Pressing Forward. Moving Upward. Pt. 1, Getting Clear for the New Year - (Audio)

Sunday, December 30, 2018 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

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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. 15 Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. 

A new year is an opportunity, if you are focused on making progress and making a difference. If your focus is on settling, a new year is just another day.

Charles Dickens “A Tale of Two Cities” which I never read, begins with a famous sentance set in London and Paris during the French Revolution in the late 1790’s.

Dickens's famous opening sentence introduces the universal approach of the book:

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way—in short, the period was so far like the present period,”

It is always easier to remember the “worst of times,” but I challenge you to think about the “best of times.” You always have a choice, so choose wisely.

It is very important that you not focus on the “worst of times” even though you may have to deal the aftermath.

Champion athletes have the ability to forget about losses and mistakes, while learning from it. They quickly detach themselves from those things and focus forward. (Show Scanlon Video)

This is why Paul said: “But one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead…”

You too are a champion in God’s Kingdom!

Fear is the expectation of danger and harm. FEAR False Evidence Appearing Real 

“God has not given me a spirit of fear, but power, love, and a sound mind”

Three Keys for Getting Clear for the New Year: POWER, PERSPECTIVE, PRIZE

Paul reminded us a about POWER = “…That I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me..” 

You were designed by God to possess everything he designed for you to have.”

Paul gave us a PERSPECTIVE = I am not perfected, but I press on. I don’t focus on what I cannot do, I focus on what I can do. I am reminded of the manager who would not take his pitcher out of the game, even though he been pitching poorly. A couple of inning later he caught fire and began to strike out batters. In the post game, a reporter asked him “why did you leave him in the game when do was doing poorly.” The manager said, “I was not looking at he was not doing. I was looking at what he was going to do.”

Paul gave us a PRIZE = The upward or high call of God. This is kind of like the Christmas season as a child. Whatever else may have happened, the child looks forward to Christmas day and opening of gifts. It is kind of prize for the emotions.

What to Get Clear for the New Year:

All of this can be done through prayer and a quality decisions to act by faith.

A quality decision is the thing that gets done because you are committed to it. Like I also tell you, if someone ask you to do something and you say, “I’ll try” or “I might try” that is a non-quality decision. The Bible says “let your yes be yes, or no be no.” Matt 5:37, Just say a simple, 'Yes, I will,' or 'No, I won't.' Anything beyond this is from the evil one.

1. The hindrance of self-imposed limitations resulting from broken principles and neglect of the Kingdom of God. Much of what impedes our progress has to do with neglecting a key principle or tolerating a condition that we can change. Not praying. Not giving. Not serving, etc.

2. The pain and disappointment introduced by difficult and draining situations

3. The shackles of low expectation introduced by “apparent” failure
The residue of bad encounters, disrespectful, and missed opportunities

4. The feeling of worthlessness resulting from a lack of engagement with the Lord and with your purpose

5. The sense of being drained by debts and unnecessary expenses. Form your plan to retire debts and eliminate unneccessary expenses
Determine to move straight ahead. Beware of situations that demand you to not run "straight ahead.” Philippians 3:14 So I run straight toward the goal in order to win the prize, which is God's call through Christ Jesus to the life above. (Good News Translation)


Out of the Margins and Into Purpose

Thursday, December 27, 2018 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

The marginalization of people in our society is a problem that we can resolve. "Marginalize" means, "To treat a person or group of people as insignificant or peripheral; To put or keep someone in a powerless or unimportant position."
If it has ever happened to you, then you know the necessity of encouraging and honoring others. This is the essence of walking in love.
Philippians 2:3, "Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself."
Mark 12:30 "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
Even better, we can help others “Press Forward and Move Upward” as the Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 3:14, “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."


Jesus' Gift to the World: Good Tidings of Great Joy!

Thursday, December 27, 2018 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

Saturday, December 15 witnessed our 28th Community Christmas Celebration. Many individuals and families received gifts, food boxes and heard the Christmas Story about Jesus Christ! One person came forward to receive Christ as Lord and Savior! On December 14, we reached out to serve incarnated women at the Indiana Women's Prison in collaboration with Friends Fellowship Ministry.

We were also pleased to share gifts with Faith Center Church and Jesus Inside Prison Ministry, who distributed gifts to others in need.

Here is a slideshow of activities:

Sharing the Love of Christ continued the week of December 16 with taking a family to shop for shoes as well as visiting mothers and children at the Craine House. THANK FOR YOUR PRAYERS AND SUPPORT!

Watch this Christmas message about the power of JOY! “Good Tidings of Great Joy.” 


Keep People’s Reality Above Your Ideals

Wednesday, December 12, 2018 Bryan Hudson 2 Comments

“Ideal” is defined as, “A standard of perfection; One's conception of what is most suitable.

Following is my response to an article I read that lamented the lack of fathers in the home and the absence of men in children’s lives from an evangelical perspective. The article highlighted negative aspects of “minority” communities by citing bad statistics, which were factual, but not enlightening.

Unfortunately, this article like others I've read did not offer solutions, only an ideal standard––with which I agree in principle. However, focusing on solutions is more helpful than lamentation. I think it is helpful to begin with "ideas" rather than "ideals" which are very differing things. An idea encourages me to first consider the need and understand people. An ideal begins with my concept of people and their needs.

I grew up in the inner city and experienced my share of trouble and foolishness as a non-Christian. I prevailed through the grace of God and the guidance of a father and mother who were married for 48 years until my mother's death (they would have been married for 63 years had she lived). I married a beautiful woman also from the inner city, whose living parents have been married for 65 years. In March of 2019, we will have been married for 40 years! We raised two sons and two daughters. So I completely understand the ideals of father and family, having been surrounded by good, godly, and great men all my life.

That said, I think it is important to keep people’s reality above our ideals. 

Regarding the ideal of the importance of having a father in the home, the availability of good men who can become good fathers is very limited in many communities. We can debate all the reasons, but it does not change the reality that people experience. Pregnant women who do not abort and choose life (which is what we Christians advocate) to become single mothers have even less prospects for a man wanting to marry them and raise someone else’s child. 

Sometimes, because of desperation or outside pressure, some single women think they "need a man” so they allow a boyfriend to move in and become “dad.” From our biblical perspective, this is not acceptable and it does not work for many reasons. In many cases the reality is that the biological father is unfit or unavailable. As followers of Christ, we teach and expect people to serve God, live holy, and practice abstinence until marriage — but that’s another ideal that many fail to achieve. However, many young people live biblically or otherwise avoid pitfalls -- but unfortunately there are no statistics for positive outcomes in our communities. We only focus on the bad outcomes and the related statistics.

I suggest that a practical scenario and “best practice” within difficult and unfortunate situations is for single mothers (single dads too) and their children to become committed members of churches where men at the church provide support. For many urban churches, this is what we do and we consider it our obligation. Men in the church cannot replace a father in the home, but we can do an immeasurable amount of good! 

This is what I have seen during the 18 years I operated a summer media camp for youth. One of the young men, William (not his real name), I mentored since he was 11 years old.  He was raised by a single mother. William was married last May. He and his wife are expecting their first child in February! William is a credit to his dedicated and loving mother, his biological father, and other family in his life, but I was blessed to play a part. Many other young men and women come to mind -- some with less biological family support.

This model of church community and engaged men has empowered single mothers (and single fathers) to raise boys and girls who become successful adults. I’ve seen a lot of good outcomes over my 36 years of pastoral service. Yes, there have been bad outcomes, but the bad results were not worse than bad parenting from a mother and a father, poor choices, or unavoidable circumstances.

In addition to churches and men making the choice to mentor others, organizations in Indianapolis like 100 Black Men, Urban Intiative, Dad’s Inc., Young Men, Inc., the Black Men’s Group, Ross Foundation, Multimedia in Focus, Community R.U.L.E., Raising Others People Kids, Stop The Violence Indianapolis, New Life Development Ministries, and others, that have been empowering single parents and mentoring young people for many years.

The negative statistics are indeed bad and they garner a lot of attention because people's lives are affected, but it would be a much worse situation without all these efforts. Also, statistics do not account for people who succeed despite the same odds and circumstances impacting those who have fallen. It is important to pay attention to every single person and not to view people through the narrative lens of “statistics.”

I think we need to focus on the practices that work. We need to focus on breaking negative cycles of all types. There have been many successes among young people and future success will require many years of good work to bear fruit. We maintain high expectations and motivate people we serve to reach for the best. Our ideals are good, but we start with serving people where they are.

We will need to measure success one person at a time and celebrate those persons. 

There are many more Williams out here looking for people to focus more on their realities than our lofty ideals.

Rev. Bryan Hudson


Two Liberating Words: "Thank You!"

Wednesday, December 12, 2018 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

Hebrews 13:12, Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate. 13 Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach. 14 For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come. 15 Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, [d]giving thanks to His name. 16 But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

Two of the most liberating words in our language are: “Thank You!”

Just as John taught that love is shown in deeds more than words, even so “Thank You” is always connected to what we offer or give.

This is why we celebrate birthdays with cards and gifts, because we wish to say “Thank you” for someone’s life. That’s why we celebrate Christmas with gift giving and honoring our Savior. It’s all about saying “Thank You” to the Lord for the gift of life and new life in Christ. 

THANK YOU helps keep our lives clear of anxiety, sin, darkness, deception. 

Ephesians 5:1 Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. 3 But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; 4 neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather [do do something better] giving of thanks. 

Philippians 4:6, Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;

THANK YOU opens doors, releases gifts, empowers worship, and influences better decisions, and opens your heart to others. 

Eph. 5:15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. [Giving Thanks] 18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, 20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another in the fear of God.

THANK YOU puts us in a position to allow God to transform every weakness into a strength

2 Cor. 12:9, And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

THANK YOU draws us closer to God and to others. 

Psalm 35:18, I will give You thanks in the great assembly; I will praise You among many people. 

In Psalm 107 "Let them sacrifice thank offerings and tell of his works with songs of joy." (NIV)

THANK YOU  closes the circle of breakthrough in our lives. Lesson from the Ten Lepers: Ten were cleansed, but one was MADE WHOLE by saying "Thank You!"

Luke 17:11 Now it happened as He went to Jerusalem that He passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. 12 Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off. 13 And they lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” 14 So when He saw them, He said to them, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed. 15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, 16 and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan. 17 So Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? 18 Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” 19 And He said to him, “Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well.”

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Too Blessed to Be Stressed (Video)

Monday, December 10, 2018 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

Some stress in life is normal, but excessive stress is dangerous. Jesus offered this very important invitation and promise: Matthew 11:28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

What is stress? It is a state of mental or emotional strain, pressure, or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances. Allowing high levels of stress will adversely affect you. It is known that stress and worry cause harmful physical effects. All the more reason to accept Jesus’ offer to lift the burden of negative stress from our lives.

This teaching will help you manage stress and remind you that "You Are Too Blessed To Be Stressed!"