Day 11 -- PRINCIPLES OF EMPOWERMENT -- The Great Exchange

Saturday, July 11, 2020 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



Isaiah 40:31, But those who hope in the Lord will renew [exchange] their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.  

From time to time, we all need renewal and refreshing. The normal activities and challenges of life take a toll. There are also special circumstances like the passing of loved ones or unexpected setbacks in life.
Whatever the situation, God has made a provision through His grace. Grace is everything God has that He makes available to us.  And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. (John 1:16)

God’s method for renewal is something I call The Great Exchange. This is nothing new. It is a very old and biblical understanding of how God works in our lives. We cannot change ourselves using our own strength. We can make superficial adjustments, but deep and lasting change must come from our Creator. 
The Great Exchange began with Jesus giving His holy life for our sinful lives. He died in our place to take away our sins, and not only our sins but the sins of all people. (1 John 2:2)

As a photographer, I’ve become highly skilled at using my various cameras, but when my camera needs deep cleaning, calibration or repair, I have to send it to Nikon, Canon, Sony or Panasonic. I have to give up use of the camera and exchange my understanding for the manufacturer’s expertise.

Early in 2016, I experienced some pain in my lower leg after a workout. I “diagnosed” myself with a slight Achilles tendon strain (I had a rupture years ago and knew the difference). I put ice on it, rested it, and later began to slowly stretch it (as I “learned” from an almighty Google search!) The pain persisted off and on, so I went to the doctor months later. A specialist diagnosed it as a partially torn Achilles tendon. It was like strands of a rope that had been torn with remaining strands bearing the load. All my efforts only made it worse, especially stretching it.

My best help came from an exchange of my limited (and foolish) diagnosis for a doctor’s diagnosis and treatment. For this injury, surgery was not needed. I had to take pressure off the tendon by wearing a special boot at home and dress boots with a high heel when away from home. The high heel relieved tension on the tendon.

When I exchanged my knowledge for the doctor’s knowledge, my situation changed. 

Is there any situation in your life that would benefit from the Great Exchange? Jesus is our Specialist! Don’t frustrate yourself or make matters worse by trying to sort things out all by yourself.


Reflection Question: Is there anything you need to exchange for something greater from God?

Key insight I gained today:
Today’s action item based on insight:

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Day 10 - PRINCIPLES OF EMPOWERMENT - The Amazing Power of Your Planted Seed

Friday, July 10, 2020 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



Mark 4:26-28, The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground,  and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how.  For the earth yields crops by itself: first the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head. 
There is amazing power both within the seed you sow and within the kingdom of God. Jesus compared the productivity of God’s kingdom to the natural process of sowing and reaping. We have witnessed God’s work in nature all of our lives, so we don’t stop to think about how amazing it is! “For the earth yields crops by itself…” 

We do not fully understand how nature works, we only know that it is reliable, consistent, and highly productive. We receive from nature more than we put in. We should view God’s kingdom in the same manner and trust the process by our participation. Here is a major principle from Jesus’ teaching:
A seed, once planted, GAINS the power to produce and increase. 

The power within a seed can only be released by planting the seed. This is true for every endeavor and for our giving. I traveled with a team of four men to Kenya Africa in November of 2016 for a missions trip.  The members of my church, New Covenant Church, and the friends who donated literally “sowed” us into the lives of the wonderful people of Eldoret and Busia, Kenya. That mission resulted in transformed lives, resourced pastors, encouragement beyond measure, and a lot more that occurred after we departed. Those who supported us had as much to do with the results as those of us who went there!

In August of 2017 we paid off the mortgage on our church facility, became a debt free ministry, and transformed a liability to a major asset! We are not a big church, but the seeds and generosity of a group of godly, willing people sowing into God’s kingdom produced amazing results.

As Jesus said, “…The seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how.”

I want to encourage you to always be a giver and a sower of your three “T’s” - your Time, Treasure, and Talents. The farmer, with all his knowledge and skill can produce nothing without putting his seed into the soil. We can only make a difference by getting our “seeds” of action and generosity into the fruitful “soil” of the Kingdom of God!


Reflection Question: Write down the purposes and ministries into which you have sown your seed. Rejoice over each one and expect to receive a harvest!

Key insight I gained today:

Today’s action item based on insight:

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Day 9 - PRINCIPLES OF EMPOWERMENT - More With You Than With Them

Thursday, July 09, 2020 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments





Psalm 33:16 No king is saved by the multitude of an army; A mighty man is not delivered by great strength...18 Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, On those who hope in His mercy.

Elisha’s servant learned a valuable lesson about man’s limited resources and God as the unlimited Source. 
There is a story in 2 Kings 6:8-20 that describes the Syrian army’s plans to attack Israel being intercepted by the Prophet Elisha, who warned the king of Israel on multiple occasions. Their plans failed on so many occasions that the king of Syria thought there was a spy within his ranks.

However, the king learned that it was the Prophet Elisha who heard his plans through God’s power and warned Israel. In a fit of anger the king of Syria sent his army to Dothan to capture Elisha. The army arrived that evening and encircled the location of Elisha. Notice the reaction of Elisha’s servant:

2 Kings 6:14 Therefore he sent horses and chariots and a great army there, and they came by night and surrounded the city. 15 And when the servant of the man of God arose early and went out, there was an army, surrounding the city with horses and chariots. And his servant said to him, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?”

The young man had a panic attack! He could see that he and Elisha were surrounded and out-numbered. In other words, the two of them did not appear to have the needed resources to defend against this enemy.
Notice Elisha’s calm response based upon his insight, “So he answered, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them. (v. 16)

We can imagine that the servant could have had a response like, “You’ve got to be kidding! I only see two of us and hundreds of them--with big weapons!”

Elisha’s response should be our response in any circumstance where we feel outnumbered and overmatched. The Bible says, “We walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Cor. 5:7) 

And Elisha prayed, and said, “Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha”  

God as your Source is always more than the resources of your enemies of adverse circumstances. When your eyes are open, you see your Source more than your limited resources!

Reflection Question: When your eyes are open, what do you see?

Key insight I gained today:

Today’s action item based on insight:

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Day 8 - PRINCIPLES OF EMPOWERMENT Your Source & Resource from Heaven to Earth

Wednesday, July 08, 2020 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



(Download free devotional PDF ebook www.newcovenant.org)

Philippians 4:11, Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12 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. 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

It is important to understand the difference between source and resources.

Resource: A supply of money, materials, staff, and other assets that can be drawn on by a person or organization in order to function effectively.

Source: A point of origin or procurement; anything or place from which something comes.

The Apostle Paul “learned” how to handle both lack and abundance. Paul learned how to rely on God as his Source and live in contentment, not in frustration. Trusting in our resources ultimately leads to frustration. 

What is the value of learning how to be “abased?” The only benefit in experiencing lack is learning how to handle yourself within it, navigate through it, and rise out of it! People who have survived lack and overcome it through Christ become both bold and humble by staying connected with their Source. Going forward, they do not feel intimidated or overwhelmed by circumstances. As David said, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want..” (Psalm 23:1)

Trusting in our resources is relying on a limited supply. Trusting our Source is relying on an unlimited supply. Recognizing our Source puts us in position to receive from God who is our Source. God as Source reigns over all and has an endless supply! 


Reflection Question: Are there any resources in your life that have been mistaken as your Source?

Key insight I gained today:

Today’s action item based on insight:

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Day 6 - PRINCIPLES OF EMPOWERMENT - Gift, Ability, & Aptitude

Monday, July 06, 2020 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



(Download free devotional PDF ebook www.newcovenant.org)

Psalms 139:14-16, "I thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! It is amazing to think about. Your workmanship is marvelous...You were there while I was being formed...You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe.” 

Your life will experience the greatest fulfillment, joy and success when doing what you enjoy and do well. What you are and will become are already inside of you. You may already be aware of your gifts, abilities, and aptitudes (also called talent). If not, here are the definitions of those terms:

A GIFT is an ability or potential ability you received from God when you were born. It must be developed. The old saying is somewhat true, “Use it or lose it.”

An ABILITY is a learned skill. This is sometimes mistaken for a gift.

An APTITUDE (talent) is a capacity to do something that may be considered unusual. Aptitude/talent is like potential, without action, it may not amount to much.

“Hard work and an open mind – it’s the only way to realize the potential that is inside every one of us.” ~ Chrissie Wellington

“To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming, is the only end of life.” ~ Robert Louis Stevenson

“Creativity or talent, like electricity, is something I don’t understand but something I’m able to harness and use.” ~Maya Angelou

Some people have a gift to sing, draw, or run fast. People with ability through training in singing, drawing or running fast learn to do it better. People with an aptitude to sing, draw, or run fast need to discover it and then develop it.

The concept of talent is overrated. When someone does something very well, we usually say that person did it because of “talent.” Talent is a starting point for some, but people who work hard at something become more successful than people who only have talent. More than anything else, success comes from working with what God has given you, following your heart, being trained, practicing, and doing your best.

Sometimes people think they have no talent, but that’s only because they think talent is something visible like singing and drawing. There are many kinds of talents/aptitudes.

Going to college or taking special training should be based on developing your gifts, acquiring ability, and acting on your aptitudes.


Reflection Question: What God given gifts or aptitudes in your life need further development?

Key insight I gained today:

Today’s action item based on insight:

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Day 5 - PRINCIPLES OF EMPOWERMENT - Three Elements of Empowerment

Sunday, July 05, 2020 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments




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

Saturday, July 04, 2020 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



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

Friday, July 03, 2020 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 under- stood 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

Thursday, July 02, 2020 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

Tuesday, June 30, 2020 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



Welcome to Day 1 of the devotional, "Principles of Empowerment!"

Day 1 has been posted early to help you get started. Selected lessons will be posted on this page many days this month. To follow daily, you can download the free PDF of the Principles of Empowerment  ebook or purchase the Kindle or print edition on Amazon. A link to the devotional ebook is available at www.NewCovenant.org.

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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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JUSTICE - What Is It? (Firm Foundation Audio Podcast)

Sunday, June 28, 2020 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

Listen to the Firm Foundation Podcast:

APPLE PODCASTS
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JUSTICE - What Is It?

KEYNOTE SLIDES PDF: https://www.dropbox.com/s/zzyk26b47xmomcw/Justice_Keynote.pdf?dl=0

Message includes talks by Paul Scanlon to whites about racism.

Psalm 82:3-4, Vindicate the weak and fatherless; Do justice to the afflicted and destitute.Rescue the weak and needy; Deliver them out of the hand of the wicked.

Isaiah 1:17 Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.

Matthew 23:23, “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.

It's important to understand that God's church touches our world in many different ways. People tend to have one view of the church or another. God's church as two primary functions in this world: We are pastoral and we are prophetic

1. Some may view Christ's Church as a place to come learn, to grow personally, become more Christlike, and to find purpose and happiness in life.

2. Some view Christ's Church as a place to reach out to the lost and hurting, to carry the gospel locally and around the world, behind prison walls, to support missions and relieve suffering.

3. Some view Christ's Church as salt and light in a dark world, to broken people, and as God’s agency for mercy and justice to people who are oppressed, orphan, and powerless.

4. Some view Christ's Church as a political party partner to advance God’s will by using godly and ungodly people in government. [Not a proper role for God’s church]

Justice is an important topic in our day. We hear a lot about injustice. We hear about the justice system. We see heartbreaking examples of injustice as well as justice being served.

What is justice? What is social justice? If you Google the words “Christian” and “justice" see a lot of results expressing various perspectives. There is no definitive definition for social justice come but there are many narratives. Remember that a narrative is someone’s story or interpretation about reality.

For example, the narrative says that most black males are in some kind of trouble. The truth is that most African American males are solid people who do right thing. People push back with statistics, but statistics only measure was is wrong. I am a lifelong expert on being a black male among black males.

List of justice Scriptures: https://justiceco.org/resources/gods-heart-of-justice/scriptures-on-justice-mercy-oppression-and-freedom/

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Latest teaching on the Firm Foundation podcast: “Fathers in 3D: Our Destiny. Our Design. Our Duty” (Audio)

Tuesday, June 23, 2020 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



Psalm 103:13, As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.

Proverbs 17:6, Children's children are the crown of old men, and the glory of children is their father.

Proverbs 1:8, My son, hear the instruction of your father, and do not forsake the law of your mother

Message Presentation Slides:


Listen on the Firm Foundation Podcast:



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Principles of Progress: Rivers & Roads

Wednesday, June 17, 2020 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



LISTEN TO THIS TEACHING ON:


Philippians 3:12 Not that I have already attained or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 

Isaiah 43:18-19  Do not remember the former things, Nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness And rivers in the desert. 


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Are Black People Cursed? What is the Curse of Ham?

Tuesday, June 09, 2020 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



Let's talk.

Many of you have heard about the "Curse of Ham." It is an antiquated and rejected "theology" regarding Black people being "cursed" by God according to Genesis 9:25. This "theology" teaches that Black people were destined for servitude because of the curse. Sadly, some still believe this doctrinal error. Historically, I think this belief has been the most significant factor in how we have been both perceived and treated. This error has also been the seed of black genocide.

Here are the biblical facts:

1) What Noah actually said (when he awoke from his wine) was, “Cursed be Canaan; A servant of servants he shall be to his brethren." He didn't say "Ham."

2) Canaan was one of the four sons of Ham, so Ham was not cursed by Noah. 

3) Canaan was not the progenitor of black people.

4) Noah woke up after being drunk. What Noah said WAS NOT what God said. In other words, a drunk man cannot pronounce a curse on what God has blessed.

5) MOST IMPORTANTLY: Genesis Chapter Nine begins with these words, "SO GOD BLESSED NOAH AND HIS SONS, and said to them: 'Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.'" 

6) Noah could not curse whom God blessed. 

7) CONCLUSION: The "Curse of Ham" lie was created and promulgated by white supremacist "Christians" to justify dehumanizing and enslaving Africans in the past, as well as subjugating and abusing Black people until the present day. At a minimum, African Americans are sometimes relegated, or limited to, servile functions in some churches and organizations. Of course, we are all servants, but the expectation of servitude exists for Black people.

~ Bryan Hudson
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Further reading: 
The Curse of Ham: How Bad Scripture Interpretation Inspired Genocide

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Lessons from Nehemiah: Building with Purpose, Passion, and Joy (Audio Podcast)

Monday, June 08, 2020 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments




LISTEN TO THIS TEACHING ON:

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NOTES:

Nehemiah 8:9, And Nehemiah, who was the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn nor weep.” For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the Law. 10 Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the 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.”

Nehemiah led the effort for a select group of people to return from Babylon to Jerusalem to help people still living there who were in distress, to rebuild the wall around the city, and to restore hope and worship.

Through their effort and passion, the wall around Jerusalem was rebuilt in 52 days—which was an amazing accomplishment. This was a testament to the power of purpose and the effort of one man to make a difference. One person can always make a difference. Be that person.

As Ezra said, “This day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

Nehemiah and the people who came with him had been living in prosperous Babylon. The people in Jerusalem were in a difficult place and had many needs.

Regardless of how blessed you become in this world, do not forget your people and know that true joy comes from doing God's will. The Hebrew word for "strength" means "protection" and "safe harbor."

Israel’s captivity in Babylon was not brutal captivity. When Nebuchadnezzar, the king of the Chaldeans, conquered Jerusalem, he only deported the most prominent citizens of Judah: professionals, priests, craftsmen, and the wealthy. He left the others behind.

His intention was not to destroy the Israelites, but to use them to advance and build his own kingdom.

Nehemiah was born in Babylon and raised in exile. Nehemiah was a leader during the time when Israel was living in captivity. Nehemiah was instrumental in the rebuilding and reestablishment of Jerusalem in the fifth century B.C. following the Babylonian exile. 

I realized that we have been in captivity to coronavirus COVID-19. If fact, our captivity was similar to Israel in that those of us who have not suffered from COVID have had a relatively comfortable captivity like Nehemiah and the Israelites living in Babylon.  They had homes and a community inside of Babylon. In fact, they probably had more freedom of movement than we had at a point during our shelter in place season.

The season of Nehemiah's captivity in Babylon prepared him to serve a greater purpose. Though he had no direct connection to Jerusalem, he always knew Israel was his homeland and Jerusalem was its capital city. Seasons of captivity or limitation always have a greater purpose.

Nehemiah had an interest that became a passion. That passion became a source of joy and strength. It came from an encounter with the Lord and through prayer.

There are parallels between Israel's captivity in Babylon in our captivity to coronavirus. We have to consider that part of God’s design for the season was to help us grow and grow closer to him. These seasons also provide and opportunity to purge out unnecessary things and to refocus. The old saying is, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.”

This is consistent with James chapter 1 which tells us guys design for trials. “Count it all joy.”

There has been another captivity with African Americans and black men in particular being subject to mistreatment and violence.  The current outcry against the murder of George Floyd, an innocent black men accused of no crime, but angered a white police officer. There is a captivity of expectation for black people to submit, to be subservient, and compliant. We are all aware of it. Some black folks just play along to get along.

Nehemiah was a man of great privilege in Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar. He used his privilege to serve the Lord, serve his people, and serve his purpose. 

That was that source of his joy. Joy is not an emotion. Joy leads to good emotions, but joy is strength from the Lord.

Their enemies tried to discourage and discredit them, but they kept building
Their enemies conspired against them, but they kept building
Their enemies wanted to have a conversation in ONO, but they declined and kept building

Nehemiah 6:1, Now it happened when Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab, and the rest of our enemies heard that I had rebuilt the wall, and that there were no breaks left in it (though at that time I had not hung the doors in the gates), 2 that Sanballat and Geshem sent to me, saying, “Come, let us meet together among the villages in the plain of Ono.” But they thought to do me harm. 3 So I sent messengers to them, saying, “I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down. Why should the work cease while I leave it and go down to you?” 4 But they sent me this message four times, and I answered them in the same manner.

Sometimes when enemies cannot compete with you or defeat you, they will ask for a meeting to have a conversation and waste your time. How you use your time is part of your purpose and part of your joy.

In Nehemiah chapter 9 they experienced repentance and restoration of relationship with God

Nehemiah 9:36, “Here we are, servants today! And the land that You gave to our fathers, To eat its fruit and its bounty, Here we are, servants in it! 37 And it yields much increase to the kings You have set over us, Because of our sins; Also they have dominion over our bodies and our cattle At their pleasure; And we are in great distress. 38  “And because of all this, We make a sure covenant and write it; Our leaders, our Levites, and our priests seal it.”

This was the restoration of the people of God with God. This was part of Nehemiah’s purpose and joy.

Joy comes out of the recognition of what God has done and is doing, such as when God’s people in Nehemiah’s day completed the wall around Jerusalem as they purposed to do.

Nehemiah 12:43, “Also that day they offered great sacrifices, and rejoiced, for God had made them rejoice with great joy; the women and the children also rejoiced, so that the joy of Jerusalem was heard afar off.”

Joy is not denial of your own pain or the pain of others. The joy of the Lord is your strength and perspective.

Joy is your strength because joy is from the Lord and anything He provides gives your strength.

Joy is your perspective because you focus on the right things

Reminder: God's design for the outcome of trials (including COVID) is to cause you to become "mature and complete, lacking nothing." Let "patience" have its complete work -- which is developing you while you wait on Him.

James 1:2 "My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect [mature] and complete, lacking nothing.”

Let your season sing!

Isaiah 55:12 "For you shall go out with joy, And be led out with peace; The mountains and the hills shall break forth into singing before you, And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands."

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Act Like Men

Tuesday, June 02, 2020 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. 1 Corinthians 16:13 (ESV)

This season of challenge has spawned a renewed boldness in Black men of faith and wisdom. Many of us have decided we are not going to live one more day without speaking the truth in love, addressing evil head on, and do what is necessary. The murder of the Black man George Floyd reminded all of us African American men that we, and our sons, are subject to similar treatment by those who seem to believe we need to be controlled, managed, or require permission to act.

This is the reason you see Black men and preachers standing tall right now. We know the alternative of silence is not only unacceptable, but it is complicity with the status quo. While immature people are REACTING from a place of raw emotion and missing the opportunity to progress, we are grown men RESPONDING from a place of righteous indignation, godly motivation, and intellectual discipline. 

What many of us are doing now is consistent with the Spirit of Christ who gave us authority to overcome evil, protect the vulnerable, and defeat works of darkness. (Psalm 82:3-4, Luke 10:19)

The best is yet to come!

______________

Other suggested reading and listening:

African American Males in Authentic Context

Are Conversations About Race Helpful or a Distraction to Effective Action?

How to Put a Big Dent in Bigotry and Racism

Incomplete Narratives, Misplaced Focus and "Racial Division"

No, We Don’t Need to Have a Conversation About Race by Michael Harriot

(AUDIO) Current Affairs: A Kingdom Perspective by Pastor Joel A. Brooks








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Message on Firm Foundation Podcast by Patrica A. Hudson,"Designed for Purpose"

Monday, May 18, 2020 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



Psalm 139:15 (NLT) You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. 16 You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. 17 How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered!

Watch on YouTube

Podbean: https://bryanhudson.podbean.com/e/designed-for-purpose-by-patricia-a-hudson/

Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/designed-for-purpose-by-patricia-a-hudson/id81271386?i=1000474918743

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/episode/0KATNIoRF19u3rLGKY77FV

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Firm Foundation Podcast: "The Power of Patience: Trusting God's Process"

Sunday, May 03, 2020 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



LISTEN ON:
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WATCH ON YOUTUBE

“By your patience possess your souls.” Luke 21:19 

God always equips us for the times in which we live. We sometimes wonder how our forefathers survived the times in which they lived.  It's really difficult to compare one era to another. Everyone has to learn, adapt, and overcome in their unique circumstances. One thing is certain, as God told Ruth during a crisis in her times, "You have come to the kingdom for such a time as this.”

Here is the verse from other Bibles:

NIV: "Stand firm, and you will win life." 
NASB: "By your endurance you will gain your lives." 
NLT: "By standing firm, you will win your souls." 

If we've been in touch with the Lord during this season, we understand that Romans 8:28 has been in effect.

What is patience?

Patience is not simply waiting, it is waiting while under development by the Lord. 

Patience is honoring God’s process. Patience is waiting like a seed that has been planted. It doesn’t seem like anything is going on with that seed, but we know the process for seed germination is the beginning of producing the designed outcome. 

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Kingdom Ethics & Integrity

Saturday, May 02, 2020 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments





(from message on April 21, 2013) 

"How to Be Fruitful in Every Area of Life"
Part 7  |  Kingdom Ethics & Integrity 



1 Tim 3:14 ...I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

Our conduct in the house of God should be governed by the Word of God and by biblical standards and ethics that are the generally accepted in the Body of Christ. According to John 15, Jesus is the Vine and we are the branches. We are a like a vineyard with vinedressers who manage, prune, and purge the branches of the vine. These beneficial "cutting" actions provide:

1)  The best growing experience for all the branches
2)  The removal of dead "branches" and the improvement of fruitful "branches" of our lives
2)  More fruitfulness for the vine as a whole

Biblical standards and ethics also provide a basis for excellence and success in the workplace and within the greater, better part of society.

Ethics defined: Rules of conduct recognized in respect to a particular class of human actions or a particular group, culture, etc.: Such as medical ethics; Christian ethics.

Integrity Defined: Adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.

Acts 20:18-35,18 And when they had come to him, he said to them: "You know, from the first day that I came to Asia, in what manner I always lived among you, 19 serving the Lord with all humility, with many tears and trials which happened to me by the plotting of the Jews; 20 how I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house..28 Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among whichthe Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. 29 For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. 31 Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears. 32 "So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. 33 I have coveted no one's silver or gold or apparel. 34 Yes. you yourselves know that these hands have provided for my necessities, and for those who were with me. 35 I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'

Our growth and development, individually and collectively, is dependent on following Kingdom principles and biblically based ethics. Below are a some ethical recommendations:

1. When you are a stakeholder (one vested and engaged in the ministry or organization): Respect time. Be on time. Apologize for being late. Give advance notice when having to miss or be late.

2. Handle information, events, finances in accordance with policy

2 Cor. 8:21 Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men

Some important New Covenant Church policies of with to be aware:

• New Covenant Church, Inc. and Pastor Bryan Hudson operate under accepted biblical and legal standards. We are also in compliance to requirements established by the Internal Revenue Service as it relates to recognized non-profit organizations under IRS code 501 (c) 3

• No one is permitted to sell goods or conduct fund raisers, without prior consent of the pastor and eldership.

• No one may request money or receive offerings from church members at any time. This is a direct violation of our ByLaws and may violate IRS regulations regarding "inurement" (http://www.nonprofitlawreport.com/guide/private-inurement/)

• New Covenant Church membership information such as telephone numbers, email, and mailing addresses may not be used without prior authorization. Such authorization will only be granted, if at all, for church-related activities. Members may not be contacted without prior consent of the pastor and eldership.

• No one is permitted to distribute or post flyers, literature, invitations, etc. without prior consent of the pastor and eldership.

• Events and meetings held on church premises require approval of pastor and eldership before dates are committed and announcements made. The purpose and agenda of such meetings shall be submitted in writing. Meetings by or for members shall not selectively exclude leaders or members of New Covenant.

• No one is permitted to counsel, prophesy or otherwise "minister" to members or guests of New Covenant Church without knowledge and oversight of the pastor and elders, or other designated leaders. This is essential for accountability and long term success in helping people. Acting outside of spiritual oversight undermines the pastoral ministry, which is committed to the long term spiritual growth, health and development of members and friends of New Covenant Church. The Senior Pastor/Leader of any church must answer to Jesus Christ for the people under His care (Hebrews 13:7,17). 
Persons engaged in personal ministry/counsel without the knowledge of the pastor, undermine this important function of the Senior Pastor/Leader. The church may also exposed to legal consequences when unauthorized persons take actions which may result in someone feeling injured by such actions. The pastor and elders of New Covenant Church, Inc. are legally protected against such cases. Others acting on their own are not.

3. Always carry the vision of the house of the heart of the senior leader:
1 Corinthians 1:10 Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

2 Cor. 8:3 For I bear witness that according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability, they were freely willing, 4 imploring us with much urgency that we would receive[a] the gift and the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. 5 And not only as we had hoped, but they first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God.

Example: After offering me space in his church facility to use as a photography studio many years ago, my friend and mentor, the late Pastor Jerry Landry, told me, "You're in my boat. You have an ore.Be sure that you are rowing in the same direction and we are." I understood his intent and structured my business to compliment his ministry during the time I was there.

Being on one accord and avoiding division comes from unity without uniformity, and agreement on essential matters. Reading, hearing and embracing the stated mission, vision, writings of the senior leader, helps stakeholders be clear and able to find grace to be supportive. Persons within and organization presenting a different vision create "di"-vision.

4. Do not have respect of persons.
Do not show partiality. Honor recognized leaders and servants in accordance with protocol and proper order.
James 2:2 My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality. 2 For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes, 3 and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, "You sit here in a good place," and say to the poor man, "You stand there," or, "Sit here at my footstool," 4 have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?

1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing. 12 And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, 13 and to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. Be at peace among yourselves.

5. Don't complain. It displeases the Lord. Work towards a solution
Numbers 11:1 And when the people complained, it displeased the LORD: and the LORD heard it; and his anger was kindled;

6. Only follow recognized leaders:
III John 1:9 (ESV) I have written something to the church, but Diotrephes, who likes to put himself first, does not acknowledge our authority.
Example: The Tea Party is a faction within the Republican Party. The Tea Party has an agenda. They have their preferred candidates and political positions. The problem is they don't have enough of an organization to stand on their own. They operate inside the GOP and draw their resources from the established organization. The Tea Party throws their weight around without the burden and responsibility of actually having to main a organization, pay all the bills, or be legally responsible for actions taken.

Diotrephes was like big fish is a little pond. If he had to lead his own ministry or organization he would quickly become a little fish is a big pond.

It's alway easier to function and look like spiritual giant or genius when you are only a member of an organization. When you are responsible for leading and bearing all the burdens, it's a much different perspective. Members of an organization should only follow recognized leaders who are properly submitted under spiritual authority and demonstrating a loyal spirit.

7. Recognize and operate appropriately within the sphere organizations and leaders
2 Corinthians 10:12 For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. 13 We, however, will not boast beyond measure, but within the limits of the sphere which God appointed us—a sphere which especially includes you. For we are not overextending ourselves (as though our authority did not extend to you), for it was to you that we came with the gospel of Christ; 15 not boasting of things beyond measure, that is, in other men's labors, but having hope, that as your faith is increased, we shall be greatly enlarged by you in our sphere, 16 to preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, and not to boast in another man's sphere of accomplishment.

Example: When I interact with people who are members of other churches or organization, I acknowledge the following:

1) I came to know persons because of my relationship within the sphere the pastor or organization leader. I did not cultivate that relationship through my own resources.
2) I will not engage this person or seek to bring them into my sphere of activity or influence without the knowledge and permission of their pastor or organization leader. In the corporate world, it's called "poaching," in which people are pulled away from their connection and influence of others and into their another sphere.

Too many ministries and churches were started by poaching, The pastor did not start with people who were evangelized, unchurched, or otherwise lost. They started with people already established in another ministry, or have capitalized on situations where people have become offended. Too many churches do not ask where people have come from or the reasons for leaving another church. In my view, this is an unethical practice, but has become accepted practice because it is effective. This leads to a another, and worse violation of ethics.

8. Never be engaged in "conversion:"
Conversion is a practice by which one converts another's property to his/her own use, which is a fancy way of saying "steals." Conversion includes treating another's goods as one's own, holding onto such property which accidentally comes into the convertor's (taker's) hands, or purposely giving the impression the assets belong to him/her.  (From Websters' Dictionary)

The people, property and resources of a ministry and its leadership cannot be claimed or otherwise converted as belonging to the ministry or personal use of another. I once attended the calling and funeral of Pastor friend who died. Another pastor who attended the calling was passing out business cards inviting people to his church. This is unethical and ugly. Endeavoring to build a ministry inside a ministry, using resources obtained from the ministry, while claiming to be a ministry, is unethical.

Luke 16:10 "If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won't be honest with greater responsibilities. 11 And if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven? 12 And if you are not faithful with other people's things, why should you be trusted with things of your own?

Other ethical recommendations:
• Be accountable and follow accepted protocols
• Show strong support for the vision and leadership publicly and privately
• Don't exalt yourself. Let your light shine
• Purpose to pay your own way. Trust God to provide
• Understand vision, purpose and guidelines
• Keep to your assignment. Follow instructions. Operate in your sphere.

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