Monthly Archives: April 2011

Get Ready! The Prophets Are Coming! (Part 1)

The syndicated Harley-Davidson talk radio show aired on Monday through Friday afternoons from the Hearst Building on the corner of Third and Market Streets. Harley Irving and Vince Davidson ranted about politics, sports, religion and whatever struck their fancy on their top-rated West Coast talk program. Seven million people tuned-in as they drove their vehicles home from work.

The program on the day after Jeremiah’s second visit to City Hall bubbled over with more spirit than usual, even by Harley-Davidson’s outrageous standards.

“If you haven’t heard this clip from yesterday’s supervisors’ board meeting, it’ll make your teeth shiver. Roll it,” said Harley, a three hundred and seventy-five pound chocolate milkshake, cheeseburger and fries aficionado.

A two minute tape played Jeremiah’s prophetic words and his exchange with C. M. Thurston. No editing had been done to it because all of the chamber’s noisy reactions could be heard.

“What do you think, Davidson?” said Harley, pointing at his skinny partner with coke-bottle lens glasses, balancing on his nose.

Davidson grunted into the microphone.

“As our audience knows, I’m hardly ever a fan of Supervisor Thurston,” he said. “But this De Luz guy is dangerous. He believes he can speak for God? Sort of reminds me of Jim Jones.”

“Jim Jones, huh? I didn’t think of that connection – but you’re right. Jones was the pastor of the People’s Temple right here in San Francisco. He called himself a prophet, didn’t he? Even got involved in politics, Mayor Moscone gave him a seat on the Housing Authority and – ”

Davidson cut him off.

“No matter how you shuffle the cards, Prophet Jones’ claim to fame is that he convinced more than nine hundred people to commit suicide in Jonestown,Guyana, on November 18, 1978. Nice prophet, right?”

“So, what’s the low-down on this prophet stuff?” said Harley.

“Glad you asked,” said Davidson as if answering on cue. “Today, we have a guest who will shed some light on prophets. Reverend Elmer Jasnowski is a doctor of theology and a professor at Stanford University.” Davidson paused a beat, then said, “Rev. Jasnowski, welcome to the Harley-Davidson Show.”

“Thank you, it’s a privilege to be here,” said a booming baritone voice.

“So, Reverend, can you give us a little background on prophets?” said Harley.

“Yes, I can,” said Rev. Jasnowski. “Throughout the Old Testament, God spoke to Israel mainly through kings, priests and prophets. The prophets were generally not a part of the temple hierarchy and were sort of the lone wolves of their day. They received a message from God and then delivered it. Often, the message was not received well by listeners. Generally, it ran counter to the beliefs at the time and – ”

Harley interrupted to make a point.

“So, De Luz could be a prophet, right? Seeing that his views run counter to what we think here in the Bay Area.”

“It depends.”

“Depends on what?” said Davidson.

“It depends on what camp of Christianity you follow.” Rev. Jasnowski went on. “Let me add a little more background before I get into that, okay?”

“Sure,” said Harley.

“Did you know the Lord Himself was perceived as a prophet in His day? He was; and also, New Testament scripture states the Lord gave the church prophets, along with apostles, evangelists, pastors and teachers, when He ascended into heaven. A few examples of prophets in the New Testament are John the Baptist, Silas and Judas. Now, this is where it gets kind of tricky.”

“How so?” said Harley.

“Ah, you see, we have two extremes in Christianity. At the one end are the Cessationists. This group believes prophecy and the miraculous gifts were only given to the early church as launching pads for the spread of the gospel. Then, when the last apostle died and the New Testament was written, the gifts died out. At the other extreme are the Pentecostals. They are – ”

“Nuts and wackos,” piped in Davidson, finishing Jasnowski’s sentence. “I know. I really do! You want to know how I know? My sister-in-law is a tongue-talking weirdo. She’s always bugging me.”

Reverend Jasnowski laughed.

“The Pentecostals believe the miraculous gifts and the callings of apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher are still valid for today’s Christianity. They believe spiritual gifts reappeared with the Azusa Street Revival in 1906.”

“So, what are your beliefs about De Luz and prophets as a whole?” asked Harley.

“I’m like most Christians – middle of the road, not at one extreme or the other,” said Jasnowski. “We have the Holy Spirit. A complete Bible. Good churches. Pastors and theologians. Good seminaries. So, why does God need prophets? Plus, there is one other point.”

“Yes, go on,” said Davidson.

“God has a church government set in place with the pastor as the head,” said Jasnowski. “So, if God really wants to speak, He’d do it through pastors, not some unknown, untrained man without any accountability to a local pastor in San Francisco. After all, things must be done properly and in an orderly manner.”

“So, you sound sure we don’t need to worry about De Luz and his words?” said Harley.

“Fairly sure.”

“What percentage is fairly sure?” asked Davidson, pinning the theologian down.

“Ninety-nine point eight percent sure,” said Jasnowski.

Harley blew out a monstrous sigh into the microphone.

“As my daddy used to say, ‘the fastest horse doesn’t always win the race, but that’s how I’d bet my money.’ And, folks, I’m betting that Rev. Jasnowski is correct on this one.”

(This is an excerpt from my soon to be published book, Jonah.)  

(Continued in Part 2)        

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But First

 

It was only a dream, but it seemed so real.

I was standing on a starting line, ready to run some type of race. Off to my left was a man dressed in a long white robe, wearing leather sandals on his feet. His dark beard and long hair framed his bronze colored face. He had a starter’s gun in his hand.

He nodded at me. “Are you ready?” he asked.

I pulled my red track shorts up, yanked my white athletic tee-shirt out of my shorts for more freedom of movement and checked to see if my shoestrings were tied tightly on my Nike running shoes. Everything seemed ready. I nodded.

“Now remember,” he said, “you need to go as fast as you can. This is a timed race. You only have a limited amount of time to finish it, okay?”

I looked over the race course. In the distance, I saw the end point. There were finances, healings, deliverances, miracles, wonders, peace and joy just beyond the finish line. But between the starting line and the finish line was an obstacle course. Posts sticking out of the ground. Fences. Brick walls. Quicksand pits. Mud bogs. Trees. Rivers. Water falls. Railroad tracks. Highways. Tunnels. Dangerous cliffs. Fortunately, a narrow path wound its way back and forth through the course. It looked easy enough to me – just stay on the path and run as fast as I could.

I nodded to him

“Get ready.”

I got down on my haunches.

“Get set.”

I rose up into a sprinter’s position. My feet were set to slingshot my body forward.

Then, he said, “But first, you’ll need this.”

He walked over and covered my eyes with a black blindfold. Not one ray of light touched my eyes. It was perfectly dark – I could not see a thing.

“Now, don’t forget, you need to go as fast as you can.”

Behind me, I heard some whispering, a very quiet voice speaking something or other. I paid no attention to it.

BANG!

I took off like an Olympic sprinter, running as fast as I could.

BAM! I hit a post and fell to the ground. My nose felt like it was broken, blood was gushing from it. I could feel the wetness soaking through my tee-shirt. It hurt so much that I wanted to just lay there and quit.

The dark haired starter walked over and stood over me. “Now don’t forget this is a timed race. You need to run as fast as you can,” he said.

I struggled to my feet. As I did, I heard the same quiet voice speaking some words behind me. But once again, I paid no attention to it and took off running.

YUCK! I fell into a quicksand pit and found myself sinking under some glop. The more I flailed my arms and legs, the faster I sank. Soon, the sandy goop was up to my neck and not far from my nose.

“Help me, Lord,” I shouted.

Somehow, I floated over to the edge and crawled out of the pit. I laid there. It was all I could do to catch my breath from the physical all-out effort of trying to survive the ordeal. I wanted to quit.

“Don’t forget. This is a timed race; you need to go as fast as you can!” the man exclaimed.

Why I stood up, I don’t know. Maybe, I am a glutton for punishment or possibly I am a modern day Don Quixote looking for futile endeavors to engage in. I brushed the sand off my legs and attempted to clean off my shoes. As I did this, I once more heard what sounded like soft whispers in the background. But again, I ignored them.

My sense of direction was completely turned around. However, I gave it the old college try and just took off running,

SPLASH! I fell into a deep river with fast-moving waters rushing over me. The hurtling rapids sent me flying downstream in a haphazard manner, smashing my body against rocks and floating logs. When I tried to swim toward either shore, my body was battered by the full force of the current and flung about like a rag doll in a typhoon.

“Lord, help me!” I exclaimed.

My hand reached out and grasped a tree limb. I pulled myself across the stream, hand over hand on the limb and climbed up onto the shore. I vomited water from my lungs. This was the end. I couldn’t take anymore.

As I sat there, I heard the quiet voice whispering to me. This time I gave it my full attention and listened. “Stand up,” the voice said.

I obeyed it.

“Okay, now turn to your right ninety degrees.”

Again, I obeyed.

“Walk four steps and stop.”

I stood waiting for the next command.

“Turn forty-five degrees to your left.”

I obeyed.

“You went too far. Turn to your right five degrees.”

I adjusted myself in accordance with the instructions.

“Walk ten steps forward and wait.”

After I had walked ten steps, I stopped. “Won’t this take a long time to finish this obstacle course?” I said.

The quiet voice laughed. “My way is the fastest route through the obstacle course. However, you can always choose to return to your running blindly methods, but as you know, that can be painful. So, what do you want to do?” the voice said.

“Lord, what’s your next instruction?” I said.

Then, I woke up with a scripture verse on my mind:

Your own ears will hear Him. Right behind you a voice will say, “This is the way you should go,” whether to the right or to the left. (Isaiah 30:21 NLT) 

(This is a short story excerpt from my upcoming book, Deceived Dead and Delivered. )   

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America’s Hope: The Hopeless Inner Cities (Part 2)

In his memoir, Display of Power, the author, Daymond John, writes how he and three other young men turned their savvy about African-American urban trends into a company named FUBU. The company’s name which is an acronym for “For Us, By Us” is as much an icon as the hip-hop stars it emulates. The book is especially aimed at black entrepreneurs and offers business advice to them.

“…and so it’s the display of power that separates the haves of this world from the have-nots. It’s the ability to change the way we look out at the world, and the way the world looks back at us. It’s identifying the power, and figuring what to do with it. (Display of Power, Daymond John, 2007, Naked Ink Publishers)

The book is not written from a Christian perspective and the main power he’s referring to is a combination of decisiveness, agility, dedication, communication and refusing to give up or take no for an answer. This is the standard makeup for any start-up entrepreneur who hopes to prosper.

But at the same time, John has captured in the above two sentences the answer on how God will create golden vessels in the inner cities of America: display of power.

My message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God. (1 Corinthians 2:4-5)

Now, what was the Lord thinking about when he sent the Apostle Paul to the Gentiles? He was the Hebrew of Hebrews and a strict Pharisee. So,wouldn’t it have made more sense to send Paul to the Jews and raise a Gentile up for the Gentiles? And yet, look at what Paul wrote to the church in Rome:

But now I am speaking to you who are Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I lay great stress on my ministry and magnify my office, in the hope of making my fellow Jews jealous [in order to stir them up to imitate, copy, and appropriate], and thus managing to save some of them. (Romans 11: 13-15 Amplified)

Paul had a two-pronged ministry: one as a sweet smelling rose to the Gentiles and the other, as a thorn to the Jews.

The Lord knew exactly what He was doing when He chose Paul and He’s about to do much the same thing in America’s inner cities.

I believe the Lord is ready to release white apostles and prophets who have been especially prepared by the Father to go into America’s inner cities. They will show up on street corners. In parks. At businesses. In bars. On basketball courts. These ambassadors of His grace will not bring a “prosperity gospel” nor a “seeker-friendly gospel”, but rather, they are anointed to preach deliverance to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind, and to set free those who are oppressed.

These servants will be unknown white men, of whom all will say, “Who are they? Where did they come from?”

These questions will be answered by their actions and not by hype or advertising. They will demonstrate the power and love of the Father and will be like small white stones tossed into large black ponds. A splash will occur, but it will not be a small one. Instead, a tsunami of black men will come out of the inner cities, bringing reformation to the American church system.

And my prayer is, “Come, Lord Jesus.”

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America’s Hope: The Hopeless Inner Cities (Part 1)

“Can I come live with you at your house?” said CiCi, an African-American girl.

“Hmm! I’ll have to think about that,” I whispered, shocked by her request.

Over the following few days, I pondered the possibilities of CiCi living with me and the life which she would then have. Her mom was on crack and her dad was an unemployed, druggie-alcoholic. Their home, which was near the inner city church I attended, was a nightmarish gulag, filled with turmoil and fear. CiCi, only six years old, desperately wanted to escape and hoped I would be her rescuer.

But being single, I eventually had to say no.

This happened seventeen years ago. CiCi would be twenty-three years old today…if she’s still alive.

Now, I hadn’t thought about CiCi or the inner cities for a long time, that is, not until I watched the following four minute video:

http://www.godvine.com/Christians-are-Being-Persecuted-and-Murdered-Worldwide-32.html

If you watch the video, you’ll soon notice it has nothing to do with America’s inner cities. Instead, it shows Christians who have suffered cruel persecutions in North Korea, China, Indonesia, Nigeria, Sudan and other nations for their faith. These people have been through the fire, their faith tested and now they are golden vessels for His glory.

What dawned on me while watching the video is that we have few (if any) golden vessels in America like these believers. Yes, we have numerous preachers who can teach what to do in the face of upcoming persecutions. But this is just textbook teaching when compared to how the Apostle Paul taught:

Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us. (Philippians 3:17)

Not only did Paul talk the talk, he walked the walk. He was imprisoned often, beaten often, stoned and left for dead, shipwrecked three times, swam in a raging sea for twenty-four hours, lived in constant peril, hunger, thirst, cold and exposure. His life stood as a perfect prototype for early Christians to model their own lives after.

Paul’s words help us today, but still, we need modern Pauls, golden vessels who have been through the fires. Where will they come from?

In 1994, I prophesied at an inner city church: “There is a voice crying out in the inner cities of America and it is saying, ‘I want to be free. I want to be free. Oh Lord, I want to be free.'”

As I prophesied, the voice of the inner cities reminded me of Israel’s sighing, groaning and crying out to God because of their bondage in Egypt. I also felt God had heard the inner city voice and was ready to move to set the captives free.

Not long after the prophecy, I had a vision in which I saw a black river flowing out of the inner cities of America. This black river streamed into the other cities and towns of our nation. As I watched on, the black river became magnified and I saw that the river consisted of African-American men. They were apostles and prophets, heading out to preach their message, “Repent, the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.”

These African-American men were not your normal preachers wearing dark suits and white shirts. But instead, they wore black Oakland Raider tee-shirts and baseball caps. Their bodies were scarred with needle marks, knife cuts and gun wounds. The looks on their faces showed an inner resolve which said, “Get out of my way. I’m determined to do the will of God.” Yet, in their eyes, I saw the overwhelming love of Jesus.

Since the prophecy and vision, has life improved in America’s inner cities? Conditions have so deteriorated that the inner cities are now considered gang war zones.

For example, in Los Angeles, gang related homicides in areas like Compton and South LA account for over half of the city’s murders. If these murders were not figured into the total number of homicides, LA would be one of the safest cities in the world. But because of the gang related deaths, LA ranks as one of the ten worst cities for murder in America, along with Washington D.C., Detroit and Philadelphia.

To counter this, billions of dollars have been spent by government and charitable agencies to alleviate the suffering in the inner cities, but the money has had little effect. Misery and anguish continues unabated and little girls still hope and say, “Can I come and live with you at your house?”

And yet, I feel the inner cities are the exact places where God will create His golden vessels to be our Paul prototypes. How can this happen?

(Continued in Part 2)

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