Day 19 | "There’s a Blessing in the Fire" - Principles of Empowerment 30-Day Devotional

Thursday, October 19, 2017 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



1 Peter 1:6, In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7]  that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,

According to our text, trials, even those that grieve us, serve a purpose. The “genuineness” of our faith must be developed. God does not want to see whether are not we have faith. He knows that we have some level of faith. God wants to develop and make our faith grow. Our faith is our confidence in God. Our faith is our trust in his word and acting on the word. Our faith is also what we believe, and how our beliefs impact how we live. 

The bible Greek definition word of genuineness is “dokimion” meaning: 1) The proving  2) That by which something is tried or proved, a test; like the crucible of a furnace for smelting. 

We know Peter is not talking about a consuming fire because the text states, “Tested by fire.” God’s consuming fire does not come to test, but to consume and destroy. Peter is describing a refining fire. 
Let’s understand refining fire: In Mark 9:49 Jesus said, “For everyone will be seasoned with fire, and every sacrifice will be seasoned with salt.” We know that salt “seasons” by acting as an influencing agent, whether for flavoring or as a preservative. 

Steel becomes stainless steel by the “seasoning” of fire while adding chromium.  All forms of iron and steel will rust when exposed to the elements, but stainless steel will not rust or corrode. Why? Stainless steel does not rust because it has been transformed by a “seasoning with fire.” 

God helps us arrive to a state where we do not corrode under exposure to the negative elements of life. This happens as our faith is “seasoned” by God’s refining fire. The highest aim for cultivating our faith is not to get more stuff. The highest aim and purpose of faith, according to the text, takes us to a place where we can be “found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 
When we are experiencing the fire of challenge and adversity, we know that God’s refining fire makes our faith stronger! Though we do not see Jesus, we continue to love Him! 

Peter went on to say, “Whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory.” 

This should be the aim of our life with God!

Reflection Question: How has greater seasoning by fire helped you become a better Christian and person?

(Excerpt from “Principles of Empowerment” 30-day devotional. www.visionbooksmedia.com)

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Great Grace - Practitioners & Partners With God (Audio Message)

Tuesday, October 17, 2017 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



Acts 4:33 And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all. 

The grace of God is the single greatest source and resource in the life of a believer. Grace is God’s favor, ability, operational power, and everything He makes available to you and me. Grace came through Jesus Christ. John 1:16-17 And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

Looking at our text: Is “Great Grace” a different kind or higher level of grace? No. The word “great” here does not describe a different kind of Grace, anymore than there is different kind of Jesus. Great grace describes the engagement and practice that the Apostles had with the grace of God. They were fully submitted to Christ and fully immersed in living in grace. That’s what makes grace “great.” Grace is our lifestyle. Grace is our regular practice of life.

The thing is, when you know that you have the best, you won’t be tempted to settle for less. The grace of God on your life is the best. Believe and live as a skilled practitioner and partner with God and your life will manifest the “grace grace” that is already inside of you.

Listen to the message on the Firm Foundation Podcast:

Firm Foundation Podcast on iTunes
Firm Foundation Podcast on Podbean

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A Memorable and Empowering Weekend | Reflections on Ministry, Service and Legacy

Friday, October 13, 2017 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments




The weekend of October 6-8 was both a memorable and empowering weekend for New Covenant Church, and for my wife and me.

We celebrated 35 years of service as a church and pastor. This celebration was focused on the faithfulness of God, the power of legacy received, and the glory of Christ in changed lives. Our theme was “Empowered to Triumph In Christ Jesus” based on 2 Corinthians 2:14, “Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.”

Another key Scripture to our celebration, from the beginning of 2017, and in recognition of the Lord helping us retire our building mortgage and become a debt free ministry, Philippians 1:6, Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;

Below are two videos I produced for this weekend:  “Reflections on Legacy, Family, Future” Shown on Friday October 6:


“New Covenant Church Ministry Highlights 2016-17” shown on Sunday, October 8.


There are two sets of photos: 1) From our Anniversary Banquet honoring my wife and me. 2) From Anniversary Services on Sunday October 8. 
2017 Pastor Anniversary Banquet

NCC 35th Anniversary Service AM & PM

I appreciate Elder Gaylan & JoCarol who served guided us through the weekend events as host and hostess, even though they were involved in a severe auto accident from which they walked away with minor injuries. We also thank Stacy Williams and her Anniversary Celebration team for organizing these wonderful events. God’s grace and miracles continue to sustain us!

It was special joy and honor to share the evening on Friday with my two closest friends in life and ministry, Dr. Kenneth & Joyce Sullivan and Pastor Al & Carla Jennings. We appreciate these servants of God along with many other friends in life and ministry (man of whom are highlighted the Legacy video).

Sunday belonged to my precious New Covenant Church family. Words can hardly express my love and gratitude to these committed, caring, and covenant-keeping, people of God! During the evening service, it was my honor to present special awards for Distinguished Service to five NCC family members who have provided long-term and impactful service to both New Covenant Church and our
Community over the better part of our 35 years of ministry: Dr. Gwendolyn J. Kelley, Patricia A. Hudson, Shawn Carter, Dennis & Vera Gibson, Elder Horace B. Hudson.


It was a great joy to have my family join on us on Sunday morning, including my oldest son, daughter-in-law, and two grandchildren!

Sunday evening featured a remarkable time of worship and word with Pastor Kenneth Sullivan, Jr. and the New Direction Church family! (Audio of message will be posted soon)

Please watch the videos, review the photos and help me thank God for His power, grace, love, and faithfulness! Thank you for any part of our past or present that you have loved and supported us. Thank you for your future support and partnership!

~ Pastor Bryan & Patricia Hudson

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"We The People"

Tuesday, October 10, 2017 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



A main feature of our constitutional republic is that “We The People” are neither “subjects” nor passive. We both pray for and hold our elected leaders accountable. We don’t have “rulers” for whom we can ONLY pray, as with the Roman Empire in the Apostle Paul’s day. When elected leaders act like rulers, they must be reminded that the United States of America was founded and designed to reject despotism.

We don’t allow oligarchs and plutocrats (look it up) to define patriotism for us. We already have our definition based on these words from the Preamble of the US Constitution:
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America”

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: 
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

Some of what is being demanded by political leaders is actually much more anti-patriotic and injurious than people realize.  Don’t let anyone intimidate or shame you into silence  on any matter of concern.

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Day 5 - Principles of Empowerment | Three Elements of Empowerment

Thursday, October 05, 2017 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



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Philippians 3:14, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
There is always something valuable for you ahead. This is why we “press,” not in forcing anything, but staying in position through diligence. There are three elements that keep your heart prepared for empowerment.
1. Training in understanding and wisdom 
Proverbs 1:2,To know wisdom and instruction, To perceive the words of understanding, 3  To receive the instruction of wisdom, Justice, judgment, and equity; 4 To give prudence to the simple, To the young man knowledge and discretion— 5  A wise man will hear and increase learning, And a man of understanding will attain wise counsel
Wisdom is knowing the best paths. Understanding is knowing the meaning of things. You gain wisdom and understanding by learning from God and key people in your life.
2. Receiving the Holy Spirit
Acts 1:8, 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.
Nothing is more empowering than encountering the Source of power, God’s Spirit. In essence, we are spirit beings, so your intellect and skills require the support of the Holy Spirit to maximize your wellbeing and effectiveness.
3. The Call of God
Acts 26:16 But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you. 17 I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you, 18 to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.
Ministers are not the only Christians who are called by God. Everyone of us is “called” in the sense that we have specific purpose in life and service within God’s kingdom. The Apostle Paul was the worse kind of enemy against Christ’s church before his conversion. It is ironic and fitting that a man who was a fierce enemy of Christ and God’s people became the greatest Apostle.


Reflection Question: What is your understanding of your training, relationship with the Holy Spirit, and God’s call on your life?
Key insight I gained today:

Today’s action item based on insight:

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Day 4 - Principles of Empowerment | The Empowerment of Persistence

Wednesday, October 04, 2017 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments


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Galatians 6:9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
Persistence Definition: Firm continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition. The quality that allows someone to continue doing something even though it is difficult or opposed by negative factors.
Few things sap your energy, motivation, and power to take action more than weariness of body and mind.
It is well known that a lack of proper rest is a major contributor to emotional and physical distress. The physical aspects of tiredness are obvious, but the emotional and spiritual aspects of a lack of rest are less obvious. What is at stake is your willingness to keep on “doing good.” In a world full of takers and people needing empowerment, we need those who give and empower. We need you, if you’re one of those people who give.
Persistence is more than not quitting. Persistence is maintaining willingness--which is not as easy as it seems.
We persist and maintain a spirit of willingness in three ways:
Prayer: Communication with God, empowerment for people, influence over circumstances
Personal Power: Your ability to influence or change an outcome.
Purpose: Fulfilling your assignment(s)
On the matter of prayer, Jesus taught in Luke 18:1, Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart 2 saying: “There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. 3 Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, ‘Get justice for me from my adversary.’ 4 And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man, 5 yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’” 6 Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge said. 7 And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? 8 I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”
In this story, God is not the stubborn, unjust judge. He is exactly the opposite. We should identify with the widow who knew she had every right to come and expect help. 
In the end, the challenge is not about the willingness of the judge or God. The challenge is found in our willingness to be persistent and personal with God.

Reflection Question: What does persistence look like in your life today?
Key insight I gained today:

Today’s action item based on insight:

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Day 3 - Principles of Empowerment | The Altitude of Attitude

Tuesday, October 03, 2017 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments




Philippians 2:5 (NLT) You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. 6 Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. 7 Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, 8  he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. 9 Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor.
“Cultivate” is a farming term. Because attitudes “grow” we have to pay attention to factors that affect our attitude and cultivate a better attitude.
A good attitude will not always change our circumstances, but it will always change us. ~ John Maxwell
• What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
• Life is 10% of what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it.  ~ Charles R. Swindoll
Attitude is your internal disposition. 
Your attitude is your inward disposition toward other things, such as people or circumstances. As with an airplane, attitude is adjusted to keep the flight level. In a similar way, we pay attention to our “attitude-level” in life. For example, anger, resentment, disobedience to God and unresolved conflicts create imbalance in our lives. Our attitude, in terms of what others see and experience from us, arises from our inward disposition towards God and people.
According to God’s word, when you became a Christian, a part of your new creation is the development of new attitudes — your attitude should become like that of Jesus. The Bible says, “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:” (Philippians 2:5). 
“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off the old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds.” (Ephesians 4:22 NIV)
What we see and experience from others may be a reflection of his or her attitude, but don’t make the mistake of judging people from outward appearance. I have a friend who seems to be overly serious. One day I learned that he lost two sons in a car accident. This tragedy happened a long time ago and it obviously changed his life. He does not lack joy and I know first hand that he enjoys life. 
Some people, like the Apostle Paul in his day, have been challenged and empowered by circumstances in unusual ways. He wrote:
1 Corinthians 13:11, When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 
1 Thessalonians 5:6, Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. 8 But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation.

Reflection Question: What “attitude-level” areas need adjustment in my life?
Key insight I gained today:
Today’s action item based on insight:

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Day 2 - Principles of Empowerment | Your Source of Empowerment

Monday, October 02, 2017 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments





Colossians 1:9-11 For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may have a walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power.
God thought about us before we thought about him. 
Everything that empowers you came from the heart of God and other people. All of our blessings have come because of God and other people. Knowledge, wisdom, and understanding of things natural and spiritual form the basis of empowerment. 
The root of the word “empower” is “power” which is: “The ability to do or act; capability of doing or accomplishing something.” Our education through schools is the most obvious form of empowerment. We cannot conceive of not being able to read and write, because others who were previously empowered made it their priority to empower us academically.
Power has to be gained, learned, imparted, or received from God and others. This is the basis of being empowered. The prefix “em-” or “en-” before an English word means, “in, into, within, inside.”
Empowerment defined: The process of helping others obtain opportunities, develop skills, and gain self-sufficiency. Empower is an instance. Empowerment is a process.
The power and ability that is available to people lies outside of themselves. God and other people must act to empower or move that power and ability from outside of people to inside of people. This is the whole purpose of child training, education, and spiritual growth.
People who empower others care as much about others as they care about themselves.  God cares for people most of all and His love is the motivating power behind empowerment. The most empowering people in your life are parents, teachers, preachers, public servants, mentors, employers, and coaches, and people who fulfill similar roles in your life.
Where would you be today without God and the people who empowered you? 

Reflection Question: What and who are my sources of empowerment?
Key insight I gained today:

Today’s action item based on insight:

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Day 1 - Principles of Empowerment | Free Indeed: The Beginning of Empowerment

Sunday, October 01, 2017 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



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John 8:31, Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
Say this out loud: “In Christ I am free indeed and free forever!” 
Freedom is a treasure and a legacy. It is a treasure because it is valuable. It is a legacy because we did not create it, we only inherited freedom. Freedom and responsibility go hand in hand. We have the responsibility to live a certain way and we have the responsibility to share our blessings with our family and with others.
When Jesus says He makes us “free indeed” He is talking about freedom in the total sense, at every level. The word “indeed” means:  Truly, in reality, in point of fact, as opposed to what is pretended, fictitious, false, conjectural.
God’s word provides the basis and operating manual for freedom of the spirit and soul. 
Psalms 119:98, Your commands make me wiser than my enemies, for they are my constant guide.
Many people are not living in freedom at the foundational level because they have not experienced freedom indeed through Christ. 
There is a catch: With freedom comes responsibility. It is our faith followed by actions that determine if we are experiencing God’s best. Everything we enjoy may not always be God’s best for us.
Looking again at our text in John 8, notice how the Jewish people responded to Jesus’ statement about truth and freedom,  They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will be made free’?” (v. 33)
They felt that their religious and racial affiliation with Abraham was enough. They reasoned they already possessed all the truth and freedom they needed. We don’t want to make that same mistake in leaning only on our feelings, on mere religious traditions, or what our society defines as freedom. 
To be “free indeed” requires a Savior. Jesus is the beginning of true empowerment and association with God’s brand of truth and freedom.

Reflection Question: What have I substituted for the true freedom that only Christ can give? 
Key insight I gained today:

Today’s action item based on insight:

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Join Us for a 30-Day Devotional, "Principles of Empowerment" October 1-30!

Monday, September 25, 2017 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

This devotional is designed to help you take hold to principles of empowerment. Empowerment is something you already have, and it is something of which you could always use more. Order your book or ebook from Amazon through my website www.VisionBooksMedia.com


Empowerment is like good nutrition and health, you can never get too much. The word empower means to give strength, ability, and capability. It comes from two words, “em” meaning “in, into, on, onto” and “power” meaning “ability and strength to act.” You have already been empowered through experi- ences such as your elementary, high school, and college educa- tion. You may have received special training such as universal precautions, first aid, or military training.

Everything you know and do have come because you’ve been empowered by others. There are many occasions when life and new opportunities require additional education and training leading to empowerment. There’s also the necessity to pay attention to our spiritual lives which provides the foundation for everything else that we are doing.

It is not that success in life is impossible without a strong spiri- tual life. It is that success without acknowledging God’s grace, and goodness, with generosity is empty and self-centered. In the book of Joshua, the Scripture speaks of something called “good success.” (Joshua 1:8) It is success inspired of God.

One of the benefits of a strong devotional life is that our hearts become trained to never forget God and to give him glory for all the good things He has empowered us to do and become. We can avoid the condition described in this text, “But when they had grazed, they became full, they were  lled, and their heart was lifted up; therefore they forgot me.” (Hosea 13:6)

A daily devotional time with the Lord is one of the best ways to remember and honor him. This book is a collection of previously published blog posts, contents from sermon notes, and newly written articles.

How to use this devotional:
After each reading, complete the following:
1. Respond to the Reflection Question.
2. Write down any insights you gain from the Scripture read- ing and commentary.
3. Write down any action items based on what you have read.
4. Continue your prayer and devotional time as the Lord directs you.


Order your book or ebook from Amazon through my website www.VisionBooksMedia.com





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The Gift of Limitation and the Grace of Becoming

Thursday, September 21, 2017 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments





Romans 12:3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.

On the surface, the title “Gift of Limitation” might seem negative. In fact, it is a very powerful and liberating principle. We need to reframe our thinking about limitation. Accepting what you can’t change pushes you to focus on what you can change.

Understand the difference between limitations of design from the false limitation of what is determined

A limitation of design is like this: Your laptop computer cannot make pancakes. This sounds silly, but the point is clear! 

A false limitation of what is determined is like this: A person who has a talent and training to sing or play an instrument but has “determined” that he cannot do it because someone questioned his ability.

It is one thing to not be able to do omething because you’re not designed to do it. It is altogether different to DECIDE you can’t do something,

Let’s consider at what Romans 12:3 is saying:

1. Paul wrote, “I say through the grace given to me…” The Scriptures are coming from a place of Grace, which is God’s ability, His operational power, and everything He has made available to you.

2. “Not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think.”  Thinking of yourself more highly than you should is simply a waste of thought, time, and energy. Thinking outside of your design is not helpful. For example, thinking that I can sing like Marvin Gaye is a waste of time.

3. “Think soberly.”  The biblical root of this word means, "To be of sound mind, to be in one's right mind, to exercise self control, to curb one's passions." The same word is used in this passage from Mark 5:15, “And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind.

4. “…As God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.” You want to think within the domain of your faith. You should think on things and possibilities of what God has promised and what you believe.  Thinking in this manner is actually more effective than thinking more highly of yourself.

Because you have “grace to become” you can accept limitations. Again, accepting what you can’t change pushes you to focus on what you can change.

To learn more about this principle, listen to my teaching,“The Gift of Limitation and the Grace of Becoming" on the Firm Foundation podcast.

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NCC Mortgage Burning 2017: Our Journey of Faith and God's Faithfulness

Sunday, September 17, 2017 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments


Philippians 1:6, Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.

On Sunday, September 10 the members, leaders, and friends of New Covenant Church burned the mortgage on our church facility after paying off the mortgage on August 14 and becoming a debt free ministry!

It was a exciting and fulfilling occasion for our ministry, but it was much more! Paying off and burning the mortgage was both an encouragement and a prophetic declaration to everyone connected with New Covenant Church. When we give to God, support His work, and empower His kingdom, it is evidence of His provision and empowerment towards us. Watch this video excerpt from the "Free Indeed" mortgage burning celebration.

Watch below part of the celebration where made declarations and burned the mortgage document:



Here is a video I created telling part of our story, "Our Journey of Faith and God's Faithfulness."

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Join us this Sunday for a Mortgage Burning and "Free Indeed" Worship Celebration

Wednesday, September 06, 2017 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

Join us this Sunday at 10:30am and 5:30pm for a Mortgage Burning and "Free Indeed" Worship Celebration! New Covenant Church, 4625 N. Keystone Avenue. www.NewCovenant.org

 

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What it Means to be "Woke"

Wednesday, August 23, 2017 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments





In our American cultural vernacular many words once considered slang have come into common use. Many of these terms distill complex and varied meanings into a single word. Some of those words include: Salty, shade, props, ripoff, copacetic, grind, beef, geek, and many others.

There is another word in our cultural vernacular that describes a personal state of awareness and engagement on issues in our society: That word is "woke." 

In a society where many have become tone deaf, selfishly motivated, and walled off from the struggles and unique challenges of people, to be "woke" to their plight is a virtue.

Being aware of the plight of others for a brief period of time is not a characteristic of being woke. People who are woke are always aware of others and seek to bring both attention and help to people as "brothers and sisters" and not only within an ethnic context.

Below are my points of view on issues of concern. Your points of view may differ.

You are WOKE...

1. When you see the world as it is, both in its beauty and tragedy, not from an idealistic perspective.

2. When you recognize that the root cause of American racism is white supremacy* and do not avoid the issue by succumbing to feelings of guilt, fragility, or diverting attention from the issue by false equivalence.

4. When you understand that poverty is not a measure of personal immorality and wealth is not a measure of morality.

5. When serving God and others is one's focus, not hedonism.

6. When you understand that God does not follow us, but that we must follow Him.

7. When you are aware and not silent about the problems of gentrification, mass incarceration, attempts to disenfranchise voters, police brutality, disrespect of police, and other society-level injustices.

8. When you are aware of the benefits of your privilege and do not pretend that everyone has an equal opportunity or find fault with people who do not match your privilege-driven standards.

9. When you neither justify nor excuse abuse of authority on the part of people in authority.

10. When you do not consent to the marginalization of the professional free press.

11. When you recognize that public education is viewed by many as both a profitable enterprise and a means to fund private schools with public funds.

12. When you recognize the high value of human life from womb to tomb--not only in the womb.

13. When you know that some efforts to study and help the poor are not designed to help elevate them into the middle class, but keep them as a permanent underclass, which provides careers, funding and income for many people.

14. You understand that the 45th president of the United States is historically and demonstrably unfit for the office he holds, needing prayer and accountability.

15. When you recognize that selective support for Black people who manage other Black people is valued more than recognizing Black people as peers who are worthy of serving and leading all people.

16. When you understand that making multi-culturalism a standard, when African-Americans (as one American minority group among others) comprise only 13% of the population while White Americans comprise 65% of the population, that the majority population ends up in control of everything.

17. When you understand that African-American history and culture are foundational to American history and culture.

18. When you recognize that the Confederacy was a traitorous enterprise and its monuments to leaders of the Confederacy are an affront to American identity and unity.

19. When you know that many white folks are "woke" and have stood shoulder to shoulder with African Americans and against white supremacy.  On August 13, 2017 Heather Heyer died while protesting in Charlottesville, Virginia against the "Unite The Right" Neo-Nazi, KKK, and white supremacist rally. 

20. When you recognize that America is great because of our unity and diversity not because of single culture nationalism. "We The People" are E Pluribus Unum, meaning "Out of Many One."
___________________

*White supremacist definition: "A person who believes that white people are better than other people and should have control over others."

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The Eclipse Declared The Glory of God…and His Care for You!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



On August 21, 2017, I traveled from Indianapolis to Nashville, Tennessee to experience the total eclipse. As a photographer and having a life-long interest in astronomy, it was a marvelous experience and a reminder of God’s favor on our lives!

This was, by far, the greatest thing I have ever seen in nature. 

Scattered clouds obscured the sun for parts of this celestial event. As the eclipse neared 100% a large cloud completely blocked our view. It looked like we were going to miss the best part of the eclipse. My heart sank and I considered going a couple of miles north of our location which was clear, but there was not enough time. Total eclipse was only five minutes away. I then decided to PRAY and ask God to open the clouds!


I’m not a big fan of selfish prayers and I’m always prepared for some things not to go my way, but I really wanted to see and photograph this total eclipse! I traveled 300 hundred miles to see it and brought my best photography equipment. I prayed, “Lord move these clouds in Jesus’ name.” Then I said, “Clouds move!”

With two minutes left before total eclipse, the clouds moved to reveal the sun in a clear portion of the sky. The people in a downtown grassy area in Nashville called Public Square let out a big cheer. I began taking photos while also looking up and around to experience the event with my eyes. In answer to prayer, and others in the area like prayed as well, the clouds parted to reveal the total eclipse. The sky turned darker, building and street lights came on, the hot 93 degree summer air cooled, the brighter stars became visible, the first “Diamond Ring” phenomenon appeared as the final bit of sunlight slipped behind the moon.

Then the magnificent solar corona appeared! This is the amazing sight that is only possible during a total eclipse. The corona is normally invisible because of the vastly greater brightness of the sun’s main disc. I could also see solar flares bursting from the surface of the sun within the corona. The crowd roared and I thanked God for the experience! I also reflected on August 21 as the day my dear mother passed 14 years earlier. I rejoiced in remembering how she taught me to appreciate nature’s beauty and God’s power.


Looking at the photos, I realized that the clouds provided the setting for capturing much more dramatic photographs than had the sky been clear. Sometimes our challenges, in the end, yield the best results! (Romans 8:28)

My photos of the “Diamond Ring” are among the best I have ever taken. Some of my friends remarked these were among the best photos of the eclipse they had seen. A second diamond ring phenomenon occurs as the moon moves away from covering the sun. Notice in the sequence of photos above that sun becomes “swallowed” by the clouds….but not before putting on the greatest show of light I have ever seen!


If the Lord can arrange such a thing as the moon, which is 400 times smaller than the sun, to appear to be the same size in our sky, perfectly mask our sun to allow the normally invisible solar corona to be seen, and reveal the incredible Diamond Ring effect, God can surely order our lives, empower us, and care for us through the grace provided by Jesus Christ!

To see the complete collection of photos, visit my Inspiration Images online gallery: http://inspirationimages.zenfolio.com/p728398346



Watch brief montage video of solar eclipse photos and video clips set to music from 2001: A Space Odessey





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Is the Solar Eclipse a "Sign" of Impending Doom or Trouble?

Monday, August 21, 2017 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



Let's be clear about something: The solar eclipse, like the lunar eclipse is not a supernatural event. It is natural and predictable, though it testifies to God's power, precision, and provision. Bible prophecies about the sun and moon turning "dark" are entirely something different because: 

1. The moon doesn't darken the sun. The darkness of a solar eclipse is the shadow of the moon. A "blood moon" color occurs when the moon is within the "penumbral" shadow of the earth (Google it). For a solar eclipse, unless you're in the 60 mile wide zone of totality, it never gets dark. If you're in the zone, it's only dark for a few minutes. 

2. Only a very small percentage of people in the world can see a solar eclipse when it happens.

3. During an eclipse event, the sun and moon are not both affected at the same time (as predicted in prophecy). Lunar and solar eclipses are always (obviously) separate events.

4. The whole eclipse event is temporary--you could take a nap and miss the whole thing. When God does something intended to be seen, you won't nap through it!

5. Jesus said that a wicked ("twisted") generation seeks signs (Matthew 12:39)

6. We know the exact time, location, and duration of every eclipse. God's miraculous work is not predictable.

7. We are not motivated by "fear and loathing" or looking for disasters. We are motivated by faith in God.

8. We got much bigger prophetic issues to be concerned about such as "wars, and rumors of wars," hatred, betrayal, ethnic conflicts with "nation against nation" ("nation" meaning "ethnos"), disease, natural disasters, etc. (Matthew 24:6-14)

9. When the sun and moon are somehow darkened in appearance AND STAY THAT WAY, then you should be concerned. Until then, don't be deep and heavy! Just ENJOY IT and worship God like David did: 

"I will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty, And on Your wondrous works." (Psalm 145:5)

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Should Every Church Congregation Be Racially Diverse?

Tuesday, August 15, 2017 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments




Here is my response to the often cited concern that every local church should be racially diverse:

It's a good idea, but it is an idealistic and impractical notion. It is something which is not feasible for all congregations. 13% of our Black population cannot equally bear this burden with 65% of our White population. 

Jesus said, “For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more."  If racial diversity within congregations is the stated objective and if diversity is the standard by which churches will be measured, White believers should disperse into Black and Latino congregations. Presently, nearly all of the diversity is being accomplished by minorities attending majority congregations. 

For minority populations, congregational "diversity" (as it relates to reflecting the composition of the population, excluding tokenism) may equal diminishing influence, and ultimately cultural marginalization. Taken to its logical conclusion, white folks end up in charge of everything.

Segregation is something very specific in our history. When Dr. King spoke of it on "Sunday morning," he was talking about injustice. To use his quote today is out of context and disingenuous. Where you choose to worship and serve is not segregation.

Diversity in fellowship, partnership and service to our community is a practical idea from which everyone benefits.

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Reflections on the Day Our Ministry Became Debt Free

Monday, August 14, 2017 Bryan Hudson 1 Comments



Today, I made the final mortgage payment on our church facility one year ahead of schedule! Today, New Covenant Church became a debt free ministry. 

This is obviously a great blessing, a result of the grace of God, and a testament to the faithfulness of our New Covenant Church family and the friends who support us. This day holds special significance for many other reasons because of the challenges and victories we have faced along the way. 

I reflect on 35 years of pastoral service and the present smaller size of our congregation, but I also see our significant impact and influence on other ministries, nations, and people who have been served, especially our precious church family, youth, and children. We have empowered hundreds of youth in media arts through 19 years of media camps and we provided an academic and spiritual foundation for hundreds of children during the 15 years we operated Willowbrook Academy preschool. Untold numbers of people have been born again through our various ministries. A great volume of Gospel and inspirational books, ebooks, blogs, and digital media have inspired and helped people around the world. The annual Christmas outreach founded by my late mother, Gaynell Hudson, continues to share the Gospel and help families for the past 26 years.

I reflect upon having been sent by the Lord half way around the world to Africa on five occasions to do missions work, strengthen pastors, and provide them with resources.

I am always careful to keep everything in proper perspective, recognizing that there are many great ministries in our city doing great, and greater, works than ourselves. We have been honored to have supported and inspired many of those ministries as friends and partners. In fact, I am very thankful that size is not the final measure of the effectiveness of a ministry!

I reflect on God as our unlimited Source who provides resources…sometimes in ways that defy comprehension.

I reflect upon hardships and victories during times of zoning denial, winning a lawsuit to overturn the negative zoning vote, expected and unexpected change, contraction of resources after a season of expansion, the economic crash of 2008 which affected a scheduled re-finance, and the departure of some church members for various reasons including job opportunities in different cities. 

I reflect upon the words of the Apostle Paul in Philippians 4, “Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (vv. 11-13)

I reflect upon Paul’s acknowledgement of the faithfulness of the faithful Philippian believers (whom I compare to our New Covenant Church believers), “Indeed I have all and abound. I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God. And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. ” (Phil 4:18-20)

I reflect upon our Vision for 2017, which we began with a declaration: “Debt Free, Worry Free, Free to be Empowered and Empower Others.”


I reflect upon my precious wife and partner of 38 years, Patricia Hudson, who has labored with me, worked in the ministry, been a public school educator for our whole marriage, and continues to inspire and care for me. I also thank God for our children, whom He has blessed in marvelous ways, and for our youngest son, Jonathan, who has been able to work with us in ministry. On a teachers' and pastors' income we were able to put four children through private school and college, by the grace of God!

I reflect upon my father, Horace Hudson, who is, by far, the greatest man I’ve ever known and who at 80 years of age continues to do amazing things for the Lord’s kingdom and for New Covenant Church. I remember my late mother Gaynell Hudson, who was a foundation and pillar in my life and ministry.

I reflect upon this Scripture for 2017, “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6)

Through it all, God has been faithful and His faithful people have been steadfast.

In light of all this, the best words I can find are...THANK YOU!

______________


JOIN US FOR A MORTGAGE BURNING CELEBRATION!





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