You're Too Valuable to Worry

Wednesday, January 28, 2015 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

Notice the fish within the hawk's grasp (©BryanHudson)
Matthew 6:25 “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing?  26 Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? 

Jesus said not to worry. Worry comes from imaginations about circumstances. Your imagination or “mind’s eye” is very powerful. According to the text, the worry issues were: “Do I have enough?” and “Am I worth it?”

The real key issue is, “What is life about?” Notice that Jesus said that your life is more than food and clothing. You have great value because people are made in God’s image and likeness. You are God’s masterpiece! (Ephesians 2:10).

Worry undermines your sense of value by making it seem like you are living on the edge of lack and have to operate in “survival mode.”

Here’s the truth of the matter: You are too valuable to think or feel like that! Jesus said that God takes care of birds. He then asked the key question, “Aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?”

Now say this: “Yes, I am valuable! I am too valuable to God to worry! He takes care of me so I can focus on solutions, not problems.”  Amen!

__________


NOTE: Join me for an empowering and life-changing series of messages, "From Cope to Hope." Information. audio of messages, and resources available at www.NewCovenant.org







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Reflections and Quotes from Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King

Monday, January 19, 2015 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

I submit to you that if a man has not discovered something that he will die for, he isn't fit to live.
Speech in Detroit, Michigan (1963-06-23)

You know my friends, there comes a time when people get tired of being trampled by the iron feet of oppression ... If we are wrong, the Supreme Court of this nation is wrong. If we are wrong, the Constitution of the United States is wrong. And if we are wrong, God Almighty is wrong. If we are wrong, Jesus of Nazareth was merely a utopian dreamer that never came down to Earth. If we are wrong, justice is a lie, love has no meaning. And we are determined here in Montgomery to work and fight until "justice runs down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream."
Address to the first Montgomery Improvement Association (1955).

Men often hate each other because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don't know each other; they don't know each other because they can not communicate; they can not communicate because they are separated.
Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story (1958)

I must admit that I have gone through those moments when I was greatly disappointed with the church and what it has done in this period of social change. We must face the fact that in America, the church is still the most segregated major institution in America. At 11:00 on Sunday morning when we stand and sing and Christ has no east or west, we stand at the most segregated hour in this nation. This is tragic. Nobody of honesty can overlook this. Now, I'm sure that if the church had taken a stronger stand all along, we wouldn't have many of the problems that we have. The first way that the church can repent, the first way that it can move out into the arena of social reform is to remove the yoke of segregation from its own body. Now, I'm not saying that society must sit down and wait on a spiritual and moribund church as we've so often seen. I think it should have started in the church, but since it didn't start in the church, our society needed to move on. The church, itself, will stand under the judgement of God. Now that the mistake of the past has been made, I think that the opportunity of the future is to really go out and to transform American society, and where else is there a better place than in the institution that should serve as the moral guardian of the community. The institution that should preach brotherhood and make it a reality within its own body.
Interview after his "Social Justice and the Emerging New Age" (1963)

It may well be that we will have to repent in this generation. Not merely for the vitriolic words and the violent actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence and indifference of the good people who sit around and say, "Wait on time."
"Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution" (1968)

I say to you that our goal is freedom, and I believe we are going to get there because however much she strays away from it, the goal of America is freedom. Abused and scorned though we may be as a people, our destiny is tied up in the destiny of America.
"Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution"  (1968)

I don't know how [Malcolm X] feels now, but I know that I have often wished that he would talk less of violence, because violence is not going to solve our problem. And in his litany of articulating the despair of the Negro without offering any positive, creative alternative, I feel that Malcolm has done himself and our people a great disservice. Fiery, demagogic oratory in the black ghettos, urging Negroes to arm themselves and prepare to engage in violence, as he has done, can reap nothing but grief. (January 1965)

The tough mind is sharp and penetrating, breaking through the crust of legends and myths and sifting the true from the false. The tough-minded individual is astute and discerning. He has a strong austere quality that makes for firmness of purpose and solidness of commitment.
Who doubts that this toughness is one of man's greatest needs? Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think.
“Strength to Love” (1963)

Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.

It is true that behavior cannot be legislated, and legislation cannot make you love me, but legislation can restrain you from lynching me, and I think that is kind of important.
Keep Moving From This Mountain (1965)

Communism forgets that life is individual. Capitalism forgets that life is social, and the kingdom of brotherhood is found neither in the thesis of communism nor the antithesis of capitalism but in a higher synthesis. It is found in a higher synthesis that combines the truths of both. (1967)


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The Rest Connection

Friday, January 16, 2015 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.”

This is one of the greatest promises in the Bible! 

Connecting with Christ eases our burdens and brings “rest for your soul.” The only “catch,” is that we accept the “yoke” or partnership with Jesus. A yoke is a device that joined two oxen so that they could work together to pull a plow.

Being joined with Jesus is the best possible partnership! I call it “The Rest Connection.” To “rest” means to “use the power of another.”

We all have responsibilities and things to do that are sometimes difficult. We don’t have to go it alone and wear ourselves out. Partner with Christ and let the power of God help you.

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Arise! Shine! Stand! (Lyric Video)

Monday, January 12, 2015 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



"The Stand" Performed by Joni Lamb and The Daystar Singers
by Hillsong United
Writer(s): Lester Mendez, Jewel Kilcher

Lyric Video graphics and titles added by Bryan Hudson

You stood before creation
Eternity in Your hand
You spoke the earth into motion
My soul now to stand

You stood before my failure
Carried the Cross for my shame
My sin weighed upon Your shoulders
My soul now to stand

So what can I say
What can I do
But offer this heart O God
Completely to You

So what can I say
What can I do
But offer this heart O God
Completely to You

So I'll stand
With arms high and heart abandoned
In awe of the One who gave it all

So I'll stand
My soul Lord to You surrendered

All I am is Yours

__________

Writer(s): Lester Mendez, Jewel Kilcher
Copyright: Emi Blackwood Music Inc., Emi April Music Inc., Wiggly Tooth Music, Apollinaire Music

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A Radical Test of Obedience: The Secret of Provision

Saturday, January 10, 2015 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

"Desert Flower" from www.inspirationimages.zenfolio.com
Genesis 26:1 There was a famine in the land, besides the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went to Abimelech king of the Philistines, in Gerar. 2 Then the Lord appeared to him and said: “Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land of which I shall tell you. 3 Dwell in this land, and I will be with you and bless you…..12 Then Isaac sowed in that land, and reaped in the same year a hundredfold; and the Lord blessed him. 13 The man began to prosper, and continued prospering until he became very prosperous;

My daily Bible reading today reminded me of one of the greatest principles I’ve ever learned: Obedience brings provision regardless of circumstances.

There are few circumstances worse than famine, which is scarcity of food. Famine is the result of conditions such as natural disaster, warfare, crop failure, and drought. All these bad conditions contribute to the circumstance of famine.

The best way to deal with famine is to leave the place of lack and look for better conditions. We’ve seen in the news the movement of hurting people from desperate places seeking refuge, provision, and safety. Thankfully, not many of us in America have endured such misery, but we can imagine what Isaac must have been thinking and feeling.

Remembering the danger and desperation of the “first famine” in the days of his father Abraham, Issac made preparations. This is the reason he went to Gerar to meet with Abimelech. The Philistines were no friends of Israel, but Isaac was willing to work with them, because of the famine. He was seeking provision for himself and his family. Perhaps he was gathering resources to make the 260 mile trip down to Egypt.

In the midst of Isaac’s concern and worry, God appeared to him and said, “Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land of which I shall tell you.”

This was a radical test of obedience. This command from God defied both Isaac’s survival instinct and his reasoning. The command was followed by a promise: “Dwell in this land, and I will be with you and bless you”

Well, it does not get any more important and better than God’s command and promise! Isaac obeyed and did something very strange. He did something that must have looked utterly ridiculous to observers.

“Then Isaac sowed in that land…”

Isaac sowed into land and into conditions that seemed incapable of producing a provision of harvest and food. However, Isaac was not simply sowing seed into soil, he was sowing obedience and faith in God’s promise.

He obeyed God and we read, “Then Isaac sowed in that land, and reaped in the same year a hundredfold; and the Lord blessed him. The man began to prosper, and continued prospering until he became very prosperous.”

Here is the moral to the story: The conditions and circumstances that we see do not define all the possibilities and outcomes. When God reveals His will and plan, new conditions are established. Better conditions create better circumstances.

Obedience to God changes the conditions of circumstances. This is how Issac could sow in a time of famine and reap blessings. This is how you and I will survive and thrive at all times!

Learn obedience and obey God!

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Is Conservatism Sacrosanct?

Friday, January 09, 2015 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments




As citizens in the United States of America, Christians are obliged to engage in political processes that influence public policy and directly affect the lives and welfare of all people. Political engagement becomes a problem when blended with zealous religious conviction.

There are some hard truths to face for politically motivated believers:

1. “Conservatism” is not sacrosanct. It is not something holy like the Scriptures. Being a conservative is not a distinctive Christian virtue. In recent years, conservatism (the political variety) has been defined by personalities such as Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Sen. Ted Cruz, and movements like the Tea Party. Republicans like Mitt Romney or Colin Powell do not qualify as “true” conservatives since they don’t pass the nebulous “purity” test imposed by “true” conservatives.

Biblical conservatism is something altogether different than the political variety. Bible conservatives, including myself, affirm the inerrancy of Scripture, authority of the Bible, and orthodox doctrines. Biblical conservatism, as it relates to practicing the Bible, also affirms dignifying the poor, honoring and praying for civil leaders, promoting justice for the oppressed, and many other virtues not embraced by many political conservatives. Political conservatism, like political liberalism, is largely unscriptural, in my view.

2. The Body of Christ needs a better understanding of the role of government in a diverse society that is a constitutional republic, not a theocracy. We don’t get to impose our scriptural mandates on the citizenry through hand-picked politicians. As “salt” and “light,” our core mission involves godly influence, not total control. Of course, believers who embrace Dominionism will disagree.

3. God does not listen to us in regards to “times and seasons.” He only listens to the counsel of His own will. “In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His own will.” (Ephesians 1:11)

4. Abortion and gay-marriage are critical issues (but not the only issues) that believers should address through personal outreach, not only through politics. Simply supporting candidates who “say” they are pro-life and anti-gay marriage is simplistic at best, and deceptive at worst. Trying to conform government to do our bidding is not practical. We must personally engage the people who need to change (after we’ve been changed by Christ).

5. The GOP, and its Tea Party appendage, has become a party lacking in ideological, racial, and cultural diversity. In recent years, the GOP, has become a bastion of low information voters and the home of political sideshows like Herman Cain and Donald Trump. The “marriage” of Christianity with the Republican Party has hurt both. When we become too loyal to a political party, we lose our prophetic edge and become co-opted by a lesser agenda. We need a healthy two-party system in the USA. I hope the GOP will find a way to shed extremism while maintaining its values, and become attractive to diverse people.

6. False, unbiblical, and politically motivated prophecies have damaged the credibility of those who uttered and embraced spurious statements. Another problem is the lack of biblical accountability regarding “prophetic” statements. The promulgation of disinformation, disrespect, and hatred towards President Barack Obama, has motivated much of the religious hyperbole and error we’ve observed. Many people believe that President Obama is a Muslim for no other reason than listening more to socio-political echo chambers, than practicing intellectual honesty.

7. “But it is God who judges: He brings one down, he exalts another.” (Psalm 57:7). We have to accept the reality that civil leaders are not entirely of our choosing. We should trust God, pray properly for our leaders, and adjust our attitudes accordingly.

Believers in Christ should maintain the strongest loyalty to the Kingdom of God and to fellow brothers and sisters who form the Body of Christ. We should serve the purposes of God in our generation. We should not allow participation in the political process to produce either blindness to biblical truth or arrogance in thinking that a political party is "closer to God."

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Bible Study Video Teaching | "Power of God's Plan: You Are God's Masterpiece"

Thursday, January 08, 2015 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



Bible Study "Power of God's Plan: You Are God's Masterpiece"
Scripture Text: Ephesians 2:10
Recorded January 7, 2015

by Pastor Bryan Hudson

www.NewCovenant.org
www.BryanHudson.com

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Let Your Light Shine! Promote Hope!

Monday, January 05, 2015 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments


Matthew 5:14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

Jesus came into the world saying, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12). After gathering His disciples Jesus began to transfer responsibility by teaching them, “YOU are the light of the world.” Jesus said that His people are like a bright light and a city on a hill. We are destined to be seen and to provide the light of encouragement, truth, and examples of “good works.”

Of course, it may feel preferable to withdraw from public life, avoid unknown people, stay out of the limelight, and retreat into the comforts of home and friends.  The problem is: These actions are in direct contradiction to the teachings of Christ and God’s will for our Christian lives.

Serving others and offering hope are not just nice things to do, it is central to our mission and core responsibility. In a culture full of selfish motivation, self-indulgence, and the promotion of darkness, Jesus has commissioned us to "Love our neighbors," “Go into all the world and make disciples” and “Let your light shine.” We don't hide. We promote hope.

Your light is Christ within. Your light is your God-given gifts and opportunities to interact with others. You are destined and designed by God to shine, not for yourself, but for the Lord.

Just shine!

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