Monthly Archives: June 2011

If You Hate Ugly, Sit on the Sidelines!

“War is hell.” (General William Tecumseh Sherman)

“It is fatal in any war to enter it without the will to win it.” (General Douglas MacArthur)

“Nobody ever defended anything successfully; there is only attack and attack and attack some more.” General George S. Patton)

General William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, received a message from a lieutenant in a distant city: “While preaching on the streets today, we were attacked by saloon keepers and their mobs. Some of us ended up in jail; some in hospitals; and the rest of us are fearful. What shall we do? Surrender?”

Booth immediately sent a reply: “Surrender? Never! It looks like you’re finally having some success in your city. Continue the battle.”

Looking at today’s Salvation Army, it’s hard to envision the militant spirit of General Booth (1829-1912). His motto, “Go for souls, and go for the worst,” compelled him to preach in front of gin joints, saloons and brothels. Night after night, he returned home, bruised and bleeding from stones, beatings, hot tar and whatever the angry mobs threw at him. At home, he would then pray with his wife, Catherine, for souls. Then, the next day, he went back on the streets, preaching salvation to angry crowds.

His preaching converted thieves, prostitutes, gamblers and drunkards. Then, these converts were encouraged to become  evangelists themselves and join him on the street, preaching and singing to crowds. In this manner, cities were shaken and slums changed for the better.

His secret: all night prayer meetings and tears.

Booth never cared that newspapers lambasted and ridiculed him. He just figured it went along with his calling to save souls. Even when spat upon, he thought of it as a badge of honor.

During the course of Booth’s life, he traveled 5,000,000 miles and preached 60,000 messages, mostly on the streets. His advice to his Salvation Army: “Work as if everything depended on your work, pray as if everything depended on your prayer.”

If ever America needed men like General Booth, we need them now.

Christianity’s tolerant, wish-washy, lovey-dovey, “God loves you no matter how you live and how big your sin” message is not working. Sin now abounds in America’s cities, especially San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland and Seattle, but where are the grace messages, confronting and combating this sin?

Where are the General Booths who are willing to stand in the streets of Compton, South LA, the Castro District of San Francisco, other inner cities and gay communities and speak the truth to them? Where are the men who have the courage to proclaim: “Go and sin no more?”

If you hate ugly messes, find a comfortable seat on the sidelines and keep quiet. Why? Because this will be a messy, long war to deliver people in gay communities, inner cities and out of gangs.  Well-meaning Christians with soulish pity will end up on the wrong side in this war and will oppose Spirit-backed men and women with the word of the Lord in their mouths. It will be an absolutely ugly mess. Christians against Christians. And Christians against the world system and its media.

You need to overcome the tug of people against you as you reach for high goals. (General George S. Patton)

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The Apostles Are Coming! The Apostles Are Coming! (Part 3)

The internationally known prophet asked for prayer after his meeting at the church I attended at the time. Some of us gathered around him and began praying. After a few minutes, a prophetic word crossed my mind.

“The calling of apostle will come upon you in the near future, but first, I see you pastoring a small church,” I said. “The Lord wants you to really understand people before he moves you into the apostolic calling. From the small church, you will walk into a world-wide apostolic ministry.”

Most believers would have been happy to receive an encouraging word like this, but not that particular man. This same prophet, who had taught us earlier in the evening about the love of God and about the importance of humility, rebuked me sharply.

“I spend lots of time in prayer,” he said. “So, don’t you think the Lord could speak prophetic words like that to me in my prayer time?” His eyes revealed his anger at me.

To be honest, I was shocked by his reaction. “Uh, well, uh, I guess so,” I answered.

“Then why do I need a prophetic word from you?” he asked.

I shrugged my shoulders. “I don’t know,” I answered, not knowing what else to say.

This eye-opening incident really happened to me sixteen years ago and it’s as alive in my memory banks today as if it just happened yesterday.

The crux of the matter was not whether the prophetic words were accurate or not, but rather, it was that I was not at the prophet’s spiritual level. I was a nobody. If I had been a Billy Graham, Rick Warren, David Yongi Cho or some other well-known international minister, he never would have spoken those words to me. Instead he would have said, “Thanks for the prophetic words. I’ll pray about them.”

Now, if you think this is a unique and seldom occurring event, I have news for you: it’s not! For most of the tradition church system, there is a hierarchy system set in place where only certain people are allowed to speak words of direction or correction to the ministers who lead (usually called the clergy) and the pew sitters (known as the lay people) have little voice in these matters.

But yet, when one of the original apostles, Peter, became a hypocrite in Antioch, the young apostle Paul had no problem handling the situation:

But when Peter came to Antioch, I had, to oppose him to his face, for what he did was very wrong. When he first arrived, he ate with the Gentile Christians, who were not circumcised. But afterward, when some friends of James came, Peter wouldn’t eat with the Gentiles anymore. He was afraid of criticism from these people who insisted on the necessity of circumcision. As a result, other Jewish Christians followed Peter’s hypocrisy, and even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. (Galatians 2:11-13)

Do you think Peter was embarrassed? Probably. Do you think Peter wanted to lash out at Paul? Probably. This is usually how our flesh reacts to being rebuked, or at least, this is how mine reacts at the time.  Then, what do you think Peter felt when he saw the above letter sent to the churches in Galatia and his name mentioned as a hypocrite? Once again, he was probably a little miffed, but did he hold a grudge against Paul?

And remember, our Lord’s patience gives people time to be saved. This is what our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you with the wisdom God gave him— speaking of these things in all of his letters. Some of his comments are hard to understand, and those who are ignorant and unstable have twisted his letters to mean something quite different, just as they do with other parts of Scripture. And this will result in their destruction. (2 Peter 3:15-16 NLT)

Peter, the man who had the revelation that Jesus was the Christ and who was chosen to accompany Jesus on the mountain when He was transfigured and talked to Moses and Elijah, was a humble man of God. He stayed small in his own eyes and was a seeker of truth.

The apostles are coming, not to be a part of the hierarchical system, but rather to blow it apart. Will the apostles rebuke the leaders of the traditional church system? Most likely, very little. But instead, the humility displayed by these soon-coming apostles will attract the long suffering pew sitters out of the traditional churches and into their royal priesthood callings. The captives will finally be set free.

The apostles are coming!

(To be continued in the future)

 

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A Shadow’s Viewpoint of His Dad

“Roy, where’s your shadow?” the tractor salesman asked Dad.

And with that statement, I received a nickname that stayed with me for quite a few years. I was Dad’s shadow, his tag along little boy, who traveled with him when he went to town or a neighbor’s place or Uncle Bob’s farm or the Haldane Elevator or wherever.

Of course, being Dad’s shadow had its unique benefits because he was a softie and I could always squeeze a dime or fifteen cents out of his pockets. This was more than enough to buy an ice-cold Nehi Cream Soda and a Baby Ruth candy bar at Donaldson’s Grocery Store in Haldane or a Pepsi and a handful of peanuts at Gentry’s Farm Implement in Polo.

As his shadow, I watched Dad climb Gene Bolen’s and Matt DeWall’s silos up to the top so that a new crop of silage could be stored in them. He was the fearless neighborhood Spiderman and unafraid of heights. I also saw him help Lawrence Zumdahl, Walter Paul and Doc Link with their projects. Dad always had time to help neighbors and also drink their coffee. “Black please, no sugar or cream,” he always answered on how he liked his coffee.

And of course, there was Uncle Bob Duncan. Dad farmed with Uncle Bob for thirty plus years and never once did this shadow ever hear Dad speak an angry word at Uncle Bob or vice versa. Both treated each other with the highest mutual respect.

When I was six years old, Dad put his shadow (me) to work for the first time, driving a tractor which pulled the hay fork into the barn. It was an easy job. All I had to do was pay attention to him and push in the clutch when he waved his arms at me. But as youngsters sometimes do, I anticipated his commands and stopped early a few too many times. At last, Dad said to me, “From now on, watch me. If you don’t see me waving my hands, keep on going…even if you end up in the orchard. Do you understand?”

His voice alerted me to the importance of his commands.

All went well for a few hours.

Then, Mom showed up and talked with him while we were working. The load of hay moved up into the barn and I continued driving the tractor, waiting for the waving of his hands. But he continued talking with Mom. I drove past every one of my earlier stopping points and headed for the orchard. Finally, I saw him frantically waving his hands. I stopped.

He ran toward me. His face was red and he held his hat in his hand. “Sonny, I am so mad…but it’s not your fault…it’s mine. But I am so mad! You pulled the backdoor out of the barn with the hayforks. I’m so mad! But it’s not your fault. Honest, Sonny, it’s not your fault, but I am so mad!”

I can still see him standing there next to the tractor tire, shifting his weight from one foot to the other in his agitation, so angry and yet so careful not to hurt my feelings. He eventually helped me off the tractor and gave me a hug. All was well between Dad and his shadow even though his barn door was busted to pieces.

And this is how Dad treated me his whole life. It is called love.

A few days before Dad’s death, a nurse asked me, “What was your dad like?”

“He was a good guy who wore a white hat and sat on a tall white charger. He always arrived at the scene just in the nick of time with a few dollars in his pocket, a hammer and a pair of pliers in his hands and words of encouragement in his mouth for his loved ones and neighbors. He was my hero,” I said.

And I believed every word of it.

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The Apostles Are Coming! The Apostles Are Coming! (Part 2)

Flickering candles scattered throughout the family room provided light for the home church as shadows danced across walls. The adults sat on a leather sectional, a matching loveseat and a brick fireplace hearth while the children sprawled out on the carpet. The scene was reminiscent of a time when the church’s existence was threatened by Nero’s bloody pogroms. And like those early Christians, the group huddled together seeking refuge from a cruel enemy, searching for more victims to devour.

Perhaps, the angel of death will pass us by, Luke thought. But how will that happen?

Then Luke looked around the room at the home church’s members. Ike and Hannah Albertson, Juan and Debbie Rodriguez, Ezra and Bonnie Cho, Ben and Myra Goldberg, Tim and Margie O’Riley and all the children.  Luke’s wife, Cat, sat next to him on the hearth. All were present and none seemed to have suffered major injuries from the nuclear bomb.

Yet, death hung like a drape over the assembly. Everyone felt its evil presence. It was an all-out battle to keep panic and the “if only’s” from invading their thoughts.

But what struck Luke as utterly amazing were the children. They seemed peaceful. A few even played quietly in the breakfast nook. Others sat in front of their parents on the carpet. Margie’s four month old baby even giggled and kicked his feet on her lap.

We need to be more like children, Luke thought.

His inner meditations were overridden at times by the outside sounds of explosions, distant sirens and the roar of raging fires. The external commotion from the aftereffects of the nuclear bomb only added another lead brick to the group’s emotional overload.

Then, as Luke Stone sat there, his spirit leaped to life within him. Stirrings like this had occurred in times past as a result of the spiritual gifts, but now, it was even more pronounced. Divine strength eclipsed his human weaknesses and fears. Where just seconds before he had seen nothing but impossibilities, he now saw opportunities. A heaven-inspired plan formed in his mind.

He stood up and looked around at the assembly.

“Four lepers sat in the midst of a disaster when they said to one another, ‘Why are we sitting here until we die?’ Having nothing to lose, they marched toward the enemy’s camp. The Lord then amplified the echoes of their footsteps, causing Israel’s foes to retreat from the battle site. Thus, triumph swallowed up defeat. This victory was not accomplished by a group who continued to sit within their walls of safety. It happened because a few men decided to ignore their circumstances and weaknesses and do something.”

The assembly focused their eyes on him. They needed no announcements or advertising hype to inform them that the mantle of the apostle rested upon Luke. They knew. And like Paul the apostle, Luke did not speak with persuasive words of wisdom, but instead, he demonstrated the Holy Spirit and power so that the people’s faith rested not in him but on the power of God.

“Now, like the four lepers, we have a decision to make. To sit here until we die, or to obey God,” Luke proclaimed.

Luke paused and did not bully the group into following his beliefs. He knew this was the Holy Spirit’s job and that He would guide them into the truth. (Short excerpt from an upcoming book, LA Died Today)

The apostles are coming, not to sit in large churches and receive adulation, but to advance the Kingdom of God against impossible situations and bring glory to the King.

(Continued in Part 3)

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The Apostles Are Coming! The Apostles Are Coming!

The university auditorium was packed to capacity for the debate between Dr. Hiram Love, author of Gays Are Holy, Too, and Paul Simon, a Christian businessman. The middle-aged businessman was a last minute replacement for a noted Christian apologist who suffered from the flu.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we welcome you to tonight’s debate,” said the moderator. “The topic for our debate, Is Homosexuality A Sin, seems to be a hot-button subject in our state right now with the Prop 8 vote and its follow-up lawsuits. The format for our debate is that each debater has thirty minutes to put forth his views on whether or not homosexuality is a sin. Then, in the second hour, the two will go head to head in a point and counterpoint match up. Dr. Love won the coin toss and will go first. Dr. Love, are you ready?”

Dr. Love nodded and walked to the podium. His herringbone sport coat with brown leather elbow patches added a professorial look to his thin frame and bearded face.

“Do you know how many times Jesus mentioned homosexuality was a sin in the four Gospels?” said Dr. Love. He paused as his blue eyes scanned the audience, as if looking for an answer. Then, he added, “Not once!”

A short titter raced through the audience.

“That’s right, not once,” said Dr. Love. “Wouldn’t you think that such a supposed vile and abominable sin as homosexuality would have at least been mentioned once by our Lord? He mentioned divorce as a sin. He mentioned greed and idolatry. But not once did he mention homosexuality.”

Dr. Love spent the half hour laying out the hypothesis that homosexuality was not a sin by what Jesus did and did not mention. He referred to Jesus’ words, the red letter ones of the four Gospels, as the framework for Christianity.

When Dr. Love finished, the audience softly clapped their approval. He backed away from the podium and walked over to his chair on the right side of the stage.

“Mr. Simon,” said the moderator, “are you ready?”

Paul Simon nodded.

The audience checked him out as he walked from his chair to the podium. His short stature, undistinguished features and ill-fitting sport coat were noticed by all. Who let this country yokel in here? The audience collectively wondered.

“Jesus’ main message was about the Kingdom of God,” said Simon, in a stammering voice. “The Apostle Paul further defined the Kingdom when he wrote: ‘Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God. Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge themselves in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God.”

Simon caught his breath before proceeding, “The apostle Paul also stated that the Kingdom does not consist in words, but in power.”

Next, Simon stepped to the side of the podium and switched on his lapel microphone. Every eye watched him.

“When I was asked to replace the featured Christian debater, I told them I’m not a great speaker and I had two requests. One was for a lapel microphone. And two, I asked to be allowed to demonstrate my position on the Kingdom of God. They agreed to both of my requests,” he said as he walked down the steps of the stage to the audience level.

He walked over to a woman sitting in a wheelchair next to a front row seat.

“Ma’am, would you please stand up?” he asked.

“What?” said the thin lady who looked to be thirty years old, “I can’t stand up. I’m totally paralyzed and have been since an auto accident twenty years ago.”

“In Jesus’ name, stand up,” proclaimed the man.

She jumped out of the wheelchair. Then, realizing what happened, she walked and ran and jumped. She screamed, “I’m healed.”

Her parents ran to her and joined the celebration.

Simon turned away from the lady and continued praying for other people. A blind man received his sight. A woman’s lungs were cleared of emphysema. A college football player’s knee was healed. He prophesied over people and prayed for many others.

When his half hour was up, Simon returned to the podium. He turned toward Dr. Love and said, “Let’s see you confirm your teachings with miracles, signs and wonders. If you can’t, then why should anyone listen to you?”

Dr. Love stood up and walked off the stage, not looking back at the apostle of God.

And 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 in the wisdom of men, but on the power of God. (1 Corinthians 2:4-5)

This is only a glimpse of the near future because the apostles are coming.

(Continued in Part 2)

This series is a continuation of the earlier eight part series which can be seen here.

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Get Ready! The Prophets Are Coming! (Part 6)

Have you ever seen World War II films showing German bombers flying over London and anti-aircraft guns firing up in the air at them? Every fourth or fifth bullet was a phosphorous tracer shell so the artillerymen can track their firing and adjust their aims. The skies lit up with these phosphorous bullets of light heading toward targets overhead.

This was what it reminded me of when I looked up because thousands of bullets of light ripped through the heavens toward the spirit of depravity. The bullets came out of San Francisco, from other American cities, from foreign lands and especially out of China and Korea. None seemed off-target. They converged at a specific point on a force field of some kind that shielded the principality. The force field appeared to have a spiritual life to it.

As I continued watching, I noticed a weakening in the force field. A small crack appeared. The look on the principality’s face revealed the alarm and terror it felt from the damage inflicted on its protective shield. The spirit reacted by accelerating its ticker-tape barrage upon the earth below.

“This spiritual warfare is being waged by chosen intercessors against the spirit of depravity. Many of the prayer warriors are former gays, lesbians, sexual perverts, women who had abortions, people involved in the abortion industry and even babies who have survived abortion attempts on them. They have been washed in the Lamb’s blood and delivered from their pasts. Now, they are used – along with others – by the Lord God of Hosts as His air force against Satan’s forces.”

Air force? I thought. The Lord has an air force. Does He have marines? Or a navy, too?

“The small crack in the principality’s force field has come about because of an orchestrated prayer effort by prayer warriors, fasting and proclaiming Psalm 2:8 and Ephesians 3:10 into the heavens.” He touched his ear. “Listen.”

I heard the combined voices of thousands of intercessors praying: “Lord, we ask You to give us the heathen in San Francisco as an inheritance and a possession for Your kingdom. And in Jesus’ name, we command the principalities and powers to let go of San Francisco.”

He remained silent for a few moments before he picked up the conversation again.

“Now, the good news,” he said. “The crack allows the Lord to send a Special Forces combatant into San Franciscoto do some heavy damage on the enemy’s defenses.”

I swallowed hard. A question bubbled up within me.

“A special forces combatant?”

“Jeremiah, you’re the combatant.”

“But – ”

His eyes narrowed.

“Yes?”

“Why not just continue using prayer? It seems to be working.”

“Every battle, every war is different. Jesus, the Commander in Chief, knows best what is needed to bring forth a victory. You need to follow His plan.”

My mind reeled.

“Please, help me understand what I’ve just witnessed.”

“The first woe on San Francisco was a shot across the bow – just to get everyone’s attention. As far as any damage inflicted on the spiritual government over the city, it was minimal. A slight bump in the road for the spirit of depravity. And then, it has been back to normal, business as usual. This time will be different.

“But to truly understand spiritual warfare, you need to remember: Satan was an archangel who understands the government of God. When he rebelled, he became the father of lies and there’s no truth in him. Everything Satan attempts to do is a lying counterfeit of what God does and how God governs.”

He glanced at me, making sure I was on the same page with him.

“Satan’s army wears protective armor just like Christians do, but the demonic armor is the exact opposite of God’s armor. Their loins are girded with lies; their breastplates are unrighteousness; their feet are shod with chaos; they have shields of fear; they wear helmets of eternal doom; and their swords are the lying words of Satan. But there is one important similarity common to both God’s army and Satan’s forces. Can you guess what it is?”

I shook my head.

“Unity,” he said. “Both armies’ success depends on unity. God’s army is unified through faith in God and love of God and the brethren. Satan’s forces are unified in their hatred of God and His followers – and – their fear of God, Satan, each other and bold believers.

“The crack reveals a successful chipping away in the unity and resolve of Satan’s army by the intercessors’ prayers and proclamations of truth. It’s wide enough now for your upcoming prophetic words to enter through it, and then out into the spiritual atmosphere over the city. There your prophetic words will confront speculations and thoughts that are opposed to the obedience of Christ in San Francisco.”

“Will the spirit of depravity counterattack?” I asked, remembering how the principality increased its barrage right after the crack appeared.

“Yes. All wars are filled with attacks and counterattacks, but your prophecies will provide a needed weapon which the saints can use to fight the good fight.”

He stared at me and the silence stretched for nearly a minute.

“The counterattack will be especially rough for you, but His grace will be sufficient,” he said. “Now, I have instructions for you.”

Then, he told me. As he spoke, the gift of faith embraced me.

The above is an excerpt from my soon to be published book, Jonah.

The soon coming prophets will destroy fortresses in cities which have seemed impenetrable for the gospel until now.

For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. (2 Corinthians 10:4)

(Conclusion for now. Next week, the apostles.)

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