God's Joy. Your Strength.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



Nehemiah. 8:10, Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink he sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

In every season and circumstance, God provides the firm foundation of joy, which is your strength. Strength brings provision into your life and enough to share. The people of God in Nehemiah’s day learned it and we can know it today!

Join me for this week's Firm Foundation broadcast. The teaching topic is: "The Joy of the Lord is Your Strength." Listen on WTLC AM1310. watch online at www.FirmFoundationTV.net, on Facebook Live and on the Firm Foundation podcast.  You will be blessed and encouraged!

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(Audio) Firm Foundation Podcast, "The Salt of the Covenant: God's Influence In Your Life"

Wednesday, December 06, 2017 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



Listen to the message:  "The Salt of the Covenant: God's Influence In Your Life"  

Mark 9:49 For everyone will be seasoned with fire, and every sacrifice will be seasoned with salt. 50 Salt is good, but if the salt loses its flavor, how will you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace with one another.

Leviticus 2:12 As for the offering of the firstfruits, you shall offer them to the Lord, but they shall not be burned on the altar for a sweet aroma. 13 And every offering of your grain offering you shall season with salt; you shall not allow the salt of the covenant of your God to be lacking from your grain offering. With all your offerings you shall offer salt.

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Standing In Your Steadfastness. Growing in Grace.

Friday, December 01, 2017 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments




2 Peter 3:17 You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; 18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.

Peter’s second letter concludes with a great promise and a warning. The previous verses (which you want to read), talk about the “Day of the Lord,” which is essentially the end of our world as we know it and the emergence of a “new heavens and a new earth.” 

Verse 17 assumes that believers understand what is coming, even though we don’t know when it is coming. Peter writes, “Beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked.” It is the kind of warning we cannot ignore. Falling is not something we need to fear, but we must not become so arrogant as to think nothing can negatively affect us. The “error of the wicked” offers fatally attractive and powerful enticements—but only if we’re looking in that direction. 

We only need to focus on what Peter wrote in the next verse, “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” 
THERE IT IS!

Reading this blog post and everything else you do through your relationship with your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is exactly how you “grow in grace!”

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Latest Podcast: "The Power and Beauty of Covenant Relationships"

Wednesday, November 29, 2017 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments





The proper and best basis of all relationships is covenant. Our culture routinely disregards the understanding and practice of covenant. Our culture has a “live-in-the-moment” and a  “what-have –done-for-me-lately” mentality. Jesus provided the best example of covenant relationship.

John 15:13, Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. 14 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you 16 You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. 17 These things I command you, that you love one another.

A lesson from the Jehoiada the priest :

2 Chronicles 23:1, In the seventh year Jehoiada strengthened himself, and made a covenant with the captains of hundreds...And they went throughout Judah and gathered the Levites from all the cities of Judah, and the chief fathers of Israel, and they came to Jerusalem. 3] Then all the congregation made a covenant with the king in the house of God. And he said to them, "Behold, the king's son shall reign, as the LORD has said of the sons of David

Covenant is the basis of our strength, favor, and advancement. 

Look at the response of people when they understand they are covenanted with the Lord to be His people

2 Chronicles 23:16, Then Jehoiada made a covenant between himself, the people, and the king, that they should be the Lord's people. 17] And all the people went to the temple of Baal, and tore it down. They broke in pieces its altars and images...

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Thanksgiving Day - An Opportunity to Develop an "Attitude of Gratitude"

Wednesday, November 22, 2017 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments




Thanksgiving Holiday is the beginning of the best time of the year! This is not because problems go away or the world suddenly becomes a better place.

Thanksgiving, or more accurately, "Giving thanks to God," provides an opportunity to gain a better perspective on life. We live in a culture that is full of complaining, ingratitude and greed.

As we thank God for all His blessings, including salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, we find grace to give thanks to God and brighten our hearts. A heart and mind that have been brightened through giving thanks can overcome the darkest days. As we give thanks, we will also be able to overcome any sadness that arises when reflecting on loved ones who have passed on and will not be sitting around our dinner tables.

I pray that you and yours will have a wonderful and "bright" Thanksgiving. I pray that you will gain an "attitude of gratitude" that will carry you throughout the holidays!

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Your "Set Time" of Opportunity Has Come!

Thursday, November 16, 2017 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



Psalm 102:13 You will arise and have mercy on Zion; For the time to favor her, Yes, the set time, has come.

The Vines Expository Dictionary defines "mercy" in this way: "Mercy is the outward manifestation of compassion; it assumes need on the part of him who receives it, and resources adequate to meet the need on the part of him who shows it."

God's mercy is not only for people who make mistakes. Mercy is for people who want to help and serve others.  The biblical Hebrew and Greek words for "time" carry the idea of "opportunity" or a "set time." (As in Ephesians 5:16)

According to Vines, mercy works in two directions. 1) God comes to the aid of people in need. 2) God provides resources for people who show mercy and want to help others.

Through mercy what begins as trouble or difficulty becomes the "set time" for God and merciful people to bring help and new opportunities!

This is what Joseph experienced after being sold into slavery, or jailed after being falsely accused. (Gen. 39:20-23) Through God's mercy, his "set time" transformed his trouble and made him the Prime Minister of Egypt and put him in position to provide mercy, and provision, for his whole family when famine came.

This is what Jesus did for us when we were lost and in sin: Ephesians 2:4-5 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy,  made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.

In the midst of your trouble, choices, or willingness to help others, God's mercy will provide a "set time" of favor and opportunity. Expect it!

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Be Transformed by the Renewing of Your Mind

Friday, November 03, 2017 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



After becoming born again, the next most important thing is being TRANSFORMED by renewing your mind!

"Transforming Power of Renewing Your Mind" is the first series of teachings on the Firm Foundation Broadcast November 6-10 on WTLC 1310AM in Indy and video simulcast on www.firmfoundationtv.net

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Grace the Teacher of How to Live

Wednesday, November 01, 2017 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments




Titus 2:11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. 15 Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you.

In his letter to Titus, the Apostle Paul personifies the grace of God as a teacher. We know that grace provided every good thing we have, including salvation. Paul shows that grace can teach us how to live.

Paul's letter to Titus was a pastoral letter designed to instruct, encourage, and establish some important Christian truths, especially for Titus and church leaders. Central to that task was recognizing the significance of the grace of God on a very practical level. As we know, we do not succeed through our own works, but through grace operating by faith (Eph. 2:8). From this text, let's look specifically at what grace teaches:

1. Denying ungodliness 
2. Denying worldly lust
3. Live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age
4. Looking for the appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ
5. Jesus gave His life to redeem us
6. Jesus gave His life to purify us
7. We are God's special people, eager to do good works
8. Leaders should not be timid

We do not lack a clear standard. Living for God is not like the old Burger King motto, "Have It Your Way." We all benefit from loving instruction and training. As a matter of fact, we learn to thrive and experience "good" success (Joshua 1:8) based on training because we are designed to learn, grow, and develop. Proof of that principle is shown in Proverbs 29:15, "...A child left undisciplined disgraces its mother." Also, Proverbs 22:6, "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."

Disgraceful and dysfunctional behavior develops in a child who is "left to himself" or otherwise neglected with respect to training. The principle applies to adults as well on a different level. Have you ever encountered a poorly trained, or untrained, worker on a job? 

Grace as Teacher provides the best way to be trained, learn, and grow. Not only do we receive instruction from the Source--our Creator, we also receive the power to become the instruction!

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Day 30 | A Place Called Forward - Principles of Empowerment 30-Day Devotional

Monday, October 30, 2017 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



Exodus 14:14, “The LORD will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.” And the LORD said to Moses, “Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward.”

Have you ever felt like you did not know where to go or what to do? A better question might be: “When was the last time you felt that way?” 

Beware of feelings. Feelings are not final reality. I have been on flights that were so smooth that it did not feel like we were moving. However, 12 inches from my window seat there was pandemonium going on outside at 37,000 feet, traveling at 550 miles per hour, with sub zero temperature air and very low oxygen. So, my feeling could not define the reality. 

I have been on merry-go-rounds where everything was moving and I was only going in a circle. One day, a guy saw me with my earphones and remarked that I must have enjoyed my music. That was how he felt. In fact, I was listening to the text of a scholarly article. 

Feelings and emotionalism are such a problem until people today can’t embrace reality because of feeling a certain way. I am glad that the most important people in my life operate on reality more than feelings: My attorney, my pilots on commercial flights, my doctors, my pastor, my close friends, and more.

Forward defined: To cause to proceed or progress toward a goal. To cause to go or be taken from one place or condition to another. 
For you, there is a place called “Forward.” For Israel, their “Forward” was something called the “Promised Land.”  The people of Israel did not possess a map to the Promised Land.  This was more of a promise of something greater than their present condition in Egypt. 

Feeling “stuck” is not uncommon. We all have that feeling from time to time.  Israel certainly felt that way as they were staring at an impassable body of water in front of them, with an Egyptian army bearing down on them from behind. 

The good news is this: We serve a God who knows the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10). 

God told Moses to tell the people to “Go forward.” This didn’t make sense because of the Red Sea in front of them, but it was an opportunity to trust the Lord in a very special way. 

You don’t have to be concerned about things that don’t make sense to you. You only need to focus on His word, His promises, and the spiritual principles that govern you and your circumstances. 
Look for a pillar of fire in your life and circumstances.

Your “pillar of fire” is not a miraculous sign (we don’t look for signs - Matthew 16:4). Your pillar of fire is something you know God has done for you. Your pillar of fire is the blessing already present in your life, but may have been overshadowed by your present challenges. 

You might be enjoying extended years of life because of God’s healing power. You might have the blessing of people who love you and continue to support you every day of your life. That’s a pillar of fire for you. It is something that removes any doubt that God is with you and continues to keep the enemy from overtaking you. 
Today, God is still saying, “Go forward.” Forward is the only direction in which God is moving.

Forward is a place that stretches your faith and exercises your prayer life. Forward is the place and the direction your vision takes you. 

How is this? We can always go forward because “forward” is not a compass direction, it is a mindset, a sense of purpose, and a promise from God. 

Reflection Question: Based on your faith in God, describe what forward looks like to you.

_____________


Excerpt from "Principles of Empowerment" available at www.VisionBooksMedia.com





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Incomplete Narratives, Misplaced Focus and "Racial Division"

Saturday, October 28, 2017 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments




A false balance is an abomination to the Lord, But an accurate weight is His delight.” Proverbs 11:1

There is a lot of talk today about divisions in our nation. Most of the concern seems to surround racial divisions. In my 60 years of life, especially the adult years which include 37 years of public ministry and community service, the term “racial division” was not something we talked about in the African American community. We talked about jobs, education, violence, poverty, equal opportunity, racism, white supremacists, sports, family, politics, unity, church, youth, and much more. We never focused on racial division, though we worked with white brothers and sisters on the rare occasions they came around. We also participated in some “unity” efforts, but those were never significant factors to our needs and work.

Today, seemingly at every turn, I hear about racial division and our collective need to address it. I attended an event in October of 2017 that offered talks and discussions on the topic “Healing Our Divided Nation.” The talks were positive and interesting, but not entirely focused on the stated topic. The issue of racial division was lightly touched upon, but the event mainly highlighted the good works of key organizations, good intentions, and future opportunities to do more talking (for which a 20% discount was available to attendees for the next event). The substance of the event fit within a pattern I’ve noticed for some time. There are expressed concerns about important issues of our day, but action on those concerns are often limited in scope, selective in application, and temporary in duration. Those who engage directly and consistently on issues, in partnership with "indigenous" leaders, do the most good over time.

I’ve been involved with various multicultural efforts for 35 years. Working together has always been fruitful so long as we actually worked on something. When we began searching for deeper meaning or attempted to climb “Mount Significance.” (a term used by Bryan Loritts), we began to focus more on narratives than tasks at hand. I recall a monthly pastors prayer group that began to struggle when pontificating became a form of “who is the greatest among us.” I recall one meeting where we adjourned, but I had to return to retrieve an item I left behind, only to witness the white brothers holding another meeting among themselves.

Another group in which I participated began to struggle soon after 9/11. Some said “God did it.” Others said “the devil did it.” Another alliance became irrelevant to me when the focus became conservatives taking over the government so “God could have His way.” One of the alliances I’ve continued to support receives men returning to society from prison, disciples them in Christ, helps them complete their parole, and become godly productive citizens. The pastors group I led purchased and gifted the first facility to this ministry.

Regarding racial division/tensions/relations, during 2016 I began to pay attention to reports, and polls which highlighted beliefs that President Barack Obama increased racial division or hurt race relations. These sentiments, anecdotal data points, and plain ole’ ignorance, developed into what we call a narrative.

About Narratives

A narrative is defined as: 1) Some kind of retelling of something that happened (a story). The narrative is not the story itself but rather the telling of the story. 2) A report of connected events, real or imaginary, presented in a sequence of written and/or spoken words. 3) Consisting of or characterized by the telling of a story.

Thinking about social narratives brought me to this question: “Who is highlighting racial division? Who believes President Obama worsened racial relations? Why all the late interest in racial matters? Where have they been? Why now?”

To assert that Barack Obama made racial division/tensions/relations worse is both absurd and obscene. It is an incorrect narrative and is indicative of why we often do not make progress as a nation. As stated earlier, a narrative is the telling of a story. It’s important to know the story before embracing someone’s narrative who is not part of the story. 

A more accurate narrative regarding racial division/tensions/relations is this: Racists, white supremacists, and people with bad theology/philosophies created the great majority of racial tensions. Both past history and contemporary events plainly reveal this reality. The fact that an African American man became president, and people who hated Barack Obama and/or Black people became upset and expressed their hatred in words and deeds is not division. It is hatred. It is certainly not something for which President Obama is responsible. "Division" is a kind of false narrative that avoids addressing the actual "story."

During the civil rights era, when black students sat at the whites-only lunch tables, it was not a matter of creating bad racial division/tensions/relations. Their presence only highlighted the bad motivations and behaviors of racist and ignorant people. The narrative at the time was, “Those n------s are out of line. They don’t know their place. They don’t know they are inferior. They are stirring up trouble.”

President Obama’s presence had a similar effect on a massive scale. It is also important to highlight that white folks of good will helped greatly to elect him president and showed the inclusive spirit of America. In November of 2016, large numbers of white folks and Evangelicals (80% by poll) followed various kinds of narratives and elected a vulgar, unqualified man to the presidency, Donald J. Trump. Those narratives involved white nationalism (the desire for the nation to look like themselves and hold their values/customs) in the wake of rising minority populations, concerns about Supreme Court appointments, and perceived threats from “evil” Muslims, Mexicans, and gays.

The Story Behind the Narrative

America is unquestionably a land of dreams, freedom, and opportunity. We are also a land of deeply entrenched injustice, unrepentant sin, oppression, and idealism. The treatment of Native Americans is an obvious evidence of entrenched injustice. Legalizing abortion-on-demand, so called “marriage equality,” gambling, prostitution, oppression, gentrification, gerrymandering, and more are all evidences of unrepentant sin and/or oppression.

Idealism is a malady that causes people to focus on unrealistic notions and magical thinking. For example, talking about racial division/tensions/relations  and wondering if Obama worsened it is nothing more than idealism and ignorance of history. It is a waste of both time and thought.

Let me offer a different kind of narrative.  Since a narrative alone is not an actual story, allow me to offer some facts and concepts to help build a more accurate and useful narrative:

We don’t need to focus on ‘healing” racial division, because there is only one race, the human race. I don’t advocate any wrong-headed solution of being “color blind” and thus making people invisible. I don’t suggest we discard our ethnic heritage or identities such as African-American, because this is what makes America unique in the world. Consider the actual outcome of placing people in “race” classifications. We say everyone is either Black (negroid), White (caucasian), Jewish, Asian, or Semitic.  Where does that leave Latinos? Latino is not a race, it is a culture and language. They can identify as white or black. What about Native Americans? What about the people of Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, North Africa, Hawaiian Islands, and many other places. Seeking to place everyone into a narrow or inaccurate classification of race only benefits those who use race to exploit the perceived problem of  “division” to derive some advantage or benefit. 

African Americans, more than many others, have struggled with identity. We’ve been called, and have called ourselves Negro, Colored, Black and African-American. Black is viewed as the “racial” distinction. African-American is the more noble and useful ethnic distinction for the simple reason that there is no place called “Black,” “Negro,” or “Colored.” There is a place called Africa, from which we came. I identify as black and African American from an ethnic perspective. Race is not a term I use to identify myself except as needed for official purposes. It is interesting that many are comfortable in objectifying us as “the blacks.”

One of the popular narratives offered to “heal” racial division/tensions/relations is to drop all the “labels” and simply go by the term “American.” There are those who insist that this is the way forward and the path to racial healing. That notion disrespects the core value of our nation, “E Pluribus Unum” meaning, “Out of many, one.” God sees each of us in our color, ethnicity, and character. American is my nationality. African American is my ethnic identity. 
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 before the Lamb.” (Revelation 7:9).

Nonsensical perspectives and views rooted in a lack of understanding should not become a viable narrative or any basis for “healing” I can’t go to work on something imagined or idealized “division.”

Authentic unity does not require uniformity. This is part of the principle involved with some men in the NFL who want to highlight their right to kneel during the National Anthem, not out of disrespect to our flag or service people (which became a false narrative), but out of respect for “liberty and justice for all.” Lately, kneeling became a protest against President Trump who called (mostly black) men “sons of bitches” (which in our community is an insult against our mothers) and demanded they be forced to stand, or be fired.

A Better Narrative Based on the Story

“Healing” racial division/tensions/relations is the wrong focus and narrative. The focus must be placed on injustice, oppressors, and despotic leaders. We should not view “division” as something that makes us uncomfortable, unhappy, and therefore something we must eradicate. I suggest viewing division as the fruit of bad policy and badly motivated people.

Arising from the actual story, a better narrative becomes: How should people change their mindset, understanding, behavior, and motivations? How should I change? How should I help people within my sphere of influence change?

We don’t need mottos and catchy phrases. We have always benefitted from a heavy dose of reality, learning from history, and proper context.

[Listen to article read by digital voice]

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Day 28 | Flexibility: The Key to New And Greater Purposes - Principles of Empowerment Devotional

Saturday, October 28, 2017 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



Matthew 9:16 “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. 17 Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”

New cloth (not yet shrunken by washing) and old cloth should not be sewn together. New wine (unfermented grape juice) should not be put into old, inflexible containers. 

Understanding conditions is important. Being flexible and willing to change and adapt throughout life is also important.  The cloths represented conditions and the new wine/wineskins represented change and flexibility or inflexibility. 

The science and logic behind what Jesus said is easy to understand. What is more difficult is to pay attention to the changing conditions and dynamics of our lives and activities. In context, Jesus talked about conditions in His day in which religious leaders, like the Pharisees resisted Christ and the emerging Kingdom of God. Like old stiff wineskin containers, their inflexibility to the expanding “new wine” of God’s purpose was unacceptable. 

Today, we must evaluate our conditions, and our hearts, to determine what things, if any, may prevent us from being containers of “new wine” –– in whatever ways this may be applicable to our lives. 

Reflection Question: Is there anything old and “stiff” that cannot accept the new thing God is doing in your life?

_____________

Excerpt from "Principles of Empowerment" available at www.VisionBooksMedia.com

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Day 27 | G.R.A.C.E. - Principles of Empowerment 30-Day Devotional

Friday, October 27, 2017 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments




Grace began with redemption through Jesus and separation from self righteousness. 

“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.” Ephesians 2:8-9

Let’s consider the empowering qualities of God’s grace using each letter of the word.

Give: Share what God has given you to give. What I have I give to you. 

Reach: Go for more than business as usual. Move outside of yourself and into a life of challenge and adventure.

Accept: Embrace the new things God is doing in your life. Accept the difference that grace brings to your life. Live the lifestyle of people called by God to change their world. Matthew 28:18, “Go into all the world and make disciples.”

Clear: Remove the old behaviors to make room for God’s best ways. In order to learn and build something new, you have to clear out the old. In the past, we recorded and sold cassette and VHS tapes. When compact disc technology came along, we transitioned from tapes to CD’s. We had to clear out the tape duplicators and cassette poly boxes. Today, we use digital media and live streaming. The early church disciples cleared away the old powerless religious bonds. The religious leaders had gone so far away from God that they could not rejoice in the miracles Jesus performed. 

Elevate: Giving, Reaching, Accepting and Clearing lead to an Elevation or “Great Grace!”

Reflection Question: How has grace empowered you?

___________

Excerpt from "Principles of Empowerment" available at www.visionbooksmedia.org

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Day 25 | Great Grace! Part 1 - Principles of Empowerment 30-Day Devotional

Wednesday, October 25, 2017 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



2 Peter 3:18, But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

John 1:17, For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ

Growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ is the foundation to understanding your purpose in life and God’s provision. Grace is more than undeserved favor. Grace is everything God has that He makes available to us through Jesus Christ. Grace is God’s operational power. The grace of God cannot be separated from Jesus because His personal love and sacrifice for us removed the failure of the “Law” and gave us the riches of grace.

Galatians 2:21, I do not set aside [frustrate] the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.”

In Acts Chapter Four, we see the powerlessness of the Law of Moses and the power of the Grace of God in healing the lame man laid by the gate of the temple. 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.

(Excerpt from Principles of Empowerment 30-Day Devotional)

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Day 24 | "The Beauty and Power of Expectation" - Principles of Empowerment 30-Day Devotional

Tuesday, October 24, 2017 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



Romans 8:18, "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 19 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.”

There is something beautiful and powerful about expectation! There is also something wonderful in knowing who you are in God. In this text, Paul reminds us that nothing in this present world can be compared to the “glory” or God’s character/power/presence that is within us. Said another way, “Greater is he who is in you than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4)

In Romans 8:19, Paul uses a wonderful word for “earnest expectation” (apokaradokia). It describes the attitude of a man who scans the horizon with head thrust forward, eagerly searching the distance for the first signs of the break of dawn.

When you face challenges in life or need fresh direction, having hope and expectation are especially important. God designed us to dream and to see realities greater than our present circumstances. This is part of what it means to be made in God’s “image and likeness.”

All of creation, including ourselves, are experiencing the beauty and power of expectation! We are leaning forward, pressing into brighter days and possibilities. God is revealing His sons and daughters to this world as agents of change and redemption through Jesus Christ!

Expect it! Live in it! Reveal the glory!

Below is an excerpt from a poem by Dr. Maya Angelou, On the Pulse of the Morning:


Lift up your eyes upon
The day breaking for you.
Give birth again
To the dream.
Women, children, men,
Take it into the palms of your hands.
Mold it into the shape of your most
Private need. Sculpt it into
The image of your most public self.
Lift up your hearts
Each new hour holds new chances
For new beginnings.
Do not be wedded forever
To fear, yoked eternally
To brutishness.
The horizon leans forward,
Offering you space to place new steps of change.
Here, on the pulse of this fine day

Reflection Question: What “beauty” can you see in your circumstances? How is expectation helping you lean forward?

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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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