TeachingJanuary 25, 2018

One Drop 01.10.18

BEGIN-  I am writing for someone who realizes they don’t have it “all together”. At times you feel like, just below the ‘happy’ surface, is an undefined grief. Certain moments totter on the verge of depression.  Such pain can get the best of you and occupy  your subconscious. Mere thoughts can cause failure, disfunction and desperation. I know this from experience.

 I am writing to my suffering brethren who know the cold, dark caves of loneliness and the pain of falling into, and getting caught in, the deep crevasses of life. Of doing things you regret, of thinking thoughts you never thought, or having feelings that seem to draw you where you don’t want to go.

The truth is, all men hide such thoughts and feelings. But they deny it and never dream of sharing it. Why? Because of the ‘something’ that lives within each of us called self-pride. It won’t let us be totally honest. We are surrounded by a wicked world that breaks us, but then rejects us for being broken. Pride shields brokenness.

Well, my friend, despite everyone, a broken heart is not a weird or a bad thing.  Jesus came for the broken because He was broken to death. He rose again to become an Expert at turning this truth into a beautiful life (Mt.5/Jn.12:25/Is.61/).

I am not offering some weird psychoanalysis. I’m saying that when Jesus promises “the truth will set you free”, He means it for all aspects of our life. Such a short well-known phrase contains one word we all desire; freedom, and one that makes us apprehensive; truth. But freedom can only come from truth.

A while back I gained weight due being laid up from some head and back issues. But recently I finally lost 25 pounds.  At first I hated the scale. It was my enemy. I hid from its truth because it depressed me. Then I realized the truth was not my enemy but my necessity to get beyond who I was to  become who I wanted to be. I had to stop saying “I don’t feel that bad”. I had to weigh myself.  We don’t need to fear the truth because God is for you, not against you. He is not a self-righteous “preacher” Who smiles on self-strength.

God is a deeply compassionate Father Who, not only knows our weakness but, yearns to comfort those who draw near to His truth. There are real answers to the most difficult struggles. It is human nature to view hard times in a macho attitude. But God looks to the contrite (Is.57:15).  His promises to give such men “life abundantly” (Jn.10:10). There is a third answer beyond “I’m fine” and “I’m losing it”. It starts with a contrite attitude; “Maybe I don’t know everything about God. Maybe I could learn”. It involves not going to others but directly interacting with the One Who sees our hidden motives. 

“There was a moment…..when I was all alone out there in the ‘dark’…

I felt….nothing.

Everything and  everyone I ever knew or loved….suddenly was nothing.

I was all alone.

My life was paper…

and I thought…

and concluded…..nothing  mattered.

Then I beheld the sky and the ocean so alive.

And I wondered

“Could I ever be so alive?”

Could I ever know such symmetry and meaning?”

And I contemplated “Could God be? Could He really be?”

I defied cynicism and cried

“Could You care about me?” 

I made a decision to believe… 

 the story of a Father…

Who sacrificed His Son to death…

to draw me into His love.

If everything was nothing what had I to lose?

And I woke up.

And it was as though I disappeared from the world of paper. 

I became alive… in another world.

  Then I spoke to my fears and said ‘Oh darkness, oh loneliness…. oh ya, ya… so what?”.

I am alive

to love… 

to show others

Jesus lives

I hated phonies. But I was one. I hated being ignored. Yet, I ignored everyone. I hated men who hurt others. But I hurt so many. I despised the arrogance of men but saw it in me. I mocked others to feel superior. But was crushed when I was mocked as inferior. I was hostile and angry at those who irritated me and this irritated me. When I lived in the dark I felt nothing. I just didn’t care about anything or anyone.  I was haunted by own existence; burdened by my many contradictions.  But as I hid in the castle of my ego, I found no will  to defend its walls.  So I surrendered to faith and it led me to truth in Him. 

I found the courage to admit the truth about myself… to myself. After all, who knows you… like you? You are your only chance to find you.

Our journey through time can take us into a maze of unexpected twists and turns. Things happen to us that we never imagined. We come to realize that the oomph we once had, to keep us going in a previous period of life, is just not enough to sustain us in a different stage we now find ourselves.    The day demands more than we care to give. Where do we turn? How do we turn? As strange as it all might seem, my friend, you are not alone, even in your aloneness. He waits to help you make the right move.


My son David here on the streets of Brazil with one of our new signs designed to reach the many gangs that exist here.

You may say “You have a beautiful wife and children. How can you say that you suffer loneliness?” Family is way overrated. Never could my wife or children give me the comfort I need. They do not supply my identity. Never could anyone understand my deepest conflicts. King David said “Being with you, I desire nothing on earth…there is no good besides Thee” (Ps.73:25/16:2). No matter how much family members may “care”, the stark reality is, no human being owns the love to solve the dilemma of total depravity. Do you know what this term means? It is a theological term I came to learn and love while in seminary.

It’s kind of obvious, hey? What’s amazing is the more I understand the Biblical expose on my depravity, the greater becomes the joy of my salvation. God says “…each one has gone his own way” (Is.53:6 /Rm.3:10ff). We are “sick” with self-obession (Jer.17:9). We are smitten by an incurable “wound” (Jer.15:18,30:12 ). No one but God can comfort a man in the wound of human loneliness. Because we are not a mere body of blood, guts and bones. We have a soul. Made by God, we cry for His Presence and reconciliation.

Why do millions commit suicide, space out on drugs or depend on booze to comfort their pain? Self-awareness, apart from God,  is very creepy. You think “Man, am I whacked. I’m sure glad people don’t know this about me”. Well, guess what? People may not, but God does. Isn’t He a bit more important? You think it is your personality. It is not. Good news. God knew how depraved you and I were before we were even born.

Like back in the Garden of Eden when Adam forever defiled our human nature with sin. It’s you who doesn’t realize how wicked you are. You think you’re a pretty good person because you’ve seen yourself do some “good works” and, well…”Look at that God. Pretty impressive hey?”. No. Not at all. God sees the pride and denial of what He has revealed about you and all mankind; “There is not one who is good…all have become corrupt” (Rm.3:10/Is.59: 2ff ).

I’d like to ask anyone who has a problem with this “Why?”. Why in the world would you have a problem admitting how wicked you are? It’s so easy. It’s so productive. It’s so comforting. It’s so freeing. Sin is the “something” evil that you are aware of inside; “Adam’s nature”. No, it’s not schizophrenia. It’s the Biblical truth of having a sinful human nature and God offering a divine nature (Rm.7:16ff /2 Pt.1:4 ). Sin is a wicked ‘existence’  lodged within our mind. It is the eery sense that something evil is hiding in the room but you can’t put your finger on it. You don’t know the real you.


Satan plays men like a master poker champion. Long ago he in-laid this world with a “society”; jobs, thinking and goals easily within  man’s ability to grasp and accomplish (Mt.4:8-9/Jn.12:31,14:30). So man can easily feel “I am good. I am productive” (“I am a fool”) by just doing stuff. In reality it is all utter vanity and exists for it’s sole purpose to subvert man from God. So the Father has to break through everything you think is of value to establish an entirely new reality (Rm.12:2).

People say this is crazy and “Christians” try to soften the blow of being a ‘sinner’ in world that fully belongs to Satan (1 Jn.5:19). They stay away from thoughts of Satan. So they become victims of fat cat preachers who do not know the depths of reality. ‘Blind leaders of the blind’ (Mt.15:14 ). They reduce the magnificence of the Person and work of Jesus and His salvation to a cheap “sinner’s prayer” because they themselves are ignorant of Satan and sin. So “Christians” remain in bondage to sin while claiming to be saved.  They live by a carnal and impotent understanding of “forgiveness”.

If you want to see His greatness you must truly see your depravity. There is no more offensive word, in the human language, to call a man than ‘sinner’. We have the capability to kill a thousand people and walk away with a smile.  Our sin killed the Son of God. The nature of every sadistic serial killer is within.  It is everything evil under the sun.   Satan wants to make you think sin is your destiny.  It does not have to be. He doesn’t want to scare the hell out of you. He wants to exploit the hell he put within you. He wants to arouse the hidden monster. Then leave you to die in it.  Until you come to grips with facing and admitting the truth of your wickedness, all alone, you can never truly know the living Jesus. Jesus says repentance precedes forgiveness.

Sin is not you and you are not it. You may know it a little or you may know it a lot.  In either case, you must face it head on, as though it were a mechanical problem with your car. It’s called objectivity. Sounds impossible. I’ve talked to so many war veterans, prisoners and victims of divorce or drugs. People find a strange pride in self-pity.  They say “God could never forgive me”.  As if bragging about their hopelessness. Can anyone say “weird”? A man will not go to hell for some outlandish sin but for unbelief in Jesus, that His death can not cover every sin.  Jesus bore everything evil in every one of us on the cross. Paul says “I do the very things I hate” ( Rm. 7:20). There is no greater sin than defiance of forgiveness in deference to self-pride.

People despise the thought of being alone because they are afraid to face what they really are; bad memories, emotional depression, guilt, sadness, failure, etc.  I fully understand. I had no idea how to live the promises of Jesus while dealing with sin; myself.  So after graduating from college I made a decision to leave my girlfriend, beloved mother, who was dying from cancer, close friends and everything familiar, to travel three thousand miles to Fuller seminary, in Pasadena, California.  Jesus says “My sheep hear My voice”.  I knew I could not honestly say I did. So I concluded I needed to get all alone to learn what this meant.

I figured I had my whole life ahead of me. If I didn’t do it now, I may never do so. I feared the entanglement of the world could deprive my life of something God might have for me. Soon after I arrived at Fuller I got a job as a librarian. Weeks and months went by and I didn’t hear from those back in Michigan who said they loved me.  I felt  abandoned.  I slowly realized how much they gave me identity and were my driving force to live. As someone who claimed to love Jesus, I felt this exposed my lack of divine relationship.

One night, after my work-shift in the library, I unlocked my bicycle and started my ride back to my apartment. Suddenly, I was overtaken by fear. I was surrounded by thoughts of loneliness and despair, as if by a pack of barking dogs.  I got off my bike and just stood there, searching to stabilize myself. That huge empty parking lot depicted the desolation I felt within.  Mental anguish got the best of me. How could I live with no one?  My heart crumbled under the weight of such a burden.  I was terrified to be all alone.

No one wants to be alone. Isolation is a form of suffering.  It is used to punish prisoners in SOLITARY CONFINEMENT. One of the most common reactions to being all alone is the common insistence  “Oh, I’m not alone. I have friends and family. I know that people love me. That’s what ‘church’ is all about”.  You may be surrounded by nice, warm, smiling people. But if you are honest you know the sense of feeling all alone despite them all. They have no idea who you really are. And you know it.   The truth is you can’t fathom an identity apart from them. God is not screaming at you. He says “Take my hand and let us walk”.

Beneath all my Christian theology was a human nature I did not know how to deal with. Would I have to spend my whole life controlled by it, live in constant guilt and claim forgiveness millions of times? I could not escape it or make it “better”. I had to face that I was scared and wicked. It humiliated me. It broke me. I was a liar, a coward, a fool, a pig, arrogant and self-righteous. Paul said “I AM…the worst of all sinners” (1Tim.1:15). Present tense.

I heard no audible voice. No signs or visions. What came to me was “while we were yet sinners…Christ died for the ungodly…lo, I am with you always” (Rom.5:8/Mt.28:20). Either God’s Word is true or it is a lie. Either He gives new life or I am stuck with mine.

Jesus…walked…all alone;…made the decision to leave His parents, call each disciple, rebuke the hypocrites, go fishing, help the poor, heal a leper, raise the dead…all alone; He was arrested one night…all alone; thrown into prison…all alone. Taken out in the morning by soldiers and tied to post…all alone. In each stripe no one could offer Him comfort. Jesus was scourged…all alone; carried the cross to Calvary…each agonizing step…all alone. Jesus…hung…all alone. Pierced and mocked…all alone.

His all aloneness is waiting to come to you. His suffering can come to you in yours. Such a small thing He asks, to come all alone.

I chose to believe He was with me in my aloneness.  Beyond my carnal hope for some “extraterrestrial” comfort, came the hope that, if I obeyed the call to faith, I would find a hope beyond my hope. The Scriptures prophecy “with hope against hope” Abraham designed faith (Rm.4:18). I began to understand the Word of God IS God’s Voice. God calls us to obey. There is no other way. In the dark, cold vacuum of our sinful “existentialism”,  we must wake up, get up and walk.  I am so alive. He leaves it to us to obey in order to experience divine life.  It is a decision of pure worship.

I gathered myself, got on my bike, and….well…. here I am, 40 years later, writing of it to you today.

Jesus identified with our most terrible experiences. Obedience proves whether we believe Him in them. Jesus never called a group to salvation. He called individuals, one by one, face to face. Every single encounter in the New Testament is between Jesus and an individual. Paul says each of us will stand all alone before Him on the day of judgement (2 Cor. 5:10). So, if we will stand alone then, why be afraid to get all alone now?  Faith is the only thing that will get you beyond yourself.

Elizabeth worked several jobs over the last two years to help these prisoners. She recently built a miniature prison that she uses to convey a beautiful reality of how despite being alone in the soil, a tree can grow even behind bars.

The immense pain Adam felt when he was severed from God in the Garden of Eden is part and parcel of us today. People are insistent of the necessity of a “church” because they are ignorant to the driving force of their own Adam-nature.  They seek others to satisfy feelings for loneliness and identity. It’ll never happen. Neither church nor marriage can cover the guilt of total depravity.  When a man is willing to stand all alone before the living Jesus, His Presence cures the incurable wound. You finally realize “I am Yours”. A man is freed from the bondage to seek the passing comfort of people.

The truth is if you are willing to be all alone…before God… you will never be alone. The moment you turn to Jesus, you pop up on the Father’s radar. You DO matter…. to the Father. You matter so much He sent Jesus to DO something  you need done for you because you could never do it yourself. Jesus substituted Himself so that you could be released out of the dungeon  of self-obsession; SIN.

“…Awake sleeper, arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you”.

Ephesians 5:14

I don’t know how people make it. Because the reality is, both family and friends can hurt you and even turn on you. They can look at you in the face, saying how much they care about you, then totally ignore you when you need them the most.  They never give you what you hope for and let you down more often than not.  If you do not know how to stand alone in Jesus, you will not stand at all.  Satan will use everything to expose all hell within you. He will get you feeling sorry for yourself and blaming others.

The unexpected isolation will be more than you can handle. You won’t know how to think because your  “God” has been defined your “church”. Paul says “but when people measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding (2 Corithians 10:12). It’s like depending on a Dictionary with terms doctored to be inconsistent with reality. It is written to build a conspiracy of self-comfort. The tragedy is no one will stop you, not even God.

There is only one reason I can see for a person to reject the absolute necessity of getting all alone. It is because they can not fathom an existence apart from an identity with their “church”.They have never stood all alone to find Jesus.

The “work” required;  believe the most basic truth… God IS (Jn.6:29/Heb.11:6,4:12). Command the members of your body into subjection to the Presence of God as if He were so obvious you could touch Him (Rm.6:13. You talk TO Him. You see Him. You love Him. You believe the impossible. The Unseen.  You defy the seen, the felt, the instincts. You KNOW He cares immensely. Jesus proved it. The Father promises an abode in reward for this stately solitude (Jn.14:23).



My daughter Ruth teaching in a prison how she has learned to be freed from her ‘prison’.

Imagine a courtroom situation where a depraved criminal is being sentenced to death. Suddenly  a “stranger”  steps forward to claim the guilt and bear the penalty. The criminal is aghast. What depth of gratitude would you see? Of course this could only happen in one life time. What about a “stranger” bearing the penalty for the crimes of 10, 50, 100 or a thousand or a million vicious criminals; for a time period over 50, a 100 or a thousand years?  Jesus bore every ounce of our depravity.

This ‘stranger’ yearns to become your Brother, because He lives today.  For it was one drop of His sinless blood that covered the crimes of a trillion souls. One tiny drop of perfect blood satisfied the demand for pure holy Character of “the Holy of Holies”. All His righteous demand for justice and punishment is appeased in that one drop. Never to be found amongst mankind. Jesus came to earth to give His entire gallon and a half. It’s called Atonement, Propitiation, Substitution and Redemption.

Forgiveness is not dependent on moral consistency. It was ‘manufactured’ and accomplished through the death and resurrection of Jesus “once and for all”. It is impartially reckoned to anyone who is repentant. Repentance doesn’t mean you will never sin again. It means you will never again doubt His forgiveness. Forgiveness is not contingent upon righteous thoughts or moral behavior but upon the historical event in time and space by the Son of God. Forgiveness is not called Tentativeness or Subjectivity.  It is not received through a prayer but through a heart to believe God.

At first God sent down thoughts to write on a tablet and try to implement. That was The Law. It didn’t work (Rm.8:1-3).  We just can’t do it because our sinful body betrays us. So God actually came to earth. Jesus lived and did everything the Father demands and gives it to us for free. He offers “… forgiveness of sins to free us from ALL things, from which we can not be freed by the law of Moses” (Acts 13:38/John 1:17).

Forgiveness is not like an unfaithful marriage partner who flees the spouse upon seeing unexpected evil. Forgiveness does not come and go. It is anchored as a lighthouse embedded in rock that beacons it’s light in our most severe storm.  Even if a ship fades from it’s view the light beacons all the same.

Picture the sprocket on a fast moving bicycle as the free will spinning in the vicious cycle of sin and propelling you in a wrong direction. You don’t have to slam on the brakes with a melodramatic “Mia Culpa”. The issue is not that you locked on to a wrong gear. What matters is that in every moment God is offering the freedom to switch gears, believe the cross and redirect your path. It’s not trite or lawless. It is faith.

True forgiveness is accompanied by clear facial recognition. There is a light. There is a lifting. Eternal life dawns upon the eyes. It is not the general smile men put on to appear nice. True happiness is the divine implosion of “nuclear” cleansing. Final. Resolved. It is finished. I am so forgiven it as though I have never sinned (1 Jn.3:9). It is treasure in an earthen vessel.

I was a running back in High School. One time I overslept the departure of a bus for a football night-game. I was awakened by a  furious coach on the other end of a phone call. I have never since been so terrified by simply oversleeping. I was hyperventilating as I raced my car to the bus. I overslept because I had piled down two of my mom’s delicious gigantic ham sandwiches.  I played that game in a fog, got a concussion and fumbled the ball on the ten yard line. It made us lose the game.

Oversleeping in life has far worse consequences. But the Father is not screaming at you on the other end of the line. He is tender, patient and kind.  His yoke is easy. His burden light. He knows it is easy to oversleep in life.  From the womb to the tomb we are under the enormous pressure to prove ourselves. We are on the clock in a world ruled by Satan (1 Jn.5:19/Jn.12:31/Mt.4:9 ). Moments tick by so rapidly. We don’t know what to do.

Certain experiences arise that can remarkably change our life but you must learn how to seize the opportunity.  Instead of self-pity or unbelief you must climb higher to a different response. Don’t settle for the old you. Become who you are in the Morning Star. Break your paradigm. Go someplace all alone where you can really think.

No one else is around. It is on an open path surrounded by hills of grass and forest. It is warm. The sky is full of perfectly intermingled variations of  grey and black clouds, to compose a majestic but yet sad sense of deep solitude. A subtle thunder bounces between the clouds and echoes across the distant skies. A subtle mist of rain sprinkles the air. Be alone. All alone. Fear not. He is by your side. Here’s your chance.  Talk to Jesus. Totally submit. Let Him redeem your broken life.

“…he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going…I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life…walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you;…become sons of the light”

John 8:12,12:35-36



One time when I was a kid I found an old relic pistol behind a gas station. When one of my friends saw it he said “Hey man, where did you find that?”.  Such a response made it clear that I really did find SOMETHING.  It was a setting where issues of rarity and personal discovery were the result of  an obvious individual search. This is the precise context of facing who you are all alone and finding faith in Jesus.

An old pagan, named Abraham, was the first one to “find”  faith (Heb.11:8ff/Rm.4:1). Abraham was all alone. When you stand all alone before God it is up to you to find faith. Find something no one else has. Find courage. Find heart. Find love. The result is enormous blessing from God. Abraham authored the hope beyond human hope.  Faith is found in the setting of total obscurity. It sprouts in a desert; “a root out of parched ground”(Is.53:2). Abraham had to hope against everything that made sense and hope in a hope that made no sense.

My daughter Sarah engaging a little orphan in a “Favela” during a Christmas time event for three hundred orphans.

I know I’m a complete dufess. I am merely making a feeble attempt to appear “macho” in order to relate to the burn outs and lost souls who fill the beaches here in Brazil. All things to all men (1 Cor.9:19ff). It just wouldn’t cut it with a suit and tie. (And yes, I did do a Spartan race.)


“Behold I have made you a new, sharp threshing sledge with double edges; you will thresh the mountains and pulverize them, and will make the hills like chaff” (Isaiah 41:15 )

I was out jogging one time in the states and saw this huge combine threshing cotton. It was amazing to watch. It gleams from thousands of intricate plants of cotton. It cuts and sifts and compacts it into huge bails.  He who chooses to overcome and live for Jesus is like a combine. He learns God’s wisdom of how to separate things in life, the precious from the worthless. It really gets ridiculous to hear “Christians” these days insist they know it all yet complain about the misery of their lives. God is not a liar. He empowers a man with His Holy Spirit to become a conquerer (Rm.8:28ff).

Each mans’ work will be tested. ( 1Cor.3.13). 

I have invested countless hours threshing the fields. I scan the huge harvest fields of the world. And I believe my return for my work is seen and will be rewarded beyond words. Not in this world but in the next.

My family and I have been working for the last few months here in the fields in Brazil. Next week we will be in Rio De Janeiro for Mardi Gras. Millions and millions of lost souls searching to find an escape from the misery hiding within themselves. They don’t know. They don’t understand. We are here to help them with His love. It is very rewarding to work in the many various prisons, city streets, orphanages, etc. Countless stories of men changed by the truth of the gospel. They don’t know forgiveness.

The other day we got a message from a man in one of the prisons. He was a gang leader and bank robber who used a machine gun to rob banks. One day he killed a man who was attacking his sister (Jan.20). We watched God change Jonathan from absolute hopelessness and near suicide to hear his words of gratitude for his beginning to understand the gospel.

If anyone would care to help us our needs are great. We are not supported by any group or organization. We have worked various jobs in the states to save up for this time. That money will only last so long depending on how we spend it. So obviously any support will allow us to go longer, farther and help others more. Most prisoners are wrongly convicted. They have no shoes, soap, underwear, change of clothes or extra food. All things we could help them with if we could afford it. We are hoping we won’t have to go back to work in the Spring. There is so much opportunity.

  1. Understanding God’s limitless love and forgiveness was proven by the death of Jesus for you as a sinner.
  2. You are not weird. Neither are the deep hidden ‘strange’ inclinations.
  3. Garbage thoughts and feelings are completely “normal” consistent with the sinful nature within you.
  4. No past experience ruined your life. Satan is exploiting your ignorance.
  5. Resist the thoughts, implement obedience and ultimately they will lose their power.
  6. Jesus ever lives to make perfect intercession for you before the Father.