Monthly Archives: October 2012

I’m Enraged! Are You? (Part 5)

Paul wrote to the Corinthians that Israel’s journey through the wilderness from Egypt to the Promised Land happened as examples for us. If so, can we learn anything to help us in America’s inner cities?

Let us begin in Egypt.

After Joseph’s legacy dimmed, Israel spent the last three hundred years in Egypt as slaves. None of the three million Israelites, with the exception of Moses, had ever experienced freedom a single day in his or her life at the time of the exodus.

Now, there were leaders in Egypt, like Aaron and Miriam, who reminded the people of God’s promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob for the nation of Israel. Yet, these promises were kindled under the spiritual atmosphere controlled by the spirit of slavery. Sadly, even the leaders who spoke the promises were not immune to the cruel affects of the demonic principality.

To deliver Israel, God afflicted Egypt with ten judgments, each aimed specifically at an Egyptian god to reveal its weakness to all. The first three plagues did affect the Israelites who lived in Goshen, but for the fourth plague through the tenth, God did something different.

But this time I will spare the region of Goshen, where my people live. No flies will be found there. Then you will know that I am the LORD and that I am present even in the heart of your land. (Exodus 8:22)

While God  showed the worthlessness of Egypt’s gods to all, He openly revealed how He could protect those who followed Him.

After the tenth plague – the deaths of first born sons – Pharaoh finally relented and allowed Israel to leave Egypt. Israel took their herds and flocks with them and also:

 … they had asked from the Egyptians articles of silver, articles of gold, and clothing.  And the LORD had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they granted them what they requested. Thus they plundered the Egyptians. (Exodus 12:35-36)

Afterward, God led Israel by way of the Red Sea so He could demonstrate His power in the most miraculous miracle of Israel’s history: the parting of the Red Sea.  When the Red Sea finally returned to its normal depth, Egypt’s army was destroyed.

Thus, Egypt was left in a shambles, its wealth plundered and its army destroyed. What power could Egypt’s gods possibly have in comparison to the Lord God of Israel? Absolutely none.

But yet, the Egyptian gods still had strongholds in the Israelites.

… “Come, make us gods that shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt we do not know what has become of him”… And Aaron received the gold from their hand, and he fashioned it with an engraving tool, and made a molded calf. Then they said, “This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt.” (Exodus 32:1, 4)

The above event took place almost a year after Israel walked out of Egypt. By then, they had witnessed the ten judgments against the Egyptian gods and had been delivered out of Egypt. Plus, the parting of the Red Sea. Manna. Quail. Water from a rock. Heard God’s voice at Mt. Sinai and received His Law and Covenant.

And yet, during a time of distress, the Israelites reverted to putting their faith in one of the weak and defeated gods of Egypt: the golden calf.

How could this happen? And how does it relate to America’s inner cities?

(Continued in Part 6)


Filed under Christianity, Politics

As Soon As I Get My Act Together…Look Out World!

Most of us Christians think that if we ever get our acts together, we’ll do something great for the kingdom of God. Usually, by getting our acts together, we mean having:

1.  Sufficient finances.

2.  All relationships with family and others in good order.

3.  Health in good shape.

4.  Appearance (weight, clothing, physical conditioning, etc.) in camera-ready shape.

5.  Spiritual attainment in prayer and Bible study at the highest levels.

6. Ministry set up and ready to go.

Well, if this is your thinking, I have bad news for you. You will never have every area of your life in perfect condition at the same time, as in never ever. At least one, and sometimes  more, will raise their ugly heads and cause problems for you.

Once, I thought my life was in good shape, everything under control, and  ready for me to do something in the kingdom of God. But fortunately, a woman named Marion invited me to help with an outreach for neighborhood youths in her home.

The first time I attended the outreach was for a Halloween party. There were approximately thirty kids, with at least half of them being special education children. It would have been just another apples, candy, and cider party, except for one development.

In the midst of the fun, a first time visitor – a twelve year old girl – broke down crying about her life. Almost immediately, a  group of special education kids gathered around her and began praying for her. Not knowing the full story or what to do, I just stood there and watched.

Without a doubt, those special education kids prayed the worst prayers I have ever heard. One said one thing and another contradicted it. Back and forth it went, with all speaking at once and none of it making sense to me.

But in the midst of their mumble-jumble prayers, the young girl gave her life to Jesus. She was elated about being saved and jumped up and down.

I was shocked, trying to figure out what happened. As I stood there, the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart.

“The young kids’ hearts are right with Me. So, I poured out My grace on their prayers…something you do not know about as yet,” He said.

Because of this happening, I eventually ended up with a revelation about God’s grace. But even today, I hunger to understand grace more and more.

And God is able to make all grace abound to you… (2 Corinthians 9:8)

On this side of heaven, we will never have our acts together, but like those kids, we don’t have to. We just need to trust in God’s grace because it’s more than sufficient for all of us.


Filed under Christianity

I’m Enraged! Are You? (Part 4)

God helps those who help themselves.

75% of American Christians believe the above phrase is one of the central themes of the Bible. Plus a majority of believers even rank the phrase as one of the best known Bible verses.

Yet, both assumptions are false. Thus, the above popular phrase reflects the unfamiliarity we Christians have with the Bible and the God of the Bible.

You see, without the Father’s grace and mercy, we believers are helpless weaklings, able to accomplish little in the world. We can’t save ourselves. We can’t deliver ourselves from the kingdom of darkness. In fact,  what can we do without God’s help?

“Stupid is as stupid does,” said the mother to little Forrest Gump in the movie by the same name. Her words accurately state what we can do without God’s help.

Yet, not only are we believers dependent on God’s help, but we also need God’s chosen representatives to help us.

Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. (2 Corinthians 5:20)

For which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. (Ephesians 6:20)

The Greek word presbeuō is used only twice in the New Testament and is translated into the English word ambassador both times.

Now, I know most of us look at the word ambassador in these two verses and think all Christians can be described as such. In the general sense, this is probably true, but Paul did not use the term in a general sense. He specifically used it to describe himself and his group.

What was Paul? He was an apostle.

The Greek word apostolos is translated into the English word apostle. It actually means a person sent on a mission with orders, an emissary, or envoy.

Ding! Dong! The meaning for apostolos and the two synonyms – emissary and envoy – also describe perfectly the word ambassador.

Thus, when Paul said he was an ambassador, he was referring to himself as an apostle and that he had specific orders backing his mission.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12)

In the above verses of Ephesians, Paul spoke to all of us Christians, saying our main battles are not against other people, but against Satan and his horde of demons. Paul then gave instructions on how we could stand in battles through the armor of God, the shield of faith, sword of the Spirit, helmet of salvation, and prayer.

But nowhere in Ephesians 6, does Paul state how we can win the battle, only how to stay strong in battles, which speaks more about our defensive strategies.

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled. (2 Corinthians 10:4-6)

In the above passage in 2 Corinthians, Paul relates how to win spiritual warfare battles in regions, but his use of the pronouns we and our do not refer to all of us Christians. The pronouns specifically referred to Paul and his apostolic group, and by extension to all apostles.

Ambassadors? Apostles? Inner Cities? White men? How will all this work out?

(Continued in Part 5)


Filed under Christianity, Politics

I’m Enraged! Are You? (Part 3)

Four years ago, I had an online discussion with a well-known leader in the social justice Christian movement. The exchange resulted from an article I had written, suggesting someone, like a Priscilla or Aquila, needed to mentor this leader in the ways of the Lord. He commented on my article and thus our discussion began.

He was a great guy, loved the Lord, lived in an inner city black community, and used his earnings from book sales and speaking tours to fund inner city works. So, unlike most of us Christians, he not only talked the talk, but he walked the walk.

Our big disagreement was not over whether or not we should help inner city blacks, but instead, on how it should be carried out.

His major points centered on:

1. Large corporations, from 1619 until today, have caused irreparable damages to generations of blacks. Thus, these corporations should be held accountable for their actions and pay financial reparations to blacks.

2. The American government has a racist history and also needs to offer financial reparations to inner city blacks.

“Okay,” I wrote back to him, “if your two major points are carried out, will the problems of the inner cities be settled once and for all?”

He believed most problems would be handled and that abortion – the number one killer of African-Americans – would also drop significantly because poverty would be lessened.

I disagreed.

Sadly, large corporations, governments, and whites have crippled inner city blacks throughout American history. But even so, I do not believe that enacting his two major points will change inner city lives much at all. Oh, the blacks may be more comfortable for a period of time, but the core problems will still remain.

You see, the inner cities’ main problem is not poverty, but instead, it is iniquity.

Unlike sins or transgressions, iniquity is a second-nature sin which has become a part of the people’s personalities and attitudes. It is often passed down to the children through ancestral lines or it may be received by surrendering oneself to the evil principality over that region.

The only way to remove iniquity is to have a deliverance move of the Holy Spirit whereby people accept the truth and God’s mercy, and also embrace the fear of the Lord.

And to have a deliverance move of the Holy Spirit in the inner cities of America, it is going to take believers who are willing to engage in spiritual warfare the spirit of slavery, which controls America’s inner cities.

Okay, let’s say I know what I am talking about. How can it be successfully done?

Here is the fly in the ointment. You see, it will mostly be white males who are qualified to help deliver the inner city. That’s right! The same race and gender who enslaved blacks in the first place.

Why? How? What?

(Continued in Part 4)


Filed under Christianity, Politics

I’m Enraged! Are You? (Part 2)

With the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and collapse of Russia in 1991, some interesting facts were eventually learned about KGB disinformation attacks on America. Two notable ones stand out.

First, during the Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s, KGB agents in America sent racist letters to newspapers and African-American leaders to stoke racial fires. All it cost the KGB was a little time reading the newspapers, typing paper, envelopes, and stamps.

Second, the KGB helped fund and back the anti-Vietnam War movement. They spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on this effort.

So, two of America’s biggest wounds – still open and bleeding today – were aided and effectively undermined by Russia, our Cold War enemy at the time.

Sadly, if this happened back in the low tech days of the 1960’s and 1970’s, how much easier would it be to do something like that today?

We are in the midst of what many proclaim is the most important election cycle in the history of the United States. Both parties are spending at least $6 billion to elect their candidates to various offices. Supposedly, each candidate has his voting constituents in mind, right?

Well, which presidential candidate has talked about possible upcoming race wars? Which party has given it voice? What about the media? What about white preachers? Or black preachers? Or anybody?

The answers to all of these questions are – with rare exceptions – none.


Because if anyone takes a stand on possible race wars, he will be labeled as a racist and his name will be smeared throughout the media. What politician or religious leader is willing to suffer such pain to his reputation and billfold?

Yet, hundreds of incidents by flash mobs filled with black youths have happened over the last few months in major cities throughout America. They have robbed stores. They have beaten up whites. And they have succeeded without ever being held accountable by the media, by political leaders, or anyone.

The black flash mobs are the result of rebellion, which is a sin, much like witchcraft.  Sin, like fire, is never satisfied because it always hungers for more and more.

And who knows? Maybe these young blacks are being stirred up by Al Quaeda, Hamas, or some other terrorist groups through the internet, Facebook, or Twitter to start up race wars.

All of this really enraged me the other day as I remembered the following:

In 1998, I had a vivid vision of an upcoming race war between African-Americans and white Americans. The war did not take place, at first, in the inner cities, but rather, it occurred in the suburbs, the bedrock of white America.

It began with bands of rage-filled black youths attacking suburban areas with AK-47s, grenades, bazookas, and other weapons, killing white people indiscriminately. I saw bodies of white children, mothers, fathers, and seniors lying on the ground, their blue eyes staring upward and blood oozing from wounds. The young blacks stood over the bodies waving their AK-47s in the air and giving each other “high fives” for their successful outpouring of wrath.

In the next part of the vision, I watched white armies and bounty hunters tracking down and slaughtering black youths. The African-American rage and hatred toward white America was finally appeased when that generation of black youths was buried and gone. (How to Defuse the Upcoming Race War, March 28, 2012)

What can we – especially us men – do to help stop race wars from happening in America?

(Continued in Part 3)


Filed under Christianity, Politics

I’m Enraged! Are You? (Part 1)


For the record, I don’t like the Democratic Party or the Republican Party.

The one party’s members wear blinders when they quote the Bible which makes little difference to its adherents anyway. You see, most members stand up and say, “Amen, ” without ever considering the consequences.

Ah, don’t worry a bit about those dead babies or that gays are taking over our public schools because after all, God understands and just loves everyone anyway, right?

Sadly, the other party is mostly filled with gutless scallywags who have the backbones of worms. Period. And who in the world really wants to vote for candidates who need polls to tell them what their inner convictions are at any given moment? Like hello, Karl Rove! Why do we need these guys?

Most Christian leaders – from Dr. Dobson to the local pastors – will say, “Larry, be realistic. Christians need to vote for the lesser of two evils when they cast their ballots. If it’s a Democrat, vote for him or if it’s a Republican, vote for him. But, hallelujah brother, it’s your Christian duty to vote, don’t you know that?”

Well, let’s take off our Christian rose-colored glasses for a moment. Pretty dreary world out there, right?

So, how has voting for the lesser of two evils advanced morality in America since 1979, the year Moral Majority and rightwing Christian conservatives were first coined?

Has abortion been stopped? No. Has the gay movement been stifled? No. Are America’s borders safer? No. Is America safer from terrorist’s threats? No. Is America more prosperous? No. Are our public schools better and safer for our children? No. 

Probably everyone has a favorite boogie man he’ll point to for America’s problems. President Obama. Democratic Party. Candidate Romney. Republican Party. Senator Reid. Senator McConnell. Secretary of State Clinton. Chairman of the Fed Bernanke. SEC Chairman Shapiro. Or whoever.

But the truth is that these boogie men are not the problems, but instead, we are the problems. And by using the personal pronoun we, I’m mainly speaking to us men.

Joyful are those who obey His laws and search for Him with all their hearts. They do not compromise with evil, and they walk only in His paths. (Psalm 119:2-3)

Apathy, lethargy, and compromise are the three bloodsucking leeches which have neutered us Christian men in America.

So, what can we do to shift our rage into godly action to advance the Kingdom of God in America now?

(Continued in Part 2)


Filed under Christianity, Politics

A New Novel? Why Not? (Conclusion – For Now)


Chapter 2

Nineteen years later


The following morning, I tapped lightly on the brass knocker of Jamie’s door at 9:31 AM. My razor-sharp creased gray pants and light blue button-down oxford shirt upgraded my look from the previous night’s showing. A dozen long-stemmed red roses tucked under my arm added what I thought was the proper atonement for the situation.

As the door opened, I bowed on my right knee and held up the roses as a peace offering.

Jamie stifled a laugh with the back of her hand and leaned forward, taking the flowers. I glanced up at her. She looked stunning in her light blue shirtdress which framed her figure in such a way she appeared godly and sexy at the same time. Both were a natural part of her makeup.

I stood up and when I did, I looked over her shoulder. What I saw stunned me. There on the green Queen Anne loveseat and matching sofa in the living room sat mama, an associate pastor, and a church elder.

I squeezed her hand.

“I thought we were going to do some quiet talking over breakfast, just the two of us?”

Biting her lower lip, Jamie hesitated for a beat or two.

“Sugar, we need wise counsel, don’t we?”

I call it a prophetic glimpse when a person can see what is about to take place before it transpires. And in Jamie’s momentary hesitation, I had a peek into the future through a vision which played out in front of my eyes like a quick Technicolor video.

“Yes, of course,” I said, resigning myself to what I saw.

I held her hand as we walked into the living room. There, I first greeted the two men with handshakes, each standing to look me in the eyes. I bent over to give mama a hug and light kiss. Amid the greetings, Jamie disappeared into the kitchen to put the flowers in a vase. Upon returning, she sat next to mama on the loveseat. I motioned with my hands for everyone to sit down.

As I walked toward the creek stone fireplace, I could not resist peeking in the gold framed mirror above the walnut mantle to check out what everybody was doing behind my back. Their faces looked grim as they eyed each other. Jamie gritted her teeth and clasped her hands in her lap.

I knew it would be hard for anyone to understand my angelic experience, but what was my alternative? I turned to face the group.

“Pastor Reed,” I said, “would you pray for us before I relate what happened yesterday afternoon?”

“Yes, Luke,” said the gray haired associate pastor who I suspected dressed in a black suit, matching tie, and white shirt seven days a week, even on fishing trips.

“Heavenly Father, we ask for Your grace and mercy to fall upon us this morning as we gather to seek You. We pray that the Spirit of Truth will enlighten us to hear Your voice. We ask this in Jesus’ name, Amen.”

I shared my experience with them, describing the angel’s appearance, his words, and the struggle I had with the whole incident. Upon finishing, I asked if anybody had any questions.

“Luke, what are you planning on doing?” Pastor Reed asked in a hushed voice.

“Tomorrow, I will resign from the ministry. Then, as soon as possible I plan on moving to California and becoming a car salesman.”

“Oh, sweetie,” said mama, choking back her emotions, “what about your marriage to Jamie? And why must you turn your back on your career? God wouldn’t ask you to do that, would He?”

Jamie reached for her hand to comfort her.

“Mom, I’m sorry. This is not any easy time for me. It’s devastating. And as far as Jamie and I are concerned, I’d hope she’d want to come along with me. What about it, Jamie?”

I already knew the answer because I saw it in the prophetic glimpse, but I hoped my interpretation proved wrong.

Jamie looked at the platinum engagement ring with the marquise-cut solitary diamond on her left hand. Tears streamed down her smooth cheeks as she slowly removed the ring.

“I love you Luke, I really do. But I believe you are deceived and that the angel was not from God, but instead was one of Satan’s angels of light. Darling, you are throwing away your calling, your career, and I don’t want any part of it. If you are going to California, it will be without me.”

“And furthermore,” Jamie added, “Pastor Reed and Elder Quincy feel the same way.  They were – ”

I cut her off.

“Is that true?”

I turned to face the associate pastor and elder. Both nodded their heads in agreement but said nothing. I raised my hands in surrender.

Then I spun around and walked toward the door. With one hand on the brass knob, I looked back.

“Jamie, I love you, but I have to follow what I believe God has called me to do. I wish this could have played out differently. I really do.”

She nodded and looked away from my furious eyes. This time I slammed the door behind me.

(The above is the fourth part of  Chapter 2 for a new novel I’m writing, The Day LA Died, © Larry Nevenhoven, 2012.)

(Conclusion – for now)



Filed under Christianity, Writing

A New Novel? Why Not? (Part 7)

Chapter 2

Nineteen years later



Two hours later, I locked up the office and walked past my secretary’s desk. She had already left for the evening, not bothering to tell me because of my “do not disturb” orders. The digital clock hanging above her computer showed 6:45 PM in a bright red glow.

Just enough time to make it to Jamie’s place, I thought.

As I drove the black Mercedes southeast on Broadway, I rehearsed in my mind various approaches I could use with Jamie. Each line of attack left something to be desired because my angel experience seemed so far out, almost too mystical for a preacher like me. I finally decided to play it by ear, hoping love truly bears all things.

I breathed a sigh of relief when I found a parking place just a block south of Jamie’s cedar-shingled condo. Vanderbilt University’s students usually consumed all of the parking spots along her street, causing them to be a rare find. But in spite of the inconveniences, Jamie loved the college atmosphere and considered the parking problems a necessary trade-off. I personally hated the parking nuisance so much that the two story townhouse had become a disagreement between us as to what to do with it after our marriage. She wanted to keep it whereas I wanted to sell it. We finally agreed to seek the Lord and pray about it. The answer had not yet manifested itself.

I knocked on the door and heard her muffled voice.

“Come in honey, the door’s unlocked. I’m in the kitchen.”

The first sense to kick in when I entered the foyer was smell. Her Chanel No. 5 always reminded me of the sexy reply Marilyn Monroe gave to the question of what she wore to bed at night: “Five drops of No. 5.”

Then, another smell strummed my olfactory receptors: fresh baked chocolate chip cookies – my favorite dessert. The aroma increased as I walked on the hardwood floors through the living room and into the kitchen where Jamie bent over the oven, removing a tray of cookies.

“I thought you might need some nourishment later tonight,” she said with a wink, setting the tray on the stove top.

She removed her cooking mitt and stepped toward me. Her yellow and white striped sundress provided a perfect contrast to the stainless steel appliances, white cabinets, and black granite countertops in the L-shaped kitchen. Her left hand caressed my cheek at the same time she snuggled close to me. We hugged and kissed, no longer trying to follow in Billy’s and Ruth’s courting footsteps.

“Sugar, wait till you hear the latest wedding details,” she whispered as she broke away. “It’s so exciting.”

“Okay, what?” I said, grabbing a hot cookie.

“Sweetheart, don’t. That’s too hot.”

Paying no attention to her warning, I stuffed the whole cookie into my mouth. I immediately blew out a deep breath while holding my mouth open.

“See, I told you,” she said with a laugh. Then, she wrinkled her nose and pointed at me. “Luke, why aren’t you dressed up? We’re going to the concert, aren’t we?”

I looked down at my khakis and old tennis shoes. In the excitement, I forgot about the Johnny Cash concert at the Ryman Auditorium and the two third row tickets in my wallet.

“I forgot – ”

“Sugar, you forgot?” she said. Her eyebrows formed twin question marks seeking an explanation.

I sighed and removed my cap, holding it in my hand.

“I had an unexpected visitor today.”

Next, I told her the whole account of the angel’s visit. When I finished, I put my cap back on and looked at her.

“Honey, what do you think?”

Jamie was not a championship caliber Texas Hold’em card player. Her face revealed her skepticism.

“Sugar,” she whispered, “it’s not so much what I think, but rather, what do you think? And what do you plan on doing?”

Her words hung in the air like the stench of cordite after the firing of a Winchester rifle.

“I plan on obeying the angel’s words.”

“Just like that! You going to throw your whole ministry away. How can you do that? And what about me? Don’t I have a say in this decision, too?”

“Of course, you do – ”

“It doesn’t sound like it to me!”

I nodded that I understood her point.

“Jamie, I love you. I know this is tough, but we can work through it with the Lord’s help.”

Jamie’s head swayed side to side as she meditated on my spoken words and the unspoken ones.

“Luke, let’s skip the concert and sleep on this. It’s too much for me to handle right now. Why don’t you stop by in the morning, say around 9:30? We can have a quiet breakfast together and discuss everything.”

Her eyes begged me to agree with her. What could I do? I leaned over and lightly kissed her on the cheek.

“See you in the morning, honey, I love you,” I whispered.

I turned and walked out, closing the door quietly behind me.

(The above is the fourth part of  Chapter 2 for a new novel I’m writing, The Day LA Died, © Larry Nevenhoven, 2012.)

(Continued in Part 8)


Filed under Christianity, Writing

A New Novel? Why Not? (Part 6)



Chapter 2

Nineteen years later

“What answer shall I give the Lord?”

“Do you have any idea how horrible this is? How much it hurts? Does the Lord realize the enormous problems this may cause my church, Jamie, and our families?”

“The Lord’s grace is sufficient for you. You gave a promise when you were ten years old, didn’t you?”

“Yes, but – ”

“But what? Was your promise conditional?”

The angel backed me into a corner with his pointed questions. There was nothing I could do but surrender.

“My promise was unconditional. It’s just that, it’s just that…”

Drops of cold sweat trickled down my rib cage from my armpits. I felt trapped. I felt pressured. I felt fear. But I knew that sitting on the fence was not an option with the angel. A decision had to be made.

“Okay, okay,” I whispered, blowing out a deep breath. “I’ll keep my promise. I’ll obey His commands.”

The angel stared at me. His eyes pierced a hole through my protective outer coating into my vulnerable inner being. I felt naked before him.

“Today is the beginning of the cross’s deeper work in your life,” whispered the angel. “Because you have chosen to follow the Lord, you will lose everything you have considered valuable up till now. Everything. It will eventually be worth it, but for a long time, you will know only rejection, pain, and tears.”

The angel turned and left.

Like a drowning man who watched his life pass before him, a collage of images drifted through my mind on a circular loop. My ministry. My books. My idol: the new church building. My goals. My attitudes. Though I professed Jesus was Lord of my life, the flashbacks revealed a much different story.

The graphic imagery sickened me. Is this really who I am? I thought.

Shame gripped my throat so that breathing became a problem. I gulped for air and opened my eyes wide to my surroundings. When I did, it seemed like I saw my office for the first time. It was a Taj Mahal dedicated to Rev. Luke Stoner.

The cherry wainscoting and matching shelves had been my idea. I saw them in a picture of an English country manor and had a skilled craftsman reproduce them for my office. The cost: fifteen thousand dollars. My executive desk, which came from Cambridge, England, was almost two hundred years old and valued at twenty thousand dollars. Currier & Ives prints hung next to pictures of me signing books for movie stars and athletes. The full remodeling and room decoration cost a little over fifty thousand dollars. At the time, I thought, it was worth it. After all, I was the royal son of a wealthy King.

But now, when I viewed the room, it appeared artificial and showy, like Las Vegas neon signs flashing at Christmas. I hated what I saw and who I had become.

“Am I no better than Judas,” I whispered. “Did I sell out my calling for thirty pieces of silver?”

I fell on my knees and wept. The ministry I had worked so hard to put together seemed vulgar and crude. Although I appeared successful to others, I stood as a wretched failure before the Judge.

(The above is the third part of  Chapter 2 for a new novel I’m writing, The Day LA Died, © Larry Nevenhoven, 2012.)

(Continued in Part 7)


Filed under Christianity, Writing

A New Novel? Why Not? (Part 5)

Chapter 2

Nineteen years later

In the midst of my reverie, a slight rustle stirred behind me. Someone stood in front of my paper covered desk. I shrugged my shoulders, but did not turn around.

“Sorry, but I’m tied up right now. You’ll have to talk with my secretary, Connie. She should be at her desk just outside my office,” I said, pointing with my left hand to the door, not looking over my shoulder.

I resumed typing, even though no sounds of movement occurred behind me.

Three minutes passed with an awkward silence echoing off the walls of the office. I finally threw my hands up in disgust, pivoted around in my chair, and said, “Okay, what do you – ”

The rest of my sentence withered away into nothingness.

There, in front of the walnut desk, stood an enormous angel with black shiny hair. A loose white robe covered him from his elbows to knees, but it did little to hide his muscular build which reminded me of a celestial Andre the giant. But unlike Andre, a holy presence radiated from the heavenly visitor. Although the angel’s face appeared peaceful, a combat readiness radiated from him.

Still, the angel did not speak.

I felt flustered and wondered about the proper etiquette for greeting a heavenly emissary.

“What do you want?” I eventually spit out.

“I have a message for you from the Lord,” said the angel in a crisp staccato cadence without any discernible accent.

“What… what is it?”

The angel’s emerald eyes stared into mine.

“The Lord says that you need to resign from the American church beauty pageant. The pretentious church system you have so enthusiastically flaunted is only beautiful to men, and not to the Lord Jesus. He loves another church which is considered ugly to most men,” said the angel. Then he paused a beat before adding, “What response should I give to the Lord?”

If the ceiling had collapsed upon me, I would have ignored it. The angel’s words rendered me speechless with their authority and power. Like most Christians, I had followed the traditional path for believers with a preacher’s calling on their lives. I attended a respected Bible school, was ordained, started a church, and now was the senior pastor of it. I seemed successful, anointed, and was engaged to a godly woman. And now this?

“Pl-please wait a moment,” I whispered. “Would it be okay to ask some questions?”

“Yes, go ahead.”

“Why would the Lord ask me to make such drastic changes now, in the midst of my most productive years?”

“Because there is still time to deprogram you and prepare you for the future.”

The angel’s blazing eyes forced me to look away. My hand automatically moved to my cap, adjusting its position. Why me? I thought. Why not someone else?

But even in the midst of my discomfort, I somehow remembered several Christian pioneers who suffered similar heart wrenching setbacks. The early church referred to those experiences as limps, much like the limp Jacob incurred after wrestling with God at Peniel.

“What does the Lord want me to do?” I asked without looking at the angel.

“Resign your pastor’s position from the church, move to Los Angeles, and become a car salesman.”

I gasped, but no words came out of my mouth.

The heavenly visitor paid no attention to my anguish and seemed totally detached from the whole scene.

“What answer shall I give the Lord?”

(The above is the second part of  Chapter 2 for a new novel I’m writing, The Day LA Died, © Larry Nevenhoven, 2012.)

(Continued in Part 6)


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