20 Bible Reading Plans for the New Year

Wednesday, December 30, 2009 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

Read the Bible

Following a reading plan is a great way to make the Bible part of your daily life. YouVersion has 20+ plans, with options for customization and support to help you stay on track. See what God reveals to you when you spend time in Scripture each day.



21-Day Growth Challenge: "Growing Deeper, Higher & Closer in Christ"

Wednesday, December 30, 2009 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

I trust that you have been blessed by my daily postings since the first of October. It is a joy to serve you and inspire you through the Word of God. I'm going to take the blog in a different direction beginning January 3, 2010. On that day, I am leading our congregation and friends to a special 21-day growth challenge titled: "Growing Deeper, Higher, Wider & Closer in Christ Jesus." Two of the key scriptures for this journey from Ephesians (New Living Translation):
Eph. 1:15 Ever since I first heard of your strong faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for God’s people everywhere, 16 I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, 17 asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. 18 I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance. 
Eph. 4:16 He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.

One definition of "challenge" is: "To arouse or stimulate especially by presenting with tasks." This 21-day growth challenge will include a daily reading, a special prayer (with fasting for certain days), and a simple "action item" to encourage us become a "doers" of the Word. It should not take more than 1/2 hour to complete each day's tasks. It's going to be a joyous and fruitful journey together!

Be sure to subscribe to my blog so that you can automatically receive each day's post to your email. Are you ready for a fruitful 2010? Get on board!


New Covenant Church Announcements

Monday, December 28, 2009 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments


Living Your Testimony

Sunday, December 27, 2009 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

Revelation 12:10-12 (NKJV)  10 Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. 11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.

When the text states that the saints overcame by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, it is not simply referring to the words that are spoken. A testimony is about living a life that pleases God.

What does it mean when it says that they did not love their lives? It did not mean that they had self-hatred. It meant that they did not love their natural lives and the things they had accumulated more than loving God.

Example: Think about people who join the armed forces. While there are benefits to serving in the military, and no one joins the military simply to go to war, military people have a special commitment to our country. If this commitment was not understood when a person joined the military, it was understood during the training. As a member of the military, one really cannot love his life because the possibility of being deployed will bring separation from the things that one likes and the people that one loves.

This is similar to living your testimony. You can live a great life, but you cannot love your life because your commitment to Christ may separate you from things and people for seasons of time.

Your testimony places specific demands on your life, but the rewards of blessed and changed lives makes it all worthwhile!


Wishing for a Three-Day Long Christmas Day

Saturday, December 26, 2009 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

Christmas may be the only day of the year when virtually everyone slows down, sits down, prays together, and gathers more closely with the people who are most dear to us. Of course, some don't have that opportunity because of circumstances or distance.

Yesterday, the Hudson household, including Dad, gathered at my oldest son's home. We cheerfully opened gifts that we wrapped mostly the night before. We shared an excellent meal prepared by my wife and oldest daughter.

Our next major agenda item was playing Wii tennis, golf, a trivia game, and darts. (I bought the Wii for our "house," not for myself, mind you.) This was my first time playing any type of video game, so I have to admit to having a little fun in the midst of my mostly very serious and task-filled life.  We then tried to play an "old school" game, Pictionary, but our intellectual capacities were so diminished from playing Wii, until we couldn't think well enough to draw recognizable pictures. We, and our diminished minds, when back to playing Wii.

Today, I'm back to work and wishing Christmas Day was at least three days long.

P.S. -  I ordered a new Wii golf game from Amazon.com for the "house" Wii console.


The Innkeeper's Mistake: Too Crowded for Christ, Too Busy for a Blessing

Friday, December 25, 2009 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:6-8 (NIV)

Jesus was born in a manger because there was no room for Joseph and his pregnant wife, Mary, at the inn. A manger was a stone or wooden container for feeding animals. I suggest that if the innkeeper wanted to accommodate a VIP, he could have found room in his inn. As it was, he was too crowded for Christ and too busy for a blessing.

The innkeeper symbolizes the condition of the hearts of people. Too often, we fail to recognize the importance of God's purposes. When Jesus Christ should be treated as a VIP and welcomed at the inn of our hearts, too often He is relegated to the "manger" of our lesser priorities.  In the plan of God, we know that Jesus being born in a manger symbolized man's sin and Christ's humility.

The innkeeper was a busy man, probably enjoying the best business he had seen in years because of the census ordered by Caesar Augustus. People had to return to their home towns to be counted. It was like getting a hotel room during the NCAA Final Four or the Indy 500 when rates are higher and VIPs get preferential treatment.

If being too busy dulls our sensitivity to God, we might miss the significance of God's purposes and make the same mistake as the innkeeper. For this Christmas season and at all times, make room at the inn of your heart for Christ.

~ Pastor Bryan Hudson


Rise With Jesus, Fall Without Him

Wednesday, December 23, 2009 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

Luke 2:25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord's Christ. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courtsWhen the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: 29 "Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,  you now dismiss[d] your servant in peace. 30 For my eyes have seen your salvation, 31 which you have prepared in the sight of all people, 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles  and for glory to your people Israel." 33 The child's father and mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: "This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 

Simeon was a remarkable man whom the Bible calls "righteous and devout." We don't know much about Simeon beyond this text, but it is clear that he had a very significant role in the plan of God. Not only was he the priest who consecrated our Lord Jesus when he was eight days old, God used him to confirm the purpose for Christ's coming and to further establish His earthly authority and purpose.

Simeon was also a man of extraordinary faith and sensitivity to the Spirit of God. He heard the Spirit tell him that he would not die until he saw the Lord's Christ, or Messiah. Simeon was a profoundly spiritual man who understood that Jesus came to bring salvation, light to the Gentiles, and glory to the people of Israel. Interestingly, in a time when Gentiles were not regarded with favor among Jews, Simeon recognized that the Savior came to save all people, Jews and Gentiles.

Simeon also told Mary that Jesus was destined to "cause the falling and rising of many in Israel." Simeon could not know what we know today about Jesus. Today, we know that Jesus not only changes hearts and lives, but His coming even changed how we reckon time. We recognize history in terms of B.C. "Before Christ" and A.D. "Anno Domini," Latin for "In the year of our Lord.

Simply stated, Jesus changes everything! He is Lord of all!

What people do with Jesus determines if they rise or if they fall. Those who receive Jesus and follow God’s Word will rise and thrive! Jesus said, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will[b] ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. (John 15:5-7)

People who neglect Jesus, even though they may be famous, talented, influential, or wealthy, are destined to fall. Success cannot only be measured in natural terms. True success is found in rising with Jesus Christ.

Are you ready to rise? Do you know people who are falling down? Jesus can make them rise again!


Got a Prophecy to Give? Ask a Question!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

Deuteronomy 18:19 If anyone does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name, I myself will call him to account. 20 But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded him to say, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, must be put to death." 21 You may say to yourselves, "How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the LORD ?"

There was a time when bringing an inaccurate prophetic utterance resulted in grave consequences (pardon the pun!). However, that day is NOT today.

A lot of words have been spoken in the name of the Lord that the Lord has not spoken. Too often people are allowed to get away with making erroneous utterances with neither scriptural judgment by others (I Cor. 14:29-32), nor correction when it is needed. Today, prophecy is intended mainly for the purposes of "edification, exhortation, and comfort." (1 Cor. 14:3)

There is also the problem of people attempting to "discern" the hearts and minds of others. I can recall sad occasions when believers, as well as myself, have drawn wrong conclusions based on something "heard" or "sensed." I was once told that I had lost my "motivation" for ministry, when in reality I was struggling through a difficult season looking for God's direction.

Here's some advice: When you feel like you know something, or that the Lord is showing you something about someone else, ASK THAT PERSON A QUESTION!

If you ask a good question based on your concerns or probable leading from the Lord, you will gain understanding on the matter and be more effective in ministering to others. Simply proceeding on the basis of what one thinks "God said" is not more important than the reality of another person's situation.

In essence, we have placed too much emphasis on the Old Testament order of prophets speaking to people on God's behalf, when under the New Testament order, we have God speaking to us through Jesus Christ, the Word of God, and by the Holy Spirit.

God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds (Hebrews 1:1-2)

When we keep Jesus in view, and loving people at the core of our approach, everything will work better!


Hope and a Future for Incarcerated Teens

Monday, December 21, 2009 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

Jeremiah 29:11(NIV) For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Yesterday a group of believers from New Covenant Church went to the Juvenile Detention Center in Indy to minister to a group of young men. The "Juvenile Center," as we call it, is essentially a jail for teenagers. We've had a team ministering at that institution for more than 18 years, but I had not been to the institution for a number of years.

We had a great time singing Christmas songs, giving gifts, sharing poetry, testimonies, and offering a Gospel message by one of our ministers. When I rose to invite young men to know Christ, I shared the Scripture from Jeremiah 29:11. I asked two questions of the young man: The first question was "What is a plan?" The young men easily answered that question.

I then asked the question, "What is hope?" Interestingly, no one had a ready answer to that question. I realized that since many of these teens had become trapped in a lifestyle of crime early in life, they had not developed a positive sense of hope. While incarceration is often necessary, it is not conducive to a hope-filled heart and mind.

I defined hope as a positive expectation. Hope is a picture of a preferred future.  While Jeremiah 29:11 did not directly speak to young men in jail, the Lord wanted them to know the meaning of His message to Israel in captivity. God also has a plan for them and that plan did not include a life of crime and living inside of the juvenile justice system, only to "graduate" to the adult justice system.

God knows the plan he has for people, and that plan includes "a future and a hope." It was very interesting to see the young men quickly take hold of a message of hope, even inside of a place that affords very little hope.

The Gospel is the power God unto salvation. We prayed with about six young men to receive Christ. We encouraged all of them to know that through God they could change "systems."

Having a future and a hope involves a change in systems, a change of surroundings, and a change in mindset. What is true for incarcerated young men is true for everyone. God can give us a hope that cannot be found in any other environment. There is a preferred future painted as a beautiful picture by Almighty God.

Jesus Christ gave His life to change our future, change our systems, and create a hope in us that will not disappoint.


Community Christmas Outreach | Gifts for Latino Family in Indy

Saturday, December 19, 2009 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



Saturday, December 19, 2009 Bryan Hudson 1 Comments

We often enjoy a song without full regard to the lyrics. The 2002 live recording of the song "Hosanna" performed by Kirk Franklin's choir and band is a musically and vocally rich tune. More important is the message conveyed by the music.  Below are the lyrics that blessed me during recent devotional time:

Lyrics by Kirk Franklin ©2002

The angels bow down at the thought of You
The darkness gives way to the light for You
The price that you paid gives us life brand New
Hosanna forever we worship You
Hosanna forever we worship You [2x]

For you are the joy that my soul longs for
The lamb that was slain for my sins and the One I adore
King of kings, Ruler of everything
Hosanna forever we worship You
Hosanna forever we worship You [2x]

For your patience and kindness
And favor and mercy
And honor and glory
Because you are worthy
We can't live without You
We can't breathe without You
We can't sing without You
Hosanna Hosanna

No greater love in this world but You
No one can compare to the things You do
Wherever You go I will follow You
Hosanna forever we worship You
Hosanna forever we worship You

Someday every tongue shall confess Your name
This house made of clay soon shall pass away
Whatever the test You will bring us through

Hosanna forever we worship You [4x]


The Power of Plans

Friday, December 18, 2009 Bryan Hudson 2 Comments

As you think about 2010 or other items that requires motivation and planning, my outline below from a teaching on the subject may be an encouragement to you, as well as scriptural food for thought:
Jer. 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD , "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. (NIV)
Psalm 20 (NIV), 3] May he remember all your sacrifices and accept your burnt offerings. Selah 4] May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed. 5] We will shout for joy when you are victoriousand will lift up our banners in the name of our God. May the LORD grant all your requests.
Proverbs 12:5, The plans of the righteous are just, but the advice of the wicked is deceitful. 
Proverbs 16:3, Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed. 
Proverbs 16:9, In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.

"Plan" Defined:
  1. a method of doing something that is worked out usually in some detail before it is begun and that may be written down in some form or simply retained in memory
  2. something that somebody intends or has arranged to do (often used in the plural)
  3. a drawing or diagram showing the layout, arrangement, or structure of something
  4. a list, summary, or diagram that shows how the items that make up something such as a piece of writing or an organized meeting are to be arranged

  1. To work out in advance and in some detail how something is to be done or organized
  2. To intend or to make arrangements to do something
  3. To make a scale drawing of something, especially a building

Plans require deliberation, resolve, will, consultation and determination. These are not disciplines that we usually practice. We are often content to “go with the flow,”  and “follow the crowd.”

Three reasons why plans have power:

1. Plans are a reflection of God’s nature. He plans according to His own purpose. Every plan needs a purpose. The King James uses the word purpose for plan.
EPH 3:9, and to make all people see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; 10] to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, 11] according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord,
Jesus operated with plans and purpose. He was very sensitive to His Father’s direction for His life.
Mark 1:35, Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed. 36]  And Simon and those who were with Him searched for Him. 37]  When they found Him, they said to Him, "Everyone is looking for You." 38] But He said to them, "Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also, because for this purpose I have come forth."
John 12:27, "Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? 'Father, save Me from this hour'? But for this purpose I came to this hour.

2. Plans release God’s provision, providence and perspective. Plans remove ambiguity and confusion. Plans remove the influence of foolishness and unfocused people. Plans bring a “weight of glory” upon your life.
Romans 8:28, And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
2 Timothy 3:8-11 (NIV) 8] Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these men oppose the truth–men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected. 9] But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone. 10] You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, 11] persecutions, sufferings–what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them.
Paul spoke about the importance of plans
2Cor. 1:17, Therefore, when I was planning this, did I do it lightly? Or the things I plan, do I plan according to the flesh, that with me there should be Yes, Yes, and No, No? 18] But as God is faithful, our word to you was not Yes and No.

3. Plans give expression to the call of God upon our lives.
2Tim. 1:9, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which time began, 
Tools you need to plan:
  1. Bible
  2. Prayer (Supplication, dedication, intercession)
  3. Calendar (Redeem the “kairos” time)
  4. Means to record and retrieve notes (notebook, planner, computer)
  5. Education (specific learning and research)


Joy in Challenging Times

Thursday, December 17, 2009 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

Psalm 16:11 (NIV), You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence,  with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Challenging times will test your joy. This is especially true when you are unsure of your "path of life," or the will of God. As David plainly states, in the presence of God, we are filled with joy.

I remember many years ago feeling deeply troubled about a situation. As a result of dwelling in the "presence" of that situation emotionally and mentally, my joy began to slip away. So I took a long walk in the early evening on a summer night.

As I walked and prayed, the burden of the situation seemed to grow heavier. I remember reaching a certain point about two miles from home standing under a street light. Suddenly, an overwhelming sense of joy and hope swept over me!

In my heart and mind, as I moved away from the presence of the circumstances, and moved into the presence of God, it was only a matter of time before joy "caught up" to me under that street light.

I like think of joy in two ways: Inward and Outward. Inward joy is what you know. Outward joy is how you respond.

INWARD JOY is an inward satisfaction that your are living in the will of God and are pleasing God.

OUTWARD JOY is be glad and rejoice in the victories and triumphs that one has received.

Some Sources of Joy

  • Joy comes from abiding in the presence of the Lord. Ps. 16:11
  • Joy comes from discovering the will of God through His Word. John 15:11; Jer. 15:16
  • Joy is part of the Kingdom of God (“thy kingdom come”). Rom. 14:17
  • Joy is a “fruit” or characteristic of the Holy Spirit within our spirit. Gal. 5:22
  • Victorious outcomes magnify joy


Christmas Outreach Update | Sharing the Love of Jesus!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

This evening at 6:30pm, we are wrapping gifts for the individuals, families and institutions that we will bless for this year's Christmas outreach. We will also have a special time of prayer for the recipients of gifts.

This weekend we will deliver the gifts, offer prayer, and share the Gospel with individuals and families. Thanks to Candase Cornett and our Share Team for organizing the outreach and doing the shopping. Thanks to the New Covenant Church family for your support!

[Video of 2008 Outreach]


Ethnicity, Culture, Nationality and Heaven

Wednesday, December 16, 2009 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

Revelation 7:9,  "After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. 10And they cried out in a loud voice: "Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne,and to the Lamb."

It is interesting that in our society we find ways to create divisions between people. Because of differences in ethnicity, language and customs, this becomes an excuse for some to assign either "superiority" or "inferiority" to oneself or to others.

From heaven's perspective, God celebrates our differences because it is the expression of His creative power. I'm always amused when people try to take the view that God is "color blind" and that we should also be "color blind," as if there was something wrong with acknowledging one's ethnicity and heritage. Rather than confront one's own prejudices, or self-hatred, with race and ethnicity, people try to dismiss it as something that is beneath believers and something to be avoided.

This text clearly shows us that IN HEAVEN God recognizes the nationality, language, ethnicity, and heritage of the people He created. Well, if God has no problem recognizing and celebrating our diverse human culture in heaven, we should have no problem doing so on earth. I thank God for my African ancestry, and I thank God for my American culture and nationality. Nothing in the recognition of my ethnicity and nationality diminishes my standing in Jesus Christ and my love and acceptance of all people, and especially my brothers and sisters in Christ from all walks of life.

Hiding from one's identity, or insisting that it is insignificant, just so that persons who are conflicted may feel more comfortable is not God's way. Again look at heaven and realize this is a picture that we should portray here on earth.

Said another way: We should love our neighbors as we love ourselves.


Go Shine for Christ Today

Tuesday, December 15, 2009 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

Philippians 2:14 In everything you do, stay away from complaining and arguing, 15 so that no one can speak a word of blame against you. You are to live clean, innocent lives as children of God in a dark world full of crooked and perverse people. Let your lives shine brightly before them

In a world of darkness, it should not be difficult for believers to stand out in a positive way. A Straight line in the midst of divergent and crooked lines should appear obvious.  Even a dim light becomes very noticeable in the midst of darkness.

The text is indicating that it is not difficult for believers to have a positive impact in this world. It is not as difficult as you might suppose.

Our primary challenge is to do nothing to distract from the testimony of Jesus Christ. People have come to expect the worst from Christians and preachers many times. However, in their hearts they long to see a people who reflect the integrity, power and grace that they sense is in Christ Jesus.

Today and everyday, allow the Lord to help you to be that person that the world is dying to see.



Monday, December 14, 2009 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

1 Tim. 6:12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

Paul exhorted Timothy, and us, to fight the good fight of faith. He gave the reason when he stated, “Lay hold on eternal life.” This is not a call to salvation. It is a call to vitality, victory and vision.

  • Vitality because the life of God is the true power behind everything we do. 
  • Victory because are calling will be witnessed by many people
  • Vision because we walk by faith, not by sight.

When I read the words “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life,” a single word comes to my mind: PURSUE

There must come a time when we cease to struggle in pursuit of the things of this world and began to pursue the life and purpose of the Lord.
Romans 14:19 Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.
When people live in the kingdom of this world, their pursuits are driven by worldly needs and appetites. When people live in the kingdom of God their pursuits are driven by the purposes of God and the character of Christ.

Romans 14 offers a very different perspective from Old Testament days. Rather than pursuing enemies in order to destroy them, the text states that we should pursue things that make for peace. We also should be focused on  building up one eanother.

1 Thessalonians 5:15 See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all.
In first Thessalonians we begin to see the contrast between the old order and the new order. In the old order people rendered evil for evil, and sought to bring retribution. In the new order we pursue peace and a good outcome for ourselves and for others. In other words, we are seeking a win-win proposition, not win-lose, lose-win, or lose-lose.
1 Peter 3:11 Let him turn away from evil and do good; Let him seek peace and pursue it.
Hebrews 12:14 Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:

Click here to listen to my message: "Pursue!"


The Lost Art of Loyalty

Sunday, December 13, 2009 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

"As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a loyal heart and with a willing mind; for the LORD searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever." 1 Chronicles 28:9

Loyalty defined: The state of being true or faithful in allegiance; faithful to the lawful government, to a prince or superior; true to plighted faith, duty, or love; not treacherous; constant.

David told Solomon to serve God with a loyal heart and a willing mind. What did it mean to have a loyal heart? It meant that Solomon needed to maintain a clarity of purpose and a sharp focus on the commands and direction of both the Lord and his father/leader, David. He needed to maintain proper relationships vertically with God and horizontally with people. Solomon needed to know the spirit of those who came along side.

As David discovered, if a leader is not paying attention, an Absalom may arise to stand by the gate of the king's court to "steal the hearts of the people," (2 Samuel 15:6) divert their attention to another agenda and cause a spirit of distrust and lack of confidence to build against the senior leader. As the apostle Paul said, "...divisions must come among you, that those who are approved may be made manifest..." At the point of "di-vision" (another vision, separate from the stated vision) and separation, all the lines of disloyalty appear, even to the extent that people who are not directly involved, but are not loyal in heart, are negatively affected.

Some keys to restoring a loyal heart include:

1. Faithfulness to God-ordained relationships and purposes
2. Repentance and restitution for injuries caused by lies, gossip and false judgments
3. Understanding one's own gifts, grace and measure in the body of Christ and working within them
4. Submitting to spiritual authority as unto the Lord
5. Reading and living out the Word of God
6. Strengthening and supporting your local church/leaders and thereby enhance the larger church
7. Resolve conflicts and problems by the Word going to those with whom we have a problem.
8. Publicly and privately vocalizing support for leadership


New Covenant Church Announcements December 12

Saturday, December 12, 2009 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments


Flee and Pursue

Saturday, December 12, 2009 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

1 John 5: 20 And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. 21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.

Since believers have so much in Jesus, why did John write, "Keep yourselves from idols"? William Barclay's commentary offers the following explanations of the word "idol."

(i) In Greek the word idol has in it the sense of unreality. This may well mean, as Westcott has it, "Keep yourselves from all objects of false devotion."

(ii) An idol is anything in this life which men worship instead of God and allow to take the place of God. A man may make an idol of his money, of his career, of his safety, of his pleasure. Again to quote Westcott: "An idol is anything which occupies the place due to God."

(iii) It is likely that John means something more definite than either of these two things. It was in Ephesus that he was writing, and it was of conditions in Ephesus that he was thinking. It is likely that he means simply and directly, "Keep yourselves from the pollutions of heathen worship." No town in the world had so many connections with the stories of the ancient gods; and no town was more proud of them.

Paul wrote in 1 Tim. 6:9-12,  "But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses."

There are things from which we should "flee" and there are things that we should "pursue."

FLEE: What three things/activities sometimes occupy the place of God in your life? What things use up time, money and focus that should be directed towards God?

PURSUE: What are three the things that you are presently pursuing in relation to what God wants you to do?

“Pursue” is a faith-filled word in relation to the things of God.


Fathers: Don't Make Your Children Angry

Friday, December 11, 2009 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

Ephesians 6:1 Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do. 2 "Honor your father and mother." This is the first of the Ten Commandments that ends with a promise. 3 And this is the promise: If you honor your father and mother, "you will live a long life, full of blessing." 4 And now a word to you fathers. Don't make your children angry by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction approved by the Lord.

Clearly, children should obey their parents. Honoring parents is fundamental to God's plan. Children that obey their parents also learn how to obey God. Obedience and honoring brings the promise of living a long and fruitful life.

Those of us who are parents also need to obey our "Parent," Father God, in order to provide proper guidance to our children. The text gives an example of the importance of fathers not being overly harsh or unfair in the treatment of their children.

Children, like adults, can detect inequity and an uncaring spirit. Too many parents, and fathers, "rant and rave" or spank children out of frustration. How would you feel if someone shouted at you or breathed threats against you? Being a parent is no license for disrespecting our own children.

Making children angry by our irrational actions only causes them to miss important lessons in personal discipline and instruction.


Jesus: The Husband's Standard of Love

Thursday, December 10, 2009 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

Ephesians 5:25 And you husbands must love your wives with the same love Christ showed the church.

With all the challenges that married couples experience, there is nothing more liberating than the love of God.

Some husbands want to emphasize the Scripture that enjoins their wives to be submitted to them. Others want to emphasize the specific roles of husbands and wives within a marriage relationship. In a marital relationship the best response to all of the questions that we face is "all of the above," not only the advice or parts of Scripture that support our position.

For husbands, our very best response, and the item to place at the top of the list should be, "...Love your wives with the same love Christ showed to the church."

No one, and no wife, will have a problem with the man who walks in the same love that Jesus showed to His church. We create problems for people when we walk in our own understanding and in our own strength.

Brothers, let us study the life of the Lord Jesus Christ and seek to follow his example of loving with deeds and truth.


Keep the Sin Out

Wednesday, December 09, 2009 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

Ephesians 5:3, Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God's people. 4 Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes – these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God. 5 You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is really an idolater who worships the things of this world.

It should go without saying, but needs to be said: Sexual immorality, impurity, and greed have no place in the life of a believer.

The Bible states that when persons commit sexual sin, they sin against their own body: "Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body." (1 Corinthians 6:18)

What this means is that something in the physical body and soul are damaged when persons, including Christians, commit sexual sins.

The reason this has to be said is because we live in a society that condones immoral behavior and every one of us is affected by the culture in which we live.

Paul goes on to highlight other behaviors such as obscene talk. Paul also provides the alternative to such behaviors in the form of giving thanks to God. Thanksgiving brings light into our environment and to our minds. Sin and a lack of thanksgiving allows darkness to enter the heart. "For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened" (Romans 1:21)

At the conclusion of today's text, Paul makes the comment that a greedy person, or any person focused on this world more than God, is actually an idolater.

This is straight talk for troubled times. Let us take heed and encourage all believers to obey God's word.


A New Look for a New Life

Tuesday, December 08, 2009 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

Ephesians 5:22 throw off your old evil nature and your former way of life, which is rotten through and through, full of lust and deception. 23 Instead, there must be a spiritual renewal of your thoughts and attitudes. 24 You must display a new nature because you are a new person, created in God's likeness – righteous, holy, and true

It is interesting that even though we are already born-again and new creations in Christ it is necessary to "throw off" the old behaviors.

Because we are new people, it is appropriate to change our surroundings and our mindset. This is like purchasing a house and going in to take out leftover trash, repaint the walls, and remove all items that related to the previous owner.

A new life needs a new look, a new mindset, and a fresh vision.

Most importantly, we need to look like Jesus Christ, live holy, and reflect his character to everyone around us.


Surprise! Tiger Woods is a sinner

Monday, December 07, 2009 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

Like everyone, I was disappointed to read about the confessed infidelity of Tiger Woods. Greatly disappointed, but not surprised.

I consider Tiger the greatest golfer of all time, even greater than the great Jack Nicklaus. However, recent allegations and admissions have tarnished Tiger. He will suffer more because of his air of invincibility. He will also suffer because it is the nature of our society to place exceptional people high on pedestals, then savage them when they stumble or fall.

While we know better than to look to athletes as role models in non-athletic areas, Tiger seemed to be an exception to that rule. His relationship with his late father continues to provide a great example of a father/son relationship. His current family status seemed to be ideal until late November 2009.

Now that we know the man is a sinner, like all people, its time to show mercy and pray for Tiger Woods and his family.

When you feel tempted to pile on, remember these words from John 8:7, [Jesus] said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at [him] first.”


Win the Battle for Your Mind

Monday, December 07, 2009 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man .... I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin. (Romans 7:22, 25)

“Be renewed in the spirit of our mind...” (Ephesians 4:23)

The excerpts of scripture shown above highlight the power of our thinking. While the new birth occurred in our hearts, renewal happens in our minds. The mind is often the battleground, the place where progress is either won or lost.

Below are some scriptures and suggested affirmations to help build your faith and develop/maintain a victorious mindset:

1. Mortify my mind; Romans 8:5-8,12-14
“Carnality does not control my lifestyle. My mind is the property of Jesus. Satan, keep your hands off! I am dead to sin and alive to God. I am dead to things carnal and alive to things spiritual. I am a debtor to the Holy Spirit who gave me life”.

2. Clear my mind; 1 John 3:11-12
“I clear from my mind of thoughts of anger, envy and disappointment at others. I give place for the peace of God to flood my mind. Jesus, you are my peace. I dig up seeds of bitterness and cast them away. I have the mind of Christ”. (Heb. 12:14-15; 1 Cor. 2:16)

3. Renew my mind; Ephesians 4:23
“I have the power through my Lord Jesus Christ to replace wrong thought patterns with thoughts that please God. I can root out, pluck down, throw down and destroy anything in me that is not of God. I can build and plant anything that is of God”. (Jer. 1:10)

4. Set my mind; Colossians 3:1-4
“I am a decisive person by the grace of God. My mind taps into to riches of God’s wisdom, knowledge and understanding. My mind is innovative, creative and productive in every purpose of God. I and disciplined in my thought life and repel every fiery dart from Satan”.

5. Focus my mind; Romans 6:16-18
“I see clearly what I must do. There is no cloud of confusion in me. My mind will grasp everything I need to know. I cast down imaginations and opinions born of pride. My mind is the tool and servant of my Lord Jesus Christ!”

6. Guard my mind; Proverbs 4:10-26
“I guard my mind from the seeds of Satan. My mind is the gateway to my heart and I will protect the treasure of God’s Word in me. The cares of this world; the deceitfulness of riches; and the lusts of other things will not choke the Word in me. God’s healing power dominates my body and mind. The forces of the life of God flows out of me to bless others”. (Mark 4:19)


By Grace Through Faith

Sunday, December 06, 2009 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.

When you hear the word “faith,” it can have two meanings.
  1. "Faith A" is your doctrine and your system of beliefs.
  2. "Faith B" is believing in your heart and acting on the promises and instructions of the Word of God.

So, "Faith A” is “What I believe” and "Faith B” is “What I do.” You need both A and B, because A without B lacks power. The problem with only believing is that sets up a condition in self-deception in people since believing without doing is the basis of religious works and operating in our own strength. This is no better than Israel in Exodus 32:
Now when the people saw that Moses delayed coming down from the mountain, the people gathered together to Aaron, and said to him, “Come, make us gods that shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.

If we are not learning about, and believing the Word of God, and then acting in line with God’s word, we are making our own gods to lead us, in some form or fashion.

Again, Ephesians 2:8-9 reads, “For by GRACE you have been saved THROUGH FAITH, and that NOT OF YOURSELVES; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”

If we are not operating on the principle of “Grace Through Faith” then we are operating on the principle of “Yourselves.”

This is why living by faith is so important. Believing God’s word and trusting in God’s grace causes us to know "Him Who is true." It also keeps us from making our own gods, or what John called "idols" (An idol is anything which occupies any place belonging to God.)

1 John 5: 20 And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. 21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.


You are God's Masterpiece!

Saturday, December 05, 2009 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

Ephesians 2:10 For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

You are a masterpiece! One definition of "masterpiece" is: "The most outstanding work of a creative artist or craftsman."

What is God's greatest creation? Is it the atom, the flowers, the oceans, planet Earth, the sun, or the galaxies? None of these amazing items were made in His image and likeness.

You are God's greatest creative work, because He chose to craft people in a manner that would allow us to identify with God and have relationship with Him.

The text states, "He has created us anew in Christ Jesus..." While every person is a masterpiece creation of God, those who have not received Jesus as Savior and Lord are "locked" out of their full potential because of an unregenerate spirit. They look like a masterpiece painting hidden in a basement, discolored and barely recognizable.

Those who have received Jesus as Lord and Savior can fully realize the benefits of redemption and new life. You look like a masterpiece painting only hours after its completion with all its vibrant color and on full display.

The best part is this: You are "unlocked" and now qualify to do all the "good things" that God destined for you before time began.

Live like God's masterpiece, do good work, and give Him all the glory!


Five Characteristics of Effective Prayer

Friday, December 04, 2009 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

by Dr. Karen Hurston

Ephesians 6:18 (Amplified Bible), Pray at all times (on every occasion, in every season) in the Spirit, with all [manner of] prayer and entreaty. To that end keep alert and watch with strong purpose and perseverance, interceding in behalf of all the saints (God's consecrated people).

1. According to God’s will and Word: I John 5:14 One way we can know if we are praying effectively is if we know we are praying according to God’s will and Word. Have one person read 1 John 5:14.

2. Empowered by God’s Holy Spirit: Zechariah 4:6; Romans 8:26 Have someone read Zechariah 4:6, we need to rely on the power of the Holy Spirit in our prayer lives.

3. From a pure heart: Psalm 24:3-4; James 4:1-3; 5:16 Have one person read Psalm 24:3-4, and a different person read James 5:16, we need to live in purity before God if we desire our prayers answered. Point out that elements like unforgiveness, bitterness and resentment can block our prayers.

4. Mixed with thanksgiving: Philippians 4:6; I Timothy 2:1-2 Have one person read Philippians 4:6, a powerful key to prayer is to mix thanksgiving with our prayers to our Father God.

5. Persistent: Luke 18:1-8: I Kings 18:41-45 Since they will be reading the Luke 18 passage at the end of the session, have someone read 1 Kings 18:41-45 as this is an example of a person (Elijah) who persisted in prayer until he saw results.


Insensitivity to Fallen Believers

Thursday, December 03, 2009 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

Galatians 6:1 Dear brothers and sisters, if another Christian is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. 2 Share each other's troubles and problems, and in this way obey the law of Christ.

Rather than helping fellow Christians who have fallen, too often we only criticize them. We say, "How could they do such a thing?" While the text indicates that we should offer restoration, it does not minimize the severity of a transgression. Regardless of the sin committed, God still loves His people.

There are other processes to deal with a transgression, possibly including the criminal justice system, but our focus should remain helping believers get "back on the right path." The Christian community sometimes becomes too focused on handing out judgment and justice, rather than giving a hand.

We must also be aware that our insensitivity to believers who have stumbled or fallen may also weaken our own resolve to resist sin. Arrogance against the faults and sins of others, and permanently isolating them, works against the "Law of Christ" which is the law of unconditional love.

If we were a M.A.S.H. field hospital, believers who entered would rarely leave alive, much less healed.

We can do much better.


Your Greater Reality: Fruitfulness and Following

Wednesday, December 02, 2009 Bryan Hudson 1 Comments

Galatians 5:22 But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. Here there is no conflict with the law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. 25 If we are living now by the Holy Spirit, let us follow the Holy Spirit's leading in every part of our lives.

I remember ministering to a believer many years ago who thought that if he got rid of his television, he would be able to draw closer to God. It was a false reality. While it may be useful to remove distractions from our lives, doing so will not bring us closer to God by itself. The key to living "in" God's presence (not just "closer") is not found in focusing on what we "should not" do. The key is found in focusing on our present spiritual realities.

First of all, when we were born again, both our sins AND sinful nature were nailed to the cross where Jesus gave His life for us 2000 years ago. The provision was made and it became our reality when we trusted Christ as our Savior. That's REAL, not just a concept.

Second, the Holy Spirit is at work in us everyday, helping us manifest (or reveal) the "fruit" or character of Christ as outlined in verses 22-23. Again, this is REAL, not imagined.

Third, we need to simply follow the Holy Spirit's leading. When you visit a national park like the Grand Canyon with its precarious trails, there are experienced, knowledgeable guides to lead you. All you have to do is follow instructions, keep close to your guide, and everything will be fine.

100% of my missteps come from not faithfully following God's instruction and direction. The greater reality is that 100% of my blessings come from living in the fruit of the Spirit and walking by faith in a trustworthy God!


Freedom, Love, and Responsibility

Tuesday, December 01, 2009 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

Galatians 5:13 (NLT) For you have been called to live in freedom – not freedom to satisfy your sinful nature, but freedom to serve one another in love. 14 For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: "Love your neighbor as yourself."

With freedom comes responsibility. In this text, Paul addressed the problem of believers in Christ thinking that legalism, or doing religious works, made persons more acceptable to God. Verse Two reads, "Listen! I, Paul, tell you this: If you are counting on circumcision to make you right with God, then Christ cannot help you."

Of course, living right is very important. However, our means and methods for living in righteousness are not by efforts to keep external regulations in our own strength. Nor do we try to "please God" by our own standards. Our righteousness is the gift of God that was "birthed" within us when we received Christ as Lord and Savior (Romans 3:24). Now we look to God and His Word to reveal in us His character and standard for living. Now we obey God "from the heart." (Romans 6:17)

We WANT to live right because we are free from our old sinful nature. God's love saved us and gave us freedom. Now we choose to make love the basis of our responsibility to God and others.

We use our freedom to serve one another in love.


Trust in God, not Powerful People

Monday, November 30, 2009 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

Psalms 146:1 Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD, I tell myself. 2 I will praise the LORD as long as I live. I will sing praises to my God even with my dying breath. 3 Don't put your confidence in powerful people; there is no help for you there. 4 When their breathing stops, they return to the earth, and in a moment all their plans come to an end.

I remember listening to one of my minister friends many years ago sharing a story during the course of his message. He talked about the tendency for people to "name drop" or bring up the names of important people in a conversation.

In his recounting of the story, someone asked him, "Do you know _____ (name of important person)?" He said, "No." The person asked again, "Do you know_____ (name of another important person)?" Again he said, "No."

He then added, "I know God."

David said, "Don't put your trust in powerful people, there is no help for you there."

I've learned that lesson more than once. Powerful people who do not know God tend to be concerned mostly about preserving their power. Also, the "power" of so-called powerful people is limited to natural things or spiritual darkness.

The most powerful person of all, God (Father, Son, & Holy Spirit), is only concerned about helping you and me.


The Benefits of Hearing After Listening

Sunday, November 29, 2009 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

Mark 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."

Listening and hearing are not always the same thing. While listening is a function of our auditory organs to detect sound waves 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 in many areas of life spiritually, vocationally and relationally. 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. Where 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.

Jesus said that one must have “ears to hear.” This indicates one’s willingness to hear instruction and direction. 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. However, hearing and doing God's Word brings many benefits:

  • Hearing determines aptitude (ability) “If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”
  • Hearing determines attitude (state of mind), "Take heed what [or how] you hear...”
  • 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."


Do the Holy Spirit and the Law Mix?

Saturday, November 28, 2009 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

Galatians 3:2 Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by keeping the law? Of course not, for the Holy Spirit came upon you only after you believed the message you heard about Christ. 3 Have you lost your senses? After starting your Christian lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort?

It is interesting to observe the legalism that seems to creep into the lives and practice of believers. There is sometimes an over-fascination with Old Testament (OT) practices and archetypes including,Tabernacle of Moses, Feast Days, generational curses, priestly garments, various offerings, sabbath keeping, and much more.

The Apostle Paul wrote, "For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope." (Rom. 15:4)

I don't think the "learning" to which Paul is referring deals with Christians learning how to practice OT religion. Certainly, the OT scriptures are the inspired Word of God, but we must keep in mind that the Lord Jesus fulfilled all the laws and archetypes of the OT economy. He has become the embodiment of God's order and purpose for all people, Jews and Gentiles.

The Holy Spirit, who did not indwell OT people, brought us the grace of salvation and new life in Christ. The Spirit of God gave us our start with a new birth resulting from the finished redemptive work of Christ. So let's not act like we have "lost our senses" by putting human efforts, including Old Testament practice, ahead of Jesus and reliance on the Holy Spirit.


Black Friday, Red Monday

Friday, November 27, 2009 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

Proverbs 25:28, He who has no rule over his own spirit is like a broken down city without a wall

The term "Black Friday" was formerly an inside term used by retail businesses. The day after Thanksgiving is the busiest shopping day of the year. It has also become a "de facto" holiday since schools and many other establishments close the day after Thanksgiving.

On Black Friday, and the following holiday shopping season, retailers expect to make big sales, turn a profit and move their financial numbers from the "red" (loss) column to the "black" (profit) column. No longer an inside term, now consumers have embraced the concept of Black Friday with its discounts on goods and the overall giddy atmosphere that goes with shopping for things.

There is nothing wrong with shopping or finding gifts to give to others, so long as Black Friday does not lead to Red Monday. Consumer debt is a huge problem today, even among believers.

As Proverbs says, we should "rule over [our] own spirit" to avoid a broken condition financially. I remember hearing a statement that summarizes the condition to be avoided: "His income is less than his outgo, and his upkeep is his downfall."

Finally, don't neglect to bless the Lord in a special way during this Christmas season!


Happy Thanksgiving to All!

Thursday, November 26, 2009 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

From Pastor Bryan & Patricia Hudson, and Family:
I will give You thanks in the great assembly;
I will praise You among many people. (Psalms 35:18)


DO NOT SIN! If You Sin...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

1 John 2:1, My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous. 2 He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world.

It is always God's will that we do not commit sin. The word "sin" is an archery term that means "miss the mark." Christians do not sin because of an unregenerate heart, but because of disobedience to God in allowing darkness to invade our light. This does not make it "less wrong" than sin committed by unsaved people.

The difference for believers is the Lord Jesus Christ. He is our advocate. An advocate is "one who pleads another's cause." An advocate is like a lawyer. When we repent of any sin. Jesus pleads our cause before God which leads to cleansing and restoration.

Repentance is no casual act. Sin is serious business because it mocks our relationship with God and produces hypocrisy by bringing darkness into light. John wrote in 1 John 1:5-7:

"This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. 6 So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. 7 But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin."

Thank God for Jesus! Stay in the light!


Yoked With Jesus

Monday, November 23, 2009 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

Matthew 11:28, "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."

The yoke of Christ is an invitation to partner with Him. Yokes are used to link oxen together so that they, with less effort, can do the work of plowing fields.

When you take His yoke upon you and begin the work of plowing your fields of life, you will notice that this yoke, unlike any other kind of yoke, is easy. You will also notice that this burden, unlike any other burden, is light. When you ask yourself, “Why is this yoke easy and this burden light?” Look over to your side, and you will see Jesus in the same yoke with you and bearing the same burden with you!

Only when yoked with Jesus will you find rest for your soul – for your mind, will and emotions. Nothing short of receiving Jesus as Savior and Lord, and learning of Him, will make a difference.

What is REST?
R - Repentance from sin, labors and heavy burdens. “Change Your Mind”
E - Expectation of a new life through faith in God and the obedience to the Gospel
S - Salvation by grace through faith and not of yourselves. Receive the gift of God.
T - Testify of the goodness of God. Confess Jesus as your Lord and Savior.


Grace for Relationship with God

Sunday, November 22, 2009 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

Exodus 33:13, Now therefore, I pray, if I have found grace in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You and that I may find grace in Your sight.

Thousands of years ago Moses raised a standard for ministry that placed grace at the center of a growing relationship with God. “Show me your way,” Moses said. “That I may know you and find grace.” It was not enough for Moses to hear God say “you have found grace in my eyes.” He wanted to move into the reality of it. This looks something like the believers who gathered in the Upper Room to pray and wait for the baptism in the Holy Spirit (Luke 24:48). It was not enough for the disciples to have walked with Jesus before His ascension, they needed to be “clothed” with the Spirit of Christ in order to fulfill God’s work in their generation.

"But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." (Acts 1:8)

Moses, in his day, elevated the meaning and reality of the grace of God. While grace in Noah’s life indicated divine favor because of his upright lifestyle, grace in Moses’ life became a force based on the strong relationship he cultivated with God. Again, Moses sought for more than raw power to do a job, he wanted to do his work through grace, which he understood as the active presence of God.

[Excerpt from my book, "Grace: Discovering God's Design for your Life"]


The Position that Pleases God

Saturday, November 21, 2009 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

1 Corinthians 12:15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? 18 But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. 19 And if they were all one member, where would the body be?

We live in a society where too many people are discontent for a lack of understanding their roles and gifts. As a teen, I remember having a friend who wore Dallas Cowboys jerseys nearly everyday that bore the number and name of his favorite player. Not only that, but he made it known to everyone that he was going to be a Dallas Cowboy one day. However, my friend was physically frail and not given to working out.

We all admire the power of a dream, but we have to also consider God's purpose and our position. Considering the text, if the eye wants to be an ear, or if the ear wants to be a nose, both individual and collective purpose will suffer. This is true for one's vocation and especially for God's church.

This looks like a person who insists on singing solo when he/she doesn't have gifting and grace for that position. That would be counterproductive for the person, congregation and for any visitors present. Even believers sometimes become discontent for a lack of understanding of their roles and gifts. There are also issues of character that sometimes prevent release into certain areas.

The best thing to do is to first recognize that God sets members in the body (of Christ) as it pleases Him. Find the position that brings pleasure to God. You'll know it when you get close to it. Second, is to pray about God's direction while seeking Godly counsel. There are people who can help you. Let them help you.

Third, but not last, is to exercise diligence in those areas where your desire meets your abilities. Virtually everyday, highly accomplished people do something related to their purpose and function in a way that reflects their position.


His Faithful Love Endures Forever

Friday, November 20, 2009 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

Psalms 136 (NLT)
1 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!
His faithful love endures forever.
2 Give thanks to the God of gods.
His faithful love endures forever.
3 Give thanks to the Lord of lords.
His faithful love endures forever.
4 Give thanks to him who alone does mighty miracles.
His faithful love endures forever.
5 Give thanks to him who made the heavens so skillfully.
His faithful love endures forever.
6 Give thanks to him who placed the earth among the waters.
His faithful love endures forever.
7 Give thanks to him who made the heavenly lights—
His faithful love endures forever.
8 the sun to rule the day,
His faithful love endures forever.
9 and the moon and stars to rule the night.
His faithful love endures forever.
(Read entire Psalm 136)

Nothing could be clearer: God's faithful love is with you, in you, around you, and is working on your behalf today and everyday!


Why Critics Don't "Get It"

Wednesday, November 18, 2009 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

Below is a great quote to reflect upon when dealing with critics who are not "in the arena" but only standing on the sidelines, talking and not doing. Even Jesus "...Learned obedience by the things which He suffered." (Heb. 5:8)

Critics, like sports fans, have the luxury of risking nothing while finding fault with those who risk it all everyday.

"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."

Theodore Roosevelt
"Citizenship in a Republic,"
Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910


The Power of Hope

Wednesday, November 18, 2009 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Colossians 1:27 To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

Strong faith begins with strong hope. If faith is like a roadmap, then hope is the brochure of your intended destination. Sometimes we struggle in our faith-walk because we are struggling in our hope-walk.

Every one has dreams, aspirations and expectations for his or her life. The Word of God sums up all of these desires in a single word - HOPE. Hope is at the beginning of every great exploit carried out in the name of the Lord. Hope is the foundation for a life that is lived by faith, peace, joy and encouragement.

Hope defined: Confident expectation, the happy anticipation of good, a belief that something is obtainable.
  • Hope is the expectation of a better tomorrow
  • Hope allows us to rise above the present trouble
  • Hope must come before faith can operate (Heb. 11:1)
  • Hope anchors our soul (Heb. 6:19)
  • Hope does not disappoint (Rom. 5:1-4) us because we are able to construct our hopes, our expectations on God's word and from the desires of our hearts. (Psalm 119:49 “Remember the word to Your servant, upon which You have caused me to hope”)
  • Hope needs faith to move expectation from the future into the present. We must hear the Word to build faith.


A Pastor's Heart

Tuesday, November 17, 2009 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

1 Thessalonians 3:7 (NIV) Therefore, brothers, in all our distress and persecution we were encouraged about you because of your faith. 8 For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord. 9 How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you?

The third chapter of 1 Thessalonians is devoted to Paul's expression of care for the church at Thessalonica while he was still in Athens. In this text we see Paul's pastoral heart, not a man full of ambition. He sounded more like a father and a coach.

Typically, ambitious people are mainly concern about themselves, not about others. A father and coach identifies with, and derives satisfaction from, his children or those he is serving. As a pastor, I understand Paul's sentiment perfectly.

While pastor's have (or should have) other interests outside the congregation, we always feel intimately connected to the condition of God's people. The nature of that connection drives our sense of encouragement and joy. If God's people are blessed and walking properly with God, the weight of our trials and challenges, even personal ones, seem lighter.

When people are wayward, unfaithful or forsake Christ (Head and body) in any way, it affects our heart and mindset in a way that ambitious people could never understand.

If you want to please God and bless your pastor, do has Paul suggested, "Stand firm in the Lord."


A Lesson from the NFL

Monday, November 16, 2009 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

Proverbs 16:18 Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.

To the New England Patriots, "Why would you think that you can run a play on fourth down on your own 28 yard line against our undefeated Indianapolis Colts?" That haughtiness caused them lose the football game!

How about that for a daily devotional?


Grace For Grace

Sunday, November 15, 2009 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth...16 And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace.

We have received Jesus' “fullness.” Fullness is: “the quality or condition of being full or complete.”

Is there anything in your life that is not full or is incomplete? Jesus wants you full and complete! But not only that, He wants you to get into fullness so that you can go fill up other people. That is what it means to have “grace for grace.” I’ve got enough grace in my space to give grace to others.

Did you go to school to only get a degree? I hope not. You went to school to get enough knowledge and skill to enable you to positively impact others.

Did you accept a call to leadership or ministry just to stand in front of people? No. You received that grace to enable you to impart the life of God to others through the Holy Spirit.

God gave you grace for grace! That’s exactly what Jesus did both for sinful humanity and for His church.


Sun, Shield, Grace, Glory

Saturday, November 14, 2009 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

Psalm 84:11, For the LORD God is a sun and shield;The LORD will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold From those who walk uprightly.

Sun, shield, grace, glory. Beautiful words that represent powerful realities!

The Psalm 84 focuses on David's desire to worship God in His Temple. Verse ten states, "One day in the courtyards of your Temple is better than a thousand days anywhere else."

Since we tend to become what we behold, it is not surprising that dwelling in God's presence inspired the selection of words such as "sun, shield, grace, and glory" to describe God and His benefits.

If we only behold the sad news and conditions of our world, we might dwell on words such as "death, trouble, misery, and lack." Walking with God doesn't isolate us from the conditions of our neighbors (everyone), but fills us with grace and faith to positively impact them.

The "good things" that God gives us are related to His plan and our willingness to serve His purposes in our generation.


Servant-Leader Insights, Part 3

Friday, November 13, 2009 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

1 Corinthians 12:4 There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. 6 And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all.

Eph. 4:7, But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.

There are three types of people:
  1. Those who watch things happen: Passive
  2. Those who don’t know what’s happening: Pacified
  3. Those who make things happen : Proactive

Leaders generally fall into one of three categories which can change because of roles or assignments: (Source: Christian Equippers International, The Church Planters Handbook.)
  1. The catalyst who is a pioneer and ground breaker. Catalyst defined: Somebody or something that makes a change happen or brings about an event.
  2. The organizer who instills order and makes something work more efficiently.
  3. The maintainer who sees to the ongoing and improvement of whatever is begun by carrying out the necessary day to day functions.


Servant-Leader Insights, Part 2

Thursday, November 12, 2009 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

Matthew 23:11 But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted

Leadership is rooted in serving—not just the concept of serving. Serving provides both moral and practical authority for personal leadership. How can we effectively lead other servants and direct their tasks, if we have not served? How can we exercise the proper level of authority if we do not have enough experience in serving to be sensitive to people and their challenges?

You are serving when you are:
  1. Inconvenienced by an assignment or task
  2. Doing things that do not fit within your “comfort zone”
  3. Assisting senior leaders with tasks or providing personal aid
  4. Not getting to do want you would prefer to do
  5. Taking time out for items that have little to no bearing on your preferences
  6. Casting down imaginations and inner arguments against doing the service
  7. Choosing to help others at your own expense
  8. And more...


Servant/Leader Insights, Part 1

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

1 Corinthians 4:1 Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2 Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.

Sometimes leaders lose sight of serving. We are stewards, not owners. A steward is someone who manages the property and affairs of another. As servant/leaders, we don't own God's people and resources. We are stewards of the "mysteries of God" which means that we understand and fulfill the purposes of God as revealed in His Word. A mystery is not something hidden, but something revealed to people who have "ears to hear."

Jesus spoke in parables to sift out those who came for the "show" from those who really wanted to serve and follow Him. Everyone listens, but not many truly "hear." Those who wanted to hear stayed around after the crowd stopped listening, They asked for understanding.

Being an effective leader begins with being an effective servant.

Servants Seek to:
  1. Follow the example of Jesus in life and practice (John 12:26, Heb. 12: 28)
  2. Serve others as unto the Lord and in seeking to please Him (Gal. 1:10, Eph 6:5-7, Col. 3:22-23, Tit. 2:9-10. 1 Pet. 2:17-19)
  3. Let others evaluate their progress (Prov. 27:2, 1 Tim. 3:10, 12)
  4. Maintain a pure heart and attitude toward their leaders and all others (not judgmental)
  5. Resist the temptation to advance themselves
  6. Accept the consequences of their decisions and do not blame others for shortcomings (Like David and the Prodigal Son)
  7. Follow instructions and are prompt to fulfil responsibilities (Matt. 24: 44-49) Some people only work when you watch them.
  8. Work to remove instability from their lives born of doubt, unbelief, distrust and unforgiveness (Eph. 4:32, Jam. 1:6-8)
  9. Communicate clearly and sincerely with others (1 Cor. 5:8)
  10. Highly esteem their leaders and follow their godly example (1 Thess. 5: 3, 1 Tim 6:1)
  11. Place the interests of the Christ’s church over their person interests (Phil. 2:3)
  12. Promote the purpose and vision of God, not themselves (2 Cor. 4:5)


Your Song of Ascent

Tuesday, November 10, 2009 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

Psalm 126:1 (NLT) A song for the ascent to Jerusalem. When the LORD restored his exiles to Jerusalem, it was like a dream! 2 We were filled with laughter, and we sang for joy. And the other nations said, "What amazing things the LORD has done for them." 3 Yes, the LORD has done amazing things for us! What joy! 4 Restore our fortunes, LORD, as streams renew the desert. 5 Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy. 6 They weep as they go to plant their seed, but they sing as they return with the harvest.

With all the challenges the people of Israel faced, there were times when they could rejoice in God's deliverance. This Psalm is called "A song for the ascent to Jerusalem." Note the word "ascent." To ascend is to go up. Returning from exile to Jerusalem felt like going UP after having experienced a season of going DOWN.

Because of Jesus, we can rejoice that we have ascended to a new life that is being renewed day by day. Today and everyday, we can rejoice, singing songs of joy, and enjoy laughter, all the while letting our light shine so others can see that we have been blessed by a mighty and loving God.

We may experience difficult seasons even while we are trusting in God. These seasons may produce tears, but our tears show our trust and devotion in God as we continue to plant seeds of faith.

Such faith and faithfulness never goes unrewarded. Harvest always follows seedtime. Our God is faithful and he keeps all his promises!

God's streams bring renewal to your desert-like places!


Tigthen Up Your Thinking

Monday, November 09, 2009 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

1 Peter 1:13, Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14 as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance.

Your loins is the pelvic region of your body. In ancient times “girding the loins” meant to gather up long garments and tighten them up around your hips and waist so that you could run, do battle, or do something productive.

Have you ever seen a young trying to run with his pants sagging? Have you ever had the experience of getting some loose garment caught on something? This shows the importance of girding your loins.

To “gird up the loins of your mind” is to put your mind and thinking in a position to be useful to the Spirit of God, and not to your flesh. To be sober is to take a serious attitude. Resting upon the grace of God means to rely upon the power of God so that we can live in obedience to Him and avoid the condition of reverting back to our old ways.

A renewed mind is a terrible thing to waste.


Benefit of the Implanted Word

Sunday, November 08, 2009 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

James 1:21 Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. 22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 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.

James lays out practical steps for "saving" our souls, (the mind, will, and emotions):

  1. Lay aside filthiness and wickedness. Can a Christian act wickedly? Unfortunately, yes. In New Testament Greek, filthiness is defined as, "defile, dishonor." Wickeness is defined as: “malice, ill-will, not ashamed to break rules.” There can be no advance when unconfessed sin is present.
  2. Receive the implanted Word with meekness. The implanted Word is the word that is placed in you by God and others. It’s like the vegetables your mother made you eat, when you would have preferred to eat cake and pies. We wanted candy, but needed good nutrition. Pastors and spiritual leaders must implant the Word. Sometimes folk just want to have church, but God wants the Word implanted. You need meekness when the word being implanted rubs you the wrong way.
  3. The result of the implanted Word is the saving, or restoring and renewal of the soul. Your soul is your mind, will and emotions. How you think, how you choose, and how you feel, all need to be “saved” in the sense of becoming more Christlike.

James 1:23-24 describes the problem with believers who do not renew their minds. Seeing the condition, but not acting to change it.

James 1:25 describes believers who practice renewing of their minds. Such persons are hearers and doers of the Word and the "work" of the Lord.


Lasting Motivation

Saturday, November 07, 2009 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

Psalm 119:10, I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. 11 I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. 12 Praise be to you, O LORD; teach me your decrees
Lasting motivations come from the Spirit of God. We need to hide God’s words in our hearts.

Definition of motivation: A desire to achieve a goal, combined with the energy to work towards that goal.

Motivation is the characteristic that is required in order to achieve anything in life. Without it you will give up at the first sign of adversity. The purpose of motivation is to inspire, instigate and encourage a person to do their best.

There is positive and negative motivation. Positive motivation includes enjoyment and optimism with the tasks that you are involved in. Negative motivation involves undertaking tasks because there will be undesirable outcomes if tasks are not completed.

In today’s world, we experience too much negative motivation. People act only to avoid greater pain. There is no joy in this. Negative motivation is drudgery, which is exhausting, boring, unpleasant work.

Godly motivation produces joy along with consistent, positive actions.

“A vision without a task is but a dream, a task without a vision is drudgery, a vision and a task is the hope of the world.” (From a Church in Sussex, England c.1730.)