away everything God has given to you.
Show someone the way today.
Know that you are loved beyond reason today by your heavenly Father.
Join in the fellowship of Christ's suffering.

God on you today.....
mb

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Step # 10 Of Twelve Step Program

Step # 10
We continue to take personal inventory, and when we are wrong, promptly admit it.

Key Concept
I can understand that I am forgiven, accepted, loved and totally secure because of Christ.

Coming from the place of having surrendered will and life over to the care of God, we begin to learn daily a new way of doing business with the world. Although God does not condemn his children, we will struggle from time to time with the destructive power of condemnation. We will do so until we learn that we no longer have to fear judgment from God.

The Holy Spirit, at work in us, wants us to be convinced and assured that God has forgiven us, accepts us, loves us, and makes us totally secure because of Christ. God's Holy Spirit faithfully makes us aware of any behavior that does not reflect the character of Christ.

How Guilt Affects Us

Basic Focus - Guilt focuses on self-condemnation. We believe, "I am unworthy."

Primary Concern - Guilt deals with the sinner's loss of self esteem and wounded self-pride. We think, "What will others think of me?"

Primary Fear - Guilt porduces a fear of punishment. We believe, "Now I'm going to get it!"

Behavioral Results - Guilt leads to depression and more sin. We think, "I am just a low-down, dirty, rotten person." Or it lead to rebellion. We believe, "I don't care. I'm going to do whatever I want to do."

Remedy - The rememdy for guilt is to remember that if you have repented of your sin, Christ has forgiven you and remembers your sin no more.

How cool is that?
God......the real deal God we read about in Scripture...........forgives you and then forgets what you have done. "How does He do that?" You may be asking. Well, He can do it because He chooses to forget. To not remember. To not keep record of it but instead, love you.

A Declaration
Father, I affirm that I am deeply loved by You, fully pleasing to You, and totally accepted in Your sight.
You have made me complete and have given me the righteousness of Christ, even though my
performance often falls short.
Lord, I confess my sins to you--(List them, be specific)
I agree with You that theses are wrong.
Thank You for forgiving me for these sins. Do I need to return anyhting,
repay anyone, or apologize to anyone in order to fully make amends?
Give me the courage to take these steps.
In Jesus name...
Amen



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

Today's teaching was taken from the workbook- Conquering Chemical Dependency

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Not Always A Happy Ending

Teaching from Hebrews 11 last night.
The great "Faith" chapter.
The Hall of Faith.
A list of what we would consider to be the "who's who" of Bibledom.
Moses....
David...
Enoch...
Rahab....
Etc....
Etc...
Each verse begins with "By Faith"....then the name of the individual and what they accomplished.
As you read the chapter it pretty inspiring. Men and women who did great deeds under the unction of the Holy Spirit. But by the time you get to verse thirty-five, things kind of go south.

But others trusted God and were tortured, preferring to die rather than turn from God and be free. They place their hope in the resurrection to a better life. Some were mocked, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in dungeons. Some died by stoning, and some were sawed in half. Others were killed with the sword. Some went about in skins of sheep and goats, hungry and oppressed and mistreated. THEY WERE TOO GOOD FOR THIS WORLD.

This kind of smacks in the face of the happy, happy, joy, joy God has a wonderful plan for your life.
Yes, God does have a wonderful plan for your life but it may not look like the plan we would choose.
I don't want you to think this is a downer posting this morning. What I want you to understand (even as I am trying to get my brain wrapped around this one) is that our Faith in God, our Hope in God, our Belief in God supersedes whatever the world has to offer, good or bad.
Faith is the greater connector that locks me to God. Not faith in what God will do or not do, but faith that He is who He says He is and that His will and nature will be displayed in every situation I face...good or bad. For this very reason, I choose to wholly lean on and rest in Him.

I think one of the greatest examples of a person's faith and placing themselves in the hands of God came from my mother. She was told in February of 1981 that she was dying of pancreatic cancer. Mom set about getting all of her affairs in order. She made lunch appointments with old friends to have one last time where they could talk and share and make sure that everything was alright between each other. She got all of her financial business taken care of. She did what she had to do as with each passing day, you could see the cancer taking it's toll on her. She never complained, she never said that this was unfair that her lot in life would end this way. My mother told me time and time again that God was still in control of her life and if this was the path she was to walk out, she was not going to hold back but see it through to the end. She knew that "the end" was not that, but only the transition to the next part of her relationship with God.

On May 14, 1981, she left her house for the last time. As we walked out on the porch, she stopped for just a moment and turned to look at the front door. She turned back around, holding me by the arm said, "I'm ready to go home now." She was not bitter because she was not going to be here to see her grand children grow up. She was not angry because of this disease that invaded her body. She simply walked in the grace that God covered her with and she did so until she died on May 26th.

In the eyes of the world, this was not a happy ending.
In the eyes of my Mom and myself, she was receiving the ultimate healing.
She would no longer suffer or hurt.
She would be free of the confines of a sinful body and world.
She would know for herself the truth of what she lived by and for. That Jesus Christ is Lord and worthy to be worshipped.
I pray that God grant me strength during the hard times and that I may not cower in fear but stand strong in His strength.

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

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

59.....whoa!


Yep! That's me. Yep! I'm posing. This was taken at a get-together at Tom and Charlotte Beaubes one Sunday afternoon. I don't remember who took the picture, but I do remember them saying, "Look smart."
I guess this is as close to "smartness" as I can come.
Find myself turning 59 today.
Strange and yet kind of want to celebrate that I have made it this long (all the while truly in touch with the simple fact God has given me 59 years.) How many more do I get? I don't know.

I kind of like the verse that closes out the book of Job. Chapter 42/ verse 17 - Then he died, an old man who had lived a long, good life. King James version reads "Job died an old man full of years." I like that phrase "Full of years."  Gracious knows Job had his share of trouble and grief and sorrow, yet here in end he was full of years. In others words, through the grace of God, Job overcame and endured till his time was up. What more could a body ask for? To lay hold of God's grace and let it take you all the way.

The one thing that has become really clear to me as the years have piled up is that "stuff" doesn't mean as much to me any more. I still like having things, but I don't focus on what I don't have or can't get. I seem to be more content and enjoy family more than ever. Vicki and I went out to supper with my brother and his wife Friday  night and it was just a great time to be together. To share some updates about what is going on in our respective lives, laugh a little and enjoy a good meal. That seems to be more of my heart these days. Just being around the folks I love.

What more could you ask for.
I think I'll go have me some birthday Banana Pudding!

God on you...
mb

Monday, October 25, 2010

Message from 10/23 has been posted:   "Step # 10- keeping on keeping on!"
Enjoy.
mb

Good Weekend

I will be posting the message from Saturday  night later on today so feel free to check back and listen to it.
There was much prayer and ministry Saturday night which is always something we want to happen.
I don't try to manipulate a response from the men who come to the meeting, I just want them to see and experience of being prayed over and ministered to. Then I want to teach them how to pray and minister to others.

Our worship time was the part that set up what happened the rest of the meeting. We just wanted to worship God...not sing about him or talk about him but direct our hearts and minds and voices to him. Worship is new to a lot of the men who come through the Rapha program. Because there are musicians up front and it's music, sometimes they feel like it is suppose to be a concert. I remind them that WORSHIP is verb not a noun. A verb denotes action, therefore worship is something we participate in.

Luke 11:28- He replied, "But even more blessed are all who hear the word of God and put it into practice."
The word of God should not be relegated to Sunday's only.
It is what gives me strength.
It is what the Spirit inside of me uses to direct me.
It is something I can hold in my hands and yet be the recipient of divine wisdom that is older than anything I know.
Sure it's just paper and ink and a backing to hold it all together.........
But beyond the natural aspects of this book we call the Bible, is the divine interaction that God brings through the book.
It truly is a most wonderful gift ever given to mankind (let me rephrase that....2nd most wonderful gift....Jesus is No.# 1).
To be able to read and study and digest what is written is worth more than anything the world has to offer.
But.....
Unless a heart is awakened and takes these words as life, it is all for naught.
Obey!
Read...
Study....
Do....
Obey!
That is where the life comes in.
Directed by the Holy Spirit and walked out in a fallen world, we see the power and purity that we could never possess on our own.
We become New Creations in Christ Jesus.
For that I am grateful.
Fall in love with the Word of God today.
Listen to the Spirit of God in you as he guides you today.

God on you.....
mb

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Phil Keaggy: TIME

One of the first CCM songs I ever heard back in the late 7o's. Time is something that we have no control over. We are all headed for the end the moment we come from the womb and draw our first breath. The clock begins ticking for us and the decisions that we make during our life decide where we will spend eternity.

You may be saying that you don't believe in all that "God" and "eternity" stuff. That's your deal then, but don't be surprised when your time ends and you find yourself standing before God to receive from Him according to what you have done in this life.

Revelation 22:13-15 -- "Look, I am coming soon, bringing my reward with me to repay all people according to their deeds. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End."Blessed are those who wash their robes. They will be permitted to enter through the gates of the city and eat the fruit from the tree of life. Outside the city are the dogs----the sorcerers, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idol-worshipers, and all who love to live a lie.

Think on these things.

God on you.......

mb

Friday, October 22, 2010

Step # 10 part 2



Continuing to take a look at step # 10 of the twelve steps.
We continue to take personal inventory, and when we are wrong, promptly admit it.
We continue.
Recovery is an on going process. Not just recovery from drugs or alcohol, but recovery from the fall of man and from the power of sin. We don't get to take vacations from working a program.
As you move down the steps, you find that change has taken place.
You have changed.
The way you think.
The way you view life.
The way, as Delbert Boone says, you do business with the world.
You have changed.
Not from your own efforts but by your cooperation with the Holy Spirit as you continue to surrender your will daily.
Remember (as in Step # 3) you surrender you life to God  once.
You surrender your will to God daily.
We seek to give control and the care of our life over to God and to look to Him to guide us.
In other words, we develop a trust in God.
Just as our currency has written on it........."In God We Trust"....so should my heart have the same words engraved by the Holy Spirit on it. IN GOD I TRUST.

Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.

In step #1 -  We admitted that we had a problem which was controlling our lives and admitted that this problem was making our lives unmanageable.

In step #2 - We recognized the existence and power of God - A power greater than, and outside of, ourselves. We acknowledge that He alone could restore us to sanity.

In step #3 - We became willing to let Him change us by accepting His Lordship.

In step #4- We "cleaned house" and uncovered self-defeating patterns that had governed our lives.

In step #5 - We agreed with God about what we  had learned about ourselves in step # 4. We then confessed these things to another individual.

In step #6-  We submitted our inventory of character defects and asked Him to remover the patterns of sin from our lives.

In step #7-  We asked God to replace our false belief system--which governed our thought patterns and resulting actions and behaviors--with the truth of His word.

In step #8 -  We listed those people to whom we needed to make amends .

In step #9 - We carried that further by not only addressing those whom we had offended by forgiving those who had offended us. In this step we began to learn to change the way we typically relate to others.

Now in step #10, as stewards of the life God has given back to us, we continue to take responsibility for our attitudes and actions.

Galatians 2:20
I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me, and the life I now life in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and delivered Himself up for me.

Step #10 is a means of daily confirming that your old way of life is dead and of affirming the life which Jesus Christ is living in you.

God on you.....
mb

(today's posting is taken in part from the workbook Conquering Chemical Dependency by Robert S. McGee)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Trust In Chariots?

There is much fear in the air.
People are fearful for their jobs....
For their families well being.....
For their future.......
I keep hearing and running into the verse in Scripture that reads....."We walk by faith and not by sight."
This isn't a "pie in the sky" verse.
I don't think God is really interested in the "things of this world."
By that, I don't think God's first and most important point in His plan is my comfort or standard of living.
Now before you go all tactical nuke on me, let me explain.

I believe that phrase----"Our standard of living" has become way larger than it should be.
For a lot of people, the most important thing in their life is to maintain a certain way of life they have become use to. So when anything comes along that would jeopardize this way of life, and there are no solutions to deal with it, fear becomes a part of this way of life. Usually we work in our own strength and effort to keep our way of life. It is like Detrich Bonhoffer wrote " Most Christians are satisfied with a minimum amount of God in their life....just enough to keep them from going to hell." Ouch!

We read in Matthew 6:
Don't store up treasures here on earth, where they can be eaten by moths and get rusty, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where they will never become moth-eaten or rusty and where they will be safe from thieves. Wherever your treasure is, there your heart and thoughts will also be.

Seek (look, ask, knock, search for) first (before anything else) the Kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things (what things?  food, shelter, clothing) will be added unto you.

Either this is true
or
it's a bunch of hooey-balooey and we should just close our Bibles and lock our church doors and all go over to Shoney's and have a piece of strawberry pie.
I just happen to be crazy enough to believe that God's word is true.
We have become so enamored with the world that we have tried to meld the two together: God's Kingdom and this World system. It won't work now....it didn't work in the past and it will not work in the future.
Right now, fear for our own personal comfort has caused us to be tight fisted and not return unto God that which is rightfully his. What are you trying to say,Mike? I'm saying that giving is down because we are fearful that we will not be able to live in  the way we have become accustom to . God deserves the first part of our finances, not the crumbs and leftovers.

Matthew 6:24-25
No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. So I tell you, don't worry about everyday life===whether you have enough food, drink, and clothes. Doesn't life consist of more than food and clothing?

Confess your fear today....
Take it to God and tell Him that you are tired of living like this.
Ask Him to show you how to live.
Open your hands and let God be in control.
Walk by faith and not by sight.
Walk by faith and not by sight.
Walk by faith and not by sight...
Trust God with every area of your life.....

Grace and peace to you today....
mb

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

DANNY DANIELS - "Ready"

Mr. Danny Daniels doing the song "Ready" from his CD "Another Shade of Blue". Danny always bring passion and love for God to the songs he writes and performs. When ever Danny has come to Rapha, he always connects with the guys on a level that draws them into what God is wanting to do in the room.

If you haven't been introduced to Mr. Daniels, well I formally make the introduction. Enjoy this!

God on you...

mb

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

John Chapter 17

This is one of my most favorite chapters in all of the Bible.
Why?
Because it truly is the LORD'S Prayer.
It is the last night before Jesus' Crucifixion and Jesus has finished having a passover meal with his disciples.
He is now in the garden of Gethsemane, disciples nearby (asleep), alone and is praying to the Father in heaven.

Verse 9 -
My prayer is not for the world, but for those you have given me, because they belong to you.
Jesus' focus and heart was for the ones that had been a part of his life for the last 3 years. He died for the world, but his love is of those who enter into salvation. Yes, he is grieved when people turn their backs on him to go after the things of this world. Yes, he is pained when people reject him, but he knows that a way has been laid for those who are under judgement of hell to enter into relationship with him.

Verse 17-
Make them pure and holy by teaching them your words of truth.
Make them holy? Yep..not a word you hear a lot about these days..........holiness.
Holiness is not a lifestyle.
It is a way of life that is attained only by God at work in me. God's holiness is accredited to me, and it is through the work of the Holy Spirit that I am changed.
I think where we miss it today if very simple. The verse said, "Make them holy by teaching them your words of truth." Somehow Scripture has gotten lost in the shuffle. People seem to want to hear messages that will give them heaven now here on earth. And when I say "heaven", I mean the material kind...blessings and prosperity. If I remember right the Word says that we should "prosper" as our soul prospers.I hold fast to the idea that we don't grow in God through our experiences. Those supernatural moments where the Spirit of God falls upon us or in a room or at a conference. Don't get me wrong, I love it when such times happen. But the real growth comes by reading and hearing the Word of God. Romans 10:17 reads "Faith comes by hearing and hearing the Word of God." Get it? Faith comes....faith appears.....faith rises up within a heart that has given up when the Word of God is heard not just with human ears but with human hearts.  The message of the cross is the power of God. Power to change lives and transport us from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light.
Praise God that is THE good news. I don't have to life in my old ways anymore. Full of bitterness and jealousy and strife. I am now a part of the Kingdom of God.

God on you....
mb

Monday, October 18, 2010

Saturday Night Message Now Down loaded. (10/16/10)
And ready for you to listen to.
mb

Step # 10


"We continued to take a personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it."

By the time we reach Step #10, the main thought in our recovery is "continuance." We are now in the flow of living life daily in a new way. No more secrets in our life because secrets have power over us. We live life at a new level uncovering and admitting our mistakes (sin) as we go. More than just admitting our mistakes (sin), we learn from our mistakes and apply the lessons that we learn.

This truly is an new way of living.
As a believer, one of the mistakes I made was when I was wrong or had committed a sin, I went straight to God in prayer. How can this be a mistake you may be asking. Well, the mistake was I confessed my sin. I repented of my sin. I was forgiven of my sin, but I did nothing to change. Even though I did what I thought was right, my repentance was not true repentance it was merely a "get out of hell" effort on my part. It was like I had the power to cancel my own sin through this confession/forgiveness act.

In step#10 we see that a personal inventory is involved.
That means one must look not only at the behavior, but the motive for the behavior.
Motives get us in trouble a lot.
I am continually telling the men at Rapha that you can do the right thing for the wrong reason.
I ask them, "Who in here use to go to church?"
Hands will be raised all over the room.
Then I will ask, "Who in here went to church to look at the women?"
Hands will go back up.
See..
Doing the right thing...
Wrong reason.

To me, Psalm 51 is an incredible "personal inventory" written by King David.
Here was a man after God's own heart. A man who was passionate for God.
A man who had just been uncovered for having an affair with a married woman. On top of this, David had had the woman's husband killed.

In verse 1, David asks for God to have mercy on him and to blot out the stain of his sin. David asks God to give him something he truly does not deserve.....mercy.

Verse 2 finds David asking to be relieved of his guilt and his sin. Guilt is a toxic emotion that will lead us into deeper and darker places far removed from God. But remember, as Corrie Ten Boom wrote..."There is no hold so deep that God is not deeper still."

Verse 3 shows us that David did not excuse his own conduct nor did he try to cover by rationalizing it. "Hey, I'm King and I can do what I want to!"

Verse 4 is my favorite. David admits what he has done and accepts responsibility for it.
"Against you, and you alone, have I sinned. I have done what is evil in YOUR sight (not mine)."
Personal responsibility is in short supply these days in our country. Psychology has defined most as being "victims". We have latched on to this word and it has become a flag we fly when ever questioned about our behavior. "It's not my fault......I'm a victim." That is a word we use to excuse bad behavior.

Today is the day to move on in our lives and to deal with issues that have held us in place for years.
Today is the day we look to God for our deliverance and empowerment to move on.
To break free from the bondage of the past and leave the darkness of sin and our old lifestyle.

As Paul wrote in Philippians 3:
No, dear brothers and sisters, I am still not all I should be,, but I am focusing all of my energies on this one thing. Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus is calling us up to heaven.

God on you....
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Saturday, October 16, 2010

You Can....

Matthew 9:18
As Jesus was saying this, the leader of a synagogue came and knelt down before him. "My daughter has just died,"he said, "but YOU CAN bring her back to life again if you just come and lay your hand upon her."

What faith....
What belief....
Sometimes loosing the thing you love the most will cause your faith to rise up.
The daughter has died.
A true fact.
Death had taken her.
But faith causes this man to kneel before Jesus and proclaim.....
YOU CAN!
The reality of death...a
and the belief that there was one who could do something about death caused this man to come to Jesus with only one thought.........."Jesus, you can!"
Jesus did.
Why is it my faith wavers so much, from  You can to Will you?
I want to grow in this area of my relationship with Jesus.
This probably means that I am going to see some times and situations where I have to declare the truth of what I believe.
Do I continue to do business as the world does, or do I discard all my wisdom and embrace what the Spirit of God is saying....."Jesus Can!"

Truth of the matter is, I want to grow into a believer that will say, "Blessed be the name of the Lord!" no matter what the situation is.That the truth of God outweighs all the world has to offer (good and bad) and that I cling to the truth of Jesus.
Think on these things....

God on you......
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Friday, October 15, 2010

Sorry About The Lapse in Posting

Please forgive me. I have taken some time off and have come down with a really bad cold/flu.
Spent most of this day in bed or laying on the couch. I promise I will be up posting shortly.
See you tomorrow.


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

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

New Message Down loaded

Message From Saturday Night ( 10/9) is now available for you to listen to. We continue in our journey through the Twelve Steps as we teach on Step # 10

I Corinthians Chapter 1

Disclaimer: I am not a theologian. I am a man in love with the Word of God. As such, what I am sharing today is from my own study of the Word.

CHAPTER 1

Verse 1 -  I love the way Paul begins his letters. He is very much aware of who he is in Christ. Paul doesn't come across as arrogant or puffed up, he simply states who he is in Christ. That is humility, agreeing with God who God says you are.

Paul states that he is:
1.) Chosen -  no work on his part. He didn't seek out the place he has in the Kingdom. God called Paul Paul merely responded to God. I see many today who seek to "Make" a place or a name for themselves in the Kingdom of God. Sorry Charlie, doesn't work that way.

2.) By the will  -  the same "will" that was behind the entire creation as we know it, is the will that was exercised in the calling of Paul. The same will that broke through my own spiritual darkness and poverty to bring me to salvation.

3.) To be an apostle -  Here we see the place God has for Paul. An apostle--- one who is sent. Not everyone who is called of God is required to be a apostle. Some are required to be mechanics and homemakers and construction workers and Doctors.... You get it? We are all called when we come to salvation. God decides where we are to go. We simply follow Him. It's all a part of that Luke 9:23 passage. You know....denying self.......taking up cross..........following Him.

Verse 2 - I love what Paul writes here. Truly something that we all need to get a handle on. Paul states that he is "Writing to God's church in Corinth." Did you catch that? God's church? We don't own the church. It isn't the exclusive property of any one group of people or any one pastor. God created the church himself and has called us to be "living stones" fitly joined together for His kingdom. I think the sooner we realize that it is God's church, the better off we will be.

Paul goes on to write "To you who have been called by God to be His own holy people." Wow! Not only have we been personally called and placed, but now we find out that we are God's possession. We are His holy people. I know, I know, you're thinking "I don't feel holy".  IT ISN'T ABOUT THE FEELINGS!!! Ain't that great? It's about faith!!! It's about latching onto and believing and clinging to the truth. We are holy because God has made us holy. He has credited to our account the holiness of Christ.

Paul goes on to explain that "God made you holy by means of Christ Jesus." That is the whole "Jesus does for me that which I cannot do for myself." Excuse my vernacular but "that dog will hunt!"

Verse 3 -  Paul, always looking out and praying for others, writes: "May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace." I'll take that dynamic duo...grace and peace. Give me a double portion!

Think on these verses today.

God on you....
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Monday, October 11, 2010

Good Weekend

Friday night: Celebrate Recovery Centre, Alabama - God comes and there is much ministry as people fill the front for prayer.

Saturday night: Rapha -  The men are learning how to worship. The enter in and God comes. Much prayer for different ones who are struggling. Thank you Lord!

Sunday night: Celebrate Recovery North Glencoe Baptist Church - Once again for the third time, God comes and there is much healing.

What was the common denominator in these three meetings this past weekend?
People came with hungry hearts, ready to meet with God and receive from Him.
It wasn't about me or anything else. God came to heal and save and restore and renew because people were hungry for Him and for something real.

Psalm 34:18 -   The Lord is near unto them who have broken hearts and he saves those who have a contrite spirit.
There is no room for pride in the Kingdom of God.
There is no room for self-edification and ego building.
Every time I go to speak at a meeting, shortly after I arrive a voice begins to whisper to me. The voice of the enemy. "Who do you think you are? You have no right to stand and speak to anyone. Look at your own life. What a mess you were. Do you think God would use you?"
I don't listen to it, but it would be real easy to.
I don't heed what is being spoken in my head, but it would be real easy to.
What I do is to sit with my eyes close and ask myself, "What is the truth?" Then I begin to recite Scripture over and over and over. The voice quietens and I am able to speak.

The Lord is near to those whose hearts are broken and those whose hearts are breaking. Today if you are going through a dark time, cry out to God. Literally, I mean cry out! "Oh God, come please, I need you!"
Then quit listening to the voice of the enemy and turn your heart to Jesus. Read the Psalm out loud! Lay your prayers before God and then look for the peace that comes only from Him. Whatever you do....do not...do  not....do not...fall prey to the voice of the enemy.

God on you today!
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Saturday, October 9, 2010

Can't You See with Celebrate Recovery Band


This is a video of the Celebrate Recovery band in Centre, Alabama. This is one of my most favorite places to speak. I was there last night and God was off the hook. There was much ministry and I got the chance to see some folks become my new brothers and sisters. I'm telling you when God comes to change a heart, it is the most incredible thing a body could witness. I never tire of it and it truly is my payday when salvation comes.
Psalm 16:11 --You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of Your presence and the pleasure of living with You forever.
Celebrate this day what God has done for you! Shout to the Lord!....no really, I mean shout. No matter where you are, turn loose and let it fly! "THANK YOU JESUUUUUUUUUSSSSS!!!!" Find joy this day. Not the kind the world tries to dish out, but the eternal-never-go-away-it-doesn't-matter-what-the-circumstance kind of joy. The joy of the LORD is my strength.
God on you today!
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Friday, October 8, 2010

Toronto: Part II


During my week at Toronto, I kept running into blues music every where I went. I also found out that Bryn Haworth (one of the worship leaders for the week at the conference) had just released a blues CD entitled Slide Don't Fret. I picked up several copies of it at the bookstore there at the conference. Little did I know that God would use this CD to confirm the direction he was taking me in.

One of the things I did early on in my time at Rapha was when ever I taught, I would begin the meeting by playing some worship music. I would put on a CD and ask the guys to just close their eyes and listen to the music. Each time I did this, there was no response from the men. I kept asking myself, "Does this music really speak to them. I know the words do, but the musical style really doesn't." Upon my return from Toronto, I was at Rapha to teach, and I had brought with me a worship CD. As I played it, it was met with the same response. It just didn't click with the men. Ahhhh! I remembered that I had put the Bryn Haworth CD in my bag, so I took it out and put it on. The song was called Judgement Blues". As the music started, low and behold something happened. There were 12 men in the room that day for my class and they began to weep. Not one or two, but all twelve were crying. Heads began to hang down and hands move to eyes to wipe away tears. This music had connected. It went beyond the mind and the heart and went straight into the spirit. God was now talking to these men through this music. Incredible! This took place in October of 1998 and for the next 10 months, I combed the Internet looking for any Christian blues I could find. Glenn Kaiser of Rez Band and Darryl Manfield had released a CD ---Slow Burn. On it was a song called Long, Long Way From My Home. It quickly became a favorite with the guys. Vineyard Music released a Winds Of Worship From London CD which included a fantastic song The Lord Is Gracious. Each one of these selections seem to speak to the men who were coming through the program.

In June of 1999, I began to feel the leading of the Spirit to have a meeting at the Vineyard that was designed to speak to those in addiction. It would continue the thought that the worship music would have a blues feel to it. After many failed attempts for a name, we came up with House of Blue. The color blue represents an open heaven and open communication between God and us. I wanted it to be a place that the word of God could be taught, worship would happen and ministry would bring healing and hope to those who came.

God was gracious during the years that we hosted House of Blue and Gadsden Vineyard was wonderful to give me a place where I could learn how to minister. I was surrounded by some incredible musicians who loved the music as much as I did. Bruce Cornutt, Jose Rodriguez, Chad Bynum, Zach and Kristie Abercrombie, Liz Wood, Brook and David Finlayson, Wayne Wimpee, Debbie Handy, Chris Connor, Todd and LeNola Bagley, Tim Rolf, Nori and Barbie Kelley, Jim Pollard, Rob Bradley, Walt Muller, Rick and Beckie Trussell, and a host of others all gave of their time and talent to bring the music to House of Blue.

So you see, there is no doubt in my mind that God lead me to Toronto at the specific time so I could meet Bryn Haworth and Dave Markee.  He lead me there to confirm in me that blues music would be a vehicle He would use to speak to the people in addiction. As far as I know, there had not been any other blues worship at the Toronto meetings since that time in October of 1998. That is why you'll never convince me that God had not orchestrated this whole thing because he wanted a new work in Gadsden Alabama that was going to impact the lives of people trapped in addiction.

God was....
and is....
and continues to be.......Good!

God on you...
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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Twelve Years Ago Today


It was twelve years ago today that I found myself going to the first session of CATCH THE FIRE conference at the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship. I was the associate pastor at Gadsden Vineyard Church, and much of what was happening to us as a fellowship was because of the impact that Toronto had on us. In June of 1994, we received word of a revival/renewal that had begun on January 20th of that year. It had been going on 7 nights a week since then and we were told that we needed to get up there to receive what was being imparted to those who attended. Jim Bentley, senior pastor, and several others made the trip up and on their return to Gadsden, we knew that something had happened. We didn't have language for it and to be truthful, I wasn't even sure it was from God. I was offended by what I saw and heard yet, at the same time, I was intrigued by what was being shared.

Over the course of time, I continued to waver back and forth...."Yes! This is God."  "No! It isn't God." I was determined to know for myself what was going on. Eventually I saw that the fruit of what had taken place in Toronto was a deeper love for Christ, and a fire to share it with all who would hear. I knew that Satan could not counterfeit this.

By 1998, Gadsden Vineyard had committed to sending me to Toronto. We didn't know why, other than there was a sense that I needed to go and experience what was now a 4 year renewal through this visitation by God.

I spent 6 days in Toronto, going to various sessions of the conference. To be truthful, I felt like I was to simply go and observe. I didn't really expect any great visitation upon myself but I was willing and open for whatever God wanted to do. Shortly before my trip to Toronto, I had a dream that would later prove to be prophetic and a word from God about where he was leading me. In the dream, Jim Bentley and I were in a library looking for books. We were wandering up and down the different stacks of books, when Jim called to me and said, "Come here, I have found it."  When I got to Jim, he held out a gray colored book with the title  The Blues Way, and said, "Take this, you're going to need it." End of dream.
Little did I know that this was the vehicle (the music) that God was going to use to convey the truth of the Kingdom to those in addiction.

When I got to Toronto, for the first time since the renewal hit, the two visiting worship leaders for the week were Bryn Haworth and Dave Markee, both blues session guitar players who had made their living backing some of the biggest names in Rock and Roll. It was like God was setting up this whole "BLUES" theme just for me. I remember that where ever I went, whether at the hotel or to Pat and Mikes, a restaurant across from the hotel, blues music was always playing. What was this all about? It tied into what I was going to do with the men who were going through the Rapha program.

Blues music has a universal appeal and has a way of striking something deep inside when you listen to it.When traditional blues music is played it is a cry of pain and loss. God was showing me that what was going to take place was that the cry of pain and loss would come through the music, but found within the message was hope in Jesus. That no matter what your circumstance, God would and could lift you out of it.

Toronto was the place where God gave me the desired direction He wanted me to go in. I came back to Gadsden and for the next 10 months, served at Rapha by teaching and ministering to the men. In August of 1999, we began our weekly recovery meeting at Gadsden Vineyard which became known as HOUSE OF BLUE. Blue being the color that represents an open heaven and communication between God and us.

I look back over the past 12 years and am amazed at what God has done ( I don't know why I'm amazed, after all, He is God!). More than anything, I am grateful for God allowing me to participate in this work.
So the next time you read the book of Psalm, think Blues, because it contains some of the greatest blues lyrics every put down on paper.....

God on you.........
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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Genesis 15:15

"And as for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace. You shall be buried at a good old age."

These are the words God spoke to Abram as He was making a covenant.
Imagine God coming to you tonight, right where you are and saying, "Hey....I just wanted to let you know that when it is time for you to die, you will have had a life of peace, and oh yeah, I'm going to let you live a long, long time.

How would we react?
It is easy to sit here on this side of the Scripture, 1000's of years afterwards, and speculate what we would or would not do.
What would I do?
I may take great comfort in these words. You see, I'm not old but I'm also not getting any younger. When I say I'm not old, I guess I mean in my head I don't perceive myself to be old. I am turning 59 in a few weeks, so that does put me closer to retirement that say when I was 29.
Yet even with these words spoken to Abram, there was still a lot of life to live. And with that life, there was time to make some mistakes........make some bad choices.....mess up........and yes.......even fail. But in the midst of the humanity of life, God had promised Abram that he would die in peace and would be "full of years" as it is written about Job.
I personally love that term "full of years". The impression that I get from that term is that there weren't any empty spots or unfinished business when it was over. I do pray that I am able to spend the rest of my days chasing hard after this Jesus. I pray that I not give up or grow to weary to carry on. I pray that God would grant me new strength, new vision and a fire and passion for his kingdom and his Son! I pray that I would be renewed by the Holy Spirit daily and that I not keep this to myself but give it away to others that I meet. I pray that I would become an instrument in the hands of God and that he would create beautiful songs and melodies through my life.

I pray that I might carry around the fragrance of Jesus instead of the stench of death that sin gives off. That my words would give grace to those who hear them (Eph. 4:29) and that I might be able to build up for the Kingdom and not tear down. I pray that I walk in the fullness of God's Spirit and that I not embarrass His name by something I say or do.

I pray that I do not take for granted the incredible gifts and treasures God has given to me. Friends...I am the richest man I know because of the friends he has surrounded me with. Family....Words cannot express my feelings for my wife, my sons and daughters and my grand children.

Most of all....
I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the Kingdom of God at this point in time. I want to spend the rest of my days doing exactly what God has called me to do today....
Thank you Lord...
There may be many more who are more qualified...
But there aren't any who are more appreciative for what you have called me to.
Blessed Be The Name Of The Lord!

God on you......
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Nehemiah 13:30

"So I purged out everything foreign and assigned tasks to the priests and Levites, making certain that each knew his work."

Read this verse this morning during my quiet time.
Nehemiah and his group have returned from exile to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
Here at the end....
After the walls have been restored....
After the priests have been assigned....
Nehemiah recognizes a great truth.
He gets rid of everything foreign....
Every outside influence that might draw Israel back into sin was discarded.

Now don't read into this Scripture "BUY AMERICAN!!!"
In relation to us and our relationship with Jesus, we need to be aware that there are foreign things in our behavior...our attitude....our very lives that we have allowed to come in. These things do have an influence and they do war for with the things of God. The foreign things (another term would be profane) seek to usurp or overthrow the influence of the ways of God.  The foreign things seek to soothe and feed our flesh (our sin nature), thereby lulling us into a false sense of what is right and wrong.
Nehemiah purges every thing foreign.....
What falls under "every thing? Every thing!
He doesn't compromise with it.
He doesn't seek to appease it.
He casts it out for it serves no purpose to the plans of God.

We must always be vigilant in our relationship and weigh every thing that comes our way as to whether it is from God or something "foreign" trying to weasel its way into our lives.
I truly do want to grow up before I grow older.
I am thankful for these lessons that God is showing me daily.
I pray the peace of God and His mercy and grace be directed to you today!

God on you........
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Monday, October 4, 2010

New Message

I have down loaded Seth Barber's message from 9/25/10.
Seth tells of how God changed his life and brought him out of addiction into a new way of living.
Seth has headed up several recovery meetings since leaving Rapha, his latest being Celebrate Recovery North Glencoe Baptist Church.

Their meetings are very Sunday night at 5:30 p.m. (Supper) and main meeting at 6:30 p.m.
If you're looking for a place to connect and surround yourself with positive people who are also chasing after God, CR N. Glencoe is the place to be.

God on you today......
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Saturday, October 2, 2010

Phil Keaggy - The Reunion

Sorry about being late with today's posting. It is visitation here at Rapha and it has been kind of a crazy day.

Take time to listen to this piece of music by Phil Keaggy. Close your eyes and let it wash over you.

Find your favorite Psalm and read it slowly as you listen to the music. Do you feel that tug deep inside your spirit? Does it feel almost like a home-sick feeling? That is the desire every believer carries around....a longing to be home with Jesus. To stand face to face with him!
It won't be long......

Maranatha Lord Jesus!

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Friday, October 1, 2010

Now! Today...

Habakkuk 3:1-2
This prayer was sung by the prophet Habakkuk:
I have heard all about you, LORD.
I am filled with awe by your amazing works.
In this time of our deep need, help us again as you did in years gone by,

and in your anger, remember your mercy.

In this time....today...right now.....October 1, 2010...
Whatever your deepest need is............
Maybe it is for a healing....
Maybe it is for a restoring of relationship with God and renewed hope.....
Maybe it is a financial need.....
Maybe you don't even know what the need is because your life is in such chaos and turmoil down seems like up and over seems like under....
Whatever is going on in your life today....
Like the prophet Habakkuk, cry out..."Help me!"
No truer words were every spoken when Jesus said, "Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of God.
Blessed.....great favor from God who is the giver of all good things......
Poor in Spirit....when you come to the end of yourself. No more lies to others or to yourself...no more games...no more pretending. Just the cold hard fact staring you in the face that you are full of poverty and hopelessness spiritually. When you get to that point, then there is less of you and more of God.

I do not write these things as one who has risen to some great spiritual height.
No! I write these as one who has come to grips with his own powerlessness.
I know all too well that I am one step away from going over the cliff back to the old lifestyle.
It is this knowledge of my own capabilities, along with the understanding that God is the power I have been searching for that can restore me to sanity, that keeps me following hard daily. I have no desire to lead. I have no desire to draw attention to anything I've done. I want Jesus' name to be exalted in every step I take. Oh that there would continue to be a diminishing of me and a increase to the God in my life.

Today...no matter what your circumstance....
No matter what or where you find yourself....
God is there.

God on you.....
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Who Are We?

Joshua 1:2 ....Now therefore, arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them....the childr...