Wednesday, October 31, 2012

No Fence Straddler's Allowed

There is no such thing as a "half-hearted" addict.
There is no such thing as a "Casual" addict.
In the world of addiction, it is all or nothing.
You could take the saying from the Big Book of A.A. and apply it to addiction..."Half measures avail us nothing."
No one in addiction lived by the half-measure standard.
It was all or nothing.
So because of the cravings that screamed to use....
Because of the pounding in the brain and the pain of withdrawal....

we became a people of "ALL".

We took "All" as far as we could.
We gave our "ALL" to our addiction.
And it, in turn, took "ALL" we had.
All our finances.
All our family.
All our friends.
All our health.
You see, addiction knows no half measures.
It is an equal opportunity destroyer.

In John 6:66, we read where Jesus had been talking to those who were following him. This group actually consisted of more than just the original twelve disciples. Any way, Jesus was laying out some ground work on what it would cost to be his disciple. it involved trading one way of living for the one He was offering. In Verse 66, we read: From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. The ones who left were not willing to go "ALL" the way.

Jesus demands the same thing from those who are calling on Him to be their Higher Power in this recovery. He is not willing to share time or life with those who are half-hearted. Those who simply want the pain and destruction to go away, but also to continue to use. It doesn't work that way.
He is an "ALL OR NOTHING" kind of Jesus. The problem comes when you first come to recovery. All you can focus on is what you have to give up. Basically you are giving up everything you love and have fallen in love with.
Never mind that these things are killing you. You love them

People, places and things.....
All the while you are grieving this "giving up", you never once consider what it is you are going to get in return.
It isn't just about what you get this side of heaven, but also the life that comes afterward.
Jesus said, in John 10:10, "The thief (devil) does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life and that they may have it more abundantly."

The devil comes to steal, kill and destroy. Hmmmm, let's see.
Addiction steals from me....
Addiction destroys me and everything around me....
Addiction, left unchecked, will kill me....physically and spiritually.

Therefore, addiction must be one of the weapons that is used by the devil.
Addiction is a "WORK" or by product of the influence I have allowed in my life.
Oh, it begins simple enough....
That is deception part.
"Hey try this."
To the one who is offered the drug or drink, the lure is the idea of fitting into a group. Being accepted. Becoming one of the gang. So simple, yet it opens the door to a life of pain and misery.

You become an "ALL OR NOTHING" addict.
But Jesus has come to you as the ultimate HIGHER POWER, to break the cycle of destruction and offer you a new way to live.
His demand is also "ALL OR NOTHING".
Unlike addiction though, He offers the Power and ability to live, to walk it out daily.

Good news for this day....
Jesus is who He claimed to be....
Jesus can do what He promised to do....

Think on these things....

God on you....


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Born To Be Free Video Part III

Here is part III of the Born To Be Free Series. Like I have written in the past, I know that your life is hectic and time is a premium, but please consider coming back to this blog and watching these videos....
Thanks for letting me post them....
God on you...


Monday, October 29, 2012

Take The High Road

I like this picture.....
It's not in focus.....
It really doesn't make much sense....a businessman climbing up a hill with his briefcase....
But yet the picture speaks volumes....

Revelation 4:1
After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, "Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.

An open door in heaven.....
An invitation to enter in.....

A promise to reveal things to you.....
That is the heart of my God.
He is an inviting God. He is a forgiving God. He is a God of love, but also a God of justice.
He has a standard to which all of us are called to....but he also provides the means and the ability to come to that standard.
That business man in the picture seems so out of place climbing up that hill. Especially when you think about him carrying his briefcase. That could be me. Not that I'm a business man, but that life and sin and hardship and misery is represented by that hill.  Life is a hard climb indeed, and it grows even harder when you throw addiction into the mix. There are bodies strewn all along that hill of people who simply could not make the climb. People who gave up and laid down to die. The invitation to life free from the darkness that comes with sin. To live free from the constant battle waged in your mind always whispering and telling you not to start up that hill.

Think how much easier it would have been for that businessman in the picture, if he'd dropped that briefcase....let go of the baggage he was carrying. We have a tendency to do the same thing. We hold on to the baggage of our past, trying to make the journey, hindered all the while by the weight of guilt and shame.
Hebrews 12:1 reads: ....let us lay aside every weight and the SIN which so easily ensnares (entangles) us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.
Get rid of the baggage.......and run.
Notice that nowhere does it mention the race being for the swiftest or fastest. It is a race for endurance. It is about not giving up or falling out.

It is all about laying hold of the promises of God and then moving forward. Such action is called "obedience" and God will empower you through the faith he has given you to make this journey.
For every excuse your addiction whispers to you on why you won't be able to complete this journey....
I can give you the ultimate reason as to why you can.
God called, you answered and He will see you through.
Simple as that.
It begins with a simple, single desire to stop the madness.
A recognition that you cannot make it happen on your own.
You need help. Not a doctor.....not a philosophy....not a quick fix.
God is the Power you have been searching for that will help you make sense of all the madness....
Turn to Him.
He will come to you.
You will stand in the light of this new life you've only heard about, dreamed about.
It can be yours.

God on you...

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Stay The Course

No rhyme or reason for the picture above and how it relates to today's posting.
It just reminded me of "life".
Long straight stretch that goes and goes and goes.
Yet at the same time, if you don't watch  yourself, you'll end up in the ditch or wrapped around a tree.

You can tell that others have gone before you. They have left their mark. Now it's your turn.
Now it's your life to live.
Sometimes our greatest leaps in maturity and learning come when we do find ourselves in the ditch. Once you are able to get out of the ditch and back on the road, you drive with more caution. You are a little more careful.

Celebrated my 61st birthday on Friday.
It has been a weekend of family and laughter and love.
it's hard for me to make sense of being 61, since I've never been that before.
I'm not as old as some others I know.
But I'm older than many I meet.
I am the elder statesman at Rapha. That is a high falootin' way of saying I'm the oldest.

One thing I have learned....Age does not always equal wisdom.
I like what the Bible says in Job 42:17 - 
"So Job died, old and full of days."
Is that not cool?
Job....the man of sorrows.
The gold ring prize in a cosmic struggle.
Job...the man whose world came apart in a single day....

When he drew his last was said that he was full of days.
His life at the end had been restored. He had enjoyed his family, his friends, and had not wavered in his devotion to God.
That is how I want to live my life.

Content to be Michael Bynum.
High school graduate.
Married (as of this posting) 40 years to the same woman. In love with her to such a degree that some think us crazy.
Father of two sons.
Grandfather of two.

Chaser of God.
Child of God.
Friend of God.

Who could ask for more.
Right now, if I were to die today, my life is full of days.
I have seen God's hand work miracles.
I have participated in seeing people come to know Jesus as I know Him.

I have wept at some funerals.
I have rejoiced at others, knowing that the person we had gathered to bury was standing in the presence of the Lord.
I have been given the privilege and honor of making music with some incredible people, hitting notes and playing chords that I knew were made possible by the presence of God's Holy Spirit.

So here I am.....5:29 a.m. (we slept in today)
Pecking out this blog.
Grateful and at peace with my God and myself.

Full of days....

God on you....

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Time To Build

Isaiah 61:4
And they shall rebuild the old ruins. They shall raise up the former desolation's. And they shall repair the ruined cities, the desolation's of many generations.

Using this verse, in a symbolic way, we can lay understand the very heart of God and how his desire is restore the life of someone coming out of addiction. There are very few, if any at all, areas in the life of an addict that has not been touched by the destruction that drugs and alcohol introduce.

Families are shattered...
Relationships are terminated....
Finances are blown to the wind...those of the addict and of the family as they desperately try to save them.
Health is ground down into a fine powder....
But the one hope that can be laid hold of....
The one hope that not only comes with a promise, but with Power....
Is that no matter how deep the destruction, God is deeper still.

Notice the words in the verse from Isaiah.
They shall rebuild....
They shall raise up....
They shall repair...
These are action words. Not words that reflect mental exercises.
This means that we are empowered by God to make right all the wrong in our lives.

In addiction, we have what is known as "Toxic Emotions".
Two of those are guilt and shame.
Guilt is directed toward what you have done...your deeds and behaviors.
Shame is directed toward your person...who you think you are.
Well lets take a look at another portion of Isaiah 61 that speaks of what happens when a person becomes saved and begins this incredible journey in recovery.
Isaiah 61:7
Instead of SHAME, you shall have double honor.
And instead of CONFUSION they shall rejoice in their portion.
Therefore in their land they shall possess double:
Everlasting joy shall be theirs.

As we have embraced the first 3 steps of the 12 steps, we now begin the process of rebuilding. As a good friend of mine says so often, "When you move past Step # 3, that where you put "Boots on the ground." IN other words, the building process begins.
Don't let hesitation and doubt rob you of joining this journey to a new life.
Because you see....
It's like this.....
Either what I have written here today is true....
or it isn't.
I just happen to be crazy enough to believe that it is true. Every part, every word...every truth from a God who loves you more than you could ever imagine.

God on you....

Friday, October 26, 2012

When The Pain Is Too Much

What do you do when you try and try and try to get it right........and it still turns out wrong?
What do you do when you are doing your best to take care of all the mess that was caused by your addiction, but those around you aren't patient any longer? They leave you. 
What do you do when it seems as though the faster you go, the behinder you get?
Hard questions with no easy answers.
Welcome to the life of someone who has entered a rehab and is starting this journey in recovery. Pain is a part of recovery. Not just the physcial feeling, but the emotional pain that suddenly appears after years of using.

For the first time in a long time, the individual who comes into a program is free from the influence and effects of their drug of choice. Being in such a state makes them extremely vulnerable to emotional pain that has been suppressed. No longer under the influence, all the emotions we have run from, come spilling out in waves. In some ways, the emotional pain is much more difficult than the physical pain of detox.

Our emotions are raw and out there in the open for all to see. We have spent so much time hiding them under the influence of our D.O.C., that we don't know how to live.
Couple all of this with the destruction we have cause those we love and it is a hard path to walk.

The one thing I have discovered about recovery, is that there are no easy answers. There are no pat answers to these problems that we have to face. The is little comfort in cliches' that seem to be all around us, but one thing I do know. This Jesus, that we claim as our Higher Power, stands ready to take you through whatever you are facing.
Psalm 91:15 reads: He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him. I will be with him in trouble. I will deliver him and honor him.
No matter what your eyes may tell you....
No matter what the voices that are raging in your head are saying about going back to your old life......

God says that if I call upon him....right in the middle of my trouble, no matter what it may be.......
He will answer me.
More than that, He will be with me in the trouble.
Did you catch that?
He will be with me IN the trouble. Not near it. Not watching from a distance. He is there with me. I can't see it when I going through all the emotional pain, dealing with things that are beyond my control, but He is giving me an opportunity to trust Him. Trust God!

It is in these times when the pain is unbearable because of rejection from family and friends, that we have an opportunity to trust God. We have an opportunity to lern that He is who He claims to be, and will do what He has claimed He would do. It doesn't mean that He is going to come and wave some Duzzle Dust over everything and magically make it better. What it does mean is that we can trust in God's love and ability to guide us through this time in our lives. We don't know what the outcome may be, but we will trust God.

Please pray for those going through these and similar situations as they are striving for this new life........this new way of living.

We are in this for the long haul. We need each other's support and prayers.
God on you.......


Thursday, October 25, 2012

An Open Letter


I hate your meetings! I hate your Higher Power, Jesus Christ. I hate you and your program!
This letter is for all who come in contact with me. I wish you death, I wish you suffering!
Allow me to introduce myself. I am your addiction. Take your pick....alcohol or doesn't matter to me.

I am cunning, baffling and powerful. That's me. And one more thing.....I am patient....if you try to get sober and clean....I will wait on you.
I have killed millions and I take great pleasure in doing so.

I love to catch you with the element of surprise. I love pretending that I am your friend and lover. Don't look at me like that! I have given you comfort, have I not? Wasn't I there when you were lonely? When you wanted to die, didn't you call me? I was always there for you. But....I love to make you hurt! I love to make you cry!

Better yet, I love it when I make you so numb you can neither hurt nor cry.
You can't feel anything at all. This is my true glory. I will give you instant gratification and all I ask of you is long term suffering. I've been there for you always. When things were going right in your life, you invited me in. You said that you didn't deserve good things in your life, and I was the only one who agreed with you.

Together we were able to destroy all the good things in your life. People don't take me seriously, which I find very funny.
They take heart attacks....
They take strokes seriously...
They even take diabetes seriously. Fools that you are, you don't know that without my help these things would not be a part of your life as quickly as they have.

Addiction! I am such a hated word----and yet, I did not come into your life uninvited. You chose to have me, so many have chosen me over reality and peace. More than you hating me, I hate all of you who have a 12 step program. Your programs, your meetings, your support, your Higher Power all weaken me and I can't function in the manner I am accustomed to. Now I must lie here quietly. I must wait for you to let your thinking turn back to your old ways.

When you only exist....I live.
When you live.....I only exist.
I wish you suffering and death.....

Yours truly.....


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Wind Video

The Band......
Nori and Barbie Kelley.
Good friends who have given themselves to God's Wind, to go where He says go.
Nomads for Jesus, who have friends and family around the world.
Search out their web site and download their songs.

"So let us know.....let us press on to know the LORD. His going forth is as certain as the dawn. And He will come to us, like the the spring rain............watering the earth."

God on you....

Drinking The Snake Oil Of Deception

In the early days of this nation, you had peddlers going around selling all manner of concoctions that cured everything from lumbago to warts. Usually referred to as "snake oil" salesmen, they promised the moon but delivered little. Gullible folks would shell out their hard earned cash in order to find out for themselves whether this miracle cure worked or not. Trouble was that by the time they came to the understanding that they had been "had", the salesmen, along with the money, was long gone. Moved on to a new town and a new crop of rubes to be fleeced.

People in addiction or like those rubes mentioned above.
The nature of addiction sets them up so that they look for the easier, softer way. In other words, they don't want to follow the path to sobriety like it is laid out. Why? Because they are smarter, they can find a shortcut that will give them the same results. They are looking for the "Snake Oil" of recovery.

I like the way the Message Bible states such behavior in Matthew 7:13 - 14
Don't look for shortcuts to God. The market is flooded with surefire , easygoing formulas for a successful life that can be practiced in your spare time. Don't fall for that stuff, even though crowds of people do. The to life---To God, is vigorous and requires total attention. The snake oil sellers are still out there, only they are peddling a new type of oil. One that promises the moon but delivers little.  Isn't it funny that the greatest and most cunning seller of snake oil is found in our minds. It twists our thinking and creates what I refer to a
Addict-a-logic. To put it plainly, that is the state of reasoning when under the influence of the addiction that seeks to keep us in its grip. What sounds insane to someone who isn't addicted, is perfectly logical to the an addict. That is why they are so susceptible to the lures of their own thoughts and illogical reasoning. Such reasoning tells them:
"Meetings? I'm not going to go to any meetings. What good would they do me?"
"Sponsor? You mean I need to call someone when I'm having a craving?"
"No way am I doing a 4th and 5th step. I'm not laying out my business to another person."

Such thinking guts the very heart of the recovery process, and keeps the individual bound up with the fears and guilt and shame that is a result of their past. But such people will gladly drink the snake oil of addict-a-logic. Twelve simple steps that lead to freedom and a new life await you, when you're tired of drinking the snake oil. Twelve simple steps that will lead you to the cross of Christ, and there you will find healing for your body and rest for your soul.
Sounds to simple doesn't it?

God on you....

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Do You Feel Me?

There is a blindness that accompanies addiction.....
There is a blindness that accompanies those who live in sin, outside the will and relationship with Jesus.

This isn't a physical blindness of the eyes, but rather a blindness of the heart and soul.
Funny part in all of this....
To those who have embraced sobriety and salvation....they have been given the ability to see those who are blinded by their addiction.
You watch them make bad decision after bad decision.
You give them good council, only to see them reject it and pursue their own twisted logic.

It is like watching a train, screaming down the tracks, knowing full well that it is going to wreck.

You can't make people live a life of sobriety.
You can't strong arm them into this relationship with Jesus.
You can only love them, tell them the truth and pray that their hearts will be open and their eyes see the truth.

There are so many cliche's when it comes to the 12 steps.
"It works if you work it."
"One day at a time."
But the one that sticks out to me that I have heard over and over is:
"Rarely have we seen anyone fail who has thoroughly followed our path."
I could point you to several who have found out the truth about these steps and the Power of Jesus to take you into a new life.

I could point you to Mark.
Struggled for years with his addiction.
In and out of rehabs.....knew the steps as well as anyone else, but he just couldn't stay sober.
Mark finally gave up and sought out Jesus to empower him to live this life that had eluded him. I guess the key part of what I just typed, was that Mark gave up. He became sick and tired of being sick and tired. He knew there had to be a better way. So rather than seek out short cuts, or a system of recovery that was built on the way Mark wanted to recover, he simply gave up. He took the steps just as they were. He accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior and thus began a journey that is still going to this day.
Mark has found happiness and a serenity that exceeded his own expectations.

I could tell you about Jimmy.
He hit bottom through his addiction.
Lost his family....
Lost his job.....
Lost his home....

Lost everything.....
He was ready to begin this journey out of the pit, but knew that he needed a Power greater than himself that could restore him to a life of sanity.
Jimmy attended a meeting every night, 7 times a week for over a year.
In the middle of his recovery, he had to return to jail to take care of some old charges. He went willingly, knowing that this was one more step that he had to take to ensure his recovery. After completing his time in jail, he came out and continued on this journey to recovery.
He has his family back....
He has his home back....
He has his job back....

Not every story ends this way, but the life found in recovery is better than anything addiction has to offer.

You see....
It's like this...
Either this Jesus and recovery is true....

Or it isn't.
Either Jesus has the power and authority to deliver you out of your addiction...
or he doesn't.
Well, I tend to lean toward what is written in Ephesians 3:20
Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us....
To Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen!

As my good friend, Peggy, says...."What say ye?"
God on you....

Monday, October 22, 2012

A Personal Opinion.

I remember......
That's what happens when you do a lot of living....
You create memories.
You remember.
Truth be known, the memories are probably better than what actually took place, but that's o.k.
I remember what it was like to a be a kid.
I remember when October would roll around.
Back then we had Halloween Carnivals......this was before people got offended by that word, Halloween, and changed it to Harvest Festivals. You can call it what you want.
It was Halloween.

As a kid, I didn't know that I was worshipping the devil...( later I would find out that some folk actually believed this....)
I thought it was just about having fun with my friends. Dressing up like Cowboys or Hobo's or Clowns. It was the one night of the year when grown ups forced candy on us.
It was a time to ride our bikes after dark, up and down the road of our community.
It was a time to go to Miss Ruby Brothers house first, because she made caramel apples to give away and you sure didn't want to be late for those.
It was popcorn balls and home made fudge. Peanut Brittle and Divinity. Parched Peanuts and taffy.
It was a different time and store bought candy wasn't the norm.
It was going to Gallan Elementary school and shelling out ten cents for the fish pond, hoping that you would catch some neat prize.
It was cake walks and dunking booths. It was huge red wax lips and orange wax pan pipes.
It was Halloween.
Like I said, we didn't know we were worshipping the devil.
It was just the gang being together.
Seeing whose bike was the fastest.
Poking fun at one another and just enjoying believing we were getting away with something by being out after dark.
So what does all this have to do with anything?

II Corinthians 13:11 - When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child. But when I became a man, I put away childish things.
As a adult, I need to be a protector of children.
But I don't need to transfer my fears into their lives.
Cutting off every avenue of letting them have an imagination.
I see too many people who let their own fears get the better of them, and it causes them to operate toward their children, not from faith, but from their own fear.
Seems to me people have become so fearful, that they seek to shut down and keep kids from the things the adults fear. My Bible tells me that God has not given us the spirit of fear.......but of a sound mind, or the ability to see the truth and act accordingly.I am, in now way, advocating the absence of adult supervision or guidance by a parent. And I know that each parent has to make decisions which they deem appropriate. But don't let fear be the determining factor in the decison.

I have kind of an idea that you can't stifle a child's imagination and then turn around and tell them to believe in Man (Jesus) who could walk on water........heal people........raise people from the dead....
My own son's growth and beliefs in Jesus happened over a number of years as we talked and shared together, as we prayed together, and most of all, studied God's word together.
To me, a child's imagination opens the door to having a true faith as they grow older.
This is just my own personal view of life.
Knowing that protection of our children is important, God empowers us and helps us so that they may grow up into passionate believers, chasing God on their own.
Each parent has to decide what is best for them and their family.
Let God direct you in the raising of your children. Not fear. Not the world, but God's Holy Spirit.
Thank you for letting me share today.

God on you.......

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Self Will Run Riot w/ Father Martin

Self - will run riot!
Such causes a person to consider what others would claim to be insane thinking.
Self - will run riot!
Such causes a person to look for, to search for, to always choose first the easier, softer way.
Why is it that we tend to look for reasons, excuses and other out - side influences to explain our addiction and lack of sobriety?
Self - will run riot!

Enjoy the Father Martin Video today.

God on you....

Saturday, October 20, 2012

I'm Just Passing Through

John 17:14 -
I have given them Your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.

I don't think, in my 61 years here on this earth, I have ever seen such a hatred for anything "Jesus". It goes beyond hatred and moves into a "blasphemous" area that is scary. Even doing an image search for the picture I used in this mornings posting, I came across some references to Jesus that were sickening.

Has society lost the ability to see the truth? Did we ever possess the ability to know and accept the truth? To me, it's all a part of the drawing nearer to the end of the age. Let's stop right here and clarify something. I don't know when Jesus is returning. Just that He is. It may 500 years from now.....5 minutes from now....5 seconds from now...I don't know. But I do know that we are moving closer to that time with each second that goes by.

Notice what Jesus is saying in the verse from John 17. This is the prayer that Jesus was praying the night before his crucifixion. The world has hated.....(Past tense) his disciples because they are not of the world. Does that mean that those of us who believe and have given themselves to Christ should move off and live on a mountaintop, wear brown robes and sandals, and grow organic vegetables? No! We live here. We work here, we love her and we die here. Our entire time here in this society should be spent sharing what God has done for us.  We should not be surprised by the hatred we receive because of our belief. I guess this is where we find out what we truly believe, when others come against us. Do we hate back? Or do we love as Christ loves?

I Timothy 4:1-2 gives us insight into even what is going to happen in the church during these days.
Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron...
What does this mean?
It means that even the heart of the gospel will come under attack and men will seek to twist and corrupt God's word. We see that today in the effort to redefine the word family. We see it in the effort to redefine the word marriage. We see it in the pulpit when a man or woman stands to preach the word of God and what comes out is a self-help, pop psychology, feel good sermon. I guess I'm old school.

I think I can safely write what I am about to and know that it's the truth.
Most professing believers have no idea why they believe what they do.
They cannot give you the scripture to back up their belief.
They cannot give you reason, beyond "that's what I was taught."
No wonder the church has become so gullible to the lies of the enemy. Our faith and our doctrine is very hollow. I don't want to live in such a state. I want to know why I believe what I do. I want to be able to defend my beliefs. I want to grow in Christ.
I want to pray as though this "Prayer" stuff really works.
I want to pray big prayers to a big God!

I guess I've rambled enough, and I thank you this morning for letting me vent.
Today...I choose to serve Jesus.
I reject the ways and message that society and the world sends out.
I am full aware that I am a marked man by society because of my belief in Jesus.
I am also fully aware that greater is He that is in me, than he that is in the world.
In other words....
I've read the end of the book....
God wins!

God on you....

Friday, October 19, 2012


O.K. ---------I was successful in down loading the correct message. If you go the podcast section, click on the banner which says..."Sermon Archive" Then click on the selection of JAMES should be able to hear the message.
Sorry for all the confusion......


If you tried listening to the audio message by James discovered that wasn't it.
I don't know what happened, but I am going to work on it today.
Hopefully I'll have it up for you listening pleasure by this afternoon.


Choose This Day

Joshua 24:15
Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve.......
But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord......

Good morning....
Time to rise and shine....
Or are you one of those that it takes all you have to rise....forget about the shining part.

Not a morning person.
No matter.
But consider this.
You got up this morning with an incredible gift.
You got up sober and clean.
When your eyes opened and you met the day, you were already ahead of the curve.
How many mornings came and you were hung over?
Even worse, how many mornings came, you hadn't been to bed and you were still using or drinking?
Every morning, no matter what your state, sober or high, begins with the same thing.
You have a choice.

Funny part in all of this...
By not verbally choosing one way or the other, you made your choice.
You have a choice.
The Big book of A.A. says that all you need to become a member is "the desire to stop."
Don't listen to the addiction.
It will tell you that you can't survive without your d.o.c.

Kind of funny, but you know....In the 14+ years I have been at Rapha....I don't know of anyone who died of sobriety.
That voice that whispers to you, your addiction, lies.

This morning you were able to get up and face the day.
Now, your job is to maintain this gift.

If you sleep 8 hours a night, then lets subtract that from the 24 day.
That leaves you with 16 hours that you can maintain this gift of sobriety.
16 hours....
I think you can do this.
I know you can do this.

Today can be the first day of your new life.
Maintaining my sobriety means that I find a meeting to go to.
Surrounding myself with others who are on this journey is an important step that will aid me in keeping this gift I have been given.

Talking and sharing my struggles and battles will free me from the thoughts that roll around in my brain.
I think you can do this...

Today can be "Day 1" in what will be a new way of living.
I would like to close this posting with the declaration we say after every class at Rapha.

Because of Christ's redemption
I am a new creation of infinite worth.
I am deeply loved

I am fully pleasing
I am completely forgiven
I am totally accepted by God
I am absolutely complete in Christ.

When my performance reflects this new identity in Christ
That reflection is dynamically unique.
There has never been another person like me in the history of mankind

Nor will there ever be

God has made me an original
One of a kind person
A special person
And so are you!

God on you this day....

Thursday, October 18, 2012

James Crain's Journey

New Audio Message in the podcast section of this blog. It is located to the right of this posting in the SERMON ARCHIVE heading. Click on the banner and it will take you to our Audio Section. Click on James Crain and you'll be able to listen to, or down load this message. I give it 7 thumbs up....28 toes at a slightly right angle and 71 hands claps to validate how good it is.

Dull For Jesus? I Don't Think So

There is a belief that I carry around with me every day. The belief that you are who you surround yourself with.
I didn't come up with it or think it into existence out of nothing. But this statement has followed me for a number of years, and has served me well.
If I surround myself with good people who are hungry for God, then I will be sharpened by their hunger. I will find myself striving for the things that they strive for. I will find myself thinking about the things that they consider to be important. More than any of what I have written, when I surround myself with good people, I have the opportunity to help them, encourage them and, as the verse puts it............sharpen them.

As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.
I enjoy meeting and talking with others on this road to recovery. I enjoy their stories of the struggles and battles they have fought and won. There are also lessons to be learned in the struggles in which they lost. But it is in the telling and hearing of such stories that we are moved from a place of dullness to being razor sharp. Once again energized for the journey, we can continue in our daily walk with the knowledge that we are not alone.

I have a dear friend and brother who comes to see me each week on Wednesday. I look forward to that day and our meeting because he sharpens me. We talk about the events of the past week, where we are spiritually and the struggles we are facing. The one thing that I enjoy the most.........we aren't having a pity party where we sit around feeling sorry for ourselves and our lot in life. It is a time to be uplifted, to encourage each other to not give up or quit the fight. Such times as this are payday for me. It lets me know that this stuff really works and there are others out there who are walking out the steps every day.

This is the reason that it is so important to not just attend meetings, but to become connected with those who also attend. Celebrate Recovery........A.A. Meetings and perhaps the most important meeting of all...........a local church assembly. The more people I can surround myself with who are not just attending meetings, but living and breathing this journey with Christ, the better off I will be. It will seem awkward at will feel like an outsider....such feelings are normal. But as you continue to go back that will fade and you will become a regular. Stay away from meetings and you become....(are you ready for this?) An irregular. BWahhhhh!!!!

Don't listen to the voice in your head that gives you a gazillion reasons why you don't need to go to meetings. That voice is lying. Get up! Go! Be a part! And let those others sharpen you.
What do you say?

God on you.....

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

New Audio Message From Saturday Night

I have down loaded a new message in the Sermon Archive section of this blog. You'll it located to the right of this posting. Click on the heading and it will take you to our pod cast section. Click on the second message in the list of available messages to listen to...........The People of the Church@ Rapha.
I hope you enjoy it.

The MAIN Thing Is Always The MAIN Thing

Staying on point.....
Keeping everything in perspective.....
The MAIN thing is the MAIN thing.....
These all relate, in one way or another, the need to have purpose (and the Power) in our recovery.
I tell the guys who are in the program here at Rapha that recovery is more than just the absence of alcohol or drugs from your life. If that was the goal, then I could simply lock each man up for 49 days and feed them by shoving their meals under the door. At the end of the 49 days, they would be clean and sober, but they would not have addressed any of the issues that fed their addiction.

So what is the main thing? Recognition and surrender to Christ. Hey, I'm a 12 step guy. I see the value in working a program. I have watched as the lights come on for someone and those 12 simple directions lead them out of all the destruction and devastation that comes with addiction. But.....(here's the biggie) the steps are not the solution. The solution is the Power that comes in Step 2 and 3. The recognition and surrender to the Higher Power, Jesus Christ. It takes the Power of God's Holy Spirit, in my life, to activate those steps that lead me to life.

If anyone was an example of trying to work the steps in their own power, and then surrendering to Christ, it would be the Apostle Paul. Paul wasn't a drunkard or an addict but he did have his problems. Paul (originally known as Saul) was a religious man. He was living a religious life outside of the Power of Christ. Kind of like working the steps in our own strength and ability. Paul had it down pat. He went to meetings...He knew all the slogans....He was so into his religious 12 steps that he couldn't see any other way. Then Paul met the Power behind the religion. He was shown that trying to attain life through religion was empty and hollow and only appeared to be successful. Paul had an encounter....a significant spiritual experience, if you will, and it changed him forever. It changed him to such a degree, he abandoned his old name, Saul, in favor of a new one, Paul. This Higher Power, Jesus Christ, had laid hold of Paul and was now in the process of empowering him and changing him.
Paul writes in Philippians 3:12-14: Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected, but I press on that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended, but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Do you see how Paul was keeping the main thing, the main thing in his life. He had dealt with his past....He had settled all the accounts that were following him around, and now......he was moving on. I like how Paul says "That I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me." What would that be? What was it Paul was "laying hold" of? Well, it would be this new way of living. Paul recognized and rejected his old ways, to embrace this new way of living. Paul recognized that it was about the journey. If you back up in Chapter 3 of Philippians, you'll read where Paul says that everything he thought was important and of value, pales in comparison of knowing Jesus. In fact, Paul says everything he use to think was important is dung...manure. That's pretty harsh, but when you finally realize that Christ can do for you what you could not do for yourself, your eyes (spiritual eyes) will be opened and you'll see your old life for what it truly is....a lie.

So what about you? Are you ready to make the main thing the main thing?
Thanks for stopping by the Greene Street Letters.
See you tomorrow...
God on you....

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Never Satisfied

Isaiah 9:18
For wickedness burns as the fire. It shall devour the briers and thorns, and kindle in the thickets of the forest.

When is enough....enough?
With addiction, that would be .....never!"
There is never enough.
It really is like  fire. The more you feed it, the larger it grows, the more it requires to stay alive.
Start with weed......not enough.
Need something with a little more punch.
Need something with a little more push to it.
Here in is the lie.
The addiction offers the empty promise to make everything better.
To make you into the person you have never been because of your fears and character defects.
It promises to alter the painful reality you are currently living in....
So we buy into those empty promises......
And we start the fire with a spark, all the while disregarding what we know to be truth.
Truth that says....this is not going to end good.
Truth that warns us to not start the journey down this road.
But we don't listen, because we have bought an empty promise.

In fact, the addiction turns everything we believed in upside down and inside out.
The Bible puts it like this:
Isaiah 5:20
Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil.
Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness.
Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter.

In other words...the addiction has us living in a moral vacuum where we participate in deeds and behaviors that, in the past absent of our D.O.C, we never would have done.
Were we raised to lie, steal, cheat, and hurt the ones who love us?
I don't think so.
This is all part of that empty promise addiction makes to us.
We become so ingrained in the culture and lifestyle that come with our addiction, that when we see someone who has a normal life.....getting up every morning going to work.......pays their bills.........goes out for supper with friends....we think those folks to be strange. To be weird. To be totally unaware of what is really going on. Yet it is our life that is broken. Why? Because enough is never enough when it comes to addiction.
The more we spiral out of control, the more we use.
The more we use, the more we spiral out of control.
Along the way, we destroy everything that use to be dear to us.
Why do we do this?
Because enough is never enough when it comes to addiction.
But there is hope.
Not empty hope but hope that lies with an individual.
Read the invitation He has given to everyone who is out there still buying those empty promises.

Matthew 28:28
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Leave your old ways....
Come to Jesus.....

And He will give you rest.
Physical rest.....
Emotional and mental rest.....
Spiritual rest......
Sounds like a deal to about you?

God on you...

Monday, October 15, 2012

Born To Be Free Video part II

Here is the second video of the "BORN FREE" series, from Bible Discovery TV. The lie that we are in control of life and addiction is the basis for this video.
I understand that life is hurry, hurry and that you might not have time to sit and watch a video in the morning, but try and set aside time to watch later.

God on you....

One Eye Up---One Eye Down

Mark 13:33 and 37
Watch therefore.....
And what I say to you, I say to all............Watch!

The biggest thing about this new way of living we call recovery, is the need for attention. Attention to the details of our life that we have, in the past, not given one thought to. Paying attention to where our thoughts may roam to. People that we know we don't need to be around. Places that are now off limits because we find a greater value in living sober than in being somewhere.

If you have truly embraced Jesus...some would call it being saved or born again, then you have a dual purpose in watching. Jesus calls us to keep one eye (spiritually speaking) on His promises. Knowing that they are given to us for our safekeeping and to aid us as we walk through our day. I guess you could say that the number one promise He gave to us, is that He is going to return. Yep! That's right. Jesus is coming back. I know that some will pish-posh this notion. Call me loony....a escapist....I don't care what you call me, just don't call me late when He does come back. Funny part in all this "coming back" is that we are called to watch and to pray. To go about our daily business here in this life, but to be keenly aware of what is going on around us in relation to God's work. By that I mean we need to always be listening for God's instructions. In my life, when God speaks, it is usually a very faint thought that goes through my mind. I have grown so accustom to it working this way, that when those thoughts come to me, I'm just crazy enough to believe God is leading me. Now, one other thing....I believe that God's "voice" becomes clearer as you study the Bible. The things I hear that I believe to be from God, never ever contradict what I have read in the Bible. In other words, God will never tell me...."Hey's o.k. to have  beer or twelve." The more I digest the Word of God, the easier it becomes to hear God as I try to follow His leading in my daily activity.

The second part of this "dual watching" is that I am to watch for the plans and schemes of the devil. I Peter 5:8 tells me that my adversary/enemy walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. So, how does a lion operate? He surveys a herd of animals and looks for the weakest, the oldest, the most crippled...He uses his roar to instill fear and hesitation in the herd. It doesn't take a Seminary graduate to see that fear is the chief weapon used in addiction. Fear of the unknown.........fear of the known...........fear of detox........fear of being found out..........fear of well, to put it bluntly...everything. Fear causes us to freeze and we become easy prey for our enemy, the devil. But God gives a promise to those who have made Jesus Christ their higher Power....(that's a recovery way of saying "LORD and Savior)..... II Peter 5:10 - But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. Every one of those things mentioned in this verse are the very things we did not have when we were living in addiction. To be perfected......established.......strengthened.......and settled. These are just a few of the promises from God to us.
Think on this today.....

God on you.....

Sunday, October 14, 2012

SELF run rampant

Continuing on with yesterday's posting from II Timothy.

II Timothy 3
Verse 1 - But know this
( Paul is saying, let this sink down inside. Let it move beyond your brain and become a part of your heart.)  Paul is going to give us a view of how the state of mankind is going to sink into deeper and deeper levels of depravity as we draw nearer to the end of the age, the time of Jesus' return. How can I say these things? Look around you. Look at the state of mankind in our country alone. When I graduated High School, back in 1969, out of my class of 276 people, I didn't know anyone who was an addict. Rehabs and treatment centers were not a part of the culture. The biggest thing most parents had to fear back then, was that their children would drive to Anniston and buy beer (Etowah county was dry back then.)

In the last days perilous (or stressful) time will come.
Isn't it strange how the human mind can discount such words. The very first thing that comes up when I teach from this chapter, is that someone will say, "well humanity has always been lovers of themselves....lovers of money....boasters....etc." While human nature has and does continue to exhibit such behavior....we haven't seen such in this nation on the scale of what we are experiencing today. 

Now, lets drop down to verse 4.
.....lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.
Have you ever seen such a time and day as we are going through where pleasure is the golden apple that every is chasing. Pleasure......a experience that feeds my flesh. Wait a minute! Isn't God pleasurable? He sure is. But the pleasure He gives to me doesn't feed my sinful appetite. It doesn't drive me to run into the darkness for more and more. His pleasure doesn't cause me to destroy every thing around me just so I can experience the high. To be lovers of pleasure, mentioned in the verse, is to become driven by our selfishness. To seek out the ultimate high. To be drunk like we've never been drunk before. To discard all care and responsibility so we make take selfishness to a new we can "feel" something. We are so miserable in our addiction that we will do anything to get our drug of choice. In other words, we have bought into the biggest lie ever perpetrated on the human race. Reject God....Do what feels good.

Now before you go and pile on me and accuse me of being hateful and pointing a finger at those who are still in their addiction, let me say this....
I know...
I am fully aware that as someone progresses in addiction, there comes a point where it isn't a matter of will....

You simply cannot quit.
What began with a "choice" has now evolved into a lifestyle where the choice to stop has been removed. How so? Because the nature of the chemicals ingested alters the body's metabolism and brain chemistry. That is why families and friends don't understand that it's more than you simply quitting. IF the truth be known, the majority of men I work with want to quit. They simply can't. Here's where it gets tricky and some may disagree with me. Someone in addiction doesn't have a drug or alcohol problem....those are the outwards signs of an inward problem. They have a "living" problem. That living problem is a broken relationship with Jesus. 

Without the balance of Christ in my life, I will try to run things. Rather than driven or led by the goodness of God, who created me, I am led by my own appetites. I want what I want and I want it now. The deeper we go in this kind of lifestyle, we slowly cast aside all moral anchors until we are adrift on a sea of sin. Slowly and surely, we lay aside the restraints and, at the same time, try to moderate our usage. We draw lines in the sand of our addiction creating points that we said we would never cross. Usually the last of such lines is found in those immortal words spoken by addicts every where...."I'll never use a needle." Eventually that will fall away and we fine ourselves in a new level of hell. 

It's really simple....
I must admit to myself that life isn't working. The faster I go, the behinder I get. The harder I try, the more I destroy. And in the midst of it all, claiming to never use again, I do. I AM POWERLESS over my addiction. It has me, I don't have it.

I don't know if you come here to the GREENE STREET LETTERS much or not. If you have been a reader of this blog, then you know that for me there is a HIGHER POWER who can restore me from this insanity of addiction into a new level of living. My higher POWER has a would be Jesus. Not the religious Jesus. Not the church Jesus. Not a Jesus who has a denominational affiliation.But the real, deal, promise-a-real-promise, Jesus of the Bible.

It is to Jesus that I turn will and life over to His care. I am no longer going to run (or at least give the appearance of being able to run) my life. I am going to grow and mature in this Jesus through the study of scripture. I am going to learn to talk to Him and, whats more important, I am going to learn to listen for Him. Then, I will take the Nike approach to life...."Just do it!".

My prayer is that you run into this Jesus today.
God on you....


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Tick...Tock...What Time Is It Really?

The verse found in the picture above is from II Timothy 3:1.
Usually when you mention "last days" every ones ears perk up.
What? Last days? Well, we've been in the last days since Jesus showed up here on good ol' planet Earth in the form of man. As John Wimber use to say, when asked about whether or not he thought we were living in the last days..."I don't know. But I know this.....we are "laster" than we've ever been.

If you read II Timothy 3, you'll see that according to what Paul wrote, in these last days, they would be classified as "Perilous". Another way of saying it, is that they would be stressful. Paul was given insight by God's Holy Spirit to see that society would devolve to such a degree that the moral compass would be cast aside and every man (and woman) would do what seemed right in their own eyes. Such behavior would create an atmosphere of chaos and stress. What happens when we are under stress? The real "Me' shows up. You will see the truth about what a person believes when they are under stress. As the Message Bible puts it, "The faith-life" of an individual comes to the surface and is revealed when stress and pressure are applied.

Then Paul goes on to give us a list of character defects that will be prevalent in these last days.
Men will be lovers of self - Isn't it weird that this is No.# 1 on the list. Selfishness? That is the number one defect that every person in addiction possesses. They want what they want and they want it right now. In fact, when asked why they use, the number one reply I get is "I like the way it makes me feel." That may sound reasonable, but behind it is a very dark and dangerous attitude. Basically what is being said is, "I don't care who I hurt...I don't care what I do..."I don't care how much money YOU have to spend on me to get me out of jail, clean up all my messes....I use because I like the way it makes me feel." If that isn't selfishness or, as Paul puts it, lovers of self, then I don't know what would qualify.

Lovers of money - Money = power. Or so the thought goes. It is amazing to hear the amounts of money spent by individuals to maintain their lifestyle of using drugs. I have heard upwards of two million dollars spent by one man over a number of years to feed his addiction. Such numbers don't contain what was spent on lawyers, court fees and fines.

Boasters, proud - I run into people whose very life reflects the damage and destruction sin has produced because of their addiction. There is nothing in them or their life that would point to anything of value, yet they boast and brag about how bad they have been. They have used more, drank more, stolen more, slept with more women, been in jail more times than anyone else. They have become so spiritually blind and numb that they see no good within themselves.

Blasphemers - angry at God. Blaming God for every wrong and bad thing that has happened to them, never seeing or understanding that they have brought such things upon themselves. Yet, even with such attitude, I have seen the love of God break down every wall and every excuse and bring that individual to a place of repentance and salvation.

Disobedient to parents - Funny part about this one is that we see a "new kind" of parent that brings their son to treatment. A parent that equates love with enabling. They believe that by keeping their son's out of jail, and by spending all their money to clean up their sons mess it will show their son how much they love them. This "love" is actually killing the son. It keeps them from seeing that there are consequences for their bad choices. What we see from the son's is a total lack of regard or respect toward Mom and Dad. In fact, Mom and Dad are merely tools to be used to feed that selfish nature in the addict.

Unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving - Do I really need to explain this one? Here again we see the destructive nature of a selfish individual.

Without self control - All of these character defects result in one thing. A loss of control. Instead of recognizing that we are created in the image of God, we take God and create him in the image of ourselves. In fact, our sin nature is exalted to the status of "god." We worship at the altar of "Me". We make sacrifices to the god of "Me." Isn't that truly the heart of someone trapped in a life of drugs and alcohol? It's all about me? Yet with this acknowledgement of our flesh, sin nature running everything, an individual will hate themselves. Swearing to never use again, they will get up and go to find more of their drug of choice so they can use. repeat this process over and over and eventually you are just so bone tire and wore out that you don't even fight it anymore.

Ahhh...but there is a solution.
Not found in a program.....
Not found in steps....

But in a person.
A Power greater than ourselves that could restore us to sanity.
That person?
Jesus Christ.

It is His presence and His Power that makes the steps work.
It is His salvation and His mercy that make a program work.
It is Him and Him alone that can break the chains of addiction and alcoholism (aren't they the same? I think so!) and give freedom to all who come to Him.
That is good news!

God on you...

Friday, October 12, 2012

Healing By Giving

Step # 12....Give it away.
I keep myself in a good place by giving away to others.
By being there for them.

By helping them.

James 1:27 says, "Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is visit the orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world."

I know that this passage does not mention those who are struggling in addiction, but I believe (with all my heart) the list is for anyone who is being kicked around by life, and doesn't see a way out.
Pure religion, according to God, does not merely give material goods for the relief of a persons distress, it also oversees their care.It visits them in their home. It takes them to meetings and listens to them over the phone. It points the way to this Jesus who is the Higher Power we found in Step #2.

In Matthew 25:40, Jesus responds to those who have been there for others...who fed them, clothed them, visited them when they were sick or in prison..."In as much as you did it to one of the least of My brethren, you did it to Me." Every time you hand some one a cup of coffee and some cookies, He is there. Every time you give of yourself to help someone else make it just today, He is there. As you give away, He will fill you and strengthen you....just for today.

God on you.....


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Blessed Assurance

I John 5:13
These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you my continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.

Yesterday was a day where I was fully aware that I was saved.
I was very much aware of God around me and in me. More than that, I had peace that no matter what the day may hold, I would be able to face it and not be knocked off course. Yesterday was a day of gratitude for what Jesus had done for me. Most of you know that I have a second job cleaning an office uptown in Gadsden. As I cleaned yesterday, I was listening to worship music on my mp3 player. The song Blessed Assurance began to play and I was suddenly overcome by the Spirit of God. The thought of what the words of that song meant went deeper than my penetrated to my heart and the tears began to flow.

Blessed Assurance.........Jesus is mine. The words of Philippians 3:12 came up in me....."But I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me." I have been given the most incredible gift in the world. The "knowing" that my salvation is secure. That no matter what happens around me, nothing can separate me from Jesus and nothing can separate Jesus from me. The more I lay hold of Jesus........the more He lays hold of me. What could ever separate us? Nothing. What falls under the heading of "Nothing?" Every thing!

Oh what a foretaste of glory divine. In those times when heaven comes down and I am caught up in the presence of God.....that is just a taste. When God blesses me and my is just a drop from the ocean that is to come. It is a preview of the fullness of God that I am to experience when this life is over and I stand in His presence.  I think on heaven quiet a bit. My thoughts range from "What will heaven smell like?" to "What will heaven sound like?" If my communion with God, here on earth, produces times of tears and joy, then what will it be like when we stand face to face? I think I may be undone by it all. If my heart beats with the hope for Christ...what will it be like in His presence when I will have the opportunity to worship him. Worship Him free of all the constraints this world tries to lay on me. To be honest with you....I have wanted to dance during worship.....but I haven't. I think maybe when I stand in the presence of Jesus, I will dance like King David. It may not be pretty when I do so, but it will be from an old heart which has fallen in love with my Jesus.

Heir of Salvation, purchased of God. I have been bought with a great price. what was it? God sent His Son. More than that, Jesus came willingly to give Himself as payment for my sins. His body was opened there on that cross and His blood flowed down. Each drop....Each molecule and Atom of that wonderful, pure blood covered sin. It destroyed the penalty that came because of sin. It eliminated the power of sin on humanity. And it removed the presence of sin from the hearts of those who became heir's of this salvation. I'm telling you, if that doesn't set you on fire, then your wood's wet.

Filled with His Spirit, washed in His blood. For those who are in recovery and following the Twelve Steps....this is the result of the first three steps. Confessing my sin and seeking God's forgiveness.....turning will and life over to His care, I am filled with His Spirit. I am given His Holy Spirit, which is the Power that has been missing from my life that would enable me to break the bondage of my addiction. I can now walk in this new life that has eluded me.

If you don't know or have relationship with this Jesus....
Find it today.
IF you can talk, you can pray...

It is just you getting real honest with yourself and with Him.
Confess all the mess you have created by living in your sin....
Ask Him to come and forgive you and clean you up...inside and outside.

Ask Him to fill you with His Power, His Holy Spirit.
recognize Jesus as becoming your Lord and Savior.......
Then, by faith....not feelings.....get up and begin this new journey.
Sounds simple doesn't it?
Well, it is.
Find you a Bible and begin to read the Gospel of John.

Know that Vicki and I are praying for you even as you read this.

God on you.....

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Every Step I Take, I Take In You, Jesus

Psalm 150:6
Let everything that has breath, praise the LORD.
Praise the LORD!

I was created to worship. It is in my spiritual DNA. I am an instrument of worship. Every act I perform....every deed that I carry out....every word I say....every thought I to be worship unto the God who created me.
Sounds out there doesn't it.
It is the truth.
Even as some read this, they see those words through a religious lens. This has nothing to do with religion, and every thing to do with relationship.
I want to express my love for God, to God. I want Him to know that I am grateful that he created me. Grateful that He has given me a second chance at life. Grateful that He has blessed me beyond my wildest dreams. My entire being is an instrument of worship unto God.

Worship isn't about emotion, although my emotions are stirred when I worship.
Worship isn't about feelings, although there are times of ecstasy when I get lost in worship.
Worship is about the heart.
Worship takes place when the day is good....the sun is shinning brightly and all seems to be going well in your life.
Worship takes place when that good day goes South and the wheels come off every thing you are attempting.

I confess to you that Job isn't my most favorite book of the Bible, but there are some great truth's found in that book.
Lets take a look at what happened.
1.) Raiders came and stole Job's livestock. Oh yeah, they killed all the servants who were taking care of them.
2.) Fire came down from the sky and burned up the sheep. Once again, the servants were killed. (You know, old Job might have had a bad time replacing those servants. Word got out about how they died.)
3.) The Chaldeans formed three raiding parties and came down to take away Job's camels. Oh, and one other thing..............the servants were killed.
4.) A great wind came up and began to blow. It destroyed the house where your sons and daughters were partying.
I think all of this qualifies as a terrible, no good, very bad day.
Notice what Verse 20 of Job chapter 1 says:
....Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head. And he fell to the ground and worshiped.

I don't think there were any upbeat songs found in Job's worship that day. I don't think Job clapped his hands and jumped around laughing. I think these events uncovered the very heart of a man...a man who didn't understand what was going on. Didn't understand why it happened. In the midst of all the pain and grief, the true nature of this man, Job, was brought to the surface. He was a man who loved God. A man who trusted God in every situation.

You see, it isn't about the feel-good times we have when we worship at Celebrate Recovery. It isn't about the corporate times of worship in our churches. It is about the everyday, walk it out, times of worship when our lives become the song. When our tears are the notes to the music. When our very breath is the sound of a God-created instrument. An instrument whose soul purpose is to proclaim the greatness of God to a world that is lost and going to hell.

So when people look at your life....
When they listen to your words....
What song do they hear?
What worship do they see?
The music of this world?
or the sound of heaven come down?

God on you....

The Good (And Wonderful) Shepherd

Psalm 23:2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside the still waters. The care and love that Jesus shows to his ...