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.