What to Do After Acting Insanely: A Lesson From David

Tuesday, November 29, 2011 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

1 Samuel 21:12 Now David took these words to heart, and was very much afraid of Achish the king of Gath. 13 So he changed his behavior before them, pretended madness in their hands, scratched on the doors of the gate, and let his saliva fall down on his beard. 


Psalm 34:3 Oh, magnify the LORD with me,And let us exalt His name together.  4 I sought the LORD, and He heard me, And delivered me from all my fears.

David served as a prophet, priest, king, warrior, a musical genius, and more. Despite all of his gifts and his unfailing heart for God, David did not achieve perfection. None of us can. Only Jesus is perfect.

This message has an over-the-top title, but communicates a very real problem. We all handle pressure and challenging situations differently. Our focus and faith level determines how we handle pressure. David lived under threats against his life by King Saul, whose behavior, fueled by jealousy and the loss of God's favor, had become unstable.

David made a mistake. He took his eye "off the ball." The weight of this lesson is found not only in how David went wrong, but in how God helped him to recover. Psalm 34 became the song of David's recovery and restoration.

~ Bryan Hudson

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Your Identity GPS: "God’s Priorities System"

Tuesday, November 15, 2011 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

Romans 12:4, For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5]  so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.

1 Corinthians 12:12  For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.

There was a time when we unfolded maps to chart our destination. Today we use devices that receive signals from Global Positioning Satellites (GPS) to find our way. All mapping systems rely on fixed coordinates. We require unchanging priorities as reference markers to navigate through an ever-changing world.

Your identity is a fixed point, a reference, and a priority.

We have many titles, attributes, and characteristics. From childhood, we bond with our mothers and fathers. Throughout life, people and things make impressions upon us. We develop a worldview based on those experiences and interactions.

When people do not have Christ and the Word of God within their interaction matrix, one's identity and worldview is shaped by priorities and reference points which are not entirely accurate. A lot of the misery and aimlessness that mark people's lives have resulted from a lack of GPS, "God’s Priorities System".

The most effective interaction available to humanity is to know Jesus Christ. Our best experience of accurate identity is found within the Body of Christ, or His church. Our highest priority is loving God, and loving one another.

Fix on this identity GPS coordinate: "So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another."

Link to document, "My Identity in Christ."
Link to message, "I Am the Body of Christ."

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Breach of Truth: Apostolic and Prophetic Political Activism

Friday, November 11, 2011 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

Deuteronomy 32:3 For I proclaim the name of the LORD: Ascribe greatness to our God. 4 He is the Rock, His work is perfect; For all His ways are justice, A God of truth and without injustice; Righteous and upright is He. (NKJV)

Psalm 15:1 LORD, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill? 2 He who walks uprightly, And works righteousness, And speaks the truth in his heart;

Psalm 33:4, For the word of the LORD is right, And all His work is done in truth.

Proverbs 8:7, For my mouth will speak truth; Wickedness is an abomination to my lips.

Isaiah 59:14, Justice is turned back, And righteousness stands afar off; For truth is fallen in the street, And equity cannot enter.

Isaiah 61:8, For I, the LORD, love justice; I hate robbery for burnt offering; I will direct their work in truth...

2 Corinthians 4:2, But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.

Eph. 4:25 Therefore, putting away lying, “ Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another.

1 Timothy 3:15, but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

1 Timothy 6:4 ...He is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, 5 useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself.

2 Timothy 2:17 And their message will spread like cancer. Hymenaeus and Philetus are of this sort, 18 who have strayed concerning the truth, saying that the resurrection is already past; and they overthrow the faith of some.

2 Timothy 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.

As of this writing, there is a renewed emphasis on social and political activism among some apostolic and prophetic personalities and movements. Not unlike traditional denominationalism, many of these movements are unrelated to one another in practice and doctrine. Of particular concern, are politically charged positions and statements that are too often at variance with truth, biblically and factually. What we don’t need are more practices that ultimately end in discrediting genuine apostolic and prophetic ministry or introducing more controversy and disunity into the body of Christ.

There is also the emerging problem of some in prophetic movements practically endorsing political candidates, mostly on the basis of the candidates’ claims of Christianity. This “prophetic political activism” (as I call it) is not unlike the Moral Majority movement of the 1980’s or the Christian Coalition of the 1990’s. For example, The “Oak Initiative” is one of the many new movements that is less evangelical and more apostolic/prophetic in its leadership. (http://www.theoakinitiative.org)

In the church today, there is no broad consensus on the definition and function of apostolic/prophetic ministries. The various camps define themselves according to their leaders and scriptural interpretations. Many in the evangelical, or so-called “mainstream,” church reject claims of modern apostolic/prophetic authority (in the Pauline sense) as misguided at best, or heretical at worst. Many in charismatic/pentecostal/non-demoninational churches view these movements with varying degrees of uncertainty and concern. Yet, there are many churches that embrace episcopal/apostolic/prophetic authority and ecclesiastical government with great conviction.

Ephesians 2:19-20 states that the foundation of the New Testament church was laid by apostles and prophets. In the book of Acts, we can review the history of the formation of this foundation through the ministry of church fathers, including apostles, prophets, elders and the body of believers. The book of Acts and the Epistles clearly show apostolic missionary efforts, miraculous signs, the development of church government, and the distribution of epistles that we now regard as Holy Scripture.  “Pre-ascension” apostles—those Jesus chose before his death and resurrection—and “post-ascension” apostles such as Paul, Barnabas, Andronicus, and others, were instrumental in the formation of foundation and doctrine in the early church.

Paul makes it clear that the doctrinal and operational foundation of the church would not be re-laid.
For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (1 Cor. 3:11)

This raises questions regarding of the nature and scope of apostolic and prophetic authority today. What is the difference between “foundational” and “post-foundational” apostles? This becomes especially significant in view of the Scriptures penned by foundational apostles under inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Today, we carry Bibles that embody the information and revelation of apostolic and prophetic founders. The instructions of the Epistles have been a reliable and authoritative guide to believers and Christian leaders for many centuries.

It is not my objective to explore those questions here. My interest in this article concerns the current dynamic regarding social and political activism as it relates to apostolic and prophetic personalities and their followers. By what authority do they engage politically? I have been specifically concerned about a number of “prophetic” or God-attributed statements made by such persons in relation to society, governments, conditions of people groups, and national political leadership. Why are statements by today’s “prophets” not judged by the biblical standard?  (1 Corinthians 14:29) Are not some of today’s pronouncements unbiblical and therefore lacking in divine authority?

To be sure, Christians in the USA, as members of the citizenry, have every right to engage in civil and political discourse.  The question we should address is: What is our appropriate level of engagement, activism, or alignment with socio-political activities? We can all express our viewpoints. However, when we invoke the name of God or Jesus, or attach His name to our statements, we must be held to a stricter standard.

I suggest that we consider our level of engagement and alignment in two specific areas:

1.     As American citizens in light of the predominant Christian culture of the United States. At this citizenship level, we have to consider how we interact with non-Christians, people of other religions, and towards those, such as homosexuals, who hold lifestyles and perspectives that are antithetical to our biblical Christian practice and worldview.

2.     As Christians who are committed to God, His kingdom, as members of the Body of Christ both local and universal, who regard the Bible as God’s inspired Word and final authority in life.

I suggest there are two polar opposite worldviews among some Christians that I will characterize, for the purposes of contrast, as Demonstrate and Dominate.

1.     Priority of Demonstrate: Christians should be concerned with preaching the gospel, improving the lives of people as a witness of God's love, winning souls, and doing good works. This priority could be highlighted by Luke 10:27, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.”

2.     Priority of Dominate: Christians are called to bring God’s dominion to the earth, and all that dwells in it, including socio-economic systems, laws, governments, and displacing evil. This priority could be highlighted by Revelation 11:15, Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!”

At the extreme “Demonstrate” end of this hypothetical spectrum are believers who stay close to their church buildings and networks, who focus on successful living and being charitable to others as a means to win them to Christ.

At the extreme “Dominate” end of this hypothetical spectrum, we find believers carrying out the mandates of their apostles/prophets with conviction and activism. These mandates can include activity such as holding meetings convened to change society, praying and prophesying over political leaders, and making declarative statements over groups of people such as Latinos, African Americans, USA, Muslims, etc. These apostles/prophets may also proclaim God’s judgment or blessing on nations, people groups, and denounce “national sins” such as abortion and racism. Some decree God’s hand in disasters such as 911 or the Haiti earthquake. Some others prophesy of impending doom, economic collapse, or see God’s judgment in political outcomes, such as the election of Barack Obama.

Many within the dominate/dominion movement have embraced variations of the so-called “Seven Mountains Mandate” which proposes that God wants His church to either influence or control (depending upon one’s mandate) seven areas of society and culture: business, government, media, arts and entertainment, education, the family and religion. I see no problem with believers being influential in these arenas as “salt and light,” but some have taken to the notion of “conquering” the Seven Mountains for God. (http://www.reclaim7mountains.com/, http://www.amazon.com/Seven-Mountain-Prophecy-Unveiling-Revolution/dp/1599792877, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tD6OmQe_t2U,  et. al.)

Within the dominate movement, spiritual authority is too often assumed in the name of God and “Truth,” but it is too often at the expense of “truthfulness.” The trail of failed prophecies, inaccurate proclamations, and questionable alliances is long and easy to document. Added to this trail of failure is the embrace of political candidates with questionable character and who lack governmental/operational competence. Following is a link to one prophet’s assessment of the 2011 list of Republican candidates. (http://www.theoakinitiative.org/special-bulletin-11-2011)

I suggest that it is supremely important that anything attributed to God be both true and truthful.

Attributions to God should be true because they are consistent with the word of God. Attributions to God should be truthful by reflecting factual information. Politicians who distort facts, display bad character, demonstrate incompetence, should not be given a pass, even after being endorsed by apostolic/prophetic personalities or movements. Aligning with such persons is problematic at best.

John 14:6, Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

God and His Word are Truth and truthful. Truth is reality as God defines it. Without God and His word, the “way, truth, and life” becomes subject to the interpretation of people––and preachers.

Rather than herald the urgent need for apostles and prophets to act, as is often cited within some of these movements, it is infinitely more needful to herald the Lord Jesus Christ and our collective responsibility, as the body of Christ, to take his Gospel truth “into all the world” (which includes earthly institutions) with the mandate to “make disciples.”

In 2 Cor. 4:5 (NLT), Paul wrote, “You see, we don't go around preaching about ourselves. We preach that Jesus Christ is Lord, and we ourselves are your servants for Jesus' sake.”

Those internal and governmental systems that are necessary to the effective and healthy functioning of Christ’s church should not fail to place Christ at the forefront of all activities. The authority of ecclesiastical leaders is significant, but cannot supersede the authority of the Scriptures, nor disregard factual information. I once heard the true statement, “You are entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts.”

We should not presume that the leadership and governmental systems of the church are applicable to, and enforceable upon, all of society and civil governments.  We may be witnessing massive overreach, and a breach of truth, by some spiritual leaders in the area of partisan political activism.


We need to recover wisdom and humility in this season.

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Thanking God for a Wonderful Church Family!

Friday, November 04, 2011 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

Psalm 116:12, What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me?

On Sunday October 23, we had a glorious celebration of God's faithfulness and the fruitful labors of the New Covenant Church family in serving our community and world.

Patricia and I are honored serve such a wonderful congregation! We thank God for leaders and workers who lead and work. We appreciate the gifts and words of encouragement shared with us. We are blessed to partner with ministries such as Jesus Inside Prison Ministry.

Looking at the photographs and video clips reminds me that, despite the challenges we face, God is blessing our work and helping us to make a difference!

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Seek Peace and Prosperity in Your City

Wednesday, November 02, 2011 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

Jeremiah 29:7 "Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” 

Jesus said that we were the light of the world. Everywhere we go, He expects us to bring light, pray for people, and make a difference. 

Jeremiah had the unenviable responsibility to speak judgment to the people of God, and yet the heart of God continued to be seen. 

I find it interesting that sometimes believers want to condemn and curse their cities. Some even proclaim there are evil spirits ruling over their cities. This text makes it clear that God expects us to do our best to help people and raise the standard of living.
  
In our context, that would also mean proclaiming the Gospel of Christ and going out into the community to serve people. Helping others helps ourselves.

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