Friday, September 30, 2016

VRC Now Available on ROKU


Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!
VRC is on Roku. You can listen to our messages through your Roku device.
I purchased one yesterday, and was in the process of downloading the channels I wanted to watch when low and behold I came across the platform we use to share our messages.

I don't understand how all this works, but it's pretty amazing to me.
I think maybe it involves Internet Elves and Streaming Gnomes....

Anyway, if you have ROKU, then look for SermonNet in the "religious" channels.



Once there type Vineyard and look for Vineyard ReCovery Fellowship (yeah, I know...I've got to change the name to VRC). Anywho...just wanted to update you on this latest way to keep connected.

God on you...

mbb

Spiritual Glue....Spiritual Power


Hebrews 11:1
Now faith is the assurance (title deed, confirmation) of things hoped for (divinely guaranteed), and the evidence of things not seen [the conviction of their reality—faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses].

Faith....that invisible concept that everyone seems to struggle with.
That part of Christianity that binds us to God through Jesus.

That spiritual glue that keeps us from wandering as the Holy Spirit leads us.
Yet with all this ethereal talk and lofty religious ideas, faith is a real and tangible as the chair I am sitting in.

Faith is a gift given to us by God. In fact, faith is given to everyone person before they come to a saving knowledge of Christ. How else could one be saved if they did not have faith. Faith is a fact, not a theory. Faith is the understanding....the knowing that God is truly who He claims He is, coupled with the fact that God will do what He has promised He would do. Such an anchor will keep you from being tossed about by life's storms.

Faith is the difference between working a program of recovery....
And simple making your way through some steps that you hope will keep you sober.
Faith is the very thing that turns those words to the steps, into life.
Faith binds you to the very o
ne....the Ultimate Higher Power .....that can lift you out of the darkness and pain of your addiction, into the light of a new life. 
No brag...
Just fact....


Faith is the place we have been called by God to live in.
II Corinthians 5:7- for we walk by faith, not by sight [living our lives in a manner consistent with our confident belief in God’s promises]
Did you catch that? We walk out (move through out daily lives) in a manner that is consistent with our confident belief in God's promises.
We don't use our emotions or feelings to guide us.
We don't use what society or culture tells us is the "right" thing to do.
We are learning to live by the economy of heaven....faith.


I like the last part of Hebrews 11:1 as the amplified put it....
Faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses].
This is the reality of how the Twelve Steps work...
Faith in God the Father....
Faith in Jesus the Son...
And Faith in the Holy Spirit....

THIS is why I turn will and life over to His care.
And I do so in faith.

God on you....
mbb

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Choices



Luke 11:23 (The Message Bible)
Jesus speaking - "This is war, and there is no neutral ground. If you're not on my side, you're the enemy, if you're not helping , you're making things worse."

I rolled over and looked at the clock this morning.....3:45.
I chose to stay in bed a little longer.

I finally got up and went to the kitchen.
"How many cups of coffee do I need to make?"
I chose to make four cups.
I looked out the door to see if the paper had come. It had.
"Do I go now to get it? Or do I wait until Vicki gets up?"
I chose to go get it right then instead of waiting.
Life is filled with choices. Most of them insignificant.
Most of them not life threatening or destiny changing.


But during our day, we all will come across a choice that has the potential to change our life.
The choice may seem small at the moment, but if you follow the trail it lays out in front of you it will alter your life. We don't really like to think about such things as the power of our choice, but truth is......we all need a spiritual compass that will guide us in making these choices.


One of the biggest choices we can make is to choose who we are going to follow. There really are only two choices in this matter.
You're either going to follow God....being guided by His Holy Spirit.
Or you're going to follow the devil....being influenced by his whispers to listen to your flesh (sin nature).
That's it...only two choices, and in spite of our following our old sin/nature, God still pursues us in love to point us in the right direction.


Romans 3 (The Message Bible)
Since we've compiled this long and sorry record as sinners, and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious life God will for us, God did it for us. Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we were in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ.

It all boils down to who are you choosing to follow.
A God who offers you strength, mercy and His grace.
A God who draws you into a relationship that will extend beyond the boundaries of this life...

Or a fallen angel named Lucifer who only has your worst interest at heart.
He has only one purpose in this world.
To deceive you through any means to reject God.
To steal, kill and destroy you, and anything you touch.

Seems to me the choice is pretty clear.
What do you think?


Today, I choose to follow God.
Today, I choose God!


God on you...

mbb

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Truth And Gratitude



John 8:32
And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

The following was posted on Facebook by Jeffrey Cothran.
Long time friend, and brother in Christ, Jeffrey has fought many battles to be free from his addiction. I think the thing that draws me to him is his honesty. In fact, in recovery what is needed is a level of transparency and honesty that has no place for secrets.


With all this hating on the debate, I think I wanna say something about a "whistle" instead.
When I was a kid, out playing, round dark, a whistle would sometimes pierce the fading light.
My dad.
Not only was it unique, it was meant for JUST me. I knew WHO it was from, and I knew WHAT it meant. I knew what would happen if I avoided it. Saying I didn't hear it NEVER worked. I had 2 choices, come home, or face consequences. As a young 
R€B€L, saw my share of consequences. Truth.
Why didn't I want to come home? That's what I find myself askin me this morning. I mean, home was safe, I was loved, I needed to rest for school...BUT, my answer to the why, is straight up selfishness. Gonna do my way today dad! I was doin what I wanted to DO! Even though finishin offGabe Armstrong and Nicky Allen in that game of basketball wasn't > above said consequences, I liked doin things MY way. Always have. Not a good trait, if it is even a trait. Truth.
All that to say, a little over a year ago (Sept 7, 2015 to be exact) I heard a "whistle" pierce the darkness that had surrounded me. No mistake, it was for me. I knew WHO it was from and WHAT it meant!
It meant, time to quit playin boy, come home. It's WAY past dark!
At home, YOU are loved, YOU will be safe, and YOU will find "rest for your soul". For some grateful reason, my 2 choices merged into 1. I happened to be standing outside a Dr.'s office when I heard this whistle. In this "moment of clarity", the only option I could see, was goin home. That day, I did not care to finish the game.
Truth.
That was 386 days ago today. Understood, these sober days are small compared to the hell I've raised, so this fo shaw ain't bragging! Just truth. Although, not gonna sell this short either. Each day is "another brick in the wall" (pink Floyd btw)
It's been hard shakin the marks left on me by addiction, won't tell you it's easy. But, just ask me if its worth it!
Cmon man?!
My mind is startin to see thru the smoke, I'm getting fat (ha), I'm happy, I'm learning to be a better father, I'm involved heavily with an awesome group of ex outlaws that mess up life and are honest enough to ADMIT their defects (be a great concept to add to most RELIGIOUS organizations btw), and today...I woke up "Unchained" (Van Halen btw)
Seen more n my share of friends die active, go to institutions, or just fade off into the unnecessary. I heard yesterday in a meeting that (sobriety) ain't for those who need it, but for those who are willing to do whatever it takes to get it. So, last thing, maybe YOU don't need to be like me. Don't wait for the "whistle", come on home early. Grip this life, it does work my friend.
All I got. Thanks fo lettin me speak it.
One day at a time♠️

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Are You In The Bleachers? Or On The Field?


Matthew 28:19
Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

I think maybe what I am about to say may not be received by some. I'm o.k. with that. In fact, if you think I am in error, then please pray for me.
Personal responsibility......
In life....
In work....
In our homes....

And especially in our relationship with Jesus.
I had never really thought about the passage from Matthew until I downloaded a teaching on the book of Acts. The speaker made the comment that what the church calls "THE GREAT COMMISSION" was give to the disciples before the church was born. It was given before the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came in fullness for all who believed.
In other words, the great commission was a personal commission given to the first disciples, who in turn shared it, saw others saved, and taught them. It grew from this concept given to them by Jesus before His ascension back to heaven as generation took the personal responsibility to tell their story of what Jesus had done to them.....for them....and through them.

Now I know that some may say that when it comes to evangelism the church can do more than individuals, and I would have no argument with that. But it is so easy to hide in the church and neglect the personal responsibility that still is in effect for every believer.  


We too have been called to be salt and light in our communities, our schools, our jobs, in the market place. Here's the other part that I feel is most important. Such a work should come forth by the Holy Spirit working in us. If we are truly walking by the Spirit, then the Spirit will show us who we are to move toward.

Our sharing should not  be in a religious, verse quoting, speech that we memorize....but rather in a lifestyle where the love of God flows from us and we speak from the heart and not a memorized plan. Don't get me wrong, i am not putting down the "ROMAN ROAD" way to lead someone to salvation...but I think it needs to flow from us naturally (If the Holy Spirit desires us to use that method). Bottom line is we need to be open to how the Holy Spirit wants us to approach others. What if our job is to first establish relationship with a person before we ever share with them? Don't doubt that such a thing could ever happen. I think we get in trouble when we act out of behavior rather than faith. When we have a prearranged way of approaching someone rather than asking God, "How do you want me to address this individual. Call me strange but I just believe this is the way it works (at least for me).

Going back to the personal responsibility thing......
We like being on a winning team.....
But we don't like to practice for the game....
we had rather sit in the stadium, wear the jersey....but the big #1 foam finger and yell at the ones on the field. If they win the game, we proudly proclaim "WE WON!!!" as if we had been an intricate part of the effort that was carried on on the field. Get it!!!

We have got to get in the game....why? Because we have been a given a personal responsibility by God to do so. To share His story (which is our story) with those around us. To literally love them into the kingdom.

As you work the Twelve Steps, you'll come to Step #12. The step of giving away what has been freely given to you. Taking the message to others who need to hear it.  Sounds like moving in such behavior is a place of freedom. A place of gratitude....A place where we literally become the person God intended us to be. Sounds like such may actually be good for us. What do you think?

God on you...
mbb

Monday, September 26, 2016

God Is Good


Romans 10:9-10
If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and belive that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved.

Busy weekend....
Good weekend.....
Saw God in action in the hearts of people (including my own).


Friday Night:
Home group for VRC met for our monthly get together. A time to take a look at where we think God is leading us......share some food together....and worship.
During our table-talk, it was brought up that we were going to have 4 visitors to VRC on Saturday night....first timers. They were coming as part of a group that is in treatment for addiction. Someone brought up that fact that we needed to pray for these men, that God would work in their hearts. That they would be open to hearing the worship and the message. We prayed. Prayers that God would truly speak to the hearts of theses four and reveal their need for Him.

Saturday Night:
Lot's of spiritual warfare, as the enemy tried his best to derail the meeting.
Microphones that would not work. Guitars that messed up and would not function in the way they were designed to. A bundle of little things were thrown at us to take our attention off of our purpose of being there. Thanks to God, we pushed on and did not give in to the distractions.

In spite of all the complications and distractions, worship was strong. Each week, those who come to VRC go out a little farther in their worship to God.  That is our goal when we come together.....teach on what true worship is all about, then together as a group, exercise our gift and love in worshiping God.


Message was from Acts 9, Paul's conversion. I guess you could say "Paul's Power Encounter With the Living God". Strong enough to knock Paul to the ground. Essence of the message was "We all need a Paul experience in our life".
At the end, I began to pray for God's Spirit to come and reveal all our hearts and our need for God. I asked who'd like to receive Jesus' work of Salvation.

Men stood, moved out into the aisle and made their way to the front. Three of the four we prayed for on Friday night was in the group. Now that was special.
Four new souls came into the kingdom. As I've said in the past...when such happens, and you see someone come into relationship with Jesus...that is payday for me.

Sunday Night:
Seth Barber had asked me to speak at Catalyst Recovery, as it was their last meeting at Gadsden Vineyard before making the move to their new location out in Glencoe. As always, it is an honor to be a part of his meeting. Last night was extra special.....I also got to be a part of the worship team. It is a group that is a part of VRC that we lovingly refer to ourselves as "THE PAINT CHIP WORSHIP BAND". 

I spoke from Acts 3, the encounter of Peter and John with the cripple man at the entrance to the Temple. My opening statement was..."I have nothing for you."
No money...no food....nothing. I have nothing for you. As the message progressed, it reached the point where I declared that what I did have, I would give freely....."In the name of Jesus, he can heal you from whatever it is you need healing for."

Once again the Spirit of God was truly present in the room.
Six stood to receive Jesus.
We had us a celebration,just like the angels in heaven.

So sitting here this morning, even after a good nights sleep, I am a bit tired.
But it is a good kind of tired, for I know that I had been in the presence of God this weekend,and more than that, I had seen his hand move, touch and work among people, bringing them to a saving knowledge of who God truly is. Like I said....it was a good weekend.

God on you...

mbb

Friday, September 23, 2016

Waiting In Silence



My soul finds rest.....
In an age of noise.....
An age of opinion and social media.....
It's hard to find a place of solitude and rest.
In fact, we don't like silence. We turn on the radio or TV. We put on headphones or earbuds to channel an endless stream of noise to our brain. We don't like being left alone with our thoughts.

The New Living Translation of Psalm 62:1 reads:

I wait quietly before God, for my victory comes from Him.
Waiting in silence is not something we are very comfortable with, yet here in Psalm 62 we see that such is a fertile place where we can meet with God. Some of the best times I've ever had with God was during what we use to refer to as "Watch night". I would go to the church (usually on a Friday night) armed with my Bible and a note pad, and would sit up all night reading and praying. I confess it was hard the first time I ever tried to do this. My mind would wander and I would get sleepy. But as I continued to have these watch nights, it became something that I truly looked forward to. I still have my notes and tidbits that God gave me during those times, and many that I wrote down are a part of who I have become. God was showing me the direction He wanted to take me, and glimpses of what I could expect as I took this journey.

I am all for setting aside a "quiet" time to spend with God. When you do it doesn't really matter...morning, afternoon, or evening. What does matter is that you set one up and then stick to it.  Vicki and I usually spend out quiet time in the mornings. Praying together and then reading and meditating on the Word. I like the mornings for my quiet time because what mind I have left is refreshed and not cluttered with the things of the day.

Setting up a time to spend with God is also a part of the discipline we need to escape the tug and pull of that old lifestyle. We develop consistency and commitment to our recovery by turning to God to direct us and guide us. We are no longer listening to that old voice in our head that came from the enemy. The one that told us to do the very thing that was destroying us. We have now been brought under the voice of God's Spirit. The voice of life. The voice of truth. Isn't it funny that both voices seem to sound alike. The proof of who we are following is that deep inside we know what we should and shouldn't do.

I do not thing that the devil likes it when we wait on God. I don't think the devil likes silence, such is why he tries to clutter our minds with noise. God's desire is for us to find that place of quietness and simply wait on Him. Trust me.....if we wait on Him......He WILL come to us. 

Simple food for thought today.....
God on you....

mbb

Thursday, September 22, 2016

False Prophets Aren't Always Religious



Jeremiah 29:8-9
....."Do not listen to their dreams, because they are telling you lies in my name. I have not sent them," Says the Lord.

If you've spent any time at all reading scripture, you'll come across the term prophet. A prophet was a person picked by God to deliver His word to the people. Perhaps they had slid over into sin and was slowly moving away from what God had intended them to be. A prophet would show up and announce God's warning for them to return to His grace and His way. When we think of prophets, we think of Jeremiah, Daniel, Ezekiel, Elijah, and others who spent their lives being the very voice of God among sinful men and women.

What if the devil had his prophets?
What if the devil had those who worked for him, to deliver his message to those who are trapped in the darkness of sin?
What if his prophets didn't even know they were even delivering his message.

What if his prophets was that person who was always around trying to entice you to "Try this....it is the best you've ever had!" ?
Or how about the person who lured you into a very bad relationship so they could use you. Their words were smooth as butter and seemed sweet as honey, but in the end you wound up broke and used.

We need to be careful who we let speak into our life. We need to be careful of those who desire to get close to us. Not everyone has our best interest as their motive. 
II Timothy 3:13
But evil people and impostors will flourish. They will deceive others and will themselves be deceived.
As we move farther and deeper into these last days, we need the wisdom and discernment to not fall prey to those who walk according to the desires of their own hearts. Such may appear to be friends, but you will know them by their character and their behavior. They may even be religious and all about Jesus. I have seen this type behavior over and over again. They are the first to go into religious posture when the worship music starts. Hands raised.....a long stream of "amen's" and "Thank you Jesus" fall from their lips. But you let them get outside the walls of the church and you quickly find that they are still tied to the old life. Cursing....womanizing....war stories. Such as these, stay away from. Pray for them....ask God to uncover them......but have nothing to do with such. 

I've been called naive by such as these who use God for their own purposes.
I've been lied to by these individuals. Somehow they feel as though they have put one over on me. That is so far from the truth and reality. All of us will have to answer to God. I wonder how they will feel when God uncovers their heart?


Paul goes on to write in II Timothy 3 .....But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know that you can trust those who taught you. Whether we want to admit it or not, life is about learning. We are always in school either being taught by God...or by the devil. The lessons we demonstrate in our behavior reveal the truth of who we are following. Both God and the devil are out to secure the souls of people.
God, so that we can experience and live in His grace, mercy, love and salvation.
The devil, so that we can experience self-inflicted pain, misery, hurt, grief and despair. All the while, he whispers the message...."If God is so great, why is He letting you suffer like this?" My friend, you have just been listening to the words of the greatest false prophet ever to roam this planet. Why not listen to the truth of God. You might be surprised where it could lead you'


God on you....
mbb

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

New Audio Message From VRC



New Audio Message From VRC:  "What Is Jesus Worth To You?"
Check it out in the podcast section located on the right hand side of this blog. Listen now......or download for later.

Bone Tired And Full Of Hopelessness



I see it in the eyes. Looking into them, you see no life what so ever. No hope. No future. Nothing. Just a dullness that has bought into the lie. What lie? "I am what I am, I cannot change, there isn't any hope for me."
The lie of addiction.

It takes the Spirit of God to break through such a stronghold that has cemented a life in place with the thought of not being able to break free of addiction. I like what Jesus says in Matthew 11:28-30. I like the way the Message Bible writes this.
"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me---watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."  Did you catch that? Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. In other words that is a pace and a flow to walking daily with Christ as my Higher Power. He becomes the current I jump into and follow Him all the day. 

I know that we have the TWELVE STEPS and they seem logical and in order. But within the life that these steps have lead me to, there is uncertainty and unknown and all the other things that use to drive us back to our drugs / alcohol/ sex or whatever your D.O.C use to be. That is the beauty of jumping into the current of Jesus. He will take you around these places that intend to cause you to crash on the rocks and sink into oblivion. Jesus is the great navigator that I learn to trust with my life and my recovery on a daily basis. 

Step #1 -  I come face to face with the eternal truth: I am powerless. I cannot manage my life or my addiction. There is evidence of my inability to live life on life's terms by the destruction I have left in my wake. 

Step #2 -  Came to believe in a Power greater than myself that could restore me to sanity. In other words the powerlessness I admitted to in Step #1 is defined by the insane/ addiction thinking that has followed me around. Addiction logic tells you to spend your last few dollars on getting high rather than buy diapers for your baby. Spend it on drugs rather than buy groceries so you can eat. Addiction logic tells you to use everyone around to get what you want. It doesn't matter who you hurt or who you destroy because according to addiction logic, they didn't really love you anyway.

Step #3 -  Make a decision to turn my will and my life over to the care of God as I understood Him.
I don't have to have all the answers. I don't have to have some of the answers. I just have to trust in God that He knows what is best for me, because by my actions, I have proven that I do not know what is best for myself. 

I have a saying I use here at Rapha. I will go into a classroom to do a Bible study and there are all these guys there waiting. I usually begin with, "Gentlemen! Your very best thinking. The best thinking you are able to come up with. The top of your game....your A-game has got you sitting in folding chairs at white tables. Maybe it's time we find another way of doing business if this is the best we've got."

It truly is the great trade off.
I trade all my junk....
All my past behavior and the destruction I've caused....
I trade all my emotional baggage with you, O' Lord.
And in return, 
I get everything you have.
Sounds like a great deal.

If you need prayer, feel free to reach me at this blog (In the comment section)
or you can E-mail me at:
Greenestreet72@comcast.net
Or leave me a message on Facebook.

Know that God loves you....and I love you.....

God on you.....
mb

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Trading Jesus


Matthew 26:14-15
Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve disciples, went to the leading priests and asked, "How much will you pay me to betray Jesus to you?" And they gave him thirty pieces of silver.

I have been parked here in these verses for a week now. Last Saturday night, at VRC, God had me throw away the message I had prepared, in order to speak on these verses. You see, what we have here is a business transaction going on. A value has been ascribed to a human life (although such a life had never walked the earth before). Looking up what thirty pieces of silver would have been worth back in Jesus' day, I found out that it was roughly the equivalent of $380.00.   The Son of God was only worth $380.00!!

Never in their wildest dreams could the priests ever have imagined that one of Jesus' own disciples would have been their inroad into arresting and killing Jesus. A betrayer from the midst of his very own followers. But here he was. Judas. They did not go to him, he came to the them. Right off the bat, he asked the very question that shows the state of his heart  and life. "How much will you pay me?" But then, they have to come up with a sum that is proper. Too little and Judas walks away. Too much and they feel that they were being taken advantage of. 

Doing some research, I came across a very interesting fact. Thirty pieces of silver was the prices usually paid to dismiss a shepherd from his job. Is that crazy or what? The Son of God....the Good Shepherd......The One who came to save that which was lost, was in an essence, being dismissed from His job. Even with this tidbit of info, I still find it inconceivable to be able to put a price on the head of Jesus.The most nefarious business transaction ever to take place.......or was it?

We (humanity) barter Jesus away ever day.
We trade the eternal promises and presence of God away every day for the baubles and trinkets that the world has to offer.  We trade the eternal promises of God away for a temporary fix and relief in our life.
"Accept this Jesus as a Savior? Not while I can party and live it up."

We trade Jesus for a bottle of whiskey.
We barter Jesus for prescription pain med's.

We give the eternal truth and presence of Jesus away for a sexual encounter.
Giving no thought as to what we have done, or what price we will pay at the end of our life.

What have you traded Jesus for?
God on you....
mbb

Monday, September 19, 2016

It Was A Great Weekend


Ephesians 4:10
God's purpose in all this was to use the church to display His wisdom in its rich variety to all the unseen rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.

The church is a canvas upon which God paints His nature and character.
The collective "soul" of a church demonstrates the goodness of God to those around them, as well as the unseen demonic forces that wage war against the church.

Do we praise God in spite of our pain?
Do we glorify His name when the wheels are coming off our life?
Do tell others about the wonder and awesomeness of God even when we don't have the answers we need to the gazillion questions we harbor deep in our soul?

I don't want anything of this world, or in this world, to stop me from living in the joy that God gives those who choose to follow His path.
That is a joy that is not tainted by the dictates of this world or this society.

Friday night we gathered at church to celebrate the family of God. John and Marie Barnett, along with Raymond and Bobby McDonald, J.R. Rund and Joel Knox, traveled to be with us for a night of worship/celebration. I watched a room full of folks----different denominations ----different churches....lay aside their theological differences to celebrate Jesus. I saw lifted hands, raised faces to heaven declaring the glory of God. I know that I know that each person in that room had something they were dealing with....struggling with....yet it didn't matter at that time. The presence of God was the most important thing at that moment. All of life's problems faded away in the songs that were being sung. If ever there was truth in a song, it could be found in the words..."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." Why I ever let the things of this world block out the light and glory of God is a mystery to me. I am just grateful for His saving grace.


I witnessed the power of praise and worship. Not as an emotional release, but as a very part of our DNA. DNA that had been freed from the cover and strangulation of sin, when salvation flooded our very being. We were created to be image bearers of our heavenly Father, but we allowed sin to rob us of that identity. Jesus' death and resurrection swept the power, presence and penalty of sin out of our body, freeing us to once again walk in the image of God. 

I am grateful that God has created music to explain His glory and nature. Words, chords, notes, blending together to explain God in ways that touch the human heart. Music that has been given by God to us is more powerful than anything I've ever encountered. When Raymond McDonald moved to the microphone and began talking about the joy of the Lord and how King David was a dancer....I knew that he was going to play "Swing #9". I knew that people were going to stand up and just let the words and music take them to places where their problems could not follow. That is exactly what happened. 
I saw a grandmother grab here little grandson and began to dance. I saw couples do likewise. I saw people clapping and shouting. I saw the body of Christ lost in a song sung by a Texas pastor who has a penchant for tearing up a guitar with his God given talent. I saw the body of Christ worshiping the very One who'd given them freedom.

I guess you could say it was a good weekend.
Now lets go out and see what Monday holds.
God on you...

mbb

Friday, September 16, 2016

Now Is Not The Time To Stop




As I've grown older, I've tried to embrace different streams of music and song writing. Some have been good. Some did not satisfy my taste. Please realize as I make such comments, this is not an indictment against those musicians or the songs they have written. It is merely my taste.

Seems to me that taste and preference are forged over the years. The ear is tuned to the voice of your own generation. Such songs and people that were and are a part of that generation are given permission to speak to your spirit through their words and chords. 

I consider myself most lucky to have been born in the 50's and enter my teenage years during the 60's. As much as it was a time for radical thought concerning the establishment, it was also a radical time concerning the Kingdom of God. God was preparing a generation to exercise it's voice for His glory and Kingdom. IT was time for the Jesus People Revival.

There was a shift in the way people saw church and the way people "did" church. During a time of peace and love (as the Hippies saw it) God took those concepts and practices and poured out his own definition and Spirit among my generation and defined a people for himself.


To me, the entire Jesus people movement was summed up in the words of the call that God extended to Abram in Genesis 12:1-2 : Now the LORD had said to Abram, "Get out of your country, from your family and from your father's house to a land that I will show you."  God was not condemning church at that time....but He was raising up a generation that would approach relationship with Him in a different way. It would not be tied to our father's way of church. Here again let me stress that this was not an indictment against anyone or any group of that day. It was the simple pleasure of the Father's heart being expressed in a new way. Just as God told Abram that He was going to lead him to a new land, through the Jesus movement, we were lead to a new life and a new way of seeing the Father.

I guess that is why I love this song by Nancy Honeytree so much. Because we felt like pioneer's. We felt like we were on the cutting edge of something new and exciting. To be honest with you...I still feel that way. I still burn with a desire to express my love to God through song and worship. I still want to share Jesus with those I run into. I still want to be the Father's arms, legs and voice in a world that grows darker and darker every day. 

As I watched the video of Honeytree, it would be easy to look at her face on the album cover and not see the years that have rolled by. Not with to think about the people who have gone on who dedicated their very life to serving God. But I choose to listen to the voice that has not lost fire or love for the Father. I do not wish to glorify those early days, nor do I wish to create a museum to them. I simply want to acknowledge them as a turning point in my life, that has brought me to where I am today.

With such knowledge about myself....
Who God truly is....
And what He desires of me....
I cannot quit this journey....
I cannot give up on this journey.....
I won't to see it all the way through.

God on you....
mb

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Hey! Check it out.....We Got Movies!


Here's you  a movin'-pickjure just chocked full of all sorts of informational stuff that is going on at Vineyard ReCovery Church!

Another Chance To Worship


Update:
The young girl I posted about yesterday, who is in the hospital in Atlanta has successfully been brought out of a coma. There were no seizures or spike in fever. She was alert and responsive. Family said to thank everyone who prayed for her. God is a good God, isn't He?


Psalm 146:1-2
Praise the Lord! Let all that I am praise the Lord.  I will praise the Lord as long as I live. I will sing praises to the my God with my dying breath.

I am all about the realization of what it means to praise God. To direct my love, appreciation and gratitude to the very one who gives me life each day. I am all about the realization that praise is more than songs. It is an act, or behavior, that reveals the true evidence that God is indeed working in a person. Everything we do becomes worship/praise to Him. Every task I lay my hand to, and the way I carry out that task, is evidence of my love for God. My attitude during the work I am doing shows the true nature of my heart.

Do I complain and grumble when I am working? Not sure such an attitude would be classified as "Worship and praise". Now don't go reading anything more into what I am writing. I am not saying that we all have to Pollyanna, sunshine, unicorns and lollipops all day, every day. I am saying that we need to be more in touch with the simple fact that the Holy Spirit of the real-deal God is alive and at work in each one of us who claim to be a follower of Jesus. We will have bad days and hard times, but such should not dictate our appreciation for what God has done to us, through us and for us. I choose not live in the doldrums, or get my mail at the corner of doom and gloom.


Now, tomorrow night, at Gadsden Vineyard, some of our extended spiritual family will be rolling into town to lead us in some worship time.  As you can see by the image I posted at the beginning of this post, John and Marie Barnett, along with Raymond "Sleep" Ray" McDonald, Bobby McDonald, Joel Knox will be taking the stage at 7 p.m.. This isn't going to be a performance or a concert. It will be a time where we can gather and just be free to worship. There's no charge for showing up tomorrow night.....Come on out an join us. Worship begins at 7 p.m. 

Here's a little taste of what to expect tomorrow night.
God on you.....
mbb



Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Who Are You Going to Serve?

As of this mornings posting, I have not heard any more news about the condition of the sister of a friend who is in the hospital in Atlanta. Please continue to pray for her and her family.
Here is another prayer request I received via text message, last night at 8:33 p.m.
"Please pray for a woman who has been in treatment for her addiction. She is in the hospital (mbb-not sure why-may be tied to pregnancy) and is having complications. Pray for her, the baby and family.


Just received this verse in a text message: 
4:34 a.m.

Galatians 1:10
For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I wold not be a bond servant of Christ.



Who are you going to serve? Really now, isn't that the big question? As I see it, and I don't think I am wrong even though many would say I am, you either serve God.....or you are serving the devil. I have made this statement before and have had a rebuttal on several occasions to the effect that "Bro. Mike--- I ain't no Satan worshiper". Their view of being a servant to the devil is all wrapped up in black robes and blood sacrifices, reading from Anton LeVay's Satanic Bible. Let's give the devil some credit. He is known as a liar and a deceiver. Somehow I think he may lean more to the subtle, not out in the open kind of service from those he has under his influence and power. That they would serve him and his purposes and maybe not even be aware of such thing taking place. Such is why the power of God when brought to bear against such spiritual darkness is always an illuminating event. The person who is living in such darkness is suddenly aware of what they are doing, who they have been living for, and the need to escape such trappings. 

You see, I must choose every morning who I am going to follow and live for. Doesn't mean that I need to be saved every morning. It is just a spiritual setting of my compass for the day so that I don't go chasing after my "self-will run riot". Wayne McCrary, former Rapha client, told me that he starts his day off by saying the Rapha declaration out loud. He said that it helps him to remember who he is.....as well as whose he is. Keeps him focused through out the day and on track as a believer.

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 (behavior) reflects this new identity in Christ
That reflection is dynamically unique
There has never been another human being like me
in the history of mankind
Nor will there ever be
I am an original
One of a kind
special person
And so are you


Who are your serving today? As Bob Dylan so aptly put it..."You may serve the devil, or you may serve the Lord----but you're gonna have to serve somebody".
God on you...
mbb




Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Power Of Confession



James 5:16
Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.

Step #5
We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

He never thought he'd reach this point. This was the place where his recovery stopped each time he attempted to move forward in his life. The dreaded 5th step.
Sitting across from me, he fidgeted with his papers.....eyes moving from them to me, and back to the papers.

We prayed together, and the process began.
A revealing of dark secrets and things that never were meant to be brought out into the open. At least that is what his old way of thinking told him. Don't put your laundry out for everyone to see. Uncovering yourself in front of another person is a sign of weakness...at least that is the mentality of our old way of thinking.


I sat and listened as he went through his inventory of personal stuff. It was hard, and at times very emotional. But he did not waver, he continued on.
At the end, we prayed together, thanking God for what had taken place and the freedom that would come through this particular step. The person I was doing the 5th step with told me that he felt lighter, as if a weight had been lifted off his shoulders. Such is the power of confession and a good 5th step. He laughed and said, "You know, if I'd know this would be the results of doing a 5th, I would have done it sooner."

I don't know why the church doesn't push doing a 5th step for everyone who attends. I don't know why believers are all up into forgiving and being forgiven, but not through confession. Those who sit in pew on Sunday mornings may have the same thoughts as someone in recovery. Those old thoughts. Those dark thoughts that tell you that you better not reveal yourself to another human being. Why what would they think if they knew the things you'd done or said? Well, they might think that you're just a sinner in need of the Grace of God. 

We're all up into the confession as long as it's someone else. We love to see people flock to the front to confess, receive forgiveness and be saved and healed form all their junk.
But when it starts to get personal, we get defensive. What we all need to come to realize is that confession is the place where we dump out our stuff to God. We have zero crud to carry around. Having zero crud puts you in the place where the devil has nothing on you. Now I'm not the brightest crayon in the box, but zero crud seems like the way to go here.


Call me naive but I do not believe the church will grow or mature until we realize the power that true confession brings to our meetings. As long as we hide behind false smiles and dark hearts, we will simply have a form of godliness. That doesn't sound healthy to me.

God on you...
mbb

Monday, September 12, 2016

Musing On A Monday



Psalm 119:133
Guide my steps by Your word, so I will not be overcome by evil....

Lot of pain out there....
Lot of hurt and disappointment.....
People putting their trust in the things of this world, to help them escape this harsh reality...
Commercials enticing us to "escape" to this place where comfort and pleasure rule the day.
In fact, it may be that comfort and pleasure may the new "gods" of this time in the life of our country.

Got a phone call last night asking for prayer for a sister.
Successful business woman...
Always the good girl.....
Went to a weekend event and wound up taking drugs for the first time.
Turned out it was a bad batch which sent her into seizures.
She is in the hospital fighting for her life.

Please pray for her and the family.
She is in dire need of God to heal her.

Two others I know of have expressed a desire to end their lives.
The comfort and pleasure has gone out of their lives and they don't know how to move forward during this dark time. Very much in need of being healed and saved by God.

Truth be known....

There's nothing wrong with seeking comfort. The problem is when comfort becomes the central focus of our life. That we will do whatever it takes to achieve comfort and find pleasure. When those two become the sole focus of our existence, we truly have pushed God to the back burner. No, let's get real. We've pushed God completely off the stove, onto the floor, and shoved Him out the back door.
Trouble with this chase for "comfort and pleasure"....it's all temporary. The comfort and pleasure ends at some point, and you have to chase after it again.....and again....and again....
It takes more, better, and newer forms of comfort to satisfy the hunger.

I'm not saying that we need to live a life of misery and despair.
I'm just saying that whatever our lot in life may be, God is great comforter. God is one I need to seek pleasure in. The very act of spending time with Him brings comfort. Worshiping Him leads us into His presence, and there we find comfort for our souls. I know...I know...sounds all religiously-hokey. Truth is, what I have written is real. The things of this world will always fail you.
God never will.


God on you...
mbb

Friday, September 9, 2016

Sit Down



Job 1:20
Job stood up and tore his robe in grief. Then he shaved his head and fell to the ground to worship.

Arriving at the point of "you don't know what to do next."
Life has hit you full on in the face, and everything in you screams "retreat to your old ways." But at the same time, a greater piece of you screams even louder "No! That isn't the answer." So while all this is raging on inside, what's a body to do? Exactly what Job did. Stop.....sit down....and worship. If you want to rip your clothes and shave your head......well, that's optional. Such was the custom of the day. But the important part is the sitting down to worship.

We don't really make good decisions while we are in emotional turmoil. We tend to use our feelings rather than our heart to decide what to do next. Such decisions don't turn out for the better because our emotions / feelings are usually somewhat tied to our old nature. That sin nature that points us in the wrong direction, which usually involves old ways....old thoughts....old friends...and even greater problems that we are currently facing.


Waiting on God involves trusting God. That He knows better than us. That He does have a plan (rest assured He does. I know from personal experience) for us. It's kind of like when you get lost in the woods and you aren't sure which direction to take. Wisdom says to sit down and wait. If you keep walking, the odds are greater that you will become even more "Lost-er". Sit down.

Isaiah 40:31 tells us  "those who WAIT (trust) upon the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.
Those aren't just some sort of pseudo-religious-flowery-platitudes to give you a warm fuzzy. These are words of life. This is the very heart of God revealed to us, His creation. I think maybe I will follow His advice. Today I will not act impulsively. Today, I will not let my emotions and feeling dictate my decisions to problems and situations I may face. If I don't know what to do, I will wait until You show me, Lord. I will follow You in every decision that I need to make today.

I know that waiting is not easy for most folks (you'rs truly included) but I also know that it is part of the whole process of following God. I also know that we aren't going to master this whole waiting thing until we start trying. As a good friend says so often..."What say ye?" Are you up to the task of learning and letting God guide us? I say yes.

God on you...
mbb

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Legacy Church


Ephesians 4:11-12
Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God's people to do His work and build up the church.

Are you looking for a church home? Somewhere to go to be fed spiritually? Then you might want to try out a new church plant in Gadsden. Legacy Church. They are located across the street from Gadsden Vineyard Church, downtown on Broad Street, between 4th and 5th streets.

Last Saturday morning during our setting up for VRC, I noticed that there was some activity going on in front of Legacy Church. Being a good neighbor, I decided to pay a visit and welcome them to the neighborhood. Age and memory playing a part, I do not remember the names of the people I met, but they were extremely friendly as they shared their history of how they came to land on Broad street. 


One of John Wimber's passion was for the Vineyard to be a bridge builder to other churches. To reach out and connect, to help in any way needed, and to bring unity to the body of Christ. In some ways, I have the same vision. Truth be known, my bridge building comes in the form of recovery meetings at other churches. I do have a group of pastor's who call on me to fill in for them when they have to be away from their home church. That is a high honor for me, to fill in and teach. 

I guess what I'm trying to say is that the body of Christ in Gadsden should not be seen as being in competition with each other. Years ago, before we landed at the Vineyard, Vicki and I were trying to find a home church,so we visited a number of different groups. We finally landed in a new church and began to attend. Then a strange thing happened that I never will forget. One day, during Sunday school, the teacher stood and began to give a stirring speech about the destiny and mission of this new church plant. He ended his speech by saying that "We had been founded by God and we were there to wipe out the competition."   Wipe out the competition? Aren't we all on the same side? Other churches were our competition? I understood his heart for being the best we could be...but to do so at the expense of our fellow churches....way off the mark here buddy.

So you see, I hope Legacy church becomes everything God has birthed it to be. I pray blessings over the pastor and his family. I pray that the word of God be taught, and that people come to the saving knowledge of who Jesus truly is. 

This coming Sunday, September 11th, at 10:30 a.m.  Legacy church will meet for the first time in their new location. Please pray for these folks, and if you're free you might want to go out and meet with them.  Crazy thought I just had....wouldn't it be wild if the entire block between 4th and 5th became filled with churches. How cool would that be. Kind of like a church "mall".

God on you....
mbb

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

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