[#’s 1-216] TEACHINGS Part 1- This section is very long and random, if it’s your first time reading this site you might want to read our shorter books and studies first! A COLLECTION OF DREAMS, PROPHECIES, VISIONS, INTERPRETATIONS AND OTHER STUFF. ‘FOR THIS REASON HAVE I BROUGHT YOU TO THIS PLACE. SO YOU COULD SEE, HEAR AND GIVE YOUR ATTENTION TO THE THINGS I AM SHOWING YOU, AND THEN YOU CAN SPEAK IT TO MY PEOPLE’
Copy Right 2006
John Chiarello firstname.lastname@example.org
P.O. Box 181256 http://www.corpuschristioutreachministries.blogspot.com
C.C. TX. 78480
INTRODUCTION Over the years I have had many interesting dreams, visions and ‘prophetic’ type experiences. I have shared some of these experiences thru our radio ministry and a few in our books. I felt it would be beneficial to catalog them in one place, so here it is!
The way these types of words work is they can have meaning to the person directly experiencing the event, or they can directly speak to you at this season in your life. I encourage you to write down the numbers of the entries that have special meaning to you so you can go back later and review them. God bless you guys and I hope you get something out of it!
I am cataloging these thoughts on an on going basis; there is no particular order [Think of it like PASCAL’s Penses]. Note; for those of you who don’t read the books or stuff I send, in this paper I share a lot of testimony stuff. Do a quick overview and stop at some of these stories, I think it would be worth it. I tell some stories about coming to Texas from Jersey, and even some things from Jersey that I never told before.
The things that are in bold type [capitalized] are scripture quotes from the bible. Many I just add from memory as I’m typing, others come from my mission statement [that’s why you don’t see me adding the chapter and verse]. During the writing of this paper in 12/06 I am just beginning to contact old classmates and friends from New Jersey that I haven’t seen or heard from in 25 years. Many of you have gotten this paper!
I take the risk of looking like I fried my brain on drugs by sharing these ‘prophetic’ things [signs, dreams, etc.]. I really felt the Lord telling me its time to reach out and simply become friends again with many of you. Maybe some of you will become involved in our ministry in some way [not talking about money here!].
This paper reads more like a journal/diary than a booklet. Maybe you can read a few entries a day like a devotional? I just don’t want you to get bored with this paper and then not read the other booklets on this site! As this ‘journal’ grows there are whole sections that express what I am feeling and seeing at the time. So maybe if you feel ‘bogged’ down in one section, jump to number 300 and start from there. Next time start from number 200, etc.
I SHARE THINGS IN A PLAIN AND OPEN LANGUAGE IN THIS PAPER, TO SOME IT MIGHT BE OFFENSIVE, IT IS NOT MY INTENT TO OFFEND, JUST FELT LIKE THIS STYLE WAS THE WAY I SHOULD GO IN THIS PAPER.
Also let me challenge you guys to ‘keep reading’ even if you come across an entry that you don’t like. I didn’t realize when I started this site that there were ‘prophetic’ things that I would log in the earlier entries that would ‘fit in’ with later entries. I didn’t see this until I went back and edited the site [to be honest some of the dreams I wrote about came eerily true in ways that I could have never imagined when I first wrote them].
So stick with the reading because you might see something later on the site that will bring clarity to something else. The entry that came ‘eerily’ true is a little too personal to get into, but in the actual entry [it was a dream] I made comments that I didn’t even think were prophetic. Then when I went back and re read the entry [months later] the ‘off the cuff’ comments were really prophetic. Its hard to tell you this without looking like I am bragging, but the reason I am telling you this is so you will be attentive to the ‘off the cuff’ comments, these might be crucial to what God is trying to say to you.
One of the ‘radical’ things you will see on this site is that the New Testament Christian is not under the tithe, you will see this explained in depth thru this paper as well as the books I have written on this site. To keep everything in balance, read the note on entry 443 and keep this in mind as you learn.
EAT THE WORDS, IN THY MOUTH THEY WILL TASTE SWEET, BUT THEY WILL BE BITTER IN YOUR BELLY- John in the book of Revelation. You will read things in this section that will taste sweet, you will say ‘wow, that brother sees what I see’ you will also read things that will taste bitter ‘I can’t believe he said that!’ I encourage you to let God speak to you thru both means.
I pulled these first 2 entries from the paper to give a balance right here at the start.
(173)In the early church of the first couple of centuries there was a group of ‘Christians’ who were called Gnostics. These people believed in ‘special knowledge’. They felt that God revealed things to them thru spiritual means that the average Christians didn’t access. Today you have the equivalent of this in ‘revelation knowledge’. This is a type of belief among Christians that sometimes contradicts scripture, but slips in as ‘special revelation’. While it is true that God does give us prophetic insight and allows us to see things thru dreams and visions and other means, yet all of these ‘things’ are subservient to biblical authority! When things slip in under the title of ‘revelation knowledge’ we must judge it by scripture. If scripture contradicts the ‘revelation knowledge’ then we go with the Word!
CONCLUSION Let me end with a final note. Jesus said that a wicked and evil generation seeks after a sign and no sign will be given to them but the sign of the prophet Jonah [in essence Jesus was telling the Jews that until they believe in the most important sign of all, the resurrection of Christ, that they will not be able to ‘see’ any of the multitude of ‘signs’ that God has done thru Christ up until this day!]. The above scenarios took place when I was simply praying, seeking God or sleeping! I don’t feel that we should ‘seek’ after these types of experiences, but we should recognize that God is sovereign and if he desires to communicate to his children then who are we to tell him no. The apostle Paul told Timothy to ‘war a good fight by the prophecies that were given over you’. There are many believers who write down and catalog the prophecies and visions they have received from the Lord, this helps to be able to look back and see a pattern of Gods direction in your life. We should not build our lives or doctrine on these types of things, that area belongs to scripture! But we should be able to discern Gods voice over a period of time and ‘fight a good fight by way of the prophecies that have gone on over our lives’. God bless you guys!
P.S. Let me also add that there are many prophetic people that I am in contact with in some way. I feel that a lot of them agree with me on prophetic stuff, but get offended by the strong stance we take in other areas of teaching. I realize that just because a person experiences prophetic things, that this doesn’t mean he is correct in everything! It is common to hear things like ‘the end time transfer of wealth’ and themes like this from highly prophetic people. We just assume because someone is prophetic that their doctrine is correct. I really don’t want to teach here, but let me share this. The scripture does speak about the wealth of the sinner being stored up for the righteous and God ‘gives’ it to the righteous. Also the story of the children of Israel leaving Egypt and how God gave them the wealth of the Egyptians. These verses do not teach some type of windfall that simply falls into the hands of Christians. As church history progressed thru time more and more people in the marketplace and other areas of wealth and influence have become believers. As the church age progresses this phenomenon increases. Today the ‘wealth of the wicked’ has much more become ‘the wealth of the righteous’, not thru some windfall inheritance, but thru the process of God redeeming planet earth! ‘Seeing’ it this way does not violate the principles of scripture that over and over speak about the diligent being blessed and the lazy coming to ruin/poverty. There are many believers who are living in disobedience by not working who cling on to doctrines like ‘the end time transfer of wealth’ and wrongly believe that they are going to get money while violating biblical standards. Things like this need to be understood and articulated thru prophetic people before God can entrust us with more. I actually feel that the prophetic movements ‘marriage’ to the prosperity gospel has voided certain things that God wanted to do thru the movement. Balaam was a prophetic person who actually heard from God and spoke Gods words, but scripture says his lust for wealth made him a false prophet [who loved the wages of unrighteousness]. If prophets can’t receive correction from each other then God will never let them ‘correct’ [speak into] the church at large. I feel one of the pitfalls of the prophetic is to think that the goal is to ‘simply be prophetic’. I have met brothers who simply wanted to attend church and stand up and speak. God’s chief concern for all of his people [even prophets] is to carry out the great commission, to be salt and light to a lost and dying world!
(1) I was praying early one morning while at work, and I ‘saw’ an image of a lion’s head, the impression was so strong that I made a mental note to see what it meant. Over the past few years the Lord has used the imagery of ‘Judah’ and the ‘Lion of Judah’ in a consistent way in my life. Well when I got home from work my wife told me that she printed some Christian materials for me from the computer. The materials were simply various prophetic words that as far as I knew had nothing to do with a lion. Sure enough as soon as I looked at the materials it had the very same image of the ‘lions head’ that I had just seen a few hours earlier. The lesson from this was simply a confirmation that there would be some valuable things contained in these prophecies that the Lord wanted me to pay attention to. The prophecies were from Bob Jones, a seasoned prophetic person with a long track record of hearing from the Lord.
(2) While praying early [at work again, let me make a note here. I don’t want to give you guys the impression that all I do at work is pray! But being I work a 24 hour shift I often get up at 2 or 3 A.M. and walk outside while I pray] I was outside looking up at the stars. After a few hours of praying I felt the Lord impress on me to ‘pray the Daniel prayer’, which to me meant pray for the Lord to send ‘divine intervention’ right now [the thought I had was God sending the angel to Daniel after he prayed, a sort of ‘breakthrough’ from heaven to earth]. Also this morning while walking and praying there was a bundle of wood recently cut from a tree. This had me thinking about the ‘God of Elijah’ and whether God could still send ‘fire from heaven’. Well I finally prayed the ‘Daniel prayer’ and simply said something to the effect of ‘God send an angel and show me your ability to supernaturally intervene on our behalf’. Well within a few seconds I saw the biggest meteorite ever, it was huge and you could actually see flames of fire [this was a real meteorite, not a vision]! Well to say the least God was confirming he still is able to supernaturally act on the behalf of his kids, and the ‘God of Elijah’ can still send fire from heaven! [Let me add, I was just outside praying and was thinking about adding this and while thinking about it I saw 2 shooting stars. One left a ‘line/stream’ for a few minutes, sort of like a planes wake. What I wanted to add is when you get up early to pray outside it is not unusual to see shooting stars. I have seen hundreds [without exaggeration] over the years. The fact that this meteorite was at least 50 to 100 times bigger than any I have ever seen was significant] ‘By thy favor you have made my mountain to stand strong’ [bible verse].
(3) While praying early one morning [in my yard at home] I told the Lord ‘I’m tired of being a Lightning Rod’. Within a second or two I ‘heard’ the Lord say ‘I called James and John the sons of thunder’ [this is in the Bible]. While at work praying it was thundering outside, but it wasn’t raining so I was able to walk outside. A very loud thunderclap and bolt of lightning struck so close to where I was praying that I felt a feeling of like being dazed [I wasn’t struck by lightning]. This simply confirmed the word that if God wants me to be a ‘son of thunder/lightning bolt’ who am I to dispute Him. I feel the ‘lightning bolt’ imagery spoke to the many ‘controversial’ subjects I deal with thru our teaching ministry. The teaching ministry often attracts ‘violent’ responses from those hearing us for the first time! A lightning rod attracts lightning by its very nature. It is mounted in a high place, it is often isolated and ‘gets struck’ while no one else is around. I also recently read a prophecy from the Elijah list that spoke of believers walking around with ‘lightning Rods’ protruding out of their bodies and being ‘struck’ by God, I feel this is also in keeping with what the Lord communicated to me thru this experience [earlier I was praying in the same area where this happened, it is about a week after I penned this, and it ‘dawned’ on me that I was standing about 3 feet from a radio tower [it acts just like a lightning rod] when this happened!]. ‘The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence and the violent take it by force’ [bible verse].
(4) Let me put this one in while its currently happening. Right now while typing this I have fox news on in the background. They are showing a live shot of the Hudson river/New York city region. I was just praying for this exact region this morning. I grew up on the New Jersey side of the Hudson. Well the reason fox news is showing this live shot is there is an old naval ship being moved up the Hudson for repairs. This is an old ship that hasn’t moved for many years. Sure enough the propellers just got suck in the mud. I have been praying for the Lord to give us a breakthrough in the New York City area for quite some time. I believe the Lord wants us to do some ‘Apostolic’ work in this region. One of the classical definitions of an Apostle is the image of a fleet of ships launching out into new territories in order to colonize new lands. Well the ship being moved right now hasn’t moved for years. I feel like this could speak to our present situation, I have been believing the Lord to ‘launch’ us for a long time in this region. The ship finally got moving and sure enough it gets stuck! Well there are always obstacles getting in the way of those trying to ‘colonize’ new regions for the kingdom of God.
(5) I had a dream that I walked into a classroom full of people [a whole community]. They were all sitting in front of a big blackboard. On the board there was a riddle. When I looked at the riddle it seemed obvious to me what it meant. I thought that everyone should know what it meant. I got up and went to the board and solved the riddle. I asked everyone if they saw the answer to the mystery. They all responded yes. I felt like this meant there would be certain things that we would ‘solve’ or reveal thru our teaching ministry that would make things clear and plain. Though the riddle was unsolvable at first, after I solved it, it was easily understandable to every one there.
(6) When I first accepted the Lord I attended a Baptist Church for a few years. I would often have friends call me ‘John the Baptist’. To be honest I never liked being called this. The Church was a good Church, but I always saw myself as being Christian as opposed to some denominational title. Well a few years ago my mother was visiting me from New Jersey and told me an interesting story. She said when I was a little boy [around 6-9yrs old?] that I was in some type of school play and I stood up and said ‘my name is John and I was named after John the Baptist’. I asked her why I said this, was it some sort of Christian play or something, she told me no. She just thought it strange that I would say this out of the blue. Well I felt this to mean if God wants to call you something [whether ‘son of thunder’ or whatever] that he will confirm it in undeniable ways. Also I was 43 yrs old when I found this out, it was like the Lord used me to prophesy to myself and I didn’t even know it! ‘I have raised up one from the north. From the rising of the sun shall he call upon my name. Who raised up the righteous man from the east and gave the nations before him. He will come upon princes as upon mortar and the coastlands shall wait for his law. There was a man sent from God whose name was John [insert your name here!]. Before you were born I made mention of your name. You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you and ordained you to be a prophet to the nations.’[Bible verses!] [You can apply all this to yourself as God directs. I don’t want to sound to self-important here].
(7) When I first moved to Corpus Christi from Kingsville, there was a political argument going on over whether or not to open an old [ancient] channel from an intercostal waterway to the gulf of Mexico. I live close to this area. This channel has finally opened and I felt like the Lord was saying ‘there are many enemies resisting the opening of ‘waterways’ but he would prevail and new waterways would open [spiritually]’. I felt like the Lord wanted me to go to this new channel and walk the jetty [which is a type of ‘wall’ strutting out into the ocean]. When I finally went I pulled up to a parking area and took off my shoes and socks and began the walk. After about a 150 yards or so I realized that I was burning my feet on the hot sand, but I decided to finish the walk anyway. I also passed a writing in the sand that said ‘I love Chris’ to which I added a T and it said ‘I love Christ’. Well I walked out on the jetty and sat for about 20 minutes and enjoyed the area. By this time I realized that I did burn my feet pretty badly but just went with it. On the walk back to the truck I passed the ‘I love Christ’ writing and saw another writing [which I didn’t see the first time] that said ‘I love Peter’. I felt that ‘Peter’ represents the ‘flesh’ and the Lord was simply confirming his love and acceptance for me [and you!] despite the many failings of our flesh! A few days later I was reading from a prophetic website [Glory of Zion/Chuck Pierce] and they share both prophecies as well as the actual things that they do during their early morning prayer time. One of the early prayer watches had a brother named John ask for a shofar, well I just attended a meeting a few weeks earlier and made the strange request for someone to donate to me a shofar. I really didn’t know why I asked for a shofar, but felt the Lord wanted me to ask for one. Well after reading the prophetic site I realized it was just a confirmation telling me to pay attention to this prophetic word. Well the word [from Chuck Pierce] continued on to speak about new waterways opening and also for us to walk on these new ‘higways/walls’ that will bring us to a higher place. The prophecy even said ‘that where you walked before and burned your feet, you will walk there no more’. Well my feet had blisters for a few weeks! Scripture says God will make a ‘way’ [waterway?] thru the wilderness and ‘rivers in the desert’. Both of these images speak of ‘cutting a road thru the sand and letting water run thru it’. Also if you add this to the ‘John the baptist/lighntnig rod/sons of thunder’ prophecy it really has meaning from the message bible, it calls John ‘thunder out of the desert’. John was a ‘prophetic blast’ that came out of [cut thru] the desert! Let me add another thing, after I wrote this, later on in the day I was watching the ‘God channel’ on direct TV. I saw a prophetic sister [Patricia King] who I never watched before. Her show is called ‘extreme prophetic’. Well it started with the verses about John the Baptist and spoke of the ‘burning man’ coming out of the desert. I thought maybe I should pay attention to this show. She spoke all about prophetic stuff and at the end gave a prophecy saying ‘the fire and lightning of God Are going to burn things out of you that don’t need to be there’ [This is not an exact quote, but the fire and lightning are!]. This experience at the channel happened in 2006, in 1980 I went to this area of the ocean at night with some friends to party [my girlfriend, who is now my wife, and my friend from N.J. who died of aids, you’ll read this later] As we were drinking and getting drunk I had the great idea of swimming out as far as we could and live on the edge of possibly drowning. A great idea! Well me and my buddy did swim out, and of course I had to go much further than him. I realized that I swam too far and the undertow was drawing me out. I’m drunk, it’s around midnight and I feel like I am going to die this night. I started swimming back frantically and finally reached the point where I could touch ground! The same places where God would speak to me years later, the enemy tried to kill me on this night! ‘For thy sake we are killed all the day long. I will pay back reproach to the islands, I will cast your sins into the sea’ [bible verses]. Let me take a chance here and confess a few things. I believe I risked death too much with some of these chances I took. There is actually a ‘thrill’ at risking your life. Jim Morrison [the doors] also had this fixation. Listen to the songs ‘the end’ and ‘break on thru to the other side’. A few years ago I was at a truck fire [pretty common for firefighters] and out of laziness didn’t put on any protective gear. I was putting it out with the fire hose when the propane tank released hot propane from the relief valve. It didn’t blow up, but it did get hot. I just stood there [from a little distance] and kept putting water on it. I know its stupid but it could have exploded and hurt me pretty bad. The friend I was with at the fire is the fishing friend you will read about in this paper. He once came over to see me because it was a while since we got together and he had a dream that I died. I realize that even working with the guys I work with [addicts and ex-cons] that there is still an inherent danger in doing this. Not to long ago I was with some guys and they were actually smoking crack at one point. I am saying this to confess that you can try to play it safe and not take risks and live your life on a church pew [boring], or you can take real risks and possibly ‘leave’ a little early, but no one ever gets out alive anyway [another quote from Jim Morrison]. Don’t take dumb risks, but don’t live too safe!
(8) These next three experiences all happened within the first few years of becoming a Christian. During this time I was attending a Fundamental Baptist Church [they were a good Gospel preaching Church!] that did not believe in the gifts of the Spirit or prophetic things.
- One night I was invited to preach at the Church as one of the ‘preacher boys’ [a group of a few young guys who felt the Lord was calling us to be preachers]. During the sermon, as a joke [or so I thought!] I pointed out a friend and said that his secret sin was smoking cigars. Well I immediately said I was just kidding but wanted to say it to illustrate some point. Well little did I know that the ‘point’ God wanted illustrated was the fact that this friend of mines secret sin was smoking cigars! His wife and another friend confirmed this right after the message.
- One of the friends from the above story [not the cigar smoker!] loved to listen to Brother Rollof. We all loved and admired Bro. Rollof as one of the most prominent Baptist preachers in the area. Well one day, out of the blue, I remember telling my friend ‘Brother Rollof will be dead soon’. My friend was offended that I would say this [and to be honest it offended me too!]. Well within a few years Bro. Rollof did die in a plane crash. Bro. Rollof was the type of health minded person who could have easily lived to a hundred. I believe he was around sixty years old at the time of his death, it was definitely premature. [This was simply prophecy, I don’t want you guys to think I am going around pronouncing peoples deaths!] UPDATE- I just read a memorial for brother Rollof. He died in November of 1982, less than a year, possibly only a few months from the prophetic word. I try not to over exaggerate dates and stuff, so I originally erred on the possible longer date.
- This last one will probably be the most interesting. During this time as a new believer I was daily learning the word and truly enjoying the journey. I was working as a house painter for a Christian homebuilder. We were building a huge house for a dentist. While inside painting one of the rooms I heard a loud scream as in if someone was hysterical. I quickly went to the room downstairs where I thought the scream came from. When I entered the room I saw the mother of the boys who lived in the home had found her young boy [around 2 or 3 years old?] at the bottom of the swimming pool and he was blue and lifeless, this boy was dead! Well one of the other carpenters began doing C.P.R. on the boy. The mother was in hysterics and I started to pray. I distinctly remember the prayer. I simply prayed for God to put the boys spirit back in his body and for God to bring him back from the dead [it was not one of those ‘if it be thy will’ type prayers!]. Well sure enough after a minute or two the boy started coughing and breathing. Later on during the week the boy had told the doctor when he was dead at the bottom of the pool that Jesus had appeared to him. The doctors testified that the lack of brain damage and the recovery were miraculous. The local newspaper ran a front page story that read ‘child says he saw the Lord’ [Kingsville Record- early 80s. maybe you can find it on line?]. The boys father is still a local dentist here in Kingsville, and the boy is alive and doing well today. I would like to mention that at the time I didn’t make a big thing out of it, but there were people that I knew from the Baptist church I attended that kind of said ‘wow, what happened’ and my response was ‘oh the Lord raised the boy from the dead’. It was more of a childlike faith as a new believer trusting God to do a miracle. We have such a tendency to want to publicize these types of things that I feel this hinders the Spirit from doing more miracles. Sort of like God knows how much we really like getting the glory out of ‘God used me to raise the dead’ that this prevents him from doing it more often! [Let me add that this is the 1st time I have told this story in writing, 20 something years after the fact. And the only other time I ever shared it was on the radio about 8 to 10 years after we started broadcasting]
(9) One of the friends I work with became a fishing buddy over the years. This friend is a Christian, but not so much into the word or real ‘active’. He’s a good friend whose part of an older type denomination. Over the years of our friendship I would encourage him to get a bible and read it for himself. One day while in simple conversation I ‘saw’ him going into a bookstore, picking up a bible, looking at it and then putting it back [let me say I ‘saw’ all this within a few seconds while talking to him!]. Well I relayed what I saw to him, and you could see the look of surprise on his face as he admitted to me that this just happened a few days earlier! I believe this to be a type of ‘prophetic evangelism’ where God uses us in simple every day settings to prophetically testify to people of the grace of God.
(10) let me put this one in here because it has to do with my ‘fishing friend’. One day I had a dream of a major earthquake. It was quite vivid and till this day I can still ‘see’ all the people running for cover and fleeing for their lives. Well a few days later I told my friend about the dream. Within a few weeks a major earthquake occurred in some part of the world and it was all you saw on the news for a few days. If I remember right they said it was the most deaths caused by an earthquake within around one hundred years.
(11) I had a dream that me and one of the people I was trying to reach out to were on a railroad track. We were in my truck and were stuck. As the train passed by we had to jump. My friend jumped to far and needed me to reach out a hand. Out of fear and self-preservation I didn’t. Well the train passed and we were both fine. But he was offended that I let him down at this point. This friend is one of the brothers who is struggling with drug addiction [cocaine!]. Well within a few weeks he went to jail and started writing me. I have written friends in prison for many years. I would say hundreds of letters over the years would not be an exaggeration! But it was many years since I have done it. I was tempted to put the letter aside and just read it and that’s all, but then I remembered the dream and felt like I should not let this friend down. I sent him all the little books I wrote over the years and after a few months of writing I could tell that there was a change for the better. Not just because he was in jail, but he would tell me how after reading the books I sent that it was amazing how much God was doing in his life. He really felt a type of ‘baptism’ of the Spirit while reading the books. [These are my words to describe what he was telling me]
(12) Back in the early 90s we had a prophet visit our city who was one of the original prophets from the Kansas City Prophets [this is the story of Mike Bickle and the Kansas city Church that is usually looked to as the ‘birthing’ of the modern prophetic movement]. After the service I felt the Lord wanted me to share a prophetic word with this brother. It was a personal word that could have been right or wrong [not one of those prophecies like ‘God loves you my child’ type things]. Well after I shared the word he told me that it was right on. This sounds a little like I am bragging to share this, but the reason I share this is I felt the Lord wanted Corpus Christi to ‘be on the map’ spiritually speaking. That there was a ‘prophetic’ connection that he wanted our city to have with the current prophetic movement. The prophecy said ‘you are going thru a period of disorientation, where its difficult to function. This season seems like its not going to end, but after a while the lord will stabilize you and you will feel ‘grounded’ again in order to function’. They had moved from the Kansas City area to Dallas and the wife was having these types of feelings [him too?].
(13) When I was a boy growing up in New Jersey I lived next to a cemetery on a hill. Well this cemetery became a place to explore and have fun in. During the winter after a good snowfall we would ride our sleds down thru the headstones. It was illegal but we would also keep an eye out for the cops, we were good runners! Also in the middle of the cemetery there was a train tunnel that went from my neighborhood and exited out to the Hudson River. It came out right across the Manhattan area of New York City. The skyline where the twin towers and other historic landmarks were located. We used to walk thru the tunnel [about a mile underground] and exit on the Hudson River. If a train were going thru we would hide behind a huge pipeline until it passed. The train guys would yell at us thinking we were going to rob the train [which I did do another time with some friends at a different location]. We even got arrested once for trespassing. Also one time me and a friend were going thru with bows and arrows and we saw the lights of 2 dirt bikes heading our way. We just stopped in the middle of the tracks [it was pitch black] and had the bows drawn until they got to us. We scared them pretty bad; I guess they thought we were going to kill them. Well anyway one time this cemetery demolished an old mausoleum. I went thru the wreckage and found what looked to be a cement seashell. It was big and heavy, but I thought it would look good in my yard. So I took it home and left it in the yard. Many years later [30 yrs?] on one of my trips back to New Jersey I took this ‘sea shell’ back to Texas with me in my truck. This was the year the Lord was using the imagery of the Lion of Judah in my life. I felt like the Lord was referring to me as Judah. This also was a time where I received certain words about increased authority to do Kingdom Works [Lions exercise great authority]. Well after returning back to Texas I placed this concrete thing in my backyard [where it still is today]. Well one day while talking to my dad on the phone I told him I took it. And he said ‘oh you took that old lions paw’. I then realized that this ‘sea shell’ was really the broken off foot from a lions statue that was mounted in the cemetery. To me this fit in perfectly with all the lion of Judah imagery I was seeing at the time. It spoke of exercising authority to do Kingdom works in that area of the country. It was a sign from my childhood that would take 30 years before it would have any significance. The ‘foot’ is significant; scripture says ‘blessed are the feet of those who are bringing the Gospel’. This spoke to me about having authority to bring the gospel to this region of the country. The friend I went thru the tunnel with was a good friend of mine while growing up. The second trip coming back to Texas as young men [18-19 yrs old] he came back with me. Eventually after I accepted the Lord I was able to lead my friend to the Lord. He stayed in Texas for a few yrs. Eventually he got married and had kids. He was a member of the Church I started in Kingsville in 1987. We were still young at the time [around 25 yrs old]. It was a blessing to fellowship as believers after all the years as good friends and doing crazy stuff. Eventually he went back to New Jersey and I found out that he discovered that he had aids. His wife also later found out she contracted it from him. I prayed for them as good friends for years. Out of the blue one day the wife called to let me know my friend died. He was around 32 yrs old. A few yrs later I received a letter from the wife and though she was sick it was a great testimony how her oldest son was on fire for the Lord and preaching the gospel in New Jersey. I never heard from them again, I assume the wife died by now. Till this day I continue to pray weekly for the boys [they had 4 boys] and pray that the Lord would continue to use them in ministry.
(14) I had a dream that I was on the old block that I grew up on as a boy. I was talking to a friend on the block and he invited me to look into his house. As I looked in I was surprised to see the amount of space in this house. Though I lived on the block as a boy, it surprised me that it was so spacious. I felt like the Lord was telling me that I would be surprised at the open door/access that he would give us in this region. That there would be more ‘room’ to function than I presently saw. Rooms/Houses can represent families/communities [the house of David, etc.] The Lord says things like ‘I have set you in a large place’ ‘in my Fathers House are many mansions’ [Bible verses] meaning spiritual access and ability to function freely.
(15) I had a dream that me and some friends were canoeing down a river/rapids and the friends who were in the canoe with me were seeing sights that they never saw before, they were truly like kids seeing fun sights for the 1st time. The ride was inherently dangerous [rough water] but it was a necessary danger in order to complete the course. I felt like the Lord was saying there would be many friends who would ‘take the journey’ with us even though it will be risky. Those who persevere will ‘see’ spiritual truths that they have never seen before.
(16) I received different prophecies over the years from various prophetic people. I distinctly remember a few from well-established national ministers. One said ‘I see your right hand as possessing great authority to do kingdom works, not just ordinary authority, but special authority to function’. Another said ‘you will have great influence, not just local but worldwide’. I am paraphrasing somewhat, but this was the jist of it. I don’t want to sound self-serving by sharing these, but I do want to say that when I received these types of words there was a tendency to think they must say this to everyone. I know they don’t, but there is always that ‘doubt’ that the Lord cant really be saying this about me. I do know he says things like this to many people throughout their lives, but we have a tendency to ‘write it off’ when God wants us to pay attention to prophetic words and if we discern them to be true, then we are not to ‘despise prophecy’. I also received a word from a friend of mines daughter. We were in a service [that her father was pastoring] and after the service the girl told her father that she heard the word ‘umpire’ while looking at me. Umpires make judgment calls that often offend both sides, get a lot of people mad at them, but are necessary in order for the game to proceed! [keep this one in mind as you continue to read!]
(17) One of my homeless friends [who now has a home] was trying to contact me because he had a vision of seeing chains falling off. Sort of like a ‘mantle’ of chains falling off and leaving his room. During this same week one of my good friends from another town who was part of our early church, and is one of the original ‘drug addicts/ex-cons’ who we reached out to in the early years. He contacted me to tell me of a dream he had. He dreamt that there were people hiding in a tunnel until a huge wave passed over. The wave was made of sand. After the wave passed the people came out and there was a huge pool/body of water. The people were required to ‘get in the water’ but were afraid and hesitant. I felt the dream spoke of a time of confusion/disorientation [sand] that would eventually pass. But after this season of disorientation is over we will be tempted to ‘settle in’ and not plunge into the continuing purpose of God. Don’t fear to go all the way into the water and allow God to carry you. The chains falling off spoke of the breaking of yokes and bondages that hinder us from fully functioning as Gods children. [Also remember the friend I went thru the tunnel with in the N.J. cemetery, when we came out we were at a huge body of water, the Hudson River. My friend who went thru the tunnel with me in New Jersey came to Texas with me. I always felt that the reason he left Texas and went back to N.J. prematurely was out of fear. It’s hard to make it in a strange state when you’re young with a family. In a sense my friend ‘came thru the tunnel’ with me, but the ‘body of water’ was to intimidating and he turned back to soon. ‘My soul is escaped like a bird out of the snare of the fowler, the snare is broken and I am escaped’ [Bible verses].
- Let me share a few signs that have to do with creation. Stars and trees and stuff like that.
- Over the years I liked the imagery of scripture that speaks of being ‘like a tree planted by the rivers of water’. I actually bought a tree and planted it in my yard by a pond. While praying over the years in my yard I thought of the fact that this tree was planted by ‘water’ and it would remind me of Gods word. This tree is a bald cypress tree. During one of my trips to San Antonio I went to the river walk with the family. I noticed that there were lots of these trees along the ‘river’ walk. These trees were fully grown [not like the small one in my yard]. They had roots that grow down and up! I felt this to mean that our teaching ministry would ‘go deep’ and ‘go high’. This speaks of being grounded in the historic Christian faith as well as ‘going up’ into the realms of prophetic things. I also ‘noticed’ these trees in various surrounding cities that cover our broadcast area and felt like this spoke of our ‘perimeter’ spiritually speaking. I have a cousin that moved to a suburb of Houston a few years ago. I finally sent him some materials and recently felt the Lord wanted us to ‘extend’ to this outer border of our broadcast region. When I finally obeyed the Lord to ‘reach out’ to my cousin I asked my mother exactly what his address was. He lives in a suburb called ‘cypress’. God often uses trees in scripture ‘the lips/mouth of the righteous are like a tree of life’ ‘the kingdom of heaven is like a seed, after its planted it becomes a tree’. This imagery speaks of teaching, becoming established and things of this nature. Also a newly planted tree/bush requires more frequent watering [high maintenance] until its root system becomes fully established, but after it’s established it can draw sufficient resources on its own without having to be ‘spoon fed’. This speaks of the development of new converts. They often require special attention in the early days, but later on should become less dependent on others and learn to draw ‘water’ on their own. Jesus is the gardener and we are the field/garden.
- Another tree in my yard is a mesquite tree. When I first moved to C.C. I went to the bay and pulled it up, as it was small and growing in the wet sand. This enabled me to pull it up easily and keep the roots at the same time. Over the years this tree has grown very wide [in contrast to the cypress that grows tall]. Just recently it ‘dawned’ on me that this tree was taken from the water area of the bay. It’s a tree that grows quite well along the water. While meditating on the idea that this tree represents a broad stable range of territory, I likened this to the ministry not only going ‘high’ and ‘deep’ but also going ‘broad’. This speaking of an extended area of influence. Just recently they did a study on the mesquite trees of our area. For many years they were considered trash trees [can anything good come out of Nazareth? Bible verse] but this study found the trees to be good for fuel [ethanol] were extremely durable [farmers cant get rid of them if they try!] and very strong hard wood. These are all good character traits that God wants to develop in all of us.
- One day while shopping at Wal Mart I picked up a rose bush for the yard. Later on I read the tag and found out the name of this bush is ‘Coat of many colors’ after the story of Joseph. I can’t remember exactly but within a day or so the Lord spoke to me about Josephs coat. Josephs ‘coat’ [made from skins] represents ‘flesh’ or ‘body’. The diversity of colors represents Gods house [body] being comprised from every ethnos. God favored Joseph above every other ‘ethnic’ tribe that comprised natural Israel. This showing Gods favor resting on the Church [comprised of both Jew and Gentile] as opposed to any natural ethnicity. All the colors of this coat were worn by one man that had great favor with both man and God. In Jesus all ethnic groups are brought together as his ‘flesh’ [skin/ covering] and the fathers favor rests on us as ‘one new man’!
- Over the years I have planted, transplanted trees. I have seen many bushes, plants and other types of growth occur naturally as well as by design. Some of the sturdiest flowers [you cant stop them!] actually grow in the wild. These are Texas wildflowers. I have bought cases of wildflower seed and tried to ‘make it happen’ in my own yard. I realized that these wildflowers could take root this way, but its not easy! Some people are under the impression because they are wild and grow in near drought conditions, that somehow this means they can easily be planted. Wrong. I like this imagery; they remind me of the Ecclesia [the Greek word in the New Testament for Church]. They grow ‘by nature’ and are hard to imitate [or make happen]. They survive and actually grow in extreme desert like conditions [wow!] and they are some of the most beautiful plants that you will notice at the right time of the year. God has many different ‘methods’ of establishing his ‘garden’. Some are natural, some are transplanted and some come from the store [the more organized type of Church/Christian] but they are all his planting and provide food and shade and other good benefits. Also the ‘wild’ ones seem to thrive the best in ‘desert’ conditions and are very hard to ‘force produce’. The Old Testament prophets actually use the imagery of the ‘desert blooming’ as a type of Gods restoration of Israel. The fact that God causes his people to prosper/blossom in dry/desolate places is an encouragement for all of us! The other day I took a ride around the Corpus Christi bay area with the family. We just drove thru a number of cities that I don’t usually drive thru. We stopped at a K Mart [Portland- this is the city you will read about later where we were going to rob a car] and went in to shop. I randomly picked up a book and opened it up to the middle and read ‘things are about to change drastically in your life, be excited about it’. I felt the Lord speak to me in this simple way. I immediately looked at another book next to it. It was a beautiful picture book called ‘the desert in bloom’. It’s a collection of many of the wildflowers and plants that blossom in the ‘southwest desert’ of the United States. I bought the book and quickly wrote the ‘verse’ that I read in the first book [I admit I wrote it before I bought the book and my kids were like ‘now dads writing in the books in stores’!]. I felt the Lord saying to many of us that he’s about to bring forth growth and beauty from our ‘dry and barren wilderness’. Scripture speaks of ‘suddenlies’ or specific seasons of drastic change and breakthrough. There are times when God works ‘drastic’ changes that set the course for the rest of our lives; we should be open and willing to allow him to do a ‘suddenly’ on our behalf! ‘SHALL THE EARTH BRING FORTH IN ONE DAY? SHALL A NATION BE BORN AT ONCE? FOR AS SOON AS ZION TRAVAILED SHE BOUGHT FORTH HER CHILDREN. I WILL EXTEND PEACE TO HER LIKE A RIVER. WHEN YOU SEE THIS YOUR HEART SHALL REJOICE. YOUR SEED AND YOUR NAME SHALL REMAIN. LET THY WORK APPEAR UNTO YOUR CHILDREN AND YOUR GLORY UNTO YOUR SERVANTS. THOU MEETSET HIM THAT REJOICETH AND WORKET RIGHTEOUSNESS. AS THE NEW WINE IS FOUND IN THE CLUSTER SO WILL I DO WITH YOU. I WILL BRING FORTH A SEED OUT OF JACOB, AND OUT OF JUDAH AN INHERITOR OF MY MOUNTAINS. THE FORMER TROUBLES ARE FORGOTTEN, THEY ARE HID FROM MINE EYES. REMEMBER NOT THE FORMER THINGS, NEITHER CONSIDER THE THINGS OF OLD. FOR I AM DOING A NEW THING, I WILL MAKE A WAY IN THE WILDERNESS AND RIVERS IN THE DESERT. YOU WILL NOT LABOR IN VAIN NOR BRING FORTH FOR TROUBLE. FOR YOU ARE THE SEED OF THE BLESSED OF THE LORD, AND YOUR CHILDREN ALSO.’ [Bible verses]
- Let me share some ‘signs from heaven’. The bible warns us against seeking wisdom from satanic/occult sources. There is a distinction between astronomy and astrology. Astrology is forbidden for believers, astronomy isn’t! The scriptures actually contain many events where God used stars and signs from heaven in his dealings with man. The story of the wise men following the star until they found Christ. Future prophecies of the sun and moon turning into ‘blood’ and not giving off light. All these types of signs from heaven are biblical and legitimate. Over the years spending many hours outside praying has afforded the opportunity to see things in the sky while not really seeking after it. One morning I had a dream of a Christmas tree, it was the type of impression that I felt it to be significant. Over a few weeks I simply tried to be open to any type of confirmation from a tree or something to do with Christmas [it was July]. After a few weeks I let it go and really wasn’t going all out over this impression from the dream. While outside praying in the early hours [between 2-5 am] I simply looked up and saw a formation in the stars that looked just like a Christmas tree. I immediately felt this to be the sign. The day I saw the tree was July 17, my birthday. As I looked at the ‘tree in the stars’ a plane flew right thru the ‘tree’. I felt the Lord speaking to me on my ‘birthday’ with a sign from Christ’s ‘birthday’ [I know Jesus wasn’t born on Christmas]. Scripture says ‘this day have I begotten thee, ask of me and I will give you the heathen for your inheritance and the ends of the earth for your possession’ [somewhere in Psalms]. The plane spoke of sending [wings on your feet type imagery] and I felt the Lord saying he was going to ‘birth’ some new things in my life in the area of sending and going.
- Another image I have seen in the stars is a ‘kite’. I really don’t know the actual formations of any of these stars [I couldn’t tell you where the big dipper is and stuff like that] but I simply see these formations as I pray. Also all of these formations are always there. Some times of the year you cant see them as well from where I pray, but these formations were there this morning while outside praying. I don’t want to give the impression that these are one-time events. That was true of the ‘meteor’ sign, but not with these things. Well as I saw the ‘kite’ imagery I remembered as a boy growing up in New Jersey how after flying a kite in a local park I broke the string and me and my dad drove a few blocks over and actually found it behind some house on a hill. So this image fit in with my prayer time over the northeast. From where I pray the ‘kite’ is actually located over the northeast. Also from my youth I remember going to Philadelphia on class field trips and visiting the historic areas of our country. By my old neighborhood as a boy there was a huge liberty bell as a memorial of the liberty we have in our country [Fairview]. I also have an old coin from boyhood that my father gave me with Benjamin Franklin on one side and the liberty bell on the other. Well all this speaks of freedom/liberty and the person of Benjamin Franklin. On one of my drives to work I recently noticed a billboard add for some company and it has a huge picture of Benjamin Franklin saying ‘go fly a kite’ [Ben Franklin was the one who flew the kite to see if he could harness the power of electricity thru a lightning bolt. There’s the lightning image / sons of thunder. The earlier vision of the lightning rod protruding into heaven and being struck also fits in here. Franklin was acting like a human lightning rod when flying the kite]. All these images spoke to me about sending and going into the nations. Scripture says God sets his ‘tent/tabernacle’ in the stars. Gods ‘territory/parameters’ are seen in the stars. The fact that this kite image is over the northeast spoke to me about ‘possessing this land’. Remember John the Baptist was called ‘thunder out of the desert’ showing God brought ‘lightning’ from Johns ministry out of the desert! I am surrounded by sand and ‘desert’ conditions where I live on a bluff. John the apostle wrote in revelation that he ‘saw a door opened in heaven’. John was on an island [desert/isolated place] when he ‘saw this’ sign from heaven. Putting it all together it simply means to me that its time to truly impact the northeast and bring some ‘thunder out of the desert’! Jesus said of John the Baptist that people rejoiced to see and partake of the ‘light’ [fire gives off light] for a season. Jesus understood thru prophecy that John’s time was limited. God is a consuming fire who makes his ‘ministers’ flames of fire. Scripture speaks of people at certain seasons of history as being ‘firebrands’. God ‘ignites’ people for specific purposes. Sometimes the actual ‘purpose’ causes us to be ‘consumed’ [the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up-Bible verse]. There should be a real sense of Gods purpose in our lives that goes beyond a ‘survival mentality’. We should allow God to ignite us for his purpose and be ‘used up’ [consumed] before we leave this life! ‘I will raise up a prophet among them like unto thee and I will put my words in his mouth, and he will speak unto them all that I command him’ [Bible verse].
- Let me put these last 2 ‘signs in the stars’ here. I have seen the forms of both a trumpet as well as an arrow [it also looks like a cross]. Both of these speak of ‘a prophetic voice’ and ‘direction/sending forth’. John the Baptist was a ‘trumpet [horn] of salvation/ a voice in the wilderness’. God makes his ‘tent’ in the stars, Gods prophetic parameter extends much further than we comprehend! Also scripture speaks of children being like arrows in the quiver of a mighty man. Train up a child ‘in the way he should go’ and when he is old he will not depart from it. This speaks of direction and staying on course. Arrows are things you point/start in a certain direction and they stay on course until they hit the mark. The scripture speaks a lot about trumpets. Both actual and in symbolic ways. People at times are referred to as ‘trumpets’. Trumpets and ‘things giving off sound’ are actual weapons in scripture. The story of the children of Israel marching around cities and giving shouts. Israel’s history of blowing trumpets as they enter into battle. God’s people are like prophetic mouthpieces in society who carry on their lips [thru proclamation and prayer] powerful weapons that tear down the strategies of the enemy. God ‘sets’ us and points us in a definite direction [the path we should go] throughout our lives and launches us forth as ‘arrows in the hand of a warrior’ and we hit the mark [his purpose for us] and do damage to enemy territory! The arrow/cross speaks of God sending his son to earth with a purpose to ‘hit the mark’. Jesus was born to die.
- I was reading the bible the other day and came across some scripture that spoke to the truth of all the patriarchs and saints of old having seen the stars. Things like God telling Abraham go outside and count the stars if you can. Jesus spent entire nights in prayer. It just struck me that they were all looking at the exact same stars that I see! There are not many [if any] things that you can actually look at on a daily basis that are the same things that Jesus and David and others also saw daily. I mean you can go to the shore if you live on the coast, but you still would not be seeing the same part of the beach or water that they saw [unless you live in the holy land!]. I just wanted you to have a sense of the unchanging nature and reality of our God. Scripture teaches us that creation itself is a wonderful testimony and reminder of Gods majesty and faithfulness. I would encourage you to make it a point and wake up early someday and go outside and pray under the heavens and realize that these are the exact same stars that Jesus prayed under 2 thousand years ago. I recently read a prophetic word from Chuck Pierce which said ‘the stars will be for signs and direction in the days ahead’ we forget the importance that signs and dreams played in the lives of the biblical characters. Solomon’s great story of God appearing to him and Solomon asking for wisdom as opposed to riches, you know the story, well it all happened in a dream! The story surrounding the birth of Jesus and fleeing to Egypt and God telling Joseph not to fear. The naming of Jesus and John the Baptist were words God sent from angels! I am currently doing a radio study on the book of Hebrews; the law is referred to as ‘the word spoken by angels’. God uses angels to communicate at times to man. All of these things were revealed thru dreams, angels were involved as well as signs from heaven [the star that led the wise men to Christ] we need to realize that we serve a living God, and he desires to communicate to his kids in various ways. None of these ‘ways’ should contradict scripture, and if they do then you reject the ‘sign’ and go with scripture! But we should not limit God thru our unbelief. Look at this verse ‘When I have bent Judah for me, filled the bow with Ephraim, and raised up thy Sons o Zion, against thy sons o Greece, and made thee as the sword of a mighty man. And the Lord shall be seen over them, and his arrow shall go forth as the lightning: and the lord God shall blow the trumpet, and shall go with the whirlwinds of the south’. I like this, it contains arrows, lightning and trumpets, as well as the strategic ‘Southland’ many of the above signs can be seen here.
(19) Let me share something that I just felt the Lord wanted me to share while outside praying. I came to Texas from New Jersey at 18 years of age. After getting into trouble in the navy I got kicked out after a few months [I like to tell my wife I earned my discharge in a few months while it took her 4 years! she was also in the navy]. After a few more months of partying and being ‘lost’ I ran into some Christians who I earlier met while in the navy and eventually accepted the Lord. As a young Christian I immediately saw the responsibility of the great commission and started reaching out to anyone who would listen. This is how I met a lot of the friends of mine who were drug addicts/ex-cons; I would go to the local jails and preach. Many of the older guys I would preach to [in their 40s] had sons who were also into drugs and stuff, these sons were my age. After I started our Church these younger guys eventually would get reached because I was friends with some of their fathers. Till this day there are a few good friends that I still keep in touch with from this group. We had various people attend our church while we rented space in an old hospital building. We eventually moved into my 2-car garage and held services there. One of the people who became a member of our church [though I didn’t have an ‘official’ membership thing for people to join] was an ordained minister who also had a background in sorcery and witchcraft. He was around my age at the time [26yrs old] and had a background of causing trouble in churches. I tried my best to let him help in any way I could, but I would notice little things that he was doing to cause trouble. Like leaving signs of sorcery/occult things around our house or the homes of some of our members. After a while it became obvious that he was here to start trouble. I always saw him as somewhat of a threat to the church, but I also recognized that maybe in some strange way we could reach out to him like anybody else. I was wrong! This person did all he could do to bother us. He started a rumor that me and him were having a gay relationship. A few people told me he was going around saying this. I went to his home with another brother in my car [who he said this to] and I asked him on his porch if he said this to so and so. He emphatically denied it. Well when the brother who he said it to got out of the car he knew he was caught. Of course this didn’t stop him. By this time I already told him not to attend the meetings anymore and tried to keep my distance from him. He would send people to my home at 2 in the morning while I was at work on a 24-hour shift. He harassed my wife and kids. He brought tainted food to my house for my family while I was not there [he pretty much confessed to this himself]. He would call the fire dept. while I was on duty and make false alarms. One time he called and actually reported a real fire in an abandoned house a few blocks away from where he lived. He was there when I showed up and acted like he had nothing to do with it. I had my tires slashed, window on my car broken while at work. It was pretty much a nonstop thing for a few years. A real pain! Over the years it eventually stopped. I did move to Corpus Christi from Kingsville and this did have something to do with it. I had to eventually come to a point where I could forgive him, which I did. Over the years he actually went down hill pretty bad and I helped him in a number of ways. I never let him get my address or phone # [which by the way he tried to get from my job once!] but I did forgive him and even prayed for him over the years. This was coming a long way from being on the verge of beating him up, as well as a few people he ‘enlisted’ in harassing me. They called me up at work to threaten me and in anger I told the guy to come on down right now and I’ll kick your @#$#@ right here. Obviously the Lord would have had to forgive me later, but it sure felt good at the time. I managed to eventually be a help to him without ever letting him get ‘to close’ to become a threat. I did pray for him a few times while at work and even visited him and prayed for him when his dad died. The last time I saw him [about a year ago] he and his son came by the firehouse just to say hi, he looked really bad. I sat with them for a while and shared some scripture with them. I prayed for my friend at the end, and an interesting thing happened. His son [around 20 yrs old] began uncontrollably crying as I prayed for his father to be restored and to return back to the original destiny and purpose that God had for his life. The father was surprised to see his son crying like this, I felt like those words I prayed were more for the son than the father. There is a verse in the bible [I think Isaiah] that says the sons of those who hated you and persecuted you will come and bow down before you. I feel this was a part of it. I believe God allowed all this to happen to me for his glory. Joseph said to his brothers who betrayed him ‘you meant it to me for evil but God meant it for good’. Joseph recognized that even though his brothers really meant evil, that God would turn it around for good. If all this stuff never happened I probably would have never moved to C.C. and started our radio ministry [which is located in C.C.] and you probably wouldn’t be reading this right now! [I’m adding this a few weeks later]. During the time between all of this happening and us moving to Corpus Christi I backslid pretty badly. Me and my wife were separated for a while. I actually did cocaine with some of the people I was previously helping, and had a few violent episodes. It wasn’t easy to recover from this, but I thank God I finally did. ‘I have seen your ways and I will heal you, I will lead you also and restore comforts unto you and to your mourners.’ [Bible verse]
(20) One of my ‘lost’ experiences prior to being discharged from the Navy was one night me and a friend decided to go U.A [unauthorized absence] from the base in Kingsville. We left the base and went to the local bus station and forked over all the cash we had to our names. I think it was around 15 dollars. We simply told the teller ‘give us a ticket to the furthest city we can afford’. We thought it would at least get us to Houston, but it took us only to Corpus Christi. Well we hopped on the bus and went to Corpus. We had no money so we went to the local blood bank and made a few bucks. We lost it when we got ripped off trying to by some drugs. We decided to rob someone for their car and leave Texas. We managed to go to some older guys house to party. I told my friend not to worry about it, Ill beat him up, you just help me get the keys. We went to a city over some unknown bridge [I know it now to have been the harbor bridge] and went to some unknown city [Portland]. As we sat there drinking some type of German beer [it tasted strong] I simply told my friend that when the guy comes back into the room I’ll hit him with the bottle and we get the keys and take off. While I was sitting there waiting for the guy to come back, I looked into a mirror on one of the walls and saw a beautiful painting of Christ on the wall. It was a real painting on one of the walls and it struck me in my tracks. I immediately felt like God was telling me not to go ahead with the plan so I aborted the mission. We got the guy to take us back to the seawall and I told him he lucked out because I was going to mug him but changed my mind. He looked pretty scared after I said this and just took off. I see this now as the Lord giving me a simple warning thru a work of art hanging on some wall! [It can be wrong to share these types of stories. I really haven’t shared them in detail like this before, but I’m trying to hear the Lord on what to share and not to share. I felt like he said to share this one]. ‘Remember not against us former iniquities, but let your mercies speedily prevent us’ [Bible verse].
(21) Another ‘story’ of Gods hand at work. While still in the Navy in Kingsville one night I was out partying and hanging out on the streets of Kingsville. I was new to town and didn’t know my way around. I wound up walking thru this field at night while sniffing a bottle of rush [its basically a chemical in a bottle that you take a hit from and get a quick ‘rush’]. I was totally high and disoriented walking thru this unknown town in the middle of this dark field at night. I eventually made it to a street and found my way back to the base. A few years later after accepting the Lord I had a friend who was a drug addict for many years who got converted and was a part of the church we started in Kingsville. One day while in his parents neighborhood I looked over at some ‘field’ and realized that this was the same field I was in that night. God says ‘I will save you out of all the dwelling places where you have sinned, and I will cleanse you’. ‘Get out of the city and dwell in the fields, even in Babylon, and there I will be with you and deliver you from the hand of the enemy’ [Bible verses]. God takes the places where we have fallen and gives us authority to advance his Kingdom in the ‘places where we have sinned’!
(22) Let me share a little about the friend in the above story. He was one of the first guys I met while going to the jails to preach. He eventually accepted the Lord after many years of being a heroin addict. Many of the older guys were into heroin, while the younger ones were into cocaine. After he became a Christian he was on fire for the Lord. He eventually helped us in our church as the praise leader. He also filled in to preach every now and then. He eventually pastored the local victory outreach in Kingsville and even invited me to preach at the fellowship. He worked with the same group of addicts and ex-cons that I worked with. He was a blessing to me and the ministry. His wife and boys [he had around 4 or 5, I don’t exactly remember] were all good friends and co-laborers in ministry. One night while on duty at the firehouse we got an ambulance call and I responded with my partner. Upon arrival I realized it was my friend who suffered a massive brain aneurysm. He lived about a week and passed away. The Lord allowed me to see him go from drug addiction to serving the Lord and finally leaving this life. A few years back I ran into his wife and kids in Bishop, TX. I prayed for her and spent some time with the youngest boy. He was catching turtles down by one of the creeks. I spent some time with him though there were many ‘ministry’ things that I needed to do that day. I talked to him about his dad and serving the Lord. I felt it was time well spent. The family has had some hard times since the death of the dad, I pray for them till this day. As I’m writing this it occurred to me that I’m surrounded by art that many of these friends sent me over the years. Whenever I would correspond with them in prison they would draw beautiful biblical themes on the envelopes. They also sent me handkerchiefs and actual paintings. I have a beautiful leather bible cover from a friend who made it while in prison. It’s all leather and personalized with our ministry name, its well worth a few hundred dollars if you were to have it made!
(23) One of the other families who lived in the same town [Bishop] had a few sons caught up in drugs and prison and the whole cycle. The one son I met first was pretty bad. He actually shot 2 cops thru the back seat of their police car when he was picked up as a boy. He spent some time in the juvenile facilities as well as prison. He also would come to our church and was a good friend of mine. He struggled with drugs and violence more than the others. I remember visiting him at his place one time. He knew he had a reputation of being mentally unstable and dangerous. While visiting him he did pick up a military type knife and was walking around with it. He wasn’t threatening at all, I just felt like it was a test. He wanted to see if I could trust him. He walked behind me at one point while I was reading something and I just ignored it. I felt the Lord said there would always be risks involved in working with people, and I would have to go for it. This friend was being chased by the cops one night. They knew his past, especially his history of shooting cops! When they caught him he swallowed a bag of cocaine and it broke in his stomach. He had a massive overdose and died about a week later. I did speak at his funeral and at least one of the younger boys who accepted the Lord during this time is still serving the Lord. I remember how the father would attend our home meetings with the boys and he was so happy that someone was spending time reaching out to his boys. The father [divorced from the mom] had a difficult past as well but became a believer before I met him and always prayed for his sons. It was an answer to prayer to have his sons seeking the Lord to some degree. Actually I just got a call from one of the ‘sons, sons’ who lives in Corpus Christi. He is doing well and just wanted to say hi. Scripture says ‘the words that I have put in your mouth shall not depart out of your mouth, nor out of the mouth of your seed, nor out of the mouth of your seeds seed’. God thinks and works generationaly. It’s a great blessing to see the sons of your spiritual sons serving Christ! ‘I will contend with him that contends with thee, and I will save thy children. The littlest one shall become a thousand, and the smallest one a strong nation. All thy children shall be taught of the Lord and great shall be the peace of thy children’ [Bible verses].
(24) One of the many ways God speaks to me is thru movies. Yes God can even use ‘worldly’ movies! I rented the movie ‘walk the line’ about Johnny Cash. I felt the Lord wanted me to watch it. I remember reading a ‘tract’ on the conversion of Johnny when I was in the Navy. I woke up one night around 1 or 2 am and was debating on whether to watch it or not. I very rarely will watch TV at this time. Usually if I wake up like this I will go outside and pray. I sat down and put the movie in the DVD player. As the movie is running thru the advertisements I cant seem to relax and get ready to watch it. I keep thinking of a recent trip I took to San Antonio. I am thinking of how I heard the train whistle while staying at a hotel downtown. The trains are also things that the Lord has used as signs in my life. Well as I’m sitting there unable to focus on the beginning of the movie, I hear Johnnies voice in the background singing ‘I took the train to San Antone’ and realized it was time to watch this movie! Some of the significant points were how Johnny had a turn around in his life when he started reaching out and sharing his testimony in the Prisons. This reminded me of the stages I went thru in the early years of our ministry. I had [and still have] many good friends I met while going to the jails to preach and writing these brothers as they went to prison. I usually look for some ‘prophetic’ sign while watching a movie like this. June carter gives Johnny a book called ‘the prophet’. Well there is a lot of imagery of John the Baptist and prophetic type things in my life; this was a good sign to me.
(25) As I was just outside praying I felt the Lord leading me to share this. I was at the point of intercession where I pray for all of the people that we have ever worked with or sown seed into by either word or deed. I refer to these as the ‘Ecclesia and her children’. This covers those of you who are reading this right now! What I wanted most of all to get across is that when I pray like this I am not praying only for the success of ‘our ministry’ [I really don’t like using this term at all] but the overall success of all of the Kingdom works that Father has predestined for all of you. This actually positions me to regularly pray for the benefit of everyone who hears us or receives from us in any way. This includes the leaders/pastors who might hear us and even dislike our strong stance on what the Church is. I am praying for their overall success and Gods purpose to prevail in their lives. I am not doing this out of some feeling of ‘I am more noble than them’. But out of the reality of realizing that all who listen or receive from us are the ‘field’ that God has called us to. Seeing things this way, as opposed to your prayer time being about the success of ‘your ministry’ places you spiritually in a great posture. You actually desire the benefit of people who might not fully understand you, or even those who actively work against you. These themes are actually contained in Jesus instruction on prayer. I would encourage you to begin seeing ‘your ministry’ less and less, and focusing on the overall benefit of the people you relate to over your life. You are not here to build some type of Christian business. You are here to build the Body of Christ! Let me also add here that because of the way we see ‘church/ministry’ and the way we confuse it with the 501c3 model, that this hinders prophetic people. I have heard it said ‘you need a local church covering’ in order to be in biblical order. What most people ‘see’ when they say ‘local church covering’ is a modern Christian business. I am not totally opposed to ‘modern Christian businesses’ [I attend a fantastic local church] as long as we are not using them to ‘de-legitimize’ other functioning members of Christ’s Body. I wrote a prophet in San Antonio who I heard years earlier. He advertised his ‘church’ in the S.A. paper. He did split off from another ‘apostolic’ brother thru a disagreement. He started his own ‘church’ in order to feel and be accepted as legitimate. This comes with the whole package of ‘receiving tithes’ and everything else we see as ‘so-called’ legitimate church. I simply felt the ‘prophetic word’ for this prophet was that he was limiting himself by trying to moderate meetings and become a ‘weekly lecturer’ to Christians while this was hindering his true prophetic ability that simply functions freely in society. I don’t see any prophets in the book of Acts setting up lecture hall environments in order to receive tithes and ‘feel legitimate’. Well he never wrote me back, but not to long after I noticed he stopped advertising in the paper. I feel we need to re-think the whole issue of what makes up church and ministry and re-focus on our responsibility to build up each other in love. ‘Change the way you think and act, because Gods kingdom is here now. Don’t think you need a lot of extra equipment for this, you are the equipment. No special appeals for funds, keep it simple’. [Message bible]
(26) I shared this dream in one of our books. I dreamt that I was going to a university. Upon arrival I noticed many classes going on with many scholars in suits and ties. In one of the areas of the school there were a bunch of professors in a circle examining something. As I got closer I realized they were surrounding a person who looked like a wounded Indian warrior. His wounds were not normal wounds. They were an extreme mutilation. I thought of the verse in Isaiah that says Jesus was marred more than any man, beyond the point of recognition. I understood part of this dream speaking to the danger of Christians being able to learn and speak on many truths while never being able to fully embrace him. I also believe this could speak to Christ being the source of all knowledge and wisdom, a ‘pool’ or fountain of revelation that can never be totally exhausted. Scripture says that in Jesus are hidden ‘all’ the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. If you remember I shared earlier about John seeing ‘an open door’ in heaven [revelation]. Jesus is called the ‘door’ in the gospel of John. This is the same ‘John’ who wrote revelation. Revelation is a prophetic book that uses many types and symbols. The ‘door’ in heaven imagery can also speak to Jesus being ‘opened up’ [a spear was thrust into his side on the cross] and us entering in by faith and accessing all the riches and wisdom that are ‘in him!’.
(27) Let me share some train ‘imagery’. When I first moved to C.C. in 1992 I would drive to work in Kingsville thru a country road. Around 2004 the Lord was leading me to take another route that would go thru a lot of the surrounding cities on a regular basis. This allowed me to pray and prophesy as I drive thru this ‘perimeter’. I immediately saw the significance of this new route. ‘GO THRU THE CITIES, SAY UNTO JUDAH BEHOLD YOUR GOD’ and scriptures like this speak about going thru the land, prayer territories and going on the ‘walls of the city’. This route actually parallels the Railroad Tracks in this area. I began to see these tracks as the ‘borders’ of our local perimeter. ‘STRENGHTEN THE BARS OF YOUR GATES/ STRENGTHEN YOUR STAKES AND LENGHTEN YOUR CORDS’. I began ‘seeing’ the ‘bars’ of our gates as the tracks, they are strong ‘bars’ of steel. I had a prophet tell us that the Lord was going to ‘explode’ in our perimeter. He used the words ‘circuit’ and perimeter. During these early morning prayer drives I also sensed the imagery of the ‘lion of Judah’ being significant. One time I saw a bobcat on the tracks and incorporated the ‘lion of Judah’ imagery in with this perimeter. Well watching TV one night I was flipping thru the channels and stopped at a show documenting Railroads. I felt the Lord wanted me to watch it. They were talking about the original railroad system in the country and how there was a ‘race’ between different people to see who could get the first railroad that would criss-cross the country. The man who accomplished this was Theodore Judah! During the time that I began driving this new route I noticed that they were replacing all the tracks thru out this area. It was a few year process. While watching the news one night they explained that the reason they were doing this was so the train speed could ‘accelerate’ from 30 miles an hour to around 60 MPH. I felt this speaking to the many prophetic words concerning an ‘acceleration’ that the Lord wants to do at this season. Also during this season of driving thru the land they built many new overpasses for the first time thru out all these cities. This allowed me to drive ‘on the walls of the cities’ for the first time ever. The view of circling new territories and ‘being watchman on the walls/early morning prayer watch’ was significant at this time for our area. God always ‘softens up’ new ground thru prayer/intercession before launching the ground campaign! Also remember the earlier things I shared about the train tunnel growing up as a boy. Both New York and South Texas have connections with this type of imagery. ‘THE COASTLANDS SHALL WAIT FOR HIS LAW’ speaks to areas where people are ‘waiting’ to hear the prophetic word. These territories are both ‘coastlands’ [the gulf coast/Atlantic ocean]. ‘God shall be with you and bring you again into the land of your fathers’ [bible verses].
(28) I just had a dream about 30 minutes ago. Me and a bunch of people were shopping and ‘vacationing’ in some store area. It could have been an open market or something to that effect. It was winter and as we were shopping, there were people who were waiting for it to snow. There was a person there who never saw snow before. As we walked outside we began to see this commotion in the sky a long way off. As the sky began to ‘churn’ and show movement we began anticipating snow. Then the sky ‘exploded’ into an awesome multicolor light show. Even in the dream I stood back in awe and realized this was significant. As this ‘storm’ approached it caused fear in some and also great expectations. Some of us simply stood still in a praise type position and waited until it reached us. There was a strange phenomenon that occurred. As the storm reached us it sent out a bolt of lightning that also could have been a ‘bolt of snow’. Many of us gladly submitted to the experience, some for the first time [those who never saw snow before]. Also when this was happening there was a half price sale on everything in this shopping area. People were shopping like the day after thanksgiving sale. I feel this speaks to God visiting us in unique and ‘drastic’ ways in the days ahead. During these times of visitation ‘things will be purchased easily’ or treasures that were harder to access before will be easier now. The snow represents a ‘cleansing’ type experience [though your sins be like scarlet they shall be white as snow]. A few years ago it snowed on Christmas day in Corpus Christi. This was an event that hasn’t happened in 100 years or more [the snow stuck to the ground and it was all over town up to a few feet!]. Many of us have been struggling to enter in to places with the Lord, to ‘access’ divine resources from his ‘store house’. As God visits us with ‘divine bolts’ of cleansing we will find it much easier [half price] to possess the true riches that he has for us. [I just went into the house from my office and the song playing on the Christian music channel on TV was ‘let it snow, let it snow, let it snow’!]
(29) Let me make a confession here. I often listen to the old rock songs that I grew up with. I actually sense a strange type of ‘identifying’ with this generation while interceding in prayer listening to this music. Prophetic things can be very strange at times. Well I was just listening to the song ‘comfortably numb’ by Pink Floyd and remembered this. I don’t know if it was a dream or vision or what. I remember ‘seeing’ people by a waterfall. As they stuck their hands into the fall they became ‘numb’ and one with the fall. I feel this speaks to our ‘thrusting’ in to Gods purpose and becoming one with him. You might think the ‘numbness’ being insignificant. In Isaiah it says ‘ for more are the children of the ‘desolate’ than of the married wife’ this can be interpreted as being ‘numb’.
When I was a boy growing up in New Jersey my dad brought me home a stick [small tree] that he pulled out of the ground when he went mushroom hunting. I made a cane out of it [you use the ‘root’ end as the handle]. It actually looks like a serpent. On one of my trips back north I brought this back with me to Texas. There were times while praying and walking in my study that I would hold it and use it ‘prophetically’ to point to areas. I had the sense of holding it like Moses staff or Aaron’s rod that budded. This tree is a dogwood tree. My friend told me that dogwood was the wood believed to be used to make Christ’s cross. This could represent having authority [Moses staff displayed Gods authority in Egypt] as well as the ‘serpent on the pole’ imagery used when God told Moses to put the statue of the serpent on the pole. Jesus used this imagery in John chapter 3 to speak of himself ‘as Moses lifted up the serpent…’ Jesus is pictured in this strange way because he became cursed [serpent] for us on the cross. Jesus gives us authority thru his suffering for us. Thanks to the ‘dogwood’ we can rule and reign in life thru him!
(30) I was just thinking about the recent ‘fall from grace’ of Ted Haggard. Basically Ted was exposed as struggling with homosexuality for some time. He was a very influential leader in the evangelical church. I immediately began praying for him and his family after this happened. I have gotten beyond the point of judging and looking for reasons why these things happen. The most honest statement I have heard in a long time is after a few days of trying to cover up his sin; Ted made a statement saying ‘I am a liar and a deceiver’ and admitted to his failure. David said in Psalms 32 that every one that is Godly would pray at one point or another ‘cleanse me from my iniquity’. There seems to be an appointment with all of us as believers at coming to a point of total honesty and not fearing what man will think of us. This happened with Jimmy Swagart and Paul Cain. Both Godly men who came face to face with their flesh. I see an identifying with Christ that these men go thru that exceeds the normal image that we try to present to people. David also said in Psalms ‘I am a worm and no man’. This was speaking of Christ’s feeling at the cross. Jesus experienced a moment of total worthlessness as he ‘drank’ the sins of the world into his very being. I believe that there are moments of feeling like this in our lives that God uses to cause us to be real and deliver us from the opinions of men. If what we are doing is truly for God then we can overcome these times of inadequacy and journey forward to what is ahead. ‘And they that understand among the people shall instruct many, yet they shall fall many days. Now when they fall they will be helped with a little help. And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try and to purge them and make them white, a time appointed by the father!’ [Bible verse]
(31) Let me make a confession here. I have shared a lot of stories of fighting and being violent. After all these years you would think that it’s over. I don’t fight like I used to, but there have been times were I have been close. I recently was at a homeless hangout where I see friends who are quite rough. Most of them know me pretty well and I do help them in different ways. The other day I was there with some friends just sitting and reading the paper. A new guy showed up and was acting tough. He had long hair [longer than mine!] and was shirtless with tattoos all over his body. After a while he asked someone who I was. And the other guy said he’s some Christian who must not have a joband probably lives off the offerings from the ministry and his wife probably supports him [strike 3]. I ignored it for a little while. Then the guy with the tattoos [who now had his shirt on] walks up to us and takes his shirt off and displays the big tattoo on his back. It was big letters that simply said F. U. Well I got the hint. As I was leaving I gave in to it. I got loud and walked up to the ‘brothers’ and told them I am a firefighter and don’t take money from the ministry or my wife. I laid ‘hands’ on his shoulder and asked if he had any more questions or any thing else he needed to settle. He didn’t. They looked humble at this point. I know this was wrong, but I felt I needed to tell this to let you guys know that I’m still real. Some of my friends know I have lost my temper before and I don’t want to give the impression that I’m perfect.
(32) The other day I was watching fox news [another confession- I am a political junkie] and our current U.N. ambassador resigned his post. This guy reminds me of a prophetic/pastor friend I met years ago in C.C. The U.N. ambassadors name is John Bolton. The reason he resigned is because when Bush first appointed him he did it as a recess appointment [that’s when you appoint a position while congress is out of session]. Bush appointed him this way because he had a lot of opposition from the opposing party to his nomination. To be fair the guy was doing the job for about a year at the time of his resignation and many of his critics changed their mind about him. But because of petty politics [which both sides practice!] the recent midterm elections gave a majority to the Democrats in the house and Senate and the writing was on the wall. The new incoming senior Democrat stated his opposition to the ambassador and he knew his time was up. The name ‘John Bolt’on is interesting, I have said a lot in this paper about these images [John the Baptist as ‘thunder’ out of the desert. a ‘bolt’ of lightning accompanies thunder]. The fact that he initially was rejected before he even had a chance of ‘proving himself’ speaks to the churches position at large during the restoration of the gifts of apostles/prophets. Many didn’t care if people had the ability to function or not. They simply did not want these ‘ambassadors’ of the Kingdom to function! After a few years now of these ministries operating and representing the Fathers Kingdom you think it would be time for the church at large to recognize and receive them, but this hasn’t necessarily been the case. While these gifts are being accepted and received to a greater degree than before, they are still not being received in a complete way by the church at large. Jesus said if we receive a prophet ‘in the name’ of a prophet we receive a prophets reward. There is a sense of certain giftings being refused, despite the fact that they have actually functioned well in the office! The ‘majority’ will not entrust to them the legitimacy of their office because of petty things. Jesus also told his gifted ones to shake the dust off of their feet if not well received. John Bolton simply resigned and would not let Bush give him another ‘side title’ that would allow him to still be around without the full legitimacy of his office. I feel there are good and bad things that have happened in the prophetic/apostolic movements. One of the mistakes was seeing a rise in ‘apostolic covering’ type ministries. It was not uncommon to find well meaning ‘apostles’ going around convincing well meaning ‘pastors’ to come under their covering. You can go to some of these web-sites and see all the ‘churches’ that some of these brothers have under their ‘covering’. In many of these scenarios you find too many man made ideas and people/ministries struggling for ways to fit into some misguided idea of ‘covering’. To be simple about this, Jesus is our covering and all of us [apostles, prophets, evangelists, and yes even plain old Christians] should work in unity to build each other up in love. This trying to get people under my covering thing is missing the mark in my opinion. Paul’s apostolic ministry freed people from authoritarian leaders [Judaizers] and released believers into the great reality of our universal priesthood that we all equally share under Christ. We derive our legitimacy from the fact that we are the actual house of God. God literally dwells inside the people of God by his Spirit. This causes all of us to be properly related to God and one another on an equal plain. This was one of the great truths of the reformation ‘the priesthood of all believers’. No believer needs to find a ‘spiritual father’ or ‘apostolic covering’ to be in proper order. Paul told the Corinthians that he was their ‘spiritual father’. This simply meant that he ‘birthed’ them into the Kingdom by the gospel. To go around trying to make people submit to your authority is contrary to what Paul was doing here. He actually told the Corinthians that they were allowing other quasi leaders to become their authority and he was invoking his original relationship with them in order to bring them back into the liberty of Christ.
(33) During my last year of high school, prior to joining the navy, I had a few violent and ‘drug’ induced experiences. One night at an annual carnival I told one of my friends that if I see someone tonight I’m going to #$@@ [Beat him up]. It was the last year I would attend this carnival [and if I remember it was the last time they would hold it in this park. Carnivals are supposed to be fun, but this became a place for rival schools to fight and see who could be the toughest. I remember one year where the students were actually going punch to punch with the operators of the rides and where the students turned over the travel trailers where the guys were staying] and I wanted to ‘go out with a bang’. The particular person I was looking for used to be a friend of mine, but this night I had a reason to fight. He was big and looked like a biker, but I knew I could take him. Sure enough the friend I was with spotted the guy. I think my friend wanted me to beat the guy up because over the past few years he got big and was more threatening to some of the guys in this area of the city. Well I did walk up to him and beat him up pretty severely, I was later accused of beating him with a pipe. I didn’t, but I did hit him pretty hard and even drop kicked him in the face with work boots. I was to the point of uncontrolled rage that I wouldn’t stop until one of my other friends grabbed me. Later on as we were leaving the park some of his friends [about 20 of them!] tried to jump us on our way home. They were swinging chains and stuff. My friend looked at me and asked what to do, like I could fight our way out or something. I just told him ‘run’ and we got away. The cops were looking for me for a few days and I had to watch my back after this.
Also one night me and a friend did some ‘mescaline’ [I don’t know if its spelled right, but this was a type of ‘acid’/hallucinogen] I did more than your supposed to do and began hallucinating pretty badly. I stayed at a friend’s house for a day or two until I could come out of it. I feel I overdosed pretty bad on it, and for years later I would experience ‘flashbacks’. It was having the same sensation or feeling of being ‘high’ even though you are not doing the drug. During this time the friend I was with gave me a cross that he had bought for a Christmas present for his mom. He had it in his pocket that night and knew that I was not doing well. This actually is one of the signs of a series that would take place in the next few years as a warning to get off of the track I was going on. [Let me add again that some of you that are reading our materials are not getting much out of the telling of these stories, that’s OK. I give our books away to all the people we work with, and to some of them these ‘testimonies’ can be evangelistic tools. I sometimes am concerned that our booklets and teaching might be hard to understand by some of the people we work with. So for you who get something out of this, good. To the others, just skip it and go to the other stuff. Also you notice how you never hear people testifying of how they used to be child molesters or rapists, this shows you how we tend to ‘testify’ of the things that make us look ‘cool’, be assured I have been at the losing end of a few fights myself!]. ‘ In the day I deliver you from all of your iniquities, I will cause you to dwell in the cities and the wastes shall be built. Your warfare is accomplished, your iniquity is forgiven. Now is the judgment of this world, now is the prince of this world cast out.’ [Bible verse]
(34) Another movie that I felt the Lord spoke to me thru was ‘Cinderella man’. This is the true story of James Braddock who became heavyweight champion of the world during the depression. The story spoke of overcoming huge odds in order to eventually succeed. I always liked boxing and did some as a boy. During the golden gloves I had the chance once to box in Madison Square Garden. Well in the movie Braddock fights in the garden. He lived in North Bergen [my hometown] and the park I was telling you about earlier where we had the fights has the name ‘Hudson County Park’, but the real name is ‘James J Braddock Park’. I didn’t realize any of these things until I saw the movie. God can take us out of seemingly hopeless situations and turn things around no matter how bad it looks!
(35) ‘Remember not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold I am doing a new thing. I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. Those that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places and make the desolate cities to be inhabited. Thou shalt be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of paths to dwell in. Get thee out of thy country and from thy kindred and from thy father’s house unto a land that I will show thee and I will make of thee a great nation. Fear thou not for I am with thee, be not dismayed for I am thy God. I will strengthen thee, yea I will help thee and I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. No weapon formed against you shall prosper. I have made you a new sharp threshing instrument having teeth. You will thresh the mountains and beat them small. All that strive with thee shall perish. Though I have afflicted thee I will afflict thee no more. It was good for you to have been afflicted. Before you were afflicted you went astray, but after you kept my word. In the land of my affliction you have made me fruitful. For this is as the waters of Noah unto me, for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no longer flood the earth, so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee! Thou art my beloved son in whom I am well pleased. God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you. Spare thy people O Lord and give not thine heritage to reproach. All the trees of the field are withered away because joy is withered away from the sons of men. Come lay all night in sackcloth ye ministers of my God. I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten. Fear not O land, be glad and rejoice in the Lord your God. And you shall eat in plenty and be satisfied and praise the name of the Lord your God. My people shall never be ashamed. Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy: break up your fallow ground. For it is time to seek the Lord till he come and rain righteousness on you. Therefore turn to thy God, keep mercy and judgment. Wait on thy God continually. I did know thee in the wilderness, in the land of great drought. O Israel thou hast destroyed thyself, but in me is thine help. Don’t stay long in the place of the breaking forth of children. I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely. For my anger is turned away from him. I will be like due unto him, his branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be like the olive tree. I will not leave your soul in hell, nor suffer you to see corruption. For you will forget the shame of your youth and not remember the reproach of your widowhood anymore. Though he were a son, yet learned he obedience thru the things that he suffered. He that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin, that he should no longer spend the rest of his time fulfilling the desires of the flesh, but the will of God. When I was in distress you enlarged me. Lift up thine eyes round about and see, all they gather themselves together and come to thee. Thy sons shall come from far and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side. Thy people shall all be righteous, they shall inherit the land forever. The branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified. A little one shall become a thousand and a small one a strong nation. I the Lord will hasten it in his time. Be in pain and labor to bring forth, O daughter of Zion, like a woman in travail. For now thou shalt go forth out of the city, and thou shalt dwell in the fields, and thou shalt go even to Babylon. There shalt thou be delivered, there the Lord shall redeem thee from the hand of thine enemies.’ [Bible verses]
(37) Earlier in this paper I spoke on the identification that takes place when we experience failure and inadequacy. When David in the psalms prophesies ‘I am a worm and no man’ he is speaking of Christ’s feeling of worthlessness and total degradation that he experienced at the cross. We seem to think that the cross in Christ’s life was an experience/feeling of victory and excitement. These are the results of the cross, but the process itself was separation and a tremendous sense of worthlessness. When you fail and sin, how do you ‘feel’? Even though God ‘legally’ does not hold it against you as a believer, yet the sense of guilt and failure are there. Though Jesus ‘knew’ he was fulfilling the Fathers will, this in itself did not immunize him from the same feelings many times fold. Dietrich Boenhoeffer, the great German theologian, was complicit in an assassination plot against Hitler. Boenhoeffer was a part of the ‘confessing church’ as compared to silent church during World War 2. Boenhoeffer believed it was the church’s responsibility to do more than just exist in a time of great cataclysmic change. The events of Hitler’s third Reich would affect the world for many generations to come. Boenhoeffer took this to an extreme [in the eyes of some historians] by actively pursuing the assassination of Hitler. He wrote about this in some of his writings. He ‘flirted’ with the idea of doing something ‘wrong’ and aligning with a certain type of evil [assassination] in order to fulfill Gods will. I don’t want to get too technical here, we know the New Testament says ‘shall we do evil that good may come? God forbid!’ but Boenhoeffer was ‘dancing’ with this concept of ‘becoming one with Christ’ even in his moment of ‘I am a worm and no man’ experience. This is why I said earlier that the Ted Haggards and others who have been thru these experiences can to some degree identify with Christ in certain aspects of his suffering that the average believer might not enter into. I know these ideas are controversial in the world of ‘theology’. All I wanted to express today is some of you are allowing the failures and past sins in your life to side track you from getting up and moving forward. Let God ‘redeem’ the years that the locust hath eaten and see your failure as the potential of being able to identify with Christ in ways that others cannot. Read the stories of the prophets in the Old Testament, they saw themselves as unclean and unworthy to do Gods will. God sovereignly ‘cleansed’ them, but in and of themselves they were ‘undone’. This principal is seen in the apostle Paul’s life as he ‘sees’ his weaknesses as ‘necessary evils’ in order to allow Gods will to move forward. In your weakness God receives the glory by what he’s dong thru you. You know its him doing his will thru you, because you know that ‘in your flesh dwelleth no good thing’.
(38) ‘The siege mentality’. While I was just outside I thought about [and felt like!] being under siege. One of the strategies of war contained in the Old Testament is for one nation to ‘besiege’ another nation. What they would do is surround the central city and ‘isolate’ them from all incoming or outgoing connections/resources. This created a mentality in the city that would cause the people to ultimately turn on themselves, and in extreme conditions even eat their own children to stay alive. I feel there are times where the enemy realizes the impact we are making and uses this strategy against us. We get to places where it’s difficult to ‘break out’ thru prayer and intercession and it’s also difficult to ‘bring in’ or receive fresh resources from the Lord. The cities and Kings [David in Jerusalem and other Kings of Israel] that would overcome this attack where those who ‘stored up’ enough resources during times of peace in order to carry them thru to victory. Either the attacking force would themselves get tired and have difficulty re supplying, or they too would be attacked at their home base while they where out attacking others [wow!]. I felt the word of the Lord to you right now is ‘strengthen the things that remain [Revelation]’ and trust in the storehouse of resource that you have ‘built up’ until this period of time in your life. Don’t think you have to ‘do as much’ during this time as you’ve done in the past. What I mean by this is you are to still reach out and go forward, but the long hours of preparation are over! Don’t feel guilty about it. Trust God to use you to ‘cast your bread upon the water’ and to ‘sow much seed’ it will not return void! Also the ‘eating of the young’ speaks to the churches mentality of not welcoming or receiving the spiritual offspring that she herself has given birth to. There are times where Christians attack and devour the prophetic people that actually have come forth from her. We ‘eat’ them by blaming them for the problems that they simply ‘saw’ coming. It’s like there being blamed for simply being the mouthpiece. Also I remember reading one time that a company somewhere in the world actually used certain parts of unborn aborted babies as a supplement in certain dietary products. If this were true it would speak to the horrendous act of aborting our children and actually ‘eating’ them in some form! Wow may God have mercy on us all [I don’t want to lie here, but the product might have been something they injected as opposed to ingesting].
(39) I have been meaning to speak on this for some time and wasn’t exactly sure what forum to use. Well I guess this is as good as any. In the world today there is no greater singular threat posed to western civilization than that of radical Islam. I am not saying here that all Muslims are the threat, but the simple fact is the rise of radical Islam is now the most serious threat to peace on the world stage. The fact that the adherents to this religion believe they are carrying out the dictates of their ‘prophet’ has tremendous spiritual significance that the church at this time in history needs to understand. Scripture speaks of ‘false prophets’ and ‘the false prophet’ who will influence society and cause people to ‘worship the beast’ and imagery like this. American Christianity often relegates these prophecies to some future dictator and ‘Tim Lahaye’ type interpretations that miss the relevance of what I just discussed. The fact that the greatest threat to world peace today is a movement whose followers are carrying out the dictates of their ‘prophet’ has to be understood thru spiritual discernment. I know it’s politically incorrect to call Muhammad a false prophet. My intent is not to offend Muslims. The simple fact is if you look at the story of Islam and Muhammad there is no other true Christian perspective than to see him as a false prophet. There have been many thru out history to be sure, but this one is the dead spiritual leader of a worldwide movement whose aim is world domination. These radicals indoctrinate their kids in there religious schools from a very early age. The Muslim population is exploding worldwide at the time of this writing and I can’t see a better candidate at this time for the title of ‘the false prophet’ than Muhammad. He causes many people to ‘worship Allah’. Allah is not the Christian God! If they are not worshipping God then whom might it be that they’re worshipping? I know language like this is not common toady, but I agree with Franklin Graham’s assessment of this religion as being ‘an evil and wicked religion’. I am not saying this is true of all Muslims. Muslims are humans whom God created in his image and for his glory. Our goal is not to ‘kill them off!’ but to deliver them from the bondage of false religion and bring them into the true knowledge of God in Christ!
(40) Yesterday I was fellowshipping with some homeless brothers and we had a real interesting discussion. Over a 2-3 hour time together we eventually went to whataburger and met with another Christian who regularly witnesses to anyone he sees there. During the discussion I was so impressed by the level of knowledge and understanding that some of these ‘simple’ believers had. The grasp of sharing in community [as opposed to tithing to the institution] was truly grasped by one of the guys. It wasn’t a rebellious thing; this one brother is actively serving the Lord with a local church that reaches out to the homeless. After this discussion it humbled me to think of the reality of this homeless person having a better grasp of giving and New Testament sharing of goods, then most Pastors have! These guys quoted scriptures on giving and were in no way ignorant of the subject. One of the other guys finally gave me a copy of a booklet he’s writing and I am including it in our tape and book catalog. What I feel the Lord wanted me to express thru this simple story is that Christ’s Spirit is always active and instructing those who believe in him. The verse that says ‘God hid things from the wise and prudent and revealed them unto babes’ speaks to the humility of these simple believers actually having a better grasp on certain aspects of Christian truth then the Pro’s!
(41) It just occurred to me that over the last week or so I have given this paper and some other stuff to a wide range of people and past friends. Many of you have been on this journey with me at various stages. Some of you are still at different points in this story! What I am feeling is some of you have been ‘left’ [not in a bad way] at these places [geographically and spiritually] for the continuing purpose of God. You are where you are to complete ‘this story’. I just was thinking of one of my old buddies from the early Kingsville days as I was driving to work yesterday. He is one of the ‘ex-addicts’ who spent lots of years in prison and who made me the leather bible cover I spoke about earlier. As I haven’t seen him in a few months I felt like I needed to get this paper to him. Sure enough as soon as I pulled up to the fire station he was waiting for me. Later I got a call from him and he already was sharing some of the stuff from this paper. I just sensed the great responsibility all of us in this journey have for each other. There are times where I have moved on from one point to the next and some of the older friends wanted things to stay the same. I sometimes also get the feeling that some of my Christian friends are excited about ‘the ministry’ and want to ‘join’ or be part of some Christian thing that we are doing. I really have no avenue or ‘Christian thing’ that we have to join. I simply try to convey the responsibility we all have to move forward in this journey and ‘I’ll meet you when this thing is wrapped up’ [when the Lord returns]. I don’t want to be rude, but I want all of our friends to embark on their journey as well. We as Christians have the tendency to ‘arrive’ at places spiritually where we get comfortable and stop truly reaching out to the world around us. I don’t want this for myself or any of you! I want to always be in touch with all of our friends, but I also want to live the journey ‘on the road’ and see you at the finish line. There will be plenty of time to sit back and go over things then!
(42) I just saw an interview with Mel Gibson that reminded me to share some stuff. This past year Mel has been in the news because of an incident of being stopped by the cops while driving drunk and making anti Semitic remarks. In the recent interview on CNN Wolf Blitzer asked Mel about the fact that a highly influential Jewish leader refuses to forgive Gibson no matter how many times he confesses [I think Jesus told Peter if your offended 70 times 7 to forgive!]. Well this particular Jewish leader also believes it is his responsibility to destroy Gibson’s career and boycott him into ruin. All of this is being done under the banner of ‘Jewish ancestry’ and a feeling of wanting to destroy those who would in any way denigrate their race. Well its obvious that Mel was wrong in what he said, but the reaction from this Jewish leader shows the danger of seeing any natural heritage as ‘the ethnic group’ that must be defended at all costs. The New Testament teaches a balance in dealing with natural Israel outside of the Church. Paul says as far as the Gospel is concerned they are ‘enemies’ [strong words!] but as far as Gods purpose for them in history God still has great plans for Israel. The mistake the evangelical Church is making is they are not ‘rightly dividing’ these two lines. I recently heard a preacher in Israel teach a message [on TV] that spent a whole hour going back to the Old Testament promises to Abraham and arguing the fact that the New Covenant does not ‘supersede’ the Abrahamic one. This was all taught under the guise of exposing the false view of ‘replacement theology’. The underlying mistake that this minister was making was he left the impression to the Jewish people who were there that God is still dealing with them apart from the Christian gospel. While there is some element of truth to this [as God deals with all nations, even those that are not Christian] the basic flaw to this type of thinking is we give the impression that God still favors people based on natural ethnicity, which is fundamentally wrong. Gods favor today rests on the ‘new man’ made up of both Jew and Gentile [and any other race who believes!]. God said the day was coming when he would institute a ‘new covenant’ not according to the old ways. I know some are teaching that this is Moses Law [the old ways] and therefore the abrahamic covenant still exists, but the fundamental shift from law to grace is a ‘new thing’. God deals with all mankind based on there answer to the question ‘what will you do with this man’ [Christ]. Those who do not believe remain under wrath and judgment, and those who believe enter into peace. The fine line between anti Semitism and the wrongful exalting of Israel’s natural heritage must be understood. I read an article from a protestant minister who named all his kids after Israel [Abraham, Isaac, etc.] and during the interview referred to himself and other Christians as simply being saved sinners, whereas Israel were truly Gods special people. What do you think this view does for evangelism? How does natural Israel see herself when we do this? They must think that if all these Christians view her in this way, then why even think about accepting Messiah! Another view I recently heard was because all the apostles and Jesus were Jewish, therefore ‘Jewish ness’ is just as important as faith in Christ. This view doesn’t seem to understand that these Jewish apostles made statements like calling natural Jerusalem ‘Sodom and Egypt’ [referring to Israel’s rejection of Christ]. The New Testament speaks of ‘the synagogues of satan’, was this some 1st century satanic cult? This was speaking of religions emptiness apart from Christ [all the synagogues that tried to carry on religion without Christ!]. I know that this type of language is strong for the Church today. My intent is not to be anti Semitic! It is simply to be Christian. All peoples and nations will be judged on what they do with Christ. God said the days were coming when he would deal with Israel under a ‘new’ covenant, not some ‘re-vamped’ old one. Those days are fast approaching [theologically there already here!] when all Israel will ‘see him’. Israel [the holy land] has become the ‘Disney world’ for much of modern evangelicalism. We need to see her as Jesus did, when he wept over her and said ‘if you only knew the things that belong to your peace, but they are hid from your eyes’. May God open the eyes of all races so the prophecies of all nations flowing into Gods nation may be fulfilled. For we [The Church] are truly one nation under God.
(43) As of this writing I am still in the month of December 2006. I just started sending this paper [and our other stuff] to old friends from New Jersey. The images of ‘colonizing’ the north and the ‘Ports’ [both Corpus Christi and New York City have Ports] are images that I have incorporated into my prayer time for this region. I thought it interesting that the very first contact I had from the classmates site that I use to find old friends was from an old friend I use to play street football with as kids growing up [for some reason their team would always win!]. Well this old buddy gratefully sent me his mailing address and I mailed him a packet of materials [I see this as planting seed, I don’t understand why we don’t all do this. I have given away books and stuff for years, both to ‘big name’ national ministers as well as to homeless friends. Doing this thru out your life is a process of fishing for men. You can’t catch fish without bait. And the fish aren’t going to pay you for the bait!]. This friend told me he works at the Port authority of New York City, and he lives in a town called ‘Colonia’ in New Jersey [This is exactly how you pronounce ‘colony’ here in south Texas!].
(44) I was just thinking about the times over the years where I have spoken to ministry leaders and others who found it difficult to grasp our teaching on the ‘Local Church’ and what she is. Sometimes these brothers unknowingly confirm what I believe. For instance they might criticize their Pastor for blatant ‘holes’ in his teaching that ALL LEADERS have. The fact that we have a tendency to exalt and prop up people where one individual is the main voice of the Local Congregation allows for the Body of Christ to see these faults to an exaggerated degree. It is my belief that the modern phenomenon of Christian leadership is to some degree a ‘disability’ that causes believers in general to be ‘deformed’ [I don’t want to sound too critical here, those of you who have read our stuff know what I mean]. This leads to the effect of many ‘congregants’ seeing the shortcomings of leaders simply because it was Gods original intent to speak thru the whole group corporately. When this natural flow is restricted by the limited forms of ‘Church’ that we embrace, the end result is for the ‘members’ to see these mistakes. What I wanted to emphasize is in the past while having discussions with individuals who do not see Church the way I see it, I found it interesting that they are the very same ones who ‘see’ all the faults of ‘their Pastor’!
(45) I was just reading in Psalms where it talks about ‘the stone being smitten and water coming forth’. Also God bringing forth water like rivers from the ‘smiting’ or piercing of the stone. Well we know that Jesus is the stone that was pierced and bruised for us. God brought forth rivers of life [Holy Spirit] from the piercing of his son. I also see the language I have used earlier in this paper about the opening up of the channel and water flowing thru it. The channel is literally 2 huge stone walls strutting out into the Gulf. Bringing forth a ‘river’ of water into the dry land as well as allowing a river to flow out to the nations. The stone imagery is used of Christ in other ways as well. He is a tried stone, tested. The stone which the builders rejected. The chief corner stone. One of the aspects of ‘becoming a stone’ is the process of rejection and testing. This ‘qualifies’ us as living stones in Gods temple [Peter]. Thru process of time God brings us to a place where we finally can be trusted stones to complete the mission. What does he do with us then? He ‘pierces’ us [the cleft rock imagery] so a ‘river of water’ can flow thru us [gospel of John]! ‘He clave the rocks in the wilderness, and gave them drink as out of the great depths. He brought streams also out of the rock, and caused waters to run down like rivers. Behold, he smote the rock, that the waters gushed out, and the streams overflowed’ Psalms 78: 15,16,20.
(46) I was just sitting outside praying and noticed that the only plants flowering in my yard are the roses from the ‘coat of many colors’ rose bush that I spoke about earlier in this paper. Its December and cold. Many other plants cannot ‘thrive’ in these bitter conditions. Well you get the hint, don’t you? Over the last several years the Church at large has embraced a gospel that focuses on trying to create a ‘pleasing’ environment around us. We have made ‘creature comforts’ the goal. I recently read an article about a preacher [T.D. Jakes] whom I like. He was being criticized for having a high salary and a few luxurious homes and basically being rich. In his defense he quoted the verse where scripture shows that Jesus wore an expensive coat [which he did] and used this to defend the idea that it is not wrong to become rich ‘from the offerings of many average [or poor] believers’ who give thru the TV ministry or thru the Local Church offerings. The main mistake with this thinking is the New and Old testaments actually teach against the concept of ‘shepherds’ becoming wealthy from the flock. The scriptures teach that its okay to financially support those who are giving to you spiritual food, but to become wealthy from peoples offerings is forbidden. I know people today don’t see this, but it is there! Where did Jesus get his expensive coat? Was he taking money from ‘the bag’ [treasury]? More than likely someone gave it to Jesus as an extravagant act of worship. The woman who poured the expensive perfume on Jesus did something of this nature. While I don’t want to be dogmatic about this, it proves the point that we take scriptures and develop doctrines that violate other plain scriptures. The widow woman who gave to Elijah was poor. But so was Elijah at the time! This story simply teaches the great truth of communal sharing which is taught in the New Testament. See a brother in need, meet the need! Too many preachers have taken stuff like this and have taught theologies that contradict plain scripture. Go read 1st Timothy 6. You have a hard time reading this chapter and believing this other stuff. I don’t want to re write our book on the prosperity gospel here, but I do want to emphasize the fact that God wants us to ‘thrive’ in desert and bitter conditions. It’s not wrong to be rich and have a high salary, but it can’t be from the overall aggregate giving of many poor or average saints over a long period of time! Joseph thrived and was rich and influential, but he also spent many years being unjustly accused and in prison for things that were not his fault. God allowed a life of suffering to co-exist with a successful career. He did this for the benefit of those who sold him into slavery. Joseph ‘ruled’ over his brothers at the end, just like he dreamed many years earlier. The ‘rule’ allowed him to forgive and use his wealth and influence to save his family. God will exalt us at certain seasons for the sole benefit of the salvation of others. It’s ok to enjoy the good things in life, but we are here to fulfill a mandate from heaven. Don’t get lost in the pursuits of this life!
(47) It’s 12-24-06 as I write this. I have been listening to Christmas music for the last few days. It’s got me thinking about the incarnation and death of Gods Son. If you remember the story in the gospels, after the death of John the Baptist Jesus felt sorrowful and heavy. It’s almost as if the whole reality of what he was about was weighing on him. John was a cousin and friend to Christ. It was because of Jesus that his friend died! Do you ever feel bad when one of ‘your disciples’ falls? [By the way we all should have them. Also when I say ‘your disciples’ I mean those you are ‘discipling’ unto Jesus!]. Do you wonder if in some way you failed them or let them down? I know I do. What if they died because of you, how would this make you feel? [Let me note I realize that more people I have worked with have died then on average, my only consolation is I realize that I ‘fish’ from a ‘high risk pool’] The death of John was a necessary evil for him to fulfill the prophetic role that he played. He ‘prefigured’ Christ in his early death. Prophets don’t just have great speaking ministries; their lives also carry out prophetic themes that often cause tremendous pain and suffering. Why couldn’t John or Jesus have lived till 65 or 70 before their deaths? I know theologically why, but that’s not what I am asking [to you smart people!]. There is a real sense of sacrifice when people lay their lives down for Gods purposes at the prime of their life. True sacrifice entails giving something of value up for Gods higher purpose. It carries with it the inherent nature of living for a greater cause than for just ‘being all that you can be’. It says to God I am here only to fulfill your destiny, and if in this process I don’t reach my full potential then I will gladly sacrifice it for the greater cause. This is what I see in the Dietrich Bonhoeffer story. A brilliant theologian who dies at the prime of his life. But God took his death as seed and allowed the small volume of his writings to impact generations to come. I wonder what other great parables and ‘sermons on the mount’ that Jesus could have given if his teaching ministry lasted 20 years. But he was here to fulfill a higher calling, and this dieing on the Cross took precedence over the great future he could have had ‘in the ministry’.
(48) What I really wanted to speak about [above] was what I call ‘the incarnational principle’. The concept of God manifesting himself thru Christ, and thru us as an extension of his Body in the earth. I will get a little technical here, but bear with me. Paul teaches [in the New Testament] that the Church is the pillar and ground of the truth. Historically this issue has been one that divided Protestants and Catholics. During the reformation the Protestant position was the Bible was the ground of truth and final authority on matters of conscience and faith. The Catholic Church agreed in principle to the canon of scripture as ‘inspired’ but also taught that the Church herself possessed separate authority as ‘the pillar and ground of truth’. The Catholics said the Church produced the Bible, while the Protestants believed the Church ‘recognized’ it. That is to say that the ‘Bible’ was already infallible and the Church just recognized it. Well anyway the point here is Gods people [Ecclesia] are the pillar and ground of truth. There is no other ‘thing’ in the planet that God actually lives in. Though scripture is inspired and infallible, God doesn’t actually ‘dwell’ in its pages. I know I open myself up to criticism here [for the first time, not!] but I agree with the great evangelical thinker John Stott. He sees the evangelical Church as practicing a form of ‘bibliolatry’ in the way we express ‘sola scriptura’ [the bible only]. In the earth right now the only actual place where God is literally dwelling is the Church. Not some top heavy institution, but in the people [community]. Because of this in some sense the only real hope for the world is us! God sees us as the ‘pillar and ground’ of truth. We are his ‘superstructure’ that exists in the midst of ‘Babylon’ [the world]. We live here to both testify and actually ‘dispense’ Gods grace thru the gospel. Jesus told the disciples ‘whosoever sins you forgive, they are forgiven’ [I don’t want to teach the Catholic/Protestant view on this here] in essence we carry the gospel in us as well as on our lips. God ‘contacts’ and interacts with the world thru us. This is the ‘incarnational principle’. In military terms its ‘ground truth’. It’s having the perspective of ‘boots on the ground’ as opposed to some defense secretary living in an ivory palace [or pentagon]. We are Gods ‘boots’ on the ground. God has entrusted us to carry out the rest of the ‘invasion’ that Jesus started 2000 years ago. The only problem is too many of us think we are in the guard and are trying to avoid ‘active duty’! [No offense meant to those in the National Guard!]
(49) I was just thinking about ‘Job’ and the trials he went thru [I haven’t read Job in a few years, so bear with me in the details]. I remember hearing preachers try to explain why Job suffered. Some said it was because of his sin of fear and making a bad confession. ‘The things that I feared came upon me’. It seems to me that these brothers who are looking for Jobs fault [sin] are falling into the same mistake of Jobs friends who spent the whole book looking for the reason for Jobs suffering. The point of Job is ‘why do the righteous suffer’ and the answer is we are finite and God is infinite, and who are we to question God. There is no reasonable explanation for his suffering. Jobs friends said some theologically correct things in trying to find fault. They said stuff like ‘the curse causeless doesn’t come’ which is in keeping with the teaching of proverbs. But in this case ‘good theology’ didn’t cut it. God actually tells satan that Job is upright and without fault. If Job had a ‘bad confession’ or ‘too much fear’ that caused his suffering, then God wouldn’t have called him faultless. I find it troubling that highly influential teachers in the American church can’t seem to grasp these basic principles. I’m not talking deep stuff here. Just the basic ability to read literature! Well let me encourage you with the simple truth of Job. Don’t stress out over your trials. Don’t spend endless ours of regret and too much introspection. Sometimes things happen to you that you can’t control. Our response during these seasons is praise to God and a total committing of everything into his hands.
(50) A few days ago I read a verse in Psalms that spoke of ‘bringing presents to God’ [Psalms 76:11]. It was a few days before Christmas and I thought it was interesting/prophetic that I hadn’t seen this before. I ‘piously’ wrote down ‘love and devotion’ next to the ‘presents’ verse. Surely these are the ‘gifts’ God wants us to bring. Well I’ve also been ‘seeing’ and thinking about bringing in the harvest of people for the new year . I even dreamed the old football that I used as a boy. In the dream it was just lying there on the ground waiting for someone to pick it up and ‘run with it’. I also have been meditating on the image of ‘fishing in the harvest’ of people. Well for Christmas I got 2 main gifts. A football and a fishing pole. I felt the Lord said I want your love and devotion, but the gifts I want are the ‘harvest of men’. Follow me and I will make you fishers of men!
(51) Last night I was watching a special on the history channel dealing with comets and meteors. The other day I was talking to a friend and he spoke about the emperor Constantine ‘seeing’ the form of a cross in the sky. [I actually corrected him, he thought the sign originally was used in the crusades against Muslims, and I told him it was first seen in Constantine’s raid against another emperor in an effort to unify the Roman Empire under Constantine’s control]. The ‘Cross’ that Constantine ‘saw’ is debatable. Some Christians don’t believe any of it. Others take a more open view and see God at work in a limited way. I simply want to note that the ‘Cross’ sign that I’ve mentioned earlier in this paper looks like a Maltese Cross. While speaking to my friend he reminded me that Constantine saw a Maltese Cross. While watching the history channel special they also said some believe that Constantine saw a Comet. It made me wonder if I was seeing the same thing that an Emperor saw 1700 years ago! This is not to say I am special in any way, but we should recognize that God is in charge and in control of the affairs of men in the 21st century just as much as he was in the 4th! Also I realize that there are a whole bunch of believers who don’t believe in any ‘miraculous’ occurrences at all. These Christians are ‘cessationists’. They have reasons why they believe there are no more supernatural events. I obviously don’t hold to this view, but I see them as sincere believers in Christ. I kind of feel that when I deal with ‘corrective’ issues in the Church that people might view me as a ‘critic’ of all things supernatural, or relevant for our day. Many of the prophetic people fully grasp the prosperity message and look at those who try to bring correction as ‘cessationists’. I don’t know why this is so. Prophetic people should be able to discern the difference between the reality of biblical prosperity and the distorted preaching of the more extreme prosperity preachers. Surely Jesus gives many warnings against riches and materialism in the gospels. We should have the same balance as he had. God meets the needs of his kids, but the Kingdom is about true riches and not about money!
(52) The other day I mentioned T.D.Jakes. Let me say that I have made it a habit to contact and send materials to key influential people in the Church over the years. I do this for the sake of the church at large. I recognize that if in some small way I can influence a Kingdom person for good, then they in turn will influence their larger circle of friends and the will of God will prevail I don’t want to ‘name drop’ here too much. I remember sending Benny Hinn [who I believe the Lord uses in a great way] some stuff on the prosperity message. It dealt with modern ministers becoming rich off of the people, and how this is not right. I was surprised to get a handwritten note from one of his staff Pastors and forwarding it on to Benny. A few weeks later some news organization did an expose [not the first one] on Benny Hinn and exposed the lucrative salary and wealth he has gotten thru the ministry. I feel that they gave special attention to the stuff I sent because they knew they were being looked at in a critical way by this organization, and there was no way I could have known this. So the prophetic timing of sending these materials was in some way a message from one brother to another as correction in love. I also have had a good friendship in writing with Jim Bakker. He has personally sent me hand written notes over the years. I want to simply stress that as believers God wants us to help each other walk in truth. I don’t want to just write critical exposes on false doctrine. This is what many modern apologists do. God wants us to personally correct and warn each other in love. The times where I have struggled with impatience is when I see brothers who blatantly teach false stuff to a wide range of people and they are not open to correction. NOTE: Benny started as an ordained Word of Faith minister, he actually walked away from this ‘style’ of ministry as the years went by. He saw many faults with the movement. He said ‘I do not hold to this message any longer’. I find this interesting.
(53) Over the years I have had friends who felt the Lord was calling them to start a ministry. I would always advise them to seek God and work a regular job until the doors open. In some cases these friends would get offended at being told to work [Paul told people this! Thessalonians]. Some feel that the Lord is calling them to start a ministry [Christian business] and seem to spend their time and effort in ‘getting it off the ground’. I find it helpful to view ‘ministry’ as something like this. We [the Church] are citizens of Gods kingdom. As citizens we are the ‘subjects’ of the Kingdom of God here on earth. While the church is not solely the kingdom of God, we are Kingdom representatives here on earth. Sort of like the Church are the citizens and the Kingdom is the country that we belong to [this is a major debate in theological circles and I don’t want to get into it here]. When we view it this way it helps us to not ‘see’ ministry as some type of Christian business that we are trying to start. But ministry becomes us functioning in Gods Kingdom. ‘The ministry’ we belong to is the Kingdom of God and we are here to extend it by carrying out the great commission. We should not be side tracked by thinking if I am working a regular job that this is forsaking my calling. You have the freedom [and responsibility] to meet the needs of your family and at the same time being fully alive and operative unto God. Paul says whatever you do, do it unto God and not men and God will reward you. So your time on the job or in the market place is not a distraction ‘to your ministry’ but it is an opportunity to extend Gods Kingdom in the earth! [This actually is an age-old debate in the church. Some early believers viewed the material world as evil and created a ‘secular/Christian’ division. They saw believers as separate from society in a way that was not healthy. The reformers allowed room in their theology for Christians to be ‘fully alive’ and active in society. Today’s mindset of ‘starting a ministry’ feeds into this secular/Christian mindset and creates a division that I feel is not good. We sort of have the ‘Christian world’ and the ‘regular world’ and never do the two seem to meet!]
(54) I was just thinking about the difference in the openness of the 1st century Church compared to today. Paul wrote the Corinthians and told them that some were homosexual and others were openly practicing sexual immorality. No doubt he rebuked them for sin, but the fact remains that there were really no ‘hidden sins’. They all knew each other’s shortcomings. Earlier in this paper I discussed how certain gifted people [Paul Cain and others] struggled with hidden sin for many years. In today’s Church you don’t really have an atmosphere that can openly address sin among leaders. It seems the status quoi is to struggle in secret for as long as you can until your exposed. I feel we harm each other in today’s Church because of this lack of openness about life’s struggles. If you read the Old Testament [Proverbs] the prostitute and ‘whore’ are pictured in a bad way. If a woman struggling in the sex trade of our day were to view Gods opinion of her only from this vantage point, she would have little hope of any real future with God. This mindset pervaded the 1st century religious community [Pharisees]. Women who’s only real contact with men was for pay and pleasure were totally anathema. Jesus allowed these same women to cry on his feet and touch him. This was such a taboo to the religious community. For the first time in these women’s lives they saw hope and acceptance. A real man [Jesus] allowed them to ‘touch’ him in a way that showed they still had hope. To be sure he never justified anyone’s sin, but he allowed for the affection and hope that these women could never find in the religious community. His actions said ‘I know what you have done and where you have been and I still love you’ Wow!
(55) In our writings over the years I’ve tried to express the difference between Christian religion and following Christ. I find it odd that Jesus found himself in the midst of a religious community that ‘attended church [synagogue]’ ‘tithed’ ‘stayed holy’ [separated themselves from the world, even the lost who were in it!] and thought they were doing Gods will when they killed Jesus! [I forgot to say they also prayed and fasted too!] We can often be involved in all types of ‘church’ things and miss the real intent of God. The New Testament describes religion as ‘visiting the fatherless and widows and keeping yourself unspotted from the world’. God puts ‘separation from the world’ hand in hand with outreach. If today’s Christian thinks the fulfilling of all the above religious requirements are pleasing to God, apart from true outreach, then he is kidding himself [I wanted to say ‘deceiving himself’ but I already get too much criticism!]. I feel we as 21st century believers need to re-focus and re-organize our lives around the great commission. God doesn’t only ask of you to give money to your church to support missionaries [a good thing by the way!] but he requires all of us to lay down our lives for the gospel. Be delivered from a religious mindset that sees as its priority to do ‘religious things’ and seems to never have time to touch a lost and dieing world!
(56) A few years ago my uncle passed away. I was up there for the funeral [Jersey] and was invited to speak at his funeral. I don’t believe in ‘preaching to the lost’ at a funeral per se. I remember hearing a preacher say he was at some gang member’s funeral and he preached how the dead guy is in hell right now and how the parents and everyone were upset [no kidding!]. Well anyway I always thought my ‘Italian’ uncle was in some way connected to the Mafia. Don’t know for sure, but it always seemed he had some connection. Well the only living relatives were me, my dad, my sister and my uncle’s daughter and her son. The funeral parlor was packed with a lot of Italians in suits and ties! I simply shared the story of Christ’s resurrection and how this is our hope. I did speak the gospel message and noticed a ‘heavy’ anointing on the words I was speaking. I noticed that someone on the first row was having ‘chills’ at the word! After the ‘message’ some thanked me, some looked uncomfortable. One guy about my age [mid 30’s at the time] was especially thankful and touched by the word. He made it a point to shake my hand. I do feel its possible that some people heard the gospel and believed for the first time. The person that was my age could have been like me [or me like him] if I stayed in New Jersey after high school. It’s funny how the Lord can bring you full circle and on the journey you might even lead a ‘mafia’ guy to the Lord. I don’t know for sure but I hope so!
(57) The other day I was listening to an old time Baptist preacher on the radio. He is a good man who preaches the Gospel. He talked about a Pentecostal woman visiting him and how she was so deceived. He wasn’t being critical, he really believes this. We all have a tendency to ‘see’ God from the paradigm that surrounds us. We as Christians have a tendency to judge others who experience God in a different way then we do. I am not saying that ‘all religions’ lead to God, they certainly don’t! But as Christians we should leave room for those other communities of believers that might have a different history but also embrace the Gospel. This larger community of believers is what I like to call ‘the greater storehouse’. God has tremendous riches to be found in all of these Christian churches. I love studying reformation stuff, but I also like the Catholic fathers. The history of Methodism under Wesley is great, as well as the later Azusa revivals. To be able to see beyond our limited communities and embrace the ‘whole Church’ is a gift that will bring in many rewards, I urge you to partake of the table that the Lord has prepared for us in the midst of our enemies.
(58) Being I have been speaking a little about Catholic/Protestant stuff lately, let me talk on ‘authority and covering’ issues. Recently when certain evangelical leaders fell into sin, others speculated on why this happened. Some Protestants taught that certain Prophets who fell were not ‘under covering’ or under the authority of ‘a local church’. I have spoken at length in our books and thru radio on what the Church is and what it means to ‘be part of the local church’. All I felt like saying here is our Catholic brothers historically view all Protestants as being ‘without covering’ or not under proper biblical authority. I do find it interesting that some who feel they are apostolic in the protestant church start highly independent and entrepreneurial type ministries and then preach that if people are not ‘under one of these apostolic coverings’ then they are in rebellion. Many of these ‘apostles’ have absolutely no covering or connection to the historic church and yet preach a form of authority that seems to begin and end with them! To put it simple, we as Christians are all related and responsible to each other. As New Covenant priests we are directly under the authority of our high priest Jesus. I thank God for all the gifted Apostles and Prophets in the church today, I just think we need to remind ourselves of the basics once again.
(60) Over the years of dealing with various issues facing the American church there have been times where friends who were pastors or in ministry found it difficult to break thru the practical aspects of ‘doing church’ and embrace the bigger picture. There are times in history where God desires to ‘shift’ the face of Christianity and bring her back into alignment with the historic faith. During these times of ‘shift’ or transition it is difficult for pastors or ministry leaders to evaluate the truths that God is bringing forth and rise above the practical implications of where they are presently at. Most responsible pastors will evaluate most things by ‘how will this affect my church’. These men are well meaning, but I believe the question should be more aligned with ‘is this direction that God is bringing forth true or false’. Is it really God? The natural concern of ‘keeping the meetings going’ or ‘fulfilling the goal’ must be secondary to the true revolutionary spirit that dwells in the church. God wants us to boldly embrace truth and expand his Kingdom in the earth. If the criteria we are using is ‘will this disrupt things too much’ then you have placed yourself on the side of those who opt for comfort over revolution!
(61) I was just thinking about how we in the American church have focused on self-preservation and motivation to the point where we lose sight of the sacrifice that the Gospel calls us to. It is common to live the Christian life and to attend church and see all the ‘Christian activities’ as simply ‘self help material’. While its not wrong to improve your life, or to find all the success principles contained in the word [there are many!] yet we seem to lose sight of the bigger picture. Our short time here is for the extending of Gods Kingdom at all costs. True revolution entails a willingness to even die for the cause. A prophet showed Paul ‘all the ways that God has called you to suffer [Acts]’. We get excited when we get a prophecy on ‘this year you will become rich’ and stuff like that. We see and practice Christianity as a self-help science. We memorize all the ‘money’ verses and spend our time focusing on the things that are least important to the Kingdom. If God were to appear to us in a dream at the age of 18, and he gave us the choice to live a full life to 80 and die and go to heaven, or to live till 40 and die a martyr and effect nations by our witness. Which one would you choose? I am not sure I would choose right either. We want to get as much as we can out of life, and any ‘prophetic word’ that would entail suffering we reject as ‘false prophecy’. To be honest I am tired of all the ‘money prophecies’ that are out there floating around, you would think after a while we would all become rich or stop believing them! But then again it simply makes us feel good to think about the possibility of having the lifestyle ‘of the rich and famous’. We just don’t realize that the calling of God is so much more than this!
(62) Those of you who have read some of our stuff may notice a verse I like to quote from the message bible ‘don’t think you need a lot of extra equipment for this, you are the equipment, keep it simple, no special appeals for funds [ouch!]’. I don’t mean to be offensive in our materials. Sometimes I get the feeling that other ministries who solicit funds get turned off by the implicit message in our writings that ‘we don’t take money’. I realize there are many good ministries that do take money, and they do so in a good and pure way. There are others who abuse scripture and take money in a way that violates the word. My whole point in doing it the way we do it is to show the average believer that we all are responsible to carry out the great commission, and it most certainly doesn’t take a lot of money! In the book of Acts Peter would raise the dead and word spread like wildfire. No budget whatsoever! God has the ability to promote and advance his agenda without our money. The verse I quoted should challenge the way we limit God. Many ‘faith’ preachers teach a doctrine that says ‘how can we ever reach the world unless the wealth of the wicked pours into the church’. I like to tell them ‘just have faith brother, Jesus said no special appeals for funds, you can do it with out a ton of money’. I find it ironic that we preach a ‘faith message’ that has no faith that we can touch the world without becoming rich! If you’re rich, fine. But lets stop limiting Gods ability to touch the world thru us. We are extremely capable of doing this, even in our present condition!
(63) Yesterday I had the chance to do some research on line. I also listened to Christian radio while walking on a treadmill. I found the level of teaching between the Internet and radio interesting. On line I read some stuff on the Kingdom of God and apostolic concerns of seeing the Kingdom in action. On the radio the sermon dealt with the practical concerns of ‘meeting in church’ and how to deal with gossip and the pastor having to ‘run off’ the gossiper and stuff like this. The contrast reminded me of the scriptures I mentioned in these last few pages. ‘I have taken you from following the sheep to the borders of my mountain’ ‘There shall be a handful of grain in the earth upon the top of the mountains; the fruit thereof shall shake like Lebanon. And they of the city shall flourish like the grass of the earth’ These verses [psalms] speak to the difference from ‘following the sheep’ to ‘the borders of Gods mountain’. One concern is the order of a church meeting and how to watch for trouble, the other is concerned about seeing the Kingdom extend in the earth. While both are important at times, the danger of ‘following the sheep’ only is you begin to see the goal of God simply to be proper order in the church meeting. Gods chief concern is impacting all nations until the day comes when all nations will flow into Gods nation and bring glory and honor unto him. There is a distinction between ‘following the sheep’ and ‘the borders of Gods Mountain’. Gods ultimate goal is to bring you to a higher place than simply ‘church concerns’. The handful of grain is found ‘on the top of the mountain’. There is a lot of teaching in the church today. Much of it is good, some is not. The Lord has specific words for you ‘on the top of the mountain’. He causes the mountain to ‘shake’ and thru the shaking, grain [seed] falls to the people of the city and they flourish like grass. Be attentive to the grain coming to you from those ‘on the mountain’ [concerned with greater things than their ministries or churches]. There is a lot of grain out there; you must be ‘partial’ to eat that which is precious. Honey is good, but too much will make you sick! [Proverbs]
(64) I was watching a special the other day on cults. They spoke on Jim Jones and others. I have researched cults pretty extensively in the past. One of the most important lessons from Jim Jones is the fact that he started well, and was even on the cutting edge of certain truths for his day. He was sincere, originally preached the Gospel and many of his followers till this day feel like they were truly seeking God. The mass suicide was done as a ‘protest action’. Jim had read this in some of the socialist materials that he studied. He saw their deaths as a protest against society. Well obviously the movement became a cult and they were wrong in the things they did. Today there are many Christian groups who have the same mindset of ‘siege’ and isolationism that Jones temple had. I mentioned earlier about being a part of a Fundamental Baptist Church in the past, while I don’t want to call them a cult, the group had a mindset that saw all other groups [even Baptists] as either heretics or backslidden. They had a mentality of ‘the worlds out to get us’ and we must separate from it at all costs. But the extreme separation they practiced caused them to ‘separate’ from the rest of the body of Christ. You can be part of a big group and still be ‘isolated’ if you see the rest of the world [Christian and lost people] as something you are separating from inside the four walls of your fortress [church or community]. As an elder of this fundamental church I remember how we had a special meeting to decide whether or not we should cut off support from a missionary. The ‘heresy’ he fell into was he became a ‘mid tribber’. He believed the ‘Rapture’ would occur after the first three and a half years of the tribulation as opposed to occurring before the tribulation starts. Well even at that time I expressed my disagreement over cutting someone off for this. The funny thing is I believe now that the ‘Rapture’ and the Second Coming are one event. So we were all ‘heretics’ at the time! The point here is when Christians develop the sectarian mindset that Paul rebuked the Corinthians for, we are in danger. I am not saying we will all commit mass suicide, but we do harm to ourselves and others. Let me add here a little on the ‘Rapture’. Just a few weeks ago I was fellowshipping with a brother and he brought the subject up. I really try to avoid it in general when fellowshipping and witnessing [which we were doing at the time]. Well he wanted to know whether I was ‘pre’ or ‘mid’ trib. I then regretfully confessed that I believe there is only one second coming, I don’t believe the ‘rapture’ is speaking of a different event at all. Well my friend, who was quite knowledgeable in the scriptures, emphatically agreed. He also said he saw only one ‘Second Coming’, but to him the rapture was something else. If you read 1st Thessalonians 4 [the rapture chapter] I can’t see how you can honestly see this as different from the other scriptures that speak of the second coming and the resurrection. I find it a contradiction to read these events as ‘separate’. I am familiar with all the arguments on the trumpets and every other little detail. I just see the overriding text being that of one event. In the discussion with my friend he jumped to all the various ‘proof’ texts to back up his belief. I simply believe the plain reading of these verses show it to be one event. You should interpret the plain meaning first, before going to lengths to defend something else. Well I don’t want to argue about this, but I thought it was worth mentioning.
(65) I just had a dream a few hours ago. I was sitting in a room. I had a thorn bush branch sticking thru my leg. I had a pair of pruners and simply pruned the branch from both sides but had to leave the part stuck inside my leg. I seemed content and recognized that I would still be able to walk and function even though I would have a permanent impediment. I thought of Jacob, how after his encounter with the Lord he had a perpetual limp. Also Paul’s ‘thorn’ in the ‘flesh’ [this thorn branch was literally in my flesh!] how he realized that the Lord permitted things to co exist in his life in order to ‘position’ him to receive great revelation and insight. The thorn allowed him to remain humble though he was seeing at a prophetic level that was unheard of in his day. I simply feel like the Lord is saying we shouldn’t focus so much of our time and attention on making ourselves better [self help mentality] as much as simply getting to a stage where we can hear and function effectively. I am not saying God doesn’t want us totally healed, or to live with bitterness and wounds of the past. I see this more like a willingness to move forward and function without everything having to be just perfect in our lives. God wants us to get the job done. If the only thing you can do is ‘cut the ends off of the branch’ then do it! If you have to live with some scars then that’s o.k. as long as there not open wounds!
(66) Over the years of studying the church and the various communions that exist in the Christian church, it is common for believers to separate over ‘the way we do church’. Many divisions exist both because of doctrine and practice. To be honest any sincere student of church history will see the silliness of many of these debates. I believe the whole ‘church world’ in general would benefit if our paradigm changes from seeing church as ‘something we go to on Sunday’ to a community of people that we belong to. Many of our divisions over ‘church order’ would be resolved if we realize that the bulk of New Testament instruction is given to believers to live out in community, versus a church meeting. Jesus was challenging the premise of temple and religion as being a place and style of worship. He re introduced the original heart of God by showing people that Gods chief concern was that people would worship in Spirit and truth. No longer would the debate be over ‘which mountain’ or ‘whose lineage’ to follow, but the Father would receive anyone that would meet the two requirements of ‘Spirit and Truth’.
(67) The early church were called ‘the way’ during the first century. They carried a specific message that went along with their way of life. The message and the journey were centered on Jesus. They didn’t get lost in all the other things that we make ‘the way’. They were fresh off the reality of God breaking into society thru the great victory of his Son. They were living in a time where you were going to see his works whether you liked it or not! If you remember God told the children of Israel that they ‘saw’ his works for 40 years in the wilderness. God was either going to show them the promised land, or they would see his works in judgment, but one way or another they were going to see his works! The early church had that dynamic working with them. You were going to be confronted with this great Kingdom, whether you like it or not! We have a tendency to lose sight of this great Kingdom of God breaking into society thru Christ. We focus and specialize on the side issues [prosperity, demonology, prayer, etc.]. We need to return back to the central message and reality of the early church, and become known for following him who is called ‘the way’.
(68) In psalms 89:25 it says ‘I will set his hand also in the sea, and his right hand in the rivers’ I have used lots of imagery of the rivers, God smiting the rock and waters coming out. Catching fish in the ‘Hudson river’. All these images are symbols. When I read this I felt the Lord saying a few things. First he will give us authority to speak into the church at large [sea] but also have a deeper, purer prophetic stream that will speak into the church. The river to me represents the many individual streams that are flowing into the sea [church] at large. God’s intent isn’t to make the sea a big ‘river’. This would defeat the purpose. But God does want the effect of all the rivers to add to the overall ‘body’ of people/truth. Often times you will have tremendous truth flowing from prophetic sources, the intent of these truths is to bring the church back to a more pure state of existence. Sometimes we fall into the trap of trying to make the truth/revelation the main thing. Even though all the rivers flow into the ocean, they never turn the oceans from salt water to fresh. The intent of the rivers is to add and increase the flow, but not to make the sea one big river!
(69) I was watching a brother on TV who was speaking on covetousness. They are a good church overseas who are quite large. He was defending himself somewhat from criticism of the huge amount of money the church brings in and how he heard someone speak against one of their staff people who regularly fly’s around the world to perform in worship/singing. The overall way we do ministry today seems to take 90 percent of all Christian funds and uses it for the functioning of the ‘church’. Salaries, buildings and the basic upkeep of the business. A brief overview of the New Testament would show about 90 percent of all funds being used for charitable purposes and meeting the actual needs of the Christian community. The few instances where you read about corporate collections they are being used to distribute materially to those in need. The other references to giving in support of elders and those who are ministering in the word speak about a very small percentage of finances compared to the charitable giving. Its things like this that we don’t see when we read scripture through our limited paradigms. I believe the church today should ‘re-balance’ its books to draw more closely to the New Testament model. There are many worthy churches today who are doing great things for God. We overall need to re focus our priorities from the advancement of a few [the above scenario of the pastor defending the large amount of money spent on the few highly gifted ones] to the releasing of the whole body to function. We get into scenarios where we need lots of people to give lots of money to keep the machinery going, we come up with lots of projects to do [even good ones!] and we focus our Sunday meetings on bringing in the money to accomplish all the projects. The average believer is under the impression that to be faithful simply means to keep coming to church on Sunday and giving to meet the budget. This scenario has unconsciously placed the ‘average’ Christian in a position where we don’t really expect them to personally carry out the great commission, but to simply be obedient while funding the few who do the work! We need to re shift our priorities. Church should take 90 percent of its money and use it to build up and send out the whole body, by the way this doesn’t mean the churches need to collect it all on Sunday, it could simply be a releasing of people from a mindset of meeting the budget to them actively giving and spending and doing the work themselves. Government red tape hinders the actual carrying out of projects. So does ‘the business of church’. Release people into the harvest. The harvest is plenteous but the laborers are few [this could be speaking of the few professionals that we expect to function as we finance the budget!].
(70) I read a verse the other day in Psalms that said ‘God will exalt you like the horn of a unicorn’ I know there are myths about the unicorn as being rebellious and other stuff about them actually being a myth. I really don’t know. But what I got from this was there are certain prophetic people who God exalts [not man!] like ‘the horn of a unicorn’. I said earlier in this paper how ‘horns’ represent different things. One of the things they represent are prophetic voices. John the Baptist was a ‘horn/trumpet’ of God who would ‘proclaim’ the appearing of Messiah. John stood alone in his day in the ability to ‘see’ Messiah. It was a ‘singular’ revelation that others would not posses as of yet. John was a loner who came out of the wilderness as an absolute radical. The single horn of a unicorn represents this ‘horn/trumpet’ as being alone for certain seasons. John fulfilled a ‘rebellious’ purpose. He rebelled against the system of his day and was beheaded. The unicorn isn’t around anymore because of rebellion! John represented a type of rebellion that we don’t see anymore either. A prophetic rebellion to behold Christ to the point of death. [Some things from the net on unicorns; 1- They can’t be captured alive 2- Fierce but good 3-Selfless yet solitary 4- Mysterious yet beautiful. All these qualities are seen in Christ and John the Baptist. Tertullian, Ambrose, Jerome and Basil [early church fathers] all saw the unicorn as a symbol of Christ.
(71) I was just outside praying and had a thought. Nothing new, but I felt I should share it. Planting Churches in the New Testament was simply the process of preaching the Gospel to people, and the people who believed became the ‘community of Christ’ in that region. The actual ‘Church’ were the people themselves who corporately made up ‘Christ’s Body’. The things that they did [Lords supper, baptism, etc.] were simply an outgrowth of being the Church. The ‘doing’ of these things did not make them the Church! The fact that they did them was because they were the Church. This truth releases all of us into the world with the potential of being ‘Church planters’. All you really need to ‘start Churches’ is the courage to preach the Gospel to people groups. The harvest is ready; will you be one of the few laborers?
(72) A few years back I heard someone say it takes a minimum of $250,000 dollars to ‘plant a church’. The business world measures success by the amount of income they bring in, as well as the amount of ‘G.D.P.’ that is what they produce and export. The church should not measure success by these guidelines, nor should we limit Gods ability to ‘plant a church’ or spread the Kingdom by limited finances. Those of you who have read all of our stuff will notice I quote a verse out of the message bible a lot. ‘Don’t think you need a lot of extra equipment for this, you are the equipment. No special appeals for funds, keep it simple’ this is Jesus instruction to the disciples as he sends them out. He was giving them a mindset to see the simplicity of carrying out the great commission. He was saying in effect ‘you all individually, as well as corporately, have the potential to change the world’. He purposely has set up his Kingdom to allow for the ‘average Joe’ to have the same potential as the big shots! When we say things like ‘it takes a lot of money to reach the world’ or ‘you cant do this without starting a big ministry’ we unconsciously are telling Jesus ‘we need a lot of extra equipment for this, and we need to make special appeals for funds’. Now do you see what I have been saying? Sometimes it takes a while for truth to sink in. I know there are big ministries who are doing great works and who do make appeals for funds. This is all right as long as they are truly preaching the Gospel. The point I am making here is we all have the potential to touch the world. Don’t simply think that your part is only tithing and giving to fund others. You can be used of God right where you are.
(73) A few years ago it was popular to quote John’s epistle ‘beloved I wish above all things that you would prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospers’ [quick quote from memory, think its Johns 3rd letter?] This verse, like all verses is good. This greeting in the first century would be like saying ‘God bless you’ today. It was a simple form of greeting. Just like Paul ending the book of Romans with a long list of personal greetings. While all scripture is given by inspiration of God, there are differences between greetings, actual doctrine and other forms or styles of speech and literature that you find in scripture. For instance a greeting is not equal to actual doctrinal teaching. The resurrection of Christ is foundational doctrine. The matter of woman wearing hats [coverings] in ‘church’ falls into the cultural context of Corinth at the time of Paul’s writing to the Corinthians. Both teachings are true and have value, but one is obviously relevant for all time, while the other is debatable. The point here is Jesus said the thing that God wants from man above all other things is ‘to love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, soul, mind and might. And to love thy neighbor as thyself’. This is Jesus teaching doctrine on what matters most to God. To take Johns greeting in a letter [though scripture!] and to say that this is what God wants more than anything else, is wrong. God does want us to prosper, and you can find other verses stating this. But the point here is when we ‘see’ all verses as equal in authority, without recognizing the various forms of literature and speaking that all people use [even the 1st century apostles] then we create themes that contradict and we violate the mandate of scripture that tells us to ‘think and understand like men’.
(74) The other day I ran into a few ‘homeless’ and ‘addicted’ ‘friends’. I want to emphasize why I say ‘friends’. But first let me tell some stuff. The one friend was the homeless brother that I gave some of our materials to a few weeks ago. I ran into him at Whataburger. He told me that he read our books and liked them. As I was leaving to drop off tapes at the radio station that we broadcast on, I invited this friend to go for the ride. He was glad and surprised to get the invitation. Sort of like ‘why would someone ‘important’ want to simply spend some time with me’. He actually was waiting for someone to pick him up for a day job, but said he would like to have gone to fellowship and ask some questions and stuff. He even described himself as one of the ‘pawns’ on Gods chess table. He said some are ‘kings’ while others are simply ‘pawns’. I reminded him that Jesus said ‘whoever wants to be a king in Gods Kingdom, must become a pawn’. He agreed to this. I also saw one of the girls who used to be a helper in the mission that I go to in order to visit homeless friends. I never really spoke to her, though I remember seeing her over the years serving with her mom at the mission. I heard that she got into ‘meth’ and was strung out on drugs. I felt really bad about this. This was a good girl who lost her way. As a principle I usually don’t try to help the girls ‘one on one’ because it obviously wouldn’t look right for me to be ‘meeting girls’ at the mission. Some are friends because of the friendship I have with their ‘boyfriends’ and the many years of befriending a lot of these guys. But ever since I heard about this girl falling into drugs, I really felt I should speak with her. Well I had the chance to take a few people to the driver’s license office to get new I.D.s [this is a problem with a lot of homeless people, they have a tendency to keep loosing their I.D.s] and asked if she needed to go, which she did. [She just lost her I.D. about a week before!] It took about an hour and I had a real good conversation with her. I shared a lot about the regrets we have when we fall into sin, which she had many. I told her how Jesus ‘violated’ religious protocol in reaching out to ‘the prostitutes’ of his day [I tried to be tactful here, but needed to get this point across]. And she really appreciated the help with the I.D. Before I dropped them off I gave her all of our books and stuff, and she began reading them before leaving the truck. I felt these simple stories capture the ‘lifestyle’ of going out into the byways and ‘compelling’ people to come in to the Kingdom. The mindset of ‘the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few’. When I speak about the requirement for all believers to in some way reach the lost, without simply being a ‘tither who goes to church on Sunday’ this is what I mean. Jesus instructs all of us along the journey to do things like this. Jesus said to ‘count the cost’ before taking on a project. But he also said ‘make no special appeals for funds, you are the equipment’. I think we confuse these two principles. The ‘cost’ of discipleship is living your life for others. Greater love has no man than this, that you would lay down your life for your friends. Who were Jesus ‘friends’? He was accused of being a friend of sinners! I would encourage you to begin giving yourself away for the benefit of others. Seek to become a ‘pawn’ for in doing this you are a ‘king’ in Gods eyes.
(75) I felt I should add this here. One of the ‘costs’ of making it a priority to ‘make disciples/carry out the great commission’ is you make yourself a target of the evil one to a greater degree than if you simply are a ‘church attendee’. ‘I will contend with him who contends with thee, and I will save thy children’[ Bible verse] when you make it a priority to ‘have children’ you put yourself in a position of ‘contention’ with the enemy. This is a real cost that you must understand and your commitment to bringing people to Christ will be severely challenged, but the obedience to the command of Christ to ‘make disciples’ should supersede the ‘cost’ of difficulty and persecution.
(76) ‘David’s rule of desperation’ I was thinking about the process that king David went thru as he learned to trust and depend on God. David’s story is one of passion for Gods heart, as well as personal failure and the result of his sin on his family and future. In Psalms you find passion and a lifestyle of ‘desperation’ for God. Many of the Psalms deal with David’s repentance after his failure with Bathsheba and the resulting effect of this opening up the door to David’s enemies. Many of the Psalms speak about David crying out to God in the midst of his enemies. David learned what it meant to ‘rule in the midst of your enemies’. These ‘enemies’ would have never been as oppressive if David never fell. Yet it was the oppression of these enemies that caused David to write such beautiful poetry. Psalms actually contains more Messianic prophecies then any other Old Testament book [except maybe for Isaiah?]. The rule of David was one of learning to rule out of trust and desperate reliance upon God. David’s son Solomon ruled out of tremendous wisdom. But David was called a King after Gods own heart, not Solomon! We learn from David the difficulty of carrying out Gods purpose despite our own failings and shortcomings. David was punished for his foolishness, but this didn’t let him off the hook from continuing to serve as King! He had to serve with the thorn of shame and open mockery from his enemies because of his sin. No wisdom could have brought him thru this low point in his life, but only a ‘desperate dependence’ on God!
(77) I want to clarify what I see as the ‘biblical parameters’ of ministry. When I speak on the ability that God has given to all of us to spread the Kingdom, as opposed to ‘starting a church/ministry’ what I am trying to express is Gods heart for all of his kids to have direct contact with his purposes in the earth, without setting up ‘go betweens’ that hinder the people of God from functioning. John Wesley, the great founder of the Methodist church, was receiving criticism from the organized church at one time. They questioned his authority to ‘break out’ of the parameters of the Anglican Church in some of the ways he was doing the will of God. John got to a point where he said ‘the world is my field’. He broke out of the limitations of ‘where can I function, and to whom should I speak’ he saw the gospel as the authority to go into all the world. In today’s ministry mindset we often limit ourselves by ‘seeing’ our function as it relates to ‘the Christian ministry that I run’. We might not say it this way, but in many cases this is what we do. I would encourage you to see the ‘world as the field’ and you as a laborer sent from God to ‘harvest the field’!
(78) I watched a show last night on ‘Christian’ TV. It was a good show. The speaker actually shared some things on grace that reminded me to speak on in the future. I believe that grace and our approaching God on the grounds of our acceptance with him, as opposed to our works for him, are foundational in our life with God. I know I have been critical of the whole ‘Christian TV’ scene, and I don’t want to give the impression that none of it is good. Some is. The problem I see with the modern way we do and express ‘ministry’ can be seen thru this medium. The person who spoke was being interviewed. He shared about the meetings that he was presently holding. They sang some songs from Barry Manilow [good songs, ‘I cant live without you’ sang towards God]. This very gifted teacher and singer obviously has a gift to build the church. It also reminded me of tuning in to another brother from New Jersey and seeing him ‘perform’ on the TV. We get lost today in the way we express ministry. Gifted people are placed by God in the church for the purpose of building the saints so they can be released into ministry. Today we see our gifts as the main thing. ‘Ministry’ is focused around the showcasing of our gifts. The average believer sees the fulfilling of his role as ‘going to church’ ‘paying the tithe’ and living vicariously thru the success and giftedness of his Pastor. The main thing in many scenarios is ‘us’ [the gifted leadership]. I believe there needs to be an overall shift in the basic way we do Christianity. It’s not a new doctrine to grasp, or some new conference to go to. It’s going to take some time for us as believers to return back to the simplicity and sincerity of New Testament Christianity. I don’t see myself, or any of us for that matter, as having arrived. But I see hope for us as the people of God to turn towards God once again, and to experience renewal in this season of our lives with him. [Let me note that in these 2 instances there was a sense of performance that I saw. Though I am sure these are good men at heart, we are all victims of the times we live in. The ‘journey’ towards fame and the self-promotion of our gifts and images is a part of modern ministry. In the entertainment world you simply seek success by advancing along these lines. When Gods gifted people [singers, speakers, etc.] follow these same lines they unconsciously create around them an environment that tends to promote their image. The local community around them, or the national supporters of their ministries, simply become enablers for the gifts and images of the leader to advance. The money and resources begin being used to promote the image of one person. This fundamentally violates the character of New Testament leadership that Jesus taught].
(79) In keeping with the above train of thought, I just read a verse ‘Your seed and your name shall remain’. I have learned and seen over the years this process play out. We went thru a time of ‘de promotion’ [demotion] where we actively pursued avenues to not exalt or promote our image or persona. I don’t want to sound ‘humble’ or better than others. It was just the process of seeing the scriptural mandate to not ‘self promote’ [I do send packets out and broadcast radio and stuff, but I try to avoid making contacts or sending stuff out for the purpose of ‘getting our name out’]. During this time I would notice every now and then people would recognize or know the name of our ministry or who we were. This was despite the fact that I stopped using the ministry name in many areas [the radio show still uses it, but in other areas I stopped]. I then made a sign ‘Corpus Christi Outreach Ministries’ to use for a home that was being groomed for a rehab facility. Though I didn’t promote the name, in this instance as well as the radio stuff, it simply was necessary for various reasons. Well I still have the sign [the home didn’t work out, yet!] and the name seems to ‘promote’ even though I actively tried to prevent it. I see in this a scriptural theme. Jesus taught these principles and lived them. John the Baptist certainly was not seeking promotion, but he got it! This seems to me the biblical promotion that comes from God and not man. Jesus actively avoided it when men tried to make him king; though today he sits at the right hand of God. There is almost a sense of you needing to really avoid and not want promotion, even though it will pursue those who avoid it. You don’t avoid it so you will be exalted; it just seems to work out that way. Jesus says the last become first. You begin to recognize the futility of mans honor, and this will inevitably bring you to a place where men want to honor you. Well when God says ‘your seed and your name will remain’ this is a type of legacy that’s permitted. You will generationaly affect the nations.
(80) I just went into my house after writing # 79 above. It’s early, around 4:00 am. I wrote a few days ago on unicorns. They represent a type of honor that comes from God, and not man. After writing it I made a mental note to pick up some type of unicorn figurine for my shelf as a reminder. When I walked in to my house to get some coffee, I looked at a shelf in my kitchen. I don’t know why, but it seemed out of order, this shelf is a collection of about 25 pieces of little trinkets and stuff that I found in a house in Kingsville that was being torn down by the city. The Fire Dept. would go to wet it down before the city truck demolished it. I went in and found a complete collection of all these little figurines in the middle of the house on a shelf. They were sitting there like ‘lambs for the slaughter’. I picked up a five-gallon bucket and ‘rescued’ them. I’ve had them for about 5 years. Well as I went to the shelf in my kitchen to fix the figurines [its 4 in the morning, I am writing, praying and have stuff to do!] I realize there are 2 beautiful unicorns from this collection. I didn’t have to buy them at all. They were precious riches that came from a little insignificant South Texas city [can anything good come from Nazareth?] that I pastored in [‘followed the sheep’]. ‘I will take you from following the sheep to the borders of my mountain’. God promotes those who are not too high minded to give their lives for the ‘least of these’. He will exalt you like ‘the horn of a unicorn’ and give you a rule like King David all for his glory!
(81) After saying all this I am going to ‘brag’ a little. The other day I was forced to give an explanation of the amount of stuff I manage to get done as an individual. I was asked to attend a school for the Fire Dept. that would be a 3-day school in another city outside of the local area. I really couldn’t afford the time for this. The captain wanted a letter explaining why I couldn’t attend. I simply described the time it takes to ‘run’ a regional ministry, do radio, work with addicts, ex-cons and homeless people. And to do it without staff, income or a salary! I had to add this because I wanted to show this time was not being used for another job [which can be a conflict in some cases]. I didn’t want to sound like a martyr or a one-man show, but I had to make it understood that it wasn’t for personal gain. I do believe in the principle of delegation and teamwork. I believe we all have tremendous potential to touch the world. The verse ‘you don’t need a lot of extra equipment for this, you are the equipment’ kind of fits in here. Without showboating too much, we can all accomplish things with just ‘God and you’. God told Moses ‘I will go with you’. There’s a sense of ‘going with God’ that enables all of us to do great things with limited resources. Its not that God doesn’t have the resources [the cattle on a thousand hills] it’s that God IS the resource! As you touch peoples lives God will expand your spiritual heritage thru your seed. This is a type of ‘delegation of authority’ that we all can do, birth people into the kingdom with the gospel and you will touch the world!
(82) Being we are talking about this let me stay on track. If you look at the life and finances of the apostle Paul, you will see enough money to simply meet his needs and help ‘transport’ him to the places where he needed to be. There really was no big budget ministry at all. We have a tendency to take the verses where Paul speaks on finances and interject them into modern ministry budgets. While its not really wrong to do this, the result of doing this takes away from the reality that Paul reached the known world of his day with the gospel without starting a multi million-dollar ministry. He simply went when the Lord told him to go, lived a life of suffering and sacrifice and God increased his influence supernaturally. Its humanistic thinking to say ‘the world will never be reached without billions of dollars’. This simply isn’t so. Now it does take money to send the gospel out to be sure. But we put a spin on it in order to fund huge modern Christian businesses! I want you to simply re-think what I just showed you about Paul’s life. God supernaturally expanded his influence by allowing his letters to go further than normal [Canon of scripture], he allowed the people that he communicated the gospel to, to have a regional influence for Christ. All this was done by the life of one man with a few simple people helping him in the journey. Simply no million-dollar budget to do this! The verses that speak about funding for projects [the Temple] and collecting large amounts of money [to distribute to meet the needs of the poor] are true scriptures. We simply make a mistake when we use these verses to teach that ‘you can’t touch the world on your own, but by chipping in with many other thousands you can only have an effect’. While the principle of joining forces and having exponential increase when there are big numbers is true. Yet we cant miss the point that we can all touch the world. The fact is God can use little old you, if your willing to count the ‘cost’ of a life of prayer, fasting, self sacrifice, risk taking and living for eternal rewards as opposed to material things! This is ‘the cost’ to touch the world, not a bunch of money!
- Had a dream a few days ago. In the area where I live in Corpus Christi [Flour Bluff] there are many generations of homeless people that have come thru this area. In the dream I saw ‘ancient houses’ imbedded in the trees and woods. It was like going thru the forest and seeing an old shack that was there so long it would seem camouflaged. There were many structures like this all thru out the woods, but they were easy to overlook and ignore. If you weren’t attentive you would see nothing at all! There was a bride walking on the 2nd story of one of these houses and she fell thru the floor all the way thru the foundation into a seemingly endless pit. I feel the houses represent the generations of hopeless people and families that the enemy has tried to ‘swallow’ over the years. All people are precious to God, some of these are actually believers, which makes them Christ’s bride. How would you feel if your bride was daily living in such bad conditions and she felt like she were in a hopeless situation from which there were no escape?
- I felt the Lord saying ‘this is the year where many prophets need to begin to harmonize their gifts with scripture’. There will need to be a humility to accept this fact. This is not to say that the prophetic is false. But I felt the Lord saying many prophecies and words that were not in line with scripture need to be abandoned. There is a prophetic pride that refuses to receive doctrinal correction under the guise of ‘the word of the Lord cant be wrong’. While this is true, we need to be humble enough to receive the fact that prophets sometimes miss the mark and make mistakes. The prophetic will be judged on its ability to receive these course changes and return to a more balanced biblical perspective [this word is spoken in 1-21-07, but receive it as the Lord directs].
- One of the subjects I deal with that seems to hit a sore spot is the area of giving. I want to use the tithe as an example of how we should read and interpret scripture. A careful reading of the New Testament shows the tithe mentioned in both the Gospels and the book of Hebrews. The main reason is these books obviously have a heavy Jewish context to whom they are being addressed. This is not to say that gentile believers cant find practical teaching in them. As you read the letters written to Gentile believers [primarily Paul’s] you find specific teaching on how Gentiles are to approach giving. In every case its simple giving without the tithe [I stress every case!]. Paul’s letters actually contain entire sections where the whole theme is that believers are not subject to law or Jewish ordinances [I know there are other debates, but I think I have dealt with those well enough in all our books]. This simple careful study and look at this subject should lead any serious bible student to understand that Gentile Christians are not under the tithe. No big fight, just simple freedom in grace. You’re free to give 10-15 or 20 % of your income, but your not mandated by law! This simple example can be used on any bible subject. You read the epistles in context; you come to a conclusion based on the overall evidence. And you fall on the side of grace versus law every time. I am not condemning those who put themselves under law, you can if you want to. Nor do I advocate being a cheapskate! I just think we should have a mature understanding in all areas of Christian life, and walk in grace in every area, even the area of giving.
- Let me say something good about Christian TV. Last night I tuned in to a live service out of Toronto from John Arnotts fellowship. This was one of the significant churches that the Lord used in the renewal movement of the 90s. In the past I have read and studied [and attended!] different things on the movement. For the most part I came down on the side of ‘the Lord was in it’ though there were legitimate concerns from the critics. The main point I wanted to stress is in watching the meeting on TV, I really sensed and entered in to the Lords presence. Some TV ministries simply broadcast the personas of people. In this atmosphere God was being ‘promoted’. It was good. Also one of the speakers reminded me to share something. There are stages in our lives where God brings us past certain milestones. These are specific times and events that set the course for the rest of our lives. These milestones are important to understand. While Paul the apostle said he ‘forgot the things that were behind’, he also recognized the importance of ‘entering into your labors’ [to be specific ‘other peoples labors’]. The dynamic of having accomplished certain things and simply resting in the harvest. This is not to say we don’t continue to press forward, its just a realization that you have passed certain markers on the journey, and in these areas your primary responsibility is to simply give oversight. There are definite seasons of transition in our lives where God simply says ‘I am removing your active involvement in this project/area, you are going to continue to reap rewards for having faithfully completed this part of the mission, but now I am going to change you parameter once again’. I sense this not in a bad way, but in a progression with God. Even the great patriarchs in the bible had specific times of ‘great faith’ and then long seasons of waiting in/on God. Abraham had some great milestones of faith, but there were also times where he simply had to stay in the land and inherit the promise. Well you might be at the ‘moving ahead’ stage, or at the ‘waiting in the land’ stage [by the way these are not mutually exclusive!] but wherever you’re at I encourage you to trust God to complete the things he’s done thru you, and allow the milestones in your life to produce the desired result. You can’t go back and ‘make it happen’ trust God to use your spiritual children to finish the task in these areas. ‘Thru your seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. Those that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places and make the desolate cities to be inhabited’ [Bible verse].
- I just made contact with one of my old friends. This person responded to one of the emails I sent out to old classmates. This person is an atheist, but was very polite in their response. I obviously returned the favor. I also told the person I am glad they contacted me, and I would love to keep in touch, atheist or not! Recently Stephen Hawking [One of the foremost scientists of our day, also an atheist] has been attending a Christian church. When questioned about it, he said something to the effect of ‘I guess I’m looking for something more’. There have been very famous intellectuals over the centuries who have come to embrace the Christian worldview [or Deism] to some degree after many years of searching. The simple fact is, for the scientist who is an atheist; there are too many holes and unanswered questions as time rolls on. Today we know that DNA teaches us that human blood has 30 or more ‘ingredients’ that all must be present and working AT ONE TIME in order for blood to function properly. These are referred to as ‘complex machines or mechanisms’ that must have a coordinated order of function at the initial stage; we didn’t discover these things until we became proficient in DNA [This last decade or so]. These truths of science absolutely debunk the mindset of evolution, which teaches all life started from simple forms and slowly evolved over millions of years. These both cant be true. Blood couldn’t have slowly evolved; it had to have had these ‘machines’ in place and operative at the incipient [beginning] stage. Well the more intellectuals see these developments this challenges there worldview. Though the ‘average’ public school student is never taught these facts, those in the know see the inconsistencies in there thinking. This is simply one of the many problems facing the atheistic scientist today. Believe me, there are many more! I believe the church has a responsibility to answer the atheist’s questions with more than just ‘the bible says so’. They deserve an intellectual answer to their honest questions. I personally believe ‘the bible says so’ philosophy, but that argument doesn’t work with someone who doesn’t believe the bible!
- For the sake of my ‘atheist friend’ and any other skeptic that might read this in the future, let me talk a little more in the area of apologetics and defending the faith. One of the most ‘miss informed’ proofs for evolution is actually a ‘proof’ that it’s not true! This is known as ‘fossil evidence’. Basically when Darwin popularized the theory of evolution in the 1800’s there were many questions that would still need to be answered [and would be answered] as science progressed. One of these is the ‘fossil evidence’. Fossils show that ‘things’ [life forms] came into existence at specific periods of time, as opposed to a slow process of evolution over millions of years. We have fossils of all types of living things in COMPLETE FORM [humans, dinosaurs, birds, horses, and on and on]. In all of these cases we not only don’t see a ‘missing link’, but you would need to have whole families of ‘missing links’ between all of these ‘life forms’. The fossil evidence simply shows us that things didn’t slowly evolve, but ‘showed up’ at once [or at least in complete forms]. You would think that scientists would see this, wouldn’t you? Well they have. Some explain it by embracing the Christian worldview, and say ‘God created all things’. Deists [people who believe in God, but don’t claim to be Christian] also embrace the view that God created life. What I want you to see here is these honest scientists have followed scientific facts that led them to these conclusions. The ‘fossil’ evidence falls on the side of ‘things showing up at once’ [complete forms] versus things slowly evolving. You might say that I am biased because I am a Christian; well I must admit I am. But even the atheistic scientist sees the inconsistency in the stuff I just showed you. The scientist who still doesn’t embrace faith, knows there needs to be some type of explanation for what I just told you. Well they have one! They came up with a theory called ‘punctuated equilibria’ [wow!] this theory recognizes the lack of evidence for things slowly evolving over millions of years. This theory basically says ‘evolution happens so fast [as opposed to so slow!] that the ‘fossils’ just didn’t catch it’. What! These guys call themselves intellectuals? This argument is basically a capitulation to the biblical worldview. The evidence doesn’t show things ‘changing’ from one form to another. If the ‘punctuated theory’ brothers want to embrace this silly theory, then they must do so by faith, because the very theory admits the evidence isn’t there! [They admit the fossils missed it!]. Well I don’t want to make enemies out of my friends [or friend] who are atheists, I just want to be able to engage in thoughtful dialogue while giving a defense of the faith.
- I just had a dream around 30 minutes ago. It’s 2:30 am right now. It was one of those dreams that after you have, you know it’s ‘more than a dream’. I was sitting on some balcony in a lower class neighborhood. It was Martin Luther King Jr. day. There was a march going on down the street, and we were all waiting for the people to go by [and the band played on!]. As the parade approached I was sitting there with anticipation. I had some sort of a branch on my lap. I didn’t realize that people started standing in respect. It was just an innocent oversight. There were 2 preachers [who I know] that were passing by. One white, the other black. The white brother looked up at me and said something to the effect of ‘you’re to good to stand’ sort of like in a self righteous way. ‘Hey, look at me, I am concerned about black people, cant you see’! The black preacher saw that I didn’t stand right away, but that it was a simple mistake. He actually defended me by saying ‘It’s all right, he doesn’t have to stand, we are in a lower class area, and its OK’. He didn’t come off as condescending; he just meant it’s a ‘real people’ area. Well I of course stood in respect as soon as I realized my fault. As I stood the branch on my lap fell to the ground. I then saw Martin Luther King. He was part of the procession. He looked at me intently and quoted some words from Jesus. I can’t recall the exact words. Then Martin Luther said ‘satan is going to try to change your image one way or another, don’t concern yourself about your own reputation’. The feeling I got from the words from this was the realization of extreme persecution and criticism that will come as a price to pay for all revolutionaries. The ‘falling of the branch’ could represent this process. Scripture calls Jesus and other key prophetic figures branches or trees. ‘The man whose name is the branch’ Jesus and other prophetic people were ‘cut off’ in their prime. [Martin Luther, John the Baptist, etc.] This ‘casting to the ground’ was an inevitable price to be paid for the revolution. Martin Luther King day just passed. I remember hearing how Martin Luther was a communist. He was looked at in a bad way in some of the fundamental Baptist circles that I used to associate with. I held a wrong view of him until I read and heard him speak over the years. Many of his faults [he did have them!] seemed to be a result of the tremendous prophetic mantle that he carried. He truly ‘came to the Kingdom for such a time as this’. I make it a point every year on Martin Luther King Day, to catch a glimpse or broadcast of a part of his great ‘I have a dream’ speech. God took Martin and allowed satan to defame his name, chose him for present day martyrdom, and gave him an indelible voice to society today. Truly Martin is a man who ‘though dead, yet speaketh’ [Hebrews]. I am adding this a few weeks later: I just realized that I have been quoting a verse in prayer for the last few weeks. Its in Psalms ‘Visit this vine, this vineyard and this branch’. Every now and than while reading I just see a verse and naturally incorporate it into intercession. I didn’t realize I was praying for ‘this branch’ and had this dream about a branch during the same few weeks.
- I was just outside praying, it’s early and cold. It’s January, and it’s the first clear morning in a few weeks! As this year started I was praying for the Lord to ‘pour buckets of water [spiritually!] on all the ‘seeds’ [books and contacts] that we have planted, and to cause a harvest of people to come in.’ I actually got the image of ‘buckets of water, and the seed coming forth’ from the prophecy of Balaam contained in scripture [I think somewhere in Exodus?] I remember reading it when he prophesied about Israel. The other images of Gods word being like ‘the snow and rain that come down from heaven and water the earth’ are in keeping with this. Well any way it has rained too much in these first few weeks of the New Year! Pools [floods] all over the place! But finally this morning I have a clear sky and can see the stars again. The fact that I haven’t seen them clearly in a few weeks affected my ‘vision’. God seems to ‘grow you’ [enlarge] into the size of the vision he has called you to. Without a vision the people perish! When you dwell in the parameter that God has called you to, it enlarges your ‘fore sight’. You can see further down the road than just the immediate circumstances that surround you. The fact that I haven’t been able to clearly see ‘the heavens’ in a few weeks [overcast sky’s] has limited my perspective. But today I can see far. I would encourage you to look beyond your immediate limitations and shortcomings and ‘see’ into the larger ‘place’ that God has called you to!
- Just outside praying and had a football in my hands while praying. The prophetic image I sense while holding the ball is for God to deposit divine wisdom and strategy to rightly place the ball into the hands of gifted and talented receivers. Of course I am speaking of the books and contacts and stuff I send out to different regions. The precious treasure is the gospel stuff we distribute, not some pigskin. Well any way this year I began thinking in ‘quarters’ more [3 month periods of time]. I used to drop tapes off at the radio station every month. Now every 3 months. As I was praying for this first ‘quarter’ it didn’t even dawn on me that I am walking around with a football! I can be pretty dense at times! Well I believe the Lord wants us to think in ‘quarters’ or strategically. The quarterback sees the game in 4 sets of time. The other players play one down at a time. Leadership needs divine wisdom to strategically deposit the ball to the talented guy, who also happens to be ‘hot’ at the time. God doesn’t expect you to scramble [all the time] he wants you to pass it off to the right people. Work smarter, not harder.
- Let me go back to our intellectual readers. I talked about Stephen Hawking the other day. Stephen is one of the most famous physicists of the last 20 years. Many other physicists do not see him as the foremost authority. They seem to view him as being responsible to have popularized their field of study, but they do not see him as one of the key movers and shakers of their field. One of the reasons for this is Stephens’s idea on black holes. Well this might be hard, but let me try to explain. Black holes are ‘spaces’ or ‘voids’ in space that are created when a star dies. These holes are thought to suck up anything that comes within its range. If you get too close it will take you in. The line that that you cross, from which there is no return, is called ‘the event horizon’, if you remember this was a title from a movie a few years back. Well there is a question [in the scientific world] over what happens to the things that get sucked into the hole. Stephen said they disappear [or cease to exist is a better way to say it]. This was contrary to the law of Physics that said ‘information’ cannot disappear. It is theorized that the information in the universe cannot ever disappear completely. Most assumed that even though this information was being ‘sucked’ into this whole, it would still exist and possibly resurface at some other time [or in some other place]. Well after spending 30 years defending his belief that information ceased to exist after being swallowed by a black hole, he suddenly changed his theory! Most scientists never agreed to Hawking’s first theory anyway. So he comes out at some big conference of Physicists and announces a major new breakthrough. He states a new theory that admits he was wrong for the past 30 years [scientists can be wrong, I mean really wrong!] He admits that information’in a black hole cannot truly disappear [cease to exist], but that it simply goes to another ‘parallel universe’ and exists there. What! This sounds like something from the ‘Bizzaro world’ from a Seinfeld episode! Stephen Hawking sounds more like Stephen King in this scenario. Hawking said that there are many different parallel universes, some have ‘black holes’ and others don’t. All the information lost in the universes with the holes, is later retained in the universes without the holes. When you get to this ‘level’ of theory, you are not really doing true science [in my mind]. This is a type of psuedo science that is more like a scientific philosopher. Most other physicists think this is silly! The average person seeing stuff like this on the science channel simply accepts it as truth, not realizing that the majority of true scientists think its wrong. This is the problem in modern education. The public schools [which all my kids attend] never get around to correcting some of the errors that the kids were taught at a younger age. So the average person goes thru out the rest of his life embracing theories that are not only silly, but at times dead wrong! NOTE: Let me give another example. For years the science books had a moth that they found with spots on it. They found hundreds of these moths with these spots. The books had pictures and actually taught that these spots were proof for evolution. Years later they realized that the spots actually were coming from the pollution that the factories were putting out in the area. You could still find some of the science books with the fake story in them many years later! Kids think they are being taught truth, when they are not!
- One of the things I forgot to mention about Hawking is he spent 30 years ‘looking into’ a black hole [these are not my words, this is how others have characterized him]. I find this interesting. I believe there are times, wilderness experiences if you will, that feel like you’re spending a lifetime looking into a black hole! God uses our ‘death’ experiences for his glory. President Lincoln aged 30 yrs [it looked like it] during the years of the civil war. If you look at the pictures of Lincoln at the beginning of his presidency, and then near the end, the contrast is dramatic. The weight of the responsibility caused him to look severely ‘sunken’ and aged. I believe there is a level of brutal honesty with God and man that can only be achieved thru these means. Many of the great biblical characters [Moses, Elijah, Jonah] actually prayed to die. There just seems to be a level of authority that comes thru severe testing. You can’t seem to achieve it any other way. You also cant seem to avoid it, once you start going down that road you simply allow God to bring forth out of you the thing of value. The garden of Gethsemane was a place where you oppressed [I meant to write pressed and the spell check spelt oppressed!] olives. The process of tremendous pressure produced something of value. I just felt like today’s word was this, take it for what its worth. [Next day]. What I wanted to express is the concept of ‘bearing the Cross’ God uses things in our lives that ‘tare’ us. This process ‘opens us up’ [remember the earlier imagery of God smiting the rock and water coming out!] and allows deep truths to come forth. The day Jesus was crucified; scripture says ‘the veil of the temple was rent’. This veil was a covering over a room in the temple [the holy of holies] the rending [tearing] of this cloth represented us having full access into Gods presence thru the Cross. Most of us know this. But Jesus Body is called ‘the veil’ in the book of Hebrews [New Testament]. The ‘rending of the veil’ on the day of the crucifixion was a type of what was presently happening on the Cross that day. The ‘tearing’ [piercing] of Christ allowed there to be a ‘flow’ of Grace and wisdom that were unavailable until that day. The ‘door’ of heaven was opened [Jesus is called the door, his Body was ‘opened’ on the Cross] and this ‘bearing the Cross’ brought forth precious fruit that no other singular event would ever match!
- Update; earlier in this paper I shared the story of the ‘tough guy’ I beat up at the carnival. One of my old buddies who got this paper just informed me that he’s in a New Jersey prison for 8-10 years on multiple accounts of robbery, kidnapping and assault. I just sent the prison a request for a mailing address to contact him. Hope to hear from him soon. Pray for this guy, his name is Jimmy [chee chee]. Thanks!
- Let me update you guys. I started this paper [Prophecies, dreams, visions] 2 months ago. Its 2-1-07 right now. I didn’t think [or want to!] write this much this soon. I have already made some real good contacts with some old friends. The beginning of this year I sensed an urgency to get on with the task of ‘reaching’ my generation [the friends I grew up with]. I have been praying for you guys for 25 years, on a weekly basis! This year I felt like the Lord said its time. Don’t get me wrong, I have tried to witness to, or simply contact old buddies over the years. Its just I felt like the Lord said don’t wait any longer. Do whatever has to be done at this stage. I have noticed over the years that some of the people I worked with [ex-cons] and their families and friends, would seem to ‘reap’ in an intense way in there 40’s. The most extreme case was a guy from the original group of addicts I worked with in Kingsville. I personally did not know him, but a lot of my friends did. On a coke high he raped and murdered a college girl in our town. This was big news for many years. I remember praying for him as the week of the execution neared [we kill them quick in Texas!]. I simply prayed for him to have the courage to go thru it with grace, and an apology to the family of his victim. I read his statement and it contained these elements, but also a long statement on God and Christ and admitting to all his sins. It was one of the ‘best’ statements from a death row inmate that I have ever read. He was in his 40’s when he was executed. I am 44 as I write this. I pray for my generation, this is a season of reaping for many of us. God bless all of you, and thanks to those of you who have been in touch with me these last few months. I know some of our writings are a little heavy and I realize I take a chance at offending some. But this is a risk that I needed to take! [You might be thinking ‘there not so heavy’ wait till you get to the 300’s].
- There are 2 types of movements/ministries that are taking place today. One type is the classical idea of ministry. You are part of a Christian group that does Christian projects and you’re primary involvement is financing these projects. These groups often need thousands [or millions!] of dollars to get the job done. There are other groups of believers that simply function along the lines of volunteerism. Sort of like A.A. meetings. These groups seek to advance the kingdom thru evangelism [that is them doing it!] they often meet from house to house; some are ‘virtual communities’ who meet on line. They expand rapidly thru out whole nations with little or no money. You say how can this be. Well this is the power of the Gospel. Believers sharing their faith, reaching out to the hurting, giving to those in need. All doing this as individual [and corporate] members of Christ’s body. No ‘big ministry’ at all. Simply Christ’s Body functioning and acting like the disciples. They didn’t start their own ministries/movements. They were the movement! [That is the dynamic of Christ’s Spirit working in them]. Faithfulness in the first group is measured primarily by attending Church on Sunday and paying the tithe, faithfulness in the second group is measured by living in community relationships with each other and personally doing evangelism. Without being too critical, I find it interesting that in the judgment scenarios that Jesus gives in the Gospels, you NEVER find him judging people on whether they were faithful to ‘church’ or tithed. You ALWAYS find judgment based on how we treated fellow human beings [relational!]. ‘When I was hungry you fed me, etc.’
- I just saw a commercial for the upcoming super bowl. A company contracted with the fans to come up with there own commercials. The fans did it themselves without any help. The commercial I saw was good. It’s one of the few that will run Sunday. It cost a total of $13.00 dollars [this is no type o, thirteen dollars!]. It looked as good as the ones that cost in the millions! The fan said he filmed it with his wife. No other stuff needed. Their camcorder, their car and a few bags of Doritos and a friend to record it for free. This reminds me of that favorite verse you always see me quoting ‘Don’t think you need a lot of extra equipment for this, you are the equipment, no special appeals for funds [13 dollars!] keep it simple’ When you see yourself and all that you have as dedicated to the expanding of the Kingdom, then God will use you. You’re impact can be just as real as a million dollar budget. If a fan from a football team can do it, how much more you!
- I wanted to mention something. After first becoming a believer, I realized that I couldn’t afford to attend college. I was 19 yrs old, had my first daughter in my early 20’s, and by my 30’s I had 4 girls! But what I did do is borrow and read tons of books from the public library. I would purchase college level books for half price at ‘half price books’. I basically utilized what was available to gain an education, without paying some professor $100,000 dollars to tell me to read a book! Now I am not demeaning those who have, I just want you to see that you can accomplish things if you want to. [Added later; I want to make a note here, I have bought books from ‘the Christian bookstore’ and from ‘regular bookstores’. The Christian bookstores have a tendency to promote pop Christian culture some of it is good, some not. The theology sections of good bookstores contain better stuff for a Christian education. You would benefit to read the classics and other fields of study that you would get if attending some divinity school from Harvard [or Notre Dame for my Catholic friends!] then to just read the pop psychology stuff being promoted today.
- I fell asleep last night around 7-7:30. I am on a 24 hour shift right now [firehouse] and got up around 12:30 or so. I try not to get up before 2:00 am, but we had a few runs and I knew I wouldn’t be able to go back to sleep. So I just started reviewing some of our writings, going over some stuff. I forgot to tell you guys about a dream I had a while back, I just saw it in my mission statement/journal of prophecies and dreams. In the dream I saw my Italian grandmother who passed away many years ago. She was a great cook and a great person. I called her ‘Nauna’. She was in heaven and simply said ‘your famous up here on TV’ I found this strange being I have no desire to ever be on TV. I also seek to avoid the ‘famous’ mentality that exists in the church today. But what I got out of this was the teaching from Jesus on the last being first, and the least being the greatest. I believe we will be surprised at who is famous and who is not in Gods eyes. I honestly do not see myself as ‘famous’ or a big shot. But I do recognize that God wants to give us favor with God and man for his glory.
- Its time to tell a few more stories. Because of some recent contacts with some old friends I am remembering some things. First let me say a few years ago I felt the Lord saying ‘your testimony will be important to old friends and new ones’. I didn’t fully understand why, but I sensed an urgency to contact old friends thru ministry avenues. Well I actually have had some friends tell me ‘John, I am not interested in your Christian books and stuff, but I would like to hear what happened to you down in Texas’ and after giving them some materials they wind up reading the Christian stuff! So anyway I realize that it serves a purpose. Thru one of my old buddies I found out about the friend who is in the N.J. prison. These are both old friends. The one who gave me the Cross on the ‘mesq.’ trip I told you about earlier is one of them. The friend in jail is the guy I beat up at the carnival years ago. Well already the friend in prison is receiving a bunch of stuff from me, I just mailed out a package of stuff to the prison and hope to keep in touch. This is the first person I have had an open door with in a Jersey prison. Sometimes friends in prison are an ‘open door’ to get materials into the hands of other prisoners [books and stuff!]. Well the story I am remembering is when I first got kicked out of the Navy I went back to Jersey for a few months. I hooked up with my buddy who gave me the Cross, and my other good friend who eventually came back to Texas with me and later died of aids. Well he got kicked out of the Army and was already back in Jersey when I showed up. One day we took a drive out to the more rural areas of New Jersey [sort of like where Tony Soprano would live!]. Found some country road and just were partying and drinking and getting high. We saw some nice car parked on the side of this mountain road and decided to ‘push it’ off the mountain with the car we were in. So as we pushing it over the cliff [it was empty!] someone came down from the back area of this mountain road and began smashing the windshield with a bat. Obviously they weren’t happy about our choice of recreation! Well I opened the passenger side window and smashed a beer bottle over the hood to try and get it to break into the guys face. We all got out and realized there were 2 of them. One guy was pretty big. But there were three of us and we managed to scare them pretty bad. I pretended I had a gun in the car [either me or my friend?] and we were saying ‘get the gun, get the gun’ and the guys got scared. We totally destroyed their vehicle. It was just sitting there hanging of the side of this mountain road. We took off and about a mile down the road passed up a trooper vehicle and realized he would be on the scene in about a minute. So we drove over a hundred miles an hour for a long time to get off that mountain. We never got caught. I realize that in a lot of these cases if we were caught we would have been in big trouble! I thank God we never went to jail over this stuff.
- Lets get back to some spiritual stuff. Recently both of my older daughters bought homes. One bought a nice ranch with 2.5 acres, and a beautiful modular home. The entire ranch and home was on the market for $120,000 dollars, it was a HUD repo and she got it for $31,000! A real blessing. This is my 19 year old. My other girl got a nice 2 bedroom in Corpus for around $45,000. This is my 21 year old [by the way my other 2 girls are 15 and 16]. Well I really didn’t want them to be buying homes at the same time. I want to help them with everything, but sometimes there’s just too much to do! Its funny, I really wasn’t involved too much in this whole process. One of the homes I didn’t even see until my daughter closed on it. Scripture says ‘first the natural, than the spiritual’. I felt like the Lord was telling me ‘your spiritual seed will grow and posses the land, and you will rest and enjoy the harvest’. I have a tendency to be an ‘over achiever’ [at least I try!]. I know sometimes I push it too much to the limit, and I have to learn to allow our ‘children’ to grow and mature in Gods time. My older girls have good jobs [one is a veterinarians assistant, the other manages the municipal pools for the City] they both attend college [A and M university in C.C.] and are settling in to their new homes. The natural expansion of my kids lives and ‘parameters’ I feel are symbolic of many of you reading this stuff. God wants to use you and expand his ‘influence’ thru you, and I need to learn to sit back and ‘watch’ it happen. I truly believe God wants to use many of you to advance his Kingdom in the earth. No big ministry to join, just learning and growing in Gods time and allowing him to use you in some way to influence your circle of friends as well!
- I am watching an HBO special right now. It’s called ‘the friends of God’ its not a real critical look at Christians, but it does portray them as a little goofy/silly. One of the defenses the Christians are giving for their belief in creation versus evolution is ‘I believe the bible’. The person making this documentary [Nancy Pelosi’s daughter, the first woman speaker of the house] obviously isn’t going to interview the multitudes of scientists who also don’t believe in evolution! But some of the Christians do look silly, to be honest. Some of the arguments Christians use to defend the faith are shallow. Do you believe the bible? Do you believe it is scientifically accurate [I do], well when the bible says the ‘sun rises’ do you believe it actually ‘rises’? Not really! Most of you accept the fact that the earth revolves around the sun and rotates at the same time. Scientifically the ‘sun doesn’t rise’. The language used in scripture to describe ‘the sun rising’ isn’t lying, but it is simply using the natural flow of language that people communicate with. There are things like this that believers need to become more familiar with in our defense of the faith, or else we look like people who still believe the earth is flat! NOTE: I personally don’t like the ‘persona’ that is being put forward from some of the more strident evangelical preachers. Though I would agree with them doctrinally on many subjects, it’s just the overall ‘us versus them’ mentality that turns me off.
- Just here at work. Got up a few hours ago [around 2:30 am] and was praying. Walking outside I found a football that someone left a few weeks back just lying around. I stuck it in the alley where I pray while at work. I was walking around with the football and was just thinking about the concept of ‘scoring’. The quarterback gets no credit for just getting the ball into the end zone. It has to be ‘delivered’ by a person! Either he hands the ball off to a running back [one on one outreach] or he passes it [radio and other forms of ‘sending’]. Sometimes he runs it in himself! [You Pastors and leaders, don’t neglect personal evangelism. You need to win people to the Lord too!]. God gives us ‘things of value’ gifts and skills [football]. These treasures we posses only count when we successfully ‘hand them off’ to the rest of the team! Don’t hog the ball! [Note- it’s the Monday right after the super bowl, I don’t even know who won yet, the colts or bears?]
- Let me fill in some holes on my timeline. After the story of me going U.A from the base in Kingsville, I eventually wound up back on the base in a restriction barracks. This was a place where you were under 24 hour watch, and could leave your room only for meals. Well I found a way to get out at night through a back entrance. Got some civilian clothes and even managed to get some drugs and liquor into our area. One of the drugs was from a friend who was the pharmacist at the dispensary [I was a hospital corpsman/ Medic]. He would give us fake prescriptions and we would get them filled. The stuff he got me was a type of speed [I think it was ephedrine?] One night I took way too much, around 10 to 20 pills. I was up for a few days. For years later one of the after effects was my toes were completely numb. This lasted for a few years and eventually it went away. You can only abuse your system so much before you get lingering effects. One of the nights I snuck out, I went to a local club in town to party. We had no ride back to the base so I asked some navy girls for a ride. They innocently took me back to the base not realizing that they would have gotten into trouble if they got caught transporting someone who was on restriction. Well the next day one of the girls told her friend we were partying the night before. Her friend said ‘no way’ he’s on restriction in the barracks. Well the girl who gave me the ride back to the base eventually became my wife. This was a few weeks from my discharge from the navy. I would find myself back in Jersey for a few months. I remember getting stoned one night and thinking ‘I gotta get the hell out of this town!’ this brought me back to Texas with my buddy who eventually died of aids. Well I just thought I would fill in this part of the timeline for some of my old friends who are now reading this blog. [Note: I have used the imagery of ‘ports’ and stuff in my writings, I have referred to ‘new windows and opportunities’ as ‘ports of call’ the name of the club where I met my wife was called ‘port o call’ it’s still there!]
- Let me say a few things. Thank you to all the friends from Jersey who have contacted me. Feel free to ask me any questions or stuff about religion, Christianity or anything! If I don’t know the answer I’ll make one up! [Just kidding]. I am a little hesitant sharing certain ‘prophetic’ type stuff with you guys, many of you don’t even know what ‘prophetic’ means. But let me throw one in anyway. One of the images I had in mind when beginning to contact friends from Jersey was the image of ‘fishing the Hudson’. The New Testament speaks of ‘fishing for men’ meaning winning people to Christ. Making believers out of unbelievers. So the beginning of this year ‘fishing the Hudson’ was an image that came to mind when reaching out to old friends from that area. It dawned on me that the first person from New Jersey that I led to the Lord I actually ‘fished’ out of a Jersey river physically, before I ‘fished’ him spiritually. My old buddy Miguel [who died of aids] and I were racing dirt bikes down off of ‘west side road’ off of Tonnele ave. We were riding some old trails along the river [think it was the Hackensack river] as we were racing around a bend, I was in front and as soon as I turned the corner I came up on a hairpin turn that went off a little bridge that would put you right into the river. Well I couldn’t wait to see my buddy hit the water! Instead of warning him, I just stopped and waited for him to make the turn. Well he did! He flew right off the bridge [about 10 feet or so] and totally submerged body and bike completely under water. I probably should have been worried, but I just thought it looked cool. As he came up for air I said ‘look out for the alligators’ and he freaked out [I know that was bad!] Well I ‘fished’ him out of the water and we pulled his bike out [it was an Indian 100 cc motorcycle]. I pulled it back to his house with a rope and we parked it there. A few weeks later we pulled the plugs, sprayed it with WD 40 and believe it or not it started! Well he later was the first person from Jersey that I led to the Lord; I guess the Lord knew he didn’t have much time left.
- Let me talk to the Pastors and leaders who read this blog. There are many changes and things the Lord is doing across the Body of Christ in a dynamic way. Theologians refer to some of these movements as the ‘emerging church’. There are many other names and descriptions as well. I would just like to state the plain fact that God is challenging our mindsets in many areas of Church life. I find many Pastors and leaders who are afraid to even think about the possibility that the present role of ‘Pastor’ is really an unbiblical expression of New Testament leadership. Not saying these guys are bad or evil, just the fact that God has challenged the concept of the Pastor as the Sunday lecturer who is ‘over’ the Local Church. These ideas are changing by Gods design. Many leaders who heard me [and others] say this stuff years ago, thought we were nuts. Now it seems to be an ‘open secret’ that people cant avoid dealing with. I just want to encourage you guys to be bold and courageous, if God changes the way you function and brings you more into alignment with the biblical model of leadership, then this is a good thing! Come out of your shells of fear and timidity men! We have all been wrong and needed correction over the years, don’t see your current role as something that needs to be defended at all costs, God is changing things and I encourage you to go with the flow!
- When I spoke a few weeks ago on not being able to attend college, I want to clarify my thoughts on higher education. I believe one of the problems with ‘fundamentalism’ [some types of evangelical preachers] is the lack of a well-balanced education. It’s good to get a university level of education if you can. In the last century there was a movement in the Christian church that was called ‘higher criticism’. Many of the scholars that were influenced by the previous stage of the enlightenment [from Europe] taught a type of bible interpretation that denied many [or all] the supernatural stories in the bible, even the resurrection! As a result many American universities were inundated with a type of teaching that ‘old fashioned’ preachers thought was apostasy [some of it was, but not all of it!]. The American ‘fundamentalists’ reacted by simply saying ‘we believe the bible literally’. The problem with some of the literalists, was they lacked a balanced historical understanding of the times and life of the early church. They seemed to have no time to become educated on the historical aspects of Christianity. So ‘literalism’ said ‘if the bible says it’s going to happen, then it is going to happen’. Not realizing [because of a lack of education] that certain things already happened. One example of this is the present preoccupation with the ‘antichrist’ and the prevailing hobby of trying to find out who he is. Is he alive today? A lot of speculation on a person that the first century church believed to be fulfilled in the emperor Nero. Without teaching this whole subject, the early church taught and understood that there would be a person who would be a great persecutor of Christians. He would even kill those who would not ‘worship his image and bow down to him’ those who would not ‘receive his number 666 couldn’t survive’. The Roman Empire of the 1st century allowed for religious expression. There form of Government actually ‘deified’ their Caesars. You could believe in other Gods [Pantheism] as long as you bowed the knee to its emperors. Well obviously Paul and other early writers could see the writing on the wall. Early Christians were not to sware allegiance to any other ‘god’ but Jesus Christ! As the early church progressed, the apostles understood that there would eventually be a ‘Caesar’ that would demand allegiance to himself. Those who wouldn’t ‘bow’ and say ‘Caesar is Lord’ would eventually be killed. Polycarp and other early Christian leaders met their fate this way. Nero was the worst. He blamed catastrophes and other events [arson!] on the Christians, though its believed that he himself was the arsonist! Nero’s name, along with his title of ‘Caesar’ does spell out to the numerical value of ‘666’. It just made sense for the early church to have believed him to have been the antichrist! There are many other debates on this subject, and I do leave room for the possibility for the ‘antichrist’ to be a future person, but I doubt it. Also during the reformation of the 16th century, many of the reformers [Luther and others] saw the ‘antichrist’ as the pope. The book of revelation speaks of Rome and both a political and religious ‘Babylon’ as coming against the saints. It was easy for the reformers to ‘see’ the marriage of the Catholic Church with the governments of men as the culprit [The Holy Roman empire and stuff like that]. But again this view doesn’t seem to take into account that Rome of the 1st century was religious, and that wasn’t speaking about Catholics! So I believe a basic understanding of world history, along with a literal interpretation of the bible go hand in hand. Those who despise education [calling the seminary the ‘cemetery’] seem to lack this balance.
- Let me also say that the current popular ‘end times’ teaching that you see and hear in much of American Evangelicalism sprouted thru the fundamentalist reaction to higher criticism. In the 1800’s there were certain Christian groups in England [the Brethren and others] that took hold of ‘Dispensationalism’. The ‘Rapture’ doctrine and other scenarios of bible interpretation sprung up out of these movements. When the American fundamentalists used the Bible Conference as a tool to counteract the higher criticism being taught in the universities, Dispensationalism sort of tagged along. It became common to think ‘defending the historic faith’ meant defending ‘Dispensational theology’. This was a major mistake. The Historic faith did not teach certain elements of dispensationalism [Rapture]. So today you find many American Christians who are all too willing to embrace certain end time scenarios [Tim Lahaye stuff!] thinking there ‘defending the bible’ not realizing that some of the things there defending are not in the bible! [At least not in the way that they see it]. When you fail to read scripture thru an historical paradigm you fall into the danger of trying to fit current geopolitical events into certain Old Testament prophets, and this is dangerous. You would never want to do world politics with a view of Israel and other nations [Russia- Gog and Magog] as a type of ‘newspaper prophecy’ that speaks to every current world scenario. One of the fears of certain believers is the fact that President Bush [current President as of this writing] holds to a view like this. I remember certain end time preachers disclosing the fact that the Bush administration contacted them early on about certain end time things. I am real uncomfortable about this. Many of these end time preachers do not realize that many of these scenarios concerning Israel and other nations have played out time and again over the last few thousand years. To take these Old Testament prophets and think that they are all speaking about current affairs is misguided!
- I just had a dream a few hours ago. I dreamt I was in some type of government area. I was giving our books to Senator Trent Lott. As he began reading the books he became influenced to the point where he started advocating some of the positions we hold. This didn’t sit well with his political advisers. They were like ‘Its good that John is a Christian and he gave you these books, but do you have to become a fanatic too!’ When I woke up I wasn’t too sure about this dream. A verse came to my mind ‘he will teach my senators wisdom’ [I believe it’s a Messianic verse, which is an Old Testament verse speaking about Jesus]. You often find the New Testament writers using these verses interchangeably between both Jesus and The Church. God ‘teaches wisdom’ thru his Spirit speaking out of the Body of Christ. The thing I got from this dream was we were having an effect on certain Kingdom people to the point where they are beginning to advocate some of the things we teach. That’s great! I find it interesting to hear somebody teach something after I give them our stuff, and to realize that they are saying things they learned from us. No bragging, just the joy of Knowing I’m not wasting my time! Some of these men are in there 80’s, that’s interesting. It shows me the younger guys [my age!] are not as open and humble as those who have been around a while. Let me stick this in here. The other day I was at work and just emailing some old friends from the classmate’s site. We had a tractor-trailer carrying a bunch of cars catch fire. We were stuck at that scene for a few hours. When we got back I kind of prayed ‘I’m glad I got these few emails off before the run, but I need to get some better results!’ Feeling a little discouraged I guess. Well I got one return email from the 5 or 6 people I emailed that day. It was an old friend I hadn’t seen in 26 years. He responded and said he was a believer and serving the Lord and would like to even visit the ministry. Also I got a phone call from one of our old friends from Bishop [a nearby city] who I hadn’t seen in around 3 or 4 years. He is the younger brother to the friend I told you about earlier who died from swallowing a bag of cocaine. The younger brother looks a lot like his older brother who died. Well he came by the firehouse to see me. He’s a believer and doing good. He even encouraged me by telling me I was his ‘spiritual father’. I simply felt like the Lord encouraged me this day. Also to all the friends from Jersey that want to get in touch, I have no ‘ministry’ to visit. We own no facilities; have no corporation and no staff! I try to teach and model what we teach. I simply have a bunch of friends in different places that we try to relate to as Christian brothers [sisters]. I would love to get a visit, or visit any of you. It’s just I don’t want to give the impression that there’s some big facility or some thing that I run. There’s nothing [except for people!] But I am looking for friends who are interested in doing home/house church type meetings. Any of you Jersey friends who start a bible group or home fellowship as a result of being in contact with us, I would consider as ‘part of the ministry’ in the sense that I believe this is a step that the Lord has for me on this journey. So lets get together as God leads! God bless.
- Let me tell a few jokes for levity. A few years ago I took my truck to Wal Mart for an oil change. I ran into a bunch of homeless friends who hang out in the front of the store. I was in the strange situation of having no money on me while wanting to buy a soda from a 25-cent machine. I naively asked my friends for some change [forgetting they are almost always dead broke!]. Sure enough a few of the guys were more than willing to give me their change. No questions asked. Just friends helping friends. But one of the guys got quiet when I asked for the change. His buddies could tell that he had some change but didn’t want to cough it up. They said this to him in no uncertain terms! Well after I got the change I then reached into my pocket to grab my check book [I had the checkbook on me, but no cash] and then proceeded to lie! I pulled out the checkbook and said ‘Now I am going to tell you guys who I really am’. They all looked a little shocked. I think they thought I was a Narc [undercover cop] and I was going to bust them! I told them ‘did you ever hear of the millionaire Percy Ross’ they didn’t! But anyway I told them this is the guy who anonymously gives away millions of dollars to unsuspecting people. I told them ‘I am him!’ I then went on to explain that I move to different parts of the country on a rotating basis [I wish!] and befriend homeless people. I try to teach them love and generosity for a few years [These guys all knew me for a few years by now, and I have taken them all out to eat lots of times]. I then said ‘and after trying to teach them the lesson of generosity, I simply ask them for some change. And whoever gives me the change proves that he learned the lesson and can be trusted with more. I then make him a homeless millionaire’. Well you can see the look of shock on their faces, they went from thinking they were going to get busted, to one of them becoming rich! Well the brother who had the change but wasn’t willing to give it up couldn’t wait to give me his change now. I then acted like I was writing out the check for the million and confessed I made it all up. Well at least they got some exercise by increasing their heartbeats to over 200 for a few minutes!
- One day I picked up 2 black brothers who needed a ride. I was talking to them as I was giving them a ride to some mission. I could tell that they wanted to ‘jump’ me. It was weird; they kind of sensed that I felt ‘comfortable’ being in this position. Sort of like ‘its been a while, but will do what we have to do’. It was strange. Well they didn’t jump me, I told them I was from Jersey [I think they were from New York City]. And they questioned me a little on the geography of the area. I think when they realized I was somewhat of a ‘home boy’ they let me off the hook. I really don’t know why I told this one, I was just sitting outside praying and remembered it.
- Just got home from doing some food shopping. On the way back I parked by the bay for a little while. Took a break and read the paper while listening to the radio. I heard a preacher defend the idea of ‘the Pastor’ as the person who ‘runs’ the church. I got upset! He went on to speak about the multimillion dollar ‘church’ that their building in San Antonio, he spoke on the biblical principal of leadership, someone having to make a decision. For example: God makes decisions in the Godhead [Trinity] and things of this nature. Then he spoke on the practical reality of one man needing to ‘make the call’ for the ‘church’ on vital financial decisions and the like. I understood his defense, but it is dead wrong! He basically was making the fundamental mistake of viewing ‘the multimillion dollar building and operation’ as ‘the church’. The Church in the New Testament are all the communities of believers in the various cities and regions where they dwell. The simple fact is there was NEVER a ‘Pastor’ who made the decisions for the whole community. This brother from San Antonio simply was defending the need for one person to make the call in a business environment, but he mistakenly called this ‘the church’. The fact is there was never a single New Testament Church [community of people] who were dependant on ‘a person’ to call the shots! Just cause someone’s on the radio doesn’t always mean that they know what there talking about! [Note; for those of you who think I should have approached him personally before correcting him, I already sent this brother all our books a few years ago, he should have known better by now!] The ‘one man’ who would run the Church in the above scenarios given is JESUS CHRIST! [Next day] Well I cooled down a little bit from yesterday [just a little!]. Let me give you some ‘regional’ history. Back in the late 80’s there were ‘apostles/prophets’ who taught strong ‘apostolic authority’ in the San Antonio area. Many of these brothers are still going strong for God, some I am not sure about. These brothers had a strong influence on the above ‘mega church’. The Pastor of the mega church tried to incorporate ‘plural leadership’ in his ‘church’. They had some difficulties. They were missing the whole point of plural leadership [elders] as being ‘guides and facilitators’ of the community as opposed to leaders who ‘run the church’. The basic mistake was they were ‘seeing’ church as the ‘Christian business’ who meets on Sunday. In this limited perspective it is virtually impossible to incorporate ‘plural leadership’. It’s like ‘who preaches this Sunday’? Or ‘who decides on the color of paint for the church’? Silly stuff like that. I refer to these brothers as being ‘building centric’ as opposed to ‘Christ centric’. Well the Pastor of this San Antonio mega church finally abandoned the whole ‘plural leadership’ mindset in order to simply ‘fulfill my vision’. Which was to have a huge building with lots of people coming to hear him speak. Also during the formative period of all these guys struggling with these issues, a ‘former pastor’ who is now one of the key leaders in the ‘house church movement’ visited San Antonio and spoke on the church as the people, as opposed to ‘the building’. He dealt with plural leadership and the role Apostles play in today’s church. Well eventually the mega church pastor opted out of the idea to do ‘plural leadership’. He needed [or did] embrace a model of ‘one man’ who is highly motivated to get this big building, and no one is going to stop me! The problem with ‘doing church’ this way is that people become assets to another goal. People are ‘expendable’ in these scenarios. The ‘thing’ of importance becomes ‘the building’ as opposed to the harder more long-term goal of ‘the people’. I believe that during the transition stage of this church, the Pastor opted for the easier road of ‘going for the big building’ as opposed to the more difficult road of helping to facilitate a move in the church where ‘plural leaders’ lead people down a road of independence versus being ‘church attendees’. Leaders often choose ‘their vision’ over the overall benefit of the people. God wants leaders to make decisions based on the future of his purpose. Not on ‘what do we want in our lifetime’. Many times Gods higher purpose entails not seeing what you want, for the sake of what he wants! [A few weeks later] I just had a dream [Its 1:22 am as I write this!] about the above San Antonio church. This isn’t the first time I dreamt about this church either. In the dream I was visiting the church, they were very gracious to me. I introduced myself as a visitor who directs ‘Corpus Christi Outreach Ministries’ [I hate relating to ministry people this way, but sometimes I find you have to do this or leaders simply wont give you the time of day!] Well the Pastor, who is a good man, kind of said ‘O this is the Pastor of C.C.O.M.’ and I kind of had to uncomfortably explain ‘well not really the Pastor’. By the way this happens so much in Christian circles, we have a tendency to evaluate people along these lines. ‘What do you do, I am a fire fighter, I do this’ we judge people based on what society believes to be important. Well the dream was all right, the Pastor was nice and well intentioned. I actually plan on visiting this church in the near future. I just felt the San Antonio connection to be important recently. I feel we are going to make some good contacts in this city. Our radio broadcast covers that entire region [as well as Houston and some other major radio markets]. Those of you up there give me an e-mail and lets get in touch.
- I want to go back to something I spoke on a few weeks ago. The subject of the anti christ and the destruction of the temple spoken about in the New Testament. I was having a conversation with a friend and he brought up the fact that the bible speaks about the end of the world and the temple being destroyed. I tried to place some things in historical context. I told him, yes its true that Jesus said the temple would be destroyed, and the apostle Paul wrote the Thessalonians concerning a coming judgment and falling away. But I told my friend that the Roman general Titus actually destroyed the temple in A.D. 70 around 2 thousand years ago. I realize that its popular today to believe a future temple must be built in Jerusalem in order for certain evens to be fulfilled. But it’s also possible that both Jesus and Paul were speaking about the immediate events that were to happen in the 1st There is a verse where Paul says ‘he that restrains will restrain until he’s taken out of the way’ [Thessalonians]. Without getting too technical for some of my readers, this verse is interpreted in some circles as referring to the Spirit of God dwelling in the church. These brothers then see the ‘taking away’ of the church [believers] in the rapture as the event where the restrainer is ‘taken away’ and then the antichrist appears. Thus developing a theology that says all Christians are removed from the planet before the tribulation occurs. Let me put some context to this. The main debate that the apostle Paul and Jesus dealt with in the 1st century was the reality of God bringing in a New Covenant thru the blood of Jesus. This new covenant would only recognize one sacrifice for the sins of man, the death of Christ! The Jewish community had a sort of ‘probationary’ period where they either would accept the final sacrifice of Christ, or ultimately God would leave their religious system. The reality was for the most part the Jewish nation never accepted the finality of the cross. They did not accept Jesus as their Messiah. During this ‘probationary’ period Gods Spirit was still with them to a degree. The book of Hebrews indicates this. It is quite possible that the ‘restrainer’ who would hold back the coming destruction of the temple and the Jewish system was speaking of the Spirit then resident in the Jewish community. In essence God was saying ‘you have so much time to decide whether or not Jesus is Messiah, if you decide the wrong way, I will leave your community [by the Spirit] and there will be no more restraining influence to keep back Rome and its government from destroying you!’ This view puts everything into context. The main thing you see here is Gods priority on the sacrifice of Christ as mans only hope. The Spirit of God would no longer reside with those who would do ‘despite unto the Spirit of Grace’ [Hebrews]. It’s quite possible that the ‘taking away’ of the restrainer was Gods Spirit leaving first century Judaism as a result of their rejection of Christ. Their probationary period was over and they rejected the chief cornerstone!
- Just had a dream a few hours ago. First a little background. The ranch my daughter bought a few months back has 2.5 acres. I found out you can hunt in this county, but under 15 acres you cant use a gun. So I bought a bow. I haven’t hunted yet, but do plan on it. So in the dream I was on the ranch and spotted a big buck. He was fairly close and sure enough I got him! Before he died he turned and made a run for me. He was mad. But he finally died. Without too much speculation let me give a little interpretation. Earlier in this paper I spoke on a dream of ‘catching’ a big fish. I felt like this spoke to having influence with certain key influential people. In this dream I feel the same. The buck had horns, horns represent influence and power. He was closer than I thought he would be when I took the shot. And before succumbing to the arrow he tried to retaliate! I feel some of our teaching is ‘hitting the target’ of some ‘big shots’. They initially don’t realize that there ‘so close’. They even feel like ‘coming after me’ but ultimately the arrow has its effect. Sometimes we have to die to things before we can live! Note; Let me share a funny story. My daughter saw my bow and told me it’s like the one her friends father has. He lives right off of a ranch area and when he gets a chance he shoots a deer. Well my daughter [15 yr old] was with her friend the other day and they have a cute deer that’s been coming around for a few months. His horns are getting big and the dad thought it was time to go for it! Well my daughter’s friend likes the deer. When ‘pops’ goes to get the bow, she sneaks on the other side of the barn and starts throwing rocks. The dad can’t see her. My daughter was with her the other day and she said it was funny. All you can hear is the dad waiting for the shot and then saying ‘darn [yea right] he ran again!’ Thought this was cute.
- Had quite a discussion the other day at the mission for homeless people. Spent a good 2 to 3 hours teaching some guys the history of the reformation [16th century] and how both the Catholics and Protestants had certain truths on each side. It got quite technical, but a few of these guys are serious bible students and they were drinking it in! I shared a little on how the ‘continental reformers’ [Luther, Calvin, Zwingli] were producing booklets [Tractarianism] and how these protestant books were ‘smuggled’ into Catholic England and were influencing certain key people in the realm. King Henry was having his own internal dispute with the Pope over getting an annulment, and he found the protestant writings to be to his advantage in the area of the freedom of the ‘nation states’ to worship God without being subject to Rome. The Protestants were wanting religious reform, but Henry was looking for a way to break from the Popes authority without having a religious rebellion on his hands. Well eventually King Henry does break away and starts the ‘Church of England’ the continental reformers have the protestant reformation. The Church of England, also known as the ‘Anglican Church’, was very much Catholic in her doctrine except for the area of being under the Pope [Henry got what he wanted!]. The reformers on the continent had varying degrees of ‘reform’ in the nation states. I find it interesting that certain Catholic scholars believed that the breaking away of these countries from Rome was a rebellion that would lead to world disaster. These Catholic scholars saw the ‘divine right of Kings’ to be the threat. They believed the Protestants were simply replacing the authority of the Pope with the authority of the Kings. That this would eventually lead to world anarchy because the nations could produce any type of theology that they wanted. I don’t necessarily agree with this, but do find it interesting that Germany, Luther’s country, eventually produced a ‘Hitler’ and Hitler actually read some of Martin Luther’s anti Semitic writings. Luther referred to Jews as ‘dogs’ and other derogatory terms in his writings. The Catholic scholars were prophetic in a way by foreseeing certain world events in this way. Well any way I had this discussion for a few hours and it was a good history lesson. These guys hung in and even asked some very intelligent questions. By the way I see all my Catholic friends as Christian! As an evangelical I recognize there are some serious doctrinal differences [Justification by faith] but take the more liberal view of seeing them as my brothers in Christ. I recognize that the Catholic Church has carried the baton in social justice areas when the Protestants were sleeping at the wheel! The Catholics also were doing missionary work for centuries before the Protestants got with it. So the point is we all need humility in this journey that we are on and our goal is towards having Christian unity as much as possible. I still remember a song I learned as young boy in Catholic school ‘they will no we are Christians by our love’. To a great degree the Catholic Church has done her best at being a voice for Christ in the nations, and her witness [along with her faults] can be found in every generation of man for the last 2 thousand years! You can’t say this about any protestant church! Well I hope this added something of value to the debate. God bless all my Catholic and Protestant friends who have made it this far on this site! Note- England continued to struggle between Catholic and Protestant views for quite a while. The rule of Henrys daughters, Queen Elisabeth and Mary [also known as ‘bloody Mary’ for her executing protestants!] both showed the internal struggle that was going on behind the scenes. There were key religious and political figures that were trying to influence the country towards their views. Many of these were sincere believers who truly felt like they were defending the faith. Some were Protestant, others Catholic. There were terrible executions and horrendous acts committed by both sides during this time. You had very dedicated Catholics, as well as Protestants, die for their faith. Obviously this was a tragic result of religion at any price. In the world today you see this in radical Islam. Some believe I shouldn’t say this, but as Christians we must take a stand against any religion that sees its mandate to convert by force or death. I find it interesting how so many social justice groups and women’s groups criticize the United States and Christianity, but wont say a word against radical Islam and how it absolutely subjugates women today. Women must cover their faces like animals, in some of these societies it’s permitted for a father to kill his daughter if she commits adultery! Give me a break, where are the voices crying out against these atrocities?
- I want to go back to Germany and the fact that after WW2 the United States brought over from Germany all of the scientists that eventually were the originators of our ‘space program’. The U.S. acted wisely in recognizing that the German scientists had a level of knowledge that exceeded what we had. Einstein actually gave us the technology to build the bomb that eventually ended the war. Einstein is the most well known of these German scientists [though he came over before the war ended]. Einstein truly was a genius. One of the goals he had was called ‘the unified theory’. He believed it was possible to ‘tie’ all the various fields of science together, and see a harmony that would show that everything didn’t just happen by accident, but there had to be some greater overall ‘thing’ that was at work. Though Einstein wasn’t a Christian, he did believe in God. Some of his fellow scientists came up with a theory that said chance and ‘luck’ played a role in how things work. Einstein disagreed and said ‘God doesn’t roll dice’. All of these guys held to the idea that there had to be a beginning point to all things. Today we call this the ‘big bang theory’. A basic scientific reality that things did come into existence at a certain point in time. It has been said that the fact that something exists now is proof that God exists! I know this is simplified, but let me explain. The fact that we have a creation today, sun, moon, stars and the intricacy of our planet earth. The tremendous complexity in the human body. Even the most ‘simple’ cell is now known to be highly ‘complex’. These realities lead us to question ‘how did all this happen’. If the earth were a little closer to the sun we would all burn up, a little further and we would all freeze! As science learned these complex things over the years, she has grappled with the question of ‘how’. Science has racked its brain on the beginning stage. Was there a time where nothing existed at all? And if so then how can anything exist now? If matter is infinite [which some try to leave as a possibility] then this contradicts everything else we know from science! Thermodynamics teaches that all things are ‘decaying’ from the original stage. The sun loses its strength over many years. The earth and the solar system and everything else are resources that deplete themselves. This fact shows us that ‘matter’ or things didn’t always exist. If at the beginning you had a few cells and things floating around that eventually ‘exploded’ into this tremendous organized universe [which in itself takes faith to believe!] then where did these gases and early forms of matter come from? They had to start somewhere. And if you eventually traced it all the way back to the time where this was nothing, then the scientific fact is you would have nothing today! Matter doesn’t just appear, and matter is not eternal. These simple scientific proofs lead us to the conclusion that something [or someone] outside of this present world had to initiate these things. This ‘someone’ also had to have been around forever, if not then you have the whole problem of where did he come from, what was his beginning, and all the same questions would arise. So Einstein and others saw these things. The most brilliant minds of man came to the conclusion that a greater being had to exist in order to get the ball rolling. If you took a sealed room with absolutely nothing in it, and nothing else could get in or leave. And then after a million [or billion!] years you opened it up, nothing would be there! This is a scientific fact! The process of time, in and of itself, does not have the power to create something out of nothing! Well then we wind up at the place we started, the fact that ‘anything’ exists is proof that God exists! [Note: Let me give credit to our Catholic brothers once again. Saint Thomas Aquinas ‘Doctor Angelicas’ wrote heavily on these issues long before the Protestants began looking at them. St. Thomas is considered to be one of the greatest theologians and apologists of the Catholic Church].
- I just had 2 thoughts that I felt the Lord wanted me to share. The first is the concept of a ‘pioneer’. God will often choose you to pioneer a thing. Pioneers are cutting a new path where people haven’t walked before. The fact that the path is being cut speaks to the reality that you will get bruised and scarred during this effort. It will take you longer to gain ground than those on the trodden path. You will look like you have been ‘thru hell’. Jesus is the prototypical pioneer. He is the progenitor of a new race of people [the Church!]. He was scarred and wounded more than any man [Isaiah] and he birthed Gods people into reality. The second thought I had was the ‘initial step’ stage. Often times God will use a pioneer to start a new thing. The fact that it is new causes the initial stages of birthing it to be harder and more difficult than picking up where someone else left off. Fear prevents the initial steps, but once a thing is birthed it sustains life by itself. There is tremendous opposition to those who take these paths, but the rewards are well worth it!
- I read a verse the other day that struck me ‘wisdom is better than weapons of war’ [Ecclesiastes]. Proverbs says ‘wisdom builds the house, and knowledge fills it with treasure’. I felt like the Lord was showing us the importance to ‘work smarter not harder’. Look at the apostle Paul. We [Pastors and leaders] have a tendency to read scripture and miss vital truths. Paul ‘started churches’ by going to a region, preaching Christ for a set time [sometimes only 2 or 3 times on a Sabbath day to certain Jewish brothers!] and then trusting the Spirit of God in them to carry on the work. This is working smarter not harder! These New Testament churches were self-sustaining from the get go. Paul wasn’t setting up churches that would be dependant on him [or anyone else!] to be the main Pastor that would run the show. These communities had leaders for sure, but they didn’t have clergy like we do today. God wants all of us to work smarter not harder. Wisdom is better than weapons of war. If you build Jesus into people and develop a ‘self sustaining’ mentality among them, then you have released a people that will do more damage than many ‘weapons of war’!
- The other day at work I was watching the news with another firefighter. The local news showed a homeless guy who was assaulted. I recognized the guy as a harmless guy I just saw a few days earlier. They then showed the 18 year old who beat him up, he was another kid that I just met and was talking to as well. When they showed the kids mug shot he looked like one of these gang kids, but in reality he seemed like a nice kid when I met him. I realized that the people seeing these guys on TV like this immediately stereotype them as dangerous and hopeless. A few months back I took a few homeless people to a local buffet to eat. One of the guys is around 23 years old. Nice kid. On our way to the restaurant my radio and C.D. player went out. I really needed it to work, I use it a lot! I didn’t have time to deal with it so I simply asked this younger brother to pray for it to work. He began praying and I knew he has prayed before. He asked the Lord to forgive him for his faults and really sought the Lord. Within a few minutes the radio started working. He knew the Lord answered his prayer. I just wanted to share how a lot of these guys are on the edge of life and society. God is eager to intervene in their lives. If you allow him, God will use to touch people that no one else can reach. These same guys you see on the news that have committed horrible crimes [a few years back one of the guys killed another with a hammer!] are real people that are close to the edge, you will have to be willing to go out on the edge with them if you want to bring them back in!
- Update- Recently I have been in touch with some old friends that I haven’t seen in 27 years. I realize that a lot of water has gone under the bridge [or something like that?]. Some of my friends are Christian, some not. Some are into the modern motivational type preaching. I realize that for them to read our materials is like a slap in the face. It’s not easy to be part of the ‘modern gospel’ of success and prosperity and then read our stuff [you will see what I mean as you get to the 300’s] I just walked into my study and saw one of the many success books I own and have read over the years. It’s just sitting on a table. I don’t know why its out, maybe one of my kids were reading it? I have read and been into the motivational gospel and understand the good aspects of it. I just believe that a lot of it misses the part of ‘if any man wants to save his life, he must lose it for my sake and the gospel’ [Jesus Christ]. Over the years I have had a fairly good measure of success. We have come pretty far for a high school level of education and a Navy drop out! I am not bragging, but what I want you to see is my focus has not been on ‘saving my life’ or living to be successful. I have tried to lose my life for the gospel as much as possible. I don’t believe I am even 1/100th of where I should be. Still selfish and self-seeking. When the rubber meets the road still willing to choose self-preservation over Gods will. Still have a long way to go! But the point today is I don’t want to offend any old buddies from the old days, and I realize that if some of them are into the prosperity gospel they will be offended. But maybe God allowed me to cross paths with some of you for this very purpose? Who knows, maybe I have come to the kingdom for such a time as this. [You too!]
- In keeping with the above, scripture says ‘Jesus was led of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil’. After the 40 days temptation he returned in the ‘power of the Spirit’. The main ingredient for the authority that was displayed in Jesus teaching ministry was the wilderness experience. Scripture says Jesus taught with authority, not like the scribes and Pharisees. Jesus obtained a level of authority because of his suffering, not despite it! If we spend most of our waking hours on how to avoid and by-pass difficult situations, then we are unknowingly cutting off the main source of possessing authority above that which is common today.
- Lets go back to the discussion on ‘motivational/prosperity’ teaching and preaching. In the Church there are different ‘levels’ of understanding and thought. All levels serve a purpose at various stages of Christian growth. The 3rd grade is important as well as high school and college. To stop at the 3rd grade is not good! To miss the 3rd grade is also not good. To explain to someone the importance of ‘elementary level’ teaching, while showing them the need to move on is not easy. Over the years I have dealt a lot with the ‘elementary’ stuff. I try to explain the importance of being motivated and having a positive attitude and good things like that. I then try to transition into the mindset of ‘seeking first the kingdom of God’. There comes a stage with all of us [university level] where God knows we have the basics down and he then calls us to another place. This ‘other’ place is an attitude of forsaking self and the things of this life to attain a higher goal. When Jesus told the disciples he was going to Jerusalem to die, Peter says ‘no way, we wont let this happen!’ and Jesus replies ‘get thee behind me satan, for you are concerned more with the things of man than the things of God’. Jesus [our example] reached a point in his life where he knew the purpose of God was not to be measured by whether ‘I like it or not’. Much motivational preaching uses this at its criteria. ‘Surely God doesn’t want his kids to suffer’ ‘where kings kids’ and things like this. I believe these things are true to a degree, but there at a 3rd grade level! [I don’t want to sound condescending, but I want you to see what I am trying to convey]. Remember, the 3rd grade is good, but not if your 21 years old! Also the university is good, but not if your 9 years old! So everything has its time and purpose. God does command us to ‘think like men’ [Corinthians] and the problem with the Evangelical church is we confuse ‘childlike faith’ with ‘childlike thinking’ [The book ‘the scandal of the evangelical mind’ deals with this]. I believe the more mature aspect of the Christian life is to advance beyond the ‘motivational’ stage to the ‘taking up your cross and following me’ stage. I just saw a verse on this Christian calendar I get from the radio station we broadcast on. It says ‘and the Lord turned the captivity of Job when he prayed for his friends’. Its so easy to focus on self and ‘how do I get out of the mess I’m in’ mentality. Job was able to come out of this mindset and pray for others. This denying of self is what turned his situation around.
- Believe it or not, but those of you who are reading this paper from the start, it’s been only 3 months since I started writing! I say this for a reason. A few months ago I felt it was time to reach out to old friends from Jersey. As busy as I am I really struggled with making more trips to Jersey or some other avenue of outreach. Well thru this blog site, as well as the classmate’s site and the emailing [and regular mailing as well] I have had some good results. I just mailed the first few letters to a New Jersey prison. My old buddy wrote me back from south woods prison [Jersey] and really appreciated the books I sent and we are keeping in touch. I will probably call his family in the next few weeks. He asked me to call his wife and kids. Its strange because I knew his wife and older boy when we where hanging out as teenagers [he married and had kids young] and its like the friendship picked right up from the early days. He even told me in his letter how he used to tell his kids about me and stuff [probably like ‘that psycho from Jersey is now a preacher in Texas’] but I was glad to be in touch with a buddy I haven’t heard from in around 20 years. The books I sent him are an avenue to the prison he’s in. Books get around, people write and there you have it, a great opportunity to preach the gospel to a whole prison population without starting some ‘Christian ministry’ to do it! I just wanted to model this for you guys.
- WARNING: This entry has absolutely no spiritual value. But I thought I would tell the story anyway. A few years back I was visiting a friend of mine who is a wiz a computers. He had a couple of 2 by 10’s [boards] on his front steps leading down to the sidewalk. I guess he had recently moved some furniture? Well my youngest daughter and his youngest boy [around 10 years old] were riding scooters in the front. My friend, who is kind of large, had the great idea of telling them to ride the scooters down this ramp. They were hesitant, and so was I. He then proceeded to ‘show’ them how to do it! He took his sons scooter and mounted the runway. As he began going down the ramp, the front tire got stuck between the 2 boards, he went flying! I mean his hands were by his side and he landed face first on the concrete. At first I thought I might have to begin C.P.R., but it would have been difficult to perform while uncontrollably laughing! My friend was O.K., but I couldn’t stop laughing for weeks. I am laughing right now as I write this. It looked like something Jeff Fox worthy would say about rednecks or something. My friend looked a little like the red neck character from King of the Hill.
- I just read a verse in Psalms ‘for he shall stand at the right hand of the poor’. It’s amazing how many promises you find for those who ‘give to the poor’ ‘defend the poor’ ‘speak out on the behalf of the poor’ and so on. Jesus himself uses this language when he describes the final judgment of mankind. Over the years of learning ‘ministry’ and all the stuff that surrounds it, I have gone thru seasons as a young ‘preacher’ where older, well meaning preachers/ministers tried to ‘lead’ me in a path of what they saw to be ‘ministry’. Sort of trying to hook me up with influential people, or trying to steer me into the path of ‘the full time paid minister’. While these men were well meaning for the most part, they ‘saw’ ministry as a profession. They sincerely tried to direct me [and others] down the path of ‘ministry’. Like if I were to show some rookie the ropes of being a fire fighter. I distinctly remember during these times that there would also be opportunities to reach out to poor and hurting people. I would really sense the presence of God when simply helping others. This same ‘presence’ simply was not around when trying to advance in the field of professional ministry. Seeing ministry as a ‘profession’ to which you spend your time and energy to advance in your field misses out on the deeper aspect of being a servant to people. The whole concept of ‘the last being first’ ‘laying down your life for others’ and so on. Like the above verse says ‘God is at the right hand of the poor’ and when you’re with them you sense God because these are the people that he ‘hangs out with’.
- ‘Extending your voice beyond the parameter that God has ordained’. This is something that I have meditated on over the years. As ‘ministers’ have learned to ‘professionalize’ ministry, there comes with it a package of trying to get the message out to as many people as possible. Is this in and of itself wrong? No. I do this as well. But the result is today you have national level ministries that should not be national! There are Billy Grahams and others who have a great message and testimony. Then you have a whole host of others who are at the ‘3rd’ grade level that are communicating to the entire community. A few years ago one of the most famous prosperity preachers started a church and extension ministry in our city. This was well after I already dealt with this movement on the radio. I kind of felt like some of the prosperity brothers wanted to ‘strike back’ against the strong stance that we took. I remember actually ‘prophesying’ on the radio that some of these brothers were here to see a more accurate picture of Christ and the church. I was a little harsh in that I mentioned the famous guys name, but I felt I needed to. He was famous for spreading the doctrine that Jesus and the disciples were rich. This was a blatant false teaching that spread like wildfire in certain circles. Well this ministry didn’t last very long in our town. Actually there were a couple of well know prosperity churches in our area [one well known, the other did a lot of advertising]. They are gone now. This wasn’t my intent to run them off. But I felt like there needed to be a season where all of the ‘word of faith/prosperity’ churches needed to re-think and re-examine the whole message that they preach. It is unfortunate that many of these ministries have the concept down of getting lots of funds, and then they use these funds to extend there message ‘beyond the borders’ of their level of teaching. Again I don’t want to judge or sound condescending, but many of these movements are at a very immature level of understanding. It has done damage to the church at large to propagate a materialistic mindset in so many young believers. I pray the Lord would give us all grace and humility to limit our voices when he tells us to, and also allow him to ‘exalt our horn like the horn of a unicorn’ when he so desires.
- Let me model something for you guys. After the last entry  I ‘embarked’ on one of those difficult days. You know, you need to get things done and you feel like the whole day was wasted with difficulties and trials. Well this lasted until a few hours ago when I woke up. I don’t want to make too much out of my habit of getting up early, but its 3:45 am as I pen this and some days I feel I accomplish more from 2-8 am than the rest of the day! Also as an aside if you go to sleep at 8pm instead of 10, and then get up at 2 or 3 a.m. you can get a full day of study and prayer in before you go to work. You can maximize your output to that of 2 people by simply sacrificing 2 hours of ‘awake’ time from 8 to 10 pm. Not saying you all should do this, but use your time wisely and you will get much done. Now to the other stuff. The last few days I have heard a lot of stuff on ‘speaking your world into existence’ ‘there is a miracle in your mouth’ ‘life and death are in the power of the tongue’ and so on. All good ‘basic’ principles. Jesus did say ‘if you say to this mountain be cast into the sea, it will obey you’. The main problem with the way we apply these things is we seem to get a vision of how we want our life to be and then apply all these principles to making it happen. In the scenario I gave the other day when Jesus told Peter ‘I am going to Jerusalem to die’ you could see this as a bad confession. You could say ‘see Jesus got what he said’. While it is true he got what he said, yet his saying it isn’t why it happened! The will of God for your life is primarily revealed to you by God. Over your life he ‘speaks’ to you thru various means [bible, prophecy, direction from friends, etc.] As you learn to ‘die’ to your own dreams and visions [what I want mentality] you at the same time awaken to Gods greater purpose. This whole process is a result of hearing Gods word over your life. In essence you really don’t create your world by the words you speak, in as much as your ‘world’ being a result of the words that God speaks. Now the principle of a good confession is still true, but your focus now becomes ‘moving the mountains that stand in the way of Gods purpose’. When Jesus said to Peter ‘get thee behind me satan’ he was ‘speaking’ to the mountain of ‘self-will’ that always stands in the way of ‘Gods will’. Do you see what I am saying? This is the difference between ‘3rd grade’ and ‘university’ level. I encourage you today to take the stance of Job who I mentioned a few days ago. In the midst of your trials ‘pray for your friends’, that is make your confession one of unselfishness and the welfare of others, for as you do this you are ‘laying down your life for the gospel’! NOTE; If you remember in the temptation story of Jesus being tempted 40 days in the desert, after Jesus rebukes the devil scripture says ‘the devil departed from him for a season’ this indicating that Jesus knew he would have to confront him again before he completed his mission. This confrontation with Peter is the beginning of that confrontation. Jesus had to rise above the friendship and care of one of his closest disciples and make the difficult decision to recognize the voice of satan thru one of his closest friends. Over the years during our teaching on these issues I would often find Pastors un-willing to ‘see’ or even accept the fact that they might have been influenced in a wrong way thru the ‘word of faith/prosperity’ movement. It is difficult to admit and recognize that good people can make serious errors in judgment. The issue isn’t how ‘nice’ or ‘good’ the prosperity brothers are. The issue is whether or not the ‘voice’ that has come from this camp is legitimate! It’s hard to look at your ‘Peter’ and recognize that what they’re saying isn’t really from God. NOTE: It is interesting that there were set times or seasons of temptation in the life of Jesus. These seasons didn’t last forever. Though temptation is always a reality to deal with in the Christian life, yet there is a sense of ‘task completed’ in the area of severe trial and testing. A sense of ‘assignment completed’ in a way. Scripture says ‘affliction shall not rise up a second time. Though I have afflicted thee, I will afflict thee no more’ this doesn’t mean you will never go thru hard times again, but a real sense that ‘this thing I have been going thru is finally over, God has brought forth what he wanted and now its time to move on’.
- Well I just read in psalms ‘I myself shall awake early’ and it reminded me of something. A few years back when I started this early prayer thing I read a verse one morning where it says ‘in an acceptable time have I heard thee’ and I felt the Lord was saying this time-slot of early prayer he was hearing. My immediate response to the Lord was ‘I sure hope so!’ I kind of was joking with the Lord I guess! It was like ‘Hey, if your not hearing this early prayer, I’ll do the traditional 20-minute deal’. Didn’t want to be irreverent, but kind of thought it was funny.
- ‘THE HINDRANCE OF THE ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT’ over the years I have had the privilege of speaking into the lives of key leaders. Sometimes I only run into them once in 5 years or so. I notice how we [Pastors/Leaders] become victims of the system. Many times in a city you will have ‘competing’ churches [ministries] who are doing there best to accomplish some goal or vision. The leaders often see and view everything thru the paradigm of ‘how do I accomplish this, who can I enlist [or hire] from the local pool of talent that will be a part of us’. Because of the ‘entrepreneurial spirit’ there is a sense of ‘every man being out for yourself’ while giving lip service to true oneness and unity. Don’t want to be too mean, but this is true. If we can get beyond the idea of ‘church/ministry’ as the business that we run and begin to see ‘church’ as the community of Christians around us, then we will make headway against the ‘entrepreneurial spirit’. I just get tired of running into leaders whose first question is ‘why haven’t you visited my church?’ This breeds an insecurity in leaders who find their identity in ‘how many people attend my church’. May God help us all; we really have a long way to go!
- NOTE: [this is the 3rd attempt of trying to write this entry. I tried 24 hours ago at work and the computer messed up and I lost it! I then decided to re write it and we had a big structure fire. I am now up at 2:06 am and giving it another shot, obviously this is for you! Whoever ‘you’ are!] Let me do an overview of some things. The last few weeks I have mentioned the ‘Word of Faith/Prosperity movement’. In the late 1800’s there was a preacher by the name of E.W.Kenyon. Brother Kenyon is the ‘father’ of the modern ‘word of faith’ movement. Brother Kenyon brought out some good things in his teaching. The 1800-1900s were right after the great awakenings in our country, many churches emphasized the sinfulness of man and mans need to confess his sins. Brother Kenyon took hold of the truths in scripture where we are to confess ‘Jesus as Lord’ instead of always confessing sin! The focus of much of this teaching emphasized the things we do to change our circumstances. If you ‘walk’ in the ‘sense realm’ [5 senses] you are walking by sight, but if you walk by faith you are not living by the senses. The way faith was taught was more like ‘you create your world by the things you speak’ and stuff like that. The focus was on ‘acting right’. If you say wrong things or ever admit to any problems or failure you are not in faith. While many of these things sound good, the result was you become self-conscious and begin seeing yourself as the person who is in charge of ‘changing your world’. If ‘your world’ is messed up, well it’s ‘YOUR’ fault. Biblical faith is based more on the ‘person’ of God. You are not trying to say and think positive all the time, in as much as you are depending on God even in the midst of your problems and failures. While many of the Word of Faith brothers focus on Paul’s teaching in Romans on ‘looking not at the things that are seen, but unseen’ they seem to forget that Abraham was the man of faith that these scriptures reference. Abraham did not say or do everything right! His life is not shown as someone who had this perfect impenetrable faith confession. He blew it many times. But he always had the ability to ‘look to the promise of God’ instead of his own failures. This type of faith works for you right now. You don’t see the answer in you becoming this ‘robot’ type person who can never say something wrong or even admit to failure. You simply tell God in the midst of your trials ‘I can’t make it, but you can!’ Now bother Kenyon had a background in the metaphysical cults/groups. These are the groups that believe you change reality thru thought and meditation [Christian science and others]. They believe that reality is not this material world, but what you say and think create ‘your world’. Many modern word of faith brothers don’t realize that the type of faith they espouse is a lot like these groups. I have bought and read many of brother Kenyon’s books over the years, also many of the modern word of faith brothers as well. There was always a sense of ‘mystical’ or ‘strange’ stuff I would run across. These brothers teach that Jesus was ‘born again’. They take the verse that says Jesus is the first begotten from the dead and they see this as ‘being born again’. Most Christians see this as meaning Jesus was the first to rise from the dead with a resurrection body. While others were raised from the dead before Jesus, they all died again. Not Jesus! So this is kind of a strange way to take scripture and ‘twist’ it into a form of faith that has Christian elements in it, but really doesn’t present the Christianity of the New Testament. I remember sharing with a person who was heavily into this movement. They were struggling financially for years. They were always living under this guilt of ‘creating this poverty world’ and constantly focusing on rebuking the devil and trying to ‘create a prosperous world’. I tried to show this person that they weren’t really living by simple faith and trust, but more like under a legalism that you are responsible for not being wealthy and you must do and say everything right or its your fault! I showed them 1st Timothy chapter 6. It says its O.K. to not be wealthy and not feel bad about it. I showed this person that faith was simply being able to thank God that all your needs [not wants!] are being met and if you live the rest of your life without becoming rich it’s O.K. ‘BE CONTENT WITH WHAT YOU HAVE, DON’T DESIRE TO BE RICH’ these are actual scriptures! Well this person finally saw the legalism and guilt that their understanding of faith brought upon them. They later sent me a message thru a mutual friend that said ‘tell John thank you, I am now free from the legalism that I was living under’. I do believe that brother Kenyon [and all the others] are Christians who mean well. But we need to recognize that some of our teaching has gotten off track and return to the biblical message. I know some of you are uncomfortable with these things, and I am sorry about this. But I felt it was important to drop this in. God bless! NOTE: Let me add that it was a matter of choosing to believe scripture over and above the teaching of this movement. Its fun to see yourself as rich and happy. Even spending your whole life just thinking about it can be addictive! This is what Jesus meant when he said ‘you can not serve God and money’. Affluence becomes ‘your God’ in many of these groups. I used to watch these weekend realtor infomercials because its fun to strategize and think ‘money thoughts’. In the past I have made money by investing in real estate. But there came a time where I laid that aside for a higher purpose. I am not saying you can’t be in real estate, or that you can’t be rich! Just don’t confuse biblical faith with a ‘get all you can’ mentality!
- ‘THE REPROACHES OF THOSE THAT REPROACHED THEE FELL UPON ME/ DON’T FEAR THE REPROACH OF MEN’ I find it interesting that when leaders fall [Jimmy Swaggart/Paul Cain/Ted Haggard/Jim Bakker/etc.] The world enjoys ‘reproaching’ them. It is interesting to ask the ‘reproachers’ ‘have you ever done some of the things that they are accused of doing?’ They of course would deny it, but scripture says ‘IF THOU O LORD WOULD KEEP A RECORD OF SIN, WHO WOULD BE ABLE TO STAND’ we know that all of the ‘reproachers’ are guilty of many of the same offenses, if not worse! But they seem to take comfort in the fact that no body knows [yet!]. All men will appear at the judgment, scripture says some people’s sins are found out now [Haggard/Bakker/Swaggart] and others will be found out later. It’s really a futile thing to take comfort in the fact that ‘no body knows yet’. This is what happened with the Pharisees who caught the woman in adultery. The fact that she was exposed and ‘caught in the act’ gave them great delight. The fact that they were just as guilty but not caught yet also gave them great delight. But the reality of being in Jesus presence, especially to bring accusation on another, also brings with it the requirement of you also being exposed. Jesus wrote something in the sand when the Pharisees were in front of him. Many speculate that he wrote the names of all the women [or men!] that they had ‘been with’ too! He might have simply written their worst sin. The point was they were taking joy in the fact that the woman was caught [Swaggarts/Haggards/etc.] not realizing that their day was coming also! All humans can hide their sins/faults for so long, some feel they really have none, but we know that all men are dust and sooner or later this too will be revealed. Thank God that the ‘reproaches of those who would reproach you’ have fallen on Jesus. The Christian has the consolation of knowing that Jesus bore the humiliation, the unbeliever will have to bare it alone!
- I read a verse that says ‘the stone that the builders rejected became the head of the corner’ [chief cornerstone]. I find this interesting; we have a tendency to reject those who are prominent in the building. Jesus said ‘a prophet is without honor in his own town and among his own people’. Think of it, Jesus was/is the most prominent person of wisdom and stature in the entire building of God. There would be no greater prophet of value and stature to arise! Yet in his area people not only devalued him, but they saw him as unstable. Their denigration of him got to a level where they actually put him to death for his religious views [claiming to be the Son of God]. Prophetic people are born out of environments of rejection and difficulty. The very process of ‘rejection’ causes the ‘stone to be tried/tested’. I find it interesting that the people who rub you the wrong way might very well be one of ‘the prominent’ stones needed to complete ‘your building’ [that is the things God wants to do in your life]. It is interesting to note that once they spoke against Jesus it was very difficult to be able to receive from him. They sort of had the mindset they wanted him to fail, even if the proof kept piling up that he was legitimate! When people speak against you [not talking about honest criticism] they put themselves in a position where they cut themselves off from any benefit they might gain from you. Its not that the prophetic people want this, it just seems to work out this way. When Jesus wept over Jerusalem he wanted them to benefit from who he was and the mission he was on, it’s just they cut themselves off from any value they might have gained from him. NOTE: Once a person’s character is denigrated by someone [whether right or wrong] it is almost impossible to overcome and receive from the person you denigrate [note: I am not talking about silly gossip and stuff people say about people. We are all guilty of this from time to time!] The fact that Jesus actually raised the dead, a miracle of the highest order, should have been able to silence those who questioned his legitimacy, but it didn’t! This shows you the power of ‘being rejected’ as a process from the Father. It also shows you the vanity of wanting the approval of man. Jesus says in the gospel of John that he doesn’t receive, nor seek the approval of men because ‘he knew what was in man’. What did he know about what was in man? He fully understood the depravity of mans nature from the start of his ministry, man was so depraved that the father sent him on this human journey to redeem man. And what would be the key factor in this redemption? Mans sinful nature was so consistent, that it would be virtually impossible for man to not kill the Son of God!
- Just outside praying and had a few thoughts. Many years ago I took a trip to Switzerland with some friends. While there I met a bunch of good brothers. One was the pastor of a church we were visiting. In regular conversation I slipped in a prophetic word. I told him ‘in the past you built your church on the Word and faith, you are now going to focus on Grace, mercy and the love of God’ [these might not be exact, but this was the jist of what I said]. The pastor was a little shocked and he kind of ‘hit’ me in a ‘loving’ way. He basically slapped me fairly hard on the chest, not in anger but in surprise. He said these were the exact words that God had told him about the church. For him to hear the exact words was a confirmation that it was truly God. Another time in the states I had a friend who was a prophet ‘in training’. He no doubt had a gift but I say ‘in training’ because I felt he wasn’t yet being responsible in meeting the needs of his family and stuff. Sort of like knowing he had a prophetic gift and not being able to hold down a job because he felt his job should be in some type of ministry. This happens a lot with well meaning people. Well any way I was talking to him after a church service and I simply said ‘the Lord is going to use your gift, but you have to ‘harness’ your life first’. The word harness was exactly what the Lord had told him before. In both of these scenarios it was ‘being exact’ in the prophesy that made the difference. I just want you to see that it is not dependant on ‘your’ gift or wisdom at all. It is simply a function of hearing and speaking when the Lord tells you to! NOTE: For a few years I subscribed to a monthly prophetic tape from Morningstar ministries [Rick Joyner]. The month I was to leave for Switzerland the tape was called ‘The call to Switzerland’ they obviously had no idea I was going to Switzerland.
- Yesterday I went to the homeless mission to see some friends. I ran into one of the original friends I met years ago [around 15 years ago!]. We are good friends. I think he sees me as his ‘best friend’. He is always overjoyed when I run into him. If he’s in the hospital [which happens often!] and I don’t go to see him he gets real offended. Well any way I helped him look for an apartment yesterday. He is handicapped and uses an electric wheelchair. He very rarely showers and if he sits in your vehicle or a chair it really smells bad. Some restaurants actually have told us not to come back because of this. Well when I picked him up at the mission we went inside to drop of his chair so he could hop in the truck with me. On the wall right where he left his chair there was a poster from Exodus that said ‘my presence shall go with you’. It’s what God told Moses. If you remember I just wrote on this a few weeks ago. God ‘being at the right hand of the poor’. Well we went to a few places to look for an apartment. I spent a few hours, was real tired. Didn’t sleep much the night before. One of those nights of getting up at midnight. I really hate to get up that early, but I will do work and stuff and make the most of it. After dropping my friend off my truck really smelt bad. I had the windows open and it stunk! I have even had other homeless friends who have said ‘how can you stand it’. Well as I was driving home I made a mental note to spray a type of fabric cleaner on the seat. I have done it before. I was driving home and thinking ‘you know Lord I don’t even feel upset about having to do this’. No feeling of ‘why should I put up with this’. I remembered the verse I saw earlier where it said ‘My presence shall go with you’. Sort of like the Lord said ‘I came down into the midst of the stench of mans humanity, and I put up with it because of my love for people’. Even as you read this some of you might be thinking ‘boy, I would never do this, have some bum stink up my nice ‘church’ vehicle!’ What if it was your father? Do we really view people the way God does?
- Just woke up and had the thought of ‘when the spotlight hits you’. What I remembered was hearing preachers over the years speak about ‘getting in the spotlight’. All well-meaning men who are being affected by the system. In the 2 scenarios that came to mind the brothers shared how in due time you too can be ‘famous’ but you have to be faithful and wait your turn. I also just read an article in the paper about a pastor who has taken his ‘deacon board’ to the state supreme court on a number of occasions in order to ‘keep his church’ [they are trying to fire him, also when I just went thru and did the spell check the option it gave me for ‘save his church’ was ‘circus’ I was tempted to leave it but that would have been a little harsh!] These ways of seeing ‘church’ and ‘ministry’ deeply affect the way we function as Gods people. First, there is a ‘secret’ element in Jesus teachings that speak to leaders in the church as not seeking or becoming ‘famous’. Also by ‘secret’ I mean it’s plainly taught but we don’t seem to ‘see it’ in the way we function. God will bring you to a place where you recognize and develop the character to avoid the ‘idol worship’ mentality that hinders the work of the Spirit. Ministry and ‘church’ are not businesses that we own and operate. They are free gifts that God deposits in his people for the benefit of the whole community. The ‘excitement’ of the New Testament churches wasn’t ‘look at this ministry that God has called us to’ or Paul recruiting people to ‘My Vision’. The excitement was this great reality of Jesus being the Messiah. ‘THE PROMISED ONE IS HERE’. Their time and focus was on the actual person of Christ, not the things that Christ was doing with them! This is why Paul teaches in Corinthians that the gifts are simply tools given by Gods grace, he shows a mentality of ‘why glory in the tools/gifts being they are all freely given?’ if we are simply vessels that God is flowing thru, then why exalt the vessel? The greatest in the Kingdom must seek to be a servant. All of these characteristics are what should mark ministry and leadership today. There are many good men who see and embrace these things. But we sometimes give the wrong impression to young believers. We kind of tell them ‘your day of fame is coming, but for now just glory in what Gods doing with me’. This is not right.
- Keeping in mind what I just said, now I want you to ‘see’ how the business of ministry affects all of us. When you go to this blog [as well as many others!] you can read and access all of ‘our’ materials for free. There are some sites that mean well, but they ‘tease’ you with the first few sentences of some teaching and then you have to pay for the rest. Now I am not saying that they are all wrong for doing this, but if your goal is ‘to get the word out’ is this the most effective means possible? If the Apostle Paul did this with the letters he was writing [New Testament] would this help or hurt his cause. When Jesus said ‘freely you have received, now freely give’ would Paul feel right in ‘charging’ for his services or intellectual property? Remember Paul taught that all our gifts belong to God; they are not really ‘our property’ at all! I know there are different views on this, but personally when I go to a Christian site that I enjoy reading from, and then they cut the article off until you subscribe or something. I just go to another site. Remember the goal is to get the gift God has given to us to as many people as possible. If you feel charging for your services are the way to do this, then fine! But your gift is not given to you to make a profit; it is given to build the church!
- ‘EVERY HOUSE IS BUILT BY SOME MAN, BUT HE THAT BUILT ALL THINGS IS GOD’ in a lot of our teaching we are trying to change the mindset from ‘building the building/ministry’ to ‘building the people’. There is an inherent nature in man to want to build something. It is easy to get caught up in the excitement of building ‘buildings/ministries’ as opposed to building the Church [community of people]. As we see the purpose of God to have a habitation of ‘people’ as opposed to a ‘temple’ we transition our focus from ‘things’ to people. The excitement that the Apostle Paul was experiencing as you read the New Testament was his understanding that he was building these communities of people that would ‘last forever’. In essence he was grasping the eternal purpose of God to live in a ‘city’ whose builder and maker is God! These communities [buildings] survive till this day. You and I are this building. When we fully grasp that we are the Church that the gates of hell cannot prevail against, it is exciting to realize that God himself is dwelling in us as his habitation. In all of our efforts of ministry we need to be mindful that we actually are the ‘City of God’. We are the ‘New Jerusalem that is coming down from God out of heaven’ we are ‘born from above’. Everything that can be shaken will be shaken [the buildings of man] so the things that cannot be shaken [the building of God] may remain!
- Let me share 2 strange things that happened in the last few days. The other morning while outside praying I heard a loud rushing wind go over my head. It sounded like a strong gust of wind that I hear going thru the trees while I pray. I thought it strange because it wasn’t windy. I turned around and looked up and saw a flock of birds flying overhead. It amazed me that this noise was coming from them. I have seen lots of birds fly overhead before, but never heard them make a sound like this. This also was the first day that we put our blog site in the Corpus paper for people to read. I was just outside praying and was under a type of ‘pressure’. I wasn’t sure to pray or put on some music that I listen to while interceding. I walked outside and saw a gigantic bird stuck in the tree. It was huge. It was flapping and really strange. After a few minutes it let loose and flew away [it kind of felt a little demonic!] Well scripture says ‘our souls are escaped like a bird out of the snare of the fowler, the snare is broken and we are free’. Felt like the Lord might be saying he has released us from some things and the ‘rushing wind of his Spirit’ is going to flow thru and to us.
- A couple of things today. Last night on the discovery channel they aired a special on the ‘lost tomb of Jesus’. Another ‘Davinci code’ criticism of Jesus and the Church. I find it interesting that after 2 thousand years people are still gossiping about Jesus. I wonder if he’s thinking at the right hand of God ‘father you said I would be criticized, but I never thought it would last this long’. I do find the stupidity of the critics entertaining at times. First, if you spend whole lifetimes denying the existence of someone, the last thing you would do is ‘discover his tomb’ [supposedly with his bones in it!]. Second, why spend so much money and effort explaining away something that is supposedly fake. I don’t see any TV specials on denying the existence of ‘Santa Clause’. Me thinks the critics doth protest too much!
Now a word to ‘our critics’. First I want you guys to know I pray for you every day ‘Lord, let judgment come swift and fast!’ [Just kidding!] But honestly sometimes criticism can be good. I have had people tell me that my sharing of the stories of helping people is violating the principle of Jesus to ‘let not your right hand know what your left is doing’. That is don’t boast about your good deeds or else you lose your reward in heaven. This is a good point that I should not dismiss out of hand. Jesus ‘modeled’ things by example, as well as actual teaching. Many years ago I had a prophetic word given to us that said ‘thru my example many would see and understand the works of Jesus’. The whole word spoke on our ‘style’ of ministry as being unique and ‘showing’ thru example the works of Jesus. When I first started sharing stories and stuff I saw it more as the Lord telling me to do it in this way. Jesus told the story of the ‘good Samaritan’; he was speaking of himself in this parable. The main thing Jesus was dealing with when telling the people ‘don’t do things just to be seen’ was the mindset that existed in the religious community of his day. They lived for the public recognition of society around them. Their prayers and fasting were done solely for them to be seen as pious and holy. They had absolutely no intent on actually doing service to God or helping their fellow man. It was in this environment that Jesus said these things. You do find Paul having to ‘boast’ of his accomplishments in order to teach the Corinthians stuff. Well any way I thought I would clear this up. And to all my critics, take comfort in the fact that I am going to pray right now, and you are going to be in my prayers! [Still kidding a little].
- A few years back we had the ‘Waco tragedy’ take place in Texas. This was the story of David Korresh and the cult group the ‘Branch Davidians’. Well as a joke the guys at work would call me ‘the Branch Chiarellian’. It was all in fun, I really don’t have time to worry about silly stuff. These are all good guys. But I find it interesting on how many times in this paper I spoke about ‘branches’ and stuff. The Martin Luther King Dream. Verses that say ‘the man whose name is the branch’ [this is Jesus and also the church and prophetic people as an extension of his Body] All in all I like the way ‘prophetic’ people can get people to prophesy to them whether they realize it or not!
- ‘Think perennially versus annually’. Where I live in South Texas spring starts early. My yard is already blooming and growing. In my backyard I have tried to use ‘xerscape’ as a means to establish a self-sustaining/ low maintenance yard. I have learned over the years that you can plant ‘perennials or annuals’. When I found out the difference it surprised me that anyone would plant annuals. Annuals are beautiful plants that look great, but die every year and you start from scratch each new year. Perennials look just as good, cost the same and last ‘forever’ [theoretically]. So why choose high maintenance over low? Some people don’t know the difference, others simply like the process of planting new every year. I notice that the ‘new planters’ seem to enjoy the routine of ‘re-planting’. Some don’t really spend a lot of time ‘looking’ and enjoying the plants, they simply like the work! That’s fine. I am the lazy type. Hey if I can by a car that lasts one year, looks, works and costs the same as one I can buy that lasts forever, well you know! I want to challenge you to think ‘perennially’ versus ‘annually’. Seek to implement avenues of ‘ministry’ that require low maintenance. Establish ‘things’ that you can enjoy year after year without having to ‘re-plant’ each year. There are things like our radio programs and this blog site that once their initiated I don’t have to really ‘re-preach’ manually week after week to the same crowd. Now it’s O.K. for you Pastors to preach every week. I am just trying to show the difference between ‘manually’ doing it, and allowing the thing to grow ‘on it’s own’. Many churches print bulletins and send out flyers. Why not package them in such a way that people would save them? You can actually make part of it [or all of it] look like a little book that has permanent qualities [whole portions of scripture like the book of Romans or something?] And even say on the booklet ‘SAVE FOR FUTURE REFERENCE or DON’T THROW THIS OUT’. People are receptive to suggestions. Plus if the people are saving these things then they will always have the ministry information for years to come! Well these are just ideas. What I wanted to emphasize today was to use wisdom in all of these areas. Seek to establish avenues of ministry that don’t require a lot of time and money, but can have a regional influence! NOTE: for those of you who read this blog, you can start one yourself for free. If you don’t feel you have any thing to say then simply send this site to as many people as possible. This is a free avenue that once established can go on indefinitely.
- It’s funny how I come up with things to say. I was just outside praying and one of the images I use when I pray is ‘visit this vine, this vineyard and this branch’. I read it in Psalms and incorporated it into intercession. I was just thinking how many times Jesus used ‘vineyard’ and garden imagery in his teaching. He spoke of the owner of the vineyard coming to see how the caretakers were doing. They were not taking care of the vineyard so he gave it to others. God often sees the ‘world’ as the field. We seem to create parameters in ministry that are limited. ‘I will work with our financial partners’ mentality. We develop little childish mindsets that shrink our ‘field of influence’. God sees in ‘world wide’ terms. He ‘plants’ us with generational destiny in mind. He’s not looking at our silly little prerequisites that we deem must be met before ‘my ministry’ spends time and resources on you. Paul said Gods love constrains us. We are ‘debtors’ to the whole world. You and I are responsible to work in this field. Don’t confuse his ‘field’ with your small circle of friends and supporters!
- Just saw on the news the other day that the fire dept. went to a brush fire. While putting out the fire they realized that it was a woman who was set on fire. Some guy from their homeless camp is suspected of doing it. They were all homeless. This was in another part of town from where I usually go. But the campsite and all looked like the camps I have visited over the years. They didn’t identify the woman yet; hope its nobody I know. Life can be tragic at times. Do me a favor and pray for all my homeless friends. Actually I would love it if you regularly prayed for this ministry [C.C.O.M.] and all the avenues of outreach the Lord has given us. We really need your prayers, thanks!
- Back to something I mentioned a few weeks back. ‘Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner destroys much good’ Felt like the Lord was saying he gives us specific ‘nuggets’ of wisdom that make the difference between victory or failure. You can’t afford a ‘day of sin’ because you might unknowingly be aborting your key nugget of wisdom that God was going to communicate to you in that day. It’s like the sin of abortion. Some feel you need to practice abortion for the simple reason of population control. They feel the world cant supply the growing population. But it is also possible that you might ‘abort’ the very person who would have come up with the knowledge or technology to solve the problem! So in the same way, when you choose to walk in sin you might be ‘aborting your Lincoln or Einstein’. Walk in wisdom, it is during these times of peace that God will allow you to establish your borders, so when times of difficulty come you will have a place to ‘crash’. Those who have not ‘stored up’ in the summer have no shelter during times of famine and distress! NOTE: Let me add something practical here. Many people confuse the goal of storing up for retirement with MAKING THAT THE GOAL. Don’t confuse the obtaining of resources with the goal. God wants to use you for more than just getting enough money to retire at 70 and live a few more years and die! Think strategically about your ‘retirement’ years. Don’t get lost in the pursuit of making money to the point where the making of it becomes the goal! You still have some good years left in you, even at 62, so allow God to ‘redirect’ your retirement to maximize the rest of your life towards reaping a heavenly reward. All you need is enough money to live on and free you up to go as God leads. Some of you might be there already! NOTE: I talk about the ‘sin of abortion’ because I think the way we abort kids in this country is terrible! If you have had an abortion, God will forgive you and it is not my intent to hurt you!
- ‘I called on the Lord when I was in distress and the Lord answered me and set me in a large place/ in my fathers house are many mansions, if it were not so I would have told you’. King David said ‘when I was in distress the Lord enlarged me’. God increases your ‘area’ of influence when you go thru difficult situations. Scripture calls this ‘birth pains’. ‘As soon as Zion travailed she brought forth her children’ ‘a woman when in labor wants it to stop, but after the birth of the child she forgets all the pain’. God gives us ‘manifold’ areas of influence with diverse groups of people. These groups of people are the ‘places’ where God dwells. He will expand your horizon to see further than you have up until this time. Psalms says ‘I will have no rest until I find/build for you a habitation’. You see the heart of Jesus Messianic purpose and destiny contained in this cry of David. Jesus [and those of us representing him here as his body] are on a mission to find ‘a resting place for God’. David came to realize that this wasn’t some earthly temple at all. Jesus was on this mission in planet earth to redeem a bride that would actually become this ‘temple/dwelling place’ of God. He accomplished this thru extreme suffering and difficulty. Hebrews says ‘he endured the cross/ DESPISING the shame and has been seated at the right hand of God’ there was an aspect of the ministry of Jesus that he despised. The identifying with sin and shame was an ‘unpleasant’ reality that came along with the package of finding a habitation for God. I want to encourage you today, if you are feeling like your being ‘despised’ or ‘shamed’. If people gossip about you, or you feel you are being mistreated. Know for sure that God is ‘expanding your borders’ these ‘borders’ are areas of influence with different people groups [many mansions] and God takes pleasure in ‘dwelling in them’. You are literally being used to ‘find an habitation for God’. ‘ENLARGE THE PLACE OF THY TENT AND LET THEM STRETCH FORTH THE CURTAINS OF THY HABITATIONS. SPARE NOT, LENGTHEN THY CORDS AND STRENGTHEN THY STAKES, FOR THOU SHALT BREAK FORTH ON THE RIGHT HAND AND ON THE LEFT AND THY SEED SHALL INHERIT THE GENTILES AND MAKE THE DESOLATE CITIES TO BE INHABITED’ ‘THRU YOUR SEED [THE PEOPLE YOU INFLUENCE AND BRING INTO THE KINGODM] SHALL ALL THE FAMILIES [GROUPS OF PEOPLE] OF THE EARTH BE BLESSED’
- ‘Jesus of suburbia’ Last night I watched a dateline special on a ‘leader’ of a church in Puerto Rico. He quite obviously is a cult leader. Claims to be Jesus. He and his followers tattoo ‘666’ on their bodies and other strange stuff. When questioned on his lavish lifestyle of Rolex watches and taking huge amounts of money, he defended himself by saying ‘tradition portrays Jesus as being poor, but he was rich’ then he gave the verse that says Jesus told Peter to go get the money out of the fish mouth to pay taxes. This is a true verse; the problem is this verse obviously doesn’t prove Jesus was rich. If he were rich then why would he be going to a fish to get the money! Just cash in that jumbo C.D.! Its stupid stuff like this that gets me mad. Even the dateline interviewer said Jesus was a carpenter’s son and obviously was not wealthy. It’s sad that the reporter presented a more correct view of Jesus than the cult guy. It’s even sadder that there are very popular teachers in the American church that teach this same silliness! God help us all.
- ‘Jesus style’ what we are trying to accomplish is to facilitate the natural growth intended for the Church [people of God] as a living organism. There are prophets and leaders who approach ministry and the discharging of their gift as taking place in a ‘meeting’ hall environment. They schedule and have a regular pool of ‘church houses’ to preach in on a yearly basis and they view this as their profession. If you have enough ‘places to preach’ you are now ‘building your ministry’. We are trying to get away from this model of ministry. Those of you who are gifted prophetically can still function and be used, but we are trying to promote the ‘Jesus style of doing it’ go out into the by-ways and function in the ‘world’. Remember the world is the field, not the ‘church building’!
- ‘YOU HAVE CAST MY CROWN TO THE GROUND. YOU HAVE WEAKENED MY STRENGTH. THE DAYS OF MY YOUTH YOU HAVE SHORTENED, AND COVERED ME WITH SHAME’ this is what I like to call ‘the Jesus road to ministry’. The whole process of being exalted and humbled/shamed is from God. These are the exact elements that caused Jesus ministry to be so effective. Recognize that these processes are from God and it will exponentially advance your growth!
- ‘That which lasts’ These last few days I have been thinking about the ‘thing’ that endures. Gods word, his ‘seed’ [children] those that you ‘birth’ thru the Gospel. The ‘things’ that last are the people you birth into the Kingdom by the Gospel. Today’s ministry mindset seeks to cause the ‘ministry’ or ‘building’ or simply all the activities that surround what we are doing to last. God wants to re-focus our mindset. He wants us to be more ‘family’ oriented. Though all the other things serve a purpose in their proper place, Gods chief concern is to cause your spiritual offspring to ‘last’. ‘THY SEED AND THY NAME SHALL REMAIN’ ‘HE THAT DOETH THE WILL OF GOD ABIDETH FOREVER’ ‘I WILL RAISE UP ONE FROM YOUR LOINS AND HE SHALL SIT UPON THE THRONE FOREVER [Speaking to King David concerning Christ]. God sees people and ‘dynasty’s’. We see ‘things and ministries’. May God help us to re-focus! NOTE: What got me thinking about this was I recently passed up a ‘church’ [small building in some side street in Kingsville]. Had a friend that was the Pastor. Noticed that they found some friends to ‘take over’. Now the friends are ‘the Pastors’. This type of handing over the ‘church’ or finding someone to ‘Pastor it’ is common among small congregations. I remember having friends in the old days who either rented or bought or built a small building and then when ‘things got rough’ were frantically trying to get someone else to ‘continue the legacy’. The problem is in a lot of these scenarios the Pastor puts tremendous pressure on the people to ‘obey your new Pastor’. The New Testament Churches [In the NEW TESTAMENT!] had absolutely nothing going on along these lines. We must re examine our motivations for doing stuff like this. Lots of times its self-ego that’s behind it. Not every case, but many.
- ‘I BROUGHT YOU THRU THE RED SEA, AND CAUSED THE ARMIES OF PHARAOH TO DROWN THERE’ just read this in Psalms the other day. It’s a funny thing, the stuff that we go thru as believers advances us to the next level [hopefully!] This same stuff destroys the unbeliever! The last few weeks I have had a good open door with putting our blog in area papers. The lord has used this as an opportunity to reach out in an exponential way. During this same time I have had a lot of resistance! I had an old drug addict friend, who spent many years in jail tell me ‘Brother John, every time I try to serve the Lord the devil comes after me. It’s easier to just ‘not serve God’. This was the father of some of the brothers I was working with. I met the dad by going to the local Kingsville jails to preach and later became good friends with his sons [many!] that were in my age range. By the way I consider one of his sons to be one of our key people in Kingsville. A few of the brothers from this original group are still witnessing and going strong [or at least ‘going!’]. Well the father is now dead. He died right around the age of 50 or so. Good friend, but too many years down the wrong road. It eventually took a toll. Well the lesson is ‘if you are experiencing severe trials and tests, know for a fact that you are making headway into enemy territory’ sure it makes the devil mad, but scripture says ‘THE GOD OF PEACE SHALL CRUSH satan UNDER YOUR FEET SHORTLY’ NOTE; this computer will fix the word ‘satan’ with a capitol letter during spell check, but it wont do the same for ‘God’. That old devil try’s to get into everything, doesn’t he! NOTE: In the above scenario we have people that see themselves as a ‘part of us’. Though there is no organization to join, no ‘membership’. No ‘partnering with us financially’ type thing. But like the song says ‘friends are friends forever, if the Lords the Lord of them’. The attachment to each other is more along the lines of ‘a band of brothers’. Its not some ‘you are under my ministry, how dare you visit or attend another church’ or commit the worst offense imaginable, GIVE YOUR SACRED TITHE TO ANOTHER CHURCH! All silly stuff that goes on today under the guise of ‘local church’. P.S. This stuff that I just said doesn’t only get the devil mad, but some well meaning preachers too!
- I am going to be as honest as I can about this. Last night I tuned in to a fairly new Christian station that I like a lot. They have a lot of prophetic people on who I like. They were doing a money-raising thing. They had one of the prophetic people that I like [Mike Bickle] and right after him another brother. This other brother used to be Muslim and is now Christian. When he was Muslim he made some money in business, but when he became Christian he got a hold of the prosperity message and made ‘boat loads’ of it. He is always talking about money. As a brother I love him, but you cant go on national television and say things like ‘there’s someone watching right now ‘GODS’ telling you to give $100,000 right now [that’s one hundred thousand dollars for those of you that might not be familiar with these appeals!] Be obedient and do it, you will get a million back’. Now is it possible that God is saying this? Sure. But is it responsible to simply say it in a forum [national TV] where anybody can hear and everyone hearing thinks its God talking to them and they ‘obey the word of the Lord’ and do something stupid? There was some military veteran living on fixed income that heard something like this on another Christian station. He donated his meager check [or savings?] and gave a few thousand that he couldn’t afford. Whoever was raising the money made an appeal like the one above. He never got ‘his return’ and contacted the ministry and asked for his money back. They said no. He took it to court in California and the state made the ministry give him his money back. Now this kind of stuff ruins our testimony to the world. We can’t keep doing this. I was feeling let down that the prophetic person that I like was involved with this. May God help us all.
- Just outside praying and was finishing a part of intercession where I pray for the nations. I lift up our brothers and sisters in ‘regions of conflict’ [Africa/Middle east/Iraq/etc.] I pray for those on the verge of martyrdom, that God would supernaturally deliver them. Those who were recently martyred, that the Lord would be with their families/wives/children that are left behind. You know I didn’t realize I was going to share this when I just sat down! Maybe the Lord wants to expand your ‘prayer base’? What I wanted to get to was I finished with the Lords prayer [Our Father]. When I got to the point of ‘Thy Kingdom come’ I sensed how God’s ‘Kingdom comes’. I have heard over the years how God set up the local church and how his ‘plan’ to fund it is the tithe. And how the ‘tithe’ is Gods tax for Gods people. I do find it ironic that NO New Testament church tithed [except the Jewish believers at Jerusalem, and it wasn’t like you think either. The Jews had quite an elaborate system of tithing; it wasn’t putting 10% in the offering plate on Sunday!] The ‘rules’ Jesus set up for the church were quite simple. You love each other, help those in need. If you have a brother/elder ministering to you Gods word you take care of his needs [no tithe here when Paul teaches this by the way!]. You are a ‘community/brotherhood’ of people who love God and each other and show it by taking care of each other. This is the simplicity of ‘Gods Kingdom’ being expressed thru his people in planet earth. The ‘tax’ that we ‘owe’ is to love one another. Paul actually uses this language in speaking about being a ‘debtor’ to no man, but Gods love constraining us to act. Well I thought this might help you guys today.
- I just put together a packet of books and stuff for one of my homeless friends. I have his booklets listed on our tape catalog. His name is Shelby. He has had an interesting life. At one time he had a bus ministry of hippies that he used to travel around with. Some good stuff. I put the packet together because he now sees us as ‘working together’ in ministry. He hasn’t seen the book/tape catalog with his name and articles listed and he wants a catalog. I made a point of putting an updated one together for him. It might be insignificant to some, but something like this makes a person feel like they are playing a part in Gods greater purpose. He was telling his daughter who was visiting the area about me and he wants to show her his booklets on the catalog. Its little things like this that God deems as important. Remember Jesus talking about receiving the Kingdom as little children. Let God use you to ‘connect’ with people in this relational way, these are the ‘things’ that build the Church! [NOTE: I didn’t get to drop the catalog off this day. I am now at work, the next day, and I just got a message on my answering service from Shelby. Just called to say hi and see where I was and when we were going to get together. I knew the Lord wanted me to encourage him yesterday, feel bad that I didn’t!]
- ‘RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE’ A few years back this was a popular rock group. I do like the title, though I don’t think I ever heard their music. A lot of what I have recently written on is ‘raging against the machine’. What I mean by this is in Christian circles we develop ways and modes of functioning that ‘become’ church! Over the years Christians have incorporated ideas into ‘how to do church/ how to be Christian’ and often times the routines or systems that we set in place are necessary practices at the time in order to carry out some Christian function. [501c3/church building/tithing to support clergy/etc.] The problem is when we begin to ‘see’ these functions as the only legitimate expression of church. At that point all the ‘practices/functions’ become ‘the machine’ [the whole system of thought and practice]. Well this is when the revolutionary Spirit of Christ dwelling in the Church rises up [thru prophets and the prophetic Spirit] and ‘rages against the machine’. THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN SUFFERETH VIOLENCE AND THE VIOLENT TAKE IT BY FORCE There’s just no getting around this. To be a true pioneer/revolutionary you can’t shrink back in the day of battle. Recently there has been a lot of talk/gossip about us [or should I say me!] Its funny but you learn to purposely ignore and not defend yourself. I actually had some people that were involved in it over a long period of time who ran into other people who were saying how much the Lord has done for them thru our radio ministry. The person testified of how I am reaching out and doing good things for God. The other friend kind of had to tell me how he heard a good testimony about us. But in this scenario I didn’t defend myself [it takes too much time to worry about the critics!] but someone else who I haven’t seen in 15 years defended me [this was an old Navy friend who knew me in the ‘bad days’ and then knew me when I became a Christian]. Well when you ‘rage against the machine’ the machine strikes back, but be assured that by Gods grace you will win. Remember the song from the reformer Martin Luther [not King] ‘THOUGH THIS WORLD WITH DEVILS FILLED SHOULD THREATEN TO UNDO US, WE WILL NOT FEAR FOR GOD HATH WILLED HIS TRUTH TO TRIUMPH THRU US’
- ‘LESSONS FROM A SCOTT PACK’ to my firefighter friends who read this blog you know what a Scott mask is, to the others let me explain. In the old days of firefighting the masks that firefighters wore didn’t have ‘positive pressure’. If there was a leak in the mask the toxic gases/smoke could get in the mask and you could get hurt or die from this. The fire service eventually developed a technology that is called ‘positive pressure’. Now if there is a leak in the mask instead of ‘stuff getting in’ ‘stuff gets out!’ The positive air flow coming in to your mask will ‘leak out’ if there is a breach. I feel like the Lord will allow us at times to be under ‘positive pressure’. Sure we all get angry and respond wrong at times [at least I do, maybe some of you super saints don’t, but if you read this blog site this far chances are you’re a lot like me!] When your are under ‘positive pressure’ and you feel like your being pierced, just remember God is allowing good stuff to flow out of you during these seasons. ‘HE CLAVE THE ROCKS IN THE WILDERNESS AND GAVE THEM DRINK OUT OF GREAT DEPTHS, HE BROUGHT STREAMS ALSO OUT OF THE ROCK, AND CAUSED WATER TO RUN DOWN LIKE RIVERS’
- A little more about ‘the machine’. I realize that by us having NO INCOME, NO BUILDINGS, NO STAFF, NO SALARIES, NO 501C3 that this is highly offensive to the ‘machine’. The amount of time and money that go into the ‘operation of the machine’ is enormous. The amount of thought and strategizing on how to raise funds for the machine are time consuming. To simply start a revolution of Christian volunteers who give themselves away for the cause for free is a tremendous threat to the machine. I do not see my brothers who function with all the trappings as evil or deceived. I recognize in some cases the ‘things’ of ministry are simply tools that God uses to effect change. I use radio and books and stuff too. The point I want to make is if you change your mindset from building things to building people your efforts will go a lot further and last much longer!
- Just remembered a conversation I had with a ministry leader in our city. At the time we were discussing the prosperity gospel. I was telling him the story of how a very popular prosperity preacher wrote in one of his best selling books that he had a vision and went to heaven, and in heaven he saw King David as well as many others. King David told the prosperity preacher that one of the things he regrets was all the negative confessions he made in the book of Psalms. [To be honest stuff like this still gets me mad!] Well I surely thought the ministry leader would be as upset as I about this. Instead he challenged me in defense of the prosperity preacher and said ‘how do you know the vision is fake’? Now I got upset. How do you know Joseph Smith [the prophet of the Mormon church] didn’t find the ‘gold tablets’ in the earth [or even if he found them, how come I know there not from God?] We know by spiritual discernment. Scripture commands us to ‘test the spirits’ and every spirit that is not from God must be rejected. The simple fact that this ministry leader could not discern and willingly reject the prosperity preacher’s vision was appalling. We cannot ever accept a vision that would have a writer of one of the Canonical books basically say he wished he could take something out of the book [in this case Psalms]. The book of Revelation places a curse on those who ‘take away from the Word of God’. I finally answered the question of ‘how do you know the visions fake?’ with the answer GOD TOLD ME! To my surprise the ministry leader accepted it and seemed to submit to this Word. It was almost like this movement casts a spell on people who defend it. Sometimes it takes a prophetic word spoken in authority to break this spell! Paul told the Galatians ‘who hath bewitched you to not obey the truth?’ I have had friends who were Pastors come out and publicly defend this movement because they visited one of their ministry centers and said they ran an efficient operation. Hey, you can visit the Mormon Temple in Utah and you’ll see efficiency! But God help us if this becomes the criteria that we use to judge a thing. I really have struggled with the leaders who were not learned enough to know what they were defending, but would defend it any way. Sort of like ‘hey, I have been attacked before and I didn’t like it, therefore I will defend any one else who gets attacked’. Well I don’t like being attacked either, but leaders need the ability to see things for what they are and try to bring correction in love. I do believe these prosperity guys are fellow believers, but stuff like I just showed you can’t go unchecked. The popularity of some of these things is a direct result of leaders not taking a stand when they should have. I don’t want to offend you guys, but I felt the Lord wanted me to share this.
- Went thru my emails yesterday and had an invitation from a church in Africa to speak at a conference. I just prayed for Africa the other day! I didn’t accept the invitation, don’t want to be rude but I don’t ‘do churches’. There are enough people already making the ‘church circuit’. We really don’t need anymore. They can get all our stuff for free on this blog site without me going to ‘manually’ deliver a sermon. What about the offerings? Oh yea we don’t ‘do offerings’ either. Now let me get a little serious. The invitation might have been a scam, who knows? But regardless I wouldn’t have done it either way. Wisdom ‘sends out her servants’ thru the ‘sending’ of words thru Radio, Books and the blog site we are reaching a great area. You remember about ‘working smarter, not harder’. I might do something like this someday, it’s not ‘wicked’ or anything, it’s just that our style is trying to break the mold and show the ‘everyday believer’ that you too can have an effective outreach without being a part of the system!
- I have not told you guys this yet. But as I was praying I felt it was time. I know I have ‘strange’ sleeping/eating habits. About 5 or 6 years back [now that I think about it more like 10-12 yrs.] I started eating once a day. It kind of started like a fasting thing. I used to eat regularly and fast 1 day every week or so. The longest was a seven day fast [only water!] But now I just eat once a day. I try to eat around 3 or 4p.m. Sometimes I will have a healthy snack at night [peanuts/fruit] I had a friend tell me he wishes he had a metabolism where he didn’t eat that much. I think he had the impression that I don’t get hungry or something. Some days I feel hungry all the time! Its not about feelings, its learning to maximize your time by putting fuel into your body! I do feel as hungry as anyone who didn’t eat till 3pm. But I have much more energy by doing it this way. I very rarely break this rule. Maybe a few times a year? I am not trying to be a martyr; this ‘style’ seemed to be most effective for me. I do find it funny that John the Baptist ate locusts and wild honey. Maybe having strange eating habits is a prerequisite for ‘prophetic’ ministries? Well felt it was time to share this, maybe you will at least be encouraged to fast some! NOTE: Jesus said they accused John of ‘having a devil’ [being demon possessed] because of his lack of eating and they accused Jesus of being a ‘glutton’ because of his eating with sinners, It just seems like you can never please that old religious crowd!
- This entry may be difficult to explain, but let me try. When I first moved to Corpus in 1992, I used to take my kids to a local lake/pond. It is called Lakeview Park. Nice lake with ducks and stuff. I haven’t been there in many years. ‘Bodies of water’ can represent groups of people both in scripture [Revelation] and in prophetic imagery. Well this week they found out that there were two alligators living in secret in this ‘pool’ of water. They don’t know how long they were there but they were just ‘exposed’. A few weeks back I wrote on the God of peace bruising satan under our feet shortly. satan gets his power thru deception; he does things in secret and doesn’t want to be found out. He likes to ‘hide’ in ‘ponds/lakes’ [groups of people who he can influence to carry out his plan/ or simply prevent Gods plan from taking root in these people groups]. I felt like the Lord was saying there were many ‘people/groups’ that he wanted us to reach, but ‘leviathen’ [devil] was hiding underneath the surface preventing Gods plan from coming forth. At this season satan’s works are being ‘found out’ and it will be safe to ‘go in the water’ [fish these people groups!]
- ‘THE PUFFBALLS’ Let me do another one that’s not too easy to explain. Many years ago I heard an Apostle share on ‘puffballs’, that is the strategy of those weed like flowers that start as a flower and then turn into the puffball that the wind can blow on and 100’s of little parts go flying. Some of these little ‘offspring’ have been known to travel thousands of miles and ‘re-plant’ in another country and then start the process all over again. The brother [Jim Dirkin] shared how this was an ‘Apostolic strategy’ that the Lord had shown him. He had an outreach ministry that worked with many hippies during the Jesus movement, and they would send their people all over the world to establish Gods Kingdom and preach the gospel. I like this imagery. As I write this entry the puffballs are being blown by the wind in my yard right now. As I told you guys a few entries back I don’t mow my back yard, but have created paths that are surrounded by trees and plants. I do pull up any grass that comes up, or weeds. This year I saw the same ‘weeds’ that I pull up every year. But I kind of felt like I should leave them. I was on the verge of pulling them up and then stopped. Well sure enough these turned into those puffballs. It happened in February of 2007, the 20 year anniversary of our ministry. I felt like the Lord said many of our ‘seed’ [people] will grow exponentially this year. The ‘puffballs’ have reached a point of critical mass where they will continue! ‘THY SEED AND THY NAME SHALL REMAIN, THOSE THAT WILL BE OF THEE SHALL BUILD THE OLD WASTE PLACES’ Jesus said in his Parables to be careful when trying to ‘pull out the tares’ from the wheat, you might accidentally damage the real thing. I didn’t realize that I was ‘pulling out’ a weed that was actually a beautiful flower. Be careful when dealing with people, you might damage someone that God intends to be a ‘part of your field!’[if you want to look up the ministry of Jim Dirkin, it was called ‘Gospel Outreach’ they do have a site on line, also ‘Verbo’ or something like that. Jim has gone on to be with the Lord many years ago, but he was a pioneer in what has come to be known as the modern Apostolic movement]
- I want to demonstrate something right now. The last few hours I felt the Lord had a prophetic word for you. The word is from Psalms ‘WHEN THE LORD TURNED THE CAPTIVITY OF ZION [PUT YOUR NAME HERE] IT WAS LIKE A DREAM’ I felt like the Lord was saying an appointed time has just come for you. IT IS TIME FOR YOU TO WORK, LORD [PSALMS] A SET TIME HAS COME. I just felt like the Lord wanted to communicate to you that this is a ‘Kairos’ time for you. You have come to the Kingdom for SUCH A TIME AS THIS!
- My daughter mentioned the other day how she likes the mesquite tree growing in my yard. I have pruned it over the years to grow around the corner of my house. Mesquites grow both horizontal and vertical. If you prune them right they will grow very wide, almost like the branches become benches that you can sit on. Was just outside praying [during an early morning thunderstorm!] and was standing under an eve next to this tree. I was thinking how Jesus spoke of Gods Kingdom being like a small seed, but after it grows it becomes a large tree where many birds find shelter. I pulled this tree out of the Oso bay around 12 years ago [?] its so big and wide now you couldn’t move it if you tried! Maybe a pro with a truck and stuff, but not like when I pulled it up by hand from the wet sand. Felt like the Lord was saying to plant/transplant some things now, it might seem insignificant but down the road it will be a ‘mainstay’ for many people [birds taking shelter!]. ‘DON’T DESPISE THE DAY OF SMALL BEGINNINGS’.
- ‘GOD GIVES MEAT IN DUE SEASON’ Just read this in Psalms, it’s also found in other portions of scripture. Paul told the Corinthians, after he wrote them the first letter, that initially he regretted being so hard on them. But later he changed his mind and was glad he was so hard on them because it produced the desired results. God allows certain truths to go forth at certain times to specific groups of people. I debate whether or not certain people are ready for the stuff we preach. If people are not ‘ready’ [mature] they can use the truths we preach in a destructive way. Some Pastors can’t handle our stuff. I don’t want to sound big headed, but this is true. God not only ‘feeds the right food at the right time’ but he also requires us to do the same. This year  the Lord opened a door to a lot of my old friends from New Jersey. I have tried to contact them before, but ‘it wasn’t time’. I felt like the Lord said ‘it’s now the right time’. Ask God to give you wisdom in when and whom to speak to. Jesus said at his return he will see who is giving out meat in due season. Are you feeding the right meat to the right people?
- ‘I AM NOT RICH!’ Let me once again clarify some things. We shouldn’t spend time defending ourselves, unless it serves a purpose. I have mentioned that in the past I have made money in real estate. Some people seem to think I am rich and therefore we have a regional influence because I fund it myself. All the money I made has been spent! I bought a building for the guys I worked with in Kingsville, It didn’t work out so I sold it and used the money for radio and outreach. I do fund all the stuff I do [radio, feeding guys, paying for blog adds, etc.] I also put money in the Church we attend [though its not a tithe]. All this costs me a few hundred dollars a month. I do not claim this as a deduction on my taxes [nothing wrong about claiming it, I prefer not to]. So basically I make around $45,000 dollars a year  and pay for these avenues of ministry out of pocket. The reason I share this is I want you to see that all of us can reach ‘our world’. The main ingredient is seeking to be a servant. We too often see ministry as a business in which we seek advancement for ourselves and the ‘church’. We innocently by-pass the ingredient of servant hood that Jesus said was the key to advancement in Gods kingdom. I am amazed at the amount of people who don’t believe/see the reality of this. Jesus said the gospel is the power. The power of exponential increase in Gods Kingdom is laying down your life for others. I realize some do criticize me for not ‘paying my way’ with the tithe, while enjoying the benefits. I struggle with this too. I take consolation in the fact that many of the Pastors of the churches I have attended over the years have benefited from our teaching ministry for free. Some have learned more from us than any other regional ministry. I am not boasting, but just showing you that things seem to even out. Well I wanted to clarify this, hope it helped. [Also I recommend the church I attend, and its other campuses, to all the people we work with in the region. I in no way teach that our people shouldn’t attend a good church, I just try to expand their mindset to ‘them’ being the church in many different scenarios]. NOTE: I want to radically challenge your mindset right now. Paul the Apostle said ‘HE THAT IS NOT WORKING SHOULD GET A JOB, SO HE CAN HAVE TO GIVE TO HIM THAT NEEDETH’ I simply want you to see the scriptural authority behind the concept of giving directly to meet the needs of people. The church today puts 99[or 100?] percent of the focus on the tithe. Paul does leave room in his theology for giving to meet the needs of Elders [Pastors] but the imperative is always towards the needs of people. Most Christians will read the verse that I just quoted and never give it a second thought. How many of you seriously work to give to him that needeth?
- Felt like the Lord had a prophetic word for you ‘I WILL HEAR WHAT THE LORD GOD WILL SPEAK, HE WILL SPEAK PEACE TO HIS PEOPLE AND TO HIS SAINTS, BUT LET THEM NOT TURN AGAIN TO FOLLY’ [somewhere in the bible, not sure where?] I felt like God just said to you that he’s ending things in your life that you have struggled with for years, the ‘test’ is over. It’s now time to begin the journey in a greater way. You are out of the wilderness and are entering the ‘promised land’. Beware, there are still enemies to conquer, but you will be coming after them, as opposed to them coming after you!
- Just got back [last night] from spending a few days at my daughters ranch. I took my youngest girl and we helped my daughter [Becky] do some stuff. These last few weeks I have made it a point to pick up area news papers and call to see if they will run our blog. When I call I let them know we are not for profit [I mean really not for profit!] and I do explain that we have no building but simply meet as a brotherhood of people. This can be hard to articulate but most people accept us as a ministry. I say most! I called some paper in the Orange Grove area, the lady sounded a little ‘country’ and was a little rude. As I began to explain our desire to put our blog site in their paper I asked if she knew what a blog was [some people who are not familiar with the word don’t know what I am saying when I ask this and I will spell out the word B L O G] well she simply said ‘I am not stupid sir, I know how to spell. If I were stupid do you think I would be running a newspaper’. To be honest at this point it surprised me that she was running one! Its hard enough to explain the concept of ‘church’ as a community versus a building to most believers, I knew I had my work cut out for me with this person. At one point she asked if we had a ‘church’ building or not. I plainly told her we didn’t. I wasn’t hiding this fact, but she simply was unable to grasp this concept. She finally let it be known that if ‘you’re a church with a building who meets on Sunday’ you can run an ad for free, even if the Pastors salary is a million dollars, you run it free because ‘you’re a church’. But if your a community of people who are in society doing the works of Jesus for free you cant run an ad for free because you don’t have a ‘church building’. This lady finally hung up on me. She kept stating she was not stupid and I took her at her word and tried to explain the Greek word ‘Ecclesia’ as ‘the Church’ and tried to give her a crash course in ecclesiology! I knew she didn’t understand a word I was saying, but frankly I was a little tired of hearing her. Well I never placed the ad, I could have paid for one, but this is a little ‘red neck’ newspaper and I really think I would have been doing them a favor to put our ad in their paper.
- Now back to my time at the ranch. I got up early in the morning to pray outside. I walked around for a few hours before sun up. This is the first time I was able to pray in this region. I really sensed how God precedes ‘outreach’ to an area with prayer and fasting. The night before I was at work in Kingsville and prayed at this same time over there. The Lord sees ‘prayer, fasting, sacrifice, persecution and difficulty’ as the ingredients for ministry. We often look at ‘finances, facilities, staff, etc.’ we see ‘things’ God sees character developed under fire. I remember hearing a few years back a particular preacher defend his use of private planes. Hey, if you want to use one fine. In his defense he shared that because the anointing is in him, its so valuable [true] that if he goes to great lengths to ‘pamper’ himself with expensive things he is doing it ‘for the anointing’ not for him. Its funny, but didn’t Jesus have the anointing? If I remember he didn’t spend a lot of time ‘protecting’ it, I think he even went to the cross with it! We get into these mindsets that are hard to break. We had a brother come to our area who normally charges [I think he said a million dollars?] to speak, but because the Lord laid it on his heart he would do it this time for free, thanks a lot. The valuable gifts and ‘anointings’ in us ARE VALUABLE, but they don’t belong to us! They are GIFTS! What do you do with something that you get for free, you share it with others for free! Paul said we have this treasure in earthen vessels; the valuable thing we ‘protect’ is not the vessel. We must change our mindsets from the way the world operates. Sure the world compensates its C.E.O s, but we work on different lines as Gods people. I don’t want to get into this right here [salaries and stuff] but I want you to ‘see’ things differently. We are here to get the message out at all costs, we don’t belong to ourselves, God has purchased us. We are ‘slaves’. He has ownership. We don’t get a salary for doing the things we are required to do. Do you get it? [It’s OK to meet the needs of your Pastor financially, I am talking about the mindset of ‘starting a ministry’ and being compensated before your willing to go out and give your life away]
- Many years ago after I first started serving the Lord I took a trip back to Jersey. My dad, a firefighter [retired Captain] got me an invitation to preach at the Chaplains church. He was a good man who was pastoring a ‘Church of God’ church. I simply preached a basic gospel message. Many years later [20?] while back visiting family I thought I would drop by and say hi. I didn’t know if the Pastor was around anymore, he was around 70 when I first met him, he would be close to 90 now. Well I stopped by the church and to my surprise he was still there. I spoke to him for a little while and told him I had preached at his church years ago. He couldn’t remember. After a while he finally remembered. I did look a lot different now. As we were sitting in his nice little apartment located directly behind the church sanctuary, his wife was in the other room mumbling. The old Pastor told me she suffers from Alzheimer’s and to just ignore it. He was polite in saying this. The old pastor was truly enjoying one of the sons [me!] of one of the fire Captains that he was a chaplain to, being able to visit and reminisce. During our conversation he seemed content. He told me though he doesn’t have much materially in this life, he is satisfied that he has built up eternal rewards. He kind of said ‘I don’t know how you feel about the modern prosperity movement, but I feel God doesn’t measure success by outward things’. Well I told him ‘Brother Wilcombs, I kind of wrote a little book on this subject’ and I dropped one off to him before I left Jersey. I received a handwritten note in the mail, he really appreciated the book. I kind of felt like the Lord gave me an opportunity to encourage a man who gave his whole life to the ministry and was feeling ‘defensive’ living in a day that blatantly measures godliness by financial gain. I never saw him again, if he’s still alive he would be nearing 100 years old. I thank God for the elders of the faith who served God so many years with their eyes on eternal rewards versus this present world [I had previously heard that he died and found out later that he was still alive. The book I gave him can be read in it’s entirety on this site]
- Over the years I have found it interesting that many Christians live their whole lives believing things that they feel are not true. Not talking about the basic tenets of the faith, but stuff on the ‘rapture’ or the church, or tithing. A lot of the stuff I deal with. It’s funny that Christians live their whole lives embracing things just out of fear. Some times they will admit that what they heard [read] from our ministry was something that they always felt to be true. I kind of feel like saying ‘if you knew this to be true, why would you not embrace it’. The first century believers were getting their heads chopped off for the faith, and we don’t have the courage to believe and preach the simplest things! It’s stuff like this that determines whether or not you will move on to the next level. Many preachers are seeking a national voice, looking to expand their parameters. God first wants boldness to hear and receive truth from him. Why would the Lord expand someone’s forum if they don’t have the basic ability to hear and speak truth? I am not talking about simply ‘regurgitating’ someone else’s revelation. I am talking about hearing and speaking what God is saying. ‘OPEN MY EYES SO I MIGHT BEHOLD THINGS OUT OF YOUR LAW’.
- For the purpose of full disclosure let me mention something. All 4 of my daughters have trust funds set up for them. While I am not rich, my kids are set up fairly well. The reason I share this is the other day when I was up early praying at my daughters ranch I felt the Lord saying he was going to expand us ‘thru our seed’ [spiritual children]. While walking around the ranch I saw hundreds of wildflowers and mesquite trees. I have a few in my yard, but these were a lot! I also realized how my daughter [19 yrs old] owns a $125,000 dollar ranch free and clear. She bid $31,000 for it and used part of her trust fund money [it was a HUD repo and no bank would finance a ‘modular home’ on a ranch, though the original owner paid $85,000 just for the house!] The nice mustang she drives is also free and clear [I bought it for $4,000 a few years ago]. I am not bringing this up for no reason. For many years people [friends/family] would tell me ‘instead of helping bums and addicts, you could work a second job [besides being a firefighter] so your kids can have more’. I have found out if you take care of Gods people [kids] he will take care of yours. To be honest, how many 19yr olds own a $125,000 ranch free and clear? See, I know God does bless people financially; I just feel the church today has blurred the lines of Christianity with gain. We as believers have a mandate to not measure ‘Godliness by gain’. Well I believe scripture says ‘first the natural, then the spiritual’ I am looking forward to hearing from you guys on how God is increasing your spiritual borders! NOTE: This is also another benefit of not taking a salary, can you imagine what people would be saying ‘that preacher went and bought his daughter a ranch, and she drives a mustang too!’ [I own a 66 mustang, it’s got a 289 in it for all you car guys] NOTE: I had an old friend in Kingsville, one of our original group, who use to kid me and say ‘for someone who doesn’t believe in the prosperity message, you do pretty good!’ I would answer back ‘I don’t believe it works for you guys, only for me’ of course I was kidding! NOTE: Let me show you guys something. I don’t ‘think money thoughts’ all the time. I don’t ‘confess money scriptures’ all day. I basically don’t believe in the main tenets of the prosperity gospel, but yet I have prospered! Why? I believe if you give your life away for others, practice giving and being generous, be EMPLOYED for most of your life, simply be a responsible person and even invest wisely. These are the things that ‘produce’ prosperity, not some tricks and gimmicks. I know God blesses his people; its just money shouldn’t be the focus! NOTE: I do find it strange that there are many Christians who are ALWAYS talking, thinking and focusing on material wealth. If I were to tell them ‘you have spent 35 years speaking, thinking and developing your entire Christian experience around money. Many of your teachers teach that Jesus was a millionaire; you have actually changed the image of God into one of your own desires. Many of the sermons you have heard thru out your life have been about money. Don’t you think it strange that someone like myself, who outright rejects and preaches against the movement is blessed’ Many of them would respond by saying ‘well, at least I died with a good confession’ No you didn’t, you died spending your whole life focusing on the things that Jesus said were not the true riches! Thanks to your preachers you spent a lifetime doing what Jesus said not to do! He said seek FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD AND ALL THINGS WILL BE ADDED TO YOU you my friend were seeking THE THINGS!
- A few years back a popular preacher in our region [Houston] was speaking about a guy who got stuck in a freezer [walk in!] He shared how even though the freezer was not plugged in, they found the guy dead in the morning. The brother said he believed the guy froze to death, because in his ‘mind’ he believed the freezer was on. I do like this preacher [Joel Osteen] but this is a type of ‘metaphysical’ belief. The groups ‘Christian Science’ and others hold to these views. The biblical view of ‘renewing the mind’ and meditating on Gods Word is a profitable thing. This type of belief [the freezer guy!] is really not biblical. We don’t ‘create reality’ with our thoughts or words. While it is good to keep a positive confession and to ‘set your mind on things above’ yet these practices don’t actually create reality! They can have an effect on our circumstances and help us in our walk with God, but in and of themselves these are simply ‘window dressing’. The basic tenets of Christian belief put the emphasis on character, faith, trusting in God, being diligent and overall ‘root’ issues. The modern focus on words and thoughts are a superficial approach. Though there is some biblical truth to them, they are not the deep issues of walking with God. What about the brother in the freezer? Well it’s possible he died of a heart attack or something, but he didn’t ‘create’ an environment with his mind that caused him to freeze to death.
- In the early church of the first couple of centuries there was a group of ‘Christians’ who were called Gnostics. These people believed in ‘special knowledge’. They felt that God revealed things to them thru spiritual means that the average Christians didn’t access. Today you have the equivalent of this in ‘revelation knowledge’. This is a type of belief among Christians that sometimes contradicts scripture, but slips in as ‘special revelation’. While it is true that God does give us prophetic insight and allows us to see things thru dreams and visions and other means, yet all of these ‘things’ are subservient to biblical authority! When things slip in under the title of ‘revelation knowledge’ we must judge it by scripture. If scripture contradicts the ‘revelation knowledge’ then we go with the Word!
- A few years ago we had an Apostle visit our area. He is fairly well known in ‘prophetic’ circles and does have a worldwide ministry. I do like him and his teaching. He was going to hold some meetings in Texas and I called his office to get directions. A few days later he called back at an inopportune time. If I am busy I will not answer my phone unless I recognize the number. I thought I would answer it this day anyway. Sure enough it was this national minister personally calling me. He didn’t know me at all! I think the Lord told him to call. I spoke only a few minutes and shared a prophetic word. I quoted ‘FOR THY SAKE WE ARE KILLED ALL THE DAY LONG’ he simply said ‘O MY’. I never got in touch with him again. I did send them our books and I feel we might be a little to ‘strong’ for this brother. Many ‘Apostles/Prophets’ are really affected by the prosperity gospel and modern concepts of ‘spiritual warfare’ and I think our teachings in these areas turned them off. I do feel the Lord allowed me to speak this word to him as a precursor to sending our books. It’s like God confirmed ‘the word with signs following [or should I say ‘preceding!’]
- Many years ago I had a Pastor friend who pastored a church in Corpus Christi that was called the ‘Lambs Fold’. His name was Tom Reedy, his wife was Kathy. He was going to leave Corpus and was looking for confirmation on whether or not to leave. He visited one of the most accurate Prophets of our generation [Paul Cain]. He never told me what happened, but I eventually got the tape series of the meetings from someone else and I heard Paul prophesy ‘there is someone here named Tom and your wife is Kathy [I think he even said the name ‘Reedy’] it has something to do with the Lambs Fold on a coastal city’. Its things like this that convince you that the prophetic is real. Paul Cain has gone thru some very difficult times these last few years and he has struggled with homosexuality and other things. I hesitate to use Paul’s name but I felt we needed to give credit to the many thousands of accurate prophecies that Paul has given over the years.
- I spoke on fasting a few entries back. I remember hearing one of the most prominent leaders of the prosperity movement [he has since gone on to be with the Lord] say that he didn’t fast anymore, but God told him instead to live a ‘fasted life’. This brother was overweight and had heart problems earlier in his life. I felt it strange that he didn’t fast anymore, and the ‘fasted life’ seemed to not truly limit his eating. I don’t want to be mean, I used to listen to this brother in the early years of my Christian experience, but I felt this to be a sign. Covetousness and the more extreme cases of it that were found in this brothers teaching is a form of lust and addiction. Jesus spoke on the power of ‘mammon’ as the only other addiction that directly competes with the kingdom of God for mans affections. ‘YOU CAN NOT SERVE GOD AND MAMMON’ I felt the inability to break from the spirit of mammon was seen in this brothers inability to control his eating. Eventually instead of losing the weight, he seemed to develop a ‘belief’ thru a ‘Rhema word’ [God told me not to fast but to live a fasted life] that justified the appetites of the flesh. This same scenario flowed over into the more extreme elements of the prosperity gospel. Visions of Jesus appearing to these brothers telling them ‘YOU CAN WRITE YOUR OWN TICKET WITH GOD’ teachings on commanding Angels to ‘GO FORTH AND BRING TO ME MONEY’ things that I look at now and am amazed that so many Christians cant break from this stuff. I love the brother who I just used as the example, but our allegiance must be to God first and I felt he wanted me to share this.
- I remember sharing some of these things with ‘leaders’ of the church in Corpus Christi and they would say ‘oh that criticism is the same stuff that Hank Hanegraaff preaches’ [this brother wrote a critical book on the prosperity movement]. The inability of this particular leader to see the true deception of this movement would later limit his voice. The brother who said this to me went on the radio station that I broadcast on. I do like the brother, I kind of had the feeling he felt like ‘I will show John some things about radio’ sort of like he was going to ‘teach us a lesson’. He lasted a few weeks on the radio [we’ve been on 11 years as of 2007] I don’t want to boast or sound competitive, I simply believe God gives voice to those who are willing to see beyond there own personal survival and speak the truth. This ministry leader was trying to build a financial support base at the time of our discussion and I felt he dismissed out of hand what God was trying to show him [thru me!] because it simply didn’t fit in with the goal of ‘bringing in the money’. If we are truly in ministry to speak what God is saying, then the ‘goal of bringing in the funds’ must be secondary to the prophetic word. We must speak truth, regardless of how it affects our income base. Well I believe the ministry leader lasted a few weeks on the radio because he had his priorities wrong, what about you! NOTE: This is the same ministry leader I spoke on earlier who defended the prosperity preacher. During our conversation he was showing me things the Lord showed him out of the bible. Okay stuff from the Old Testament, little stories about unity and stuff. I found it strange that he would spend time on finding interesting stories from the bible and yet not see all the plain scriptures in the New Testament dealing with the issues of money DON’T DESIRE TO BE RICH, BE CONTENT WITH WHAT YOU HAVE, TEACHERS WILL ARISE IN THE LAST DAYS WHO WILL TEACH GAIN IS GODLINESS FROM SUCH TURN AWAY, THE LOVE OF MONEY IS THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL THOSE WHO HAVE GONE AFTER IT HAVE TURNED AWAY FROM THE FAITH [shall I go on?] I just think we ‘strain at gnats’ while we don’t realize we are ‘swallowing the camel whole’!
- I read an article from Christianity today the other day. It was on Prophets and their role in the Church! It was an excellent article; it kind of surprised me that it was in Christianity today. Out of all the Christian magazines in circulation this is the best. I don’t say this only because of this article. I have subscribed to Charisma and Christianity today and a few others for many years. I don’t subscribe to any write now, but I read from some on line. I canceled the Charisma magazine many years before Christianity today. I felt that Charisma was making an honest effort, but the only valuable stuff seemed to be coming from Lee Grady. He only wrote a brief editorial. The bulk of the magazine was messages by popular preachers, and a lot of them on ‘you can have what you say’ and stuff like that. I actually said to myself one day ‘how many messages does it take on ‘you can achieve some goal, or get what you want’ before they move on to the ‘university level’. Well I feel Christianity today is at the ‘university level’. In the past the majority of preachers/teachers that taught on Apostles and Prophets were the charismatic brothers. I do credit Brother Hagin for re introducing this teaching to the church. I am really excited that more of the mainline Christians seem to be more open to these gifts. It’s hard for believers to distinguish between the reality that some things can be good from a preacher, while other things can be bad. I have seen so many brothers leave the Baptist faith and become Charismatic [OK] but then they view their Baptist heritage in a negative way. They seem to think the future of the church is Charismatic. The future of the church is CHRIST! All charismatics and Baptists and Catholics and every one else who names the name of Christ plays a role in this thing. The message of the church is the Cross of Christ. We are to carry the ‘evangelical’ gospel as the primary voice of the church. If you used to be some denomination and are now another, that’s fine, but don’t think that now the message is ‘the Spirit’ or ‘the anything else’. The message stays the same. Now I believe we should teach and embrace the working of the Holy Spirit, it’s just some brothers have actually said stuff like ‘when I was Baptist I focused on the Cross, when I became charismatic I now focus on the resurrection and the Spirit’ one brother even said the Cross was only for a few hours, leaving the impression that those ‘few hours’ are now over and we move on to other things. This brother is an Apostle out of San Antonio who is a true elder in the church. He has done many good things and I have received from him in many ways. He made this statement at a conference in Corpus Christi and I felt I needed to correct it on radio. I did! Paul told the Corinthians that when he was with them he knew nothing ‘but Christ crucified’. This message doesn’t mean we don’t ‘move on in growth’ it simply means the growth God is looking for is the Body to grow ‘into him’. God’s goal is for us to be mature ‘in him’. Growing is not a matter of moving away from him [or the cross!] Paul told the Galatians ‘MY LITTLE CHILDREN WHOM I TRAVAIL IN BIRTH AGAIN UNTIL CHRIST BE FORMED IN YOU’ Ephesians says we are to grow up into the full stature of Christ and allow his headship over us to fully function as we develop more into being the Body of Christ. All these images show us that the goal of Christian growth is not moving to some other belief, but moving more ‘into him’.
- I called the Houston Chronicle and asked them if I can run our blog in the church section, as of now I am still waiting for a response. I was up praying yesterday and heard [not audibly!] ‘Houston, we’ve got a problem’ so I began praying for the brother that I spoke to and also for divine favor. I recognize that if someone who works for these papers attends a prosperity church that they will not want to run the ad. There are obstacles in moving forward, I have given you guys an example on how one person can do great things in God, but there will be tremendous resistance. I gave you the example of my friend being on the radio for a few weeks. Though it doesn’t take a lot of money to impact regions, it does take spiritual courage. We wrestle not against flesh and blood; the adversary will come after you. Don’t want to intimidate you, just want to give you the facts. Also today we come out in the San Antonio paper, my daughter had a friend from high school that moved to San Antonio while they were still in school. He was a boyfriend/friend. I used to drive her midway and the boy’s mom would meet us and we would pick the boy up for a visit in Corpus. I gave the kid one of our books on the prosperity movement. A few weeks later the boy said his mom really liked it and wanted him to tell me. This was a nice Hispanic family. They were from a broken home, the boys ‘mom’ was really his grandmother. She was a nice woman. I kind of got the feeling that she was one of the many who hear the prosperity gospel for many years and feel a sense of guilt about struggling financially. The message has a tendency to say ‘just keep confessing and believing, surely God doesn’t want his kids to suffer and be broke. Look at us we are all rich’ [the preachers!] Many preachers don’t realize the damage their doing to the poor in our midst. James said ‘YOU ARE DESPISING THE POOR AND TREATING THE RICH WITH FAVOR, HATH NOT GOD CHOSEN THE POOR OF THIS WORLD RICH IN FAITH AND HEIRS TO THE KINGDOM WHICH HE HATH PROMISED, WOE TO THE RICH IN THE DAY OF JUDGEMENT, THEIR RICHES WILL DECAY AND HAVE NO EFFECT IN THAT DAY’ Many of the prosperity brothers simply don’t see the overall effect that the message has on people who are poor. James didn’t preach to the poor that if they believe long enough things will turn around. Paul didn’t tell the saints that they can be rich if they believe, he told them YOU CAME INTO THE WORLD WITH NOTHING, WHEN YOU LEAVE YOU WILL LEAVE WITH NOTHING, THEREFORE BE CONTENT TO HAVE YOUR NEEDS MET Now I realize that there are basic principles of believing the Lord for resources to touch the world. George Mueller was a great man of faith who started an orphanage and had miraculous stories of God providing. It’s that we just are blurring the lines too much. Scripture commands us to not show contempt to the poor. How do you think they feel when we say from our pulpits ‘Well our people are doing well, look at all the expensive cars in the parking lot’ now what do you suppose will happen to that innocent grandma raising her grandson for many years, who took the bus to church today? We don’t realize how much damage we have done. Some of you would have benefited to have listened to me 15 years ago when I started preaching this stuff, instead of telling every body ‘Oh that preacher is against the prosperity movement’ No I am FOR THE POOR GRANDMAS THAT JAMES TOLD US NOT TO DESPISE! NOTE: Many of the brothers I have spoken to over the years teach that there needs to be a return of ‘strong Apostolic authority’ like the early church had. It’s funny because when they here or read the stuff we are writing its ‘too strong’ for them! NOTE: Let me add that the preacher who made the statement about all the people doing well because they had nice cars in the parking lot, meant well. He was trying to express the fact that he wasn’t the only one doing well. This preacher is a very humble man in our city. He is more humble than me, and I don’t say this in a demeaning way. I consider him a true friend. Till this day I pray for the church he pastors as well as other area churches [the one I attend!] I consider him an innocent victim of the deception from certain elements of the prosperity movement. He did not realize that he was directly violating the scripture that says ‘DO NOT MEASURE GODLINESS BY GAIN’ Scripture plainly says you are not to use material things as a measure of ones faith. If the people were all poor and had ‘crappy’ cars, they still could have had ‘been doing well’ [spiritually] according to scripture. This innocent statement made by a good man is just one of the casualties of this teaching! Paul warned Timothy that those who would teach that gain was godliness and would make money the focus would ‘swerve from the faith’ that is they would UNCONCIOUSLY make statements and judgments that were outside of biblical parameters. The logic and reasoning of the above statement came from a good man who today realizes many of the things I am showing you, but at the time did not see how he was being affected by those who were ‘swerving from the faith’. We flippantly say things like ‘THE BIBLE DOESN’T SAY MONEY IS EVIL, BUT THE LOVE OF IT IS’ where does it say this? In TIMOTHY, the same book that I have been quoting all these verses from. People don’t realize that to make being rich your goal is forbidden in scripture. Now I didn’t say you can’t be rich, nor did I say you cant try to become rich. But scripture says that those who DESIRE to be rich fall into temptation and a snare. Scripture forbids the desire to be rich to be the motivational force in your life! BUT THOU O MAN OF GOD FLEE THESE THINGS don’t be duped into this stuff, it will cause you to swerve from the faith and God will limit your voice if you do!
- I have another confession to make. When I drive the regional route from C.C. to Kingsville I pray while going thru the area cities. I feel ‘constrained’ when I wear the seatbelt, so I never wear it. I know some of you will backslide over something like this, but if you have made it this far on this blog you are more than able to handle this! Sure enough the other day I was driving past the airport on the highway doing about 70 and I hit this bump and spun the truck around in the middle of the highway and did a few turns but didn’t flip over or get hit by another vehicle. I wasn’t scared at all, it was a peaceful feeling, I must admit I continued to drive without the belt. I am not bragging, I just felt like there is a sense of ‘you will not die until you finish the course’. It was a little surreal.
- I felt the Lord wants me to stay on this for a little while. Many sincere ‘word of faith/prosperity believers’ honestly believe that tradition has portrayed Jesus and the disciples as being poor, and they were really rich. These honest believers are already ‘swerving’ from the faith at this point without realizing it. This journey often leads them to a point where they ‘see’ the answer to world evangelism as being ‘if we return to the truth of Jesus being rich, and we become like him as scripture demands, then we will have enough money to finance the end time harvest’. So good Christians at this point don’t realize that they are violating all the other verses I went over in these last few entries. Deception is powerful. I do blame the preachers who continue on this road despite the fact that they have been reproved over and again. It’s difficult to realize you might have spent your life as a false prophet. Few make the break after achieving prominence! Jim Bakker made the break. I remember Jim saying in his book how after the Lord started showing him his faults, that it dawned on him that he was preaching for Christians to become rich. This became his message. A few months back I tuned in to one of the famous prosperity brothers as I was flipping thru the channels. I stopped, not to be critical! I haven’t tuned him in for years. I thought I would give it a shot, maybe he’s preaching the gospel now? You never know. I clicked my remote and could only leave it on for about a minute. He was talking all about money again! The sad thing is that many of the more sincere young believers, who grasp this teaching thinking it will promote end time evangelism, don’t realize that the fact that the message has become money in and of itself is hindering evangelism! If most of the money going to support the prosperity brothers [they do get a lot!] is simply propagating a self help ‘you can be rich’ infomercial type gospel, then this in and of itself is hindering the message. You could be feeding the poor, giving the money to ‘Billy Grahams’ or Larry Jones. The lust for wealth has taken the money and made ‘money’ its God. Jesus said out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. If all your talking and preaching is money, to the point where you doctrine officially has changed the image of Jesus Christ into a contemporary prosperity preacher, then you my friend are in very dangerous territory! I just felt like today there needed to be a ‘strong’ reproof for some of you on the edge of this stuff. Sort of like God saying ‘beware’. Jesus said to ‘BEWARE OF COVETOUSNESS, FOR A MANS LIFE CONSISTETH NOT IN THE ABUNDANCE OF THE THINGS THAT HE POSSESSES’ we sometimes need to ‘BE WARE’!
- Paul, in dealing with false teachers in the Church said ‘WHOSE MOUTHS MUST BE STOPPED, TEACHING THINGS THAT THEY OUGHT NOT FOR GAIN’ I know of good men who feel that addressing this issue head on is not walking in love. Over the years what bothered me was the lack of good preachers who refused to deal with these issues. Paul straight-out recognized that the teachers who were doing harm to the church had to be silenced. Not by passing some law, or thru physical restraint. But by dealing head on with the issue thru scripture! This is primarily the way ‘spiritual warfare’ is carried out. CASTING DOWN IMAGINATIONS AND EVERY HIGH THING THAT EXALTS ITSELF AGIANST THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD, AND BRINGING INTO CAPTIVITY EVERY THOUGHT TO THE OBEDIENCE OF CHRIST It is the accurate presenting of Christ as well as the true knowing of him in Spirit that wars against the false images of him that are presented by the false prophets. There comes a time in the Christian preachers experience where he is commanded to reprove things, with all longsuffering. I hold out hope for the innocent victims of doctrines like this, but I sure am mad against the brothers whose ‘mouths must be stopped!’
- Now I want you to see how we are doing battle right now against mindsets. The verse I just showed you is scripture. THOSE THAT DESIRE TO BE RICH WILL FALL INTO A SNARE. Many believers do not realize that scripture commands us to not have this desire. If you were to tell them this, they would say ‘well you believe tradition, and I’ll believe the Word’ not realizing that this is ‘the Word’. But didn’t Jesus come to give us abundant life? Yes he did. And ‘abundant life’ is not measured by material wealth according to scripture! The heroes of the FAITH in Hebrews chapter 11 all had great faith. They were stoned, cut in half, as well as receiving the dead raised again and subduing kingdoms. Well I thought faith meant you always get the desired result. The desired result is the purpose of God. If that purpose happens to be a cross or martyrdom, then you fulfilled your purpose. The fulfilling of your purpose IS ABUNDANT LIFE! I know it takes some time for us to see these things, but for some of you it’s really time! Your SET TIME HAS COME in a way that you weren’t expecting! NOTE: One of the ways the enemy ‘steals’ from us is by convincing us into thinking that life consists ‘of the abundance of the things we possess’. In essence many people have been robbed from the ‘abundant life’ by living their lives for ‘things’ while they missed the true destiny of God.
- I am listening right now to a brother preaching a prosperity message. He is quoting James words on the power of the tongue. He is using this as an example to always maintain a positive confession [for wealth, victory, etc.] He is alluding to the fact that the ‘nay sayers’ who don’t believe we should all be rich are not using their ‘tongues’ right. Despite the fact that James will go on to say things like ‘God has chosen the poor of this world rich in faith’ ‘the rich despise you and use Gods name in vain’ ‘the rich will have a day of judgment where their riches will be of no value to them’. This brother really doesn’t see the abuse of the Word that this reasoning leads to. If James is teaching in this letter to maintain a positive ‘money confession’ then James himself is failing to live up to his own standard by what he is saying in the rest of the letter! This can be maddening at times! I like the brother who is sharing these things on TV right now, but we seriously need an overhaul in our understanding of scripture.
- The book of Numbers says ‘DON’T DEFILE THE LAND THAT YOU ARE GOING IN TO INHERIT, BECAUSE I DWELL THERE!’ Felt like the Lord was saying there were many things he allowed you to go thru. If you will ‘death experiences’. These things are now over. He is bringing you to a new place of inheritance; you cannot bring these old things over into the new land. The power of resurrection only has an effect after one has died. Many of the former things are now dead; a new man is coming forth for a new land! IF ANY MAN IS IN CHRIST HE IS A NEW CREATURE, THE FORMER THINGS ARE PASSED AWAY, BEHOLD ALL THINGS ARE BECOME NEW – REMEMBER NOT THE FORMER THINGS, NEITHER CONSIDER THE THINGS OF OLD, FOR I AM DOING A NEW THING. SHALL YE KNOW IT? I WILL EVEN MAKE A WAY IN THE WILDERNESS AND RIVERS IN THE DESERT![Bible verses]
- Recently we posted our blog site in large regional cities. Some of these cities host huge churches with famous Pastors. Some of these Pastors have received our books over the years. Some of their people might have heard our radio programs in the past [our broadcast reaches very far. It does go into Mexico and people from Louisiana have been known to hear the station we are on] What’s the point? I feel there was a sense of leaders/Pastors who have heard us over the years, and would dismiss what we are saying, whether it was right or wrong. They seemed to simply measure our words by the criteria of ‘how will this affect me, what will this teaching do to my income base’ or ‘Whether or not this guys right doesn’t make a difference to me, I have a goal to achieve something and his teaching doesn’t fit in with my vision’. These criteria show us how present day leadership in the Church is not really ready for revolution. Now there are some who are ready, but for the most part they are still ‘out for themselves’ [their vision, to be successful, etc.] The true revolution of a William Wallace [braveheart] has to be grasped by these men before the Lord can truly move in the earth. Many of these examples show you how we are still ruled by self-survival instead of a spirit of laying down our lives for the cause. God will eventually bring the challenge to the door/gates [of your church!] by allowing the revolutionary spirit to reach your city. When he does this survival will be dependant on your willingness to die to your goals and vision. Who knows, maybe you have COME TO THE KINGDOM FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS!
- Got a response back from the Houston Chronicle on putting our blog in their paper. They gave me the OK, but I have to work out some details. They even offered to run a story on my testimony and the ministry, I know they meant well, but I avoid stuff like this as the plague! It’s one thing to try and get our blog out for people to read, but the promotion of self can be deadly! I am thinking of the time in the bible [Gospel of John] where they came up to Jesus and said ‘no one does these great ministry things that you claim to be doing, and stays hidden, if your really such a big shot go SHOW YOURSELF TO THE WORLD!’ He didn’t do it. Self-promotion is different than God promotion, these two cannot co-exist. I rather have the one that comes from God. I remember many years ago I had a Minster friend who just started going to the jails to preach. I had been going for many years at the point that my friend got into it. Not too long after they were reading a letter that they got from one of the inmates, sort of like a public testimony for the church. I got the sense that they were viewing the jail ministry as a promotional tool for their ministry. I thought it funny, as to the fact that I had received 100’s by this time, and probably close to around 500 or so over all the years of writing friends in jail and Huntsville [prison]. I had a good buddy that I met here in Corpus about 10 years ago. ‘New York’ Tony is his name. I thought it cool to have been working with someone from New York. I even have met a few Jersey brothers as well. Tony has been a cocaine addict for many years. He finally gets off the cocaine by doing ‘ice’ [meth]. He thinks it’s good to get off the coke, but he’s worse on the meth! I would take Tony with me on various errands. I have had him stay over my house a bunch of times. He has never stolen from me, though he has stolen tons of stuff from Home Depot and stuff like that. These guys go into the store, walk the isles and pick up thousands of dollars of building supplies/tools and stuff. Then they go right to the customer service desk and tell the store they lost the receipt and are bringing the stuff back! Instant cash. Well when Tony got on the meth I would stop for gas or go in to a store and he was getting ready to shoplift right there, with me as the ride! I told him ‘brother, you cant be stealing with me right here’ I knew he was getting worse, he never did this before. I prayed for him one day ‘Lord, do something with Tony, I have been helping him out for years, I need some results’ Not too long after he wound up in jail for a year. He is one of my buddies that hasn’t made the prison circuit like my veteran friends from Kingsville. The Kingsville guys have done 10-15 years in Prison each. These Corpus guys are rookies at it. Well Tony started writing me and it’s been years since I wrote the brothers in jail. But I started writing anyway. He wrote me one day and was testifying of how the Lord was really using the books I sent [just realized I wrote this story somewhere else on the blog, oh well I don’t have time to review everything anymore]. I basically wanted to show that ministry is not something you do to ‘promote your image’. It is simply a function of Christ’s Spirit in you. Jesus is still the good shepherd going after the one sheep that’s lost. Leaving the 99 [church attendees] to go after the 1 doesn’t get the same applause, but it’s where Gods heart is at.
- Just walking in my yard and I noticed the Mesquite tree I told you about before. It’s just producing really green leaves, today is the first day of spring. It has this green fungus/moss all over it. Being I live so close to the bay, the moisture does this to the tree. I thought of the verse ‘I WILL BE LIKE A GREEN OLIVE TREE IN THE HOUSE OF GOD’ [PSALMS]. I also thought of ‘THE MAN WHOSE NAME IS THE BRANCH, HE WILL GROW OUT OF HIS PLACE [small parameter] AND BUILD THE TEMPLE OF THE LORD’ the many teachings we have done over the years have tried to show the people of God that THEY ARE THE TEMPLE! I know it gets repetitive, but God wants teachers/preachers to build the temple as opposed to building ‘a temple’. God’s people are this awesome dwelling place. If you focus your time and efforts on releasing people into their God given destiny, then YOU WILL GROW OUT OF YOUR SMALL AREA OF INFLUENCE. If you seek to increase your area of influence at the expense of the people [seeing them as tools or a financial base for goals] then you are fighting an uphill battle. [Or should I say downhill]
- Let me share 2 statements that stuck in my mind over the years, said to me by friends who were addicts. I was with ‘New York Tony’ one day and we were driving on some errand and he forgot his new sunglasses [nice ones] on the roof of my car. He remembered later and tried to find them. In his frustration he said of himself ‘what a @#@# waste of life’. I had another old friend from Kingsville who one day told me ‘John, when normal people get under stress they curse or get mad. When I get stressed I stick needles in my arms’. Most people view these friends of mine as total wastes that got what they deserve. Sure that’s possible. I just wanted you to get a picture of the few moments of clarity in their lives when they see themselves the same way. [I think the Kingsville friend died a few years back. He moved to another state but I read an obituary and it had his name, but no picture]
- A few entries back I mentioned an article from Christianity today. Part of the article spoke on the clergy’s dependence on the offerings from the people being a hindrance to the prophetic ministry. The article even spoke on the modern phenomena of Pastors/Elders being bi-vocational. That is the trend of certain leaders choosing to work a regular job and not be supported by the church. I know what the New Testament teaches on meeting the needs of those who supply spiritual food. Paul, who said this, also said that he chose to not use this right with the Corinthians. He even said by not using it he was preaching the gospel free of charge, and that was a commendable thing. So obviously there are various ways to approach this. The thing we did not see in the New Testament churches was ‘hired clergy’. This is blatantly obvious. Sure it makes us feel uncomfortable to admit this, especially if you are one of them! But the point is we need to recognize that many modern scenarios of Pastors feeling pressured to speak on topics in order to keep the salary money coming in was absent in the first century church. Much of what we do is out of peer pressure and self-survival. I want to challenge you, try doing it for free! Paul said you can, he also said those who got paid didn’t have the same joy of knowing that they were truly doing it from the heart. It’s OK to receive support, but it’s not OK to see yourself as a ‘hired hand’ who is employed by a congregation to provide services [weddings, funerals, etc.]
- CHANGE YOUR MINDSET Over the years as I have learned new things and ways to function in Gods kingdom, I would always think along terms of ‘how do we make this happen, who are the group[s] of people that we are to release the gifts in’ I also have read many other ministry ideas and concepts. Often what we are trying to do is produce some biblical ministry in a limited paradigm. For example, when people began learning about the 5-fold ministry [Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers] they tried to ‘make it happen in their church’ the reason it didn’t ‘happen in their church’ is because their paradigm of ‘church’ was limited. They saw ‘church’ as the meeting of believers in the ‘church building’ on Sunday. Though the belief on the 5 fold was correct, it was the limited understanding of ‘church’ that hindered what God wanted to do. I felt like the Lord was saying to many of us ‘why are you always trying to re-produce that which I show you in some building, my gifts are to function freely in society/community and you are always trying to make it happen in some building environment’. So in essence the changing of the wineskin from seeing ‘church’ as the Sunday meeting to seeing ‘church’ as the functioning community of people was the missing ingredient. Many ‘Apostles’ and ‘Prophets’ were struggling on how to get their gift to work in ‘the church’ and they were missing the great excitement of bringing the gospel to the lost world. How did the Apostle Paul’s gift operate? Do you see him going around to ‘New Testament churches’ trying to set up ‘5 day meetings’? He primarily is going into the world preaching the gospel to the lost, and these ‘become’ the churches [communities of people] that he later builds as an Apostle. We need to ‘re-focus’ our mindset from ‘building’ to people. Get your mind off of ‘trying to build your ministry’ and realize that all of our days are limited. Sell out for the cause, go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature! Quit trying to ‘find your place in the church!’
- Just got back from seeing one of the homeless friends I met many years ago. He has had lots of struggles with drugs, but usually pot. He was what we would refer to as a ‘weed head’ in the old days. I feel kinda bad. Just talked with him for a few hours. He is so strung out on ‘ice’ that you would think he is loosing his mind. I feel bad because I really haven’t spent time with him the last 6 months or so. He is a good friend, but I try to ‘share’ the time with different friends. I gave him this blog site, he is going out of state for a while. He has listened to me on the radio before. He just gave someone else the station that we are on. I was surprised he knew it by heart [time and station # and all]. Maybe he listens a lot more than I thought? There was an older friend of mine [70 or so] that was called ‘one eyed Tony’ not to be confused with ‘New York Tony’. He was sleeping under a local overpass a few years back and some local gang kids beat him up and poked his eye out. I haven’t seen him in a few years. He used to listen to the radio show and articulate it back to me in a very intelligent manner when I saw him. He was an engineer who made a good living and was smart. Story goes he was drunk one night in Florida and accidentally killed some one in a car crash. I think it might have been a family member. He wound up living on the streets of Corpus. You wouldn’t believe that some of these homeless people were just like many of you at one time. Pray for my friends. Thanks.
- The other day I was with some guys and they were talking about a ‘gang/drug dealing’ family here in south TX. The name is well known. These guys were talking all about the history of this family. Shootings and all sorts of stuff. I told them how one of my buddies ‘beat the crap’ out of one of them years ago. My friend was also known from coming from a rival family. There are a few well-known names that the local ‘gangsters’ all know. My friend was the one I told you about earlier who swallowed the bag of cocaine and died [who shot the cops in the back when he was a kid]. I remember when he got out of prison I would pick him up for church. He came to the first meetings we ever held in an old rented hospital. One morning when I picked him up he looked real apprehensive. I knew something was wrong. He admitted to me that he had ‘bumped’ for the first time since getting out of prison. He hadn’t shot up for a while, and it was like he knew that he just opened a door that would be hard to close. He died not too long after.
- Just outside walking/praying in my yard early in the morning. It’s the 2nd day of spring. The reason I just walked inside to write is as I was walking by my rose bushes [Josephs coat of many colors that I told you about earlier] I was praying and inviting Gods presence to come into the garden and enjoy the smell of the Roses. I felt him say ‘I can only smell them thru you’. So I ‘smelled’ them vicariously for the Lord. It’s like God is telling us he can only manifest and experience his world ‘thru us’. We are the living organic Body of Christ on planet earth. He reaches people thru us; Jesus sings praises to the Father thru us. Scripture says he is in the midst of the congregation singing praise to God [Hebrews]. God interacts with society thru us. We show our love for God thru the way we treat people. HOW CAN ANYONE SAY HE LOVES GOD, WHO HE HAS NOT SEEN, IF HE CAN’T LOVE HIS BROTHER WHO HE HAS SEEN 1st Just felt like the Lord wanted to communicate this to you.
- Let me share a few things. A few years back I remember watching a ‘share a thon’ on a Christian TV station. The brother was using the verses from the Gospel of John on Jesus multiplying the loaves and fish and feeding the multitude. He shared how the station also needed to bring in lots of money, just like Jesus multiplied lots of fish, in order to feed the people. Well enough. What I get from the story is that Jesus really didn’t need a lot of ‘stuff’ before he could ‘reach/feed’ the people. In fact I think the story is more in line with what I teach. That you can ‘touch/feed’ the multitudes with very little! That is you simply bring to the table the mindset of ‘my little portion in the hands of the master can go a long way’. It’s just a matter of perspective. The brother from the share a thon saw this verse out of his paradigm. When you view ministry as the need to raise millions, then that’s what you will see when you read scripture. It’s not like the brother was a heretic or something, he was just seeing everything thru his train of thought. I believe Jesus can use a little boy’s lunch to reach the masses, what about you?
- It’s 3-21-07 I just read an interesting prophecy/word from the Elijah list. It spoke of the date 7-7-07 as being a significant date this year. The prophetic brother also shared how he felt it had something to do with the overthrowing of ‘Baal’ in this country. I sent him this blog site. My birthday falls on 7-17-07 this year. I think we do a pretty good job at ‘taking the heads off [removing their authority] of the ‘prophets of Baal’! NOTE: There are a lot of great prophetic people that do not like our stuff. I understand that. My strong stance against the prosperity gospel is not popular! I feel in instances like this, where the Lord actually gives a prophetic sign prior to someone reading our site, is needed to ‘wake up’ certain prophets to the need to return to a more biblical view of the church! I remember reading the date 7-17 in scripture; I think it has something to do with the story of Noah’s Ark?
- Just watching the news as I read and work on this blog. 2 girls were kidnapped in Texas a few days ago. Today they were freed. They were ‘loosed’ in MESQUITE TX. I have had a few more ‘mesquite tree’ signs that I haven’t even shared yet. Suffice it to say I feel many ‘2 witnesses’ [apostles/prophets- Revelation 11] will find a ‘release’ from things that have held them captive. The Lord has used the image of a Mesquite tree for this blog. I pray many of you will find release in ‘MESQUITE’.
- Today I have been reading a lot of prophetic brothers. I cant help but feel the Lord saying THE PROPHETIC CAN NOT THRIVE IN A DAY WHERE I AM PRESENTED IN A WRONG WAY BY THE IMAGES THAT MEN HAVE OF ME, THE PROPHETIC SPIRIT MUST SPEAK OUT PLAINLY AGIANST THESE ABUSES IN MY CHURCH I do not want to be melodramatic, but we do live in a day where it is common for people to teach that Jesus was, and is, a materially focused individual. Many innocent people are wrongfully embracing this image because the PROPHETS ARE FACILITATING IT! We must speak out for true righteousness if we seek to have a true prophetic voice.
- Let me try to be nice. Over the tears of seeing a lot of the abuse in the church I recognized that a lot of it existed because good men [prophetic people and others] refused to deal with the issue. Then you had ‘heresy hunters’ deal with it in a way that totally turned off the church. The prophetic people out of defense against the ‘heresy hunters’ would reject any possibility that the ‘money focus’ in the church was getting off track. So on one side you had the old time ‘defenders of the faith’ warring against the ‘prosperity movement’ and the prophets fell on the side of defending the ‘prosperity movement’. Well this whole thing is a mess. The simple fact that it is common to see a Christian preacher, wearing expensive jewelry, telling people that Jesus and the disciples lived extravagant lifestyles. Talking about dreams and visions of Jesus appearing to them and telling them ‘you can have all the money you want’ [though God can use dreams, they need to be tested like prophetic words!]. Guys having dreams/visions of biblical characters telling them things that contradict scripture, and then the prophets in the church actually lining up on the side of this movement is a tremendous hindrance to the prophetic. We shouldn’t be attack dogs, I agree! But at some point Gods prophets must be willing to address these issues. The fact that the prophets have not dealt with it [for the most part] has opened the door for the ‘heresy hunters’ to paint all of us with the same brush. I appeal to you guys [prophets] take a look at what we are doing. Are we letting the true image of Jesus fall to the ground out of fear and being defensive? How can we not see that many of the fathers of this movement [prosperity] have fallen into the category of 1st Timothy 6. Paul said there would be a time when teachers would teach that financial gain is godliness, from such turn away. I too enjoyed the faith brothers for a while. It’s just there came a time where I had to admit that the stuff coming from their camp could not be accepted anymore. I know and believe that the Father wants us to prosper and has a great future for us. But this is different from seeing Jesus the way these brothers present him. This issue must come to the forefront in the prophetic movement or else God will not allow our voices to continue in today’s church. NOTE: Let me also say that scripture tells us to ‘reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine’ Jeremiah speaks of ‘casting up, removing the stones [hindrances], tearing down and building up’. We are supposed to focus on Jesus for sure. There are times where we also bring correction in love. If leaders don’t do this, then many young believers go down a long road of finding these things out on their own. Eventually they will see the shallowness of this movement, but they could have saved a lot of time if their Pastors dealt with it in the beginning. NOTE: In the book of Acts you see Paul receiving prophecies on ‘how much you will suffer for my cause’. You find the apostles praising God that they were counted worthy to suffer beatings and persecution for the name of Christ. You see the prophetic centered around the sacrificial lifestyle that the Gospel calls us to. In today’s prophetic circles it is all to common to hear prophecies on becoming debt free, receiving financial windfalls, money will fall into your hands this year and stuff like this. Sure it’s possible that God is saying a few of these things, but the modern prophetic movement almost has no voice for the prophecies you see given in scripture. The prophetic must come into re-alignment with scripture if she wants her voice to be relevant today.
- I just share these things as they come to me I HAVE MADE YOU A NEW SHARP THRESHING INSTRUMENT HAVING TEETH, YOU WILL THRESH THE MOUNTAINS AND BEAT THEM SMALL AND THE WIND SHALL CARRY THEM AWAY. I have quoted this before on this blog, but while reviewing it felt it spoke to this blog site. Though I have claimed this verse for many years and we have had avenues of ministry going on for quite some time, yet I just felt like the Lord said THIS [BLOG] IS THE NEW SHARP THRESHING INSTRUMENT [in our personal case, not the actual fulfillment of this verse!]. Also I just realized I am writing this at entry 200 which is a milestone for this blog. Another verse I felt I should share is WRITE THE VISION AND MAKE IT PLAIN UPON TABLES SO HE WHO READS IT CAN RUN WITH IT. THE VISION IS FOR AN APPOINTED TIME, THOUGH IT TARRY, WAIT FOR IT. IT WILL SURELY COME Felt like many of you have made it this far on this site for a prophetic destiny to be fulfilled. There are things that you needed to learn before the vision God had for you can be fully implemented. You have just learned a lot of these things, it is now time to run with it!
- Just had a bunch of thoughts run thru my head. In the Old Testament the cities were surrounded by walls for protection. On these walls were ‘lookouts’ who would stand guard day and night to ‘see’ things coming. These ‘seers’ were the first to recognize danger, or even an ally coming to help. They would ‘see’ it long before anyone else. This did not make them better than the rest of the community; it simply was their job [gift]. Some seers were higher on the wall than others. You had some actually posted on the wall, while others were in ‘stands’ built off of the wall. This group of lookouts were really seeing far. It was a matter of faith for the community to prepare themselves for what the seers were seeing. Ezekiel speaks of ‘watchman on the wall’ and he says if the watchman see a threat and don’t sound the alarm, then they will be responsible for the results. If they sound the alarm and no one listens, they are not held responsible, but the ones who don’t take action will still suffer. Recently I have been able to ‘speak into’ certain prophetic groups. Many of these brothers do have real gifts, it’s just I feel that a lot of them are not ‘sounding’ the warnings along with the ‘good stuff’. To a degree they also are ‘victims’ of the materialistic mindset that has imbedded itself within the current evangelical church. Many of these prophets immediately reject any talk of correction and re alignment with the central message of the Gospel. They seem to be inundated with the concept of the ‘wealth of the wicked coming to the church’ [which is a true scripture!] to the point of not being able to ‘see’ [which is the prophets main objective!] the writing on the wall. I find it interesting that many of these prophets are on the Elijah list [a prophetic website]. I really like the Elijah list, just not enough balance. Elijah was a prophet in the midst of ‘prophets’. As a singular voice [or so he thought!] he was not in the ‘majority opinion’ of his day. This didn’t mean he was wrong, only that the rest of Gods people weren’t ‘seeing’ as far as he was. I feel there needs to be a re alignment with the current prophetic movement. Too much of it is in alignment with the materialistic gospel. How can God use the ‘watchman’ if they for the most part refuse to ever sound the alarm? Many will not sound it out of self-preservation. Like I have told you before, if ministries are trying to build a support base, there will be a natural tendency to reject any correction along these lines. Unknowingly many prophets simply say ‘I don’t see that’ in the area of all that I have been saying, because without realizing it they are being influenced by a natural desire to ‘bring in the wealth for the end time harvest’. They too have become infected with mammon. I believe the church has a glorious future. I do not hold to an end time fatalistic eschatology, but the future of the church and Gods Kingdom being expressed in the earth is vitally connected to a spiritual people who are not controlled by the materialistic mindset of the day. The prophets must make a break from these things. There is no way the Lord will permit the prophetic to have a greater impact until she learns to distinguish between that which is pure and that which is unclean I remember hearing Paul Cain speak on the 3 dangers to the prophetic ‘GOLD, GIRLS AND GLORY’. He saw the aspect of money as a danger to the movement. The kings of the Old Testament would enlist ‘Eunuchs’ to watch over their bride[s] when they were not around. The Eunuch was ‘unable’ to take advantage of the bride for his own procreation. He could be ‘trusted’ because there was nothing ‘in him’ that could lead to the procreation of his own mind and agenda [thru his seed/offspring]. Many prophets have not passed this test because they are still seeing ‘their future’. This leads them to prophesy abundant wealth year after year to the groups they are speaking into. It is an unconscious ‘self procreation’ [of their dreams and future] that are causing them to do this. I pray the Lord would help all of us [including me!] to put the concerns of the bride before ours!
- TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING I have been wanting to use this illustration for a long time. The time is here! I was just taking a bath. When I reached for the shampoo I had a familiar occurrence. I found myself surrounded by many bottles of conditioner, and one bottle of shampoo. There have been many times where I have had 6-8 bottles of conditioner and NO shampoo. I do have 4 daughters and 1 wife. This should explain it. There are times where you can have too much of a good thing. Many times we get inundated as Christians with the message of wealth and happiness to the point where there is no room for the shampoo. The conditioner feels good, it serves a purpose, but sometimes we just need to get clean! There are a lot of great principles of motivation and success in Gods Word. The book of Proverbs has to be the greatest business book ever written. The point is all these things come with the underlying theme of the gospel being the foundation. Simple truths of living for eternal rewards versus temporary stuff. Stories like Jesus talking about the rich man building greater barns, and that night he died. Jesus saying WHAT SHALL IT PROFIT A MAN IF HE GAIN THE WHOLE WORLD AND LOSE HIS SOUL. We HAVE LOST SIGHT OF THESE THINGS WHILE reaching for the conditioner! We want to feel good, which is all right, but we really need some shampoo every once in a while!
- To our San Antonio ‘Ecclesia’. I want to show you guys something. If you read this blog from #1 to this entry [only 4 months of writing] you can actually see prophecy fulfilled that I didn’t even realize. The stories about me being in San Antonio and watching the Johnny Cash movie. ‘I took the train to San Antone’. If you go back and read some of these things you will see that the Lord was telling me that ‘we would be taking the train to San Antone’ the train imagery also spoke of ministry. The blog posting in the San Antonio paper has given us a tremendous open door to your city. I had no idea we would be posting our blog in regional papers. It was something the Lord put on my heart a few months back. I had no idea I would be writing so much stuff on this blog! These were all prophetic signs showing that we would have an open door to your city. I just wanted you to see how prophetic things work, often times the signs are not fully understood until they are fulfilled. I WILL SHOW YOU THINGS TO COME, BEFORE THEY HAPPEN I WILL TELL YOU OF THEM, SO WHEN THEY COME TO PASS YOU WILL KNOW THAT I DID IT [Isaiah].
- This is kind of an interruption, but I need to share this. The interruption is I am outside enjoying this prayer time and I had to come in and do this. If you remember in the beginning of this blog I shared ‘signs’ from the stars. One of the signs was that of a ‘trumpet’. This is a formation of stars that sort of looks like a trumpet. Well I was just seeing it a few minutes ago. Something that I didn’t realize until a few weeks ago is the formation fits all the area cities that we put the blog site in. C.C./Kingsville/Alice/San Antonio/Houston/[yet to come]Laredo/Valley area. I realized if you put a circle around all these cities it would pretty much ‘map out’ the same star pattern that I have seen. Felt like this was prophetic, sort of like the Lord was saying ‘I will give you voice [trumpet] in these regions’. Also God ‘makes his tent/tabernacle in the stars’ speaks of Gods ‘perimeter’. I WILL SET YOUR FEET IN A LARGE PLACE/IN MY FATHERS HOUSE [tabernacle] ARE MANY MANSIONS [people groups/oikos]. NOTE: If you remember, Chuck Pierce, A Prophet out of Denton, TX. Prophesied that God would be giving ‘signs in the stars’ this year. NOTE: The names of these regional cities are ‘Corpus Christi’ [Body of Christ] ‘Kingsville’ [Vila of the King] San Antonio is a ‘mission’ city. Scripture says God names the stars. Many of these ‘stars’ I have seen represented these area cities, truly many of these cities have significant names. God even told Abraham ‘look at the stars, so shall thy seed be’. The inheriting of ‘regions’ is thru your offspring. ‘THOSE THAT SHALL BE OF THEE SHALL INHERIT THE LAND AND MAKE THE DESOLATE CITIES TO BE INHABITED/ THRU THY SEED SHALL ALL THE FAMILIES OF THE EARTH BE BLESSED’ God often uses imagery in scripture to depict a ‘family’ or lineage of people. God used both stars and the ‘sand which is by the sea’ to describe Abraham’s kids. Some think the sand speaks of ‘natural seed’ [Israel] while the stars speak of ‘heavenly’ [the church/ spiritual Israel].
- Outside in Kingsville praying over the ‘southern district’ [the area from Kingsville over to Laredo, down to the valley]. Felt like I heard the Lord say ‘the Gospel is my divine ability to transition and interact in the affairs of men in their time and culture’. God becoming man in the 1st century Jewish context was an act of divine interruption. God is calling us to adapt and change with the culture of the time. I AM NOT SAYING WE CHANGE THE FOUNDATIONAL MESSAGE OF THE GOSPEL it’s just having the ability to identify with the culture. Don’t confuse ‘the old time religion’ with the ‘old time culture’. Many of us would be much more effective if we would lay down our peculiar styles and impacted society head on, like a train wreck!
- I read a while back ‘MY WORD IS LIKE THE EAST WIND THAT BLOWS AGAINST THE SHIPS OF TARSHISH AND BREAKS THEM APART’ I am paraphrasing. I felt like the Lord was saying ‘to many of you I have ‘dismantled’ many of the ‘ships’ that you were trusting in. You have felt a sense of vulnerability which is good. During this season learn me and my ways again, like the early days, and I will do a work in your day that if it were told you, you would not believe it’.
- Look at the prophetic ministry of Jesus in the 1st century context. He claims to be showing the people the true Kingdom of God as opposed to organized religion. He gathers a group of followers who he teaches generosity and love expressed thru deeds. He teaches that the religious commands [Sabbath] were given to benefit men, as opposed to condemning him. He constantly is butting heads with the most intellectual religious leaders of the day. They all, with few exceptions, agree that his ministry is not only illegitimate, but that he is mentally unbalanced and demon possessed. When they finally decide it would be best to ‘put him out of his misery’ he finds even his closest friends dissociating from him out of fear. He is finally killed, rises from the dead. Surely they will accept me now? NOT! And you want to have a prophetic ministry like Jesus?
- I was just thinking about the book of James, I haven’t read it in a few years [?] but sometimes the Lord just brings things to your remembrance. James says that GOD IS THE FATHER OF LIGHTS, EVERY GOOD AND PERFECT GIFT COMES DOWN FROM HIM, HE IS NOT PARTIAL BUT TREATS ALL HIS KIDS EQUALLY This is all in context with the fact that James is one of the lead Apostles in the Jerusalem church. [Not the Pastor!] James had spiritual oversight to a large group of POOR believers. These were the same Christians that Paul was taking up the offering for in the Corinthian church. James actually defends these poor believers all thru out the book of James. Yet he makes these statements of God loving all his kids equally. He says God gives good gifts to his children. He also says many of Gods kids are POOR [hath not God counted the poor of this world rich in faith]. These statements in no way contradict the theme of James. James fully understands that the love of God for these Jerusalem saints is not to be measured by THINGS. The New Testament Apostles had a clear understanding of this. They got this understanding directly from Jesus ministry. There is an underlying theme in the New Testament that THINGS are not the way we form Gods opinion of us. You and I measure Gods love and acceptance for us based on the fact that God LOVED THE WORLD SO MUCH THAT HE GAVE US HIS ONLY SON! Paul does say if God gave his son for us, will he not give us freely all things? The implied answer is YES [Romans]. But then Paul ALSO TEACHES HE LEARNED TO BE CONTENT WITH BOTH ABUNDANCE AND LACK. This contentment came from the fact that God already proved his love for us by the work of the cross. There is no other thing that could show you your acceptance with God than this simple fact. So James can confidently say ALL GOOD GIFTS COME DOWN FROM THE FATHER OF LIGHTS, IN WHOM THERE IS NO VARIABLENESS OR SHADOW OF TURNING knowing full well that many of his ‘parishioners’ were dead broke! The father of lights gave us his SON; there could be no question of his acceptance of us based on this reality!
- Something that has made me uncomfortable for some time is the dynamic of speaking a strong prophetic word/teaching and then realizing the aftermath. For instance the ‘judiazers’ of the first century were teaching a form of Christianity that embraced legalism. They were doing well for a season until God allowed Paul to ‘blast it’ out of the water. Once the Apostolic authority of Paul exposed the heresy, it was difficult for the Judiazers to continue. They sure tried, but Gods authority was now working against their doctrine. I recognize that there are certain truths that we teach that are contrary to the normal tradition of ‘church’. I do not teach them simply for this reason, in as much as I feel it’s time for certain things to be dealt with [like the judiazers]. After these things are dealt with, many good Pastors will continue to embrace what they have known and are familiar with. This creates a tension in the community. Many of their ‘parishioners’ will embrace the truths they have learned from us and Gods authority always falls on the side of truth. Many of the authority structures that are presently functioning in the church are not really biblical. When you have believers moving in grace in certain areas, and church authorities coming down on the wrong [incorrect] view of the subject, you then have a dynamic where Gods authority is falling on the side of the ‘parishioners’ and not on the side of the clergy. This dynamic was also seen in Jesus ministry with the disciples. It was unthinkable for the 1st century clergy to admit that Gods authority was being expressed thru this rag tag team of unlearned men, as opposed to their theological doctorates! I feel uncomfortable when this happens with us. I used to Pastor, and I do not like people who come to a community just to start trouble and cause division. But sometimes we mistake a true prophetic challenge to the status quoi, as being rebellion [Martin Luther and the Catholic Church of the 16rh century!]
- Just got back from an ‘incident command’ lecture. We do these every so often at the Fire Dept. It got me to thinking in terms of organizational structure and command. I think it would help to review some things I have taught over the years. First, the reason I don’t believe the New Testament teaches ‘the end time transfer of wealth’ the way many people are teaching today is because any ‘windfall’ infusion of wealth INTO THE PRESENT SYSTEM would not fundamentally change the way things are. If you poured billions of dollars into the present ‘wineskin’ it would not enable, or release into function the ‘Body of Christ’. For the most part any increase of funds would just perpetuate the current system. God wants a CHANGE in the current system. God wants to ‘release’ the army of people who are sitting in the pews on Sunday. Our current mindset has the army sitting in the barracks once a week, and thinking that this is their main function! Second, the present stage of the Church takes the few instances of Paul [and others] speaking in public forums [in Acts] and tries to duplicate this model, seeming to think that the primary way the church functions in society is by ‘sitting in church on Sunday and listening to sermons’. This is NOT the New Testament model of the first century church. The best ‘view’ of ‘church’ in the New Testament is seen in Corinthians [I did not say they were the best church, it was BECAUSE of their flaws that we are able to read about the way the church should meet!] In the Corinthian model ‘church’ is an interactive experience where Christians come together and share the love of Christ. It is plain to see that the current understanding of church today is not as interactive or ‘corporate’ as the New Testament had. So Jesus model of ‘tasking’ voluntary disciples to GO INTO ALL THE WORLD AND PREACH THE GOSPEL is now relegated to the ‘clergy’ at the expense of the church and the lost world. This limited mindset hurts all the way around. God will take the ‘small’ seeds of influence from the ‘volunteer’ model and cause the seed to exponentially increase. CAST YOUR SEED/BREAD UPON THE WATER, FOR IN MANY DAYS IT WILL COME BACK TO YOU I just watched the movie ‘pay it forward’ and it gives a good concept of one person inspiring others to ‘pass it on’. This basic principle of all believers living in such a way as to inspire others to voluntarily give their lives away is the Jesus model. All the ‘transference of the worlds money’ will not fundamentally change the limited paradigm in which we function today! NOTE; I was having a discussion with some one along these lines. They innocently said ‘but you have to have somewhere to put all the people [church building]’ It is interesting to see that this concern never came up in the New Testament churches. They all knew that they needed to ‘sleep somewhere’ and ‘eat somewhere’ and ‘meet somewhere’ [houses!] but today’s mindset of ‘I have 1000 people as ‘church members’ where will I put them all?’ This concern is absent in The New Testament. The simple fact that the spreading of the gospel in the first 3 centuries was more of a revolutionary movement in the hearts and minds of people explains this reality. They weren’t looking for ‘places to put people’ they were revolutionizing society!
- Recently Pope Benedict [formerly Cardinal Ratzinger, defender of the ‘doctrine of the faith’ for the Catholic church] moved against an influential Priest for his teaching in the area of Liberation Theology. This is a popular view with certain south/central American countries. Many political leaders [Daniel Ortega] embraced this view as a part of their Socialist revolution. This view focuses on the radical aspect of Jesus ministry in the area of social justice and his identification with the poor. Most Christians feel that Liberation Theology is too closely aligned with Marxist views and therefore reject it. I simply want to note the New Testament teaching in the area of social justice and how many ‘white conservative Protestants’ dismiss out of hand certain aspects of the gospel. No form of human government is ‘inherently just’. Capitalism, in and of itself is not ‘just’. As a form of government it provides freedom in the marketplace for the free flow of ideas. It works better than most other govts. on the planet, but it in and of itself is not ‘just’. Justice is only found in any earthly govt. to the degree that that govt. is being influenced and ‘infected’ by the ‘just one’ [God] and his ‘justified ones’ [the church]. As human govts. ‘make room’ for the people of God and godly institutions, then there is a degree of justice released into that society thru the church. The book of James talks about ‘just wages’. A doctrine that capitalists don’t fully embrace. Most capitalists argue ‘whatever the market place pays is right’. They feel that the idea of free competition in and of itself is just. If you can get someone to do a days work for $5.00 and that’s the going rate, well they feel that’s OK. The New and Old Testaments don’t agree! God has lots of instruction on fair wages and the treatment of the poor that govt. should comply with. Now I am not advocating socialism, which robs people of hope and independent thought. But I want to show you how no earthly govt., even the best forms of them, are equal to the Kingdom [govt.] of God. I for the most part agree with Pope Benedict and his statement on liberation theology, but I must admit there is a part of the radical revolutionary in me that finds aspects of it to be exciting! NOTE: I would like to note that the Catholic Church has been great in the area of social justice through out the entire history of the church. During the ‘dark ages’ the church actually became the institution that nations appealed to as the highest authority in the land. Our Catholic brothers were speaking out in defense of the unborn long before the Protestants. I just wanted the critics of the Catholics to give credit where credit is due!
- One of my good friends who was part of the original group of brothers called me up at work last night. He asked if I could help him with some money [around $60.00] I told him no problem. I will be getting with him in a few hours when I get off of work. It’s around 4 am, this is one of those days where I woke up at 12:30 am and couldn’t sleep! I was thinking about the reality of this friend [and others] who see themselves ‘connected’ to us in ministry. Even though we don’t have ‘connections’ in the way you would be a ‘member of a church’. If you think about it, I have probably given away thousands of dollars over the years to friends. Feeding guys, doing charity and just helping with bills. I do not see this as ‘paying staff’ but these brothers are faithful communicators of the vision the Lord has given us. No matter how many churches or Pastors they have encountered in the journey, they see themselves as loyal to ‘us’. I find this interesting as to the fact that we really don’t care if people are loyal to us! Our attitude has been ‘if you got blessed thru us in the past, then go bless others’ this mindset that exists in today’s form of ‘local church’ is a type of dysfunctional insecurity. Many good Pastors try to develop criteria to ensure the loyalty of people. We read the book of Acts and try to come up with ‘rules for the church’ that would cause people to be ‘faithful to the vision of this house’. Many times the leaders are well meaning, but this type of trying to teach ‘commitment’ is really not a function in the New Testament churches. They were ‘loyal’ to the gospel and to Jesus. They were to ‘obey’ those over them in the Lord as it pertained to these basic truths. You don’t find Paul setting up ‘systems’ of loyalty that you see today. When you truly reach people for Christ and give your self away, they will be loyal like a son to a father. There will be no need to ‘check up’ on whether they have been faithful to the church and stuff like that.
- Let me throw some practical functional stuff in here. Over the years of studying and reading books on the cell/house church movement and Apostolic movements I see the way we are all growing in our understanding as God changes the ‘wineskin’. It was common to transition from ‘seeing’ the church building as ‘the church’ to seeing the ‘house/home group’ as the church. Some brothers simply replaced one structure with another. The true New Testament paradigm was ‘seeing’ the community of people as ‘the church’. Now, I do believe it is more practical to utilize the homes of believers as primary meeting places. If you’re a ‘volunteer’ army of people, you are not trying to raise money for the building and stuff. So practically you use the resources of the ‘soldiers’ being recruited. It’s just that the ‘soldiers’ themselves are the functioning unit that the commander is living in! I know these are not new concepts; it’s just that I feel the people we relate to need to keep this in mind. I do encourage all of our blog readers/radio listeners to sponsor a home group as God directs. Just keep in mind that this is only one aspect of ‘church’ expression. The ‘home group meeting’ is not the church, you are!
- A few years ago we had a ‘word of faith/prosperity church’ that used to broadcast from our city. I actually liked the program and would tune in from time to time. I remember one week they announced that they were going to have a rich Christian come in and share his faith and how money and riches do not interfere with serving God. The person who sponsored the program then did the interview with this wealthy believer. During the interview it ‘slipped out’ that this rich Christian tried to get out of doing the program because the day before they had some bad weather in their area of Texas and needed to take care of the cattle and couldn’t do the ministry thing. Well the announcer admitted that they twisted his arm to come. It reminded me of the parable of Jesus. How some people couldn’t attend the wedding supper because they had other priorities. Some had to ‘go see their land’ and couldn’t come. Even though this radio program intended to show how riches and other areas of wealth don’t hinder Gods work, they inadvertently showed the opposite. I also remember this broadcaster share at the time that God would never call someone to be a missionary and suffer on the foreign field if they didn’t want to do it. That in essence Gods will is to make us happy, and if we don’t feel we would be happy then God is not going to ask us to do things contrary to our desires. A few weeks later I had the privilege of hearing a missionary family give their testimony. They were on vacation from some 3rd world country and speaking in Corpus. The wife shared all the physical trials that they and their kids suffered. How the medical care is not good where they’re at. She went on and shared that even though in the natural her flesh says ‘why should I suffer’, that when she sees the results of souls saved that the sacrifice is worth it! It’s stuff like this that I have seen over the years that causes me to speak out on these issues.
- Was talking to some homeless friends the other day and was asking them if they saw Tim recently. Tim [carpenter Tim] was one of the first friends I met years ago. Tim worked regularly, refused govt. help and would avoid eating the free meals at the mission. He felt it was irresponsible to take stuff for free. Tim often invited me to his camp for coffee and fellowship. He had this ‘mangy’ dog that he really loved. She must have had at least 7 litters of puppies since the time I knew her. I would find Tim treating the dogs for fleas in a 5-gallon bucket. He was preparing them for free give away in front of H.E.B. he spent money on these animals and took good care of them. Tim was very responsible, he would get up before sun up and walk to the park to fill up a bucket with fresh water for the camp. He would try to finish his chores early so he wouldn’t be seen as some bum walking around in the middle of the day with no direction. He would often go to whataburger early in the morning to drink coffee. The retired guys would see him and give him the job section of the paper. Sort of like saying ‘get a job you bum’. They didn’t realize that Tim regularly worked. It’s just that he was homeless. He liked responding by saying ‘I am working on my career right now, my singing and dancing career!’ He figured he’d get them mad by saying this. One time Tim’s parents from out of state were coming to Corpus to see Tim. He told them they would find him in the ‘Bluff’ [where I live also]. It was funny; when they got into town they came to the bluff and were asking some homeless people if they knew where Tim was. The homeless brother didn’t know they were looking for carpenter Tim, so they said ‘sure we know your son, he goes by the name of drunk Tim’ [another Tim]. Old Tim thought this was funny. Tim had a good sense of humor. I took him and a few guys to ‘Golden Corral buffet’ for dinner. We were reading the paper while eating. Tim was telling me the story of how modern technology was a threat to the modern workforce. These new breed of ‘robots’ could put the people out of work. He joked that pretty soon they will take the place of homeless guys in the bluff. I responded ‘don’t worry brother, it wont be long before you see them holding up signs in front of H.E.B. saying ‘batteries low, need money for a charge’. He started cracking up. When Tim’s dog died he took it real hard. He literally cried for a few days. I haven’t seen Tim in a few years. Hopefully I will see him again some day and let him read this blog, he will get a kick out of it.
CONCLUSION Let me end with a final note. Jesus said that a wicked and evil generation seeks after a sign and no sign will be given to them but the sign of the prophet Jonah [in essence Jesus was telling the Jews that until they believe in the most important sign of all, the resurrection of Christ, that they will not be able to ‘see’ any of the multitude of ‘signs’ that God has done thru Christ up until this day!]. The above scenarios took place when I was simply praying, seeking God or sleeping! I don’t feel that we should ‘seek’ after these types of experiences, but we should recognize that God is sovereign and if he desires to communicate to his children then who are we to tell him no. The apostle Paul told Timothy to ‘war a good fight by the prophecies that were given over you’. There are many believers who write down and catalog the prophecies and visions they have received from the Lord, this helps to be able to look back and see a pattern of Gods direction in your life. We should not build our lives or doctrine on these types of things, that area belongs to scripture! But we should be able to discern Gods voice over a period of time and ‘fight a good fight by way of the prophecies that have gone on over our lives’. God bless you guys!
P.S. Let me also add that there are many prophetic people that I am in contact with in some way. I feel that a lot of them agree with me on prophetic stuff, but get offended by the strong stance we take in other areas of teaching. I realize that just because a person experiences prophetic things, that this doesn’t mean he is correct in everything! It is common to hear things like ‘the end time transfer of wealth’ and themes like this from highly prophetic people. We just assume because someone is prophetic that their doctrine is correct. I really don’t want to teach here, but let me share this. The scripture does speak about the wealth of the sinner being stored up for the righteous and God ‘gives’ it to the righteous. Also the story of the children of Israel leaving Egypt and how God gave them the wealth of the Egyptians. These verses do not teach some type of windfall that simply falls into the hands of Christians. As church history progressed thru time more and more people in the marketplace and other areas of wealth and influence have become believers. As the church age progresses this phenomenon increases. Today the ‘wealth of the wicked’ has much more become ‘the wealth of the righteous’, not thru some windfall inheritance, but thru the process of God redeeming planet earth! ‘Seeing’ it this way does not violate the principles of scripture that over and over speak about the diligent being blessed and the lazy coming to ruin/poverty. There are many believers who are living in disobedience by not working who cling on to doctrines like ‘the end time transfer of wealth’ and wrongly believe that they are going to get money while violating biblical standards. Things like this need to be understood and articulated thru prophetic people before God can entrust us with more. I actually feel that the prophetic movements ‘marriage’ to the prosperity gospel has voided certain things that God wanted to do thru the movement. Balaam was a prophetic person who actually heard from God and spoke Gods words, but scripture says his lust for wealth made him a false prophet [who loved the wages of unrighteousness]. If prophets can’t receive correction from each other then God will never let them ‘correct’ [speak into] the church at large. I feel one of the pitfalls of the prophetic is to think that the goal is to ‘simply be prophetic’. I have met brothers who simply wanted to attend church and stand up and speak. God’s chief concern for all of his people [even prophets] is to carry out the great commission, to be salt and light to a lost and dying world!