Monthly Archives: March 2011

It Ain’t Over Till the Fat Lady Sings!

I don’t run fast or jump high at sixty-five years of age, but the game is not over, at least, not until the fat lady sings over me.

But yet, how can a guy who has watched his youth slide down the drain over the last twenty-six years still possibly believe he will accomplish anything for the kingdom of God? After all, he’s been nothing but a failure so far. What’s changed for him?

My journey began a few weeks after my salvation in 1985 when I felt the Holy Spirit speak to my heart that I would be a writer and own a publishing company. Since that moment, I have focused myself on achieving that goal. Whether I worked as a maintenance man fixing toilets in a motel or as a delivery man for a pizzeria, I thought of myself as a writer and a publisher. To me, the jobs were nothing more than temporary bridges to my real career.

Reality Check #1: To date, I have no books printed or published nor do I have any other authors under contract for my (in name only) publishing company.

On December 24, 1993, I was going through the motions of spending time in prayer before heading off to be with my family for Christmas. But as I waited on the Lord, I had a vision.

In it, I saw thousands and thousands of starving children in Africa. They were screaming at the top of their lungs because of their painful hunger. The mothers held the children and the fathers stood next to them. All of the parents stared at me with pleading eyes…would I help them? Please!

The screams echoed in my ears and pierced my heart. I fell to my knees and wept so much I thought the anguish would swallow me up.

Then, the screams stopped, and the vision disappeared into a total blackness. As I caught my breath, the Holy Spirit said, “They don’t cry much after three days.”

After that, I wept even more. (Later I learned that when starving children quit crying, the process is almost irreversible. They just slowly, passively die.)

When the vision ended, the Holy Spirit directed me to start a paint contracting company so that I could help the poor and hungry. I agreed.

Reality Check #2: My first experience as a painting contractor was a total failure. It ended with me hearing the Lord speak to my heart on July 8, 1994, “Son, you have been deceived.” (This is chronicled under #6 of my teachings.) All other attempts at being a painting contractor have been little more than stopgap fingers in our leaky financial dams.

Reality Check #3: To date, I have given just pennies to help the poor and the hungry.

So, what’s changed for me?

But He replied to them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ And in the morning, ‘There will be a storm today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Do you know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but cannot discern the signs of the times?” (Matthew 16: 2-3)

The season of my life has changed. How do I know? I discerned it. This does not mean you can notice a difference in me, but I feel a new drumbeat, one which tells me it’s time to stand up and move.

In the weeks ahead, I will relate more about what’s happening in my life now, rather than always looking at the past.

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Kudos to Rob Bell, But Where’s the Beef?

The TV scene shows three women sitting in a burger franchise’s restaurant. One woman is talking on the phone to the franchise’s management, complaining about their puny hamburgers on big buns.  Eighty-one year old Clara Peller (a manicurist turned actress at the age of eighty) grabs the phone. “Where’s the beef?” she says in a raspy voice.

How effective was the commercial?

The Wendy’s commercial was first aired on January 10, 1984. It propelled Wendy’s Restaurants into third place in the hamburger wars with McDonalds and Burger King. Both McDonalds and Burger King reacted almost overnight to the popular commercial by adding quarter pound burgers to their menus.

The slogan, “Where’s the beef,” is considered the 4th most influential advertising slogan since 1948. Today, it’s used as a catch phrase and most people have even forgotten the name of the company it first referred to.

Kudos to you, Rob Bell.

Up front, I must confess I have not read Bell’s book, Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived, and I do not plan to buy it unless

But so far, I have seen the book’s advertising trailer and read his interviews, all of which amaze me.

The book trailer is a highly polished video. Now, does anyone believe Bell wrote his own dialog and grabbed a member of his Mars Hill Church to film it in the cold, snowy streets of Grand Rapids, Michigan?

Next, what about the interviews where he gave fluffy non-answers before the book’s launching? Do you really think he just sat down with the interviewer without being coached ahead of time on what to say or not say?

No,of course not, to all of these questions.

The video and interviews were designed by Bell’s publisher, HarperCollins, to produce one thing: hype. And guess what? It succeeded, maybe even beyond HarperCollins’ hopes.

Bloggers, twitters and conservative Christians jumped into the fray and swatted at Bell’s non-answer BB’s with AK-47 rebuttals. The internet was alive with questions about Bell’s doctrine. Was he a universalist? Did he believe Jesus was the Way, the only way?

Hype sells products. In Bell’s case, the books are flying off the shelves at the rate of $22.99 a copy and $10.99 for e-books. Cha ching!

But, Rob Bell, where’s the beef?

After the royalty checks are safely in your bank account and after thousands and thousands of people bow down to your version of the gospel, then what? What will you do to continue satisfying your adoring fan base?

Write another book. Maybe, but you can only hype yourself so much before people expect more and more and more.

So, Rob Bell, here’s how you get beef into your message and also $22.99 out of my billfold:

Our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. (1 Thessalonians 1:5)

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From the Darkness of Islam to the Light of Jesus Christ

The following is a testimony by Shania Christian, a friend of mine on Facebook. She offers it freely to anyone who will share it with others. I have not altered her words or changed her grammar because it is so powerful to read. You will be blessed by her words which shout the victory of Jesus.

I was born in Somalia, an Islamic country, to Muslim parents. I did get Quran lessons as a child and I always believed that Islam was the one true religion; I used to pray 5 times a day and fast Ramadan but I never had relationship with Allah. He was far away from me and I did not know if I was going to go to heaven or hell. I had heard that the prophet said most women go to hell and that thought frightened me. I used to always ask my mother as a teenager what women get when they go to heaven as I had heard men get 72 virgins and she responded with “women don’t get anything. As long as I’m in heaven, I don’t mind.” I thought it wasn’t fair that men got something and women didn’t so it made me question Islam from a very young age. Though, you couldn’t question too much because people would say you’re not a true Muslim so you just had to accept the little to no answer you got.

I came to Europe as a teenage and started to dress more religiously with the hijab but I always felt empty in my heart. I was still scared about death and the torture in the grave because I did not have any insurance of salvation in Islam. My only plan was to save money so I could go to Hajj to wash away my sin so then maybe that way Allah will forgive me and I could possibly go to heaven.

When I heard about 9/11, I thought they weren’t good Muslims and followers of the Quran since I only thought that Islam was peaceful. At 2005, a friend of mine accidently sent me a video of the beheading of an American man in Iraq. I didn’t know what it was but I watched it and what I saw was horrific and so shocking. I had never seen anything like that in my whole life and I didn’t understand why they were doing it. I noticed that the man who was beheading the innocent man had a Quran in one hand which he was reciting and a huge knife in the other. On their forehead, they had some cloth that had “there is no God but Allah and Muhammed is his messenger” on it.

That night, I couldn’t stop crying and being sick. I couldn’t sleep. I was shaking. My mind was full of questions. I thought “how could these people who are followers of Allah do this disgusting and terrifying action in Allah’s name?” Before I tried to desperately go to sleep, for the first time, I spoke to Allah directly instead of praying in Arabic like how I usually pray. I asked “how can I follow you? Are you okay with people doing this in your name? Is this right, the beheading of a human?” After that, I finally went to sleep and dreamt.

I didn’t used to dream as frequently as I do now. If I did, I didn’t remember the dream when I woke up but that night, I had a dream. I was standing in front of my house and I saw a light quickly fly past me. I looked up at the sky and saw a shining man that was made out of clouds come from Heaven. He shouted, with a loud voice, to come to him. Everybody suddenly froze and started to bow down to him and started worshipping him. We were all saying “you’re my God, you’re my God”. Nobody was driving a car, nobody was walking, and nobody was running. Everybody was worshipping and bowing down to the shining man from Heaven. In the morning, when I woke up, I thought it was Allah. I didn’t know who it was. Though, I still felt happiness in my heart.

The second night, I asked Allah “was that you in my dream or prophet Muhammed? I want to follow you”. Then, I had another dream. This time my mother brought the Quran with her and put it on my knees and told me to read it. Every time I tried to read it, I just kept saying “Jesus said I’m the way, the life, the truth. No man comes to the Father except through me”. She became very angry and frustrated and she just said “go and bring me some food”. Everything I tried to serve her just turned into cross shapes. She went and got some of my family angrily since she found out that I’m not a Muslim. When they came, they had sticks and wanted to hit me or kill me. Before the door opened, strangely, the shining man returned to my rescue and grabbed me and we flew through walls. We arrived at a beautiful place that looked like a painting. It was full of flowers and peace and harmony. He told me “you are safe with me here”. He pointed to a place that looked burn and was full of darkness and said that they’re over there and that they can’t get here. I woke up filled with happiness and joy and my dream confirmed to me that it wasn’t Allah or Muhammed and instead Jesus Christ.

I started researching on the internet about this man called Jesus and if he’s the only way to Heaven. I came across some very helpful websites and the more I read about him, the more I became interested. I found the Bible on the internet and I was so amazed that what I told my mother in my dream was in the Bible and was this verse: John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”. It was amazing how I had never read a Bible and that God made me say it in my dream and I found it in the Bible. Even the way that Jesus came back in my dream is how it is written in the Bible. The verse that touched my heart wasJohn 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. I never knew God would love me so much that he would pay for my sins through Jesus Christ, His Son. I didn’t know that I can’t go to heaven through my own good deed (like what Islam states) and there’s nothing I can do to save myself except to accept Jesus the gift of God like the scriptures say: Eph 2:8 “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God”

So I decided straight away to give my heart to Jesus as my Lord and Saviour but the real problem started now.

I told my husband that I decided to follow Jesus and at first he was a bit shocked. He argued with me for a bit because he couldn’t understand why I suddenly became a Christian but I told him it was over a period of time filled with dreams from God and confirmations. He said ‘I love you for who you are, not what you believe’ and I cried because I didn’t expect him to accept me but he did. Though, there was a condition: for my kids not to become Christians.

My younger sister decided to come over to stay with us and we were all very pleased. I hadn’t seen my sister in so long and we had long chats and catch up sessions… Then, she found my Bible. She asked me what it was and why I had it and I told her it was a Bible and I’m a Christian. She was so shocked and started shouting at me about not being her sister anymore and I begged her not to tell the rest of my family yet but she did. I got dozens of phone calls and meetings with my sisters, brothers and even my own mum. At first they tried to convert me back to being a Muslim. When that didn’t work, they told me they weren’t related to me anymore. They also threatened me and they even told my husband to take my kids and leave, but he defended me. He was on my side and told them to leave us alone. My husband was surprised at how quickly my own family turned against me. After that, we moved to a different country in Europe. The Islamic religion states that if someone leaves the religion, kill them or behead them. I was so upset. I had lost my whole family because of Jesus. But I wasn’t just going to give up and leave Christianity. Mar 8:36 “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”

I started going to the church and also met people on the internet that were in the same situation as me. God gave me many friends that I would never replace.

My son who was 11 and my daughter who was 12 had been exploring Christianity at this point and becoming more and more interested in Jesus. We used to watch films and Christian channels about Jesus whilst my husband was at work and my kids had fallen in love. After a month or two, both of them gave their lives to Jesus and decided to follow him. This is where the trouble began.

One night, my son had forgotten that my husband was sitting in the same room as him and he asked if he could come to Church with me. My husband became very angry. He said: “you are a Muslim, and you’re going to stay Muslim. Therefore you’re not allowed to go to Church.” After that, my kids informed my husband that they we’re both Christians and in love with Jesus. Not only that, my daughter said, and I’ll never forget this, “I’m a Christian, dad, please don’t leave, we love you… But Jesus said whoever denies me before men, I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven and I don’t want that dad…” That night, he was very upset and furious, shouting and crying saying he’d leave in the morning, feeling like he’s the only Muslim in the house and we were all crying, begging him not to leave.

He decided to sleep downstairs on the sofa and me and my kids slept in my room where we engaged in intense prayer for most of the night. We asked God for my husband to accept us all and to stay. The Holy Spirit really was there and we were all shaking and crying. When we woke up, my husband said “I don’t know what happened to me, but I’m not going to go. I’ll accept you as Christians, and your children can go to the church with you, starting this week” and our prayer had been answered! Praise the Lord! Me and my children got baptised in 2008.

My husband left Islam in 2009 and joined us at church. He was just believing in God but not having a proper relationship. He had grown more and more interested in Christianity… He wanted to know more about the Lord, so now, he comes with us every Sunday to Church and we are praying that he’ll accept Jesus into his heart soon and get baptised by God’s will! Please pray for him. Please pray for all of us for God to protect us against my family who want to kill us because we left the cult they call “ISLAM”. 1Co 15:57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Thank you for reading my testimony. God bless you.

17/11/10 UPDATE: Dear Friends and especially those who prayed for my husband… This week has been absolutely wonderful!! Thanks to all your prayers, MY HUSBAND HAS BEEN SAVED! Praise God! Hallelujah! Glory to God! Thank you Jesus!! Thank you to everyone again. Please continue to pray for him to become stronger in Christ and to become a witness for all somali people and everybody all over the world! In Jesus’ Mighty name, Amennnn!

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November 4, 2008: The Day America’s Death Warrant Was Signed (Conclusion)

 

As I wrote in Part 2, if my revelations about the Vietnam War and America’s Death Warrant are accurate, why should we Christians even care about America’s sins? Why not just give up and move to Switzerland or Brazil?

Let’s study the example of the early Jerusalem church.

Jesus prophesied the Death Warrant for Jerusalem in 30 A.D. The early church reacted to the prophecy by preaching and living the gospel of the kingdom of God, and also reminding Jerusalem of its errors.

Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ – this Jesus whom you crucified. (Acts 2: 36)

You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit; you are doing just as your fathers did. (Acts 7:51)

 

After Stephen’s death in 35 A.D., many Christians fled Jerusalem, but the apostles remained and continued preaching and advancing the kingdom of God. Even Herod’s cruel harassment of the church in 45 A.D. did not diminish the church’s presence in the city and it continued to prosper in the midst of on-again and off-again persecutions for the next twenty years.

Now, Luke’s account of the gospel was written in 60 A.D.  His info came from eyewitnesses, probably the apostles. Thus, we know that Jesus’ Death Warrant prophecy was still resonating in the church at this time – almost thirty years later.

Then in 67 A.D., a Christian gave a prophetic word to the Jerusalem church. It reminded everyone of Jesus’ Death Warrant prophecy and warned of Jerusalem’s upcoming devastation. The prophecy also advised all believers to flee the city.

By 69 A.D., all Christians heeded the prophecy and left Jerusalem. So, when Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D., no believers perished in the siege.

We Christians need to follow the example of the early church. Like them, we are, first of all, citizens of the kingdom of God. Our American citizenships are secondary and temporary in comparison to our kingdom of God citizenships.

Our orders do not come from a president, a governor or a mayor, but instead from a King. Whether we stay or leave a city should depend on Him, not our personal fears or whims. And if we are staying, we need to heed the words of Jesus in His parable:

“…Do business till I come.” (Luke 19:13 NKJ)

If we choose to stay, then we need to help reduce the pain and impact of the Lord’s upcoming judgments against America so that all can run with endurance the race set before us.

What do I believe the Lord wants us Christians to do?

First, the Vietnam War was a divisive conflict for America. On the one side were the doves, or anti-war groups, and opposing them were the hawks, or pro-war groups. The divisiveness from this war has continued into today’s America, and even into the Body of Christ.

So, we believers must check our hearts to see if we harbor any bitterness against America as a whole or against anti-war or pro-war groups. If we discover bitterness in our hearts, this sin must be dealt with at the cross of Jesus Christ and forgiveness received.

Second, we Christians need to repent of our selfishness regarding the Vietnam War. We have only cared about the pain inflicted upon us Americans and not the anguish suffered by the people of Vietnam, Cambodia, and Lao.

Third, we Christians need to ask the Lord to raise up men, women and groups who will go to the Southeast Asian immigrants in our communities and ask forgiveness for America’s broken promises to their native countries. Some Christians may even be asked by the Lord to travel as His ambassadors to Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos to ask forgiveness of the people there.

Fourth, Christians need to stand in the gap and make financial intercession for our nation’s failure to keep its promises of aid to Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos during the 1970’s. This can be accomplished by giving gifts of money to the poor and needy in these countries, many of whom are still suffering from America’s broken promises.

Will this be tough to do? Yes, of course it will be, but when has repentance ever been easy to swallow?

If you believe that this is the will of the Lord for you, then maybe you ought to meditate on the words of a 19th century preacher:

The man whose little sermon is “repent” sets himself against his age, and will for the time being be battered mercilessly by the age whose moral tone he challenges. There is but one end for such a man – “off with his head!” You had better not try to preach repentance until you have pledged your head to heaven. (Joseph Parker, 1830 – 1902)

 

Click on following links for earlier articles: Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4,  Part 5 and Part 6.

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