Monday, December 19, 2011

Pure Goodness

Pure Goodness

Luke 6:45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

Bad cannot produce good. It takes pure goodness to produce true good.

Just ask yourself if your heart is good or bad. Be honest. Unless you have truly understood that Christ lives in you right now and He is the source of all pure goodness, it is hard to say "My heart is good!". You need to believe you have a treasure in your heart to seek pure goodness there.

As a believer in Jesus you have the source of pure goodness in you right now. Good intentions live in you. Good words live in you. Good ideas live in you. Good courage lives in you. Your job is to stay in touch with this pure goodness and bring it out into the light to bless others.

Try saying this..."I am forever united in my spirit (heart) with the pure goodness of Jesus." Now from this good place ask for the specific kind of goodness you would like to "bring forth." It is there. Your job is to receive it and release it.

When we say we cannot be good, we may be telling a truth. We may be admitting that nothing good lives in our flesh. That is a truth. Even so, the greater truth for a believer is that we no longer live in the flesh. We now live in connection with Christ who is pure goodness. The greater truth is pure goodness lives in connection with our spirit.

Christmas is about pure goodness being born into the world. Don't forget that that same pure goodness now is born in you! Draw from this good treasure and be good.

Merry Christmas!

Bud McCord
Abide International

P.S. I wrote this devotional thinking about our daughter Rachel who has a wonderful website about really good food. Check it out! Only good food can bring out the best in you.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


"Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Phillipians 2:5-11

Jesus perfected His love not His reputation. What an unlikely strategy when compared with the wisdom of this world.

Jesus' commitment to love was the living manifestation of His depth of commitment to His Father. Reputation would be left in the hands of His Father. Love would be Jesus' singular focus.

Reputation protection and the perfection of love are never comfortable traveling companions. As we move through life we will be forced to go with one or the other. At times they can seem to be united but there is always a time when perfected love will need to abandon reputation so love remains preeminent.

The description of Jesus in Phillipians 2 is a call for each of us to see the perfecting or our love as more important than the protecting of our reputation. When our reputation is at stake we often panic because we have invested so much in the building of our reputation. When we have been working on perfecting our love we can let go of our reputation because we trust the Father with our reputation.

We remember and revere Jesus because He perfected His love for us instead of protecting His reputation.

Be remembered for the quality of your love. Let love be your reputation.

Bud McCord
Abide International

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

The Speed of God's Compassion

"Pain suffered while we are alone is very different than pain suffered near someone else." Henri Nouwen

Most of us consider ourselves fairly compassionate people. We weep when we watch really sad films. We get very indignant when we see someone abuse another. We may even pray fervently for those who suffer. Even so, do these things qualify as compassion?

The meaning of the word compassion is to "suffer with". That means to do much more than be moved emotionally to a state of caring. I believe it means to actually stay with the sufferer for a God appointed period of time.

There is no way to stay with a person who suffers without suffering with the sufferer. There is no way to stay with a sufferer without reducing our speed to their speed for a time.

Perhaps that is why we want to get away quickly from the suffering of another. Suffering spreads by contact and suffering alters travel plans. Compassion is risky and time consuming. All true love is.

As a minister for over 35 years I have noticed that I wanted to help people get past their suffering as quickly as possible. Slow recoveries seemed to me to be a sign of my pastoral incompetence and a lack of faith on the part of all involved.

Good counseling in my mind was fast counseling. I was too busy for someone's stubborn pain to slow down my plans to help so many. I lacked the speed of God's compassion.

I don't believe God wanted me to stay at the hospital for hours at a time with every person. I think He wanted me to stay as long as He needed me to reveal His compassion to a particular sufferer. I seldom remember asking how long He wanted me to stay. I guess I assumed He was in a hurry since I was in a hurry to go after all the other pain.

Fast cures certainly sound very appealing to us unless we are the person whose pain is stubborn. Perhaps the desire for fast cures explains why modern healing meetings draw such huge crowds. Compassion and fast don't match. Massive healing meetings many times reveal more frustration with stubborn pain than compassion for sufferers.

Compassion is being willing to stay as long as God would have us stay with a sufferer while going at their speed so they won't go alone.

Some of my friends who are ministers live at only one ministerial speed--fast. The faster they go, the more famous they become. They are incredibly dynamic and gifted. There is only one problem with great speed in the life of a minister and that is the fact that our calling includes showing God's compassion not just God's speed and direction as we see it.

God's compassion has its own speed. Are we willing to let God make us His campassion? I am learning to ask Him if He approves of my speed. Amazingly, I have time for everything that truly matters at His speed.

(For a Biblical example of The Speed of God's Compassion read the story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10.)

Bud McCord
Abide International

Wednesday, November 30, 2011



“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6: 19-21

A human being without a desire for treasure (abundance) does not exist. The difference among humans is defining what the true human treasure should be, how it is to be obtained and where to keep it safe. Some people say they have no need of treasure but even they will protect something or someone given just the right set of circumstances. Even killing oneself is an attempt to protect something or someone we treasure too much to let live without an adequate treasure.

All humans desire to live from treasure or abundance because we all started out in Adam and Eve in an environment of perfect abundance. Since that perfect place and perfect spiritual abundance with the Creator was lost by looking for the false treasure of trying to be God, the hunt by humanity for treasure has been ongoing and tragic.

A sense of no treasure can drive human beings insane. Black Friday at Walmart comes to mind! Human beings without a treasure can become depressed, violent, intolerant, protective, demanding, discouraged and even suicidal. The crash of the stock market in 1929 with millionaires jumping from skyscrapers comes to mind. In all of us there is the deep sense we should have a safe treasure that is our source of abundance from which we will live. Trying to get this treasure makes some of us crazy. Protecting this treasure can make some of us dangerous. Protecting government retirement programs or government funded tuition comes to mind.

Jesus never condemns the human desire for treasure (abundance). Instead, He defines the true treasure as a return to the Creator and the Creator's Kingdom. He tells us the treasure will be kept for us as we "lay it up in heaven". He tells us that treasure is meant to keep one's heart focused. Jesus forever links treasure and the focus of the human heart. What we treasure has our heart. We don't have our treasure as much as our treasure has us.

Christianity is not a treasureless life. It is unashamedly a way of life that depends on God Himself offering to be our treasure. God is willing to be our treasure because He wants our heart. He wants our heart because when He is our treasure we are finally able to become human again. Being humanity's treasure was God's original plan.

The problem for Christians comes in when we want multiple treasures just in case the God treasure does not work out too well. The rich young ruler who went away sad when Jesus told him to sell all and give it to the poor comes to mind.

Jesus never condemned treasure or abundance. The human heart needs its treasure. He also never suggested we could mix treasures of this world with the treasure that is His Father.

Is God your great treasure? If He is, then your heart will be in the right place and you will live a life of increasing sanity called love. God as the human treasure calms and quiets the human heart. Nothing else really can.

If you have multiple treasures, then expect to live with a divided and weakened heart. As a multiple treasures person you may even do some crazy things from time to time. Don't be surprised when you do crazy things for treasures that are less than God. The wrong treasures are that powerful.

If God is your singular treasure, then don't be surprised when you do incredibly sane things like forgiving and loving. The right treasure is that powerful.

Choose your treasure wisely. It will have your heart.

Bud McCord
Abide International

Abide International is an organization dedicated to helping Christ-followers worldwide
understand and experience true satisfaction in Jesus as a moment by moment reality.

Abide International - 17701 N.W. 57th Avenue - Miami, FL 33055
Web: - Email:

Monday, November 07, 2011

Flesh or Spirit?

That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. John 3:6

As humans we try to make judgments of others using our carefully constructed human views of moral behaviors. When God judges humans he judges their birth not their behaviors. God doesn’t give us grades for behaviors. He sees our behaviors and gives them a DNA or birth test.

If the origin of any human behavior is birthed in something other than God’s Spirit it is called “flesh” and it is condemned by God as useless no matter what human standard is applied and how nice the behavior might appear to other humans. With God it is not a “pass/fail” accomplishment system. It is a “flesh/spirit” birth system.

In John 3 Jesus told a “pass/fail” leader named Nicodemos that all men and women need a new birth--including him. To say he was shocked is to put it too lightly. He was stunned. He had spent a lifetime working the “pass/fail” behavioral system and he had never once heard of the “flesh/spirit” birth system. Jesus basically told him he had wasted his time and needed to start over as a new human being.

It is never easy to free ourselves from the accomplishment system and move to the birth system. We all want to earn our standing with God instead of being born into our standing with God. Adam and Eve switched from birth to accomplishment in Genesis 3 and the effects can most clearly be called “death.” It stinks.

In our spiritual formation, we need to become accustomed to determining in our own behavior what is born of the Spirit an what is born of the flesh. Even though we now are “born again” and we have the Christ in us, we must be trained by the Holy Spirit to Identify and put off the works of the flesh. God wants us to learn to see birth over behavior in everything. The “pass/fail” system must be put to death.

This is not as difficult as it may seem for a disciple. Try this. When you are behaving in a way that needs a “birth” evaluation to see where the behavior is coming from, just ask Jesus “Is this behavior birthed in you?” You will be surprised how quickly Jesus owns what he births and how quickly He rejects what He did not birth. Remember, we focus on behavior but Jesus’ focus is on birth.

It is possible for a believer to begin in the Spirit and then try to be made perfect in the flesh. Galatians 3:2b “Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?” Having begun in the birth system of grace are you now made perfect the the behaviors system of works? Great question!

A believer can begin experiencing things birthed in the Spirit and suddenly begin to put on behaviors that are from the flesh. Why would God permit this?

He allows this to teach us that birth matters most and no amount of good work can ever hope to birth what only the Spirit can birth. Jesus put it this way “Without Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5

You can also learn to look for birth not just behaviors in others. Source is more important than symptoms in our relationships. Reacting to symptoms in others is a waste of time. That is why Jesus tells us to “turn the other cheek” when someone attacks us. Striking back at a behavior cannot reach the level of birth, but turning the other cheek can.

A disciple should become a birth expert not a behavior expert. Don’t judge behaviors. Look for the source not the symptoms. Aim for the new birth of others by living as Jesus teaches in the Sermon on the Mount. Behavior modification is not Christianity. New Birth is.

Bud McCord
Abide International

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

"It Was Good For Me"

The parables of the treasure and the pearl of great price. Matthew 13: 44-46 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.” Why did the man and the merchant do what they did? They did it because it was good for them and it was very smart. It was to their great advantage to reach a place of absolutely no need outside the possessing of the treasure or the pearl. With these choices they were done choosing. What a relief! Does the Kingdom of heaven approve of such thinking? According to Jesus it does and that took me by surprise. Here is how I might have ended these parables to make it fit my old idea of Christian self denial which always left me feeling I should do only things that would leave me with less. “And the man gave the treasure to the poor so his treasure would not distract him.” “And the man who bought the pearl sold it and gave the money to the poor so he would look humble.” Whey didn’t Jesus add my thoughts to His? Because He approves of human beings doing what is best for them. He always has. He approves of human beings who know how to choose their permanent, personal solution before they try to become someone else’s partial solution. Jesus approves of human beings living from permanent abundance. The treasure and the pearl are Jesus. Jesus is the ultimate value of the Kingdom. Jesus is the Kingdom made visible. Jesus is perfect abundance. Letting go of everything we have valued in our old pursuit of happiness in order to have Him is good for us and it is very smart. In the end such a singular pursuit of Jesus is the only thing that will make us most useful to those in need. In fact, choosing Jesus is the only thing that will make us truly useful forever. Beneath all the wonderful sounding reasons we give for our personal behavior is one inescapable fact. We all do what we think is best for us. We love ourselves too much not to do so. To lose our life in this world and find Jesus as our life is what is best for us and it is a very smart choice. Jesus is our only hope to live and love from abundance. The choosing of what is best for us is not the problem. The problem is we choose things that are not best for us and then we suffer a sense of lack, start looking again and everyone else suffers with us because we are still on the hunt for what is best. When we choose Jesus as what is best for us, God is pleased with us because He is the One who created us to choose Jesus who is the best. When we get choosing Jesus right, we will certainly bear the good fruit of such a smart choice. Once you have the best you can really get on with living the best. When you choose Jesus your need to keep on choosing ends. You have what is best for you forever and nothing is smarter than settling the abundance issue once and forever. To truly love the issue of permanent, personal abundance found in Christ must be settled once and for all. Make Jesus your final choice and you will choose to love. What a relief it is to love from the certainty of Jesus’ eternal perfection and abundance instead of constantly checking to see how much we have spent loving others. Bud McCord Abide International

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Farmer

On the last day of His life on earth before His crucifixion Jesus refers to His Father as a Vinedresser--a farmer. Hardly the title I would chosen for the King of the Universe and the One who was at that moment overcoming the Evil One through His Son's sustained and sustaining love. Still, the title is the one Jesus chose. I have come to see why Jesus called His father a farmer during my 60 year journey in the world. God is not about changing the world. He overcomes it one human at a time. He takes the world as it is and does what He wants done through those He chooses. He takes into consideration all the tragic elements of the world and says, "I can grow my crops here in this life." We get angry at God because He does not change the tragic elements of the world, but He goes on with His work--getting His fruit visible and available in the middle of this tragic world. The crop (fruit) God wants is called love - sustained love. Jesus is the first to have sustained the Farmer's love. Since He did this all excuses about the world being too tough a place for sustained love to exist are eliminated. All excuses are gone for the branches of His sustained love and it is time to harvest the same sustained love crop worldwide. Every time you pick up a beautiful apple, pear, banana or grape cluster, some farmer has overcome the world for you. For such beautiful fruit to end up on your table, the world was overcome and you benefit from the victory. Thank God for farmers! The One who overcame the world is now abiding in you to bear the fruit of Jesus' sustained love. No excuses now about the world needing to change before you can bear this fruit. The Farmer knows what He has done and he can do in the world just as it is. He can make us the bearers of sustained love if we will but abide 24/7 and moment by moment in His sustained and sustaining love. "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you will suffer tribulations, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." Jesus inspiring his disciples in John 16:33 Bud McCord Abide International

Monday, October 03, 2011

A Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Waste

For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ. I Cor. 2:16

Jesus was the only human being who ever enjoyed a mind that was completely free to function as a human mind was meant to function. He was the most intelligent man who ever lived and His mind was the perfect tool for God’s loving purpose. Jesus never wasted His mind. He used His mind to live the Christian life.

Unfortunately we as disciples waste His mind. We waste it because we do not believe we have His mind. We think great Bible teachers have some of His mind, but we honestly do not see ourselves having nearly any of His mind.

How many children grow up and live their entire lives never being encouraged to develop the ability that their own DNA possesses? They don’t even know what their DNA is. How many young adults give into distractions and end up living their entire lives beneath their full potential? They don’t even know what their potential is. How many Christians never access the mind of Christ while trying to live the Christian life? They don’t even know what the mind of Christ is.

I, for one, have wasted much of the mind of Christ over the years. Quite frankly, I have only recently realized something of what it means to have the mind of Christ. I have only recently begun to realize that having the mind of Christ is critical to living Christ’s life as my life.

“For to me to live is Christ...” Phil. 1:21 “it is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me..” Gal. 2:20

To have the mind of Christ means I can literally think with Jesus about everything that is happening to me at any moment. If you have a mind you can think with that mind! If you cannot think with it you don’t have it.

Jesus abides in me by His Spirit and is willing to think with me. He is willing to give me His thoughts about my reality until my reality becomes His reality. As we think together as one we begin to face the reality with one mind--His mind.

I know this sounds very strange, but I imagine that the first time people heard that they carry their parents DNA that, too, sounded strange. Even so, the only DNA we will ever have or ever use is the DNA we received from our parents. It is also true to say “I have the mind of Christ.” Jesus gives me His mind by His Spirit within me. The only thinking that I can use to live the Christian life comes from Jesus’ mind not mine. My mind cannot think the Christian life up as I go along. My mind needs to receive the thoughts directly from Jesus who is the living Christian life who lives in me.

Every believer has the mind of Christ. Every believer can let the mind of Christ teach their mind how to live Jesus’ life in our daily reality.

I have tested this idea with many congregations and with many Christians by describing to them scenarios where they are facing some challenge or attack. I ask them to ask Jesus who abides in them what He thinks about this challenge or attack. I ask them to think with His mind if they should be afraid or go on the attack. As incredible as it sounds, they always know what He thinks. That shocked me. They did not always want to do what He thinks, but they always knew what He thinks.

The next time you are facing a great challenge ask Jesus what He thinks about the challenge. Ask Him if He thinks it is the end of the world. Ask Him if the challenge is impossible. Ask Him if you should be afraid to face the challenge. I know you already know the answer because you really do have the mind of Christ.

The next time you are attacked or offended ask Jesus what He thinks. Does this attack determine who I am? Does this offense mean I need to vindicate myself? Should I retaliate? I know you already know the answer because you really do have the mind of Christ.

It is a terrible thing to waste the mind of Christ.

Bud McCord
Abide International

Monday, September 26, 2011


The Spirit of Christ is an equalizer not a divider.

When the Spirit of Christ is in control of a group of believers there will always be a deep and abiding equality among all. When there appears in a group of believers a sense of the “haves” and the “have nots”, equality in Christ is dying and the Spirit of Christ is not being followed.

In the book of Galatians the Apostle Paul confronts the Apostle Peter because of the issue of equality between Jewish and Gentile believers. It is hard to even imagine one of the apostles confronting another, but equality is that important.

Here is what happened that caused the confrontation.

Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy. But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, “If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you compel Gentiles to live as Jews? We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified. Galatians 2:11-16

Some Jewish “haves” came and determined that some Gentile “have nots” were not up to their level. This new paradigm was so powerful that Peter and Barnabas were “carried away with their hypocrisy.”

If this kind of mistake can be made by Peter and Barnabas, who are we to think we cannot be drawn into this mistake? This is the kind of failure that can and will destroy the very essence of Christian life and community.

How can we avoid this mistake?

1. By focusing exclusively on Christ as Christianity. Jesus is Christianity. If a person has Christ they are as much a Christian as any other Christian. Treat them as such.

2. By seeing love as our reason for existence. We exist to love. We exist to give the best we are and the best we have to those who need us. Even if we see ourselves as a “have” in the midst of a lot of “have nots” that only increases our responsibility to love them more effectively not isolate them more effectively.

3. By resisting the temptation to confuse leadership positions as places of superiority instead of places of service. God gives leadership authority to those who can still wash feet. Leaders who cannot wash feet need to be confronted.

Listen to these remarkable words that the Holy Spirit inspired the Apostle Paul to write.

For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. Galatians 3:26-29

When equality in Christ begins to die in a group of believers, so does the spiritual power begin to die no matter how impressive the “haves” still appear to be in their special but separate gatherings. Unfortunately inequality draws huge crowds.

Bud McCord
Abide International

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Spiritual LIfe--Goals and Pace

I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Galatians 5:16-18

The promise contained in these verses that one can be completely free of the desires of the flesh by walking in the Spirit is truly remarkable. For those of us who have battled with our fleshly desires that are not born in God, this passage offers hope but it also raises a serious question.

What does it mean to “Walk in the Spirit..”?

I believe it means to spend each moment adjusting myself internally and externally to the goals and pace of Christ in me. That’s right, Jesus is continuously moving in us with clear goals and with a determined pace. Jesus may not be physically in the world, but He is in each believer and He is still walking among men through each disciple who walks in the Spirit.

Walking in the Spirit is learning to adjust myself continuously to the abundance of Jesus’ perfect presence in me by His Spirit. It means that I must continuously relate everything that is happening to me to Christ in me by His Spirit. When I do relate everything to Christ within by His Spirit, I get in sync with Jesus’ goals and pace. I walk in the Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is in me to make this adjustment to Jesus possible and to release to me what I need in order to not need what the flesh is offering me. The Holy Spirit of God is in me to align me with the goals and the pace of God in Christ 24 hours a day, seven days a week and moment by moment. The Holy Spirit walks me into this adjustment.

Imagine you decide to walk an entire day with another person. They have agreed that you can accompany them as long as you truly want to do what they do and you understand that they have a busy agenda and a determined pace. You accept the conditions and off you go toward their goals and at their pace.

At first it is easy, but as the day progresses you find that you are being continuously invited to leave the person with whom you are walking and satisfy some other need the way you normally would. Eventually you discover that walking with another person who has a very specific agenda and pace in mind means you must continually submit to their goals and pace or walking with them just will not work.

This is how Jesus walked with His Father. When Jesus said he always did what pleased His father He was describing what it means to walk in the Spirit. God’s goals were His goals and God’s pace was His pace at all times.

We either walk in the Spirit or we walk in the flesh. We either conform to God’s goals and pace in Christ through the Spirit or we conform to the old goals and pace of our flesh. At any given moment I am either walking in the Spirit or I am walking in my flesh.

Over time it has become abundantly clear to me when I am in the Spirit and when I am in the flesh. The fruit just does not lie. The goals and the pace of Spirit are clear. The goals and pace of flesh are clear.

If you want to walk in the Spirit it is as simple as saying to Jesus who abides in you--”I will walk with you right now by your Spirit.” As the day moves along and the temptation comes back to fulfill your own desires first, just whisper the words “Jesus, I am entirely yours.” and walk where the Spirit is leading at Jesus' perfect pace for you.

Today we can make the goal and the pace of Jesus our goal and our pace. When we do this the fruit is true Spiritual Life. To be spiritual is to let the Spirit set your goal and your pace to those of Jesus moment by moment. What wonderful goals and what a wonderful pace await all those who walk in the Spirit.

Bud McCord
Abide International

Abide International is an organization dedicated to helping Christ-followers worldwide
understand and experience true satisfaction in Jesus as a moment by moment reality.

Abide International - 17701 N.W. 57th Avenue - Miami, FL 33055
Web: - Email:

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Abundant Life-Being, Having and Doing

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. John 10:10

The most valuable thing a thief can steal is our inspiration to keep on living our story. The material he takes can be replaced but a stolen inspiration leads to the certain death of the story of our life.

Jesus came to make our inner life safe from all those who would steal our inner inspiration to live and to love. This continuous inner inspiration in Jesus is the abundant life.

To live the abundant life, essence must come before effort. Our essence is who we are in Jesus and what we have in Jesus. We keep the thief out of our life when our essence is beyond his reach. The only way to keep our essence out of his reach is to abide in Christ moment by moment.

Most people who are good observers of human nature would agree that we need to be and have some kind of an inner inspiration in order to do something memorable with our lives. In fact, the most inspiring stories among all cultures and religions are those which describe a person who overcame enormous odds because of some inner being and having that won the day. A Mother Teresa inspires because her inner life prevailed in the face of such immense poverty in India. Because no thief could steal her inspiration the narrative she told with her life is so powerful it continues to inspire even after her death.

When Jesus said that He came to give us abundant life, it is clear He was not speaking about giving every disciple an abundance of material things no one could steal and with which they could do what they wanted to do. He was talking about giving each disciple a permanent and safe spiritual abundance at the level of their inner being and inner having. He came to inspire in each disciple a very particular kind of doing called love. Jesus knew it takes abundant inner life no thief could steal to love like He loved.

Looking back over the last 2000 years of the Christian experience it is clear that the true and memorable Christian narratives are the ones which describe time and time again what happens when disciples live inspired lives of being and having while in union with Christ. As much as some have tried to make Christianity about doing in order to be and to have, this human effort narrative just never works. Thank God for that!

Right at this moment every believer in Christ has the perfect presence and abundance of Jesus in them by the Holy Spirit. No thief can reach this place and steal this abundance. If we would do something that actually would create a story worth remembering, then we must start in this inner abundance. When we start in Jesus, the doing will happen and the narrative of our lives will inspire others.

Truly, being and having must come before doing and seeing the results. Just how sure are you of who you are and what you have in Jesus right now? The answer to that question will determine what kind of story you are telling as you live and it will determine how long your story and life will bless others.
Write a brand new, unique Christian narrative as you abide in Jesus! No one else could ever write your story of being and having in Jesus.

Remember, no thief can steal who your are what you have in Jesus. Write your story!

Bud McCord
Abide International

Monday, September 05, 2011


"And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil." Matt.6:13

What does it mean to be led into temptation?

To be tempted is to be led into the tragedy of trying to be and to have by doing for ourselves what apparently God has not done.

It means to be led into thinking and behaving as if we can become what we want to become and have what we think we need to have by taking a situation into our own hands.

Adam and Eve were the first humans to be led into temptation. They were led to believe by the evil one that they could become like God because they wanted to be. All they needed to do was simply take the issue of being and having into their own hands and into their own mouths. (See Genesis 3)

Temptation is the opposite of faith. When we live by faith what we are and what we have come to us freely from God. When one is led into temptation one is fooled into thinking being and having depend on human effort instead of Divine grace.

Religion is often the most destructive form of temptation. Religion tells us to be and to have means to produce our own identity and possessions by works that will convince God we are worthy to be what He wants us to be and have what He wants us to have. Religion always tells us what we are not and what we lack. Faith always tells us who we are and what we have in God.

Jesus was also tempted since he was the "last Adam." (See Matt. 4) Unlike the first Adam, Jesus never tried to become something more than He had been made by God or use resources other than those God gave Him. Jesus never stopped being what He received from God and He never started trying to produce on His own what Satan said He needed produce to live.

Satan tried to lead Jesus into temptation and failed because Jesus never forgot who He was in His Father and what He had available to Him in His Father. In every way it is possible for a human to be tempted Jesus was tempted. Even so, He never sinned. He never stopped living who God made Him to be and using what God gave Him to use. His love never stopped for one moment. He was continuously delivered from evil by abiding in His Father's love.

Every day of our lives in this world we will be tempted. We will be led to believe we are not enough and we do not have enough because God did not make us enough or give us enough. We will be repeatedly told that our only hope to be or have is to act on our own. Any day we follow this idea to its conclusion we will be led into temptation. Our love will stop and more suffering is added to us and those we love.

The solution to temptation is to be delivered from evil by God's love in Jesus. How does that work? It works by faith. It works by knowing who we have become in Jesus and what we have in Jesus right now. Deliverance comes by abiding in the Vine. (See John 15)

Whatever the Vine is, I am. Whatever the Vine has, I freely receive. The fruit of being in the true Vine and receiving as ours what the the true Vine gives to us moment by moment delivers us from evil. Being in the true Vine allows us to be continuously delivered from the evil one and it allows us to deliver love continuously for God''s glory.

Christ in us is God's answer to our prayer "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from Evil." What He is, you are. What He has is what you have.

Abide in His love right now in the same way He was abiding in His Father's love when He was tempted.

Bud McCord
Abide International

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Gospel of Jesus-Begin Again or Change?

Is the invitation of Jesus to live a new life a call to change the life we already have? Is Jesus’ calling us to begin again or make significant adaptations with His help? Is discipleship a perfecting of the imperfect in us or is it the living from a perfect life that is put in us? Do we ask people who are living such complex and sinful lives to focus on changing those lives with church intervention or to begin living an entirely new life in Jesus?

These questions take us right to the heart of a debate that has tormented the church of Jesus since Paul confronted the false teachers in the Galatian church when he said “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different Gospel-which is really no gospel at all.” Gal. 1:6-7a

Change your lifestyle and way of living with my church’s help is not the message of Jesus. The message of Jesus is begin again by living my life, not yours. In other words, forget change that never works and embrace Me the One who never fails.

As hard as it is for us to accept, men and women cannot change on a level that God can accept as sufficient for true, loving humanity to appear and be sustained. To tell a person that they can change or adapt the way they live for God’s acceptance is to preach another Gospel. To tell them that they can begin again in Jesus is the true Gospel. God is starting in Jesus a new, living humanity not a changed, somewhat improved humanity.

Jesus told Nicodemos in John 3 that nothing short of a new birth would allow him to see or enter the kingdom of God. Jesus told the woman at the well in John 4 that nothing short of another living source of water and inner life would satisfy here and allow her to begin again. Jesus said in John 15 that we could do nothing without Him and that includes living a fruitful life that God wants of us.

The language of Jesus and of the New Testament is not change language. It is begin again language. It is leaving the Kingdom of darkness and going into the Kingdom of Light. It is leaving death and entering life. It is crucified with Christ to begin living Christ.

It is common to be asked here in Brazil, “Do you think a homosexual can change?” Just yesterday I was asked this question. This question is asked by sincere and not so sincere people. My answer is “Christianity is not about changing the homosexual or about changing anyone. No plan for change can help any of us if our goal is to be what God wants us to be. Our problem is beyond change. Christianity is about living a new life- Jesus’ life-now and forever. It is about a constant cooperation with that perfect life of Jesus in us that lets Jesus manifest Himself through us. Anyone who wants to begin again in Jesus is welcome to live Jesus and that includes the homosexual and me.”

Selling change is religion and it is big business. People who market change as Jesus’ message get rich because they are offering something that never ends and in the end never works. Making people dependent is big business. Just ask drug dealers. Paul said that these types of people have a god. Their “belly” or their own interests are their god.

People who offer a new beginning from the perfect source that is Jesus in us will soon not be needed by those who begin to live Jesus. So much for creating dependence that feeds the religious! Pointing people to new life instead of never ending change doesn’t make for a great financial plan but it sure makes us more like Jesus and the apostles. None of them ended up rich, but they still have living influence 2000 years later. Take your pick-- Change sells or Jesus lives?

People can’t be reached by change because the problem is too deep for change to reach. Imagine you found you needed a bone marrow transplant. No amount of exercise, medicine or activity can reach the marrow level. So it is with what we need spiritually. We need new, eternal spiritual marrow. We need a spirit to Spirit marrow connection with Jesus in order to begin again.

The good news is that once the Spiritual marrow transplant takes place when we receive what God is willing to give us in His Son, we just need to increasingly cooperate with this new spiritual, eternal marrow since it is the same spiritual marrow that Jesus gave at Calvary to save us all.

Only when we abandon change as the goal will certain Bible verses begin to make sense. These verses are “transplant” verses not “religious change” verses.

“To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: whichis Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Col. 1:27

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

“It is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me.” Gal. 2:20

“Christ is all and is in all” Col. 3:11

Humanity is beyond the need for change no matter how well it sells. Humanity needs the life of Jesus in us by the Spirit of God. Don’t tell people they can change. Tell them they can live Jesus. In Him all things become new not changed.

Bud McCord
Abide International

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Growing Awareness

“Lord, increase our faith!”

What does it mean to have the Lord grow our faith? It means to experience a Divinely inspired increase in our personal awareness of God’s generous disposition and loving activity toward all mankind.

Many believe that to grow in faith simply means having an increased awareness that God is generous toward those of us who believe in Him. This is too limited in its scope. To grow in faith is to become aware that God is generous toward all men and we should be, too.

In other words, God is on His own “side”. He is not just on our side. He is not just interested in those who cooperate with Him. He is interested in love as the universal reality that must come to all. He is not against human beings. He is for His love defining everything and everyone. He increases our faith so we can join Him in His love for all.

We can hear God’s love in Jesus’ words.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” Jesus’ words in Matthew 5: 43-48

Jesus’ presence, behavior and teaching were man’s first perfect opportunity to see and hear what God’s love looks like in human form. Jesus said “He who has seen Me has seen the Father.” John 14:9

Jesus’ life inspired his disciples to expand their awareness of God’s love. His every word and action challenged everyone’s awareness of God’s goodness and love toward mankind. His words and actions still inspire our faith to grow.

In one such moment of Jesus increasing his disciples faith in God’s commitment to love Peter and Jesus have this exchange in Matthew 18: 21-22

Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?”

Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.”

When Jesus told Peter to forgive 70 X 7, Peter lacked a deep enough awareness of God’s commitment to loving others to absorb such a view and behavior toward others. Jesus did not lack this awareness. He knew the heart of His Father and He was cooperating with the will of His loving father at all times and toward all men.

Growing our faith is truly a work of God’s grace and patience with us. The same love God expects of us toward others is the love that patiently grows our faith in God’s love.

When we pray, “Lord, increase our faith.” we are inviting God to take us right into the heart of why Jesus came. Jesus came to return humanity to a complete awareness and practice of God’ infinite love.

When God increases our faith He increases our love. His love needs no increasing but our love certainly does. Let Him increase your faith in Him and your love will grow toward others.

Bud McCord
Abide International

Monday, August 08, 2011


Imagine a small woman named Maria who has lived her entire life in a remote village along the Amazon river. All she knows about life is that the river is the key source of everything she needs to live. She is illiterate but she knows how to read the river and live from the river. Maria knows the river. Maria loves the river.

This woman accepts Jesus. He becomes life to her inner world just as the river is life to her outer world. She is deeply in love with Jesus. She knows Jesus.

Far away in the great city of São Paulo is a world famous professor who has studied the rivers of the world and their impact on ecosystems. He is considered the most knowledgeable person in the world when it comes to river systems. Of all the rivers he most admires and studies the Amazon river. He, too, is a believer in Jesus.

One day this professor comes to the tiny village where Maria has lived her entire life.

As the professor speaks with Maria he begins to realize that to her the river is life. To him the river has been a fascinating subject and a challenge to dominate. He has known the river but he has never lived the river.

Who really knows the river best, Maria or the professor? The person who depends upon something to live truly knows. Maria knows the river. The professor knows about the river.

Even so, Maria hangs on every word the professor says. She has always wanted to find out all the facts about the river. Where does it begin? Where does it end? Why does it rise and fall always in the same months. Why has it never stopped? Who started it?

Maria already loves and lives the river. In reality the professor should hang on her every word. She knows what he does not yet know. If he could humble himself and let Maria teach him about the river, he would begin to live the river, too.

So it is with the poor of the world who know Jesus. Those of us who have made Christianity a fascinating subject and a challenge to dominate would do well to listen to the Marias of the world. Those of us who have only studied Jesus would do well to grow quiet in the presence of those who live Jesus.

John 17:3 And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

Bud McCord
Abide International

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

You Are What You Receive

God told Adam and Eve they would be dead if they received the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They received the fruit and died. The became what they received.

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.” Gen. 2:16-17

John tell us that when we receive Jesus we will be children of God.

He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: John 1:11-12

From Genesis to Revelation we see this truth--We are what we receive. No one can decide to be what they want to be. They can receive what they want to be. They can choose the source and by so choosing they choose their being.

In Psalm 1 we see a contrast between what people chose to receive in the Old Testament.

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.

Notice the words “he meditates day and night...” This is a deliberate receiving from God’s intentions as revealed in the law. This man became what he received.

Christ lives in you by His Spirit so you can abide in Him. To Abide is to receive moment by moment directly from who Jesus is.

You will bear the fruit of what you receive. Abide and you will be like Jesus.

Remember, you are what you receive.

Bud McCord
Abide International

Monday, July 25, 2011

Daily Renewal

Life was meant to be lived day by day. The cycle of 24 hours we call a day is truly all we were meant to handle. When the sun goes down each day it is a statement that says “That’s enough. Rest.”

This daily routine is where the real battle for quality of life is fought. If we can learn to live well one day at a time we find ourselves truly fit for a fulfilled life and an even better organized life.

It has been my observation that internal problems mount as we try to manage our time on earth with a monthly planner or even a yearly planner. Thinking we will diminish stress by planning ahead we actually get out of rhythm with day to day living and complicate our future in the process.

Jesus taught us to pray “Give us this day our daily bread.” He also said that the evil of one day is enough to handle for any of us. Consider again His words.

“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?

So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 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.” Matthew 6:25-34

My mother-in-law Ruth McCartney once inspired me with these words. “Well, you have to be somewhere at all times so you might as well be here.” She was observing how we get all worked up about not being happy were we are because we are so anxious to get to where we are going. Maybe she noticed how anxious I could get wanting to be living tomorrow instead of enjoying today. As I wait in airports or get stuck in traffic her words come to me. “Well, you have to be somewhere at all times so you might as well be here”

As I remember Ruth’s words and I have obeyed Jesus’ words, I have come to deeply appreciate the joy of living well a day at a time. I suppose I am just a beginner at this skill of daily renewal, but I intend to keep investing in daily joy. It definitely fits better than worrying about tomorrow.

Bud McCord
Abide International

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The 21st Century Challenge

Thoughts for Church Leaders
21st Century Discipleship--A Difficult Reality

The 21st century challenge for churches and church leaders is to recognize the difference between local church mobilization systems and true discipleship while discovering a way to do both effectively.

The difficult reality is to admit that there is a difference between mobilizing people for the success of a church strategy and making disciples. Church mobilization is not the same as discipleship and well mobilized Christians may not be great disciples. It is hard for a church leader to say “My people are well mobilized but I don’t see the true marks of Jesus in their daily lives.” Even so, that is the reality that most pastors see if they are honest.

21st Century ministers are being primarily trained to mobilize church people because success at mobilization will most likely be the measure of their pastoral success. Ministers are becoming experts at mobilization as if great mobilization is great discipleship. Is it any wonder discipleship is the most disappointing area of modern church life for most pastors?

What can be done in light of this difficult reality? Here are a few suggestions.

1. Admit once and for all that mobilization is not discipleship. Stop trying to make a mobilization system the key to discipleship. Cooperating with Jesus in us is the key to discipleship.

2. Insist that the standard for discipleship in every church is Jesus in us and constant cooperation with His commands. Insist that discipleship is not simply meeting the demands of the mobilization system chosen by the church.

3. Affirm that every church needs a mobilization plan that fits their culture but discipleship (cooperation with Jesus) is never adjusted for culture. Being like Jesus and obeying His commands is not negotiable or flexible in any culture.

4. Train leaders who know how to affirm discipleship while leading effective mobilization. for delivering love.

5. Make discipleship the primary qualification for true mobilization. Make sure all leaders are disciples before they lead.

This is and always will be a challenge!

Bud McCord
Abide International

Tuesday, July 05, 2011


When I preach in Brazilian churches for the first time I often ask the pastor to point out to me the finest Christian that attends his church. I ask him to point out the person who most lives the teachings of Jesus found in the Sermon on the Mount.

Nearly every time the pastor will think for a few moments and then point to a small woman. Usually her name is Maria.

As the pastor describes Maria to me she is most often very poor, semi-literate, a maid in someone’s home and living a very difficult life. Even so, she is the finest Christian in his church.

Over time I have come to believe that these small Christian women are a picture of how discipleship is meant to work. These tiny ladies are not the result of years of Bible courses or specialized theological instruction. They are the result of poverty of spirit. They are what they are because they begin at zero each and every day.

Real poverty forces people to live a day at at time. Real poverty forces people to measure life each day starting from a position of dependence. In simple terms the deeply poor know that they have nothing accumulated from which they can live. If they will live today they will receive what they will live on today.

The men and women in our world who learn to live each day believing God will provide for them through Christ become the Christians who most live the Sermon on the Mount.

Maria lives in “receive mode” because she has no alternative. Over time she has learned that “receive mode” (faith) needs no alternative. It works.

Yes, Maria weeps and she is comforted. Yes, her heart is pure and she sees God.

Yes, she is a peacemaker and she is God’s child.

Little by little she becomes salt and light and that is why her pastor wishes his whole church lived like Maria.

These little Brazilian ladies have become my spiritual heroes.

Matthew 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit,

For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Bud McCord
Abide International

Monday, June 27, 2011

Why We Exist

Is it possible for us to live every single moment of our lives for one essential reason? Would it be better for us to adjust our reasons for living as we move through the seasons of life? Is it even wise to have only one reason for living?

Listening to a lot of theories about the reasons for living one can easily think the best answer to these questions is “Whatever.” “Whatever” fits you is the reason you exist. You make the choice and do the best you can. “Whatever” happens is your purpose just don’t mess with my “Whatever” doing your “Whatever.”

Is that how Jesus lived? If you know the account of Jesus’ life in the Gospels you know that Jesus could never have spoken the word “Whatever” when describing his existence.

Jesus knew He came to this world to do the Father’s will which was to seek and save lost humanity. There was no “whatever” in Jesus mind, emotions or will. There was, however, a “Whatever the Father wants” in Jesus’ mind, emotions or will.

Judging from Jesus’ influence over the history of the last 2000 years and how His life has transformed mine, I would say doing “whatever the Father wants” clearly is why a human exists. “Whatever the Father wants” is why I exist.

Matthew 7:14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

Bud McCord
Abide International

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Human Power or Divine Love?

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” Matthew 7: 21-23

The people Jesus knows have chosen God’s love over human power. Jesus will accept nothing less of us and by His Spirit He will lead us to make this choice.

Those who will someday hear "I never knew you: depart from Me,” have made their choice. They opted for power as the path to personal satisfaction and security. They decided to become specialists in powerfully solving other people’s problems for their own gain. This use of spiritual power over others used by men for gain is not new.

The book of Acts records a story of a man who coveted more of the power to solve other’s problems for his own gain. The story of power seeking does not end well for the man. It never does. He, too, was forced to choose human power or God’s love.

“But there was a certain man called Simon, who previously practiced sorcery in the city and astonished the people of Samaria, claiming that he was someone great, to whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, 'This man is the great power of God.' (emphasis mine) And they heeded him because he had astonished them with his sorceries for a long time. But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized. Then Simon himself also believed; and when he was baptized he continued with Philip, and was amazed, seeing the miracles and signs which were done.

Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.

And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, saying, 'Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit.'

But Peter said to him, 'Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money! You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity.'

Then Simon answered and said, 'Pray to the Lord for me, that none of the things which you have spoken may come upon me'.” Acts 8: 9-24

Abiding in Christ is not a plan for gaining power over others by solving their problems. It is a plan for living Jesus’ life for others. Jesus’ life was not a manifestation of how one gains power over others by solving their problems. Jesus’ life is a manifestation of how one gives up human power over others in order to cooperate with God’s love which is the solution.

Some may say that to love is to have power. There is power in love. It is the power of a child. It is the power of Jesus washing feet. It is the power of saying “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” It is the power of being salt or light. It is the power of taking others to God’s love for their solutions.

If your power is the power of God’s love and you give love away freely as you receive it freely, more power to you!

Bud McCord
Abide International

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Resist or Release?

"You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you not to resist an evil person.” Matthew 5:38-39

Some of the things Jesus said are beyond shocking. His words are from another reality.

If we hear Jesus’ words and obey them then we truly have begun to believe Jesus is God’s Son with all authority.

I have wrestled with the words of Matthew 5:38-39 for over 44 years. I guess that says something about just how far I still have to go with giving up on this world and its views on reality. By God’s grace I am learning to live these words, but I have only recently begun to truly see them more clearly after 60 years of observing the contrast between resisting and releasing among humans.

Here is what I have seen. The Universe never works for those who resist others. It cannot. The Universe is designed to work for those who release love not resist people. Why has this been so hard for me to see and accept?

I have not seen it because I lacked complete faith in Jesus’ words and I have not spent enough time observing the beautiful and powerful things of God around me that release but do not resist.

Flowers do not resist, they release what they are and they are beautiful.

Birds do not resist, they release what they are and they are beautiful.

Salt does not resist, it releases what it is. It is beautiful, pleasing and preserving.

The ocean does not resist, it releases what it is and it is beautiful, powerful and irresistible..

The sun does not resist, it releases what it is and it is beautiful, powerful and irresistible.

Rain does not resist, it releases what is beautiful. refreshing and it, too, is irresistible.

Who can resist these things and win?

Jesus did not resist, He released what He is and He the beginning and the end of all beauty and all reality. Who can resist Jesus and win? Didn’t He settle that once and for all at Calvary?

When I resist an evil person, I stop being what I was made to be--a person made in the image of God. I stop being the part of creation that is supposed to release love like God does. When I resist an evil person I stop being human because my enemy stopped being human in order to attack me. To stop loving is to stop being human. Try to picture Jesus not loving and you will get the irresistible picture.

Resistance will never win in this universe because God does not resist and He is irresistible. God does not need to resist. He is the great I AM who is the source of source. All that is good He releases. Nothing and no one can stop that.

The evil person who attacks another human being is swimming out into an ocean that will not resist him but it will swallow him in all that it is and all that it releases. The evil person will perish the more he resists and the farther he swims away from the shore of who he was created to be.

When an evil person attacks you, don’t follow the evil person into the ocean. Turn your cheek, walk the extra mile and follow love which will make you more and more like Jesus.

To be irresistible don’t resist. Just be you as God designed you to be.

When you release love you will find the universe cooperates with you because the Creator designed it to cooperate with love not hate.

Bud McCord
Abide International

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Making Disciples

A disciple of Jesus is a person who is consistently cooperating with Jesus.

The process of learning to cooperate with Jesus can only effectively be taught and measured by those who already are cooperating with Jesus. This is why Jesus sent his first cooperating disciples into all the world to make disciples. He told the first disciples to teach new disciples to “observe” all the things that Jesus had commanded them. To “observe” a commandment of Jesus is to cooperate with the One making the command.

And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.” Matthew 28:18-20

Every disciple is initially surprised at what Jesus commands. The kind of cooperation He demands seems so foreign to our normal way of dealing with day to life that we are shocked at how Jesus wants us to behave.

Listen to just a few of Jesus commands and ask yourself how cooperative you are with Jesus in these areas.

“Do not resist an evil person.”

“Take no thought about tomorrow.”

“Forgive 70 times 7.”

“Wash feet.”

For many who produce discipleship materials the goal of discipleship seems to be the accumulation of information about Jesus’ commands. They love producing discipleship resources. They know what Jesus commands and they teach it with great skill. Unfortunately they often fail to measure cooperation with Jesus because measuring another disciple’s personal cooperation with Jesus is messy and time consuming. It is easier to measure sales of the material about Jesus’ commands and focus on increasing the numbers of students who successfully finished the course about cooperating.

For Jesus, discipleship is about continuous cooperation with Him. This is clear by watching how Jesus discipled his first followers. Cooperation with the Bible is not discipleship. However, true cooperation with the Bible will always lead to cooperation with Jesus which is discipleship. If cooperation with the Bible does not lead to cooperation with Jesus it is not discipleship. “Follow Me”, “Believe in Me” and “Abide in Me” cannot be replaced with “Believe what the Bible says about Me whether you cooperate with Me or not.”

Resources that help us cooperate more easily with Jesus are welcome. Resources that simply fill our minds with Christian ideas about the commands of Jesus can often mask a lack of actual cooperation with Jesus. Jesus shows us that Pharisees always know a lot about their Bible and little or nothing about cooperating with Him.

And the Father Himself, who sent Me, has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form. But you do not have His word abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe. You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. 40 But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life. John 5: 37-40

Today, choose any command of Jesus and test your level of cooperation with Jesus as this day passes by. If you need help evaluating, ask someone who consistently cooperates with Jesus to observe your cooperation with Jesus’ commands. Be prepared to adjust to Jesus not the person making the evaluation.

Remember, Jesus abides in you so your cooperation is directly with Him and not with the person who is discipling you. To abide in Him is to cooperate with Him moment by moment. Cooperation with Jesus makes us disciples who bear fruit. Cooperate with Jesus!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


“For to me to live is Christ.”

Today I will love. That is what disciples of Jesus do every day.

Today I will listen to Jesus’ loving voice. Only His voice will set me free to love.

Today I will receive love directly from Jesus who is the source of pure love. Christ lives in me and He is generous with His love.

Today I will see my agenda as Jesus’ loving agenda. What appear to be accidents I will see as Divine appointments that will lead to love.

Today I will let Jesus’ perfect love give rest to my mind, emotions and will. Love from Jesus flows best through me when my soul is at rest.

Today I will see God’s love at work around me. Jesus will open my eyes to God’s loving presence.

Today is a good day for love and Jesus is ready to love through me.

Today is Christ in me.

Bud McCord
Abide International

Abide International is an organization dedicated to helping Christ-followers worldwide
understand and experience true satisfaction in Jesus as a moment by moment reality.

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Discipleship That Isn't

Jesus says,
Discipleship that starts in our history instead of Jesus history isn’t discipleship.

Luke 14.26 – “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brother and sisters – yes, even this own life – he cannot be my disciple.”

Jesus says,
Discipleship that is less that a 100% commitments to deliver God’s love on earth isn’t discipleship.

Luke 14.27 – “And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”

Jesus says,
Discipleship that depends on human resources for public life or spiritual battle isn’t discipleship.

Luke 14.28-33 – “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will be not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with twenty thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.”

Jesus says,
Discipleship that isn’t a continuous generosity toward others isn’t discipleship.

Luke 14.34-35a – “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out. “

Jesus says,
Discipleship that doesn’t begin and continue in listening to Jesus isn’t discipleship.

Luke 14.35 b – “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

Bud McCord
Abide International

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

"Jesus, please receive me."

I lost a dear Brazilian friend last week. He was well the weekend of May 8th. On Tuesday May 10th he was hospitalized with severe abdominal pain.

By Wednesday night it appeared he was improving. By Thursday morning he was in severe pain and being rushed to intensive care. By 10:30 AM on that same Thursday morning he was gone.

On Thursday evening less than 12 hours since his passing I was speaking at his viewing. By Friday morning less than 24 hours after his death I was conducting his funeral.

Here in Brazil the burial must take place within 24 hours. All goodbyes are fast and it is a shock to all involved.

My friend was one of the kindest and most gentle men I have ever met. We were neighbors here in Brazil in the 1980s and we had renewed our friendship when we returned to Brazil in 2005.

Our friendship spanned 31 years.

The last time I saw my friend was a few weeks ago when he came to here me preach on a Wednesday night. My subject was "What Is The Christian Life?" He gave me a huge smile after the message and a Brazilian hug. He had heard me preach dozens of times over the past 31 years and we had spent hours and hours discussing Jesus. During all these years he never affirmed to me in public or in private that he had received Jesus. He never once rejected my message about Jesus.

Just this week Pam told me that his widow had called while I was traveling. She wanted to thank me for helping during this shocking loss. She told Pam that the last words she heard her husband say were "Jesus, please receive me." I was so glad these words were heard by his wife. I believe Jesus heard them loud and clear.

My friend's words remind me of some words Jesus once heard at Calvary. "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." Jesus told that man "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise."

I believe Jesus heard and received my friend last Thursday. Amen!

Bud McCord
Abide International

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


When we preach about forgiveness of sins and a guaranteed entrance into heaven after death, we Bible believing Christians show complete confidence in the work of Jesus at Calvary. This confidence is the power of the church’s evangelistic message.

This kind of confidence concerning forgiveness and our eternal destiny was clearly manifested in the early Christian church before this confidence was lost a few centuries later through religious tradition and hierarchy. It took a reformation for this confidence to return.

There was another kind of confidence in the early church that has nearly disappeared in today’s church. It is the confidence that Christ’s presence in us by the Holy Spirit can free us from the sinful works of our flesh. Listen to these words of Paul as recorded in Galatians 5:16 and ask yourself when was the last time you heard a preacher make such a confident affirmation about the transformation of a believer’s behavior.

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

Do we really believe that there exists a power so perfect and so available to every believer that the lust of the flesh can be continuously overcome and give place to real, continuous love?

Do we really believe that the presence of Jesus in us right now is as real and as perfect as His death for us 2000 years ago?

Those of us who counsel and disciple others must face this question: Do we lead others to the confident experience of Galatians 5:16?

Do we know how to lead others to “Walk in the Spirit”? If not, we are in need of a reformation in our understanding of “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Just as surely as the church needed a reformation in its evangelism I am convinced the church needs a continuing reformation of spiritual formation for this day.

Where there is no confidence in Jesus’ perfect presence in us by the Spirit there will be imperfect discipleship that leads us around in circles. We do not need a church wandering around in circles looking for the fruitful life. We need churches that are vineyards living the fruitful life.

Bud McCord
Abide International

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Human Spirit, Soul and Body

The human spirit, soul and body were created to be God's delivery system of love on earth. Each person comes equipped with an inner and outer reality that should be completely and continuously at the service of God's loving intentions.

When the Scriptures say in Romans 3:23 that we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God that means we have all used our inner and outer life for something less than love. God's glory was meant to be revealed by each human being continuously loving God and loving one's neighbor. To sin is to fail to love. This failure is coming short of the glory of God.

Perhaps the easiest way to notice when our inner and outer life have stopped loving is to notice each time we begin to judge other human beings as not worthy of our love. We have all done this. We have all sinned. Pay attention today and you will find yourself judging.

I grew up in the south of the USA during a time when people of a different skin color than mine were "legally" categorized as not entitled to the same love as other people in our town. This institutionalized love withholding left an entire country with a deep sickness of the soul. Many are still sick with some level of this spiritual sickness.

Laws were passed and much has changed in the USA. Even so, the issue we all face is much deeper than the color of one's skin. The issue is God's glory (continuous love) not being revealed by human beings.

As I travel across our world teaching that we must all abide in Christ if we are to be what God intends us to be, I am amazed at how many ways the human soul can create to justify the stopping of love. Truly without Jesus we can do nothing that even approaches God's glory. Without Jesus' perfect love filling our spirit and our soul our love will stop and we will find ourselves once again part of another culturally "legalized" form of sin. Every culture has its own form of "racism." Every culture finds a way to stop love.

If you would be free from the human tendency to stop love, you must abide in Christ moment by moment. He is the only way for a continuous culture of love to be found on earth. That culture is called the Church of Jesus Christ.

Jesus must heal us all for the Church to be the Church.

Bud McCord
Abide International

Monday, April 25, 2011


What causes stress?

Too much work? Too many people who depend on us for solutions? Challenges beyond our ability?

What gives birth to stress? Where does stress find a home?

Stress is birthed in the idea that I am the source of my solutions and my success. It is a sense birthed and living in the mind, emotions and will that one must keep the machine of life running at all costs.

It is the conviction that says one cannot stop or everything will stop.

A life filled with loving activity is not the source of stress. Stress is more subtle than that. Stress is hidden in the thoughts, emotions and will of busy people.

Not all active and busy people are stressed. Jesus was active and busy but He was not stressed.

A life filled with suffering as we deliver love is not the source of stress. Stress is more painful than that. Stress is hidden in the thoughts, emotions and will of suffering people.

Not all suffering people are stressed. Jesus suffered but He was not stressed.

A life filled with people who resist our plans is not the source of stress. Stress is more offensive than that. Stress is hidden in the thoughts, emotions and will of offended people.

Not all resisted and offended people are stressed. Jesus was resisted and offended but He was not stressed.

There is a way to rid our mind, emotions and will of stress. Jesus is the way.

Matthew 11:28-30 "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 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. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Jesus can cure our stress as His mind, emotions and will become ours in our busy, hurting and offensive world. We need this cure desperately for ourselves and for those we love because stress is deadly and contagious.

Bud McCord
Abide International

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Walk On or Run Away!

Imagine for a moment that you are in a major city in the middle of the night. As you walk all alone down a poorly lit street you suddenly see another person coming your way.

You don’t know them but steadily they draw nearer to you in the shadows. Your mind is filled with thoughts of all the horror stories you have heard about muggings and robberies happening to people foolish enough to be on a quiet, dark street in this city filled with so many people.

Your heart is beating faster. You mind is racing. Should you turn and run away?

You walk on as the unknown person comes toward you. As they pass you see that it is an elderly man lost in his own thoughts as he seems to be heading home.

You laugh at yourself because you nearly ran away from a quiet, older man who meant you no harm. Even so you know that it won’t always be a harmless older man you will meet.

The tragic thing about this scene is that we live in a world where we are afraid of other human beings. What we should be thinking when another human being approaches us on a dark city street is “Thank God! Someone else is here with me!”

When we pray “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done…” we are praying a prayer that would eliminate our need to run away from any human being coming our way. We are praying a prayer for that wonderful day when just to see any human being will mean that more love is heading our way. When the kingdom comes we will not fear any human being ever again.

For now, not running away from those who come toward us in this dark world is the narrow path that few find. Not running away but walking this path like Jesus did is how the Kingdom comes to our dangerous cities. Don’t run away. Walk on like Jesus did.

Our Father in heaven,

Hallowed be Your name.

Your kingdom come.

Your will be done

On earth as it is in heaven.

Bud McCord
Abide International

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Do I Really Understand?

Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. Eph. 5:17

Do I understand what the will of the Lord is? Can I be wise without understanding what the will of the Lord is?

Wisdom gives us the ability to predict what will happen before it happens. Wise people know exactly what consequences come from human behaviors. Wise people are seldom caught by surprise.

If a disciple of Jesus does not understand clearly what God wants, they will be constantly surprised by what is happening around them. Understanding what God wants and what God does not want is critical to wise living and discipleship.

One of the best ways to understand what the will of the Lord is comes from reading the Gospels and watching closely the behavior of Jesus. Jesus said of Himself “Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father.” John 14:9 In other words, watching Jesus reveals what the will of the Lord is. Jesus is what God wants from human beings. Cooperating with Jesus is wisdom.

As you read the Gospels, make a list of what Jesus does and you will see from that list exactly what God is doing and wants to do in and through us.

For example, In the Gospels we see Jesus constantly forgiving sinners. We see Jesus refusing to treat people differently because of their social standing or power. We see Jesus serving others even when they do not serve Him. Jesus is what God wants. Is that what we want?

If you say you want to do the will of God, you are saying you want to live like Jesus. Do you really understand what living like Jesus means? It means you will have to lose your will and completely cooperate with God’s will instead. As frightening as that might sound, it is the wise thing to do. Even if doing so means dying, you will live and bless many in the process.

I would counsel every Christian to go back and read over and over again the four Gospels until you can honestly say “I see the will of God and I understand it.”

Then I would challenge every disciple to say “I want exactly what Jesus wants. I want the will of God.”

Bud McCord
Abide International

Monday, April 04, 2011

The End is Near

Soon after my conversion I was exposed to constant preaching on the “End Times.” At first I was a big fan of the prophetic messages. Eventually I began to lose interest in the constant predictions and theories.

I began to notice that people in the church, including me, could become so focused on the “end” that they were not living and loving “now”. It seemed as if we were so focused on who might the Anti-Christ that we were not living the real Christ.

Well, the End is nearer now than it was back in the 1970s. I am older and the world is going crazy in the middle east. Certainly “The End is Near.”

So, what does that mean to me right now? It means that my love for God and my neighbor is more important than it has ever been. Perfecting my love vertically toward God and horizontally toward my neighbor needs my full attention. I don’t have time for theories right now unless they can move me to love more perfectly. Yes, the end is near and love is calling me out among the people of the world whose end may be as near as today.

By the way, the End in the Scriptures is Jesus and He is always near.

Revelation 21:6 And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts."

Bud McCord
Abide International

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


“If we confess our sins….” I John 1:9

Do Christians still confess their sins to God? It has been a long time since I heard a sermon on the need to confess our sins. It has been a long time since I heard a disciple of Jesus talk about confession. Where has confession gone?

Confession has always been difficult for men and women. It is not pleasant to discover when, where and how our love stops toward God or toward others. It has always been easier to throw stones at others than it is to see ourselves as we really are.

I remember hearing a speaker say that our ability to easily see and judge another person’s sin reveals a deep and intimate knowledge of the actions being judged. In other words, if you can see another’s sin easily, it is because you have personal experience with that same sin.

Jesus once dealt with an angry crowd of judgmental religious men who were about to stone a woman found in the act of adultery. (See John 8) He stopped their judgment by saying “He who is without sin can cast the first stone.” Beginning from the oldest and ending with the youngest they all dropped their judgment and left.

They left because Jesus led them into confession. The cure of judging others is in the spiritual discipline of confession. How long has it been since Jesus led you into confession?

“If we confess on sins….” that is a big “if”.

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Monster God

Recently I heard a pastor refer to the God of the Old Testament as "the Monster God." This pastor was lamenting the apparent fact that the God we meet in the Old Testament seems so cruel and vindictive. Is the God of the Old Testament "the Monster God?" Is God cruel and vindictive?

Around the same time I heard this pastor talking about the vengeful God of the Old Testament a new convert spoke to Pam about how much trouble she was having reading through the Old Testament. She was shocked by all the conflicts and war. She was shocked that God would be involved.

Well, what should we do with the Old Testament? Should we apologize for the God of the Old Testament?

What we should do is understand what inspires God to do what He does here on earth. God is doing what must be done to keep love alive on this planet among men and women.

Consider these statements about reality. If oxygen disappears, we disappear. If water disappears, we disappear.
If food disappears, we disappear. If any of these things begin to disappear, should we take action to find the source of the problem and resolve it? I guess that depends on whether or not we think humans disappearing would be a bad thing. Would our disappearing from earth be a bad thing?

Keep thinking with me a little farther. What if humans are the only delivery system of love on earth? What if saving humans is to save love on earth? What if the Old Testament is God saving love on earth?

I believe that human beings are meant to be the Divine delivery system of love on earth. Humans are to the sustaining of love in this world what plants are to the sustaining of oxygen.

Sin destroys love. Sin is like pollution which destroys all things clean. God will go after sin for this reason. God will go after what is destroying love because God is love.

The God of the Old Testament is not a monster. The God of the Old Testament is the hero of love.
God in the New Testament continues to be the hero of love. God didn't calm down. God in the New Testament got even more aggressive. He sent His Son to take the last blow against man's sin.

I, for one, read the Old Testament with shame that man did not cooperate with God's love from the beginning. To criticize God for being too harsh is to say mankind was not important enough to save. I am glad God felt we needed to be saved and He did what He had to do.

Go back and read the Old Testament and when things get ugly remember what is at stake is the very existence of love on this planet.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

True Spirituality

What does true spirituality look like?

The only way I know to see clearly and define correctly true spirituality is to look closely at the life and behavior of Jesus. Only Jesus’ life and behavior define and reveal to mankind what constitutes true human spirituality.

As I have examined closely Jesus’ true spirituality in the Gospels, I have come away with two helpful words—Pure Inspiration. Jesus lived Pure Inspiration among us. Being constantly inspired by God’s purity and presence, He was “God with us” as a human being. He was “grace and truth” made visible and available to us. The fullness of God dwelt in Him and that explains why we see God in Him.

If I want to be a spiritual human being like Jesus, then I must also be a man inhabited by the same pure Inspiration. I must find and enjoy the same source of Pure Inspiration that allowed Jesus to be who He was and do what He did.

In the book of Galatians Paul called finding and living in this kind of Pure Inspiration “walking in the Spirit.” In the book of Ephesians he called finding and living in this Pure Inspiration “Being filled with the Spirit.” In John 15 Jesus called this constant connection to Pure Inspiration “Abide”.

Whatever this contact and connection to Pure Inspiration is called, it always comes down to an intimate, continuous, personal relationship to the only source of Pure Inspiration that allows men and women to be what God intended for them to be since the beginning described in Genesis 1 and 2. Pure Inspiration is contact with and connection to the triune God that said in Genesis 1 “Let US make man in our image…”

No one’s spirituality will be what it should be until it is sourced in God’s total and inspiring purity. Jesus in us is our connection to that total purity. Jesus in us is God’s way of inspiring us moment by moment to be like Jesus was as a human being Just as He was inspired by His Father through the Spirit, He is willing to be our connection to Pure Inspiration right now.

When Jesus said He always did that which pleased the Father, He was saying that He always did what Pure Inspiration made Him want to do and also enabled Him to do.

When we abide in the true Vine, we, too, can be inspired to like Jesus. There is equal hope for all of us since the same Pure Inspiration that abides in one believer abides in all believers. Live Pure Inspiration today. Live Jesus. Living Jesus is what true spirituality looks like.

“Christ is all and is in all.” Col. 1:16

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

“It is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me.” Gal. 2:20

Bud McCord
Abide International

Wednesday, March 09, 2011


I love the way God orchestrates our circumstances to inspire us. It has been my experience that every day can be an inspirational experience if we will receive it as coming from God's loving hands.

I recently experienced 4 days of continuous inspiration in a small Brazilian city call Jaguaquara in the state of Bahia. this city is not a place I would ever have found on my own. God picked this city for me to visit. He wanted to inspire me.

The city is simple, far away from the main traffic of the state and clearly not the kind of place I would have picked to live. It is, however, home to an inspiring work of God.

In 1898 an American missionary family named Taylor and a Brazilian family named Egidio decided to bless poor children with a Christian education. 114 years later the school continues its mission and is blessing over 500 students who come in from farms where good education is not available.

What inspired me was to walk the streets of this simple interior town and know that many of the state's leading citizens and even governors were loved in Jesus' name at the school.

I wonder how many days the Taylor and Egidio families wondered if their work and life would matter? I wonder if it ever entered their mind that they would bless me like they did this week?

The things you do today may inspire someone 114 years from now. Do the best you can today.

(In one of the photos there is a woman who is praying for the team that led the conference. She is the granddaughter of one of the original families that started the school in 1898. Now that is inspiring!)