God's Best & My Best in 2011

Friday, December 31, 2010 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

In 2010, as with previous years, my daily devotions included scripture reading from BibleGateway.com. This Read-The-Bible-In-A-Year plan concluded today on December 31, 2010.  This final reading was Malachi chapters 1-4 and Revelation chapter 22.

Most of what I share in my blog postings, and many of the messages I deliver, come from this daily Bible reading. There is something special about pre-planned Scripture readings that God can use to bless and inspire you on the day it is read. BibleGateway is neither my sole source of Bible reading, nor is it my only source of insight and guidance from the Holy Spirit. Honestly, I don't do the reading every single day. I am about "90% faithful" in this regard.

Today as I read, while praying and considering God's direction for myself and our ministry in 2011, the Spirit of the Lord used today's reading from the Book of Malachi in a mighty way!

One of the keys that God is giving to our congregation, New Covenant Church, to the larger Body of Christ, and to me is summarized by the simple statement:  "God's Best in 2011!"

This statement is not intended as hype or some catchy phrase. I believe this statement captures the sense of what God was saying through Malachi to His people.

When I read the whole book and considered God's words to the people, I was deeply impressed with this thought, "I want to give God my best because God gives His best."

Rather than expound on this book in this brief blog post, I invite you to read Malachi for yourself (Here is a link). I may offer my insights in coming days, but you should read this text for your own understanding and blessing.

The four chapters reveal God's heart towards His people. God makes statements and the people ask questions as if they didn't understand or know God as they should have. These exchanges seem to reflect conditions of the human heart that continue to this day.

What God expected from His people, and the blessing He wanted to release to them, was found in the single, powerful idea of, "Nothing but the best." 

Today, as people redeemed by the blood of the Lamb of God, our Savior Jesus Christ, we know that God gave us His best! 

We are in a different biblical season than Israel of old, but God's nature has not changed. He always expects the best.

Malachi 1:6 “A son honors his father, and a slave his master. If I am a father, where is the honor due me? If I am a master, where is the respect due me?” says the LORD Almighty.  “It is you priests who show contempt for my name. “But you ask, ‘How have we shown contempt for your name?’ 7 “By offering defiled food on my altar. “But you ask, ‘How have we defiled you?’ 8 When you offer blind animals for sacrifice, is that not wrong? When you sacrifice lame or diseased animals, is that not wrong? Try offering them to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you?” says the LORD Almighty.

The last words of the Bible on the last day of my readings for 2010 reveals the source of God's best for you and me: Revelation 22:21, "The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen."

By God's grace, nothing but the best in 2011!


The Knowledge of Glory of the Lord will Fill the Earth

Friday, December 24, 2010 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

Habakkuk 2:14 For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.

In the midst of difficult prophetic declarations, we see a glimmer of hope embedded in this text from Habakkuk. Our God is a God of hope. His ultimate intentions are always clear: He wants to save people, gather people, and dwell among them.

This is why we celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. He causes God's intentions to become reality.

Ultimately, God will have a family and a kingdom of people who will fulfill the prophecy of an earth filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord. In our generation, what we say and do for Christ is part of the fulfillment of this promise.

Spread the knowledge by telling people about Jesus!


Israel Houghton - You Hold My World

Thursday, December 23, 2010 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments


Jesus, My Best Friend

Wednesday, December 22, 2010 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

[Some notes from the message, "Jesus, My Best Friend."}

John 15:9 As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. 11 “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. 12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 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.
It is amazing to realize that we have the opportunity not only to worship God, not only to reverence him, and stand in awe of him, but we were invited to be friends with God. I don’t believe that any religion of this world offers such an idea, that one might be friends with the deity, with the God who is reverenced, feared, and worshiped.
What we learn from this text is that Jesus wants a relationship with his followers--not just a religious devotion--but a loving, sincere, and committed relationship. In verse nine, Jesus says that as the Father has loved Him, He is also loved us. This makes the relationship between Jesus and father God the example and pattern of the kind of relationship we should have with Jesus and with one another.
There are three levels of relationships: 1. There are acquaintances; 2. There are colleagues/co-workers/partners: 3. And there are true friends.
From the civil rights movement, there is the story of a reporter in an urban area who saw a girl carrying a little boy. She seemed to be struggling to hold him. The reporter asked, “Isn’t he heavy?” The girl answered, “He’s not heavy, he’s my brother.” 
An acquaintance, co-worker, or someone who has needs or make demands, can get heavy. This is because there is no deep sense of connection with such persons. However, true friends don’t invoke such feelings. True friends are not "heavy."
Following, we will look at three characteristics of being a friend to others and best friends with Jesus:

1. True friends experience a high level of agreement.
2, True friends are mutually loyal and dependable. (Not just in "fair-weather")
3. True friends confide in one another and empower one another

Abraham was a friend of God: Isa. 41:8 “But you, Israel, are My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, The descendants of Abraham My friend. 

James 2:21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? 22 Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? 23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God. 24 You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. 
1. Friends experience a high level of agreement
15:9 As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.  
15 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.
Friendship with Jesus comes out of our willingness to receive his love and abide in his love. He also stated if we keep his commandments, we will abide in his love. The decision to follow Jesus' commands and teachings is an act of agreement. We've decided that we don’t have anything better than with Jesus offers. We seek to trust in Jesus in the same manner in which Jesus trusted in father God.
Jesus makes the statement, “You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.” On the surface, this does not seem like a statement that friends would make. However, when friends are in agreement, they are very willing to do what is asked of them, realizing there is a mutual willingness to do so.

Amos 3:3 Can two walk together, except they be agreed? (KJV)
The sense of the Hebrew text here is interesting. The word agreed is from a Hebrew word meaning "to fix, appoint, assemble, meet, set, betroth; to meet, to meet by appointment." The sense is not simply two people walking in a common direction because they agree to do so. It means agreeing to make an appointment to come together, and from there set out on a journey to a destination together. It is like saying to someone, "I’ll meet you at Starbucks and we can go to the restaurant from there."
The Revised Standard Version of the Bible captures the definition best: Amos 3:3 "Do two walk together, unless they have made an appointment?”

The focus of true friendship is not trying to agree on every single thing, but rather always being willing to come together in order to discover how to work together.

2. Friends are mutually loyal and dependable

Proverbs 17:17 A friend loves at all times, And a brother is born for adversity.
On the evening of his death, Jesus Christ described the need for loyalty, dependability and sacrifice as a component of our friendship with him. Speaking to his disciples Jesus said: John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.
He then defines the greatest love in which one will lay his life down for his friends. Jesus was talking about His sacrifice. We should understand that laying one’s life down in death is not the only way to understand the meaning of true friendship. In fact, if we cannot lay our life down for one another while we live, it is unlikely that we will die for someone.
The sense of this text is that you will do for your friends what you would not do for others. There’s nothing too hard, nothing to bothersome, nothing too much for a true friend. In that sense, married couples should be friends, family members should be friends, believers in a local church should be friends. In this light, there is no greater relationship than friendship.
3. Friends confide in one another and empower one another
John 15:14 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.
Jesus does not relate to us as servants in His house, but as family members. As members of the family, we are invited to share in the knowledge of "family business" and participate fully. We are empowered to act, not only to take orders.

As friends with Abraham, God shared vital information/purpose with him. In doing so, God showed both His confidence in him and empowered him to serve divine purpose.

Genesis 18:17 The LORD said, "Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, 18 seeing that Abraham shall become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall bless themselves by him? 19 No, for I have chosen him, that he may charge his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice; so that the LORD may bring to Abraham what he has promised him." (RSV)


Christmas Giving

Wednesday, December 15, 2010 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

Like many others, our church is active in assisting people in need during the Christmas holiday season. Jesus said, "It is more blessed to give than receive." (Acts 20:35) 

Serving people in need helps us maintain perspective during the highly commercialized and fictionalized Christmas holiday. The best way to keep perspective is to remember that the first part of the word Christmas is Christ. Following His example and receiving the new life that God offers through Christ's self-sacrifice is the best gift of all.

Reciting "The Night Before Christmas" and inspiring children to have, "…visions of sugar-plums [dancing] in their heads…" imparts a happy feeling. However, those who know the power and goodness of the living Christ should strive to impart something much more tangible.

God bless all of you who are reaching out to others this Christmas season in the name of the Lord!


More Than Mighty!

Friday, December 10, 2010 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty." Revelation 1:8

In 2008, greed coupled with irresponsible lending and investing led to the greatest financial meltdown in the USA since the Great Depression.

In 2010, my mighty Indianapolis Colts and Peyton Manning are struggling to make the NFL playoffs after playing in the Super Bowl earlier this year.

For all time, our God has been and will be, the First and the Last. He is both present and coming to us every second of every day. He is never diminished in His ability and power.

Things and people in this world are only mighty for a season, but our God is ALMIGHTY in all seasons!


20th Annual Community Christmas Outreach

Tuesday, December 07, 2010 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

"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.’” (Acts 20:35)

We are thanking God for a fruitful season of ministry for our 20th Annual Community Christmas Outreach. We ask for His grace to empower our words and service. Pray for the Share Team as they finalize our list of individuals and families to help this year and purchase gifts and food for them. One the special things that we do for persons is to ask individuals what items they need and want for Christmas.

We thank God for the partnership of Lilly Endowment. Again this year, they have help to fund our outreach with NO RESTRICTIONS on sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ in connection with our efforts!

We ask our members and friends to pray for individuals being ministered to this month at the Juvenile Center, Wheeler Mission and IPS Schools; Arlington Community High School and Louis B. Russell  #48.

We will include both Bible-based literature and a special DVD with each gift. As we distribute gifts to both institutions and homes, we will take time to pray, share the Gospel and invite persons to our Christmas Celebration on Sunday, December 19 at 10:30am.

I appreciate the heart of love and service shown by New Covenant Church members. We are a church fully committed to fulfilling the Great Commission and reaching out to people all year long with the love and Gospel of Christ!

Pastor Bryan Hudson

Highlights from 2009 Community Christmas Outreach


Do not sin! But if you do, do this...

Friday, December 03, 2010 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

1 John 2:1 My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.

The purpose of the Word of God is to give us new life and power for living victoriously every day. Jesus gave His life to make this possible for us. We should expect to live in victory everyday, this is the meaning of John's statement, "These things I write to you, so that you may not sin." We do not focus on trying not to sin. We focus on doing the things written in the Word of God.

John also speaks to the reality of living when he writes: "If anyone sins, we have an Advocate…" The reality is that we sometimes "miss the mark," which is the best definition of sin. An advocate is one who represents you, like a lawyer. Basically John is saying, "Do not sin. But if you do, don't run away, run to Jesus!"

"Jesus Christ the Righteous" is always there for you.


Benefits of Walking in God's Light

Thursday, December 02, 2010 Bryan Hudson 2 Comments

1 John 1:5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

Light and darkness present the most striking contrast of anyone's spiritual condition. Nothing could be clearer. For believer's, John's words are not a matter of "losing" salvation, but of perfecting communion with the Lord and maintaining a useful witness to the world around us.

There is no darkness in God "at all," only the brightest light. So it makes perfect sense that anyone who claims Jesus as Savior should live daily in His light. When we fail to do so, we find ourselves living a lie and being guilty of hypocrisy.

The solution to any issue of darkness is always the same, "Walk in the light of God!" The benefits of doing so include, covenantal fellowship with the body of Christ, and a continual cleansing by the blood of Jesus, which will never lose its power!


Having Fervent Love One For Another

Wednesday, December 01, 2010 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

1 Peter 4:8, (NIV) And above all things have fervent love for one another, for love will cover a multitude of sins.

Peter tells believers in Christ to have "fervent love" one for another. We must cherish one other with a love that is constant and intense. The word "fervent" that Peter uses in this text to describe love has two meanings:

1. It means "out stretching" in the sense of being consistent. Our love must be constant and unfailing as a reflection of God's love for us.

2. It also means "stretching out" as a runner stretches out to maintain his speed and form.
    The God kind of love is neither easy nor sentimental. The God kind of love demands all our mental and spiritual energy. Jesus defined true love in Luke 10:27, "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind' and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" We should love the unlovely and the unlovable. We should love in spite of insult and injury. We should love when it is not returned. Love is a willing decision more than a feeling.

    The God kind of love covers without covering up. When we really love one another, we can accept faults, bear with foolishness, and endure unkindness, while reaching out to offer hope, help and healing.


    A Lesson from Moses on Cultural Relevance and Spiritual Impact

    Tuesday, November 16, 2010 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

    Hebrews 11:24 (NIV) By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. 25 He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. 26 He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. 27 By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible.

    Moses was raised as an Egyptian, though he was a Hebrew by birth. Moses was educated and immersed in Egyptian culture. He was Pharaoh's adopted son and a prince in Egypt. It is remarkable that God helped Moses not lose his true identity while in Egypt. Certainly, having his mother "hired" to serve as his nursemaid was part of God's plan to preserve his Hebrew heritage. It is a sad sight to see believers lose their true self to this world by failing to discover their spiritual heritage.

    The Hebrews' writer weaves messianic insight into the fabric of the text when he writes in verse 26, "He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt."

    Clearly, Moses' life speaks to us as believers in Christ today. We live in a kind of Egypt with all of its comforts, educational systems, culture, material wealth, arts, entertainment, sinful pleasures, and the rest.

    Our greatest challenge is in answering the call of God, and then turning around to admonish the same culture that God used to educate us. In essence, we must spiritually "leave" Egypt to pursue greater "value" in Christ. We must come to identify with "the people of God" or Christ's church more than all others.

    I believe that God wants us to be immersed in our culture (or diverse cultures) in order to connect us to the people that we will lead to Christ. Like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in Daniel Chapter 3, or like the young Jesus who wandered off to be about his "Father's business," we are fully IN this world, but ultimately not OF it.

    God's grace grants us the faith to persevere because we "see" the invisible Christ at work through us. Paul said it best in Philippians, 2:13-15, "For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,


    Hope in 3D: Expectation. Desire. Purpose.

    Saturday, November 13, 2010 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

    Romans 15:5 May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus. 6 Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
    13 I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.

    We usually think about hope in one dimension. We understand hope as something that people need who are struggling and feeling hopeless. Thank God that when we struggle, there is hope to sustain us. When life does not makes sense and hope seems lost, there is a great hope from God to lift us up.

    Hope is more than a survival strategy. Hope is not only for the hopeless. Hope is more than a campaign slogan. Hope is substance. Hope is a picture. Hope is a sustaining power from the Spirit of God. Jesus is the true hope giver.

    The Biblical Greek definition of hope simply means,  “An expectation.” (noun); “To anticipate” (verb).

    A modern dictionary definition of Hope: 1) a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen, 2) grounds for believing that something good may happen

    I want to suggest that there are three dimensions, or aspects, of hope: 1) Expectation, 2) Desire, and 3) Purpose.

    EXPECTATION | Hope in the first dimension looks like our response to circumstances. Our expectation or anticipation in the moment comes from whatever is inside of us. We are in “response mode.” Things happens and we try to deal with it. People do something unexpected or situations arise that demand a response.

    Example: If someone passed out in front of you, your expectation and anticipation are influenced or shaped by the knowledge and experience your already have, or don’t have. In this circumstance of a person who has passed out:
    • Some people might simply panic and walk away.
    • Some people might try to “cast out the devil” (thinking there’s demonic activity occurring)
    • Some people would start praying
    • However, a doctor or medic would know exactly what to do.

    This first dimension of hope relies on prior knowledge or experience. This type of “response-only” hope comes naturally to all of us. But this is not the only way to understand hope.

    DESIRE | Hope in the second dimension looks like the things we want, or what we desire to happen. We sometimes refer to this hope as our “dreams,” “goals,” or “desires of our hearts.” This hope is like a picture we paint of the kind of life we want to live. It looks like a picture of some reality other than we are currently experiencing. This kind of hope can be healthy or unhealthy depending upon its focus.

    This kind of hope is healthy when it is based on the Word of God and rooted in genuine faith that is willing to both trust God AND work towards the desired outcome.

    This kind of hope is unhealthy when we are doing little more than engaging in “pipe dreams,” “wishful thinking,” or “daydreaming” because we are unwilling to take the concrete steps necessary to achieve the desired outcome. Said another way, “faith (and hope) without works is dead.”

    This second dimension or aspect of hope is made healthy and active by faith in the grace of God. The same grace that brought salvation and brings us through to victory in every tribulation, will produce the kind of character needed to sustain hope.

    Romans 5:1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

    PURPOSE | Hope in the third dimension looks like a mighty force for change and the emergence of greater purpose. This kind of hope shapes destiny and changes generations. This is the kind of hope that Paul imparted to the Colossians believers. Col. 1:27, “To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” The J.B. Philips transition reads, “Christ in you, the hope of all glorious things to come.”

    This third aspect of hope helped Abraham achieve an astonishing miracle and purpose for his life that birthed the Hebrew people and brought blessing to all humanity! Abraham become the “father of faith” to all who have learned to trust God.

    Romans 4:16 Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all 17 (as it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations”[d]) in the presence of Him whom he believed—God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did; 18 who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, “So shall your descendants be.”[e] 19 And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. 20 He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.

    Abraham was not simply trying to deal with a negative circumstance, as with the first dimension of hope. He was not trying to gain something he desired to have, as with the second dimension of hope. Abraham was dealing with a promise from God. He was wrestling with something far bigger than what his mind could conceive! God not only promised him a son, but He promised Abraham that He would become the father of a many nations, and that through him every person in the earth, present and future, would be blessed. That is a purpose that shapes destiny and changes generations!

    There are three key thoughts in Romans Chapter Four pertaining to the third aspect of hope that God helped Abraham to achieve related to fulfilling God’s purpose in his life:

    Verse 17, as it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations”) in the presence of Him whom he believed—God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did
    Key Thought #1: Hope and faith comes from the direct presence of God

    Verses 18--19, who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, 19And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb.

    Key Thought #2: Hope permanently bends your expectation and anticipation away from the problems and towards the solution

    Verses 20-21  He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.
    Key Thought #3: Hope produces a faith that will cause you to stand and not waiver at God’s promise because you know that Christ in You is your hope glorious things to come. You become fully convinced and persuaded that God can and will perform what he has promised. By God’s grace, you become a person of purpose on the way to bless others!

    Hope is: “Having Only Positive Expectations”


    Job One: Perfecting Our Relationship With the Lord

    Tuesday, October 26, 2010 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

    Jeremiah 9:23 This is what the LORD says: "Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, 24 but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight, declares the LORD.

    These words from Jeremiah to Israel were like an oasis in a desert of harsh words of judgment. Even when God sends a hard word, He always embeds hope.

    With all the blessings and opportunities that are available to us today, we must not make the mistake of boasting of things human and natural. More than our wisdom (or education), strength and riches is the importance of understanding and knowing the Lord while embracing His heart of kindness, justice and righteousness. This comes only from having a growing, deepening relationship with Christ.

    Are you more mindful of your attributes, or of your relationship with God?


    "In God's Light We See Light": My Thoughts Following a Prayer Meeting at My Old High School

    Saturday, October 16, 2010 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

    Psalm 36:5 Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. 6 Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the great deep. O LORD, you preserve both man and beast. 7 How priceless is your unfailing love! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings. 8 They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights. 9 For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.

    Today, I had an experience that reminded me of the power of God's light. 1 John 1:5 states that "God is Light," and in Him "there is no darkness at all."

    That experience was a prayer meeting held at the high school I attended way back on the 1970's. The prayer meeting was sponsored by a parent liaison, a believer in Christ, who has been working for 10 years to make a positive difference. Today, my old school, like many inner city schools, is laboring under the weight of ungodly behaviors on the part of many students and their parents. So grievous is the bad behavior that the motivated children go almost unnoticed.

    When you hear discussions about urban public schools, we usually only hear about the bad things. To be sure, there are many hard breaking conditions in these schools. I was informed of the fighting that takes place at the school almost daily. I remember the fighting that occurred during my school days due to pressures surrounding desegregation and one-way busing of students. No generation has a premium on sin and fighting. Despite the conflicts, I received an excellent education at my public high school because my parents expected nothing less. Also, teachers teach well when they are able to focus on teaching.

    As believers in Christ and people of faith, we must also recognize that God's light is also present in these schools. God is present because His people are present. On one level, this is a struggle of light vs. darkness, in which darkness seeks to dispel the light and move our entire focus to "what's wrong" rather than focusing on God's power to change hearts and lives. On another level there are matters that involve policy, academic objectives, administrative responsibilities, and more.

    No amount of idealism or attempting to "spiritualize" the situation will make a real difference. God's solutions are both practical and powerful! While we cannot promise the success of the school system through our efforts, we can certainly offer the promise of success for individuals who are willing to know Christ and serve God.  Students, faculty and staff, as persons for whom Christ died and rose, can find success at every level, spiritually and academically. When people do better, the system will be better.

    Despite the conditions, I see light in God's light. If we can persuade enough people of faith to have faith, against all odds, we will see the lives and behaviors of many young people change for the better.

    These are the kinds of challenges that Jesus' Church and Kingdom of God are tailor-made to address.

    Light will always be greater than darkness!


    Weekend for Winners 2010: A Very Special Encounter with Our Mighty God!

    Wednesday, October 13, 2010 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

    We had glorious and insight-filled meetings last Saturday/Sunday during Weekend for Winners! Dr. Earl D. Johnson ministered from his 49 years of experience of preaching the Gospel and serving God's kingdom. He ministered along the lines of our theme, "Run to Win" in both power and in a manner that kept us joyful and focused.

    We had a good turnout of guests and pastors from several churches, including Pastor Julius Stephens, Pastor Johnson Beaven, Pastor Rodney Williams, Pastor Clary Butler, and Bishop Kenneth Sullivan, Sr. All sessions were well attended.

    I commend Jordan and Tiara for their excellent ministry in dance, including a powerful interpretation of a song I requested, "You Hold My World," by Israel Houghton. Rob White blessed on the sax, and we heard many testimonies of God's grace, mercy and the transforming power of His Word! I even showed a Marines recruiting video to illustrate the mindset of an overcomer and winner.

    Thanks to our Hospitality Team for serving up great refreshments on Saturday morning, including Lady Patricia's "World Famous" chicken salad! Thanks to Jonathan for doing audio, video and playing some guitar for the praise team! And thanks to our anointed praise team under the direction of Shawn Carter and Aaron Chandler! Aaron  ministered on Saturday/Sunday even while dealing with a very grievous situation in his life. God used Min. Paula in a great way as well.

    It seems like much more happened in two days and three meetings than one might expect who did not understand what Jesus would do among us.

    Whether you were unable to attend Weekend for Winners, or decided not to come, I recommend that you receive the Word that went forth! Use the link below to visit the media resource page to order the messages.


    Messages by Earl D. Johnson:
    Saturday AM, October 9, 2010  | "Winners' Workshop"
    (Includes illustration of Biblical Headship)

    Saturday PM, October 9, 2010 | "What  Does It Take to Win?"

    Sunday AM, October 10, 2010 | "We Win With Vision"

    Now, let's look forward to "running to win" towards the great things that God has in store for us! Stir yourself and see yourself running with our Lord Jesus Christ, reaching souls, reclaiming lost sheep, and edifying one another!

    God is Good...All the Time!

    Pastor Bryan Hudson


    "You Hold My World" Dance by Jordan & Tiara

    Monday, October 11, 2010 Bryan Hudson 1 Comments

    From "Weekend for Winners" 2010


    Vitality, Victory and Vision

    Saturday, October 09, 2010 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

    1 Tim. 6:12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

    Paul exhorted Timothy, and us, to fight the good fight of faith. He gave the reason when he stated, “Lay hold on eternal life.” This is not a call to salvation. It is a call to vitality, victory and vision.

                Vitality because the life of God is the true power behind everything we do. 
                Victory because are calling will be witnessed by many people
                Vision because we walk by faith, not by sight.

    When I read the words “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life,” a single word comes to my mind: PURSUE

    There must come a time when we cease to struggle in pursuit of the things of this world and began to pursue the life and purpose of the Lord.
    Romans 14:19 Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.

    When people live in the kingdom of this world, their pursuits are driven by worldly needs and appetites. When people live in the kingdom of God their pursuits are driven by the purposes of God and the character of Christ.

    Romans 14 offers a very different perspective from Old Testament days. Rather than pursuing enemies in order to destroy them, the text states that we should pursue things that make for peace. We also should be focused on  building up one eanother.

    1 Thessalonians 5:15 See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all.

    In first Thessalonians we begin to see the contrast between the old order and the new order. In the old order people rendered evil for evil, and sought to bring retribution. In the new order we pursue peace and a good outcome for ourselves and for others. In other words, we are seeking a win-win proposition, not win-lose, lose-win, or lose-lose.

    1 Peter 3:11 Let him turn away from evil and do good; Let him seek peace and pursue it.
    Hebrews 12:14 Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:

    Today we win-win! Have a blessed and fruitful day!


    Join us today and Sunday in Indianapolis for "Weekend for Winners!"


    The Blessings of Thinking Well

    Friday, October 08, 2010 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

    Philippians 4:8, (NLT)  8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. 9 Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.

    How we think affects how we feel and how we live. One of the few things that we can control is our thoughts, if we choose to think in line with God's word. It is not only that we should read and think about the Scriptures, but that we also keep our thoughts in a healthy place by focusing on the right things in life.

    Paul encouraged us to think on healthy "things" that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable and things that are excellent and worthy of praise. 

    Add to this, being doers of the Word, and the result is "The peace of God will be with you!"


    Run to Win! Train to Win!

    Thursday, October 07, 2010 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

    (Notes from message delivered on October 3, 2010. Click here to hear/download message in iTunes)
    1 Corinthians 9:24 (NKJV), 24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. 25 And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.
    (New Living Translation) 24 Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! 25 All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. 
    I like to think that Christianity is like a contact sport.
    You might say, “Aw come on man! Sports are games that people play. In sports, people compete. In Christ, there is no competition. In the Christian faith, there is no contact, no being pushed, attacked, hit or anything like that! In the Christian faith, everybody loves others and because we are so nice, the devil leaves us alone!”
    Well, as they say, “Wake up and smell the coffee!”
    One of the definitions of sport is: “An activity that is governed by a set of rules or customs and often engaged in competitively. An athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess”.
    I am not suggesting that living for Jesus is a game or that we compete against each other. I am suggesting that sports can be a parable of the type of mindset that God wants us to have. Paul understood this, which is why he used sport as a basis for motivating believers.
    In His parables, Jesus used a lot of examples from everyday life. He talked about fishing, farming, family, and foundations. And those are just a few of the activities using the letter “F” from the alphabet.  
    In our text, The Apostle Paul used the sport of running. Paul was fascinated by the picture of the athlete. An athlete must train with intensity if he is to win his contest. Corinth knew how thrilling athletic competition could be because at Corinth, they they held the Isthmian games, second only to the Olympic games. Also, in 1 Corinthians 9:26, Paul referred to boxing. 
    So don’t get “uptight” when I say that Christianity is like a contact sport.
    If you have been a Christian for more than a year, you KNOW that challenges come your way. These challenges and circumstances don’t just stop by to say “Hello.” These things come to make contact with you in some negative fashion. In the words of Jesus, these things come to “Steal, kill and destroy.” (John 10:10) Now, THAT’S no simple game! This is serious business.
    This is not about only dealing with contact, but first and foremost, it is about recognizing that we are called to do a work for God in the name of Jesus.
    Since it is football season, let me offer an example from that arena: 
    Question: Which part of the football team is specifically designed to score points? 
    Answer: All the planning in relation to scoring, and the primary strategy happens with the Offense part of the team. 
    The Offense has the quarterback, who is like the battlefield general. They have the fastest runners and most of the smartest players. 
    In defense of the Defense: They are not dumb people, but their only job is to guess what the offense is going to do, find the guy with the ball, and stop him.  Defense has a lesser role than developing a winning plan and a run a scoring drive.
    Too many Christians are playing defense! We're in huddles talking about what the devil might be up to next. We're standing at the line looking all around, having no clue what "play" the devil will run next, but bracing for some kind of impact.
    Jesus only plays offense! Therefore, we should focus on playing offense, not being defensive!
    The only defense we need to be concerned about is being clothed in the armor of God.
    Ephesians 6:13-16 (NKJV), 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.
    Every coach and football fan knows this: “The best defense is a strong offense”
    When you are on defense, it is because you don’t have the ball. You are not being proactive, but reactive. You are not taking action, but waiting to be acted upon. You are never leading, only following.
    In our text, note that the words of Paul highlight offense, not defense. He said, “Run to Win!” (v. 24 NLT) He also said, “Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training.” (v. 25 NIV)
    Behind every great offensive team is strict or highly focused training. An athlete like Peyton Manning is obviously very talented, but he’s also one of the smartest, most highly trained person on the field, who never stops working on his offensive plan.
    Training is what you do when you are not doing your sport, job, ministry, or whatever you say that you do. When you are not competing, working, or ministering, what does your training look like? 
    What activities are you doing to prepare to be proactive in your purpose and go on the offense? What are your patterns of prayer, Bible reading, studying, doing research, understanding the scriptures, releasing your faith and hope for future endeavors? Or, do you just show up? What if Peyton Manning or any great football player just “showed up” without training?
    What comprises your training as a Christian? Make your own checklist:
    1. Prayer
    2. Bible Reading
    3. Bible Study
    4. Participation the teaching and preaching sessions, conferences 
    5. Reading good books
    6. Sharing the Gospel with people
    7. Other_______________________
    God has sent leaders to equip and coach you. Be sure that you are receiving this equipping from those God appointed to provide it to you.
    Eph. 4:11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.
    “Run to Win!” starts with “Train to Win!”
    Jesus is your trainer! The Holy Spirit and ministeres appointed by God are your coaches! And God your Father gave you all the talent you need to do run for Him!


    Our Song, Our City, Our Perfect Peace

    Wednesday, October 06, 2010 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

    Isaiah 26:1 (NLT) In that day, everyone in the land of Judah will sing this song: "Our city is strong! We are surrounded by the walls of God’s salvation. 2 Open the gates to all who are righteous; allow the faithful to enter. 3 You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!"

    “That day” or any day in God has to do with redemption and salvation purchased by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. While Isaiah prophesied concerning the people of Judah, in Christ, we find application of this text for today.

    This is a song that we should sing today and everyday. This song does not require a praise team or even instruments. This song only requires a willing heart and confidence in Almighty God.

    "Our city" is the place in which we dwell. That would be the Kingdom of God, the Church of Jesus Christ, which is the community of believers, and our families. Our city is strong because we worship God and welcome his presence in our dwelling places.

    The walls that surround us represent the saving and keeping power of God. The doors or gates are open to all those of like mind. We are a gated community with an open gate! The door is open to anyone willing to receive the righteousness of God and be faithful unto the Lord.

    In this strong city the citizens have PERFECT PEACE! We are at peace because we trust in the One who founded our city, Who built up the walls, and Who supplies the POWER that keeps everything working. We trust in the Lord and because we do, our thoughts are fixed on him.

    Go sing your song today!


    Take a Praise Break

    Tuesday, October 05, 2010 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

    Isaiah 25:1 O LORD, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name,  for in perfect faithfulness you have done marvelous things, things planned long ago.

    There are many reasons to praise and exalt God. Isaiah took a "praise break" to give his God glory. He described the Lord's faithfulness as "perfect." He reminded himself that God had done "marvelous things."

    Isaiah then reflected on the absolute sovereignty of God when he stated that His perfect faithfulness and marvelous works where "things" planned long ao.

    You should remember those things, especially when you feel challenged or defeated. Remember that God's blessing and favor on your life were "planned" a long time ago. Before you knew you would face the obstacle, God knew it. He already planned and scheduled your solution and victory!

    Isaiah knew this, which is why he took a praise break. Now its your turn! 

    Have a Blessed and Fruitful Day!
    Pastor Bryan

    Join us for "Weekend for Winners" with Dr. Earl D. Johnson,  October 9-10
    RSVP for the "Winners Workshop" today!