Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Way in 2016 “I am the way…” Jesus


There is a Way. There is a way that is not the way.
Acts 19:23
And about that time there arose a great commotion about the Way.
A way that satisfies. A way that does not satisfy.  
Gen. 2:15-17
Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
A way that leads to God. A way that does not lead to God. 
Gen. 5:2
And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.
A way that prospers us. A way that consumes us.
Psalm 1:1-6
Blessed is the man
Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
Nor stands in the path of sinners,
Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
He shall be like a tree
Planted by the rivers of water,
That brings forth its fruit in its season,
Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper.
The ungodly are not so,
But are like the chaff which the wind drives away.
Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment,
Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
For the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
But the way of the ungodly shall perish.
A way that ends well. A way that does not end well.
Psalms 23:1-6
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.
A way that is the truth. A way that is a lie.
John 14:6
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
A way that few find. A way that many find.
Matthew 7:13-14
“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
A way that harmonizes everything. A way that destroys everything.
Col. 1:15-20
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.
For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.
Which way in 2016?
Bud McCord
Abide International

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Theft of Christmas


The headline of today’s News  should be  “Christmas Stolen!”.  

Stolen by commerce.
Stolen by busyness.
Stolen by religion.
Stolen by family.
Stolen by sports.
Stolen by lack of attention.

There are rumors that  something of the orginal Christmas still thrives in the privacy of some hearts.  As far as today’s public Christmas is concerned the true meaning may be gone forever.

Of course that was the same thing they said when Jesus was crucified and buried 2000 years ago.

Christmas has a way of rising again!  Nothing about Jesus can be permanently stolen.


Bud McCord
Abide International

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Mary, Did You Know?


The Christmas song “Mary, did you know?”  raises a question every Christian would love to personally ask Mary.

 From the Bible here are a few things we know that Mary knew.

Mary knew she was just Mary from a nowhere place called Nazareth.

Mary knew she was Jewish and was hated for simply being a Jew.

Mary knew she was a virgin and promised to Joseph a descendant of David and this was no one else’s business.

Mary knew she was receiving grace from God, she would be pregnant and give birth to a son called Jesus.

Mary knew her son would be great and called the Son of the most high God.

Mary knew her pregnancy would begin unlike any other that had ever begun and very few would believe her when she claimed she had never known a man.

Mary knew her son would be called Holy and the Son of God.

Mary knew that with God all things are possible and she was about to live this truth.

Mary knew she would called blessed and so would her son.

Mary knew that God had come to her because she was willing to humbly cooperate with Him.

Mary knew that God controlled everything and everyone.

Mary knew a spear would cut through her soul as she watched the plan for her son unfold.

Some say that Mary was only 15 years old when she knew all of this. So much to know for one so young!

Mary, the mother of Jesus was too young. Even so, the One she knew and what He told her made her willing to be what she  could not be and do what she could not do in the Jesus story.

God stills calls those who are too young and too old to do the impossible with Him in the Jesus story.

Click here to see and hear the song “Mary, did you know?” 
Bud McCord
Abide International

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Walk In The Spirit



I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
Gal. 5:16

To walk in the Spirit is to be led by the Spirit to apreciate that Jesus is all for us and all in us. It is also to be led by the Spirit to admit what we are without Jesus.
As we walk in the Spirit we simultaneously know the truth  about Jesus and ourselves.

Jesus is all.  Without Jesus we are nothing.
Jesus has all.  Without Jesus we have nothing.
Jesus knows all.  Without Jesus we know nothing.
Jesus can do all.  Without Jesus we can do nothing.

As the Spirit convinces us Jesus is all for us and in us we begin to walk in the Spirit.  As we admit that we are nothing without Jesus the Spirit can freely make all Jesus is form in us.  When we walk in all Jesus is,  we are made into the kind of human beings the Father has always wanted us to be and the kind of human beings we thought we could never become.

As we walk in the Spirit we experience fellowship with the Father, Son and Spirit.  In this oneness we receive by the Spirit the daily grace from all Jesus is, has, knows and does.  We walk in the Spirit as a new creation in Christ. All has become new in the Father’s will.

By the Spirit I know that Jesus is all that the Father is for me.  By the Spirit I know that Jesus is all that the Father has for me.  By the Spirit I know that Jesus is all that the Father wants me to be.  By the Spirit I know that Jesus is all that the Father wants me to do.

Pure life in Jesus is what walking in the Spirit brings me each day.  As I walk in the Spirit I can say “I am what I am by the grace of God.”
Bud McCord
Abide International

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Discipleship



Without Jesus there is no discipleship.  This singular truth should guide all our attempts to disciple those who have received Jesus as Savior.

It is no accident that Jesus made Himself the subject of His own teaching.  All that He said of Himself leads us to the conclusion that He is the way, the truth and the life.
We hear Him saying He is essential for anyone who desires to return to the Father. We also hear Him say He is central to discipleship.

In John 15:1-8 Jesus describes His Father’s vineyard.  In this spiritual ecosystem where love is sent into the world as fruit the essential role of the True Vine is very clear.  So there wouild be no doubt Jesus uses these powerful words:  “Without Me you can nothing.”   In any language nothing means nothing.
In the Father’s ecosystem of love Jesus is central.  If Jesus not is central, present and active there is no discipleship.

Imagine a beautiful ecosystem where all the elements are in perfect harmony for the cultivation of grapes.  The only thing missing is the Vine.  Simply put, there will be no grapes, juice or wine. All that harmony is useless if the goal is a particular fruit.

Finding the Vine is the essential element if one wants grapes. This does not diminish the other parts of the ecosystem.  In God’s plan everything else that surrounds Jesus is for Jesus.  Why?  Because He is the source of all that surrounds Him and the goal of all that surrounds Him.  The ecosystem exists for Him to be and do what only He can be and do.

When our discipleship does not begin and end in Jesus it is useless for producing what the Father wants.  The Father wants what is only in Jesus.  
Discipleship is Jesus present and active in a surrounding ecosystem that exists so Jesus can reveal the true nature of the Father which is love.

Discipleship is essentially Jesus. Center on Him
Bud McCord
Abide International

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Paying Twice or Paying Forward



It is very frustrating to discover we have paid twice for the same service. What frustrates even more is to have somone argue with us that the double charge is somehow justified.

We have all learned to live with hidden costs, extra charges, double taxation and special fees.  We simply cannot seem to keep up with all the ways mankind invents to siphon off more from us all.  We know paying twice happens, but we don’t have to time to argue with it.
Christianity is meant to be different.

Christianity is meant to be freely offered since Jesus has made Himself the full payment for everyone and everything Christian.  Even so, history is filled with second payment plans invented by Christian religious leaders and organizations. In some nations Christianity has even been funded by government taxes. Imagine that!

Wouldn’t it be great if the one place we could count on free service is in Christianity?  As hard as that is to imagine the entire Christian experience was designed by Jesus to be given away freely  by those who receive it freely.
“Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. “  Matthew 10:8

Can you imagine how much we could charge for these specialized services?  Check out the size of the homes of faith healers and you will get an idea.
Jesus’ freely giving plan does not mean that no one pays a price for this system to work.  Jesus knew that His followers would freely and voluntarilly pay the price of free love in His name so others could freely receive.

Christian organizations should raise funds by focusing believers on Jesus’ generosity and abundance. There is no other plan that is truly Christian.
In a church community that is abiding in Christ, those who know they are freely receiving all from Jesus will freely give so others can freely receive as well.  Funding for love is only a problem when a Christian community doubts Jesus’ past and present  generosity. 

When we freely give as disciples we are paying forward out of Jesus’ generosity. We are not paying twice.  We are not the source of what we give.  Jesus is.
Start giving forward from this fact.  “Christ is all and is in all.”  Col.3:11

Stay away from those who argue one must pay twice for Christianity. 
Bud McCord
Abide International

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Living In The Jesus Environment



There is a story of an environmental struggle that made success impossible for the disciples.  Picture yourself in their situation in Mark 6:45-51
Immediately He made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while He sent the multitude away.  And when He had sent them away, He departed to the mountain to pray.  Now when evening came, the boat was in the middle of the sea; and He was alone on the land, Then He saw them straining at rowing, for the wind was against them. Now about the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea, and would have passed them by.  And when they saw Him walking on the sea, they supposed it was a ghost, and cried out; for they all saw Him and were troubled. But immediately He talked with them and said to them, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.”  Then He went up into the boat to them, and the wind ceased.

No matter how they tried, the environment was against them. Yet, when Jesus came into the boat One greater than the surrounding environment changed everything.  When He came into the boat the surrounding environment ceased to be a problem and they were able to obey Jesus’ command to go to the other shore of the sea.

Environment matters.  Depending on what one is trying to do environment either helps or hurts.  Just ask people who live under corrupt governments if environment matters.  Just ask people who live under suffocating political oppression if environment matters. Rowing with wind in your face matters.

That is why the phrase “Christ in us” is so important to the Christian life.  Jesus’ presence creates in us an environment called the Kingdom of God.  Where Jesus is present,  people can reach amazing places and do wonderful things no matter what environment surrounds them on the outside.  Every believer can enjoy an inner environment called the Kingdom of God.  Even when the wind of circumstances is in their face they can do what He commands.

Every Christian should be a living from a personal, empowering Jesus environment.  When they do, the will of God will be done.  Wonderful things  will be accomplished for God’s glory.

With Jesus in the boat the wind of the Spirit is always at our back. 
Bud McCord
Abide International

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

A Time Of Crisis



We experience crises along the way because it is in these times that our souls can truly learn to calm down, grow and expand in love. Cooperating with Jesus in a time of crisis is essential to spiritual growth.  Without cooperation with Jesus during a time of crisis our souls only grow more confused and distressed.

There are no sanctuaries in our world where we can flee from crises.  There is, however, the sanctuary of Jesus’ presence in us from where we can be prepared to face a time of crisis.

To survive and even grow in our time of crisis we must learn to live from the center of being-our spirit.  From our center in Christ we, by faith, believe that the Father will take care of the circumference of our lives in this time of crisis.  Jesus explains this center and circumference reality in Matthew 6:33-34. 
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its  own trouble.

Jesus’words in the passage are the final words on how to live in times of crisis.

To seek the kingdom of God we must live with our spirit under the complete control of Jesus.  We must give to Jesus our willingness for so He can  create within our spirits the kind of intentions that He wants to send out into the world through us.  We cannot divide this control with Jesus. It is all under His control or it remains all under our control.  There can be no partial control at the level of our spirit.

By breathing a simple prayer we can surrender our spirit to Jesus. We surrender by simply and sincerely saying “I am only Yours.” This posture of surrender lived moment by moment puts our spirit under the control of Jesus so He can manifest His love through us.

From this unified center with Jesus, Jesus by His Spirit can calm us and align our thoughts, emotions and will with Him.  The peace of Jesus will be ours in the time of crisis.  The happiness of Jesus will be ours in the time of crisis.  The love of Jesus will be ours in the time of crisis.

The circumference of our love for others will actually expand in the time of crisis when our center is unified with Jesus.  We will discover that a time of crisis is our best time for growth and love.

Jesus has already experienced and defeated the time of human crisis.  Now He wants to do the same in us and through us as we face our time of crisis.  Jesus is the sanctuary we go to in this world.  When He has us calm, aligned and ready, we will face the crisis with love for God and others.

Don’t hide in a time of crisis. Center in Jesus and be sent as He was sent into the world.

John 17: 18-19  As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.  And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth
Bud McCord
Abide International

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Discipleship 100% Jesus



“…Christ is all and is in all.” Col. 3:11
Discipleship begins in every believer at the moment of conversion when our permanent connection to Jesus by the Holy Spirit is sealed.  Discipleship  gains stability as we learn Jesus, gains power as we receive fully from Jesus by the Spirit and abundantly bears fruit  as we cooperate with Jesus continuously.  Anything less than discipleship 100% sourced and sustained in Jesus does not deserve to be called discipleship.

When we transform discipleship into courses attended, material understood and principles applied we are not discipling people to Jesus. Signing people up for discipleship, teaching them about God and demanding spiritual homework will inform but it falls short of spiritual formation.    Without taking a new convert to see, hear, love and live Jesus our system of discipleship remains much less than a Christian needs and the Father desires. The Father sent the Son, not a course. For this reason the apostle Paul said “My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you,…” Gal. 4:19

The way of discipleship is Jesus.  The truth of discipleship is Jesus.  The life of disicpleship is Jesus.  The destiny of discipleship is oneness with the Father and Son by the Holy Spirit.  This is why Jesus so clearly said in John 15:5  “…without Me you can do nothing.”

Discipleship is learning Jesus and the true teacher is the Holy Spirit. 
But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things” I John 2:20
The annointing for discipleship where Jesus is seen, heard, loved and lived is already on the life of every believer. At conversion we are eternally  “signed up” for the only discipleship that matters—100% Jesus.

To learn Jesus is to grow in our comprehension of who He is.  It is to  grow in our cooperation with what He wants.  Because of who He is and because He abides in us and we abide in Him, He wants to manifest His life through us to the world.  We are the branches He is the true Vine.  He is the Head of the church and we are His body.

We are eternally connected by the Spirit to Him. 

“But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him” I Cor. 6:17
Accept nothing less than discipleship 100% Jesus. 
Bud McCord
Abide International

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

A Good Death



This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.  John 15:12-13

Friendshhip is a beautiful form of love.  Friendship is so powerfujl as love it can even create a good death.

As friendships develop in this hostile world life expands into more and more beautiful moments and possibiliites.  At the same time life is expanding threats to that life expansion appear.  Great friendships will arouse the attention of evil.  Evil hates love.

When evil comes against great friendships hard choices among friends must be made.  To move evil’s attention and power away from  friendship a willingness to die must appear.

There comes a time in love and friendship where not everyone can continue on.
When that moment comes great love will inspire one of the friends to say  “Keep going on expanding our love and friendship.  I will stop here because I love seeing your love keep expanding.”

A good death is one that keeps love expanding.  A good death is unforgettable among friends.  The friend who dies so we can love is never forgotten.
Bud McCord
Abide International

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

I Am



God is one.  God is Trinity.  So simple. So profound. So wonderful.  

The Father, the Son and Holy Spirit are together the One great I AM.

The Father is the One who Intends.

The Son is One who Acts.

The Spirit is the One who Moves.

As One they are the three who together Intend, Act and Move .

When holy Intention,  holy Action and  holy Movement are One then Love exists forever.

Now  in Jesus the great I AM has made human lives the sanctuary of Divine life and Oneness.

So simple.
So profound.
So Wonderful.

“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will[e] believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, arein Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.” John 17:20-23
Bud McCord
Abide International

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Life of Jesus Then and Now



Has there ever been a better life lived than the life lived by Jesus? Has any greater
demonstration of giving been offered? Has any greater teaching been heard? Is there another story of forgiveness that comes close to his forgiveness?
Who on our planet today even comes close to Jesus?

If every person took seriously the entire story of Jesus during one year could they dismiss him as irrelevant? Could they easily move on to someone better for next year's study?

Would living all of Jesus' commands reveal that they still fit in every human situation today as they did when he first taught? Is loving better ever irrelevant?

Would seeing his commands lived inspire the kind of behavior we
long to see in our neighbor and in ourselves?
Is his call to love our enemies still revolutionary now as it was then? Do his words still move us to be more human, more loving?

Does anyone today offer anything more than Jesus? Some say Christianity has had its day and it belongs to the past. Can the same be said of Jesus?

Jesus is the humanity and divinity we all hope exists. Believing in him is affirming humanity and divinity do exist.

Living Jesus now is inviting others to meet humanity and divinity with us today.

There is no better life than Jesus' life lived right now in every believer. Jesus' life is still here.

Every disciple is so close to Jesus they can still live His life right now. Live the Jesus from back then right now.

"Christ in you the hope of glory."
"For to me to live is Christ."
"It is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me"
"Christ is all and is in all."
Bud McCord
Abide International

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

A Christ Centered Life


“For to me to live is Christ…” Phil. 1:21

What constitutes the center of a Christian life well lived?
Is the center accumulated Biblical knowledge?
Is the center disciplined Chrisitan thinking about life?
Is the center cultivated Christian discipline?
Is the center obeying Christian principles that match the design of the universe?
Is the center passion for social justice in the world?
Is the center a retreat from the outer world?
Is the center death to self?
Is the center action for the cause of Jesus?
Is the center the church I attend?

The center of the Christian life is a living Person.

The center of a Christian life well lived is continuous cooperation with Christ who is the Christian life within every believer. The center of a Christian life well lived is Christ in us.  He is the source and hope of all Christian living.

As disciples we lose our way when anything or anyone else except Christ is our center.   We lose our way, the circumference of our love shrinks and God’s glory is not seen when Christ is not our life.

The Christian life well lived is living Jesus well.

Bud McCord
Abide International

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Jesus He is or He is not




We live in a time when many people prefer not to take things to a universal conclusion.  People prefer to preach tolerance of all conclusions in the hope that tolerance will become the universal conclusion.  Their hope is we will all finally get along when all conclusions are equally valid.

Even though tolerance has become one of the few cherished virtues left in western cultures, tolerance cannot save humanity from reality. Reality comes to conclusions and so must we.

If there is a hope for all of humanity it will take finding the right conclusion about reality.  Tolerance should be a part of this human search, but tolerance cannot be the goal of this search. Reality must be taken seriously by all.   Reality has the final word.

Jesus clearly said that He is the revelation of all the reality that saves humanity.  He said he was, is and always will be truth spoken in love for humanity. He claimed to be the final word.

Jesus declared Himself to be the universal conclusion.  Jesus as the universal conclusion is what historic Christianity has always affirmed. Jesus as the universal reality is what Christians have tried to live.

It is arriving at Jesus as our conclusion which has allowed Christians to be tolerant of others who still search for the conclusion.  Christians risk their lives in many cultures calling people to come to a universal conclusion about Jesus because some cultures allow no search for conclusions beyond what they affirm.  The most tolerant cultures on earth have developed out of Christian conclusions about Jesus.

Jesus gave people time and space to come to Him as the conclusion.  He still does  through his disciples.

The logical conclusion about Jesus is he either was or was not all he claimed to be. Christians believe Jesus is the loving conclusion concerning everything. Not everyone believes He is.  Some violently affirm He is not.

Jesus never asked that people would tolerate Him. Reality is not to be simply tolerated.  Jesus clearly called people to come to a believing conclusion about Him.  By what He said and by what He did He continues to allow humanity to come to a conclusion about Him and then live Him as that conclusion.

Where Christians live Jesus as the loving universal conclusion, tolerance will be present. Where tolerance is made the universal conclusion expect to see people become intolerant of those who insist that conclusions do matter.

Jesus remains humanity’s best hope for a satisfying conclusion to reality and the best hope for tolerance among the searchers.


Bud McCord
Abide International