Teaching, TravelsOctober 13, 2014

The Glory of Death

Speaking The Name Amongst So Many Names

My wife Rachel and I were standing on the street in lower Manhattan. She passed out tracts as I held a sign and preached the dynamic glory of the living Jesus. Scores of people walked by as it was during the four to seven o’clock rush hour. The very next evening Joshua and Abraham took this same area. Abraham at one post and Joshua stood exactly where I was standing. Suddenly a police officer, who had stood there for two hours, came up to him, with that outrageous type of unreasoning and commanded him to stop. As Joshua asked him why, since we often stand there,  several other officers grab his arms and put his hands behind his back and arrested him. The sign fell as the officers took him off to jail. They confiscated the sign that cost us over three hundred dollars. It says Seek The Living Jesus……All Alone. It is huge and feels like someone has stolen a part of us. Now we have to figure out how to contact the court and go through the whole process of a trial or whatever. But the glory of lifting up Jesus to all those dying souls is worth the death of whatever may be involved.
A few of us went to hold our signs behind the two major morning shows on TV. They have about ten million viewers and are shot live every morning in public so it is an excellent opportunity to get a witness to many people. Of course, they don’t want anything to do with Jesus so they cut away from the signs as much as they can. But God allowed us to get signs on both shows that were clearly read, one for an extended time.
 GMA Today
Elizabeth held this sign (above) during a concert by Fleetwood Mac. Later that day, Ruth was as at Grand Central Station, David and Elizabeth were in Madison Square Garden and Sarah was riding her bike flying her flags for Jesus in Times Square. The Word of God was going forth in such power. So many sharings with so many people from all walks of life from all over the world. Our ultimate joy. Our ultimate death. Several people from South America recognized us from being in their country so we could have a follow up sharing. Likewise others we have shared with in New York came up. A young girl from Honduras had a heart for the poor.  She said Ruth was like an angel from God because she had been asking Him for guidance and Ruth was spot on with what she was thinking. Several who said we were their answers to prayer. One guy who had been into Joel Olsteen but was really a catholic came to understand the deception of it all. We now have a large newsletter, full color that we pass out and have seen great fruits from it. Also Abraham and a few others developed literature that touch on specific points.
Joshua talked to a man on the street who had graduated as a mechanical engineer but when his wife died of cancer he couldn’t pay all the medical bills and lost everything and was now homeless. Over 12,500 kids sleep on the streets of New York every night. One man  opened a “church” and was a pastor but knew it was all just hypocrisy, and was open to Jesus. Another veteran shared how he was robbed and ended up homeless. He showed us how he begged all day and all anyone gave him was two quarters. He shared how he was angry with God for all his suffering but changed his heart when Joshua shared about the priority of eternal life. He just needed a pair of boots and had a chance at a new construction job, which we were able to buy him. A high class business man shared how he had been through the gamut of “churches” but never really considered Jesus all alone. He said he got chills seeing our signs and was inclined to want to know more. A young man shared with us how he is still under contract for two more years to the military yet is living on the streets, trying to figure out what to do.
People from Germany, Algeria, Nigeria, Ghana, England, Italy, France, Brasil, Australia and so many more, it seemed like New Years Eve. Numerous Muslims sincerely interested in Christ. We are in contact with various individuals. So many homeless. A man who was going into open heart surgery told Ruth he had never heard the gospel and was going to give his life to Christ after talking to her. A woman just texted us who said she is terrified with fear of riding the subways. She is a business owner of fabrics downtown New York. She walked out of her shop and saw three signs for Jesus. She said it was a “slap in her face to wake me up from this material world and hear Him say ‘I am not dead. I am here'”. So many others.
We have been to some thirty college campuses since I last wrote from Colorado to Massachusetts. So sad for these kids searching for an identity and future they will never find. So naive and gullible to a heartless and dangerous world. So much mental illness. It’s mind blowing how over 1100 college students have committed suicide last year and the majority were a result of realizing their own mental illness. This is the result of extreme pressure, disorientation isolation, and the unseen powers of Satan. This is the result of individuals being devastated by divorce, alienation, loneliness and who knows what else.
It is so sad preaching at a University of Michigan football game.  I ask you to consider what it must be like to stand holding a sign for Jesus with a hundred thousand screaming pagans coming at you. We can’t stop being devastated by the evil of men against Jesus. Despite a great majority claiming to be Christians. One guy texted Abraham the next day and said to see him doing this is something that changed his life. He could never imagine seeing anything like that. The wind was so strong it literally blew Ruth over on her back as she fell down while holding the sign. All the talk about women’s rights today. Well I can tell you about three profound women who make shame of millions of “Christian” men to stand not for their “rights” but He alone Who is right.  To walk away after having lots of beer poured on you and every filthy vile thing said against you is like unbearable without the grace of the living God being upon you. Several of our sign poles snapped  by the ferocity of the wind. Below is the tweet (?) Abraham received after U of M football game.
 It is always a fearful thing to walk out and face the hostile nature of men but the joy of being a vessel of the truth of the gospel is so far more overwhelming.  To stand on Wall Street, or Colorado State, with a heart of compassion, next to my son and brother Joshua, and express the heart of the Father’s love is a privilege beyond explanation. You can see the “glory” of the world at an event such as the Super Bowl. You can see the glory of the Father when standing in the One hated by this world (John 15: 18,24). It has a cost in so many ways but the death is nothing compared to the glory of “seeing”  and being in Him. The cost is also financial. Some have told me that I should stop and get a job to supply a home to my family. They say I am not being a responsible father.  The house we have as we live on the roads of this world is carpeted with leaves. The wall paper is designed with real trees. The living room has a river running through it with a mountain in the back ground. Most of all it is always full of deep love, laughter and purpose beyond anything we deserve.
We  spend money far beyond our means because our needs are very great.  Some have said “Oh you got to have some kind of financial support that you don’t tell people about to do what you do and go all the places you go.”  If this were true it would render me a liar and nullify our entire ministry. We have no ongoing support from anyone. We live off the savings from working jobs. We  will receive an occasional help from someone that we greatly appreciate but no one could realize what is required for all of us to minister in the capacity we do to the world. If it wasn’t for our savings we’d be working full time. This a fact no matter whether anyone chooses to belive me or not. God knows. When we run out we will go back to work.
We go and do what we do because we are compelled by a real burden for people in all walks of life.  We are not a ministry. We are a family of individuals who truly love Jesus and do all we can to bring this life to a lost  and dying world.

Today’s Daily News Involving Muslims

The issues today with Muslims is not answered by attacking individual Muslims but with exposing the religion of Islam that, like all other cults, including Judaism, deny that Jesus is God and that the Father has a Son. Read the Quran Surah 10:68, 23:91,  also see 8 verse 12, 5:33. I know what I’m talking about. A number of years ago we traveled throughout Europe to preach the gospel and we drove down into Africa. We went to Morocco where we were all arrested for holding signs that proclaimed Jesus is God in Arabic. At that time I was still a bit naïve and just couldn’t imagine an entire civilized people would actually arrest us for merely standing on the street talking about Jesus. I quickly realized that when they say they are an Islamic state with a theocratic regime to “Allah” they mean it. Yet, as with maturing in Christ, God redeems everything for the better in the life of a son. What followed that day was a place of experience I hold very dear. We were interrogated at a military camp for eleven hours. They ransacked the tent we slept in looking for proof that we were political agents.
They thought we had a political agenda or at the very least were anti-Muslim. When the General realized we were neither but in fact sincerely in love with Jesus and trying to reach out to people with the truth of Christ, the attitude of him and his guards was remarkable. They could not comprehend sincere “radicalism”. They thought they had the market. Without ever admitting their curiosity and intrigue we engaged in a depth of conversation about God and truth I have never had in over forty other countries. To me, every person I meet who is open to sincere conversation about Christ in contrast to Mohammed is a prize opportunity.
I think that anyone who has not grown up into a “Christian” culture has an opportunity to discover the light of Christ in a way that is very rare. And it is in fact the one thing that can allow someone  to discover the “livingness” of Jesus like few others can. It is really key for any  person to see themselves as completely unchristian in order to see the things of Christ as never before. It is the attitude Jesus is referring to as essential  to serve Him with pure zeal, by the term “first love” (Rev.2:4) .
An issue I was recently sharing with someone who had come from an Islamic background,  is man’s innate torment to feel he is somehow a good person. From whatever religion or background all men want to prove their not “that bad”. It is an insane contradiction to admit, in one breath,  being a “sinner”. Then argue to justify yourself as a good person. There is no more offensive word in the human language than sinner; it means you will always be a vile, filthy and useless beast (Rm.3:10/Is.59).

The Torment to feel “I’m RIGHT”.

There are so  many things I would love to share anyone about this. Especially if indeed you are willing to be sincere and honest about Mr. Ego. This ‘person’ who so desires to be seen as your friend when he is our greatest enemy. The first step  is to “see” your SELF as your greatest enemy (Consider the agony Paul experienced with this monster in Romans 7). Only then can you be freed of him. There is no limit to the need for understanding the power of evil that resides within our ego. Paul minced no words when he explained that he was actually “crucified” with Christ (Gal.2:20). This, as you know, is a horrendous Roman torture. Why he would use such language can be quite offensive if you do not understand the “evilness” within our soul.
You can know that if a man in prison is sentenced to death he must have committed a horrendous crime. Likewise, to know the evil of your sin you can look at the sentence you have received of eternity in the lake of fire. God is just. Our crime perfectly corresponds to our punishment.  Sin has caused nothing less than catastrophic corruption of our being. This is why it is so absolutely absurd to ever think of yourself as in anyway being “good”. You may think you are not “that bad” but in God’s eyes you are worthy of hell. This is what makes the nature of His work through Jesus so utterly magnificent.
So the one thing that I want to touch on, that will take quite a lot to understand, is this matter of the efforts to be a good, moral  upright person. The Bible uses terms that we are not familiar with in our modern language. We do not use the word “righteous” or “righteousness”. We use the words right, nice and good to describe the character we have  as our goal. The start of confusion is the obsession to BE RIGHT (or good)(righteous) rather than to admit you are bad and evil. This is an absurd premise for anyone who claims to be a Christian.  We think that the more  “good” or moral we can be, that somehow this emulates God-like living. It is, in fact, the very proof that a man is NOT a Christian.
This is such a huge issue that Paul dedicates great effort to explain in Romans 4, 10, Philipians 3, Galations. The Jews, who killed Christ (1 Thessalonians 2:14-15), were consumed with being righteous. They had over ten thousand laws that they tried to follow in order to be righteous (Hosea 8:12). Paul was raised to think this way. He became a Pharisee to teach everyone how to be right. Every waking moment is the thinking “What should I, what must I,  do, think or say to be RIGHT today, right now. What is right and what wrong?”. Paul actually killed Christians because they taught that no person could be right at any time or do anything good in any way by striving; obeying any law.
God reveals that the  only  “RIGHT” mentality or operating principle for a man to relate to Him is  FAITH. That’s it. Nothing else. No moral behavior whatsoever. Paul explains that “righteousness” (being, doing, thinking, acting and choosing what is right) comes solely and only by FAITH. What is faith? How does one define it and differentiate it from wishful thinking or the presumption of hypocrites? Just as there are various personality traits unique to certain individuals so is there to faith. Abraham was an old pagan man. He was  basic and simple. He lied to protect his wife. He was a fighter. Not sophisticated.  Yet he was “RECKONED” to be right because he BELIEVED God. This ” faith of Abraham”  is true faith (Rm.4). A pagans ice-like response; “God said it. I believe it”.
Actually it is quite outrageous to think that if you don’t swear, cheat, lust, lie or do other bad things that you are NOT a good man. “Of course I am” says Mr. Ego.  “I am better than someone who does do those things” he insists. No. You are not. Not matter how “good” you act, you are a scumbag (Meditate on Romans 3:10ff/Jer.17:9).  Paul does not say “wretched man that I WAS” but “wretched man that I AM” ; “among all sinners I AM FOREMOST OF ALL” (1 TIm.1:15-16) and this was after numerous heavenly visions, miracles and a depth of anointing (Rm.7:24).
God says that even if we do “good” things, because we are absolutely corrupt from birth, we are still evil at our DNA. Paul says there is nothing that we can ever do that is good (Romans 3:10ff). He says that no matter how many things we do that seem “good” (helping people, feeding the poor, caring about the sick, etc.) we are still useless. We “groan like bear” and “moan like a dove” (Is.59). Now this is enough to make a natural person very angry.  What about YOU? One time a campground manager gave us a cheaper rate on an RV site because he thought doing so would get him favor with God. When I told him that none of his good works mattered to God he had to repent and be born again he immediately changed our rate back to normal.
The danger is if you do not accurately understand this revelation  you will build your life on self-righteousness no matter whether you give God the glory or not. Today’s “Christians” think that because they KNOW THIS IN THEIR HEAD and give glory to God that the reality of it is in their lives. Yet they are consumed with self-righteousness. They are driven by the “Christian” laws. They have no clue to the revelation of faith. Even though they talk and talk about faith  they prove that they are under the law by their constant striving to be right, guilt over sin and self-pride.
Faith reduces a man to nothing. He has no inner euphoria over his goody-ness beause he has tasted the death he deserves and the glory that lies beyond. He has nothing to boast of because he knows he can do nothing right or good. No matter how many people we preach to overseas or people we help, no matter how many prisoners we feed or homeless men we clothe it is all self-righteousness. Our sense of rigtheousness is not on what we do but on faith in what He did two thousand years ago.
Satan long ago embedded in the human nature of Adam and Eve this sick and warped mentality of SELF. It is a maze of insanity with NO answers. The conscience demands observance to God’s laws. But my conscience has been “washed clean” from craving SELF “righteousness”. My righteousness is that of Christ reckoned to me by the faith of Abraham.
 Stop, my friend. Stop. YOU must be “washed clean” by blood of Jesus (Hebrews 10:22). Christ has provided the ransom for you; your sinful nature; your self-righteousness.
The tragic thing is that the majority who read this will not be changed one iota. They will know it in their head but their pride will rule out. They will continue on their journey to prove God wrong. They will refuse the power of The Name. Everything having to do with Christ is about the work of the Holy Spirit. It is not dry doctrinal adherance. It is personal interaction with a loving Father and His Son. The promise of the ages is yours to be had in John 14:23. It is their super natural work done and offered to you. It is about being freed of that inner torment and wicked drive to “be right”. King David said the only thing God requires from a man is, not moral perfection, but a ‘broken and contrite heart’ (Psalms 51:17).  Faith leaves me with and as nothing. My boast is my nothingness. It is my entitlement to His provision.  Sinful nothingness is the place where God is everything. Not by words but by understanding of His revelation.
I know this is a lot to understand. It’s taken me many years and I continue to grow in my understanding as if I understand nothing. It all comes down to HEART. To love God for what He has done. It’s not about doctrines. It’s about a Father  Who cares and understands so much and did something so utterly costly to His very Person.
He is a Father and you are an orphan. Find the glory of death.
Your friend,