Here’s a video David recently made to share with us on my birthday. The song isn’t ours, it was just a song he found that had the theme “magic” in it. We’ll be posting another blog soon.
Here’s a video David recently made to share with us on my birthday. The song isn’t ours, it was just a song he found that had the theme “magic” in it. We’ll be posting another blog soon.
March 7th 2015
Remember the scene in The Wizard of Oz when the four are knocking on the door of the Wizard in The Emerald City? A funny man slides open a little peep door and then slams it telling them to “Go away!”? Elizabeth and Ruth had a similar door-issue when they tried to get into a prison the other day and a mean guard just slid open a little slot and told them “Never. Go away.” Since it is not in their blood to give up they went around the side door where they were again told “Can’t happen. Go away!”.
They went to the back door where the guards didn’t know what to do. “It just so happened” at that very moment the Head Director came by. They seized the opportunity and told him what we wanted to do. He was very puzzled and kept asking “Why did you come here and how did you get to me?”. He was gripped by their appeal and invited them into his office. He was overwhelmed by our story and wholeheartedly gave us an open door to come into his prison the next day.
(Just a side note about Abraham’s video Going to see the Son (2nd chance). We will send a copy to anyone who would like it. When we were ministering in Boston this last fall we met a guy who was a professional videographer. Abraham sent him the video to critique. He just wrote last night with a response that blessed our socks off. A complete unbeliever and stranger couldn’t stop saying how he was blown away by such professional quality from an amateur. He specifically detailed all the variables in the five specific work sections with A to C grades. Mostly A’s. Couple B’s. One “C” on too many words. He also really liked the music I wrote for it. That he would even take the time to write such a long and specific help said everything. We registered in his world. It gives us great hope for the vision we are seeking to yet bring into reality to glorify Jesus in this generation. Abraham spent hundreds of hours so he is really encouraged.)
The Woroniecki clan all huddled just outside the security check-through line. One tiny, little, gigantic problem; we got 2000 lbs. of luggage when our limit is 800 lbs. In any number of other places you might think there was hope. But an airport has such strict guidelines for security reasons. When I looked at all our boxes, bags, back packs, etc. I just thought “Oh Lord how can you possibly get this through?” It was, in one word, ridiculous.
(A back-story to all this stuff is that various companies finally responded, after months of petitions, for blankets and shirts for prisoners and stuffed animals for orphanages.) So anyways, we were denied entry by the guard and expected to eliminate 1200 lbs. of stuff right then and there that we had worked so hard to bring to people.
We fight hard with everyone, whether it’s police to get into some areas or officials to get onto plazas, or bureaucrats to get into prisons etc. So Sarah went to the head of the airport and presented our case. The guy was, of all countries, from Colombia, which we consider our second home. It was his only day there all week. Needless to say we found great favor. He did a lot of string pulling and computer work to come up with those beautiful words “Bring all your stuff here right now!”. Glory to God!
So here we are in Montevideo, Uruguay after going into three prisons within the first two weeks of arrival. The blankets are a God-sent to the prisoners and also even to some guards. They say it is very cold inside even during the summer and are very grateful. These blankets open up hearts into which we sow God’s Word. They see we are not there to do “good works” to feel good about ourselves but sincerely care about them in the love of Jesus. “Thank You for Your heart Father!”.
Sad to tell that we had a type of tragedy that hit us hard in the second prison. My precious David tore his Achilles tendon. We were devastated. Being in a third world country with such a serious and severe injury scares me. People don’t care enough to give us accurate information. For most people who live in a stationary place with access to local hospital care it would be bad but not near what it means for us. Below is the very moment he tore it. You can see his face is bewildered. Just couldn’t walk.
As foreigners, having to deal with 3rd world medical care, not having a stationary residence but rather traveling in a van is not an easy thing to resolve. And of course when the poor people see us in their hospitals, whom they are convinced are rich Americans, they can not believe that we are in financial need. David IS energy. His life is constantly LIVING to it’s fullest. I can’t express how much he gives us vision, inspiration and sheer desire. For him to have to deal with a wheel chair plus carrying it about in an already extremely tight living situation forces us to reach deep. We were at the hospital most of the night after prisons but God gave us the grace to go to another the next morning. It is tough to trust doctors who seem quite ambivalent and unprofessional in dealing with something so serious as David’s future walking capacity. Especially after the cast they temporarily put on just broke in half. Now we have to go back to do it again. We have to yet figure out about surgery. Where can we look for help when no one cares? The Lord God is a Father Who will be over everything.
None of this touches on the personal suffering of David. Our strength is that God says He “scourges every son He loves” (Heb.12). His leg is in a thigh high full length cast for two months. For us two months is traveling on difficult roads into three or four countries with the need for David’s help in so many, many areas. For anyone who is at all aware of our ministry you may recall when we first shipped our van here. The second day in Cartagena, Colombia I severed my Achilles while ministering downtown. God led us to a Naval surgeon who operated the next day and I was in a wheel chair for the following four months.
So surely God is with us and will give us the grace we need now as He did then. We are trying to gather ourselves to head back on the road tomorrow headed North. We have to go back to the hospital to redo the cast then load up all our junk onto our van and drive on as “The Beverly Hillbillies”. There are some large festivals going on in this region we will try to get to.
God is so good, His ways so deep. Trusting Him within though everything burns. What a divine privilege to carry His gospel to all these people in such need of Jesus. We were downtown yesterday, after the prisons, and a guy from Iran came up to me who was moved by our witness to Jesus. I can share about many, many people with whom we have found open hearts here on the streets and on the beaches. We had some awesome ministry downtown. Just so unique here. Uruguay is a very unreligious country. Nothing like the states. Just not that “Oh ya, I already know all that I’m a Christian”. Not at all. It’s so refreshing and hopeful.
Yesterday we were in a courtyard of another prison with guys that the guards said were the worst of the worst. I wish I could take you with us to see what we see. To watch men transformed right before our eyes. It’s amazing. I don’t mean in any way to imply that it has anything to do with our fleshly abilities but yet I want to proclaim how powerfully God works through us, despite us, to manifest Jesus. The guy below (center) is Jorge whom David gave the Chicago Bull’s hat. Amazing guy we saw change his heart.
So many grieving stories of young men sentenced to 20 or thirty years for one drastic mistake. One guy was stabbed near his heart and threw the guy against a wall in defense, he hit his head and died. A lot of armed robbery and murder stories. Old men, 60 to 70 years old, unable to get a job, desperate to support their families get caught in the web of drug smuggling. Now destined to die in prison never to see their families again. One very young guy had that tone of about to weep at any moment telling me over an over he would never see his mother again. Not his girlfriend. Not his wife. Not his child. His mother. It just says so much. So many men who are just boys.
The guards are horrible. We are told stories of beatings and abuse. These guys, we are able to comfort, make them smile, laugh, hope and most of all hear the gospel of God’s love. To help them realize that there is a Father Who will run out to meet them regardless of how terribly they have failed in life. Sarah wrote this beautiful poem of Luke 15 and I just can’t tell you how moving it is to these men who were convinced their crimes rendered them hopeless in the eyes of God.
I tell them how wrong those rich evangelicals are who equate success and self-happiness with God’s Presence. The idea of being “broken” is a detestable concept. Above all NEVER BE BROKEN. Quite the opposite for the Jesus of the Scriptures. I tell them how Paul called himself “the scum of the earth”. Paul had “fellowship” with the sufferings of Christ (Phil.3:10). He writes of constant failures, sufferings, fears, rejection and a redemption of his sin as God’s means of bringing His blessings. Blessed are those who mourn for they shall know God’s comfort.
I tell them my life is one of failure after failure in every way. I thank my Father for breaking me in so many ways. It is not about merely having to endure suffering. Everyone does that. It’s about engaging God in it all. Suffering requires active participation of faith in God or it does nothing but make you bitter. Paul lost everything. Jesus and Paul did not “put up” with suffering. They drew from the Father HIS light and purpose of another world. So, you ask, what has suffering gotten me? Everything that is anything. Where has it gotten me? Here. Where I am. With them. Which was my original prayer way back in 1974 in the Notre Dame stadium when as a twenty year old kid I asked God to please use me to my fullest potential.
All my failures brought me to this prison right here right now to love them with the truth of Jesus. His ways kept me from my ways. All those many years of “success” and “blessing” of striving to find a “ministry” from my Master’s Degree from Fuller Seminary spent, unknowingly, on trying to satisfy the hidden monster of ego (self). Trying to re-save the “saved” for the fifth time around. Teachings upon teachings upon teachings upon teachings to those who have had so many teachings their whole life is just another effort to obey another “unique” teaching.
While throughout the world there are multitudes who respond immediately to the simple gospel, intended for those who are SET, not to harden their hearts, but to give their hearts to Jesus. God is going to judge by how He sees, not how we think He sees.
I held a middle-aged man (below) in my arms yesterday for several minutes. He just wouldn’t let go. Naturally I wondered if it was just emotion or maybe he was overreacting. His name is Julio. Then when I saw his face I realized my arms were those of Jesus. He just broke. He heard. “Forgiveness? For all my sin? Who is this Jesus? How do I can I find Him?”
Today, by God’s marvelous grace, David was sitting in his wheel chair back behind our equipment. Despite the cast in the burning hot sun. He insisted on being there and ministering. Please don’t think I am trying to sound religious when I say his attitude is like “It’s not about me. It’s about souls”. So many young guys surrounded him in his wheel chair to talk. It was like seagulls on a beach when you throw out bread. He uses one of those “cool” modern raps to hip hop music he wrote to reach out to young guys.
A couple of hat companies sent him some amazing hats that he is able to give to certain special guys and you can not imagine how much it means. It is like you gave them a brand new car. One guy actually said “I’ve wanted to own one since I was a little boy”.
The women’s prison reminded me, no exaggeration, like what you see in the death camps by the Nazi’s. It was a condemned hospital building. Dark, crumbling, all overgrown. Unfit for human occupation. Their faces were etched with pain. Some of them had children and you could see they were absolutely at their end. It meant everything to draw the children into dance and give them a stuffed animal. It opened their heart.
God gave me this word: “If you had a nice house or apartment that had nice furnishings and furniture would you let some crazy hooligans wander in off the street to raise havoc in your home? Would you let them destroy your house for the sake of their own insanity? The answer is obvious.
So then why do you do it? Why do you let THOUGHTS out of the thin air walk into your mind with chaos? Why do you leave your door open to all the lying emotions Satan and all his demons choose to bring in to you? He hates you. Jesus says that a house divided against itself will fall (Lk.11:17).
Thoughts are not in your pocket. They are not in your cupboard. You can’t show or touch them. They are invisible things that Paul says Satan fills the very air we breath with (Eph.2:2/2 Cor. 10:4). You must stop these “strangers” from coming into your house (Jn.10:5). This will prove who really owns your mind. Imagine some stranger boldly coming into your house, laying on your bed at night, and saying whatever he wants. Self-pity, loneliness and regret are relentless in their effort to live in your house.
Wallow-In-Nothingness is some guy who walks by, in the middle of the day, seemingly harmless, until he gets inside your house. Then he is all over you with crazy nonsensical aimlessness.
But what if someone came by your house who sincerely loved you, out of nowhere? What if he knew all about your personal suffering, sin, fears and weaknesses? He stands outside your house waiting for you to welcome him in. He offers promises of hope and goodness. We have been carrying signs up and down the beaches here that are filled with tourists. This morning I drew a line in the sand with my big toe. On this side I wrote SELF. Then I stepped over it and onto the side of a walk of faith where I choose to believe God is so good. He is the Father Who created the magnificence of all creation.
So my friend think seriously about who you allow to come into your house. For whatever you allow to come in will determine your state of mind. If you don’t stop them at the door they will just wander in. Before you know it they will control of your house. They don’t care what you say. They only respond to what you DO. Grab them by the neck and throw each one of them out. Do so with “violence” (Mt.11:12). Because I assure you that the one who is sending them does so with malicious intent.
Choose to welcome in humility of mind, praise, thankfulness, love, faith. God is good. Forgiving. Picture a sunset. Watch one. See a flower. Stop. Smell one. See a face. Touch a shoulder. Grab a hand, love someone. Lift up your eyes and believe. See the cross. See the One Who shed His blood so you can love His Father. Say it once. Say it a thousand times. “I believe You Messiah Jesus are the Sacrificed Lamb”.
So we journey on. Anyone who could and wants to help us, we need it. For us fifty dollars is a lot of money. Gas is six dollars a gallon here. No exaggeration. You can check it on the Internet. This place, as poor as it is, is more expensive than any country in South America. It’s one reason we are leaving. We can’t afford it. The government is just insane. Paraguay and Brazil are both better than here. We love you all very much and pray for those of you we know. Hallelujah! Jesus is coming soon!
Don’t give up. No matter how many times you blow it. No matter how it may seem that you are sinking into a quick sand like routine of bondage. HOPE IS ON THE HORIZON OF “TODAY”. It doesn’t depend on a monumental change. It starts with a mustard seed of thought. Just one. Right now. God loves you. It is beyond love. It is MERCY-Hesed-never ending. Not dependent on your actions. Don’t accept Satan’s garbage that you have to first get your act together before you give your life to the Lord. It won’t happen. It’s just the opposite. Give your life to Him then He will provide the supernatural grace to help you change.
“God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself, NOT COUNTING THEIR TRESPASSES AGAINST THEM” (2 Cor.5:19).
Think about this. No matter what you’ve done, or how bad you see yourself, His love has not slacked off from the moment He hung on a cross, bleeding to death, FOR YOU. Don’t focus on yourself. Refuse to be dragged down by your failure. Rather believe in this One Named Jesus. There is no other like Him, never will be. The love and forgiveness He offers you is like no other but it requires one thing from you: FAITH.
I’m not very good at getting old cuz I’ve never done it before and it’s a killer, literally. I just want to apologize for my last blog. It was not up to my desired standard and I take it seriously to think someone would spend their time to read this. I care about you and want to write things of truth to help you but I have been very hard pressed by the pace we set in order to reach as many schools with Christ before cold and rain make things too difficult. Driving hundreds of miles every other day, after preaching and doing all the other stuff involved in constantly moving takes it toll. I probably won’t be able to get one out for about a month or so. I usually spend days to write so as to edify and teach but on that last one I just spent an hour or so with things off the top of my head. It showed.
For college students who read this, or any young person (under 60), I would plead with you to seize upon your time before it flies away and you to become old without even realizing it. Most of all you have to change your heart as fast as you can. God holds a future for you in Christ, not in this world. So many of my years were spent learning things that I could have implemented much more quickly if I had been told what I am telling you. I am now sixty years old. Death is at work in the members of the body and it offers no options. It feels like I am in a house in which all the walls, floors and ceilings are collapsing around me and there is no way to escape. I just thank God for having the depths of salvation from which I can draw each moment of each day.
Don’t waste your time, my friend, listening to your own feelings or what others say. Begin to develop a solitary walk of faith in Jesus. Personal reward, here and now, is immense. In order to fully appreciate all that God offers you must see and understand the horrendous peril in which you now must face. Hell is nothing to take lightly. God’s will for you is NOT to find a career or just exist in a world gone mad. Because you won’t just exist, you will drown in misery. There is nothing but insanity and disillusionment waiting in any system of this world. This world offers only lies. God has already clearly revealed His will in the Scriptures.
The purpose for your life is service.
God’s will is for you to live someone else’s life: Jesus’. If you will give Him your “Yes” He will being His work. Yield to His breaking of your sourish man. “He died for all , so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf” (2 Cor.5:15). Jesus says there is no greater love than one lay down his life for others (Jn.15:13). There are millions whom you can help bring to Christ if you will take and apply the gift of faith and relationship with a loving Father. If you want a life of blessing Jesus says it comes in giving not in getting. Many say “What am I supposed to do quit my job and go live and beg on the street?”. This is the shameful thinking “Christians” have of what will happen to them if they trust in God.
Every moment is a dream. Every sharing with an open soul is joy beyond explanation. Every ordained opportunity to lift up Jesus is a privilege beyond anything of which I am worthy.
I would guess that with the backdrop of all the things that fill your mind each day you do not think much of what we do. But it is no little thing to preach the gospel. Have you ever thought about someone, in our case eight people, standing on a street to proclaim the mysteries of Christ? Imagine someone who, without a doubt, is in the anointing of the living Jesus. It is a very, very extraordinary thing. It is marvelous. In fact it is the only thing that matters in the world. There is nothing anywhere, at any time that is more important than preaching, with full understanding and authority, the future world, the kingdom of the living God. Now this is something worth living for; HE is worth living for.
I pray that you might realize this blog is a door into reality. It may sound exclusive. I don’t really care. I know Whom I know and I hear His voice. God’s Word is true. Judgement is near. My wife and I and our family of eight adult children are on the ‘front line’ in these last days. We live and travel together consumed with one vision: the living Jesus. Today’s “Churches” are an outrage. Stay away from the hypocrisy of the “Christians”. All they want are excuses to not take God’s Word seriously and obey Jesus. He alone will more than provide. There simply are no true Christians to be found. Just hypocrites. When we confront them with their hypocrisy they talk on and on about how we are not loving and that they have all this “love” yet not even once, in over thirty years of preaching, on hundreds of campuses, cities and events, has any one ever asked us “Hey is there anyway I can help you?”. They don’t ask because they are afraid that we might answer. Jesus says that even your enemies you should bless. They wouldn’t dream of it. Consumed with SELF. We are also constantly dealing with effects of and direct confrontation with “preachers” who are just nuts-jobs, evil men who want to use the gospel to exalt their own egos. They rant and rave, but no heart or reality. It is very grieving to see the effects of their delusion. Yet we are encouraged by so many kids that come up to tell us they see such a difference in our spirits compared to them.
Be wise. Get alone. Study God’s Word. Learn from Him how to implement His grace by faith. You should think long and serious about why sin and hell are forbidden words. Hell is spoken of over and over by the most loving One to ever walk this earth. Please ask me for some amazing literature on these issues we just wrote. No money or obligation. Just say send me everything. Sin is not some “whoops” mistake or isolated action. You have to first learn to understand why and how it is deceiving and destroying you in order for you to become free from it’s power. Meditate on Romans 5-7.
If you are insulated in a life style wherein you live unto yourself this blog offers you a glimpse of what’s really going on in the spirit of the air. If you do not take necessary action you will find yourself caught up in the vortex of a delusion carefully crafted by demons. God is just and is not partial to anyone. The work of the cross is a living, ongoing fountain of provision for all the needs you claim to have. Being passive and unresponsive to God’s revelation will leave you no different than the billions of lost souls, who complain day and night because they refuse to believe that real FAITH IN JESUS is the ultimate answer to their prayers.
These days are so evil. Men’s heart and conscience are so defiled and hard. You have to get serious. Don’t play games. Anyone of my six children, probably in your age bracket, can share with you about a life in Christ. The world bombards you with the hype of a career, education and marriage. All of which are dead end roads. We beg you that now, today, this moment to stop in the ongoing babel over living for yourself. Don’t follow in the footsteps of your parents or “leaders” of this world. Follow in the footsteps of the One sent to the earth by your Father. Live for Christ. Lay down your life. Target the lost, the homeless, the poor, the world. Or if you physically can not do this help those who do. This is God’s will for you.
It’s so amazing how a world that is so familiar suddenly becomes so distant, just from being transported from one culture to another. I would urge anyone, no matter what you do in life, to immerse yourself, for whatever time period, into a 3rd world nation. It will change you remarkably for the good for the rest of your life. It will make your decisions much easier because you will have cultivated a much bigger perspective and wisdom. It will pave a way for things to come about in your life that you would otherwise never see, do or be.
Welcome to anyone picking up my blog in the midst of our ministry in South America. It has been quite an amazing drive of over three thousand miles starting in Bogota, Colombia over seven months ago. You can back log that time throughout the various countries. It has become obvious to us how much the Father so cares for those in prison. No other group of people does God so express His concern than these suffering souls. In Matthew 25: 36 and Hebrews 13:3 God straight out commands those who call themselves His to care for them. It has been such a privilege to be welcomed into some of the worst prisons in the world. I document these times throughout my blog.
The border of Argentina is only an hour from where we were in Santiago, Chile. On the morning we planned to leave a dense fog smothered Santiago. The visibility was a block. “Lord, please, lead us” was my cry. We decided to head out. Slowly, the sun broke through as we began to climb the Andes Mountains. It was terrifying but awesome. Like so many times when we have had to find that extra “kick” to move out beyond any obstacles by faith. Then blessing of the Son will break through beyond the fog. Soon afterwards, the second largest mountain in the world came into view against a beautiful blue sky, because we did not let the fog hold us back. It’s so cool to realize the purpose of what we are doing and how we got here by shipping our van long ago to Colombia. When we stand back and think about things it is so obvious that the very hand of God has brought us here for the sole reason to live love and proclaim His Son.
The mountain range looked like it was divinely air brushed with a soft, pristine snow. It’s weird for us to see winter beginning in what we know as summer. The pass had also just opened after being closed two days from ice and snow. We made it though a small window without having to be delayed. We began to zig zag up it for some thirty switchbacks of fifty yard runs that snaked all the way to the top. We were excited, taking pictures and praising God. Our 43rd country at the 33 latitude. (33 Was my jersey number when playing college football.) It was pretty cool at the border except that our van is so high we almost ripped down a gas line in the tunnel. Guards got a bit uptight until they saw Elizabeth up there pushing all our stuff down. Amazing how God really uses personality. It’s ours to give and no one else has what you have. When they saw our stuffed dog on the front of our cattle guard they cracked up. The Dog is like a secret weapon. He gets his picture taken like a folk hero. One time, prison guards asked us if there was some type of deep symbolism to it. Nope. Just some of our ridiculous humor. The hardest thing was having to pay almost 1500.00 for visas to get into the country. Ouch. That hurts.
We were going to go to Bolivia first but decided instead on Buenos Aires then to Bolivia through Paraguay. Got a witness in Mendoza and stayed the night there then headed out. What a sweet drive. Woke up early to a phenomenal orange filled sky at sunrise. The song “Fragile” by Sting was playing softly in the background and we were all together as a family, driving to share the gospel, on the other side of the world, in love with Jesus and each other. Hallelujah. Moments like this radiate with destiny. On our way we passed flocks of parrots and flamingos. God’s grace empowered us to be able to make a two day drive in one day. Abraham is an excellent driver. Also Sarah, David and the others all want to get their time in the seat. Hit a huge traffic pile up because of an accident on the way into the city. Five motorcycles had slid under a huge tanker. So many ambulances. Just terrible. Buenos Aires is an enormous traffic laden city. It’s always tough constantly figuring out how to get around a new huge city and start from scratch. First on the list was an apartment. Sarah found a place for thirty bucks a night, which is a steal. It should cost at least four times that but they have a natural gas leak they can’t find, so they dropped the prices. Hopefully no explosions. It is a profound privilege to do what we do. Whether we find open or closed hearts it is always a “first love” joy to proclaim the gospel in another country.
Downtown Buenos Aires is just packed with people. They have quite the reputation for being arrogant. A popular T-shirt says “I’m not just perfect. I’m Argentinean”. The arrogance is grievous but preaching Jesus is awesome. It was 34 degrees yesterday. That’s not awesome. Our signs and cross are extremely effective as all eight of us spread out and preach Jesus in both Spanish and English and sometimes Portuguese. Joshua and Abraham made some incredible new signs and also a new tract. It is just so exciting to actually be an integral part of God’s eternal purpose! Every day, in ministry and practical living, we face a war zone (Eph.6:12). I remember in college when I first read that this world belongs to Satan I was, in a strange way, very relieved. It never made sense to me to “help make this world a better place” (Mt.4:8/1 Jn.5:19). I had no desire to strive to be accepted by any system of the world. The primary name Jesus gives Satan is “a murderer” (Jn.8:44/10:10). This is not “extreme” thinking. It is basic Biblical truth. I think Jesus knows what He is talking about. Satan is constantly using relationships and circumstances to destroy you. You may not take it seriously, but he does as the “god of this age” (Eph.2/2 Cor.4). Satan is not thinking about it. He is constantly working every minute, every hour, every day to do so (Rev.12:10).Don’t ever buy the lie that Satan is NOT intimately at work in your life. Yet your response should not be to focus on him but on talking to Jesus.
When you accept Satan’s lies you don’t realize how ridiculous they are. It’s terrifying when you stop to realize that it hasn’t been a couple of days or weeks, that you have wasted, by listening to him, but rather it has been YEARS. Satan has stopped you from so many things(2 Cor.10:3). Get angry. Get scared. Get grieved. Get up and fight! He really is stealing, not just time, but the quality of your only life (Jn.10:10). If you don’t change NOW what makes you think that you will ever change? God WILL be there.
How many times have you felt you’re on your own, as if nothing you do really matters? The most essential need in your life is motivation. Agreed? Motivation comes from first, breaking beyond a lie, so you can get a hold of God’s truth and love (Heb.4:12). God offers His divine sense of purpose as your motivation. It is not about whether what you DO matters. Rather motivation comes from WHO YOU ARE. If you are not anchored in rebirth, you will have no real understanding as to the ways of His Spirit (Jn.3:3-8). You are on your own and Satan knows it.
The blessing beyond the fog is in retrospect, when you realize that the decisions you made in faith were the outcome of your identity in Christ (Jn.10:29). God blessed Jacob, not by bestowing on him some vague “blessing”, but by calling him into an identity that changed his consciousness. Jacob had always fought with men. God transformed him into Israel: (Hebrew)-“one who fights with man and God and wins“(Gen.32). Most people think that being a Christian means surrendering to oblivion. Nothing they think or want matters any longer because God is going to do what He wants regardless of they think. Boring religion breeds “the lazy hillbilly” (2nd paragraph below). God is a living Person Who yearns to be actively engaged in your life. Like Jacob, you can WIN with God.
People meander down a river of self-pity without a paddle or a clue. They claim to be “Christian” but have absolutely no divine sense of identity or motivation. As simplistic as it sounds, they are just too lazy to talk to God. When I was in Fuller seminary, all I ever heard was the chit-chat over what their identity would be when they graduated. They sounded like little children telling their 1st grade teacher what they wanted to be when they grew up. Most said “a pastor”. Others said apostle, teacher, evangelist or umpteen kinds of “ministries”. They were motivated by filling slots in a religious system, not answering the call of a living God; “the harvest is plentiful…the laborers are few…” (Mt.9:37). My only thought, my only security was that I knew I was a son in dynamic relationship with myFather (Jn.8:32ff/Rm.8:15/2 Cor.6:17/Gal.4:6). He can use me in any capacity, whatever the need dictates.
A sluggard is full of excuses (Pr.26:13). He has no identity or recognition of belonging to a higher accountability. So he has NO motivation. Picture the image of the hillbilly and a dash-hound dog, sleeping away on an old dilapidated porch up in the backwoods of Tennessee. Grogginess is not a passing feeling but a way of life. He relies on which way the tail of his dog wags for making decisions. “Should I chew my soup or just swallow it?” He inhales on an old corn cob pipe, thumb-grabbin those suspenders as he watches life pass by from his rocking chair. He can tell you umpteen reasons why his way of life is right and he has no reason to change. He just doesn’t care.
RESOLUTION IS ESSENTIAL TO PUT YOURSELF IN THE WAY OF ‘THE WIND’ (Jn.3:8). MOVE TO THE SOUND OF AN INAUDIBLE VOICE THAT APPEALS TO YOUR WILL WITH GRACE (Jn.3:8). That still voice in back of your mind that has told you to do this or that, for so long, needs to take over the front of your mind. You need to push away all those old, dead thoughts. Put your foot down. It is the time you say “Enough is enough!”. Tell everyone of those lazy scoundrels who run your thinking “You’re fired!”. Out with the old, in with the new (2 Cor.5:17). Obedience is not born out of fearful response to laws etched in stone. It is a HOPE that God cares so much about you, in your personal insignificant situation, that when you move out by faith He WILL let you taste a new identity (beyond the fog). It is an individual choice to defy Satan’s greatest weapon…yourself.
Every time we go out to face hardened strangers on the streets or campuses, we default to silence, stillness and solitude before God. If He does not move we have nothing. What do I really mean? Who is this distant …SOMEONE…. we call God? Who is… the FATHER? What does it mean to “believe that HE IS” (Heb.11:6/Ex.3:14). This …SOMEONE….is waiting for you to find your own words to talk, by the only substance which alerts Him to your sincerity; FAITH. He PROMISES to be “ present” (Ps.46:1). This means whenever,where ever you choose, He WILL be there. You say “He just doesn’t seem to care about me”. Yet, this SOMEONE says that He cares for you. Satan looks for any opportunity to tell you that God does not hear you (1 Pt.5:7). He is a liar.
Everything starts with a hope (about anything) and it leads into faith (where you walk out the hope) and it all ends with the effectual blessing of the Son breaking upon you (Heb.11:1). It is not based on how you feel or what you think. It is not based on your circumstances or living situation. Abraham was in a tent. Rahab was a harlot. It does not come from someone or something. God doesn’t promise to make things better. He promises to make you new (2 Cor.5:17). It always starts with a full resolution of will. I am doing things I never imagined because I do not hold onto my old self. The eternity of others is at stake. So I am not concerned with what people think of me, but of how I can communicate Him to them.
We are staying a couple miles from Pope Francis’ home church. Buenos Aires, like all South American cities, has a catholic basis. It’s always so funny when the little old catholic ladies come up to us on the streets. They shout something about Mary, then quickly scurry away. We call them ‘drive by shooters’. Just hit you hard and they’re gone before you can turn around to see them. Sometimes however, they stop and talk, and we have had many a beautiful sharing with them. They realize we are NOT the Brazilian evangelicals whose goal is to attack Catholicism.
I’m just so thankful that change (repentance) is the integral essence of relationship with Jesus. Oh, how I have changed. I first met Jesus as a catholic, who went to Mass and continued to pray to Mary. Some thirty five years ago I even attempted to be a Dominican priest and studied at Aquinas College. Then I graduated from the largest interdenominational seminary. My first thesis was on the role of Mary as the “Mediatrix” in salvation. I remember the look of shock on the face of Dr. Wilums when I submitted the title. He said “As long as you can prove it in the Scriptures I’ll accept it”. I thought “Ha. No problem”. Actually, I found it to be impossible. The theology of Mary is rooted in St. Augustine and St. Jerome not the Scriptures. Being in a non-catholic seminary made me doctrine minded. I learned exegesis (translating from Greek) on all the relevant Scriptures that exposed the doctrines of Mariology, the sacrifice of the Mass, the infallibility of the Pope, etc as being unbiblical (Lk.1:47/Mk.3:33/Heb.9:26,10:10/Mk.7:6/ Mt.16:23, 23:9). Slowly, I became anti-catholic. I could out-quote and out argue anyone with God’s Word. Love? Oh ya. Forgot about that one. As fellow seminarians would sit around hour after hour attacking the Catholic system, I began to question what practical purpose this served. I didn’t realize the pride that accompanies knowledge can easily cause one to lose focus of His love. I have had to draw from these early experiences long after I left seminary. My thinking is never out of the reach of my Father, Who over years, has had to discipline this son on his back and forth journey into wisdom and compassion.
God offers His love to Catholics, Protestants and pagans despite any of their deception. Love does not prohibit me from speaking truth but enlarges my character to do so. There is a time for confrontation and rebuke but the goal is to do so in love, not in provocation. Jesus died to save a soul from hell not to put “right” doctrine on the books. It’s easy to blow people off. It’s love to take them on. I constantly change with goal of being bigger; being like Christ. I constantly praise Jesus for bearing my sinful ways in such abundant forgiveness. His mercy gives me “The Kick” that He is personally involved in molding His perspectives within me. I die and and rise every day (Rm.6:6). Jesus does not lead a man to become self-righteous about “right” doctrine but rather to lay down YOUR righteousness to touch unrighteous men who may have no doctrine (Phil.3:9).
The process of THINKING enters a higher dimension in Christ that you could call “synchronizing”. God gives access to His thoughts which are in a context of destiny (1 Cor.2:11-16). His desire is to make us actually think with the thoughts of Christ (ibid.). Thus, it is not circular or clever thinking like any natural man. I deal with impossible and obscene situations and people. People don’t understand their own need for personal redemption. How will they hear without someone who loves enough to figure out a way to tell them, to win them. It is beautiful to actually see the Holy Spirit bring His things beyond my things. What He sees as important is not what I may see. How do you reach a vehement pagan, a prisoner without hope, an upper class businessman or a naive young person? Jesus.
We are in the middle of ministering to three different prisons a distance outside the city. One is rated as one of the worst in the world. One woman’s prison and two are for men. God has opened the doors, the bars, into the prisons of every country we have been to. Surely Jesus cares so much for them (Heb.13:3). It requires a lot to effectively reach people of all ages and walks of life. It is inevitable, with human nature to make mistakes and fail. Who doesn’t wish they could do certain things over? However, in Christ, the Father promises to cause those very things to work for our good, if we are willing to be like a humble child. To believe Him and learn (Rm.8:28). There are those who thoroughly condemn me. Perhaps they are perfect, but I will always be an imperfect sinner trying to preach a perfect gospel. Hallelujah, God is bigger than all my failures. All those whom I have preached to, over 40 years, remain accountable to God for every word of His gospel. We have this treasure in earthen vessels.
When a man lives with leading of the Spirit, he becomes broken of his own will (Ps.51:17). I KNOW I am nothing. I am a dead man; “crucified with Christ” (Gal.2:20/Rm.6:3-6/Jn.12:25). Failure is a normal part of following Jesus. I am free from the fear of doing something wrong (which keeps many from ever doing anything) because I believe God can make everything right by His blood. It is good to fail because it exposes our sin and weakness. So we don’t build on self-pride. It is the only way to learn the difference between soul and spirit (Heb.4:12/1 Cor.15:45). To learn to “walk in the Spirit” does not happen from listening to a sermon or CD. It comes FROM the Spirit in the school of every day life (Phil.2:12).
The apostle Peter was partying with a bunch of pagans. When Paul came in the room, Peter got up from the table so Paul wouldn’t think he was being carnal. Peter thought obedience meant legalism and moral righteousness. He was wrong. He had to learn that obeying Jesus is realistic not legalistic. Paul rebuked Peter because he was not being transparent (Galations 2). Actually, it was obedience for Peter to keep partying because it was consistent with the freedom a man finds under the blood of Jesus. It’s like me and the catholic thing. I thought being doctrinally “righteous” was obedience when in fact I was being just as unrighteous as the Catholic I attacked for holding to religious standards rather than the Spirit.
Salvation is all about PERSONAL ENGAGEMENT WITH JESUS. If I could know Jesus as the “Crazy War”, at college, while a Catholic, then why couldn’t others find Him in whatever their lifestyle? It is God Who alone touches a man, leads a man, and loves a man out of deception and into His light. Jesus promises to do so (John 10:29/2 Cor.6: 17). Paul the apostle loved men who were involved in pagan rituals. He did not skip a beat. He knew the mind of Christ was to be all things to all men so as to reach even one… maybe even some nobody named Michael (1 Cor.9:22).
Thank God that change is not a one time thing but an ongoing growth into His glory. People who say change is a contradiction say it because they are afraid to do so themselves. What good does “righteousness” do if it’s all about YOU and you are really irrelevant to helping anyone else? It is good to be concerned with compromise because we are fearful creatures. I used to react against “Christians” who say “Where’s your love?” by saying “Where’s your truth?”. God says one is not complete without the other; “…but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him…Christ” (Eph.4:15). God is holy and just but also so big and so good.
Whether people are open or hard hearted, the gospel must be preached. Obsession with this world hardens the human soul like concrete. The majority just want to get all done with God. They don’t want any learning curve to do with Christ. Just package “IT” all up into doctrines and moral striving; do’s and don’ts. Put a lid on it called “I’m already a Christian” so you can get on with your life. Sorry, I love you with a love far beyond myself. I WON’T leave you to Satan. I will fight for you, even if you fight against me.
Hypocrites don’t want any of this “sonship” stuff to hear “His voice” (Jn.10:4,29). Nothing to do with ground-facing humility and learning. As if God is the object of what THEY SAY is right. Such arrogance is as old as the cross. They said Jesus was a wino drunk who had a demon (Mk.2:22/Mt.11:19/Jn.8:48). It cracks me up when I hear people say I don’t represent their “jesus”. I agree. I don’t want their “jesus”. I stand for the Father’s Jesus (Jn.6:40). Ever hear of a totem pole? Ancient tribes sculpted their own images of their god onto a pole. Then, they worshipped what they imagined their god to be. Truth leaves no guess work. The Scriptures clearly reveal Jesus. Jesus was a hostile “Traitor” to this world (Jn.7:7,15:18/2 Cor.4:4). He was an “Alien” (Jn.18:36). Those same people also say we shouldn’t “turn people off” by carrying 10 foot message signs. Yet we use them, like so many other things, to affect entire cities around the world for Jesus in a matter of weeks. We have abundant and amazing fruit of personal contacts and emails.
How can we say “churches” are a joke and the “Accept Christ” prayer formula is not Biblical? How about instead of attacking us and falsely accusing us, why not look deeper into why we say such things? See what sort of people we are proven to be in the witness of our lives. The same people that ask these questions do nothing to help the poor, homeless etc. or make any effort to be a witness in public for Jesus. It’s means nothing to feel bad for people. Do something to help them. Hypocrites go from sermon to sermon to sermon to sermon obsessed with finding “friends” and feeling good about their own self-righteousness lives. Don’t do this my friend. You are missing so much. It is JESUS , not me, WHO demands that anyone who claims to follow Him must stand for Him (Mk.8:38 /Mt.16:15/Acts 1:8). Don’t make your own totem pole “jesus” (2 Cor.11:14/Gal.1:8).
Why are “churches a joke”? I don’t say this in a flippant manner. Many years, hundreds of cities and campuses, so many people, five years of seminary and most of all knowing the true church of Jesus has forged this declaration to this generation. Gordon Conwell documents today’s Christianity brings in about 626 BILLION dollars a year in the US alone! That’s ten million dollars a minute. Really sounds consistent with the revelation of a homeless Carpenter, eh? How about His true followers who often went without food and were cold (1 Cor.4:11/2 Cor.11:27). How about 3.7 million “churches”; 67,000 denominations and 50,000 new “churches” every year! I’m sorry my friends but this IS NOT the church of Acts. Yet this delusion is ever more reason for us to love them with our message of truth because we are their only hope. Regardless of false accusations people make against us we say “Father forgive them they KNOW NOT what they do”.
There is a secular adage “You are either part of the problem or part of the answer”. You are either learning to cling to Jesus in these last days, and stand for HIM or you are gradually being dragged under by the tide of delusion. There is an unseen abyss of wickedness overtaking the consciousness of the world. About 2.4 million people get divorced every year. Even amongst “Christians”. Everyone is growing cold to these things I write and the things we preach (Mt.24:12). Where is anyone who cares to labor over lost souls? Not set on a “ministry” but just plain ordinary on the streets talking to people?
We never see such people standing for Jesus. This is just a fact. I’m not lying. I didn’t say “I have seen people but choose not to acknowledge them”. Where are the two billion other “Christians” who have been commanded by Jesus to “Go into all the world…”?! (Maybe in a building on Sunday busy talking about how radical they are?) We do see plenty of nuts. That’s for sure. People become consumed with issues, doctrines and their own righteousness. It is so grievous to see so many false preachers whose only concern is their own ego. Where is just a down to earth, sincere, simple individual who is willing to bear the anxiety, stress, isolation, rejection and persecution because he or she loves Jesus more than their own life (Rev.12:11)? It doesn’t matter what others say my friend. What matters is whether you obey what God says in His Word. This is someone anointed with Christ; i.e. a Christian. This is the church.
You may think that one day you will just snap your finger and “get serious”. It won’t happen. The human soul is just not that way. I warn you my friend. Change while you can. Admit you are an orphan. Ask God for the adoption of His sonship! Stop resorting to your typical responses. You don’t have to take on the world. Just start with some small mustard seed. We are talking about nothing less than eternity in hell. Imagine the horror. Eternity.
Obviously the religion of Christianity has spread throughout the world. It does not preach the gospel of the living Christ. Jesus says “This gospel shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony….and then the end will come” (Mt.24:14). Preaching the gospel of the living Jesus is always a “first love” experience. Protestants condemn Catholics but hold to their own unbiblical doctrines. The gospel is not a prayer formula to “Accept Christ as Savior” (which is NOWHERE in the Bible). The goal is to bring the LIVING WORD to all nations and religions; i.e. people. Jesus calls men to follow HIM, individually, by the Spirit, via a religious system falsely labeled “church”. Again and again, Jesus didn’t walk around asking people to “accept Me”, but “Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Me” (Mt.16:24/Lk.9:23/ Mk.8:34/Jn.12:25). This is the true church as seen in the Book of Acts.
God willing, we may be able to finish South America sometime next year. My hope is then to get to Japan, South Korea or South Africa. We continue bringing the truth of the gospel to all the world. Even though men have heard about Churchianity they have not heard; “Seek the living Jesus NOT “church”. Every time we are out, so many say “I have never heard this before”. The religious saturation (as documented above) makes it harder than in the days of Paul to present the simple message of faith in Jesus. We must speak the truth in love, that the system of Christianity does NOT represent the gospel of the living Jesus.
Story after story I could tell of individuals we minister to throughout the world who hear for the first time the answer of His Spirit rather than the lie of “churchianity”. Does anyone really think that the answer for suffering people is to come to a building on Sunday? Come on my friend. Gimme a break. So much pain and sorrow. God needs your voice and your hands. We met a young man who sold tickets with his family on the street one day. Two days later he was killed in a car accident. His parents were devastated. A woman came up to Ruth who was just weeping. She told her that two weeks ago she came upon her husband who had hung himself in their apartment. He had told her how miserable and lonely he was but she didn’t pay much attention. We constantly deal with the homeless, the mentally ill, those who suffer from divorce or past tragedy. Hurting people don’t need to “Go to ‘church’ on Sunday”. They need the personal touch and healing words of the living Christ. Will you lay down your life to give His?
We will now be leaving here in Buenos Aires and continue to be led by “the wind of His Spirit” (Jn.3:8). If anyone wants to contact me you can do so through here.
This is a recent video my son Joshua put together of some of our travels and life over the past few months.
As soon as we got out of Peru we started seeing one warning sign after another; Zone of Fog (fog so thick we could not see twenty feet), Zone of Sandstorms (fierce winds of sand), Zone of Landslides, Zone of Falling Rocks, Zone of Tsunamis, Zone of Dangerous Curves. We felt like any minute we were going to see a sign that read; Zone of Monsters. Then, believe it or not, there was the Zone of Hazardous Explosions. We had no idea what that meant. Seriously we felt like we were entering some kind of strange children’s storybook land where, at any minute, some big monster was going to come out from behind a mountain and try to swallow our van. It was weirder (if that’s a word) to think it was all real than to think that maybe a monster could…. No. Forget that.
Anyways, so many things have happened in this leg of our journey through South America that have made us feel we are living out something planned long ago (Is.25:1). It’s like when I saw a movie one time where people in a control room were directing someone in a car far away by simultaneously using a tracking device, map, satellite and cellphone. No matter what that person saw before him, he was fully confident that he was headed to a predetermined destination because he was communicating with someone who could see everything and was closely monitoring his every move so as to bring him to that place.Continue reading
Maybe you saw on the news that a 8.2 earthquake just hit last night in the city Iquique to which we are headed. This is an enormous earthquake. We should be arriving there in the middle of the cleanup. We know that God will protect and lead us in this extremely dangerous and volatile region. They are expecting another huge one at any time. Maybe we can bring the gospel at a time when these people may be more vulnerable to Jesus. It surely does not seem like a coincidence that we are here at precisely this time. Quite mind blowing really. We could be far more in God’s will then we realize. Jesus IS coming soon.
In regards to the prisons. We are now having to bear backlash of Satan’s fury for what God accomplished through us. Paul warns of “spiritual wickedness in high places” (Eph.6:12). Demons whose sole purpose is to craft concepts of delusion to win men. We did several presentations in the prisons this last week. It seems we greatly offended the evangelicals in the prison who rely heavily on the officials to support, regulate and expound their TV ministry out of the prison. In turn officials get a kickback. They actually have a huge banner for it on a prison wall in the middle of all these catholic shrines.Continue reading
I could write a story about all the dogs we have dealt with. No kidding. It is funny but not funny because they don’t bring out the best in you. I won’t even mention the ones we deal with in our crowds.
To follow up from the last blog where I shared about us all going to the prison to ask if we could perform for the ten thousand prisoners. The commander approved our visit so we will be going there three times this week. This is quite a move of God if you knew of all the obstacles we had to overcome.We did something last night that we have never done before.
We explained to the crowd that we were going to the prisoners and asked if anyone wanted to help us bless these guys because we can not afford to do what we would like to do. We told them if they could help us we could buy some things for the prisoners. One person actually gave us thirty five dollars! We were shocked. They didn’t even want credit. They just put it in a hat we had sitting on a speaker. All together we got sixty four dollars. We’d like to get something that lasts. But when you multiply things out times 5000 to 10,000 it gets very expensive.Continue reading
I’m going to have a bumper sticker made that says “I’D RATHER BE EATING GOAT”. Because it is not about the goat that we ate last night but the abundant blessing we all shared, sitting together as a family on Rachel’s birthday, just after ministering to an extremely poor but so grateful community of Peruvians. (My precious cheerleader turned 58 but will never be a day over 19 in my eyes.) It’s like what Jesus said after sharing with the poor woman at the well. He told His brothers “I have food to eat that you do not know….” ( Jn.4:32). Jesus was full of the joy that comes from giving the Father’s life to someone who is hungry.Actually I would bet that Jesus did eat goat. This alone proves His divinity. I would imagine it was a staple of that culture. It is cheap but the taste….well…let’s just say if I had nothing else to eat I would LEARN to like it.Continue reading
The conclusion of our dilemma in the desert was that the sole battery that was in a desert city got us to where Abraham found someone to fix the alternator. So the van rose again from dead in the desert.
As we approached a new city we were faced with a whole new set of challenges. When we left Bogotá, or other cities in which we stayed for a while, we spent much work and time to established favor with those who print our tracts, with various officials, venders, lots of street people, some police and merchants. Now once again we have to start from scratch in another city. Nothing too difficult for God. People are not as friendly as in Colombia. Everybody quite mean and people don’t know or care who we are but God does…so God DOES. Since we don’t have phones we do everything by foot. First we have to find a place to stay. No place for a tent. A tight budget limits our options. Then we study and figure out the roadways and places for ministry. Find someone to make tracts, copy CD’s, a place to get food, etc.
We deal with multitudes of suffering people. Many of them have mental illness. Oftentimes people do not appear as mentally ill but quite the contrary, ‘together’. The other night a woman came out of the crowd carrying a dead pigeon to show us. She then disappeared. A little while later she came out of the crowd and just put her arms around me with a big smile. Middle aged, blonde hair, looked American but Peruvian, somewhat pretty and not badly dressed. She positioned herself on the ground right in front of our equipment and she proceeded to move to the music. As the night progressed she deteriorated into bizarre behavior. She pleaded to come with us, then went on about being a Christian going in and out of Spanish and English. So far not that bad.
Then she started to just move from one side of the area to another. She’d start half crying then laughing. You could see her inner torment. Just walking quickly and stopping, grabbing something then coming up and spitting in my face from her over talking. It would be only natural for any person to get angry, tell her to go away or laugh at the absurdity of it all. After dealing with so many people we have learned the importance of realizing that God tests us at any unexpected moment. Oftentimes it is when we are the most into our own thing. We were surrounded by hundreds of people and in the middle of doing various songs, etc.
RIDDLE: What two things go up as we drove down below the equator? (answer at end)
What image do you have of the coast from Ecuador to Peru? Most would think of lush green mountains? We were educated to the surprising landscape that reminded us of when we were in northern Africa. Sprawling desert, blowing sand and heat waves surrounding our van on an absolutely deserted road gave us that deep sense of total dependence on the mercy of God. The poverty of Ecuador and Colombia continued and even gets worse because these people have no land that they can live off of to grow crops and find shelter. It is unsuitable for habitation but these people are surely not there by their own desire.
We tented in the back of a cafe in a tiny city as laughter and blessing filled our hearts to have entered country number 38. We were just so aware of the Lord’s Presence in our midst. Contentment is an extraordinary choice. It eliminates all striving and self-pity and leaves you with the space of mind and heart to utilize your time to create life that breeds joy.
Not to long ago we moved from an apartment in Bogotá, Colombia into a van to travel down through South America to bring the living Jesus to as many people as possible.
Not two.. or four people…. not six people ….but EIGHT full-grown adults living and traveling out of a VAN in a 3rd world country. Awesome. Nothing more edifying than living on ‘the edge’ (literally driving along the edge of three-mile high Andes mountains). The power God offers to live by faith is no little thing. After some forty years of traveling the world we are setting out to do the most difficult thing yet…and I’m 60 years old!
Jesus says, “Go…and…Lo, I am with you always…” ( Mt.28:20).
God does phenomenal things but altering the molecular structure of possessions is not one. But God does alter our hearts and minds so that we get rid of junk, live with little and learn how to access His love for each other and big grace in little space! (2 Cor.12:9). Jesus repeatedly emphasizes to put no importance on possessions. Why? They become like anchors to the soul (Luke 12:33/ 18:22/Matthew 6:19).