Tuesday, June 25, 2019

No More Battles....No More Struggles


No more battles.....
No more struggles....
No more pain......
This picture was from a VRC meeting back on May 15, 2016.
The young man at the center with his head tilted back is Alex Pickard.

Alex had come down for prayer and to rededicated his life to Christ.
Those who are gathered around him are fellows who shared his struggle.

They came down to pray for Alex.
To love him....

To encourage him....
Such is the fellowship referred to as recovery.
A shared struggle...
A shared fight....


I received a call from Alex's dad yesterday to tell me that Alex had died.
I cannot imagine the pain that his family is going through.
I am not going to attempt to "Theologize" this situation.
I am not going to ask "Why?"

I am simply going to rely on the simple fact that God is a good God, and that even though it can't be seen how anything good will come from this.....He can find a way.

If anything could be said of Alex, it would be that he was a gentle soul.
Easy going with a smile that would melt your heart. Today the one thing that keeps going through my mind is that Alex will no longer succumb to the pressures of darkness.

He is free....
I know that such is of little comfort,or that it will ease any pain or fill any emptiness because of his death.

But I go back to the simple fact that I was there when Alex gave himself to Christ.
When Alex prayed to be saved, it was more than simply saying some words. There was a sorrow of brokenness in him. The words that he spoke were from the heart, and not some mental nod to being saved. 

The comfort I take this morning is from the simple fact that I know where Alex is.
As I have written so many times, Alex knows the truth today, of what you and I only claim to believe. Please pray for the Pickard family, that God would comfort them during this time.

God on you...

mbb

Monday, June 3, 2019

Secret's That Aren't Really Secret


Well, here we go....
Moving into summer here in Alabama....
Heat...
Humidity....
Mosquitoes.......
Ain't it grand....
I don't care what anyone says, I love living here on Greene Street.
I know such is a matter of preference but mine is all about our home here.
Sitting in the back yard watching the birds flock to our feeder for a last snack before night falls.
A regiment of squirrels flocking around the base of the feeder guarding it for who knows why.
They try to run the birds off, but to no avail.

Sitting out back with my wife, I am content.
I am at peace....
And that means everything to me.
The words of the apostle Paul come to my mind....
Philippians 4:13
For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.

To me, what Paul has shared is the key to life here on earth this side of heaven.
Now when Paul states that He can do everything....
What he really is saying is, "I can face and go through every situation no matter what comes my way."
These aren't empty words that sound good....
Such a belief has been tested in the fire of life, and in the struggles that are common to those who truly are followers of Christ.
Paul states that no matter what comes his way, he is able to confront and deal with it all.
How?
Through his relationship with Christ....and the ongoing surrender of his will to embrace Jesus' will.
So even with the surrender, how can Paul make this statement?

Because Christ returns strength to those who operate in this manner.
His strength given specifically to address whatever the situation is.
How much strength?
Whatever it takes for us to address our circumstances.
Now that is some kind of promise is it not?
What if it were true?
Huh?
IT IS TRUE!!!!
There is a level of peace that only Christ can give back to us when rely on Him and not our own strength....effort on our part.....our own wisdom...etc. .. In other words, when I get out of the way, and allow Christ to have His way in my life....I am content. I am at peace. I can make it today.
Think on these things, and let God speak to your heart.

God on you....
mbb

Who We Be


Exactly who are we?
People in transition.
People who have crossed over into "new" life.
A work in progress.
Straining forward to the Upward call of Christ.


We have lived in the darkness far longer than we care to remember.
Now the dawn of hope breaks over us everyday through the Word of God and the presence of His Holy Spirit in us, over us, around us.


It's all about Surrender.
Giving up.
We has spent our lives giving up.
This time the giving up is different. It is a surrender to one greater than us that has the power to restore us to sanity.
Sanity?
The ability to make sound decisions that lead to good consequences.
Sanity!
We had surrendered ourselves to the rock.
We had surrendered ourselves to the needle.
We had surrendered ourselves to the joint.
We had surrendered ourselves to the bottle.
We chose to bow our knee and worship the high.
Repeatedly we performed this ritual so many times that it became second nature
We did it out of habit until it became a habit.
A habit that consumed the very focus of our lives.
We surrendered ourselves to the darkness...and there in that darkness, we lost all hope.
But You!
You broke through and even though we might not have verbally heard the words, our hearts knew the truth. That You truly were The way....The truth.....and The life.

You lifted us up...
You took us out...
You filled our very being with Your presence...
And You set us on a course of learning how to live.



Vineyard ReCovery Church is a community that is seeking answers which can only be found in Christ.
Our Theology?
I Corinthians 2:2
For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.
Christ at the center of our life, gives my life purpose and strength to be lived and walked out everyday.


We are a community of hope.
Our worship is simple and direct.
We sing "to" God and not about God.

Our services are every Saturday Night at 7 p.m.
God On You This Morning....
Mbb


Monday, March 4, 2019

Post For Monday March 4, 2019


Greene Street Letter: March 4th
"Rejecting God....Rejecting Life"
2nd Chronicles 36:15-16
And the LORD, the God of their fathers, sent word to them again and again by His messengers, because He had compassion on His people and on His dwelling place.
But they continually mocked the messengers of God, despised His words and scoffed at His prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against His people, until there was no remedy.
Those are kind of freaky words........"Until there was no remedy."
People had gone so far in their rejection of God that there was nothing there to save them. No hope. Left to their own will and dark hearts.
I think sometimes people use Jesus as a kind of "get-out-of-hell" card, only to be used when things get rough or they get uncovered in some deed or behavior. Once the glaring light of exposure covers them, they want to whip out their card and be free from any penalty or judgement.
How many times does God give us?
I don't think it says.
I know we are to forgive those around us 70 times x 7. That's a bunch. Actually what Jesus was implying by this is that we are to forgive over and over.
But in the case of the verses in II Chronicles, it's talking about rejecting God himself.
The oldest sin in the world.....
Genesis Chapter Three sin......
"Here eat this fruit and your eyes will be opened and you will be like God!"
If I'm like God........
I don't need God...hence sin becomes our master.
We are, at least in our own minds, want nothing to do with God. Living in such a manner, we reject God's offer of salvation over and over.
Funny thing I discovered in my own heart......
The more I rejected God......
The colder and harder my heart became toward Him.
I am so grateful that I felt that conviction of the Holy Spirit and turned from my old life of sin to embrace Jesus' offer of life with Him.
I fear that many in this country have rejected God to the point that our nation is without remedy.
Does that mean that I give up and simply do nothing.
No!
IN fact God has begun to stir me to pray even more.
1.) Pray for the professing church because judgement begins at the house of God.
2.) Pray for the situations that our country is facing asking for God's mercy to be poured out and souls awakened from their spiritual death unto new life.
3.) Pray for God to raise up an army of intercessors....."God is looking for a few godly people."
To coin a phrase that some view as antiquated....
"PRAY FOR REVIVAL"
I believe with all my heart that God is granting great favor to those who are trapped in addiction.
How can I say this?
Because back in 1998 when I first started working in addiction and recovery....there weren't many of us doing this. But it was like an explosion went off when suddenly you had Celebrate Recovery and other such groups popping up at churches all over the city.
God was calling the addict and alcoholic out of the darkness of sin and death into the light of new life.
The remedy was here....
The remedy was now....
The remedy? The shed blood of Jesus.
Applied once to a broken and contrite heart, removes all stain of sin and darkness.
It doesn't get any better than this.
I want to tell others about this Jesus so that it can never be said, "There was no remedy."
God on you....
mbb

Wednesday, November 28, 2018


Step # 12 - Having had a spiritual awakening, we try to carry the message of Christ's grace and restoration power to others who are chemically dependent and to practice these principals in every aspect of our lives.

I Thessalonians 2:12 - So that you may walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own Kingdom and glory.

Thought: God continues to transform my life as I walk in His principals.


Step # 12 is the "give away" step.
By sharing our message and being there for others who are trapped in addiction, we are unknowingly helping our own recovery and sobriety. It is the Spirit of God inside that we are learning to listen to and follow in our every day decision making. Not relying on our own wisdom or understanding. We now have a clearly defined set of live giving boundaries in which to live and work and play. The 12 steps are these boundaries that we find a spacious, good life in.

Practicing the 12 steps means incorporating the principals into our thoughts and behaviors every day. It means admitting our powerlessness in difficult situations. It means believing and trusting God to take care of the things that we cannot. It means turning our situations and ourselves over to Him, and it means continuing to take our inventories, make our amends and deepen our relationship with God.

Today....
Just today....
I will trust you, God.
I will trust you with my life, both here and in eternity.
I will trust you with my family.
I will trust you that you will in fact guide me and give me insight and wisdom through your direction to make not just good choices today, but godly choices.
I thank you for this 24-hour period you have given to me today as a present.
I pray that I spend the 24 hours wisely and not squander them away on my own selfishness.
I look to you to reveal the "real" me in every situation.
That I may put aside any wrong or sin that you show me, through repentance and confession.
You are God...
I am not...
Help to remember my place in this relationship.
I bless you and thank you for another day of sobriety and for allowing me to participate in Your Kingdom rule here on earth, in my town and in my home.
I thank you for the physical, tangible Word that you have given to us and that you have given me a hunger to not just read it, but to study it.
Help me, Lord, to give away through the telling of my story to others.
In Jesus name...
Amen...

God on you.....
mb

Monday, November 26, 2018

What A Beautiful Name




Revelation 2:13
"I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan's throne is. And you hold fast to My name, and did not deny My faith......"

Yesterday I found myself @ Eastaboga Baptist church with my son and his family. The church family was having a special service in their newly built family center. The guest artist were the Kempter Family.
As you can tell from the video I posted, they are extremely talented.

As sat there, listening, taking it all in, I was taken by the song "What A Beautiful Name". You could just sense the presence of God as the voices filled that room, which caused me to consider the name of Jesus.

We know through scripture that His is the name by which we are saved. There is no other way. His is the name that, when sounded at the end, will cause every knee to bow and every tongue confess that He is Lord. I want to be in the group that falls to their knees our of love and reverence for that name, not the other one who is driven to their knees because of the Power of that name.


All this thinking about the name of Christ caused me to see that if you don't have a relationship with Jesus...If you've never been saved, then His name means nothing to you. It carries no weight against the darkness that has enveloped your mind. A darkness so thick and powerful that you can't see truth...you can't understand the spiritual state you are living in. Kind of like when you live in active addiction where your entire existence does not make sense. When life doesn't make sense, we rationalize that others are wrong, not us. We live a lie and what's worse, we live in a lie. 

But that name....
That beautiful name...
That wonderful name....
The name of Jesus has the power to liberate, heal, and restore.

Jesus claimed that He had come to "SAVE THAT WHICH WAS LOST!"
When He says "Lost" he is laying claim to everyone and everything that has been taken by the devil and his lying minions to be held captive under the sway and power of sin.

Think on the name of Christ today...
Let it take root deep in your heart...
Say it out loud so you can hear it with your own ears.

He is there with you.
What a beautiful name!!

God on you...

mbb

Sunday, November 25, 2018

The Need To Understand How To Pray Effectively




Prayer....
Most misunderstood portion of having
relationship with God and the
dynamics that take place between
us and God.

We pray small prayers....
We pray wrong prayers.....
We pray "wordy" prayers...
We pray bold prayers....
We pray doubtful prayers...

I don't know that I have all the answers
to prayer.
I think prayer is something that God
teaches you how to do.
After all, Jesus' disciples asked him,
"Teach us how to pray."

It is an ongoing communication that takes place
as I grow in Him and learn what fills His heart.
I want to breathe back to God what
He has breathed out on me that has stirred my
heart to communicate with Him.
I think this is prayer.

David (the King...remember him...shepherd boy...giant killer?)
wrote in Psalm 4:3 that
"Know that the Lord has set apart the godly for
himself. The Lord will hear when I call to him."
God has set apart or sanctified those who have
accepted him (born again/ saved), and
in this setting apart, God proclaims that He
will hear when we call to Him.
He will hear, but He will answer according
to His will and plan.
God always answers our prayers.
He does so in 3 ways....
1.) yes
2.) No
3.) Not yet
and in these three possible answers to our prayers
we find the will of God. His desire is that we obey.

I love to pray.
I keep a running prayer all day long as I move about.
Throwing up sentence prayers for situations and
for people around me.
In the middle of talking, I am also taking time
to listen for God's answer.
I love to pray.

It's all part of the package when you come to Christ.
It's a comforting part when you ask and then see
God move on your request.
It builds your faith.
It causes you to trust God more.
It is the open heaven, communication link
that keeps me sane here on this insane planet.
Gotta love it!
mb

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Danny



Got the news yesterday morning.....
Danny Moon had shed the confines of this world, and had gone home.

No more pain....
No more doctors....
No more hospitals...
He was free...

I wanted to be sad....
I did cry...

But that was the selfish part of me that doesn't want to let go of friends and loved ones as we've all grown older. Seems to happen with alarming frequency these days.
But in my heart, I could never move beyond...."Danny is free!!!"

Images and memories of Danny flooded my mind, and to be truthful, I don't think there was a bad one in the whole bunch.
Going through the door at Gadsden Music, Danny would be helping someone, or he'd be behind the counter working on somebody's guitar. He'd be standing there with that big ol' goofy grin on his face, cutting lose with a big, "Hey man! How are you? What can I do for you?" Like most every other musician in this county, I probably bought more than my fair share from Danny.

Danny bailed me out more than once when I was doing our Saturday service "THE HOUSE OF BLUE" back in the days of recovery. Someone would not be able  play on our worship team...I would call Danny up asking if he could fill in...
"Sure. What time do I need to be there." There is something about musicians that brings up their ego (especially if they are talented), but I never heard or saw Danny play that ego card. He was incredibly humble. Danny just loved to play. Danny loved to surround himself with other musicians, and seem to feed off of what they brought to a song.

I went into my office and sat down at my computer.
Words seem to float into my mind, so I wrote them down.

I grabbed my guitar and begin to put some chords down.
Thank you Lord for letting me know Danny.
I know I'll see him again some day when it's my turn to leave this ol' world.
Isn't that what real life is all about....
The Hope that God plants in us that no matter how much sadness this world tries to drown us in, God is bigger.

Until we meet again Danny...thank you for being a friend.

DANNY
One by one I've seen them fall
In this journey we call life
Pushing ahead, they never gave up
Dealing pain, the grief and the strife

The world was richer and I was a
better man
to be surrounded by all of these friends.

We made some music
Sang a song or two
Now the songs seem empty 
because we are few

One more soul has gone home...
One more soul has gone home.

Psalm 116:15
Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.

God on you...
mbb

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

REAL HOPE




Life is a funny thing....
Not in the sense that it is humorous....at times it is.

Not in the sense that it is tragic.....we all have experienced this part.
But in the sense that as hard as we may try, we can never seem to grasp it by
the throat and make it do what we wish it to.
To navigate the in's and out's to fit our own needs, wants and desires.
Life seems to have us by the coat tails dragging us, sometimes kicking and screaming, into the future.
Reading Chuck Swindoll this morning, I came across this bit of wisdom


Hope is  wonderful gift from God.
A source of strength and courage we need
in order to face life.

When we are trapped in a tunnel of misery, hope points to the
light at the end.

When we are exhausted and overworked, hope gives us fresh energy

When we are discouraged, hope lifts our spirits.

When we lose our way and confusion blurs the destination,
hope dulls the edge of panic.

When we struggle with a crippling disease or a lingering illness,
hope helps us persevere beyond the pain.

When we fear the worst, hope brings reminders that God is still
in control.

When we must endure the consequences of bad decisions
hope fuels our recovery.

When we find ourselves unemployed, hope tells us that we
still have a future.

When we are forced to sit back and wait, hope gives us
patience to trust.

When we feel rejected and abandoned, hope reminds us
we're not alone......we'll make it.

When we say our final farewell to someone we love,
hope in the life beyond gets us through our grief.

To put it in simple terms, when life hurts and dreams fade, nothing heals us like hope Not hope as the world defines it, but hope which has a name.
That name would be Jesus.

I Peter 1:3
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a "living hope" through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

Hope?
Don't leave home without Him!!!

God on you...
mbb

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Thanky....Thanky....Thanky!!!

Psalm 100:4
Enter His gates with thanksgiving. Go into His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him and bless His name.

The devil (yes, Virginia there is a devil) is a mean motor-scooter and wants to mess with our heads a.k.a minds.
He wants us to stay focused on what we don't have in this life....
To measure our existence based on how terrible things are for us and around us.....
What a bunch of loser's he tries to make us out to be.
In other words, he doesn't want us to think on the things of God.
The Psalm passage says we are to enter into the rule of God, the presence of God with thanksgiving.
So what do I have to be thankful for today....
1.) A great family.....the Bynum's aren't perfect, but dog gone it, we are a fun bunch. My wife, Vicki...if ever there was physical, tangible evidence of a godly woman, it is Vicki. Everything you read in Proverbs 31 is true. My sons, Chad and Josh....godly men with a heart for the Kingdom. Daughters-in-law, Heather and Robin......the same as Vicki, women of integrity and love of God. Two grand children, Tyler and Ashley....the love of my life.

2.) My health. I have been blessed beyond measure with good health (so to speak). Oh there are days when I crawl out of bed and my bones and joints sound like a bowl of Rice Krispies ,but that is all part of growing older. There is only one alternative if you don't want to grow old.........that is die young.

3.) Friends. I have been blessed to have some really great people in my life. They make me a better man. Their lives are an encouragement to not give up or go back to old ways.

4.) My relationship with God. Saved in 1961. Up and down over the next few years. Really on fire 1968 through 1972. Walked in darkness from 1972 till 1979. 1980-1991 began a journey of chasing God. 1991-1993 preparation for what is happening today in my life. 1993-2006 training/ ordination/ full time ministry. 2006-2013 Staff pastor at Rapha Treatment Center. God bringing everything full circle as I returned to the Vineyard in 2013.  Through it all....through my foul ups and my "getting it right" God has been the one constant. I am thankful and grateful for His presence and His grace in my life.

I could go on and on listing things I am grateful for.
Coffee.....
Color TV....
Dogs......
Morning rain......
Good sounding guitars and people who know how to play....
Nori, Barbie Kelley.
Danny Daniels.....
The Barnett's ....John and Marie
My car....The Notorious Gray Goose.....
Early morning rain....
Breakfast with Jim Bentley @ Jacks on Monday
Breakfast with Wayne and Barry @ Hardee's on Wednesday (Yep! I am part of the codger club)
The sound of Owls at night.
And most of all....
At the top of the list....
No...
Beyond the top of the list....
Jesus Christ.....
Today I am grateful....

God on you....
mb

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Knowing The Truth


Reprint From 2009 Greene Street Letters

Sometimes in the process of putting together a message for our service, I will find myself parked in certain portions of Scripture that seem really odd at first glance. Such was the case yesterday as I was reading in Luke. It being the Christmas season, I though it might be good to begin to look into the portions of scripture that deal with the birth of Jesus.
Reading in Luke chapter 1, I found myself locked onto a particular verse........verse 4.

"So that you may know the certainty of the things that you have been taught."

Luke writing to a man named Theophilus wanting to provide for him an orderly account of the events surrounding Jesus' life and death (and resurrection). Luke driven by the thought of wanting his friend to know, understand, come to grips with and be settled once and for all time in his mind and life the value and truth of all that he had been taught.

Do you know without a shadow of doubt of the certainty of the things you have been taught? Or do you find yourself swayed and buffeted by popular opinion? Everyone has an opinion, especially during this time and day. Each person holds high their opinion as being a banner of truth. Truth has become an understanding that has no part in the everyday practice and ability to live life.
Truth may be that it is alright for you to be unfaithful to your spouse.
Or that cheating on your taxes is not a bad thing as long as you don't get caught.
When we do not know the certainty of the things we have been taught, then we are open to compromise and we will trade the eternal things of God for the shiny, flashy, temporary things of this world.

If we are not being taught the basic Biblical principals of God, how can we expect to live a life that is truly within the calling of salvation? We somehow have a constructed a religion that has found its place in the mainstream of Christianity that allows for the sin to be forgiven and justified without asking anything of the sinner. That is why it is important for you to know the certainty of the things you have been taught. If you are not being taught or you consider such things a foolishness ask yourself this question, "Why am I upset by reading this post?" Is it that the Holy Spirit has uncovered things in your life that you thought were o.k. but, in truth, were an offense to God?

Repent and turn to God.
Become a student of the Word of God.
Ask God to show you how to live.
Do it!

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

No More Battles....No More Struggles

No more battles..... No more struggles.... No more pain...... This picture was from a VRC meeting back on May 15, 2016. The young man ...