Welcome to the Greene Street Letters. It has become my venue for sharing what is going on at Vineyard Recovery Church. Don't let the word Church scare you. The Greene Street Letters is a daily posting to simply say that there is more to life than what you see. More to life than "stuff". My simple take of 60+ years of following Jesus. Some days were good days...some days I managed to get off in the ditch. He is worthy of the pursuit, so that is what I do........I pursue Jesus in everything I do. Not the Jesus of the church. Not the Jesus of the denomination. Nothing wrong with those things, but Jesus is so much more. Thanks for dropping by and I hope you return from time to time to stop and ponder your own relationship with Jesus. God on you....mb
Wednesday, December 21, 2016
God's Invisible Compass Leading Us
Now it came about in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth.
This verse has begun more Christmas stories, plays and pageants that I care to think about.
It is the focal point that leads us to the night of the Christ Child's birth.
But have you ever really stopped and thought about what was really going on?
The Old Testament is filled with prophetic verses that reveal the coming Messiah.
The book of Micah speaks of the town (Bethlehem) and the exact location within the town (Ephratha) where Jesus was to be born. Isaiah 9 tells of the names that Messiah would be known for (Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father and Prince of Peace). Yet for all of these prophecies to be fulfilled, all the people involved had to be in a specific place....a specific town....a specific location. Bethlehem.
Here is where things get a bit sticky.
We know (or at least we give a head nod) that God indeed moves people to fulfill his plans (Somehow we think that kind of behavior from God ended many centuries ago...how foolish are we?). Thousands of miles away from Bethlehem, in Rome, we see Caesar pittering around the palace with nothing to do. Suddenly (and without warning) a thought forms in his mind. A thought that did not come from his own intellect, but one placed there by God Himself. "WE NEED A CENSUS..........WE NEED ONE NOW........EVERY PERSON OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE MUST RETURN TO THE CITY OF THE ANCESTOR'S.
This single thought put into motion everything needed for the Scriptures to be fulfilled. What do you think is happening today in our world that God is moving and directing? Governments? I believe so. Leaders? You know it. Societies? Yep! God has not changed the way he carries out his eternal plan for this planet and His creation. So, with that in mind, it doesn't matter how spiritually dark it may get, God is still in control and I should be about the business of trusting Him that He knows best. I should trust him with my life, my family, and my future.
This simple act, in Luke 2, of calling for a census, set in motion the most incredible event in the history of our world. An event that would eventually lead to a hill outside of Jerusalem where this Jesus, would give his life in exchange for freedom from sin for anyone who would repent and receive. And to think that a pagan ruler, who considered himself to be God, would be used by the real-deal God to carry out the plans of the Kingdom of Heaven.That God is something else.
Maybe today, we need to recognize that some of our thoughts may be "God-given". That some of our thoughts may be the fuel that God is using to move us in certain directions for His kingdom plan to be carried out. I can look back over the years and see events and times in my own life that played a part in me being where I am today.
The very fact that I was asked to start school at Gallant Elementary by Mrs. Iva Moore, when I was five years old, started me on this path of working in recovery. Had I not started at five years old, I would have been in the graduating class of 1970 instead of 1969. If I had not been in the class of 1969, I would never have sat behind Jim Bentley in homeroom my senior year at Etowah High School. If I had not sat behind Jim Bentley we never would have met and become good friends....
and so on and so on until that time thread leads me to seek out Jim as a Spiritual covering for a home group that God told me start when He spoke to me on May 20, 1994. If I hadn't of started the home group, I never would have been ordained as pastor in July of 1997. From there God told me to leave my job and enter into ministry full time. He spoke on February 28, 1998, and I entered full time ministry on August 1 the same year.
If I had not entered full time ministry, I never would have been invited out to Rapha to help lead worship with a friend of mine. Had I not gone to Rapha, I never would have taken up the call to minister to those in addiction. See what I mean? The smallest event (like starting school in the first grade) can be the first step on a journey to follow this God. Think on what I have written about today, and look back over your life to see God's hand prints.
Merry Christmas from the "B's" in Attalla;.l
God on you....