I’ve Never Met K. P. But…

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Although K. P. Yohannan, the founder of Gospel For Asia, seems like a great guy, I’ve never met him, but yet, I know him. How is that possible?

I know K. P. in small part through his writings, his videos, and also through the once a month prayer meetings, which are streamed on the internet.

But let’s be honest, okay?

All kinds of people write great articles and look good on videos, but yipes! Many of them I wouldn’t follow anywhere because their inner characters and their outward images don’t match.

What’s the rest of the story for me?

A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher. (Luke 6:40)

I haven’t met K. P. Yohannan, but I’ve had phone and email conversations with Brad, Clara, Elicia, Ron, Tony, Amanda, Cynthia, Corinna, Veronica, Steven, Natalya, Jessieka, and others at Gospel For Asia. These people have been awesome and true servants of the Lord.

You see, it’s my experience that workers in organizations always mirror their leaders.

So, if you’re looking for a way to advance the kingdom of God in South Asia, consider giving donations to Gospel For Asia. I believe that you will be blessed.

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Unhinged Geezer (Chapter 8-a)

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© 2015 by Larry Nevenhoven

Jane now describes our first home gathering as the “house church meeting from Hell.” It’s not exactly an attractive portrait of our hopes and dreams for doing church differently, but the facts are the facts. There is no use glossing over what happened.

That Sunday began with me waking up at 4:57 a.m. Just two days earlier, a neighbor noticed my office light shining at an early hour and later in the same day asked me about it. I explained that I was spending time with the Lord. He replied, “Well, God’s certainly not busy at that hour of the day!”

As usual, I spent an hour and half praying, praising, and worshipping Him. Just before I finished, I heard the Holy Spirit speak to my heart: “Geezer churches will change America.”

Thank God, there were no security cameras inside our home because I danced all over the place. Down the oak hallway to the family room, through the kitchen to the dining room and living room and then across the oak entry foyer to the hallway again. I was so excited that I felt like attempting the Fred Astaire dancing scene on the walls and ceiling, but my arthritis kicked in right then, reminding me of my limitations.

A half hour later, Jane walked downstairs and skipped across the foyer to my office. She plopped down in my lap, not paying attention to my Bible study. She threw her arms around my neck and hugged me.

“Guess what?” she asked, looking into my eyes. Her breath smelled like a commercial for Crest toothpaste.

“What?”

“I had a dream or was it a vision? I’m never sure which is which, but let’s call it a dream, okay?”

I nodded, knowing she was too excited to hear any utterances from me right then.

“In the dream, I stood outside our house and watched a fire burning up through the roof. The flames reached hundreds of feet into the sky, blocking out the moonlight. I didn’t know what to do. So, I ran inside the front door, thinking I needed to warn everyone. But inside, I saw dozens of people worshipping the Lord. His presence filled the house. And guess what?”

“Were they all senior citizens?”

She leaned away from me. Her green eyes narrowed.

“How’d you know?”

“The Holy Spirit spoke to me this morning.”

“Really? What?”

“He said, ‘Geezer churches will change America.'”

She jumped off my lap and twirled around. Her maroon robe billowed outward.

“Dylan, this is so much fun. Let’s celebrate by going to breakfast.”

“Good idea, but not the Corner Cafe.”

We ended up at Panera Bread and ate blueberry bagels with creamed cheese. Our hazelnut-flavored cups of coffee were the perfect additions to the meal.

(A new work of fiction still in the early stages. If you’re interested, you can see the full story so far here.)

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Thursday’s Prayers for America (5/28/2015)

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A few days ago, I was praying for America and saw a sea of deception covering our whole nation. It covered our leaders and every believer.

I wondered why we were so deceived, but it didn’t click with me at the time.

Today I prayed:

Lord, open the eyes of American believers to see our sins so that we are no longer deceived and not living in the truth. Help us Lord to understand that if we confess our sins, You are faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us of all of our unrighteousness. (Based on 1 John 1:8-9)

What do you think and has the Lord spoken to you?

Join with me on Thursdays to fast and pray for America.

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Unhinged Geezer (Chapter 7-b)

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Chapter 7-b

© 2015 by Larry Nevenhoven

 

Jane drove her bright red Mini Cooper Hatchback behind Mimi’s Cafe and parked in the second row. She knew the Mini with its six-speed manual transmission and white racing stripe was so unlike her conservative nature, but she didn’t care. She liked it. It was her gift to herself after retiring five years earlier from teaching creative writing and English literature at Temecula Valley High School.

She walked inside the red tiled lobby and explained to the hostess that two more women would be joining her for brunch. The young woman jotted a note down on a pad and then seated her in the south dining room. A waitress named Maria soon poured coffee in her cup and removed one table setting from the table.

Five minutes later, the voice of Faye could be heard echoing through the restaurant. Although not really a loud talker, Faye had a full voice that penetrated space and filled it to the brim. She was a tall, red-haired, buxom woman who probably missed her calling of being a stage actress, but her husband Phil claimed she was his most important plumbing asset: the bookkeeper.

Jane stood and greeted Faye with a big hug. Then, she noticed Gracie, standing behind Faye. Gracie on her fat days weighed one hundred and five pounds, but her petite size did not diminish her intelligence one bit. She graduated summa cum laude from Stanford Law School and was a perfect mate for Vinnie. Jane and Gracie hugged each other.

They sat down. The waitress served them coffee and took their orders.

“Jane, what do you think about all this?” asked Faye, the usual leader among the three women. She rearranged the silverware in front of her to better suit her left handed eating style.

“If someone would’ve told me ahead of time that Dylan would walk out of a Sunday service at Jedidiah Smith Community Church, I would’ve laughed at them. Yet, it happened.”

“I was shocked and thought he was ill when he walked out,” said Gracie, her dark eyes mirroring the hanging light above us.

“Well, in a way, I guess he was sick,” said Jane, “sick of sitting in a pew.”

Faye removed her black-framed eyeglasses and put them in her purse. She placed the black purse on the floor and shook her red hair into place.

“Man o man, a home church!” she proclaimed, blowing out a deep breath. “This goes against all of the teachings I’ve learned since my childhood, all of them. My daddy was the first pastor of Jedidiah Smith Community Church. He and mama built the church from nothing into a congregation of two hundred and fifty members. Daddy didn’t even take a salary for the first ten years and sold insurance to cover our bills. I sang in the choir when I was eight years old and have continued singing in the choir or on the worship team ever since. Lord Almighty, Jedidiah Smith Community Church is a part of my legacy and heritage.”

Faye shook her head and leaned it against her right hand.

“What about you two?”

Jane pointed at Gracie and nodded at her.

“Faye, I understand your feelings,” said Gracie, her fingers fidgeting with her gold wedding ring, “but I had an unhappy husband who complained about going to church almost every Sunday for the last year. It was eating him up. I’m open to trying home church.”

Gracie and Faye looked at Jane.

“I agree with Gracie.”

Faye threw her hands in the air.

“Okay, I surrender. I’m willing to give home church a try.”

The three talked about the logistics of the home church for the next hour over their meals.

 

Jane walked into my office and tapped me on the shoulder. I turned to look at her.

“What’s up?”

“Our first home church meeting is Sunday evening at 5:30. We’ve even planned a meal. So, let’s get the house cleaned because it’s going to be held here.”

“Here?”

“Yes, here,” Jane replied. “Gracie and Vinnie’s condo is being remodeled and Faye and Phil’s home is out in the country. Ours is the best location. Okay?”

I smiled, realizing Jane was all-in for home church.

(A new work of fiction still in the early stages. If you’re interested, you can see the full story so far here.)

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Tuesday’s Prayers for Prisoners (5/26/2015)

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Each Tuesday, I pray and fast for the nations of Asia, where 4.4 billion people live. 

Why Asia?

1. 85.4% of world’s unevangelized people live in Asia. (Unevangelized means they may have heard the gospel but have no understanding on how to respond.)

2. The world’s three largest non-Christian religions – Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhists – are based in Asia.

3. Of the 37 countries of the world that are less than 10% Christian, 32 are in Asia. Of the 14 countries, that are less than 2% Christian, 12 are in Asia.

4. 85-90% of unreached people live in Asia. (Unreached means that they have never heard the name of Jesus.) (Operation World: The Definitive Prayer Guide to Every Nation)

Charlie Peace was a criminal. Laws of God or man curbed him not. Finally the law caught up with him, and he was condemned to death. On the fatal morning in Armley Jail, Leeds, England, he was taken on the death-walk. Before him went the prison chaplain, routinely and sleepily reading some Bible verses. The criminal touched the preacher and asked what he was reading. “The Consolations of Religion,” was the replay.

Charlie Peace was shocked at the way he professionally read about hell. Could a man be so unmoved under the very shadow of the scaffold as to lead a fellow-human there and yet, dry-eyed, read of a pit that has no bottom into which this fellow must fall? Could this preacher believe the words that there is an eternal fire that never consumes its victims, and yet slide over the phrase with a tremor? Is a man human at all who can say with no tears, “You will be eternally dying and yet never know the relief that death brings?”

All this was too much for Charlie Peace. So he preached. Listen to his on-the-eve-of-hell sermon:

“Sir,” addressing the preacher, “if I believed what you and the church of God say that you believe, even if England were covered with broken glass from coast to coast, I would walk over it, if need be, on hands and knees and think it worthwhile living, just to save one soul from an eternal hell like that!” (Why Revival Tarries by Leonard Ravenhill)

Today, I prayed for the unreached people of Asia:

Forgive me, Lord, for my apathy toward the hundreds of millions of people in Asia who have never heard Your name. Make me willing to crawl on my hands and knees across broken glass –if need be – to reach as many of them as possible for You.

Join with me on Tuesdays to fast and pray for prisoners, according to Hebrews 13:3.

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Unhinged Geezer (Chapter 7-a)

geezer

Chapter 7-a

© 2015 by Larry Nevenhoven

 

Nothing removed stress like a brisk walk, or so my wife assured me the next morning after she trotted downstairs in her light blue sweat suit and white jogging shoes. She grabbed my hand and pulled me to my feet. Her idea was not even on my radar screen at the time. I wanted to study the early church in the book of Acts.

“Do I need to change my clothes so we’re a matched twosome?” I asked, raising my eyebrows.

“Oh no, you don’t! You’re not slinking off to avoid exercise,” she replied. “Your jeans, white t-shirt, and walking shoes look okay to me.”

I grabbed my old San Diego Padres baseball cap, which had been shaped by seven years of wear and sweat. It fit my head like an old friend. We walked out the front door past the pots of succulents, bushes, flowers, and under the rose-covered arbor to the sidewalk and turned left.

“Not so fast. You wore me out yesterday with your long return kiss and the etcetera afterward.”

“I loved the etcetera,” she said, grabbing my hand and squeezing it gently. “Maybe I should get upset with you more often.”

We walked past Mrs. Hedgecock’s petunias, which lined the left side of the sidewalk and the walkway to her home. The eighty-eight year old widow weeded the flowers on a daily basis and sometimes twice a day if it rained. Their reds, pinks, whites, and blues added a rich palette of vibrant hues to our community.

At the corner of Preece Lane, we turned right and headed down hill. My knees tightened up as we continued the brisk pace.

“Have you had any thoughts about our conversation with Ginny last night?” Jane asked.

“I finally concluded that she loves us and probably asked the questions we would have asked her if our roles were reversed.”

“That’s how I also figure it, but one thing still bothers me.”

“What?”

“Her words about turning our backs on our friends of thirty years.”

“Yeah, but do you remember how we felt when the Adams family switched to the Holy Apostolic Church? We felt hurt and betrayed, but we did try to hold our friendship together for a while. Now, we don’t even send them Christmas cards anymore. It’s tough when you’re in a different religious loop.”

She nodded.

We then remained quiet until we reached Ynez Road and turned right. The light on Santiago Road blinked green up ahead of us.

“How will we fellowship with other believers?” she asked, letting go of my hand as she pumped her arms for the uphill climb. Our speed slowed a little, but not much.

“That’s something we discussed in our Three Amigos’ meeting yesterday at Starbucks.”

“Tell me about it.”

I told her everything that Phil, Vinnie, and I talked about in our two-hour conversation.

“Home church? You’re thinking about starting a home church?” she asked when I finished.

“Yes.”

She stopped and looked up at me. An overhanging eucalyptus tree shaded us from the 9 a.m. sunlight. The temperature was nearing eighty degrees already.

“I need to be honest with you, okay?”

“Okay,” I said through clenched teeth.

“I really hoped this would only be a short-term sabbatical for us or that Pastor Rick would offer you a church position of some sort, but whatever, I really don’t want to leave Jedidiah Smith Community Church.”

“Yeah, I guessed that.”

She reached up and softly touched my face with her right hand.

“But if you’re starting a home church, I’ll be right there with you. We have forty-five years together and that’s not going to change over a few pews and a pulpit.”

I kissed her.

She returned my kiss and then broke it off.

“Is this going to become a habit with us again? If so, I like it.”

I didn’t answer, but my sails billowed in the wind, searching for the open sea.

When we returned home, Jane went upstairs. I walked into my office and clicked the power button for my MacBook Pro. I began researching the early church.

Jane came downstairs sixty minutes later, wearing cream-colored slacks and a blue top. She had her tan purse looped over her shoulder and car keys in hand.

“Where’re you going?” I asked.

“Out to brunch with Faye and Gracie.”

“Really? Why?”

“Now, it’s our turn to talk about home church.”

She left and I sat there for five minutes, staring at the closed six-panel door. What was I thinking about? Nothing really. Her words shocked me.

(A new work of fiction still in the early stages. If you’re interested, you can see the full story so far here.)

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Inside Israel

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Once again, it’s time to hear from our sister in Jerusalem about what she is witnessing there as a believer in Yeshua. Put your prayer shawls on and pray for Israel and Sister J. Now here she is …

Loving greetings to each of you, precious to Him Who is Lord of lords and King of kings.  THANKFULLY, He is really ABLE to keep us and present us safe in Him unto that day.  Thank You Lord for Your grace, mercy and the provision of the Precious Blood!

I thought about you much on Jerusalem Day and wrote many things in my head.  There is not much like a WONDERFUL one year old Granddaughter who is severely jet lagged to disrupt your life, unless it is an earthquake or a tornado.  She’s such a joy and gift, but when she’s up at 2a.m., she has the power of all sorts of natural disasters, so we are all tired (and the older ones of us perhaps a bit more).

Yom Yerushalaym (Jerusalem Day) was this past Sunday.  It is one of my favorite days, but I was surprised that already on Thursday, very large groups of youth were walking into Jerusalem singing and waving flags, dancing in the streets.  They walk here from all over the country to celebrate the miraculous reunification of Jerusalem after 2,000 years of Jewish exile from her capital.  This celebration marks the 48th year since her return in 1967. It definitely had some unique characteristics.

I frankly wondered what would happen at all.  Since our elections and the establishment of a markedly right wing religious government, the left wing secular segments of our society, greatly supported by the network of social media world wide, have been waging a distortion, smear and hate campaign against every move they make.  That included the usual Jerusalem Day activities.  They called it a provocation and staged counter rallies calling for the cancellation of all celebrations and events and for the re-dividing of Jerusalem.

I wasn’t sure exactly what was going to take place, but to my delight the Jerusalem songs began to play and people began to wish one another “Joyous Jerusalem Day” and hang out Jerusalem flags.  It was nice to turn away from the news media and look into the faces of the people, thankful faces of people who wanted to bless Jerusalem and The God Who said that He would put His Name here.

One of the more interesting chance observations that I made, was in the shuk – my favorite observation post.

I was passing two Arabs, one a vendor and another delivering something or other.  The one spoke in Arabic but the vendor turned and answered him in Arabic accented Hebrew and from his answer I was able to gather the point of the conversation.  Thanks to social media and many other instigators, there is active recruitment for ISIS here as in other countries.  The gist of the Hebrew answer was, “What! YOU can go to Syria under Asad or those clowns if you want!  I’m staying here!  My life is far better then any of theirs!”

I love the shuk where Arab and Jew are together day in and day out and share a unique bond.  When the intifada saw bombings at the shuk, both Arab and Jew suffered, and helped one another.

This morning I was meditating in Rev 6:4 –

“And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.”  

And I began to thank The Lord for the OTHER PEACE that He has been speaking to my heart about: the Peace that is NOT as the world gives. Nothing in this world can take that Peace away.  Hallelujah!  Walking through…Looking away unto Him…letting the Peace that passes all understanding keep my heart and mind IN HIM. These seem to be my major focus as I live here on the rapidly changing front lines of things about to come.  Funny how a snow ball gathers speed as it rolls downhill and grows bigger and heavier.  So these days seem to be speeding up into a blur.  I have thought about the horrors of the earthquake and avalanches in Nepal and how suddenly  those were caught in it.  When the disciples asked Yeshua, as recorded in Matthew 24

 “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age? It says: “ And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you.

In other words…take heed to yourself…not to what is going on around you.  Be sure that you are walking in The Truth and anchored in The Rock.  Yes, we see the signs of the times all around us.

Jerusalem Day passed with no major disturbances, although many tried.  The celebrations were joyful and again the promise went forth that “Jerusalem will remain the undivided capital of Israel.”

Oh well.  Both the European Union chief and UN representatives are meeting here today to challenge that.  They do keep increasing the pressure but they don’t honor the Word of God or The God of the Word.  May He open their eyes in His mercy.  With Him ALL things are possible.

And so we are now getting ready for Shavout (Pentecost).  This marks the end of the Passover time and the end of the counting of the omer.  It was the second of the 3 holidays where God commanded all Israeli men to come up to Jerusalem and make specific offerings at the temple. This is the FIRST FRUITS offering, the time of the early harvest of the grain, barley, wheat and the first of the bread to be offered in Thanksgiving.  That is why all of the people were gathered at the temple on Pentecost, fifty days after the Passover of the crucifixion and the resurrection, when He poured His Spirit out upon the people in Jerusalem as described in Acts 2. The New Bread broken among the people – now able to offer true Thanksgiving from the heart.

Deut 26:1-10 is my favorite of the many shadow descriptions of Shavout…I say shadow’ because we know it now as a “shadow of things to come.”

Deut. 26:1-10 “And it shall be, when you come into the land which the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, and you possess it and dwell in it, that you shall take some of the first of all the produce of the ground, which you shall bring from your land that the Lordyour God is giving you, and put it in a basket and go to the place where the Lord your God chooses to make His name abide. And you shall go to the one who is priest in those days, and say to him, ‘I declare today to the Lord your God that I have come to the country which the Lord swore to our fathers to give us.’
“Then the priest shall take the basket out of your hand and set it down before the altar of the Lord your God. And you shall answer and say before the Lord your God: ‘My father was a Syrian, about to perish, and he went down to Egypt and dwelt there, few in number; and there he became a nation, great, mighty, and populous. But the Egyptians mistreated us, afflicted us, and laid hard bondage on us. Then we cried out to the Lord God of our fathers, and the Lord heard our voice and looked on our affliction and our labor and our oppression. So the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm, with great terror and with signs and wonders. He has brought us to this place and has given us this land, “a land flowing with milk and honey”; 10 and now, behold, I have brought the firstfruits of the land which you, O Lord, have given me.’
“Then you shall set it before the Lord your God, and worship before the Lord your God.

Today, for some reason that I STILL don’t understand fully, Shavout is celebrated with the eating of milk products and everyone dressing in white.  It has to do with The Word of The Lord being pure and people stay up all night in large groups studying The Word and/or particular topics and subjects to be wrestled with until the understanding comes from God.  Many do this before the Western Wall (considered the last standing wall of the original temple and the holiest place in Judaism aside from Temple Mount itself).

Thank you for baring with me through these rather poor offerings.  And THANK YOU for your prayers for us, for my people by blood and for The Lord’s plans.  May we be found standing in agreement with His Heart.

Lovingly,

your sis J in Jerusalem

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