Monday, December 31, 2012


"No one is perfect."

At first glance this appears to be a very reasonable and true statement.  Starting from our knowledge of ourselves and our contact with other human beings like us, we can easily be convinced that perfection is a non-existent or very rare thing.  Is it really?

Among humans perfection is certainly missing. Perfection in the universe, however, is not rare.  Perfection is actually the norm because God is perfect and we live and move and have our being in God's perfection.  Perfection has imperfection surrounded.

If we observe the beauty of creation around us it is easy to see that many things are living as they should.  When something lives as it was created to live it is accurate to say that thing is perfect.

Perfection is fully being what we were created to be.  When we observe the flowers and the birds in our world we can still glimpse creatures being what they were meant to be. That is why Jesus told us to observe the birds and flowers to calm our minds and hearts. 

When we do observe them, they seem to be able to be what they were meant to be without great effort.  They seem completely at peace being what they are.  When we observe ourselves and other humans trying to be who we should be, we certainly do not see peace or perfection.

When we see Jesus we do see relaxed human perfection.  Being fully what He was created to be was not hard work for Jesus.  He was perfectly natural and at peace being Himself.  Perhaps that is the main reason some people loved Him and others hated Him. To some He was perfection and they wanted that.  To others He was something they were not and they hated that.

Jesus was human and perfect so we should not say "No one is perfect." What we should say is "Jesus was perfect. Can I hope to be perfect like Jesus?"

The answer is yes!  Jesus' perfection is contagious to all who believe in Him and receive Him.     Perfection is not something we can do, but it is someone we can receive into our spirit.  As Jesus abides in us by His Spirit, He begins to work His perfection into every corner of our life until we are returned to what a human was meant to be.

C.S. Lewis called this new life in Jesus the 'good infection'.  Acording to Lewis,  once you get this 'good infection' you are headed for nothing less than perfection.  You are on your way to being a human who is able to easily do what humans were meant to do which is love God and love neighbors.

Not everyone who gets this 'good infection' shows the symptoms of perfection at the same speed.  In some disciples Jesus' perfection is barely noticeable.  Even so, make no mistake, if you have received the perfect life of Jesus in your spirit you are on you way to perfection.  You might as well relax and cooperate.  You will be perfect eventually in Jesus.

"Be perfect as you Heavenly Father is perfect." Matthew 5:48

Bud McCord
Abide International

Monday, December 24, 2012

Truly Pregnant With Jesus

Christmas is about believing.

Elizabeth, the mother of the prophet, John the Baptist, said of her cousin Mary…

“Blessed is she who believed, for this will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.

From the beginning, Christmas has been about believing and pregnancy, and it remains so today.  Mary was believably pregnant.  To Mary, Joseph, Zacharias, and Elizabeth, it was not about believing in a myth or philosophy.  It was about very believable angels, aches, and changing bodies.  It was as real as any pregnancy is real as bodies stretch and birth pangs begin.  It was as real as labor and delivery in a shed borrowed for the night.  It was real life – not theory.  Heaven had invaded earth by way of a virgin cradled in the womb of BELIEF from conception to delivery.

To experience the real meaning of Christmas we must be willing to become “pregnant” with the belief that God has in fact come to earth in the person of His Son Jesus.  If we, too, believe, our lives will be stretched and changed as surely as Mary's, Joseph's, Elizabeth's and Zacharias' lives were stretched and changed.  No one carries a life inside them and does not change – especially the life of God!

Paul, the great Christian missionary, wrote to a confused, young church in Galatia and said,   “My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you.”  (Galatians 4:19).  He was worried that the belief he knew had begun in them might not mature into a full understanding and complete Christian life.  His concern for Christians would be greater today if he visited our churches at Christmas.  I am not sure he would see many “pregnant” with a living Jesus.

It is becoming increasingly difficult for people to believe as Mary did.  The idea that God really does invade human history in order to save was taught to her from her birth as a Jew.  It is harder to believe today because we do not think we need saving anymore and we say little to our children about it.

Thank God Mary was ready for a pregnancy from God!  If she had said to the angel, “Thanks, but I just cannot believe that,” where would we be today?  Probably at the mall, but certainly not at church.

For Christians who truly believe as Mary, Joseph, Elizabeth and Zacharias did, Christmas is as life changing as a real pregnancy.  It means the world to us to know He came and we are forever changed by His life in us.

Bud McCord
Abide International

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A Necessary 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?  Galatians 2:11-14

Personally I do not like confrontations.  Over the years I have tried my best to avoid them but I have found some confrontations are necessary for love to continue.

The Apostle Paul confronts the Apostle Peter face to face because it was necessary. Paul could not ignore the love stopping behavior of the man who preached the sermon on the day of Pentecost.  Wow!  This certainly lets us know that none of us is free from needing a confrontation from time to time!

Paul loved Peter and the church Peter represented too much to simply ignore what he had seen. This was a necessary confrontation.  Love demanded it.

Paul had seen a change in Peter's behavior in his dealing with the Gentile disciples in the church at Galatia.  Peter had treated them as equals until a group of Jewish disciples came to visit.  While the Jewish disciples were in town Peter no longer ate with the Gentiles.  Paul called Peter out face to face because the equality of all believers was at stake.  Peter was too important a voice and symbol to miss this necessary confrontation.  Peter needed to be reminded that a church where equality is lost is no longer the church of Jesus Christ.

There is a valuable lesson in this story for all of us.  When we see someone doing something that is destructive to them and to love, then someone who loves them and loves to see Christ's love flow must confront them.   No matter how powerful they are and how much they have done in the past they need to be confronted.

If a person is doing something to stop love and they see clearly what they are doing then a confrontation will do little or no good.  The person will simply marginalize the person confronting and hide behind their own false superior spirituality.

If, however, the person actually is not seeing clearly the evil they are doing, they will listen if the right person confronts them in love. Not everyone is called to confront every evil they see.  God raises up a Paul to confront Peter.  Who else could have gotten his attention?  Who had paid the price as a Jew to love the Gentiles?

I have been confronted several times over the years by people who love me and love the flow of Christ's  love.  I am so thankful these people were a part of the churches I was leading!  They respectfully followed my leadership but they knew me well enough to know I could go in the wrong direction  but I did not want to stop Christ's love.

I have confronted other leaders over the years when I could clearly see that their errors were not errors of the heart.  Those leaders listened and made the necessary changes.

If you see someone of influence stopping love then pray that God will raise up the right person for the necessary confrontation.  Perhaps you are that person.  Perhaps it is someone else.  Pray until the right person receives the difficult task of the necessary confrontation.  Christ's love and its flow are too important for us to fear a necessary confrontation.


Bud McCord
Abide International

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


I recently participated in a beautiful church service in a small Brazilian church.  Talking with the pastor before the service I said "Every church is a miracle.  Imagine any other system working for nearly 2000 years that asks every member to give 10% of their income, volunteer their time and give 100% of their daily life to see the system succeed." He quickly agreed because he tithes and leads his church without receiving any pay as he simultaneously leads his own family and over 150 employees in his four restaurants.

A church may have 10 people or 10,000 people.  Every church is a miracle.  The church is a miracle because only God could have kept her healed and alive for this long.  A miracle is something only God can do and from what I have seen only God could have kept the church alive.  Men certainly have not kept her alive.

People want to see miracles.  We all want living proof that the God of the Bible is still at work today as He was in the past.  Unfortunately we do not see the existence of churches as living proof that God is still active.  How sad!

We prefer to see a physical healing or a raise in salary so we can satisfy our need to know God is still active.  We are satisfied with too little!  If we could see every church correctly we would say  "It is a miracle!  2000 years have gone by since Pentecost and the church still exists!  The Body of Christ remains visible and available in the whole world because God is keeping it healed and alive."

People flock to churches when word gets out that God is doing miracles in that church.  Who doesn't want to see miracles?  Who doesn't want to have something miraculously resolved in a matter of seconds?  Everyone does.

It is sad, however, that we do not see that we ourselves are an ongoing miracle just like the church is an ongoing miracle.  Every disciple in whom Jesus dwells is a miracle 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.

The next time you are leaving your home to go looking for a miracle, remember that angels leave home to see you!  They still cannot quite believe that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit have made us their home on earth.  Truly, you are a miracle just as surely as the church is a miracle.  You are something only God could have done and continues to do.

You can go looking for miracles if you want to, but I am going to continue to see the church and my life in Christ as the main miracles.  These two are the main miracles because they are for every one of us and they are God's very best work for us and in us.  I like miracles that happen for everyone!

Bud McCord
Abide International
Watch a little update and thank you video:

Monday, November 05, 2012

Define! Receive-Rejoice-Release!


It is not easy to define love in this world.  One would think love would be easy to define, but any attempt to explain love clearly is tough and often creates arguments.  Why is this?

The word love has become overused and abused at the same time real love is in short visible supply.  The only hope of love being properly defined in any of our lives is to receive love from God and define it  visibly by moment by moment  release of love.

We know we are being loved when over time someone releases the best they are and the best they have to us.  This is why mother's day is so celebrated!

We know we are loving others when we release the best we are and the best we have to someone else.  This is why true friendships are so valuable and so rare.

It is not necessary that every Christ follower should be able to verbally define love but it is necessary that they be a living definition of love.  For this reason every Christ follower should master the art of receiving, rejoicing and releasing or faith, hope and love.

Paul says in I Corinthians 13:13 that there remain three things in human experience.

"And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love."

Faith is the receiving for ourselves the love that God is releasing to us.  Hope is internal rejoicing because we are aware we are being loved by God.  Love is releasing toward God and others the best we are and the best we have.  This is the spiritual ecosystem God created mankind to enjoy and to be in this world. We exist to receive love, rejoice in love and release love.  The greatest of these is the release of love.

Jesus summed up man's part in this ecosystem with these words found in Matthew 22: 37-39

Jesus said to him,‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’

Jesus tells us we exist first to release the best we are the best we have to God.  Jesus tells us to release the best we are and the best we have to our neighbor. We know how to release love to others because we always give ourselves the best we are and the best we have.

Verbal definitions for love are hard to create and hard to communicate.  Disciples who know what it is to release love toward God and toward others like Jesus did are the true, daily, defining eloquence we need in the world. Release!

Bud McCord
Abide International

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

No Exit

One of the most enjoyable things I do is eat a leisurely breakfast with my wife while enjoying the view of the Brazilian mountains from our 9th floor apartment.  Rarely is this wonderful moment interupted by unexpected guests.

One such unexpected guest entered through our window.  A small sparrow flew into the apartment (we do not have screens on the windows here in Brazi) and flew directly into a large mirror on our dining room wall.   Needless to say, the mirror was an ilusion that the small bird did not see as dangerous.  It was.

I thought the bird was dead but it was only stunned.  I gently put it in the palm of my hand and waited until it showed more signs it was recovered from its crash with the ilusion.  When the signs appeared I stood by the window and the bird flew away.

As I watch the sparrow fly away I thought of Jesus' words recorded in Matthew 10:29

 Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will.

Even when we smash ourselves into an ilusion that there is an exit where there is no exit, the Father is with us and takes us to the nearest window that is not an ilusion.

I am not sure if sparrows eventually learn the difference between mirrors and windows, but I certainly hope I do!  If not, God will keep taking me to the window.

Bud McCord
Abide International

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Was Jesus too focused on Himself?  Isn't it a sign of egotism to focus a lot on ourselves?  Does Jesus' insistence on focusing attention on Himself need to be continued by His followers?  Should Christians focus as exclusively on Jesus as He focused on Himself?  Is Jesus where the Father and the Spirit want us to focus?

Listen to just a few of these statements of Jesus  where he uses the word  "Me" and ask yourself if these statements are still as true right now as they were when Jesus first said them.

Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”
Matthew 19:21 

When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.
Mark 8:34

You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.
John 5:39-40

On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”
John 7:37-38

Then they said to Him, “Lord, give us this bread always." And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe. All that the Father givesMe will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” 
John 6:34-40

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.
“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.
John 15:1-8

Jesus focused the attention of people on Himself because that was God's plan. Jesus is the focus of the entire Bible because that is God's plan. The Bible exists to get you to Jesus.  Be careful about turning the Christian faith into anything other than a clear focus on Jesus. Even a  focus on all of the Bible can become a problem if that focus does not end up at Jesus.

A challenge.  Go back and read any of the four Gospels and note every place where the focus is Jesus.  Look for words like "Me" "Mine" "I"  or "My".  Then ask yourself why the Father never intervened to stop this singular focus.  Ask yourself if you focus on Jesus as you should.  Ask yourself why the church focuses on so many other things and often forgets to even mention Jesus.

Bud McCord
Abide International

Monday, October 15, 2012

Growing In Christ

What does it mean to "grow in Christ?"Does it mean completing a series of studies that increases one's knowledge about Jesus? Is it learning to live by the principles of life that Jesus taught? Is it obeying His commands? Is it learning to do what He would do?
Is it a combination of all of these things?

It is interesting that the Apostle Paul was not so concerned about the Galatian Christians"growing in Christ". He was more concerned that Christ was growing in them!

"My little children, for whom I labor in birth again
until Christ is formed in you..." Gal. 4:19

Perhaps this seemingly minor shift in thinking is the key to knowing how growing in Christ really works.

We start out being somewhat interested in this person called Jesus. We come to a place where we see how what he did for us at Calvary can bring us to a place of forgiveness before God. We accept Jesus as our Savior.

By His Spirit He enters into our spirit. We soon learn that there exists something called the Christian life and Jesus is the key to this kind of life. We want to live the Christian life. We begin to ask the question "What would Jesus do?" 

Suddenly we discover that Jesus did not only teach the Christian life, He is the Christian life!  We continue on and begin to understand that Jesus in us means the entire Christian life is in us.

As we begin to submit to Jesus' perfect  presence and life in us His presence begins to grow in us and we begin to "grow in Christ" because "Christ grows in us." We stop asking "What would Jesus do?" and begin to ask  "What is Jesus doing that I can do with Him?"

Finally we begin to say  "It is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me" and  "For to me to live is Christ."  As He grows in us we grow in Him.

The best prayer we can pray so Christ will grow in us is "Jesus, you are welcome in me.  Grow in me and I will grow in you."


Bud McCord
Abide International

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Reconciliation By, For and To

 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.  II Corin. 5:20

In Christ we have the opportunity to be reconciled to God.  Jesus is God inviting us to be reconciled with Himself. This is an incredible offer and opportunity.  Reconciliation with God is the one opportunity we must not miss.

In Christ we are invited to have a new, reconciled relationship BY GOD, FOR GOD and TO GOD.  In Christ we begin everything again BY GOD, FOR GOD and TO GOD.  This truly is a new birth.

To understand this offer of reconciliation, It helps if we remember that to reconcile with God is to reconcile with continuous love.  "God is love".  Reconciliation means that In Christ we are invited to be recconciled by Love, for Love, in order to Love.

By dying for our sins Jesus makes it possible to reconcile because He is  God's perfect love for us.  BY His love He removes all condemnation for our sins which are our failures to continuously love.  We no longer have a fight with love because love fought for us.

By coming into our lives by His Spirit Jesus makes it possible for us to live again FOR God's glory which is His love.  He restores us to our original purpose which was to  glorify God which is to make His love visible and available.  We no longer live for ourselves, we live for love which lives in us.

By being present with us moment by moment by His Spirit Jesus loves us so we can live TOlove.  He restores us to our original glory which is to love while being one with God or one with love.  We no longer live just to live, we live to love.

When we say we are reconciled  we are saying that we have reconciled BY LOVE, FOR LOVE, TO LOVE.  We are reconciled BY GOD, FOR GOD, TO GOD.

There is nothing as wonderful as being fully reconciled by, for and to God who is continuous love.


Bud McCord
Abide International

Tuesday, October 02, 2012


There are some words that we need to eliminate from our vocabulary.  Some words just do not fit who we are and the goals we have for our lives

When I married Pam over 41 years ago, we decided to elimnate the word divorce from our vocabulary.  The word just did not fit our dream of living a marriage as the image of God in the world.  Eliminating the word divorce did not make our marriage work, but it eliminated a thought that could have easily undermined our marriage.

Jesus told his first followers that they would need to carry a cross if they intended to follow Him and be one of His disiples.  He warned them that the narrow path He was leading them down would involve the pain that always accompanies the delivery of real love.

"Now great multitudes went with Him. And He turned and said to them,  “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple."  Luke 14:25-27

To follow Jesus and to carry our cross we need to eliminate from our vocabulary the word  "avoid".   We simply cannot be what He calls us to be if we live by avoiding the cost of loving others.

People who are always trying to avoid things because they are hard or painful miss the narrow path Jesus walked.  They also miss the joy which that the narrow path leads us toward.

I remember telling Pam early in our relationship that I would never be a missionary.  I was absolutely convinced the missionary's life for me should be avoided if at all possible.  If I had avoided God's call to missions I would have lost so much that I now count as precious.  Thank God I eventually eliminated the word avoid when it came to God's call to missions!

If you are tempted to avoid things because they may be hard or painful, think again.  On the other side of the things we often avoid are the great adventures of life and love.

Discipleship and the word avoid just do not match.

Bud McCord
Abide International

Monday, September 17, 2012

Jesus, Risk and Love

"Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil."
Matthew 4:1

Everything Jesus said and did  while living among us involved risk. Jesus did not get a pass on the risk of being human and loving in this world. Jesus as a human being had to make real choices that involved enormous risk to himself and to the human race. Jesus' temptations while loving us were real and risky. To love in a fallen world is to take a risk.

I loved watching all of my children compete in sports. Not all of them loved to compete but I loved to watch them in action. I remember telling them, "If you are going to make a mistake while playing in a game, risk making a big mistake because you were trying so hard to get it right."

Everything Jesus did was done while running the risk of having His love proven wrong or weak.  He took this risk on purpose and He took it as a human being not as a Divine being who didn't have to face the tempations we face when we love.

Jesus entered the battle for the future of humanity as a man in whom the Father was living.   He risked making earth shattering mistakes and I believe the risk was as real for Him as it is for us.  Jesus did not get a pass on taking love's risks. Jesus had to get every detail of love right so He could truthfully say "He who seen Me has seen the Father."

When Jesus was living as a  carpenter in a small Jewish town he was taking an enormous risk of not being able to be just a simple carpenter whose daily life was as boring and as daily as your life or mine. To love is to risk boredom.

When He was choosing His disciples he took the risk of associating Himself with men who could cast a really bad shadow on His reputation or even betray Him. To love is to risk the embarrassing  errors of others.

When He died on the cross He took the risk of letting God orchestrate His suffering and pain.  To love is to risk pain that is planned for us.

Jesus knew what God would do for HIm and in Him and he faced every risk with this one confidence. By faith in His Father's love He faced the possibility of human failure on a scale that would never be able to be corrected.

Jesus not only survived the risk, He overcame the risk, redeemed us and rescued us! How is that for taking a big, loving risk and getting it perfectly right!

Without Jesus taking the risk to love us, we would not be inspired to take the risk to love as He loved. Go ahead, take the risk and love because Jesus abides in you!

Bud McCord
Abide International

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Baptism Waters-- Deeper Than We Think

Among Jesus' final words were these:

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

These very special words have sent thousands of missionaries around the world and these words have sent millions of new believers into rivers, lakes and baptistries to be immersed in water.

The physical baptismal waters are never too deep. They are just deep enough to picture a death, a burial and a ressurrection.  Even so, when  understood spiritually there is no water in the universe any deeper than baptismal waters.

Jesus said we were to be baptized in water in the name of the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit.  He said we are to be immersed in God's name.  We are to be planted deeply and forever into who God is and what God does for us in Christ.

Jesus did not say to baptize them in the "names". He said to baptize them in the "name".  God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are three persons but only one name.  God is One.

A name says who we are.  Over time a name also says what we do for others.  Being baptized in the "name" is to be forever planted in who God is and what God has done for us. Being planted deeply and forever in who God is and what God has done for us raises us to live in newness of life.

The baptismal waters are as deep as who God is and what God has done for us.  No matter how deeply you look into the baptismal waters you will never find the bottom.  Just when you think you know who God is and all God has done for you there is always more.


Bud McCord
Abide International

Monday, September 03, 2012

Into Your Hands I Commit My Spirit

And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, “Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.’” Having said this, He breathed His last. Luke 23:46

As He lived among us and as He died at Calvary for us Jesus gave away everything he had in order to love us and save us.  The only thing that He could not give away as He saved us was His Spirit.  His Spirit belonged only to God.

The individual human spirit was made to be in continuous connection to God alone.  When we as humans live this continuous spiritual connection we escape the power of the flesh and become truly human. 

"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;" Galatians 5:16-17

No one on earth should ask another human being to submit their spirit to them for any reason. The spirit of any individual should be given in submission only to God through Christ.  Our spirit belongs only to God and never to men. Our love belongs to God and to all men.

Secular or religious leaders who ask people for their spirit are asking for something that cannot and should not be theirs to control.  People in authority over others can legitimately ask for many things. They can ask for cooperation, submission, obedience, sacrifice and respect. They must never ask a human being to connect their spirit to the leader's spirit in order to live and to be.

"For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,"
I Timothy 2:5

The Caesars demanded that the early Christians give them their spirits. The early disciples lovingly gave everything else but refused to give up their spirits to the Caesars who claimed to be gods.  For this refusal the early Christians died by the thousands.

Cult leaders even today demand the spirits of their followers and the result is always slavery and death for those who give their spirits to such men.

Even well meaning religious leaders ask for the spirits of their followers to build their empires.  In the end, these same empires destroy the leaders, oppress the followers and inhibit the flow of love.

The temptation to ask for the spirit of human beings is very strong among spiritual, secular and religious leaders. Leaders know that the spirit of a man or a woman is the true energy of life in a human being.

Only God in Christ has the right to ask for my spirit. The only man to whom I can safely give my spirit is Jesus Christ because through the Cross He offers me His life and love first.

Leaders must not ask for the control of the spirit of any man or woman. Christians must be willing to follow God inspired leaders and even to die in order love others.  Even so, they must be willing to die to all men, including leaders,  before they give their spirit to anyone except God.

As always Jesus is our example.  He was willing to give all He had in order to love us, but he commited His spirit into the hands of God alone.  We must do the same.

"But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him." I Corin. 6:17

Bud McCord
Abide International

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Words of Jesus

Author and Psychiatrist M. Scott Peck says in his book  The Road Less Travelled that there are four disciplines for learning how to suffer and how to grow.

"What are these tools, these techniques of suffering, these means of experienciing the pain of problems constructively that I call discipline?  There are four: delaying gratification, acceptance of responsibility, dedication to truth, and balance"
Pg. 18  The Road Less Travelled

He goes on to say that the learning of these disciplines is to be best found in stable family life.  I couldn't agree more!

His discussiion of delaying gratification really caught my attention. He defines delaying gratification as
"a process of scheduling the pain and pleasure of life in such a way as to enhance the pleasure by meeting and experiencing the pain first and getting it over with.  It is the only decent way to live." pg.19 The Road Less Travelled

When I read an author like M. Scott Peck I admire how passionate and caring people like Dr. Peck are. He has helped thousands live as better people.  People like Dr. Peck desire to bless and to help.  They are inspiring people!    Even so, I always take what any author says to Jesus' words to see if their words resonate with Jesus.

When I took these quotes to Jesus' words I felt a resonating and a discord.  The resonating was in Dr. Peck's call to deal with the pain first.  The discord was with the idea that I need to schedule my pleasure and my pain.

I hear Jesus telling me to delay gratification through the pain of cross bearing as I get on with first loving those I need to love.  Loving others will most certainly require the delay of gratification in most cases.

I hear Jesus telling me that His Father will schedule the pain and the pleasure according to His will and not mine. Scheduling pain or pleasure on my own is beyond my grasp of all that is happening in God's plan.  I can't hear Jesus saying  "Wait!  This is the time I scheduled for pleasure!"   I can hear Jesus saying "If love requires that I suffer first and then find pleasure, I will."

I agree with Dr. Peck that the inability to delay gratification is deadly to life and to love.  I think the four disciplines Dr. Peck uses to help hurting people solve many of the problems of life really do help.

Even so, I always take my words or any other person's words to Jesus' words and listen for resonance or discord.  Jesus must be the final word on all of our words if we ever hope to be healthy, loving human beings.

"My sheep hear my voice..." John 10:27

Bud McCord
Abide International

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Satisfying LIfe in Brazil

Teaching here in Brazil is a privilege.  The Brazilian people are so open to learn and grow in their faith.  It is a beautiful moment in the life of the churches.

I recently had the privilege of teaching the course The Satisfying LIfe to over 120 members of the Christian Community Church in the city of Cianorte in southern Brazil.   During three consecutive nights of intense instruction the entire group showed up on time and stayed until 10 PM.

Led by a dynamic young pastor named Bruno this 7 year old church is reaching its city through social ministries like their ministry to men addicted to drugs.  I was also privileged to speak to the 21 men who are spending 9 months in their  program of recovery at a small farm near the city.

The total membership of the church is over 500 and  they opened a new church location in there city while I was there.

Tomorrow, August 16 I head to a small city called Catu in northern Brazil for four days of teaching.

Pray that this openness will continue here in Brazil.  Bud McCord

Becoming the Real You

"The Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want...."
Psalm 23:1

How many different ways has this passage been interpreted down through the centuries!  In my brief years on earth I have heard this passage quoted as much or more than any other in the Bible. It is powerful, but what does it really mean?

Just the other night I preached a sermon on these words and a woman here in Brazil told me she put these exact words on her car 16 years ago and then cancelled her car insurance as a statement of faith!  Her car was stolen.

She told me her story because she realized after hearing my sermon that she had not understood what the words really meant.  Sixteen years is long time to wait to get these words right!

Since David says we are God's flock it is clear that this passage is not a statement of material wealth or a promise God will guard our car.  Sheep don't accumulate things or drive!   It is a statement that says we will not lack anything to become the kind of sheep the Shepherd wants us to become. The statement says you will be given by God whatever you need to become the real you.  God will provide for you to become truly human!

So, if we can figure out why humans exist and what it means to be truly human then the verse becomes clear.  As always in any seach for understanding humans we must begin with Jesus!  He is what God intended and still intends for humans!

When we start with Jesus' statement in Luke 10:26-28 that says we humans exist to love God and love our neighbors, then we can say based on Jesus' words and on Psalm 23 that we will never lack what we need become people who can love those we are called to love.  We shall not want for the resources and abilities that we need to love God and love our neighbor. We exist to love and God will make able to do this.

This makes perfect sense.   A Shepherd would never knowingly fail to provide for his flock whatever it needed to become what he wants the flock to become.  Why  bother caring for sheep without providing for them what is needed to reach the goal you have  in mind for them?

God has in mind for us that we would be able to love Him and love our neighbor like Jesus did. This is why we exist.  He will provide what it takes for this to happen.  Jesus is God's provision for us and in us so we can becomel this kind of human being!

Truly, humans who are the sheep of His pasture will have all they need to become what He has in mind.

Luke 12:32 "Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom."

Bud McCord
Abide International

Monday, August 06, 2012

Love--Our Only Argument

"All of God lives in Christ fully" Col. 2:9
"God is love" I John 4:16

There are no shortages of arguments in the world. People are on edge and very, very quick to disagree.  Though this is not new to humanity it is our time to deal with this human tendency toward arguing.

It takes a revelation from God in Christ to finally show us the way forward in a world that only wants to argue.  The way forward is to make love our only argument. Love is the only argument God uses.  This is a revelation we find only in Jesus.

Reading about Jesus' life it appears at times that He is oblivious to the arguments swirling around him. At times He seems completely detached from the political and social realities around Him.  To be honest, at flrst glance He seems to be almost uncaring.

A man shouted out to Jesus and ordered Him to tell His brother to do the right thing by dividing an inheritance with Him. Jesus says...."Who made Me a judge or arbitrator overy you?"  He doesn't agree to help.  He doesn't offer to pray.  He tells the man to be careful with greed which would destroy his soul and stop his love.

Then one from the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.  But He said to him, “Man, who made Me a judge or an arbitrator over you?” Luke 12:13-14

To follow Jesus is to make love your only argument. It is not as if we have nothing to say as disciples. We all do!  It is just that we can only say it with love if we will be like Jesus.

When I think of all the things I want to say about the reality of this world my blood boils and I am ready for an argument.

When Jesus thought of all the things He wanted to say about the reality of this world, He shed His blood.

Jesus is God's final statement about everything. It should be mine as well.


Bud McCord
Abide International

Tuesday, July 31, 2012


"God gives us the vision, then He takes us down to the valley to batter us into the shape of the vision, and it is in the valley that so many of us faint and give way. Every vision will be made real if we will have patience. Think of the enormous leisure of God! He is never in a hurry. We are always in such a frantic hurry. In the light of the glory of the vision we go forth to do things, but the vision is not real in us yet; and God has to take us into the valley, and put us through fires and floods to batter us into shape, until we get to the place where He can trust us with the veritable reality. Ever since we had the vision God has been at work, getting us into the shape of the ideal, and over and over again we escape from His hand and try to batter ourselves into our own shape."  Oswald Chambers

As a disciple God has given you a vision of the person you could be in Christ.  He has placed in you a desire to be a different, better kind of person.  You are in a hurry about this.  He is not.

It is really hard for us to adjust our lives to "the enormous leisure of God".  We live as if we are a temporary, fast project of His will.  He works on us as permanent, eternal project of His will.

The other day I was asked by my wife Pam if I had considered just how patient God is with us as He works on the restoration of our overdeveloped souls.  I jokingly replied,  "Well, we aren't going anywhere, so why should he be in a hurry?" 

I meant the reply as a joke, but as soon as the words left my lips, I knew that I was talking about something very true.  God"s leisure is enormous because He knows we are not going anywhere and neither is He.

In this world nothing and no one seems to be permanent.  Perhaps this is why leisure is so hard for us as humans.  We can't relax and experience leisure because everything seems to be moving away from us too fast.  We are all living some kind of hurry.

Perhaps the sabbath in the Old Testament was about God's enormous leisure and man's tendency to always be in a rush.  Perhaps Jesus ability to have only twelve disciples points to His enormous leisure about doing His Father's will.

Remember the dream or vision God gave you about yourself?   Calm down.  You are not going anywhere and neither is God.  You are already on your way to becoming the vision He gave you.  You can afford to develop a godly leisure, too.  If fact, godly leisure
(called soul rest)  is a requirement for you to become the vision God gave you.  God has all the time there is.

Be at rest.

Bud McCord
Abide International

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

An Overdeveloped Soul

In the Classic book The Normal Christian Life, Watchman Nee describes in chapter 12  the fall of humanity in the Garden of Eden as permitting the "overdevelopment of the human soul."

"But—and here we come to the point—the fruit of the tree of knowledge made the first man overdeveloped in his soul."  Watchman Nee

According to Nee, Satan's temptation of mankind and the subsequent eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil tore the soul of man from the Spirit of God and set in motion human souls growing beyond their intended role. Man's soul went wild.

Nee describes this overdevelopment of the human soul as the result of the human spirit no longer being directly connected to and continuously inspired by the Spirit of God. In the place of God's inspiration and man's voluntary cooperation there is now a continuous stimulation of the human soul by sin and Satanic influence.

This "overdevelopment of the human soul" produces what the Scriptures call the "works of the flesh." These works are destructive to the person practicing them and to those in relationship with them. (See Galatians 5:19-23 to see a comparison of the overdeveloped soul called  "Flesh" and the properly developed soul called "Walking in the Spirit)

The Apostle Paul describes this tormenting overdevelopment of the human soul in Romans 7 as he says:

For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. But now, it isno longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.   Romans 7: 14-17

Under the instruction of God's perfect law, which describes how a human being behaves with a God developed spirit, soul and body, Paul could envision what the "normal" human life was meant to be at creation.  Paul could see himself with a soul that was not overdeveloped by sin abiding in him and by constant Satanic influence. Paul could envision himself with a spirit connected to God's Spirit and a soul properly developed for love. Sin in him and Satanic influence all around him, however, would never allow this to happen so he says in Romans 7:24:

 "O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?"

I recently watched a documentary filmed in 2007 about the tallest woman in China. She was nearly 8 feet tall.  This young woman's pituitary gland would not allow her body to function normally. No matter how much she envisioned being a normal height and doing what she longed to do, she could not stop the actions of her rebellious pituitary gland and her body was the evidence of an over abundance of growth hormones. It was a tragic story of overdevelopment of the body.  It hurt just to watch her struggle!

The overdevelopment of the human soul is far more tragic. The overdevelopment of the human soul due to the absence of God's Spirit, the presence of sin in us and the constant inspiration of Satan makes the story of the human soul one of death and more death. The fruit of the separation of man's spirit from God's Spirit and the overdevelopement of his soul is clear to see and always brings a premature and sad death. It hurts just to watch humans struggle with the size of their souls!

There is good news in Jesus! We can begin again in the Spirit of Christ. We can receive into our spirit the Spirit of Christ and the process of the restoration of our soul to its intended size and function can begin in us. This begins in what is called being "Born Again" and then continues as  "spiritual formation,"  "Christ formed in us" or "discipleship".  (Read Romans 8 to see this amazing change in action.)

Our souls must be reduced in size to love again. Our pride must go first and poverty of spirit must take its place. The normal activities of the overdeveloped soul called "flesh" must be put off like excess size and we must learn to live and walk lightly in the Spirit. We must enter into the "yoke" with Jesus and finally find rest for our souls.

"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."  Mateus 11:28-30

Nothing short of a new beginning in the Spirit can bring rest (right size, function and weight) to the overdeveloped souls of men and women. This new beginning must be lived moment by moment and day by day abiding in Christ until our soul becomes a willing servant of God's Spirit. When this happens we will be perfected or made into what God originally intended in Eden.

"He must increase and I must decrease" takes on a new meaning in light of our overdeveloped souls!  When we finally love like He does, our souls are the right size again and the heavy burden will be gone
Bud McCord
Abide International

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Itching Ears and Anointing


2 Timothy 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers.

1 John 2:27 But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.

People who do not learn to abide in Christ develop "itching ears". Their "itching" for inner peace becomes so intense that they become addicted to "itching ear" teachers. A clear sign a church is in spiritual decline is their nearly insane craving to be taught by Christian experts.

There is, however, a Divine cure for this itch. The cure is abiding in the anointing you have received from Him who abides in you. Christ in you can take away your itching ears. Christ within by the Holy Spirit will personally teach you and take away the itch.

The first of all sound doctrines is Christ and Christ crucified.  The sound doctrine of Christ and Christ crucified when ministered to us by the Holy Spirit's anointing takes away the itch for forgiveness and for acceptance. When this anointing comes to us in our inner life by the Holy Spirit the itch for forgiveness and the itch for acceptance immediately stops. Now we must learn to abide in this inner anointing moment by moment so the itch stays gone.

If we abide in Christ the itch stays gone. If we do not abide in Christ, then the itch returns.  When the itch returns so do the teachers who charge for the temporary relief they bring.  Under the care of these teachers the itch always returns and they are glad it does! They live from our itching ears! They actually try to cause the itch by suggesting Jesus in us is not enough and that is why we need them!

Under the anointing of the Holy Spirit in Christ, the itch is permanently replaced with a state of inner rest and satisfaction. When a Chrisitan is at rest, teaching is clear and to the point.  It is sound doctrine with no itch.  When a Christian is not a rest, look for the itch teachers to be close by complicating everything!

If your itch returns, remember this: " I have an anointing. The Holy Spirit is my teacher.  I shall not want for perfect teaching."The Holy Spirit always teaches us for free and the itch always goes away.

Bud McCord
Abide International

Monday, July 02, 2012

Is Jesus Enough?

"If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.  Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory." Colossians 3:1-4.

Throughout history all forms of the Christian Church have faced one constant temptation. It is the temptation to add something to Jesus so Christianity will work better.

It seems the church cannot  be as satisfied with Jesus as the Father and the Holy Spirit are.  How tragic for all of us if Jesus is not enough!

I often challenge believers to read the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John as if they were being read for the first time. I encourage them to listen to the absolutely breathtaking statements that Jesus makes about Himself from beginning to end. Then I challenge them to ask this question: Did Jesus think who He was and what He did was enough for us?  Then I ask them to ask this second question:  Did the Father and the Holy Spirit agree with Jesus' certainty about Himself?

You may be saying "Of course Jesus is enough! Of course the Father and the Spirit agree!  That is obvious!"  Is it?

Just watch how much energy and effort has gone into making Christianity a  "Jesus plus" activity.  Once it was Jesus plus Jewish laws and rituals.  Once it was Jesus plus the effort of the priests for men.  Once it was Jesus plus Mary's loving intervention. Once it was Jesus plus baptism.  Whatever "Jesus plus" once was it can easily become again in any of our lives and in any church. "Jesus plus" seems like a terrible case of the flu which the church cannot shake.

A lot of people have gained power, wealth and control with a new "Jesus plus" plan. Perhaps that is why this tendency is so tenacious. Perhaps in the spiritual realm this is where the real battle is fought and it is the Devil's only real plan to slow the church if he cannot stop the church.

It is clear from the Scriptures that the Father and the Holy Spirit affirm Jesus as perfectly enough for the redemption and restoration of mankind. This is why the focus is clearly on Jesus in the New Testament. If the Trinity is in agreement that Jesus is enough for us, why can't we just rest in the perfect Jesus the Father sent and the perfect Jesus the Spirit reveals in us?

Live this day moment by moment knowing Jesus is enough. Experience the freedom of His perfection for you and in you moment by moment. The Father and the Holy Spirit want Jesus for you because they are one with Jesus yesterday, today and forever. To the Father and the Spirit wanting Jesus for us is giving themselves to us in Him.

Bud McCord
Abide International

Monday, June 25, 2012

Let It Never Be Said of Us

 “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

People who truly know Jesus and are known by Jesus never say "Lord, look what we did for you!" Once  disciples come to really know Jesus the idea of independent human action and results worthy of pride vanishes from their vocabulary.

People who know Jesus are heard saying words like  "It was not us but the grace of God at work in us."   People in whom Christ is formed clearly understand Jesus' words in John 15 "Without Me you can do nothing."

Humans were created for receptivity and cooperation with the source of every good work.  Humans were created to receive from God, rejoice in what is received from God and release everything with God as continuous love.

The true Christian experience is called "oneness" and there is no room in oneness for independent action for which we expect to be rewarded. A failure to see all we are and all we do as being one with God is lawlessness.  Let it never be said of us that we did it alone.  "In your name"  is not enough.   Abiding in Him is the way.


Bud McCord
Abide International