Solitude: A Place of Peace, Power & Preparation
Friday, December 26, 2008
Friday, December 26, 2008 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments
These are notes from a sermon I delivered in 1994. Reading this reminded me that it is time to seek the Lord in a special way at the breaking of a new year.
Subtitle: Breaking Out of the Madness
SA 62:5, My soul, wait silently for God alone, For my expectation is from Him.
ISA 30:15, For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: "In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength." But you would not, 16] and you said, "No, for we will flee on horses"--therefore you shall flee! And, "We will ride on swift horses"--therefore those who pursue you shall be swift!
A. Confusion, nervousness, instability, and distraction are common maladies among people today – including Christians. We have become a non-stop society, where we place high value on those operations and businesses which are able to perform 24 hours per day, every day of the year.
Another word for all this is “madness”
1. There was a time before electronics, that when night came, all operations ceased until morning.
2. We demand convenience – and have attained it at the price of our own mental/emotional well being
3. Solitude, or time alone, is a lost art – activities like fishing, walking for pleasure, and reading have given way to high tech entertainment
4. We were not created to be perpetual motion machines. We were designed to function in cycles of rest, reflection, interaction, service and rest again.
B. We pay a high price for neglecting solitude in the presence of God.
1. Our lives become ordered by the pace and practice of this world and not by God
a. David got distracted and feigned madness 1 Sam. 21:13
b. David wound up in the cave of Adullam 1 Sam. 22:1
2. We experience bewilderment, disorientation and random thoughts – like a machine that is operated outside of its tolerances.
3. We are prone to misunderstanding people and purposes because of a lack of personal, inward focus (e.g. rose colored glasses)
4. We begin to feed on noise and clamor – becoming addicted to confusion and preferring it over quiet.
C. Jesus gave us the perfect example of human existence according to divine order. His entire ministry was birthed and sustained out of the crucible of solitude and silence – He could know His Father’s direction no other way. His preparedness to minister and the level of anointing upon Him was in direct proportion to His solitary time with the Father and with His own thoughts.
1. Jesus lived a life of devotion to God interspersed with periods of ministering to others – not the reverse.
2. Jesus began His ministry in the wilderness, in solitude, gaining strength for what lie ahead. When Satan came to tempt Him, he was at His strongest point, not His weakest point.
a. “Jesus constantly sought solitude from the time of his baptism up the Garden of Gethsemane, when He even went apart from those he took there to watch with him. It is solitude alone that opens the possibility of a radical relationship to God that can withstand all external events up to and beyond death.” (Willard, p. 101)
b. “Retirement is the laboratory of the spirit; interior solitude and silence are its two wings. All great works are prepared in the desert, including the redemption of the world. The precursers, the followers, the master Himself, all obeyed or have to obey one and the same law. Prophets, apostles, preachers, martyrs, pioneers of knowledge, inspired artists in every art, ordinary men men and the Man-God, all pay tribute to loneliness, to the life of silence, to the night.” (James S. Steward, “A man in Christ”)
3. Jesus expended a lot of energy just to be alone. He sent people away. Walked long distances to find solitary places and places no one knew about. He arose early and stayed up late to spend time with God.
4. He was not driven by the needs of people, but by the purpose of God – which met the needs of people in dramatic, miraculous fashion. Had he labored with people more than spent time with God, he would have managed to get some people healed, but He would have been exhausted doing so. Because He spent time with God, His times of public ministry were dramatic and miraculous. He got more done in a shorter period of time.
a. Spiritual "Dullness" makes us tired, as we use more of our own strength, and less of God's: Ecclesiastes 10:10, If the ax is dull, And one does not sharpen the edge, Then he must use more strength; But wisdom brings success.
D. We need to practice spiritual disciples that helps us overcome the "madness."
1. Order • Personal, Relational, Apostolic
2. Authority • Coming under covering
3. Purpose • Keeping to God’s schedule
4. Silence • Jesus will not speak to us above internal noise and clamor
MAT 12:19, He will not quarrel nor cry out, nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets. (“...neither shall any man hear his voice above the street noise” NAS?)
MAT 9:24, He said to them, "Make room, for the girl is not dead, but sleeping." And they laughed Him to scorn. 25] But when the crowd was put outside, He went in and took her by the hand, and the girl arose.
David discovered that when one is alone, his soul can bless the Lord. David’s soul and flesh cried out for the living God
PSA 84:2, My soul longs, yes, even faints For the courts of the LORD; My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.
“Do not stay in the stronghold; depart, and go to the land of Judah.” (1 Sam. 22:5)
Christmas Outreach | Gift and food box distribution
New Covenant Church members distributed gifts boxes to some of the residents of Walnut Ridge nursing home at 34th and Emerson in Indianapolis. We are making more visits to families and individuals this week. We will serve about 95 persons this week.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments
New Covenant Church Community Christmas Outreach
This year, we are looking forward to our 18th annual Community Christmas Outreach December 15-19. For the first time in 17 years, we are not having a banquet and Christmas program. This year we decided to use our resources, including a small grant from Lilly Endowment, to create custom gift boxes to distribute directly to needy families here in Indianapolis.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Thursday, December 11, 2008 Bryan Hudson 2 Comments
Our share team, under the direction of Candase Cornett, contacted several agencies around our community to identify families and individuals in need. Our team then made contact with each family or individual to determine what type of gifts or food they would need or want. It was our goal to try to create customized boxes for every family and individual, rather than doing one type of box with all the same items for every family.
Even though our outreach is small in comparison to others, it is no less heartfelt. We look forward to sharing both the gift boxes and the Gospel of Jesus with families that we visit next week!
Below is a brief video showing some of the highlights of the gift box preparation that was done on Wednesday, December 10. I'll share some video and images of the distribution later.
Thanks to our New Covenant Church family for sharing the love of Christ!
Giving thanks for our leaders
As Christians, we are enjoined by the Bible to pray for our civil leaders. The Apostle Paul offered this guidance in 1 Timothy 2:1-4,
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments
"Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings [presidents] and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth."
When Paul wrote this, Nero was the "President" of the Roman empire. He was a cruel leader, especially towards Christians. Despite this reality, Paul recognized the importance of not only offering "supplications, prayers, intercessions," but also of "giving thanks" for "kings and all who are in authority."
How can you thank God for someone with whom you disagree? Why should you thank God for someone whose policies you consider to be wrong or unbiblical?
The purpose of giving thanks is to keep our hearts clear of bitterness and darkness. (Romans 1:20-22) Giving thanks for all people, and especially leaders, promotes civility among citizens, so that we all may "lead a quiet and peaceable life." It is also necessary to recognize the principles of government, even while we work to change bad policies. As Christians, our assignment in sharing the Gospel of Christ with willing hearers is unaffected by whoever occupies a civil office.
That said, let us pray and thank God for President George Bush, President-Elect Barack Obama, Governor Mitch Daniels, Mayor Greg Ballard, and for all others.
Some suggested prayer items for our new president
Saturday, November 08, 2008
Saturday, November 08, 2008 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments
Understand The Tears
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Wednesday, November 05, 2008 Bryan Hudson 2 Comments
[Image from the Chicago Tribune]
For many older African Americans, witnessing the election of our nation's first black president was unthinkable only 30 years ago. The occasion is so astonishing that many of us have been moved to tears. These tears of joy celebrate American equality and opportunity at the highest level, representing lifetimes of hopes and questions.
Older Americans see our society as a montage of images, memories and experiences. When I pull into the driveway of my northeast side home, I sometimes remember my father showing me the deed to the small home he purchased in 1967. The deed said, in part, that the property should never be sold to "negroes" or "mulattos." I live in a neighborhood where blacks would have likely been unwelcome when my house was built in 1965. I am always aware that brave people, white and black, prayed and sacrificed to overcome racial inequality.
On the day of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King in 1968, I went bike riding with my friend Bobby. The fact that he was white had not been significant before that day. As the scales of indifference fell off my eyes, I began to understand that there were people who did not want blacks and whites to co-exist as equals in every respect. Bobby and I, as 11-year-olds, were seeds of "the dream."
While there have been irresponsible blacks who attracted negative focus, at the core of the "movement" was decency and the determination to be respected as equals with all others. That path to equality required excellence supported by changes in laws and hearts. The most admired Americans share the transcendent quality of excellence and compassion. Admiration is a foundation for equality that causes race to become less of a factor.
In reality, whites were more instrumental to Obama's election than blacks. This is the best evidence that America has grown and changed for the better. And the whole world takes notice.
President-elect Barack Obama's excellence, personally and politically, is remarkable. His campaign has been both seminal and energizing for our electoral process. He possesses a unique mix of culture, gifts and abilities. At the same time, we must continue to empower people who are less gifted and fortunate.
If you see "tears of joy," try to understand this: African Americans, even from the days of slavery, have staked their lives on the hope embedded in these words from our Declaration of Indepdendence, "...All men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."
Pray for our new president-elect and his family.
1 Peter 2:13-17
13 Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, 14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15 For it is God's will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. 16 Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. 17 Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.
New Media for Ministry Pastor’s Roundtable 1.0
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Wednesday, October 15, 2008 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments
Come join us for New Media for Ministry Pastor’s Roundtable 1.0
Saturday, November 8 @ 10am to 12noon
(Click on Image to watch video)
New Media for Ministry Pastor’s Roundtable” 1.0 (“one point zero”) will be the first in a series of discussions exploring the growing world of technology, social media and New Media as it relates to effective congregational ministry, outreach and community impact. New Media is a term that defines the convergence of “old media” such as graphics and print with “new” digital media such as Internet based content, digital video-audio, social media. Pastors and their key technology staff/leaders will both share and gain valuable insights. Helpful information and solution resources will be shared.
Schedule for Saturday, November 8
9:30 am Get acquainted: Sign-in, Pick up free materials
10:00 am Opening Prayer | Introduction by Pastor Bryan Hudson, “Do we need New Media?”
• Meet Panelists (Show info on screen)
• Opening statements from each panelist
10:15 am General Discussion Topics:
- “What is the state of the Church today in relation to new media and the Internet?”
- Are we maximizing the use new media for God’s purposes?
- What forms of new media are most effective for “inreach” and “outreach”?
- How can pastors lead congregations to adopt new media tools? Is this necessary?
- What are the benefits of social media like Myspace and Facebook? Should we promote it or avoid it.
- We are some effective productivity tools and techniques?
10:50 am Focus Topics (About 20 minutes per topic including Q&A.
- Pastor Clary Butler: “How can we leverage the power of social media such as Facebook and MySpace for ministry impact?”
- Pastor Al Jennings: “Using new media and technology to more effectively serve our church and community.”
- Pastor John Posey (Via Skype): “Harnessing web-based services for networking, training and entrepreneurship”
- Pastor Bryan Hudson: “Concepts and best practices for doing cost-effective video and web production?”
11:50 am Wrap Up: What topics would be valuable to discuss in a future roundtable?
Closing Prayer | Refreshments Served
Register at www.NewCovenant.org
Call (317) 205-6000
Main Street vs. Wall Street: The U.S. House kills rescue bill
Here's my take on the failure of the $700 billion rescue bill in the U.S. House of Representatives today (That is wrongly perceived as a "bail out" for wealthy people): I think the angry public is cutting off their nose to spite their face.
Monday, September 29, 2008
Monday, September 29, 2008 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments
Lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives must respond to districts of voters, especially since they must run for office every two years. Senators are less influenced by smaller districts since there are only two senators per state and serve for six years. In my view, the U.S. House is more susceptible to leading by emotional consensus than is the Senate. House members who hold office for short two-year terms become overly concerned about re-election. This causes representatives to choose to satisfy ill-informed constituents, more than make decisions based on larger concerns like the overarching national necessity for a properly functioning market.
I think that President Bush offered a workable solution.
Many people are upset with "Wall Street" in terms of greed, corruption, executive pay and such. There is a perception of "Main Street vs. Wall Street," but this is not exactly the case. Many folks think the $700 billion deal is designed to make rich people richer. Everyone wants a "cut" of that pie.
I think that doing the deal is more about protecting our investments such as our home values, savings, retirement accounts, college loans, home mortgages (for qualified borrowers!), small business lines of credit, etc. Most folks haven't looked into how financial markets work, so that news of abuse in financial institutions or failures make "Wall Street" appear entirely corrupt.
Then there's the whole problem of people thinking the deal is about "socialism." Again, as with financial markets, a lot of folks don't know what socialism is, so rather than respond with informed statements, we react with fear.
If public opinion is going to drive this process, we may have to endure a serious financial market crash that makes the public feel the pain. Then, the same people who opposed the deal will enthusiastically support it.
Some say that the "market will correct itself." Yes it will, but this won't punish Wall Street more than it punishes us. Wall Street is not a person with a mortgage to pay or kids to raise. The "fat cats" might become a little slimmer, but they have the resources and expertise to survive any financial crisis.
Under any scenario, I think it is only the lower and middle classes of citizens that will suffer without this, or another form of financial rescue bill.
We need to pray for wisdom for our congress, and that God would allow the spirit of discontent, unforgiveness and anger to lift from our national consciousness.
It is callous and unwise to make light of community organizing, which is a subset of the professional field of social work. Community organizing requires a broad range of competencies, empathy, and a high level of planning to manage both small and large operations.
Friday, September 05, 2008
Friday, September 05, 2008 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments
Community organizers are responsible for "meals on wheels" type efforts, reforming ex-offenders, church ministries, at-risk youth programs, revitalization projects, and more. Our government actually does far less in comparison to what people are doing for one another in the community.
People who circle their socio-economic wagons to separate themselves from others are usually clueless, as we have seen. If it were not for the work of community organizers, a lot of the troubles and troubled people in the city would spread more aggressively into suburbs and small towns.
So rather than belittle community organizers, we should thank God that they do a job to benefit our society as a whole. The work is worthy of anyone who aspires to executive or political leadership. I believe it is a moral imperative to serve before asking to lead.
Finally, community organizers and the millions of people they have served are also voters who pay attention to callous messages.
On Monday, as Hurricane Gustuv threatened to devastate the Gulf Coast, John McCain released a statement from Gov. Sarah Palin and her husband about the pregnancy of their 17-year-old daughter.
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
Tuesday, September 02, 2008 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments
Sarah and Todd Palin stated their strong support and love for their daughter, as well as her intentions to marry the teenage father. We would expect this response from loving parents.
What I don't understand is why the Palins chose to expose Bristol to the harsh limelight of a national campaign during a crisis in their daughter's life. Looking back at Sarah Palin's introduction by McCain, we see Bristol hiding her abdomen with her infant brother and his blanket. Is a political stage the best place for her? The governor's decision to bring her 5-month-old special-needs baby on the campaign trail seems like another odd choice.
Obviously, these decisions were the Palins' to make. However, I think this sends the wrong message on family priorities at a time when promiscuity among teens is sometimes a cry for deeper parental engagement.
McCain has taken the theme "Country First" for his convention, but I suggest that home and family should trump opportunistic political ambitions when special needs arise.
God at work behind prison walls
On August 16, my youngest son, Jonathan, and I had the opportunity to travel with Pastor William Bumphus and his team to Danville Kentucky for an outreach at Northpoint Prison. Bringing video cameras into the prison was a rare privilege that required special permission by the Warden, against the wishes of others in the institution.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Sunday, August 24, 2008 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments
We produced this video to share a little of the experience of watching God move behind prison walls. More than 70% of men now incarcerated will be released within a few years. Of those released, more than half will be re-incarcerated (recidivism). As believers, we know that it is only the power of God that breaks this cycle through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Men who are born again and live according to the Word not only cease committing crimes, but become powerful agents of change and salvation for others.
In this video, you will see men who have been delivered from crime reaching back to share their testimonies with other men. This cycle of ministries presenting Jesus to offenders who get saved, and then reach out to others, is doing more to save lives and reduce recidivism than any other factor, in my view.
I encourage you to pray for and support my friend, Pastor William Bumphus and the "Jesus House" discipleship and aftercare program. Jesus Inside Prison Ministry operates this program at their 40+ bed facility here in Indy.
You might consider obtaining one or more high quality DVDs to view and share with your church or group. A High Definition Blu-Ray compatible DVD is also available.
Click here to visit the JIPM website and view this remarkable video.
(Note: Signed releases are on file for inmates clearly shown in this video. This video may be updated as needed.)
Is God's Church Segregated?
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Tuesday, August 12, 2008 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments
The word "segregation" has a very specific meaning in our nation's history. It is a loaded term that should be used mainly within the context of that history.
I consider it unhelpful to use terms such as "black," "white" or "interracial/multiracial" church, though we use these labels anyway. An interracial church is no better than a white or black church. We are simply "Jesus' Church."
We don't have racial segregation in churches today unless bigots lead those congregations. We have people who choose to worship God in a manner that reflects their preference and needs. God permits people to worship distinctively, including the distinctiveness of blended styles or in pursuing a "melting pot" strategy. Some black folks prefer to join a stoic mostly white congregation. Some white folks enjoy the excitement of a high-energy African-American-led church. Some blacks think it's not possible to "have church" in 45 minutes, while some whites couldn't imagine being in a two-hour-long service. These scenarios multiply when considering other factors and ethnicities.
There are those who will see racism in this mix, but it is mostly about preference. That said, we all need to get out of our comfort zones to work with and spend time among various cultures. If you are unwilling to do this, you might need to check your prejudice level.
Ears to Hear
Take Heed What & How You Hear
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Thursday, July 10, 2008 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments
MAR 4:23 "If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear." 24] And He said to them, "Take heed what you hear. With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you; and to you who hear, more will be given. 25] For whoever has, to him more will be given; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him."
Many years ago I preached a message in which I used 1 Peter 4:12 as my text which read, "Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you." In the message a stressed the importance of understanding that trials and tests are a normal part of life and that we should understand, according to the scriptures, that we should not consider challenges a "strange" thing.
The message seemed to be well received with many people nodding theirs heads in approval and saying "Amen" to many of the truths I shared. I felt assured that my audience understood the scriptural admonition not to consider trials a "strange thing" and to face times of testing with full confidence in God and the promises of His Word.
Soon after the service concluded and while we were greeting one another, a young woman asked to speak with me. She make the following statement, "Pastor, pray for me. What I have been dealing with is so strange..." Naturally, I asked her if she had heard the message. She said that she listened to the entire message. But I thought to myself, "you were listening to the message, but you did not hear the Word."
Listening and hearing are not always the same thing. While listening is a function of our ears and auditory organs to detect sound waves and convert them to recognizable words that register in our brain, hearing is a function of our will to understanding what is being said. The fact is: Many people do not hear—not just in church, but in many areas of life. Listening is a natural, physical ability, but hearing must be cultivated through training one’s heart and mind to grasp what is being said.
Many scriptures declare the important of hearing. Faith itself comes by hearing; "Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God." (Rom. 10:17) Hearing is much more important than most people imagine. Hearing is obviously a necessary component in communication. Insofar as our walk with God is concerned, hearing is all important:
How you hear will determine the quality of your life
How you hear will determine your level of authority and responsibility in life
How you hear will determine the measure of God’s anointing on your life.
Hearing determines aptitude (ability) "If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear."
Jesus said that one must have "ears to hear." This indicates one’s willingness to hear instruction and direction. Many people have never reached first base because they are not willing to hear, not willing to make a commitment to excellence, not willing to move out of familiar territory.
Our Lord never forced people to listen to Him or follow Him. He invited them to participate with Him and the blessing of God. Often, Jesus began a teaching with the statement "he who has ears to hear, let him hear." He would then proceed to teach and afterwards wait for a response. Many people walked away, others were bewildered, but a few lingered and inquired further of the things Jesus taught.
Today, in every endeavor of life, those who demonstrate the greatest ability and proficiency are those who have made it their business to hear, to learn and to put in practice those principles they have heard.
Jesus invites everyone, in one way or another, to hear and know Him, but He lets our response determine the degree of understanding and fruitfulness we experience.
"And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. 48] He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him--the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.(John 12:47)
A lack of hearing, or hearing the wrong things, will cripple your ability to walk in the full blessing and opportunities of life. For example, those who would become medical doctors must spend countless hours hearing and reflecting upon what they have heard in the context of medicine. In fact, any important profession or endeavor requires a full commitment to having "ears to hear."
On the other hand, there are endeavors in life that do not require a great commitment to hearing—and people are often relegated to low level positions, opportunities and jobs because they would not incline themselves to hear and learn.
Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. (Heb. 2:1)
Hearing determines attitude (state of mind), "Take heed what [or how] you hear..."
What measure of hearing do you use? That is, to what degree do you open your mind and heart to hear instruction and direction? There are four ways in which all of us choose to listen, which affects how we hear.
Passive Listening • Passive means, "not active, but acted upon." Passive people are generally sluggish and disengaged—believing that "whatever will be, will be." Passive listeners only "purk up" when something is said that has the promise of easing their burdens or bringing more comfort into their lives.
A passive listener is the of kind person who ignores instruction on the importance of changing the oil in their automobile every 3000 miles. They only change it when the car begins to sputter and just before the engine locks up. Again, they don’t act until they are acted upon. Passive listeners labor under a great number of self induced problems because they do nothing in a preemptive manner.
Passive listening produces frustration in any communication process because people who appear to be interested do not follow through to fulfill expectations.
Convenient Listening • Convenient is defined as, "Situated within easy reach." The convenient listener only applies his heart to hear when the information or task is within easy reach. As believers, we have a dilemma: We live in a world that promotes convenience above everything; but we also live in a Kingdom of which Jesus said, "the violent [or aggressive] take it by force" (Matt 11:12). Our American society emphasizes the acquisition of wealth and comfort. This is not to say that wealth and comfort are evil, but it can certainly become a distraction to our spiritual mission, which is often full of inconvenience.
Many of the teachings of our Lord were hard to hear. On one occasion, Jesus said, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you... He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him." (John 6:53, 56). Not only did Jesus provide no room for a convenient relationship with Himself, He called His disciples to enter into a spiritual intimacy of which nothing they had experienced could compare. Many thought that He spoke of cannibalism, and where offended to the point of deciding to no longer walk with Him.
Jesus did not flinch at the response of many of His so-called disciples; "From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more" (John 6:66). Divine communication is uncompromising. Truth is an "all or nothing" proposition. Therefore, the idea of convenience belongs to human nature and not to the divine nature. Convenient listeners will not choose to endure the intensity of relationship required by the Lord, nor will they choose to continue with any human endeavor that requires commitments and responsibilities that threaten their "comfort zone."
Critical Listening • The word "critical" is defined as, "exhibiting the spirit of one who looks for and points out faults and defects." Communication often fails because of critical listening that is more concerned about finding faults than in understanding the content and meaning of the message. Critical listeners are not motivated to learn and grow. Such persons usually develop a self-righteous attitude that does not permit them to objectively consider what others have to say. At the same time, they are usually frustrated with others for not listening to them. Jesus addressed this condition:
"For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the same measure you use, it will be measured back to you. 3] And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? (Matthew 7:2-3)
Hypocrisy can often be found at the root of a critical spirit. To paraphrase, "How can you talk about the tiny particle in another person’s eye, while you have a log hanging out of your own eye? You have a worse problem than the person you are criticizing!" A critical spirit in the midst of any working group makes in difficult to progress because communication involves the principle of positive exchange. A critical spirit must be rooted out before any fruitful progress can be made.
• A critical spirit does not want to be judged by the same standard that he judges others.
• A critic considers himself above others.
A critical spirit should not be confused with "righteous judgment" which is an objective and dispassionate analysis of a person or situation. Proper judgment is based on three items,
1. Factual information: A clear knowledge of actual words or actions.
2. Authoritative revelation: One is in the position to make a judgment—such as a pastor regarding his congregation or as a supervisor over his department.
3. Personal examination: One who examines his own motives and has come to acknowledge his own weaknesses.
JOH 7:24 "Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment."
Active Listening • This should become our goal: To actively listen so that we can "hear" the communication. "Active" is defined: "Not waiting to be acted upon. Prepared to apply what is heard and act on it—regardless of circumstances.
JAM 1:25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.
Active listeners always hear because they are prepared to do what they have heard. According to James, such persons are "blessed" in their efforts. People who rise to positions of authority and responsibility are those have learned to be active listeners. People of strong faith are those who have learned how to listen to God, meditate in the Word of God and allow the Holy Spirit to lead them in every endeavor of life. As Paul said in Romans 10:17, "So the faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God."
While a handful of people may be gifted in being able to retain information that they hear, the vast majority of people must develop their listening skills and learn to value the principles of communication.
Hearing determines altitude (height)
With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you; and to you who hear, more will be given. 25] For whoever has, to him more will be given; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him."
People who hear are in a position to move in the will of God. Jesus plainly said that those who hear will experience an expansion in their lives. The kingdom of God (and life in general) is built on the principle of "seedtime and harvest" which states that each us of us reaps what we have sown. Hearing is a form of sowing, in that, by giving yourself to hear, you reap a condition called "understanding" or "revelation" which is the fruit of knowledge and wisdom. Understanding and revelation allows you to move into new and greater areas of life and ministry.
This is what is meant by the statement "For whoever has, to him more will be given..." Someone might ask, "More of what?" The answer is: "More of everything!"
The person who hears can be entrusted with greater authority and responsibility. People who do not hear and carry out instructions do not advance in any organization. In fact, they are in danger of demotion or dismissal if failing to hear and carry out duties becomes a regular occurrence.
The person who does not hear is always in the process of decline—having less and less entrusted to him and even losing what he has. Failing to hear is a choice that people make which leads to gaining a reputation for being unstabled, inconsistent and "spaced out." As a church leader and overseer to a couple of church related businesses, I know the frustration of discovering that someone has not fulfilled an assignment. I don’t believe in putting every instruction in writing. It is my staff’s responsibility to be clear about what I have said. Often, we build our organizations around the lowest common denominator—which is often those who don’t actively listen.
As christians, we are called to a higher standard. We should not accommodate people in important positions who choose not to hear. I am reminded of the common practice we have as preachers in which we state our sermon text twice. We say, "Turn in your Bibles to Matthew Chapter Ten ...Matthew Chapter Ten." Still someone asks, "What chapter did he say?" People are conditioned to not actively listen to the first instruction, because they know that we will repeat it.
Hearing produces a faithful spirit, which brings you into the "true riches" of God.
LUK 16:11 "Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? 12] And if you have not been faithful in what is another man's, who will give you what is your own?
Since hearing allows one to effectively serve others, it is only a matter of time before an effective person is promoted.
It's easy for people to criticize the earnings and success of professional athletes. Whether this attitude is born of jealousy or some socialist mind-set, I cannot tell.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Wednesday, June 18, 2008 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments
As a former amateur athlete (and I emphasize "former"), I remember often deciding to play with excruciating pain. I can appreciate, in a small way, Tiger Woods' winning the U.S. Open golf championship. Tiger beat a field of 156 golfers, basically on one leg. His best challenger was 45-year-old Rocco Mediate, who was no less determined than Woods.
Interestingly, a new commercial was shown last weekend in which Woods' father, Earl (a former Green Beret), is heard to say, "Tiger, I promise you that you'll never meet another person as mentally tough as you in your entire life." This statement could be dismissed as arrogant, but I understood it as the strategy of a father to instill confidence in his son. I heard similar words from my father.
When Woods prevailed at the Open, we learned that beneath all the wealth, fame and records is a tough-minded young man who earned his way to the top. He also reminded fathers of the positive power of words and high expectations for our children.
A Successful and Fruitful Mission to Nigeria
On early Friday morning, May 30, Jonathan and I returned from Lagos, Nigeria Africa. We had a very fruitful time of ministry as the guests of Pastor George and Ethna Ikwunze of Liberation Assembly Church!
Thursday, June 05, 2008
Thursday, June 05, 2008 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments
There were many accomplishments for this trip including:
1. Strengthened the pastor, leaders and believers at Liberation Assembly Church.
2. Witnessed the salvation of souls during conference.
3. Awarded certificates to the second class of Firm Foundation Institute graduates (first class was recognized in December of 2007).
4. Had the opportunity to see the powerful generator for which contributed $4000 to help purchase in 2006.
5. Rode in the beautiful Oldsmobile mini-van that was donated and shipped to Lagos by Pastor William Bumphus.
6. Captured high quality photo documentation, as well as High Definition video footage.
7. Traveled outside Lagos to Legun Village. We met the village chief who gave consent for Pastor George to return to hold an outreach/crusade.
8. Jonathan Hudson gained valuable international ministry experience.
9. Met several pastors from the Ikeja region of Lagos, from outside Lagos, and a pastor from Ghana.
10. Met the chairman of Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), an influential network of churches in southern Nigeria, of which Pastor Ikwunze is the Treasurer.
11. Participated in the ordination of another pastor under George Ikwunze, who is recognized as an apostle among his peers.
12. Presented a new Epson video projector to Pastor George for use with Firm Foundation Institute video lectures.
13. Made plans to expand FFI beyond Liberation Assembly, moving classes from Sunday to midweek or Saturday to accommodate other churches and the community. Part of the expansion will involve making a presentation to the PFN.
14. Another part of the expansion plan is to re-develop FFI learning materials to include revised and new lectures on DVD (we had been using Video CDs) along with student binders and lesson guides.
15. We learned on this trip that one of the December FFI graduates was able to land a better job by showing his Firm Foundation Institute Certificate of Completion!
Thank you to all who prayed for and supported our work in Nigeria.
You can view the photos by visiting this link: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11562165@N04/
Reaching out to Nigeria
My son Jonathan and I are visiting Nigeria May 21-29 on a mission trip. This will be my third journey to Nigeria, and the first for him.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Tuesday, May 27, 2008 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments
While Nigeria is most famous for Internet scams, I've come to know the better qualities of the people of this great nation. Nigerians are hard-working, gracious, God-fearing and highly intelligent.
You will not see young men in Lagos hanging out with sagging pants and "talking trash." Since there is no social safety net, everyone works. From the people who push carts to deliver daily fresh water, to the street vendors who rise early to set up shop, it's like Wal-Mart on the streets. Many of those with crippling disabilities show their dignity even when begging is their only option.
Lagos is a city of 18 million people with broken infrastructure and too much government corruption, but I have found that the hearts of many of the people are whole.
Click here to see photos
A productive summer
Another summer is fast approaching as young people finish the school year, as well as graduate from high school and college. (Congrats to my youngest son, Jonathan, for completing his B.A. from Ball State.)
Monday, May 12, 2008
Monday, May 12, 2008 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments
For students not attending year-round schools, summer can become unproductive if they are not encouraged to participate in enriching experiences. Again this summer, there are many positive options for young people. Here are some links of interest:
Marion County Commission on Youth: www.mccoyouth.org.
Freetown Village: www.freetown.org.
Save the Youth: www.savetheyouth.org.
Library Summer Reading Series: www.imcpl.org.
Multimedia In Focus Media Camp: www.visionmultimedia.org.
If you know of other great summer programs for youth, share your links.
The Bible says, "Judas hanged himself ... go and do likewise." This is a very disturbing statement until you realize that these two phrases are used out of context from unrelated passages.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Tuesday, April 29, 2008 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments
It seems that context is sorely lacking in this political cycle when we would rather summarize people and their conditions in 30 seconds or less. With all the information resources at our disposal, many folks are either too lazy or too myopic to look a little deeper for understanding. At the cinema, we expend greater effort to understand the context of a movie plot than we do in seeking to understand the deeper context of a person's life.
An unwillingness to listen and learn from context makes us guilty of Proverbs 13:18, "Spouting off before listening to the facts is both shameful and foolish."
The perils of religious legalism
While reading the Bible recently, I came to the story of a man who Christ healed. This man got up and walked away carrying his makeshift bed (John 5:9-11). It was a great moment in this man's life and an amazing occurrence for those who witnessed it.
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Sunday, April 13, 2008 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments
However, there was a problem. Some religious leaders criticized the man for carrying his bed on the Sabbath. Apparently, both Jesus and this man failed to realize their "error." Because of a distorted, legalistic view of the Sabbath, it was forbidden to carry any items on that day. The Sabbath was supposed to be a day of rest and celebration. It was never God's intent to forbid helping people in need. Jesus demonstrated his disdain for unhelpful traditions by healing the man on that day.
To this day, legalistic people and institutions continue to attack people for "carrying their beds" while failing to recognize God's grace in action. Religion without a relationship with God and love for people is ineffective at best, and harmful at worst. To often, we embrace petty unbiblical rules more than reaching out to serve others.
"Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that." (Mark 7:13)
The significance of Christ's resurrection
Jesus' resurrection is the single most significant event in human history.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Tuesday, March 18, 2008 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments
At the core of our human nature is the tendency to act in a manner that displeases God. This sinful nature is part of our "spiritual DNA" that we inherited from our progenitors, going all the way back to Adam and Eve.
Christ's sinless nature, by virtue of his miraculous conception and virgin birth, opened the door to all humanity to receive a "new birth" resulting in a new nature within. Jesus' resurrection from the dead is significant because it demonstrated his triumph over "enemy number one", death resulting from sin and Satan's deception.
Since his resurrection, Jesus has "all authority in heaven and earth." He can give you new life and new hope. The old saying is true: "Born once, die twice. Born twice, die once." Learn more at www.newcovenant.org
"I am a Leader" - Affirmations of Expectation
While doing some research for an upcoming leadership training session, I discovered the following list of affirmations by Myles Munroe. As a statement of our present practice, this list is a little intimidating. However, as a statement of our personal expectation, it is encouraging. Enjoy!
Saturday, March 08, 2008
Saturday, March 08, 2008 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments
1. I possess a deep guiding purpose
2. I have a clear vision
3. I love to serve others
4. I have established specific goals
5. I cultivate my spiritual reserves
6. I am teachable
7. I am constantly refining my skills
8. I am tolerant
9. I am honest and sincere with integrity
10. I communicate my vision
11. I am an avid reader
12. I maximize time
13. I am enthusiastic toward life
14. I believe in the worth and value of others
15. I keep myself in the best condition possible
16. I embrace responsibility carefully
17. I am daring
18. I am decisive
19. I am result oriented
20. I am committed to excellence
21. I learn from my mistakes
22. I measure myself against myself
[From Myles Munroe, Becoming a Leader: Everyone Can Do It-Workbook (Bakersfield, CA: Pneuma Life Publishing, 1993), p. 59.]
How Asking God Shapes our Desire
Monday, January 14, 2008
Monday, January 14, 2008 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments
Matthew 7:7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.
James 4:1, Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? 2 You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures
The source of both our greatest problems and greatest solutions resides within us. Our biggest obstacle is not with people, or even the devil, but with ourselves. Plato wrote, "The sole cause of wars and revolutions and battles is nothing other than the body and its desires." While desire is at the root of all the evils which ruin life and divide men, desire is also the most powerful motivation for choosing to live a victorious life.
James characterizes this conflict of competing desires as “wars” and “fights.” The solution to resolving this inner conflict is as simple as this: “Ask God.” The scripture says that "we have not, because we ask not."
Jesus said that we should "ask, seek and knock." These are levels of confidence in receiving from God. Asking builds confidence in our relationship with God. Seeking and finding confirms God as our source. Knocking represents a stable relationship where we know that access is always granted.
Asking God is the gateway to restoration, blessing and correction in the area of our desires. By asking, we reach to God for help. This has the effect of re-shaping and transforming our desires.
Implicit in asking is humility, and an acknowledgment of our inability to faithfully follow God without His grace. Asking puts us in a special place where God has complete access to us.
• Asking reveals our desires motivations
• Asking shows our priorities
• Asking shapes our future purpose
• Asking unveils our need
In 2008, let's make out aim to ask of God and trust Him to perform His will. When we ask, we allow Him to shape our desires and eliminate the conflicts that arise from selfish ambitions.
Click here to listen to my message from 1/16/2008 titled, "Asking God."
A Firm Foundation for 2008
Some benefits of a firm foundation:
Wednesday, January 02, 2008
Wednesday, January 02, 2008 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments
- A solid place on which to build
- A standard of excellence in a world of defeat and compromise
- A safe place
- A secure standard for personal identity
- A starting point when setbacks occur
16 So this is what the Sovereign LORD says: "See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who trusts will never be dismayed. 17 I will make justice the measuring line and righteousness the plumb line; hail will sweep away your refuge, the lie, and water will overflow your hiding place.Jesus taught about the importance of a good foundation
48He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. 49But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete."Paul offered instruction on foundations for the future
1 Timothy 6:18-20
18Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life. 20Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge
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