Friday, December 31, 2010

The Original GREENE STREET LETTER

I thought I would close out 2010 with a memory.
While going through some files and old papers the other day, I ran across the very first
GREENE STREET LETTER ever written.
You can see that it originally started out as a reminder to folks of our bi-monthly
home group meeting.

Dated September 6, 1994, we used an old manual typewriter and copied the original to send out to the members of our group.
We continued to expand the Greene Street Letters over the next two years until 1996
When the church set me up with a computer and Internet.
Wow! Did we come into the digital age or what.
We were mailing out 200 + copies of the Greene Street Letters twice a month.
Our mailing list went from California to New York and from Michigan to Florida.
We had some that were mailed to Great Britain and Germany.
Throw in Japan and the far East and we just couldn't get over how this little newsletter was making the rounds.

Then came the Internet for us and the ability to forgo hard copies but send the Greene Street Letters via e-mail attachments.
Here is where it really took off.
From 1996 to 2004 we sent the letter out, receiving stories of healing and salvation.
One story involved a man who was about to commit suicide when someone gave him a copy of the newsletter. After reading it, he prayed and ask God to save him.

From 2004 until June 2008 the Greene Street Letters lay dormant.
During that time I had try to resurrect it under the name of
"Blues Notes"
"The Outer Banks"
and several other strange concoctions.
In June of 2008 I started this blog in conjunction with our Saturday night meeting here at Rapha.
The original title was Church@Rapha.
At some point along the way, I changed the name back to the Greene Street Letters and 
through some encouragement of a good friend, Bobby Sparks, I kept the name.

For those who might not know Greene Street is where I live.
It is an old neighborhood that is now occupied by grandparents of which I am one.
There is a definite view to life on Greene Street and we make no apologies of it.
I don't claim to have all the answers...
There are some days that I'm not even sure what the questions are, but I simply want to
share with you each day what God has given to me.
IF you can find encouragement in what I write then that is a plus.
If it leads you into relationship with Jesus, then it has been worth it.
IF you find yourself falling in love with the Bible and are studying it, then mission accomplished.
I would that you might begin to write about your journey with God.....
You will never know who might stumble across what you've written and how much it influenced them.
We've a story to tell to the nations....

God on you....
Happy New Year....
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Exit 2010 -- Enter 2011


It is the last Friday of the week......
It is the last Friday of the month....
It is the last Friday of the years.....
2010 came in fast and kept pace as the days flew by.
Here on the last day of this year, I have to ask myself, "Have I grown in God this year?"
Have I really changed as God has worked in me?
I know that I have had some major struggles this year.
Rapha was sold to new owners. That brought change and restructure (something I'm not very good with).
God has rekindled my love for those in recovery as I was approaching burnout.
My family has grown even closer together with the move of my youngest son and his wife to Georgia. We see each other a lot more than we did in the past. Being closer has allowed us to spend more time together as a family.

Our worship team here at Rapha has grown closer spiritually, which has allowed us to play with even more confidence in  following the Holy Spirit during our worship times on Saturday night.
Musically I don't think we'll ever be considered professional. But Spiritually I think we are finding our way into the presence of God.

There was  lot of death in 2010 associated with addiction.
Seems as though for whatever reason, there was just more of it this year.
Not just death, but violent death.
Many families entered into the holiday season with much grief and sadness over the loss of a loved one.
But in the midst of all the darkness and sadness, Jesus was there offering hope and peace. I am comforted by that.

2010 was another year where we saw many come to be saved.
That is what keeps me going in all of this darkness.
That one person be brought under the conviction of the Holy Spirit and come to Jesus for salvation.
We did many baptisms in the creek during the spring and summer months. I don't know how many times I have climbed up and down that creek bank, but I never tire of baptizing someone who has been saved.

2010 has seen my wife grow stronger in her commitment to God and to the call to be here at Rapha.
She truly is the spiritual mother to all the men who come through here.
Her teaching on money management and God's purposes with money has set many a man on the right path of doing the right thing with their income. Thanks for all you do Vicki!

My hope for 2011?
Matthew 11:28 -  Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.

Happy New Year.....
God on you.....
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Oh yeah....I will be speaking tonight at Celebrate Recovery in Centre, Alabama. Meeting kicks off at 6:15 p.m.
And...there has been a change of plans with the Rapha Meeting. We will be meeting tomorrow night (1/1/11) at 7 p.m. here on the Rapha compound.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Todd Bagley & Michael Bynum on Song Writing



God began a work in me years ago when I first started writing down songs from my heart.
Over the years there have been some good ones and there have been some stinkers.
But I have this desire to keep writing as God leads.
Writing songs that reflect the goodness of God to those who are in addicition.
I refer to them as "Recovery" Hymns.
Enjoy this video of Jim, Todd and me at the Waffle house.

God on you.....
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Illegal Aliens...

Philippians 3:20-21
For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.

After my salvation, my place of residence changes.
This world is no longer my home.
Heaven is now my abode. I am separated from it by this life I continue to live out and will, at some point in time, be taken there upon my death.
I live in this world, but I don't belong here.
As long as I draw breath, I have a call, a mission to carry out while I am here.
Share the gospel with whomever I meet.
Tell of what Jesus has done to me and for me.

If I were to begin to post here on Greene Street Letters, everything that God has interjected into me and this life I am living, I could post everyday for the next year and still not be finished. I am not the exception in this, I am the norm. What He has done for me, He will do for you.
Here on the next to last day of 2010, I think back on all the people I had a chance to share with.
Some accepted....
Some rejected.....
Some did not live to see this year complete.
That is why I burn passionately for this Jesus.
I don't know how long I will be here and I do not want to waste any time as long as I am walking around.
"You don't have to be in bondage to your sin any longer," the good news cries out.
"You don't have to have hell as your eternal destiny," the good news proclaims.
There is one, the Lord Jesus Christ, who paid the sin price for each of us and has offered us salvation and a new life with Him.

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......

Let your ears hear above the roar and din of the noise of this world.
Let you hearing be set to the voice of God that speaks within your heart.

Let your vision be lifted up above the destruction and death of this world.....
And see you salvation that is waiting.
Believe...
Receive.....
And live.....

Happy New Years....
God on you.....
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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Counting Down...

2010 is breathing its last breath as 2011 stands in the wings waiting to make an entrance.
Much has happened this year.
Rapha was sold by Steve to new owners and we have spent the year getting to know them and what they expect of us.
Change is a part of life and we found that to be true during this transition period. Despite who may own Rapha, it is still God's rehab. Our firm belief is that those who are trapped in addiction don't have a drug and alcohol problem, they have a living problem. A broken relationship with Jesus, which has caused them to look for ways to fill up the emptiness inside. Rather than choose God, we chose drugs, alcohol, sex, money, power, greed, and we grew more selfish. We grew so selfish that we became the center of our own little universe. Here in this place, we looked to others to make us feel good, to provide for us no matter what we had done or the trouble we had gotten into.In all of the chasing after the "feeling" the drugs and alcohol gave us, we lost the ability to make a choice to stop.

So we bring all our "mess" to rehab, hoping someone has a magic bullet to shoot us with that will cure us. Real recovery begins with a simple concept....."I'm tired of drinking and drugging." What is really being said in that statement is that "I'm tired of the destruction that comes with using." It is at this place that we begin to look outside ourselves for the answer. I have truly come to grips with the fact that I am powerless to manage the affairs of my life. I no longer am capable of making sound decisions. I am in need of a power greater than myself that can restore me to the place where I can make sound decisions.When a person reaches this crossroads, then they are ready to work a program.

What do I mean, when I say, "Ready to work a program?"
Well, the power comes in the relationship we enter into with Jesus.
We have surrendered our will and our live over to the care of God as we understand (today). Later on, as I walk out my program, my understanding of God changes.
Now that I'm empowered by the Holy Spirit given to me after I am saved, I need some simple steps that will help me. That is where the 12 steps come into the picture.

They are steps, each one building on the other, that provide us with discipline and direction.
Steps # 1-3 -- Make peace with God.
Steps # 4-11 -- clean house (or take care of our personal baggage and character defects as we change lifestyles.
Step # 12 -- Give away to others what has been shown and given to us.
Very simple, yet profound in the fact that the steps work.

I trust that as January 1, 2011 approaches, you will be prepared to take this journey into a new life free from the bondage and darkness that is known as addiction.

God on you.....
Thanks for stopping by the Greene Street Letters.
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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

No Meeting Saturday Night (January 1st) at Rapha. We will pick back up on January 8, 2011.
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Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing with Lyrics Chris Rice



Oh God...here today...tune my heart.....Tune me to sing Your praise.
I sing such a disjointed song that can only be righted by the touch of Your Holy Spirit in me.
I praise You sought me even when I didn't know you.
You sought me....
You bought me....
You saved me....
You sealed me....
How can I not shout with a shout of victory that today I am Yours?
How can I not love you with a passion that burns hotter than the sun?
Oh God bless Your Holy Name that I should never utter upon sinful lips.
That I cling to the cross of Christ and never let go.
To live in the presence of all that is holy and pure that is my hearts desire.
To have your Holy Spirit purge me of sin and darkness with the same power that raised Jesus from the dead.
Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing...
Come today.....

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Fresh Starts...

January 1st approaches us.
A time to reset our calendars and make resolutions for the coming year.
We humans are a kind unto ourselves as we like to have "do-overs".
The mess we have created during 2010 will simply be "done over" as 2011 comes over the horizon.
We make promises to change.
We work on the outside of ourselves rather than the inside.
We are a people of works, when all the while God is calling for us to be a people of grace.
A people who actually believes and lives life as though God was who He said He was and that He will do what He said He would do.

Don't misunderstand what I'm writing.
I am not anti-improving the outside.
I am kind of bumfuzzeled when our focus is solely on improving the body and not the Spirit.
Genesis 1:1 ----In the beginning God..........
The Bible opens there, day one, hour one, minute one, second one with God waiting.
Why would 2011 be any different?
Or for that matter, why would this morning be any different.
I slept through the night....God didn't.
He was overseeing every movement of this world.
His plans were being carried out in China as well as Great Britain.
Nothing that transpired on this world while I slept, caught God off guard or by surprise.
Yet in the middle of this massive undertaking of keeping everything in order, God still had time, not to mention ability and the "want to" to watch over me while I slept.
What He did for me, He will do for you. God is not respecter of persons.
But......
"Ah..I knew there would be a but in all of this," you might be thinking to yourself.
But, God's heart is for those who are committed to him.
His eyes roam the earth searching for such commitment that He may strengthen them for the coming day.

Will 2011 be year of commitment to God?
Or will it be just another year of broken resolutions to loose weight or stop smoking?
Why not make the resolution of resolutions and answer God's call to "follow Him" with all your heart, all your mind, all your strength.
Let Salvation ring in the new year and 2011 be the year of beginnings.
May we all grow in Him this coming year and may we learn to love others with the heart of our Heavenly Father.

God on you.....
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Monday, December 27, 2010

December 27th


Good morning from the frozen Southern part of the United States.
December 25th...Christmas day brought us snow.
Something that has not happened in the 59 years I've been here on this planet.
IF God were speaking through this event (as he sometimes does)
what would he be saying?
Maybe that purity was the focus of this season.
That "character" really does matter.
I don't know.
I have several friends who have a prophetic leaning in their spirit, maybe they will hear something and share with us.

Reading this morning from Oswald Chambers My Utmost For His Highest.
Jeremiah 4:1-2
If you will return , O Israel, declares the Lord.
Then should you return to Me.
And if you will put away your detested things from My presence, and will not waver,
And you will swear, As the Lord lives, in truth and justice and in righteousness,
then the nations will bless themselves in Him and in Him they will glory.

Returning to God is not an intellectual ascent to knowledge.
It is not even an effort of our human will.
Returning to God is a complete surrender of will.
This action doesn't take place in our behavior.
It takes place in a confrontation between my desires and wants and God's Holy Spirit.
The dark recesses of my heart are suddenly illuminated by God's Holy Spirit and I am made painfully aware of how far away I am from God.
"But I want what I want," I cry out.
God makes no counter offer but for me to surrender.

It is in the sweet surrender of my will that I am truly blessed by God Almighty.
To cast myself upon his grace and mercy, turning my back on myself and the ways of this society to embrace the Kingdom rule of God.
There is the place of peace.
There is the place of rest.
There is the place of mercy.
There is the place of grace.
There is where I want to be.

God on you....
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Saturday, December 25, 2010

From The Bynum's

Merry Christmas.....
From the Bynum's
and the
Greene Street Letters....

God on you this blessed day!
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Friday, December 24, 2010

I Wish....


My Christmas wish for you and your family is that you find Jesus Christ in a way that you never have before.
That your hearts would be filled with the wonder and joy of knowing Jesus.
That for all of us, this night would be more than presents and food and family but that it would be the realization that without Christ, we are hopeless and lost. He makes all things possible.


My Christmas wish for you is that your hopes and dreams come in line with God's hopes and dreams for your life. That you, in this next year, would experience the joy of walking by God's Holy Spirit's leading.

My Christmas wish for you is that you would look outward and not inward. That your focus would shift to helping and giving away what God has so freely given to you. You don't need a program or an agenda or a church group. All you need is a heart that wants to give away. Find someone and do it. Simple as that. Give a meal or a ride or share your story with another. Look at the faces today as you walk about and ask God, "who do you want me to help?" Some of my most wonderful times have come in the most unusual places. Praying for people in Wal-mart. I remember being at Wal-mart some months ago and I was looking for some paint. I happened to step back and bumped into an elderly woman. "Excuse me, I 'm so sorry.....are you all right?" I asked. She laughed and said yes, but you could tell that she was not doing well. I asked again if she were all right and she began to tell me about her grandson and how he'd gotten into trouble with the law over drugs. I asked is I could pray for her and she said sure. When I started praying, she said, "you mean right here? right now?" I kind of laughed and said what better place and what better time. It wasn't a long prayer, just to the point. When I finished, she hugged my neck and said she never thought about God coming to Wal-mart but he had.
You don't have to be a theologian or a Bible master, you just have to be willing to go out on the limb and ask...."Hey can I pray for you."  The prayer doesn't have to be eloquent or wordy....Just from the heart. Try it .....you might find out that God really does show up at Wal-mart.

My Christmas wish for you is peace in your home.
If you don't have peace there, you don't have peace anywhere.

I pray that tonight would begin a time where Christ would rule over and in your home.
That those who come to visit would be be overtaken by divine peace and even comment on how wonderful your home feels.


I hope each of you is overwhelmed by Jesus today and tonight.
That the weight of God's glory would settle over you and you find the truth about yourself and this Jesus I have written about.


"And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom and teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God"....................Colossians 3:15-16

Merry Christmas from the Bynum's
God on you.....
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Thursday, December 23, 2010

WIND LIVE@SILVER ELEPHANT IN JAPAN BLACK FOREST



Friends....Nori and Barbie Kelley who play under the name WIND.
This is an original piece by Nori...BLACK FOREST.
Check out their web presence at Nori & Barbie Kelley: Wind
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Not Wanted


He was a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief. He lived his life as the world rejected him. On the night of his birth, in the town of his step-father's ancestors, no one gave his mother a room to sleep in. No one opened their door to the young couple who were expecting. Bethlehem, the town of Joseph's lineage, offered no comfort. There must have been relatives there because this was where Joseph's family came from. But Aunt nor Uncle, Cousin nor kin offered anything to him and his young bride who was expecting.

Why should comfort be offered?
She was pregnant out of wedlock.
Her's was a bastard child.
Why would Joseph, a man of integrity and honor, continue his betrothal to this girl?
Here they were.......
away from home.....
all because of the whim of a Roman ruler who decided to see how many people were truly under the rule of Rome.

"And she gave birth to here first born son, and she wrapped him in cloths and laid Him in a manger, becasue there was no room for them in the inn."
There was no room for them in the inn.
Around back of the inn....
In a smelly, dark, dank stable that reeked of urine and feces.........the Son of God made His entrance into this world. A world that rejected Him.
Even today, the world stills reject Him.
But He has not turned back nor cheek upon the world and, in fact, continues to beckon and woo those who are trapped in the darkness of sin.
"Come unto me all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest."
Becoming sin for us, Jesus suffered the ultimate in rejection.
Hanging on the cross (think about this) weighed down by the sin of the world........
Heaven didn't want him....
and the earth rejected him.....
God, the Father could not look upon his own son because of the sin.
The people of this world jeered and taunted him.
"He can save others! But he can't save himself!"
Spoken by a religious ruler of the day, truer words were never spoken.
Jesus came to save others.....He would not place himself above the call of His father to be the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of this world.

So here.....
During this Christmas season.....
Enjoy family....
Have a good meal together.....
Open some presents......
But open your heart to the truth of God that Jesus truy is who He claims to be and will do what the Word of God says He will.
Merry Christmas....
God on you.....
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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Merry Christmas

I have the most wonderful memories of Christmas.
God has been good in this area to me and my family.
In my childhood, I am grateful for the good people of Gallant First Baptist for it was they who shaped and loved me and showed me the heart of God.
People like:
W.A. and Geneva Lutes (along with Ronald and Nancy). They had a huge impact on me as a boy.I saw in them what a family should look like. They truly enjoyed each others company and yet at the same time, there was great respect for each other and the role they played in the family.

Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Whisenant. Mr. Whisenant was probably the most humble man I know. When he would lead a prayer at church, it was if heaven stopped to listen to this man pray. It was eloquent or flowery. When Mr. Whisenant spoke to God, it was one friend to another. Mrs. Whisenant was the epitome of the word "gentle".

Kenneth and Linda Chandler- They were my training union teachers all through my teenage years. I saw what a marriage was suppose to be like. I saw a man who loved his wife and worked hard for his family. I saw God bring two together and make one.

Charles Bryson - He encouraged me to sing. Charles was an incredible talent and was gracious enough to sing at my mothers funeral. Charles was the choir director and really fueled my love of music.

Reverend Lewis Woods - He was our pastor and the one who lead me to Jesus. Back when it wasn't against the law, Bro. Woods came to our school and spoke. At the end of the talk he told of what Jesus had done because of my sin. I sat there heart beating out of my chest, and I knew that I was lost and was very much in need of a Savior. May of 1961, I gave myself to Jesus and I haven't regretted it ever.

Mr. Vivian Phillips - Mr. Phillips was instrumental in creating a love for the Bible in me. He did odd jobs around the house my parents rented (we rented from Mr. Phillips) so I had a lot of contact with him. I remember him sharing stories from Scripture and questioning me as to what I believed. Mr. Phillips did not treat me like a "little boy" but rather as a pupil.

Reverend Don Gentry - Brother Gentry showed me that the body of Christ was larger than Gallant First Baptist. When I was in the 7th grade, Bro. Gentry would show up at Alma Hinson Jr. High every Monday and load all us "Gallant Boy's and Girls" up in his car. We would then drive to a local church and visit. Presbyterian, Lutheran, Methodist, Church of God, Episcopalian. We visited them all, one a week. The pastor, priest, Rector would share with us the beliefs and traditions of that particular faith. We even visited St. James Catholic Church as well as Temple Beth Israel. Pretty heady stuff for a young boy from the country, but it made a huge impact on me and how I viewed the Body of Christ. It was much more than our simple church in Gallant.

I guess the one man who had the greatest impact on Vicki and I would be Rev. George Creel. Vicki and I were coming out of a long 7 year journey of being away from God. We knew we needed to go to church for the sake of our children (or at least that is what we were telling ourselves) but we didn't know which one.
Vicki's mom kept after us to visit Central United Methodist and hear Bro. George. Well we did and the rest is history. Never, never, never had we ever heard anyone teach the Bible like this man. I remember the first message I ever heard him preach, I sat there dumbfounded as the Word of God poured over me. From then on it standard practice to take Bible, Notebook, Pen with us to each service.

I am a blessed man and during this Christmas season I think back to all these people and so many more I did not have the time to mention. I truly am a composite of each of these folks as they gave of themselves to me.
I carry around a little piece of their spiritual DNA that has helped me to see God in a way that I probably would have missed. During this time, I am very grateful for the spiritual heritage that God has given to  me throughout my life. Now, I pray that I give away pieces of my Spiritual DNA to others that God would work in the them the same as He has worked in me.
I am blessed.

Merry Christmas...
God on you.....
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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Here is the last message in our "one year walk through the 12 steps".
Seth Barber takes us back to where we began on December 26th last years.
Enjoy the message in the I-pod section of this blog.
God on you....
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The Innkeeper by John Piper



I found this video last year and it quickly became something I wanted to visit each year at this time.
Like I said in one of my previous postings, I am a traditionalist.
Please take a moment and listen to John Piper read, "THE INNKEEPER".
May God become real to you this day....
May Jesus reveal himself in new ways this day....
And...
May the Holy Spirit speak softly and tenderly to you this day.....

Merry Christmas from the Bynum's

God on you....
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Monday, December 20, 2010

Perfect?

Tis a strange world we live in, is it not?
We celebrate the human will and spirit and the achievements it has accomplished.
Mountains that have been conquered and claimed by humans.
Feats of strength and stamina wrought by mankind.
We lift up our sports heroes....
We heap accolades on our celebrated musicians.
We give awards to our celebrities.
But all fall short and pale in comparison to Jesus.
Admidst this false reality of the goodness of man dwells the truth of hearts of darkness.

I found out last night how the evil and ugly side of humanity lives in the same neighborhood as the innocent and perceived purity of all that is good with man.
The two really are next door neighbors even though one would not admit to it.
Given the right set of circumstances, all that is pure in the eyes of our own flesh, will open the door to all that is evil and invite him in.

I Corinthians 13:12
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.
Strange words, this verse.
What does it mean?
It means that the sum total of our knowledge of God is but a part.
Even the greatest of theologians know only part.
It is for this reason that my theology is very shallow...........Just Jesus.
As Paul states in I Corinthians 2:2 - For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. That also is my creed.
If I dwell on the question of evil and good residing in the same neighborhood, I will come to no conclusion except for the fact that "there is none good, no not one." Mankind's heart reveals our  need of a Savior and the only one who can fulfill all the need is Jesus Christ. It is this partial "knowledge" of a heart that does not know Jesus that allows evil to flourish and prosper. It is the truth of God at war with the lies of Satan. This Kingdom war isn't about power or else God would have simply wiped clean all evil. It is about truth. When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, he simply "out-truthed" the devil. Truth uncovers evil and breaks the power of darkness. The greatest source of evil can be found in the human heart that does not know God. This is how the two inhabit this planet. This is the purpose of God to destroy the works of the devil. Jesus manifested in flesh, paid the price that sin demands so that evil would be defeated.

It would be a disparaging hope if Jesus is not who he claims to be.
That is why if you read verse 9 and 10  in I Corinthians 13, you will find the hope.

"For we know in part and we prophesy in part but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away."
When the perfect comes.
When Jesus comes.
One who is perfect will destroy the veil between this world and the next and we will stand face to face.
It is then that all we lay claim to believe in will be revealed as truth.
This is the season for salvation.
Seek the Lord while He may be found.
Confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord.
Believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead and you will be saved.

Praise God what a Savior....
Merry Christmas from the Bynum's
God on you....
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Saturday, December 18, 2010

TRADITION!!!!


I am a traditionalist. Not that I do something and then carve it in stone and belittle everyone who doesn't follow the "tradition". No..that's not me. But I am very much about creating traditions in our church and in our family.
When I was pastor at the Vineyard, we started "come and go" communion on Christmas Eve. We first participated in this when we attended Central United Methodist back in the late 70's. Brother George Creel, pastor of Central Methodist, would set up communion on Christmas Eve and you could stop by and take from it. Usually started late afternoon and went until 6 or 6:30 p.m. It was such a special time, as if the whole world stopped what it was doing to reflect on the importance of Christmas.

At the Vineyard, Christmas Eve communion became our very first tradition and was extra special t me. I would get to the church around 3:30 p.m and set everything up. Then for the next 2 hours, families would drop by to take communion together. It was such a peaceful time and the presence of the Lord in the room was unbelievable. The very last Come and Go communion I served at Vineyard has an extra special place in my life. Everyone had come and left and I was alone in the room. I was sitting in a chair near the tabel when i felt an urgency to take communion one last time. I walked up to the table and broke off a piece of bread in my hand. Doing so, I began to cry. The crying increased and I heard "You are going to take Communion for all of those who haven't or won't." It was the most incredible sense of brokeness I had felt in a long time. All these thoughts were going through my head as I stood there. "You're not worthy!" "Why me?" "What does all this mean?"  I managed to take communion but in doing so, I had to sit down and simply allow God to show me what he was doing. My last commuion at the Vineyard was in preparation for moving to Rapha and begin to minister to the those in addiction. I believe that God let me "feel" the pain and darkness that the world tries to pass off as "Christmas Cheer", and that our job at Rapha would be to point those trapped in darkness to the real-deal joy of Christmas......Christ himself.

At Rapha, our tree trimming in the chapel has become our new tradition.
You'd be surprised how many men come to help us trim the tree in the chapel, and in doing so tell us that it has been years since they had a Christmas tree. The music playing in the background. Men stringing lights and singing the carols. Plenty of hot chocolate and "goodies" that my wife provided. At the end, all the lights off, we light the tree. Standing there bathed in the beauty and glow of our Christmas Tree we share in prayer for the goodness that God has shown to all of us.

Christmas Eve night is the time for my "walk".
I started this some years ago when my own sons were very small.
I don't know if you realize it or not, but Christmas Eve is the most peaceful night on earth.
I usually go out shortly before midnight.
You won't hear any traffic.
You won't hear any noise what so ever.
It is as if God himself has stood up and commanded the world to be silent in honor of the birth of his Son.
Even the demons hush and all hell stops at the voice of God.
I've lost count of the number of times I have walked out to our street and just stood there listening and not hearing anything. Standing there resting in the knowledge of who God truly is and what he has done for me and too me. Praise God from whom all blessing flow. Praise him all creatures here below. Praise him above the heavenly host. Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost............Amen.

Merry Christmas from the Bynum's
God on you....
mb

Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas Must Be Tonight - The Band



The Band.....
Not known for "Gospel" music, but here they strike a chord.
I tend to either be extremely nostalgic or stand outside the norm.
I think that is why I like this song so much. The voices aren't polished but they work. They convey the heart of the season.
Enjoy....
Merry Christmas....
God on you........
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Thank You Lord~

Even though I was sick yesterday and stayed home, God sent a present to me.
A knock on my door revealed a former client of Rapha standing there.
Opening the door, I see a huge smile accompanied by wife and daughter.
"Brother Mike, how are you? I just had to come by and see you. Hope you don't mind."
Keeping them at a safe distance and warning them that I might be contagious, they came in anyway.

He could not stop smiling, as he sat there holding his little baby girl. He began going back over what all had happened to him since leaving Rapha.
1.) Birth of his daughter
2.) He and his wife are working on their relationship and are doing great.
3.) They have their own place to live.
4.) He has a really good job and is working steady.
5.) The man he works for co-signed with them so they could buy a car.
He went on and on, not in a braggadocios manner, but in gratitude for how his life had turned.
As I sat there listening, I was flooded with God's Spirit and I kept saying to myself, "Thank you Lord.....Thank you Lord... You are a marvelous and awesome God.

There in my living room sat proof of the words that are written in Luke 1:37......."For nothing is impossible with God." What falls under "Nothing"? Every thing! A life that everyone had given up on. A constant cycle of jail, courts, freedom, jail, courts, freedom. A life that could not break free from the bondage and death that is called addiction. Yet, here in my living room sat proof that "nothing is impossible with God."

What is it you are holding on to today simply because you don't believe that God will do are act on your behalf? What is that is so large it has you bound up in fear and doubt as to the reality of these words.."For nothing is impossible with God." In faith right now, pray to God and give him this thing that has you in bondage. It may be a circumstance or situation in your life. It may be someone that is making your life miserable. It may be your own self doubt and fear. Whatever it is, turn it loose to the hands of the one who created this very world we occupy. He is waiting! Praise God that we have a Father in heaven who does not only care, but acts on the behalf of His children.
Think on these things....
Merry Christmas from the Bynum's

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

What Is Christmas All About? Peanuts



Today I find myself located somewhere between the flu and a really bad cold. I was up most of the night and am a little punchy this morning.
This clip from CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS is one of my most favorites. How it continues to play on CBS is beyond me, I'd thought the Political Correctness Police would have pulled it by now.
IT is about the Christ Child being born in the City of David. A Savior who is Christ the Lord. This simple babe shook the very foundation of the Roman Government and rule. They did not know what to do with him after he began his ministry. Jesus walked it all the way out....to the cross. The story could have ended there and it would be noteworthy.Praise God it didn't end there, but found it's way to a borrowed tomb and from there to the very throne room of heaven.
Merry Christmas from the Bynum's
God on you......
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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

He Is Coming

Mark 1: 7 - 8
He announced, " Someone is coming soon who is far greater than I am...so much greater that I am not even worthy to be his slave. I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."

Third part of the Trinity.
Third part of the Triune God.
God the Father.
God the Son.
God the Holy Spirit.

John the baptizer proclaimed that Jesus was coming on the scene. Jesus had invaded humanities time and space and had declared war of the works of Satan. One of the main differences was the idea of being filled with God's Holy Spirit.
Before we go any farther, I am not going to debate what constitutes a filling of the Holy Spirit. One work, a second work, multiple works. Not going there.
Prior to Jesus' birth, the Holy Spirit was given to only those that God deemed needed Him for the call and work that God had placed upon an individuals life. By the time you reach Act's Chapter 2, the lid is off, the Holy Spirit has come in power on the day of Pentecost and now is available for all who believe that Jesus was, in fact, the Messiah and had died to pay the price for sin.

Big deal, I've got the Holy Spirit.
You better believe it's a big deal. I can tell you right now that I've been teaching on the Holy Spirit and His baptism for 13 years and people still don't really understand the dynamics of a life that has been filled. A total disregard for the presence of God's Holy Spirit in their lives. I am in no way replacing the importance of Jesus Christ, no! But we need to see the complete God head in action to appreciate God's plan for our life.
God the Father, seated in heaven carrying out his plans to usher in his kingdom and defeat sin and Satan once and for all time. Jesus, seated at the right hand of the Father, interceding for the saints (not the New Orleans Football team). The Holy Spirit given to each individual who is saved, communicating the will of the Father and also communicating to Jesus the prayers and desires of the people.

John 16:8
And when he comes, he will convince the world of its sin, and of God's righteousness, and of the coming judgment.
The Holy Spirit's first job is to break through the hardness that sin has placed over our hearts, our minds and our spiritual eyes. We are blind to the truth, but the Holy Spirit shatters that deception and allows us to hear the Gospel.

John 16: 13 - 14
When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not be presenting his own ideas. He will be telling you what He has heard. He will tell you about the future. He will bring me glory by revealing to you whatever He receives from me (Jesus).
The voice of truth inside of us. God places a moral, spiritual and divine compass in each believer to guide us daily. Now if I am aware of this truth, does it not make sense that I should devote my energy to hearing and beyond that, doing the will of God.
It's not a crap shoot or roll of the dice. It isn't sticking a wet finger into the wind to figure out which way to go. It is the voice of God Almighty Himself speaking inside every believer. What I see today is a total disregard for the leading of the Holy Spirit.
We have got to get to the place of "listening" and "doing" again.
Quit trying to make decisions in our own strength and ability but, like King David, we listen and obey the voice of God.

What is He saying to you today?
Do it.....
Merry Christmas!
God on you.....
The Bynum's

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Worship....Don't Leave Home Without It!

Matthew 2:11
They entered the house where the child and his mother, Mary, were, and they fell down before him and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Men from east who'd been traveling for some time.
Men, following a star, sought out this babe who was unlike any other born to this world.

Do you think they were surprised when they arrived at the home of Mary and Joseph?
It wasn't the kind of place a king would have been born in, yet these magi proclaimed to Herod that they were in search of the child who was the King of the Jews.
Later this same child would be declared to be KING over all who lay claim to the title of king and LORD over all who lay claim to being a lord.

The magi were not deterred by what they saw upon their arrival.
They took their gifts of great wealth and entered the house and there upon seeing Mary with the baby....fell to their faces and worshiped him.
Do you think they sang songs?
I don't know.
Do you think the Spirit of God filled the room so that there was a divine understanding among all there of the importance of this time and season?
I don't know.
I do know this.
The magi's presence and posture was heart-felt and true.
They worshiped the babe, Jesus the Messiah.
They were moved to do so.

With this in mind, how can we go to our churches and gathering places week after week and be so blase' about worship.
We work so hard to make sure the music is right.
We work so hard to make sure the vocals and instruments are just right.
We work so hard to make sure that the lighting is right..
and yet,
we neglect our hearts.
Worship comes from a heart that is grateful for what Jesus has done.
Worship wells up inside and bursts forth in many different ways.
Shouting....
Clapping your hands....
Sitting silent, simply overcome with the reality of who Jesus is and what He has done for us.
Falling to your knees, eyes closed and hands raised.
Jumping...
Running....
Standing, not saying anything or moving because the weight of God's glory has just overwhelmed you.
Worship begins in the heart.
We would do well to spend time preparing our hearts to enter into God's presence.
Remember....
Worship...don't leave home without it.

Merry Christmas....
God on you.....
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Monday, December 13, 2010

Perfect and Complete

I don't know about you, but I rarely think of myself as being perfect.
In fact the thought is as foreign to me as any that I have.
I see all my mistakes.
I see all my flaws.
I see all my imperfections.
In other words, I see all my mess.
By seeing, I mean remembering. Being put in touch with.
Old memories that come up, and with them come the pain and guilt and shame that is not from God.
Like I said, this is not of God, but of my own nature with  a little help from the devil.
There is a really strange verse in Hebrews.
Chapter 10...Verse 14 and it reads......"for by that one offering he PERFECTED forever all those whom he is making holy."

Strong's Concordance translates the word "perfected" as being complete.
I think the problem comes when I start trying to measure myself by feelings rather than faith.
"I don't feel perfect". Of course I don't, but what is the truth? God has perfected through Jesus Christ.
In a world that seeks perfection through image, by that I mean that if it looks perfect then it is, God is telling us to believe through faith and walk accordingly.
Will I mess up? Sure will.
Will I make mistakes? Bunches.
But that does not stop the way God sees me.Perfect and holy.
Contrary to popular religious belief, the word "forgiveness" is for believers also and not just those who do not know Jesus.

Hebrews 10:21-22
And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God's people, let us go right into the presence of God, with true hearts fully trusting him. For our evil consciences have been sprinkled with Christ's blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water."

So the next time you look in a mirror, do so in faith and see yourself as your Heavenly Father sees you.
Perfect.....
and Holy.....

Merry Christmas from the Bynum/s
God on you.....
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Saturday, December 11, 2010

Following Yonder Star....


Matthew 2:1-2
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, "Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him."

I have, over the years, wondered about these visitors from the east.
These magi...
These wise men.
It is evident they were learned in the art of science and astronomy. Some have even suggested that they were astrologists.
I do not know this to be true.
What I do know is that they were guided by a star.
How they came to know of the importance must surely have come from God.
It was burned into the hearts to such a degree that they left family and friend to make this journey.
Such a journey could not be undertaken as we do today.
It has been estimated that the Magi's journey took 1 to 2 years to complete.
I would even venture to guess that they traveled solely at night, as the star guided them.
But what was it that drove them on this journey?
Was it a quest for knowledge?
Was it a desire to understand a "new" thing?
Or
Was it God himself who stirred the heart of these wise men, these magi to simply be obedient?
I fall upon the idea that no man can receive unless God first gives.
The magi were all a part of God's plan in the birth of His son.
Scripture says that "WHEN THE Day's WERE COMPLETED" Mary gave birth to her son.
"When the days were completed" does not simply mean that Mary's nine months were up and it was time for the birth.
The Days of completion extends all the way back to Genesis 3:15 where God declares that the seed of woman and the seed of the serpent will be enemies.
If you read this verse, of course the first thing that jumps out is the "seed of woman".
Women do not carry the seed.
They carry the egg.
Man carries the seed.
God was stating that there was going to be a birth that would be unlike any other.
A child shall be born and a son given.....
A virgin shall conceive under the power of the Holy Spirit and Emanuel, God with us, shall be born.

In the midst of all this activity came magi from the east.
Slowly and deliberately they made their way to Jerusalem to find the King of the Jews.
To worship Him.
To bring gifts to Him.
To see what child was of such importance that the very heavens were ordered to proclaim his birth.

This Christmas season, take time to read the story of the birth of Christ as though it really took place.
Sometimes we are so jaded by Hallmark moments and Hollywood movies that we loose sight of the
humanity involved in Scripture.
In the darkest of times.
In the most evil of governments...
In a land that had been given in promise from Jehovah God...
That a babe....
A child entered our time and space...
And things would never be the same....
Praise God!
Merry Christmas...
God on you.....
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We will not be having a meeting tonight here at Rapha
(12 / 11) but will be back next week (12 / 18)
Also, we will not be meeting on Christmas Night ( 12/25).
Merry Christmas from everyone here at Rapha!
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John Piper - Why Christmas?



Light years apart is the distance between the celebration of Christmas by the world and by the body of Christ.
One places emphasis on feeding the flesh...
The other on worshipping the coming of Messiah.
One doesn't even like using the word "Christmas".....
it seeks to diminish the name under the guise of tolerance.
Christmas is.....
The world makes a buck (dollar) on Christmas....
You aren't really in the Christmas spirit unless you are spending money you don't have, buying presents you can't afford, for people you don't really like.
Merry Christmas.

Am I the Grinch?
DO I look like Ebenezer Scrooge?
I don't think so.
No one loves this time of year more than me.
But Christmas IS the celebration of the birth of Jesus.
It is a time for family....
and reading the Christmas story to the grandchildren.
It is communion at 5:00 p.m. on Christmas eve.
It is a focus to what transpired years ago in the tiny town of Bethlehem.
A birth that was unlike any other.
A child was born who is Christ the Lord.
From the manger to the cross...
From the cross to the tomb....
From the tomb to the right hand of God the Father......
Merry Christmas!!!!

God on you....
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Friday, December 10, 2010

Hope That Waits.....

Matthew 1:21
She will bear a Son and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.

Luke 2:10-11
But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid for behold I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people. For today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior who is Christ the Lord.

What must these words have done to the hearts of the ones who heard them.
Too long their country and their way of life had been under the heel of a Roman boot.
Kings ruling over them who had bought their position.
Taxes that strained the very life and existence out of the people.
Yet through it all Words that were written hundreds of years before told of a coming Messiah. A deliverer who would set up a new kingdom that would be greater than King David.
The priests spoke of such a person....Yeshua Hamasheach.

Now after all the waiting, divine angelic activity was on the increase as communication from heaven began to appear all around the people.
An elderly priest name Zacharias had had an encounter where an angel had prophesied that he and his wife would have a son.
A young virgin who was to be wed suddenly became pregnant and passed over the pregnancy as being from God himself.
Shepherds on the hillside out from Bethlehem were shaken to their very core when multitudes of angels appeared to proclaim that the waiting was over.
The Messiah was here.
Now things would be different.
Now we would see the heel of the Roman boot lifted from the neck of Israel.
They would once again take their rightful place of prominence among the nations of the world.
But nothing happened.
From the time of the announcement until Jesus began his ministry was 30 years.
I wonder if the shepherds lost hope during that time?
I wonder if doubt crept in and stole the joy of that night on the hillside out from Bethlehem?

To the eye, it would appear that the proclamation from heaven about the coming Messiah was false.
30 years passed before Jesus began to heal, and teach.
Those 30 years was a time of preparation, not just for Jesus but for the people.
Even in those 30 silent years, God was moving and working his plan for Jesus to pay the price for our sin.
Jesus learned obedience. A lesson I need to take away from this posting today.
Jesus learned to pray and communicate with his heavenly Father.
A communication that was pure and powerful that Jesus simply "did" what the Father told him to do.
Those were not 30 wasted years in the eyes of God.
They were equipping years.

Don't be discouraged today if it seems that God has forgotten you.
He hasn't.
Don't loose heart over things He has spoken to your heart.
You are in the time of "equipping".
God's timetable and mine are completely different. I know that His is better than my impatience.
Let God do His work in you today.
Find joy and peace as you wait.

Merry Christmas....
God on you....
mb

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Stability

It seems to me that the minds of people are being assailed at every turn.
The ability to keep one's mind at peace and rest is slowly being taken away by the demands and dictates of society.
Here in our country, we medicate to be peaceful and even with that, it still doesn't work.
A pill for depression....
A pill for chronic depression....
A pill for clinical depression....
I do not downplay depression or act like it is not a real malady, for it is.
A mind that is racing and never at rest is an easy target for the devil.

Just as the body needs rest, so does the mind.
The answer?
I thought you'd never ask.
The finished work of Jesus.
That's too simple you might think.
I believe we fully discount the work of Christ on the cross.
The power of God at work in us produces the very nature that society cannot.

We read in Isaiah 26:3 - 4  - The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in You. Trust in the LORD forever, for in God the LORD, we have an everlasting Rock.

We trust God. Not our governments. Not our places of work. Not our circle of friends, but the real-deal, Almighty God who created this world.
Trust --- to cling to, to adhere to, to throw ones self upon, to focus on, to rely on.
God becomes the center of my entire existence and I live for Him.
Not very gauche' today is it?
Don't just have a form of godliness......
Have God Himself at the center of your life.

Philippians 4:4-7
Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say "rejoice".
Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.


Don't buy into the lie that this world, this devil and his kingdom of darkness is greater and more powerful than God.
God will lay low the works of the devil with a blast from his nostrils. All sin and death will be stubble and fodder for the flames of hell.
But the Word of the Lord will endure forever.

Turn to Him today.
Look to Him as you go about your business.
God on you............
Merry Christmas!
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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Keith Green - Create in me a clean heart



No matter who you are....
No matter where you might be today as you read and listen to this posting....
God is there for you.
I make no bold assumptions as to the things you struggle with, as humanity is assailed on every side by the kingdom of darkness. We may live in different states, or counties.........we may even live in different countries. But our struggle is the same no matter where home is.
The devil's voice whispers in our ear that we cannot break free. We cannot run away. We cannot escape.
But the words of this song are more than just words.
They are life.
Create in me a clean heart.....and renew a right spirit within me.
Oh God....take from me all the damage that has been done by sin. Take my heart (my will, my intellect, my desires) and change them into a heart that reflects the goodness of your heart.

Please pray for me today that I would simply walk out what God has for me.
I will do likewise for each of you.
Together maybe we can change our piece of His kingdom.
Together maybe we can share our story with someone.
Together we will bring glory and honor to God.

God on you..........
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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Fire......

Kind of an unusual picture isn't it?
Flames at a church.
Flames on a church.
Notice what is high above the flames.
The cross.
The symbol of victory over death, hell and the grave.
The place where Jesus laid his back and his life to pay the price that sin demands.

I pray for the fire of God to come to the church here at Rapha.
I pray that the fire burns me first.
I am in need of being touched by the complete, consuming fire of God.
You see, I possess nothing that I have an affection for over my relationship with Jesus.
Whatever I may have...
Whatever I may lay claim to...
 I throw it into the fires of your presence. That you, O Lord, would consume
 all that is not in line with your will.

Oh that the fire of God would spread through the wind of the Spirit as one spark was swept up by the Holy Spirit and taken to another church....
Another group of believers....
and that they would be set ablaze!

Every work of God...
Every move of God....
begins with fire.
Moses at the bush was ushered into a new understanding of God.
First thing for Moses was the understanding that where ever God is....that place becomes Holy.
God will not dwell with sin and the profane.
Why can't we understand this in our time?
People trying to meld God and the world together.
You can't make it work
 God will not dwell with darkness and sin.
God will consume it.

 I love it when Moses approaches the bush...
God speaks.
"Moses, Moses! DO not come near here."
There is a way and an attitude of the heart that we must possess
before we come into the presence of the Lord.
We think we can come willy-nilly-do-as-we-wish into God's presence.
I'm not talking about becoming legalistic and some man
defining how we should approach God.
We should understand who we are dealing with.
Who it is that has called us into His presence.

The Lord appeared in a blazing fire...
in the midst of a bush.
Adam and Eve hid in the bushes when God showed up in the garden...
 Moses hides on the ground.
Coming before the Lord usually uncovers us.
Our true hearts are revealed and we are not real proud of what is in there.
We haven't loved as God commanded us to. I know I haven't. I want to, but I confess that I have not loved the way Jesus did.
The fire of God will correct this as he burns away every bit of flesh..work of flesh...
the wisdom of flesh.

You see, where I serve I get to see day after day, week after week, the destruction of sin.
I want to see God come in fire
 I want to see the presence of God so heavy in our meeting that we simply shut up to listen
to what He wants to say.
Our worship will pale in comparison to the songs God wants to stir in our hearts.
The Word of God will cease to be an intellectual pursuit and become "rivers of living water."
I want the fire of God to come and create a storm that spreads through out the
crack houses and dope dealers of this county and state.
I want the fire of God to fall on every drug deal and bring repentance.
I want every person whose heart is trapped by the devil in addiction
to be drawn to the fire in the hope of new life and freedom.
 I want every person who has made covenant with the devil to feel the heat of God's fire as He
consumes the legality of that hellish pact.
That the blood of Christ would bring life to every "dead" addict here in Etowah county.
I would that the angels of heaven would be released to move through our towns
to sound the call that there is a fire coming.
Fire!
Fire!
Come and be changed!
Oh God, come and consume me.

God on you....
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Repentance

II Corinthians 7:10
For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret,
leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.

I have been reading from Oswald Chambers My Utmost For His Highest over the past few days.
In one particular section Chambers writes, "We trample the blood of the Son of God under foot if we think we are forgiven because we are sorry for our sins."

I have had to ponder this for some time.
True repentance is merely my response that comes when the Holy Spirit convicts me of my sin.
When I am made aware that my destiny for all eternity is separation from God, and that it is of my own doing, then and only then can I truly repent.

Chambers goes on to write, "the entrance into the Kingdom of God is through the panging pains of repentance crashing into a man's respectable goodness. Then the Holy Ghost, who produces these agonies, begins the formation of the Son of God in the life. This new life will manifest itself in conscious repentance and unconscious holiness, never the other way about. "

It is God who calls me to repentance.
It is God who uncovers my very heart of darkness.
It is God who offers salvation to me.
In repentance, I accept.

Chamber's closes out with, "The bedrock of Christianity is repentance. Strictly speaking, a man cannot repent when he chooses. Repentance is a gift of God. If ever you cease to know the virtue of repentance, you are in darkness. Examine yourself and see if you have forgotten how to be sorry."

It seems to me that in some so called circles of Christianity, repentance has become an archaic term.
An act that has been put on the back shelf.
Some groups seem uneasy when a person becomes penitent in their midst.
When true repentance takes place, there is an undoing of the person to whom it comes to.
But praise God! What an incredible burden is lifted off by God's Holy Spirit when the repentance comes.

No matter how long you have been in relationship with the Lord, you never outgrow the need to be examined by the Holy Spirit.
Repentance is not a word just for those who don't know Jesus.
It is an ongoing process we submit to under the direction of God's Holy Spirit.

God on you....
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Monday, December 6, 2010

New Message From Last Saturday Night:  Step # 12  "Taking the Message Out!"
Now available in the podcast section of this blog.
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One More Time

It's probably past time, but every now and then I try to share who I am and what I do so as to give those who stop by here to read, an understanding of the blog.
My name is Michael Bynum and I serve as Staff pastor at Rapha Treatment center. A Christ-centered alcohol and drug rehab.

In August of 1998, I had moved into full time ministry as Associate Pastor of Gadsden Vineyard Church. A friend of mine invited me out to Rapha to accompany him in a worship service. I had never heard of Rapha or even knew where it was located. Turned out it is less than 2 miles from where I live. My first time there was less than stellar and I swore to myself that I would not be coming back. God had a different idea.
After we finished, a young man, who was a client, came up to me to thank me for coming out. He asked me, "I guess you were wondering why we didn't sing and join in with your music aren't you?" He went on to explain, "We get a lot of well meaning folks come here to sing and teach. But you know what? They never take the time to get to know us. They don't even know our names. We kind of figure that if they aren't going to take the time to get to know our names, why should we participate in what they are doing?" Little did this young man know, but God was speaking through him. The moment he shared that information with me, my heart was broken and God was speaking. "You have to come back here." I had already decided that I would never be coming back to Rapha. God had other plans. I reached out for the young mans hand to shake and I said, "Well, I'll be coming back and I will know your names."

That was 12+ years ago.
I spent my first 6 years as a volunteer, teaching and doing what ever was needed.
I taught morning classes, afternoon classes and evening classes.
It was during this time that I felt God wanted me to start a "Church" service for the men at Rapha as well as others in addiction. From this was born HOUSE OF BLUE, which we had every Saturday night at Gadsden Vineyard. To say it was a success is an understatement. This was long before Celebrate Recovery and we were flying by the seat of our pants as how to carry out such a plan. God was faithful. Little did we know that House of Blue was actually the place of training God used to equip us for the next step.

In March of 2004, I came on board staff at Rapha part time. Filling in during the day classes as well as other duties. August of that same year, I was moved to full time. So now I was full time at Rapha as well as full time at Vineyard. When I look back on those years, I wonder how I was even able to do what I did. Of course it wasn't me, it was God.

From 2004 till April of 2006, I served both Rapha and Vineyard but that was about to change. God spoke and said, "Leave Vineyard and move to Rapha." It was the hardest thing in the world I have ever done. Vineyard had given me so much and allowed me such freedom to learn and grow, but I knew this was truly God moving me.

I did my last service at Vineyard and my first service at Rapha on April 28, 2006. Since then, I have served at Rapha Treatment center. My wife, Vicki, serves with me but as a volunteer. She teaches Money Management for the men who are moving from the in-house program into work release. God has given her a heart for those in recovery and she truly is the "mother" of the men who come through the program. We have been blessed beyond measure and I pray that God lets me spend all my days at Rapha.

I hope this gives you some idea of who I am and what it is I have been called to do.
God on you.....
Thank you for reading the GREENE STREET LETTERS.

mb

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Mary did you know with lyrics in English and Dutch



Each year at this time, I try to keep my mind reeled in to what Christmas is really about.
A celebration of light in the form of the Christ Child.
"Unto you this day in the city of David there has been born a Savior, who is Christ the Lord."

I think one of the reasons the world embraces this birth of Christ is because of a simple fact.
He is a baby. Babies aren't threatening, unless of course you are the devil in which case you have been constantly going around killing male children in order to stop the promise of the coming Messiah.
Babies are cute.
Babies are cuddly.
Babies can't take care of themselves.
Therefore, this version or view of Jesus is not threatening.
Given if you read your Bible and you come to Revelation 19 where it describes this same Jesus as the Captain of the Host of heaven, well it's a different ball game.

I am reminded at this time of year of the fact that Jesus was born with a purpose. To redeem mankind and break the power of sin.
Even though I celebrate the birth of Christ, tied in there in the midst of the celebration is the resurrection. Throw in some hope that Jesus is coming back and you got the makings of a good holiday.
So make this one a great Christmas.
It's not about presents....
Or shopping....
Or money and plastic...
It's about the intrusion of God into our time and space to open a door for whosoever will come.
Merry Christmas!

God on you...
mb

Friday, December 3, 2010

Night Shift

Luke 1:8
That night some shepherds were in the fields outside the village, guarding their flocks of sheep.

When the shepherds got up that morning, they did not expect to have an encounter with God unlike any other in the history of the world.
As they made their way to the fields, they were concerned with the weather.
With family matters.
They maybe even had some health issues.
Maybe they were depressed or in despair because of the job they had.
It really doesn't matter because the very last thought on their minds was, "Hey! We're going to meet God tonight."

Isn't that just like God to surprise us when we least expect it?
Maybe the thought for the day is Keep an open mind and keep looking for God to speak to you.
I like it that God came to the shepherds to announce the birth of Jesus.
He didn't go to the government.
He didn't show up at the Temple.
God came to a group of men outside the city, at night when every one else was at rest.
There on that hillside, surrounded by sheep, God proclaimed "I bring you good news of great joy for everyone! The Savior---yes, the Messiah, the Lord---has been born tonight in Bethlehem, the city of of David!"
And that news has rippled through time until here in 2010 it is still as powerful as the night it was proclaimed on that hillside outside of Bethlehem.
No longer would the power of sin hold sway over mankind.
The Messiah was now present to break its power and release humanity to freedom.
Now if that don't set you on fire............your wood is wet.

Enjoy this Christmas season like no other.
Find the joy in the good news of salvation.
Shout with joy for the birth of the Christ child who would grow and become the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. What an incredible thought!

Merry Christmas from the Bynum household.
God on you....
mb

Thursday, December 2, 2010

UNSHAKEABLE!


Psalm 46

V.1 -  God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

I love the words that open this particular Psalm. The idea that God is not just our "help" during times of trouble, but that he is a "present" help. He is there, up close and personal in the affairs and situations that come to us. When we are overwhelmed by the circumstances of the day, God is very much present. He is not standing off at a distance.
He is not inconsiderate of our emotions or feelings.
He is a VERY present help in trouble.

V.2 - Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea.

Here we are given understanding of the stability of God's nature and character. God has been defined as a "Very Present Help in times of trouble" and now the Psalmist describes the worst possible scenario's that could happen. Even with total destruction of the planet, God is not going to desert us.
He opens verse two with very familiar words....."Therefore, we will not fear."
Fear is very much a human condition that we all experience. Fear comes when we feel as though things are out of control and we have no answers or solutions to what we are facing.
When God tell us to not fear, he is stating a wonderful truth about his nature.
What is that truth?
TRUST ME!
No matter what it looks like in your life...TRUST ME!

V. 3 - Though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains quake at its swelling pride.

These events written here in Psalm 46 are the very basis Martin Luther used to pen his wonderful hymn  "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God."
Since the mountains and the earth are regarded by men as symbols of stability, when they "dance" and move great terror and fear normally rises up in the hearts of mankind. But when the most stable becomes unstable, there should be "no fear" because of the stability of God.

V. 4 - There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy dwelling place of the Most High.

Don't you find it strange that the Bible bookends itself with rivers flowing from the  most wonderful of places?
Gen. 2:10 speaks of the rivers flowing from the Garden of Eden, while Rev. 22:1-2 speaks of the rivers that flow in heaven from the throne of God.
Jesus spoke to the Samaritan women in John 4 about rivers of living water that would spring up to eternal life.
I need to keep my focus on the eternal promises and nature of God.
Not on the shifting, man-driven, events of this day.
Even with all the trouble....
All the ugly, selfish things going on in this world....
The stability and help of God surpasses everything.
Think on these things.
let your mind dwell above and not be mired down and loaded down with burdens and guilt by the mess of life here on this planet.

I wish to close today's posting with the last two verses of Psalm 46.

V.10 - Cease striving and  know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.
V.11 -  The Lord of hosts is with us. The God of Jacob is our stronghold.

May God richly bless you today.
He is there for you...
He is there with you....
Rest in this truth.

God on you....
mb

Tuesday Bible Study

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