The Best Answer to the Greatest Offer

Thursday, May 27, 2010 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

2 Chronicles 2:7-10, That night God appeared to Solomon and said to him, "Ask for whatever you want me to give you." Solomon answered God, "You have shown great kindness to David my father and have made me king in his place. Now, LORD God, let your promise to my father David be confirmed, for you have made me king over a people who are as numerous as the dust of the earth. Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?"

God offered to give Solomon anything he requested. How would you or I respond to such an offer? A situation like this can only bring out of a person what is already within him.

I remember when Tony Dungy stood on the podium to receive the Super Bowl trophy at the pinnacle of his coaching career with the world watching. As a man, an African American, the Colts coach, resident of Indy and a Christian, he didn't do anything differently. Dungy did what he always does, give God the glory and make everyone understand that fame and fortune are not his objective. The Super Bowl was not the greatest thing in his life.

Being handed a blank check, Solomon wrote in the "payable to" and "amount" spaces, "Lord give me wisdom, knowledge, and an understanding heart."

He answered according to his heart and passion for God at that time. We know that he later fell away from this humility and wisdom, but his response at that time should our response today.


Three Forces of Change: Pain, Push or Pull

Tuesday, May 18, 2010 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

(Concept adapted from article by Arlene F. Harder of

What are three forces that bring change to our lives?

1) Painful situations 
Acting because of pain sometimes leads to poor decisions. The urgent need to "escape" pain sometimes brings compromise rather than finding the best process to overcome or handle the pain. Constantly reminding yourself that a given situation is painful keeps that situation at the forefront of your mind, which does not lead to a solution.  To often, people lose hope and simply adapt to their pain.
2) “Pushed” by people or adverse circumstances
"Push" is the effort to force someone into a corner in order to get them to change. Also, adverse circumstances can force a person to consider change. While this is a reasonable consideration, without the wisdom of God, this kind of push can lead to unfruitful change. Pushing is the least effective method for creating permanent change, but one that is used by people to force change in others.
Example: King Rehoboam pushed or forced his workers to the breaking point. He rejected the advice of the elders to "pull" and rather took the advice of his "home boys" to attempt to motivate by harsh treatment. This “push” later contributed to the division of Israel into two kingdoms.
1 Kings 12:6 Then King Rehoboam consulted the elders who had served his father Solomon during his lifetime. "How would you advise me to answer these people?" he asked.  7 They replied, "If today you will be a servant to these people and serve them and give them a favorable answer, they will always be your servants." 8 But Rehoboam rejected the advice the elders gave him and consulted the young men who had grown up with him and were serving him. 9 He asked them, "What is your advice? How should we answer these people who say to me, 'Lighten the yoke your father put on us'?" 10 The young men who had grown up with him replied, "Tell these people who have said to you, 'Your father put a heavy yoke on us, but make our yoke lighter'-tell them, 'My little finger is thicker than my father's waist. 11 My father laid on you a heavy yoke; I will make it even heavier. My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions.' 
3) “Pulled” by Love, Care and Concern
People positively change when they are pulled by "cords" of love and concern. Change by “pull” is God’s preferred method.
Hosea 11:1 (NLT) “When Israel was a child, I loved him, and I called my son out of Egypt. 2 But the more I called to him, the farther he moved from me, offering sacrifices to the images of Baal and burning incense to idols. 3 I myself taught Israel how to walk, leading him along by the hand. But he doesn’t know or even care that it was I who took care of him. 4 I led Israel along with my [cords] of kindness and love. I lifted the yoke from his neck, and I myself stooped to feed him.
There are also natural factors that “pull” us to change. We experience life-cycle stages such as marriage, birth of children, grown children moving out of the "nest" and more. These naturally occurring events pull us toward change,

Divinely arranged circumstances are one of God's ways of pulling us towards new and higher purposes. Peter began his day as a frustrated fisherman. His day ended as a "fisher of men" in the ministry with Jesus.

Luke 5:1 So it was, as the multitude pressed about Him to hear the word of God, that He stood by the Lake of Gennesaret, 2 and saw two boats standing by the lake; but the fishermen had gone from them and were washing their nets. 3 Then He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little from the land. And He sat down and taught the multitudes from the boat. 4 When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.”  5 But Simon answered and said to Him, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.” 6 And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking. 7 So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. 8 When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!”  9 For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish which they had taken; 10 and so also were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men.” 11 So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him.
On that day, Jesus arranged circumstances in way that captured Peter's attention and heart. Jesus could have commanded that Peter follow Him, but this would have probably been less effective with a person like Peter. The pull method allowed Peter to taste of God's power, experience his own sense of need for God, and make up his own mind. The pull of God's love led to the decision to follow Jesus. 
In what ways is God pulling you with His cords of love?


Have Confidence: Jesus Can Do Anything

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

John 2:5, "His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you."

Jesus mother, like others in his family, may have had their doubts about Jesus for a time (Mark 3:31-35). It may have been that they were simply overwhelmed by the magnitude of his words and his works once he began to operate in His ministry. Sometimes we struggle to relate to people we know, even family, when God uses them in unusual ways.

The brief season of Mary's concern passed. She became fully committed to her son, and her Savior. She gained full confidence in Jesus' purpose and power. By the time of the wedding at Cana, she knew Jesus could do anything.

When the wine ran out at the wedding celebration, Mary told Jesus about it. While He did not seem all that happy about having this brought to His attention, Jesus was willing to honor the confidence of his mother.

Mary sensed this and said to the people, "Whatever Jesus says, do it." A miracle soon followed. Jesus turned water into wine, without using grapes.

I am blessed by Mary's example of placing public confidence in Jesus. I am also reminded that our Lord and Savior is willing to work with small things that can become a great witness to God's power.


The Danger of Misplaced Trust

Friday, May 07, 2010 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

2 Kings 1:1 After Ahab's death, Moab rebelled against Israel. 2 Now Ahaziah had fallen through the lattice of his upper room in Samaria and injured himself. So he sent messengers, saying to them, "Go and consult Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron, to see if I will recover from this injury." 3 But the angel of the LORD said to Elijah the Tishbite, "Go up and meet the messengers of the king of Samaria and ask them, 'Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are going off to consult Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron?' 4 Therefore this is what the LORD says: 'You will not leave the bed you are lying on. You will certainly die!' " So Elijah went. 

It's a sure sign that your Israelite nation is in trouble when in a time of need your king does not turn to God, neither to one of the greatest prophets of all time, Elijah.

Ahaziah had fallen and injured himself. He refused to call on the Lord. Instead, he chose to reach out to an idol god for advice. In his rebellion, he did not consider that Baal-Zebub was unable to hear prayer because this so-called god actually didn't exist.

When Elijah heard about this inquiry, he pronounced that Ahaziah would die. What is interesting is that Ahaziah was going to die, not only because of judgment from God, but because he put his trust in a god that did not exist.

We see the same problem today. People would rather trust in uncertain things than get advice from trustworthy people and trust in the living God, who they know to be real. This is nothing more than rebellion, pure and simple.

People often suffer today, not because God doesn't love them and does not want to help them. People suffer today because they put their trust in things, people, and forces that cannot help at all.

Let's continue to put our trust in the living God, through Christ Jesus, who is alive, alert, and always ready to receive us.


“Find the Hammer” | Using the Power of Focus

Monday, May 03, 2010 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

Phil 3:12 NIV (1)Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but (2)I press on to (3)take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But (4)one thing I do: (5)Forgetting what is behind and (6)straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to (7)win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. 15All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16 Only (8)let us live up to what we have already attained. 17 (9)Join with others in (10)following my example, brothers, and take note of those who (11)live according to the pattern we gave you.

In this text, Paul is sharing with the Philippian church, and all of us, his secret or philosophy of success. Paul endured a lot of suffering and challenges. He had experience many joyful highs, as well as many tragic lows. If every a man had a good excuse for complaining or quitting, it was Paul. Success is obedience to God and faithfulness to His purpose in your life.
In our text, Paul shares at least 11 faith and action items. These items formed the core of His focus. He uses verbs, action words, to convey his philosophy and strategy of success in God. These are not words to hear. These are words to live by.

"I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can't accept not trying." - Michael Jordan

Find the hammer*. If you want to build something, it’s not enough to have a pile of lumber and a box of nails. Nothing’s going to get built until you find the hammer and start swinging it with clear focus on the plans and blueprints God has given you. (* The phrase "Find the hammer" was borrowed from a book written by Max Seigel, Esq, Know What Makes Them Tick.)

I have not attained all: Thank God for what He has done and for what I have, but I'm not stopping now. Wise people think all they say, fools say all they think. 

I Press on: Know that the hard times are preparation for better days (Max Seigel). Won't stand still. The current of these times and of this world is flowing in a negative direction. If I stop, I won't stand still, I'll go backwards. The best way around it is through it. 

I Take hold: Taking firm grasp of my realities, my responsibilities, and my relationships, 

I do one thing: If you try to chase two rabbits, both will escape. Do one thing at the time and do it well. Focus like a laser beam when necessary. Keep my mind stayed on Him. What calls you to action? When do you feel most competitive or most inspired? (Max Seigel) 

I forget what is behind: Forgive, forget, and move on. Give as little energy as possible to what might get me discouraged. (Max Seigel) "In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity". Albert Einstein 

I reach forward: So if you aspire to go anywhere else, to be anything more, you need to look away from your present circumstances and focus on the future that inspires and energizes you. Never mistake activity for achievement. (Max Seigel) 

I win the prize: "If you have the courage to begin, you have the courage to succeed." David Viscott. Always look ahead, try to run through the line, not just run up to it and stop 

I live up: Look like, sound like and act like a child of the King. When it comes to getting quality, there are no shortcuts.(Max Seigel) "If you plan on being anything less than you are capable of being, you will probably be unhappy all the days of your life." Abraham Maslow 

I join with others: Work together. A team will always outperform an individual. “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” Isaac Newton 

I follow examples: "Approve of things that are excellent." Not just big things. Paul said, "Those who seem to be something added nothing to me." 

I live according to pattern: Trust God's wisdom and instructions. Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together. Vincent van Gogh 

Philippians 3:12-17 (The Message Bible)
Focused on the Goal
12-14 I'm not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don't get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I've got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I'm off and running, and I'm not turning back. 15-16So let's keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you'll see it yet! Now that we're on the right track, let's stay on it. 17-19Stick with me, friends. Keep track of those you see running this same course, headed for this same goal. There are many out there taking other paths, choosing other goals, and trying to get you to go along with them. I've warned you of them many times; sadly, I'm having to do it again. All they want is easy street. They hate Christ's Cross. But easy street is a dead-end street. Those who live there make their bellies their gods; belches are their praise; all they can think of is their appetites.