The Grace of Becoming (Audio Podcast)




Listen to the latest teaching on the Firm Foundation with Bryan Hudson podcast, "The Grace of Becoming"

Michelangelo had the ability to see the form inside the block of stone. The Grace of Becoming involves seeing form inside yourself and your circumstances. 

Colossians 2:10, And you are complete in Him, who is the head of all rule and authority. 

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There is Always More Than You Can See



Romans 11:1, I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel, saying, 3 “Lord, they have killed Your prophets and torn down Your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life”? 4 But what does the divine response say to him? “I have reserved for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” 5 Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace.

During the lifetime of the Apostle Paul, there were some believers who wrongly believed God was finished with the Jewish people because of their rejection of Christ. In other words, it looked like all the Jews had turned away from God. In this chapter of Romans, Paul explains God's larger purposes in His dealing with the Jewish people, but I would like to highlight something important for you today.

To counter the argument or false perception that all the Jews had turned away from God, Paul used the example of Elijah, who at one time in his life said out of distress and frustration, “Lord, they have killed Your prophets and torn down Your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life.” Look at God's response to his perception, “I have reserved for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.”

Paul makes his point, "Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace." He said this to those who thought God was finished with the Jews: God is always doing more than you can see.

This is also what I want to say to you. God is doing more than you can see, so do not draw conclusions from what you see, think, or feel. Part of my calling in life is to research, learn, teach, and do creative work. Almost everyday, I am learning things I did not know and discovering things that were always there, just not visible to me. These discoveries from Scripture and from life continue to shape my understanding, help me grow, and even change my thinking. Most of all, like Paul, I've come to appreciate there are always people who have not "bowed the knee" to false things.

As a pastor, one of my great disappointments has been observing the poor behavior of too many people who call themselves "Christians." As with Elijah and believers in Paul's day, it's not difficult to conclude that the state of how too many of us actually live is below God's standard, even when we show up to church services in the thousands or in the ten's. I've also had occasion to be disappointed in myself.

The most important truth to take away today is this: God's grace is bigger than people's failure, including your own failure. His "election of grace" is strong, meaning that what God has purposed to do in your life is present with you. Grace is not irresistible, as some teach, but it is VERY strong! We need to settle that truth in our hearts and give ourselves to God--spirit, soul, and body.

The key is to follow Jesus. Don't try to be a "Christian." Pursue Jesus as you would a meaningful relationship, be a doer of the Word of God, and let grace work in you.







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Hazardous Attitudes: Life Lessons From Pilot Training



I’m in the process of preparing for my FAA sUAS (drone) remote pilot re-certification for my aerial imaging business (www.aglaerialimaging.com). Part of the standards deal with something called “hazardous attitudes.” These attitudes will likely lead to a mishap. The principles are also taught to pilots of manned aircraft. This is good advice for your life! 

Hazardous Attitudes include:

1. Anti-Authority
Don’t tell me. This attitude is found in people who do not like anyone telling them what to do. In a sense, they are saying, "No one can tell me what to do." They may be resentful of having someone tell them what to do, or may regard rules, regulations, and procedures as silly or unnecessary. Of course, it’s always your prerogative to question authority if you feel it is in error. But don’t be anti-authority.

2. Impulsivity
Do it quickly. This is the attitude of people who frequently feel the need to do something, anything, immediately. They do not stop to think about what they are about to do; they do not select the best alternative, and they do the first thing that comes to mind.

3. Invulnerability
It won’t happen to me. Many people feel that accidents happen to others but never to them. They know accidents can happen, and they know that anyone can be affected, but they never really feel or believe that they will be personally involved. Remote pilots who think this way are more likely to take chances and increase risk.

4. Machismo (or Macho)
I can do it. Remote pilots who are always trying to prove that they are better than everyone else are thinking, "I can do it – I'll show them." Pilots with this type of attitude will try to prove themselves by taking risks in order to impress others. And no, this is not just a male characteristic! Women are equally susceptible to macho attitudes. Many times, the basic drive for a pilot to demonstrate the "right stuff" can have an adverse effect on safety, by generating tendencies that lead to practices that are dangerous, often illegal, and may lead to a mishap.

5. Resignation
What’s the use? Remote pilots who think, "What's the use?" They do not see themselves as being able to make a great deal of difference in what happens to them. When things go well, the pilot is apt to think that it is good luck. When things go badly, the pilot may feel that someone is out to get them or attribute it to bad luck. The pilot will leave the action to others, for better or worse. Sometimes, such pilots will even go along with unreasonable requests just to be a "nice guy."

How to Put a Big Dent in Bigotry and Racism




©2019 Bryan Hudson

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"Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” ― Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Allow me to share an effective method for addressing bigotry and racism. There is no absolute cure because sin and evil possess the hearts of people who are unwilling to change. I know from experience and from first hand accounts that some number of bigots and racists have been turned around, or at least neutralized, by the methods I suggest here.

First of all, I am defining racism in a narrow sense.  I’m talking about disrespect, bad treatment, and marginalization of African-Americans by persons who feel superior or entitled as a "ruling class." Certainly, racism by black people towards white people exists, but it is small in effect and largely powerless since black people do not control very much in the larger society.  Black racism is more of a nuisance. Not as many white folks face problems being subject to black people who hold power.

Racism in the form of whites against blacks (or other ethic minorities) is far more harmful owing to majority status with holding more influential and impactful stations in life. Nearly every black person has a white boss or works for a white employer. It is an inarguable fact that most reported acts of bigotry and racism in the USA have occurred against African-Americans. (Note: In many ways, black people are representative of all other people of color).

The only good news I can share with you about racism is that I believe it is limited to a small number of people in relative terms. I am always disturbed by assertions I have heard from some black folks that nearly all white people are racist by nature. As black people, we don’t want to be judged by our “bad apples,” so we should not do the same to others.

There is a pervasive problem that makes people appear racist when they are not. When people who are not racist remain silent about their awareness of others within their circles who display racist behaviors or attitudes, they perpetuate the problem. We’ve all known people who have “crossed the line.” We permit problems to persist when we don’t speak up to address people we know.


TWO SOLUTIONS  

ONE:  Help, educate, and correct your family, acquaintances, and friends 

If anyone within my sphere of influence displays bigoted or racist behavior (and that would be mostly African-Americans), I will take the responsibility to address that matter, person to person. There are not many actions more impactful than being confronted by a friend.

It is likely that every racist person has a non-racist acquaintance or friend who has had the occasion to be appalled at something he has seen or heard from his friend, acquaintance, or family member.  When we fail to take the opportunity to address people we know we permit that behavior to go unchallenged, which may result in the spread of behaviors that could be curtailed if not stopped altogether.

TWO: Use Your Privilege 

Three stories:

We all have privilege in the sense that we carry a certain level of influence and authority that others might not carry. Without being actively aware, we have access to places and people that others do not have. It is not possible to be fully aware of one’s privileges because we are living it and are unaware of any other standard.

Story #1 
When I was 19 years old and in college, I made a big mistake following a concert that landed me in the lock up at the downtown Indy police headquarters. I spent the night in jail and was scheduled to appear in court the next morning. I was scared and nervous watching weekend “regulars” brought in to that large room. I saw the chaos, witnessed fights, and just prayed that I could sleep through it. With my one phone call, I called my father. Even though I did not serve God and disrespected Him, He showed me mercy and let me sleep through the chaos all night, unharmed, on a narrow metal bench against a wall.

The next morning they brought a number of us into a holding cell behind the courtroom for a judge to hear our charges.  I knew my father would be out there to help me through the situation. However, when I appeared before the judge my father was not in the room and there was no one to represent me. The judge ordered that I be taken back to the holding cell. That was one of the most devastating feelings one could imagine.

As it turned out, my father went to the wrong courtroom. After some time passed, my name was called and I came from the holding cell to the courtroom and saw my father standing with an attorney. This young African-American attorney happened to be in the court room when I came out the first time. Somehow, he connected with my father because he observed that I “seemed out of place” and saw my dad was distressed looking for me (perhaps the attorney identified with me in some way). He was not seeking a client and my father was not looking for an attorney. 

This attorney used his privilege to help me. He didn’t have to do it, but he did. 

It is amazing what can be done when we use our privilege to help somebody in difficulty.  What is more amazing is using our privilege to defend the dignity and honor of people being insulted or mistreated.

Story #2 
Many years ago as a pastor our church had the occasion to purchase a commercial property on a prominent street to use as our main facility, We were denied a zoning variance for reasons that were unjust and racially motivated because of the nature of the opposition we faced. In a meeting to which I was "invited," I was handed a list of “suitable” inner city properties and “encouraged” to pursue one of those instead of the one we wanted. When we refused, this group of businessmen influenced the zoning board to oppose us.

We retained an attorney and appealed to Superior Court. We easily won the day and overturned the zoning board’s decision on Constitutional grounds when the city attorney decided to drop their case because he couldn't win. What made the difference, in addition to the expertise of my attorney, was that the seller of the property assigned his own attorney to join in the effort to help us (and of course to help conclude his sale.) The seller, a white gentleman, who happened to be a wealthy owner of a commercial real estate company, personally knew many of the business people who opposed us.

The seller used his privilege and influence to help us.

Story #3 
I read a story of two sisters who looked very different. The one looked more African-American and the other look like a white lady. They were both shopping at the same grocery store. The sister who looked more like a white person was in line in front of her sister. The cashier rang up her items and she presented a personal check for payment (which was more the custom at that time).

When her African-American looking sister presented her check, the cashier reached for a binder in which the store kept copies of bad checks. The cashier proceeded to scan the names on the bad checks looking for a match. The cashier made the bigoted assumption that the black looking lady might be trying to pass a bad check.

When her sister saw it, she returned to the check out and asked the cashier what she was doing. In the presence of the cashier, her sister, and other white customers she demanded that the cashier accept her check in the same manner hers was accepted.  No one could’ve known this was her sister.  

It looked like a white person using her privilege to defend the honor of a black person.

Again, 1) Help, educate, and correct your family, acquaintances, and friends, and 2), Use your privilege. 

I remember a sad occasion on a Facebook friend's discussion thread. One of his Facebook friends publicly insulted and disparaged me, my church, and my family (in an indirect way) when I expressed a strong disagreement within the discussion. I privately asked him how he was going to handle it. He said he would write a personal note to the man. I advised him that friends stand up for friends in the same place where things happen, anywhere in life. He made the choice not to use his privilege to publicly stand up for me. At that moment, I realized we were not actual friends. Sometimes people want a "black face," but they do not want an unfettered "black voice."

Each of us needs to take responsibility within our spheres of influence. We also need to rid ourselves of leaders who perpetuate bigotry and racism. We must not enable such persons through silence, inaction, or support. Persons demonstrating racist behavior need to be educated and reproved by people who know them. Legal action should be taken when laws are violated. We should not coddle bigots and racists.

If we lovingly and directly handle matters within our spheres of influence, I believe progress can be made.


What it Means to "Leave" and "Forsake"



"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." (Deuteronomy 31:6)

God promises to sustain you and therefore encourages you to "be strong and courageous" and to "not be afraid." One of our greatest fears is abandonment. Without support, it is very difficult to be strong and courageous. Two things God never does is: 1) Leave you, or 2) Forsake you. Unfortunately, it is something that people do all the time. T.D. Jakes suggests that to "leave" represents someone's physical departure, while "forsake" represents someone's emotional departure.

There are people who cannot be with you, but stay connected with you emotionally through alternative means of contact. Some people BOTH leave you and forsake you. It is hard to handle, especially when coming from someone who is special in your life. 

However, this is why we love, follow, and relate to the Lord. He keeps all this promises!