Category Archives: church planting

Geezer Up (Part 16)

Except for the early moments in Cell 27 when my cellmate wrapped his hands around my neck, the rest of my first twenty-four hours of jail life crept along like a snail on a hot sidewalk. Slowly! Bogart and I reached a tacit truce, which allowed me to speak only when he directed a question at me, but otherwise, I remained silent.

I wandered out into the common area and spent time with eleven other inmates watching TV. Reality shows, especially “Judge Judy” and “Dog the Bounty Hunter,” were the favorites with comments being peppered at the TV throughout each show.

As far as eating, no one noticed that I was not doing so. God’s grace covered my fast and my efforts to do it in secret.

At 10 a.m., a tall guard came to the cell. “Matthews?” he said.

“Yes,” I said, sitting up in my bunk.

“Come down here. Turn around. Put your hands behind your back.”

I followed his instructions as he put handcuffs on my wrists and quickly patted down my body for weapons.

“Turn around. Walk out the door, turn right, and head toward the entrance. Your lawyer is waiting for you in meeting room #2, on your left.”

When I entered the small room, Artie sat at a metal table, wearing a light gray suit and black shirt open at the collar. The guard removed my handcuffs and left the room. I sat down on the opposite side of the table from Artie.

“How are you doing?” he asked, looking into my eyes.

I shrugged. “Well, it’s not a picnic, but so far, I’m doing okay.”

“Well, that’s probably as good as one can hope for right now.”

He opened his brown briefcase and took out my worn black leather Bible.

“Jane brought this over before I left the office this morning.”

I grabbed the Bible and fanned the pages.

“Thank you, just what I need right now.”

“Here are some legal pads and jail approved pencils, too.”

I nodded my head.

Artie blew out a deep breath before explaining the prosecutor’s offer of leniency in exchange for my admittance of guilt and apology.

“No, not interested in that deal.”

He then mentioned how the City Attorney’s office would throw the book at me if I refused the offer, which could result in a log prison sentence for me. Even if the decision were appealed, I might end up being locked up for months or years before the case was settled.

“Still not interested. Sink or swim, live or die, I’m determined to trust the Lord all the way to the end of this.”

Artie stood up and picked up his briefcase. “I will be back in eleven days to ready you for your preliminary hearing. Jane will visit you tomorrow and Sunday.” He paused a moment. “My wife and I are praying for you…just want you to know that.”

We shook hands before the guard returned to take me back to Cell 27.

(Continued in Part 17…the full series to date can be read here.)

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Geezer Up (Part 8)

Because of my standby reservation, I was the last person to board the Virgin Airline’s Airbus A320. One hundred and forty-five other passengers walked ahead of me to their seats. I looked at my boarding pass − Row 24 Seat B − and tried to look over shoulders and heads for my seat, but my five feet three inches of stature hindered my efforts. I eventually arrived at my seat, lifted my black suitcase into the overhead storage compartment, and squeezed past the outside passenger’s long legs into the seat.

The young sailor with a shaved head in Seat A by the window looked up from his iPad and nodded at me. The lanky man to my right, sitting by the aisle in Seat C, paid no attention and opened his iPad, connecting to the Internet through Virgin’s free WiFi service. Both put headphones on as soon as the plane taxied toward the runway.

I reached down and pulled a Michael Connelly paperback novel out of my purse, but the Harry Bosch story failed to hold my interest for long. My mind kept wandering back over Dylan’s and my off-the-beaten-path spiritual journey.

It all began when Dylan walked out of Jedidiah Smith Community Church on that first Sunday in June three years earlier when the new pastor preached his first sermon. Dylan explained that he couldn’t listen to another sermon while he ignored the Lord’s voice telling him to branch off into a different type of church ministry. That different type of ministry ended up being a home church, which we called Last Chance. Two senior couples joined us in the new venture: Phil and Faye Strawmeier and Vinnie and Gracie Nguyen. Both couples had been four of our closest friends for years. Others joined our house church so that the original assembly now numbered eighteen people.

But it was Pamela Walter’s words to Dylan and me just before she died which stirred Dylan’s heart. “The Lord wants the Last Chance groups, like yours, to spread all along the West Coast, from San Diego to Seattle. He wants to use senior citizens as His last chance army to touch millions of people −” she said.

Dylan interrupted her and explained we didn’t know how to do something like that.

I still remember her words: “Shush! Of course, you don’t, but He knows how to do it. Fast and pray and He will show you.”

Then, she died.

Dylan focused his life on obeying Pamela’s prophetic words to us from that moment forward. He fasted, prayed, studied the word, and continually sought the Lord on what we needed to do. His seeking led to three new groups being started: one in Hemet, Lake Elsinore, and Corona.

I went along with whatever Dylan wanted, not because I heard the Lord’s voice for myself or even felt impressed to do so. I just trusted that Dylan had heard the Lord’s voice and followed him. Maybe I caved in too easily rather than seeking the Lord on my own, but that’s how I handled it.

But when Dylan said he felt the Lord wanted us to plant Last Chance home churches in San Francisco, I was shocked. As he spoke his vision to me, I comforted myself by figuring it would be years before we reached the Bay area. Yet, two days later, he received an invitation to speak at a Business Men’s Fellowship luncheon in China Town. He left a week later, hoping doors would open for Last Chance groups in San Francisco.

I watched him leave and waved at him, but in my heart, I prayed nothing special would happen. I hoped it would be a nice trip for Dylan but nothing more. Nothing more at all.

Maybe you think I’m selfish and maybe I am. But I am seventy-three years old and so is Dylan. I want to get off this spiritual merry-go-round and enjoy life again. I want to travel to Branson, Lake Tahoe, Las Vegas, and even Paris or London. I want to enjoy our sunset years without worrying about jail or confrontations or planting more home churches. Why not? We deserve it, don’t we?

(A new sequel to Unhitched Geeser, which can be checked out here.)

(Continued in Part 8…the first 9 parts are reruns and can be read here.)

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Geezer Up (Part 7)

“Hi Jane, I’ve been expecting your call,” said J. C. as he answered my phone call.

“Hi J. C., I figured you would.”

“You probably want to know what happened?”

“Right! Dylan said that it was no big deal, but he’s the master of understatement. So, fill in the gaps between hate crime, no big deal, and a broken nose.”

J.C. laughed.

“Well, as you know Dylan spoke and gave his testimony at our businessmen’s noontime luncheon down in China town. There were about thirty men there. All enjoyed his inspiring words. I’d say it was a great success.”

J. C. was the owner of Bates Properties, a commercial real estate firm in San Francisco. His success caused him to seek ways on how he could give back to the city he loved. He ended up being involved in Business Men’s Fellowship and became the chapter president.

“After the luncheon, I was driving him to Mission Terrace to spend some time together before I dropped him off at the airport. We were heading down Market Street, past the Castro District, when we saw a Pride parade. He asked to stop and watch. I pulled over and walked across the street with him.”

“So far,” I said, “everything seems okay.”

“Yeah, nothing happened until Dylan stepped off the curb and began preaching in a loud voice, ‘Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.'”

J. C. paused for a moment.

“Then everything hit the fan. A couple of guys pushed and shoved him. Another hit him in the face, knocking his glasses off. He fell to the ground and quite a few kicked him. Two police officers came over and inquired what was happening. A man said that Dylan was preaching hate. One officer asked Dylan what he was doing and he replied he was preaching the Gospel of the kingdom of God. They cuffed him and threw into a police cruiser and took him off to jail.”

“That’s all my sweet hubby did.”

“Yep and he even forgave the crowd before he was ushered away.”

We talked a few minutes more before J. C. offered to pick me up at the airport. He proposed that I stay in his home with his wife and him.

I agreed to his offers, but I still had an unanswered question gnawing at me.

(A new sequel to Unhitched Geeser, which can be checked out here.)

(Continued in Part 8…the first 9 parts are reruns and can be read here.)

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The Day LA Died

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I am pleased to announce the release of my new novel: The Day LA Died. The following is the description on Amazon.

“LA died today. Our nation’s worst fears since the destruction of the twin towers on September 11, 2001, have become a reality. At 3:33 p.m., Pacific Coast Time, a large nuclear bomb was detonated over Los Angles.” (Blake Parker, WNN TV News Anchor)

Thirty-three years earlier, Luke Stoner made a vow, but does he still have to honor his promise now that the nuclear bomb has exploded in nearby LA? And what about his wife, Cat, and their teenage son, are they forced to buy into the same deal? Thousands of lives hang on Luke’s decisions and his vow.

Others ambushed by the tragic news coming out of LA include a newly elected President, a bitter ex-Navy SEAL, and a popular TV news anchor. All know the clock is ticking down for tens of thousands of people.

 “Oh God, where are You? Can’t You help us? (Boomer Smith, ex-Navy SEAL)

Any hopes for miracles? Not much. Even God may be too late for Southern California.

Powerful. Frightening. And yet, inspiring.

“The Day LA Died” is a fast paced novel sure to keep readers’ fingers turning pages until its surprise ending. This is the first in the Luke and Cat Stoner series of novels.

You can read the first three chapters by clicking here and then clicking on Look Inside.

304 pages        Author: Larry Nevenhoven        Publisher: LarryWho

Kindle eBook: $6.99

Paperback: $13.99

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Pastor Rad

I was praying about some problems here in America three days ago. As I prayed, I was overwhelmed by the size of the problems and the difficulties in changing our attitudes. The problems loomed larger and larger in my mind and began dragging me down into a pit of despair. I wondered,  “Will these problems ever change?”

Then, I felt the Lord speak to my heart, “Larry, I’m big enough to handle these problems. Just trust Me.”

Then the following morning, I was praying about some family issues. The problems seemed too big to handle and may take years to resolve, if ever.

Once again, I felt the Lord speak to my heart, “Larry, I’m big enough to handle these problems. Just trust Me.”

This is a four-part series about Pastor Rad and his beliefs that God is big enough to advance the gospel in India and change the nation.

If you’re interested in learning more about Gospel For Asia, click here.

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Inside Jerusalem

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

Although most of us picture doves as white, the doves of Jerusalem are that beautiful ‘doe’ color, like a deer.  Perhaps you wonder why I write so much concerning nature.  Today I believe I understood the reason , besides the fact that I have always loved nature.

When we first made arrived, we found that our new reality demanded that we find work as soon as possible.  Not being able to handle my new language at all and NOT having many qualifying skills AND being 49 years old at the time, I was happy to be offered a job with a rather well known international ministry.  Being in this intense part of the world, there are probably more large, international ministries functioning here then anywhere else on earth, and not just ‘English speaking ones’ either.  It is the same with news media outlets. There are more world news media groups stationed here then anywhere else on the earth.  That should say something because if you’ve been here,  you know what a tiny city Jerusalem is.

When I was offered work with this ministry I asked them to pray with me as there were some doctrinal issues that they held that I could not stand in agreement with, not foundational ones of course.  They prayed and assured me that I was the one for the job and it would be fine.  I was so thankful for the work as the main part of my job was answering many of the letters that they received and I loved that.  We began each day with Bible reading and prayer and I loved the fellowship, inspite of our differences.

But the area that I was not in agreement with allowed them to embrace a false prophecy, which led them to the verge of bankruptcy. Most of the staff had to be immediately dismissed, including me.  It was then that I found out that they had not been paying into our form of ‘social security’ for me, which the boss was required to do. This left me, after a year and a half of working, not being able to receive unemployment.

The Lord certainly works everything to the good and for His glory. It turned out to be the beginning of an intensive course in learning to REALLY trust Him and walk by faith in a new dimension.  I had no work for two years after that.  Plus, my husband was not in the country at the time – another story that ends up glorifying Him. I felt firmly that He was directing me to work in a secular job, immersed in my new ‘culture’ rather then to work again with a ministry. He surely has directed my path.  But what in the world does this all have to do with ‘nature’ and ‘doves’?

Just this:  Because we are such a small body here and so dispersed, I now have very little opportunity for fellowship outside of our weekly meeting, but today I realized just how much He speaks to me through His creation.  I understood that I daily ‘fellowship’ with Him in this manner (as well, of course, in His Word and in prayer) and am edified.  No, it does NOT take the place of ‘fellowship’ with the body (HIS perfect design) but He always provides when we want His will, and this is part of my current provision.

And now, back to our doe colored doves.

Jerusalem is covered with doves.  I have learned that if they are nearby as I walk and don’t look directly at them or speak to them (yes…I do that and readily admit it), they will stay where they are. But if I look at them or speak, they will fly away.  Now we all know that The Holy Spirit came as a dove so as I learned this I have thought about how The Holy Spirit did not come to speak of Himself, but to point to Yeshua, to bring into remembrance everything that He said and to magnify Him…not to draw attention to Himself.

But yesterday my attention was drawn directly to a dove sitting on the ground next to a wooden fence along my path.  He looked at me and I sensed that he was injured.  I went toward him and he did not move, but kept watching me.  I saw that his gentle breast had been harmed, most likely by a cat.  I reached down to pick him up, but stopped. Where would I bring him?  There was no place nearby that would make him less prey for another cat attack, nor could I bring him to work. He would be petrified.  I know enough that if I were to touch him, he would carry my ‘scent’ and that might be worse.

So, I stood and prayed simply that The Lord, Who cares for all creatures, would care for him mercifully, and went to walk on.  A bit further I felt just bothered to leave him like that so I turned to go back and then I saw a most unusual sight.  Another dove flew down and began to peck at him and flap his wings angrily.  I felt so bad, thinking that he was being attacked UNTIL I saw him reluctantly move. Then, after some more pecking and harassment, move again, and suddenly, hesitantly, he took off in unsteady flight to a tree.  The second bird came to rescue him and had likely been watching when I stooped down.

Immediately I thought of so many of the painful and harsh things that seem to come into our lives when we feel most vulnerable and I wondered at the goodness of God to ‘afflict us in His faithfulness’ (as is repeated over and over in Psalm 119, that marvelous teaching Psalm)  for example 67 Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your word.  And verse  71 It is good for me that I was afflicted,that I may learn Your statutes.

Do my ‘parables’ drive you crazy?  I hope not.  I gather strength as mana to go through my days as He blesses me with these encouragements.  I actually thought about it as I was faced with my daily train ride.

Two days in a row I arrived halfway to my destination when the loud speaker announced a‘hefetz ha’shood’ or an ‘unidentified object’ that the bomb squad was being called out to investigate. We are usually advised to ‘walk’ or ‘possibly wait up to half an hour’, but this week, the first time, we were told that we would all have to get off of the train as the driver was being told to turn around and go in the other direction.  The lady-older-then-myself with some 20 kilos of cherries that she had just bought at the shuk began to grumble loudly, as did the very old man with a walker.  Soon there was quite a rebellion taking place as it was noon and the sun was hot and the train was crowded with elderly people with packages or young mothers with babies.

I decided to walk rather then listen to the rage.  Thankfully today we were allowed to sit and wait.  As we did I looked around and it hit me for the first time that our trains carry perhaps a pretty odd assortment.  They are full of baby carriages and strollers, often twin strollers.  There are lots of shopping carts (mine included) and then there are walkers, canes, crutches, wheel chairs, Seeing Eye dogs, shopping bags, suitcases and myriads of backpacks, not to mention weapons.  More then occasionally there are also the ‘tools of the trade:’ a mop and bucket, large tool box, computers or assorted furniture being brought home.  Sitting next to me today was a woman with a portable oxygen tank attached to her nose.  In front of us stood a young girl with BOTH a rocking horse and a plastic push ‘bike’.  And then there are all of those pregnant women.  No wonder the train is always so crowed.

Things here are more volatile and tense then ever, if that is possible.  I think back to the beginnings of the ‘revolution’ in Egypt that began very shortly after the US President visited there, and how ‘revolt’ has been sparked in almost the entire region.  The nations on all of our borders are shaking and smoldering. And the world is so foolishly trying to ‘solve the problems’ with embarrassing rhetoric and shallow human reasoning that knows almost nothing of the ancient roots of the problems, nor of The Maker Who is watching over His Word.

The latest moves to ‘arm the rebels’ in Syria, while screaming and crying about all of the people dying, is so pathetic that it can not be seen as funny.  More weapons will NOT stop the bloodshed.  I look at my Bible and see so many circumstances for which there was NO HUMAN SOLUTION.

Take, for example: the Sea in front and the Egyptians behind as the Israelites came out of Egypt.  Perhaps, it was thousands in the wilderness without food in both the ancient days during the 40 years in the wilderness and the nearer days when Yeshua said ‘How many loaves have you?…Bring it to Me!’  What about Legion howling in the tombs or the lame man waiting for the stirring of the waters?  AND how about Yeshua dead in the tomb?  Oh my, there is no end to examples. In fact the Bible is FULL of situations that there was NO human solutions.

Yet we live in an age of ‘humanism’ and seem to actually have a foot in the door of the one world system that will carry the mark for buying and selling.  I can see much more clearly how that could be possible now.

When our value added tax went up 1%, I somehow thought that my bills would also go up 1%, but  I have NO understanding of economics. Bills (especially grocery bills) have shot up a whopping 25%. Since wages don’t increase, I think of how young families who are not prepared by The Word, mixed with faith and the fear of God, will withstand taking such a mark.  From my vantage point the world appears to be spinning faster and faster out of the control of the nations and their leaders.

There are those of you who pray for our nation. And also, I am aware that there are many who might read some of these letters who don’t find time to pray.  PLEASE don’t take ANY condemnation from me when I mention those who do.  It is ALL unto The Lord and we ALL do what we can and believe we are called to do.  Please be released from any condemnation over this.

I would like to ask for specific prayer for a 60 year old problem that I believe our nation is poised to impose a solution that is perhaps unjust and I am very concerned.  As you know we have a Bedouin population.  The Bedouins are a fascinating people.  They are nomads who I suspect are the people described in Jeremiah 35:1-12. They live mostly in the Negev where they move their goats and camels from place to place living in tent like structures with large extended families.  (Google Bedouin if you are unfamiliar with them.)

Over the years efforts have been made to settle them in villages and extend benefits to them: education, health care, sanitation etc.  They are currently listed as the most rapidly growing population in the world.  Their land claims are not written down.  Israel is a small nation and wants to establish its borders.  Legislation has just passed to establish the Bedouin in villages against their will which strikes me a lot like ‘American Indian Reservations’.

I have a long personal history with Indian Reservations. So, my heart breaks at the thought that the same awful injury might be done here.  Please pray that this legislation is somehow overturned and some just solution is found.  The Druze population in the North was also nomadic and they were peacefully settled into villages, but I have a very bad feeling about this Bedouin decision.  Thank you for praying if The Holy Spirit brings it to mind.

But in the midst of all of the ‘distressing news’, you likely haven’t heard of the more then 30 wounded Syrians from both sides of the conflict that have been treated in Israeli hospitals as friends or family bring them to our borders.  Also, a lovely ‘peace prize’ was just awarded to our fast response health motorcycle paramedic service which was founded by an ultra religious man and an Israeli Arab working together.  They have no political agenda. They simply share a passion for saving lives and have formed a nationwide service that rushes to all emergencies.  In this context, a Jewish man with a kippa (skull cap) has delivered a Moslem baby and a bearded Moslem man has delivered an orthodox Jewish baby.  Lives are saved and the result is trusting friendship. Peace is made through kindness, one on one, in the small ways that we can.  He is our Peace. He HAS broken down every wall.

It is I who enjoy sharing, so I thank you for making time to read.  Come and visit???  God bless and encourage you ever nearer to His Heart beat.

Thank you for continued prayer for our younger daughter at this time.

Lovingly,

your sis J

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Prayer: So Easy To Talk About, Yet So Tough To Do (Part 1)

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Almost twenty-five years ago, I read an interview of David Yongi Cho in Charisma Magazine which really bummed me out. It was a long interview which dealt with his life and founding of the Yoido Full Gospel Church in Seoul, South Korea, which then had 700,000 members.

What particularly bummed me out was when the interviewer asked: “Will America ever have a church as large as Yoido Full Gospel Church?”

“No,” replied Cho, “because Americans aren’t willing to pay the price in prayer that it takes to build a large church like Yoido.”

Slap! His words felt like a glove slap to my face, challenging me to a duel.

I readily admit to being full of myself at the time because I prayed 3 to 4 hours each day which is what Cho and his 400 elders averaged. So, I thought: “All I need to do is find a few believers like me who enjoy praying and voilà! America will have a large church.”

Well, after journeying over hundreds of miles of life’s back roads and through more than enough deep valleys, I have arrived at this conclusion: Cho was right. America will never have a church like Yoido Full Gospel, which now has over 1 million members.

“What?” you proclaim, picking up your gloves, readying to slap my face. “Do you still believe that the Lord’s house is called to be a house of prayer?

“Yes, I do,” I reply, keeping my eyes on your hands.

“Then what’s your problem?” you say through clenched teeth, still ready to slap me.

I shrug. “It’s a long story. Do you really want to hear it?” I whisper.

So, over the next few weeks, I will write on prayer. Some of the articles will deal with my prayer heroes. Some will deal with the mistakes of different prayer movements. Some will deal with my mistakes and lessons I’ve learned about prayer.

But hopefully, we will all end up trusting and loving the Lord more than we do now.

(Continued in Part 2)

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