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Stuff- 2014

Unposted- STUFF- 2014

 

 

 

2023

 

CLOSING TIME

 

The power of narrative.

 

Over the past few weeks we have seen the power of being able to tell the story- the way you want to.

 

We had the Snowden leaker.

 

He’s the guy who worked for the NSA and ‘leaked’ the secret Prism program to THE PRESS.

 

It was the program that gathered billions of pieces of data- on phone calls and contacts- of people who have committed no crimes.

 

Was this wrong?

 

In my mind- yes.

 

 

Ahh- but the war began.

 

Yes- we had the various congress people go on the talk shows and present their case.

 

Both Dems and Repubs called the guy a spy- treasonous- etc.

 

I found it amusing to hear Mike Rogers- a top Repub- keep saying that Snowden stole this information FROM THE AMERICAN PEOPLE.

 

I mean it’s laughable.

 

He tried to shape the story [narrative] in a way that said ‘see- you Americans- he stole what belonged to you’.

 

And what was that again?

 

Oh yea- the fact that the US govt. was basically spying on its own people.

 

And they kept this tid bit of info secret from us.

 

Yeah- that’s what he stole- info that the govt. was basically breaking the law [if you think violating the US constitution does that].

 

And Snowdens giving this to the press [which used to be called whistle blowing] is now called ‘stealing property from the American people’.

 

It would be funny- if not for the fact that most people have swallowed the bait!

 

 

So- that’s the power of narrative- the power behind the ability to ‘get the word out’.

 

 

The reason nations are shaking [trust me- they are] is because this power has now been put into the hands of everybody- that is everybody that has a computer and internet hookup.

 

 

Yeah- that scares them.

 

 

This year has been a Roller Coaster for me- to say the least.

 

As I type this morning- I’m sitting next to boxes filled with my books- that were in my bookshelves a few days ago.

 

 

Yes- many of them are going to be donated to Church Without Walls- a ministry to the homeless folk here where I live.

 

 

I mean there are a couple of thousand’s of dollars of books that are going.

 

 

But- I can’t take them with me- so this is the next best thing.

 

 

 

As I read the paper yesterday- I went thru the crimes section- and as my habit is- I tried to pick a few serious cases- and pray for them thru out the day.

 

I saw a case where 3 kids [I say kids- in their 20’s].

 

They were arrested for attempted robbery- and a few other charges.

 

I noticed the name of the girl sounded familiar.

 

Crystal Barrera.

 

 

It’s sad- but as I looked- I recognized the face of one of the early church members of the little church I started in Kingsville back in 1987 [if I remember- I’ll try and post the one picture of me preaching from those days].

 

Yeah- Crystal was the little girl who used to run around my house- I would go and pick up her dad- Emmet- her granddad- Emmet Sr.- her Aunt [who raised them] Aunt Bee.

 

Her mom- Veronica- her other grandma- Yolanda.

 

Well- I guess the list could go on.

 

 

This was simply one of the families I worked with for many years- I met them all by going to the jails and doing bible studies with the guys.

 

 

Emmet senior was one of the local drug guys- and he and Elias and a few others were ‘founding members’ of the church I started.

 

Yeah- it was a congregation of addicts- Ex-cons- and their families.

 

 

Yet- it was the real deal.

 

This Gringo- Yankee- and a bunch of Mexican drug guys- all working together for the Kingdom of God- no joke [some were actually members of the Mexican Mafia/Texas Syndicate while in prison- cant give the name- he’s been dead for a while- but I would still be considered a Rat].

 

 

 

So- as I saw sweet little Crystals picture in the paper- I just felt like God was saying we have all come full circle this year.

 

The ‘Cup was Full’ so to speak- and the time of reaping was at hand.

 

 

About 2 weeks earlier I saw another one of my good friends daughter’s in the local rap sheet- she too was a little kid who ran round my house years ago [met the dad the same way- prison guy- etc.]

 

Yeah- the Cup is Full.

 

 

 

I like hearing the old rock songs.

 

The other day I was listening to Semisonic- Closing Time.

 

 

‘Every new beginning starts with another beginnings end’.

 

Yeah- good stuff.

 

 

In the book of Samuel- chapter 12- we read the story of King David.

 

The prophet Nathan has a story to tell.

 

 

Remember- the power of narrative.

 

He tells David;

 

‘There was a rich man who lived in this city- and a traveler came to him on his journey and stayed with the rich man.

 

The rich man had lots of sheep- but he took the one lamb that some poor guy had- the lamb was like a pet to the poor man- his kids grew up with it- it slept in the bed- the whole 9 yards.

 

But the rich man took this poor mans sheep and killed it- and used it to feed the stranger’.

 

Now- when king David heard this- he was irate!

 

 

‘How dare he- that SOB [I’m ad libbing here] – I will tell you what needs to happen.

 

The rich man needs to be put to death [wow- makes Perry and his death squad look like girl scouts!] and pay back 4 times what he stole! [geez- that’s kinda hard Brother- I mean are you sure we kill him first- then make him pay back? LOL]

 

So- the simple narrative- the simple way the prophet told the story- got this type of response.

 

 

Then the other shoe falls.

 

Nathan says one more thing.

 

DAVID- YOU ARE THAT MAN.

 

 

Nathan then goes on and confronts the king with a sin he committed.

 

 

David took the wife of one of his top military men- Uriah- and he slept with her.

 

Her name was Bathsheba.

 

He got her pregnant and eventually killed her husband and took her for his wife.

 

Nathan said that David- like the rich man- had all the women he could ever want- yet he took the one wife of Uriah.

 

 

Just like the poor man’s lamb.

 

 

David was a good man- yet he did some bad stuff.

 

 

He repented and admitted his sin.

 

Yet- God was still going to judge him.

 

The new born from this union got very sick- David fasted and prayed and begged God to spare the kid.

 

 

The kid died.

 

 

David and Bathsheba had another child.

 

 

His name was Solomon.

 

 

I didn’t do a search on this [don’t have time anymore].

 

But from memory- I would guess that Jesus uses/mentions Solomon- more than the ‘kid’ of any other king.

 

Jesus said ‘look at the wild flowers- even Solomon in all his glory was not dressed like these’.

 

Or he would say ‘you have heard of the wisdom of Solomon- yet a greater than Solomon is here’.

 

 

Yeah- God took a terrible situation- and made something good out of it.

 

 

We live in a day where we all have the opportunity to shape the narrative- we have access- to the world- if we have a lap top- or any other mobile device.

 

We need to use it responsibly- but we do have the ability like no other generation has had.

 

 

This has put nations and kingdoms on alarm.

 

 

When you read/hear a news story- be careful- remember- each side is trying to get you to take ‘their side’.

 

 

That power is tremendous.

 

It is so strong- that king David passed a death sentence on a man- and that man was him.

 

 

 

 

 

2024  MACKY SAYS NO TO THE HOMOS! [Huh?]

 

 

Let me first make a few comments about the recent death of my sister Laura.

 

It’s  especially sad- because for many years my sister looked forward to one day living with me and my family.

 

Over the years- she would make statements that when my mom passed away- she would like to move to Texas.

 

For those unfamiliar with our family situation- my sister had some devastating effects from years of drug addiction.

 

I know- and have worked with lots of ‘mainline’ drug addicts thru out my life.

 

And I can honestly say- Laura had some of the worst effects I have ever seen.

 

I’m not sure why- but it was obvious that she had some very bad effects early on.

 

 

As I young kid- in my early 20’s- when I went back home- from Texas- on various visits- I could see that something happened.

 

Sort of like when you might have a family relative who has some type of mental disability- the other family members are aware that something is not right.

 

 

Don’t get me wrong- you still love and care for that person- but you know something is dysfunctional.

 

So- this was our families experience with my sister Laura.

 

 

As I mentioned in the last post- she looked up to me- maybe more than in a normal sibling situation- because early on I did influence her with my faith in God.

 

 

When I really got involved in the ministry- I passed this type of Evangelical faith to my sister.

 

 

But- I was one of the few Evangelicals I knew- that was not anti Catholic- at all.

 

 

So- over the years- when I would see that Laura- like many Protestants- took a strong anti Catholic view- I tried my best to counter balance it.

 

 

She was a huge fan of the famous radio preacher Harold Camping.

 

 

Now- those of you who have read my blog will realize that I do not hold to the very popular End Times scenarios that you see on the American church scene.

 

Camping was a staunch End Times type of guy- who of course was famous for his false predictions of the End of the World.

 

 

But- because I realized Laura looked up to him- a lot- I was careful when I refuted his views about stuff like this.

 

 

For those not too familiar with Theology- Camping also held to what’s called Calvinism.

 

 

The jist of this is the belief in the doctrine of Predestination- that those who are saved are the Elect.

 

 

That God chose those from before time- and these are the ones who ‘in time’ get saved.

 

 

Now- ‘wars’ have been fought over this doctrine.

 

Suffice it to say that the original reformers [Luther included] did indeed hold to this ‘Augustinian’ view [Saint Augustine- the very influential 4th/5th century Catholic bishop from Hippo- North Africa- taught the doctrine of predestination. This has made him both a favorite among many Protestants- as well a Catholics].

 

So- I was able- over the years- to have good talks with Laura- because I was familiar with lots of the history- as well as what the bible teaches- on this stuff.

 

 

As a matter of fact- in a little while I will be going to church- at the Catholic Cathedral here in Corpus Christi.

 

I basically made it my Home Church as I spend my last week in Texas.

 

 

So- over the next few weeks- maybe I will share some of the talks I had with Laura over the years.

 

 

When I told my family a few months ago that I was moving back to the area- I know my sister was really looking forward to it.

 

That’s why it’s sad that she died a week before my return.

 

 

Okay- being I mentioned Africa [how’s this for a segway?] let’s talk a little about the Presidents recent trip to the continent.

 

 

This past week President Obama has been touring the continent.

 

His visit has been overshadowed by the poor health of the great civil rights leader- Nelson Mandela.

 

For a week or so he has been on what most think is his final leg of the journey- that he’s ready to die.

 

 

So the President has been aware of this- and met with the family and has handled it well.

 

 

But- he did indeed get rebuked publicly by the president of Senegal- Macky Sall.

 

 

As most of you know- the Supreme Court struck down the DOMA law last week [Defense of Marriage Act].

 

This law was enacted by President Clinton- it limited the Federal govt. from recognizing gay marriage.

 

It is interesting to note that both Clinton and Obama praised the decision to strike it down as a great day for civil rights in our country.

 

Whatever your view on this is- the point is the law was signed by Clinton- and only a year and a half ago- Obama himself was against gay marriage.

 

 

So- it is a little disingenuous to label those against gay marriage as bigots- unless you too believe that Obama was a bigot just a short time ago.

 

 

Any way when he was in Senegal he spoke about the SCOTUS ruling and hailed it as a great day.

 

Now- Africa is a continent that has a lot of states/countries that have laws against homosexuality.

 

 

Senegal is one of them [there are about 38 states who outlaw it on the continent].

 

So- when President Obama gave Senegal this rebuke.

 

Their president rebuked back!

 

He said they were not ‘Homophobic’.

 

But- as a majority Muslim nation [about 95%] they are not going to accept gay marriage- and that’s that.

 

 

Macky was praised by his people- and the media- who are very open about the subject.

 

A few headlines from some of the outspoken papers read;

 

‘NO- WE CANT’ [as opposed to Obama’s famous Yes We Can].

 

‘FIRM- YET SUBTLE’

 

And the most outspoken of all-

 

‘OBAMA MAKES A PLEA FOR THE HOMOS- MACKY SAYS NO’ [Ouch!]

 

 

So- as you can see- Senegal has no intentions on changing its stance any time soon.

 

 

I find it interesting- because Obama has been rebuked recently by China [Hong Kong]- Russia- and now Senegal!

 

 

I don’t cheer when I see this- but I recognize that we are in trouble in the world.

 

 

It was surreal to see our plea to Hong Kong [and now Russia] that they should turn over the Whistle Blower Snowden- out of respect for the ‘Rule of Law’.

 

 

Then to hear Holder [attorney general] use the same language.

 

 

This last year we have seen- on actual news video- both Holder and other high ranking Obama folk- actually lying to congress- on national TV.

 

James Clapper- a top intelligence guy- when asked if the US govt. was collecting large amounts of data- any data- on US citizens.

 

He responded ‘no- not that I know of- not intentionally’.

 

Then- when it came out that indeed the govt. was [thru the now infamous Prism program].

 

Clapper said ‘well- I gave the best- least truthful answer I could’.

 

Actually it is a crime to lie to congress- so the ‘least truthful’ is still a crime.

 

 

As you can see- when these same guys publicly appeal to the rule of law- in rebuking Hong Kong and others- it seems laughable.

 

 

And when the president of a small state in Sub Saharan Africa publicly rebukes the leader of the free world.

 

Then yes- we know there’s trouble on the horizon.

 

NOTE-  The Supreme Court also struck down parts of the voting rights act of 1965. Under this law the Federal govt. had strict oversight of any changes that some of the Southern states made to their election process. Of course the purpose of this law- which was noble when enacted- was to protect the rights of minorities in the South. Over time [according to the majority- and a belief Chief justice Roberts has voiced in the past] as the landscape changed- some viewed this act as not being necessary any more- that is for the federal govt to basically take the ‘right’ from the state to govern its own affairs.

 

Some think the court- in a way- was acting schizophrenic- saying in the Gay Marriage case- it acted Liberal.

 

But in the Voting case- Conservative.

 

I don’t see that.

 

The court- in a way- acted ‘conservative’ [I really don’t like these distinctions- but it’s hard to explain this without them] in both cases.

 

Judicial ‘conservatism’ simply means the court should be wary in overturning existing law- the will of congress and the President.

 

Now-  most pundits will say Chief Justice John Roberts flinched on this when he ruled with the majority liberal opinion- and allowed Obama Care to stand.

 

Either way- in these recent rulings- at least in the two I mentioned above- you could argue that the court still ruled conservative.

 

How?

 

Because both of the above rulings said ‘let the states decide- have more control over the destiny of the people in their states’.

 

So- in a way- you could view both of the decisions as conservative in a way.

 

 

It should be noted that justice Anthony Kennedy- the ‘swing vote’ for the 9 who sit on the bench- played that role again.

 

He sided with the 4 liberals on the DOMA ruling- and went the other way on the Voting Rights Act.

 

 

Let me note- even though these debates rile up the ‘religious’ electorate.

 

I try and keep a balance between my religious convictions- and the actual effect of the rulings.

 

For instance- though I am not a proponent of Gay Marriage- yet- as voiced in Kennedys opinion- there is a form of discrimination that same sex couples experience by not having the same ‘right’ to marry- as heterosexual couples have.

 

This extends to all types of benefits and stuff.

 

 

So- even though I don’t side with some- even in the church- who are pro ‘Gay Marriage’.

 

Yet- I think these concerns- about equality in general- need to also be looked at.

 

 

 

 

NOTE 2- being I’m kinda doing a weekly news update- let me mention the drop of the Dow last week.

 

Why did it happen?

 

I find it interesting that basically nothing has changed- like I have been commenting for 2 years now- the European debt crisis is still there- even worse.

 

The outlook for the U.S. has also been ‘re-adjusted’ downward- growth for the year was originally estimated to be about 2.4 %.

 

Now- they are saying about 1.5.

 

Globally- Chinas economy is also worse than previously expected.

 

Why is that a big deal?

 

China was considered to be the hope for the rest of the ailing world economies.

 

They were a power house a few years ago- not so any more.

 

 

The drop?

 

Our markets fell- for one day- because Ben Bernanke ‘hinted’ that the Fed might stop ‘digitizing’ money next year.

 

Huh?

 

The Federal Reserve has been buying US debt- to the tune of 80 Billion a month- for the past year or 2.

 

Now- what the Fed actually does is simply ADDS NUMBERS to the accounts.

 

Like if you simply looked at your bank account on-line- and added multiple zeros to it.

 

That’s it- that’s how the Fed has been ‘adding’ money into the system.

 

How does that help- why do they do this?

 

The hope [which has worked somewhat] was that by doing this- it reduces the ‘cost’ of borrowing money [keeps the % rate low] and in the end it would make it easier for the economy to recover.

 

Is that the only effect this has?

 

No.

 

It also ‘inflates’- in my view- falsely- the market.

 

Why?

 

This extra 80 billion a month- finds its way into the market- it boosts the DOW.

 

Understand- the market is up- because this money is doing that- not because the global market is doing good.

 

See?

 

So- the Fed hinted they might stop doing this next year- and the same day the markets went down.

 

Then how do you explain the recovery?

 

Simple- the Fed gave in [to this pressure] and said ‘no wait- we didn’t mean it- okay- we will keep printing fake money’.

 

And the ‘children crying in the market place’ were happy again [this reference is from Jesus- he said this generation- the one of his day- were like kids crying- they just wanted their way all the time].

 

So- in my view- the world markets- not even adding in the tremendous unrest in the Arab/Muslim world [the problem- as I write, that Egypt might go thru another overthrow if things get out of hand in the ongoing protests- The Syrian war- spreading beyond it’s borders. The unrest in Turkey- geez- we are even seeing unrest in Brazil!].

 

These are all bad signs- I am not an alarmist- I am not predicting the End of the World here- but I see a real denial among some of the financial advisors- they just don’t want to see the writing on the wall.

 

 

NOTE 3-  Augustine.

 

I personally am a fan of Saint Augustine. He is one of the famous church fathers of the early centuries.

 

In my view he holds a distinct place- he is admired by both staunch Protestants [Reformed Theologians]- and Catholics.

 

Why?

 

The original Protestant Reformation of the 16th century had 3 key figures.

 

Martin Luther [Germany]- Ulrich Zwingli [Swiss] and John Calvin [studied for the priesthood in Paris- later took a key role in Geneva Switzerland].

 

One of the key beliefs- of at least 2 of these 3- was the doctrine mentioned above- Predestination.

 

It is a common mistake in our day to see historical documentaries [I have seen some] that refer to Calvin as someone who believed in Predestination [true] and that Luther disagreed with him.

 

That’s wrong [but you have to study theology to find this out- a brief reading of church history does not show you this- that’s why some of the well meaning documentaries you might see on the History channel get this wrong].

 

Okay- Martin Luther was a Catholic Monk- under an order called the Augustinian order- named after St. Augustine.

 

See?

 

Even though he would break away from the church- and the Lutheran church would form- yet he held to the original belief that the founder/namesake of his order taught.

 

Now- you do indeed find many verses in the bible that speak about God choosing us- and not us ‘choosing him’.

 

Or chapters [Romans 9] that say Gods choice of us has nothing to do with our own goodness- but he chose us because he loved us.

 

So- this teaching does indeed have scriptural backing.

 

But- you also have scripture to back up the opposing view- which is referred to as Arminianism.

 

Named after another church leader- Jacob Arminius.

 

He held to the Calvinist view at first- but as he began studying- to defend this view- he came to the belief that this view [at least among its more radical adherents] was wrong.

 

These 2 groups- Calvinists- Armenians- became enemies as the Protestant Reformation grew.

 

The followers of men like John Wesley [founder of the Methodist church] disagreed strongly with those who held to the Calvinist view.

 

In our day- you still have adherents of both views- seeing the ‘other side’ as non Christian.

 

It’s sad- but this is just one- of thousands of teachings- that have had this effect.

 

The Catholic leaders warned of this at the time of the breakaway- which took place in the 16th century.

 

They feared that once you made a clean break from the historic church- that the ‘breaking’ would never stop.

 

As you look at the scene over the past 500 years- it’s hard to say they were wrong.

 

One last note- many modern Protestants do not hold Augustine- or any of the men mentioned above- in high regard at all.

 

Some hold to a belief [another popular one in groups that are Restorationist- as opposed to Reformist] that all of the early Christian expressions got off course [apostatized] and that the only ‘true’ church- just happens to be the group they are in.

 

Once again- this type of belief simply increases the division in the church- in my view.

 

Many reject men like Augustine- because of his influence by the Greek philosophers- they charge that some of the early church leaders were too much into philosophy.

 

For instance- one of the first Christian schools ever founded was in Alexandria- Egypt.

 

In the 2nd/3rd century Origen- an early church father- would take over the school and teach Christian theology.

 

But- the school was basically a school that first taught Greek philosophy.

 

Origen is respected by many [like me] but officially the church does not recognize him as a legitimate Church farther.

 

Why?

 

Because he did indeed hold to some views that were not Christian based- like the pre- existence of the soul.

 

This belief comes straight from Greek philosophy- not Christianity.

 

He also believed in what we refer to as Universalism- that at the end- everyone gets saved- even the Devil!

 

So- this debate has gone on for centuries- the debate over how ‘Platonic’ so and so is- or did men like Thomas Aquinas [ 13th century- another favorite of mine] simply mix Aristotelian thought [Aristotle] in with Christian teaching- and thus water down the true faith.

 

 

This is also the reason many [most] Protestants do not teach Philosophy- as a basic plank- in their seminaries.

 

I think this is a big mistake.

 

Philosophy- as a field- deals with the basic issues of life.

 

Why are we hear- what’s the purpose of mans existence- etc.

 

For the Protestant church to have basically abandoned this field- this left the secular world to shape it as they wish.

 

But- the Catholic Church has indeed engaged in this field- and in my view- has presented a better world view- than the secular philosophers.

 

Okay- now this post is becoming an entire study!

 

That’s it for now- I have lots of posts like this on the blog- if you want- just look them up there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2025

 

THE PLOUGHMAN COMETH

 

 

 

Before I forget- the chapters for this week are Galatians 5 and Luke 9- if I get a chance I might hit on them at the end.

 

Ok- this week has been a big news week.

 

As I watched our secretary of state- John Kerry- do ‘shuttle diplomacy’ between the Palestinians and Israel- I thought we must be living in a dream world.

 

Why?

 

For many years now- the big issue- that some felt was the lynch pin to peace in the Arab world- was this issue.

 

But over the last few years- it is not seen in the same way any more.

 

Since the so called Arab Spring- the Palestinian issue has really been a background issue.

 

Now- I’m not saying we should forget it- but it’s not on the top burner any more.

 

The big burning issues are the 100 thousand people killed in the Syrian conflict.

 

The 2nd over throw of an Egyptian leader [for good or ill].

 

The major unrest in many of these Arab nations- these are the big issues.

 

And the U.S. was treating the Palestinain issue as a sort of emergency thing- Kerry was doing late night meetings- for some elusive break thru that has been ‘eluding’ US secretaries of state for 30 years now.

 

It just seemed sad- I mean I am not an Obama hater- by no means- but it’s almost to the point of incompetence.

 

Morsi.

 

I listened to the radio news- one day the President made a statement that we were behind Morsi [Egyptian president] 100 %.

 

The very next day- the statement from the administration was ‘we are not taking sides’.

 

This is so bad- we have lost all credibility in the world.

 

 

The Snowden aftermath.

 

This week we also saw the NSA leaker release more info about US spying- this time on our allies.

 

Now- Obama tried to defend the operation- by saying all of our allies do this.

 

Is this so?

 

He was spinning [lying?] the story.

 

Our European allies said ‘look- we all do targeted spying- true- but not the massive trolling for data that you guys are doing’.

 

The reality is our allies do not do what we do- this type of ‘throw the net out’ type of collecting of data.

 

Our allies were shocked that we were doing it to this degree- on them!

 

Obama said we needed to do this because it also provided a benefit to these allies [who we are spying on] because of terrorism.

 

They replied ‘how many terrorists are you finding by bugging our diplomatic offices’.

 

They are mad- France wants to postpone our upcoming economic talks over this- it is bad.

 

 

Last but no least- Obama delayed- for one year- one of the main parts of Obama care.

 

Why?

 

He simply said they were doing this because of business concerns.

 

The part he put off was the requirement for employers to insure their people- or pay a fine.

 

 

Now- when Obama Care was being touted- many critics said that these types of forced mandates on private business would hurt the economy.

 

 

But the proponents instead said no- but it will actually help it.

 

The main reason it was delayed- was because the implementing of it right now was going to be a disaster- like the critics said.

 

Next year we have the mid term elections- and the political insiders all knew that the Repubs were going to use the unpopularity of the plan- and try and repeat another mid term blow out [like the last one].

 

So- most think he put it off for purely political reasons.

 

 

But- if the plan was all that it was cracked up to be- why put it off?

 

 

Much of what the critics said was right- there are already reports [Bloomberg] that rates are going to skyrocket for many under the plan- and that there are still going to be millions of people with out insurance.

 

 

So- in all honesty- the critics were indeed right- and the fact that the president arbitrarily delayed it for one year proves it.

 

I mean it is questionable if he can even do it [delay it].

 

It is the law of the land.

 

Say if a Repub gets in next- can he do the same thing?

 

 

Of course not- they would be accusing him of breaking the law.

 

 

Okay- as you can see- there are ripples of trouble on the horizon.

 

 

I want to end with Luke 9.

 

A few key points;

 

Jesus tells his men that they are going to go out- preach the kingdom and go light.

 

‘Don’t take a wallet- or extra clothing- stay at whoever’s house they offer- etc.’

 

He talks about giving your life away ‘whoever tries to save his life will lose it- but he that loses it will find it’.

 

I like the last verse ‘he that puts his hand to the plough and looks back is not fit for the kingdom’.

 

 

Over the years I have tried to put our modern American preaching in context.

 

It’s been tough- because there are a lot of well meaning folk- who focus in on actual bible verses- and teach a sort of Christianity based on the increase of wealth mindset.

 

Now- along with this teaching you also see a basic self help course mentality- only Christianized.

 

Yet at the same time we read in the gospels a type of radical calling of Jesus.

 

Explicitly telling people that this mission is not about us- not about getting stuff- but giving your life away.

 

It’s the overall context of all that Jesus said and did that goes contrary to the American message.

 

But it takes time to see this- we have a tendency to gravitate towards a message of financial abundance- or a message that seems to provide security for us and our kids.

 

It’s in mans nature to see things this way- that’s why Jesus made statements like ‘you can not serve God and money’.

 

I mean he does not say stuff like this just once or twice- but this is an underlying theme of his entire life.

 

 

The other day I taught a little from the book of Samuel chapter 12.

 

Nathan the prophet confronted King David- and gave a story about a rich man who had lots of sheep- and a poor man who had one.

 

In the story the rich man gets rebuked- the poor man praised.

 

Jesus does the same thing in his parables.

 

The rich are seen in a negative light- the poor in a positive one.

 

Now- this is actually a sign of a prophet- one who defends the poor and rebukes the affluent.

 

 

The prophet Amos- in the Old Testament bares this calling.

 

 

 

Point?

 

 

Jesus is challenging us- all of us- to take up the Cross and to follow him.

 

 

And a big part of that is living- not for self gain- not for self security- but giving our lives away.

 

One of the guys I have run into these last 6 months is a man by the name of Jude.

 

He’s around 70 year’s old- and always on the go.

 

His motto is ‘it’s hard to hit a moving target’.

 

And he does indeed live by this motto.

 

I met him thru the work I was doing at the halfway house.

 

He’s a big shot with  AA- and is known all over the country as someone who has brought many to sobriety thru AA.

 

He even has his own following in AA- they call them ‘disciples of Jude’ or something like that [a take off from the tribe of Judah in the bible- Judaism or something- I don’t remember the exact phrase].

 

 

I was with my buddy David one day- he keeps in touch with Jude every day by phone.

 

I asked him ‘hey- where’s Jude’?

 

He tells me he moved to Chicago.

 

He went back and is living on his friend’s couch- doing some business deal- and working for AA.

 

 

Then- the other day I find out he moved to the Mexico/Texas border and is renting a house in Mexico because it’s cheap.

 

 

I mean the guy is really a moving target.

 

 

So as I’m sitting with my buddy David- the phone rings- its Jude.

 

 

David told him I might have stopped by and stayed with him for a week or so in Chicago.

 

I was thinking of doing it.

 

But first I’m going to get a little settled in N.J. /NY area.

 

Jude says ‘sounds like me- a moving target’.

 

 

In Luke 9- Jesus is telling his men to be moving targets.

 

He’s saying ‘go light- when you go to an area to work for the kingdom- just stay wherever you can- eat what they serve- and then move on’.

 

 

In the mindset of the world- you strive to be secure- you seek that thru the ownership of stuff- the false security that people find in wealth.

 

Now- don’t get me wrong- we are to be responsible- and I have worked- retired- made money- the whole 9 yards.

 

But I have tired to give stuff away too- to live the ideal that Jesus clearly speaks about in the gospels.

 

 

In a way- I feel like my hand is now steady on the plough- I’m afraid to look back.

 

NOTE- In the last post I mentioned how president Obama was rebuked by the president of Senegal because he was openly challenging these African nations on their stance on homosexuality.

 

He later went to Kenya and did the same thing- sort of was publicly speaking about the recent decision by the Supreme Court and how he hailed it as a great stride for civil rights.

 

Now- the Deputy President of Kenya took him aside and rebuked him- and told Obama that they do not appreciate him demeaning their values in such an open way- and using his pulpit to say so.

 

The Kenyan official quoted scripture ‘vain is the man who puts his trust in man and not God’

 

The Kenyan official said he –and Kenya- were not going to remain silent as Obama spoke against their value system- and they feared God more than an American president.

 

It was surprising to see so many world leaders openly denouncing the president like this- I am not jumping for joy over this- I’m showing you that we have lost alot of credibility in the world- even among leaders that would normally not say anything.

 

 

 

 

2026

 

MOTHER- MAY I? [My last Texas post]

 

 

Over the weekend I read as many news stories as I could on the Egyptian Coup.

 

Now- there is much debate over whether it was a coup or not.

 

Why?

 

The Egyptian election of Morsi- after the overthrow of Mubarak- was seen as a major step for Democracy in the Arab world.

 

And of course- some in the media tried to spin the story [Arab Spring] as it being a result of president Obama’s speech that he gave about a year before the overthrow.

 

Obama spoke about a new sense of freedom and co-operation- the overall ‘we can’ attitude that swept him into office.

 

So- as the first ‘revolution’ unfolded- Nic Robertson [CNN] was in the famous Tahrir square- and was searching for some young protestor- to give Obama credit for the ‘new day’ dawning in the Arab world.

 

 

Nic went to his first protestor and asked the kid if he credited Obama for this great new day.

 

The kid said- in so many words- no.

 

Huh?

 

Nic went to number 2.

 

Got the same response.

 

He then went to his 3rd protestor- and this kid finally said ‘NO’- he replied that Obama was non committal at first- did not back the protestors- and that he only jumped on the bandwagon after he saw the writing on the wall [that Mubarak was on the verge of being kicked out].

 

 

So- after hearing the protestors basically say Obama was not even part of their thinking- good old Nic then turned to the camera- and reported something to the effect of;

 

‘There you have it- the protestors are vey happy that the president is with them’.

 

Yeah- that’s how the media have ‘reported’ this stuff for the past 6 years.

 

 

So- what really happened with the whole Egyptian revolution?

 

 

When Egypt did indeed kick out their Autocrat- they did it with the U.S. working behind the scenes with the Egyptian military.

 

 

Egypt- the most populous Arab nation- had its military generals trained in the U.S.

 

Because of this- we have connections with the generals- in a way that we do not have with other nations in the region.

 

 

So- we kind of gave the Green Light to topple Mubarak- and went with what we felt was the popular trend at the time.

 

 

There was indeed a legitimate feeling of a need for a change in Egypt.

 

Lots of the new generation of kids- because of their connection to the world in a new way- thru Face Book and other internet venues- they began seeing what the rest of the free world was like- in a new way.

 

So yeah- they did want change- and Mubarak was oppressive- he used his police to abuse the people- and they were rightfully tired of it.

 

 

So- Egypt had its first Democratic election- and Morsi- the candidate from the Muslim Brotherhood- won.

 

 

Now- at the time- there was a fear that Morsi might try and ‘rule’ as a Muslim- who would institute a sort of Theocracy [religious rule] and trample on the rights of the other groups [Christians and Secularists] who wanted Mubarak out- but did not want an islamist to rule in this way.

 

So- over the past year- Morsi showed himself to be stubborn- and when Egypt was writing her constitution- Morsi did not compromise- but pushed thru a sort of Muslim constitution- and put hard line Islamists in key positions of govt.

 

He also butted heads with Egypt’s Judiciary- which were known to be independent- and Morsi consolidated more power- some say more than Mubarak- to his own position as the head of Egypt.

 

Ok- this worried the other groups in the nation- and Morsi made the power grab- thinking that the military would not move against him.

 

He thought wrong.

 

Now- here’s where it gets tricky.

 

During the final days of the Morsi rule- the military was having behind the scenes talks with Morsi.

 

With the U.S. [referred to as MOTHER] having a hand in it all.

 

 

There are some reports that at the last minute- Morsi was going to take a deal- brokered by MOTHER- to share power with the other groups- and prevent a military take over [we were dong behind the scenes negotiations thru an Arab emissary- and when word got back that the U.S. gave the go ahead for the coup- one of Morsi’s guys reported back ‘Mother says we can stop playing in one hour’].

 

Some reports say that Mori accepted the deal from the top general- but the general reported back that he rejected it.

 

 

That the general lied- because he wanted Morsi out too.

 

 

How much of this is true- I don’t know [I read this in the New York Times].

 

But if it is true- this would mean that the military basically did what they wanted- even though the U.S. ‘told’ them to get a deal.

 

 

Either way- they arrested Morsi- have been in flux since- and the situation might spin out of control.

 

And at the end of the day- leave one of the so-called great foreign policy moves of the administration- in a complete mess.

 

 

Now- as most things go- there were not a lot of clear- easy choices- to make at the time [or now].

 

 

The hard right critics of Obama are saying ‘see- he backed a militant Muslim- and we told you this would happen’.

 

The left- well they don’t have much to say now- but they are doing their darndest to explain all of these ins and outs- to show you that Obama tried- really hard- and it just didn’t work.

 

What’s wrong with that John?

 

Nothing- but they could have gone into these same long explanations for Gitmo- and a million other stories- but when there’s a Repub pres- well they just report how much he blew it.

 

 

So- as of now- Egypt is in real trouble.

 

 

As a defense of Obama- the Muslim Brotherhood was [is] indeed a political Muslim group- who believed that you should gain power- not by terrorism- but by the ballot box.

 

Was this a good thing?

 

OF COURSE!

 

So- you can’t fault Obama for supporting Morsi at the start.

 

And he did work behind the scenes to try and convince Morsi to be more open minded- and to share power.

 

Morsi did not take this advice.

 

 

The danger now is- that the Muslims who rejected the Muslim Brotherhoods idea- that you could gain power thru Democratic means- are saying ‘see- we told you so’.

 

This leaves a huge gap- which the militants will use to their advantage.

 

So- it does seem like Obama had no real choice- but to have backed Morsi at the time.

 

But the real question is- are the majority of Muslims in this part of the world ready for true Democracy- in the way we understand it.

 

 

Probably not.

 

 

Now- when I say ‘the way we [the West] understand it’ I mean in a secular sort of way.

 

 

Most in the Western world accept the reality that whoever we elect into office- most of the time a Christian of some sort- that he [she] will not use that position to simply expand their idea of religion.

 

But in most Islamic nations- this distinction does not exist.

 

There are some in the Muslim community- who are trying- real hard- to Reform radical Islam- and bring her into the 21st century- they believe in a more moderate approach.

 

But how much success they are having is questionable.

 

 

So- under Morsi you had a legitimately elected President [like what happened in Palestine when they elected Hamas] and he used his ‘legitimacy’ to basically enact a sort of Islamic rule.

 

 

Did the majority of Egyptians want this?

 

No.

 

Did he have the right to do this?

 

Yes- and no.

 

It depends on your view of ‘Democracy’.

 

He and his supporters felt ‘we won- we get to do what we want’.

 

And they pushed thru an Islamic constitution- and that angered- and scared- the other groups who wanted Mubarak out- but did not want this.

 

 

Our dilemma [That is us- you know- MOTHER] we did not really want a coup- because it would then justify- in the minds of some- radical Islam.

 

The younger generation would say ‘see- we tried Democracy- and it didn’t work’.

 

At the same time- we also did not want to simply be backing a hard line Islamist which is not what the majority of Egyptians wanted.

 

 

So- after reading/watching as much as I could- that seems to be the jist of it.

 

 

A few things;

 

When the U.S. – does behind the scenes deals- with any group [ In this case we used our influence with the generals].

 

It might work the first time around [kicking out Mubarak].

 

But maybe not the 2nd time [accepting the Morsi deal- like we wanted].

 

The generals realize that we- if it’s in our interest- will be sneaky- and stab leaders in the back- leaders we were behind just a few days before.

 

Yes- the U.S. had strong ties- and deals- with Mubarak.

 

The generals saw what we did to a so called partner- and that didn’t leave a whole lot of respect for us.

 

 

When we in the west are seen as MOTHER [this term was coined by the insiders- Morsi and his men saw us this way- that we were trying to micro manage the outcome].

 

Then there develops a built in resentment to whatever happens.

 

The people will ultimately blame us if stuff goes bad [Libya- Iraq- Afghanistan- etc.]

 

 

We have to come to a place where we simply do our best- we advocate for the rights of all people- but leave the outcome up to them.

 

That’s the only way the world will function [or not] in the end.

 

We have to be realistic about what Democracy means to these Arab states.

 

It does not mean the same thing to them- as us.

 

Now- I know that can sound demeaning- but it’s just the truth.

 

 

Many in the Arab world do not see a distinction between being an elected official- and at the same time promoting the religious values of those who backed you- even if the majority of citizens in the country don’t want it.

 

 

That’s the way it is- we can’t change that.

 

If that mindset is to change- then it has to come from within Islam itself.

 

 

But- if every time a more moderate Muslim is found- like some in the West who do advocate for this more moderate view.

 

And the hard right goes after them- just as much as they go after the radicals- then we are shooting ourselves in the foot.

 

So- its hard to see any real progress- with all these obstacles in the way.

 

 

As of now- Egypt is in real trouble.

 

 

They were a stable nation just a few years ago- not any more.

 

 

They had a stable economy- no more.

 

 

The last ting they needed- was to lose any funding they have- and the money we have been giving them [the military] might go away.

 

The U.S. has a policy- if your nation has a coup- then we stop funding you until you elect a leader.

 

Now- as you can see- that’s not as easy as it sounds.

 

 

 

NOTE- The western view- that Democracy trumps just about every thing else- is simply a moral ‘judgment’- the same argument that those who support a Theocracy would say.

 

That is- some in the Muslim world sincerely believe that the final arbiter of right and wrong is indeed God.

 

Now- in the West- we are schizophrenic in a way.

 

We- for the most part- reject religious rule.

 

But at the same time we too have certain moral standards- judgments- that we impose- even on people who not like those ‘morals’.

 

The Supreme Court recently ruled in a favorable way for gay marriage.

 

You also have those in the more ‘liberal’ sector of society- that advocate for ‘Man/Boy’ love.

 

Now- most of us [including me!] reject that.

 

We say ‘No way- it’s just not right’ [NAMBLA- North American Man Boy Love Association believes we should legalize sex with minors].

 

So- the majority rule in our country does indeed impose certain standards- and others need to abide by them- or else.

 

The argument that men like Morsi make- is they too believe that society needs to abide by laws- but in their mind- they choose the ‘laws of God’ [as they see it].

 

This argument is not totally defenseless- the problem is once again- whose interpretation do you use?

 

 

In Egypt- you did not have a ‘real democracy’ as we in the West would define it.

 

In ‘our world’ Democracy is not simply majority rule- we have a form of Representative Democracy- we elect leaders and they make the laws [in keeping with the constitution- that’s why some call us a Constitutional Republic].

 

 

Where did this idea come from?

 

Well- you can go back around 500 years before Christ and see the city/state of Athens giving this kind of govt. a shot.

 

But our founding fathers were really a product of the European Enlightenment.

 

They were influenced by men like John Locke- for the most part that’s where our constitution came from.

 

Jefferson- Franklin- etc. put into practice the Democratic ideals that were written about by these men.

 

So- when we in the Western world say ‘oh well- if they elected so and so- then that’s it- we must respect the will of the people’.

 

That’s simply a judgment call- the bible does not exalt this ‘will of the people’ to the same degree as we do.

 

That might sound strange- but it’s true.

 

What is the type of govt. spoken about most in the bible?

 

Believe it or not- it’s a Monarchy.

 

That’s right- we read books like ‘Kings’- yeah- that’s what it’s about- kings.

 

In the time of Jesus we did have a Roman Senate and stuff- but you do not find a Democracy in the bible- not like we know of today.

 

So- when we in the West hold to an idea that whoever gets elected must be respected- that’s not always so.

 

Hitler was elected too.

 

 

I don’t say this to demean our form of govt.

 

I do indeed think we have the best thing going on the planet as of now.

 

But how long we can sustain it- well nobody knows.

 

 

There are cracks- serious ones- that are forming in our system.

 

And I’m not talking about what you might hear on conservative radio- or in our ‘world’ of anti Obama media [or pro!].

 

But there are indeed serious issues- that men like Alex DeTocqueville talked about.

 

 

A Democracy can last so long- but when people realize that they can vote in others- who will start giving them free stuff- then at that point the writings on the wall.

 

 

I heard a recording the other day- it was covering the conversation of people who were getting the free phones that Obama has started giving out- sort of an extension of the Welfare state.

 

Now- I have friends who get the phones- so don’t get mad if your one of them.

 

But- in the recording- the people were asking if it’s okay if ‘I get as many as I can and try and sell them for stuff’.

 

It was an undercover set up- to see what the people- who were giving the phones out- would say.

 

And sure enough- the people- working for the govt. said ‘yeah- just don’t get caught’.

 

That’s the problem- when we as a society begin electing- supporting people because he might give me something for free- then at that stage Democracy is in trouble.

 

 

The whole point is when we have a mindset- that what the majority of the people want is right- well- that’s just not so.

 

 

And we- even in our Democracy- have morals- standards that we impose on others.

 

Where do these standards come from?

 

Well- that’s a very long debate about Moral law- one that in the end does prove the existence of God.

 

But what Morsi was doing in Egypt was not a Democracy like we know of.

 

As of now- the Morsi supporters have been fighting back- and the military has killed about 50 protestors.

 

 

We had our hand in this thing from day one- and when things spin out of control- both sides are going to blame us.

 

That’s what’s happening right now- and once again- we find ourselves between a rock and a hard place.

 

 

Pray for Egypt- no matter what your view is- we want peace for the people of Egypt.

 

For Muslims- Christians- Sectarians- for all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2027

 

WHERE DID THEY GO?

 

 

First a quick note-

 

As of right now I’m not able to regularly hook up to the internet- so I’m going to write these posts- and then post them when I get a chance.

 

If I don’t comment- or ‘like’ a note a friend may give- that’s because I can’t.

 

Sometimes I get a quick- week- wireless connection in my area- and you might see me post a note- and then I lose the connection when I try and ‘like’ something- or return a comment.

 

So- don’t feel bad [which happens quite often in social media venues!] if that happens to you.

 

 

Ok- this week I had a few people ask me about the resurrection- what does the bible teach about a person when they die.

 

I explained the ‘normal’ Christian belief- found in 1st Corinthians chapter 15.

 

I also left room for a few other Christian groups- that have different ideas about what happens between death and the resurrection [like those who believe in soul sleep- that the Christian is simply in a state of unaware ‘waiting’ until the Return of Christ].

 

And I told my friend that I don’t see these other Christian groups as really bad- or heretics- because they have a little different view.

 

Ok- my view [the classic view- for both Catholics and Protestants].

 

We believe that when a believer dies- their Spirit/Soul go right into the presence of God [To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord- Apostle Paul said this].

 

The body goes into the grave and at the Return of Christ- what we call the 2nd coming- the Body and soul of the believer who died- are re-united and they are raised from the dead.

 

The Christians who are still alive at this point- they don’t ‘see death’- but are also transformed and receive a Glorified body [a resurrection body] at this point.

 

The main bible chapters on this are 1st Corinthians chapter 15- and 1st Thessalonians 4.

 

 

My friend also asked about the present state of the dead believer- are they aware? Do they know what’s going on?

 

Yes- even though they do not yet have their resurrection body- they are in Gods presence [what we call the Beatific vision- ‘seeing God’] and they know what’s going on.

 

That’s the basic Christian teaching- for both Catholics and Protestants.

 

 

In Protestant circles- there are varying degrees on some aspects [some hold to a belief in the Rapture- a teaching that comes from a different reading of Paul’s letter- 1st Thessalonians 4. These believe that the second coming is in 2 stages- and this puts a little different spin on when the resurrection occurs- but for the most part these hold to the basic teaching about the actual resurrection body].

 

 

What about it?

 

 

The resurrection body is the same type of body that Christ had after he rose from the dead.

 

What we refer to as a glorified body.

 

In the bible we read about others who were raised from the dead- but these people died later- and their bodies- though raised from the dead- were not resurrection bodies.

 

 

A common question is ‘what are these bodies going to be like- will we recognize each other’?

 

 

Yes- but at the same time the apostle Paul gives a response to this question in Corinthians 15.

 

He says that when you plant a seed- the seed dies- but the plant that comes out of the ground is not simply a bigger seed!

 

But it is a whole new type of thing.

 

He uses this analogy to describe the resurrection body- the body believers will get when they are raised from the dead.

 

 

So- that’s the basic Christian teaching.

 

Though there are various Christian groups who interpret some of these verses a little differently- as long as they still hold to the actual belief in the physical resurrection of the body- I think they are ‘safe’ [safe= still basically holding to sound truth].

 

There are some though- who deny the actual resurrection [that is they spiritualize it- and say the resurrection is simply the reality that we as believers have already experienced a sort of resurrection- which is true- but this does not negate the actual physical one to come].

 

Believers in this camp- are in danger- in my view [as well as the apostle Paul’s- that’s why he wrote the 15th chapter of 1st Corinthians].

 

There were some in the church at Corinth  who were denying the belief in the resurrection- Paul told them-

 

‘if you say there is no resurrection- then that means you also don’t believe that Christ was raised- and if you don’t believe that Christ was raised- then you are still in your sins and your faith is vain’

 

Strong words indeed.

 

So that’s the scoop- we- as believers- believe that our loved ones who have died in the faith are  now in Gods presence- conscious- and in pain and sorrow no more.

 

At the second coming of Christ- they will be re-united with their bodies- raised from the dead- to die no more.

 

This is a major Christian doctrine- the resurrection from the dead.

 

Once again- in chapter 15 of 1st Corinthians- the apostle Paul- speaking to the believers who were beginning to doubt the resurrection- said

 

‘If our belief in Christ is for this life only [meaning there is no after life] then we are of all men most miserable’.

 

The resurrection gives us hope- it also gives us hope for our loved ones who have died- they might be ‘gone’ right now- but we will indeed see them again some day.

 

 

NOTE- this is the first ‘official’ post from New Jersey.

 

Being I don’t have a good internet connection- I’ll try and add stuff at times at the bottom of the posts.

 

I’m able to catch a Wi-Fi hook up every now and then- but it’s very weak.

 

Of course the big ‘news story’ for the past few days is the Zimmerman thing.

 

To be honest- I have not followed this case much at all- the amount of news coverage was silly- we did [do] have lots of much bigger news stories to cover- but much time was wasted on this.

 

Okay- my opinion?

 

From the start- I tried not to take sides- many in the media saw this as a ‘right/left’ issue- that’s a mistake- in my mind.

 

I said I thought that Zimmerman was sort of a Wannabe cop- and that he did go much further then he should have as some neighborhood watch guy.

 

As I listened to the arguments- from both sides- there was some credence to the prosecutions closing arguments that showed that Zimmerman was following Trayvon- and they did a good job at showing that when he got out of the car- he more than likely already knew the street name/address- but said he was looking for it because he knew the person from the PD said not to follow him.

 

But- as I was discussing this with someone- I said even though I’m not a defender of Zimmerman-yet- there was enough reasonable doubt- that at the time he shot Trayvon- it just might have met the criteria of self defense.

 

And that’s indeed what the jury thought as well.

 

So- at the end of the day- I feel bad for the poor mom- she is a good Christian lady who did want justice for her son.

 

Even though Trayvon was demonized by some on the right- he was a human being- a kid from a home without a dad- and his mom loved him- very much.

 

 

His mom also chose to not make this a racial thing- they were the ones [his parents] that forced their side- the prosecution- to not go down that road.

 

I commend her for that.

 

As of today- there is much talk about doing the federal charges- the hate crimes thing.

 

Now the way this justice dept. is under Holder- they just might do it.

 

I don’t say that simply because Holder is Black- but because he has a record of using the justice dept as a sort of an arm of the civil rights agenda’s of people like Sharpton and Jackson.

 

So- he might just go for it- which I think would be a big mistake- and be an injustice to those who are really victims of true hate crimes.

 

 

Okay- that’s it for now- I’ll try and post this today if I get a connection.

 

God bless.

 

P.S.  I’m still settling ‘in the land’ but in time might try and do some home bible study type things.

 

If so- when I start some- I’ll simply see if any of you in the NY/NJ area are interested to host one [just open a living room for an hour- maybe make coffee- pretty simple].

 

Keep that in mind and pray about it if you want to host one.

 

Thanks- John.

 

 

 

 

2028

 

I NEED A SIGN!

 

 

 

I’ve been meaning to write on this event for a while- but due to ‘un-foreseen’ circumstances- haven’t had the chance till now.

 

 

This past year has been somewhat of a roller coaster ride for me- even as I pen this post I’m still in transition [the place I’m staying- though very nice- is temporary].

 

So when you’re in the middle of major life change- it’s hard to stick to an older schedule.

 

 

But- I’m giving it my best shot.

 

Ok- on February 15th of this year- I was up early praying [I just finished a little over an hour outside- I have been able to keep this routine up].

 

And it was an important day for some of the stuff I was going thru- in a way I ‘needed a sign’ that God was hearing me.

 

Now- when you get up at 2-3 a.m.- for years- and walk outside and pray- looking up- you see stuff- lots of stuff.

 

I have seen thousands of ‘shooting stars’ over the years [Meteors- Asteroids].

 

At times- some were so close/bright- they looked like shooting fire balls [I’ll never forget these- I saw them one morning at the Fire House in Texas].

 

So- over time- it becomes common.

 

I guess the last one I saw was last month- early in the morning in Texas.

 

 

But- on Feb. 15th– I saw something that I never have seen before.

 

I was looking into the night sky- and as I looked at this star [ one of thousands] it got super bright- and went out.

 

 

Now- at first I thought ‘you gotta be kidding’.

 

It was a Nova/Super Nova.

 

I don’t know what the odds of seeing one- with the naked eye- is- but that’s what it was.

 

A first- and more than likely last- experience.

 

 

Now- it was significant enough- that I wrote it in a journal that I have been making for this year.

 

 

Later on in the day- all over the news- was the sighting of a major event in Russia.

 

 

The Chelyabinsk Event.

 

It was the sighting of a Meteor that exploded [called a Bolide] over the city.

 

It came in over the Ural mountains and took the region by surprise.

 

 

This was the most ‘seen’ meteor explosion- ever.

 

Now- there have been much greater ones that have impacted the earth before [The Tunguska impact of 1908- which wiped out a thousand square miles of Siberian forest].

 

But this one was caught on lots of Russian dash cams- installed in their cars for the purpose of preventing police abuse- and the image was uploaded to U-Tube and went Viral.

 

 

So- the day I saw my Nova- was the same day of this Russian Meteor.

 

 

Another event- in the Heavens- happened on this day.

 

 

This was also the same day that a very large Asteroid passed very close to the earth [a one in a hundred year event].

 

The name was 2012 DA14- it flew 28,000 KM above the surface of the earth- it was much bigger- around 30-40 meters.

 

We were tracking the path of this asteroid- but the smaller- more seen one- was a surprise.

 

 

The immediate speculation was that these 2 events were related.

 

That the Astronomers messed up- and did not foresee that the larger object also had smaller ones ‘riding’ in its wake.

 

 

But we later found out that the 2 events- on the same day- were actual separate events.

 

 

Now- the reason some have continued to doubt the official account [there are on line blogs that have sprung up and espouse certain conspiracy theories on this] is because the odds on both of these events happening on the same day are quite high.

 

Some say a Billion to one! [Others have the odds lower- but it’s still a very rare event].

 

 

Okay- what are the odds that some one would see a Nova with the naked eye- on the same day of these other 2 events?

 

 

To be honest- I have no idea.

 

 

The only reason I remembered the date was because these other events happened- and are dated by others.

 

 

 

What does the bible say about stuff like this?

 

 

Like most things- you would be surprised.

 

 

In Genesis chapter one- the bible says God made the Sun- Moon and Stars- and they are ‘for signs’.

 

Huh?

 

What kind?

 

Thru the course of history ship captains have used the stars to navigate and stuff.

 

But what about signs like I just mentioned- sort of like God saying ‘look- this time is important- I’m giving you a sign’.

 

 

In Matthew chapter 2 we read an interesting story about the birth of Jesus.

 

The wise men from the east ‘saw his Star’ and came to worship Him.

 

King Herod enquires of them what time the ‘Star appeared’.

 

He wants to find Jesus too- but so he could kill him and get rid of the competition [Herod heard that Jesus was this new King of the Jews].

 

The Wise men tell the king- and then they follow the Star until it ‘stops’ over the place where Jesus was.

 

The bible says ‘they rejoiced- when they SAW THE STAR’.

 

Around Christmas time every year you hear various sermons about the wise men- who were they- etc.

 

And this usually leads to a short study about the pre Christian religions that put much emphasis on stars- and how they coincided with the birth of some great ruler.

 

 

All of this is interesting- but we do know that God said the stars would be for signs- and sure enough we read accounts in the bible where they were doing just that.

 

 

I should note that God also forbade his people from the worship of these objects- which the pagan religions were want to do.

 

 

We also read in the book of Revelation that Stars are symbols for stuff.

 

We read that ‘stars fell from heaven’- or ‘the 7 stars in his right hand are the angels of the 7 churches’.

 

In these references the stars are talking about messengers- leaders- rulers- etc.

 

 

In the books of Psalms- and Romans- we read that God reveals his glory from the things he has made- the Heavens ‘Declare the Glory of God’.

 

 

So- should we look for signs like this?

 

No.

 

Jesus said ‘a wicked and adulterous people seek after a sign- and there shall no sign be given them’.

 

Yikes!

 

The Apostle Paul says ‘the Jews seek a sign- the Greeks seek wisdom- but we preach Christ Crucified’.

 

So- people have been looking for signs for centuries- and they have missed the boat because of it.

 

Never the less- God does at times give us signs- when he wishes to do so.

 

When I saw ‘my Nova’ I knew it was more than likely a one time event.

 

But- I took it for what it was worth- and moved on.

 

As I was going thru my journal the other day- I did not even realize that about this time I had penned a verse from Exodus- it said ‘This shall be a sign to you’.

 

 

To be honest I looked for it earlier- I don’t remember if I wrote this verse before or after ‘my sign’.

 

 

But I know I never connected the event with the verse- until I recently read the journal as a timeline- then I said ‘wow- this is so cool’.

 

I saw the connection- only from a distance.

 

 

So- do you need a sign- like the song says ‘I need a sign..’

 

Don’t look for one- trust God- but- if he decides to give you one- he can.

 

When Jesus rebuked the Jews of his day- he said ‘you seek a sign- but no sign will be given to you- but the sign of the Prophet Jonah. As Jonah was in the belly of the whale 3 days and 3 nights- so shall the Son of Man be in the Heart of the earth 3 days and nights’.

 

He told them that the ‘sign’ he was going to give them would be the greatest yet- he would rise from the grave after 3 days.

 

Yeah- they looked for a sign all right- and they did not like what they got.

 

 

 

 

NOTE- let me add a little at the end here.

 

The chapter for this week was Deuteronomy 30.

 

Last night we also had the President make some surprising news- he gave about a 16 minute speech- off the cuff- on the Trayvon Martin case.

 

He surprised many – both on the left and right.

 

Why?

 

I was talking to someone the other day and told them that Obama has had a hard time with the strong Black civil rights crowd.

 

He was seen as someone who did not really share in their struggle- not like the inner city Black kids who experienced lots of discrimination here on the mainland.

 

Yes- Obama grew up in Hawaii- and he was raised by a single mom- who was White.

 

So- he had a hard time gaining the trust of guys like Sharpton and Jackson.

 

He has also received criticism because he has avoided hot button racial issues- he has tried to walk a very tough middle road on stuff like this.

 

So- when he made his speech last night- it was a surprise.

 

How did he do?

 

It was no time before the hard right blasted him- and some on the left praised him.

 

As I simply heard him- without trying to pick every little thing apart- I thought he did ok.

 

He said things that would offend both sides of the aisle.

 

He spoke about the Black majority in prison- as well as them being the majority offenders.

 

Now- there are different arguments on why this is- but he did say that both the incarceration rate is high among minorities- as well as the offense rate.

 

It seems as if the president was simply trying to put some of this in perspective- he was saying that the reason we are seeing so many in the Black community up in arms- was because of the history that they have experienced.

 

Your background shapes you- you view things from a different lens- when you grow up in a different ‘world’.

 

In the bible we read a silly debate that was going on at the time of Jesus.

 

The religious folk had a technical argument that they debated at the time.

 

They came to the conclusion that you could ‘sware’ on the altar [you know- like ‘I sware on my mothers grave’ type thing].

 

But you could not sware by the ‘gift on the altar’.

 

Now- today this argument doesn’t make much sense- but back then it was a big deal.

 

Now- one day Jesus wades into it- and says- in so many words ‘you idiots! You think swearing on the altar is ok- but the animal on it- well that’s a big no- no.’

 

He then says an interesting thing- he says ‘what’s greater- the gift on the altar- or the altar that sanctifies the gift’?

 

He told them they were making a distinction that wasn’t there- as a matter of fact- the reality was the other way around.

 

The thing of importance is not the gift [our talent- the way we can ‘perform’ and look good to others].

 

But the thing of importance is the altar.

 

That is- the community of people that we speak into- those who are the sanctified ones- our gifts are only meant to build these people up- they are given to us for the benefit of the community- what the bible refers to as ‘a nation of priests’ [Peter].

 

The point?

 

All of us have come to ‘this Mountain’ [the present time we are in- all from both good and bad experiences].

 

We are here now- the above chapter in Deuteronomy says ‘I have shown you the blessing- and the curse- if you walk away now- from this moment of opportunity- you are gonna die- got it?’

 

Yes- I get it.

 

God is saying to many of us ‘I have brought you here for a purpose- maybe you thought this thing was about you- your legacy. Maybe you had different plans- you thought things would work out differently. But now we are here- all of us- the good and the bad- you see what I did- both in judgment and blessing. The thing of importance is not your gift- your talent- but the people you are here to form- to speak to- to lay your life down for- that’s what counts’.

 

 

In a way- I think the president had his ‘coming of age’ experience last night.

 

He looked at this second term- which quite frankly has started badly.

 

He also realized that the thing he wanted to avoid- being the first Black president- who made race a big issue- he could avoid no more.

 

That his goals- the way he wanted to be seen- was not important.

 

But the thing of importance was the people- to address the gorilla in the room- the one he has managed to avoid for the past 5 years.

 

 

At one point the president said ‘turn the tables around- say if the White guy and the Black kid were the other way around’.

 

I actually did this- real time- the other day.

 

Remember the post about me taking a walk form North Bergen to NYC?

 

Well I later realized I walked thru Harlem that day.

 

A spot where a White guy is not supposed to go- never mind walk!

 

 

I also mentioned how I stopped in front of some Black guys garage-  and he pulled up in his car and pointed it ‘at me’- not realizing he was simply waiting for me to move- so he could get in.

 

 

When he got out of the car- I ‘jumped’ on him- in a way.

 

Like ‘what the hell do you want man!’

 

I was Trayvon- I thought this guy stopped his car- and faced it right at me- because he wanted trouble.

 

And I have never been good in these situations- I have always gone off the deep end- and said ‘let’s do it’!

 

Now- that’s the way I am- I know its bad- I know I cant be walking thru Jersey city- and Harlem- with an attitude like that.

 

But I just turned 51- I realize I will die with this attitude- there’s nothing I’m gonna do at this stage to change that.

 

 

Now- If I were Trayvon- yea- I would have beat the hell out of Zimmerman too- that’s a fact.

 

Would I have been wrong?

 

Probably.

 

I was ready to beat the ‘hell’ out of the Black guy in Harlem the other day- and he did nothing wrong!

 

But he stopped on an empty street- and pointed his car at me- on the sidewalk.

 

Heck- I thought the guy was gonna jump me- and I wanted to let him know I was ready to go at it.

 

It’s a natural defense thing- and Trayvon simply did the same thing.

 

 

So yeah- I understood when the president asked us to try and see things turned around.

 

When he took the risk and gave a speech- one that he has avoided for 5 years.

 

He’s at the point where many of us are- the thing that matters now- after all that has happened- is to finish the course well- try and make something useful here at the end.

 

 

Forget the legacy thing- the people are what matters.

 

 

 

2029

 

THE IMAGE OF THE INVISIBLE GOD

 

 

The chapter for this week is Colossians 1.

 

When we read the New Testament- for the most part we are reading ‘crisis letters’.

 

Huh?

 

The apostle Paul wrote the majority of the letters that make up the New Testament- and his life was spent proclaiming the gospel of Jesus- and refuting the false teachings that the early church had to deal with.

 

In this letter to the church that lived at Colosse [a city in the days of Jesus] the error that the apostle combated was Asceticism.

 

Which simply means the idea that the way we gain favor with God is thru strict self denial- to the point of injuring your self.

 

Now- in the bible we do read that we should deny ourselves- practice habits of self denial [fasting] and ‘keep our bodies in subjection’.

 

But in the church at Colosse they took it too far.

 

So- in chapter one Paul presents the reality of God- that he created all things- visible and invisible- and he declares unto us a mystery- something that was hidden until the time of Christ.

 

What is it?

 

Paul says ‘Christ in you- the hope of glory’.

 

Often times you hear the phrase ‘Jesus is in my heart’- well- in a sense- that is true.

 

‘Christ in you’ simply means that the Holy Spirit [Christ not only denotes the person of Jesus- but it was his title- he was the anointed one who was to come- Christ means Anointed One].

 

So- Paul tells us the Spirit of God dwells in the heart of the believer- that Christianity is not simply obeying rules- or self denial [the problem Paul is refuting].

 

But it is a new way of life made possible because God’s Spirit lives inside of us.

 

 

Paul also refers to God as ‘Our father’.

 

Jesus shocked the religious world of his day when he referred to God- as not only his father- but ours too!

 

If you remember- the Jewish people at the time said ‘he is making himself equal with God- because he claims to be the Son of God’.

 

Now- was their accusation true?

 

Yes.

 

Was Jesus claiming deity for himself?

 

Now- this is indeed where it gets tough for some.

 

I have lots of friends of other faiths.

 

And most of the time I try and take an open minded approach.

 

But- in this area- this is what makes Christianity unique among the other religions of the world.

 

Jesus did indeed claim deity- that he was the Son of God.

 

The critics say ‘see- he was crazy’.

 

The followers say ‘no- he was telling the truth’.

 

The apostle Paul refers to God as our father- and this ‘new’ way of seeing God- has remained with the followers of Christ ever since.

 

A short note;

 

Many approaches to God/religion are based upon the same belief that the Colossians were being influenced by.

 

That God is a mean judge- that if we try hard- to obey- we will escape his wrath.

 

But if we mess up- and stumble- he will judge us.

 

Okay- the basic reality of God as judge is true- to a degree.

 

When people are ‘outside of Christ’ [do not embrace him as the Messiah].

 

They are indeed under the judgment of God- the apostle Paul said ‘if your approach to God is based solely on law- then you are mandated to keep every point’.

 

The legalistic approach to God- which many good people embrace- sort of views God as someone who might have grown up in a harsh home- or maybe a home without a dad.

 

This view- though well meaning- still sees ‘dad’ as the mean guy who you better watch out for.

 

 

The view Jesus gave us was a different one.

 

That God is our father too- and because Jesus- as our ‘elder brother’- took the Cross for us- we now have the ability to approach God based on Grace- not based on our strict obedience to the law.

 

 

This ‘family’ view of God is indeed unique to Christianity- and of course I embrace this view myself [when I pray- I do indeed approach God as my father- like Jesus taught us in the model prayer- the Our father].

 

Okay- that’s just a brief overview of chapter 1.

 

Try and read that chapter before the week is out.

 

Meditate on the reality that God created all things- invisible- and visible.

 

He is the creator of it all.

 

Jesus is ‘the image of the invisible God’.

 

The way we know- see the character of God- is by seeing and learning from the life of Christ.

 

The disciple Philip asked Jesus ‘Show us the Father’ [in John’s gospel].

 

Jesus said ‘have I been all this time with you- and you still don’t know what the Father is like- if you have seen me- you have seen the father’.

 

Jesus was ‘God in the flesh’ [we call this the Incarnation- God become man].

 

If you want a view of God- a ‘lens’ to see him by- then look at Jesus.

 

Jesus said ‘take my yoke upon you- and learn of me- for I am meek and lowly- and you shall find rest for your souls’.

 

 

Christianity offers an approach to God that says ‘come unto me- all you who labor and are tired- you will find rest’.

 

 

NOTE- Christianity in the first century was not born in a vacuum.

 

Of course the major World View was Judaism- but the second- very strong influence/philosophy of the day was Greek wisdom [thus my quote in the last post ‘The Greeks seek wisdom’].

 

In the letter to the Colossians- the Apostle refutes Asceticism- which was indeed a belief of the Greek philosophers.

 

Greek wisdom taught that the material realm was evil.

 

Way back about 6 centuries before Christ- you had the famous Philosopher Socrates.

 

His most famous student was Plato.

 

And Plato’s most famous student was Aristotle.

 

When Socrates was put to death- because of his supposed bad influence on the youth of his time [he taught them to questions stuff!].

 

It is reported that he calmly drank the Cyanide- because he believed that when he would die- be released from his body [the so called evil realm of matter] that he would finally ‘be free’.

 

Now- do Christians believe this?

 

Yes and no.

 

Because our bibles were written in Greek [which shows you how strong the Greek influence effected the early church- our first New Testaments were written in Greek- though the Roman Empire was the world Empire of the day.

 

But Alexander the Great- the famed Greek conqueror who came a few centuries before Christ- he instituted what we refer to as Helenization.

 

A form of conquering where you let the people you conquer keep their culture- but you also use parts of your culture [in this case the Greek language] to permeate the vanquished.

 

So- the Roman Empire of Jesus day [who at one time were under the rule of the Greek Empire] continued to write in Greek.

 

It wasn’t until around a few centuries after the time of Christ that the first Latin bible was written [by Saint Jerome].

 

But even his bible [the Latin Vulgate] used the Greek Old Testament [called the Septuagint] instead of the Hebrew- for his Latin translation.

 

Ok- the point being- the Greek world did indeed have a strong influence on the early church.

 

And the church had to refute the belief that all matter was evil.

 

The Christian doctrine of creation [developed under saint Augustine- the 4th-5th century bishop of Hippo- North Africa].

 

Was the teaching that matter was good- that God created the material realm- so it is not  inherently evil.

 

But- after the fall of man [Genesis 1-3] a curse did indeed come upon the earth [some times when the bible says ‘the world’ it is speaking of the earth- but other times it is speaking of the fallen order- the sinful realm of man. That’s why there is some confusion- till this day- among Christians. They might read verses like this- and think the bible is saying the earth itself- the planet- is wicked. Actually in those verses it is speaking about the fallen order of sinful men. See? ‘For all that is in THE WORLD- the lust of the flesh- the lust of the eyes and the pride of life- is not of the father- but is of the WORLD- and the WORLD is passing away’- this is one example from the epistle of John- here the World is not saying the planet- but the world of sinful man- a fallen ‘world’ order.]

 

So- in conclusion [if I ever get there!] we- as believers- reject the belief that all matter is evil.

 

No- man was created in the image of God- and God is the creator of all things- both visible [earth- man- etc] and invisible [mentioned in the above chapter].

 

The evil we see in the ‘world’ today is simply a result of mans sin- mans choice to live in rebellion against God.

 

We can’t escape ‘this world of sin’ by simply denying ourselves [though that is one aspect of the Christian life].

 

But God sent his Son into the world to redeem man- Christ died for all men- and this is the Divine act of Salvation.

 

When we as humans partake of this Salvation- we are then free- free to enjoy this life- that God gave us- and we don’t have to have the mindset of a Socrates- who saw this natural life as evil.

 

The apostle Paul says in his letter to the Romans;

 

‘Present your bodies as a living sacrifice- HOLY and acceptable to God’.

 

See?

 

Our bodies- the actual flesh we live in- can be Holy- sanctified- when submitted to the will of God.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2030

 

CANDLE- DON’T GO OUT!

 

 

The chapter for the week is Luke 11.

 

 

Jesus says ‘which of you- if a friend came to you on a journey and you had nothing to give him- would go to another friend and say ‘a friend of mine has come and I have no food for him- can you spare some stuff’- and this friend would give you something for your friend who came to you on his journey’.

 

 

I always liked this story- Jesus relates it to our own life.

 

He then goes on to say ‘so- if you ask God for the Holy Spirit- he too would give you what you ask’.

 

Often times we ‘come to the table’ with what we think others need- that is we have preconceived ideas about what we want to share- talk about.

 

But in reality- we- like the man in the story- have nothing to give others who come to us ‘on their journey’.

 

We need to go ‘to our friend’ [God] – and say ‘we have nothing- in and of ourselves to give- can you give me some bread for these travelers’.

 

 

Its interesting- Jesus does give us the Lords prayer in this chapter too- which says ‘give us this day our daily bread’.

 

 

The other day one of my sister’s friends came over to help clean up the downstairs apt. where Laura lived.

 

She’s a nice girl- I have met her before.

\

She is also an Atheist.

 

I have never had any problems with people of our faiths- or even atheists.

 

I of course have studied/taught the Christian view for years- and am aware of the basic ‘arguments’ that defend the ‘belief in God’ view.

 

 

But that was not my job this day- I was just helping her clean the apt.

 

 

When I moved back to N.J. from Texas- I only took a few things with me- one of them was a small Menorah [Jewish candlestick] that I used as a desk item.

 

 

As we were cleaning my sister’s room- we found 2 boxes of Hanukkah candles.

 

Of course my sister was not Jewish- so it was a strange find.

 

I told my sister’s friend ‘you know- I actually brought a little Menorah with me- I bet these fit it’.

 

Sure enough- they did.

 

 

I have already lit about 15 of them the past few days [If I remember- I’ll post a picture].

 

 

It was an opportunity to talk about the history of Hanukkah- so I did.

 

 

Hanukkah is the Jewish celebration of the re-dedication of the 2nd Temple of the Jews [we read about the second temple and the rebuilding of the city and the temple in the Old Testament books of Nehemiah- Ezra].

 

In the 2nd century- B.C.- the Jews rose up against their oppressors [the Greek/Syrian empire] and fought against the wicked Seleucid ruler- Antiochus Epiphanies- who desecrated their temple by offering pigs blood upon the altar.

 

There was a priest named Mattathias who had 5 sons- they launched a guerilla type fight against Antiochus- and took the temple back.

 

After the death of the priest- his son Judah Maccabee [The Hammer] took over- he finished the fight with his brothers and after they rededicated the temple back to God- they Lit the Menorah- and according to Jewish tradition- the lamp [candlesticks were not like we think today- they were made out of pipes- and lamp oil flowed thru the pipes] only had enough oil for one day- but miraculously burned for 8 days.

 

This story is found in the Talmud- a scared book for Jews.

 

In the Christian bible [the Catholic version- called the book of Maccabee’s] the story is a little different- but it does record this event.

 

So- till this day the Jewish people celebrate Hanukkah with the lighting of the Menorah [they use  9 candles today- the original one had 7].

 

And it dates back to this event- called the Maccabean Revolt.

 

 

In Luke 11- Jesus also speaks about the candle stick.

 

 

He says when you light a candle you don’t put it where no one can see it- but you put it on a table so when people come into the room they can see.

 

Jesus says the church is like this- we are a ‘city on a hill that cannot be hid’.

 

 

The Apostle John says in the book of Revelation ‘I saw a man standing in the middle of 7 golden candles- he had 7 stars in his right hand’.

 

The book goes on to interpret this image- it says this was a prophetic image of Jesus standing in the middle of the 7 churches that the letter was written to [these were the 7 churches of Asia Minor].

 

The 7 stars in Jesus right hand were ‘the angels of the 7 churches’.

 

 

So the menorah plays a role in both Jewish and Christian art/writing.

 

 

In the story I mentioned above- when people come to us ‘on their journey’- where they are at in life- we really don’t know what to say- what to give them.

 

Because we too are on ‘our journey’ dealing with our own stuff too.

 

 

Earlier this year I re-read the Bob Dylan book ‘Chronicles’.

 

It was highly acclaimed- his first auto biography- and it was a really good book.

 

 

Dylan gives a quote from his grandmother;

 

‘Remember- when you run across people in life- try to be nice- because we are all going thru stuff’ [my paraphrase].

 

Yeah- at times I can be mean- just like the rest.

 

 

I really had no plans on ‘witnessing’ to my sisters friend this day.

 

But the candles were a way to simply talk about the history of Hanukkah [this friend likes to study and learn- she is somewhat of an intellectual- which is good].

 

 

Jesus also says in this chapter ‘the light of the body is the eye- if you look at bad stuff- it will affect you’.

 

He relates this to the candle imagery- what we see- hear- read- etc, – these things do indeed effect us- for good or ill.

 

 

Yeah- the candle stick imagery is used a lot in the bible.

 

According to the Talmud- God did a miracle- he let the Menorah burn for 8 days [that’s why the modern celebration is 8 days].

 

Yet- they only had one day of oil.

 

Hey- that fits in with the story ‘A friend has come to us- we don’t have enough to give them- can you multiply the resources’.

 

Sure- God sees we are trying- why not?

 

NOTE- The past couple of weeks the Pope made his trip to Brazil- has made a few off the cuff remarks- and there has been talk in the media about this stuff.

 

One of the remarks he made I did like a lot;

 

“At times we loose people because we they don’t understand what we are saying, because we have forgotten the language of simplicity and import an intellectualism foreign to our people”- “ Without the grammar of simplicity, the church loses the very conditions which make it possible to fish for God in the deep waters of his mystery”.

 

I went to the Wal Mart eye doctor the other day.

 

I am supposed to wear glasses- but have not had an eye exam in about 20 years.

 

At work- at the fire house- I used to bring an old junky pair- that I fixed with super glue- because I can not read street signs without prescriptions.

 

I new most of the city by heart [I drove fire trucks for Kingsville for 25 years- and was a firefighter].

 

Yet- when it came to reading the actual addresses- forget it.

 

But- after I retired I  would just ‘wing it’.

 

Yeah- at times I would actually have to stop- right under a sign- to read it.

 

But- driving in New Jersey [which I’m trying not to do- I want to just start using buses and stuff] is different.

 

Even when walking New York city- sometimes I walk an extra block- and find out the corner is the wrong street.

 

So- at Wal mart I got the exam and ordered 2 pairs of glasses.

 

 

The Eye doc. asked me about my reading and all- how good can I read/see the page.

 

I told him my reading has gone down some- and I can judge it well because I’m a big reader of books- for many years.

 

He asked me about what I red and all.

 

Somehow I got into the web site- and started talking about ministry and stuff.

 

 

He was interested- and even asked me a few questions.

 

He of course is an accomplished person- yet had questions about his former faith- and the church he now belongs to.

 

 

He was raised Methodist- and married a fine Catholic lady- and is now Catholic.

 

As my habit is- sometimes I get too deep into stuff- and I lose people [the Popes above quote].

 

But this time- ‘deep’ was good- he asked some good questions about the church- and I shared with him this web site.

 

 

In this weeks bible chapter Jesus gave us the story about the people who come to us on ‘their journey’.

 

They too have all types of stuff they are dealing with.

 

Some- like my eye doctor- might have simple questions [simple for someone who has studied this stuff for years- maybe tough for those who never put the time in- for instance I talked about the debate between the Methodists and the Calvinists- and how his former church was Arminian [ a term that comes from Jacob Arminius- a person who was once a believer in Predestination/Election- and came to doubt it- and became a defender of Free Will] and how they did not teach Predestination- John Wesley- the founder of the Methodist church disagreed with other great revivalist preachers- like Spurgeon- over this issue].

 

So- on my eye doctors ‘journey’ this was important to him- to learn some stuff about his former church- as well as his present one [I also talked about the Catholic church Fathers- and the early centuries of the church].

 

 

Yet to some of the other people I have met in the last few weeks- this is not ‘the bread’ they need [or would even understand].

 

What’s most important- at these junctures on the journey- is to ‘hear’ God- to listen to what the friend of yours might be dealing with- or even asking you a specific question.

 

It’s hard to practice this- because most of the times we want to talk about a subject that we like.

 

Stephen Covey said ‘seek first to understand- then to be understood’.

 

Let’s end with a few verses I have read the past day or so.

 

‘Woe to those who obey the rules- but pass over the judgment and love of God’

 

“The Lord will perfect [accomplish] that which concerns you”

 

“Strengthen O God- that which you have done for us”

 

Let God establish the thing he started in you- don’t get too caught up in the process right now [rules versus the Love of God]- let God lead- be a good follower.

 

Obey him in simple acts of service.

 

The prophet Isaiah said God was done with the famous- the big shots- and he was using the humble- the poor- the down trodden to build his kingdom [read chapters 3-4].

 

God honors the contrite heart- the Meek ones who are to inherit the earth.

 

He puts down those who are in pride.

 

As the Pope so eloquently said- God fishes in this world- but he uses the language of simplicity to catch men.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2031

 

TO EVERYTHING- TURN TURN TURN- TO EVER….

 

 

The chapter for the week is Ecclesiastes 3.

 

This chapter was made famous by Simon and Garfunkel- their hit song ‘to every thing- turn turn turn- there is a season..’

 

This ‘book’ in the Christian bible- Old Testament- was more than likely written by King Solomon- who I mentioned in a recent post.

 

The son of King David and Bathsheba- who David took to be his wife- and had the husband killed.

 

Yet- after the death of their first baby [as a judgment from God because of what David did]- their 2nd child was the wisest man ever- next to Jesus himself.

 

One of the main themes of this book is VANITY- that is the Preacher is talking about the futility of life apart from God.

 

Solomon was the richest king ever [in the bible that is] he attained great heights of knowledge- accomplished all a person could ever want in life- and had ‘many women’- yet- at the end of the day was Empty.

 

So- he writes about the Vanity of these pursuits- that if there is nothing more to life than simply making money- or ‘keeping up with the Jones’- then its simply wasted time in the end.

 

You find quotes in this book [one of the 5 or 6 books in the bible that is in the category of Wisdom literature] that seem to be coming from an Atheistic perspective.

 

Last year I was watching some Net Flix documentary- that was anti Christian- and they even quoted a passage from this book- to say ‘see- even the bible says there is no after life’! [the quote said ‘what difference does it make- when we die we are just like the animals- we return to the ground and back to dust!].

 

The way we [Christians] would explain this- being in our bible- is Solomon is writing from the perspective of someone who tried to find fulfillment apart from God.

 

And this vain pursuit is what we are reading thru out the book.

 

Sort of like God giving us the perspective from the other side.

 

I should note that in the last chapter Solomon does say that after this whole experience of trying to find purpose apart from God- his conclusion is mans purpose is to Fear God and keep his commandments.

 

 

Okay- chapter 3.

 

I like the reality of what the Preacher says ‘there is a time to get- a time to lose- a time to be born- a time to die’.

 

He shows us the cycles of life.

 

In today’s ‘world’ of Christian preaching- TV Evangelism- and the proliferation of self help books- we have a tendency to focus on one side of the aisle.

 

For instance- how many popular books [or shows] do you see about losing what you have?

 

A Time to gain- but a time to Lose also.

 

A time to keep- but a time to cast away.

 

To plant [plant your seed for the harvest?] and a time to pluck up that which is planted.

 

 

Yeah- I like the Whole perspective that the Preacher [Solomon is referred to as The Preacher] gives us.

 

 

 

We also see the theme of ‘There is nothing new under the Sun’.

 

‘That which is- that which is to come- has already been’.

 

Yeah- we hear that bit of wisdom from our elders all thru out life.

 

 

I think it was Hemingway who took this phrase [under the sun] and turned it into a popular book/movie?

 

Hemingway was the famous author- who seemed to be on his own quest for the meaning of life.

 

Like many of the philosophers/thinkers of the last century.

 

 

Some veered into the abyss that Solomon wrote about in this book.

 

If you go down this path- this journey- and simply come to the conclusion that All is Vanity- then the Final Question is ‘life itself has no meaning- why even stay?’

 

Hemingway [as well as a few other talented writers- Hunter Thompson] simply followed the logical path that this hopeless world view leads to- they both took their own lives.

 

 

One of the most famous philosophers of the last century- John Paul Sartre- said that the only question left to ask is- ‘the moral choice of taking our own lives’ [either Sartre or Camu said this- I some times confuse the 2- they both took the same hopless perspective that Solomon took in this book].

 

No- Solomon went on to say that the final answer was to ‘Fear God and obey his rules’.

 

Yes- in today’s world- that sounds stupid- in the pursuit of self- in the most popular World View of our day- Hedonism [a philosophy that says mans purpose is to maximize pleasure] this sounds Victorian- Old Fashioned- Non liberating.

 

 

Like the Preacher said- there is nothing new under the sun- many have tried this path- the path of simply living for self- to make lots of money- to always ‘get’ but to never ‘cast away’.

 

No- in life there are cycles to things.

 

You might be at the stage of ‘getting- planting- gaining’.

 

But don’t be fooled- that’s a stage- that’s a cycle.

 

You will need [some time] to experience the other cycle- and when that time comes- you must also walk that road.

 

 

In the Gospels we read the story of a young rich man who asked Jesus ‘what must I do to gain Eternal Life’.

 

Jesus told him to keep Gods laws- the man said he has done this since he was a kid.

 

 

Good.

 

One more thing.

 

Go- sell all that you have- give it to the Poor- and then come and follow me.

 

The bible says this man went away sad- because he had much wealth.

 

 

Do you see?

 

This was his Time to Lose- his Time to ‘cast away’.

 

He missed his Time.

 

 

NOTE- In the bible we read- often- about the principle of ‘becoming less’.

 

That is- we follow Christ’s example of preferring others more than our selves.

 

Much of what The Preacher talks about in the above chapter is learning to live this command.

 

The apostle Paul rebuked the Christians at Corinth because they were more concerned about their own welfare- than the welfare of their brother.

 

He said ‘why are you suing each other- taking each other to the courts- if someone harmed you- then see that as an opportunity to be like Christ- to take the wrong- and forgive’.

 

 

I’ll give you a silly example- but because it came to mind- well- I’ll use it.

 

 

The other day I went for one of my long walks- and forgot to take the headphones for the music player on my phone.

 

So- even though I had just bought a pair- I went into some store and got a second pair- for about 15 bucks.

 

OK- they were nice- nicer than the original pair.

 

I used them for a few days- and one of my friends [Pat- don’t worry- if you read this- I don’t want the things back- but thought this story would work!] had left his pair somewhere else [lost?] and I gave him my extra pair.

 

Then realized- while walking the other day ‘yeah- Pat’s right- that other set was a good set- better than this one I’m using now’.

 

So- it was no big deal- I made a mental note ‘no problem- I’ll just tell my friend to give me the better pair back- and I’ll give him the “lesser” pair’.

 

But as I walked- listening to the now very noticeable ‘worse’ pair [you know how that works- after you think about it- you start feeling like you got the short end of the stick- and start thinking about how you ripped your self off!] God dealt with me about this principle- about preferring others more than your self.

 

This above verse came to mind ‘prefer the benefit of other- more than your own benefit’.

 

And I decided to simply keep my ‘worse’ pair- and let Pat have the better ones.

 

 

Now- to be honest- I have given away much more than this- so this was not too hard at all.

 

But- the point is- we have a tendency to want- to get- to keep.

 

It’s in our nature.

 

And when Solomon tells us that there are times- purposes- in life- even times to lose- to give stuff away.

 

We need to grasp hold of that- we need to see ‘hey- maybe I’m at the time of becoming less- for the benefit of others becoming more’.

 

The apostle Paul said to the Christians at the city of Philippi ‘be like Christ- who being in the form of God- did not think it to be used for his own advantage- but made himself of no reputation and became a man and humbled himself to a shameful death- even death on a Cross’.

 

 

So- when the time comes to ‘become less’- to serve- and prefer others more than your self- when you see that taking place [often times this is thrust upon you by un-foreseen circumstances].

 

Then be Christ like- take the wrong- if you will- enjoy the fact that you gave away the ‘better’ pair- knowing that in God’s kingdom- this is valuable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2032

 

THAT’S FAITH?

 

This week let’s cover 2 chapters- if I have room that is.

 

Luke 12 and Hebrews11.

 

Hebrews 11 is the famous Faith chapter- it records all the heroes of the faith- so to speak.

 

Just a few points.

 

If you read the examples of faith in this chapter- you see a ‘strange’ thing.

 

Many of the ‘acts of faith’ seem to actually be failures!

 

Huh?

 

Yeah- go read it.

 

Some died- by faith- they were tortured- and because they had FAITH- they did not accept deliverance- but died- and the bible says they will ‘get a better resurrection’.

 

Now- let’s get real.

 

Is this type of example popular in today’s Christian culture?

 

How many dear moms- who lost their kids to some disease- and were told [some outright- I know of examples] that if they had faith- their kid would not have died.

 

Not only is this wrong- and contrary to the greatest commandment Jesus gave us [to Love God and each other- how can you call telling a mom this- love?]

 

But in this chapter we are told some died- in FAITH.

 

I also like the example of Joseph- it says when he was about to die- he gave commandment ‘concerning his bones’.

 

That is- he knew some day they would get out of Egypt [because God promised this] yet- he would die- in Egypt [see- he would not live to see the promise fulfilled] and tell his family that in the future- when God did keep the promise- for them to take his bones!

 

Yeah- he had faith- but that did not mean he would- himself- see all the final results of what God was going to do in the future.

 

Actually- this is one of the main themes in the chapter ‘These all died IN FAITH- NOT HAVING RECEIVED THE PROMISES- but having seen them afar off’.

 

That’s so against our present mindset.

 

No- in today’s world- we equate faith with GETTING THE PROMISE- NOW.

 

But in some of these cases [I say some- because to be honest- we also read that some did see their kids raised back to life- some did win great battles- etc.] faith was simply knowing that down the road- after they died-  God would still keep the promise he made.

 

These promises- like many in the bible- were generational.

 

That is- they would be fulfilled thru following generations.

 

 

The greatest example was Abraham.

 

We are told that God promised him a huge heritage of people- he would be the ‘Father of many nations’.

 

Yet- when he finally had a son- after many years of waiting [Isaac].

 

God said ‘Abraham- go and OFFER YOUR SON ON THE ALTAR’.

 

What?

 

Yes- this was the test.

 

So Abraham took the boy- and up to the mountain he went.

 

He ties the boy down [historians tell us the ‘boy’ was an older teen at this time- and that means the kid laid down willingly- a type/symbol of Christ on the Cross].

 

Abraham was ready to kill his son- and God stopped him.

 

Now- in Hebrews chapter 11- it says that Abraham simply believed that God would have raised him from the dead in order to keep the promise that thru this son he would have many descendants.

 

See- Abraham was told that it would be thru this boy- and him alone- that God would fulfill the promise.

 

Yet- how in the heck could he kill him- and yet see the promise come to pass?

 

In his mind- he thought ‘I guess God will raise him from the dead’.

 

The point being- all these examples are not what we usually think about when we think ‘FAITH’.

 

 

 

A big part of faith is giving our lives for a greater cause- for others- and even after we die- God will fulfill his ultimate promise thru these people.

 

Now- how many of you have believed God for some promise- some thing- and it seems like the only link left- the only chance for hope- is lying on some altar- ready to die- by your hand!

 

Yeah.

 

Often times we are the ones- in some way- that sabotage the promise.

 

 

In Abraham’s case- he was the ‘hit man’ so to speak.

 

God is still able- even at this point- to say ‘STOP- ENOUGH- ITS ONLY A TEST- YOU PASSED’.

 

Whew!

 

 

Yeah- tests only count [in Gods school that is] if you think the sacrifice IS REAL.

 

Many times over the years I have had friends say ‘yeah- this is my Isaac’.

 

That’s a common phrase to say ‘yeah- I’m walking away- I’m giving all this up for God- just like Abraham gave up his son’.

 

 

To be honest- many times my friends who said this were really walking away from stuff that they didn’t want in the first place.

 

 

So- for this test to be real- the so called ‘Isaac’ test- you have to think- and believe- in your heart of hearts- that what your walking away from is real- and valuable.

 

Now- God does not always do the ‘Isaac’ thing the way we want.

 

Yeah- if we get to the point where all is gone- thinking in the back of our heads ‘okay God- now tell me this is only a joke/test’.

 

Be careful- he might just say ‘no son- go ahead- Isaac is no more’.

 

 

 

 

NOTE- I didn’t have time to get to it- but Luke 12 deals with trusting in God- and yes- once again- not seeking security in material stuff [money].

 

How does this fit in with Faith?

 

One of the examples in Hebrews 12 is how Moses- by faith- forsook the wealth of Egypt- not fearing the wrath of the king- and chose to suffer affliction with the People of God- than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.

 

In context- it is saying that suffering with God’s people is greater treasure than stuff.

 

Ok- in Luke 12 Jesus deals with the same thing.

 

He tells the parable of a rich man- has lots of stuff- his stocks are booming.

 

He says ‘I know- I’ll build greater store houses- I’ll put all my stuff in there- and find security’.

 

Jesus calls him a fool and says ‘you will die tonight- and then who will get all your stuff’.

 

Jesus then says ‘be rich in God’s way- giving to the poor- etc.’

 

 

He then gives a verse that for some reason I memorized many years ago.

 

‘Beware of covetousness [greed] – for a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he owns’.

 

 

So yes- faith entails a willingness- and at times- an actual ‘doing’ of the command to ‘sell what you have- give to the poor- and you will have treasures in heaven where moths don’t get to it- where it won’t rust- and where thieves can’t break in and steal it’.

 

 

Yeah- Moses forsook the material advantages he would have had if he stayed as Pharaohs adopted son- but he wanted to identify with his people [for you non bible readers- just recall the movie the 10 commandments- Moses rejected his false Egyptian identity- and accepted his real identity as a Jew].

 

And part of this step of faith was losing all the wealth and benefits that came with his former life.

 

 

Ok- this week the point is we- at times- will be called to go on new journeys.

 

Sometimes they are a result of our own failures- the bad choices we have made.

 

But at this stage in life- all we can do is forget the past- and make the best of what’s next.

 

 

I recently had some people I know- who were doing well- they messed up some.

 

When they told me- I simply tried to encourage them- to say ‘ok- what’s done is done- don’t dwell on it- but accept the reality that those years were NOT WASTED YEARS’ [he felt like all the good years were for nothing- because he now had to ‘start all over’].

 

The fact is- all of our life is a journey- Jesus said why worry [he uses the term TAKE THOUGHT] for the little things that happen in life [geez- we worry about rent- bills- etc.]

 

If worry can’t change the big things [it can’t] then don’t even waste time on the small stuff!

 

The apostle Paul wrote to the Christians in the city of Philippi- he said;

 

‘Be careful [worried] for nothing- but in all things- by prayer and supplication- WITH THANKSGIVING- let your requests be made known unto God- and the PEACE OF GOD- which passes all understanding- shall keep your hearts and minds thru Christ Jesus.’

 

Yes- walking- living by Faith means we don’t seek security the way the world seeks it.

 

The unbelieves seek it by seeing how well their 401 k is doing [by the way- as I write today- they just took another hit the last few days].

 

No- we want to be responsible- and it’s ok to have investments- but Gods kingdom is not based on that.

 

In Luke 12 we are told that one brother comes to Jesus and says ‘tell my brother to share the inheritance with me’.

 

Jesus says ‘man- who made me a judge- a wealth distributor- over these things’.

 

Its’ interesting- but the reply of Jesus can be seen in much of today’s Christian culture.

 

Many see Jesus as some type of financier- as someone who can ‘distribute’ wealth to us.

 

Jesus rebuked this mindset- this is what launched him into the story that I just told.

 

Go read the chapter- see for yourself.

 

Ok- that’s it for the week.

 

Meditate on these principles- if your depending too much on stuff- then maybe it’s time to get rid of some of it.

 

Yeah- give some away- it does a soul some good.

 

 

 

 

 

2033

 

PROMISE KEEPERS [or a New Way]

 

Yesterday I spent the day in ‘historic’ Hackensack.

 

I put historic in quotes- because as a kid growing up- all you remember are the bad days.

 

I used to think ‘Hackensack’ and yeah- bad days.

 

But- to my surprise- when you walk around- sober [or not high] yeah- the town is really a special place.

 

I visited an old friend- Frank.

 

I used to be good friends with his brother Fred many years ago- and I became a Facebook friend with Frank last year.

 

So- I made the promise that when I came up- I would take him to a spot to eat- and talk about the old days [Chicago- Old days- Oldies- good times I remember].

 

So- as I reach the 2 month mark back in Jersey- I wanted to make sure I kept the ‘vow’.

 

The other promise I made- was to see another old buddy in Newark.

 

I did that last week [I found the spot- a halfway house- but it already closed down].

 

 

So- I really enjoyed the day in Hackensack.

 

We went to a church service for homeless/street guys.

 

It was held in the historic church- that is known for George Washington attending.

 

We walked thru an old grave yard in the back of the church- it had the names of famous generals from the Revolutionary war era.

 

The church was started in 1662 [I think- I picked up the pamphlet- but left it at the buffet!].

 

So- the church was a true historic spot.

 

 

I walked all the spots where the street guys would walk- and the area- though nice- is not ‘nice’ for street guys.

 

Huh?

 

Yeah- the cops keep an eye on you- and let you know.

 

The actual denomination of the church [Church on the Green] is Reformed.

 

I have studied- and taught lots about this church in the past.

 

They were indeed the original Protestants that came out of the 16th century.

 

They are a good denomination- and for Protestants- one of the most ‘intellectual’.

 

They focus much on the sovereignty of God [God in charge].

 

And Grace [they are strong on the doctrine of Predestination- that God chooses us- not us him].

 

 

Now- that’s actually what I wanted to post about this week.

 

I wanted to share the New Testament concept of Grace versus Works.

 

In a nutshell- Christianity approaches the subject of Change [how to overcome things- whether drugs- drinking-etc.]

 

From the standpoint of grace.

 

Don’t all recovery groups do this?

 

Not really.

 

In the world of ‘recovery’ you do have many good treatment concepts- often based on biblical principles.

 

Most of these try and implement the idea that if you follow a program [some have different programs to follow] that you can maintain sobriety.

 

Do these work?

 

Some of the times they do- but that’s where Grace comes in.

 

 

In Christianity- the ultimate authority for change comes from God.

 

Okay- don’t most programs believe in God?

 

Yes.

 

But here’s the catch.

 

I have seen/experienced- that without the concept of Grace- when someone fails- relapses- there is a legalistic approach that many find very difficult to implement.

 

Grace teaches that freedom from sin [addictions] comes as a free gift of God- based on the death and resurrection of Christ.

 

In a nutshell- that means if a person is clean for a number of years- if they fall- stumble- and ask God for forgiveness- he forgives- and restores- as in if they never had the fall.

 

See?

 

This is not just a minor point.

 

In Christian theology- this is the basis of the grace of God [and sovereignty- which means he does this because HE chooses to].

 

The bible says when people who struggle with sin [all of us- to different degrees] come to God- that God MUST forgive- because he ‘made this promise to his Son’.

 

God covenanted [made a deal] with Christ- that if He would die for the world- that God would be JUST to keep his part of the promise- and forgive man because Jesus kept his part of the deal.

 

Do you now see?

 

In Christianity- like most recovery programs- God does give us disciplines to keep [that means- there are indeed acts we need to do- restitution- making things right- etc.]

 

But- if somewhere along the way- we mess up- we don’t see our ‘hope’ as ‘now I need to work extra hard to get back to where I was’.

 

No- that’s the Old Covenant idea of Law [the legalistic way].

 

But in Grace- God is actually the one enacting our ‘recovery’ [new birth] and his forgiveness- and the ability to pick up again- all are a work of Grace.

 

 

I could quote lots of bible verses on this- but this is indeed the main basis of God’s grace as revealed to us thru the New Testament [this term itself- New Testament- is talking about this NEW concept of CHANGE coming as a free gift of God- not as a result of us working a program- or the Old Covenant of Law].

 

 

Ok- this short post can’t get into all the deep theological issues [there are many].

 

But I wanted to lay the groundwork this week- to share the primary idea that Grace means our recovery- our NEW LIFE is simply the fruit of what Christ did for us when he himself kept the Law [Gods first recovery program].

 

That the bible teaches that men- in and of themselves- were never able to actually achieve change [recovery] by keeping ANY PROGRAM.

 

That idea is based on law.

 

No- God does use various recovery programs- but if a person’s recovery is not based on the actual reality of the Grace of God- the New Covenant that I just explained.

 

Then in the end- we all ‘relapse’.

 

NOTE- I want to emphasize the difference between Law and Grace.

 

To re-cap;

 

The giving of the 10 commandments [called The Law] was a good thing- yet- in the New Testament [especially the letters of Paul] we read that man had no ability in and of himself [in his own power] to keep them.

 

So- few a couple of thousand years [until the time of Christ] man’s attempt at trying to keep the law [which you can apply to any well-meaning program- or modern ‘law’ system] was simply a sort of probationary period- a test- that man kept failing- time after time.

 

Then why even give us the law?

 

That’s the main debate in the New Testament- the Law was given to reveal to man that he was a sinner- an addict- a person with problems.

 

Then- after trying to keep the law- [the program] he kept on failing.

 

He comes to the end of his rope- and sees the reality of the New Program [the New Covenant] and by a free act of Grace- he is now forgiven- and also freed from his sin.

 

In this New Way [New Testament] if he falls [relapses] he asks for forgiveness- and God doesn’t just forgive him- and say ‘okay- now you start from day 1 all over again’ [which in itself is a Law mentality].

 

But God says ‘ok- because my Son kept the law- the program- perfectly- I not only let you ‘start over’ but it’s like you never relapsed at all’.

 

 

See?

 

What I simply explained in this post is the difference between trying to achieve change by your own power- and receiving a New Life [New Birth] as a free gift from God.

 

 

Now- there are many verses I can give you ‘for by grace are you saved- thru faith- and that not of yourselves- it is the gift of God’.

 

But I want you to see the age old dilemma- that no effort by man- no matter how good the program is- can change man.

 

In Christianity- God does give us principles to live by- tools of self-discipline.

 

Yes- that’s actually one of the Fruits of the Spirit- self-control.

 

But the New Covenant- grace- based on the fact that JESUS KEPT THE LAW perfectly- is a program where God does not put the burden of change on us.

 

No- this program works because Jesus fulfilled his end of the Covenant- died for us and rose again.

 

And we have eternal life [not just a life that never ends- but a new quality of life] that comes as a free gift from God.

 

Read the gospel of John chapter 3- focus on the verses that talk about this free gift- given to all that believe.

 

Meditate on verses like ‘I am crucified with Christ- never the less I live- yet not I- but Christ lives in me. And the life that I now live I live by the faith of the Son of God- who loved me and gave himself for me’.

 

Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

2034

 

WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE [or- Rock n Roll fantasy]

 

This week I wanted to do a second post on the same subject as last week.

 

But instead let’s cover how this ‘trip’ is going.

 

But first- I want to ask you guys to read the gospel of John this week- or this next month [not long, can read it in a day if you wanted].

 

But as you read- underline- highlight all the times where Jesus [or John] mention things like ‘he who believes has eternal life’.

 

This theme is in keeping with my last post- and it’s important that we all get that basic truth down.

 

Many good people say ‘John- sure- we believe in God’ and miss the main point that the Law [last post- law= trying to achieve salvation thru works] also had a belief in God.

 

James said ‘do not the devils believe in God’.

 

We need to grasp the idea that God himself GIVES us faith- as a Divine gift- and when he puts this faith in us [called imputation] we ‘become the righteousness of God in him’.

 

Faith means we stop trying to change ourselves thru implementing all types of programs/self-help principles.

 

No.

 

These ideas [self-help] mean well- and to a degree can be helpful.

 

But Faith- when speaking about the subject of this post [being justified freely by God’s grace] means more than just a generic faith in God.

 

No- it means we stop striving to achieve change- change comes as a free gift of God.

 

Okay- see- I’m already on a rabbit trail here.

 

Read Romans chapter 7 and 8.

 

The Apostle Paul shares his own experience as someone who tried very hard to keep Gods law- and the more he tried- the more he failed.

 

In chapter 8 he explains the way this ‘new life’ works- based on Gods Spirit in us- as opposed to the old law.

 

 

 

Okay- let’s do a brief update on my time living again in New Jersey.

 

Yesterday I took one of my walks up to the park where I live.

 

For my Texas friends- this area is a hub for NYC- you catch all the buses to New York- as well as this North Jersey region- from this spot.

 

So- for the past 2 months I have been seeing a few street guys hanging out and stuff.

 

I have given a few dollars away- you know the standard thing.

 

But lots of times the street guys really don’t talk to you- I think they might think I’m a Narc [undercover cop].

 

Over the years it never helped that I carry my retirement badge in my wallet [Fire Dept.]

 

Why carry it?

 

To be honest- if you get pulled over for speeding [no seat belt].

 

When I take out my license- they see the badge- and let you go [sad- I know].

 

But- every so often if a street guy sees it- that’s it- I have to explain all this.

 

 

I ran into Billy [older guy who always hangs out by the Quick Check].

 

And I offered to buy him lunch- White Castles.

 

He turned it down- but thanked me.

 

We talked a while- he told me how he grew up right in the area- was a master mechanic for many years [even made custom motorcycles].

 

His parents died [he used to work out of their garage years ago].

 

He eventually lost his spot- and became homeless.

 

We walked over to White Castle- I ran into Nick [for you North Bergen guys- he’s the guy with 2 missing legs- always on the scooter thing].

 

 

And Nick was buying coffee for another street guy [Rick].

 

He split the cup with him- I gave him a buck for another cup- but Billy only wanted a drink.

 

I pressed him ‘you sure’.

 

Okay- one chicken sandwich.

 

I bought him 2- he was starving!

 

Funny- he could have had as many as he wanted [I like buying White Castles] but at first he turned it down.

 

Yet- he was hungry.

 

Many times the guys are not simply looking for a handout.

 

Nick [no legs] got a dollar from somewhere- and tried to pay me back!

 

So- the guys were having a good time- they hang out in White Castles during breakfast/lunch.

 

Rick was telling me how the senior crew comes in- and they get a kick out of hearing all the older guys get into it.

 

Rick grew up in Brooklyn [my mom’s home area].

 

Moved to Ohio over the years- married- had kids.

 

And he came back to the area after being away for many years.

 

He’s 55- been back about 2 years- was giving me the scoop of what it’s like to be back.

 

He even ran down the block and got me the little homemade rent signs the people leave in the Laundry mat.

 

I was telling him how high the rents are- and he said the best way to get a place is to rent a room from the people that put these homemade signs up in the laundry.

 

So- that was cool that he went and brought the whole paper back.

 

Yeah- they put the info on a sheet of paper- and make the little pull off tabs at the bottom with the phone number.

 

No- Rick says he always takes the whole thing- so no one else gets the room first.

 

All in all- I had a sort of break thru with the guys- they even were spilling the beans on each other [stuff like- ‘don’t give that guy a buck John- he’ll just drink with it’. Or ‘no- this guy’s really form Hackensack- he just takes the bus and hangs out here’].

 

I had to leave earlier than I would have- had my friend in Hackensack that I was going to meet up with.

 

Got caught in a downpour- the car gave me some trouble- but made it later in the day.

 

 

 

My friend in Hackensack reminded me about an old friend of ours- ‘back in the day’.

 

I heard many years ago that he became a Heroin addict- and over the years when I would come back to make visits- I tried to see him.

 

One year I shared some bible verses with him- about addiction.

 

He appreciated it a lot- never was the type that said ‘no- I don’t want to hear that’.

 

 

I knew he died some years ago- but my friend in Hackensack told me how he ran into him one day on the bus.

 

He looked like Death warmed over.

 

He tapped Frank on the shoulder and said ‘we’re all gonna die- we’re all gonna die’.

 

Frank told me that Tom died a week later.

 

 

He had aids- was very sick from years of using- and that statement- as eerie as it sounds- shows you the progression of sin- addiction.

 

Tom came to the realization [or acceptance] that he was ‘on the way out’ [he died a week later].

 

And he was able to cope with it [in a way] by accepting the fact that WE ARE ALL GONNA DIE.

 

James [the brother of Jesus- who wrote the letter of James in the bible] says our lives are like a vapor- like grass- it comes up in the morning- and by the night it is gone.

 

‘Grass withers- flower fades- but the word of God endures forever’.

 

 

Many years ago [25?] I came back to North Bergen.

 

I made the effort to look my old friend Tom up.

 

You know- I heard he was using- and as a new believer did my duty to witness to my friend.

 

He graciously heard me- never said ‘F-off’ type thing.

 

And this time back- I got a message from him- thru a mutual friend.

 

 

In Hebrews 11 the bible says ‘he being dead- yet speaks’.

 

Yeah- I think so.

 

 

 

 

 

NOTE- After writing the top of this post- spent another whole day with Nick [rock singer- no legs, I’ll post the pics later].

 

‘We’ sang some classic rock songs at Hudson County Park.

 

I do like to sing the classic songs- and can sing some of them.

 

Nick wanted me to sing [not bragging- but he said he could use the Texas sound in my voice- he liked it for the sets he was doing].

 

I also met John- John is a retried Union City cop [no joke- others told me about him- and after talking to him- yeah- he was the real deal].

 

Now- to be honest- I DO NOT get along with cops.

 

Huh?

 

Why?

 

Over the past 25 years- I have helped the homeless guys as part of my ministry- and I have heard/seen many stories where the cops have screwed my buddies over.

 

So- at times- I have almost gotten in serious trouble because I have had this experience.

 

Trouble?

 

Yes- one time I was moving some stuff from a homeless camp- the guys in Texas live on the streets- or in little camps in the brush.

 

And some guy with a ‘cop’ shirt walks up to my truck- and was giving us [me] a hard time.

 

I read his cop shirt- he was what we call a ‘rent a cop’- yeah- a civilian with a cop shirt [some volunteer group- our volunteer fire fighters did the same thing- acted like paid guys].

 

So- I almost got in a fight with the guy- he walked away real fast and went back to his house.

 

This has been a problem for years.

 

So- it was strange in a way for me to be hanging out with a retired cop- who was very drunk- and to the best of my knowledge- is living in the park!

 

Yeah- John [the cop] is a street guy in the area.

 

But- I must have spent 7 hours in the park with the guys- singing with Nick most of the time.  [By the way- his name is Nick Rizzo- he plays at clubs and is a sort of local singer- he’s good. Last night he invited me to hear him sing at some gig he was doing in Clifton- but I had another engagement- Patrick had already invited me to his Celebration of being clean for 3 years from drugs- and I wanted to attend Pats meeting- If you want Nick to sing at some function- I told him I would post his name to my site and if anyone sends me a note I’ll pass it along.]

 

Why am I commenting on my new buddies?

 

Last year I also tried to document ‘the way’ I do ministry.

 

I wrote/posted a few pictures of some homeless guys in an area in Texas that I simply went to for the first time.

 

I saw some guys sleeping on bus benches- bought them a McDonald’s breakfast- and a few weeks later an old friend contacted me- and we started a Halfway House a few blocks from where I first met the street guys.

 

Okay- I journal this stuff so others can see- and if they want- ‘copy’ this style of ministry.

 

It does work.

 

Now- to be honest- North Bergen has been a bit tougher than my Texas excursions.

 

I have seen Nick and these guys for a couple of month’s now- and yeah- some of them slip up and talk about illegal drug deals/use and all.

 

Then they realize I’m right there- and they have to try and hint to the other guy ‘watch what you say- this guy might be a Narc’.

 

So- I think they realize I’m the real deal- I told them the whole scoop from day one.

 

I grew up here- went to Texas- came back and am trying to do ministry here- …

 

Yeah- that story does not sound believable- at first.

 

But now I think they realize I’m not an undercover cop.

 

 

Okay- what does this accomplish?

 

It takes time- but when people become friends- and they know I don’t use anymore- and do ministry stuff- then you’re like ‘the friend’ in the group that yeah- every so often throws in a bible verse- or someone asks ‘hey- I always had this question about God’.

 

[For instance- after Nick found out about the ministry stuff- he told me about a Vineyard church he went to- and even played me a few original songs he wrote- with a Christian theme- God- etc.]

 

And that’s how it works.

 

Over time- some of the guys have real experiences with God- others don’t.

 

Some get clean- others don’t.

 

But that is indeed a form of ministry.

 

One last note.

 

I really am not at the point yet where I will start bringing up bible verses and stuff- that usually simply happens over time- as friends talk with friends.

 

But Nick was singing and rocking out- he’s really an outgoing guy- if you don’t know Nick and you live in the area- I would suggest for you to introduce yourself to him.

 

But he was talking about the singers who go onto fame and all- and how that’s not his thing.

 

He just likes playing the clubs- that when the guys get famous they are always worried about their image and what people think.

 

I did quote a verse.

 

I told the guys that Jesus actually said this in John’s gospel.

 

I quoted ‘How can you say you are doing Gods will when you are always trying to impress men- putting on a fake image/show’.

 

Yeah- Nick liked that one.

 

 

See?

 

This is how this stuff works.

 

 

 

 

 

2035

 

DONNIE BRASCO [or a free supper].

 

 

 

 

 

 

The chapter for the week is Luke 14.

 

I finally made it into my 3rd month in Jersey- not an easy task.

 

One of my favorite movies is Donnie Brasco.

 

It’s the true story of the FBI undercover agent Joe Pistone.

 

He was famous for being able to infiltrate the mob- he got higher in the ranks than any other undercover agent.

 

 

In my 2 months back in town- I have met most of the ‘main crew’ of this area.

 

I have learned some interesting stuff.

 

Now- because I am not a Narc- and I am not here to be a Donnie Brasco- I have to be careful telling this part of the story.

 

 

But- to be honest- it took 2 months- only 2 [maybe 20 days total with the street guys] to ‘infiltrate’ the local story.

 

 

I have had friends- for many years- who struggled with drug addiction.

 

Some do ‘better’ than others.

 

 

That is- they maintain a home [apartment] and pay the bills [try] in the beginning of the month- because even though they are addicted- they know if they don’t pay the bills first- they will be on the street.

 

Others- they break the usual rule- and they not only sell the stuff- on a fairly large scale- but they use too.

 

Not everyone can do this- some can’t resist the temptation to use their supply- and that’s when they stop being dealers.

 

Okay- careful part.

 

 

I was truly surprised to see who the main dealer in this area is.

 

Trust me- you would be surprised to [by the way- It’s not the friend who I have been posting pics of].

 

 

I know of other people in the area- actual users- who also don’t know who this guy is [I’m talking about people who used to be users- they are now clean- they have told me this guy is homeless- he’s making at least a few hundred a day].

 

 

He comes in from out of town- the purchaser’s wait for him- and he must make about 300 a day.

 

Yet- you would think [yes- many locals do think this] that the guy was homeless- out of everyone in the area- he ‘looks’ the part- to the tee.

 

 

It really is an intriguing ‘way of doing business’- and I found this out by simply meeting these street guys.

 

 

Now- I am not here [Jersey] to Rat on guys- but when you’re in the area for a while- you learn this stuff.

 

 

Okay- Luke 14.

 

 

Jesus was teaching one of his memorable stories- what we call Parables.

 

He said some guy made this huge supper- invited lots of folk.

 

When the intended guests- the high class ones- received the invitations- they all made excuses for why they couldn’t come.

 

The guy who was making this great feast got mad.

 

He then sent the invitations to the poor- the crippled [no legs- wheel chairs- see?] and the low class crowd.

 

 

These low life’s- well they gladly took the invite- and partied hard.

 

 

In this chapter Jesus also teaches that when you throw a party- when you ‘serve food’ [often a symbol of teaching the bible- sharing the Gospel].

 

He said invite those who can’t pay you back- because if you do this- you will be rewarded at the resurrection.

 

 

Pay you back?

 

I had another incident with the street crew.

 

Now- I have been ‘on the streets’ for a very long time.

 

I know the scene- the way things work/happen.

 

And- over time- you learn to follow certain rules.

 

Rules [things I do] to avoid too much trouble.

 

 

One of them is- I usually only carry a few dollars.

 

Why?

 

Not because I think I’m gonna get rolled [robbed].

 

But because when you are around guys that use- they do at times ask for a few bucks [10- 15].

 

And I don’t give the guys money for that.

 

So- I simply buy lunch- or maybe even a pack of cigarettes- stuff like that.

 

 

So- the other day one of the guys- who has talent- can make something good with his life.

 

He asked if I could ‘lend’ him 14 bucks- I had 13.

 

Now- I have been around- and I know how this is.

 

So- with a little regret- I said ‘okay’.

 

 

He went into something about some another family member coming to give him 20- lots of stuff I heard/seen before.

 

 

After I gave him the few bucks- he hung out a bit- and took off.

 

He did call me on the cell later- I guess he came up with the 13.

 

 

I told him I’m not even worried about the 13.

 

But I told him- honestly- that he just got his check [the guys on the streets- who get some form of govt. aid- ssi- disability- etc.- they get paid at the beginning of the month].

 

And it usually lasts till at least the middle of the month.

 

Some times into the 3rd week!

 

But for hard users- well- it’s all gone in the first few days.

 

Now- I said earlier that some addicts simply have learned to pay the main bills- or buy whatever they need- in the first day or 2.

 

Then- they know where the rest is going.

 

And they wheel and deal for the rest of the month- with the Monkey on their back.

 

Sad- but true.

 

 

One of the guys- the day his check came in- spent 2oo- while I was with him.

 

On what?

 

 

Stuff that was good- not bad.

 

 

As we were going back to his apt.- he spotted a nice A.C. at a garage sale.

 

He bought it for his daughter [yeah- he raised her- she lives with him].

 

As we got back to his spot- I helped him carry it into her room.

 

It was sad- this friend- who uses- has a studio apt.

 

In this area- rents are very high- and lots of people live in converted Basements.

 

This was one of those.

 

But- as we brought the a.c. into her room- her room looked just like any other girls room.

 

Pink stuff- stuffed animals- the whole nine yards.

 

 

He actually does not let the other guys know where he lives- because he wants to keep this place as a shelter for his girl.

 

 

Now- he spent money on this A.C. – the first day he got his check.

 

And in 2 days- the rest went to drugs.

 

 

See?

 

 

Addicts function at different levels- he manages to pay the bills- buy stuff [on purpose- because he knows what the addiction will do] and do this in the first couple of days.

 

Because by day 2 or 3- all the money is gone.

 

 

Now- some guys will sell the AC- or everything else in the house.

 

Others will rob.

 

 

But some ‘manage’ like this.

 

 

And yeah- they will even lie- or ‘bend the truth’ to get a few bucks.

 

Sometimes they don’t pay that back- and you get stuck having invited someone ‘to the supper- who couldn’t re-pay’.

 

 

NOTE- Update, yesterday my friend paid back the 13 bucks.

 

As soon as he saw me at White Castles he paid.

 

Let me do a short ‘version’ of what/why I see these types of experiences as beneficial.

 

Over the years- with many friends who have had addictions- I have seen a pattern take place.

 

That is- many of these guys have let down family- friends- themselves- all because of their addiction.

 

Okay- after a while they get used to this pattern.

 

Maybe they are at the ‘breaking point’ of wanting the fix- they quickly come up with a plan to get the cash [above case- my mom is coming to bring me 20 bucks].

 

Then they carry out the plan- and after they get high- they simply wait for the aftermath.

 

Which- in many cases- is the friends/family that got burned in some way- reject the person.

 

 

 

Now- should we let people ‘walk all over us’?

 

No.

 

Should we try and view people in addiction [sin] as people who are slaves to a particular bondage?

 

Yes- and no.

 

That is we realize we all have choices in life- and if we choose wrong- we suffer.

 

But here’s the catch- in the above case I chose to not ‘get my rights’ to not think ‘how dare so and so do this…’

 

No- I simply viewed this silly 13 dollar thing as nothing big.

 

Though- in some scenarios- people would never speak to the person again.

 

 

In Luke 14 Jesus is in the house of one of the religious leaders.

 

They are all waiting to see what he will do.

 

It’s the Sabbath day- and there is an injured man there.

 

 

Jesus asks ‘is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath’.

 

 

He heals the man- the Pharisees are mad- and then he says-

 

‘Which one of you- if you’re animal falls into the pit on the Sabbath- would not get him out’?

 

He was showing them that the value of a person is much more than the value of an animal.

 

And that the thing they were judging Jesus for [healing people and helping them on the Sabbath] was simply showing the same grace to people- as they themselves showed- to their own animals!

 

Jesus valued people- he saw them as being created in the image of God- and yet afflicted with this disease of sin, this thing that was deforming the original image of God in them.

 

 

He saw them- in a way- as the beasts that fell into a ditch- on Gods ‘special’ day- on a day of rest [Sabbath].

 

In the book of Hebrews we read that the Sabbath day was a picture of this ‘new day’ of the Cross- the grace of God that made it possible for all to have rest in God.

 

Jesus died for us all- that we could all cease from own efforts to justify ourselves in God’s eyes.

 

But we can now come into Gods presence and receive his grace freely.

 

That’s what the Sabbath represents- a Day of Rest.

 

When he saw what sin had done to the human race- he saw them as people who had fallen into the ditch.

 

People who needed a savior- but there would be a radical price to pay- he himself would take the curse of sin- hang on a Cross and die in our place.

 

He would rise again on the 3rd day- and ascend into heaven.

 

Where he is seated at the right hand of God.

 

He will come again to judge the living-

 

And the Dead.

 

 

He came into the world- not to condemn the world- but that the world thru him might be saved [John 3].

 

Yeah- he invited all types of low life’s to the supper.

 

He said ‘go out into the roads and streets- bring them all in’.

 

He saw them as people who had fallen into the ditch- they needed help to get out.

 

He went to the Cross- he helped.

 

 

 

 

2036

 

SYRIA [or- when you see a chance- take it]

 

The chapter for the week is Acts 7.

 

Out of all the single bible chapters- this is the best overview of the whole bible that you will find in any one chapter.

 

Of course it only covers the history of the Old Testament- because the New Testament was not yet written.

 

Okay- this week I have been picking up a bit more on my newspaper reading- and of course I always try and catch the world news on the tube.

 

And- to be honest- the last couple of weeks on the handling of the Syrian situation- this has to be the most botched foreign policy I have seen in my life time.

 

Why?

 

Much of what has been happening is simply tactical responses- by ‘enemies’ [adversaries] – countering ‘off the cuff’ remarks by the President- or his secretary of state [John Kerry].

 

Now- I am not a ‘right wing critic’ of the president- but this has been bad- the worst I have ever seen.

 

The president got us into this situation by warning Assad if he used Chemical weapons- that would be crossing a red line- that we would act.

 

He has more than likely used them about 12 times since the start of the civil war [2 years long- 100,000 dead].

 

Finally- as most of you know- after the last use [we don’t know for sure he is the one using them- it is possible the rebels are using them as a ploy to get the U.S. to attack].

 

Obama said ‘enough is enough’ and we rattled the war saber.

 

But- after a couple of days of political maneuvering- Obama decided to put this action to a vote in congress- which he did not do with his action in Libya- which by all accounts was more of a war move than what he planned in Syria [probably launching some rockets from ships- hitting some targets- and that’s it].

 

So- after congress got their hand in- well- it seemed for sure they would not authorize the use of force- which made the U.S. look bad- because the president said ‘he’ would hit.

 

Then- Kerry was asked at a press thing ‘what could Assad do to avoid this’.

 

And he gives an off the cuff remark ‘well- if he gives up his Chemical weapons- we won’t attack- but he’s not going to do that’.

 

Now- that’s a contradiction to what Obama said- Obama said ‘enough is enough- he poisoned kids- we will hit’.

 

So- Syria and Russia [allies] quickly respond to Kerry’s off the cuff remark- and say ‘yes- we are going to accept the U.S. offer [which was a slip!] and we will comply’.

 

Now- Obama and Kerry and the team are all trying to show this as ‘see- we really knew what we were doing- it was planned all along’.

 

No- not so.

 

Is it good that maybe Assad will do the right thing- and maybe Obama’s threat of force did this?

 

Sure.

 

But who knows- this might end up like the Israeli/Palestinian peace talks- a 30 year ongoing thing that never leads anywhere.

 

So- how does this fit in with Acts 7?

 

 

In the chapter Stephen recounts the story of Moses- and how while in Egypt he defends a Jew- kills an Egyptian.

 

The next day 2 Jews are fighting- he tries to intervene- and one of them says ‘who are you- are you going to kill me like you did the Egyptian yesterday’.

 

Moses thought that his brothers would understand that he was trying to help them.

 

But even though these 2 sides [brothers] were fighting- yet when big brother tried to assert Moral authority- they rejected him.

 

I find it funny that they even said ‘will you throw us under the bus- like you did the Egyptian yesterday’.

 

One of the actual reasons we- the U.S. – have lost the Moral authority- is because of the way we treated the ‘Egyptian’.

 

Yes- the Arab world saw how quickly we rejected Hosni Mubarak- an ally- and it created a mistrust in the region.

 

Russia is now standing by Syria- their ally- and has even said they do not throw their allies under the bus- like we do.

 

Yes- Obama has tried to make the Moral argument [and to be honest- there is one- though I personally think military action is a mistake].

 

But the ‘fighting brothers’ in the region- as well as congress- and our allies [British] seem to think we do not have the moral authority to hit- militarily.

 

 

So- as it stands now- this might indeed be the worst handling of foreign policy I have ever seen [not saying the worst action- but handling].

 

 

One of the other chapters I have been teaching from is Luke 14.

 

Jesus says when you go to war- you sit down first and see if you have everything in place.

 

If after you take inventory- you see all is not going well- then you make decisions based on the reality of the situation.

 

He also says if you are going to build a tower- you count the cost first- lest after you lay the foundation- and are not able to finish- others mock you and say ‘look- he started- but couldn’t finish’.

 

 

I do not write on politics- or Obama- simply for the sake of finding fault.

 

But our actions are very serious.

 

In Syria- like Libya- and Egypt.

 

We have sided- every time- with those who persecute the Christian minorities in these countries.

 

Even in Iraq- the Christians have fled- because our removal of Saddam has created a situation where others who hate the Christians have more power.

 

 

Some of the rebels in Syria- who will become emboldened if we strike Assad- have threatened Christians [nuns- etc.] with death- if they do not convert to Islam.

 

Now- our track record in these conflicts has been on the side of those who are more ‘anti-Christian’ then the actual leaders we are siding against.

 

I guarantee you- we would not be doing this if it were the other way around- if we were siding with ‘Christian rebels’ who were killing Muslims [I do realize of course that Muslims are killing Muslims in this conflict- but they are not targeting them because of their faith].

 

Even the Coptic Christians in Egypt are happy that the military generals removed Morsi.

 

Yes- the military removal of Morsi is not seen as a military Coup by the Christians.

 

No- they stand by the removal of Morsi- because he was moving the country into an Islamic ruled state- which it was not under Mubarak.

 

This is why the Pope even came out and asked for us to pray for peace- giving a sign that he too was against a military strike in Syria.

 

Okay- read Acts chapter 7.

 

Stephen gives a great overview of the historical promise of God to the Jewish people- of a coming Messiah.

 

If you read the chapter carefully- you see what he is trying to do.

 

He is making the case that just like the Jews rejected Moses rule- so the Jewish people of his day rejected Jesus as the Messiah.

 

And Stephen quotes Moses ‘the Lord will raise up a prophet- like unto me- him will you hear’.

 

He then goes thru the chapter and shows all the ways that Moses and Jesus were alike.

 

Moses- like Jesus- was born at a time when the king/ruler was killing all the young children in the land.

 

Yes- Pharaoh was killing the new born males- and that’s when Moses was born.

 

Herod was killing the young children- up to the age of 2- at the time of Jesus [he was trying to get Jesus- but Joseph and Mary were warned by an angel to flee].

 

Moses- like Jesus- did signs and miracles in the land.

 

And Moses- like Jesus- was rejected by his own people at his first appearance to them as a savior.

 

 

It was later- after Moses spent 40 years in the dessert- that God appeared to him in the burning bush- and then he would return to his brothers in Egypt and deliver them.

 

So- Stephen is trying to show the Jewish people that their rejection of Jesus as the Messiah was indeed fore told in the scriptures.

 

That Moses himself said ‘God will raise up a prophet- LIKE ME’.

 

 

At the end of the chapter- Stephen is stoned- and as he is dying- he says ‘Lord- lay not this sin to their charge’.

 

And he dies.

 

The bible says there was a religious leader there- agreeing to Stephens’s death.

 

His name was Saul.

 

2 chapters later [Acts 9] Saul is knocked off his horse- Jesus appears to him.

 

Stephens’s prayer was answered- God forgave those who were there at his stoning- and Saul becomes the apostle Paul and carries the same message that he heard form Stephen on the day of his death.

 

Yeah- Paul- in a way- was a convert of Stephen.

 

As the church fathers have said ‘the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church’.

 

Paul would take the message of Christ further than any other missionary of his day.

 

And he too would die a martyr’s death in Rome- like his other friend Peter- who took the same message and brought it to the Jews- Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles.

 

 

Yeah- Moses said ‘the Lord WILL raise up a prophet- like me- him WILL YOU HEAR’.

 

God raised him- and they heard.

 

 

NOTE- The last time I was in New Jersey- a strange thing happened.

 

For many years I always wanted to take a good New York City tour.

 

I mean I have gone to see the 911 memorial and stuff like that.

 

But I never really rode the subway- and visited the boroughs.

 

So- last year I did it.

 

I went to spots I never went to before.

 

Queens- Rockaway beach- etc.

 

Then- when I got back to Texas- hurricane Sandy hit New Jersey- and as I watched the footage with one of my homeless buddies- the exact streets I walked [for the first time- ever] were the actual ones that got wiped out.

 

It seemed strange- and my homeless buddy even kidded that I was some sort of messenger of judgment.

 

On my phone right now- I have a bunch of pictures that I have been unable to upload.

 

One of the other spots I have not been to in years was the Jersey Shore.

 

Now- most of my friends said Seaside Heights- and the boardwalk- were not worth the ride.

 

Just go to Sandy Hook or some closer spot.

 

But no- as a kid- Seaside- and that boardwalk were my spot.

 

 

So- last week I took the ride- the boardwalk was empty- but yes indeed- they rebuilt all the arcades and stuff after Sandy hit- and it looked great.

 

I showed the phone pics to a few friends and they were surprised that the boardwalk was so empty.

 

 

I mean it was like the spot was just there for my picture taking.

 

 

So last night I was with the crew at White Castle- and Bob asks ‘did you see the news’.

 

No.

 

‘The boardwalk at Seaside Heights is on fire- and they can’t stop it’.

 

 

As of last night- the same spots that I just took all the pictures of last week- are now gone- again.

 

 

I am finding these experiences a bit strange to be honest- and I’m not sure if they mean anything.

 

But it reminds me of the verse I used the other day- that life is short [and the stuff in it].

 

It appears for a little time- and then vanishes away- like smoke.

 

 

Okay- a few updates about this time in North Bergen.

 

 

When I first left Texas [over 2 months ago] the ‘plan’ was to permanently move north.

 

As of now- I think I’m gonna finish 3 months- and try and come back every year.

 

Some of the new crew [the street guys I have met] told me they are disappointed that I’m gonna do it like that.

 

We have been getting together every day or so- I even got a text from Nick the day I was in Seaside.

 

So we have a little group of ‘street guys’ who are in this area.

 

Just like the Texas street guys.

 

And a few of these guys have already mentioned maybe making the trip back to Texas- or coming down to visit.

 

So- this time back- I finally did break some ground- I will see these guys each year when I come back.

 

 

Any Progress with them?

 

 

Some.

 

This ‘style’ of outreach [which all the guys know I’m doing- when they ask ‘what’s John here for’- I tell them straight up].

 

This is a style of ministry I have been doing for years.

 

I tell them ‘I’m not a Narc- undercover cop- I’m not gay [look- they see some guy being nice- and you have to let them know].

 

I tell them I see this as ministry- and over time- they know I’m not giving them some story.

 

So- when the guys make a Beer run [or another more expensive purchase] – they come back- and they have a diet coke- for me.

 

 

Yeah- Nick knew I quit drinking- so he brought back the coke.

 

Last night- Rick was happy.

 

We were at White Castles- he got some good news [he’s gonna get some money- legally!]

 

And he said ‘you know John- when a person is happy- it makes them more healthy’.

 

I told him yeah- and I said ‘actually there is a bible verse- Proverbs- that says that’.

 

And I quoted ‘A merry heart doeth good like a medicine’.

 

Rick asked ‘is that in the bible’.

 

Sure- and of course Bob and the other guys listen in.

 

 

Know- it’s not a game- I’m not trying to ‘trick’ these guys.

 

No- over time- they know the scoop- and I’m not ‘preaching’ per se- but I am sharing stuff- and stuff about God.

 

 

I even quoted another verse.

 

 

One of our mutual friends- let’s say- who has a ‘selling business’.

 

If his buyers don’t pay- he gets mad- and has a bad day.

 

So- Rick will text me ‘so and so was sad today- he left early’.

 

We actually kid around about it some- because our friend says stuff like ‘I can’t believe he did it again’!

 

Talking about the ‘purchaser’ not paying him- buy pretending he handed him 20-but it might be a ten and a few dollars rolled up.

 

 

So- after seeing this happen- more than once- I tell Rick ‘geez- he keeps saying ‘I can’t believe it happened again’- but it happens every day’!

 

Then Rick let me in on the scoop- yeah- the guys know he’s not the best person for this type of business [nice guy- older guy- but maybe getting senile?]

 

And Rick tells me he has heard him say ‘I can believe he did it again- for the 13th time!’

 

So- it’s kinda funny to be honest.

 

 

I have been showing the guys a gold coin my dad gave me- there like ‘that’s worth money!’

 

So our friend- the ‘business man’ asks if I could buy him his coffee- he gives me the money- 1.17- and I- or one of the other guys- buys it.

 

 

White Castle won’t serve him- so he asks us to buy it.

 

So- he’s a penny short.

 

I tell him ‘dont worry- I’ll cover it’.

 

 

So I get the coffee- I bring it back to my friend- and I say-

 

‘I was a penny short- so I had to give her the gold coin’.

 

He says ‘NOOO- get it back!!’

 

I tell him ‘No- I’m just kidding’.

 

He says ‘I hate it when people kid like that- that fools me’.

 

Another friend- who you might say ‘fools so and so’ too- he was right there- and he was holding in the laugh.

 

Yeah- he’s a nice guy- but not cut out for his ‘line of work’.

 

 

So yeah- I know people have problems with my style of ‘ministry’.

 

And over time- after doing this for around 25 years- I have found that these guys- yes- even hardcode users- they become friends- and they know that I’m not gonna use- or get high.

 

 

And yes- over the years- some of the street guys do get clean- do accept God- and live a changed life- that has happened.

 

 

So- I let the guys know I’m gonna finish this month- and I’ll come back every year- for a few months.

 

When I go back to Texas- Maybe I’ll stay for a while- or maybe try another state.

 

 

One of the lessons I learned from the burning down of the boardwalk is- when you ‘see a chance- take it’.

 

 

Last year- when I was leaving- I did see the signs for the shore- and thought ‘well- maybe next year I’ll come back and go to the boardwalk’.

 

So- I did.

 

But if I missed the chance this time- there was not going to be another- until they rebuild it- again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2037

 

AMERICAS HILLIEST CITY [ or- don’t die in this mountain]

 

The chapter for the week is Exodus 32.

 

But first;

 

As I wrap up this tour of North Bergen [3 months- will try and do this every year].

 

I feel like my documenting the way I met some of the street guys-and the interaction [how over time you build trust] was part of what I was supposed to do.

 

To give an example [another- I have done this a few times already- started blogging about a new area- meeting new street guys- and what developed as ministry] of how we- as believers- can- are commissioned- to go out ‘into the highways and hedges and compel them to come in’.

 

Ok- that last part ‘come in’.

 

These are the words of Jesus- and he is saying we need to tell them the gospel- make it clear that this is about the kingdom of God [‘this’ being why I’m around- interacting].

 

So- the last few days I have indeed stepped up the ‘witnessing’ part of this project.

 

And yes- the guys have done some soul searching during my time with them.

 

 

But- there have been some funny incidents as well.

 

Yesterday I did my park walk- and on the way back I usually sit on a bus bench right off Bergenline ave.

 

Its just cool to sit- see the old town- and this time to see some of my buddies doing their daily routine.

 

So- I see [I will keep this name anonymous for this story] ‘so and so’ across the street.

 

I usually go and hang with him for a while.

 

But my dad was at the house- he heard I was wrapping up this visit- and he wanted to come by and see me.

 

He lives in Nutley- I’m staying in North Bergen.

 

So- I figure I’ll just go home and see dad- and talk to my buddy later.

 

 

But he sees me and waves for me to come over.

 

What the heck- sure.

 

He asks- with anxiety in his voice ‘did you see so and so’ [I better keep this name anonymous too].

 

I say ‘no’.

 

‘Did you talk to him on the phone earlier’?

 

No.

 

‘O that son of a .. lied to me again- this is the 13th time he’s burned me- I’m done dealing with him’.

 

Now- this is not the first time I heard this saga from this friend- and it’s sad that this keeps happening.

 

But- the ‘funny’ part was- this was the first time I was the decoy.

 

Huh?

 

Yeah- I told my friend ‘well- maybe I missed the call’- though I knew more than likely the other friend was faking it [the guy who said he talked to me].

 

But I did say ‘maybe he did call- and I missed the call’.

 

NO!!

 

‘He was with me at White Castle [my friend tells me] and he was pretending he was on the phone with you- and you were going to lend him 20 dollars- so I gave him th…’

 

Now- let’s be clear- I don’t buy- use- or have used at all this year.

 

I am clean- for good.

 

But- it was funny to see that my name was considered a ‘trusted source’ to use as a decoy.

 

Get it?

 

 

Okay- This past week a few of the other guys have had some serious talks with me- about making a change- quitting the stuff their doing- and have talked about anger issues.

 

One of the guys- who has asked me about the Jehovah Witnesses- finally told me he hates his dad- when he was young his dad converted from Catholic to Jehovah Witness.

 

He went into about an hour [or more] discussion about all the resentments- not celebrating Christmas- or being the only kid in class not doing the Pledge of Allegiance.

 

He talked about how his dad was an abusive drunk while he was growing up- beat the hell out of him.

 

Yeah- he told me he was glad to finally get this off his chest- years of resentment.

 

Now- this friend tares up the literature in their faces when they give it to him.

 

He sees them all the time- this area of the country is close to the main headquarters in NYC.

 

 

So- I explained the main difference between Historic Christianity and the JW’s.

 

I told him I do try and avoid the use of the term Cult [though I do realize why this label is on them].

 

And yeah- we talked about the bible- and had a long conversation about Christ and salvation.

 

Now- this talk was natural- friends among friends.

 

But yet- all the years of the well-meaning Christian groups who simply pass out literature- he simply does not hear or have time.

 

So- you build trust over time- and you gain influence.

This same thing happened with one of the other guys the next day- a long discussion about life-and how God fits into the picture.

 

 

So- it took time- made some friends- and in the process have had some influence on them- and they really do not ‘tempt me’.

 

Huh?

 

 

Over all the years of doing this [25] I have never used with any of the guys.

 

I simply have no urge- or desire to drink or use drugs when I’m in these situations.

 

Now- does that mean I am immune to this stuff?

 

No-

 

But I do realize that this style of ministry does indeed violate many of the classic standards of AA and other groups.

 

But this is not AA- this is a mandate- requirement- from Jesus himself- to

 

‘Go out into all the world- and preach the gospel to every creature’.

 

So- that’s what I feel I need to do.

 

 

 

Okay- Exodus chapter 32.

 

Moses goes up to the mountain to get the 10 commandments.

 

As he is gone- the people in the camp get inpatient.

 

‘Where is Moses’?

 

So- they go to his brother Arron and he says  ‘give me your gold jewelry and we will make a golden calf’.

 

So they make this idol- and have a big orgy [yes- that’s the deal].

 

On his way down from the mountain- with the 2 plates of the 10 commandments in his hand- he hears a noise in the camp.

 

 

It is the noise of this big party.

 

He sees how quickly they turned from God- and in anger he takes the commandments- breaks them.

 

Melts the calf- puts it in water and makes them drink it.

 

 

He executes judgment on the people.

 

 

But- before this- God had told Moses ‘I will destroy them and make you into this great nation’.

 

And Moses made a plea for the people ‘no- don’t kill them- they are your people- remember the promise you made to them. Plus- if you kill them the the Egyptians will say ‘see- he brought them into this hill country to destroy them’.

 

 

God listens to Moses prayer- and spares the people.

 

The other day I was reading the book of Psalms and I came across a passage- I think it’s in Psalms 72.

 

It says ‘Ephraim- being fully armed- turned back in the day of battle’.

 

It’s talking about one of the tribes of the nation of Israel- when they ran from the battle- even though they did indeed have the equipment to finish the job.

 

 

Yesterday I spent the day helping some of the guys.

 

Rick has a storage unit in Union City- and he sells garments- perfumes- lots of stuff- legal stuff- to other retail shops.

 

As I have gotten to know Rick- I see he is a good man- who- like many of my other friends thru the years- has tried to fulfill some type of hope/dream- as they struggle with addiction.

 

 

Things did not go well.

 

Now- I have had people tell me ‘John- you need to be careful with these types of guys’.

 

To be honest- I have been doing this a long time- and yes- part of the ability to gain trust with these guys [these guys- in general- Texas- N.J.- etc.]

 

Is when things ‘go bad’- or you get into it- a little- then they see that the next day [or that day] that I don’t ‘run in the day of battle’- then yeah- that opens a door to be in the group.

 

 

So- we went to this retail shop- a sort of little used sales store in the heart of the Cuban area of Union city [right around the corner where I used to hang out with one of my best friends as a kid- A Cuban buddy].

 

Now- I’m also careful that the stuff the guy’s sell- is legal [at least when they are in the car with me].

 

And yeah- Rick just had all sorts of perfumes and vitamins and stuff in his bag.

 

How do I know?

 

He passed out [he had a beer in a bag by his seat].

 

He snuck it in the car.

 

I told him I can’t have an open beer in the car- I have too many past arrests- DWI things- and that’s a no no.

 

So- he downed the beer- and in a few minutes passed out.

 

And yeah- I checked his bag- just legal stuff.

 

I had his wife Stacey in the car- nice girl- just met her this day.

 

She grew up in the same area where I live- and after I mentioned a few names- we realized we did know some of the same people as kids.

 

So- Rick passed out- the deal was off- and I drove them both back to town.

 

I dropped Stacey off- and I dropped Rick off at White Castle- where I picked him up earlier.

 

 

Billy was outside- he saw me pull up with Rick- passed out.

 

I finally woke him up- and he made it into the place.

 

 

I figured something else was up- and sure enough it was.

 

Billy told me some of the guys do pills when they drink- and that’s probably the story.

 

Okay- This isn’t the first time this has happened- over many years.

 

And I do have a rule- I will help with a ride- but the guys can’t be carrying anything [drugs- booze- etc.]

 

And I of course won’t help with any type of illegal deal- if they do that- there on their own.

 

 

In all honesty- I do believe the deal was legal- because I have seen Rick carrying these types of things in his bag- perfumes- vitamins- etc.

 

And to him- this is a way he feels like he has a little business.

 

I’m familiar with this- many of my homeless buddies in Texas do the same exact thing.

 

I used to tell them ‘geez- your homeless- and yet you’re paying rent on 2- or 3 storage units- that doesn’t make sense’.

 

But after a while- I realized they see this- maybe unrealistically- as a ‘business’- and that makes them feel like they are accomplishing something.

 

So I stopped saying ‘you’re wasting your time- and money- with these storage units’.

 

 

So-because of past experience- I really didn’t doubt Rick’s story- the storage units and all.

 

And yes indeed- it was true.

 

 

But the substance abuse- yeah- that interferes with any hope of making a better life- and Rick- and his sweet wife- who drove back with us- saw that.

 

She was slapping him in the face- pretty hard- ‘wake the fu.. up’.

 

He was passed out- I told her don’t worry- this is not new to me.

 

 

Okay- I share this part of the story to let you see the real stuff.

 

Yeah- I know this stuff [and other worse stuff] can- and does happen.

 

 

 

 

 

Now- being ‘fully armed’ turned back- in the day of battle.

 

 

Moses convinced God not to wipe out the people- and part of the argument was ‘the Egyptians will say- ‘see- God took them out of Egypt- and brought them to the mountains- and there they died’.

 

 

Right now- and for the last 3 months- I have been living- praying- doing outreach- in Americas ‘Hilliest City’.

 

Yeah- North Bergen- N.J. – is the hilliest city in the U.S.

 

Some say ‘what about San Fran’?

 

Nope- North Bergen.

 

The reason is the entire city is built on this hill/ridge that the area is known for.

 

 

One of the Psalms I like is Psalms 72- it also says at the time of fulfilment [of promises] that the Lords house will be on the ‘top of the mountains’.

 

These are all images- I don’t take them as actual prophecies about North Bergen.

 

But I apply them- in a spiritual way- to my time here.

 

Over the past 30 years I have prayed for this area- every week.

 

‘No- You must be making that up’.

 

 

Nope.

 

One of the pics I posted last night might look strange.

 

It’s a ‘hole in the yard’.

 

I killed the grass in the spot I pray in every morning.

 

The walking in that spot for 3 months has killed the grass.

 

So yeah- I do pray- and for this area.

 

So- in a way- in the middle of many of my own battles in life- transition- making major life changes.

 

I see my journey like the tribe of Ephraim ‘fully armed- don’t turn back’.

 

In a small way- I have made some inroads- had some experiences- good- and bad.

 

But over the past 3 months there were times when I wanted to pack up and take off- but I felt I needed to stay longer.

 

Now- I see it was for these 3 months.

 

 

I in a way I am asking God to ‘spare these guys- do something- don’t let them die in this mountain- this hilliest city in the country’.

 

Rick- whose story I will tell in a future post- grew up here.

 

His mom was from Peru- his dad was an Italian business man from Brooklyn.

 

They met here in New York City and married many years ago.

 

So Rick- whose last name is very Italian- looks Mexican/Hispanic.

 

He often gets confused with the many south/central American illegal immigrants who now populate this region.

 

So- I see how this in itself adds to the frustration of living in addiction- in your hometown- and feeling like there’s no way out.

 

 

But these last few days I have had some good talks with the guys- they know about the AA- NA meetings in the area.

 

And I have planted some seeds- that maybe in Gods time will bear fruit.

 

 

Some times in life you have no control over all the other things around you.

 

But- if you’re at a place- like the tribe of Ephraim- and you have the opportunity to shoot the bow- being fully armed.

 

For heaven’s sake- shoot the thing.

 

Give it your best shot- because if you don’t go for it now- and yor turn back in the day of battle.

 

 

You will regret it in the end.

 

‘NO MAN- HAVING PUT HIS HAND TO THE PLOW- AND TURNING BACK- IS FIT FOR THE KINGDOM OF GOD’- Jesus Christ.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2038

 

I HAVE CALLED YOU FRIENDS- [Jesus to his disciples] My last North Bergen post- for 2013.

 

 

The chapter for the week is Luke 15.

 

As I write today- this will be my last North Bergen post- till next year.

 

I have a few things I need to squeeze in to this one- so bear with me.

 

The other day- as I was debating on going back up the block- to White Castle [I go at different times- never to eat- but times I know some of the street guys will be there].

 

I decided to go- at an unusual time.

 

As I sat there- a few of the street guys were there- and we were getting into our little social club mood.

 

The street guys know some of the senior citizen crowd- who also hang out there.

 

Retired guys- yes- some of them are drinkers- but guys who have achieved a degree of success- and they feel like they deserve to just spend the day hanging out- fine with me.

 

But today- there were 3 older guys talking about religion and the bible.

 

Now- I have made it a habit to ‘shut up’ when these things happen.

 

Every so often I’ll hear somebody talking to someone else about God- and even if I think he might be getting some stuff wrong- I avoid the urge to butt in and ‘correct’ stuff like that.

 

Get it?

 

But this time I had to at least ‘correct the record’.

 

These guys were discussing stuff- one guy says ‘you know the gospels were written hundreds of years after Christ’.

 

Another says ‘yeah- they did that word of mouth thing- what’s it called’?

 

So- at this point I did a few second ‘correction’.

 

‘It’s called Oral Tradition- and most scholars believe the gospels were written about 15- 20 years after Christ’ [this is true by the way- the early Christians did pass things by word of mouth- and some of the disciples realized they needed to write this down for future generations. If you read Acts chapter 1- the writer- Luke- says this- that he decided to also write an account of Christ for future generations].

 

So- after I spoke up- one of the guys who was sitting there seemed intrigued.

 

He must have seen me over these past months- with these street guys- and has happened in Texas- I often get seen as a street guy myself.

 

 

So Tony comes to sit with me- he asks me about why I’m here- why I have been on the streets and stuff.

 

I told him its ministry.

 

As we talked- I realized the church he attends- A messianic congregation in Lodi- I used to have contact with his Pastor because we both broadcast on the same radio station in Texas.

 

 

Tony explained to me that he was a Born Again Christian- and he feels part of his calling in life has been at certain times [he emphasized the Timing aspect] God will use him to communicate a Word/Message from God to another person.

 

 

I am very familiar with this gift- I have actually done this- taught this- and have seen it operate many times in my life.

 

 

So- as Tony learned my background- the ministry and all- he felt honored because he knew that this day God had sent him to me- that he usually knows who the ‘target’ is- and he knew this was one of the times.

 

 

But- he has never done this with someone at ‘my level’ [note- Tony was very respectful- and he simply saw me at a ‘higher level’ sort of like a scholar- because of the simple correction I gave earlier to the group- and then when he asked me about the ministry].

 

So- as we talked- for about an hour or so- he felt like God was telling me that this street work- the outreach to these guys- was without a doubt Gods true purpose.

 

Tony was envious in a way- he always wanted to do this- and he kept telling me that not many people have this calling [he sees me with the street guys- and he realizes that I did infiltrate this area- he himself probably thought I too was ‘on the streets’.]

 

Tony also said he felt God was telling me to lay down my years of studying- my books and stuff- and to focus on the outreach part of ministry- he could not emphasize enough how this thing- me on the streets- that this is the most valuable thing- that nothing compares to this.

 

I Told Tony when I left Texas 3 months ago- I gave my library of books away- for good.

 

 

I was able to instruct Tony- about what was happening between us- because he has had this gift [which you can call Prophecy- or a Word of Knowledge/Wisdom- these gifts are mentioned in the book of Corinthians] and I am very familiar with these types of gifts.

 

I also know when God sends someone.

 

The morning of my chance meeting with Tony- as I was reading Luke 16- I came across a verse that reminded me of an old friend- Randy.

 

He came so strongly to mind- that I prayed for him- and knew that something about Randy was important for this day.

 

Tony- looked- sounded- had the same exact demeanor of Randy- who I haven’t seen in 25 years.

 

Randy even used to tell me he envied my calling- going out to the streets and all- and that he wished he too had a sort of outgoing way of doing stuff.

 

 

So- Tony was ‘Randy’ this day.

 

 

In a nutshell- God sent Tony to give me this Word- this message- and I had already come to see the things Tony was saying.

 

Even about picking up the street ministry when I get back to Texas.

 

I wrote in a previous post about ‘taking back your Isaac’.

 

Out of all the things I laid down this year- the hardest was leaving the street ministry in Texas.

 

But these past few weeks I felt the Lord saying I will ‘pick’ that up again.

 

 

So Tony spoke Gods word to me this day- on my last week in North Bergen.

 

 

 

 

2-

 

When I first got to town- and met the street guys- I would refer to them as Friends.

 

One day Nick took notice ‘John- I know you see us as Friends- but these guys are not friends- they are acquaintances’.

 

Now- I know what he meant.

 

It was funny- the other day I was with one of the guys.

 

He too owed 10 dollars for a particular purchase he made [I say too- because the other guy- in the group of 3- also owed ‘friend’ number 1].

 

So- the guy I was with- well I kinda was joking a bit-

 

‘Geez- so and so has owed so and so- about 13 times- since I’ve been here- and yet he always ‘let’s by gones be by-gones’ after he pays’ [he will owe for a day or 2- then when he has the money- he shows up and pays].

 

‘But’ I told my friend ‘when you owe- once- you get cut off’.

 

Now- I can’t’ really give all the details- how I know he really has only owed once [in the time I have been here] but that’s the story.

 

So- I tell my buddy ‘yeah- old ‘so and so’ must be racist- he lets the other guy [who is 100% Italian] off the hook a lot- yet you [not full Italian/white] get cut off after one time’.

 

He says ‘yeah- I’m gonna sue that son of a bitch’.

 

Now- we are both laughing here- and I know it’s not funny- well actually it is- but I’m giving you the ‘feel’ of the moment.

 

So- whenever one guy [usually just one] owes another money- he avoids him.

 

It’s routine now.

 

And the way I know is I’ll ask-

 

‘Was he at White Castle this morning’?

 

And the other guy says ‘no- he must owe so and so some money’.

 

That’s the scoop.

 

So- I’m with one of the guys- sitting on the bus bench off Bergenline Ave.

 

 

Across the street is another guy- who won’t talk to ‘us’ today [why me? Because I’m with the guy who owes- funny!]

 

As we are sitting there- the 3rd guy- who owes to the guy I’m with.

 

We see him ‘rolling’ down the street-

 

‘There he is- that son of a ..’

 

As the 3rd guy sees us- as we are sitting across from the other guy [standing at Quick check].

 

He too makes a hard left turn [in the middle of the road] and crosses the street [he owes the guy I’m with].

 

Then the guy I’m sitting with waits to see if he’s going to talk to the other guy- nope.

 

He owes him too- so all 3 of ‘the crew’ are avoiding each other- on my last week in North Bergen!

 

So I tell my friend ‘geez- I’m depressed- It’s like I’m leaving in the middle of a family feud’.

 

He was laughing his … off.

 

 

Now- Friends.

 

 

Over time- Nick started referring to me as his Friend.

 

One day something funny happened.

 

 

Rick asked if I could help him with an errand.

 

So I notice Nick didn’t text me in a day or so [the guys call- text- a lot- but I’m bad with that. I usually don’t answer the phone- or look at texts- so that’s not just here- but some of my buddies in Texas say the same thing ‘you never return my calls/texts!’]

 

 

I see Nick a day or 2 later.

 

He tells me ‘I saw Rick- he was bragging about how you were gonna help him- give him a ride- So he thinks he’s a big shot because you’re his friend…’

 

‘I told him- look- John chooses his friends- It’s not because you’re some great guy-..’

 

Now- I realized Nick- in a way- was ‘jealous’ of the fact that I was trying to help Rick.

 

 

You think ‘John- these are grown men’.

 

Yes- but this is not the first time these types of things have happened.

 

Lots of the guys on the streets have grown up in very dysfunctional homes- and 2 of the guys on this trip have spoken about deep resentments toward their Fathers.

 

So- even though these guys are my age- late 40’s- 50’s- yet these feelings of rejection- or wanting attention- are results of their dads having had bad relationships with their kids.

 

 

 

 

So- after time- we all starting seeing one another as friends.

 

 

Someone said yesterday- someone that’s not in the group- ‘gee John- you think these guys would take you out to eat before you leave’.

 

They have been asking me his for the last 3 weeks.

 

 

Even the other night Nick bought some Pizza for us at Angelo’s.

 

 

So yeah- after 3 months- it’s not a game- we are friends.

 

 

Okay- as I finish my ‘task’-

 

When I first got to town I was not sure how things would go.

 

I was trying to ‘hear’ God about what type/style of ministry I should do.

 

 

I used to actually ‘preach’ [you know- like a preacher].

 

But honestly- I’d rather be ‘on the streets’.

 

But- I printed up about 8 little bible studies- and they are in the format of a Christian based AA meeting.

 

 

I thought I might start meetings like that.

 

 

But as the weeks rolled by- I saw that was not the way to go.

 

 

But- I had these bible studies printed- and decided to give one to each of the guys- and write a personal letter to each of my new Friends.

 

 

I will hand them out- like little scrolls [I will post a picture] to the guys the day before I leave.

 

I attached a gold coin to each letter as a going away gift [the coin thing is a story in itself- if I remember I will mention it another time].

 

 

Now- I’m open- and blunt in these notes.

 

I basically tried to ‘custom fit’ each note for their own situation.

 

 

I talked about the danger of drug dealing- how if you keep doing it- you’re gonna get busted.

 

 

I talked about how someone with lots of talent is throwing it all away because he’s an addict- and needs to make an effort to change.

 

 

I talked about Alcoholism- and how it is ruining someone’s life.

 

 

I was blunt- talked as a friend- and made no bones about it- all 3 of you guys need to make a change- before time runs out.

 

 

3-

 

Last night [Thursday- 9-27-13] I spent a little extra time hanging out with Nick- sitting on a bus bench off Bergenline ave.

 

I was ready to take off- Nick was in one of those ‘states’ where he talks.

 

Ok- but sometimes when the guys are going on- if I see it’s a result of how they spent their day- then I listen for a while- and take off.

 

But last night I figured I’ll stay a little longer- times running short.

 

 

Nick- a musician- is one of those guys who ‘speaks’ words [prophecy] without realizing it.

 

I have had this happen many times over the years with street friends- often musical guys [guitars on the streets] and they don’t realize what they are doing- by ‘accidentally’ speaking these Words of Wisdom.

 

So- the last few weeks the guys have been saying ‘wow John- what a f.. experience this must have been for you- meeting this crew’.

 

Now- to me this is not new- or a first.

 

This has been my life- I have done this for around 30 years now.

 

But to them- these guys in their 50’s [late 40’s- early 60’s] – yeah- this whole experience was new.

 

And now- after 3 months- yeah- at this late stage in life- we became Friends- just like when you were a kid.

 

So- last night Nick does another one of those ‘slip up’s’.

 

He’s wanting to say something about the past few months- and he says ‘what a Fu.. Carnival this must have been for you John’.

 

Now- he corrects himself [this is often how I know what they are saying is a word from God] and says ‘no- not Carnival- why am I using that word’.

 

And he goes on.

 

See?

 

I often associate signs/images with things.

 

God often speaks to me thru these things- not in a weird way- let me explain.

 

One of the things I felt would be a sign this year was a Carnival.

 

The last 3 months I have been doing ministry- in the streets of North Bergen- where as a kid we used to go to the Carnival- in Hudson County Park.

 

Before I left Texas I kept saying ‘geez- I think I’m gonna see a Carnival before I go’.

 

I had this thing in my head- a connection with a Carnival- and this year.

 

 

Now- I have been making a journal for this year- I am not the type that does diaries- or journals.

 

But- this year- I felt the Lord telling me to do one.

 

Many years ago I used to post an ad [for the web site] in the Jersey Journal.

 

I ran that ad for a few years- and finally dropped it.

 

But- I cut out one of the actual pictures- a photo- of the Jersey Journal building- and the view of the Hudson River- across from the NYC skyline.

 

This is an actual photo of the area.

 

So- I have had this photo for about 7 years or so- and this year I pulled it off my office wall in Texas [thinking I was never ‘goin back again’] and stuck it in this journal.

 

 

A few weeks ago- as I was reviewing the journal- I saw something for the first time in this photo.

 

 

Right there- whenever this photo was taken [25 years ago?] there was a small Ferris Wheel- you could see it- there must have been some Carnival going on the day they took the photo.

 

As I saw it the other day- I felt like God was saying ‘there- see it- this was your Carnival.’

 

THIS being my last 3 months here- reaching out to the street crew.

 

So- once again- when Nick said ‘John- this must have been some fuc.. Carnival’ I knew what he meant.

 

 

 

 

GOLD COINS?

 

When I first got back to town- my dad gave me a gift- a collection of gold coins that he was saving for me- I guess he figured he would leave them to me in his will.

 

 

But- he decided to give them to me now.

 

Their nice- not 100% gold- but worth some money.

 

 

I have been carrying one- a 20 dollar replica- with me as I walk.

 

I showed it to the crew a few months ago- and Billy really liked it.

 

 

‘John- that’s worth some money’.

 

I told him I gave one to a friend- Patrick- and Billy asked ‘why? Why would you give stuff away’?

 

But- after a few weeks- when the guys heard I was leaving- they started saying ‘man John- now I kinda wished you hung around a little longer- we need to all go out to eat before you take off’.

 

Now- these guys are funny at times- and all 3 [the main crew] have fought over stuff since I have been here.

 

So one day Billy asks ‘John- before you leave- can you give me a gold coin’.

 

You might think ‘how dare he ask!’

 

To be honest it didn’t bother me.

 

I told him I only have 3 of the big coins left [the one I showed him].

 

But ‘I’ll see what I can do’.

 

So- this week I have been writing those personal letters to each one of these guys- and I stuck the gold coin- a smaller one- on each letter [see the picture- if I remember to post it!]

 

 

Nick- and Rick have opened up some during my time here- but Billy- well he’s what we call a true road warrior.

 

At first I thought he was homeless- then maybe not- just a show- but I needed to correct that post- because I now know he sure enough is homeless.

 

I can’t give any more details- but I wanted to correct that part.

 

Billy is 61- he’s been on the streets for a while- and he’s not the emotional type [like Rick- who has cried a few times when we were talking about life- and God].

 

But Billy boy- Nah.

 

It was funny- the other day I went to White Castle to see the guys- Nick says ‘they had Billy laid out on 3 cop cars in the parking lot last night’.

 

The first thing I thought was ‘o no- I better stop blogging about this journey- maybe too much is out’!

 

Yeah- I’m trying to be careful with stuff- but this is part of what I’m doing- journaling as much as I can- even right on the edge.

 

So- I ask Nick ‘what happened’?

 

I thought for sure it might have been bad.

 

Nick tells me they gave Billy a 250 fine- for pissing in the park.

 

That’s it?

 

We laughed- hard.

 

 

 

So- Billy asks me yesterday ‘John- I guess I have known you for about a month now’ [actually 3- but Billy has a bad memory- as those of you who have been reading my posts know by now].

 

But he goes on ‘let me ask you a question- what do you think of me- as a person’.

 

Now- that’s a tough one.

 

I love these street guys- they are my purpose [here- Texas- everywhere].

 

I told Billy ‘Billy- this week I am going to give you and the guys a gift [coin he wanted] and when I do- with each gift is a letter- and in that letter it gives you what I feel I need to say- read it’.

 

 

 

I was surprised Billy asked- and I’m kind in my letters- but very honest as well.

 

 

 

I didn’t hit much on the chapter for the week- Luke 15.

 

But Jesus talks about a missing coin- a missing sheep.

 

He says when a piece is missing from the ‘collection’- you do all you can to recover the missing one.

 

You even leave the other pieces by themselves for a while- when you go on the journey to recover the missing piece.

 

After you find it- you GO HOME- and call all your friends and neighbors- you throw this huge party- and rejoice- because you finally found the missing part of the puzzle.

 

In these last 3 months- I think-in a way- I have found the missing coin- the son who has been missing for years.

 

Not one of the crew- so to speak.

 

But all of them- even though it’s a small group.

 

 

 

In the chapter- when you find the missing piece- you tell your friends- you rejoice.

 

See?

 

Part of the value of recovering the missing piece is- you TELL THE STORY.

 

For what purpose?

 

You model it- you show the way ‘this’ works- you encourage others- do this too!

 

 

For many years I have had experiences like this- I see/experience God when I’m with the down and out.

 

 

I never told these stories- till the last few years- since I started the Blog.

 

But that’s part of this journey- to show how to go out- take some risks- and recover the missing piece.

 

 

As I wrap up this 3 month tour- I say good bye to all my new North Bergen friends.

 

I have been trying to say bye to those I can- and if I missed you- please don’t take offence- I say bye now.

 

 

I love you all.

 

 

I’ll see you guys again next year.

 

 

God bless.

 

TIME FOR YOU TO GO OUT TO THE PLACES YOU WILL BE FROM- EVERY NEW BEGINNING STARTS WITH ANOTHER BEGININGS END-  Closing Time- Semisonic.

 

 

 

 

2039  FATHER OF LIGHTS?

 

 

JOURNAL- September- January- 2013

 

Note- every so often I get the sense that I might not post anymore.

 

When I ‘feel’ this- I seriously consider ‘going away’.

 

Why?

 

There are indeed times- strategic times- when it’s God’s purpose to GO AWAY.

 

Jesus said this- multiple times- to his disciples.

 

‘It is expedient for you- that I go away’

 

‘I go to prepare a place for you’ [the idea here is when he leaves- they will in a way be forced to pick up where he left off- you know- like the momma Eagle kicking her babies out of the nest type thing].

 

‘A little while- and the world sees me no more’.

 

‘Where I go- you cannot come’.

 

Okay- all these references are from John’s gospel- and I could do an entire study on this principle.

 

 

A few weeks back I picked up one of the classics that I never read.

 

Catcher in The Rye- a novel by J.D. Salinger.

 

I’m almost done with it- and to be quite honest- it’s not good at all.

 

I don’t say this for the usual reasons the book is rejected [lots of schools did not permit the book in their classes- because he uses God’s name in vain and the book is a little riske’ at times].

 

 

No- that stuff never bothers me.

 

The book is simply boring- and immature.

 

Ok- then why did I read it?

 

I always knew that Salinger became famous- because after he wrote his novel- he WENT AWAY.

 

He bought a secluded home in the North East- and never wrote again.

 

This created a mystique about the man- and in a way it propelled his book- even though it’s really not a good work.

 

 

So- this principle of ‘going away’ is biblical- often times it’s not easy to do- that’s why some writers- or rock singers- become famous after their deaths- because you now realize that what’s left is all you got.

 

 

Okay- I don’t see this as a game- I am simply trying to hear God about this.

 

 

When I was broadcasting on the Radio for 20 years- there were whole years when I never spoke.

 

I made radio tapes on a weekly basis- and had enough for years.

 

So- when I felt like taking time off- I would not teach for a whole year.

 

 

Blogging is a bit different- but the same principle applies.

 

 

By the way- I haven’t been on Facebook- or checked it for over 2 months [as of today- 12-2-13].

 

As of now- I’ll simply make this journal- and when/if I post it- then I’ll read/see any comments or messages.

 

I just want my friends to know I simply don’t check the site- unless I’m posting.

 

Ok- hope you enjoy this journal- that is if it ever gets posted!

 

 

FOR WHERE A TESTAMENT IS- THERE MUST ASLO BE THE DEATH [or going away] OF THE TESTATOR- Hebrews.

 

 

1st week of December -2013

 

Well- I have been back in Texas for a couple of months now.

 

Our little halfway house is doing good- the friend I started it with last year has had lots of physical problems and I thru myself into this ministry again.

 

I also re-connected with the street crew- my original ‘gang’ from Texas.

 

And this past week I also got back in touch with Cameron.

 

 

I posted about Cameron right before I left Texas in 2013.

 

He was a new kid at the halfway house- was on probation [10 years!] and tested dirty on a drug test.

 

So- when I left Texas- he was back in jail.

 

He was released [once again] to the halfway house- and I have been getting with him this past week.

 

Took him to Bay Area Fellowship yesterday-might take him for a city cruise [like the apostle Paul said in the book of Acts ‘let’s go and visit all the cities we preached the gospel in’] today.

 

Yeah- I need to take a ride to Kingsville- Bishop- and maybe even Rio Grande city.

 

I met a new guy this week- Albert.

 

He spent a week at our halfway house- and had some ministry background.

 

 

Whenever we get a new guy- and he has some bible background- David [the guy I started the halfway house with] always wants me to meet him.

 

I’m sort of the Pastor for the halfway house.

 

 

So- I got with Albert on his last day with us [he only spent a week].

 

He’s from Robstown [an area city that’s known for drug dealing].

 

His wife has a church right on the border of Texas/Mexico.

 

He asked me if I knew where Rio Grande City was.

 

 

Heck- I spent 2-3 nights there about 10 years ago [a Firefighter school I went to].

 

So- God willing- I might take a trip to the area.

 

 

Albert worked as a missionary in this region years ago- it’s where his wife grew up.

 

But even he told me it’s very dangerous now- the drug runners will kidnap/kill you in a second.

 

So- do me a favor and pray for our safety- I do want to make the trip.

 

2-

 

Being I have not posted- or written any posts in 2 months- I want to give a brief update on the ‘North Bergen Crew’ [the street guys I befriended while in New Jersey].

 

The guys keep in touch with me regularly.

 

About 2 days ago Rick called [he’s the only one with a phone- or has my number [Nick too] – so the other guys ask how I’m doing and stuff- they were already asking when I’m coming back! Geez- not yet].

 

He gave me an update on the area- Rick moved to Hoboken about a month ago- but he still hangs out at the White Castle in North Bergen.

 

It’s funny- this spot became the meeting place for the crew- I used to eat at this restaurant when I was a kid.

 

Of course they rebuilt the thing- but it’s still in the exact spot.

 

 

Let me share one interesting story that happened the day before I left North Bergen.

 

During my 3 month trip- and before- the year was a year of Signs [dreams- visions- etc.]

 

Over the years I try not to talk too much about these experiences- because they are subjective- you never really know if the sign is ‘real’ or the person is simply wrong.

 

So- as those of you who read the site know- I try to teach in line with Historic Christianity.

 

 

Ok- when I ‘moved’ to North Bergen [the town I was raised in right across the Hudson River from New York City] I seriously thought I might move back for good.

 

The first 2 months back- I checked into housing- asked about the rents and all- and left the door open to stay.

 

In Texas I gave away/sold lots of my stuff.

 

I got rid of both my vehicles- and did the ‘sell what you have and come follow me’ thing.

 

As I sit here writing- I’m in an empty study- that used to be filled with my books.

 

I acquired- literally- thousands of dollars in books over the years.

 

I gave the majority of them away- to a church- before I left.

 

 

So yeah- I did leave the option open that I was leaving for good.

 

 

As time went on- I realized I will go back every year- for around 3 weeks [by the way- this year- 2014- my goal is to start some home bible studies- if anyone in the North Bergen/NYC area is interested- text me at 361-461-0588. My email never gets checked- so the best way is to message me].

 

 

Ok- because the rents were high- I wound up staying at my old house where I grew up as a kid.

 

My mom and sister still lived there.

 

I led my sister to the Lord many years ago- and she always viewed me as sort of her spiritual mentor.

 

When I told her I will be moving back to New Jersey- she was so happy!

 

The week before I flew back- she died.

 

So- for a few weeks I lived in her old downstairs apt- surrounded by all her little trinkets and stuff- and I would wake up early [around 3 or 4] and pray for about an hour or so in the yard.

 

Her cats [just like mine in Texas] knew what time I would be walking and praying- and they would wait for me in the yard- they love being petted when I do this. I pray with a stick in my hand- sort of a staff- and as they walk next to me I pet them. In Texas they follow me on the roof- it’s low- so I pet them right on the roof- they get so into it a few times they fell off trying to get noticed!]

 

There was a very real sense that the death of my sister would play a redemptive role in this whole journey.

 

It would take too much time to teach this now- but I felt she made a very real sacrifice as well as me- for the spiritual benefit of the town we grew up in.

 

When my friends die- I sort of include them in my payer time- not praying ‘to them’ but in a way ‘gathering’ all their prayers- and concerns- into one prayer community.

 

[Someday I will teach this entire theme from scripture- in Acts chapter10 it says the prayers of Cornelius came up as a ‘memorial before God’. In the book of Revelation we read about an Angel [messenger] casting a censor into the earth- and it was filled with the collected prayers of the people. These images speak of the spiritual reality of ‘collecting’ the prayers of others as you pray. Protestants are not very aware of this principle- Catholics are].

 

So- as you can imagine- the actual death of my sister- and me living in her apt. and driving her car [my mom gave me my sisters car- that is the car I’m driving right now in Texas- remember- I sold both my vehicles] were all giving me a real sense of the ‘partnership’ I had with my sister as we both were back in our old town- for the sake of the Kingdom of God.

 

So- one morning while I was going downstairs to the yard [I walked down thru an upstairs hallway- thru the old garage [which is now a finished apt.] where I kept many a dirt bike [and go cart!] back in the day- and down the alley into the yard.

 

This morning I had a sense of ‘what would you do if you saw your sister’.

 

It was eerie!

 

In the bible- there are just a few cases of ‘seeing dead people’ [not talking Bruce Willis and the 6th sense either].

 

One of the most famous is the story of the prophet Samuel during the time of King Saul.

 

In a scripture that’s been debated a lot- we read about a sort of soothsayer [Palm Reader type person] who brings back the dead prophet Samuel to appear to King Saul.

 

Obviously this can be used in many strange ways- some question the authenticity of whether the lady brought Samuel back.

 

As you read the account [off hand I forget the actual verse] it seems to say that she did indeed bring a dead guy back- not a raising from the dead- but an appearance of the soul/spirit of Samuel.

 

So- though I wouldn’t build a doctrine on the thing- yet stuff like this can happen.

 

Ok.

 

After I had this experience- of sort of sensing ‘what if you see Laura- who died’.

 

I got a chill- but simply prepared myself for some type of sign- which has happened a lot this year.

 

But nothing happened- yet.

 

So- one day my mom [whose house I was staying at] said ‘ok John- today before you run out [yeah- I got up early- and would take off most of the day- either walking New York City- or North Bergen- Union City- etc.- I wanted to run into as many street guys as possible before I left] I have a job for you and Patrick to do.

 

 

Patrick was a good friend of mine for many years- used to date my sister- and in a way I used to see him as the street friends I have made over the years.

 

He is a recovering addict- and we went to a lot of the NA meetings together.

 

So- Pat lives at my mom’s house- uses a spare bedroom- and I see him like a brother.

 

 

But- my mom would ask us to both do some type of job together- fix the fence- move some furniture- whatever.

 

And I realized it would be better for her to just give me the job- everyone else go out- and I’ll do it alone [you know-the micro manager type thing was a problem].

 

Not to be mean- but trust me- it worked better that way.

 

So a few days before I left- she asked ‘ok- you and Patrick need to paint 2 walls in the living room today [today? It will take me less than an hour- I used to paint houses for a living].

 

So- Pat bought all those little paint devices you see on TV- you know- the stuff the pro’s NEVER USE [Edger’s- sponge type brushes- Tape for the edges- EEK!]

 

I told mom ‘Please- just get me one good paint brush- a roller and paint- I don’t need all of these other things- including the tape to ‘tape the corners’.

 

Not to be mean- but the best way to do this is to simply ‘cut’ the area with a brush.

 

Over the years you learn to use the paint brush without going over the edge.

 

Anyway- she had some cheap little brush- and the roller and paint.

 

What the heck- I told her ‘please- you and Pat go in the other room- I’ll be done in around 30 minutes’.

 

 

I was- moved the furniture- laid a drop cloth- rolled and cut- under an hour- done.

 

 

Ok- my mom had just printed new pictures of my sister- and the night before I left I hung them up on this freshly painted wall.

 

 

So- as mom’s go- she wanted to buy me stuff for the road trip back to Texas.

 

She bought me this nice little road light [as a side note- 2 nights ago I started our first home church- this year I want to start a few of them- Texas- New Jersey- Switzerland. There were 2 little 5 year old girls- real sweethearts- they were the kids of some of our new team of young leaders that I’m enlisting for this new mission- they somehow got a hold of this light- and they were having so much fun running thru the house- in the yard- flashing this light].

 

You know- if you get a flat the thing blinks and all- roadside emergency type light.

 

 

As we are sitting in the living room- I am opening up the package- trying to get the car packed before the morning [I left just a few hours after this].

 

And my mom walks into the living room and sees me with the light- and the batteries still in the package- unopened.

 

She says ‘Oh- the light works real nice- but how did you get it to work without the batteries’.

 

I said ‘what do you mean- it’s not on’.

 

She looked puzzled- she is standing in front of the wall with my sisters new pictures- and she says ‘John- your light is flashing- I’m looking at Laura’s picture- don’t you see it flashing’.

 

Ok- I knew this was the ‘sign’ I sensed a few nights earlier- a sort of Open Vision- where you see something while awake.

 

Now- as I convinced her the light was not on- she began to panic- she kept asking ‘don’t you see it flashing John- it’s so bright!

 

I sat her down and walked her through it.

 

I told her ‘mom- I don’t see it flashing- but if you do- I believe you’.

 

I told her it’s possible that Laura- in a way- is saying ‘John- I really was part of this whole adventure you just had- I’m up here- with your other friends who have died- the ones you ‘have gathered’ as a communion of Saints- I’m saying goodbye on your last night in North Bergen- OH- thanks for petting my cats’.

 

Now- I simply tried to explain to my mom that I felt God had told me a few days before that I would indeed see some type of sign from my sister.

 

Surely this must have been it.

 

[By the way- thanks for the car Laura- it’s truly the best running car I ever had. It drove back to Texas great- everyone compliments me on it].

 

 

NOTE- One of the bible verses that was impressed on my mind this year was from the book of James ‘Every good and perfect gift comes from above- from the FATHER OF LIGHTS’. If you remember- this year I posted about seeing a Supernova one morning while up praying in the yard- and later that day there was the most viewed meteor ever- it took place in Russia.

 

These of course were LIGHTS- the above sign from my sister was a blinking light.

 

And right after I got back to Texas I was walking home from the local street mission where I meet the homeless crew.

 

As I walked under the highway overpass- I saw a homeless guy- who I never met before.

 

He caught my attention because he had this paint brush hanging from his belt- and it was actually the one I needed when I painted the wall in New Jersey [the one where my mom saw the picture flashing].

 

I walked up to the brother and hung out with him for about 30 minutes- right there off the street.

 

In about 5 minutes we were talking like we knew each other for years.

 

That’s the way the street guys live.

 

He told me after a few minutes-

 

‘We can tell when someone’s for real- that he really cares for the homeless’

 

He was simply saying he knew I wasn’t a fake.

 

As I talked with him- he told me his name was Orville and he’s been around for years.

 

I asked him if he knew ‘so and so….’

 

I usually rack up a bunch of names so the guys know I’m not making stuff up- that I have been around a while.

 

He knew the names I mentioned.

 

He told me he also sings gospel songs- and he wrote one.

 

Sure enough- he started singing- pretty good- right there.

 

Geez- like angels songs!

 

 

I asked him if he needed a few dollars.

 

He said ‘sure’.

 

And as has happened before- I open my wallet and I only have a five- no big deal- he got the 5.

 

He tells me ‘wait- I have a gift for you’.

 

Huh?

 

For me?

 

 

Right before I left North Bergen- I picked up a few things I thought I might need.

 

One was the little flashlight things that you hang on a key chain.

 

Every so often- you need a light to see where your stuff is when you’re parked on the side of the road- sleeping at the rest stops [I drove back and slept in the car overnight].

 

Sometimes when I need something- I try and wait a day or so before I buy it.

 

Because I either find I have an extra one laying around- or someone gives me one.

 

But- I bought a little Mag light- but it’s not too bright.

 

So- as I’m talking to this strange homeless brother- with ‘my’ paint brush on his belt.

 

He reaches under his shirt and pulls out a chain he has around his neck.

 

And he pulls off of the chain- you guessed it- one of the little lights I needed.

 

Man- the things is about 10 times brighter than the one I bought.

 

Cool!

 

I take the gift- which was sort of strange- the street guys usually don’t give out gifts.

 

I finish our talk- and off I went.

 

The next few days I ask the local street crew ‘Hey- I met some guy named Orville- he said he knew you- do you know the guy’.

 

One by one- no one knew him.

 

Ok- in the book of Hebrews it says ‘be careful to help strangers- because some have helped angels and they didn’t even know it’.

 

After my buddies did not know the guy- I went home later in the day and double checked if that light was for real- still in my drawer.

 

Sure is- bright as a little Nova.

 

I don’t know if Orville- the drunk gospel singer- was an angel or not.

 

But this year one of the verses was ‘FATHER OF LIGHTS’.

 

Felt it was cool either way.

 

 

 

 

 

2040 STATE OF THE NATION [WORLD] AND THE JFK CONNECTION.

 

12-7/13- 2013 I want to cover the state of our nation/world this week.

 

Being I haven’t posted for 3 months- obviously a lot of news stories have gone by- and I simply can’t retrieve them all now.

 

But- the overall geo-political state of the world right now is an important thing for us to see.

 

 

‘Gee John- we all get the news- doesn’t that cover it’.

 

In a way- yeah.

 

But because the American Media is so skewed- we often simply get what that particular side wants you to hear- whether it be ‘the right’ or ‘the left’.

 

Ok- The Affordable Care act [ObamaCare] has been just about as bad as any roll out could get.

 

We all know the Web Site is/was a disaster.

 

Why?

 

Ok- here’s where you can’t just listen to the right or left- but both.

 

If you notice- the left leaning media did report that Obama was too ‘insular’ that he was not open to real criticism within the White House.

 

There was an entire book [or 2] written about the Presidents real lack of any management skills.

 

A year or 2 ago- one of his top financial guys- Larry Lindsey- said the same thing.

 

It was insider language that was leaked to the press- but they were saying at the time ‘no one is in charge here’.

 

So- this was the view from his own people- not Hannity or Rush.

 

So- the roll out of ObamaCare was bad- and the insiders say that in a normal functioning team- after the political part [of passing the law] was over.

 

You would then hire an outside team of the best [Google- or any other number of top guys] and let them do the job.

 

The President simply did not know- or have the desire to do this- this basic function of management.

 

So- instead- the people who built the site were people with ties to the president- people who did not have the skills to produce a final product [the web site- I have heard other tech experts say this. So- this critique I just gave you seems to be the real story. And whether you support the President or not- the fact is he really dropped the ball by not having the management skills for this- see?]

 

 

What about Foreign policy?

 

Again- the left/right will focus on what they want [He got Osama!! Yes- but that is not even 1% of what falls under foreign policy].

 

After 5 years in office- the world is much more unstable than it has been in many years.

 

Now- whoever is to blame- you judge.

 

I’m just stating fact.

 

The President talked about ‘re-setting’ relations with Russia.

 

That failed- Russia has even gained a degree of ‘one upmanship’ in the Syria situation.

 

What they said/wanted all along- they got [possible future talks between Assad and the rebels- the U.S. strongly opposed this- yet at this point we would be lucky to get it. It looks like Assad is going to win this war- and Russia comes out on top. With Putin even rebuking Obama in a New York Times article that slammed him for talking about American Exceptionalism].

 

ASIA.

 

The president talked about a new focus on Asia [because all the other areas were going so bad!].

 

For many years now- China- Japan- Korea- etc.- have been existing with a degree of tension and an occasional rocket launch [or sinking of a ship!- North Korea- South Korea].

 

But the various actors in the Pacific theater have existed- and functioned- with the tension there.

 

So- after the President spoke about a new focus on that area- it has grown markedly worse.

 

A few weeks ago China unilaterally extended its airspace- and warned the surrounding countries to get permission before they fly thru that space.

 

The air space has been disputed for a while- but normally they would not have the bravado to do this.

 

Why Now?

 

Ok- some in the media tried to ‘spin’ this story- that it had nothing to do with a new view of American weakness in the world [Our backing down on Syrian president Assad was indeed a major blow to U.S. authority. I was [am] not in favor of military action in Syria- but when a U.S. President says he will act ‘if a line is crossed’ and then he doesn’t- that looks very bad]

 

So- China [and Russia] do indeed see these things as weakness- and without a doubt China did this act because they felt they could get away with it.

 

The tensions in the region are higher than they have been in years.

 

 

 

As the year ends- Iran- Egypt- The entire continent of Africa [Libya- Egypt- etc.] are very unstable- in reality- worse than 5 years ago [when the President took office].

 

I do not place the blame entirely on him- but he does indeed bare some of it.

 

 

Both President Obama- and John Kerry- have made public statements- off the cuff [or without thinking them thru- the drawing of a red line in Syria- and Kerry’s off the cuff remark about not following thru on the threat of military force if Syria starts getting rid of their weapons- which was a public statement by the Secretary of state that blatantly contradicted the Presidents statement that he would indeed hit Syria if they used chemical weapons- which they did].

 

Ok- these public mistakes- which can of course be forgiven- are indeed factors that have led to the instability of the region.

 

This week Saudi Arabia sent a delegation to Israel- which is amazing- Both Saudi Arabia and Israel are against Obama’s stance with Iran.

 

Like some Democrats [Schumer] and Republicans- they feel the 6 month backing off of sanctions on Iran- while they continue to develop Enriched Uranium- was a very bad deal.

 

The surprise is that Saudi Arabia would have talks with Israel- it is likely that Israel will hit Iran regardless of what the U.S. does- if they deem the threat of an actual Nuclear rocket to be close.

 

So- lots of instability- and some of it is a direct result of blunders- statements made by the President and his top people.

 

In my view- ‘Obamacare’ is simply not going to work.

 

 

A few years back- while working at the Fire Dept. – we had a ‘new policy’ that was going to be implemented.

 

It had to do with the way you attack a structure fire.

 

I was the Senior Engineer/Driver at the time [I made the position very young- I think I was the youngest engineer ever to make that rank up to that time- around 23-4]

 

So- as someone with lots of experience- not just ‘head knowledge’ I sat and listened to these new ‘wonderful changes’ that were being made.

 

During the meeting- I spoke up and told the Fire Chief- and the Captains- that this new policy- though well meaning- is not for a small dept. like ours.

 

In Layman’s terms- we were changing the attack strategy in such a way that the first fire truck at the scene was going to by-pass the fire- if need be- so he could get to the Hydrant first- and then go back to the fire.

 

In a big dept. – you can get away with this- because you have multiple fire trucks to work with- and the first truck can still stop at the house fire- without trying to find the Hydrant first.

 

Our Dept. basically had 2 attack pumpers- if we did the policy 100% as it was told to us- we would have had scenarios where you might have people in the house- that’s on fire- and the fire truck would actually drive past the house- if the hydrant was on a different street. I told the Captains that the danger of this- never mind the liability to the dept. – was not good. People will be watching us drive past the house- having no idea what the ‘heck’ we are doing!

 

[note- in some cases- if the hydrant is on the way to the house- then ok- you stop for a few seconds- which in my mind is still not good- because you are cutting down the response time by the initial truck]

 

Simply put- I told our chief that we were not ready to implement this policy that fast- that even if he insisted on changing the tactic [called Forward lay and Reverse lay] we still needed some attachments for the intakes on the truck and stuff like that.

 

It didn’t make a difference- they still changed the policy very quickly- and I let the Captains know what they needed if their new- more inexperienced drivers were going to do this [the senior Captain listened to me- and delayed the new policy until we ordered the new attachments].

 

The newer drivers simply did not foresee some of the problems- because on paper it looked good- but from experience I knew it was not good.

 

 

Eventually the Dept. made the changes that I mentioned- and we managed to not get anybody killed because of it.

 

 

About a year or 2 ago- as I watched the whole Obama Care scenario being explained by the proponents- I told some one ‘even though I am not against helping people get insurance- the more I see this- the more I get a sense that it will simply never work’.

 

 

The same feeling I had when the Chief was explaining the new changes at the fire house.

 

 

So as we end the year- it has not been a good year- politically- or in my view- globally.

 

There is still much work to be done- and it seems as if the old Medical dictum might be wise to follow- when you’re trying to help someone- do what you can- but make sure you don’t cause more harm in the process.

 

I think that what started with good intentions- Obamacare- is going to do more harm than if they left the thing alone- or made smaller changes- without trying to do a complete overhaul of 1/6th of the economy overnight.

 

 

2-

 

Today I was gonna write on Pope Francis- update how his Pontificate has been going- some of the recent criticism he has gotten and all- but I think I’ll do the ‘KENNEDY CONNECTION’.

 

What?

 

Yeah- you heard me!

 

Ok- for those who do think ‘Poor John- he was such a nice kid when we knew him in high school- but he seems to have gone nuts’.

 

Yeah- for you guys- I do very much realize these posts don’t help much [Ok- this is a joke- not the actual post that follows- but this line. I hope most of my old friends can tell- but when writing on-line- Facebook- etc. – people can’t always tell].

 

Ok- what Kennedy are you talking about John?

 

Yeah- the big one- JFK.

 

 

These past few years- writing about the Halfway house- talking about my street friends.

 

I have told the story of John David- multiple times.

 

I knew him- and his 2 brothers [Hugh and Andy] from the streets- good ole boys- but yeah- like my new North Bergen buddies- they are in some ways- well- criminals.

 

Now- do I approve of it?

 

No.

 

But that’s who we are sent to help- Jesus said the whole [healed] don’t need a doctor- but the sick.

 

Ok.

 

Over time John David- who is guilty of killing his best friend many years ago [shot him with a shotgun] got clean [was an alcoholic and Meth addict for years].

 

In 2012 he asked me to help him start a Halfway House.

 

I did.

 

The way he got off the murder wrap was his mom got the actual lawyer that Jack Ruby had [Rudy shot Oswald- who killed JFK].

 

So- it’s just interesting that he had this connection- living now in Corpus Christi.

 

 

Ok- one day David had a drunk- Charlie- living in his apt.

 

If David finds a new prospect for the Halfway House he’ll put him up in his own place until he sobers up for at least a week.

 

 

I usually go over David’s at this stage and meet the guys- pray for them- and become friends.

 

If they eventually make it into the halfway house- then I get with the guys while I’m doing ministry stuff [like this year I have just started going to different cites- Bishop the other day- to open up home groups].

 

 

Ok.

 

So I talked to Charlie for an hour or 2- became good friends- and about a week later David kicked him out.

 

He snuck a beer- and David tells the guys no drinking at the house.

 

So- being I never met Charlie before- he lives on the other side of town- I figured that was that.

 

So- about a week later I’m at the mission where I work with the street guys [my ministry is separate from the halfway house- I help with the halfway house- but that’s just a part of the overall calling].

 

And sure enough- I run into Charlie!

 

 

Now- when I first got into AA [I am no longer with AA- I have been sober for just under a year- but that was just not my calling- maybe for others it is- but I had a different path].

 

 

I heard [from the street- I do respect the Anonymous part of AA- so I will only tell the stories that were told to me by friends- outside sources- that’s part of my calling- to tell these guys stories].

 

About someone who was sober for many years and had a relative severely burned in the 9-11 attacks and he went ‘back out’ [drank].

 

This story was kind of used- by more than one person- as an example of the dangers of taking that one drink.

 

The story said the guy became a drunk again for many years [in his 70’s] and finally made it back- after a long struggle.

 

For this post I won’t use his real name- but we call him Pop’s.

 

I never met the man- just heard his story.

 

 

Ok- when I ran into Charlie at the mission- he was so happy to see me.

 

He had a friend with him- an old guy- who could not stop telling me how highly Charlie thinks of me- and how well he has spoken about me.

 

I did appreciate the compliment- and it was from a nice old guy.

 

So I told them I would give them a ride back to their house [they came on bus to the mission this day- and they live about 3 blocks from the halfway house- close to where David lives- you know- the guy who got Jack Ruby’s lawyer- see- I told you this post would not help in my effort to proclaim I’m not nuts].

 

As I talked with Pop’s- I began to realize he’s the guy that people told me about- the one who went back to drinking after a relative was burned in the 9-11 attacks.

 

Pops began telling me his story over the next few weeks- and when I told him I did a Web Site he asked for me to write his story.

 

To be honest- Pop’s likes to talk- lots.

 

Not saying he’s lying- no- he’s honest- just lots of info!

 

So- the part’s that can be told- [without going too long] are in this post.

 

 

As I talked with the Old Man- at one point he mentioned how he knew Oswald as a kid.

 

Oswald?

 

Yeah- Lee Harvey.

 

Pop’s told me they were kids- sort of from the same block.

 

You know- as a kid in the good Old Days you might play street football or something with the kids on another block.

 

That’s how pop’s knew Oswald.

 

 

Now- Pop’s lives about 7 blocks from my buddy John David [you know- Ruby’s lawyer..]

 

 

They both know each other- there stories are kind of famous in the regional AA meetings.

 

 

Now- Both David and Pop’s want their stories to be told- publicly [Pop’s actually asked me to write it].

 

So- when I told Pop’s ‘did you know John David had Ruby’s Lawyer..’

 

He didn’t know.

 

I don’t think I even mentioned the Oswald thing to David yet.

 

 

But as I sat with Pop’s this day- in his run down Apt. [worse than Oscar Madison from the Odd Couple- he lets Charlie live there- and Charlie is always drunk- it is a bad situation and I have offered- more than once- to get Charlie out- into a program- Pop’s has known Charlie since he was a kid and he refuses to ‘kick’ him out].

 

 

I thought how strange this is- I’m sitting in Texas- and during the 50th memorial of the Killing of JFK [it was all over the news- by the way- one of the pictures they show from the footage- has Pop’s in it. He’s a young kid being interviewed in a Navy Uniform from one of the News Reels].

 

And 2 of the guys I’m working with in ministry have real connections to this story.

 

And they don’t even know they both have this connection.

 

 

Ok- I think I’ll end this week’s posts here.

 

 

I now realize I will post this journal in January- 2014.

 

 

As you guys read it- remember- this year we are starting some home bible studies.

 

I had the first one the other night with some of the younger group I’m working with- New Blood if you will.

 

 

People who can carry the message- be used of God to expand the work in future generations.

 

Sort of looking at a Movement Type thing.

 

I have been at this a long time- ministry- outreach- all the stuff you guys have been reading these past few years.

 

 

This year I want to start making preparations for the ministry to go on without me.

 

Not that I plan on dying any time soon- but taking steps to pass some of this stuff off to some of our younger group.

 

 

 

Ok- that’s it for this week.

 

See you later.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2041

 

3rd week of December.

 

These past few months I have re-connected with a lot of the old street crew.

 

Its funny- when I ran into them this past year- told them I might be moving to the NYC area- those guys were the most gracious out of everyone.

 

‘John- we hate to lose you!’

 

‘Can I go with you?’

 

They really see me like family- it’s a blast!

 

 

So- since I’ve been back I have run into them on the street circuit.

 

Yeah- there are particular spots- Crossroads [literally!] where you see the bro’s.

 

 

Tim [AKA Carpenter Tim- most of the guys are known by some sort of nickname that you attach to their first name- just like in the bible- you don’t get last names- and you get nick names.  Jesus gave the best nick names to James and John ‘Sons of Thunder’]

 

Yeah- I ran into Tim the other day while I walked the Oso Bridge to my prayer spot.

 

It’s right off the bay- an old concrete landing- on the weekends you see guys fishing from it- but during the week- or when I’m walking early in the dark- its empty- so I use it as a prayer spot.

 

The beginning of this year I ran into Tim on these walks.

 

I have known old Tim for about 25 years- I used to visit him in his make shift camp sites.

 

He always built the best ones- made a bunk bed type thing- off the ground.

 

I would have to navigate paths- walk over a creek- on boards- but yeah- back in the brush- Tim had his Condo.

 

 

He would cook me some camp Coffee- instant Folgers.

 

One time he was treating a litter of Puppies- his old female dog- who he loved a lot- had some pups.

 

He was giving them baths- treating them with flee powder- and was going to take them to Wal Mart and give them away.

 

Most street guys would not go that far out of the way- they would just leave them alone.

 

Not Tim- he loved his animals.

 

One day I ran into Tim- he was all broken up.

 

He told me his dog- a female mutt- named ‘Varmint’- died.

 

 

The guys told me later Tim cried for days.

 

 

So the other day I ran into him at my spot- he’d ride his bike into town just about every day- and that’s how I re-connected with him.

 

Until this last year I haven’t seen him in years.

 

He lays low- avoids the spots where you see the other street guys- so I haven’t seen him in years.

 

 

But as fate would have it- when I started doing my long walks- I started running into him.

 

I told him I had a few of the guys over the other night- over the years have cooked at the house- had a sort of home fellowship thing going on.

 

So I told Tim the next time I have one- I’ll let him know.

 

But wait- no phone?

 

I told Tim I’ll pin a note on the tree by the spot- and he can get notified that way.

 

He was real careful to ask the exact spot.

 

 

Cool- a sort of Email for the homeless.

 

 

Before I left Texas- I saw Tim one day on the walk- to be honest- we are such good friends- I think Tim made it a point to take the bike rides after he realized we were running into each other.

 

 

He even used to listen to me on the radio- geez- I gave him my new ministry card [had some old one that needed to be updated].

 

He still had the one I gave him about 15 years ago!

 

 

Yeah- he followed the ministry and all.

 

Anyway- one day on my walk- I had my back pack with me- and ran into Tim.

 

 

Tim’s a smart- talented guy.

 

He was telling me about the books he read recently- we were reminiscing about old times.

 

I had my Bob Dylan book in the bag- Chronicles- I asked him if he liked Dylan.

 

Yeah!  I gave him the book.

 

When I saw him this week- he told me he loved it- read it thru in a few days.

 

Yeah- the boys are glad to see me back- I’m glad to see them to.

 

 

 

 

2042- Abrahams’ kid.

 

 

 

 

Yesterday I held the first ‘official’ home group meeting at our halfway house.

 

Official?

 

There are different ways to relate to people when doing ministry stuff.

 

Most of the times I simply listen to people- befriend them- and over time you do influence people that way [my 3 month North Bergen stay would be a good example].

 

But I also realize it can help to have a format.

 

So I spoke for about 15 minutes [I find that it’s easier for people to remember what you say if you don’t go to long]- prayed for one another- and a few people talked about there journey in life.

 

Let me share some of the stuff I’m teaching.

 

 

I’m talking about the main theme of the bible- Old Testament.

 

It’s easier to grasp the story if you follow a main theme.

 

In the bible we follow the story of creation- Gods intent for man to ‘be with him’- to have fellowship with God as his kids.

 

Man sins- this breaks that primary relationship- and God begins a dialogue with a man.

 

Abraham.

 

He tells him if he goes on this journey [where?] that God will bless him- make him into a great nation of people.

 

Wow- sounds great!

 

Problem?

 

God tells him to go out into a place that he won’t even know where he is going.

 

Basically he has to go out By Faith- and as he begins the process- God will show him the next step.

 

 

So- he begins the journey- believing the promise ‘your seed [kids] will be like the stars of heaven- like the sand by the shore’.

 

As he journeys [in the Promised Land- the future land of Israel] Abraham and his wife are not having any kids.

 

They are getting older- and Abraham comes up with a plan [he tries to figure out a way to make Gods promise work- and of course he messes things up].

 

He at first says ‘you know what God- my wife Sarah is childless- how bout we count this servant who has worked for me for years- maybe we will just say he’s the kid’?

 

 

Back in bible days- you could sort of do this- use a trusted servant- and simply give the inheritance to him.

 

But God had another plan.

 

 

Then a few more years go by- and once again he comes up with another plan.

 

‘I know- I’ll sleep with the maid [Hagar] and her kid will be the one’.

 

 

He gets permission from the wife- and Hagar has a kid from Abraham.

 

His name is Ishmael [who becomes the Father of the Arab people].

 

 

Ahh- we did it God!

 

Actually not.

 

God tells Abraham ‘no- your wife will have a child- this time next year [the bible says God set a specific time for the promise- Abraham waited his whole life- he was 100 years old- Sarah 90].

 

 

Sure enough- she has a kid at her old age- Isaac- and he’s the ONE.

 

 

Ok- this story- found in Genesis-is the beginning of the Promise.

 

 

I didn’t quote the key verses- they are found in Genesis 12- 15- 17- 22.

 

 

A few things.

 

God tells Abraham that the whole world will be blessed thru this promised kid.

 

The apostle Paul tells us in the letter to the Galatians- that this specific promise was ultimately fulfilled thru Christ.

 

I’ll explain that in the next few days.

 

For today- remember these key points.

 

 

God made a promise to a man- Abraham.

 

He told him he would bless him and make him into a huge nation of people [the nation of Israel- later on in the New Testament the Apostle Paul will say ‘they that are simply born Jewsih are not the ones the promise was made to- but to ‘all the kids’ both Jewsih people who believe in Christ as well as non Jews’.

 

Abraham [and by the way- Sarah too] had to Walk by Faith.

 

They had to go on this faith journey- or else the promise would never get fulfilled.

 

That’s the same with us- often times God gives us a mission- a specific purpose in life.

 

 

You might have friends- other people- who will join you on parts of the journey.

 

Some stay- some are only there for a season.

 

But in the end- it’s up to you to keep the original purpose in mind [the Prophet Isaiah says ‘I told you the mission from the start- but it is now coming to pass’].

 

Don’t get sidetracked- don’t get involved in too may different tasks [it’s ok to multi-task- as long as its part of the main mission- see?]

 

 

Abraham grasped the promise- had a tough walk [which we will see in the next few posts].

 

And completed the mission.

 

How bout you?

 

 

 

 

2043

 

THE VAN

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yesterday I ran into Andy- a good friend- brother from the streets.

 

Known him for many years.

 

Last year I sold the van to Andy- he was doing well- working at a good job and was the house manager for our halfway house.

 

A few months back he relapsed- it was an open thing.

 

We all knew he was struggling again.

 

But I of course have stayed in touch with him- he has been in the home groups I’ve been doing.

 

Anyway- I needed to pick up a desk and wasn’t sure how to carry the thing- it was at some apartment and I don’t have a truck anymore.

 

 

But I ran into Andy at the street mission and put 10 dollars of gas in the van for him.

 

 

We picked it up and dropped it off at my house.

 

 

Andy told me he was having problems with the Van [I sold it for 1800- he only paid about 700- lost his job. When I was in North Bergen he called and was willing to bring it back to my house in Texas. I told him take the van- use it for your boy- his boy Craig- who I wrote about last year is being treated for brain cancer as I speak. He’s in Houston doing Radiation.

I told Andy not to worry about the payments- the van is his- just try and get clean again].

 

He did ask me if I had problems with it shutting off or not starting.

 

I told him- honestly- no.

 

But my wife had said this happened to her a few times.

 

 

So this year Andy did a bunch of work on it- he really tore into.

 

 

Finally the other day- after messing with t a lot- he found the problem.

 

 

As I drove with Andy- he was frustrated- tired- living a rough life right now- and it showed.

 

 

I told him that I actually shared a story like his at the meeting I held at the halfway house.

 

From the life of Abraham.

 

When God told him to ‘go out into a country that you will receive for an inheritance’.

 

The bible says ‘he went out- not knowing where he was going’.

 

By faith Abraham simply started a journey.

 

I’m sure he had lots of questions- doubts.

 

But he went anyway.

 

In the meeting I shared an example from my own life.

 

Many times over the years- fixing up an old beat up used car- needing it for work the next morning and stuff [one time I spent all night fixing my car because I had to go to work the next day- we even pulled a motor out of an old Datsun and stuck it in my car- using a bumper jack and a makeshift Motor Pulley attached to my open garage door jamb- Yeah- the bumper jack attached to a chain- wrapped around the engine- a homeless friend knew how to do it- at first I never thought we would actually put the old motor in- and have it running. In a couple of days it was done- it actually ran!]

 

So- in my little bible study I said often times life is like that.

 

You really don’t know the answer to the problem- but when you start going out- you go out to a place that you don’t ‘know of yet’.

 

Then then pieces come together.

 

Andy messed with that van all this year.

 

In time- thru much frustration- he got it.

 

 

 

2044

 

NOW ARE WE THE SONS OF GOD

 

 

Yesterday I hung out at the street mission for a bit.

 

I sat with the old crew- Buck [1 arm] – Roger [good friend for many years- went to prison for 4 years a while ago. Roger is harmless- a local drunk- the cops know him well. One day he was in HEB and told Tommy Nichols ‘I am gonna f.. kill you’. Or something to that effect. Nichols charged him with a terroristic threat and Roger did 4 years.]

 

The mission was doing communion this day- and some of the guys went inside to partake- it was right before they serve the free lunch [which I never eat at- it’s not for me].

 

One of the guys asked about communion- what it means.

 

I of course quoted a verse or 2- Buck jumped in with some other bible quotes- asking me to finish.

 

Before you knew it- every one of the guys was bringing up bible stuff- asking questions- and they really wanted to know stuff.

 

 

As I started our home groups this month- I wasn’t sure exactly how it was going to all work out.

 

But I knew I needed to start a few- it’s been in the works for years.

 

Just been putting it off.

 

Anyway- I asked the street guys the other day ‘you want to take a ride with me to the halfway house- I’ll be holding a meeting- no food- just a bible study?’

 

I packed the car!

 

I never push ‘religion’ on the guys- they know I see my time with them as street ministry.

 

But I was surprised to see their interest in the home group.

 

 

Shrek [yeah- that’s his nickname] and Tammy- been together for years-

 

When I got back from North Bergen- I ran it them at the mission.

 

I’ve known them for years.

 

They were upset- more than usual.

 

They went to Houston a few months back- and got busted selling pot to an undercover cop.

 

They got 3 years’ Probation.

 

They are from Corpus- not Houston.

 

They were having a hard time getting the probation transferred.

 

Tammy was crying for days- she didn’t know where she would stay if they didn’t transfer the probation.

 

She kept calling the office in Houston- I told her-

 

‘Tammy- let me call for you’.

 

The guy would not return her call- and his in box was full- you could not leave a message.

 

He basically ignored people like Tammy.

 

She’s a ‘street’ girl of sorts- and it’s easy to just ignore the girl.

 

 

I guess he sees her number [as well as others like her] and he simply won’t answer- you know- I’m sure he has his own life to live [I’m being sarcastic- in the system this happens lots- People often ignore- or violate the rights of the poor and uneducated.]

 

So I called from my phone [he sees a new number- from Corpus? Right after he sees Tammys call?]

 

He called her right back [maybe saw a Corpus number- different from the one he’s been ignoring for weeks. And thought he’d better get it?]

 

 

I got on the phone- her probation was transferred in about 1 second.

 

The guy just needs to say ‘ok’.

 

I told Tammy it was transferred – she started crying.

 

I did offer to pay half for the round trip bus ticket- even though I didn’t have the money.

 

That was a mistake.

 

Shrek and Tammy have been calling a lot since then- I told Shrek he had to have someone else pay the other half.

 

Then he would call- he would tell me ‘I have someone that will buy the ticket- but I’ll use the 60 dollars [my half of the ticket] for this or that’.

 

He started seeing it like I just had 60 for anything.

 

He asked another street pastor [who brings in lots of money- has a big street ministry- but brings in a lot- his house- salary- everything is paid by the money he brings in- he is a friend- but he has taken money from the ministry- and others. Last year he stole some money from a cop. He managed the rent houses for the guy- and he scalped some rent money].

 

Rey- the pastor- made a public confession at the Tent service he holds- and said ‘I am a thief..’

 

He confessed to all- and this wasn’t the first time this happened.

 

Last year- before I left to N.J.

 

I gave my library of books to Brother Rey.

 

I also attached a 50 dollar check for Henry.

 

A street friend.

 

I made out the check to Henry- I wrote a nice goodbye letter.

 

Said in the letter ‘Henry- treat Rey to dinner with the $50- God bless you guys- love you all’

 

Remember- I thought I was leaving for good.

 

I said this in the letter [HMM- Mistake?]

 

I dropped the books- the 50 dollar check- and the letter at Rey’s house.

 

When I got back to Texas- I ran into Henry.

 

He never got the letter- or the 50 dollars [let me add- I’m not sure Rey kept the money. It is possible that the check/letter was taken by someone else. But the check was attached to the letter- and the letter- written to Henry and Rey said ‘share the books with the guys- tell Henry by- and please give him the check- Thanks’. Henry told me Rey did share the books with him- it looked like he got the letter- and the check. I don’t know- or really care. I have given Rey an offering or 2 over the years. It’s between him and God.]

 

O well.

 

Anyway- I told Shrek ‘Shrek- I don’t have ministry money- like other ministries. I simply offered to buy you half the ticket- but I pay for all this out of my retirement check- and I’m already 300 in the hole right now- paid the bail for someone else in trouble].

 

So- I would have bought the ticket- but another friend [rich guy- owns a paint store] bought it.

 

 

Shrek and Tammy were in the meeting I held at the halfway house.

 

Whistler came too!

 

After I post this journal- I’ll post all the pics.

 

‘C-mon John- do you really think God can speak thru these street guys- drunks- hookers- Meth heads’?

 

As I drove to the mission in the morning- I simply tried to ‘hear God’ for his word of the day.

 

The verse that came to mind ‘Now are we the Sons of God’.

 

Whenever I do this- try and wait- no radio on- and get my ‘Daily Bread’ [a bible verse that pops into mind for the day].

 

The way I know it’s a Word- is it will be confirmed some other way before the day is out.

 

As I sat with Buck- and the other guys at the mission.

 

Buck kept bringing up a verse- asking me to finish it.

 

The others were listening- they were interested.

 

 

Buck brings up- you guessed it ‘we are the Sons of God’.

 

 

Yeah- God does speak thru them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2045- A Christian perspective on AA/NA.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I debated about doing one final post on my experience with AA/NA [Alcoholics anonymous- Narcotics anonymous].

 

Why?

 

I want to do an honest critique- not only from personal experience- but from the experiences of others.

 

Yesterday I saw a new resident at our halfway house- I wanted to meet him- a mutual friend had told me this new addition to the house used to be his sponsor- and he relapsed- again.

 

As a matter of fact- my friend told me that all 5 of his sponsors- over the past 5 years- have relapsed.

 

The friend who was telling me this- has an addiction to prescription pills- buys- sells- spends whole days in his addiction.

 

Yet- he too is a sponsor- and does not consider himself an addict- because he has not had ‘one beer in 5 years’.

 

I tell these stories for the benefit of those who might be saying ‘Gee John- that’s me too!’

 

 

Over the years of Pastoral ministry- I of course was familiar with AA.

 

I spoke about AA in a positive way- most pastors did not.

 

Many had trouble with the ‘higher power’ concept- not me- till this day most of my friends have found God and refer to God when they use this language.

 

Yes- many good people have found God and have become clean thru the program.

 

But- the above scenario has been repeated many times- in just my short year in AA.

 

I asked the sponsor who relapsed- let’s call him Chuck.

 

‘Chuck- I was looking forward to meeting you- I have heard lots of great things about you- how long were you clean [this last time] before you relapsed’.

 

3 years.

 

‘Ok- what’s the longest clean time you have had- since you have been in AA’?

 

8.

 

‘How long have you been in AA’?

 

25 years.

 

Chuck is 58 years old.

 

‘Chuck’ was standing in the same room- at our halfway house- as another resident of the house was just a day or 2 before.

 

Let’s call him ‘Paul’.

 

Paul has the same story.

 

 

Knows the Big Book- quotes it- has been in AA for 30 years.

 

And is now 5 months clean- after multiple years of clean stints- and relapses.

 

 

Then- one of our newest residents came in- high as a kite [He did not know I was there- or he would not have come in. If you get high- you get kicked out of the Halfway House].

 

 

Just about a week before- I had a talk with him about why I feel the AA meetings are not for me.

 

[Though all the guys at the house are very involved with AA- and I will still take them to meetings- and in no way try to hinder them from what they feel they need to do].

 

I have tried to be very nice- and honest- about this.

 

I told this kid ‘son- you keep referring to yourself as someone with a disease that others just don’t have’.

 

I went on and told him that sin- in its essence- is sort of like a disease.

 

But all people suffer from it to one degree or another.

 

And for the past 2 thousands years- many people have overcome addictive lifestyles thru the grace of God.

 

 

 

I told him that when we do overcome these addictions- it would be better to simply view ourselves as yes- sinners- but sinners who have accessed God’s grace- and are the same as all other sinners.

 

I found the mindset of ‘I have a disease that makes me different than others’ to be counterproductive in some cases.

 

One friend says ‘John- we are INSANE- the book says we are insane. Why else would someone go back out and drink after many years of being sober- see- we must be insane’!

 

Well actually- people go out and chose to sin- because they are sinners.

 

And yes- some might describe this as insanity.

 

But my friend used this argument in a way that said ‘see- WE ARE in another group of people- who are different- both mentally and physically than normal people’.

 

[As a side note- I hope to get to this very point in this study. But- Alcoholism does not fit the category of a disease- like other diseases. Now- to be sure- the EFFECTS of putting substances into your body- whatever they be- do indeed CAUSE diseases- but the actual addiction to a substance- apart from babies being born from mothers who used during pregnancy- is not a disease in the classic sense. Many believe because the medical associations did indeed accept it as a disease- that this makes it one. Many doctors do not embrace this idea at all- and if you simply compare the normal idea of disease- with an addict- they are not the same].

 

So- as someone who never took a negative view of AA- and still does not- I began to see inherent- if you will- structural problems inside the system.

 

I also found too many defenders of the movement- who were actively in relapse- to some degree- and yet did not want to admit it- because they took a view of AA like some Christians have about their particular church/denomination.

 

And they hid their relapse because they wanted to defend their movement.

 

[Note- when people find their identity by having a particular ‘clean date’- and when so much rides upon that date- 2-3- 10 year celebrations- if they relapse- there is a very real sense that ‘all is lost’. I think the ‘identity of addiction/non addiction’ a term I have coined- is counterproductive. Too much emphasis is placed on the DON’T EVER USE command. While I believe- and practice total abstinence- by God’s grace- yet I do not see it thru a legalistic mentality- a LAW mentality. Over the years I have taught about the difference between law and grace. And I think focusing so much on a person’s clean date can lead to a terrible fall- depression- because many who relapse then try and come back and work twice as hard then before- which can be legalistic].

 

Some have said ‘for the FIRST TIME in man’s history a way has been given…’

 

[If I remember- I think this is read at the meetings?]

 

Now- once again- I know this statement means well- but it’s simply not true.

 

And if you begin believing this [that God has given- for the FIRST TIME- a plan that will work] then you become a defender of a movement [though good] in a way that certain cultic members defend their movements.

 

‘God has- for the first time- restored the true church’- etc. etc.

 

 

So- I have read up this last year on the entire Addiction/Recovery industry- and I want to share more up to date info.

 

 

Historically- more people have achieved recovery thru the Church- thru not only ‘attending church’ [which is not ‘church’ to the full degree of being a practicing Christian] but thru either the participation of the sacramental life of the High Church denominations [Catholics- Orthodox, etc] or thru the usual means of the dispensation of Grace from a Protestant perspective [Altar Call- Baptism- witnessing- etc].

 

What I mean is- more addicts have become clean thru the practice of the Christian faith- than in AA- period.

 

I don’t say this as a ‘shot’ at AA.

 

Some have said ‘I tried church- it didn’t work’.

 

I asked ‘what do you mean- you tried church’.

 

‘Well- I went to church on Sunday- watched religious shows- etc.’

 

I would then respond ‘no- that’s not CHURCH’.

 

I responded ‘no- Jesus- and Christianity teach -you must give it away to keep it’ [a main theme in AA].

 

I told him ‘what you tried was simply going to a Christian church meeting without practicing the ‘whole program’.

 

Which includes many [if not all] of the steps that you would follow in AA.

 

Which indeed is where Bill and the founders based their movement on, it was at one time called THE JAMES GROUP- named after the letter of James in the New Testament.

 

The point I was making was- I have had more than one well intending person simply write off THE CHURCH- not realizing that they never really tried THE CHURCH.

 

That is- they never really implemented the teachings of Christ fully- and many others- over a 2 thousand year history- had.

 

 

So- once again- this is not to say that God is not working in AA/NA.

 

No- without a doubt he is.

 

But because I have had many experiences this past year- of people- who after 30 years or so- continue to relapse.

 

[Note- these people- without an exception- when I asked them what happened. They simply believed that it was their fault. Now- maybe so. But to the point of ‘no- this program has BEEN PROVEN to have never failed- for those who do it fully’ is taught in the Big Book. But there are many- I’m sure- that might have failed because of other reasons. Like I’m explaining today. See- if after multiple stories of relapse- and if you are reading the words in The Big book- that says ‘up to now- all who failed- did so because of ..’ some fault of their own- then this can become a self-defeating cycle. There might be- and indeed are- other reasons that some of these people continue to relapse. Some have developed such a defeatist view of themselves- and at times an irresponsible one ‘I have a disease- that’s why this happens to me’. See- some have embraced wrong- false ideas. And it is possible that this minority [or majority?] of cases- they are relapsing because they need better- more up to date help with their addictions].

 

If you hold to this outdated view [that all who have followed this system have never been known to fail- up to now] – penned by good men about 80 years ago.

 

Then you need to be updated on the latest data.

 

[Maybe at the time that Bill wrote this- it was true- but not now. And to continue to tell people that all who followed the plan never relapsed- is simply not true].

 

Updating these mistaken concepts would help the movement- in my view.

 

 

For their sake- those who have a history of relapse after many years in the program- over the next few days I want to give you a balanced approach.

 

Though I am clean for a year- I really don’t see this as some ‘rare’ thing.

 

Nor do I want to use my example as the basis for this study.

 

No- the actual data show us that more people over the past 2 thousand years- have become free from addictions- thru the practicing of Christianity [and to be fair- other religious disciplines as well- Islam- etc.- which teach biblical principles of self-discipline- prayer- fasting- etc] then following any other program.

 

The bible does indeed tell us that we can chose to ‘sin not’.

 

That’s really not such a surprise- to have to go thru all types of other things- then to simply seek God- apply the teachings of your church- and yeah- many get clean.

 

 

Ok- I don’t want this final post on AA to be negative.

 

Those in the movement that have found freedom- I bless you.

 

If you were to ask me a percentage number on the ‘good versus bad’.

 

Geez – I would say 90% is good- maybe 10 % needs a correction- a structural change within the movement.

 

The problem is- because AA is truly a movement- and yes- a God given movement [but not THE FIRST- or only].

 

Run by what we call ‘laymen’ [the biblical principle of the actual followers running the show- this is very biblical in nature- and because the meetings are founded this way- with no single Pastor type person- the meetings are in my view run in a more biblical way than many churches].

 

But at the same time- I don’t know how the movement can make the adjustments that in needs to make.

 

 

There are many examples I can give- from well-meaning people in the program- who simply do not realize that their view of AA/NA in general has become ‘cultic’.

 

Just one example- out of many.

 

One friend was giving me the NA book- and of course as a reader- who has also read many more up to date materials on addiction- I received the book graciously- and told him I would start reading.

 

Which I of course did- like I did with the Big Book.

 

But he told me that all the other books I read- they were ABOUT  addiction- no- this one was different than all others [once again- the same cultic approach you see in various Christian cults- who are also very good people- but have a sort of higher view of the writings of their movement- sort of like scripture].

 

My friend simply believed that the NA book he was giving me was one of a kind.

 

That every other book on drug addiction fell into the category of ‘about addiction’

 

But that this one- this was the only one that saved you from addiction.

 

Once again- all well-meaning people- but these signs are danger signs- at least to me.

 

They come too close to the more extreme Christian churches- who also hold to these types of views about their writings.

 

I also found that many appealed to their own example [though as of now- every one that has discussed this with me- has seemed to have relapsed]

 

I would say ‘don’t just look at me- or any other person- no- the data show [data- other books- studies] show that many are getting clean thru these other approaches’.

 

[Note- in my discussions- some friends openly admit this- they say that the Book says there are other programs that work. But yet later- they will also still hold to the concept that FOR THE FIRST TIME God gave a program that frees people. These 2 ideas are contrary. I think some simple changes to the language would help].

 

One friend- a leader in the local movement- would tell me outright that reading the other literature was sort of being unfaithful to the Big Book.

 

I gave him my other books on addiction- he did not read them.

 

But then when we got into these discussions.

 

Maybe he would say ‘No- this is the first time a God given program has been shown to man…’

 

I would simply quote the latest data- which shows this belief to be false.

 

He would say ‘I never heard that’.

 

I would respond ‘if you don’t read anything else on addiction- but simply keep re-reading the 154 pages [which seems to be a sort of Fundamentalist approach within the movement itself- I have heard some Old Timers say the 154 are the key] over and over again- then you will never broaden your perspective about anything- including addiction recovery!’

 

 

 

 

2; AA/NA AND THE SEX ISSUE

 

Note- when I post these types of post on Facebook- my intent is not to ‘preach’ to my friends who are living in various situations [I have gay friends- friends in different situations]. No- these types of posts are for those who are in these types of groups- AA- etc. and seem to be wanting a lifestyle change to some degree. So- for those who keep seeking some difference- and keep stumbling over stuff- for those- I thought this type of post might help- ok- trust me- I don’t wish to offend anyone.

 

I want to cover Sponsors in one post- but first let’s get to what I think might be the most important aspect of why some- in AA/NA- might still be struggling- with continual relapse- after an entire lifetime in the program.

 

This past year as I did read the Big Book- and attended meetings- I noticed- and was told- that many in AA/NA have ‘traded one addiction for another’.

 

Actually one of our first Halfway House residents told me how- in his view- many have traded the substance addiction for ‘sex addiction’.

 

That is- a lot of the people are ‘picking up’ people for sex- to put in bluntly.

 

A few months ago- I was having a talk with a friend who is sort of ‘an expert’ in AA.

 

Been in it for 25-30 years- knows the material well- good guy.

 

 

In our discussion I told him that I feel like many are continuing to have problems because the sex issue is really not dealt with- as a sin- and many who stop drinking/using- are still dealing with the guilt- and what the bible calls ‘wrath’ on a daily basis- because of this actual issue.

 

 

Ok- I’m not preaching here- I have ‘been there- done that’.

 

As most know- I’ve pretty much talked about stuff in an open way this year.

 

So- no one here is a saint.

 

But- in scripture- the act of sex- outside of marriage- is considered much more destructive to a person’s soul than all other sin [outside of murder].

 

So- when people stop abusing drugs/alcohol- but still participate in adultery- the penalty- feeling this Wrath- will still be there- but in a much more pronounced way.

 

 

Let me explain.

 

The Apostle Peter wrote ‘There are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises- whereby we can escape the corruption that is in the world THRU LUST’.

 

As I have stated in other posts this past year- I have come to believe that the core issue of addiction is indeed this lust [sex] issue.

 

Now- many will identify as a substance abuser- but often the person started using substances- maybe years earlier- as a way to deaden the Wrath [that feeling of guilt- and judgment] that comes along with ‘sleeping around’.

 

You cannot escape this- period.

 

 

So- for some- the root cause of their addiction is this very thing [remember- the bible- which I just quoted above- actually says that the corruption exists in the world- thru lust. Which means that is the root of all other sin in the world. Not saying sex- the God ordained way- in the marriage covenant- but any sex outside of marriage brings this judgment on a person].

 

Ok.

 

I do believe that this is a root cause of relapse- continuing in what the bible describes as a much worse sin/addiction- then the actual substance abuse itself.

 

But now- when some do indeed find freedom from the substance- but can’t seem to overcome the sex thing- Walla- you begin feeling this judgment- this wrath- in a more pronounced way.

 

 

And because the sex thing is not dealt with [I’ll explain in a moment] then there is a natural tendency for the user to want to return to the drug/drink- because that’s the thing that ‘deadened’ the guilt from the start.

 

Now do you see?

 

 

Ok- when I was talking with my friend who has much experience in AA- I told him that when I read thru the big book this past year- I remember reading a page that said the founders of AA decided to be neutral on the sex issue.

 

My friend vehemently denied this!

 

See- once again- it was more of a defense of the movement itself- then an honest conversation.

 

I was not defensive- I told him ‘oh- maybe I’m wrong- I just remember reading a passage- and I remember how it talked about the popular philosophy of Freud- Hedonism- and then that page seemed to say that AA takes a neutral position on the sex issue’.

 

I remembered the passage because I teach philosophy as well as history- and when the Big Book was written the thinking of Freud was a big debate- Freud taught that one of the problems of man was him trying to restrain himself from any expression of sex at all. That if we throw off all those old ‘Victorian/religious’ rules- and practice unrestrained sex- Hedonism- then we can resolve man’s problems.

 

So- that’s why I remembered the passage from the big book- it did not say it accepted Freud- but also chose to take no position and not really deal with the whole sex issue [which in my view is THE ROOT of most addictions].

 

 

So- my friend- who at first said I was wrong- that the big book does take a stance- went and found the page.

 

 

I read the passage- and sure enough- it was the page I remembered.

 

And- as I re-read it- I was right.

 

[Just a note here- when he showed me the page- he seemed to say ‘see- it’s here’- like he was defending the Big Book. When I sat there and read it- I told him ‘yeah- this is what I just said- that here AA takes the neutral position’. He then agreed with me. He too knew Freud. He admitted I was right. See? That’s a problem in AA- even my friend- who was open and sincere- when he knew the page he opened to was actually agreeing with my point- he still went ahead- to defend the book- knowing he was wrong.]

 

I wasn’t mean- I just told my friend how as you read the page [he did know about Freud] that you can see that the Big Book is not taking a stand on the sex issue.

 

And actually teaches- in another section- that on these issues you follow your conscience- and if whatever type of sex your conscience says is ok- then that’s acceptable.

 

Ok- once again- if you follow this- and try it- you will never be able to escape the ‘built in’ wrath of God- and in my view- eventually relapse- because the root issue is not dealt with.

 

I want to say that my experience in AA was not a negative one- but because I was open minded- and never was ‘anti-AA’- this allowed me to get to know people- ask them questions- and try and learn from their experiences.

 

 

This last year- as I read up on addictions and the Rehab industry in the U.S.

 

I found some who are totally opposed to AA- and want to end the program.

 

 

I am not in that camp.

 

As I sit here and write- a verse comes to mind.

 

When I was back in N.J. – I struggled with whether or not to stay in the meetings.

 

Most of all I didn’t want to be a stumbling block to those who have found AA/NA as a great help.

 

To those- I say ‘great- keep doing what you’re doing’.

 

My intent in this brief critique is for those who are finding themselves in some of the examples above.

 

 

The bible says ‘you will know the truth- and the truth will set you free’.

 

I have found many- most- of the AA friends do not want to hear- or read any of the other literature on addiction.

 

If someone is close minded- or has a view that reading the other stuff is somehow wrong- then those people will continue to suffer from not knowing the latest information about addiction.

 

 

The verse that I read while asking God what position I should take- I knew I was seeing lots of this stuff because I have taught- and participated in Movements over the past 25 years.

 

So I knew many of the good things about Movements- as well as the dangers.

 

So- I could see some of these things- and many of my AA friends had no way to spot some of these flaws.

 

The verse- from Acts ‘REFRAIN FROM THESE MEN- IF IT BE A WORK OF GOD- NO ONE CAN STOP IT- BUT IF OF MEN- IT WIL FALL’.

 

I believe AA/NA is a work of God- and that as it goes for all movements- you can attack them- pick them apart [as many did in the books I read- or from friends who did not want to get clean].

 

So- this critique I write for the benefit of ‘Bill’s Kids’.

 

 

Yeah- one of the most amazing things to me in my year with AA was how God used an ex-alcoholic to start a worldwide movement that would help many people become free from substance abuse.

 

 

If I were talking to Bill W right now- I would say-

 

‘Brother Bill- what a great work of God you founded with a small group- I truly enjoyed being with your kids this year- they are a great family.

These things I write are not meant to simply criticize you.

But I felt like the kids needed this- that as all movements- and books go- apart from the bible- they are with flaws.

I even think you would be displeased to see that some of your kids treat the Big Book- almost like the bible.

So- as I say goodbye to AA- I might stop in every now and then- but I felt like my purpose was done with this great family.

I worried- a lot- that my seeing these things- and not being able to deal with them in a meeting format- might cause others to fall- who are your kids Bill- not mine.

So- I bless your kids- they are a great family- you did something that most never do.

You remained anonymous as much as possible.

You effectively passed off the movement to THE KIDS.

Your kids run the show- that’s great!

Yes- many biblical principles have been introduced thru AA.

I pray that as the movement goes on for many more years.

That the adjustments that need to be made- will be made.

God bless you all

 

John.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2046

 

THE KID IS ON THE WAY

 

Ok- lets pick up where we left off the other day.

 

On the basic theme of the bible- that you can sum up the main story as a promise God made to a man- named Abraham.

 

If you remember- God told Abraham if he went out to a strange land- God would bless him with many kids- and thru HIS SEED the whole world would be blessed.

 

So- as you read thru the bible- the Old Testament- everything else you read- is sort of building up to the time that this Chosen kid would arrive.

 

Which is Christ.

 

A few points.

 

As I write this week- and follow world issues- the world in many ways is in turmoil because of the religious/political uprisings in many nations.

 

Much of the division is due to a divide within the Muslim faith itself [Sunni, Shia].

 

I have talked about what this division is all about in the past.

 

But for now- it would be too much to get into.

 

Another cause of serious concern is the present day persecution of Christians in these areas where these wars are taking place.

 

Ok- in the promise to Abraham- we see that God sort of joins the various peoples of the earth and says ‘yes- this blessing is for all of you- Jews, Arabs [Muslims] and Christians’.

 

And it is popular in our day- among politicians- to refer to the 3 great faiths of Abraham.

 

Islam, Judaism and Christianity do indeed find common ground- as they all look to Abraham as the father/founder- in a way- of these faiths.

 

What I want to offer here- is in order for my Muslim and Jewish friends to partake fully of this promise- they can only fully grasp it by seeing that the fulfillment is thru the promised Son who is Christ.

 

As we move along in the story of the bible- we see the various situations that these kids of Abraham went thru.

 

At one point God tells Abraham that this family will be in bondage 400 years in a strange land.

 

That’s the whole story of Moses and the famous Exodus out of Egypt [the name in the bible book- Exodus- is taken from this story].

 

The children of Israel are finally delivered from Egypt- and after 40 years in the wilderness- they take the Promised Land.

 

Now- an important- and overlooked theme- is that the Apostles in the New Testament [in the book of Acts].

 

Seem to see this promise as being fulfilled in a spiritual way thru the resurrection and ascension of Christ.

 

That is- the actual teaching from the bible is that all who believe in Christ- whether they be Jewish or Muslim or any other group- they are now receiving the promise that God made to Abraham.

 

It’s no longer a debate about actual physical land- or about a specific ethnic group [The Jewish people].

 

But no- the Apostle Paul writes the letter to the Galatians and says-

 

‘They are not Jews who are Jews outwardly- thru the circumcision of the flesh- but inwardly- those who are circumcised in heart’.

 

The apostles begin seeing the promise to Abraham’s seed- as the spiritual promise- given to all who believe in Christ.

 

The reason this is important to see is because some of the divisions- the religious divisions- are based upon what ethnic group will ‘possess the Holy Land’.

 

Though these are true- serious concerns- because lives have been lost over this.

 

Yet- when we see the true intent of the promise- a spiritual blessing to all nations- no longer a land issue- then I believe it will help all of us- Jews- Muslims and Christians- to find true common ground.

 

Because at that point we are no longer debating- having wars over who gets what.

 

But we can begin seeing each other as ‘heirs with him- OF THE SAME PROMISE’.

 

 

THE THRONE OF DAVID-

 

As we follow the main theme of the bible- and hopefully cover the whole bible in a few more posts [yes- that’s possible- and important. Many times sincere people say they tried to read the bible but got lost along the way. That’s why it’s important to kind of do a summary like this. Believe it or not- many preachers/teachers have never done- or realized- that you can sort of break it down like this- in an easy to understand way].

 

Let’s briefly see where we are at.

 

In the beginning of the story- found in Genesis- God made a promise to a man [Abraham] and his kid [Isaac- and eventually the whole nation of Israel- then the promise- that God would bless all nations thru his kid- is fulfilled thru the person of Jesus Christ himself].

 

The Old Testament is usually divided into 3 categories- The Law [1st 5 books of the bible] The Psalms [which by the way contain a lot of prophecies about Christ- because king David- who wrote lots of the Psalms- will have special promises made to him too- just like Abraham] and the Prophets.

 

So- the Law- 1st 5 books- cover this Promise to Abraham- and how it takes various twists and turns- Moses delivering the people out of Egypt-  Joshua’s leading the people into the promised land- etc.

 

But- as you read- many of these stories are simply ‘framework’ about this promise- that Christ will come.

 

After the children of Israel take the land- they go thru a history of disobeying God- and over time various countries will conquer them and they will live under enemy occupation for a time [Babylon- Syria/Persia].

 

We read about this in the 3rd division of the Old Testament- called the Prophets.

 

The Prophets are simply the stories of God reproving- correcting- the people [the people are the nation of Israel- the kids of Abraham- see how this initial promise can be seen as a structure for the Whole Story?].

 

But during the history of the various kings [we read about them in the books of Kings- and Samuel- found in the Old Testament].

 

There is special attention given to King David- whom the bible refers to as a man ‘after God’s own heart’.

 

God makes promises to King David- that his ‘Son’ will sit on his throne [the throne- rule of David] quote- FOREVER [how can one Son sit on the throne- forever? The Apostles in the book of Acts see this promise fulfilled- because Jesus- the Son of David- now lives forever- he has an endless life. They saw these promises as pointing to the resurrection of Christ].

 

Ok- we see- once again- certain special promises about a future Son [Jesus- the same Son that Abrahams promise spoke about].

 

But this time God will give us more details about the Son.

 

Some of the prophecies [promises] about David’s Son- are what we call dual prophecies.

 

They apply both to Solomon [David’s son] as well as to Christ- also referred to as the Son of David.

 

It’s interesting- in one of the many debates that Jesus has with the religious leaders of his day- he asks them-

 

‘Who is Christ- the Son of David? If so- then why does David him call him Lord? How can Christ be David’s Son- and the Lord of David at the same time’?

 

Jesus was quoting an actual Psalm of King David- Palms 110.

 

So these prophecies about a coming Messiah were known among the people of Jesus day.

 

But the deeper meaning- that Christ would indeed be born thru the Seed of David- but that he had always existed with God the Father from all time.

 

That truth was not known- so Jesus stumped them with this question.

 

Ok- re-cap.

 

We see under the rule of King David that God makes certain promises to David about a future Son.

 

That this Son would sit on the Throne of David- forever.

 

In the book of Acts- these promises are quoted from the Apostles- Peter and Paul- and they are preaching to their fellow Jewish countrymen.

 

And are trying to show them ‘look- this Jesus- whom God raised from the dead- he is the promised one we have all been waiting for’!

 

As you read the sermons in the book of Acts- this is a main theme.

 

It’s almost as if the Apostle Paul is frustrated that they can’t ‘see’ this!

 

Paul will later teach [in his letter to the Corinthians] that satan has blinded the minds of those that don’t believe.

 

Because to the early Jewish followers of Jesus- it was obvious to them that this Jesus- this miracle worker who lived among them.

 

Lived a spotless life.

 

He was the one.

 

Then he told them something one day- well- that seemed to confirm the accusations of others- that he was nuts.

 

He said ‘I must go to Jerusalem and die- be killed- and the 3rd day rise again’ [which would be the only way the promise to king David- and Abraham- could be fulfilled. The apostle Peter actually says this in his preaching- that God raised up Christ to sit on the throne- where he is now seated at the right hand of God- forever- like the promise said- because he has been raised from the dead].

 

His followers did not fully understand all of it.

 

But sure enough- after his brutal crucifixion at the hands of an unjust govt.

 

 

He shows up to his followers and various other witnesses [the bible tells us there were about 500 people who saw Christ alive after his death].

 

And yes- he himself becomes the promised kid.

 

The Seed of Abraham- and the offspring of David- the Root of Jesse.

 

Yes- in the pages of the New Testament we see the promise fulfilled.

 

Ok- I might do just a few more posts on this.

 

But as you can see- you really can cover the main theme of the bible- in a short time.

 

 

A key to remember when doing a study like this is that everything points to Christ as the ultimate fulfillment of the promises.

 

Of course there are lots of other details- and important stuff that you have to skip over when doing this brief overview.

 

But even if we get into all those other stories- they still point to Christ.

 

NOTE- a good passage from the bible that covers how the early Jewish followers saw that Jesus was the fulfillment of the promise made to King David is Acts chapter 2: verses 24-35. See how the apostle Peter- in one of the most famous chapters in the bible [because it is usually seen as the beginning of the church- the pouring out of the Holy Spirit].

But look how much of Peter’s famous sermon talks about this very thing- the promise of God made to king David- that a Son would sit on his throne- and how Peter saw this as being fulfilled thru the death and ascension of Christ to the right hand of the throne of God.

I’ll give you just a few examples from the pens of the Apostle Paul and John – ‘Concerning his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh’. Romans 1:3.

‘Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel’. 2nd Timothy 2:16.

‘And one of the elders saith unto me- weep not: behold- the lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David, hath prevailed to open the book and to lose the seals thereof’. Revelation 5:5.

‘I Jesus have sent my angel to you to testify these things in the churches, I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star’. Revelation 22:16.

 

 

 

 

 

 

2047

 

UNJUST SCALES [At this time shall Michael stand up- the prince that stands for the children of thy people- Daniel 12:1]

 

 

This week I want to cover a subject that I have been thinking about for a few years now.

 

Years?

 

Yeah.

 

Over the years I have sort of become an advocate for the Poor- and for those in the criminal justice system- who get mistreated.

 

Now- I am NOT AGAINST guys being sent to prison for crimes and stuff- having to pay their dues.

 

But there are many cases that you become aware of- both because I worked with law enforcement for years- as well as the many years working with ex-cons and stuff.

 

 

Over the years the guys at the Fire Dept. used to kid me ‘hey John- one of your convict buddies came by looking for you the other day’.

 

These were friends I made over the years- preaching at the jails and stuff.

 

When they got out- they knew I worked at the Fire Dept. and they would come by and see me.

 

So- I speak as someone who has been around for a while.

 

 

By the way- I will also give some examples [if I remember] how the abuse of law has even come up against good law abiding people.

 

Yes- a recent case I read from a New York Times piece.

 

Well might as well start with this one.

 

Over the years many local law enforcement agencies- by states passing new laws- became dependent on confiscating large amounts of cash as they stop cars on the highway.

 

 

The Fire Dept. I worked for in Kingsville- though a small town- made a lot of drug busts off one of the main arteries from Mexico to the states.

 

Highway 77.

 

We actually got tired of the S.O. [Sheriff’s office] and P.D. [Police dept.] calling us to use our Jaws of Life cutters to cut open the gas tanks of vehicles and stuff.

 

Our equipment- though well able to tear into these vehicles- was not meant to get all the wear and tear from stuff like this.

 

Our tools were purchased- at quite a high price- for emergency rescue- not for cutting cars to find drugs.

 

But- these local agencies became dependent on the money.

 

And the laws were so lax- that even if you found ‘grandma’ with her retirement cash- yeah- they took it.

 

 

Huh?

 

Yes- the recent case I read was a woman- an older lady- who had her retirement money that she just cashed out for some reason- I think to move it into another bank or something.

 

Ok- maybe she had close to a million- Old lady- not a criminal.

 

She got stopped by one of these agencies- and they took the cash.

 

The law allowed them to take it.

 

Now- you would think she got it back- right?

 

 

No.

 

They scanned the money for any trace of drugs- and sure enough- some traces of pot were detected on the cash.

 

Walla- grandma was a dealer!

 

Actually not.

 

She had all the proof and records to show it was indeed her retirement money.

 

But- the statistics show that a certain percentage of all money has a trace of drugs on them.

 

Simply because of the odds.

 

If you have a lot of cash- like the woman had- at some point some of these bills might have been handled by someone with pot on their hands.

 

Heck- maybe even the bank teller smoked a doobie before work?

 

 

But- after the law enforcement agency had the cash- remember- many depend on the cash for end of the year bonuses- or new equipment.

 

Yeah- the laws were set up to give incentive for the law agencies to WANT THE MONEY.

 

 

 

The law agency took this lady all the way to the Supreme Court.

 

She spent a large portion of her money to simply get back some of it.

 

 

 

That was unjust.

 

 

Maybe the law agency justified it ‘well- she should have known better than to carry cash that might have been tainted’.

 

Maybe so- but the agency still tried to bankrupt grandma- even though they knew it was really her retirement cash.

 

 

Ok- I give this example [and a few others in the next post or 2] to simply enlighten us all about what I call UNJUST SCALES.

 

In the book of Proverbs it says God detests unjust scales.

 

Meaning when the law abuses citizens God will not hold them guiltless- even those in the system.

 

This abuse ranges from the example I just gave- to even those who abuse actual criminals.

 

Yes- God also detests it when the system abuses those who are actually in prison for crimes they committed [I’ll teach this from Genesis chapter 4- the story of Cain- the first recorded murder in scripture].

 

 

A few verses ‘Those who sin outside the law will be judged outside the law- those who sin IN THE LAW will be judged by it’.

 

‘God will judge those who frame mischief by a law’.

 

‘When the Holy Spirit comes he will reprove the world of [various things]… and of judgment- because the prince of this world is judged’.

 

 

Prince?

 

Isn’t that satan.

 

Yes.

 

But if you read- carefully- Psalms 82- it talks about God judging the Princes of this world.

 

In context- it’s speaking about those who have been given authority- yes- by God.

 

Kings- cops- etc.

 

And when they abuse this authority- one of the ministries of the Spirit- is to also bring those agencies- govts under judgment.

 

 

 

 

 

OK- let me give just a few local examples that have been reported for many years.

 

I want to be careful here- many of the examples of police abuse are indeed from guys that have long criminal records.

 

These are street guys- but their records are for minor offenses.

 

Many arrested for Public Intoxication- trespassing- stuff like that.

 

But- after hearing- and being told personally by these guys- about the same thing [cops destroying personal property- cutting tents- etc.]

 

After hearing it for 25 years- from different people- over time there must be some validity to it.

 

One guy at the homeless mission said one day ‘yeah- the guys buy drugs at that cops rental properties- how can this happen’?

 

This was simply a local homeless guy- maybe an addict- but even to him- he was surprised that criminal activity went on openly in full view- with the rental houses that this cop owns.

 

NOTE- I know this to be true- I have worked with guys who live in these apts- and yes- drug dealing goes on regularly at these properties.

 

I also held some bible studies in an apt. at these places- so this is something I can vouch for.

 

Does the cop know about this?

 

He must- most of the homeless guys are talking about him when they have complaints- they all know each other in this area [note- I do not think the cop approves of it- or is involved in it- I just think he bought these places in a bad area. And he probably can’t stop it from going on. I used to work with street guys who lived in these places- just yesterday I was with 2 of them- Bill and Larry- they were complaining about not being able to get the stove fixed! So- I kind of can empathize with this cop- he might just be in over his head with the property itself- I used to own rental houses- it can be a tough job].

 

 

Ok- just a few complaints I hear on a fairly regular basis.

 

 

Just recently one of the homeless guys told me that a local cop saw a regular drunk- nick named Alabama- the cop gave him 3 dollars and told him to guy by a beer and pass out in the brush.

 

This young kid- Alabama- will be drunk in public- and this makes the cop’s job busy [to keep arresting these guys- booking them- bringing them to the jail takes time. Like fire fighters- you do your job- but when you get calls that you consider nuisance calls- like when they called us because there were bees on a tree- yeah- you get annoyed].

 

So maybe the cop didn’t want to have to arrest the kid- and he gave him 3 bucks and told him to get drunk.

 

Another example.

 

John [I’ll hold the last names on these] a guy who stayed at our halfway house.

 

One day he was at the bus stop- a cop pulled up and said ‘what are you up to’?

 

John says- not in a smart ass way ‘Just enjoying Gods beautiful day’.

 

The cop slams the cop car into park- gets out- calls him a smart ass- and yeah- he got arrested.

 

John tells me ‘how can they do this’.

 

 

The cop must simply falsify the report- which can happen in cases where you are arresting a guy with a track record.

 

So maybe the cop put some type of other minor offense on the report- and yeah- John went to the local jail and probably made some plea and Walla- nothing to it [for the cop- but my friend had to do time in the local jail- then go to court- do a plea- all for simply saying he’s enjoying Gods day].

 

 

Huey- the same cop who owns the apts I mentioned- told him one year ‘leave the bluff- if you ever come back- I’ll arrest you’ [this is Huey’s side- I don’t know the cops side- that’s why I leave the name out].

 

One day Huey came back- he was living out of town.

 

Huey says as soon as the cop sees him- he was arrested.

 

Huey asks ‘what did I do’?

 

It was- according to Huey- another case where the cop just would make up some other minor offense- and lie on the report.

 

‘John- do cops really do this’?

 

I worked with cops for 25 years- most of them were good guys- but yes- some [not all!] do stuff like this.

 

Not all of them- most of these examples are about one local guy- who I know.

 

But after so many reports- you have to wonder what’s going on.

 

 

Henry.

 

Henry is a homeless friend- he does look the part- scruffy beard and all.

 

But he is really a straight arrow.

 

Doesn’t mess with drugs- I have never seen him drunk.

 

And over the years I have taken Henry with me on ministry trips- he is a smart Christian believer.

 

 

One day Henry says ‘yeah John- last night the cops put me in handcuffs’.

 

For what?

 

From what he says- no reason at all.

 

Most people don’t realize that when you get one bad cop- who maybe has a grudge against one homeless guy- that cop will do this many times over.

 

 

 

So- these are simply some local examples [I leave the cops name out- but he has been reported to the higher ups many times- and has recently been removed from the Bluff- where this happens].

 

 

Balance.

 

Most cops [just like Fire Fighters] are well meaning people- they struggle with things like everyone else.

 

But when you have examples- like the friend that got arrested for saying ‘just enjoying Gods day’.

 

These stories really bother me.

 

My friend Henry- who by the way is a Deacon for Church Without Walls- a good homeless ministry here where I live.

 

When you get a cop that arrests you- specifically because you mention God- like the above example.

 

That’s really a problem.

 

I’m not giving the cops name- because I do know that I am only hearing one side of the case.

 

But after hearing this for 25 years- from hundreds of different sources- you begin to believe it.

 

 

Ok- This is another example of unjust scales- or those who would use their authority to carry out personal vendettas.

 

 

These are things that God hates.

 

Just as much as the actual crimes that some of the homeless also do.

 

Yes- for the most part- when guys get arrested on the street- they are indeed violating the law.

 

 

But God wants all in the system to abide by the law- not just the ones without a badge.

 

NOTE- I have been wanting to cover this issue for a while. I felt this week was the time. Just yesterday as I sat at the local mission. A new guy walks in- beat up.

He says ‘the cops just beat the sh.. out of me’.

His name is Timothy [aka Slim].

He is homeless and was sleeping in South Bluff Park.

He said they kicked him- he was sleeping- he got scared [didn’t know who was kicking him] and stood up.

That’s when he says it happened.

I took a picture of his bruises and will post them to Facebook.

I don’t know both sides- maybe he was aggressive to them and they had to throw him on the ground- that is possible.

I just thought it strange that this is the first time I have ever seen this guy- and he walked in with this story.

 

 

 

MICHAEL THE ARCHANGEL

 

Over these past years as I have advocated for- and prayed for these cases [I collect lots of newspaper clippings of people- often young kids- who commit severe crimes. I put them on a prayer wall and pray for them over the years].

 

I do not pray for them to ‘get off’ of the crime.

 

But that the system would not unjustly come against them.

 

For instance- prison rape is rampant- and at times accepted and or used as a means for some in the system to ‘get’ people they don’t like.

 

Many prisoners- young ones- have been raped by older men.

 

The system often lets this happen.

 

This too is unjust.

 

I mentioned above about the first recorded murder in the bible.

 

Genesis 4- the story of Cain who killed his brother Abel.

 

This chapter is where we get the famous phrase ‘Am I my brother’s keeper’?

 

 

God asks Cain where his brother is- after Cain killed him.

 

And this is the response Cain gave.

 

But as I recently read this chapter- I saw something that is often overlooked while reading this story.

 

In the chapter it says that God punished Cain for his sin.

 

He will be a wanderer for the rest of his life.

 

The ground [his work efforts] will amount to little.

 

He will live a cursed life.

 

 

Now- Cain says to God ‘my punishment is too much- everyone who sees me will slay me’.

 

Cain is afraid that others will take it upon themselves to go beyond the actual punishment that God [or society] deemed worthy.

 

Much like those in the system- Cops- jailers- etc. who take it upon themselves to go beyond the prisoner’s actual sentence- and maybe even beat the captive up.

 

So- when Cain tells God he’s afraid others will do this.

 

God puts a MARK on Cain [some speculate what it is- the point is God is going to protect Cain].

 

Sometimes teachers/preachers see this mark in a negative way.

 

But actually it was a mark of protection.

 

God ‘marks’ him and says ‘all who try and get Cain- on them vengeance will be repaid- 7 fold’ [by the way- that’s where the current rock group that’s their name].

 

 

The point is in God’s justice system- yes- he requires punishment for sin.

 

But he also in a sense protects the prisoner- the one who commits the crime.

 

Not that the criminal gets of Scott free- but that God takes seriously when those in the system try and carry out more than the courts have declared.

 

 

Ok- over the years as I began praying specifically for the prisoners I memorized a prayer pattern- which I pray weekly for the prisoner.

 

These are just a few verses I use.

 

‘Let the sighing of the prisoner come before thee and according to the greatness of thy power preserve those that are appointed unto death’

 

‘Remember not against us former sins but let thy mercies speedily prevent us’

 

‘Pour out thy wrath [judgment] on the systems that do not know thee and the kingdoms that have not called upon thy name’

 

 

When you ‘collect’ the prayers of the prisoners- you are tapping into many real prayers.

 

Men and women who have indeed committed serious crimes- and you enter into their brokenness- their repentance and their grief.

 

Jesus himself went into the ‘lower parts of the earth- hell- and led captivity captive- and gave gifts unto men’.

 

 

 

I have also incorporated the imagery of Michael the Archangel in this.

 

 

In Daniel 12:1 it says ‘at this time shall Michael your prince stand up- the prince that stands for the children of thy people’

 

Michael is also spoken about in the book of Revelation.

 

In Christian tradition/art- [statues as well as paintings]

 

Michael is depicted as a messenger of God who binds satan.

 

Some of the images show him with a sword in his hand- others have a pair of scales.

 

 

Scales represent Gods judgment on the courts/law.

 

They deal with this whole subject of unjust law- when those in the system do the stuff I’m talking about in this post.

 

 

 

Last year when I dealt with a lot of my own legal stuff- I felt like God was going to do some judgment on the local system.

 

I bought a one way ticket to Newark New Jersey.

 

I thought I might move back for good.

 

As I was waiting for the day to go- July 2013.

 

I felt like God was going to work in this stuff.

 

 

The other day I read a surprising story in the paper.

 

A local judge [Tom Greenwell] shot himself- in his chambers.

 

He killed himself in July- right after I flew out.

 

The news didn’t report it till now.

 

 

I don’t know why he shot himself- but the sheriff’s dept. is now going back and investigating the cases he had.

 

To see if he might have been involved in any illegal rulings.

 

 

 

As I write this week- there are many examples I can give about ‘bad cops’.

 

Just recently there was a Federal bust made on a South Texas Sherif’s commander- and some local cops.

 

 

They were in what was called the Panama Unit- a special division that targeted crime.

 

Instead of stopping crime- they were working with Mexico/Texas drug dealers.

 

They were stopping drug runners from Mexico into Texas and stealing the drugs for re-sale.

 

 

When I got back from New Jersey one day I was talking to a friend- old guy.

 

Actually it was Pop’s- the guy I wrote about a few posts ago.

 

Pops told me about Judge Mary.

 

I have heard of her before- she was an ex judge who retired from the bench and tried to help the local drug addicts.

 

Sort of like my story.

 

It interested me.

 

But Pops told me something I never knew.

 

 

Judge Mary convicted a local guy- and he was put to death.

 

Later- according to Pop’s- they found out she convicted an innocent man.

 

Now- when pops first told me this- I believed him- but am also aware that the anti-death penalty advocates [of which I am one] have been looking for a case like this for years.

 

So I wondered if pops got the story right.

 

But later I remembered that sure enough- the one case that the anti-death penalty folks have been looking at is the case of Carlos Deluna.

 

Which is a local case that involved the execution of some guy- who they said later might have been a case of mistaken identity.

 

Either way- I guess this was the case that Judge Mary ruled on.

 

Mary eventually died living in a rundown hotel- known in the area where we have our half way house as a drug/prostitution hotel.

 

She died living in that rundown place- the addicts she was trying to help used all her money.

 

And this was a sort of a self-imposed Purgatory for Mary- she too came under a self-imposed judgment for her possible hand in the death of an innocent man- with the law as her tool.

 

 

 

As I end this post- a few things.

 

 

First- how should we- Christians- view the law?

 

The bible says ‘great peace have they which love thy law and nothing shall offend them’.

 

‘Obey every law of man for the Lords sake’.

 

The apostle Peter even says ‘obey the authorities- not only the good and gentle- but also the forward [rude- pushy ones]’

 

‘For they are the ministers of God unto thee for good’

 

‘They are the servants of God carrying out his will’

 

I could go on.

 

But the point I want to make is our response to the law should be that we love the law- and obey it.

 

I’m careful not to side too much with my homeless friends when I hear their complaints about the local cops.

 

Because I know that many of them bring it on themselves- by continuing to break the law.

 

Another verse says ‘those who sin will break the law- because sin is the breaking of the law’.

 

 

One last example.

 

I sold my van to a good friend last year.

 

I know these guys from the streets- and this friend was doing good- had a good job- was clean for almost a year [he uses Meth and alcohol].

 

Over time he relapsed- paid me about half of the payments [750.00] and offered to drop the van off at my house.

 

I was in the NY area at the time- he called me and told me.

 

I told him keep the van- considered it paid- and get clean.

 

But before I left Texas- my buddy would offer to give me rides- I had no car at the time- and I sold the van.

 

But I noticed- he just refused [couldn’t?] stop at the stop signs.

 

I mean he just blew right thru them- not even a rolling stop.

 

After a while- I just avoided riding with him.

 

I wasn’t worried about an accident- but the van was still under my name to a degree- and my friend more than likely was high/or drinking on some of these occasions.

 

It wasn’t a secret- but I did not want to get stopped by the cops- and he was making it easy to get stopped!

 

But it showed me- that many of the complaints [he did get stopped one day- without me- and went on about how the cop was harassing him- but I knew he deserved to get stopped- he was running every stop sign in town!].

 

So I end this post with that.

 

I pray regularly for those in authority- as the bible says.

 

There are some- not the majority- but some- who are ‘in the law’ and yet break the law.

 

I pray for them as well [recently I added Adam Garibay to my list- a local Border Patrol agent who shot and killed his wife’s lover a few days ago].

 

 

God hates unjust scales- that is he hates it when the law is not applied evenly.

 

Go also loves mercy.

 

The bible says mercy rejoices against judgment.

 

Don’t look for vengeance- don’t try and ‘get even’.

 

Forgive- pray- and if you see/hear about injustice in the system- then yes- it’s also your obligation to report it.

 

I have found it beneficial to report it to not only local authorities- but federal as well.

 

Not little stuff- but cases were you hear that maybe some law enforcement were involved in killing some homeless guy [which over the years- I have heard stuff like this].

 

So- if you think that something serious like this might have happened -yeah- I get as much info as possible- and I send multiple letters out.

 

I don’t simply pass rumors- but am honest- and say these are some things that have been talked about for a while- I simply ask that you might look into it.

 

Never lie- or mislead.

 

But if- over time- you keep hearing the same thing- from various sources- about specific people.

 

Then yes- it’s ok to report it.

 

 

 

 

 

2048

 

Raised to walk in newness of life [‘Abrahams kid’ conclusion]

 

 

Today let’s finish our study ‘ABRAHAMS KID’.

 

This last month we held about 5-6 home group meetings in various cities.

 

I have been trying to teach along the same lines of our weekly posts.

 

So for those who are in our groups- when this post is done I will post the entire study [which covers all the meetings].

 

I’ll post it as a page to the web site.

 

One more note;

 

Over the last few years since we have been on-line.

 

I find it interesting to see the various nations that log on to the site.

 

I used to make a list-but over time we have had so many that I stopped keeping track.

 

The other day I saw one that surprised me.

 

It said  HOLY SEE [VATICAN CITY].

 

Either the Pope- or someone from inside the Vatican logged on.

 

Truly an honor.

 

 

Ok- the last few weeks we have discussed the main theme of the bible.

 

God promising man that someday he would send a deliverer- a Messiah.

 

We follow this promise thru the story of Father Abraham- and down thru the Son of King David.

 

We read in the New Testament that Jesus Christ is indeed the promised one that was to come.

 

As I started this study- it was right during Christmas.

 

I usually try and do a chapter about the Christmas story.

 

In Matthew 2 we read that when the wise men came from the east looking for the King of the Jews.

 

They showed up in Judea and it was King Herod who asked the priests and scribes where Christ should be born.

 

The wise men followed the star from the east- but it was the Jewish religious leaders who looked in the scriptures [Micah 5] and gave the directions to the wise men.

 

‘In Bethlehem of Judea’.

 

The point is- all Israel was waiting for Jesus- for this promise.

 

They were in expectation of a Savior to come.

 

Even though we started this study with the story of Abraham- yet the promise in seed form goes all the way back to the garden.

 

In Genesis we read the first prophecy- sometimes called the First Gospel [Protoevangelion- in scholarly terms].

 

In Genesis chapter 3 we read of the fall of man.

 

God says to Eve ‘the serpent will bruise his heel- and he will bruise the serpents head’.

 

It was the original prophecy that someday a son born from woman would engage in battle with the Devil- and yes- this battle would leave a permanent mark/scar on this Son [wounds of the Cross].

 

But thru these wounds the Son would finally bind ‘the dragon’.

 

When the angel Gabriel announced to the Virgin Mary that she would give birth to Jesus- this was Gods sovereign choice to pick Mary as the one who would give birth to ‘the hope of Israel’.

 

 

The people of Jesus day- including his disciples- initially thought that Jesus would be a sort of political deliverer.

 

That he would lead the Jewish nation in a revolt against her oppressors- Rome- sort of like the 5 sons of Maccabees did a few hundred years before- when they rose up against the wicked Seleucid empire and threw off their rule [we read about this in the Catholic book of Maccabees. The Jewish people till this very day celebrate this victory when they observe the feast of Hanukah]

 

But Jesus showed the people that his kingdom was not a violent in- in which he would lead a literal rebellion in which people would be killed.

 

 

No- he would instead go to the Cross- and thru his death- burial and resurrection- he would finally ‘bruise the serpents head’.

 

 

Yes- Jesus would become the new king of this new kingdom of God.

 

He would be raised from the dead- and as the promise made to king David said-

 

‘This Son would rule from David’s throne- world without end’

 

AMEN.

 

 

2- HOW DOES GOD BLESS THE WORLD THRU THE PROMISED SON?

 

This week I have been concluding this study in our house churches.

 

I want to end by making the Promise clear.

 

Remember- we started this study with the promise that God made to Abraham [Genesis 12- 15] that if Abraham obeyed God and went on this tremendous journey.

 

Then God would make him into a multitude of people [initially applied to the nation of Israel- but in the writings of the apostle Paul- Galatians/Romans- Paul teaches that this promise is made to ‘all the seed’ [people] not just to natural Jews].

 

Ultimately the promise- that we can all be blessed [Jews- Christians- Muslims- etc] is achieved thru simply believing God- about his Son [that he was crucified- buried- and on the 3rd day rose again from the dead].

 

All who believe are saved.

 

In Genesis 15- when God told Abraham to go outside and look at the stars.

 

The bible says ‘Abraham believed God and it was accounted unto him for righteousness’.

 

The apostle Paul uses this singular statement in his letters found in the New Testament to teach that all peoples of the earth can too receive the blessing of Abraham- thru faith.

 

Yes- just like ‘father Abraham’ believed God.

 

We too can believe God about his Son- and be declared righteous [be saved].

 

In the letters of the New Testament Paul says ‘when did God justify [declare forgiven- saved] Abraham- before or after he was circumcised’?

 

The rite of circumcision in the bible means a lot more than a simple medical procedure.

 

It was a sign that people entered into the old covenant with God- called the law.

 

So- Paul says ‘see- Abraham was declared just BEFORE he was circumcised’.

 

Showing that Abraham is truly the father of all nations- not to the Jew only- but all- even those who were never circumcised [meaning even those who were outside of the Jewish covenant of law].

 

Ok- I don’t want to make this study too hard to get.

 

The purpose was to show- in a simple way- the main story of the bible.

 

And one of the main themes in the New Testament is the reality that all the nations of the earth have this blessing thru the ‘Son of Abraham- the seed of David’.

 

Yes- that’s the blessing- the promise made to these ancient people who lived thousands of years ago.

 

 

This message was liberating to the Jewish people at the time of Jesus.

 

The apostle Paul himself was a strict religious teacher- a Pharisee.

 

But we read about the struggle with sin he had [Romans 7] even though he knew- and tried very hard- to obey the law [to not sin].

 

But he shows us that no matter how hard he tried to keep the law- he [and all men] could never keep it.

 

Paul teaches us ‘thru the law is the knowledge of sin’.

 

But man- in his sinful nature- could never keep it.

 

 

 

Jesus instead died in our place- paying the penalty for sin [all the acts of man breaking the law from the start].

 

And thru faith [see how important this initial promise is- the way we can be saved is only thru faith- Paul also says ‘thru the deeds of the law no flesh can be justified in Gods eyes’].

 

Paul says ‘if we could be saved by obeying the law- then Christ died in vain’ [Galatians].

 

Think about that for a moment.

 

If we could achieve salvation thru any other way- then Christ would have died in vain.

 

But the historical reality of the Crucifixion of Christ is in itself a testimony that we can only be saved thru Christ- thru faith in him.

 

 

Ok- a few simple words from the New Testament-

 

‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son- that whosoever believes in him should not perish- but have everlasting life’ [Jesus himself].

 

‘For by grace are we saved thru faith- not of ourselves’ Paul

 

‘Whosoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God’ John

 

These promises were never meant to give a license to sin.

 

They simply show us that men could never justify themselves before God.

 

Paul says ‘do we continue in sin that grace may abound? GOD FORBID- how shall we that are dead to sin live any longer in it’?

 

‘Whosoever is born of God does not commit sin’ John

 

‘He that says he is in him- ought himself also to walk as Jesus walked [lived]’ John

 

‘Abstain from fleshly lusts that war against the soul’ Peter.

 

‘Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son upon the altar’ James.

 

 

These are just a mix of verses from the various writers of the New Testament.

 

They show us that when we do receive the free gift of God- with that gift comes a lifestyle change.

 

‘For this purpose was the Son of God manifest- that he might destroy the works of the devil’ John

 

 

I want to end our study this week.

 

 

Just last night we had another house church meeting- at a beautiful beach front home- a few blocks from where I live.

 

We sat on a great pier overlooking the intercostal waterway here where I live.

 

A friend of mine owns it- and we are going to do another home group here as well.

 

 

When I first got back from New Jersey- I didn’t plan on starting them so fast.

 

But we now have them all over the region.

 

In our meeting yesterday- I had some good friend with me who I have known for years.

 

He [I won’t mention his name] is really an outstanding Christian- yet homeless.

 

He has been a good friend for many years.

 

When I got back from N.J. others told me ‘John- have you seen …. He looks bad’.

 

 

I just recently started taking him with me to our meetings.

 

He has talked with me- and is struggling with sin- but he is so knowledgeable of the scriptures that it seems like the devil has brought upon him tremendous condemnation.

 

I spent lots of time counseling him- gave him some printed copies of my web posts that I felt might be helpful.

 

 

But because my friend confided in me- I know that the thing that is effecting him is simply sin- and the overwhelming feeling of hopelessness that comes with addiction.

 

He has convinced himself he has committed the sin unto death- and I have assured him he has not.

 

 

But that’s the destructive nature of sin.

 

In this study I wanted to emphasize the reality that freedom comes thru faith in Christ.

 

But that does not mean we can continue to go out and practice sin.

 

The apostle Paul said ‘if we build again the things that are destroyed [meaning the sin that Christ died for] we become transgressors’.

 

So- as we end- I want to encourage all of you.

 

Sin is destructive- it destroys the soul of man.

 

The death of Christ- the promised Son who was to come.

 

This enables us to die also- to our old ways.

 

‘Mortify therefore the deeds of the flesh’

 

‘Buried with him by baptism into death- we are raised to walk in newness of life’

 

‘Set your mind on things above- not on the things of the earth- for we are dead and our life is hid with Christ in God’

 

His resurrection allows us to be ‘raised together with him- seated together in heavenly places in Christ’.

 

Yes- we can all have this promise.

 

 

God bless you all.

 

Amen.

 

 

 

 

2049 UPDATE- As of today- I feel like I left this post up long enough. I went thru it- trying to redact the actual names of people- because I felt I wanted to just document the many cases that have come to me over the years. But it was too hard to just remove the names- so I basically deleted this post for now.

 

There was no pressure-or threat [originally I did mention the name of the Cop that most of these applied to].

 

But- as always- I pray about how much to post- how long to leave the post up- and stuff like that.

 

I just felt there was too much personal stuff about 1 cop- while in general- the problem is not just 1 person- but a general thing that goes on- a lot.

 

Lots of people don’t know how the poor/homeless are treated.

 

And I want to continue to write about cases over the years.

 

But I also want to extend grace- though these things have always bothered me.

 

So- for now- let’s do it like this- hopefully the situation gets better in time.

 

About the only thing I could save from this original post were these 2 verses.

 

‘For the oppression of the poor- for the sighing of the needy now will I arise saith the Lord- I will set him in safety from him that puffeth at him’

 

‘He will regard the prayer of the poor and not despise their prayer’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2050

 

THE LORD SAID TO ME- TAKE A GREAT SCROLL AND WRITE IN IT WITH A MANS HAND- Isaiah 8:1

 

This week I want to cover some of the gaps in our recent study called ‘Abrahams kid’.

 

I tried to give a brief overview of the whole bible story in a few posts- to make it easier for people to get a grasp of the main theme of the bible.

 

But- we skipped a lot of good stories- practical things- at the time.

 

I have been covering the ‘skipped things’ in our house meetings- and want to do a little for our on-line community.

 

If you remember- I talked about God making promises to people [Abraham and his descendants- the Jewish people].

 

The promises centered on them having a huge family of people- so many- that you would never be able to count them.

 

But- if you read this story in the bible- the main characters- are mostly barren [can’t get pregnant].

 

Sarah- and the other women whom this promise is connected to- are not having kids at the normal time when women have kids.

 

Sarah was about 90 years old when she gave birth to Isaac.

 

Even as the promise continues into the New Testament- Elizabeth- the mother of John the Baptist [a key figure in the story- John was a prophet that was to come before the Messiah].

 

Elizabeth’s husband- Zechariah the priest- was praying for a son, because his wife too was barren [not able to get pregnant].

 

If you remember- this is a famous story in the gospel- the angel Gabriel appears to Zechariah while he is doing his priestly duties in the Temple.

 

And the angel tells him that his wife Elizabeth will have a child in her old age [much like the story of Abraham and Isaac].

 

Now- it almost seems like a contradiction that many of the key players to a promise- that ‘your wives will have millions of kids’.

 

That most of these wives- were not able to get pregnant!

 

Why did God do this?

 

God often makes promises to his people- calls them to various purposes/ministries- that in the natural- they can’t perform.

 

There’s a verse in the book of Zechariah ‘not by might- nor by power- but by my Spirit saith the Lord’.

 

God calls people to tasks- that when the mission comes to pass- we can’t say ‘see- look what WE did’.

 

He often gives us assignments that do indeed look impossible.

 

He also rarely gives you all the details at the start.

 

Even though he knows them.

 

The prophet Isaiah says ‘God knows the end [outcome] of a thing from the start’.

 

Again ‘ I HAVE DECLARED THE FORMER THINGS FROM THE BEGINNING AND THEY WENT FORTH OUT OF MY MOUTH AND I SHOWED YOU THEM- I DID THEM SUDDENLY- AND THEY CAME TO PASS’.

 

Ephesians says ‘God chose us- from before the world was made- to believe in him- and to do a specific task in life’.

 

 

God ordained you to fulfill this purpose from day one.

 

It’s interesting- both John the Baptist- and Jesus- were given their names by the angel Gabriel.

 

‘You will name him Jesus- for he will save his people from their sins’.

 

Zechariah- John’s dad- was told ‘his name will be John’.

 

The bible says the people were surprised that he named him John- because there were no other John’s in the family.

 

 

The names denote their purpose [John means beloved].

 

In a way- God was saying ‘I have set purposes for these children- they have now come [been born] at this time- for a purpose I ordained before I made the world’.

 

FOR THE LORD HEARETH THE POOR AND DESPISETH NOT HIS PRISONERS

 

 

 

2- Had a real good meeting at Pop’s house yesterday.

 

Pop’s [Bobby] used to sing and play piano for some famous old time gospel groups- The Gaithers- Imperials- etc. he even played a CD for us where he was playing piano in the background- not a homemade CD- but discs that were released professionally.

 

I have been holding home church meetings just about every day now- in different cities- spots around town.

 

I have been surprised that many of my street friends have been interested in attending the meetings.

 

And some of the guys- so far- have quit drugs.

 

Why Now?

 

For many years- I too was an alcoholic- but I’m in my 2nd year sober- and this needed to happen to get results.

 

Jesus said ‘a bad tree can’t produce good fruit’.

 

If you’re not clean yourself- you really can’t help others.

 

 

I have so many interesting stories/prophetic things [dreams- visions] that have happened this last year- it would be impossible to tell them all.

 

Let me give you just one.

 

Over the years I have learned to ‘see’ my buddies- who have died- as still being in our group.

 

In the mornings- when I pray- and work with the guys on the street- I keep the old timers who have died ‘with me’ in this community.

 

Last year- before I went to New Jersey- I made a journal- with verses- pictures- and little art things- things I found on the streets of N.J. and Texas while I was doing my long walks [If I remember I’ll post pics of the journal on Facebook].

 

Before I left- I found just one actual picture of Bill.

 

Bill died a few years back- many of the guys I’m working with now never met Bill.

 

A couple of them do.

 

Bill had a severe limp- and walked in a unique way- you could recognize him from a mile away.

 

 

So- I have this photo of Bill in my journal- it was hanging up on the bulletin board at the mission- I ‘acquired’ it for my journal.

 

 

The last few weeks- as I was praying- I had a sense of Bill ‘walking and leaping and praising God’ [Acts]

 

 

On my long walks- I started running into an old street friend- Carpenter Tim.

 

Tim, Bill and I go back for 25 years.

 

Tim was part of the original crew.

 

But many of the guys now don’t even know Tim.

 

He has a homeless camp in the Bluff- works- does his routine- and you don’t see him on the streets.

 

He’ll ride his bike into town- and that’s when I have been running into him.

 

 

I have a prayer spot off the Oso bay- he’ll catch me there every so often.

 

 

The other day I ran into Tim at the store.

 

He pulled up in the parking lot and tells me-

 

‘Hey John- I had this strange dream about Bill the other day- it was so weird’

 

‘Bill was running and jumping at the Wal Mart parking lot- there was an oil rig right there [I actually doodle pictures of oil rigs when I do my little art stuff- to me it’s an image of a Well- not the type you read about in the bible- but that’s why I do use this image- you know ‘Texas well’ thing]

 

I told Tim- it was a prophetic dream- because I just recently was ‘seeing’ this same image in my prayer time [Not the exact image- but an image of Bill healed- and rejoicing about what we were doing in the Bluff].

 

The next day I ran into Michael at the mission.

 

Mike has been on the streets for many years.

 

Works multiple jobs- just bought a nice van- and will be getting an apartment soon.

 

Mike is a talented artist- he has painted a couple of pictures for me- for the ministry.

 

[I consider him as the artist for the ministry]

 

One is hanging up on the wall of my partner at the halfway house [by the way- Mike just met him yesterday].

 

 

So when I saw Mike- I asked him ‘I want you to do another painting for me- I’ll explain it to you when we sit down’.

 

[I posted the pictures of Bill on Facebook- you can see Mike making the sketch]

 

We went back to the house and I shared the dream Tim had.

 

As Mike was making the sketch- I thought ‘geez- maybe I’ll just have him sign the sketch- and keep that’ [I’ll also post the sketch].

 

It was so cool- all these signs and stuff- from my street friends.

 

BEHOLD- I- AND THE CHILDREN THAT THE LORD HAS GIVEN ME ARE FOR SIGNS AND FOR WONDERS. Isaiah 8:18

 

 

3-

 

HE THAT TOUCHES YOU [The poor- homeless] TOUCHES THE APPLE OF MY EYE [GOD].

 

Yesterday I had about 12 of the street crew at the house.

 

Not a bible study- per se- but sort of a fellowship.

 

Lots of these guys are using [drugs- etc.] but at the house it’s a drug/alcohol fee zone.

 

So- they are learning how to get together- [I bought some chips and stuff] hang out- and have fun- all without having to use.

 

I told Arthur ‘hey- check out my room- I have the pictures hanging up from my New York [N.J.] trip I made last year’.

 

I printed the phone pictures from my journey- have the ‘street crew’ [the guys I befriended from North Bergen- Rick, Nick and Billy] hanging on the wall.

 

Huey was crashed out on the spare bed- and Art and Timothy checked out the room.

 

 

Pops called me- Pops is sort of an elder.

 

He has been in town most of his life- was an alcoholic for many years- has lots of very interesting stories.

 

He lives in a very run down Apt. in a drug area of town, a few blocks away from the halfway house.

 

He is one of the most famous AA people in South Texas.

 

He sang- wrote- played piano with famous old time gospel groups [Gaithers, Imperials- wrote some of Dottie Rambo’s famous songs].

 

I have made it a habit to answer the phone when Pop’s calls.

 

He just wants to talk- he does ramble on some times- but I see it as ministry.

 

Often time’s people feel better when someone simply listens to them.

 

I have a few friends like this- the other guys often say ‘I don’t like so and so- he talks nonstop’.

 

Part of it is the guys do suffer from metal stuff- Bi-Polar- etc.

 

And that’s part of it.

 

But it’s therapeutic to let them talk- and at times they do have beneficial stuff to say.

 

Anyway- when Pops called- we were all watching The Apostle [Duval].

 

It’s one of my favorites.

 

I just recently have had an old friend actually start coming to the meetings.

 

I have known him for years- he always politely told me he can’t be one of those ‘phony’ type Christians.

 

Always smiling- quoting the bible.

 

I have told him ‘trust me- I’m not like that either’.

 

But he sat thru a teaching I did.

 

I never read from the bible- or make notes.

 

I just talk from memory and quote stuff- more of an informal format.

 

Mike had some good questions at the end.

 

[Mike is the artist for my ministry- I just posted some of his stuff on Facebook].

 

He also told me [this was a meeting from the other day] that some of the things Pop’s said really helped him a lot.

 

I kind of had the feeling when Pop’s was ‘rambling’ that God was going to use it.

 

I knew both of their backgrounds.

 

Pops told us that when he was a baby- his father beat him and rolled him in a blanket and threw him out of a window.

 

They revived him at the hospital.

 

His dad was an alcoholic.

 

Over the years- he had many experiences of being rejected by is family.

 

It was a situation where he was raised by an aunt- as he grew up they never told him that his real mother had a bad background- and he always thought his aunt was his mom.

 

Yet the ‘step mom’ favored her real boys- and Pop’s always felt rejection.

 

His mom was also addicted to heroin- and used- when she was pregnant.

 

Pop’s was a heroin Baby.

 

He told me of times when he was around 5-6 years old- and he helped himself to some type of strong drug that was around the home.

 

It was in one of those bottles like where you pinch the little plastic syringe- and the drops come out.

 

He was an addict from a young child.

 

He served in WW2- was a corpsman [like me] and eventually became a registered nurse.

 

Got a job in a Dallas hospital- and wound up at one point working the nursery- treating the Crack babies.

 

Yeah- he came full circle.

 

I practice the habit of not only reading the bible thru- but also trying to ‘hear’ what God is saying for each day.

 

Sometimes a friend will mention a bible chapter- or a key phrase.

 

I’ll try and read that chapter later when I get home.

 

When I was in North Bergen last year- a funny thing happened.

 

I hung out a lot at the White Castle restaurant that I used to eat at when I had the Munchies as a kid.

 

And I would meet the guys there.

 

There were a few of the senior crowd- not street guys- who hung out there too.

 

And my street friends all knew them.

 

They were all friends- sort of like the ‘White Castle Crew’.

 

Rick got a kick out of Tony, an older guy who served in the war.

 

He was retired- and drank every day.

 

He’d sneak a bottle in- and sip it during the day.

 

He would sing the song ‘You are the sunshine of my life…’.

 

But he changed the words- it went like this

 

‘You are the Apple of my Eye..’

 

To the tune of ‘you are the Sunshine..’.

 

Rick got a kick out of that.

 

When he called me up- I would kid him- and sing the tune.

 

He would crack up.

 

I guess you could say it’s the theme song for my North Bergen crew.

 

So- last week I was reading Proverbs.

 

In chapter 7 I read ‘the law is the Apple of Gods eye’.

 

Hmm?

 

Kinda fits- in a way.

 

Then I’m with Henry- a homeless friend.

 

He mentions Zechariah chapter 2.

 

I read it the next day- it says

 

‘He that touches you- touches the Apple of my Eye’.

 

Yeah- that fit better.

 

BLESSED IS HE THAT CONSIDERETH THE POOR- THE LORD WILL DELIVER HIM IN TIME OF TROUBLE- PRESERVE HIM AND KEEP HIM ALIVE- HE WILL BE BLESSED IN THE EARTH.

 

[God will bring into judgment those] BECAUSE HE REMEMBERED NOT TO SHOW MERCY, BUT PERSECUTED THE POOR AND NEEDY MAN, THAT HE MIGHT SLAY THE BROKEN IN HEART.

 

FOR HE SHALL STAND AT THE RIGHT HAND OF THE POOR, TO SAVE HIM FROM THOSE THAT CONDEMN HIS SOUL.

 

BEHOLD- WHEN YOU SEE ALL THESE THINGS- KNOW THAT IT IS HERE- EVEN AT THE DOORS [Jesus Christ]

 

 

 

 

2051

 

AND THE FIFTH ANGEL SOUNDED AND I SAW A STAR FALL FROM HEAVEN UNTO THE EARTH AND TO HIM WAS GIVEN THE KEY OF THE BOTTOMLESS PIT- Revelation 9:1

 

Last year- February 15th– 2013 I had a strange event.

 

As I was up praying early in the morning- as my habit is I look at the stars.

 

But this day something happened that never happened before [read post 2028 from last year]

 

As I was looking up- just happened to be looking at a certain spot in the sky- I saw a star [out of thousands].

 

Then- it got super bright- and went out.

 

I saw- for the first time- a Super Nova.

 

I have a verse here written on the fence- I originally painted it back in 2007.

 

It says ‘at the start I showed you this sign’

 

Not an exact quote- but it came from a previous experience in 2007.

 

While at the fire house one morning- up praying [Before I retired- I spent whole nights in prayer].

 

Some days I went to bed at 8- got up at 11- 3 hrs. of sleep- and went outside and prayed all night.

 

Some of the guys were just heading to bed- and they would say ‘you’re gonna start now?’

 

I couldn’t sleep for many months [years?] so I would pray all night.

 

But that’s when I wrote the verse- I retired in 2008.

 

As I was up that year- I went outside and felt the Lord wanted me to pray- what I call- the Daniel prayer [from Daniel chapter 10].

 

Daniel prayed for God to come- and after a couple of weeks an angel appears to Daniel and says ‘When you first started praying- I heard- but the prince of Persia [a demonic entity that ruled over the region- these Principalities- spoken of by the apostle Paul in the book of Ephesians- give power to corrupt authorities that rule in the earth].

 

The angel tells Daniel that this wicked spirit withstood the Holy angel from breaking thru.

 

But then the angel says ‘I HAVE COME FOR THY WORDS’.

 

 

As I was praying in Kingsville this day- I simply prayed something to the effect of ‘God- break thru- send an angel- clear out the wicked prince’.

 

Right as I prayed it- I saw 2 huge fireballs in the sky.

 

This was not a vision- they were simply meteors [shooting stars] that were close to the earth.

 

Later in the week I told my friend David [another ex-addict- part of the church I formed in Kingsville].

 

He told me he was fishing that night and also saw them.

 

 

So- that’s the verse/experience I painted on the fence.

 

Then when I saw the Nova last year- I realized this was the sign from God.

 

 

Ok- I want to be careful here- because I have had many prophetic dreams- visions and experiences over the years- and it’s difficult to tell them all- without looking- well- nuts.

 

 

In the book of Revelation we read about angels carrying out different tasks.

 

One has this great censor- he casts it into the earth- and the prayers of the saints who died ascend up to God.

 

I also do a prophetic act like this.

 

Over the years I collect the news articles of local cases of people who committed serious crimes.

 

Young kids- doing something stupid- while high.

 

Yet- the crimes are indeed serious- so I cut these articles out and pin them up on a prayer wall.

 

Then- when the wall is finished- I burn them all in this censor- early in the morning- and in a way ‘I redeem’ their prayers.

 

Many of them pray- repent of their crimes- and spend the rest of their lives repenting.

 

These prayers have power.

 

The image of the angel with a censor- and also a ‘star that fell from heaven- to him was given the key to the bottomless pit’.

 

In a sense- it is a picture of us too- when we engage in heavenly warfare- we can ‘cast’ this censor into the earth- we can access this ‘bottomless pit’ of broken people- and pray for both mercy- and Gods justice to come forth.

 

If you do a study of all the angels- you can see how they are interacting with the prayers of people.

 

How some of them are connected with stars falling from heaven [signs like the nova] casting censors into the earth [when I collect all the articles- I burn them- and later take up the ashes and throw them].

 

In Revelation 9- when the angel casts the censor into the earth- it releases upon the earth- torment/wrath- on those who have not the mark of God on their heads.

 

In a way- it’s a prophetic judgment on unjust systems- because in the end the purpose of God’s wrath is not vengeance- not to get even- but to produce righteousness for all in Gods court.

 

There are also many images in the book of Revelation about Gods court being in session.

 

We- the people of God- play a role in this.

 

In a sense- the writer of the book of Revelation- the apostle John- was also an ‘angel’.

 

The word angel- in the Greek- simply means messenger.

 

John was on the island of Patmos and Jesus sent John- to write 7 letters- to the 7 churches in Asia Minor.

 

One of the first visions John sees is Jesus with 7 stars in his right hand.

 

John is given the interpretation of this vision ‘the 7 stars that you see- are the angels of the 7 churches’.

 

Many bible commentators see these stars as men.

 

Thru out the book- we read about angels with 7 trumpets- vials- etc.

 

‘These are the 7 spirits of God that go into the whole earth’.

 

Zechariah says ‘UPON 1 STONE SHALLE BE 7 EYES’ [the things we write- prophetically- will be seen by many].

 

We continue to read the letters John penned till this day- the book of Revelation.

 

So in a sense- John too was carrying out the ministry of an angel- messenger-

 

See?

 

The bible says in the book of Psalms ‘HE MAKES HIS ANGELS SPIRITS- AND HIS MINISTERS A FLAMING FIRE’.

 

On the day of Pentecost- Acts chapter 2- when the Holy Spirit came down on the church.

 

There appeared over the 12 apostles heads ‘tongues of fire’.

 

Why tongues?

 

These original followers of Jesus would proclaim the gospel- they were ‘minsters as flames of fire’.

 

And their words- and writings [the New Testament] would continue to carry out the role of messenger- till this day.

 

WITH RIGHTEOUSNESS SHALL HE JUDGE THE POOR AND ARGUE WITH EQUITY FOR THE MEEK OF THE EARTH AND HE SHALL SMITE THE EARTH WITH THE ROD OF HIS MOUTH AND WITH THE BREADTH OF HIS LIPS SHALL HE SLAY THE WICKED

 

BEHOLD- I WILL MAKE JERUSALEM A CUP OF TREMBLING UNTO ALL THE PEOPLE ROUND ABOUT WHEN THEY SHALL BE IN THE SIEGE AGAINST THEM [the poor- homeless- when those oppress them- when they are ‘in the siege’ those who take advantage of them because they have no resources or ability to defend themselves]

 

IN THAT DAY I WILL MAKE THEM A BURDENSOME STONE FOR ALL PEOPLE- ALL THAT BURDEN THEMSELVES WITH IT SHALL BE CUT IN PIECES THOUGH ALL THE PEOPLE OF THE EARTH BE GATHERED TOGETHER AGAINST THEM

 

I WILL SMITE EVERY HORSE WITH ASTONISHMENT AND HIS RIDER WITH MADNESS [Horse- Rider? Those who use the actual tools that the law provides- to carry out personal vendettas- including governments who come against 3rd world nations- stuff like that]

 

IN THAT DAY WILL I MAKE THE GOVERNORS OF JUDAH [the elders who stand up for God’s people- the poor and homeless] LIKE AN HEARTH OF FIRE AMONG THE WOOD AND LIKE A TORCH OF FIRE IN A SHEAF AND THEY SHALL DEVOUR ALL THE PEOPLE ROUND ABOUT ON THE RIGHT HAND AND THE LEFT

 

IN THAT DAY SHALL THE LORD DEFEND THE HOMELESS AND HE THAT IS FEEBLE AMONG THEM IN THAT DAY SHALL BE AS DAVID AND THE HOUSE OF DAVID SHALL BE AS GOD- AS THE ANGEL OF THE LORD BEFORE THEM

 

AND IT SHALL COME TO PASS IN THAT DAY THAT I WILL SEEK TO DESTROY ALL THE NATIONS THAT COME AGAINST THE POOR

 

[These references are from the prophet Zechariah- chapter 12. In today’s time period- the New Covenant- God carries out these judgments BY HIS WORD- Many radicalized religions get this wrong- they see violence – sword- etc. No. Jesus judge’s with his Word- to create righteousness and justice- that’s the context for our day]

 

Practical stuff- those of you who have read my blog for a while know that I am not an advocate of many of the modern spiritual warfare type teachings. I am familiar with them- have read- been involved with many of these type ministries over the years.

All good Christian people for the most part.

But I always felt that some of the techniques created too much focus on demons and satan.

I also very rarely address a demon- or satan himself in prayer.

I practice the principle we read in the Apostle Peter [and Jude’s] letters ‘Michael the archangel- when disputing with satan over the body of Moses- did not bring a railing accusation against him- but said THE LORD REBUKE THEE’.

Yet- some of the stuff I’m touching on in this post are indeed keys to true spiritual warfare.

We read of many images in the book of Revelation where the prayers of the saints- even those who have died- are still effective.

The Catholic Church has always practiced this- Most Protestants have not.

[I pray the Catholic prayer- Saint Michael the Archangel- every week]

In Revelation- you are not ‘praying to the dead’ you are collecting the prayers of the people- there is an image where the Great Winepress of the wrath of God is being trodden.

God’s wrath is for redemptive purposes- I just read some verses from the Old Testament prophets- they say that we too tread this winepress.

This means when God sees that injustice in a certain place has gone on for too long- he then acts.

He works thru the prayers of his people to ‘open up a gate way’ in heaven so to speak.

The ‘Prince of Persia’ who withstood the prayer of Daniel was a demonic principality that worked behind the wickedness that the earthly rule expressed.

True spiritual warfare does engage these principalities in a way- but not directly- as many of the modern warfare teachers teach.

As you seek God- he will release angelic forces [Michael the archangel is a key- in the Daniel chapter I quoted above- It says ‘NO MAN WILL STAND WITH YOU IN THIS- BUT MICHAEL YOUR PRINCE’

 

THE NEEDY SHALL NOT BE FORGOTTEN- THE EXPECTATION OF THE POOR SHALL NOT PERISH FOREVER- THE POOR COMMITETH HIMSELF UNTO THEE- YOU ARE THEIR HELP

 

I JESUS HAVE SENT MY ANGEL TO TESTIFY THESE THINGS IN THE CHURCHES- I AM THE ROOT AND OFFSPRING OF DAVID- THE BRIGHT AND MORNING STAR

 

THE 7TH ANGEL SOUNDED ‘THE KINGDOMS OF THIS WORLD HAVE BECOME THE KINGDOMS OF OUR GOD AND HIS CHRIST- AND THE NATIONS WERE ANGRY AND THY WRATH IS COME- AND THE TEMPLE OF GOD WAS OPENED IN HEAVEN- AND THE ARK OF HIS TESTIMONY WAS SEEN

 

I HAVE ESTABLISHED A TESTIMONY IN JACOB

 

THOU EXECUTEST JUDGMENT AND RIGHTEOUSNESS IN JACOB

 

AND THE 3RD ANGEL SOUNDED AND THERE WAS A GREAT STAR BURNING AS A LAMP

 

WHAT THOU SEEST WRITE IN A BOOK AND SEND IT TO THE CHURCHES

 

BE SILENT ALL FLESH BEFORE THE LORD- FOR HE IS RAISED UP OUT OF HIS HOLY HABITATION

 

WHEN HE OPENED THE 7TH SEAL THERE WAS SILENCE IN HEAVEN FOR HALF AN HOUR AND AN ANGEL CAME AND STOOD AT THE ALTAR HAVING A GOLDEN CENSOR- THERE WAS GIVEN HIM MUCH INCENSE THAT HE SHOULD OFFER IT WITH THE PRAYERS OF THE SAINTS UPON THE ALTAR- AND THE SMOKE OF THE INCENSE- WITH THE PRAYERS- ASCENDED UP TO GOD

 

[note- the many verses I’m quoting about the poor are not simply things I recently looked up- these are verses I have posted over the years in my prayer room. I’ll post the pics when I post this]

 

 

 

 

 

AND AFTER THESE THINGS I SAW ANOTHER ANGEL COME DOWN FROM HEAVEN, HAVING GREAT POWER- AND THE EARTH WAS BRIGHT WITH HIS GLORY- AND HE CRIED MIGHTILY WITH A STRONG VOICE, SAYING, BABYLON THE GREAT IS FALLEN, IS FALLEN- FOR ALL NATIONS HAVE DRUNK OF THE WINE OF THE WRATH OF HER FORNICATION, AND THE KINGS OF THE EARTH HAVE COMMITTED FORNICATION WITH HER AND THE MERCHANTS OF THE EARTH ARE MADE RICH THRU THE ABUNDANCE OF HER DELICACIES- FOR HER SINS HAVE REACHED UNTO HEAVEN AND GOD HATH REMEMBERED HER SINS- ALAS, ALAS- THAT GEART CITY BABYLON- THAT MIGHTY CITY- FOR IN ONE HOUR IS THY JUDGMENT COME- Revelation 18

 

 

2- Today I will be taking the guys to our Bishop fellowship.

 

Around the 4th meeting we’ve held in Bishop so far this year.

 

Eli- one of the original members of the church I started in 1987 in Kingsville hosts this meeting.

 

I baptized him and a few others during those years.

 

Emit- who now lives in Corpus- who got baptized the same day [I forgot I baptized these boys- Emit called the other day and we reminisced a bit- he reminded me].

 

Hopefully Emit is going today- he too was an original member.

 

They were the younger crowd- even though I too was young at the time- yet I worked with their dad’s/older brothers- who were all addicts or in prison.

 

Over time their families got involved with our church and that’s how these boys [spiritual sons] became a part.

 

Eli’s brother- who had a pretty bad criminal history- is laying in the cemetery right where we’re going today.

 

I preached his funeral back in the late 80’s.

 

He had a bad history- as a youth shot 2 cops from the back seat of the patrol car- somehow he got their gun and fired thru the seat.

 

He didn’t kill them- but went to a juvenile jail and got out when he turned 18-19.

 

One day I heard he was being chased by the cops- he did say ‘I will never let them take me alive’.

 

Sure enough- he died that day under suspicious circumstances- at the hands of the cops [Kingsville Texas- back in the late 80’s- his full name was Rolando Ramirez- we called him BeBe].

 

As I have been reading thru the prophets recently- I saw how many of the prophets were given tasks that at first they really didn’t want.

 

When God called Jeremiah- he felt inadequate- God told him ‘BEHOLD- I HAVE PUT MY WORDS IN THY MOUTH. SEE- I HAVE THIS DAY SET THEE OVER THE NATIONS AND OVER THE KINGDOMS, TO ROOT OUT, AND TO PULL DOWN, AND TO DESTROY, AND TO THROW DOWN, AND TO BUILD AND TO PLANT. [hint- God’s judgment is not vindictive- it’s for the purpose of change- repentance. Often times over the years I saw a cycle- it became ‘easy’ for some of my homless friends to go to jail- get out- go back. I was always surprised to hear some of them- who really felt like they were arrested out of being targeted- either because the arresting officer was in a bad mood- or for some other reason. They too became used to it. At times it seemed like the arresting officer too got used to it- he might simply see them as ‘o well- he’ll get over it’ type thing. But in general- both sides- did not realize the seriousness of it. In society- if you restrain a person without cause- you get charged with kidnapping- in some of these cases the guy’s did indeed feel like that’s what happened- they simply got used to it [not in every case- but in some that I have been writing on.] I began to see- that some don’t realize you really cant being doing this- even if the homeless guy does not know his rights- or simply lets it happen].

 

Historically prophets deal with injustice in the nations.

 

The people of God- the Church- have a calling that goes beyond simply ‘getting saved’ and ‘being blessed’.

 

The prophet Amos was called of God to rebuke ‘capitalism’- huh?

 

Yeah- Gods people were wealthy- and despised the poor.

 

In chapter one of Amos we read ‘THUS SAITH THE LORD- FOR 3 SINS AND FOR 4 I WILL NOT TURN AWAY THE PUNISHMENT- BECAUSE HE DID PURSUE HIS BROTEHR WITH THE SWORD, AND DID CAST OFF ALL PITY, AND HIS ANGER DID TEAR PERPETUALLY, AND HE KEPT HIS WRATH FOREVER, I WILL SEND A FIRE UPON THEM’

 

The people of God despised the poor and downtrodden of the land- God sent Amos to bring justice.

 

I was talking to a friend yesterday- very knowledgeable in the bible and Christian theology.

 

I talked about Amos a bit- then told him ‘did you know that Mohamed the Prophet defended the poor’.

 

He did not know this.

 

Now- as a Christian- I do not see Mohamed as one of the Christian line of prophets.

 

But I simply brought this up to show him that the founding of Islam in the 7th century- initially- was in a sense a prophetic mission that did bring justice to the poor.

 

One of the 5 Pillars of Islam is the sharing of your goods with your fellow man.

 

Islam does not ‘tithe’ to the mosque per se- as Christians primarily practice their idea of giving.

 

But Muslims see the giving of their goods to their fellow man as the primary way to give.

 

Which just happens to be one of the major teachings of Jesus in the New Testament.

 

‘John- why say this’.

 

Because we live in a day where the world is very divided- I wanted people to see that in the bible the prophets defended the poor- stuck up for the homeless.

 

And we want to give credit where credit is due- while also speaking the truth against radical Islam.

 

‘Yeah- lest talk terrorism’

 

Really?

 

Obviously I detest Radical Islam- murder is a crime.

 

Did any of you hear the story of the guy that went in to a wedding- I believe this was in Pakistan a couple of weeks ago?

 

Yeah- the nut blew up the whole wedding party- kids- women- all innocent Pakistani civilians.

 

This guy didn’t even strap a bomb on himself.

 

No- he used some remote control device and bombed them.

 

Yeah- I’m sure you heard about it- didn’t you?

 

It was us.

 

Yes- once again- we used a remote control plane- called a Drone- and we accidently hit that wedding party.

 

Now- if we want to condemn acts of violence- which we should- then we must condemn this too.

 

The other week I was going to write about the Stock market [before any of the recent drops] I did feel like we were heading into trouble this year-  but I had so many the things to deal with at the time that I never got to it.

 

I was simply going to say that I felt like we- the U.S. – are simply in denial.

 

The global economic crisis has not been resolved- the slowdown in Asia [China] is still happening.

 

The U.S. cut bond buying from 85 billion a month- to 75 billion [which is still a lot of ‘fake’ money flooding the market- much of what you see in the DOW is simply a result of this ‘printed’ money circulating in]

 

I just felt like we were not really seeing the storm on the horizon.

 

I didn’t write that post- and sure enough the next week the Dow took a big hit- because of these very things.

 

But- it wasn’t a surprise- or news- this info was out there all along.

 

The media simply ‘felt’ like not talking about it.

 

 

Another quote from Amos chapter 1 ‘THUS SAITH THE LORD- FOR 3 SINS OF THE CHILDREN- AND FOR 4 I WILL NOT TURN AWAY THE PUNISHMENT- BECAUSE THEY HAVE RIPPED UP THE WOMEN WITH CHILD- THAT THEY MIGHT ENLARGE THEIR BORDER [for personal gain- ‘I can’t afford a kid at this time’] BUT I WILL KINDLE A FIRE IN THIER WALL AND IT SHALL DEVOUR THE PALACES THEREOF- WITH SHOUTING IN THE DAY OF BATTLE, WITH A TEMPEST IN THE DAY OF THE WHIRLWIND: AND THEIR KING SHALL GO INTO CAPTIVITY, HE AND HIS PRINCES TOGETHER, SAITH THE LORD’.

 

Wendy Davis- running for the Democrat nomination in Texas- to challenge Rick Perry.

 

She ‘made’ her name by filibustering a state law that would have put certain restrictions on abortion clinics in Texas.

 

She was asked in an interview the other week about the infamous abortion doctor out of Philadelphia.

 

A few years ago ‘doctor’ Gosnell was sent to prison for the crime of infanticide- a crime that Hitler engaged in during his Holocaust of the Jewish people.

 

Infanticide is when you take a baby- and kill it.

 

Gosnell had a clinic that looked like a modern day torture chamber.

 

Cat feces on the floor- bloody instruments- the whole works.

 

He was ‘aborting’ the babies- after they came out of the womb.

 

He would ‘snip’ their spines- while alive- and dump the dismembered bodies.

 

Now- if he ‘snipped’ the spine- or punctured the skull- or shot salt water [called saline abortion] – or ‘pulled’ the arms and legs off while INSIDE THE WOMB [which are all various ways abortion is done] then it would have been legal.

 

Mr.’s Davis was asked about this- if she could justify these procedures- simply because the full term baby was still technically ‘unborn’.

 

She had no answer.

 

See?

 

We live in a day where this so called medical ‘procedure’ is referred to as a ‘woman’s right to her own body’.

 

The media sees these so called defenders of a ‘woman’s right’ as true heroes.

 

President Obama- when in the Illinois senate was the only senator to vote against making the ‘abortion’ of a live birth-a crime.

 

His reasoning was if you ‘restrict’ abortion [even the aborting of a live birth] then it would lead to other possible restrictions down the road.

 

So I guess we can’t stop the killing of little babies because of political expediency?

 

Now- how long do you think a society can last with a foundation like this?

 

Today I’m going to make a prediction- a Prophecy.

 

I believe that the cup is to the full- for us as a nation.

 

Just seeing the current state of affairs in the world- a tremendous destabilization of former alliances.

 

Nations beginning to realize that the U.S. has no more control.

 

I believe that we are in for something bad- It’s only a matter of time before another 911 type attack is going to happen.

 

Russia and China and other Asian/European nations are beginning to act- with disregard to our ‘threats’ [China- expanded their air space and territorial borders- against our warnings. We sent a war ship in these waters a few weeks ago- saying ‘we will not stand for this’! China sent 2 ships- and they played chicken with us- they blocked our ship. At the last minute we ‘blinked’ and turned. Kerry gave a ‘terse’ warning ‘nations need to be careful in international waters- we don’t want an accident’.

 

See- we are in trouble as a people.

 

Our foundations are eroding.

 

In time- something is going to happen- not sure how long.

 

[Just got back from the Bishop meeting- it went well. Let me make a note- the reason I mentioned the stock drop- is not to say ‘see- I knew it was coming’ but I want you to see that in many ways- especially being I’m writing about what we call ‘prophetic things’- that in many ways this week’s post is ‘prophetic’. Let me explain.

When a person preaches- like what I have been doing in our house church meetings- I pray for God to speak a certain word- I simply speak- quote- I don’t read from the bible. This type of preaching is ‘prophetic’ meaning by inspiration.

Now- each week- as the week starts- I try to ‘hear’ God for that week.

So- the stock market thing- about 2 weeks ago I Kind of ‘heard’ do one on a warning about the market.

I have done this before- sometimes I hit it right on- other times not.

But when I started writing this week- including some of the above- I realized what I was ‘hearing’ was real time- sort of like when I speak in the meetings.

I think I’ll finish this week’s post- tomorrow- in a different way- because I’m trying to follow a pattern of what where doing in the meetings- as well as what the guys share].

 

3-

 

Yesterday in Bishop I talked about the Tent of Moses. It was the system that God gave to Moses when they were delivered from Egypt- thru the Red Sea- and wandered for 40 years in the wilderness.

 

In short- when God gave Moses the 10 commandments- Moses put them in a box- called the Ark of the Covenant.

 

This was what the Indiana Jones movies were based on ‘raiders of the lost Ark’- of course the movies were fake- but the Ark was speaking about this.

 

Picture in your mind a sort of mobile shed- with 2 rooms in it. Around this shed [sanctuary] was a sort of fence- and when the people of God traveled- they took down- and put up this system as God directed.

 

The bible tells us that the 12 tribes of Israel camped around it.

 

In a way- it’s sort of a picture of the church.

 

We- the people of God- are a mobile [on the move] community- with the Ark [the box- a type of the body of Christ [his flesh] and within is contained the perfect nature- character of God [the law].

 

Jesus in the book of Revelation is called ‘The Word of God’.

 

So- today- the people of God have Jesus as the central ‘building block’ in the midst of the community.

 

Jesus is called the chief corner stone as well.

 

During the time of the Old Testament this temporary sanctuary eventually became a Temple.

 

So the Ark was moved into the temple.

 

The temple was simply a permanent structure- yet was modeled after the tent system that God gave to Moses.

 

The Jewish people had priests and animal sacrifices and all types of rules that they followed when carrying out this ritual.

 

Eventually God rebuked them because they saw this ritual- their ceremonies and holy days- as the main part of their worship to God, and they began neglecting the poor and the outcasts of society.

 

In Isaiah chapter 58 the prophet says ‘THEY SEEK ME DAILY, AND DELIGHT TO KNOW MY WAYS, AS A NATION THAT DID WHAT WAS RIGHT. BEHOLD YOU FAST FOR STRIFE AND DEBATE AND TO SMITE WITH THE FIST OF WICKEDNESS. IS NOT THIS THE FAST I HAVE CHOSEN- TO LOOSE THE BANDS OF WICKEDNESS- TO UNDO THE HEAVY BURDENS- TO LET THE OPPRESSED GO FREE. IS IT NOT TO DEAL THY BREAD TO THE HUNGRY AND THOU BRING THE POOR THAT ARE CAST OUT TO THY HOUSE.

 

In other chapters God says he is tired of all the sacrifices and religious ritual- he really wanted justice for the poor and homeless [strangers] among them.

 

At the time of Jesus- he lived in the Roman province where the Jewish people had their rebuilt temple.

 

King Herod was truly a master builder- some of the great wonders of the day were the tremendous construction projects that he enacted at the time of Christ.

 

The father of the Herod that ruled during Jesus time built the great temple- one day word came to Jesus

 

‘You know Herod [the authorities] know what you are doing- they are going to kill you if you don’t stop’.

 

Jesus was preaching in line with all the other prophets of God- he was challenging corruption in the system.

 

Jesus responded ‘GO TELL THAT FOX- TODAY AND TOMORROW I WILL WORK AND DO MIRACLES- AND THE 3RD DAY I WILL BE PERFECTED’

 

He saw the writing on the wall- he would later face Pilate and Pilate would say ‘DON’T YOU KNOW THAT I HAVE THE POWER TO KILL YOU’.

 

Jesus replied ‘YOU HAVE NO POWER OVER ME- ONLY WHAT GOD HAS GIVEN YOU’.

 

In the gospels of John Jesus was engaging with the religious authorities.

 

He says ‘YOU ARE TRYING TO KILL ME- A MAN THAT HAS TOLD YOU THE TRUTH- WHICH I HEARD FOM GOD’.

 

They said ‘your crazy- who’s trying to kill you’?

 

Jesus saw the true intent of evil systems- even though they did not think their hatred of what he was doing would lead to his death.

 

Yet he knew the heart of man.

 

In the end- he got it right.

 

 

One day Jesus was with his men- they were sitting outside of this huge magnificent structure.

 

They said ‘look at these great buildings’ Jesus said ‘I TELL YOU THE TRUTH- THERE SHALL NOT BE ONE STONE LEFT UPON ANOTHER WHEN THE KINGDOM COMES’.

 

 

The temple represented the official place of law and worship in the province of Judea- Jerusalem as its capital.

 

Jesus ministry challenged corruption in the system- as well as being an advocate for the poor and outcast of society.

 

 

In this temple they had the same system of the ark and the rooms that were in Moses tent system.

 

There were 2 rooms in the temple- the back room- called the Holy of Holies- had the Ark and was separated from the first room by a veil.

 

The veil was a thick blanket type thing- and it represented the separation between God and men.

 

God was Holy- man was sinful.

 

The high priest went into this back room 1 time a year- the Day of Atonement- and offered the blood of the animal sacrifice as a sort of symbol of what the death of Christ would accomplish once and for all.

 

On the day of the Crucifixion of Christ the bible says that THE VEIL OF THE TEMPLE WAS RIPPED IN HALF- FROM THE TOP TO THE BOTTOM.

 

God was saying that the death of Christ- carried out by the manipulation of the system by those who hated Jesus [read carefully how the ones who manipulated Pilate to crucify Christ- these were the same people- the religious leaders who said earlier ‘who’s trying to kill you’- yet- as Jesus foretold- their anger towards him did indeed eventually lead to his death at their hands].

 

Jesus taught his men earlier ‘whoever hates is brother is already guilty of murder’.

 

He saw more deeply- then even those who would carry out the act- that sinful man is capable of anything.

 

The death of Christ was the final sacrifice for man- it would put an end to the animal sacrifices.

 

The book of Hebrews says ‘IT WAS NOT POSSIBLE THAT THE BLOOD OF BULLS AND GOATS COULD TAKE AWAY SINS’ ‘BY HIS OWN BLOOD HE ENETERD IN ONCE INTO THE HOLY PLACE [HEAVEN ITSELF] AND HAS OBTAINED ETERNAL REDEMPTION FOR US’ Hebrews 9.

 

Jesus-and all the prophets risked their lives for a greater cause.

 

They rebuked the ‘church’ of their day for not dealing with these issues.

 

Spiritual deliverance [salvation] and political deliverance from oppressive systems go hand in hand.

 

Recently the Pope has come under fire because of his comments on capitalism and the great divide we see in society between the rich and poor.

 

Make no mistake about it- Frances is right on- he’s too speaking in the ancient prophetic tradition of the church.

 

[When in N.J. last year- I wanted to see snow. I told the guys ‘I’m praying for snow!’ I asked ‘when do you usually get it’ some said ‘some years we don’t even see it’. I left in October- the guys told me ‘if we get some we’ll send you a pic’. To all my N.J. friends- sorry I prayed for snow!]

 

4-

Yesterday I spent a little time with Pop’s, the old man who I have written about this last year.

 

Charlie- a friend of mine- who has been an alcoholic for many years- stays with Pop’s.

 

Pop’s takes care of him- sees him as a son. Charlie has been on a respirator for a week- in the ICU- not sure if he’s going to make it.

 

I took Pop’s to see Charlie- prayed for Charlie- laid hands on him- did ask for God to heal him- and once again like last week [with another friend who’s also on his death bed- I just did the same thing last week- by the way- Chris looks like he’s going to pull out- again].

 

I have been pretty busy- but I put aside a few hours for Pop’s- went to our halfway house for about an hour- and also spent the morning at the mission.

 

Jeremy- a new landlord for the building that we use for the halfway house [we rent a fourplex- just the upstairs. This building is in the drug section of town- so we have had different landlords the past 3 years- they flip this property a lot].

 

I met Jeremy when I got back from New Jersey- told him I’m working with David- my partner- in the halfway house.

 

To my surprise- Jeremy was a firefighter in the Dallas area.

 

Got into investing- he left the job- at 18 years in- and pulled his retirement out to go into properties.

 

To be honest- when he first told me this- I thought it was a bad move.

 

2 more years- he could have retired and the city matches your retirement dollar for dollar [some cities do more].

 

I retired with about 250,000 because I stayed for 25 years and got the match.

 

But Jeremy seems to be doing ok.

 

Just this year I’m getting back into real estate.

 

My family/daughters have been talking about it for a year or so now.

 

Sort of a family realty thing.

 

I told Becky I used to do it- they were young and did not remember.

 

Bought a nice house from a HUD re-po. Rented it- then owner financed it- and eventually the buyers got a loan from the bank and paid it out.

 

So this year we are going to start that again.

 

I am trying to establish our house churches at the time- and staying more active with the real estate thing.

 

The Corpus Christi market has the highest occupancy rating in the whole U.S.

 

Jeremy told me this the other day- the next day I read it on the front page of the caller times.

 

So the time is right.

 

Actually I’m trying to encourage the guys at our halfway house to get out a bit- move on- beyond too much focus on your addiction.

 

I spent about an hour with the guys- inside the building.

 

Then hung out a bit with Jeremy and his crew- one of them is Steve- a former halfway house resident- he was our house manager for a while.

 

Steve has moved on- has his own apartment in the building- and is sort of the property manager for the fourplex.

 

To be honest- thats better than spending to much time in the halfway house.

 

Too much focus on your past addiction- whether it be alcohol or drugs- spending whole days just working the steps- doing meetings- it’s counterproductive at times.

 

I have been teaching on the difference between law and grace in our meetings.

 

The law [Old Covenant] focused a person on the ‘do’s- do not’s’- it never worked according to the Apostle Paul in Romans chapter 7.

 

Paul said ‘the law- which is good- revived the sin in him- and by this- sin became more powerful’.

 

The point the apostle was making is if you focus too much on ‘I will not sin- drink- etc.’ finding your identity in this.

 

Then instead of freeing yourself from it- it eventually masters you.

 

There’s a danger in magnifying the addiction too much.

 

I’m 13 months sober- I don’t think of it that much at all- really don’t see it as some big thing [of course I am very grateful to God].

 

Like I taught last year- the key is simply moving on with your life.

 

Ok- that’s it for this week.

 

God bless.

 

 

 

2052

 

BLOW THE TRUMPET IN ZION- SOUND THE ALARM IN MY HOLY MOUNTAIN [When the enemy comes in like a flood- the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him] Isaiah the Prophet.

 

I was at the mission [Timons] yesterday- and a funny thing happened.

 

I was sitting at the lunch table- next to a good old boy- Albert.

 

 

I have known Albert for many years- he’s not one of the guys I ‘preach’ to- no- he’s not part of the group of guys that have been in our meetings.

 

But I’m just a friend with Albert- he’s been an alcoholic for many years- no secret.

 

As I’m sitting at the table- it’s been real cold in Texas- unseasonably cold.

 

I ask ‘how you making it in the camp Albert’?

 

Many of the homeless population in the Bluff live in makeshift camps.

 

He told me ‘You know John- I’m doing ok- I don’t fear other guys coming up- just have to keep an eye out for the cops’.

 

Now- Albert is not one of the group I have told ‘I’m documenting stuff this year- police abuse’.

 

So- I just sit- and let Albert talk.

 

He goes on ‘yeah- they’ll raid the camp.’

 

As he’s talking – of his own accord [I intentionally did not ask what cop he was talking about- I wanted him to bring up the name on his own].

 

Sure enough- he brings up the same cop that most of these posts have been speaking about [one more person who has told me this- over thousands of stories over 25 years].

 

He goes on ‘one day he came up to me- I told him ‘I have no warrants- why are you here’.

 

Albert tells me- almost in a state of shock/surprise ‘he said- right out loud in front of many people ‘I’LL JUST MAKE SOMETHING UP’.

 

Now- over these last few months I have given multiple examples of guys who have told me that this cop has indeed done this- arrested them- and lied on the report.

 

Albert told me this officer came to his house one day [mom’s house].

 

His mom was upset- raised her voice- he arrested the mom- put her in cuffs [the mom is 72 years old- WANDA HOFFMAN].

 

Albert of course was upset- tried to defend his mom- and the cop charged him with assault on a cop- a felony.

 

The brother followed the cop to the jail- bailed her out.

 

She’s an old lady- did not have a warrant- they didn’t want her to sit in a cell.

 

Albert told me he did go to court- the judge [I think a woman] when she heard the whole story- she too realized that the felony assault was a vindictive thing the cop did.

 

She dropped it to a misdemeanor.

 

When Albert told me this- I Then told him ‘I’m documenting all of you guys’ cases’.

 

That’s when he gave me his full name- I never knew his last name.

 

Now- ALBET HOFFMAN has testified that officer officer- stated- In front of many witnesses ‘I’LL JUST MAKE A CHARGE UP’.

 

Ok- as an open letter to Chief Simpson- how can any arrest he has made- or ever will make- be trustworthy from this day forward? [if it is true]

 

Let me say- the way this story came to me- Albert bringing up the cops name- even before he knew I was documenting cases.

 

I believe this one is 100% accurate.

 

The actual words from the cops mouth ‘I’LL JUST MAKE SOMETHING UP’ In front of other witnesses.

 

Let’s find out. [Remember- EVERY WORD SPOKEN WE WILL GIVE AN ACCOUNT FOR- Jesus Christ].

 

NOTE- I decided to stop documenting cases this week. I think I’ve done enough for now.

 

As Albert relayed the story- I thought I would at least do this last one.

 

Let’s hope this is the last. [Let me give some perspective here- As I have talked with the guys- heard lots of cases- and then went thru my own experience with Tommy- I really began to see what I think is the ‘real’ picture.

I do not see him as dangerous- or a ‘real’ threat.

Why?

In the above example ‘I’LL JUST MAKE SOMETHING UP’.

Even Albert was surprised that he would say this- in front of what the bible calls ‘many witnesses’.

As I thought about this these past few months- documenting this stuff- I thought ‘geez- I bet the police chief must have hundreds of other complaints’.

I simply think that the cop- for various reasons- has fallen into this cycle where he says stuff- can’t control it and probably has been warned- maybe lots of times.

That’s why I mentioned the Fire Dept. example [I retired from the Fire Dept.]

You do have different types of guys you work with- and some would get on the other guys like this.

I kind of saw that’s what’s really going on here.

Both sides [poor and homeless and the cop] actually have become used to it.

But- in reality- a cop can’t say/do the stuff I’ve been documenting- and for those in charge to think sort of along the lines of ‘o thats old so and so- he’s really harmless’.

No- not after the examples I have given [Roger doing 4 and a half years in prison].

 

 

Let me tell a story; this isn’t the first time I have done this.

 

Done what?

 

Got to a point where the ‘cup is full’- in biblical terms- for you secularists- let’s call it ‘the straw that broke the camel’s back’.

 

The reason I have a bit more insight into this whole thing is because I worked in the position of Captain for many years at the Fire dept.

 

I never wanted to take the job permanently [Captains had to have various weekly meetings with the chief- on their off days and stuff- I lived in Corpus- and didn’t want all the responsibilities that came with the permanent title- like having to drive back to Kingsville on my off days].

 

But as the senior driver/engineer- when we were short a captain- I had to fill in for the position- we called it temporary assignment.

 

Now- at the Fired Dept. like any other organization [Police- etc.] you have in house strife- over lots of stuff.

 

One of the things that went on was at various times some chiefs/captains would send our front line ambulance crew to run errands.

 

Maybe go to pick up dinner- donuts-whatever.

 

This was a problem- lots of the guys complained- but never did anything about it.

 

Over the years another division was between the union/non union guys.

 

We had 2 captains that for years were- well- at each other’s throats- so to speak.

 

Al was our union president- Corando was the Captain for B shift- Al worked on A shift- I worked on C shift.

 

Cory was a good man- like the other guys- but he was anti-union for most of his career.

 

 

Al was right under Cory on the seniority scale- so if Cory- after he became chief- ever resigned or retired- Al was next in line for chief [which happened- at the end of this story].

 

Now- I was a stickler for having a fast response time to the fires/ambulance calls.

 

I would complain that our primary mission was to make sure we have the guys in the trucks as soon as possible- and get to the scene.

 

But- for various reasons- this primary mission sort of fell behind over the years.

 

We had 2 sides of town with a fire station- the west and east side- Kingsville.

 

Of course the west side truck should get to their side of town first- if a structure was on fire on their side.

 

But- I would often get to the house fire first- even if I was on the other side of town.

 

I wasn’t trying prove anything- but to let the guys know ‘hell- if you don’t hurry up and get to the scene- John’s gonna get their first’.

 

And that does make the other driver look bad- but it also gave them incentive to get to the dam fire- on time.

 

One time- I got to the fire- even though the other truck- coming out of the west side station was right down the block from the fire [they should have been there long before me].

 

The other driver was pissed off- and I already pulled the attack lines from my truck and was fighting the fire with the other guy.

 

Which of course is what the first truck at the scene does.

 

When the second truck arrived- late- Mike [the other driver on duty that day] was mad.

 

He stopped his truck- and watched.

 

He’s supposed to go  hook up at the hydrant.

 

I yelled at him [you do realize there is a house on fire right now]

 

GO HOOK UP THE TRUCK!!

 

He responded ‘it’s not my job to hook up at the hydrant- this is my side of town’.

 

Now- technically he was right- if he got there when he was supposed to- he would have been attacking the fire first- with his crew.

 

But- once again- he was late.

 

The ‘Letter of the law’ [the rule] was yes- the west side truck attacks first- BUT THAT’S IF YOU GET THERE FIRST!

 

I couldn’t believe was arguing with me about this- with a house on fire!

 

Mike has a tendency to question everything- he was like that.

 

The chief- Corando- was there.

 

He heard me ‘tell’ Mike ‘GO HOOK UP AT THE F…NG HYRDANT- NOW!

 

He did.

 

Ok- just giving you a feel here- of how stuff works.

 

Well- one day I went on shift- the guys told me ‘can you believe the chief made the ambulance go out of town to fix his flat’.

 

No- I couldn’t.

 

And yes- that was the last straw.

 

The chief was coming back from Baffin bay- got a flat- and called the station and the guys went around 25 miles out of town to help him.

 

Now- we did have a backup ambulance- but the Paramedics were frontline- and if the backline had to go to a heart attack or something- we would send our EMT’s- not as top line as the medics.

 

So- I wrote a bunch of letters- sent them to the mayor and commissioners.

 

For about 3 weeks this was the top story in the paper- the chief made a statement in the paper [let’s say it wasn’t totally true?].

 

And he tried to defend the action.

 

After about 3 weeks- he retired.

 

Now- I did feel bad.

 

The city commissioners had no idea this was going on- for years.

 

As they interviewed the captains- they asked ‘is John telling the truth’.

 

They said yes.

 

I’m sure they asked ‘why did you let this go on for so long’.

 

The guys just got used to it.

 

 

See?

 

During these years- guys would write each other up- sometimes report things- vindictively.

 

Lots of politics and stuff.

 

Now- that’s what I see in this situation I’m dealing with here.

 

Not so much in house here- but this is sort of what’s going on in the street.

 

The cop- and the guys- all have grudges against each other.

 

But- what is happening is not ‘in house’ writing each other up- making complaints and stuff.

 

The cop is- at times arresting these guys- and according to many accounts- he indeed is ‘MAKING A CHARGE UP’.

 

Yeah- not on the big things [I don’t believe]?

 

But on the little stuff.

 

Then- when a guy does ‘go off’ and threaten the cop [like he does with them].

 

Boom- 4.5 years in prison.

 

See- that’s why I decided it was time to document this.

 

 

When the chief was forced to retire.

 

Some of the guys were like ‘hooray- way to go John’.

 

Others were mad.

 

One day one of the guys came up to me ‘yeah- glad we got rid of that SOB’.

 

He went on a bit.

 

I told him ‘Cory was a good Captain- a good man- a good chief. He increased training for the dept. did a lot of good things- no- he is a good man’.

 

The other firefighter shut up at that point.

 

One thing that happened during this time I do feel bad about.

 

At one point the union president- Al- who actually wanted Cory to retire- so he could fill the spot.

 

He showed up at station 2- in the middle of this whole firestorm- it was on the front page of the Kingsville Record- the whole 9 yards.

 

Al came to the station- he said

 

‘John- the chief wants to ask you something’.

 

I was irate for a few weeks at this point- being he did lie in the paper about what happened.

 

Al said ‘the chief asked if you could forgive him- what does he need to do for you to drop it’.

 

I didn’t drop it- I told Al ‘tell him yeah- he needs to go’. [Resign/retire].

 

He did.

 

 

Now- this too was not easy to do- what he did with the ambulance crew- at times- was wrong.

 

And could have cost lives.

 

The guys did complain- but never did anything.

 

Sometimes stuff goes on for years- Police- Fire- etc.

 

These people are not inherently bad- in many cases- they are good people.

 

They become comfortable with stuff- and don’t realize that some of the stuff they are doing is indeed violating the rights of others- and at times- down right against the law.

 

After Cory retired- Al Lopez did become the next fire chief.

 

 

It’s never an easy thing to do this, especially being my own experience with this officer.

 

 

The other day some guy at the mission- a friend- got upset about something and said ‘YOU HAVE SKELETONS IN YOUR CLOSET TOO!’

 

I told Mark ‘Mark- skeletons are things people hide- if you read my site last year- you will see that I don’t have skeletons’.

 

I talked openly- and honestly- about my situation.

 

Some did think I was paranoid- because this just happened to be the cop that took my case.

 

I knew his history already.

 

Do I think he might have done something wrong- in my case?

 

To be honest- no.

 

But I did see a pattern- stuff that showed me that many of the stories I heard over the years had some validity to them.

 

Andy told me one day ‘yeah- this cop goes the extra mile John- he carries vendettas- someday he’ll wind up in a nursing home with some mean lady having to take care of him’.

 

It showed me that this whole saga- the many years of the guys on the streets dealing with this- they saw the pattern.

 

So maybe in a way- all that happened- was for the good of all.

 

Not to ‘get even’ but maybe the straw that broke the camel’s back- had to happen.

 

2-

 

I want to write- real time [Saturday]. I usually don’t start these weekly posts till Monday.

 

I write for a couple of days- then post on Thursday.

 

But John David just came by- and he told me ‘Have you seen Huey- he was beat up real bad- and we can’t find him’.

 

His brother Andy texted me asking if I found him while I was speaking with David.

 

These are the 3 brothers I have spoken about this last year- Huey’s stuff is here in my room- he has crashed out here lots.

 

Now- Huey is also one of the cases I have written about- a ‘witness’ to some of the abuse I have written about.

 

These guys live on the streets- and I’m concerned that maybe someone retaliated against him.

 

As of now- I don’t know.

 

I had another strange experience at the mission the other day.

 

I don’t want to make this sound self-serving- but I have to talk a bit here.

 

At the mission- every so often a new- cute [or pretty] girl will show up.

 

And as things go- the guys will try and get to know the girl- before anyone else ‘gets’ to her first.

 

Not all the guys look like bums- some do.

 

So- I rarely talk to the girls- try to be nice- but over time they see ‘gee- that guy seems to have no interest’ which to be honest- is true.

 

A few weeks ago a girl I met before was complimenting me ‘your good looking’ stuff like that.

 

I forgot her name- but she was a medic in the Navy [like me] and served in Iraq.

 

After an hour or so of hinting stuff ‘gee John- if you drop me off- I guess I could sit on your lap.. .’

 

She went on for a while- I wasn’t mad or anything- but let her know ‘thanks dear- just not interested’ type thing.

 

So- stuff like this does happen.

 

There are 2 younger girls [late 20’s?] who the guys like.

 

I’ve talked to one- the other just the other day for the first time.

 

I think one is a little ‘jealous’ cause I just talked to the other one for a while.

 

I can kinda see it [it’s not that I’m a ‘heartbreaker’ I’ try and be nice to them- and they see I’m not looking to really engage with them and stuff- and that’s part of it]

 

But the new girl- I told her I’m doing meetings with the guys- bible studies- I told her ‘you can go if you want- but it’s really just for the guys’.

 

I really didn’t want her to go- but felt bad that she saw me inviting the guys- so I did this.

 

[Note- she just asked me yesterday if I could do one at the local coffee house- I think I will. I do want any of the girls that are interested to be in the meetings- but most of the meetings are just with the boys- they open up- talk about stuff- that maybe they would not feel comfortable about with a girl there].

 

As I did talk to her a bit about the ministry- she seems smart- she brought up a few things about the meaning of words- how we can’t know for sure what words mean.

 

As my habit- I just happen to know the school of thought on this- taught it in my Philosophy posts.

 

I think she was surprised- I didn’t mean to ‘correct’ her- but in a nice way covered the field of thought on this- how this idea became famous in some schools of thought in the 20th century.

 

And without giving a whole lesson on the thing- I said

 

‘Nikki- the main problem with this belief system is- the guy who wrote the book on this’ [words have no meaning].

 

I quipped ‘then how can you even read/understand his argument- from a book of words’.

 

She said ‘wow- that’s right’.

 

Now- this was easy for me to do- because I teach this stuff.

 

Then she got into Physics a bit [another thing I teach on].

 

And sort of the same thing happened- I think she was intrigued a bit.

 

One of my other friends does try and hit on her- and she really didn’t want to talk to him- she was engaging in this discussion- and I could tell she wanted to learn.

 

 

Now- here’s’ where you need to pay attention- and remember the recent posts.

 

In a nutshell- what is happening right now- is a sort of spiritual warfare that I explained in the other posts.

 

Basically- thru various events- God has ‘heard’ my prayer- and in a sense- satan has been silenced [for a season].

 

God is working in earthly systems- and thru some ‘heavenly’ signs- God seems to have said ‘yes- the court is in session- and I HAVE COME FOR THY WORDS’ [Daniel 10]

 

Ok.

 

I also explained in the examples above- that this recent thing I’m dealing with- is not the first time.

 

In both ‘earthly’ cases- as things progressed [documenting stuff] the ‘targeted’ person has sent other people- not to hurt- but to say- well- ‘uncle’.

 

Don’t misunderstand me here- it is part of the process if you think you are doing what’s right- shining light on a problem that has gone on for too long.

 

Sort of like saying ‘please- stop’.

 

Now- when that happens- if you think you’re really trying to do a just thing- you have to finish.

 

Don’t see it as personal- or not forgiving- this type of thing is in a different category- sort of like what the prophets did in the Old Testament.

 

They often did not want to speak the things God wanted them to say.

 

So- as I talked with Nikki [she is a sweet girl- and does volunteer at the mission].

 

 

She said something- and she does not realize what happened.

 

She said ‘John- Lucifer wants to have his voice heard too’.

 

Now- I picked up that sweet Nikki- like many others- has probably dabbled in the occult.

 

Lots of innocent people do- not knowing what they are getting into.

 

To Nikki- this was simply an innocent comment- that those in the occult are taught.

 

Sort of like ‘satan has his point too’.

 

But- she did not realize- that from the many things/experiences- God has sort of given me the go ahead in ‘this court’ [what is happening now]

 

And God has said- in so many words ‘John- go ahead- I have silenced the adversary- for now’.

 

If you follow- this was the first time- out of these cases- that the dragon himself tried to ‘make amends’.

 

I guess I’m honored in a way- but my official response is ‘THE LORD REBUKE THEE’.

 

HINT- Read Job chapter 1- it says there was a day when the sons of God came to appear before God- and satan came too. In true spiritual warfare- satan wants a seat in the court. He is called the accuser of the brethren- he accused Job in this chapter.

 

I HAVE RAISED UP ONE FROM THE NORTH- FROM THE RISING OF THE SUN SHALL HE CALL UPON MY NAME- HE SHALL COME UPON PRINCES AS UPON MORTAR- AND THE COASTLANDS SHALL WAIT FOR HIS LAW- HE WILL NOT FAIL NOR BE DISCOURAGED UNTIL HE HAVE SET JUSTICE IN THE EARTH- Isaiah the prophet.

 

[Note- I mentioned I also spoke to Nikki about some questions/things about Physics. It seems as if Nikki- like lots of people who have gone to college and have had some background- there are common themes to some of these things- I do an Apologetics section on my Blog- and over the years I have engaged in these discussions- arguing for the Christian worldview.

Nikki said at one point ‘after all Einstein taught that all things are Relative’.

I told Nikki that in the 20th century- during the rise of what we refer to as Modern Physics [before that time it’s referred to as Classical Physics/Newtonian Physics].

That there was also a Philosophical debate going on- and in the area of Moral Philosophy- there was also a category called Moral Relativism- which means there are no Absolutes- no real right or wrong.

It is true that Einstein’s theory- too called Relativity- was confused with Moral Relativism.

But these 2 were not the same- as a matter of fact- Einstein seemed to believe in Absolutes- he disagreed with other top Physicists of his day because he believed there was an ultimate answer to the cause of things.

Other scientists were embracing an idea that things happen ‘by chance’ yet Einstein held out for what was called the Unified theory- wanting to find the common denominator so to speak.

Einstein would eventually move to Princeton University in my home state of N.J. and live the rest of his years seeking for his Unified Theory.

Some in the field of Physics today think Einstein wasted the last 25 years of his life seeking for this unity.

But many [even in Philosophy] mistake Einstein’s Relativity with Moral Relativism- this is a mistake.

 

Sunday- WHATS HAPPENING TO THE WITNESSES?

 

Ok- As of today I have written about 5 posts on this stuff.

I wrote a post where the cop we are talking about GPS tracked me one day [recently]

Was at a paint store- helping 2 street people to get a bus ticket to Houston.

The girl waited in the car- Tammy.

I went into the store with Shrek- the boyfriend.

When I came out- a cop car was waiting- in the street.

It then took off- drove past Tammy- in the car.

I posted this incident- showing that the cop is watching- following various people who could confirm all this stuff.

Tammy and Shrek took the bus to Houston a few days later- they are both on probation for selling pot to an undercover cop in Houston.

Now- if you saw these 2 [I have posted their pictures on Facebook this last year].

They are sweet- harmless- cute couple- made for each other.

They were in Houston to get a transfer of their probation back to Corpus.

While in Houston someone made a call to the judge in their case [now- who would have this type of information?]

The caller reported that they used the local address of the mission- Timons- as their residence.

The judge did not approve their transfer- they are stuck in Houston till this day.

They were supposed to be back in a couple of days- it’s now going on a month.

 

Obviously if they were going to be questioned locally about some of this stuff- they can’t- now.

 

Huey.

 

I also wrote about Huey being threatened in the past- by the same cop I am writing about.

 

[Threatened= ‘leave the bluff and never come back’- years ago]

 

Now- the way the local scene ‘works’ is everybody on the streets knows everybody.

 

So when I heard last night ‘Huey got beat up real bad- we can’t find him’.

 

Yes- I wondered.

 

Let’s hope he’s ok- as of now- I haven’t heard.

 

[John- maybe you shouldn’t write about them? Look- I’m on the street every day- with the good- the bad- and the ugly. I’m not hiding out. I feel the best way to protect them- is to write about this- publicly- so all the other eyes seeing this stuff [the letters I sent out have the Blog site on it] will PREVENT  any retribution. Let’s hope it works.

 

HE IMAGINED AGAINST THEM A WICKED DEVICE- ONE THAT HE WAS NOT ABLE TO PERFORM

 

BEHOLD- THEY SAY UNTO ME ‘WHERE IS THE WORD OF THE LORD’ LET IT COME NOW

 

FOR HE SHALL TURN BACK WHEN YOU ARROWS ARE TURNED AGAINST HIM [the Prophet Jeremiah]

 

Is this ‘piling on’? Maybe in a way- but as the whole process began- I did say to people ‘this cop has been doing this for 25 years’- as long as I have lived in the Bluff- from the first year [?] working with the street people- I have indeed heard these things- as well as worse stuff [people getting beat up- etc.]

 

Now- When I heard these things- I really did not believe them- to be honest. Until I actually saw him do it [actually get mad- jump up and down- and say words to the effect ‘you’re going to be destroyed’- to me].

 

Then yeah- he follows you- relentlessly. To be honest- I was surprised that he did do stuff like this.

 

The above example- where Albert testifies that this cop said ‘I’LL JUST MAKE A CHARGE UP’.

 

The thing that surprised Albert was not that he said it- no- others have said that they were arrested- at times- without cause [like I said- both sides got used to it after a while. The average person never experiences this- but I have heard- given testimonies of guys- many times- who have said ‘how can he do this’? Or- ‘How does he get away with this’]?

 

Albert was surprised that he would say it- WITH OTHER PEOPLE THERE.

 

He has a history of doing this.

 

‘John- why didn’t you say stuff at the time’?

 

To be honest- I am a retired fire fighter- and to say the truth- at first- I too did had my doubts about the thousands of stories I have heard.

 

I too thought many of these stories might have just been disgruntled guys.

But over time I thought ‘geez- I have heard the same story- 99% of the time about the same cop’.

So yes- I too could not believe he would indeed do this type of stuff.

 

As of today- this writing- I have tried my best to weed out the stories I have had some questions about.

 

But what we do have- up to this point;

 

The high probability that he has threatened guys- with their life [I’ll make you disappear- etc.]

A history of him pursuing these guys- AFTER HE MAKES THE THREAT.

As of now- ONE OF THESE GUYS IS MISSING [As I write today- we can’t find Huey Martin].

 

I mean what do you want me to do- get a video of him doing it?

 

After me giving this my best shot- trying to show you the whole picture- giving these reports- not as someone who- initially- was looking for stories.

No- having worked with the street people for many years- these came to me that way.

 

At one time I did write a letter to the Police Chief- I did say I think this cop might indeed kill someone.

If just one of the many accounts I have relayed- is true- that should have been enough to remove him from the force.

 

If they are all true- then he will do some jail time.

 

The thing that disturbs me the most is it’s been going on so long.

 

I HAVE COME TO SET A FIRE ON THE EARTH- AND HOW I WISH IT WERE ALREADY BURNING- Jesus Christ the Revolutionary.

 

 

2;

 

One day I was at the mission- ran into Huey. Sometimes he goes to the meetings I’m doing- or I’ll give him a ride or help him out.

 

This day someone took his bike from the HEB parking lot.

 

He thought he knew who took it- not really stolen- but a friend.

 

The whole bike thing- on the streets- is funny- a story in itself.

 

Last year I lent Big Charlie a nice bike.

 

I knew it was a risk- Charlie is a severe alcoholic- uses Meth- and even his family [I know them all] don’t trust him.

 

I figured ‘what the heck- I’ll consider it a donation’.

 

When I got back from New Jersey- I mean I didn’t even care about the thing.

 

I gave lots of stuff away before I left- so the bike was the last thing on my mind.

 

Andy [Charly had a kid with Andy’s daughter- Rochelle- all these guys are related in ways- I still can’t figure it all out- and I’ve known them for 25 years!]

 

Andy tells me ‘John- Cooker [Craig- Andy’s son- who has brain cancer] has your bike in his garage’.

 

Andy’s son lives in Andy’s ex-wife’s house- and Craig had the bike.

 

I even told him ‘I don’t care Andy- let Craig keep it’.

 

But about a month after I decided to get it.

 

Now- all these guys are using- they ‘acquire’ bikes all the time and pawn them.

 

Yet- I got my bike- cool.

 

So- back to Huey.

 

After we leave Timons I give him a ride to get his bike.

 

I take Guitar Jason with us. I’ve known Jason forever- good friend.

 

Jason gets in the back- Huey’s in the front- and off we go.

 

Last year I was kidding Huey- I’ve known him and his brothers a long time.

 

One day John David tells me ‘Yeah- don’t be fooled- Huey’s a scrapper’.

 

I see these guys as harmless- but of course I know that in reality- some are not.

 

But Andy and Huey were giving me a ride one day- in the van I sold to Andy.

 

I told Huey ‘yeah- David tells me you’re a scrapper- but he says you can only go for about 5 minutes and you’re done’ [out of breath].

 

Now- I’m kidding him- Andy’s in the van- this is all fun n games.

 

[One day Andy tells me ‘yeah- Jason [guitar] knocked me out’ he went on and told me the story. I had Little Charlie in the van- Big Charlie’s son- I tell Andy ‘Yeah- I heard you Martin boys go down easy- Li’l Charlie cracks up]

 

So- when I give Huey the ride that day- I have on my coveted black leather jacket I bought while in N.J. last year.

 

I thought it would get cold- and one day doing my street ministry back in the hood- I walked into a salvation Army shop on Kennedy Blvd- around 60th street- and found a nice old biker jacket.

 

I’m using it more here in Texas than I did in N.J.

 

Huey tells me ‘say if I make you give me your jacket and wallet’.

 

Now- at no time did I think he was for real- it would be like talking to a brother.

 

But Jason doesn’t realize we kid like this.

 

I think Jason thought ‘man- I don’t want to get arrested!’

 

I tell Huey ‘one problem- I know you’re supposed to be a scrapper- but David says you can only go for 5 minutes- and you already used it walking to the car’ [he was out of breath just walking to the car!].

 

He laugh’s- Jason realizes where just kidding around.

 

Jason got out- went to the room they were staying in at some hotel.

 

Huey just wants to hang out in the car for a while- talking old times and stuff.

 

I tell him ‘you always find a way to make money Huey- a true survivor’.

 

 

He tells me how one day years ago he lived by some corn field.

 

He walked across the street and filled up 2 HEB bags with corn.

 

He then went door to door- promoted how nice and fresh they were- and sold them for 10 bucks.

 

I told him ‘I’m gonna write about this on the Blog’.

 

Promise kept.

 

Huey is on the streets- living the rough life.

 

His brothers are different- not perfect- but one is clean- the other wants to get back to being clean.

 

I do the halfway house with John David- the oldest brother.

 

But over the years David tells me ‘I wish Huey would make the change John- but he’s happy living like that’.

 

When Huey stops by- he often just comes by and we hang out for a while.

 

We just talk about old times- as friends.

 

The last few weeks- on his own accord- he has talked about wanting to change.

 

He said the other day [before he went missing] ‘John- I could get off the streets if I wanted- I just need to get a job and start living responsibly’.

 

I just let him talk a bit.

 

He told me how- when you’re using drugs- you never get any rest.

 

He says even when your body sleeps- your mind has no rest.

 

I quoted a verse- but ‘softened’ it a bit.

 

‘You know Huey that reminds me of a verse- There is no rest- saith my God- to those who are living in sin’.

 

He corrected me ‘to the wicked’.

 

He was right- I just didn’t want to nail it on the head like that.

 

Huey nailed it.

 

Funny- even though these guys have been in some pretty bad stuff over the years- Andy and Huey fight like kids.

 

One day I was on my way to pick up Andy.

 

On the way I saw Huey on Flour Bluff drive- ‘hey- I’m on my way to get Andy- but were going to the halfway house- doing ministry’.

 

He gets in- wants to go.

 

Tells me he just called Andy to get my number [he losses phone numbers all the time- Andy and David get pissed off- Huey’s always calling them for numbers in their phones- because he can’t keep/remember them.]

 

So Huey gets in- and we get Andy.

 

They were at each other’s throats right from the start.

 

Why?

 

Huey got shot gun- yeah- he had the front seat! [plus- Huey does get on his brothers nerves- even the day I was with Jason- Huey goes on and on- even asking Jason to look in his phone for the number of the guy who had the bike- Jason finally says ‘hurry up- just go get the bike’]

 

I mean there in the middle of all types of stuff- yet when we get out of the car- at the halfway house and stuff.

 

They’ll either sit in the car [to keep the seat].

 

Or yell- on the way down the steps ‘I got shot gun’.

 

I mean they fight over it- it’s funny as hell.

 

THERE ARE 3 THAT BARE RECORD IN HEAVEN- AND THESE 3 AGREE IN ONE.

 

WHEN YE SEE THESE THINGS- THE POOR HAVE THE GOOD NEWS PREACHED TO THEM- THE DEAD ARE RAISED [READ POST 2021] – THEN KNOW THE KINGDOM IS NOW HERE

 

THE WICKED IN HIS PRIDE DOTH PERSECUTE THE POOR- LET HIM BE TAKEN IN THE DEVICE HE HATH IMAGINED

 

ARISE O GOD- LIFT UP THY HAND- FORGET NOT THE HUMBLE

 

BREAK THOU THE ARM OF THE EVIL AND WICKED MAN- SEEK OUT HIS WICKEDNESS UNTIL THOU FIND NONE [Hint- this is redemptive in the end. Meaning Gods court is not vindictive- in the end it produces what’s right in all involved. In the book of John it says some situations you are not to pray for- some sins- by Gods determination- have to come full circle. In Psalms 109- it’s an ‘imprecatory’ Psalm. The psalmist says ‘let his prayer become sin- let another take his office’. The Apostle Peter quotes this in Acts- referring to Judas.

In the church- in society- at times- only when God gives the decree- he says ‘ok- enough- it has to come full circle’.

Why? God sees certain things have gone on for a long time- and he only knows the heart of man.

I pray for the guys who are on death row- I try and write down their execution date- and pray for them- often- right when they are dying.

God sees that some sins [even though I am not pro death penalty] can only be purged thru judgment. That’s the context of the imprecatory Psalms.]

 

JUDGE THE FATHERLESS AND THE OPPRESSED- THAT THE MAN OF THE EARTH MAY NO MORE OPPRESS.

 

THE STONE THAT THE BUILDERS REJECTED HAS BECOME THE HEAD OF THE CORNER- THIS IS THE LORDS DOING AND IT IS MARVELOUS IN OUR EYES.

 

NOTE- We found Huey- but he was beat up pretty bad. Let me say how things work on the streets. If someone wants to target someone- for whatever reason- they [especially if they are in law enforcement] would not usually do it themselves, they would have someone [if they are involved some way with the local gangs- you see this stuff in Mexico all the time] either start a fight with the guy- or in more severe cases- simply have a gang member do a drive by. I do not know if my friend was targeted- but don’t fool yourself- this stuff does happen here in the Deep South].

 

3-

Today we will be holding our Bishop [city in Texas] meeting. I’ll have a couple of the original crew from Kingsville/Bishop- as well as the boys from the streets in Corpus.

 

I am in the process of establishing the house churches that I launched this year.

 

Bishop is now a permanent one- we meet every Tuesday at 1:45.

 

This weekend I shopped for investment houses with my daughter Becky. We drove thru some of the towns where I also plan on setting up more home churches.

 

It was a good day- as we drove I saw all the little Protestant/Pentecostal churches [actually it was Sunday- right after I attended the 7:30 Mass at the Cathedral in Corpus Christi- why do I- a ‘Protestant’ Christian- attend the Mass? I’ll try and get to that in a moment].

 

My daughter Becky was telling me about her job- she has a good paying job [graduate from Texas A/M].

 

She works at a Monkey Facility- rare for this area.

 

This company imports Lab monkeys- and they sell them to universities/entities that use them for testing.

 

She also is an animal lover.

 

I kid her ‘Becky- I heard you treat your employees like Monkeys’!

 

She was talking about how the company makes millions [they sell them for 5-6 thousand a piece]

 

And yet pay their workers low wages.

 

She talked about social injustice- though she was not aware of the term- or that it is biblically based.

 

As we drove past the many little churches- all good churches- Baptist- Methodist- etc.

 

I gave a short lesson on how the thing she was talking about- used to be a major concern for the church.

 

Historically the church dealt with ‘un-fair’ wages- and stuff like that.

 

I told her one of the disciples of Jesus- was a ‘half’ brother to the Lord.

 

James was a son of Joseph and Mary- after the birth of Christ [Catholics have a different view- they believe when the bible talks about the ‘brothers’ of Jesus- it’s referring to either extended family- or Brother as Christian brother].

 

James was one of the main leaders at the church in Jerusalem- Acts chapter 15.

 

He only wrote one letter in our New Testament- the letter called James.

 

But boy- did he hit hard

 

HATH NOT GOD CHOSEN THE POOR OF THS WORLD RICH IN FAITN AND HEIRS OF THE KINGDOM THAT HE HAS PROMISED

 

DO NOT THE RICH CALL YOU BEFORE THE COURTS AND BLASPHEME THAT HOLY NAME BY WHICH YOU ARE CALLED

 

THE WAGES OF THE WORKER- WHICH IS HELD BACK BY FRAUD CRIES OUT TO GOD FOR JUSTICE

 

GO TO NOW YOU RICH MEN- WEEP AND HOWL FOR YOUR MISERIES THAT SHALL COME UPON YOU. YOUR RICHES ARE CORRUPTED, AND YOUR GARMENTS ARE MOTH EATEN. YOU’RE GOLD AND SILVER IS RUSTED AND THE RUST OF THEM SHALL BE A WITNESS AGAINST YOU AND SHALL EAT YOUR FLESH AS IT WERE FIRE

 

YE HAVE LIVED IN PLEASURE ON THE EARTH..YOU HAVE NOURISHED YOUR HEARTS AS IN A DAY OF SLAUGHTER

 

YE HAVE CONDEMNED AND KILLED THE JUST AND HE DOTH NOT RESIST YOU

 

[Where did James develop this view? He grew up in the home with Jesus as his older brother- that’s where].

 

I mean James hits hard.

 

The church at Jerusalem had many poor saints- if you remember your New Testament- the Apostle Paul wrote the Church at Corinth and told them to take up a collection before he got there- and he would bring the money back for the poor saints at Jerusalem.

 

He even starts that chapter ‘concerning the collection FOR [not of] the saints’.

 

 

Now- the reason I attend the Mass at our Cathedral- is because the Catholic Church is historically rooted in the concept of social justice.

 

There are of course other churches too- I mentioned the Methodists- they too have a strong strain of this embedded in their church.

 

But the Catholic position- and church- dates back to the 1st/2nd century- so that’s a big draw for me.

 

I talked with Becky all thru our road tour- looked at some nice houses- I’m getting ready to sell my house in Corpus this year- maybe make about 120,000- it’s paid off- but that money will be needed to start the ball rolling- so to speak.

 

Yeah- we had a good day- house shopping- and doing a little teaching too.

 

I just started holding meetings in Alice- so hopefully that will be one of the cities we do a house church plant.

 

4-

On our way to the Bishop meeting [we now made this meeting a regular one- every Tuesday at 1:45 pm- the address is on my blog list- under the Home Bible Study page]

 

I stopped in Robstown to pick up Justin.

 

Now- I haven’t seen Justin in about 25 years.

 

He’s Emmitt’s son.

 

I used to work with Emit Senior- he was one of the original drug addicts that I started the church in Kingsville with in 1987.

 

His family- son, Emit Junior- and Aunt Bee [was a teacher at A and I university-had famous people as her students over the years- Senator Carlos Truan- etc.]

 

They all were members of our church.

 

So- Emit Junior called me the other day and he wants to get involved with our house churches.

 

He had to work yesterday- but told me his son- who has had many troubles with drug addiction- wanted to go the meeting.

 

He asked if I Could get him in Robstown- I told him sure will.

 

But when we got to Robstown we were running late- so instead we held our first Robstown meeting.

 

We will do that one every Thursday.

 

So it worked out- we just planted our Robstown fellowship.

 

I was worried I wouldn’t recognize Justin- he was supposed to meet me at a store- and go back to his house.

 

But when I saw him- he looks- acts- exactly like his dad.

 

As I held our meeting- with a few bluff guys- it was like old times.

 

Just like when I first started working with his dad- it was like a flashback to 1987.

 

I had Cameron and Mike with me from the bluff.

 

Cameron was one of the first halfway house residents [the halfway house we started in 2012].

 

Before I left for New Jersey last year- he tested dirty on a drug test and went back to jail- he’s on 10 years’ probation.

 

He did about 9 months and is back out on probation.

 

Cameron is one of the younger guys that I wanted to be involved with our house churches- and I ran into him at the mission.

 

So it was a good day.

 

Lots of the ‘ministry’ time takes place in the car- making the rides to the different cities- sharing Gods purpose for these guys.

 

The meeting went well- I prayed the ‘blessing of the father’ over these guys.

 

In the bible the fathers bless their kids- so I started doing this- imparting spiritual blessings to the sons- and it affirms their acceptance.

 

Cameron is looking for work- has put in various applications- and asked if we would be back in Corpus by 4pm- he had to check on a job at Whataburger in the Bluff.

 

On the way back I told him just seek first the kingdom- God will open the doors.

 

Mike had his van parked at my house- we dropped him off just in time- he is a cook at Howards BBQ.

 

He came by around 9 in the morning- asked it was ok- I told him sure- and got him started on another painting [he is the artist for my ministry- I try and encourage the guys to use their gifts for God].

 

Mike took off- I took Cameron to check on the application for Whata burger- he said he probably got the job- they told him to come back Thursday.

 

We went back to my house- he called his mom [she lives on Padre Island] and she told him he already had 3 jobs!

 

He leaves his moms number- so she had the messages on her phone.

 

He was rejoicing [seek first the kingdom- and all these things shall be added to you].

 

So he took the job at a pricy restaurant right in the area.

 

He had a friend [who too is a waiter] drop off some black pants- I gave him a black shirt- pulled out the ironing board- and Walla- he was off to work- happy like a jay bird.

 

 

When I was at the mission earlier in the day- I talked to a new guy I just recently met.

 

He’s not homeless [I don’t think?].

 

Works with business- doing the computer stuff.

 

Has his own on-line magazine- was telling me about some of the people he has promoted- famous people.

 

Very interesting.

 

I think he just came in from the West Coast.

 

Been here a couple of months- around 65 years old.

 

He has heard me talking at the mission- and is interested in the stuff I’m doing.

 

He tells me he was parked the other day- just resting.

 

A cop pulls up- requests his ID [he asks- what did I do?].

 

He gives the cop all of his Id- they just wanted to check him out- but he said had never been ‘checked’ like this- without any cause.

 

He checked out all right.

 

Then- once again- of his own accord- tells me ‘yeah- I heard about the cops- especially one name keeps popping up [of course you know the name by now]’

 

They said he’s trouble.

 

I gave him my blog card- told him to read it.

 

I mean it’s sad at this point- he has a reputation [for bad stuff] that even some new senior from Cali has to worry about.

 

 

I had a laugh at the mission- Whistler- one of my regulars at the meetings.

 

He didn’t go this day- had other stuff to do.

 

But it’s been real cold- and the mission is only a day mission.

 

Over the years they used to open up at night- if it was freezing out- and they let the people use the eating area as a shelter.

 

But they have stopped doing it.

 

Whistler tells me ‘the mission brought in 30 thousand last month- we are taking a vote from the guys- to see how many have no shelter- and we are going to ask Miss Kay [she runs the mission] if she will open up tonight’.

 

Whistler [who reads the site] tells me ‘and yeah- I’ gonna tell her if she does not open it- I’m gonna post it to my Facebook site- and tell her its going public’!

 

I tell Whistler ‘now you’re learning brother- now you learning’.

 

Yeah- I’m making ‘disciples’ in more ways then one- LOL.

 

5-

Just got back from my routine on the street.

 

Had some interesting things happen today.

 

Actually- about a week ago [I did tell this story above- but left parts out].

 

A girl who I met a while back- well- came on to me- pretty strong.

 

The part I left out was- as she walked away- another girl said ‘that persons a snitch’ [works with the CCPD].

 

I had the sense that the cop- having not succeeded in trying to catch me with another DUI [I don’t drink- obviously that’s why he GPS tracked me the other day- one more DUI and I get the feeling I’ll get a hanging judge].

 

So today- a friend gave me a warning- he knows what I’m doing- and said ‘John- be careful- you’re going to be targeted’.

 

I already knew this.

 

Now- there was another girl there today- I have known her for 25 years.

 

I have never come on to her [or anyone else].

 

The last 2 weeks- she has made it a point to sit next to me [today- almost in my lap].

 

She has been striking up conversations [I have probably spoken to her a couple of times- in 25 years].

 

Today she was asking for a ride- she wanted to get in the car- just me and her.

 

I told her no- was going in to town [which was true].

 

When a cop might think that someone- thru simply reporting truth- might wind up in jail- of course he’s capable of talking to one of the street girls [people work for him- talk- stuff like that- that’s Ok].

 

But if he feels he is in danger- of going to jail- you bet he might try something like this- especially on the day someone warned me.

 

There was an incident that happened in Texas a few weeks ago- not in Corpus- but I think by Dallas.

 

Anyway- some cop shot a retarded guy.

 

The family was irate- they insisted that the cop killed him without just cause.

 

The guy was outside- holding a knife.

 

In the report- the cop who killed him- and his partner- swore that the guy lunged at them.

 

Of course- a cop would never lie on a report- right?

 

The family was outraged- the cop- his chief- the whole dept. backed up their men.

 

Then- lo and behold- a YouTube video surfaced of the murder.

 

Both cops lied- they killed a retarded man in cold blood- Oop’s.

 

Now- you think ‘wow- just happen to be 2 bad cops’.

 

First- I actually don’t think they were bad- they responded like most people who feel their jobs are threatened- they lied to protect themselves.

 

As a matter of fact- have you ever heard of a police killing- where the cops said ‘you know- I shot the man- killed him- but I would never lie- go ahead and put me in prison’.

 

‘John- are you saying cops kill innocent people all the time’?

 

Of course not- many work their whole careers- never even firing their gun.

 

But- I have never heard a cop admit- willingly- that he shot an innocent man- and the above case would have never come to light if it wasn’t for the video.

 

The point is- when a cop [who has already threatened many people- over many years] feels his job is in danger- sure he would do something like I just mentioned- they are human.

 

I’ll end with one last story- that I redacted from an earlier post.

 

Let’s ‘tell a story’- so you get the idea how things work.

 

O- Say if you email a chief- send him a letter- and make a complaint.

 

Say if the chief is Black [like the CCPD chief].

 

Now- let’s say about a week or 2 later- some homeless guy [Who I never met in my life- don’t know his name- and my buddies never saw him before as well].

 

Say if he walks up to you- out of the blue and says ‘talk to th [redacted stuff here] and you’ll regret it’.

 

Now- that’s how this stuff works- that’s how people- bad cops- get their point across.

 

He knows that there would be no way in hell to prove this [my friends did not hear him say it].

 

That’s the way the ball bounces.

 

I have done my best to give the names and addresses of the cases that I feel are legitimate.

 

I have not told every story- there are many about guys actually getting the ‘stuff’ kicked out of them- but no one will give me names- so I left those out.

 

If after all the efforts I have made- did my best- if this cop kills someone- let’s just hope there’s a YouTube video- because if not- this saga will not end [well].

 

UPDATE- I saw Huey today- he looked fine. I was told [by his brothers] that he was beat up- and missing for a few days- But it was obviously a rumor- wanted to correct that. But- Tammy and Shrek are still stuck in Houston- she called me today.

 

HAVE THE WORKERS OF INIQUITY NO KNOWLEDGE- WHO EAT UP MY PEOPLE AS THEY EAT BREAD- THERE WERE THEY IN GREAT FEAR

 

HOW ARE THEY BROUGHT INTO DESOLATIONS IN A MOMENT- THEY ARE UTTERLY CONSUMED WITH TERRORS

 

HE HATH DISPERSED- HE HATH GIVEN TO THE POOR- HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS ENDURETH FOREVER- HIS HORN SHALL BE EXALTED WITH HONOUR- THE WICKED SHALL SEE IT AND BE GRIEVED- HE SHALL NASH WITH HIS TEETH AND MELT AWAY- THE DEISRE OF THE WICKED SHALL PERISH

 

IT WOULD BE BETTER FOR THAT MAN IF HE HAD NEVER BEEN BORN- Jesus Christ.

 

Last year I spent 3 months in New Jersey- I told some friends that I always wanted to do some street ministry in my home area- and I did.

I was walking all over- central park- Jersey City [at night].

I had more than one person tell me ‘John- you can’t go out like that- it’s not the same as when you were a kid’.

You might get shot.

I told some friends that my Texas friends said ‘John- you better leave Texas- your gonna wind up getting shot’.

I thought the 3 months might give me some time to cool off- I guess it didn’t work.

 

THURSDAY MORNING- Obviously the CCPD are reading these posts- one of them has been GPS tracking me for about a year now.

A few words to Tommy;

  • Do not text me again
  • Do not involve my daughter in this again.
  • If you have a message to deliver to me- don’t have someone else do it- you know where I am every day.
  • Heck- I walked around the Police station last week- for 3 days in a row- you guys have me on camera- I was praying for the Kingdom to come.
  • Walked right past one of you guys- parked next to my car- engine running.
  • If you have a message – then send it yourself.

 

 

 

 

 

2053 GROUND TO DUST? [you’ll need to read it all- sorry]

 

GREATER LOVE HAS NO MAN THAN THIS- THAT HE WOULD DIE FOR HIS FRIENDS- Jesus.

 

Last night I went to see Gordon Lightfoot- I knew he was older [obviously] but he still sounded good- played the hits [Sundown- If you could read my mind love- Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald].

 

I had a blast.

We even launched another home group earlier in the day- we do this one at Coffee Waves- at the corner of Flour Bluff Dr. and Waldron road.

 

Today we do another Bluff meeting at Don’s Pier- off the Laguna Madre.

 

I’m grateful that I have been spending most of the day with the guys- Cameron is the young kid [26] who I always wanted to be in the meetings.

 

He moved about 2 blocks away from my house- he meets me every day at Timons- we do a meeting [here- or in various towns] and he hangs with me for the day.

 

Let me tell a little story.

 

Cameron is a good kid- a Christian- as a matter of fact one day- last year- when I went to the halfway house- he was on the verge of getting kicked out [I don’t do that- but John David is the main director- and he does get upset- in Cameron’s case he was using-[Legal weed]- but that stuff is bad- I have had friends who have done everything- heroin- meth- you name it.

 

They tell me the Legal messed them up.

 

But a day or 2 before the Kid was gonna get kicked out- I saw he had an old bible of mine that I left for the guys- it was opened to the Psalms- and it was a strange feeling- it had all the notes and stuff that I wrote in it years earlier at the Fire Dept.

 

So I knew he was one of the few guys that got up early- read the word- and was trying.

 

After Cameron left- I kept I touch with him.

 

He has no dad- a step dad that he doesn’t get along with.

 

They live on Padre Island- and it’s sad that they don’t let their son live with them.

 

I let Cameron do the laundry at my place- he took a shower yesterday- he was in Flour Bluff high school when my kids went there.

 

One day Andy- who used to be the house manager for the halfway house, told me ‘John- I think the Kid is gay’.

 

Cameron was just getting ready to go back to jail for violating probation- and he had his short hair dyed blonde and all.

 

I kinda got the same feeling- but it didn’t bother me- the kid needed acceptance because of his background.

 

One day a few weeks ago when I told him he was always welcome to keep in touch [when the guys leave the halfway house- David kind of holds grudges- and cuts the guys off- I don’t like that- I keep in touch with Steve and the others after they leave- try and do stuff with them- involve them in my meetings].

 

So one day Cameron texted me ‘Yeah John- I would like to do the ministry stuff with you- with me and my partner Larry’.

 

I knew Cameron took a risk when he texted me this- to see if I would still accept him.

 

Of course I did- I texted him back and said I would love for you guys to be involved.

 

Now- most of my friends know my position on these things- I take the classical Christian view- I am not ‘pro-gay’.

 

But- I am also not ‘anti-people’.

 

While Cameron was here the other day- ironing his clothes- I lent him some stuff- he was talking about some of his friends- I don’t know if they are all gay or what- but a Christian song came on- Cameron says ‘Yeah- Larry plays that one all day’.

 

He told me how his friends are into a certain church [not the MCC church either] – passing out Christian stuff.

 

I mean I saw how these kids are for real- with all their struggles and things.

As a matter of fact- when one of his friends came to drop off some clothes for him here- he came back in with a few little Christian cards that his friends make up- we used to call them tracks- Cameron says ‘yeah- they wanted me to leave these for you John’.

 

These guys remind me of the old days- when I used to go to a Baptist church- passing out tracks and all that kind of stuff.

 

I looked at one of the home made cards- with a few bible verses on it- I told Cameron I stuck that one on my wall- it had the same verses I just had been using.

 

He thought that was so cool.

 

 

In our first meeting at the Coffee House- I spoke a little about Social justice – the stuff I have been posting on [but not that strong of course].

 

I mentioned how the Pope got into hot water these last few months on some of his comments- one being that if gay people are seeking God- who was he ‘to judge’.

 

Now- I can go into the way both sides took it [Conservative Catholics versus Liberal] – but I don’t want to.

 

I just felt like in my own experience- I wanted to be more gracious- more accepting.

 

I felt the Lord telling me this about a year ago- on this specific issue.

 

Where our halfway house is located- there is also a Metropolitan Community Church- for those who don’t know- that’s a church denomination that was started by a Gay Christian [for gay people].

 

I have studied church movements over the years- and did read about this church at the time [what I’m doing now- with our home churches- is actually what you would call the beginning stages of a church planting movement].

 

But the MCC churches are known for this.

 

They give out food weekly- like other ministries.

 

The guys from the halfway house go on that day and stock up.

 

I picked up Pop’s there last week- the old man I have written about- I went to see him- I do a meeting at Pop’s house too- and gave him a ride back.

 

When I got to Pop’s house on Waco Street- his friend invited me to wait- I called Pop’s [from his house] and he was at the MCC church- a few blocks away.

 

But he had 2 big bags of food- So I picked him up.

 

He told me God was on time- he needed the ride.

 

I’m glad I didn’t reject Cameron that day when he texted me about ‘me and my partner Larry’.

 

Yesterday- after our meeting at the coffee shop- I took him back to the house- let him take a shower- use the laundry.

 

Had Henry and Whistler here too- some of the main crew for our meetings.

 

As Cameron was excited about all that’s happening- his new job as a waiter- his trailer- he said ‘John- you’re a real Christian’.

 

I don’t know at times if I always feel that way to be honest- but I was grateful for the comment- and grateful that I accepted ‘the kid’ where he is at in life- he has taught me too- and his friends.

 

 

FRIDAY- Went to the mission today- not a good day.

 

I met Dirk about 25 years ago- he has been a good friend for many years. Dirk had a history of violence- he was very possessive of his girlfriends.

 

I never saw him hit them- but I could tell he probably did- just how a couple of them acted at times.

 

The other week I heard he hit some guy with a bone- in the camp. Lots of the guys get into fights- they are using drugs- meth has overtaken the Bluff these last few years.

 

A new guy I meant to write about last week goes by Tennessee- some of the guys use the names of their states to identify them- when I was in New York I was called Texas- I guess it just goes with the territory.

 

Tennessee drinks- I have a few friends who are just out and out drunks- I saw him holding a sign [cardboard thing] begging for cash- the other day.

 

Just last week I became somewhat of a friend with him.

 

He was telling me how came from a long line of Moonshiners- he went into all the right materials to use and stuff.

 

He said had a little one in the camp- he was telling me how he does it and all.

 

As we talked he asked if I ever went to some of the famous spots in Tennessee.

I told him I have driven thru lots over the years- went to Victoria Falls one year- and I asked him if he knew about Tennessee Temple University.

 

Sure did!

 

I told him many years ago when I was going to a Fundamental Baptist Church- I stopped at the University.

 

It’s famous in those circles.

Lee Roberson was the founder.

 

He told me he cut Lee’s grass- and he would give him a hundred bucks.

Actually this is the 2nd time in the last few months that some street drunk told me how real some of the famous Baptist preachers were.

 

I met a street guy when I got back from Jersey- he shared the same type of story about Brother Rolloff- a famous Baptist preacher here in Corpus.

 

They both said how these old time preachers were their friends- they saw the street guys as friends- that’s why their ministries did so well- they really loved these guys.

 

The last few years I have seen Dirk going downhill- he started getting into some of the bad stuff- drinking too.

 

He was never really a big drinker.

 

He lost his van about 6 months ago- he had that thing for years.

 

Just last week his camp caught fire- burned himself pretty bad.

 

I was talking to Timothy the other day- Dirk started yelling at him.

 

Lots of the homeless crew simply do not like Dirk- dare to say I might be the guys only friend.

 

Actually one of his girlfriends- Julie- a nice Christian girl- trying to do real ministry.

 

Dirk told me she was always texting him bible verses and stuff- I could see she really was into God.

 

One day Julie told me ‘Dirk idolizes you- says you’re the only real ‘preacher’ he has met’.

 

I never knew he looked up to me like that- but I think it was simply because I spent time with him over the years.

 

Got to know his story- he loved camping at Sam Rayburn national forest in Texas.

 

He used to show me the collection of arrow heads he would find over the years- he gave me one of the best ones he ever found.

 

Grew up in Michigan- one of the city’s famous for building Travel Trailers.

 

His son committed suicide many years ago- his ex-wife as well.

 

 

Yesterday- as I showed up at the mission- the story was

 

Dirk killed Tennessee.

 

I heard lots of various accounts- but Tennessee was stabbed- he is in serious condition- expected to survive.

 

As of last night- he’s still on the run.

I will check the dog pound- Dirk had a nice dog- Gunner.

If no one takes it [some of the other street people did say they would get him- they have done stuff like this before. Many of the street people have dogs that all the others know and love- and they take care of their dogs when something like this happens].

 

I will try and visit Dirk in jail- I’m not sure what the outcome will be- I don’t know if they caught him yet.

 

I had a little falling out with Dirk when I got back from New Jersey- nothing real big.

 

I didn’t talk too much to him after that- but felt bad- and the last few weeks have talked with him again.

 

I invited him to some of the meetings- he never made it.

 

As I write in defense of the homeless- I do not intend to justify the stuff they do.

 

These guys living in camps- it is illegal.

 

The problem here needs to be fixed.

 

Homelessness is a problem all across the nation.

 

Please pray for Dirk- and Tennessee.

 

I’ll try and find out more later- thanks.

 

 

Monday-

 

NOW GATHER THYSELF IN TROOPS- O DAUGHTER OF TROOPS: HE HATH LAID SEIGE AGAINST US: THEY SHALL SMITE THE JUDGE OF ISRAEL WITH A ROD UPON THE CHEEK- Micah 5:1

 

This chapter contains the famous verse that the religious leaders used when King Herod asked where the King of the Jews would be born [Matt-2].

 

The wise men came from the east- and Herod gave them the city- Bethlehem.

 

If you read the chapter you will see a key theme about the ministry of Jesus.

 

It says when the enemy oppresses a people- at a set time the oppressor will be driven to ‘take the bait’.

 

He will- at God’s appointed time- oppress the last one.

 

In 1st Corinthians 2- we read that if ‘the princes of this world [legal authorities] knew what was really going on- they would not have crucified the Lord of glory’.

 

In John chapter 11 we read an interesting thing- as the authorities are coming down on the Judean area- the religious leaders have a meeting- they say ‘what shall we do- indeed Jesus is for real- he does many miracles [like raising the dead] if we let him alone the Romans will come and take away our position [they were given authority by Rome to have local jurisdiction over certain legal stuff].’

 

Then- the high priest- Caiaphas- says ‘you know nothing at all- it is expedient that one man die for the people [scapegoat- also scandalon- rock of offence] – so the whole nation perish not’.

 

The writer of the gospel- John- goes on to say that the priest did not really know what he was saying- but because he was the high priest- he prophesied- not knowing it.

 

I find this interesting- even though they had a scheme against him- they did not see that God was behind the whole thing [if the princes knew what was really going on- they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory- knowing that in reality- by getting him- it would put an end to the cycle].

 

Ok- in Romans 9 we read that when Pharaoh was oppressing God’s people- God hardened his heart- caused him to continue to ‘go after’ the people- because in the end God would get glory by showing that he alone is God- and rules in the affairs of men.

 

In Exodus 9 we read the story.

 

Moses confronts Pharaoh- and time after time Pharaoh goes back to his old ways- and refuses to leave the people alone [to let them leave Egypt and worship God].

 

At one point- later in the story- Moses confronts him face to face- and the bible says he left in great anger.

 

Moses was irate.

 

So- plague after plague comes upon Pharaoh- and God was the one making Pharaoh so hard hearted.

 

Finally God does deliver the people- but God was actually behind the vindictive nature of pharaoh- because he had a bigger plan in mind.

 

BUT THOU BETHLEHEM – THOUGH THOU BE LITTLE AMONG THE THOUSANDS OF JUDAH, YET OUT OF THEE SHALL COME FORTH THE RULER

 

AND HE SHALL STAND AND FEED IN THE STRENGTH OF THE LORD- IN THE MAJESTY OF THE NAME OF THE LORD HIS GOD

 

AND THIS MAN SHALL BE THE PEACE- Micah 5

 

In the gospels we read the interaction of Jesus with his men- you always get the sense that the guys have some idea of the ministry of Jesus- but don’t yet fully see the end result.

 

He tells them one time ‘The son of man must go to Jerusalem and be delivered into the hands of men- AND THEY WILL CRUCIFY HIM’ [he will die].

 

Now- Peter responds ‘no- no way- we won’t let this happen’.

 

Jesus says ‘get thee behind me satan- for you are not concerned with the Kingdom of God- but of men’.

 

Jesus was the prince spoken about in Micah 5- it said ‘They shall smite the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek’.

 

The oppressors of the people- both Rome- and in a sense the religious authorities HAD TO DO WHAT THEY DID.

 

It’s sort of like when a nation- say the Black people- when they were living under slavery for a long time- many of them became used to it.

 

But over time- the abolitionists [at first White men] began seeing the wrong that was being done.

 

Loyd Garrison- one of the most prominent- began a paper that he circulated thru out the country- in hopes that he could turn the tide.

 

He was a devout Christian- yet zealous for the freedom of the slaves.

 

He even burned the constitution at one point- saying it was founded by those who approved of slavery.

 

Frederick Douglas- the great emancipated slave- read the papers of Garrison- and that’s how the fire started.

 

Jesus himself was the bait- the authorities got used to Crucifying men- at times for wrong reasons.

 

Then one day the time was fulfilled- the time the prophet spoke about centuries before.

 

Yeah- Pilate questioned this young zealot- wondering why he was different than the others.

 

Jesus knew- that once they crucified him- it would be the end of it all.

 

It was.

 

A few points;

Micah says ‘and this man shall be the peace [Jesus] when the enemy shall come into our land: and when he shall tread in our palaces, THEN shall we raise against him 7 shepherds- and 8 principal men’ [princes]. Micah 5:5

 

This deliverance required the enemy to tread in their palaces- meaning it had to come ‘to the doors’ so to speak.  When Peter rebuked Jesus- because Jesus said he had to go to Jerusalem and be rejected- and finally delivered to Rome [who alone had the power to execute- the religious leaders had so much they could do regarding the law- but they could not put someone to death- they had to ‘trick’ or manipulate the system to do it. If you read the Crucifixion story carefully- that’s what happened. As a boy I always viewed Pontius Pilate as the bad guy [by the way- when we confess the Nicene Creed in Church- Pilate is the only name mentioned from a secular view] But in reality you see that he was manipulated by the religious authorities to Crucify Jesus.

Peter did not understand that in order for the deliverance to take place- the enemy had to ‘tread in their palaces’ meaning- he had to actually have a degree of destruction that succeeded [Jesus was indeed killed].

Jesus is called the Rock of Offence- he is the Rock of our salvation too.

There is a verse that says ‘whoever shall fall on this Stone shall be broken- but whoever the Stone falls on- it will grind him to powder’.

Meaning- if people humble themselves in this life and accept Christ- they will be broken [by submitting to his Lordship].

But- those who fight against him- he will ‘fall on them in judgment’ and that will grind him to ‘powder’ [those will taste the full wrath of God].

In Micah 5- we read ‘and those that remain [after the judgment] shall be like the dew of the Lord- like lions in a field- who- if he go thru- both treadeth down- and teareth- and none can deliver’.

After God delivers the people- they themselves are like lions [they now have a defense- they are feared].

‘And it will come to pass in that day that I will cut off the horses and destroy the chariots’ [the instruments used to go after the people].

‘And I will execute vengeance in anger and fury upon the heathen- such as they have not heard’.

 

Of course you know- that after the authorities ‘went after’ Jesus- the Rock of offence- they seemed to succeed in their plan.

Yet- he came back- he rose from the dead.

Eventually the kingdom was delivered over to the people of God [in the 4th century- some 300 years later- Constantine declares Christianity as the religion of the empire- and till this day- the church remains].

The only lasting memory of Pilate is recited in Churches world over every Sunday ‘Crucified under Pontius Pilate’. [recited by the way- under a church full of people- looking at a Crucifix!]

Not such a great epithet.

 

As Micah said ‘FOR NOW SHALL HE BE GREAT- UNTO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH’

 

Amen- the prophecy has been fulfilled.

 

Note- another word for offence in the New Testament is scandalon. It is a warning to us- not to take the bait that satan lays out- to hold offenses. But Jesus too is called the rock of offence- not in a negative way [that is for those who believe] but for those who hated him- and his followers [how can you say that you love God- who you don’t see- when you hate your brother who you do see- 1st John] they were caught in their own trap so to speak. They pursued Jesus out of hatred- like they pursued others before him. But they didn’t know that this was the final one. In 1st Corinthians 2- quoted above- it says ‘if the princes of this world knew- they would not have crucified the Lord of glory’.

It says in that chapter that the princes of this world COME TO NAUGHT [nothing].

In the end- it was that very thing that caught them- the thing they used to catch others. satan uses offence- to hinder the people of God [in Job chapter one- he accuses Job to God].

Yet- in the ultimate battle- they went after Christ with a vengeance [he offended them because he was sinless- and spoke the truth].

And it was this offence- scandalon- Rock of offence- that ‘got’ them- ground them to powder- so to speak.

 

TUESDAY- ‘The True Bread’

 

Had a busy day yesterday-well to be honest every day is now very busy.

Cameron came over early- I was finishing up some final repairs to the house- getting ready to list it.

I took Cameron to his probation meeting- then ran over and met David at the new building we are looking at for the halfway house. [I posted the pics to facebook]

Another guy who works with homeless vets met us- David has a homeless vet [Doc] living with him- and the VA has asked us if we could take homeless vets.

So David wants to open up this 2nd spot for them.

Fred- the guy who works with the vets- asked about our other halfway house on King street.

He knew the property- asked if I knew the new owner of it- sure did.

Jeremy was a firefighter in Dallas- he cashed out his retirement and became an investor.

We hit it off good- I even gave Fred Jeremy’s phone number- he lost it.

 

I then drove to the mission- and sure enough on my way to the door- you’ll never guess who I saw?

 

Dirk.

 

Yeah- my friend who stabbed my other buddy- Tennessee.

 

He was sitting outside the fence [of course the other guys at the mission are mad at him].

 

He had Gunner [I’ll post the pic] the dog I was gonna bail out of the pound [I thought Dirk was in jail].

 

The cops took him in for questioning- and they let him go.

 

Dirk of course told me his story- what he told the cops.

 

How Tennessee ‘fell’ on him- twice- while Dirk was holding the knife up.

 

By the way- this is not the first time- over the years- that I have heard this.

 

So- I listened.

 

‘John- do you believe it’?

 

No.

 

But- that’s the scoop.

 

I walked over to the main area of the mission- and some of the people who were witnesses told me how the cops came to the camp- wanting to talk to them.

 

They did not want to talk to them- like I said in these last few posts- if your history with them is one of them goes after them- tells them the stuff I have been posting.

Of course they don’t want to talk- they don’t trust them.

 

Tammy and Shrek have been calling from Houston- they are trying to get back to Corpus- have their probation moved.

 

Shrek wants to try and get in our halfway house- maybe that will help.

 

I was on the phone with Justin- the kid I wrote about the other day.

 

I’m gonna pick him up in Robstown later- for our Bishop meeting.

 

I mean it was like I was talking to his dad- 25 years ago.

 

Same voice- everything- even shouting at this kid ‘hey come here Angel- don’t go by the street’!

I told him I’ll get him today- he tells me he wants to go.

 

He says ‘Brother John- you have been helping my family for 30 years- you have been doing this a long time- ministry- if no one ever told you- thank you’.

 

This coming from a kid [25 year old] who was shooting Heroin 3 months ago.

 

He told me he was on the streets of Robstown- a city known for drugs.

And he cried out to Jesus one day ‘please help me- I don’t know what to do’.

 

As we drove out of town last week- I saw some of the spots that I remember- yes- times [many years ago] where I was not in the best of times- and remembered some bad stuff too.

 

As I was on the phone with Justin- thinking of how it’s like I’m talking with his dad- sure enough another call comes in.

 

Yeah- it’s his dad- on the other line.

 

I call back- again- it’s like I’m talking to Justin- just an older version.

 

I’ll get with his dad- Emit- in about an hour.

 

He’s going thru lots of stuff as well- I told him I’ll help him move to another place today.

 

But I can only go for a couple of hours- then back to the mission- then do our Bishop meeting.

 

Ok- let me talk about the ‘other side’ of the homeless problem.

 

I have- honestly- written about police abuse- which is indeed wrong.

 

But there is also a problem with this whole situation- people on the streets- at times stabbing each other.

 

Living on the streets- using drugs- drinking- all of this too needs to change.

 

One of the reasons we opened the halfway house was we needed to see some type of change with the people.

 

Many soup kitchens- homeless missions- many of them do enable this lifestyle.

 

To be honest- some of them do it because of what they get out of it.

 

Over the years I have helped unload the food trucks for the mission.

 

Lots of the more expensive food is never served- the guys know the workers take that food home.

 

Some ministries bring in money- other things- and the people running those ministries do get kickbacks.

 

So- many of these missions are not really trying to get the people off the street- and some are enabling them to stay there.

 

One time Jesus had the people following him- he multiplied the bread and fish and they all ate [John’s gospel].

 

He then moved on to another spot.

 

And the crowd followed.

 

He said ‘you seek me because I gave you bread to eat- don’t seek me for that- but seek for the true bread- the bread that comes down from heaven’.

 

He wanted them to change- not to just keep coming for the meal- see?

 

Don’t get me wrong- I am an advocate for the poor- and I don’t take offerings- I pay for the stuff I do out of pocket [nor do I claim any write off on my income tax].

 

So- I try to practice this.

 

But- we want the street people to see change this year.

 

Some are not breaking the law- or using- so that’s good.

 

But many are- not good.

 

This year we are trying to follow the Lord’s example- we are trying to tell the people ‘yes- we are here to help- we are here to meet needs- loaves and fishes- but don’t just seek for that- but for the true bread- that came down from heaven’.

 

Wednesday-

Had a good meeting in Bishop yesterday- just a few guys- I spoke about Micah 5- the stuff I wrote about above.

This year has been a very busy year for me- I do have a lot of irons on the stove.

As I talked in Bishop we covered a little bit about God’s manifold wisdom/gifts.

In the corporate world you call it multitasking.

In the parable of the Sower of seed- Jesus said the sower [seed caster] throws the seed in different spots- some fall on hard ground, they never produce.

Some in the weeds- the same thing.

But over time- some do fall on good ground and bring forth.

I like this- part of our calling in life is there will be some things that don’t work- they don’t become successful.

That’s alright- if you never throw the seed- the few that do make it- they would never have had the chance.

Today I will visit Tennessee, the friend that Dirk- my other friend got into a fight with and he was stabbed twice.

I think visiting and praying for the guys in the hospital is going to be another ministry thing.

A few weeks ago I prayed for Chris- I mean he was on a respirator- he looked gone- the type of look when you see someone who is dead- but the only thing keeping him alive is the machine.

I prayed for him- but did not think he would make it.

David calls me the other day- Chris wanted him to take him to get some shirts- because he’s back out- in the halfway house- and wants to get back to selling the water filter things that he is known for.

He was a top seller for his company.

I thought the guy was dead!

 

So- I guess I’ll believe God a little more when I pray for them.

 

Both of these guys are my friends [Dirk and Tennessee]. I made it a point not to take sides.

 

I might do a meeting in that area- these meetings are ‘floaters’ that is I do some at the halfway house- or at David’s- or at Pops place.

 

There all within a 3 mile radius of downtown Corpus.

 

I’ll be heading to the mission today- I figured a good way to kind of include some of the girls in our meetings- I’ll just basically teach the same stuff- while sitting at the mission- drinking coffee.

 

My meetings are informal- sort of like a college brain storming get together.

I do talk about the bible- and mix it in with stuff that some of the college types would discuss as well.

Lots of these kids are smart- and they have some background in many of the arguments for/against the Christian faith.

But it’s really not hard to present the other side- quoting some of the famous philosophers and other intellectuals that these kids are familiar with.

 

That kind of ‘cuts the rug’ out from under these arguments against the faith.

 

So- it’s a teaching environment that I am comfortable with- and some of the girls can get in on the meetings- without having to be there.

 

Ok- that’s it for this week- I’ll post/comment on some pictures tonight- and talk to you all next week.

 

By the way- when I make my North Bergen visit this year- I’ll be holding meetings every day [except Sunday]- at 12:15 pm at the White Castle on Bergenline Ave- Nungessers.

 

I’ll post that on Facebook before I come.

 

God bless.

 

THURSDAY MORNING- [Sponsors- the danger of co-dependency]

We had a change of plans yesterday- Mike [my artist] stopped by around 9 am- he asked if I would do a meeting.

His friend saw him last night- and was suicidal.

Mike- who has been a friend for many years- but has just recently been in my meetings- told his friend that we do a sort of Christian based AA/NA meeting.

So- I grabbed a few guys and did a meeting here in the Bluff.

It went well- I talked about how Christ re-established our relationship with God- as our Father.

I spoke about the danger of co-dependence.

When I was in New Jersey last year for 3 months- I met some real good people in the NA meetings.

But during my year in AA- I saw things that from a Christian perspective- were not compatible with healthy living.

I did write about it- in a gracious way [it’s on my blog- under the section ‘Christian addiction recovery’.

But one of the things I never hit on was the teaching on Sponsors.

I wrote a book years ago- part of it dealt with the Shepherding/discipleship movement back in the 70’s.

This was a movement within the church that had ‘shepherds’ who were sort of like Sponsors in AA.

The problem with that movement was it created a co-dependency – people became too dependent on another person.

In scripture the concept of Sponsor- Mentor- is there- but the biblical view is- it’s only for a period of time.

There must be a breaking away from that relationship over time.

The Shepherding movement made the mistake of trying to control people- for life.

Jesus discipled his men for 3 years- then told them it was needful for him to leave.

At first- they didn’t want that- but he said ‘I go to prepare a place for you’

We often read that as ‘I’m going to get heaven ready for you’.

Actually- in context [it’s in John’s gospel] he was saying-

‘I go- to make room for you [here on earth]’

Sort of like ‘when I leave- the Spirit will come- and the works that I did- now you will do them’.

 

He had to leave- so they would grow in their own relationship with God.

 

In my meeting yesterday I spoke about how we- people- become co-dependent on girlfriends- sponsors- etc.

There must come a time where we move on.

 

In New Jersey- I met a guy at one of the meetings- don’t remember his name- but we talked a bit.

He told another person next to him ‘I have not only done the 12 steps- but 13’.

Now- he was nice- talking to some friends- The lady asked ‘what do you mean’.

 

You could tell he was hesitant to sound critical of NA- he must have been in it for around 20 years or so.

He was clean- doing well.

But he said he got a new sponsor a few years ago- and he made him do the steps all over- over a period of years.

 

He said he didn’t think he needed to- but he had to obey the sponsor- so he spent a few more years- doing something- that he felt was a waste- but if he didn’t do it- he was fearful that he was not obeying the sponsor.

 

I didn’t say anything- but of course I saw the same danger in this- that I actually had written about years before.

 

Any movement- or group- that creates this sort of co- dependency – can be dangerous.

 

So- we talked in our meeting about eventually moving beyond that initial relationship [I think Sponsors are ok- just at the start- maybe even a year- but over time it would be better to move on].

 

Stephen Covey- in his best seller ‘7 habits of highly effective people’ talked about 3 types- stages- of personal growth.

 

  • Independent
  • Co-dependent
  • Interdependent

 

Independent is the mindset of ‘I don’t need anyone else’.

 

Co-dependent is ‘I can’t live without you’.

 

Interdependent is ‘I don’t ‘need’ you to survive- to make it- but I see the value of our relationship- and we can go further together- as co-equals- than alone’.

 

I think that’s the proper view.

 

I have a friend who is dating a local girl.

Her ex-boyfriend is also my friend.

They are both at the street mission every week.

Then- her ex-husband now shows up [he got out of prison recently].

 

When she’s there- she has these 3 guys ‘fighting’ over her.

 

One actually stabbed the other one a few years ago- over this.

 

My closet friend [out of the 3] said ‘John- she just loves the attention- she wants us to fight over her’.

He was right.

 

Part of overcoming addictions- is also becoming interdependent.

Recognizing the value of others- but being mature enough to say ‘Brother/sponsor- I know you think I need to do this [whether it’s redoing the steps- over a few years- or whatever] – but I am maturing in this initial relationship- and I’m moving on’.

 

In my year in AA- I never had a sponsor- But boy was there pressure to get one- almost to the point of ‘we are waiting for you to re-lapse- so you will see your in rebellion’ [I was actually told this by a good friend].

This is a very important aspect- in my view- of becoming a well-rounded person.

 

Ok- that’s it- see you next week.

 

 

 

2054 I suggest you read this- till the end.

 

FRIDAY-

Yesterday I went to see Tennessee at the hospital.

I stopped by Charlie’s room first- he has been in for a few weeks- he’s doing ok- but was on a respirator at first.

I didn’t know if I would find Tennessee’s’ room- I mean I only know him by this name- his street name.

On the way up the elevator- I recognized a guy from the bluff ‘hey- do you know Tennessee’?

‘Yeah- he’s my brother- I’m going to his room right now’.

Cool- I’ll follow.

 

Tennessee is the friend I have been writing about- Dirk stabbed him last week.

Now- the first day I got the news- I heard it from the street ‘yeah- he’s dead- his Aorta was cut..’

But- I knew some of these reports were from street people- and I waited for a more reliable version.

Then the mission had someone call the hospital- and they said he was alright- expected to make it.

As a matter of fact- Henry- my buddy- said ‘Yeah- if his Aorta was cut- he would be dead’.

True.

I worked EMS for 25 years- I have never heard of someone living with a wound like that.

So- as I head to the room- I go in and Tennessee is surprised to see me.

Lots of his friends said they would go- but many didn’t make it.

He’s lying here- on the bed- with a scar that you get when you have open heart surgery.

 

Hmm?

He looks good [I’ll post the pics] and he tells me that 2 major arteries to his heart were severed [his Aorta was severed].

And he had a punctured lung.

 

All week doctors came to see him- they never had a case- where someone in the field [not in a hospital setting where you can do this during open heart surgery] had a severed Aorta- and lived.

 

They said when he came in- his heart was still pumping- a medical miracle.

 

Of course I prayed for him- and my buddy who stabbed him- but this is really a miracle.

 

I prayed for him there in the bed- his brother was there.

I told Tennessee ‘you have been sober for a week now- why don’t you give it a shot- I’m 14 months sober- you can do it’.

To be honest- I don’t think he even thought of it.

 

His brother admitted something while I spoke- he told Tennessee that he ‘messed up’.

Tennessee thought he meant he went and drank- but his brother- without saying it- meant worse.

 

I told Tennessee ‘no- he means the ‘other stuff’.

His brother was clean for 6 years- and used some stuff right after Tennessee was stabbed.

 

Pops- who was waiting downstairs for me- he too relapsed after a relative was severely burned in the World Trade Center attacks on 911.

 

So- this does happen.

Tennessee told me ‘Yeah- I know Dirks out- on the street- I won’t press charges- I’m not a snitch’.

None of these guys trust the cops- even if one of them is on his death bed.

 

I went and got Pop’s downstairs- he was at the hospital visiting Charly- so I gave him a ride home- spent a couple of hours with him.

 

I have been very busy- and I needed to spend a little time on this side of town- where the halfway house and all this other stuff is going on.

 

I took Pop’s back to his house- he’s distraught over Charly- Pops has been a sort of surrogate father for Charly for many years.

 

Charly is a severe alcoholic- and Pop’s takes care of him.

 

Pop’s opened up- stuff I can’t say- but he told me stuff about his past that he never told anyone.

I’m not Pop’s ‘pastor’ so to speak- but I do pray for these guys- teach in my meetings- and they see me like that.

 

It’s kinda funny- Pop’s has some old friend Jimmy who just moved in from out of town.

 

Pop’s puts up guys in his spare rooms every so often- the apt. is a wreck- and in the middle of a drug area.

 

Pop’s said ‘John- he won’t follow my rules- he brings hookers home- he doesn’t like me playing my gospel songs’.

 

I told Pop’s if he won’t abide by the rules- kick him out.

 

I asked pops’ about Jimmy- ‘is he helping with the bills and stuff’.

 

He tells me ‘when he came back to town- he was strapped out- had no cash’.

Kind of funny to hear the old man talking the street lingo.

 

Pop’s has a good heart- really an interesting guy.

As I left- prayed for him and stuff- Pop’s says ‘thanks John- I love you’.

 

‘Yeah Pop’s- I love you too’.

 

NOTE- As I’m writing the post- going back doing the spell check- I start laughing. Why? As I see the word AORTA- I remember about 25 years ago at the fire dept.- my captain- George Hubert- who died a few years ago. We were doing our EMT class- and after a course on the heart- going thru the circulatory system- the instructor asks us if we have any questions- you know- to see if we are grasping the material.

George asks ‘yeah- was does A-O-R-T-A stand for’?

It was written on the board- he thought it was some type of acronym/acrostic.

It was funny.

Either we had a bad instructor- or George just wasn’t getting it.

 

It was strange- in my time with Pop’s he brought up stuff that I have been writing about.

He talked- in anger- about ‘the system’.

He told me 2 stories about police abuse [he does not know I’m writing about this stuff].

A girl- friend of Charlie’s- was raped by a guard years ago- while in prison.

And another girl- a minor- was raped by a cop years ago [not sure where this took place- it has nothing to do with the stuff I’m dealing with- these were stories from years ago].

But the girl was raped- did have a son- Pops knows them.

And Pops was saying ‘that’s the system John- the system is supposed to protect people- see- the antichrist system is here –God’s going to judge it’.

 

I saw real anger in Pop’s- in a way- he was tapping into what I have been dealing with- though he does not read my site- or have access to a computer.

It was so strange to sort of see the same ‘rage’ in my friend- over these issues- like a prophetic sign in a way.

 

SATURDAY- got a call from Pop’s yesterday- Charly [who has been in the ICU for a month] was up and eating and doing well.

Pop’s was so happy.

 

One day I was walking in the area of our halfway house- this was last year when I was walking 10-12 miles every day.

I saw 2 ‘street girls’ heading my way.

There are lots of hookers in that area.

One was older [the mom?]- of course they wanted to see if I was interested- I told them we have a halfway house down the road- I am friends with Jackie [David’s girlfriend- who has a history of drug problems- and has worked the streets as well].

I mean it was like I was talking to old friends- all guards were down.

I talked to the girls- she asked for a dollar or 2- I gave her a 5.

As we talked for about 5 minutes- she said ‘could I have a hug’.

Sure hon- I hugged her.

 

People- especially in that type of work- don’t get hugs from strangers- a hug that a friend would give.

I told David later- he asked ‘did you make her pay you 10 for the hug’.

Yesterday I texted David [partner in the halfway house]

I told him I was going to spend some time in the area- if he wanted to hook up- talk business and stuff [we are in the middle of possibly getting a new place for the halfway house].

He didn’t text back.

Why?

 

He called me the day before- I was on the road to the Bishop meeting- I couldn’t take the call.

 

I texted him later- gave him the appraisal on the property [he has no computer- another thing I told him he needs to do- about a year ago].

 

So- David- he still has the ‘mentality’ of the days when he used- will not text- or answer the phone- because he has told me he does this to get the people to come to him.

 

He does this with his boys at times [Jesse and Travis].

So- I didn’t take it personal- I still texted him- kept him up to date on my schedule.

 

But I’m busy- if you don’t text me—I dont have time to play these types of games- I headed back to the Bluff and figured he’ll call me when he needs to get together.

 

He called the next day when I was at the mission.

 

I don’t play the game- so I took the call and he still had some stuff to do [it would have been better the day before!] but I went over anyway.

 

Now- I want to give you the feel of how we work- how I have been unconventional in the ministry- my guys are all ex street guys- David murdered his friend years ago.

In many ways- they are like the disciples Jesus had- rough and tumble fisherman- hanging out around the fire- probably dropping the ‘f- bomb’ every so often.

 

So- I go to the other side of town- Jackie’s outside and she lets me in.

 

David is in his bedroom [remember- ex- Meth head alcoholic- known in the bluff as a killer].

He’s on his knees by his bed- praying.

 

Looked so sweet. I say ‘hey Boy- I’m here’. [Davids 62]

 

He turns around- scared ‘F—k- you scared the shit out of me- never walk up to someone behind their back’.

 

Now- this is normal- I even kidded him- I mean it wasn’t a serious thing- but I did scare the guy.

 

My time with these guys- seeing things that I don’t like [he’s not married to Jackie- but he tells me time and again God sent her to him].

At first I did tell him ‘you need to get married bro- you can’t just do the common law thing’

 

He’s been married about 3 or 4 times before- and the last ex [who lives in my neighborhood] won’t give him a divorce- she won’t sign the papers- though she too has another ‘husband’.

 

So- I at least tell the guys in these situations the best they can do.

 

I tell them ‘then- make sure it’s the only one- if you think God gave her to you- and for all these reasons you can’t do it legally- then don’t have any other ‘wives’ on the side’.

 

Now- I know all the scriptures on this- that is on marriage.

 

And I would not give this advice to the ‘normal’ person- but these guys are not normal.

And I try and do the best.

 

I was talking to a girl at the mission- one of the girls that I feel does want to hear the stuff I’m teaching- so I talk there at the mission.

 

She is a cute girl- so the other guys are trying to sit next to her and stuff.

 

But I was talking about co-dependence.

How some people are too dependent on others- especially in relationships.

 

Last year- when I left Texas- I thought I might live back north- for good.

 

I did check out the rents and stuff- they were high.

 

I was trying to hear God- I read the gospels again- and noticed the words of Jesus- especially about moving on.

 

He did say ‘except a man leave his father- wife- family- and follow me- he can’t be my disciple’.

 

Now- I know people can [and have] misread these things.

But I felt there was a sense of what I was going thru.

My wife knew I always wanted to go to N.J. and do street ministry- I told her now was the time.

The kids are older- I’m retired- the ‘s—t’ has hit the fan- what the hell- might as well give it a shot.

 

I told her ‘One thing God told me was- if I go [and don’t come back]- I am not to hook up with anyone else’.

That is- I’m going to finish the journey- single. [we were going thru lots of stuff at the time- and we did not know how things would work out].

 

I’ll come back to Texas- see everyone- but I’m not going to ‘find’ someone.

 

Now- these discussions were honest- and my wife knew I always wanted to go back north.

 

While I was there- I told someone else the same thing- that at this stage [at the time I thought I was not coming back to Texas] that from now on- I’m single.

 

The point I was making- and trying to share with some of the friends- is we often mistake [replace] the dependence we should have in God- with people.

Paul the apostle was single- and told the Corinthians that he would prefer them to do the same.

 

Then he made one of those comments that gets him in hot water- he said ‘but- if you can’t do it- it’s better to marry- then burn’.

Huh?

He meant ‘burn in lust’.

 

Ok- marriage s honorable- a God ordained institution.

 

But being single is too and many in the modern Evangelical church miss this- especially when we teach so much on relationships in the church- we often leave a negative view of those called to be single.

 

So- in David’s case- I bend the rules- I see where he was- where he is now- and I try not to compromise- but I try and do my best.

 

Plus- I owe him one- I did scare the hell out of the big baby- when he was kneeling by his bed- in prayer.

 

NOTE- Christians have a history of going to extremes- either falling into the proverbial ditch on the left or right.

For instance- the bible speaks of the church as a Body [of people].

We need one another to fulfill Gods purpose- we are a corporate community of people.

Yet- many of the famous people in the bible did ‘go it alone’.

John the Baptist- whom Jesus said was the greatest prophet born [besides himself] was called ‘the voice of one crying in the wildernes’.

The bible speaks about finding our identity in God- not in people- spouses- girl/boyfriends- not even in ministry [many Pastors operate out of a bad self-image- and seek to find identity in ‘church’ stuff].

In order for any marriage/relationship to make it- both partners can’t see the other one as their sense of purpose.

No- we first find our identity in God- and if you are in a relationship- then you have common ground- God coming first.

The media- soap operas- commercials- even the songs I like [classic rock] often speak about the other person as the reason for their existence.

Even some Christian teaching holds the same view- which is wrong.

If any person sees the other one as ‘the reason for their fulfillment’ in life- then it won’t work.

No other person can fulfill that role- and when we in society fall for that- then it leads to bad relationships- or abusive ones.

That’s a root that leads to jealousy- which is the cause for many of the cases of domestic violence.

Even if a person’s calling in life is not be single [though some are called to be single] yet those relationships need to be grounded first in God- then you love your mate as a result of your love for God.

Paul talks about marriage ‘Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church- and gave himself for it’.

If you’re seeking to find happiness- or fulfilment- in the other person- then you will be let down- in time.

 

There is indeed a Romantic theme in scripture- the Song of Solomon is the closest you get to an erotic book of the bible [if you read it carefully].

Some think that King Solomon- who penned it- was talking about his one true love [he had many wives and concubines].

In the New Testament we read of the relationship between Christ and the Church- also called the Bride and the Bridegroom.

So- true romance and deep love for your wife/husband is biblical- but it can only operate when we are grounded in God.

 

SUNDAY-

Getting ready to go to church- then to Alice [City here in Texas] to do some house shopping with my daughter Becky.

My kids came over yesterday to work on the real estate business we are getting into- looking into incorporating and stuff.

I figured it was time to give a heads up to my North Bergen crew- I told the boys I’d be coming back this year.

Now- let me tell a little story- how God kind of has to work behind the scenes- and some times you don’t know what’s going on- till after the fact.

Last year- I was on the streets with these guys- and sure- they are living the rough life- like my Texas crew.

Over time- we became good friends- even though they were a little hesitant at first.

So- as I hung out with the guys- for 3 months- I did Blog and post pictures of the whole thing.

One of my buddies [like one in Texas as well] did not like me taking their pictures.

But- I took them anyway- I had to- to be able to tell the story- and Blog as well.

 

So- I did realize that they probably would be pissed off if they realized what I was doing- but I did not try and hide the thing- I told them what I was doing.

I also told them the web site and all- at the start.

But- I usually hand out my ministry card that has the site on it- and I would have given them to the boys- but before I left Texas- I burned about 500 cards.

Why?

 

I went thru a stage of starting over- I thought I was leaving everything behind- and starting new.

I had no plans on doing any ‘big’ ministry stuff anymore- and was going to finish the journey- doing what I love most- reaching out to the street guys- and doing it where I grew up.

 

So- I didn’t have any cards- and most of the guys never read the sight- because of this.

 

But- near the end of my 3 month journey- some of the ‘normal’ guys – I call them the senior crowd- they too hung out at White Castle- and they saw me with these street boys for the past 3 months.

I’m sure they thought I was one of them [and in a way I was- but I was the only one not using].

So- one day the senior crew were talking about the bible and stuff- and for the first time- I budded in- and corrected some stuff they had wrong [the time of the writing of the New Testament].

I think they were intrigued a bit- thinking I was a user [drugs].

That’s when I started a little ‘group’ with these older guys.

One was an atheist- but I get along with these guys.

He did the standard thing they do- he was nice- but used some ‘big’ curse words and all- thinking that would rile me up [heck- I use them myself every so often].

So- we had some good talks- to be honest- I had read more of the books by atheists then he had.

The top 3 atheists in the last 10 years are Sam Harris- Christopher Hitchens [who died] and Richard Dawkins.

He was not even familiar with them [showing me he was really not up to our debates- fine with me- I knew I would ‘win’ the argument- in a nice way].

I became buddies with these guys too- as a matter of fact- one day when I was not around- the atheist told Rick [the street crew] ‘hey- that guy knows his stuff’.

Now- at the end of my trip- I told the senior crew ‘just Google Corpus Christi Outreach Ministries- and you’ll find my site.’

I thought later- well- I’m sure the street boys will eventually read the site- and I’ll just let the chips fall.

 

I never hid the site from them- I just didn’t have the cards- and those guys were not going to Google it- they are on the streets for heaven’s sake!

 

So- after I got back to Texas- they kept in touch- but the only guys who have my phone number- are the street crew.

So- when the senior crowd [who were more interested in what was going on- they read the site- they would go thru Rick because they knew he was in touch].

So anyway- I finally figured I’d better call the North Bergen boys- give them a heads up on when I’m coming back.

 

I texted them- Rick called back- and my other buddy Nick.

 

Rick knew it was me- we had a good talk- he tells me the boys are asking all the time when John’s coming back. As a matter of fact he texted me back at 5 [when the senior crew get to White Castle] and he asked if I was coming before the end of the year- I said yes- I’m sure the senior crew wanted more info.

 

Now- Nick- who I knew would be the most pissed about me posting all their stories- he just saw the text ‘hey you boys still around’ I guess he didn’t know it was me.

So- I see the call come in- it says Nick [I’m glad these guys keep the same phone numbers- in Texas they get new numbers and I lose touch].

 

So- incoming call- NICK.

 

I get it- he says ‘whose this’- ‘John- from Texas- hey buddy- what’s up’.

 

‘OH JOHN’

 

The phone goes dead.

 

I figured he read the site.

A few minutes after he does call back- but I was working on some stuff- and figured I’ll give him some time to cool off.

 

But he does text me twice ‘John- the phone cut off- I tried to call- you didn’t answer’.

 

I think he probably cooled off- when he first realized I was posting the stuff [like I did tell them].

 

And I texted him- told him no problem- I’ll get with him later.

 

Rick called back- told me how they are all waiting for me [for real- I know it’s not a set-up- I have been around the block- I can tell].

Rick says ‘yeah John- there are no more ‘regrets’- the guys want to see you again’.

 

He meant ‘no more hard feelings’- even though no one has said anything- I could pick up on what he meant.

 

Now- if I never burned the cards- things might have not gone too well.

 

Because I’m sure they would have gotten into it with me- not real bad- but we probably would have gotten into a little argument- maybe a ‘small’ fight or something- but this has happened over the years- and you do your best- make up later- stuff like that.

 

NOTE- When I was in New Jersey last year- I didn’t pray for the guys- or really do any meetings- but became friends [this year I’ll start the meetings].

But right before I left- I was sitting with Rick and his wife Stacy- right at the entrance of Hudson County Park- on the rocks.

We were saying our goodbyes and all- Rick and Stacy both drink- and do other stuff.

They were crying about stuff and all- I told them I have been clean for 9 months [at that time] and I told them I was going to the NA meetings too. I asked them ‘let me pray for you guys’.

We sat there – I prayed with them- talked about change.

Rick told me he was going to start going to AA- they wanted to make a change.

I don’t know if he went or what- but the other day he told me Stacy has been sober for 5 months [right at the time I prayed with her and had this talk].

You make friends with people- you love them thru the good and bad- and every now and then you see results.

 

The other week I was at the mission- and I was sitting in my spot- I always wear those sunglasses you see in my pics- I got them in New Jersey last year- and they are my only prescription glasses.

 

So I wear them- even at night [you know how it is- when I got the glasses- my first prescriptions in about 10 years- I picked the frames I liked- and these only came in sunglasses- so who thinks ahead?]

 

So- as I get up at the mission- some kid [25 year old?] is sitting right behind me- with a hat and shades on.

Staring at the back of my head.

I couldn’t care less- you know- you do make enemies over time- I didn’t recognize him- but over the years- when I was drinking- I didn’t even remember where I would park the truck [or how I even got home- bad].

So- I thought maybe it was some kid from that time- knowing where I was.

One day at the mission- from the crowd I heard ‘f—k you John’.

I didn’t see who it was- but I did say- ‘who said it!’

No one answered.

 

So- after a while the kid left.

 

Now- here’s the funny thing.

 

As I left the mission about a half hour later- I had no meetings to do- and as I was leaving I thought ‘you know Lord- let me do my Ayres walk today’.

Last year I walked all over the city- and there’s a street all the way on the other side of town- so I drove to a parking lot- got out- put on some classic rock with the cell phone- and off I went.

 

Sure enough- as I’m walking- the kid is coming the other way- he was on this street.

 

Now- he wasn’t following me- I was ‘following’ him.

He must have thought ‘how the hell did this guy know where to find me’?

I didn’t!

 

It was funny in a way.

 

I mean he just walked right past me- but must have thought I’m some under cover guy with a tracking device- heck- I just wanted to do my walk! [It was the first time in about 7 months that I did this walk].

 

So- God has ways of working stuff out- he knows what’s going on- even when we don’t

 

In 2nd Kings chapter 6 we read the story of Elisha- and how God used him to reveal the plans of the king of Syria- ahead of time- it says ‘Therefore the heart of the king of Syria was sore troubled for this thing [someone was spilling the beans on the king] and he called his servants and said unto them ‘will ye not show me which of us is for the king of Israel [he thought someone from his team was ratting him out] and one of his servants said ‘none my lord, but Elisha the prophet that is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the words that thou speakest in thy bedchamber’ verses 11-12.

 

I have had other experiences like the few I mentioned above- where I felt the Lord wanted me to do outreach in another area- for months.

Then later found out that it was ‘good’ that I was not in a certain place for that time.

I always wondered if others thought ‘how the hell did he know not to be here!’

I didn’t!

 

These things are actually funny to me- because I realize- like the king of Syria- these people probably think someone ratted them out [because I know all the guys/gals on the streets- and yes- they have told me stuff before].

But when you do ministry like this- of course you take chances- but if it’s really your purpose- God has your back.

 

NOTE- The story of Elisha and the spy thing is found in 2nd Kings 6-7. The king of Syria is setting up an ambush for the king of Israel. But every time he sets it up- the king of Israel finds out- because the prophet Elisha knows everything the king ‘says in his bed’. Prophetic gifts don’t just ‘predict’ the future- they can even know what the enemy is thinking. Now- the chapter says this happened ‘not once- or twice’ meaning it happened so many times that the authorities got paranoid- they did think they had a snitch in the camp.

So- the king of Syria targets Elisha- and sends his troops to surround the city- Dothan- and get the guy.

In the morning when Elisha’s servant gets up- he sees the city surrounded by soldiers and chariots- the servant panics.

Elisha is calm- he says ‘there are more with us- then with them’. He then prays for God to open the eyes of his servant- and in heaven- over the area where all this is playing out- there is an angelic host of angels and chariots waiting for the word of Elisha- it seems as if Elisha was now in charge [the stone that the builders rejected- targeted- has now become the head of the corner- he is now calling the shots].

So- instead of telling the angels and chariots to wipe out the army. He asks for God to blind them- that is for them not to recognize him. He then goes down to the army [he is right in the middle of it all] and tells them ‘hey boys- you got the wrong city- come- follow me- I’ll show you where to go’.

He leads the entire Syrian army right into the middle of Samaria- the home base of Israel.

They then realize they were set up- by this lone prophet- and they are scared.

The king of Israel asks ‘Father [he calls Elisha dad] should we kill them all now’?

Elisha says no- but FEED THEM.

Jesus- in the New Testament said when your enemy is hungry feed him- in doing this you ‘heap coals of fire on his head’.

So- the king makes a huge feast for the enemy- and sends them on their way packing.

After a while they come back [see- they had a chance to leave them alone- but like Pharaoh- they had to pursue one last time].

They do it again- surround the city and ‘lay it to siege’- back in those days the cities had walls for protection- they would open the gates for trade and supplies- but if an enemy surrounds you- they just let the city go to ruin over time- because no supplies get in. Like what we do today- in Iran we have had economic sanctions going for a long time- hoping to crumble the ruling Mullahs.

So- the king of Israel is mad- he had the chance to wipe them out- but Elisha said let them go.

The king is walking thru town one day and a woman from the wall yells ‘king- king- help me’.

He says ‘what could I do- we are all going to hell in a hand basket’ [my paraphrase].

The woman says ‘I had a deal with this other lady- we agreed that if we cooked my son one day- that the next day we would cook hers’.

They were starving.

So she tells the king they ate hers- but now the other lady hid her son.

The king hears this- he rents his clothes [a sign of mourning] and says ‘so be it to me if I don’t chop the head of Elisha off this day’.

Elisha not only has to watch out for the enemy- now he has the actual authorities pissed off too.

So the king sends a messenger to take the message to Elisha.

Elisha is sitting with some elders in his house- and before the messenger gets there- he says ‘look- this son of a murderer is now coming to kill me’.

Sure enough the messenger arrives and they stop him at the door.

Now- Elisha gives a prophetic word- he says ‘by this time tomorrow there will be so much food- it will be sold for practically nothing’.

How?

One of the other guys says ‘even if God opened the windows of heaven- this could not happen so fast’.

Elisha tells the guy ‘you will see it with your eyes- but never taste a bite’- Elisha pronounced a prophetic judgment on the guy.

The next day- in 2nd Kings chapter 7 we find the story- there are 4 Lepers sitting at the gate- they say ‘why sit we here till we die- if we go back into the city- we will starve- if we sit here we will die- what the hell- let’s just go to the Syrians- what else could happen- if they kill us- they kill us’.

You will never believe what happened next!

Now- for the rest of the story- go read the chapter- 2nd Kings 7 [John- are you trying to trick us to read the bible? Yes].

 

NOTE- I want to do something here that I normally would not.

If the CCPD are still reading these posts- let me give you guys a hand- for real.

This past week I talked to both Dirk and Tennessee [Dirk stabbed him last week].

When Dirk first told me what he told you guys- I did not believe the story- like you.

When I talked to Tennessee- he did indeed tell me he was on top of Dirk beating the shit out of him when it happened.

I did not think Tennessee had it in him to be honest- Dirks a big boy.

But-that’s what he says.

He didn’t say if he ‘fell on the knife’ [I frankly don’t believe that he did].

But it does look like Dirk was justified- a self-defense thing seems pretty plausible.

I know the state can pick up the charges- but from what I heard- it seems like it was self-defense.

I told Dirk that I talked with Tennessee- and that he is not talking to the cops- but told me he was getting the best of him when it happened- Dirk said yeah- like I told you.

 

So- I normally wouldn’t post stuff like this- I know most of the witnesses are not talking- so- if this helps- good.

 

TUESDAY- Got up at 3- normal for me-  I did about an hour of prayer/meditation- then about an hour of listening to some classic rock on my phone [Hootie and the Blowfish- few others].

 

About 5 my wife comes looking for me- she just heard on the news that they found a body under the bridge at 4 am- the spot where I walk- sometimes- at 4 am.

She said ‘I wanted to see if it was you’.

Not yet- I’m on a roll right now- let’s see how long it lasts?

 

Ok- just a note. Someone told me once ‘John- you are trying to get shot’.

Am I?

Honestly- no- at least I don’t think so.

Many years ago- in the early days of ministry- I had 2 occasions where it came very close.

At that time- I still remember them- I had a choice- run- fight- or do nothing and make a decision now that if you want to do this type of ministry- you will have to take risks.

 

I didn’t run- or fight- I stuck it out.

 

Both of these guys are now dead- long ago.

But since that time- to be honest- I never think about it.

 

Ok- yesterday at the mission John [new guy] told me ‘they arrested Don [aka Metal head] at the park Saturday’.

Dave- a guy who feeds the street people- feeds them on Saturday- right by the police station.

Now- Don has come to the mission stumbling drunk- he gets drunk early- and is wasted.

So- John told me he was there in the street- falling down drunk.

He said the cops went out of their way to be nice- they weren’t even going to arrest him- they offered to take him to the ‘drunk tank’ [sit in jail till you sober up].

But Don got rowdy- and swung at them.

STUPID.

 

Of course they arrested him then.

I wanted to say I’m sure the chief has tried to improve the situation that I have been writing on- and from all accounts- I think they are trying.

It was described to me that the cops went out of their way to be nice- and do right.

They did right.

 

Yesterday I told a few of the street crew that if they wanted to kick back at the house- watch a movie- come on over [watched Apocalypse now- Redux]

 

I gave one a ride- but he wanted to stop down the block real fast.

I told him ‘as long as you don’t pick anything up’ [Meth].

 

He said no.

Then I said ‘or drop anything off’.

 

He looked at me- called the other guy [I know them all].

And said ‘John wont drive me there- come over here’ [the mission].

 

They did their stuff- I said hi to the crew- and then took my buddy to the house.

 

Now- I said that to say this.

My policy has always been ‘no drugs in the car- or at my house’.

But I know these guys are on the streets- and if they have stuff- they carry it.

But this year I’m making sure they follow the rule- and they know it.

 

The street ministries who feed the guys- they need to tell them ‘if you show up drunk – falling down drunk- you can’t eat’.

Why?

If we want the cops to do right- and you have guys showing up- about 100 yards from the P.D. – falling down drunk- that’s illegal.

 

Then- if they go out of their way to do the right thing- and you swing at them- that makes it harder for them to do the right thing the next time.

 

Let me tell a story.

About 20 years ago- at the Fire House- we got a call- some gang kid got into trouble.

We also did the ambulance- went to shootings at times and stuff like that.

So- that day I went on the ambulance with another EMT and responded to the call- the cops were there.

 

I went to check the kid- and he swung at me.

Normally the cops jump on him right there.

But they didn’t have time- I lost it- I grabbed the kid- drug him out of the house- and threw him in the back seat of the cop car.

 

Got back to the station- went upstairs to watch the fights [I liked boxing] and the guys called up stairs ‘Hey John P.D. called [P.D. – Police Dept.].

They said ‘Send that guy on all the runs’.

 

So- even I have done this stuff.

 

This stuff works both ways- we can’t have the homeless population walking around drunk- falling down drunk.

If the ministries that are trying to help them let this go on- then they are at fault.

 

Set some guidelines- and abide by them.

If we want the P.D. to do right- then we have to do right as well.

 

WEDNESDAY

Had a good meeting in Bishop yesterday- talked about the story I mentioned above- 2nd Kings 6-7.

I guess I’ll finish it.

We left off when the 4 lepers decided to go for broke- ‘if we sit here- we die- if we go back into the city we die- what the hell- lets go to the Syrians- if they kill us- we shall but die’.

I like these boys- they gave it a shot- took some risks- but in the end it turned out well.

They go to the Syrian camp- and it’s empty- the Syrian army fled the night before- and left all their goods- for the taking.

God caused them to hear the noise of the chariots- the heavenly host that Elisha saw in chapter 6.

It seems as if Elisha had power over this angelic army- he made them blind the Syrians in chapter 6.

Then he made their sound heard by the Syrians.

So- the 4 lepers begin hoarding all the goods for themselves- and one of them says ‘we do not good- this day we have an opportunity like no other- all this stuff- and we are keeping it for ourselves’.

So- they decide to go back to the city of Samaria and tell their king what happened.

At first he is skeptical- remember- the city was under siege for months.

When we feel like the world is closing in around us- we get paranoid- we don’t see life for what it is- our view becomes jaded.

So- the king decides to send a couple of chariots and some men to see if it’s true- he thought it was a trap.

The men come back and tell him ‘yeah- we checked it out- and the Syrians fled- they even dropped all their goods right on the road’.

So the king sends his people to get all the stuff- it was a mad rush- like a Black Friday shopping day at Wal Mart- you know- we have even had people die at the doors- getting trampled for big screen TV’s and stuff.

Now- remember the prophecy Elisha gave to the guy who said ‘how can God turn this around- even if the windows of heaven were opened- he couldn’t turn it around so fast’.

Elisha said ‘you will see it with your eyes- but not partake’.

That guy was put in charge of the city gate- and when the people rushed back with the stuff- he was trampled in the gate and killed.

He saw the goods- like Elisha said- but never partook.

 

Ok- lets wrap up this week- lots of stuff going on.

Yesterday before I went to Bishop- I talked with my buddies at the mission.

Dirk sat outside next to me- I listened for a while- talked about life- and it reminded me of the many years when we had these talks.

I told him I was telling one of the girls at the mission how in life- we need to come to a place where we are accepted- where we know that God accepts us- we are ok- nothing wrong with us.

 

Now- even though we struggle- the point I was making is God makes us well- and we don’t live for the approval of men.

Many of us struggle with insecurity- and in God we find our rest.

 

Dirk and I talked for a while- just like the old days.

Even though there’s still a chance that he might get arrested for the stabbing- the root need- the basic thing- has not changed.

We spoke about the same things we have discussed over the years- and sometimes the best thing I could do for my friends is just listen- lots of people simply need someone to hear them.

 

I’ll be heading to Alice soon- to look at a house with my daughter Becky- Jeremy- the firefighter from Dallas who owns the property where we do the halfway house- he texted me last night- got back in town- wants to check out my house- I’m selling it soon- I told him if he wants he can take a look at it before I list it.

So- that’s it for this week- talk to you later.

 

 

 

2055

FRIDAY- A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE;

HE WAS CRUSHED FOR OUR SINS- THE PRICE FOR OUR PEACE WAS UPON HIM- Isaiah the prophet.

[I think everyone should read this post- till the end]

 

Yesterday I spent a couple of hours at the mission- then went to see how pop’s was doing.

It’s funny- the last few times I went to see Pop’s he says ‘it’s right on time- Gods working in this’.

I usually catch him when he needs a ride- or help with something [I even had a pair of expensive cowboy boots David found at the halfway house- I gave them to Pop’s].

He was just getting ready to see Charlie- the boy he has taken care of most of his life- Pop’s is like a dad to the kid [kid- Charlie is around my age- 51. Pop’s is 75].

We went to see Charlie at the hospital- this is the first visit I have made since he woke up out of a coma.

Charlie has been a severe alcoholic in and out of the hospital lots.

Was beat up years ago while drunk- has steel plates in his head.

He looks great now- I have never seen him looking so good- even when I worked with Charlie in the past.

We had a good talk- I took a picture of Pops and Charlie at the hospital- I’ll post it when I post this.

There are lots of interesting things that go on in ministry stuff- I always get a kick out of the funny stuff.

While I was visiting Pop’s at his apartment- he just put up another old guy about 2 weeks ago.

Jim too is a recovering alcoholic- and I have talked with him a time or 2.

He asks if I’m a preacher- to be honest I don’t like to describe myself that way- but said ‘sure’.

He wants to share with me a verse- from the ‘orthodox Greek’ version [most bible students have studied some Greek- that’s the language that our New Testaments were originally written in- I have a Greek lexicon here at the house- gives you the actual Greek word and definition to every word in the New Testament].

So- Jim- along with Pop’s approval [you know- Pop’s says ‘yeah- that’s the original Greek!’]

Jim quotes the verses about the antichrist in the gospel- and he says- in the original Greek it says ‘BARACK OBAMA’.

So- I don’t really know what to say- I mean it’s funny- sittin’ there with these old boys- kind of mixing scripture in between these things- not wanting to laugh- so I guess I said something like ‘wow- I never caught that one’. [Note- I know Big Mike- Mike Jake Duffy- might like this one].

 

I had a laugh the other day- Pop’s is truly a good man- he even showed me the V.A. suicide hotline number that he’s been calling every night- because he was so distraught over Charlie possibly dying.

He made plans where to bury him- if they were going to cremate him or what.

Yeah- Charlie was that bad.

 

But Pop’s likes to talk- a lot.

I don’t mind- but he might go on for an hour- and does have so many stories- I began to wonder if pops is a ‘little’ paranoid [yeah- like me at times].

So- he tells me he has been calling the suicide hotline- sounds like he talks to them- every night- for a few hours- which is ok- don’t get me wrong- but I get the feeling that Pop’s is in a way just wanting to shoot the breeze- like when he goes on with me.

 

He tells me ‘yeah John- the guy I talk to is out of New York- I told him preacher John is from that area’.

So I kinda think Pop’s is maybe telling some of the stories he has shared with me.

So- I’m being a bit more careful about Pop’s stories- he tells me yesterday- while we were driving back and forth ‘they say I’m paranoid schizophrenic- you think that’s paranoid!’- He tells me this after a few more stories- and to be honest- I was already starting to think this- before he asked [funny- don’t get me wrong- the old man is a great guy- and some of his history is indeed true].

But there are so many ones- I can’t verify them all.

 

He calls the other day- worried about how the people who are helping out with Charlie’s stuff might be ripping him off- he goes into an elaborate thing- how the girl next door- is now with a Black guy- whose name is the same first and last name as Charlie- Charles Young [which is probably true].

But- some of the disability checks of Charlie are missing from the mailbox- and the girl who’s dating the ‘black Charles Young’ also helps the White Charlie Young with his medications.

 

Now Pops thinks she might be using her boyfriend’s name and cashing Charlie’s check.

All this is possible- and stuff like this goes on all the time.

But as I’m talking to the old man on the phone- for about an hour- he gives me the phone number of one connection- then the next person- then the MHMR contact [a few more]- then the number of a relative out of state- in case Pop’s ‘winds up dead’ by morning.

 

So- I do write them all down- the names and all- by the time Pop’s was done- I filled up the whole piece of paper that I use for my daily routine.

I’ll post that pic too- funny.

 

I love working with these guys- they are all trying to help one another out- yet we all still have issues.

In many ways we are sick people- helping other sick people.

 

There is a prophecy in the bible about Jesus- it says the people will someday say to the Messiah ‘Physician- heal thyself’.

 

This was fulfilled at the Cross- when they said ‘if you are the Son of God- then come down from the Cross’.

 

That is ‘if you think you can really help people- then help yourself’.

 

But you must see- that in order for him to help others- he had to stay on the Cross- he had to suffer things- things that would leave permanent scars.

I love Pop’s- and yes- I began seeing a while ago that he does suffer from some of this.

 

He tells me yesterday- after he sees me praying and giving them the answers from scripture and stuff- he knows I have been doing ministry for a while.

He sees me praying for Charlie- and quoting scripture- talking to Charlie about taking advantage of this time that he has been in the hospital- almost 2 months- clean.

 

Pops says ‘John- when I get paid- lets pick up some street drunk and we will take him out to eat- and we can try and help him make a change- but you do the talking’.

 

Pop’s is for real- even though he too still carries some scars.

 

2-

Let me talk a bit here. And be very honest. These past couple of years I wrote about things- struggles- problems- that for the most part- people hide.

I spoke about not looking at porn anymore- because it destroys a person’s soul- yet- it was not easy to get free of it- but over time- I did get free of it.

I also quit drinking- I mean not even the wine at communion.

 

Last year- I was advised to get a mental evaluation- I didn’t want to- but basically was forced to.

 

Nothing was definitive- but at the initial evaluation they asked things like ‘do you look at fire’.

I mean I was amazed- one of the ‘new’ habits I picked up- was ‘looking’ at the fire that I liked starting in my yard- early in the morning.

 

‘Do you walk long distances’ just that year started walking 10-15 miles- a day.

 

‘Do you eat well’ if 1 meal a day is well- then yes.

 

‘Do you drink lots of coffee’ only 1 pot at the house- then 3 more cups at the mission.

 

Frankly- I was surprised that I did indeed fit the criteria- or at least the questions they asked- I fit the bill.

 

Of course that’s just one thing- but there were other things like that- that did surprise me.

I love the movie ‘a beautiful mind’- but when I first watched it- I joked about something- but it did make me think.

My office and room [and even the yard- and the back side of my house] had verses from the bible that I painted- and put ‘post’ it type notes in my office- painted bible verses on my office ceiling and walls that resembled the part in the movie where you see all the papers that John Nash clipped out and hung on his walls.

 

So- in the process- this was no definitive thing- which my friend who has a lot of experience with MHMR told me later that because of lots of reasons- they don’t want to give a ‘true’ determination- because of the prescription pill problem- basically they let people go undiagnosed- because they don’t want to prescribe valium/Zanax.

 

Now- when I went thru my withdrawals 14 months ago- I did need something- but never took anything- I went cold turkey- at one point it was bad- I knew my body/mind was truly addicted to alcohol- my friend who has lots of experience in AA told me I was the classic case of the hard core alcoholic- that he saw it in me before I ever admitted it.

At one point- he told me he would give me a Zanax.

Now- some of my friends are hooked on them- even though they are sponsors in AA- and many of them do lots of prescription meds.

 

I never took the Zanax- because I know you’re not supposed to- unless it’s a prescription.

So I did the cold turkey thing- for real- and it worked- though my body rebelled.

 

Nor did I take any other meds for any mental health thing- though- to be honest- I thought they should have at least given me a sedative.

 

Now- today- I take nothing. But- at times- especially last year- I knew there was some stuff wrong- violent thoughts- suicidal thoughts- at times- nonstop.

 

I was mad- and said- on more than one occasion ‘I can’t believe they didn’t even give me valium- or anything’. [they prescribed some sleeping pills and an anti-drinking thing- which makes you sick if you drink- I took the sleeping pill once- maybe twice- but it didn’t help- I never took the anti-drinking thing- I had no insurance and it was 100 bucks a month].

I was bad- literally going off the rails.

 

I say that to say this- like John Nash in the movie- I have learned to recognize when I’m not doing my best.

I can see it myself- even when I go back and read some of my posts.

When I post them- I do the best- most honest job at the time.

But sometimes I read them later [weeks or months] and I can see- what many of you probably see- that yes- maybe I- like Pop’s- might not be seeing things clearly.

I chose to leave those posts up- so others can maybe benefit from them.

 

Often times we see ourselves- our short comings- when we reach out to others- and this has happened to me.

I thank God I am able to do my best- I think I probably still have some effects of things- but I’m better today than I was last year.

My only ‘sins’ are- I smoke- a lot. Almost 3 packs a day. Even some of my street friends have told me to slow down.

The other sin?

Anger issues.

That’s it.

 

So- I felt this post script fit well here- tomorrow I’ll talk about the good day I had with some of the guys- we went to the Island.

 

Note- There seemed to be things that indicated a problem- that went many years back.

One of the things that ‘tipped’ off the possibility of a mental health issue was my discharge from the Navy.

When I went thru some of my evaluation- the lady asked me ‘and how long was it- after your discharge- that you got help’.

I told her ‘well- now is the first time’ [33 years later].

She flipped out- she was mad [not at me- but the system].

 

Till this day- I still have not been treated for anything- that’s fine.

I would not take the meds- to be honest- the only thing I felt they should have done [last year] was some type of sedative.

It was obvious- to even me- that something was not right- and the suicidal thoughts- and the other things- were major signs of getting some type of treatment.

Thru my experience I learned that there were serious flaws in the mental health system.

The doctor who saw me said ‘well- you seem to have functioned at a high level for many years’ [retiring from the fire dept. – ministry- radio- etc.].

 

But what I was doing- to ‘function’- was basically self-medicating- thru alcohol.

 

When I quit drinking- I thought the violent thoughts- which I have had for as long as I can remember- would go away- or ease up.

But the opposite happened- they shot up 100%.

 

I mean I saw it- I recognized there was a problem- yet the system simply did not want to prescribe anything.

 

I never lied during my evaluations [as many do- for SSI checks].

 

But it seemed as in if the doctor was waiting for the right catch phrase- and I was honest- and when those questions came up- I answered truthfully.

 

I do like the movie A Beautiful Mind- I’m obviously not John Nash- but he decided to cope with his mental issues- without medication.

 

I am no way as bad as John Nash was- I have never had hallucinations- or delusions.

 

But Paranoia- other things- yes.

 

I probably should write  more on this- but for now I thought I would just add this as an addendum to this post- hope it helps.

 

During this time- when I was asked about ‘do you have violent thoughts- like hurting someone’.

I said yes- it wasn’t against the people involved in what happened.

 

 

But I told the doctor ‘yes- I have violent thought towards ‘so and so’.

 

I mean I was worried- even for his sake- that something might happen.

So- this whole process- took some time. I told someone the other day- a person I am trying to help- that I too was going thru stuff- and this year I’m doing better- but not fully there yet- not 100%. But I believe God is going to help you this year- he has good things for you- don’t give up.

Yes- I do see myself- at times- in the people I’m trying to help.

I see the verse I quoted above ‘physician heal thyself’ when you reach out to others- and love people- and try to be honest and open- you do help yourself too- even if you still carry some scars from the past.

 

Note- the other day I gave someone a ride from the bluff- he- like the others- has told me he hates ‘that cop’. But this day- as I helped him [word is out that John was- well let’s say ‘mad’ at the cop too].

He hinted ‘yeah John- he’s really not a bad guy- I would drop it’.

This is not the first person that has said- words to that effect.

More than one person has either said this- or hinted at it.

I began to realize- that yes- things were getting pretty bad.

 

As I thought about it this year- I’m sure the doctor had to notify the police- when I did indeed say ‘I’m having some violent thoughts about doing something’ and I told the doctor who I was talking about.

Look- these weren’t threats- I basically said ‘give me some type of sedative- for his sake!’

 

So- it was bad- and I saw it.

 

NOTE- There are things that I learned- that I always heard about in life- but never really believed- or understood how they could be ‘real’. I never really believed  blackout drinking- until it happened to me- on more than one occasion. You just don’t remember how you got home- or where you parked. My friend Rick- from North Bergen- one of the street crew- I told him about my situation- and that I quit drinking. He said he had a friend that told him he drove home from Patterson one night- and did not recall how he got home.

Also- when I was asked ‘do you have thoughts of hurting yourself- or anyone else’.

I said yes- I even told my wife one day that I was afraid I might actually  kill someone. I was scared of it.

 

These thoughts are almost like what Christians call ‘visions’- I mean I was ‘seeing’ my self doing it. My shotguns got stolen last year- when I was in North Bergen- but I was worried [before they got stolen] that I might use them- on someone- or myself. You kind of ‘see it’ happening- it’s hard to explain.

The reason I walked- all day- was it occupied my mind. I would listen to classic rock- walk- and not stop till the day was over.

I was scared of it- the thoughts.

 

SATURDAY-

Since I have come back from N.J.- I have asked the Lord to fill up each day- ministry- meetings- or just like the old days- spending whole days out on the street [sober!] and running into the guys.

Yes- that’s my favorite of all.

Yesterday I spent the morning at the mission- talked to some friends- we do talk about God- scripture- life change- in a real and open way.

I know some of my Christian friends think that doing this- yes- I do not fit the bill of the ‘perfect’ Christian- and at times I do curse- I just told you all I’m a chain smoker.

I don’t do these things on purpose- to ‘look cool’ that’s just the way my life turned out- and to be honest- I think God uses it at times.

 

So- I leave the door open for what God wants for the afternoon- meeting- or what?

Whistler asked me if I could give CJ a ride to the island- I knew that was the plan for the rest of the day.

I have a friend- Will- who lives on the island and he does usually need a ride from the mission- so I packed the car with CJ, Will, Whistler and Larry.

 

Last year Whistler’s mom passed away- he went back to Idaho for a few months and saw family he hasn’t seen in years- one of them was Larry- his brother.

I think it was 25 years since he has seen him.

Last week he told me his brother was gonna try and come to Corpus and start over.

So- I took CJ- she wanted to sell the pretty beach necklace type things- I have had homeless friends [guys and girls] do this over the years.

 

They make them out of sea shells- trinkets- neat stuff.

We spent about 3 hours- CJ sold some necklaces.

I walked the beach- I love to walk- and it’s been a while.

 

I had a good talk with Larry- shared some of the stuff I have been teaching in the meetings.

I’m trying to stick to a certain theme each week- both on the Blog and with the people.

Larry told me just this last year for the first time he read a few Christian books- and God has just started working in his life- perfect timing.

 

I talked to him about the 4 lepers- how they thought all hope was gone- and they took a chance- and God turned things around.

 

I shared some of my story from last year- how I too thought I was going back to N.J. for good- and had to be willing to make some major life change.

 

I saw God working this day.

 

When we got back to the car- headed to the Bluff- we had some fun- I was joking a bit- talking with my friends.

 

CJ offered to give me 20 for gas- and for taking her to the island.

I told her just by me a pack of Cigarettes.

 

Then she gave me ten bucks- I took 6- then before we left- I told her ‘just pick out one of your necklaces- I’ll give you the 6 back- and I’ll hang it on my mirror- here’.

 

She said ‘what does it get for you to just take some money?’

She wanted to pay me for helping- but I see this as ministry- and I feel better when I don’t take money.

 

I’m glad I took CJ- why?

 

Like I said in the last few posts- on the streets- you see girls- some of them are cute/pretty.

 

I just met CJ this year- she rides her bike to the mission and at times dresses- well ‘nice’- in a way that you might if you were ‘working’ so to speak.

I’m sure she gets hit on all the time- working or not.

 

I also have told you guys I make it known- when I run into them- that I’m not looking for anything.

Being CJ is one of the prettier girls- when she rides by on the bike- or walks by- I have ignored her- I don’t even say hi.

 

 

I was extra rude- I didn’t mean to be- but I was.

 

But this day- she saw that I’m not like that- even Whistler was talking about the verses I shared this week.

 

He found some type of finger looking thing- it looked like a finger from the Lepers- in the story I taught to the guys this week.

 

I’m sure this is the first time- maybe ever- that she was out at the island- with guys from the streets- and me.

 

And sure enough- talking about God.

 

This whole environment has been a way I have seen God work- many times.

 

I dropped them off back in the bluff- CJ kept asking ‘don’t you want 20 for your time- the  gas’.

 

No hon- I had a good time.

 

Yeah- we all did [I’ll post the pics of CJ and the guys- CJ is 5 months pregnant- and kept saying ‘well- people are giving me dirty looks- do they have a problem with a pregnant girl in a bikini!’- I told her- no CJ- it’s beautiful- I asked her ‘can I take your pic- I’ll post it on my site when I talk about this day’. She said sure.]

 

NOTE- I debated about telling this part- because mental health issues are not funny.

But- I have always had a sense of humor- so- when I did go for my evaluation. At one point they asked me ‘so-you were in the Navy- what did you do’ [I was a corpsman] I said ‘would it help my case if I told you I was the commander of all Naval Forces’.

The lady laughed- I mean you’re not supposed to laugh at your patients. I told my daughter Debbie when it happened- she said ‘I can’t believe you said that!’

 

Why even talk about stuff like this?

The bible is full of stories of people- real life failures- struggles.

I think Christians make a mistake when they try to hide stuff.

When people- who often struggle with the same things- see that others do to- that helps them.

I do indeed quote scripture- and teach the bible- but there are still struggles- stories- to be told.

The bible exposes people- we know about Peter denying the Lord. Paul wrote the Corinthians and said ‘it was told to me by the house of Chloe that there are divisions among you- and I partly believe it’.

Now- he even mentioned the names of those who told him of bad stuff.

I don’t make light of this stuff- but these are real things that happen in life.

 

You might go to a Christian site- and they have done studies on how many pastors are addicted to porn- the number is high.

Yet you will rarely read of them talking openly about it.

Yet you will read bible teaching- on the site- that simply talks about scripture [which is good]- but Paul said ‘you who say a person should not commit adultery- and do it yourself- you will be judged’ Romans. The point is- if we are teaching the bible- which contains this warning- and yet are never giving our struggles- then it really doesn’t help- it’s a lie in a way.

If they keep it hidden- it will still control them.

 

That’s just one thing- but you could give many other examples.

So yes- I open up- and try my best to be as honest as possible- this helps people- part of the Cross is being able to do this. I think more should.

 

THERE IS A BALANCE BETWEEN 2 WORLDS- ONE WITH AN ARROW AND A CROSS- REGAURDLESS OF THE BALANCE- LIFE HAS BECOME- CUMBERSOME- Seven Mary Three.

 

For the rest of this week- it’s time to tell the story.

The other day as I was the mission- I told one of my friends ‘yeah- when I was in the Navy- I was popping lots of Ephedrine pills’.

I said ‘yeah- I think it’s called Ephedrine’-

He said- reluctantly- yeah- that’s what it’s called.

Most of my buddies are on Meth.

 

Meth is made- on the street- by buying over the counter cold and flu medicine- and thru a process- you extract the Ephedrine from the other stuff.

Some states have made it illegal to buy it over the counter anymore [cold and flu med’s] because of this.

 

When I was back in North Bergen last year- I faced some of my past.

I hung out at White Castle- right across from the old bowling alley in Nungesser’s.

One time I overdosed on Mescaline [1979] – and thought that was it.

I was with Fred- a good buddy- and we walked into the bowling alley- I looked in the mirror- and my face was deep purple. [I was hallucinating]

I began feeling my face- and I was numb.

 

Fred saw how bad I was- I asked ‘what should we do’? He reached in his pocket- and pulled out a Cross his mother gave him he said ‘John- this is all I can think of”.

He gave me the Cross.

 

I had a bad trip- it lasted for a  few days- my friend Fred put me up for a couple of days- we both thought that I might have not made it.

I had flashbacks- for many years- even at the fire dept.

 

When I was in North Bergen- I hung out at Hudson County Park- with the crew.

 

I told Nick- ‘I almost killed my buddy here- 30 years ago’.

I was at the carnival with Frank one night- and I told him ‘if I see cheech tonight- it’s all over’.

Sure enough- about an hour later- Frank says ‘there he is!’

I walked thru the crowd [cheech was/is a big boy- was with a biker gang out of Fort Lee at the time].

I didn’t know if he saw me- it was crowded- but as he got close- I hit him- hard.

Everyone cleared away- I hit him a few more times- drop kicked him in the face- and when he went down- I wouldn’t stop.

My friend pulled me off.

 

He was later admitted to the hospital- and till this day- has scars from that night.

Fred- who hung out with Cheech- later told me cheech said he has never been hit so hard in his life- he still thinks I used something like a pipe.

 

We did make up- a few years later- after I became a Christian- I went back.

I hooked up with Fred- and told him ‘I want to see cheech’.

 

He warned me ‘maybe you better not John’.

I said ‘don’t worry about it’.

I saw cheech- nothing happened- he later told Fred ‘John looks different- not as violent as before’.

 

[When I saw Fred- after about2-3 years- he told me he saw cheech about a month after this happened- and Fred said he asked ‘what the hell happened to you’. Fred laughed- he said he looked bad- of course it was not funny- but I guess he looked like he got hit by a truck or something].

 

I was at out our halfway house last year- got a call- it was cheech.

 

He told me he was staying at a halfway house in Newark [he did 8 years in prison for attempted kidnapping and robbery- he and another old friend were in a biker gang- the Chingalings- out of NY city- they planned to kidnap a guy and rob a safe that supposedly had lots of cash- on 79th street in North Bergen. In the biker gang there was an undercover agent with the FBI. When they knocked on the door- they were busted].

 

I went to Newark- but the halfway house was closed.

I told a friend ‘I’m gonna try and visit cheech’- he said ‘you made that big boy cry’[I met some people- I did not even remember- and they would say ‘John- you were crazy’- I would just say ‘yeah- I was a bad kid’- but in reality- this was just a way of not facing the things I did]

I never saw cheech after the fight- until a few years later- but they said he looked bad.

He thought I beat him with a pipe- I didn’t- but did hit him very hard that night.

 

I was told at the time ‘the cops are looking for you’- not soon after- I joined the Navy and left New Jersey.

 

When I arrived in Texas- I was stationed at NAS Kingsville.

I was a corpsman- and the guys told me ‘John- you can get free drugs from the pharmacy- your one of us’.

I didn’t believe it was that simple.

I walked up to the pharmacy one day- and the guy gave me a bottle of Ephedrine- pure Meth- not the diluted stuff you get on the street.

 

I finished the bottle in about 2 days- and when the guy running the pharmacy found out- he flipped.

It was supposed to last a month.

I have told people I never did Meth- in reality- I did the pure Meth.

 

Over the next few days- as I tell this story- I don’t want to glorify it- but a few people have asked me why I go kicked out of the Navy.

 

I usually say ‘I was a bad kid’- but obviously there was more to it- this is ‘the more’.

 

NOTE- There was a reason I was looking for cheech- he owed me from a previous deal- it would take too long to get into it. But in the end- of course it was not justified. The other incident took place in Perth Amboy- I mention that because when I went back to New Jersey last year- in a way I wanted to see these old spots [to make amends’?]. I drove to Perth Amboy one day- looked for the park- didn’t find it- but made the attempt. This day- Cheech pulled up at my house in a nice Chevy Nova- we drove it to Perth Amboy. I asked ‘where did you get the car’? He said ‘I found it- running- with the keys in it’. Oh.

 

THE T HEADS

 

 

A few weeks ago- I was joking with a few of my buddies- ‘hey- send &^% down to work the T-heads’.

The other buddy- joking back- said ‘Maybe you should go down and work the T heads’.

 

I have written about the girls who do ‘work the streets’ [prostitute for drug money].

 

But yes- some [not all] of the guys do this too- they will pick up guys [or get picked up] for money- this is life for some on the streets.

 

When my buddy said ‘maybe you should’ I said ‘let me tell you a little story.’

 

Here it goes.

One night at the base in Kingsville- during this short time of getting high- doing the Ephedrine [I told a friend yesterday about this- who was big into Meth- he said I was indeed doing pure Meth] I told a friend ‘let’s leave the base- go to the bus station and head to Houston’.

We called this going UA- unauthorized leave.

So me and Fye took off- went to the bus station in Kingsville and said ‘we want 2 tickets to Houston’.

He said we didn’t have enough- I asked where can we get with this money.

He sold us 2 tickets to Corpus Christi.

We bought the tickets and off we went.

Got to Corpus in about 30 minutes and began this short excursion.

Hung out- yes- at the above mentioned T heads by the bay front.

We got high- also got robbed- that is Fye asked some black guys in a car if they had any weed to sell ‘sure’- he took the cash- never saw him again.

After a couple of days on the streets [my first actual homeless time] we used the bathroom at the bus station- sold some blood for cash- and came up with a plan.

Now- this is the T head thing.

I told Fye ‘tonight- I’ll walk along the strip- and pick up some guy- with the best car I can find’.

Now- I never ‘actually’ worked the T heads- like some of my friends did.

No- this is what we called- excuse me to my gay friends- but the term was called ‘rolling the queers’.

This was not the first time I did stuff like this- or attempted.

Cheech and me one night [before the above incident] were going to do it at Hudson County park- the same park I mentioned above.

We came close- but didn’t do it.

So- sure enough I walked along Shoreline drive [this was 1980-81?]

It was late- and some guy- around 40 or so pulled up.

 

‘Looking for a good time’ sure.

 

‘Let’s take my friend too’

Ok.

The plan was this- I told my friend when we get to his house- I’ll beat the hell out of him and all you have to do is make sure you get his car keys.

He said ok.

 

This was my first time in C.C. – and I did not know the area- as a matter of fact I kept confusing it with the Chicago bay front- where I was for boot camp and corpschool.

 

He drove us over some bridge [today I know this was the Harbor Bridge].

We went to some unknown town [now I know we were in Portland].

And we went to this guy’s house.

He served us a couple of nice German beers- big bottles.

I thought ‘this will work great- I’ll down the beer- and use the bottle to beat the hell out of him’.

 

He went into another room- and I downed the beer- and told Fye ‘as soon as he gets back- I’ll jump him’.

I sat for a few minutes- and I knew this was going to happen.

 

Before you act out any violent act- you get sort of a high- like you realize you passed a point of no return- and at that stage you have already decided to do it.

 

That stage already happened- its’ very rare to turn back then.

But- as I waited- I looked up- and there was this huge painting of Christ hanging on the wall.

As soon as I saw it- it seemed like God was saying ‘one last chance John- just one more’.

 

I told Fye ‘you know what- the deal is off’.

 

The guy came back from the other room- I said ‘you know what- we have to go- drive us back to the bay front’.

 

He did.

On the way back we didn’t say much- but when he dropped us off- I got out- turned around and told him ‘I was gonna beat the f#$ out of you and rob your car- you lucked out tonight’.

He got scared and realized how close he came to getting hurt.

He took off real fast.

We spent a few more days on the streets- I told Fye ‘I’m tired- hungry- I’m going back to the base and turn myself in.’

They put me in a building they used to detain trouble makers.

 

A couple of days later Fye got the room right next to me.

 

NOTE- You don’t think when your using- getting high. I had basically over dosed 2 times in the past year. The acid I did in North Bergen- and the Ephedrine. I could have accidentally killed this guy- or he could have shot me. You don’t think of the danger involved. We were going to rob his car and drive to Florida. I mean this would have been auto theft- assault- serious crimes.

I had the effects of the Meth overdose for many years.

When I got my life on track- I realized one day that I had no feeling to my big toes- they were numb.

I’m sure I messed up my circulatory system in some way- after about 10 years later the feeling did come back.

But who knows what other type of damage I did to myself- that I never found out?

 

LAST ONE-

Warning- this one might be a bit much for some of you.

I have to tell this one- or else I can’t finish the post- the critique I need to do.

So far I have given enough [not all] but enough to give you the picture.

 

Last year I was referred into MHMR [mental health mental research].

My lawyer saw some signs- she also decided to look into my past-‘John was in the Navy’.

Then she inquired a bit- and that’s what led her to tell me I needed to get checked.

Now- when you go thru the initial mental evaluation- they ask ‘did you ever attempt to commit suicide’?

I really didn’t know how to answer that- but- this was the answer ‘you would have to pull my records- I was discharged- because of a witnessed attempted suicide- by hanging’.

 

Pretty brutal.

 

I had to get here- to finish.

Am I better today?

Some days I think yes- but some days I don’t know.

 

When someone has a history of all of the above- has been referred into the system- has no history of trying to get Social security- thru many ‘suicide attempts’ [like some of my friends on the streets have done- they refer to these as ‘nut checks’].

When you enter the system with my history- by all accounts not someone seeking a ‘nut check’.

 

How could I ‘slip’ thru the system?

The first 2 evaluations- done by either doctors or someone who is trained to do them.

 

They both diagnosed Bi-Polar disorder.

 

Last year- I said on many occasions ‘there’s just not something right- I can tell’.

 

Then- to get a prescription for SLEEPING PILLS [with a history like this] is almost ‘comical’ in the sense of Dark Comedy.

 

I am still mad- angry- about lots of things- this being one of them.

I don’t totally fault the system- but my friend who as lots of experience with MHMR told me that they do not prescribe Zanax- or other type meds- because they know people want them.

 

But- I was not in any way one of them- my history was not like the many cases of my friends over the years- who did indeed get checks- and prescriptions- and yes- many of them played the system.

Last year- I was on the brink of collapse- to put it mildly.

I got sober- and was basically like a person who was off their meds.

 

I wanted med’s- couldn’t get them.

So- I just tried my best- kept doing the 10-15 mile walks [which was one of the signs of a problem!].

Needed some type of sedative- but would not do- even one- Zanax.

 

Even though I’m around people buying- selling them all the time- and these same people are leaders in AA/NA.

 

I mean the frustration of seeing all this- trying my best to abide by the system- and seeing the system did not work.

At one point my lawyer saw I was going off the rails- she was concerned and said ‘John- just take your medication’.

I told her ‘THEY DIDN’T GIVE ME ANY!’

 

It was bad- very bad.

 

I don’t know if I am Bi Polar- or what.

But I know that over the years I have had many friends who have gotten checks- disability- etc., and they played the system.

 

In my case- to have a history like this- one that showed early signs- yet never tried to access the system- that was referred into it some 3o years after- common sense would say I was not the typical case of someone seeking a check.

 

The system seems to work for those who play it- but not for those who need it.

 

To be fair- the doctor who made the call to think sleeping pills was the answer- did tell me to come back in a month.

But I went to New Jersey and told him I might try and follow up there.

 

But never did.

 

The bible talks about the struggles of people- Jesus had a public crucifixion- we saw his agony in the garden.

 

We read about Peter’s famous denials of the Lord.

 

Today we have a generation of kids- who are dealing with lots of the stuff I posted- they need to see they are not alone.

 

Is there hope in God?

Of course- in my case that was the only choice [because the system just did not work].

 

There’s more to this story- but I think for now we have done enough.

 

Now- the next time someone asks how I got kicked out of the Navy- I won’t just say ‘I was a bad kid’.

I’ll refer them to this post.

 

 

 

 

2056 SEX- STRIP CLUBS- AND A FEW GOODBYES.

 

Today I have another public confession to make.

A few weeks ago I posted about a girl at the mission- I’ve known her for 25 years or so.

Never really talked to her much.

 

But the last few weeks she sat next to me- a lot- asked if I could give her a ride- I mean it was obvious to me that for some reason she became ‘real friendly’.

So yeah- it did make me wonder- being this never happened before.

 

So- the confession.

 

Yeah- the other day I hugged her- rubbed her back- told her everything is going to be ok.

 

I brushed her long ponytail from the front of her face- to the back- real romantic like.

 

I held her in my arms- consoled her- let her talk- what she said didn’t make much sense- but I went along with her- like it did.

 

I gave her special attention- like you would if you were in love.

 

‘John- see- we knew it!’

What happened?

 

I was at the mission and Roger came around from the back of one of the buildings and said ‘so and so is tripping- real bad!’

 

I went around the back- and sure enough she was having a bad trip- hallucinating wildly- it was scary.

That’s why everyone left her- they didn’t want to be associated if she overdosed- or if they had to call the ambulance/cops.

 

I was worried- I tried to walk her to the front- she wouldn’t go.

I almost called 911.

 

But she didn’t want me to.

 

She started throwing up- I had to move her hair from the front of her face.

 

So- as she was having a very bad trip [I never saw anyone ‘wigged’ out this bad- up close].

This was the same day I wrote about my own acid trip years ago.

 

I was wearing my favorite black leather biker jacket that I bought in N.J. last year.

 

As she was tripping out- she associated with the jacket- she felt like it helped her.

 

Her ‘husband’ died about 5 years ago- they used to drive up to the mission on his Harley.

She even had on her black leather jacket this day.

 

As she was flipping out- she kept ‘seeing’ him riding his bike in heaven.

 

So- she thought my jacket was part of it.

 

I’m not sure what she took- but some think she took a hit of the ‘legal weed’.

I have had friends who were Heroin addicts- or Meth addicts- people who have done every drug to be done.

 

They have said they took one hit of this synthetic pot- and they never messed with it again.

 

So- I think this sweet girl simply heard that I was going thru some stuff last year- and I think now that’s why she was so friendly- kind of like John might be divorced or something.

 

No- I’m not- but I think now that’s why she was so friendly.

 

Well- she got her hug- and I spent a good hour just with her- because she needed it- bad.

 

SUNDAY-

The other day I was doing some outreach with my AA/NA crowd- the area where we do the halfway house.

My buddy and I were talking a bit.

I told him last year that when I went sober- I quit the porn- the strip clubbing- the whole 9 yards.

When I got back from N.J. the first thing he wanted to know is if I relapsed.

He was worried about me going to N.J. with only 6 months sober- and he thought I would use.

I told him no- he asks ‘what about the porn’.

I told him yeah- in that area I did.

He seemed to be relieved- because he- like many others- does watch it- and many of my buddies think its ok.

I’m kinda the ‘preacher’ of the group- and I have told them it’s not ok- Jesus said ‘whoever looks at a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her in his heart [soul connection].’

So- the other day I told him ‘no bro- I’m not looking at the porn any more’.

He kinda felt bad- and did confess that he still does it.

 

We talked a bit- he said some think porn- and masturbation are not wrong.

I told him that ‘the act’ itself- apart from marriage- is wrong.

 

The apostle Paul said he wished that the Corinthians would be like him- celibate- but if they can’t control themselves- then marry- because it is better to marry than ‘burn’ [in lust].

Notice- he does not say ‘if you can’t control yourself- then look at a woman and lust- and ‘get off’.

See?

That option was off the table.

 

I pray for the criminal cases- follow the stories in the paper- yesterday I read the case of a Kingsville school board member who finally went to trial for sexually abusing young relatives over a period of time.

He fought the case- said he was innocent- yet after his conviction- did confess in court- they gave him 16 years in prison.

Now- why do these things happen?

 

The ‘act of sex’ associated with any other act- binds the soul to go back to the act- repeatedly.

That’s why sex offenders are a high risk of relapse.

 

Sandusky and others have shown this.

 

A few years back I read the Jeffrey Dahmer book- Dark journey Deep grace.

It talked about his conversion in prison- and how his dad reached out to him after he was convicted of his crimes.

His mom disowned him.

 

I later watched the interview he did with Stone Philips.

During the interview Philips asked Dahmers dad why he thought these things happened.

Dahmers dad gave- what I believe- was the key.

 

He said he felt his son had somehow connected the act of sex with the things he fantasized about- in Dahmers case- murder and eating his victims.

Now- we can’t understand this- but that’s why the act of sex- outside of marriage- is forbidden.

 

There is a connection made with the act- and if you associate it with the molesting of a child- or the viewing of porn- or in Dahmers case- cannibalism- then you are now connected to the thing.

 

When I did my critique of AA last year- I felt the underlying issue to most substance addictions was indeed this very thing.

My friend- who tried to justify masturbation to porn- does sponsor a kid under him- who calls him- and confesses to this very problem.

 

My friend- the older sponsor- tries to help him with it- but never tells the kid that he too does it [as far as I know].

 

Now- if you yourself are not free- you can’t free others.

 

Many of these guys are free from alcohol- meth- heroin- yet they can’t seem to break this root addiction.

Why?

The most powerful drug- that the body produces- is the Dopamine that is released in the brain that gives you a feeling of wellbeing.

 

During sex- that’s the biggest release of this body’s natural high that a person can experience.

 

So- the addict has a sort of a built in way to get high- even if he doesn’t use outside chemicals.

 

The bible says whoever commits adultery with a woman destroys his soul.

 

Now- the next few days I want to talk about what the bible says about the act itself [climax- orgasm].

 

Over the years the church has gone to extremes on these things- but today I think we have gone too far to the other side.

 

I remember some church did a ‘sex every day with your spouse’ for 30 days campaign.

I saw the interview [it was Ted Haggard years ago].

 

And they were talking to all the church folk- about how it was working- they meant well.

 

Could there be damage- even in the marriage relationship- if you ‘over do’ it?

 

Yes.

 

Does the bible ever teach that the act itself is wrong- the act of ‘doing it’- in and of itself?

If you read the bible- thru- it does indeed seem to say that the act of ejaculation- in itself is an unclean thing.

 

What!

 

See- this is where we need to be careful- but these verses are indeed where the ‘old Victorian’ mindset came from

You know ‘if you do it- YOU WILL GO BLIND!’

 

We joke about this stuff- be where did the church come up with these teachings?

The official teaching of the Catholic church- in the Catechism of the church [which I have read by the way].

Is that the act of masturbation is a grave disorder.

 

They are right.

It connects the soul to whatever other act- thought- picture- or person.

 

There is a rule in the Old Testament about priests- it deals with being ceremonial unclean.

 

The rule was made just for the possibility if the priest had a nocturnal emission [wet dream].

 

It required him to go thru a cleansing period- if it happened.

There are teachings that come from scripture- about woman’s menstruation period- and how it talks about these things- using terms like ‘uncleanness’.

 

Now- I’m giving you a bigger picture then what we usually see- because we have a tendency- in the church- to have gone too far to the other side- trying to counter balance the older view of sex as ‘dirty’.

 

But- there are indeed many biblical verses that connect the act- even in marriage- as needing a waiting period before you can come back and ‘be clean’.

 

A famous story was when King David was on the run from Saul- he goes to the house of Abiathar- a priest-and wants to eat the sacred bread.

 

The priest makes the exception and says ‘as long as the boys you are with have not been with women for the past 3 days’.

 

These are just some examples- to show you that there is a strain thru out scripture that connects an uncleanness with the act.

 

Now- one of the reasons I bring this up is because I want to talk- the next few days- about why we need to leave this option open- the ‘no sex’ option- even in some marital relationships.

Why?

 

It will take some time to develop this- but there is a reason for it.

 

So- to sum up-.

No-it’s not ok to masturbate to porn- or to ‘do’ the act of sex- and associate it with any other act.

 

The ‘best’ way- according to the apostle Paul- was to never even engage in the act.

What about the mandate to re-produce- found in Genesis?

 

I’ll get to that in some later posts.

 

But- keep open the option- to live a celibate life.

 

And- in some cases- even in marriage.

 

 

When my buddy found out that I kicked the porn habit- in a way he felt convicted.

He confessed more about his obsession- and from our conversation I picked up that he has read stuff on it- trying to convince himself that if his conscience didn’t convict him- then it was ok.

 

But at the same time he spoke of tremendous guilt- how he can’t read scripture- because of it- his own words showed me that- like the Catechism teaches- the act is a disorder- it disorders the mind.

 

I told my friend that when I do the celibate thing- total- my mind is free.

 

That I don’t need to go and find some book on trying to justify it- that I know its wrong- and there are indeed scriptures that say so.

 

I’ll try and cover this subject the next few days- but thru my experience I have found that this issue- however it plays out- is a deep one- and we do need to talk about it- more.

 

NOTE- I work with guys who are addicts- in my last post I talked about using Meth myself.

Why are some of the guys who get clean from Meth- Alcohol- etc. Still struggling with the sex thing [by the way- if it’s not porn- in many cases it’s jumping from one girl/boyfriend to the next- this as just as bad- addictive].

Because the Meth itself is not getting you high- the Meth causes a release of Dopamine in the brain- that’s where the high is coming from.

That’s the same drug/chemical that is released during sex [in the brain that is].

So in a way the addict- who thinks he’s free- because he might not be accessing the drug of choice- in reality is not.

He’s just accessing the body’s natural drug- in another way.

See?

 

‘The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord’

‘Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body’

‘It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman. But because of temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband.’

‘do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time [I think we need to make an exception to this- I’m not saying to violate scripture- but tomorrow I’ll explain- I think we need to leave open the door for marriage relationships without sex. I’ll explain more later] that you may devote yourselves to prayer, but then come together again, so that satan may not tempt you’

‘I wish that all were as I am [single] but each has his own gift from God’

‘so then he who marries his betrothed does well, and he who refrains from marriage does even better’

 

1st Corinthians 7.

 

MONDAY-

Ok- so far we have covered the power- the connection that the soul/mind makes when it experiences the ‘sex act’.

Today I want to talk about the other side- those who have been victimized by men.

When a woman/girl is either molested as a kid- or maybe brutalized as an adult.

Their mind is now connected to the sex act- in a very damaging way.

Say if that person still wants the companionship of a relationship- yet at the same time- because of no fault of their own- fears- hates the act itself.

 

Here’s where I think the church has made some bad- though unintentional- mistakes.

How?

There are many verses in the bible that ‘command’ the woman to re-produce [Genesis] that say ‘the woman has no right over her body- but the husband has it’ [works both ways].

 

These verses can indeed put the woman- who by no fault of her own- under great condemnation because the church rarely teaches the ‘no sex’ option.

Though that option is not only given in scripture [the verses I quoted above] but it is also considered ‘the better way’.

 

Paul taught in the above chapter that if 2 married people decide to abstain from sex- it should be by the consent of both partners- and only for a short time- lest satan tempt them.

 

Now- in context- he’s talking about marriages that the couple went into- with mutual agreement that sex would be a part.

 

Paul also says ‘to the rest speak I- not the Lord’.

He gives some advice about things where God gave no clear commandment.

To the surprise of some- yes- the bible does not cover every detail of life.

 

So- if I may be so bold ‘to the rest- I too give my advice’.

 

Here it is- I think we need to leave the option open- especially in the case of a woman- who was victimized- to indeed have ‘no sex marriages’.

If the 2 partners agree- ahead of time- then that’s fine.

 

What often happens- in the case of an abused woman- she simply avoids relationships at all.

Or she wants love- companionship so bad [like we all do] that she does marry- and tries to have a sexual relationship [which indeed is the norm] but then blames herself for not ‘pleasing her husband’.

Or the pressure from family who want kids- grandkids- etc.

 

Add to this the churches focus on having kids- on pleasing your husband- the guilt of the poor girl- she in a way is still being victimized- but now it’s being done by the church- or family.

 

See?

 

God did create the sex act- he intended it to be both for having kids- and yes- for it to ‘feel good’.

 

The church went thru stages where it kind of hinted that you should not even enjoy the thing.

No- that was wrong.

But the other extreme was to focus so much on it- that the church leaves a negative view for those who are called to live celibate lives- or for those who were traumatized- and by no fault of their own may never be able to do it again.

See?

This week- as I do a few more posts on this- the purpose is for people to be free.

To not have self guilt- to see that they do have options- biblical ones- to take either road.

 

When we read the bible- we need to read it in context.

 

If we spend all our time focusing on the marriage relationship [like many churches do] and we leave out the other option [life without sex] then we make those who are called to a life without sex- feel tremendous guilt.

 

In the case of the woman who experienced abuse- it might indeed be GODS WILL- for the girl to never have sex again.

 

God is not a masochist- the commands to ‘please your husband’ or have kids.

 

These are not for everyone- that’s why I quoted the verses above.

 

Now- Jesus said ‘you shall know the truth- it will set you free’.

 

I hope today- some of you are free.

 

TUESDAY-

Today I’ll head to Bishop for our weekly meeting- think I’m gonna talk about Isaiah 38.

I also want to cover 2 friends who just died- within a day or 2 of each other- one of the New York crew who I have written about- and one of my Texas friends.

But I want to talk a bit about the sex thing- how the real need of people- girls in the industry- is they want intimacy- they seek for real love.

 

About 4 years ago- on my ‘downhill slide’ I started hitting one of the local strip clubs.

It’s been around for years- the Palace- but I never went before.

Of course in my early days [30 years ago] I went to clubs- like most young kids who party and stuff.

But it’s been a while [I don’t go anymore by the way].

So I walked in to the Palace- and over time met the girls.

They knew I was ‘new’ at it- the first day in the club I lit up a smoke- one of the girls said ‘hey- you can’t smoke in here!’

I didn’t know.

Over time- I saw how these girls get jealous- want to ‘have you’ as their own- and try- real hard- to meet you in a normal way- to go out with you without being at the club.

Over time- they would tell me ‘John- you can get our phone numbers- or give us yours- we text the customers- get together and stuff’.

 

I wouldn’t do it.

 

They asked ‘are you married’ I would say ‘yeah’.

As a firefighter I got into the habit of not wearing my wedding ring- guys have lost their fingers over the years on the job because of it- they might get it caught on something- and yeah- the finger gets ripped off.

 

Plus- I did lose a few rings over the years.

So- girls look at your finger- they can tell if someone just took it off for the club- they see the ring mark [I saw this on some show one day].

But my finger had no mark- because I never wore a ring.

 

One time one of the girls got mad- I don’t remember what happened- but she said ‘I THOUGHT YOU SAID YOU WERE MARRIED!

I told her ‘I AM’.

The people at the other able must have thought ‘gee- I never heard that line before’.

 

One of the girls told me one day she was a Messianic Jew and was going on some ministry trip to Israel for 3 months.

I did tell them that I was a retired firefighter- worked with the homeless- had a web site- I mean I didn’t lie to the girls.

So- I told the girl I had a section on the site just about Messianic Jews.

She wanted to read the site- I told her ‘I can’t give you the site’.

 

She asked why.

I said ‘I’m talking to you at a strip club for heaven’s sake- and your one of the dancers’.

She saw nothing wrong with it- she was mad that I didn’t give her the site.

 

Over time- the girls knew I didn’t take- or give out my phone number.

 

They would hint ‘I go for coffee at Starbucks every day- at 10’.

 

This was Eden- she was the prettiest dancer at the Palace.

 

One day she worked the day shift- I would start drinking at around 7 in the morning- drink 2 ‘40’s’ [2 Magnums- beer]. Then be at the club when the doors opened at 11.

I would drink shots of crown and Bud at the club- I told one of them one day ‘I’m pretty far gone right now’.

She was telling me I looked like I hadn’t even drank a beer- she thought I was lying.

 

I told her how much I had already drank- she then realized I was a severe alcoholic.

 

Eden changed her schedule to the day shift when she fond out I only come during the day [she was willing to make less money- so she could be there when I was there].

 

I could tell she liked me- and I felt bad for her- and many of the girls- seeing they want love- intimacy.

One time one of the girls called the manager- because the other one would not leave my table.

 

I wasn’t buying lots of lap dances [of course I did buy some] but she just wanted to stay at my table- so the other one [Bonnie] wouldn’t sit with me.

So Bonnie got the manager to move her.

 

It wasn’t for money- I told Bonnie I was not going to spend any more money for a lap dance- she said she owed me one- on the house.

 

One day- drunk as usual- I told one of the girls ‘Ok- I’ll say my phone number- just once [after months of never giving it- or taking any].

 

So I blurted it out.

Later I thought ‘I hope she don’t remember the thing’.

The next day my phone rang- I didn’t answer it.

I got about 5 messages over the next few weeks- but whoever was calling [I figured it was her] just let the message thing play out- but never said anything. One day I heard a message- it was silent for a few seconds- then in the background I heard ‘answer your f..ng phone John!

 

What did I do?

I changed my number the next week.

 

In my short experience at the clubs [maybe a year?] I saw that the girls wanted love- I talked to them honestly- and even though it was not ‘ministry’ they did want to talk- about life.

I made the mistake one day of asking Eden ‘are you in love with me’?

Without hesitation- she said yes.

 

Now- the prettiest girl at the Palace- trying to get me to meet her- telling me where she drinks coffee- changing her schedule- why?

 

One of the girls one day said ‘we like you John’.

I asked why.

She said ‘you talk to us’.

I said ‘don’t all the guys?’

 

She said no- she pointed at one guy and said he just stares at us like a zombie.

 

The sex industry Objectifies women- it makes them objects.

 

God ordained sex involves intimacy in marriage- when we look for ways to enjoy the sex- without the intimacy- commitment- it destroys our souls.

 

It damages the girls- and the guys.

 

The first day I met Eden- I walked up to her- being a new girl [on the day shift] and said hi- asked her to sit at the table for a few drinks.

 

Then- the very next day- I saw some ‘new’ girl- who I never met before.

 

I walked up to her- she was as beautiful as Eden- I said ‘hi- I never met you before- would you like to have a few drinks’.

 

She looked puzzled- like she wanted to say something.

She went silent- and said sure.

After a while- I realized it was Eden.

 

The girls realized I was already blackout drinking- a few times the manager was going to call me a cab- I got mad and drove myself.

 

Was Eden in love with me?

 

I don’t know- she said she was.

Over the next few weeks- every time I saw her- she would say ‘I’m still waiting for you- to say something’.

 

At first I didn’t know what she meant- then I realized she was waiting for me to say ‘I love you’.

I never did- I don’t know if she will ever find it where she works- because most guys go there- to see an ‘object’.

 

NOTE- I think the girls thought I was lying about being married- so I wouldn’t go out with them- and they saw my ring finger- realizing I hadn’t wore a ring in years. So in a way it made them feel insecure- like ‘why won’t he go out with us’.

The reason was I just couldn’t have a ‘girl’ on the side- and do the homeless outreach. I mean I realize my ‘standards’ were not high- but there were lines I would not cross- and this was one of them.

 

TUESDAY NIGHT- Just got back from Bishop- and wanted to do an update.

Earlier today I saw Tennessee for the first time since he has been out of the hospital.

Dirk and Tennessee were both at the mission for the first time since Dirk stabbed him.

 

Obviously Tennessee is mad- and talking about getting even.

A few of the Bluff crowd tried to calm Tennessee down- I did tell him ‘don’t take it personal, but if you guys go at it- whoever is on top- I’ll have to get involved’.

 

At one point he walked over where Dirk was- I followed.

 

Dirk took off.

 

I did pray for Tennessee- he appreciated it.

As I saw the rage he still had- he also mentioned how his family were effected- crying- he was indeed at the point of death.

It wasn’t just the fact that he was stabbed- but how it hurt his family as well.

 

I also saw the Terri for the first time since she had an episode the other day.

 

I gave her a hug- she told me she felt ashamed to show up this last week- she threw up and stuff- and felt bad.

 

This really was the first time I have been nice to the girl [I wrote why these past few posts].

I had a good talk with her- the sweetheart took out all the church cards she had- from Real Life Church.

Had her bible and stuff- I felt bad for her- just the stuff she has gone thru.

 

Last week while sitting at the mission I saw I had a missed call- from Rick- one of the street friends I made last year in New Jersey.

I listened to the message [I rarely do this] and he told me Mario died.

One of our friends.

The same day- or around the same day- Buck also died.

Another alcoholic here in Texas that I have been friends with for years.

 

I just took a picture of Buck this last week- I’m sure it’s the only one of him- I took a few this past year.

I’ll try and print a few- hang them up at the mission- post them to the site [Terri’s picture too].

I have felt this year that God was saying time is short- we need to use it well.

 

I’ll talk more about it tomorrow.

 

WEDNESDAY-

Yesterday I spoke on Isaiah 38- Hezekiah the king is sick- and the prophet is sent to him by God with a special message- here it is-

‘set you house in order- you are going to die’.

The king prays and recounts to God all the good things he has done- how he tried his best- made the best effort he knew how to make in life.

 

God sends another message- he says ‘Ok- I have heard you- you got 15 more years’.

 

He also says he will give him a sign- the sun dial of Ahaz will go back 10 degrees.

The sign was the message- basically God said ‘I’m turning the clock back- just this last time- give it all you got’.

 

In Bishop I spoke about the shortness of life- the bible says ‘teach us to number our days that we might apply our hearts unto wisdom’ ‘all flesh is as grass- like the flowers- they grow up in the morning- and are gone by the evening’.

As we left Bishop- I drove past the house and grave yard where Eli’s brother is buried.

Died many years ago- BeBe was probably the most dangerous friend I have known over the years.

I preached at his funeral [back in the late 80’s] and his remains sit on the same property where we hold the Bishop meeting.

 

Eli- who I do the meeting with- is the younger brother that resembles BeBe the most.

I baptized Eli many years ago- in the pool I set up in my yard when we were doing a home church in Kingsville.

 

Buck and Mario died within days of each other.

I have been telling the guys this year- that I feel like time is short for many of us- that is we need to do the things that count- don’t just live with a survival mentality.

 

God gave the king an extra 15 years- to make something of it.

 

I’ll end this week’s post with some good advice- from a best friend –

 

 

My best friend gave me the best advice
He said each day’s a gift and not a given right
Leave no stone unturned, leave your fears behind
And try to take the path less traveled by
That first step you take is the longest stride

If today was your last day
And tomorrow was too late
Could you say goodbye to yesterday?
Would you live each moment like your last?
Leave old pictures in the past
Donate every dime you have?
If today was your last day

Against the grain should be a way of life
What’s worth the prize is always worth the fight
Every second counts ’cause there’s no second try
So live like you’ll never live it twice
Don’t take the free ride in your own life

If today was your last day
And tomorrow was too late
Could you say goodbye to yesterday?
Would you live each moment like your last?
Leave old pictures in the past
Donate every dime you have?
Would you call old friends you never see?
Reminisce old memories
Would you forgive your enemies?
Would you find that one you’re dreamin’ of?
Swear up and down to God above
That you finally fall in love
If today was your last day

If today was your last day
Would you make your mark by mending a broken heart?
You know it’s never too late to shoot for the stars
Regardless of who you are
So do whatever it takes
‘Cause you can’t rewind a moment in this life
Let nothin’ stand in your way
Cause the hands of time are never on your side

If today was your last day
And tomorrow was too late
Could you say goodbye to yesterday?

Would you live each moment like your last?
Leave old pictures in the past
Donate every dime you have?
Would you call old friends you never see?
Reminisce old memories
Would you forgive your enemies?
Would you find that one you’re dreamin’ of?
Swear up and down to God above
That you finally fall in love
If today was your last day

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2057- SATURDAY- THE ROSARY AND A WILL.

 

Yesterday I was going to spend the day on the other side of town- by the halfway house.

I felt like I needed to take a break from the homeless mission area.

 

Last week I had a new kid at the house- he was wet- got caught in the rain- and it was cold.

 

I gave him some extra clothes and let him change in my bedroom/office.

 

He took a long time- around 20 minutes- I thought the kid might be up to something.

I told him to hurry- and he came out.

I checked the room later- I think he went thru some stuff- but didn’t find anything missing.

A few days later I had a few guys over- Roger came too.

 

I let the guys use the showers and stuff.

 

I had just given Roger 2 radios- little portable ones that I never used.

 

I gave him one- he lost it- a day or so later I gave him the other.

I have an open house- I don’t leave cash lying around- but I have lots of little collectibles and stuff- even gold coins- to this day no one has ever taken anything.

 

When I was in New Jersey last year- I bought a Rosary at St. Patrick’s cathedral in NYC.

 

The Crucifix broke off- so I glued [I have a reputation for using gorilla glue on stuff- the guys kid me about it- like my old van had gorilla glue on the mirrors and stuff- dripping down the door].

 

My sister died last year- as I helped go thru her apartment- she had lots of jewelry and stuff.

I kept a couple of nice crosses- one was a blue jade cross- real unique.

I glued that cross to the Rosary- truly one of a kind.

 

I hung it up in my bathroom- and when I pray in the mornings I’ll wear it.

 

So- after the guys came to the house- the next day I was at the mission- and one of the girls who makes beach necklaces had all her boxes of beads and stuff on the table.

 

I helped her last week- she needed a ride to the island to sell some- I took her and a few friends- she sold a few- I had a good time talking to my buddies- it was a good day.

So- when I walked up to the table where she had these beads out.

 

I saw a Rosary- from St. Patrick’s- wow!

 

As a matter of fact- it had a broken glued cross- just like mine!

 

I thought it was a miracle- you know- what are the odds.

 

I told her how much it looked like the one I made out of my sisters cross- except this cross was broken.

 

She told me Roger had given it to her- the day before.

 

Roger was there- I showed him the cross and asked if he took it from the huose- of course he said no- he said he found it in a dumpster.

 

Ok- even though the odds were slim- I waited till I got home to see if my rosary was still in the bathroom.

 

It wasn’t.

So- I really wasn’t mad- and was grateful that I got it back- the odds of me finding it like I did- and the girl telling me ‘you can take it John’ were slim to none.

But of course it bugged me- my sisters jade cross was broken- I already put the last cross I had from Laura on the new rosary- it’s ready to go.

 

Then yesterday- I was going thru my file box [in the room where Lance dressed- for 20 minutes!].

And I couldn’t find my mom’s will.

 

A few years ago I told her she needed to make one- and for her- it was hard.

 

But she did it- and mailed me the copies.

 

Well- the copies were gone.

 

I looked around- asked my wife if she took it- nope.

 

Aha- that kid Lance took it!

 

So- I should have waited- but didn’t.

I jumped in the car- pissed off- and headed to the mission.

It was early- but I was dropping some F bombs ‘I’m looking for Lance- he stole my f&^%ng will’.

 

I was hot- looked for a few minutes- and took off.

I headed to the other side of town- mad.

 

I did help Pop’s out- spent some time with John David- actually did some ministry.

 

The guys at Timmons must have heard- and I got a few calls- texts ‘John- lance is here’.

 

I’m sure the poor kid [25 years Old?- did some prison time in Pennsylvania- was telling me his story one day- thought he might be too tough for our meetings. I told him ‘look- were going to do a meeting with David- he killed his best friend’ Lance said ‘Oh’.]

I like the kid- he’s young- and on a bad road.

 

So- I didn’t answer the phone- I needed to cool off.

 

As the day went on- I realized that when I got back from New Jersey- I couldn’t find the will.

 

Yeah- lance never took the thing.

 

Now I feel bad- I mean I went after the kid.

But- it came right in the aftermath of my sisters Rosary- and it set me off.

 

Even John David [who got calls asking if I was there- the guys were looking for me].

 

He saw I was not at my best- kind of in a rage to be honest.

 

My buddies have never stolen from me- the Rosary was a first.

 

Last year when I was in North Bergen I did get a text from my wife that the house was robbed- and my fathers prized shotguns- handed down to him from his father- were stolen.

 

I never told my dad- these were special to him- when he gave them to me he made me promise never to sell them [or pawn them].

 

So- when I heard the news in N.J. – I had already ‘figured’ who might have taken them.

But- I knew I couldn’t do anything about it- but in my mind I knew I would do something when I got back to Texas.

 

But- because I had to finish another month in Jersey- over time I cooled off.

 

Later we found who took the guns- it was not any of my street friends at all.

 

Yesterday I should have waited- but I went off the handle.

 

I’ll see the kid in a few days- and apologize.

 

I’m sure the guy’s at the mission told him ‘John was looking for you- and he was mad’.

 

I got home and read the chapter for the day- proverbs 19.

 

‘The discretion of a man deferreth his anger- and it is his glory to pass over a transgression’

 

‘A man of great wrath shall suffer punishment- for if thou deliver him- yet you must do it again’

 

God spoke to me- hopefully I will do better next time.

 

SUNDAY- During the day of the above incident- I spent some time at John David’s house.

I do the halfway house with him- and I have worked with his brothers for many years.

I know them thru the street ministry that I do.

 

David is kind of isolated in his area of town- so he tells me he loves it when I spend a day just in his area.

We talk- fellowship- and have a good time.

The other day when I was there I told him how over the years my friendship with his brother Huey has simply been a friendship.

 

Sometimes he comes by to hang out- he had some busted ribs a year ago- he spent a couple of days crashed out in my spare room.

Huey came by to see me last year- when I told the guys it was time for me to move on- I was leaving Texas.

He played a few songs for me on his guitar- things he wrote in prison- talked to me like a brother ‘John- sometimes in life things happen- and we just do our best for the rest of the journey’.

 

I must say that my street friends were the most gracious and accepting- the ‘church’ people often live behind masks- they don’t even know at times how to live- or respond- when people go thru stuff.

 

Anyway- John David started telling me more of his brother Hueys story.

 

He remembers the time when they were kids- going to a Fundamental Baptist church- how Huey stood up during one of the altar calls- was crying- and said ‘ I dont feel God anymore’.

 

David told me that Huey’s wife- Diane- was in a bad car wreck.

 

His son suffered permanent brain damage- and his wife had permanent amnesia.

 

After the wreck- he would go and try and see her in the hospital- she didn’t know who he was- she was afraid of him.

 

He reached out to her- but he was a stranger to her.

 

I asked David how long this went on- he said for the rest of her life till she died a few year ago- she never lived with him again.

 

How devastating.

 

I told David it was important for me to know this- I try to learn the guy’s stories- and it gives me insight into how I can help them.

 

On the way back to the bluff [this was the same day that I went off the rails so to speak] I decided to stop by my prayer spot right off the Oso bay.

It’s a spot down by the water where I walked to alot last year- and prayed right off the waters edge.

 

I love that spot- often I would be there early- 5 am or so- and when it’s dark- the wind blowing- seeing the stars- it feels great.

I haven’t been there in a while- and I decided to go.

As I parked the car and walked down to the concrete pilings- I saw a note on a tree.

 

Last year I told one of my homeless friends- Tim- that being we have no way to communicate- I’ll leave him a note on this tree.

 

Me and Tim go way back- but most of the street friends I’m working with now don’t know Tim.

He avoids the mission- works as a carpenter- and I only see him when I do my early walks.

 

So- I take the note off the tree- it says ‘THIS AINT NO HOTEL- MOVE ALONG BUD- N.S.A.

P.S.- GET A HAIRCUT’

 

Now- being I was already a little paranoid- and kind of on the edge- the first thing I thought was ‘Who the hell is following me!’

But after a few minutes I thought ‘I bet it’s old Tim- kidding around’.

Me and Tim joke a lot- he as a sense of humor like me.

 

He’s smart- knows current events- so I figured the N.S.A. remark was a joke- you now how they [national security agency] have been tapping all our phones and stuff.

So- I put on some classic rock and walked my spot.

 

Sure enough Tim was riding his bike over the bride and saw me at the spot.

 

He rides up ‘hey- did you get my note?’ [it’s been up there for a month or 2]

 

‘Yeah bro- I knew the NSA was watching me’!

We talked a bit- he’s a real good friend.

I debated about telling him about what happened this day- me losing it.

 

He tells me ‘man John- I was riding my bike under the overpass and some drunk guy started yelling at me- ‘I’m gonna kick your ass’.

He tells me ‘you know- we are like sheep- but when people push us too far- we can become like lions’.

 

Funny- Tim had no idea what happened this day- but Tim has a prophetic gift [this is not the first this has happened].

I decided to tell him the story.

 

I have experienced real community- open community- with my buddies.

 

Often times they are more real than church people.

There struggles are not known- we see these guys living on the streets- we wonder what led them to a life like this.

Some do ok- they are indeed living the lives that they want- in Tim’s case there really is nothing wrong with it.

 

He’s not breaking the law- he quit drinking a few years back [he said he always got into trouble when he drank].

 

And he’s doing ok.

When you see these people- these friends of mine- try to remember that they too have gone thru stuff- things that many of us would find hard to deal with.

Last year when Huey gave me the advice ‘Yeah John- in life things happen to us- and we have to do our best and move on’.

 

I had no idea from whence he spoke.

 

NOTE- When my wife told me we got robbed- and that they took the shotguns.

The person I started ‘targeting’ [in my mind] was Huey.

Why? At my house I keep the back door- to my former office- wide open. Not just unlocked- but yes- open. I do this because I play Christian music from that room- and it’s kind of a ‘spiritual’ sacrifice of praise that goes out- 24/7.

I kept the shotguns in that room.

So- Huey [as well as all the guys] know this.

Before I left to ‘move’ to North Bergen- Huey asked about the guns- took them down- looked at them.

My wife also called one day and said Huey had come by a bunch of times- asking if he could take the stuff my wife dumped in a huge trailer that was in front of the house.

When I left Texas- my wife asked if I needed anything from my back office- whatever I didn’t want- was going in the dumpster [even my safe! Well- she did warn me].

So- because of this I began thinking Huey was the prime suspect.

But- before I found out who did it- I already decided to drop it [it took a few weeks for me to cool off and let it go- because I just wasn’t sure who did it].

Now- after reading all the above- it would have been tragic if I did something.

Thank God nothing happened.

 

MONDAY- Genesis 2:7-9, 3:1-7. Romans 5:12-19. Matthew 4:1-4. The verses from last week’s Catholic Mass [1st Timothy 2:14, 1st Corinthians 15:45-47- These were not part of the Liturgy- but I find them helpful for the study].

 

Yesterday I went to the Mass at the Corpus Christi Cathedral.

On the way out I ran into Walter- an older guy I met last year at the church.

He told me I looked so much like his son- that he thought I was his son.

 

I like going to the Cathedral for many reasons- one of them is I need a place- people- who don’t know my story.

 

I’m not comfortable about posting all of this stuff- but I realized last year that this was indeed part of ‘the plan’.

 

What plan John?

About 2-3 years ago I re-connected with my old friends from North Bergen- I always wanted them to be a part of the ministry.

 

So- thru the avenue of Facebook- thanks to Mark Zuckerberg [who is Jewish- one of the callings of the Jewish people was they were used of God to receive- and communicate the law- word of God- they made what God was saying available].

 

So- thru Zuckerberg’s unique gift [founding Facebook] that was an open door to share the story with my old friends.

 

Great!

 

Then of course everything happened- in a public way.

 

My first response was ‘delete the blog- Facebook- and call it a day’.

 

But- I realized that this was part of the plan.

When Jesus sat with his men at the Last Supper- he told them ‘take-eat- this is my Body- broken for you’.

In order for them [us] to benefit- he had to be broken.

In a way- all the ‘broken pieces’ of his life- would be food for them.

 

On my way out of the Mass- I talked to Walter.

Now- he has been telling me how he has been having all types of experiences with God- he tells his wife ‘look- Gods speaking to me every day- I don’t know what’s going on’.

 

I have shared some of my story with Walter- but I don’t give the website to any of these people- I need the anonymity to some degree.

 

I shared with him the teaching from last week- Isaiah 38- God told Hezekiah ‘get your house in order- you’re going to die’.

 

Now- I of course didn’t leave him hanging with such an uplifting word- but finished the story.

 

He told me just the other day he was thinking of an old friend- then read the obituaries- sure enough he died.

 

Walter asked ‘maybe God’s telling me I’m gonna die’.

 

I told him that I did feel that this year was a year where God was saying that we need to set our priorities right- because our lives our short.

 

The next day or 2 I want to teach on the above verses- they come right from the Mass- which really is the best outline I can use.

One of my callings is to help the church [Catholics- Protestants- etc.] to see the bigger picture.

 

To see how God is working with all of us- speaking to all of us.

Walter asked me ‘John- are you a cop’.

 

He knows I’m a retired firefighter- but he asked me this because he said I seem like a cop [which by the way is not helpful when trying to make friends with dealers! – Like my NY trip last year].

 

I told him no.

 

But I think he was picking up on a sort of God given authority to carry out a mandate- which includes what was happening at this moment- to communicate God to my Catholic friends.

 

He asked if I taught adult classes- I told him I was on the radio for many years- and did indeed teach adults.

I like my friendship with Walter- just a sincere older guy- faithful to the church- and seeing how God is working in his life- in ways that seem to surprise him.

 

Me too.

 

TUESDAY- EYES WIDE OPEN-

 

Had a good meeting in Corpus yesterday- and will be doing one in Bishop today.

Let’s cover what I’m teaching in the meetings.

 

Like I said at the top- these verses come from last Sundays Mass- I want my Catholic friends to see that there is a pattern to the scriptures that the Church uses in the Liturgy of the Word each week.

 

Okay- the verses talk about the fall of man in the garden- God created man and woman and put them in the Garden of Eden.

In this garden there were lots of trees- only 2 are given names. [the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil].

 

God said ‘you can eat of the fruit of all the trees- except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil’.

The only restriction was to not eat of this tree.

 

We read that the serpent [satan] tempted Eve and said ‘God knows that in the day you eat of it- you will be like him- knowing good and evil’.

Now- this part is important- the bible tells us that Eve believed this- she believed the whole story [we read later when they eat of the tree- part of this was true- God does ban them from the garden- because they did in a way gain a knowledge of good and evil that they did not have before].

 

So- Eve eats- and the bible says ‘she gave to her husband- AND HE DID EAT’.

 

Now- at the end of this short study- this will be the most important part.

 

After Adam and Eve eat- the judgment God pronounced comes to pass [in the day you eat- you will die].

That day they died a spiritual death- God cast them out of the garden- and put an angel with a flaming sword to protect the garden- the tree of life [a type of the Cross of Christ- in the New testament Peter says Jesus died on ‘the tree’- Jesus is called The Branch [Zechariah] – there are many references that allude to Jesus as the true vine- Tree- etc.]

 

Man was cursed with a curse- the ground would not bring forth ‘with ease’ anymore- but with toil and hard labor man would work the fields.

 

The Woman would experience pain in child birth- and there was a basic ‘curse’ put on man and the ground because of this original sin.

 

Now- in Romans 5- the apostle Paul teaches that just like the sin of one man [Adam] passed the consequences [death] to all men.

So- the righteousness [obedience] of one man- Jesus- would pass the free gift of life and grace to all men [that believe].

 

In the verses I added at the top- Paul teaches that Jesus is the last Adam- he is the Adam that becomes the new federal head of the people of God.

Jesus faced temptation too [Matt 4] but he- unlike Adam- did not sin.

 

Now- there are many ways that you can ‘see’ how Adam [as well as many of the Old Testament heroes of the faith] are simply pictures- symbols of Jesus.

 

I think this one is the most vital.

 

We read in the letter of Timothy that Eve was deceived- not Adam.

What does this mean?

It means that Eve sinned- and became separated from God- because she DID NOT KNOW THAT THIS WOULD HAPPEN.

 

She believed the lie [that she could partake- and not die- be separated from God].

 

But Adam went into it- eyes wide open.

 

Why?

 

He loved her so much- even though he knew that to follow her in death would separate him from God- whom he loved as well.

 

Bu his love for his soul mate was so strong that he willingly walked away from God- to be with his love.

 

A true love story if there ever was one.

 

Now- I think this is the greatest way that Adam prefigures Christ.

How?

 

The last week or so- every time I have Henry over- he wants to watch the movie The Passion [Mel Gibson].

When we see the struggle of Jesus in the garden [see- another garden temptation] we see real agony.

 

Some say that Jesus feared death- they are wrong [Bill O’Reilly said this in his book Killing Jesus- that’s why it would be better for political pundits to not write too many books on theology].

 

Jesus didn’t fear death- his struggle was ‘drinking’ the sin of the world into himself- and for the first time- from all eternity- to be separated from God.

At the Cross Jesus was indeed forsaken of God- and experienced a true separation from God.

 

Now- why the struggle?

The bible refers to us- as the Bride of Christ.

 

The apostle Paul says the love and ‘obsession’ that Christ has for the church [his bride] is so much greater than what a man and a woman experience when they are truly in love.

 

Now- Jesus [like Adam] ‘walked away’ from the presence of God- to be with the love of his life.

 

His eyes were wide open.

 

Now do you see?

 

1Timothy 2:14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.

 

1Corinthians 15:45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.

1Corinthians 15:46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.

1Corinthians 15:47 The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven.

 

Romans 5:17, 19  for if by one man’s sin death reigned by one- much more they which receive abundance of the grace and gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one- Jesus Christ- for as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners- so by the obedience of one shall many be made right.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TUESDAY NIGHT- Just got back from our Bishop meeting- will comment on that tomorrow.

But wanted to get in a few updates first.

 

I did our Bluff meeting yesterday- and have one more to go for the week.

At the beginning of the year I was doing just about 1 a day- and did some in different cities/spots- not knowing if they would be 1 time meetings or more.

That’s ok- often times you ‘cast the seed’ with the expectation that some will make it- some not.

 

But I felt the Lord saying- even if some are 1 or more- to value each one- to try and impart a blessing on the people in these settings.

This year I also began praying the ‘blessing of the Father’ over the sons.

 

Trying to affirm the value of people- that they have tremendous value- even though we all have a long way to go.

 

I just finished watching the movie The Dallas Buyers club- it was truly a great movie.

Because it dealt with the real issues of life- how we all carry prejudice- but when we go through things- when we walk in others shoes for the proverbial mile- we can then have empathy- and yes- sympathy for the plight of others.

 

Those of you who have been reading the posts and looking at the pictures on Facebook.

You will see the pictures of the cute pooch Chico that I have posted.

 

Chico was the little pup that has been going with me and Whistler to most of the meetings.

 

When Whistlers brother Larry came to town- Chico spent the night with me- he played with my 4 dogs [yes- 4- not my choice by the way- but my kids see the lost dogs like I see my homeless friends- they have the rescue mentality].

 

The other week at the mission- when it was real cold.

 

I walked out the door and some guy was sitting next to Chico in a box- covered with a blanket.

 

I walked out for a smoke- and saw Chico all excited- I don’t really know the guy well- who was kinda watching the pooch at the time.

I walked over- kissed the pooch- told the guy ‘yeah- Chico is like a son- he goes with me to the meetings and all’.

 

The guy said ‘yeah- he jumped out of the box when he saw you’.

For the past 2 days I haven’t seen Whistler- I asked if anyone had seen him- I was getting kind of worried.

 

He called me last night ‘John- just wanted to let you know I’ll be going to Bishop with you tomorrow’.

 

He told me he was on the other side of town- with the lady who owned Chico- she got her house and took Chico back.

 

I could tell that Whistler missed Chico.

So- he told me he spent a day or 2 there to see ‘his’ dog.

 

When Chico was at the house- well let’s say he ‘took a liking’ to my male dogs.

Ok- he also put the moves on gunner a few times at the mission [Dirks dog].

Now- to my gay friends- no offence- ok?

 

But me and Whistler would kid the dog- sort of like ‘Hey Chico we need to find you a woman- turn you to the other side’.

 

He came out of ‘the box’- if you will.

 

So Whistler tells me that Chico found a girlfriend at his new home. Yeah- another Chi Wawa- and he ‘fell in love’.

 

Cool!

I was waiting at the mission- for Whistler to call- I told him I would pick him up on the way to Bishop.

 

At about 12:30 the phone rang.

 

It was Whistler.

 

‘John- I have bad news’.

 

It sounded like he was crying.

‘What’s wrong’?

 

Chico’s dead.

 

They don’t know what happened- he wasn’t hit by a car- maybe he ate something [or maybe someone didn’t like him- and did something].

It was so sad- no- I didn’t cry- but told a few people at the mission- and Clare cried her eyes out.

 

In a way- Chico was a lesson.

I have known Whistler for many years- yet this last year we have become pretty good friends.

His brother Larry [who I made friends with for a couple of days- talked to him about this being Gods time for him- on his journey].

 

Larry called me from San Antonio- he’s getting baptized tomorrow- for the first time.

He’s wanting me to start a group in San Antonio- I will try.

Whistler and I-  we both loved that little dog- we had a common bond- a common ‘love’ for the pooch.

 

That’s also how ministry works- you love the people- and when you join with others in the mission- you share a common love for the people.

Chico had a short life- he had fun at my house.

 

When we pulled up in the car- he would run out and run up to my door- my dogs inside knew he was here- I would kid Chico- ‘hey boy- your running right up to the door like you live here!

 

Yeah- in a way- he did.

 

WEDNESDAY-

Let’s close this week’s post with a few updates.

We had a good meeting in Bishop yesterday- basically covered the verses in this post.

During the meeting my phone rang- I figured ‘I’ll check it when I’m done.

 

After we finished the guys just hung out for about a half hour- talking about life- a real sense of community/fellowship.

I checked the phone- it was Rick- my buddy from North Bergen.

I called back- and he just said the guys wanted to keep in touch- waiting for me to come back for my annual trip.

 

I told them it will be sooner- not later in the year.

We talked a bit- my ‘Texas crew’ were right there- as I was in touch with the North Bergen crew.

I felt like the Lord was showing me that some of the purposes he had for me were finally coming to pass this year.

Before I left Corpus for the Bishop meeting- I ran into Cameron at the mission- told him I wanted him to go.

I only had Henry with me [he just rang the bell by the way as I’m typing] – and try and take at least 2 of the Bluff guys when I do an out of town meeting.

 

Cameron said he had some stuff to do- I see the kid is already on the same track that got him put back in jail last year [testing positive on his piss test- and having his probation revoked].

So- he got in the car- I was gonna drop him off down the block.

 

I put on some Christian music [I usually listen to the rock stuff- but it was ministry time].

And he made a call- I heard him say ‘look- I’ll meet you later- change of plans’.

 

The kid told me ‘let’s go to Bishop John’.

 

He had [has] struggles- but made the better choice- at least for the moment.

 

As we made the drive- I told the guys how many times I drove this route over the years- on my way to work in Kingsville.

 

As we passed the airport- I told them how about 7 year ago I was driving my truck- without my seat belt on- and was on my 2nd Magnum [40 ounce beer].

I hit the curb- doing about 70- in the middle of the day- lots of traffic.

I spun the truck around twice right in the middle of the road.

 

This was a 2002 dodge- very easy to flip these.

 

The truck wound up back on the road- and I just kept going- still drinking the open beer- and never gave it a second thought.

 

I always said when I retired I would keep ‘the pledge’ and do the things I always wanted- go to North Bergen- start an outreach in the area- drive the south Texas circuit- expand outward.

 

But after I retired in 2008- I still had quite a drinking problem- and being I no longer had to do the 1 sober day out of 3 [I worked a 24 hour shift- and that was my sober day]

I started drinking every day.

 

So- I told the kid that set me back- that was holding things up.

 

When I spent the day with John David the other day [who I will see today] we had a good time- talked about life- the next step for our ministry partnership with the halfway house.

As we reminisced about the last year or 2- how in the middle of my personal firestorm- God did stuff.

 

He told me ‘you know John- you have been thru some stuff- and your moving ahead anyway’.

 

Actually- I felt like my ‘moving ahead’ was for a purpose- a sign to a lot of my AA friends- that the best way to recover is to move on in life- don’t surround your life with the ‘purpose of recovery’ no- you recover best when your focus is not on ‘recovery’ [it’s a law versus grace mindset- I’ve taught this a few times this past year].

 

Cameron said ‘yeah John- your keeping your promise- that’s what I need to do too’.

I did a meeting at my house the other day- Art was here.

I’ve known him for a while- he and John David were good buddies when they were both using [Meth].

 

It’s funny- some of my buddies are connected with the ministry- and they have these old friendships that go way back.

 

I had to explain to the guys why I ‘flipped out’ the other day.

 

At the end of the story I told Art that my street friends have never taken anything from me- that the Rosary that Roger took- was a first.

Art said ‘well- he won’t be coming over here anymore’.

 

I said I thought about it- and I probably will have Roger back.

I told Art that lots of addicts get rejected by their families for this very thing [I have had friends who robbed their moms and sisters and stuff].

 

And in a way- for me to not do the same thing- shows them grace.

 

Now- I know some might think ‘you let the guys walk all over you’.

 

Trust me- they don’t.

 

I confront these guys straight up- it’s a real family type thing.

 

I saw Lance at Timons- had to apologize for thinking he stole the will.

 

But- I told him why I thought it happened.

 

‘Kid- you took a long damn time getting dressed in my room- I thought you went thru some stuff- think you still did- but I was wrong about the will’.

 

So- I’m straight up with these boys.

 

And when I’m in the wrong- I say so.

 

When I did my New Jersey trip last year- for 3 months- John David warned me- having only 6 months clean- and attempting to hit the streets- and hang out with addicts and dope heads.

 

I mean- this indeed was a violation of the principles of AA/NA.

Then- about half way thru my 3 month tour- I stopped going to the meetings.

 

Yeah- all the signs looked bad.

 

But- this was the promise- the pact I made to God many years ago.

As I took the risk- made some good friends- I never used- or wanted to.

 

One day I was hanging out with Nick at Hudson County park.

 

I was sitting in the same spot where I had some bad experiences [violent] as a kid some 30 years before.

 

Nick was playing his guitar- I was singing some classic rock- rick and John [a retired cop- alcoholic] were enjoying the sun and breeze from the man-made lake.

 

At that moment- right by the New York skyline- just looking at the whole scene.

 

I felt Gods presence the most- more than at any other time on my journey.

 

Even though I was in major transition in life- being warned to not be with these guys or I would ‘relapse’.

 

Yet- I felt God the most.

 

Why?

 

I finally kept the promise.

 

 

2058-  BUS RIDE’S- PROPHETS AND A TAG..

 

FRIDAY

I have been wanting to do a post on world affairs- the other week I talked about the ‘feeling’ that the U.S. is in for more trouble than people realize.

 

I posted that this year I think we are going to experience another 911 type event.

A week or so later- we had the mysterious Malaysian plane go missing- now many think it was a terrorist attack.

 

Yet- I don’t feel like that was what I spoke about.

 

I felt like our country is going to get hit- big.

 

Now- the entire story about Russia/Crimea and Ukraine- might be the one.

 

Why?

 

I want to talk about the justification of what Russia has done so far- and how the U.S. media machine might get us into World War 3.

Russia- like the U.S. – justifies action- even military action- on various grounds.

One of them is if they feel there is a real threat to their nation- they will act.

 

We too have this as a stated objective of our military interventions- of which many in the past 15 years have been absolute failures [Libya- Iraq- Afghanistan- the list goes on].

 

For various ‘self-interests’ [even the self-interest of so called moral mandates ‘you are on the wrong side of history’ yeah- but whose history book is Kerry and Obama quoting?]

 

So- back to Russia.

In the 1950’s Nikita Khrushchev simply gave away Crimea to the Ukraine.

When he did this- it was against the will of the people.

 

There are various ideas of why he did it- but it was simply a totalitarian move.

 

 

At the time- Ukraine was still a part of Russia [USSR] so- even though it was a cheap shot- yet it was simply a transference of some land- within a sovereign state.

 

But later- after the breakup of the USSR- the Crimea- once again- against the will of the actual people [who are mostly nationalistic Russian- who never wanted to break away from Russia for the most part] became a part of Ukraine- one of the former USSR states.

 

So- like Georgia- they were now independent of Russia.

 

The U.S. and other Western countries- under the ‘flag’ of NATO- began to make a ‘land grab’ in these former Soviet states.

 

That is we have indeed tried to persuade Ukraine to join NATO [who Putin- rightfully has said- is no longer a purely defensive treaty- but an offensive umbrella alliance that has been used to actually invade other countries].

 

The West has been in a battle for the Ukraine- to win them over- and we have a strong- threatening presence [threatening to Russia] in Ukraine.

 

Ok- this year when the protesters began hitting the streets in Ukraine- in a way- what they did was a sort of Coup De Tat [which is what Putin has said!].

 

The protestors were not asking for Democracy- which they already had- even though the Ukrainian president was corrupt- yet the protestors were mostly Fascists [would the U.S. give in to Fascist protestors if they stood at the gate of the White house- threatening violence?]

 

So- Ukraine- with Putin’s help- decided to agree on early elections [they voted for this- legally] and the Ukrainian president took refuge in Russia.

 

But- the protestors- and the U.S.- didn’t want to wait for the lawful election- so we simply picked apart the political puzzle- and chose the parts that best fit our ‘self-interests’.

And started making it look like Putin was following the path of Hitler in WW2- invading sovereign states and possibly going all the way to Europe [which indeed Ukraine is a gateway].

 

Now- the Crimean people did indeed hold a referendum- and willingly voted- overwhelmingly- to join Russia again.

 

The western media made it sound like they were forced- at gunpoint [Russian troops are in Crimea] to approve the vote.

 

That’s simply media spin- the Russian troops were there so the people could vote for what they wanted all along- to go back to Russia.

 

The U.S. [and other European allies] do have real objections to some of what’s going on- but in reality no country would allow an adversary to build up a military presence on their border.

 

We threatened Nikita Khrushchev when John f. Kennedy was president for this very thing- trying to place Nukes in Cuba.

 

Putin is simply doing the same thing- when the West started talking about Ukraine becoming a part of NATO- and putting a defense shield in Poland- Putin was responding the same way we have- using the reason of self-interest.

 

Ok- as of today Putin has seized the airport and other strategic spots in Ukraine.

 

They have a naval port off the coast of Ukraine- and yes- they can’t/won’t allow a key strategic waterway to be taken by a pro-Western group.

 

Ok- this past week it was strange to here John Kerry say ‘yes- we know the Crimean people will overwhelmingly vote to be part of Russia- and we have warned Russia to not accept the vote’.

Huh?

 

We are backing the Fascist protestors in Ukraine- and rejecting the will of the people in Crimea.

 

Putin is right- we are simply cherry picking this stuff- for our own ‘national interests’.

As of today- yes- I think we are closer to another world war- than ever before.

Russia has state run media- and one of their top guys said they have enough Nukes to obliterate the U.S.

 

The only way a statement can be made like that on Russian media is if Putin allows it.

 

So- I wanted to give you the bigger picture here.

 

Maybe my prediction about another 911 was wrong- maybe it will be worse.

 

SATURDAY- just a quick note about the above- I do believe that Putin is on a roll, and will take Ukraine and try and consolidate the former Soviet states.

The point I made was the U.S. pushed him to this point.

We aggressively tried to bring Ukraine and other breakaway states under the umbrella of NATO; It was no secret that we wanted a real presence on the border of Russia.

A few years ago when protests rose up in Russia- we made a short public statement- sort of like ‘well- the will of the people must prevail’.

The same statements we made before we deposed other leaders- by using NATO as the cover.

Putin saw the writing on the wall- he realized in time he had to do something.

He did.

 

Ok- I wanted to teach a bit about the various genres we see in scripture.

Last week I taught from the creation account in Genesis.

When I did one of our weekly meetings one of the guys mentioned how some people think the tree that Eve ate from was a Pomegranate- or some other type of fruit tree.

 

Ok- I didn’t want to debate with my friend.

 

But maybe we can give a little insight here.

The bible uses various forms of literature- just like any other book.

Some forms are Poetic- some are Prophetic [symbolism] – sometimes we see things like round numbers [Jesus feeds the 5 thousand- or the bible says ‘the whole city came out to see him’].

Now- we do believe the inspiration of scripture- but did the writers use things like round numbers?

Yes- in the Old Testament we see it used when talking about armies and stuff- or the 12 tribes of Israel.

 

Now- in the account of creation- the 2 trees that are named are the Tree of Life- and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

 

Ok- we have a description here- and the description does not speak of fruit trees- but things that symbolize stuff [like I explained in last week’s post].

Are there any other symbols/types in the creation account?

 

Yes- we read about ‘the serpent’ who speaks!

Now- most realize it is referring to satan- which is right.

 

Are there any symbolic references in the bible that speak about satan as a serpent?

Yes- in the book of Revelation we read about the Dragon- and most of us realize it is symbolic.

 

Ok- what am I saying here- that the bible is not to be taken literally?

 

Well- here’s the problem.

The classic sense of ‘literal’ interpretation does include the symbolic- poetic- etc.

When we say we take the bible literally- it does indeed include stuff like this.

 

In the 19th/20th centuries there arose a school of thought out of the universities in Germany- we refer to these theologians as being in the liberal school of bible interpretation [Bultman- etc.]

 

Now- some of the insights they had were indeed good [sort of like what I’m showing you now].

Some not so good [like denying the actual death and resurrection of Christ].

 

But- when we understand that there are portions of the bible that fall under the category of Historical Narrative- others fall under Poetic- others Symbolic.

 

It helps us explain the bible better.

Is the whole creation account symbolic?

 

In my view- no.

 

Why?

 

Because we read other portions of the bible- referring back to the creation account- and the teacher is using what’s called Historical Narrative.

 

Jesus says ‘in the beginning God made them male and female’.

So- there are tools like this that we use when trying to understand what portions are historical- and what parts are symbol.

 

If you use what’s called the ‘literal interpretation’ then when you read symbol- you must take it as such.

 

If you interpret symbol as ‘historical’ then you might think you are taking the bible ‘literally’ but in actuality you are not.

 

The same goes for the portions that are historical.

 

So- in the creation account- we might be seeing a mixture- some historical- some symbol [most fight for one or the other- I think it might be better to take it the way I just showed you].

 

So- what type of tree did they eat?

 

They had a choice- and the bible tells us they disobeyed God- and thru that action were cut off from the presence of God [tree of life] and were left to their own devices [living your life out of your own intellect- the tree of the knowledge of good and evil].

 

So- God is showing us stuff- maybe the story contains the major doctrines of scripture- in a symbolic way [original sin- etc.].

 

The more liberal schools of thought argue that the first 10 or 11 chapters of Genesis are not to be taken ‘literally’ [as historical narrative].

 

The more conservative scholars disagree.

 

I think there is truth on both sides of the argument.

 

Either way- God gave us the names of 2 trees- and neither one of them are around today [that is- in a literal way].

 

SUNDAY- WE FLIPPED A COIN- THATS HOW.

 

Later this week I want to cover the bible teaching for the week- John the Baptist.

But for today- lets tell some more of my story.

I want to be careful- because some of these people have relatives who are friends of mine on Facebook- and I don’t know how much they know about things that happened.

 

But- in a way- maybe they too need to hear the story.

 

Ok- after I got kicked out of the Navy- I went back to North Bergen for about 6 months [1981].

When I got back- my good buddy Miguel heard that I was in town and we hooked up again.

 

Miguel and I were good friends growing up- I used to eat at his grandma’s house in Union City- last year I took a picture of that old spot.

 

She cooked great Cuban food.

 

Mike was glad to see me- and I him.

 

He had just gotten kicked out of the Army- so we were a ‘good team’.

During his year- I lived in the downstairs apt. – where I lived last year for a while- when my sister died.

 

I remember one day my dad noticed I was polishing off is beers in the fridge- he said ‘you start early son- maybe you should let up’.

 

He was glad to see me back- but his father [who I never met] was an alcoholic- who beat my dad when he was a kid- his dads name was Amadeo.

 

My granddad Veto told me this- my dad never mentioned his real dad- who died young.

Being I was back in town- I got with my buddies- one day Fred, me and Miguel took a ride in Mike’s Monte Carlo.

 

Mike was dangerous in a car- we used to go down to West side avenue [North Bergen] and he would open it up- maybe about 135- high as a kite- he did crash this car several times.

 

One year at the Fire Dept. he called me- he just got out of the hospital [in North Bergen] he flipped his car off  ‘suicide turn’ on Blvd. east- we used to walk the train tunnel at that spot- it was known as a dead man’s turn.

 

Yeah- he went off- and lived!

So- me and Fred and Mike took a drive one day to Elizabeth N.J. – the town where they filmed the Sopranos.

 

We just went for a drive- were drinking and getting high.

 

We went up some country road and saw a new car parked right on the edge of this cliff.

Mike pulled up to the bumper- and yeah- we started pushing it over the cliff.

No one was in it- but after a few minutes I heard a loud bang on the window where Mike was siting- the guys who owned the car saw us- they must have been partying on the mountain.

 

This big guy- probably a football jock- and his 2 buddies were slamming the driver side window with a huge bat- like the one you see in the movie walking tall.

 

I rolled down the window of the passenger side where I was sitting- and broke my beer bottle on the roof- so it would smash in the kids face.

 

I got out- the guy was big- and to be honest- you never know when you’re the one that’s gonna be at the wrong end of the fight.

 

So- I changed it up.

 

I of course threatened the guy- and told them that we were gonna ‘mess’ them up.

 

I yelled at Fred- he was in the back seat ‘Fed- get my gun’.

 

He of course went along with the story [I had no gun].

 

Boy- those kids got scared- they begged Fred to not ‘give me my gun’.

 

By the time we left- they were apologizing for us destroying their car- sad.

 

As we left- about 5 miles down the road we passed a cop car- realizing in about a minute they were going to pull up to the scene- and see this kids car hanging off the cliff.

 

Miguel hit the pedal and we did about 120 all the way back to North Bergen.

 

During these few months- to be honest- it was exciting- but dangerous.

 

One day- on a whim- I told Mike ‘I’m driving to Texas Tomorrow’.

 

He said ‘wait Johnny- lets go together’.

 

But he wanted to go to Florida.

 

I had a 1976 Chevy Nova- Mike had a AMC Javelin by then.

 

That day we made a pact- I said ‘hey- lets flip a coin- heads I win- we go to Texas- tails- we go to Florida’.

 

I said ‘some day we can tell our kids this story- and tell them that’s how we moved- by the flip of a coin’.

 

I won the flip- and the next day we drove to Texas- in the Javelin.

 

Ok- I’ll tell more in the coming days- but I want you to see that in a way- when I started doing ministry- God put me back in ‘my element’.

 

It was God’s plan for me to surround myself with these guy’s- because in a way I was like them.

 

I’m comfortable with them- being in the mix- every person has a calling- and I in no way recommend everyone to do things the way I do them- yes- it is high risk stuff.

 

But that’s the calling- God brings people with various backgrounds- and then he uses them with that back ground in mind.

 

I’ll tell more about my conversion and how I led Mike to the Lord- and how he later died.

 

Mike had 4 boys- I remember the oldest well- Andrew.

 

But the younger ones were just babies when I saw them- they came to my Texas church- the one I stated in the late 80’s.

One of the boys- Joshua- was just a baby when I saw him[Or maybe he was born in N.J.?- I don’t know if I saw him or not].

 

About a year ago he became a friend on Facebook.

 

He reads the site.

 

See- I told Mike ‘one of these days we will tell our kids how we wound up in Texas’.

 

Today was the day.

 

MONDAY- HE MUST INCREASE AND I MUST GO AWAY.

 

The next day or 2 I want to teach a bit on John the Baptist.

The other day David had some questions about him- like why did John send 2 disciples to ask Jesus ‘are you he that should come- or look we for another’.

If I remember- I’ll get to it.

 

John the Baptist was spoken about in the Old Testament prophets [Isaiah- Malachi].

The last verse in the Old Testament is about him ‘Before the day of the Lord comes I will send Elijah the prophet..’.

 

John was the fulfillment of this prophecy.

 

At the time of Jesus- John’s parents- Zechariah and Elizabeth were up in age.

 

Zechariah was a priest and one day he was fulfilling his normal duties and the Angel Gabriel appeared to him in the temple.

The angel said ‘your prayers are heard- your wife will have a son’.

 

Now- they were old at the time- and Zechariah had some doubts ‘How can this be’?

 

The angel is kind of shocked ‘Geez- I’m an angel for heaven’s sake- I stand in the presence of God!’ [Sort of like- what more do you need man! – by the way- this is my ‘version’ but accurate].

 

So the angel pronounces a judgment on him- he will not be able to speak until the promise comes to pass.

 

The angel gives him the name for the child ‘he shall be called John’.

 

Sure enough- the time comes and John is born.

 

Now- John did not fit the mold at all- he was wild- had strange eating habits [locusts and wild honey] and did not dress for the part [camel’s hair clothes].

 

Yet- God was in the thing.

 

When Gabriel appeared to the Virgin Mary- and told her that she would have the baby Jesus- Gabriel also informed her that her cousin Elizabeth was already 6 months pregnant with John.

 

Mary visits her and when she walks in- the 6 month Fetus in the womb of Mary ‘leaps’.

 

John was already fulfilling his purpose as the forerunner- before he was born!

 

Ok- John begins his ministry by calling the people to repentance ‘Repent and be baptized- the kingdom is here!’

 

He gains a following of sorts.

 

One day Jesus comes to be baptized- John says ‘I need baptism from you- not you from me’.

 

But Jesus says this has to happen- and John baptizes him.

 

This is the beginning of Jesus ministry- the Spirit descends on him like a Dove and a voice from heaven says ‘this is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased’.

 

In the gospel of John we read how Jesus begins gaining a bigger following than John- and some of John’s men kind of feel the competition.

 

‘You’re losing your men to Jesus’.

 

John says that ‘he must increase and I must decrease’.

 

John says he is not the center of attention- but that Jesus is the bridegroom and the bride [people] belong to him.

 

John’s joy is being able to simply hear the voice of the bridegroom- and to see the great romance play out.

 

Now- getting to the question above- why did John send 2 of his men later to ask if Jesus was the one.

 

Surely John knew.

 

John was cast into prison by Herod- and as he sits in jail- he might have been thinking ‘ok- I’m the forerunner- Jesus is the Messiah- in time I’ll be rescued’.

 

It’s possible that John felt resentment about what was happening to him.

 

Sort of like ‘Ok Jesus- I’m still here in the cell- are you the one or what?’

 

Now- I don’t know for sure if this is why he ‘doubted’- maybe he did have some doubts- John was human too.

 

The religious leaders asked John one day ‘who are you- are you the Elijah that was to come’.

 

They were quoting the verse from the prophet Malachi that I mentioned above.

 

Now- John says ‘no’.

 

But then he does quote the prophet Isaiah- ‘I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness- prepare ye the way of the Lord- make his paths straight’.

 

Now- we read later that the people ask Jesus ‘isn’t Elijah supposed to come first- before you’.

 

And Jesus says ‘yes’ then he goes on and says that John was indeed the one who came in the power and spirit of Elijah.

 

It’s funny- John recognized part of his significance- but not all.

 

He knew he was spoken about in the prophet Isaiah- but did not know he was the fulfilment of the Malachi prophecy- the Elijah that was to come.

 

Ok- a few practical things.

 

Often times we too do not see the significance of our calling- our purpose in life.

 

The bible tells us that we too were chosen before the world was made- to be children of God and to fulfill a purpose.

 

John was filled with the Spirit from his mother’s womb.

 

In a way we are marked from the day of our birth- to fulfill a specific destiny in life.

 

Sometimes that purpose might be tough [John eventually gets his head chopped off!].

 

But it’ not about our own survival- the creature comforts of life.

 

No- it’s about being forerunners- in a way- making a new path- so others can follow in time.

 

When you cut thru the brush for the first time- it’s hard- it takes time- you get ‘cut’ a lot.

 

But if you do it long enough- it makes a path.

 

Others will naturally follow that path- it makes it easy for them- even if it was hell for you.

 

John knew his purpose- it was not about him- he would fade from the scene soon.

 

When the disciples of John came to Jesus with the question ‘are you the one’.

 

Jesus told them ‘among all that are born of women- there is none greater than John’.

 

Then he goes on and says an interesting thing.

 

‘Yet he that is least in the kingdom- is greater than John’.

 

Some think Jesus was saying that those of us today- who are born of God- in the Church age- are ‘greater’ than John- being he was a sort of Old Testament prophet- not yet in the ‘church’.

 

Yet I think Jesus was saying something else.

 

Jesus often spoke of himself in the 3rd person ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son…’

 

John 3:16.

 

I think Jesus might have been saying ‘he that is least [speaking of himself] is greater than John’.

 

See- John fulfilled the purpose of his life- he showed us who Jesus was.

 

Yet Jesus- he became the least of all- humbled himself to death on a cross.

 

Humiliating as ‘hell’.

 

Was mocked- spit on- rejected of men- a man of sorrows.

 

‘Reduced’ to the point of agony and ‘depression’ that none of us could ever relate to.

 

He said things like ‘God- why have you left me- if you can help me- please do it’.

 

The prophet Isaiah said he was a ‘man of sorrows- acquainted with grief- we hid our faces from him when we saw him coming’.

 

I’ll tell you- that doesn’t feel good.

 

Yes- John was a great man- a great prophet.

 

But Jesus was the seed- ‘except a seed all into the ground- and die- it remains alone- but if it die- it brings forth much fruit’.

 

It becomes a tree- and the birds of the air nest in it.

 

Yeah- remember last week’s post- the Tee of Life.

 

He had to die first- then the Tree.

 

Malachi 4:5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:

Matthew 11:2 Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples,

Matthew 11:3 And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?

Matthew 11:4 Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see:

Matthew 11:5 The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.

Matthew 11:6 And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.

Matthew 11:7 And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind?

Matthew 11:8 But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses.

Matthew 11:9 But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet.

Matthew 11:10 For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.

Matthew 11:11 Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

Matthew 11:12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.

Matthew 11:14 And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come.

John 3:29 He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled.

John 3:30 He must increase, but I must decrease.

Mark 9:11 And they asked him, saying, Why say the scribes that Elias must first come?

Mark 9:12 And he answered and told them, Elias verily cometh first, and restoreth all things; and how it is written of the Son of man, that he must suffer many things, and be set at nought.

Mark 9:13 But I say unto you, That Elias is indeed come, and they have done unto him whatsoever they listed, as it is written of him.

Luke 1:13 But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.

Luke 1:17 And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.

John 1:6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.

John 1:19 And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou?

John 1:20 And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ.

John 1:21 And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No.

John 1:22 Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself?

John 1:23 He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.

Luke 7:28 For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.

 

 

MONDAY NIGHT-   THE BUS RIDE.

 

Today I had an interesting experience- but let me talk first.

Last week I took my car in to have an oil change and to check on a fuel smell.

 

Sure enough- they said I needed a new gas tank.

Ok- my usual response is ‘these guys are trying to rip me off!

 

So- I took the car home and got under it- yeah- they were right.

 

I figured I’d at least by the tank [it cost 80- the shop adds an extra 80 just for them to get it].

 

So I went to the salvage yard [Sables are no longer in business- the dealer did not carry a new one].

 

Sure enough they had three 16 gallon tanks- each different- and I had to drop the tank to see which one it was.

 

Forget it- took it back to Pep Boys and had them do it.

 

But- I did look forward to having to walk for the day- and catch the bus.

 

Last year I rode the bus more than any other time in my life. I sold my vehicles and the plan was I was moving from Texas- and from now on I’ll use the buses in North Bergen [NY city area].

But- things changed.

 

So- I actually looked forward to riding the bus today.

I thought ‘well at least I’ll get a break from Timons [the local mission] and I won’t get bugged for someone bumming a cigarette’.

 

Sure enough- a guy I know from the mission gets on the bus- the first thing he says- yeah- you guessed it.

 

But- as I walked from the bus to the mission- I stopped in a store I would never stop in.

One of my homeless buddies works part time there- and I figured it would be cool to see him.

 

As I went inside- the owner was talking about God to my friend- and kind of grilled me too.

 

I told him I do a ministry- and he kinda looked at me like ‘yeah right’ [I do look homeless at times].

 

He asked me what the ‘word’ was for today.

 

So- I launched into the teaching for this week [above] and quoted stuff- like I do at the meetings.

 

I think it was a bit much for him.

 

Anyway- I did talk about the ministry- the years of working with street guys- prisoners- the whole 9 yards.

 

Told him I have had friends who have done it all- murder- etc.

 

He started really getting something from this short ‘ministry’ time- he saw I was for real.

 

He then asked me to pray for him- I did.

Then he handed me some papers- he told me ‘this is my rap sheet- I’m praying for God to help my record get dismissed’.

 

He wanted me to see it- as I flipped thru the first page- yeah multiple felonies.

 

He had 3 pages- but he wanted me to see the last page.

 

Felony conviction- Murder.

 

He asked if I would pray again- I did.

 

It was strange- when I walked in to this store [this ‘kid’ is rich-and has really made a turnaround in his life].

 

He doubted my story- I could tell [plus I do smell like a smokestack].

 

But after a while- he realized I was sent there for him.

 

Later- after I left- my homeless buddy who works there told me ‘John- he really likes you- he asked if you would come back and visit’.

 

Yeah- I was mad about the whole gas tank thing- but glad I rode the bus today.

 

TUESDAY- In a little while we’ll be heading to Bishop for our meeting.

First I want to wrap up this past week.

 

The other day I got another call from my friend in North Bergen.

 

He said it was important [he texted first] that he needed me to call.

 

I called back in a little bit- he told me ‘John- I’m ready to quit drinking- there’s something wrong with my body John- I can feel it’.

 

I told Rick that has been the theme these past few months- that now’s the time- we are running out of time in a sense- so we have to make the best of the time we have left.

 

He texted me a few times last night- he’s on his 3rd day of being sober.

I told him to attend the AA meetings- there’s one right where we hung out- an old church in Fairview.

 

He did ask my advice- I told him go to the meeting.

 

Last week I gave an old refrigerator to Pop’s- he had a small one [I’ll post the pics to Facebook] and I told him I’ll give him one.

 

We borrowed a truck and I took Charlie and Damien- a neighbor- in a bad area of town- they are using drugs and stuff in that spot.

 

But Damien has the gang look- the whole 9 yards.

 

He rode with me- and I told him ‘brother- you’re the type of person that I love working with’.

 

I told him about the ministry and all.

 

I thought he was Mexican- he’s 100 % Sicilian.

 

Wow- right up my alley.

 

We moved the fridge- spent about an hour or so talking to him about life change.

When I dropped him off- he told me to come by whenever I’m in the area- visit him.

 

This is how this stuff woks- no- I’m not perfect- far from it- but when people see your real- they connect.

 

Charlie rode with me this day- when we got back to his apt- as we got out of the car- he said ‘preacher John- I need to tell you something’.

Sure- what’s up?

 

‘I’m sorry- I talked about you behind your back- stuff I don’t really know about- I’m sorry’.

 

He felt bad- almost started to cry.

 

I of course told him I forgive him.

We went inside for a bit.

 

I hung out with Pop’s for a while. When I was leaving Charlie called me over.

 

‘I need to tell you something else’.

 

Ok.

 

‘When I was in the hospital [he was on his death bed- in a coma and on a respirator- for 2 months] the only face I saw- out of all the people who told me they came by and prayed for me- was yours’.

He said it freaked him out.

 

I remember a few weeks ago when he called- he didn’t tell me this yet- but that day said ‘man- when I talk to you on the phone- I see your face’.

 

At the time I didn’t get it.

 

But now I see that when I prayed for Charlie- we in a way our all ‘on our deathbeds’.

 

I mean when we connect with people- show them God’s love- live life like it was your ‘last day’- then you are walking in a different path.

 

You’re not concerned about lots of other stuff- you’re doing the best you can- and God sees that.

I remember when Charlie got out of the hospital- a few people did tell him ‘we went and prayed for you- Jackie’s prayers saved you!’ [Jackie has been relapsing for a long time- again just the other day. David- my partner with the halfway house- tells me ‘she didn’t get step 1 right- she had the wrong sponsor’- on and on. I have written about this problem- in an honest way. David keeps seeing a program [AA] in his mind- that is without flaw. And every time Jackie relapses- which she does a lot- he always seems to see how she did not work the program right- I have a lot of trouble with this. I am now sober for about a year and a half- I had to leave AA for various reasons that I have written about. But even to this day- David sees me as a ‘dry drunk’- meaning even though I’m not using- and doing God’s will- yet he sees me at flaw- almost waiting for me to relapse. Yet- those in the program- who are relapsing a lot- he sees them as on the right track- because in his mind they are still in AA- I try and be nice about it- but if someone continues to relapse- don’t keep trying to see how they did some step wrong- or had the wrong sponsor- be open enough to see that maybe they should seek help another way].

 

I felt uncomfortable hearing stuff like this- to be honest.

 

And I did pray for a few of my buddies this past month or so- all 3 were on their death beds- and made it.

 

But I don’t think it was ‘my prayer’ I mean it was like people were competing for who’s prayer saved these guys.

 

But when Charlie told me this- I knew God was indeed giving him one last chance.

 

Let’s hope he makes the best of it.

 

WEDNESDAY-

 

Ok-

Let’s end this post with a few practical things.

Yesterday I did one of our meetings in Bishop.

 

I covered the teaching on John the Baptist- and talked about God’s purpose for every one of us- just like he chose John ‘from his mother’s womb’.

One of the verses I forgot to mention above was that John was ‘filled with the Spirit from his mother’s womb’.

 

In the letter to the Ephesians the apostle Paul says ‘God chose us before he made the world- to be holy and without blame before him in love’- the chapter goes on to say that he had a particular destiny for our lives- even before we were born.

 

In the case of John the Baptist- God actually had the Old Testament prophets speak specifically about him.

 

In our case- we have the overall general call of God- that even though there are not particular verses that mention us- by name.

 

Yet- the calling of God is just as real.

 

In 2012- in the middle of a personal storm- one morning I got up early- and I usually do some house cleaning in the morning- after prayer and writing.

As I walked thru the hall- I noticed something on the floor.

 

It was some type of tag- made out of strong material- it said ‘First kiss- but not the last- New York’. [I have no idea where it came from- I guess one of my kids bought something?]

 

Over the years I always wanted to do outreach in N.Y.

 

But- for reasons I mentioned above- I put it off.

 

But as I picked up the tag- I stuck in in my bag [I carry a little back pack with my books- so if I’m in the yard- or the house- I have all the stuff right there].

 

I thought ‘this might be a sign of sorts- that someday I’ll make the trip again’.

 

I haven’t been back to New Jersey in a few years [maybe 10?] at this time- and the spot where I grew up is really the NYC area- right off the Hudson River.

 

As a matter of fact- my last trip there- I walked over the George Washington Bridge and headed towards 42nd St. – Times Square.

 

So- that’s the area.

 

As the day progressed [when I found the tag].

 

I had an argument with my wife- and without planning any trip- yeah- I jumped in the Van and headed out- to N.J.

 

I hate leaving late like this- it was in the afternoon- but like I said- it wasn’t planned.

 

Later that day [or a few days later?].

 

I opened my bag- and saw the tag.

 

It was strange- almost like God was saying ‘you’re going to go back to N.J. soon’.

I had no idea it would be this soon!

 

So- that was 2012- and I went back for 3 months in 2013 [the longest return since I moved back to Texas in 1981].

 

And I plan on going back at least once a year- maybe more.

 

Yeah- first kiss- but not the last.

 

As you read these long posts- I’m trying to mix in teaching- along with my story.

 

I never told the full story about all of this stuff- until this last month.

 

I had a lot of friend’s I have been doing ministry with- who were surprised to say the least.

One of the guys at the mission- who I never told the story to- must have heard from someone else.

 

He always made an excuse of sorts ‘Well John- the reason I’m on the streets- is because I never had the church upbringing like you’.

 

He has said this for many years- and I never really corrected him.

 

I mean I did go to church as a kid- but was not the ‘good Christian’ type boy.

 

The other day he asked ‘you were raised in the church- right?’

 

This was the first time he put it like that- as a question- so I simply said ‘no Dirk- I too have a background’ [and to be honest- probably worse than his- absent the recent stabbing- that is].

 

Another friend- who I won’t mention by name [ see- now it’s hard to do this- without my buddies thinking it’s them- let’s say this friend does not read my site- or Facebook- that way you will at least know who it isn’t]

 

I have known him for years- yet- he has never confessed to using hard drugs- and he is a loner- I know much more of the homeless crew then he does.

 

I shared some of my story with him the other day- and for the first time- he told me he used to spend about 400 dollars a night- on Meth.

 

So- in a way- I think it’s been good to finally tell it all- like they say.

 

What’s God’s calling for you?

 

Maybe you won’t find a tag on the floor [or maybe you will?] but often times you already know what he wants- he puts that desire in you.

 

In my case- finding the tag wasn’t the reason I left- but no- I had been putting off this trip for years.

 

The tag [or sign] simply prods you along the way.

 

The past few days my North Bergen friend has been keeping in touch daily- he has about 3-4 days sober now- and we text about every day.

 

In a way- you could say I’m his sponsor- though this is not AA.

 

One of the good things I did get from AA was seeing my friends who sponsor these guys- how they call each other- do help each other- and keep in daily contact with them.

 

Because of my short time in AA- I now do this with some of our guys.

 

In the past it was almost impossible to get me on the phone- but because of learning/seeing my friends do this as sponsors- I changed my pattern.

 

So yeah- I do credit AA for the good- and when I critique AA- the purpose is not to put AA down- but to help all of us find the best path.

 

Yeah- I ‘kissed’ North Bergen for the first time in 2012 [There’s a verse that says righteousness and peace will kiss the earth- so the ‘first kiss’ tag symbolized a type of ministry thing] and again in 2013- and will in 2014.

 

Yeah- that was my path- that’s not everyone’s path- but that was mine

 

God- like in the case of John- also has a path for you.

 

I pray that you will find it- soon.

 

 

 

2059  FRIDAY. THE WARRANT WAS OUT.

 

I decided to slow down on my documenting my past.

Why?

 

Though I do feel like it was time to tell my story- yet there is a balance- you don’t want to ‘glorify’ this stuff- and when you tell stuff like this- there is a tendency to only tell the ‘good stuff’- that is- you rarely hear the side that makes the person look bad.

 

That’s why when I told the ones that make you look like a tough guy- I also added the stuff that makes you look not so good.

 

Ok- the past few days one of buddies has been on the edge- so to speak.

He reads the site- so he’ll know what I’m talking about.

 

The last week he has been in a fighting mood- most of the people that know him have been saying ‘what’s going on with him- what’s up”.

 

I’m really not sure- and I think part of it might be the fact that we have become good friends- we hang out a lot- and for the first time he has also seen my history.

 

So- he has been getting into it with Dirk- Nascar- Matt [who I take to the meetings with me- but yesterday Whistler almost got into it with Matt- I had to settle things down].

 

So- after Bucks memorial- right there in the parking lot- it almost happened again.

 

The homeless crew were all there- and the service for Buck was beautiful- but as the guys were in the parking lot- and it started again- I told them ‘look- he’s going with me- were walking away’.

So we took a ride for about 3 hours- came back to the house- put on a movie- and I let my buddy crash out on the couch.

When we were at the memorial- and things heated up- I told Walden ‘look- I’m gonna just keep him with me for a few days- don’t worry’.

 

He said ‘you seem to be able to control him’.

 

No- I’m not controlling him- we are good friends- he has made more of the meetings I have been doing than anyone else.

 

Ok- like I said I’m going to slow down on my stories- and I want to make something clear.

I have not been operating like this [losing my temper- getting into some of this stuff myself this last year] for the past 25 years.

 

I think in my case- like I have been writing- because I don’t drink- and because of all the other things that have gone on- I sort of have had some type of breakdown.

Nothing ‘official’ but yes- last year I’m sure you could have categorized it as some type of event- a confluence of things- that finally set me off.

 

So no- some things have changed [for good or bad- I don’t know?].

 

Anyway-Wednesday I went to the mission- I saw Dirk sitting there- it was early.

 

Those of you who have read the posts know Dirk ‘stabbed’ Tennessee a while back [I put quotes- because he never told me he stabbed him- but that he fell on the knife- which of course sounds like a story to me].

 

And Dirk has been on the outs with a lot of the street crew because of this.

I have gone out of my way to befriend the guy because of this- and we do go back a long ways- we have been friends for 25 years- and others have said Dirk looks up to me.

 

So- I was not feeling to well- and was going to try and take care of some stuff- and as I walked passed Dirk- I said something to the effect ‘be careful- I might just kick your ass right now’.

 

I went on a bit- and was mad- in his face.

 

He has never seen me like this- ever.

There was a reason to be mad- but it was nothing big at all- I already thought I dropped it to be honest.

 

Dirk looked at me- I guess in shock ‘John- are you kidding?’

I said no- walked back and repeated it.

 

He just sat there- and didn’t move.

 

I left- talked to a few other people- and that was that.

 

Later in the day I realized I needed to apologize as soon as I see him- which was yesterday.

 

Dirk walked up to the mission- I was with Whistler- and we walked up to him.

 

He said ‘are you guys gonna kick my ass?’

 

I said ‘no Dirk- I’m sorry about yesterday- my fault’.

 

He said ‘that’s ok John- we all have our bad days’.

Then I went and did one of our meetings on the other side of town- though I was dead tired that day- got up at 1 am- was busy the whole day- but felt like I should do the meeting.

 

Got home- was going to do some bible reading- I try and set aside 5-7pm for my time- just r and r- prayer- reading.

 

I hear my wife ‘John- you need to come here’.

 

What Now?

 

I go to the front- there are 3 cop cars parked in front of my house.

 

Now- this past year I have had to overcome a lot of ‘bad’ feelings with the cops-

So- it’s not good for me to see 3 of them- in front of my house.

 

Why were they there?

 

They did put out a warrant- on Dirk- and they were taking him in- he was sitting in the cop car.

He told them ‘can I drop off my dog at my friend’s house’ [I told Dirk when all this first went down- that I would get his dog out of the pound if he ever gets arrested for the stabbing].

 

So the P.D. did him this favor- and let him drop off Gunner at my house.

 

As a matter of fact- as I type- Gunner is laying here on my couch- right next to me [I’ll post the pics].

 

I’m glad I apologized to Dirk that morning- or else I don’t think he would have dropped Gunner off at my house.

 

I told Dirk to put my name on the visitors list- I’ll come see him.

 

Gunner was just in the yard with me about an hour ago- I was doing my prayer routine- walking in the yard- Gunner was out there- he’s getting used to my other 4 dogs- now I have 5.

 

Yeah- I also did my routine prayer for the guys in jail- this time Dirk was in the group- and Gunner was there too.

 

SATURDAY- Undercover sting operation- for cigarettes?

 

I had a bunch of the guys over yesterday- I let them use the shower- do laundry- and we either do a meeting [short bible study- prayer] or sometimes just watch a movie.

I just bought the Robert Redford movie ALL IS LOST.

 

If you haven’t seen it- it’s good.

 

As we got back to the house- I had Art- Lance, John and Whistler- we sat in my man cave [back sunroom] and the guys just started talking.

Lance- a young kid- was talking about girlfriend stuff- and Art was giving him some advice.

 

Art even quoted a bible verse- and asked me to clarify- I did.

 

Now- some of these guys are using- not around me- but just about every day they use [Meth].

I’m sure some of them had it in their system right now.

 

Yet- I just let the guy’s talk- for about an hour- because they were talking about real issues in life.

Art said he has been feeling that time is short- 2 people at the mission died this week in a car wreck- Randy and Tammy.

 

I told Art that has been a theme all year- time is short- get your house in order now.

 

It was funny- John- an older guy who I met this year- has quite a story.

 

He does not use drugs- seems to simply be a lost soul- has a successful background- but for some reason wound up living in his car- and being homeless.

 

John gave me a ride the other day to get my car at the shop.

He carries 2 cell phones- and he’s always looking when they ring- to see if it’s one of his girlfriends who lives in Venezuela.

He’s funny- he has 3 ‘lady friends’ [Rita- Iris and Margie] who I guess he has crushes on- none of them live here.

 

He sends Iris candy packages- to Venezuela [real charmer].

 

I kid John ‘you’re a real Casanova buddy’.

He laughs- ‘no- not me’.

 

So- as where driving to get my car- his cell phone rings [9 times out of 10 it’s usually a bill collector].

 

But he has to check- you never know- it might be Iris!

So- he has his cell phones [2 mind you- I tell him he needs to downsize!]] on the dashboard- and sure enough they ring- twice.

 

He has to scramble for the phone- swerving all over the road [we were on top of the Oso Bridge].

 

I mean it was funny.

 

I told him ‘geez John- I survived 25 years at the Fire Dept.- I have recently been telling my war stories- life on the edge- but who’d a thought that I might get killed- because you had to answer the damn phone!’

 

He laughs.

The guys were talking about the cops- their experiences and all.

 

John says he was at the park the other day- and 2 girls came out of the police station and asked him for a cigarette.

 

He says they looked young- he told them ‘do you have I.D. – because I can get in trouble if I give you a cigarette and you’re under age’.

 

They assured him they were 18- but wait- the boyfriend came over later and said they were 16.

 

John thought he was being set up- you know- a sting operation.

I told him ‘John- I really don’t think the cops are worried about cigarette ‘dealers’’.

 

I mean we are sitting with guys who have Meth in their system as we speak- I think the cops have more to do than crack down on old guys giving smokes to underage kids.

 

So- it was funny.

 

I saw Whistler at Timons again- he has been banned all week.

 

The cops have been picking him up- 6 times the other night.

 

They came down to the mission twice since I’ve been there- and took him away.

He keeps telling me ‘don’t worry- I’ll be back’.

Sure enough- I see him an hour later- he was right.

When Timons [the mission] put a no trespassing thing on him- the cop didn’t fill out the papers all the way.

 

I guess they do that so they don’t have to do more paperwork- at least that’s what Whistler says.

 

So- he keeps the copy in his pocket- and when they come to get him- he shows them how the officer did not do it right- and they keep letting him go.

 

Like a Houdini type thing- they can’t hold on to him.

 

Anyway- I finally put the movie on- the guys crashed out.

 

I was glad Lance was here- he’s a young kid- on a bad road. He said ‘well- at least I’m not where I was a few years ago’ [he was involved in some serious crimes].

 

He says he still struggles with addiction- but not the violent stuff he has done.

I told them how I had to apologize to Dirk the other day.

 

Art said ‘Yeah- I saw that’ [when I went off a bit on Dirk].

 

I didn’t realize anyone noticed- it was early- but I guess a few saw the encounter.

I kidded John- I mean he really does no fit the rough side of this crew.

 

I told him ‘John- don’t worry- being I have confessed to lots of stuff recently- the street guys think it’s you’ [being we have the same name].

I said ‘word on the street is John’s a bit on the edge’.

 

Lance laughed ‘yeah John [not me] you preached at Church Without Walls- they think your preacher John’.

He laughed.

 

Art said ‘John- the cat has been out of the bag for a while- you just didn’t know’.

 

I guess the guys heard of some of my story before- I don’t know from who- but word gets around.

 

I’m glad in a way- they can see the good and bad.

 

A few posts ago I taught from Isaiah 38- about king Hezekiah.

 

Verse 9 says ‘The writing of Hezekiah- when he had been sick- and was recovered of his sickness’.

 

I think it’s important to record your story- not just when your well- but when your ‘sick’ so people can see- real time- how you recover- over time.

MONDAY-

‘THEY WERE SHOCKED THAT HE TALKED WITH THE WOMAN’ John 4.

 

This week I want to teach a little about the gift of prophecy and how it works.

The other day I mentioned how I walked into a local business- the owner thought I was a ‘street guy’ and started asking me about the Lord- in a good way- kind of trying to witness to me.

 

During our conversation he realized that in reality I was sent to him.

At the end of our talk he handed me his rap sheet- asked me to pray- he had a long rap sheet- on the last page it showed he was arrested for felony murder.

 

Now- why did he show this to me?

 

As we talked I told him about the many years of ministry- how I worked with lots of ex-cons.

At one point I said ‘the Lord led me a few years ago to pray for the guys on death row’.

 

I told him that one of the first guys I prayed for was a guy from San Antonio- I still remember his name- Frank Garcia.

On the day of his execution I prayed for him- not really thinking that it would have an effect- but I sensed God telling me to do this.

 

The next day I read his ‘final statement’.

It was amazing- as he entered the death chamber- he began praising God- he asked forgiveness from the mother- whose daughter he killed- he prayed for the prosecutor and all involved.

It was amazing that the paper printed the whole thing.

He talked about fulfilling Gods will this day- to face death and do it with joy and praise.

 

Now- obviously he was no martyr- but because of the circumstances- this was the best he could do.

 

As I related the story to this business owner- with the long rap sheet- that I didn’t yet see.

 

I said ‘Lon- it was amazing- even the mother said ‘This was not the same man who killed my daughter years ago’.

Lon said- enthusiastically ‘yeah- he was not the same man’.

 

Then he gave me his rap sheet- even though I did not realize that this was a top priority in his life- trying to get his record purged- yet because I brought up this story- on a whim- he realized I was sent to him this day.

 

In the gospel of John we read a few accounts where Jesus simply reveals a few ‘secrets’- things that only God would know- and when he does this- the people he’s revealing it to- are amazed.

 

In John chapter one Jesus is calling his disciples and Philip calls Nathanael and says ‘we have found the Messiah- who Moses spoke about in the law’.

 

Nathanael comes to Jesus and Jesus says ‘behold- an Israelite in whom is no guile’.

 

Nathanael is surprised- how does Jesus know things about him?

 

Jesus says ‘before Philip called you- I saw you sitting under the tree’.

 

Now- Philip is convinced ‘you are the one!’

Jesus seems amused in a way- like this one bit of insight- this one snippet of the gift of prophecy- blew him over.

 

Jesus says ‘so- you believe because of this little thing- hang on for the ride- you’re getting ready to see a lot more’ [my own paraphrase].

 

In chapter 4 we read another account- Jesus meets the woman at the well.

 

The bible says ‘he was weary with his journey’- I mean some of the most effective meetings/ministry I have had- are when I’m tired- things are flying off the hook- stuff going wrong- yet at these times- God opens doors.

 

So- he sits at the well and talks with the woman.

 

They were in Samaria- and because of some Old Testament history [which I won’t get into now] he is kind of violating a cultural thing of the day- by talking to a Samaritan woman.

 

He’s also alone with her- I mean the whole seen looks a bit risqué’ to be honest.

 

Never the less he is there with the girl.

Now- as he engages in some deep conversation- she actually brings up some religious stuff- hmm?

 

As this talk goes on- he says ‘Go- get your husband’.

 

Kind of strange for Jesus to bring up the girls husband.

 

She says ‘I have no husband’.

 

Jesus says ‘you say the truth dear- you have had 5 husbands- the guy your sleeping with now is not your husband- so yeah- your right’.

 

Ok- this of course shocks the girl- I mean how does he know this stuff? [of course we know that Jesus is God incarnate- but in these scenarios he’s also ‘knowing’ these things thru the gift of prophecy].

 

The conversation continues for a while- and when he tells her he is the Messiah- she goes into the city and says ‘come- see a man that told me ALL THINGS that I ever did’.

 

Now- did Jesus tell her her whole life story- all things?

 

No- of course not.

 

But like Nathanael under the tree- the little bit that he did reveal- had such a major impact- that it effected the recipients of the gift in a major way.

 

In the book of Revelation we read ‘the testimony of Jesus is the spirit [intent] of prophecy’.

 

We live in a day where American  ‘prophecy preachers’ have all types of strange ‘end times’ scenarios going on- and to be honest- some of them are dangerous [nuclear war- etc.].

 

But in the ministry of Jesus we see that prophecy reveals the heart- in the letter to the Corinthians the apostle Paul says that prophecy reveals the thoughts of people’s hearts- and they fall down and worship God.

 

Now- when confronted by someone with this gift- it can be scary.

 

Because we often hide our hidden motives- we operate with a sense of manipulation.

 

All people that do this are not bad- some people actually do it out of a sense of self protection.

 

Yet- when the prophetic gift is operating- it kind of pulls the covers off of any hidden agendas.

 

The woman at the well was having a serious discussion about religion and God.

 

And in the middle of it- Jesus drops this bombshell- a personal thing that could have indeed blown the entire conversation.

 

Some people get scared when they feel that others might know more about them then they wish to reveal.

 

And if a prophet is actually getting the information from God- then yeah- it can be scary.

Yet- the woman was having this engaging conversation with some guy that she never met before- who seemed to have real insights- I mean Jesus had ‘no guile’- what you saw was what you got.

 

After Jesus had this intense conversation with the woman- the bible says his disciples came back [they went to get food] and they were shocked that he was talking to her- yet they did not question his motives.

 

Yes- Jesus did indeed break many cultural barriers- to engage with her- but this might have been her only chance to see this stuff- up close.

 

Yeah- Jesus took the chance- rolled the dice- and in the end it worked out well- just like God wanted.

TUESDAY- BRANDY

 

I want to talk a bit more about some of the things I have been reading in John’s gospel this past week.

 

The first miracle that Jesus did was the turning of water into wine.

He was at a wedding in Cana of Galilee- and they ran out of wine.

 

Jesus tells them to fill 6 pots with water- then they serve the water- and it was wine.

 

The governor of the feast says ‘wow- most people serve the good stuff first- then after everyone’s a bit tipsy- then they serve the bad wine- but you have SAVED THE BEST FOR LAST’.

 

Now- this story speaks about the New Covenant- the New Wine [Blood of Jesus served for us] as being better than the Old law [Old Covenant was based on works- the new covenant based on grace].

 

Once again- we see the images of marriage/wedding/bride/bridegroom- and how God uses it for a spiritual lesson.

 

These last few months- since I have been back from the NY city area- I have paid more attention to the bible chapters that my friends bring up- if they mention a chapter or verse- I’ll focus on that for the day.

 

Many of the teachings on this site come that way.

 

So- I was visiting John David a couple of weeks ago- and he brings up Hosea- the first 3 chapters [he called it Hosanna- but I knew what he meant].

 

So I read it- I was familiar with the story- but read it anyway.

Hosea is a prophet- and God tells him to do something- that you normally would not do [he is God you know?]

 

He tells him to marry a prostitute- and she will be unfaithful to him- and it will be a sign of how God’s people too were unfaithful.

 

The book of James says when we love the world- money seekers- it’s a form of spiritual adultery.

 

It says God actually gets jealous over this ‘the spirit that dwells in us lusteth to envy’.

 

Now- Hosea was to experience the same thing- it would be played out as a sort of prophetic sign- so the people could see what was happening.

 

Tough job.

 

The other day when I talked about John the Baptist- I mentioned how John was losing his disciples to Jesus [John chapter 3].

 

His men are worried- like they are going to lose this great movement that John started [baptizing these converts and stuff].

 

John says ‘that’s ok- I am just a voice- I am not the bridegroom. I am a friend of the bridegroom- he must increase- I must decrease. As the friend of the bridegroom my joy is fulfilled in the fact that those who were following me- attracted to me- are now moving on- they are now infatuated with the bridegroom himself’.

 

The purpose of the prophetic gift is not to draw people to you- which is a real danger.

 

The bible says the gifts and callings of God are without repentance.

 

Huh?

 

It means when God gives a gift- he doesn’t take it back.

 

Ok- that sounds good.

 

Not always.

 

In some cases prophets can ‘prostitute’ the gift- they can use it for monetary gain [American evangelicalism at times]. Or to simply attract people to you.

 

Prophets can use the gift- in ‘un-spiritual’ situations- the gift still functions.

 

Now- John the Baptist knew his purpose- when the time was right- he walked away.

 

He understood that his gift served its purpose- he had to let the bride go- to the bridegroom.

 

In the bible we read about Eunuchs- they were men who were put in charge of the kings ‘women’ if you will [you know the whole Harem thing].

 

Eunuchs were either unable [castration] to ‘use’ the king’s women for their own desire- or were simply trusted men- who would not take advantage of the bride.

 

In the New Testament we are called the Bride of Christ.

 

Prophets- leaders in general- are to be Eunuchs in a way.

 

When the Bride [people of God] are in process of hearing the voice of God- often thru scenarios that some people would never get to hear unless they have an encounter- like the woman at the well- maybe an unexpected encounter.

 

Then the prophet has to recognize when the encounter ends- when the time comes for him to decrease.

 

The Prophets are like Eunuchs in a way- God entrusts them with his bride- the gift is intended to have a real impact- it’s easy for the bride to mistake that- and to be drawn to the prophet.

 

In Hosea’s case- yes- God had the prophet actually marry a prostitute- but it was not the norm- to say the least.

 

I like the old classic rock- I have been listening to the classic song Brandy- from Looking Glass.

 

In the song it speaks of a sailor- his love for the harbor and the sea [in the bible these are types of callings- the sea represents peoples- nations. Ships- harbors- are ports of call- destinies that God has for us in life].

 

Now- read the words in that light.

 

Brandy in a way is the bride- the church.

She becomes fascinated with all the sailors stories- the guy comes into port- meets Brandy at the local pub.

 

He’s there for a season in time [like John] and then sails out [John Decreased].

 

Plus- the song sounds good too.

 

There’s a port on a western bay
And it serves a hundred ships a day
Lonely sailors pass the time away
And talk about their homes

And there’s a girl in this harbor town
And she works layin’ whiskey down
They say “Brandy, fetch another round”
She serves them whiskey and wine

[Chorus]
The sailors say “Brandy, you’re a fine girl” (you’re a fine girl)
“What a good wife you would be” (such a fine girl)
“Yeah your eyes could steal a sailor from the sea”

Brandy wears a braided chain
Made of finest silver from the North of Spain
A locket that bears the name
Of the man that Brandy loves

He came on a summer’s day
Bringin’ gifts from far away
But he made it clear he couldn’t stay
No harbor was his home

[Chorus]

Yeah, Brandy used to watch his eyes
When he told his sailor stories
She could feel the ocean foam rise
She saw its ragin’ glory
But he had always told the truth, lord, he was an honest man
And Brandy does her best to understand

At night when the bars close down
Brandy walks through a silent town
And loves a man who’s not around
She still can hear him say

[Chorus]

“Brandy, you’re a fine girl” (you’re a fine girl)

“What a good wife you would be” (such a fine girl)
“But my life, my lover, my lady is the sea”

WEDNESDAY- WHAT A TELESCOPE!

 

We had a good meeting in Bishop yesterday- I was worried that I wouldn’t take at least 2 guys from the Bluff.

My regulars weren’t around- but I managed to still take a few locals [when I make the ride I want to have at least 2 from the area go].

 

Actually- Huey did some talking- maybe I’ll get to it in a moment.

I spoke at Church Without Walls for the first time this Sunday.

 

Now- lots of the people there- who have known me for 25 years- had no idea I could ‘do this’.

 

Do what?

In many ways the ministry I do is unique [obviously] – but when I ‘preach’ I simply quote lots of verses- I never use notes or sermon outlines.

 

But I try and connect- and this was how I did radio- just sat and looked out the window- and talked.

We call that Prophecy in a way- speaking ‘off the cuff’.

 

So- I did get a few compliments- lots of the street crew were surprised- as well as the pastor of this ministry- who too has known me for many years- but never heard me speak.

 

But- right before I spoke- Don [Metal head] walked up to me- drunk- and said ‘you got my bike in your garage’.

 

What?

Don just got out of doing 30 days in jail- for starting a fight- at this very spot- last month.

 

He took a swing at a cop- and that was all she wrote.

 

So- I guess they sold/pawned his bike when he was in jail- and when he asked where it was- someone must have pointed at me and said ‘he’s got it’.

 

I told Don I had no idea what he was talking about- but right before I spoke- he came up to me again- and it looked like he was gonna take a swing.

 

Now- I just sat there- kind of amused- but C.J. walked over and ‘escorted’ him away.

 

I spoke- and that was that.

 

But later in the day I was a little pissed off about it to be honest.

And thought ‘well- if he does this again tomorrow at the mission- I’ll tell him one last time- and then I’ll have to hit the guy’.

 

Now- I actually did not want to do this- because I don’t want to give the cops an excuse to arrest me on an assault charge.

Don is harmless- a severe drunk.

 

We are friends- but he is always drunk.

 

I even decided if it comes down to it- I’ll just walk him behind the mission- and if he won’t stop- I’ll just t him in the gut- and that would be it [people do lose their breath and fall from this- and I did not want to hurt Don].

 

So- I went back and forth all day- it bugged me- and that’s what I thought [he was in my face- and I really was not mad- but did not know what to do].

 

Then I thought ‘you know- I went off on Dirk a lot worse the other day- I should just blow it off- who knows- maybe he will apologize like I did with Dirk’.

Sure enough- Don saw me the next day and did apologize- C.J. and Clare told Don I was a ‘preacher’ and that I didn’t have the bike.

 

It all worked out well- Don told me ‘John- I have known you for all these years- I knew you were a firefighter- but never knew you were a preacher’.

 

Yeah- now I have blown my cover [I actually like not being seen as a ‘preacher’ so the guys are more real when they are around me].

 

The other day I was with a friend- and we went to some guy’s house- who is not a street guy.

 

My friend was venting about- well let’s say a ‘local business’.

 

His brother has been banned from purchasing ‘items’ from this place- because of various reasons.

 

So- his brother asked him to get the stuff for him- and he said no.

 

Anyway- as I’m sitting there- with the other guy who I just met- I mean I’m dressed in black- and people have told me I do look like a cop.

 

But my friend is talking openly about the ‘business’ and this new guy must have been thinking ‘shut the hell up- this guy is a cop’.

 

So- I said ‘look- I’ve been around a long time- I do ministry with these guys- I’m the only ‘non user’ in the group’.

 

So- he let his guard down a bit.

 

Then yesterday we went by his house- another friend had to pick up his guitar- and I took him to the bishop meeting.

 

This is the 2nd time I met this guy [who had the guitar] and we talked a bit more about how I know the local scene- and yes- the ‘sellers’ and all- really no big deal- by  now the guys that know me realize ‘no- John’s for real- not an undercover cop’.

 

The guy actually invited me to do a meeting at his place- most everyone has a past experience with God.

 

And this guy did.

 

So- in a way- I did some ministry right there.

By the way- in his yard he has a giant telescope- he is an amateur astronomer.

 

I told him I have been ‘star gazing’ this area for years- when I get up at 3 a.m. and pray.

He lives just a few blocks from me- he gave me his phone number and wants me to go over early in the morning and check out the planets.

 

We hit it off well- it was a God thing.

 

At the meeting in bishop – one of the guys slipped- and mentioned a pastor that we both know.

 

He said ‘you know- people think he’s clean [not using drugs] but he’s not’.

 

It came out when my friend was sharing a story- but over the years I have had more than one person pull me aside and say ‘John- I need to tell you about brother #%$@.’

 

I have always said ‘no- I don’t need to hear it’ every time.

 

But- my buddy slipped- and then said ‘Keep this to yourself’ [well- I’m trying!]

 

I knew it already- some of it- but did not know he was still using drugs.

 

Last year- before I left to New Jersey- I dropped off my library of books to this pastor- who also has a street ministry.

 

I left a note- sort of a goodbye note to Henry [a homeless friend who we both know].

And a 50 dollar check- written out to Henry Shultz.

 

Anyway- when I got back to Texas- Henry never got the note- or the check.

 

Oh well.

 

John David [who has told me that this pastor has a history of not being honest with money] said ‘John- I would go over there and get the 50 back- tell him it was for Henry- not him’.

 

No- I let it slide.

 

On the way back from Bishop- another younger kid was with us- who too is using drugs.

 

He heard the other guy spill the beans on brother *&^%- and I don’t know if the younger kid- who knows the preacher- knew about this.

 

So- I told the guys ‘you all know I have had my failures- but I want you to know I have no hidden stuff going on- I don’t drink- use- or anything. I smoke cigarettes- as you can tell- and I have anger issues- but that’s it’.

 

I wanted the other guys to know that we are not all out as crooks- or scam artists [Dirk has told me all preachers are fakes- except me- he said he thought I was for real. I say that because I guess he knew about the preacher as well- and he always refused to sit in the meeting when he preaches- he just eats the food later].

 

Now- I just started working with this street ministry- I felt God told me to help him.

 

Did I change my mind because of what I just found out?

 

No- this might be the very reason I’m helping- God works in multiple ways- and I think I just made a new ‘street friend’ in a way.

 

WARNING- Those of you who have read this site for a while know I ‘tell it like it is’ about myself- as well as the experiences I have. I do try and not use names- when talking about stuff that could get people in trouble- but these past 2 years I have been blogging as openly as possible- so that when you read stuff like this remember- we are trying to be honest about our failures- and being open helps.

 

 

2060-

 

 

THE RIGHT OF SUICIDE?

 

 

Herodotus wrote: “When life is so burdensome, death has become for man a sought-after refuge”. Schopenhauer affirmed: “They tell us that suicide is the greatest act of cowardice… that suicide is wrong; when it is quite obvious that there is nothing in the world to which every man has a more unassailable title than to his own life and person.”

Schopenhauer’s main work, The World as Will and Representation, occasionally uses the act in its examples. He denied that suicide was immoral and saw it as one’s right to take one’s life. In an allegory, he compared ending one’s life, when subject to great suffering, to waking up from sleep when experiencing a terrible nightmare. However, most suicides were seen as an act of the will, as it takes place when one denies life’s pains, and is thus different from ascetic renunciation of the will, which denies life’s pleasures.

According to Schopenhauer, moral freedom — the highest ethical aim — is to be obtained only by a denial of the will to live. Far from being a denial, suicide is an emphatic assertion of this will. For it is in fleeing from the pleasures, not from the sufferings of life, that this denial consists. When a man destroys his existence as an individual, he is not by any means destroying his will to live. On the contrary, he would like to live if he could do so with satisfaction to himself; if he could assert his will against the power of circumstance; but circumstance is too strong for him. In short, Schopenhauer in no way advocated or supported suicide, he merely rejected the way it was viewed as a crime in his society.

 

Philosopher and psychiatrist Thomas Szasz goes further, arguing that suicide is the most basic right of all. If freedom is self-ownership—ownership over one’s own life and body—then the right to end that life is the most basic of all. If others can force you to live, you do not own yourself and belong to them. [6]

Jean Améry, in his book On Suicide: a Discourse on Voluntary Death (originally published in German in 1976), provides a moving insight into the suicidal mind. He argues forcefully and almost romantically that suicide represents the ultimate freedom of humanity, justifying the act with phrases such as “we only arrive at ourselves in a freely chosen death” and lamenting “ridiculously everyday life and its alienation”. Améry killed himself in 1978.

Philosophical thinking in the 19th and 20th century has led, in some cases, beyond thinking in terms of pro-choice, to the point that suicide is no longer a last resort, or even something that one must justify, but something that one must justify not doing. Many forms of existentialist thinking essentially begin with the premise that life is objectively meaningless, and proceed to the question of why one should not just kill oneself; they then answer this question by suggesting that the individual has the power to give personal meaning to life.

Stoicism

Although George Lyman Kittredge states that “The Stoics held that suicide is cowardly and wrong,” the most famous stoics — Seneca the YoungerEpictetus, and Marcus Aurelius — maintain that death by one’s own hand is always an option and frequently more honorable than a life of protracted misery.[7]

The Stoics accepted that suicide was permissible for the wise person in circumstances that might prevent them from living a virtuous life.[8] Plutarch held that accepting life under tyranny would have compromised Cato‘s self-consistency (constantia) as a Stoic and impaired his freedom to make the honorable moral choices.[9] Suicide could be justified if one fell victim to severe pain or disease,[8] but otherwise suicide would usually be seen as a rejection of one’s social duty.[10]

Confucianism

Confucianism holds that failure to follow certain values is worse than death; hence, suicide can be morally permissible, and even praiseworthy, if it is done for the sake of those values. The Confucian emphasis on loyalty, self-sacrifice, and honor has tended to encourage altruistic suicide.[11] Confucius wrote, “For gentlemen of purpose and men of renwhile it is inconceivable that they should seek to stay alive at the expense of ren, it may happen that they have to accept death in order to have ren accomplished.”[12] Menciuswrote:[13]

Fish is what I want; bear’s palm is also what I want. If I cannot have both, I would rather take bear’s palm than fish. Life is what I want; yi is also what I want. If I cannot have both, I would rather take yi than life. On the one hand, though life is what I want, there is something I want more than life. That is why I do not cling to life at all cost. On the other hand, though death is what I loathe, there is something I loathe more than death. That is why there are dangers I do not avoid . . . . Yet there are ways of remaining alive and ways of avoiding death to which a person will not resort. In other words, there are things a person wants more than life and there are also things he or she loathes more than death.

Nihilism (/ˈn.ɨlɪzəm/ or /ˈn.ɨlɪzəm/; from the Latin nihil, nothing) is a philosophical doctrine that suggests the negation of one or more putativelymeaningful aspects of life. Most commonly, nihilism is presented in the form of existential nihilism, which argues that life is without objective meaning, purpose, or intrinsic value.[1] Moral nihilists assert that morality does not inherently exist, and that any established moral values are abstractly contrived. Nihilism can also take epistemological or ontological/metaphysical forms, meaning respectively that, in some aspect, knowledge is not possible, or that reality does not actually exist.

 

 

The other day when I had the guys at the house- Art brought up the connection of using drugs- and the ‘rush’ of out of body experiences- or near death experiences.

I told him that yes- there is a connection with ‘riding on the edge’ or risking one’s life- and having certain types of drug induced- religious experiences.

 

Indians use Peyote and other forms of lsd during their religious rituals.

 

Jim Morrison [The Doors] even sang about it ‘Break on thru to the other side’.

He considered himself a Shaman- and if you watch clips from some of his concerts- he ‘danced’ on stage in a sort of mystical way- like they were indeed entering in to some sort of religious thing.

 

I told Art that I distinctly remember this being a part of my past.

 

‘This’ meaning a certain rush when you risk your life.

 

In 1980 or 81- I took a ride from Kingsville to Padre Island- I was with Miguel and Mary- I think we were not married yet.

 

We of course were getting high and drunk [at least me and Mike were].

It was late- dark out- I told Mike ‘let’s go to the ocean- and swim out till we can’t get back- there is no greater rush than thinking you’re going to die’.

 

Mike agreed- but I think he thought I was joking.

We pulled up to the beach [close to where I live now].

 

And we jumped in.

 

We headed out to nowhere land- and as we got pretty far out- Mike stopped.

I think he realized I was going to do it- and at that point he wanted no more.

 

I went for a while- it was dark- cold- and this was the rush I was seeking- I felt this same thing  earlier when I had a bad trip on acid- at that time I did think I was going to die.

 

As I kept swimming- I decided to stop and see how far I went.

 

Till this day I don’t know if I went past the 3rd sandbar [we have 3 ridges off the coast- once you go past the 3rd bar- you are entering deep water- thats where the surf fishermen try and cast their bait- they ride out on Kayaks and cast past this bar- they catch shark and stuff at this point].

 

But when I stopped- I realized I was way over my head- could not touch ground.

 

It was dark- late- and I ‘achieved’ my goal- yes- I thought I was going to die.

 

Now- I went into this- wanting the ‘rush’- I got it.

 

At that point I began to panic- for real.

 

At first I tried to swim back frantically- but when your that far out the surf just pulls you out.

At one point I realized if I was going to make it- I had to calm down and pace myself.

 

I was always in good shape- so that’s what I did.

 

I calmly swam- and at one point I stopped- and felt ground under me.

 

Now- why do some have a fascination with death?

 

There are various reasons- but when people test their limits- they feel a thrill- an excitement.

 

A few years ago when I was teaching philosophy on the site- I ran across Camus and Sartre- 2 French philosophers who were Nihilists [and atheists].

 

Nihilism is a stream of thought that says ‘we have no purpose- there is no ultimate meaning in life’.

 

There ideas led them to question the viability of suicide. They surmised that this was the last question to answer- should we simply all kill ourselves?

 

I of course at the time refuted this idea- because it’s based on the ‘no hope’ paradigm.

In some of the quotes at the top- you do see various views about end of life issues.

Some are actually based- not on Nihilism- but on spirituality [remember- Morrison- who even got the name of his group The Doors- from a famous quote from a philosopher- believed that ‘breaking on thru to the other side’- death- was riding the edge of some type of spiritual realm].

 

Now- what about the Christian faith- does the bible- or Christian tradition- ever seem to permit suicide?

 

Ok- here’s where I have to be careful.

 

I have added some bible quotes about laying down our lives for a higher cause- and I even added the quotes of Christ ‘no man takes my life from me- but I lay it down’.

 

Scripture teaches us there are indeed times- strategic times- where we chose death- not life.

 

Ok- in these ‘special’ cases- you are not usually talking about the act of suicide- but you are talking about death- choosing it- for a higher purpose.

Are there any examples In the bible?

Of course- we read about the famous martyrdom of Stephen in Acts 7- he ‘chose’ death- by speaking the truth about God- he was stoned.

 

Last week I taught about John the Baptist- he too was killed because he chose to speak truth.

 

So- dying ‘prematurely’ is at times part of the plan of God.

 

There are many stories not In the bible that I could give- let me hit on just one.

 

During the Nazi occupation of Poland in WW2- there was a priest by the name of Maximillian Kolbe.

 

He hid the Jews fleeing the gestapo.

 

He himself would wind up in the famous death camp in Auschwitz.

 

At one point they took 10 men to starve them to death.

One man- Franciszek Gajowniczek- shouted ‘My wife- my children’.

 

At this point- Kolbe said ‘take me’.

 

He replaced the father- and went with the other 9 to starve.

 

After 2 weeks 9 men died- but Kolbe survived- he prayed and held Mass every day in the camp.

 

The Nazis finally killed him with a lethal injection.

 

Kolbe was later canonized by John Paul the 2nd– there was a bit of controversy about it.

 

Because though he did give his life- the Church usually does not consider one a martyr unless they die for defending the faith.

 

But John Paul the 2nd overrode a previous decision- and said the Nazi’s carried out hatred of ‘whole categories’ of people groups- including Catholics- so Kolbe did in a sense die for the faith.

 

Now- I give these examples to show- that yes- there are indeed times where you do end  [lose] your life sooner- rather than later- and these deaths are indeed part of the plan of God.

 

A few years ago when I was writing about the Arab spring- many forget that the revolution started with the self-immolation [he lit himself on fire] of a street merchant on the streets of Tunisia [North Africa] in protest of corruption.

 

So- these cases- in my mind- can be considered justified- if they are done for the greater good.

 

Friday while I was sitting at the mission- I read the paper.

 

I will see what the latest crime news is- and I will pray for anything going on at the time.

 

Sure enough I read about some guy on the run- he was wanted for aggravated sexual assault of a minor- and the paper said he was on the run.

 

He kidnapped his wife earlier in the week- and was from out of town.

 

I remember seeing the blinking sign on the highway- looking for a truck- it said ‘kidnapping’.

 

So- I prayed for the situation.

 

Yesterday I read the follow up- later that day [Friday] he killed himself- less than a mile from Timons- where I prayed for him earlier in the day.

 

He was still in town- was heading to the Island.

 

The cops spotted him- he pulled into Red Dot pier.

 

As they approached him- he was weaving back and forth- and shot himself to death.

 

Now- ending one’s life like this- is indeed a cowardly act- not wanting to face your sin.

 

In my mind this is never justified.

 

But death- dying itself- at specific times- can indeed be a good thing- if the timing of a person’s death plays a redemptive role.

 

I think the whole Euthanasia debate is a good one.

 

Mercy Killing.

 

The whole debate about Obama care deals with fear of death issues- how the media does instill a fear at times ‘death panels’.

 

Yeah- Sarah Palins infamous Death Panels made it into the spotlight again this week.

 

In reality- all insurance coverage already takes into account the ‘value’ of the person’s life- when making decisions.

Should we do extensive treatment on a 90 year old?

 

Many addicts do not get liver transplants- because of their history.

 

So yes- apart from the partisanship- yeah- we already make these decisions.

 

I just finished reading the book of Genesis- and as I read of the deaths of Jacob and Joseph- I saw how differently they approached death.

 

They said ‘Ok- I’m going to die’- and they called their relatives in- gave some final blessings and direction- then simply died.

 

I mean there was no fear- no big panic- they knew there mission was finished- and that was that.

 

I think it’s also justifiable for a person to choose no treatment- if they have a terminal illness- and they are of sound mind- yes- they should take things into account.

 

If they don’t have medical coverage- would it be wise to bankrupt your entire family- just to add a few more years of life?

 

No big panic- you call your friends together- give them some final instructions- and you die.

 

We live in a culture that fears death- as most of us do.

 

But we have a tendency to put off the inevitable.

 

Many men have had a much greater impact- because they died sooner than what most think is right.

 

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was also killed by the Nazi’s- he is a famous Christian Martyr- who did not write much- but because of his early death- his few writings have become much more famous [influential] than many other men who outlived him.

Once again- in his case- his premature death just might have been a God Ordained plan.

 

Jesus told his men one day ‘Ok- you guys have been with me for a while- now- the next step is- I’m going to Jerusalem and will be delivered into the hands of sinners- they will kill me’.

 

Peter rebuked the Lord ‘no- not so!’.

Jesus rebuked back ‘get behind me- satan- for you are more concerned with the things of man- then of God’.

 

I always wondered why Jesus had to die- after only 3 years of earthly ministry.

In the gospel of John it says ‘Many other things did Jesus do which are not written in this book- but these are written that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ’.

 

Now- why not live till 50?

 

He could have done much more?

 

But the timing of his death was God ordained- he lived till around 33- and died.

 

Now of course he still lives- but the point is he died at a set time.

 

If you read the many statements that Jesus made- you could say- in today’s terms- that he was ‘obsessed’ with dying.

In a way- he was.

He was determined to finish the work God gave him- and that was indeed dying on the Cross.

 

The point being- death is inevitable- if it furthers the work that God has for us- to ‘leave’ before what most people think is too early- then it is better- in my mind- to die at that point.

 

As I type this- I just got back from a busy day- even though it’s Sunday- I decided to start my week early- and only take one day off a week.

 

I was debating to start taking 3 day weekends- but then things turned around- I will only take ‘1’ day weekends.

 

I went to church early- went to visit Dirk in jail- but he never added my name to the list- then did a meeting with our guys at the halfway house- then went to church without walls.

 

I also stopped by Pop’s and Charlie.

 

Charlie is back to drinking again- and I fear he will die this year.

 

Yet- Tennessee- he’ been talking about making a change- good.

 

We all make choices- and we suffer the consequences.

 

Last year- before I left Texas- thinking it was going to be for good- I had the guys over one last time.

Did a big cookout- and had about 10 guys crash out at the house.

I get up early- and that morning I was up- writing- listening to some music.

 

I had ‘Born to Run’ from Springsteen playing.

I was getting ready to move to New Jersey- and was getting my mind prepared- Springsteen is from Freehold- N.J.- and that’s our state song.

Dirk got up- he wanted to talk to me.

 

Now- with all the problems Dirk has- and is facing- yet, he is one of the friends that has been quite prophetic over the years.

 

Things he says- stuff he mentions- he has a gift for this.

 

He never knows that he’s doing it- but he’ll say stuff that concerns me.

 

So- he got up and wanted to tell me about a dream.

 

He even said he felt like God wanted him to tell me.

 

‘Ok- what’s up?’

 

‘John- I dreamed that some guy was sitting in the back room of his house [where I was at the time] and he had a device- he was getting ready to pull a trigger- or hit some button- and he was going to kill himself’.

 

Now- he asked me if I got anything from it.

 

I lied- I made some excuse about just listening to Born to Run- and that it had to do with what I was writing about- I think I was writing a post about Governor Christie [N.J. Gov.]

 

But- I could tell that this time- he knew it was about me.

 

He did not know that I was going thru some stuff- and I was suicidal that year.

 

The song talks about suicide- and I have always kept a handgun at the house.

 

So- I knew that this was a warning- it was not a surprise- but a warning.

 

As I end this post- I want to stress that I do not think suicide is never an option- unless it is a rare case of protest- for the greater good.

 

But- dying for a greater cause- yes- this is indeed a noble thing- scripture actually teaches us this-

Romans 5:7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.

Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.m

 

 

Believers have the promise of Christ- that because he passed thru death- we should not fear it- at least not as much as the unbeliever.

And there are strategic times- in the plan of God- that dying ‘early’ is indeed in the purpose of God.

Jesus said ‘whoever seeks to save his life- will lose it- but he that give it up- will gain it’.

In the bigger picture- what counts in the end is that we lived well- not long.

If an early death accomplishes more in the plan of God- then that’s a good thing- not bad.

 

Because like the song says [below]- many thousands pass that way every day- in reality- it’s a part of ‘life’.

 

Note- Morrison got the name for his group from Aldous Huxley’s book ‘The Doors of Perception’. Strangely- the book- 1st published in 1954- deals with Huxley’s drug trip- on Mescaline [the drug I took- and seemed to open up a fascination with near death experiences]. Huxley recorded his own trip on Mescaline- and even used the term ‘sacramental vision’ describing the hallucinations he had.

 

One of the quotes I found interesting while researching for this post was ‘We need to experience death consciousness to awaken to what’s important’ the bible says ‘teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts to wisdom’.

 

Another quote- from the Nihilistic perspective- ‘we are condemned to be free’- without a God perspective- free will- even when talking about the ‘choice’ to die- has no real meaning- there really is no higher good served- because life has no meaning. But- when your death serves a greater purpose [like redeeming mankind] then it can actually be a virtue- a good thing- if your death impacts others in a positive way- then yes- it’s not meaningless- to the contrary- it’s profitable.

Genesis 50:24 And Joseph said unto his brethren, I die: and God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land unto the land which he sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.

Genesis 50:25 And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence.

Genesis 50:26 So Joseph died, being an hundred and ten years old: and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.

Genesis 48:21 And Israel said unto Joseph, Behold, I die: but God shall be with you, and bring you again unto the land of your fathers.

Genesis 49:33 And when Jacob had made an end of commanding his sons, he gathered up his feet into the bed, and yielded up the ghost, and was gathered unto his people.

John 10:15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.

John 10:17 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.

John 10:18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

John 15:12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

John 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

Hebrews 2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;

Hebrews 2:15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

Revelation 14:14 And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.

Revelation 14:15 And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.

Revelation 14:16 And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.

 

All our times have come
Here but now they’re gone
Seasons don’t fear the reaper
Nor do the wind, the sun or the rain… we can be like they are
Come on baby… don’t fear the reaper
Baby take my hand… don’t fear the reaper
We’ll be able to fly… don’t fear the reaper
Baby I’m your man…

La la la la la
La la la la la

Valentine is done
Here but now they’re gone
Romeo and Juliet
Are together in eternity… Romeo and Juliet
40, 000 men and women everyday… Like Romeo and Juliet
40, 000 men and women everyday… Redefine happiness
Another 40, 000 coming everyday… We can be like they are
Come on baby… don’t fear the reaper
Baby take my hand… don’t fear the reaper
We’ll be able to fly… don’t fear the reaper
Baby I’m your man…

La la la la la
La la la la la

Love of two is one
Here but now they’re gone
Came the last night of sadness
And it was clear she couldn’t go on
Then the door was open and the wind appeared
The candles blew then disappeared
The curtains flew then he appeared… saying don’t be afraid
Come on baby… and she had no fear
And she ran to him… then they started to fly
They looked backward and said goodbye… she had become like they are
She had taken his hand… she had become like they are
Come on baby… don’t fear the reaper

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MONDAY- ‘For where a testament is- there must also be the death of the testator’ Hebrews.

 

I find the interaction between Jesus and his men interesting. The bible says he spoke in parables- so that the prophecy from Isaiah might be fulfilled.

 

What prophecy?

 

We often think the parables were intended to be for the purpose of making things easy to understand.

But the prophecy in Isaiah says they were for the purpose of fulfilling the prophecy that ‘having eyes- they see not- ears, they hear not’.

 

They were actually a judgment on those who didn’t want to see the writing on the wall- so to speak.

 

The disciples really did not know what he was talking about- they would ask him ‘what does this mean’ then he would elaborate- they would understand it then.

 

The bible says after Jesus died- and rose again- that they had a new insight into the things he was teaching them- he said things like ‘it is expedient for you that I go away [die] for when I leave the Spirit will come- and show you all the things I said’ [John’s gospel].

 

So- after his death- there would be a new power to the things he taught.

 

But- till his death- they would stumble around- doing their best- but really- these guys were pathetic.

 

Jesus knew that his guys were talking tough- but inside they were like all of us.

 

Peter told the Lord ‘I will never deny you- I will defend you to the point of death’!

 

See?

 

Even in the culture of the day- dying for a cause was deemed a noble act.

This idea did not arise from the Christian Tradition- at first.

 

But a few hundred years before Christ the Greek philosophers taught this.

 

When Socrates was forced to drink the cyanide- he accepted his demise as a noble goal- seeing this life as a shadow- when his body died- he would then be released into another realm. [A form of Gnosticism by the way- which the church rejects].

 

What was his crime by the way?

 

He was accused of stirring up trouble with the local Athenians- by teaching them to question things- what came to be called the Socratic Method.

 

In a way- they accused Jesus of the same thing.

 

The religious leaders of his day developed all sorts of extra traditions- that they felt were in keeping with the law of God.

 

Actually- these traditions [of the Elders] were developed when the Jewish people were under bondage to the Greek/Seleucid Empire – Alexander the Great being one of the leaders of that day. [The time of the great Philosophers].

 

The Jews meant well at first- they wanted to keep their Jewish culture alive- while living under a form of Occupation.

 

But after a while these traditions actually came against the real will of God.

 

So- in the gospels we see how the Pharisees time and again would butt heads over this very thing.

 

They would accuse Jesus ‘you healed on the Sabbath- you’re not from God!’

 

Really?

 

He would reply ‘which one of you- if his animal falls into the pit on the Sabbath- would not rescue it’?

 

Hmm.

 

He then goes on ‘if you yourselves rescue an animal on the Sabbath- why is it wrong for me to rescue [heal] a man on the Sabbath’?

 

I mean these guys just couldn’t resist the wisdom he had.

 

So- during his 3 years of ministry with his crew- he drops hints all along the way.

 

‘If you try to save your life- you will lose it. But if you lose it- for my sake- you will save it’.

 

C’mon Jesus- what does this mean?

 

So- the guys are just tagging along- for the ride.

 

Anyway- back to Peter.

 

‘Yeah Jesus- I will die for you man!’

 

Oh really?

 

Jesus says ‘before the rooster crows- you will deny me- 3 times’.

 

Never!

 

Well- you know the story.

 

How did this affect Peter?

 

If you read- carefully- his preaching in the book of Acts- you would almost think the guy had some type of death wish.

 

I mean he’s preaching to the Jewish leaders- who did indeed crucify Christ- and he says stuff like ‘you killed him- and hung him on a tree!’

 

They take him aside ‘stop preaching about Jesus- we are warning you man!’

 

They put him in prison- an angel comes and gets him out- and sure enough- he’s back at it.

 

Tradition tells us that Peter was crucified- in Rome- and he requested to be crucified upside down.

 

He never forgave himself for those denials.

 

There is a verse in Hebrews chapter 11- it’s talking about those who died for the faith ‘not accepting deliverance- that they might obtain a better resurrection’.

 

The early church took this verse- and developed a sort of martyr mentality.

 

They were actually looking for opportunities to get killed!

 

The early church Bishops had to correct this view- and teach the believers that you don’t go out looking for it- but if it comes to you- then yes- that’s ok.

 

The death of Christ added power to the things he wrote while alive.

 

The disciples would go back and see stuff that at first they did not pick up on.

 

Even the actual words about his soon demise ‘the son of man must go to Jerusalem and be killed- but on the 3rd day he will rise’.

 

The bible says that after he died- then they got it.

 

I mean what’s to get?

 

They should have gotten it when he first said it.

 

But no- where a ‘testament is- there must be the death of the testator’.

 

It’s almost like he knew- because of the Isaiah prophecy- that even if he wanted them to understand- they wouldn’t be able- until he died.

 

So- in the end- all things worked out well.

 

The things that were written about him- the Testament- lives on.

 

He gained a huge following [us- the church].

 

And today- we follow in his steps.

 

The cycle repeats- in each generation we too write a ‘testament’ of sorts.

 

But like the Master- when we die- the testament will have a much greater force.

 

James- the half-brother of Jesus- said ‘all flesh is as grass- it grows up in the morning- and at night it’s mowed down- but the word of the Lord endures forever’.

 

There is a sense of us ‘living on’ by the things we record- while alive.

 

Jim Morrison said this- that through our poems- writings- and songs- we do live on.

 

Make an effort to document stuff- write a testament if you will- leave something for the following generations to read/see.

 

In time- after your gone- these things can have a great impact- people will go back and catch the hints they missed at first- in a way ‘you will still be here’.

 

 

 

 

 

 

FRIDAY [This week’s posts are not in order- I wanted the suicide post at top] ‘Catholics- Presidential advisors- and lots of dogs in the car’!

 

I had a good meeting in the Bluff yesterday- I am committed to doing 3 a week- and I’m finished for the week- might do one more later today in the halfway house area.

 

Yesterday I had John- Bryan and Sierra at the house- let them shower- use the bathroom- just giving people on the street some time to enjoy taking a shower- without having to sign a list at the mission- and rush in and out.

 

I met Bryan and Sierra just the other week- they have an interesting story.

 

Bryan got a job as a stock person at Wal Mart- they live in their car- with 3 dogs and 3 or 4 cats!

 

They met in Huntsville- where they are from- they were both correctional officers for the prison.

 

Over time they left the area- and wound up in Corpus- like a lot of people I have met over the years.

They’ve been homeless for about 3 months- and as soon as Bryan saves up enough they will get a place [rents are very high in Corpus- we are the number one occupancy rating in the country- for rentals].

 

I did my weekly teaching- the stuff about the woman at the well- the things I posted last week.

 

Bryan was at the street meeting where I preached last week.

 

John- who is well educated- told me after the meeting that he thought my insights were excellent- but wondered if most of the people understood what I taught.

 

Later he said he asked Bryan- and Bryan said yeah- he is in the process of converting to the Catholic Church- and he just read about Jesus as the Last Adam in the Catechism.

 

I had a good talk with Bryan and told him I actually teach both Catholic and Protestant Theology- and I even attend the Corpus Christi Cathedral [the Catholic Cathedral for this area].

 

I told Bryan ‘you’re safe in my meetings- my mission in no way is to try and proselytize Catholics [convert them away from the church] but part of my calling is to help Catholics- and Protestants- understand the faith- and what their respective churches teach’.

 

I spent some time giving Bryan the background of the church- and he had good questions- which I answered with a lot of historical church teaching- the early church fathers- things he is studying on his own.

 

Yeah- we were the perfect match.

 

I asked him how he decided to become Catholic.

 

He was raised in a Non-Denominational church- his wife- when they met at the prison- was Catholic.

 

She’s is really not as ‘into it’ as Bryan.

 

But- she said her whole family were born Catholic- and they left the church over time- converted to various Protestants churches.

 

And she just wanted to stay Catholic.

 

So- one day Bryan said he has never been to the Mass- and she took him.

 

When he went to his first Mass- he knew it was for him.

I find this interesting- at the Fire Dept. I had another friend who found the church the same way.

 

His name was John- all the guys knew I was ‘into the bible’ and when they had questions they would ask me stuff. [About boxing as well- I was the guy who knew the in’s and out’s- they knew the other sports- by mine was boxing].

 

One day I saw John reading some Catholic material- and I said ‘O great- your seeking God’.

He was surprised that I did not ‘rebuke’ him for this- most Protestants do.

 

John told me the same thing as Bryan- he was raised in a Pentecostal church- even did music and all- his whole family were very anti Catholic.

 

But when he met his wife- she was Catholic- I got the sense that she was not really ‘into it’ [like Sierra].

 

Yet John never attended the Mass.

 

And she took him for the first time- and he said he knew this was for him.

 

You connect with the historical roots of the church when you attend the Mass- or even any old time Christian church- we call these the ‘high church’ models.

 

Meaning the bells and incense and all.

 

Anglican- Orthodox- etc.

 

Now- let me tell a little of John’s story.

 

I hesitated to share it- because I know guy’s like Pop’s- who also have good stories- but you never know if some of them are ‘made up’- now- understand- I don’t mean on purpose.

 

But many of my AA friends suffer from Paranoia- etc.

 

So- I try and be careful.

 

I met John Montgomery a few months back- he does not fit the homeless scene- at all.

 

He’s in is 60’s- lives in his car- and I can tell this is new for him.

 

The reason he wound up on the street is too long to tell now- but he has quite a history.

 

He was a sort of political advisor for Republican administrations- Reagan- Bush- etc.

 

He has saved the actual letters from the past- written as thank you letters form Bush- Don Reagan- and other political insiders.

 

He used to write articles in the Chicago Tribune- I think commentaries and stuff.

 

And had connections with conservative circles- sort of an activist who you wanted on your side if you were in politics.

 

Very interesting indeed.

 

John never heard me speak publicly till the other day- but he has been in my rag tag meetings- and being he is quite educated- he has told me he’s surprised at the ‘level’ that I teach at.

 

He kinda critiques some of the local street preachers- because he says they really don’t know what they are talking about.

 

So- me quoting early church fathers- covering a broad range of thought- from Philosophy to Theology- and I actually discus world affairs and history- to John this seems intriguing.

 

He told me yesterday- and many times before- that he can’t believe he’s on the street- homeless.

 

He has asked God ‘why’- yesterday he said maybe it was just for the purpose of meeting me- seeing a very unusual style of ‘church’ he never knew existed.

 

One of the guys I talked about the other day- a drug user- who I became friends with.

 

After he saw the way I do ministry- I did tell him ‘no- I’m for real- this is ministry- though I’m the only non-user at the time’ [I was telling him I know all the street guys- they are my friends- because this was the first time he met me and my other friend was talking about the local scene- in a very open way- like I was part of the group- and this guy felt uncomfortable- not knowing who I was].

 

He said the whole thing was very unique- a special calling.

 

I of course see this- but it is a witness when others can see into the whole thing.

 

In John’s case- he thinks this might be the very reason he has spent this excursion in ‘his wilderness’.

 

John does do a magazine- dealing with Christianity and other stuff- he has promoted young and up and coming talent- stuff like that.

 

He actually thinks’ this might also be why he met me- sort of like a ‘diamond in the rough’.

 

I told John- I have done lots already- been on the radio for many years- no- I’m not ‘looking to be discovered’ by no means.

 

Actually- I think I’m back in the ‘decreasing’ mode again- the stuff I wrote about last week.

 

You know ‘He must increase- and I must go away’.

 

Now- I don’t mean leaving for good- but every so often we all need to withdraw [I did take 3 months off of the Blog last year- and at times- I think we all need to practice stuff like that].

 

So- had a good day- met some interesting people- and will try and do the same today.

 

 

TUESDAY- FINISH WELL.

 

In a little while I’ll be heading to Bishop for one of our area meetings.

 

Yesterday I had an interesting day- I have asked God to fill each day- a big part of my sobriety is doing outreach- you know- ‘you have to give it away to keep it’ thing.

 

I spent a little time at the mission- and then decided I needed a break from it.

 

I texted John David ‘you want to get together today’?

 

‘YEAH!!’

 

The first year we joined together to start the halfway house- I spent every day there- it was my salvation in a way.

 

I thought my Bluff days were over [the Bluff is the area in C.C. where I live and work with the street guys].

 

But I was moving to North Bergen [I thought] and I had to disconnect from the street ministry here.

 

So- one day I jumped in the car and headed to the other side of town.

 

I parked by Morgan and Crosstown- saw some homeless guys on the bus benches- and said ‘Lord- let’s start this thing one more time’.

 

It was hard for me to leave the old crew- but it’s exciting when you know knew things/places are on the horizon.

 

I met these 2 street guys- bought them breakfast- and a new journey started.

 

I have never done outreach in this part of town- but I thought I’d give it a shot.

 

Not too long after- I was with Henry- and I got a text from John David ‘you still want to do a halfway house’?

 

I exited the next ramp- and off we went.

 

I knew David for years- but we were never close.

 

I was [am] good friends with his brothers- Huey and Andy- but David was a mean addict- meth head- alcoholic- and murderer.

 

But- one day his brothers told me ‘John- David wants to talk to you- he has had some type of ‘change’.

 

Cool.

 

Sure enough I saw him at the mission- he was so excited- he looked like a different person.

 

He relayed his experience [which I have told before] and how he got into rehab [Charlie’s Place] and has been clean for a couple of years [he now has 5 years free from addiction].

 

So- when I got the text- I started that day.

 

He lives on some side street on the other side of town- and after going to his place for a few weeks- I realized it was only a few blocks from where I first reached out to the homeless guy’s on the bus benches.

 

I told David ‘this is of God- I was just here a few weeks ago- asking God to open up some doors in this area’.

 

So- when we first started- that was my gateway to a new journey.

 

I also told them after about 6 months that I was going to move back to my hometown- and start over.

 

David was unhappy- he needed the ‘preacher’ role for me to fill- I’m the Pastor for the halfway house.

 

But I kept telling them I had to go- it was the next step.

 

To be honest- it was a miracle that I never went back to drinking- and if I was not taking these risks- that is- going out and making an attempt to keep doing outreach- even in the midst of a firestorm- then I would have gone off the deep end- and things would have been bad [or done?] for good.

 

So- as I spent the day with David- we went to NeWay [the name of our halfway house].

 

And reminisced a bit.

 

I just held my weekly meeting there Sunday- the first one in a few weeks.

 

I have been busy starting/establishing our other ones [I’ll go back to Alice this week- I did 2 there  when I first got back from N.J.- and when I reorganized a few weeks ago- I decided to drop this meeting.

 

But- I got a call while I was with David- they want to keep it going- so I will].

 

Now- it’s hard to tell the rest- but let’s give this a shot.

 

I have been visiting Charlie and Pop’s a lot- I do a meeting with them too.

 

Pop’s lives on Waco Street- about 3 blocks from the halfway house.

 

Actually- he was with me in the meeting at NeWay the other day.

 

The last few months- when I visit Pops- Charlie [who is drinking again] always ‘compliments’ me.

 

‘Preacher John- I’m sorry- but you sure are good looking’.

 

‘Thanks Charlie- but it would sound better coming from some cute Blonde’.

 

You know- what else could I say?

 

So- Pop’s tells me ‘don’t worry John- Charlie still has that prison mentality’.

 

But- the other day- as I was visiting Pop’s and Charlie- Charlie tells pop’s ‘leave us alone- can’t you see I’m trying to flirt with preacher John’.

 

Now- I realized that Charlie does ‘like me’ a bit too much.

 

What did you do John?

 

Well- pop’s then told me [when I dropped him off at the store] that basically Charlie goes ‘both ways’.

 

I have met his girlfriend before.

 

I told Pop’s ‘Pop’s I have lots of friends- some are gay- I love them all Pop’s’.

 

I realized Pop’s was worried that I might stop coming by.

 

He sees that I do help Charlie- and that Charlie benefits [not in that way!] when I’m around.

 

I still hug Charlie- pray for him- and even though I caught on- that’s ok.

 

My biggest fear is that Charlie is drinking again- and I know this is his last chance.

 

Later on I told David and Jackie ‘Yeah- I felt like I had to get away from the Bluff today- and you know- old Charlie boy is hitting on me’.

 

Charlie who?

 

They know Charlie- and to be honest- he doesn’t come across as gay- maybe he really just has a ‘crush’ on me- who knows?

 

I told them ‘Charlie- the guy you had sleeping here last year’.

 

They were surprised.

 

Ok- while we were visiting Chris at the halfway house- David and I kid around- he tells Chris ‘yeah- can you believe Charlie is hitting on preacher John’.

 

Now- Chris was one of the guys on is deathbed and in the hospital when I prayed for Charlie- who too was on a respirator.

 

Yeah- the alcoholics we work with- are that bad.

 

I feel guilty at times- I was actually drinking longer than some of them- for more years- yet I never went down that bad.

 

So- David tells Chris about Charlie- and I like Chris- he studied for the priesthood at Notre Dame- as well as his brother Jude.

 

And he has never sat in my meeting- till this past Sunday- I think he liked it – after the teaching he made the sign of the Cross.

 

So- Chris hears the scoop- I say ‘yeah- I guess I’ll have to make the sacrifice- you know- take a hit for the team’.

 

Of course I’m kidding- but Chris laughs.

 

Now- Chris has been in and out of the hospital about 5 times since I’ve known him.

 

I mean he has been on his deathbed a lot.

 

I got a call from David at about 8 o’clock last night.

 

Chris collapsed on the floor- the ambulance took him back to the hospital again.

 

I’ll find out later how he’s doing.

 

As I spent the day with David- ran him around to do some errands [his car is down] he enjoyed us being together all day- it reminded him- and me- of when we first started working together with the halfway house.

 

I walked around the halfway house a bit- saw some of the furniture I donated when it first opened.

 

Outside the building my old yard clock hangs- it says ‘grand central station- New York’.

 

It’s a nice clock- I’m surprised nobody has stolen the thing yet!

 

Yeah- right after we started NeWay- I did indeed ‘ride the train’ to NY- and did 3 months of street outreach.

 

I’m grateful for these past 2 years- to be honest- I was indeed on the edge- a lot.

 

I was a danger to myself- and others.

 

I’m not 100 % back yet- but I’m doing much better than 2 years ago.

 

I don’t understand a lot of stuff- I still get pissed off- yes- at times- even with God.

 

But he knows I’m trying- he knows you’re trying- in the end- that’s all we can do.

 

Jesus said ‘I have come to do his will- and to finish is work’.

 

I mentioned something to a friend the other day- about a possible health issue- they gave me some advice.

 

I told them ‘you know- I’m clean- I don’t drink- I feel like I’m finishing well- this would be a good time to ‘finish well’.

 

I’m just grateful to God for all he has done- I am trying to tell the guys- this year is a big year- God is going to do things that you never expected.

 

Maybe some things that you might not like- or things that you don’t understand at first.

 

But it’s important for all of us- to finish well.

 

Amen.

 

WEDNESDAY-  BURNT BRIDGES

 

I walked into the mission yesterday- and Bill told me ‘John- a lawyer was looking for you yesterday- he got here right after you left’.

 

I got the card- and message.

 

It was Dirks public defender- yeah- the reason I was not on the visitors list [County jail] was they needed more info.

 

Plus- the lawyer needed to ask me some questions about the incident.

 

I spoke to him for about 20 minutes- I did ask him what the charge would be- because there are various charges that the state could use.

 

It was a tough one- from what I understand he might have to do a few years- maybe more.

 

I told him I’ll keep his number- and if he needs any more help to contact me.

I did say ‘in case he asks about his dog- tell him he’s doing great’.

The lawyer said ‘yeah- he did ask’.

 

It’s ‘funny’ since some of the homeless crew found out Dirk dropped off Gunner at my house- a few of them have asked for him, they wanted to keep him.

 

I of course told them- thanks- but no- I’m keeping the dog.

 

I took a few boys to our Bishop meeting- I never know whose going- at first I thought I might cancel- because I don’t want to go alone- not enough for a meeting.

 

But Matt showed up- and a new kid I met about a week ago- I asked ‘hey Justin- you want to go to a meeting with me’.

 

Sure!

 

I met Justin in a strange way to say the least.

 

A few weeks ago I told Lance- another young kid on a bad path- that I don’t drink or use drugs- but I started taking Valerian Root again- well to be honest- because I have had a temper problem the last month or so.

 

Valerian root- a derivative of Valium [or the other way around?]- is a natural over the counter supplement that is legal.

 

It works good.

 

So- I gave a few to Lance one day- at the house- and figured it’s better than these guys doing illegal stuff.

 

So- Lance asks me ‘Hey John- you have any Valerian on you’.

 

I laugh- I mean I’m not a dealer you know.

 

But- one day I put 3 in my pocket- figured I’ll make the kid happy.

 

So- the day I gave them to Lance- Justin says ‘cool bro- you get high on the herbals- were I come from we did that all the time- you’re a rare breed’.

 

Now- even though I do not like the ‘preacher’ title- here I had to use it.

 

‘Justin- actually I’m a preacher- but the Valerian is really not to get high- I use it to calm me down’.

So- he was surprised to hear this- and ever since he has made an effort to talk to me.

 

I just found out he quit using hard drugs- and ‘got saved’ at the Rock church the other day.

 

So- I took him and Matt to Bishop- and he liked it a lot.

 

A lot of my younger friends are widely read- I mean they value the writings of various religions- and sort of stereotype some ‘old guy’ [me!].

 

Some of it is true- but not all.

 

During the meeting I talked off the cuff- but did talk about the other writings of various religions- in a good way.

I do know a lot of history and stuff- so Justin told me he really liked the style of teaching.

 

We had a good meeting.

 

Earlier in the day Emit called me- I thought he wanted go to the meeting- because this meeting in Bishop is with Eli- and Emit and Eli met in my little church back in 1987-89.

 

I baptized them both the same day- in my pool in Kingsville.

 

They have a lot of history with me and each other.

 

But no- Emit asked if I could bring a few guys over and help him move some stuff- he has been asking me for the past 2 months- I tell him yeah- but then he puts it off.

 

So- I told him after Bishop- I’ll call- and if he needs us- we will stop by when we get back to Corpus.

 

Sure enough he needed us.

 

Now- being he has been ‘moving’ for at least 2 months- I figured he had everything packed- right?

 

Nope.

 

Look- I’m pretty organized- even during my worst times.

 

But still- my worst- well let’s say- is better than Emit’s best.

So- we get there- and Matt and Justin were gracious- me too- at first.

 

I used to work for Bekins moving company- and there are ways to move stuff.

 

But- I had to be patient- and a lot of time was wasted- simply carrying little individual items down the stairs- into the truck [I’ll post the pics].

 

So- after the first truckload [I though he just needed help with a few big items- not an entire house moving!]

 

On the way back- for the other load- I had to ‘take charge’.

 

‘Look Emit- we need to move your big stuff- I have 2 guys here- then you do your packing- cleaning- and move all your little stuff later’.

 

I mean he saw- as well as Justin and Matt- that it doesn’t take much for me to get mad.

 

It really wasn’t much- but they saw.

 

So- we loaded the 2nd load- and that was that.

We also unloaded- and again- I told Emit ‘Look bro- lets unload the stuff- and you have to arrange your new house later’.

 

It really was a lesson in not knowing how to manage your time- and ‘free’ manpower.

 

But all went well.

 

We sat outside after the move- and did do another fellowship.

 

Emit has not been with me and the guys for years.

 

We go back a long way- and in a way this was his first meeting in a while.

 

I used to preach to his dad- 29 years ago- at the jail in Kingsville- eventually the whole family became members of my church.

 

The dads- older brothers [Eli too] were my main crew- the addicts who did lots of time in prison and stuff.

 

But the younger guys [who were closer to my age then the dads] they became a part of the ministry thru me working with the harder cases.

 

But Emit is ‘on fire’ for the Lord- despite his own struggles in life.

In a way- it was good for Emit to see my new guys- when I left Kingsville in 1992- and moved to Corpus.

 

The old crew did say ‘we hope you’re not abandoning us for your new street friends’.

 

I told them no- no way.

 

But because I moved- in a way they did feel abandoned.

This last year though- I hooked up with them again by expanding the meetings to other towns.

 

Emit told my new guys ‘yeah bro- Brother John’s the real deal- he has been doing this for 30 years’.

I think my Bluff guys needed to hear it- they did.

 

As we headed out- Emit got emotional- and started to cry.

 

Why?

 

He saw my journey- that I did do what I said when I ‘left’ them years ago.

 

I did start over [and that was not the first time- or maybe the last] and picked up- and moved on.

 

Emit in a way connected- again- with my ‘new family’.

 

I told the guys ‘let’s pray’.

We did.

 

Oh- I forgot- one of the most important things that happened- was Emit asked ‘Bro John- have you talked with David’?

 

No bro- no.

 

David?

 

In my years of ministry- there have been street guys- ex-cons- etc. who I have become real good friends with.

 

That is- almost like ‘best friend’ type things.

 

David was the son of Leonard- the dad that I reached out to first.

 

There family had struggles with addiction- shooting up- for years.

 

So- the sons became my friends.

 

David was [is] one of the best ‘fruit’ that came from that time- we became close friends- and I wrote to the guys in prison- and David was one [I mean I wrote hundreds of letters over the years- I kept in touch with these guys].

 

But- as things go- when I’m drunk- yeah- I would burn bridges.

 

David was one.

 

I did have a bad year around 1990-91.

 

It was no secret- John was back out- hitting the clubs- drinking- everyone knew.

 

I also realized at that time- that the violence thing was real- not a show.

Even the guys at the fire dept. said ‘great John- you can finally go to the clubs with us’.

 

But- after a few times- they said ‘man- don’t go with John’.

Why?

 

I was always looking to start a fight- and they felt uncomfortable.

 

Anyway- a few years ago I burned some bridges with David- and even though I did tell his kid- on Facebook- tell your dad I’m sorry- I don’t know if he got the message.

 

So- Emit must have known something was up- he called David- and we talked for the first time in a few years.

 

I will visit David soon- and think that will become our Kingsville meeting.

 

David was a hard core addict for many years- but he is a counselor now- and his story is a good one.

 

Yeah- God restored some stuff.

 

On the way to the car- Emit said ‘Yeah John- remember that night you beat the hell out of Leonard’ [David’s brother- same story as David].

 

I told him yeah- then had to explain to the boys in the car.

 

Yes- I don’t need to tell it all- he did sucker punch me in an alley in Kingsville during my ‘bad year’- so- he asked for it.

 

But that’s all about that.

 

Things do come back- I mean this was in 1991- Emit was there that night.

 

Yeah- like the song says ‘I’d like to believe we could reconcile the past

Resurrect those bridges with an ancient glance

But my old stone face can’t seem to break her down

She remembers bridges, burns them to the ground

I have become cumbersome to this world

I have become cumbersome to my girl ‘

 

Some people remember the bridges that burned- and find it difficult to reconcile the past.

 

www.corpuschristioutreachministries.blogspot.com

Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John. Don’t forget to scroll down on the timeline [FaceBook#] – I have posted lots.

 

2061  NOTE- I’ll be flying into Newark aiport Saturday- April 26th– for my first visit of the year. I’ll be in North Bergen- making trips to New York city and stuff. For my friends in the area- if you want to get together- either call- text- or message me on Facebook. I’ll be at the White Castle in North Bergen just about every day- hope to see some of you.  John.  361- 461-0588.

 

FRIDAY-

 

John 12:23 And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified.

John 12:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.

 

Yesterday I did a meeting in Alice- I took a few guys from the Bluff- Albert- who I haven’t seen since I got back from N.J. – showed up at the mission.

 

He thought I was still in the NYC area- he reminded me that he called me one day when I was still there- thinking I was in Texas.

 

I told him ‘No- I’m in N.Y. right now’.

 

I forgot about that call.

 

Anyway- while sitting at the mission- I engaged in some deep teaching with a guy I met a few years ago- but forgot.

 

I’m sure he remembered me- and the last few weeks he has been wanting to have some talks.

 

He’s a nice guy- I remembered him when he mentioned he has taught university classes in the past- on ancient history/documents.

 

Then I remembered he was at the mission a few years ago- kind of refuting Christianity- to the homeless Guys!

At the time- I rebutted what he was teaching [in a nice way] and I don’t think he ever heard the other side- I remember- that day as he left- he said ‘I think I’m going to go put a bullet in my head’.

 

Now- why did he say that?

I guess he never thought about the things I brought up- and I guess he never thought that it would come from some ‘homeless guy’ sitting at the mission.

 

What I ‘corrected’ him on was the other view- found in ancient documents [The Epic of Gilgamesh- which was the course he taught- I think in Cal Berkeley]

 

There are other recorded writings of the ‘great flood’ which in the Christian bible we know as the story of Noah.

Now- many ‘scholarly types’ when they find these things out- they assume that the bible is sort of a copycat version of other religious writings- because to them- how else would you find the story of a flood- in a writing- that predates the bible? [when you study this stuff- there are always questions of which writing actually did come first- but for the purpose of this post- I’ll leave that out].

 

So- I told him that if the bible is recording true historical events- like a global flood.

 

To the contrary- the fact that this same event- told with another spin by the way-might be found in other writings- in no way means the bible is wrong.

 

But- if a world shattering event did take place in time- you would expect it to show up in other writings- because it was indeed a true event!

 

Now- there was a bit more to my refuting the guy- but I guess he never heard this [I teach this stuff under a section called Apologetics- it’s a field of study that deals with the objections to the faith- both in science- philosophy- and a few other areas].

 

Anyway- the last few weeks he has enjoyed the ‘re-starting’ of the conversation.

 

So- Albert was listening- and he wanted to hear more- so I took him and Matt to the Alice meeting.

 

I have decided to extend my week- do some evening as well as weekend meetings.

 

At first- I was hesitating to go every day- thinking I might take one day off.

 

When I was in North Bergen last year- one of my new friends [Heroin addict] said ‘John- I hate Saturdays’.

 

I told him ‘yeah- me too’.

 

I always struggled to have a day- or weekend- off.

 

I would try and rest- sit around- read- do anything- and wait for Monday to get here.

 

But as I was reading in the gospel of John- Jesus ‘observed’ the Sabbath all the time- and yet was out healing- raising the dead- on the Sabbath.

 

In the book of Hebrews it says that the Sabbath is a symbol of us today- living under the New Covenant of grace- we have ‘ceased from our works [the law covenant] and have now entered into God’s rest’- the Sabbath day.

 

As I read John’s gospel- I realized that to be out- every day- doing God’s will- that is ‘my rest’.

 

It was kind of a relief to see this- now I don’t have to ‘dread’ Saturday anymore.

So- I just added 2 more weekly meetings- I will do a Wednesday night one at Angel’s halfway house- and keep the Alice one as well.

 

If the door opens- I will start a Kingsville one every Saturday.

 

Ok- keeping with the theme of last week- Jesus spoke about the kingdom in interesting ways.

 

He said stuff like ‘the kingdom is within you’.

 

There was an early church Father [Bishop] who said that Jesus was the kingdom.

 

The bible talks about the Rock- being ‘pierced’ and water flowed out [the story of Moses].

The seed- dying- and bringing forth much fruit.

 

There is a verse I pray and quote a lot ‘Thou art worthy to open the book and to loose the seals thereof- for thou wast slain and has redeemed us unto God by thy Blood’- Revelation.

 

Jesus influence and authority came thru the act of his death for us- him being the rock that was pierced on the Cross- and the water flowing out.

 

The prophet Zechariah says ‘they will look upon him whom they pierced- and mourn for him’.

 

It even says some women watched from afar off- even though people might be at a ‘distance’- sort of not wanting others to know that they are intrigued about the whole process of someone being crucified- yet they too want to see the end result.

 

We are drawn to great stories- great romantic love stories- or stories of heroic courage- I like movies like Gladiator- as a matter of fact at the end you see the hero- Russell Crow- giving his life and moving on to be with the wife and child that were killed earlier in the movie.

 

These themes pull us in- and Jesus himself was in the middle of a great romance- in a sense he was giving his life for the love of his life- the Bride.

Ok- this really isn’t the teaching for this week- but as I’m reading Johns gospel- I have been coming across this theme a lot.

 

Oh- almost forgot.

When I got back from Alice- I was sitting at Angel’s little halfway house in the Bluff- and Albert started telling me a story- about his life.

 

He had no idea that he was prophesying- I mean it was like he was ‘reading my story’ back to me.

 

Whenever I get words like this- they have a great effect on me- because I know they are not contrived- not someone who knows me well- and is trying to ‘slip in’ some advice.

 

No- after Albert finished- I told him how it related- a lot- to my present situation.

 

Albert- who has a brother named Lazarus- has a different ‘sexual’ orientation then what I’m usually comfortable with.

 

But- this has come up more than once in the last month or so- and the Lord has been telling me to be more open- on this specific issue.

 

As a matter of fact- God spoke to me this day- in a stronger way then others- who have the ‘right’ orientation.

 

SATURDAY

 

John 13:1 Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.

John 13:33 Little children, yet a little while I am with you. Ye shall seek me: and as I said unto the Jews, Whither I go, ye cannot come; so now I say to you.

John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

John 13:35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

John 13:36 Simon Peter said unto him, Lord, whither goest thou? Jesus answered him, Whither I go, thou canst not follow me now; but thou shalt follow me afterwards.

John 13:37 Peter said unto him, Lord, why cannot I follow thee now? I will lay down my life for thy sake.

John 13:38 Jesus answered him, Wilt thou lay down thy life for my sake? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, the cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied me thrice.

 

Let me say- it’s actually Friday night- and I’m simply adding these verses in- not because I’m ‘obsessed’ with death- no- I’m simply doing my evening bible reading- and as I go thru John’s gospel- these themes jump out at you.

Just look at the role that the imminent death of Christ played in the conversation- Jesus uses language about his death in a major way- it’s not simply a side issue- and at times- it’s almost like he’s drawing his men into this challenge- Jesus says to Peter ‘Oh- you will lay down your life for me- ok big shot- here’s your chance- you will deny me 3 times before the rooster crows- because in fact you are still afraid to ‘follow me’ [in death].

 

Simply read the context of these verses ‘he knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world’ ‘where I go- you cannot come’ ‘love one another as I have loved you’ How did he love us? ‘Greater love has no man than this- that he die for his friends’.

 

Ok- that’s enough- I don’t want to be accused of being obsessed with this subject- the problem is- the bible is filled with this language- if you have a habit of reading the thing- it’s hard to not become ‘obsessed’.

 

John 21:15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.

John 21:16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

John 21:17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

John 21:18 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdest thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.

John 21:19 This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.

Ok- it’s Saturday morning- just a few comments on the above- then we need to move on from the ‘death’ subject.

 

Notice how Jesus never tried to dissuade the guys away from the talk of dying for ‘the cause’.

When Peter said ‘I will die for you man!’

Jesus almost challenges him to do it!

 

There’s no talk about sending him to MHMR for a mental evaluation [MHMR is the mental health clinic in Texas].

 

Not only does Jesus kind of challenge Peter- to die- but we read this strange dialogue at the end of John’s gospel.

 

Peter is given his wish- Jesus reveals to him ‘what death he should GLORIFY God’.

Huh?

 

Yeah- there is a type of death that glorifies God- and in Peter’s case it was being martyred.

It’s almost like Jesus gave Peter a second chance- to go thru with the thing.

 

Ok- Yesterday I had a full day- and I want to re-cap the week.

 

This week I have had lots of good talks with some good friends- many of them are smart- have a good background- and even though I don’t usually teach Apologetics on the street- yet- in these cases it came up.

 

Ok- let me try and cover- again- some of these issues.

Over the years I have taught these things- and to be honest- I haven’t brushed up on this field in a while- but let me try my best.

 

One of my friends- like a lot of educated people- has read/been influenced by the strain of thought that came up a few years ago [it’s been around for longer than that by the way].

 

But when Dan Brown popularized the Holy Grail thing- it made a comeback into the public consciousness again.

 

One of the objections that good people have to Christianity is they feel that the early church rejected the writings of women- and that because of this bigoted mindset- books attributed to the women at the time of Jesus were left out of the bible [what we call the canon of scripture].

Actually- the early writings [2nd-3rd centuries] that were attributed to women- were not left out of the bible because they were written by women.

No- these books were left out- along with others that were written by men [the gospel of Thomas- or Judas- stuff like that] because they were deemed spurious- or fake.

 

One of the forms of writing in the first few centuries is called Pseudopigrapha [no spell check- as far as I know- has this word- so it might have a letter or 2 off]- meaning people would write stuff- and to gain a bigger audience- simply attributed the book to another person.

 

Ok- you also had the Gnostic writings- which I actually do read these other books- and I in no way condone the churches past acts of burning certain writings because they were ‘fake’.

 

No- even the fake ones do have stuff to contribute- because they reveal what Bart Erhman [a liberal new Testament scholar- whom I studied] refers to as ‘competing Christianity’s’.

 

Now- I don’t hold to Erhman’s views- but I try and keep an open mind to other people’s views.

 

But- the books attributed to women- were rejected- just like the ones attributed to some men- on the grounds that they were deemed fake- not because the church didn’t want the woman’s voice to be heard.

As a matter of fact- if you read the gospels carefully- Jesus did lots of things that were a big ‘no no’ for his day.

He let hookers kiss his feet- he hung out with women of low reputation- the first witness of the resurrection was a woman.

 

Now- there are few- if any- other documents that come from the first century that would have a woman as a witness- especially of such a major event [the resurrection].

Why?

Because yes indeed- the first century culture was ‘anti women’ in a way.

 

And if you were recording some great historical event [like the resurrection] and you wanted the record to sound reliable for the time- then YOU WOULD NOT HAVE A WOMAN as the first witness.

 

See?

 

So- I’m just giving you a very short version of how the popular concept that the reason the early writings of women were not accepted into the bible was because the early church fathers simply did not want their voice to be heard.

No- that’s just not true [even though some good friends of mine believe this- they- like my other friends- have been influenced in a wrong way- good people- but mislead- by others- that’s all].

 

SATURDAY NIGHT-

John 13:7 Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.

 

John 14:7 If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.

John 14:8 Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.

John 14:9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?

John 14:29 And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe.

John 14:30 Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.

 The next few weeks I’ll share what happened today- but let me comment on a few things.

 

One of the reasons many reject Christianity- is because they have a skewed view- well- of God.

 

There are various reasons for this- but in the verses I quoted above- I want you to see that the purpose of Christ coming- was to correct this view.

 

When Philip asked ‘show us the Father [God]’ Jesus said ‘I have been with you for a while- if you have seen me [got close enough] then you have seen God’.

 

The purpose of what we call the Incarnation [God becoming man] was so that we- people- people who struggle thru life- often not knowing the reason for our existence- that we can get a close up look at who God is.

 

The ministry of Jesus was strange to say the least- I mean he offended the religious leaders of his day- because he was so accepting- and loving- of those deemed unworthy of love.

 

The thing is- he knew people- yet he spoke to them as people of value.

 

It’s not that they were able to hide their true self- no- that’s the thing- he loved them anyway.

 

When I was teaching about John the Baptist the other day- I left something out- I mean I had it in my notes- but decided to not tell it.

 

Why?

To be honest- it sounded too self-serving.

 

But- it was true- and I think I’ll tell it now.

 

Over the years I have had many ‘unique’ experiences to say the least.

 

When I first got into the Baptist church [I’m not Baptist by the way] some of my friends called me ‘John the Baptist’ you know- I’m sure all the other ‘John’s’ have gotten the same treatment.

 

But- I never liked it- to be honest.

 

One year my mom came to visit- from N.J.

 

She saw all the ministry stuff I was doing- how I was into God and all.

And she tells me ‘John- I never told you this- but something strange happened when you were a little boy’.

 

Ok- what?

She said I was in some school play- and out of the blue I said ‘My name is John- and I was named after John the Baptist’.

 

I asked her ‘was it a church thing- I mean was the play About God or something’

 

No- that’s what was strange- it had nothing to do with the play.

Nor did my parents name me after John the Baptist.

 

I guess I was around 6-8 years old- she said I was young.

 

Now- of course I’m not John the Baptist- but when God ‘calls’ us- he had that purpose for us from the start.

What was Johns purpose- do you remember the recent teaching?

 

He pointed people to Christ- he was the forerunner.

 

Now- when they ‘met’ Christ- what was his purpose?

To show us God- like the verses quoted above- to give us the true picture of God- his compassion for us- his love- yes- for men and women.

 

How he is not the ‘god’ that the media portrays- or the ‘right wing fundamentalists’ no- if you want an accurate picture- look at Jesus.

 

This is not even the teaching for the week- the last few days as I have been reading at night- I am trying to get as much in when I have the chance.

 

I think this post- when I post it Thursday- might be it for a bit- You’ll see what I mean when you read the one after that.

 

But for now- read what you have- it’s important that you guys see this.

 

SUNDAY-  AND THE WINNER IS?

I planned on not taking any more days off- I’m scheduling weekend- and weeknight meetings now.

But the contact person for what I think will be our Kingsville meeting- didn’t text me back till Saturday morning ‘the meetings a go’.

 

I texted David- told him it was too late- most of my street crew have no phones- so I need to know a day or 2 before- to give them a heads up.

 

So- I took yesterday off- it did not go well.

 

Don’t get me wrong- like last year- it seems like when the stuff hits the fan- that’s when the ‘plan’ takes shape.

 

Anyway- I did drive to the Island and jumped in the ocean- for the first time in a few years.

I was surprised- the water was still cold.

 

The other day at the mission- a guy I don’t know came up to me- he said ‘hi John’.

I told him I don’t know him- but sure- we can talk.

 

He heard me speak at the street church last week.

 

And the message- about Adam choosing of his own free will to walk away from God because he loved Eve.

 

He began to tell me his story- after a while I did remember him- he’s been around a while.

His dad used to work at the mission- and I remembered Dirk told me he had his van parked at his house for a while.

 

Dirk said he was a Christian and knew the bible- but I guess they were both doing Meth at the time.

 

So- my new friend went on and told me what he really wanted to talk about [he started by asking if I knew where Justin was- Justin is a new kid I just started working with- and he was doing work with this new friend].

 

But then he told me how the message I preached- especially the verse from Timothy- was his experience.

 

The verse from Timothy that I used said the man was not deceived when he ate of the tree- but did it eyes wide open.

So- he told me he met a girl a few years ago- who I know- and he willingly did Meth with her- though he knew the danger- he did it because he wanted her.

 

Now- he does know the bible- and I can tell he is a Christian- struggling with this stuff.

 

We had a good talk maybe- for around 2 hours- just sitting there at the mission.

 

Earlier in the day I also saw another young kid [25] who I have been trying to work with.

I’m trying to be careful with the names on this- because of stuff.

 

But he showed up at the mission- I always ask him ‘where’s Huey’?

 

He hangs with Huey- and though I’m friends with Huey- I have told the kid ‘look- Huey’s a friend- but you don’t need to be hanging with him- do you want to end up like him kid?’

 

The kid [25] is a good looking kid- life ahead of him- yet- throwing it all away on Meth.

 

He just started dating a cute girl from the mission- they make a nice couple.

 

They rode up together on their bikes the other day- I gave him some advice ‘hey- when you get your income tax check back- use it for a place to live- work a regular job [he works on and off] and get off the street’.

I told him if he really loves the girl- then focus on having a good relationship- get away from Huey and that crowd.

 

Now- after a while I do sort of learn the profile of these guys- and it seems as if this kid has a pretty violent history.

 

Sad to say- this was the same kid I ‘went after’ a few weeks back- because I thought he stole something [Nothing happened by the way].

 

So- the other day he takes off his shirt- and you can see he might be one of those MMA type guys.

 

Some tat’s- and sort of like a bodybuilder.

 

I think he took the shirt off for that reason- to let everyone know ‘don’t mess with me’.

 

So- as I talked with him- I did ask him how he’s doing ‘have you seen so and so’.

 

He told me he went on a rage last night- sounded like he threatened so and so’s life.

 

He’s been up for days- doing Meth- and from what I heard- he seems to be pretty ‘unstable’.

 

He had a belt with him- in his pocket- he told me if so and so shows up- he’s gonna wrap it around his neck and drag him thru the parking lot.

 

Now- I talk almost like a Father figure to the younger crowd- and I told him ‘don’t do something stupid kid- and get arrested on a serious charge’.

 

We talked for a while- he also was threatening a new guy who sat next to his girl- I guess she broke up with him and this guy sits next to her.

 

The kid went and sat on the bench- Mark came out ‘John- he’s a big kid- all cut up and stuff’ [meaning built like a brick house].

 

Now- for some reason- it reminded me of a firefighter who right before I retired- we started doing Arm Wrestling matches.

Yeah- over the years we did various stuff like this.

 

And one year the young guys said ‘John- Don said you hold the record for chin up’s’.

 

I laughed- I told them I don’t even remember- that was years ago- but I guess they wanted me in the ‘young’ group of guys doing these challenges.

 

So- at the time [years earlier] I did have the winning record for arm wrestling.

 

But- I was about 46 when they asked me- and these guys were young [like my friend here at the mission].

 

So- it was funny- but I got into the arm wrestling challenge- guys on all the shifts would arm wrestle- and the best of them would go up against each other- and whoever won the final- was the champ.

 

Now- for some reason- who knows- a freak of nature thing.

[I have not worked out in 30 years- at all- but- I eat little- and pray?]

 

I became the new champ- it was funny- I would tell the guys ‘geez- you can’t beat an old man!’.

Mike Cavazos- who I used to work with his dad- his dad was a captain.

 

Mike was the number one challenger- and Mike was a body builder- about the same age as the kid at the mission.

 

But Mike was actually bigger than this kid.

So- we had 3 famous matches- Mike won the first- but made the mistake of giving me a re-match- and I won.

 

Then- he wanted to do a 3rd– I told him ‘not yet- I’m the title holder- you guys will have to wait’.

So- I made Mike wait- for about a year!

 

It was funny- I would kid him ‘you guy’s ain’t worthy of a challenge’.

 

So- one day- after about a year- out of the blue I walked into the room and said to Mike ‘let’s go’.

 

Really!

 

He was elated- but you shouldn’t count your chickens before they hatch.

 

So- we went at it [I think the poor kid was in training for this day- I mean it looked bad that the tile holder was an old man- me!]

 

I’ll never forget- we went at it for about 25 minutes- yeah- these were long matches- where you try and wear the guy down- and I’ll never forget the look on Mike’s face- when he started to go down.

 

He said ‘OH NOOO!’.

 

I mean I was laughing- because he knew he would never hear the end of it till I retired.

 

After the loss- I told him ‘you know what you need to do’.

 

He did.

He called the other station- on the loudspeaker- and said ‘John won’.

 

He knew word would get out- and the poor kid waited so long to redeem himself- I kinda felt bad to be honest.

 

But not that bad.

 

So- I retired with ‘the belt’.

Ok- said all that to say this.

 

For some reason I thought ‘let me challenge so and so’ [the MMA looking kid- who wanted to strangle Huey].

 

So- I walked to the bench and told the kid ‘let’s go at it’.

 

We did- and sure enough- after about 10 minutes- yeah- I’m still the champ.

 

Now- how did he respond [being he was waiting to choke out Huey if he showed up].

 

Heres the thing- he said ‘John- that’s not my best and- I have a wrist thing…’

 

‘Let’s do another- we can use our left hands’.

 

‘No way kid- I’m the champ- and when I get the title- I hold it- you guys can challenge one another- and whoever winds up on top [I’m sure it will be him- he is a big kid] then we’ll go at it’.

 

I hung with him for a while- walked inside with him- I drank a tea- he ate.

He left.

 

Huey showed up with Art.

 

I told him ‘you know the kid was looking for you- he had a belt- was gonna wrap it around your neck’.

 

I heard the story- and yes- there was some dangerous stuff going on.

 

I told him ‘I actually challenged the kid to an arm wrestle’

 

Art asked ‘who won’.

 

I told him the kid gave it his best shot but no- this old man came out on top.

 

Art said ‘good- maybe it will teach him a lesson’.

 

Now- I thought about it later- I mean the whole challenge came out of the blue.

 

But if this silly thing- I mean ‘the kid’ even said maybe we can set up a ring and do some MMA stuff [I did tell them I boxed in the Golden Gloves as a kid].

 

These guys are strung out on Meth- fighting- sometimes in a deadly way- and in them is still the desire to compete.

 

No the kid wasn’t ‘mad’ that I won- nor mad that I kidded him about it.

 

I told him ‘don’t feel bad- Mike [at the fire dept.] was bigger [more muscle] than you- so it’s not that bad- you’re a tough kid’.

 

I would prefer them getting their stress out like this- then wrapping belts around each other’s necks.

 

I actually resent the fact that Huey- who has chosen his path- lets this kid ‘ride the path’ with him.

 

I think these younger kids need to get out- while they have a chance.

 If Huey isn’t careful- he might lose the next match [to this kid] in a much worse way.

 

 

SUNDAY NIGHT-  Just finished a busy day- but it seems as if I might do these evening posts a bit more.

 

I get certain insights into things at night- different than in the morning- and it’s better to just write about them when they are fresh in my mind.

 

As I have been reading thru the gospel of John- trying to ‘see’ the story- we have a tendency to read the gospel as a ‘religious’ book.

But when we do this- we don’t fully see the drama- and I think one of the things that has been happening with me the past few weeks- without fully realizing it [though now I think some of my readers have seen it] is that in a way- thru lots of my own struggles with stuff- that maybe God has allowed a certain drama to play out.

 

How?

 

Say if you knew someone- who- as sincerely as possible has tried to do the things that he loves the most.

 

He tries to help people- he really does not see it as some type of ‘job description’ you know- Pastor- etc.

 

But no- he has convinced himself that to do these things- is really God’s will.

 

Now- say if others realize that yes- this person is not fake- he might have flaws- which he has been very open and honest about- but no- he really believes in what he’s doing.

 

Ok.

 

Then say- maybe because he really thinks he’s hearing God- say if this person thinks [even if he’s wrong!] that it’s possible that God would redeem- or ‘save’ others- if he were to die.

 

Maybe he thinks- even if he’s wrong- that thru his death others would some how benefit.

 

Now- how would his closest friends view this?

 

They would of course be very worried about him.

 

We actually read stuff like this in the bible.

 

When Jesus made certain statements ‘where I go you cannot follow’.

 

If I remember right- at one point they said ‘will he take his life’ [I might be wrong- but his family did at one point believe he went mad].

 

Ok- now- those around him would have actually experienced the same feelings that you would- if you simply knew a person who too felt this way- in our day.

 

It’s strange- but God often does things that we don’t understand- we refer to the death of Christ as The Passion.

 

I mean- look at the scene- thru the lens I just showed you.

 

If you have a friend that maybe thought things like this- maybe even verbalized it- then the same way you would feel- is the same way Jesus closest friends felt.

 

A true concern that he might be seeing things wrong- but yet- they would see that somehow he has gotten to a point where he thinks that if his death would help them- he is kinda of flirting with that being ok.

 

I don’t know if you’re getting this- but maybe God allows us to know someone like this- so for the first time they would be able to see Jesus in a way that they never ‘saw’ before.

 

In reality- God might have worked certain circumstances out- for them to see this.

 

Now- maybe the person who was used in the Play- didn’t realize how his own struggles with this- being openly expressed- could really affect his closest friends.

 

That’s the same basic effect that those around Jesus too would have ‘felt’.

 

A true concern for their friend- and maybe a real doubt about his own mental health.

 

See- God goes to great lengths- even if it’s for the benefit of just one.

 

Because in realty- in the actual story of Jesus- all this did happen- for the benefit of one.

 

Luke 15:1 Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him.

Luke 15:2 And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.

Luke 15:3 And he spake this parable unto them, saying,

Luke 15:4 What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?

Luke 15:5 And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.

Luke 15:6 And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.

Luke 15:7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.

Luke 15:8 Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it?

Luke 15:9 And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost.

Luke 15:10 Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.

 

 

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

John 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

 

 

MONDAY- I visited Dirk in jail yesterday- he seems to be doing ok.

But- I don’t think he understands the seriousness of the charges against him.

I talked with him for about an hour- he asked if I could help him get his 3 guitars out of the pawn shop- he signed over his stuff to me- his debit card.

 

He wants me to take out 400 and get his stuff- he asked me to help with a few things.

 

I told him sure- I let him know that I’m leaving back to North Bergen [NYC area] soon- so he might not see me for a while.

He said ‘Then how will I get my money’ He offered to pay me for gas and stuff- I told him ‘no way’.

 

I let him know that whatever money is left- I’ll leave it at the house in an envelope- my wife will give it to him.

 

He’s still planning on stuff- like he’ll be out soon.

 

Even if the case gets dropped [from what I understand- the friend who was stabbed wants no part of it- he told me he won’t even go to court if they subpoena him].

 

So- who knows?

 

Either way- he won’t be getting out any time soon.

 

After the jail visit- I went to Church without Walls- and saw the guys.

 

Huey was there- and Lance.

 

As soon as Lance saw me- he said ‘Hey John’!

I of course say hi to all the guys.

But he acted different- like he has just been waiting to see me since the other day [the arm wrestle day].

 

He walked passed Huey- and they didn’t say anything- but I could tell the kid wanted to talk to me.

Being I was sitting with Huey- I know he wanted to avoid us.

 

So- I got up and stood in the food line and asked Lance how he was.

 

He took my advice- told me ‘John- I’m getting away from all ‘that stuff’ [drugs] I talked to Destiny [the little love of his life- for now- poor thing- she broke his heart].

 

He told her that he’s going to try and get clean- work a job- basically all the advice I gave him the other day.

 

It’s funny- every other time I’ve seen Lance- I mean I like the kid- but he was sort of like someone who everyone knew was out on the rough road- sort of ‘watch out for that guy’.

But today- it was like a dad talking to a son- he told me he’s looking forward to coming to the first meeting I will be doing at Angels halfway House.

 

This week I will start a Wednesday night meeting in the Buff- I will also start one in Kingsville Saturday.

 

I really hate to leave for North Bergen at this time- because I like to have the meetings established first.

 

But thats ok- I’ll pick them up when I get back.

 

The other week I finished the book of Genesis- I mentioned how Jacob- when he knew his time had come to die- he called his sons in and gave them some final ‘blessings’.

 

I put blessings in quotes because if you read some of what he said- well- they sound more like curses.

 

He told Rueben ‘you will be as unstable as water’.

 

He rebuked some other sons because of their anger- they ‘killed a man in their wrath’.

To be honest about the thing- I feel like the ‘unstable as water’ son myself.

Last year- actually even the year before- when I ‘broke ground’ and started going back north- I mean these trips were hectic- I felt like I was ‘on the run’ but wasn’t- not in the way you might think.

 

But yes- I wanted out- bad.

 

So- over time I settled down [some] but I never could really get away from stuff- it’s like stuff just followed me- even when walking thru NYC- trying to get lost in the crowd.

 

When I got back to Texas- I wanted to move the ‘heck’ out [still do] but the year when I gave lots of my stuff away- I also put some stuff on the streets- some of my favorite crosses and stuff- I would just place them all over town- on a corner- wherever.

 

I figured people would see the stuff- and get blessed- and of course take the stuff.

 

So- I had a white Cross- about 3 feet high- that I made years ago at the Fire Dept.

 

I have a verse written on it ‘A PLACE PREPARED FOR ME BY GOD’.

 

I’ve had the cross for years- I would throw it in the back of the truck and when we had a fellowship at a park or something I would set it out- so if the cops saw a bunch of the guys at the park- they would know we were doing some ‘church thing’ [which we were].

 

But last year I set this cross on Laredo St.- in some broken down fence in front of a pawn shop type thing.

 

Over the weeks as I was waiting to leave Texas- I would pass by it on the way to our halfway house.

 

I mean it was cool- you could read the verse from the street.

 

I wondered how long it would last- I mean this is a drug area of our city and all- surely someone would be able to get 5 bucks for the thing.

 

But no- every time I passed that way- I would glance over- sure enough it was there.

 

Cool.

 

But- after I got back from North Bergen- one day as I was driving down Laredo St.- I noticed that they mowed the lot- and the little wooden fence was gone.

 

Oh well.

But wait- as I passed the spot- the Cross was moved into the window of the broken down business [this street is in a low class area- all the shops and stuff are kind of rickety].

 

I guess whoever mowed the lot- and tore the fence down- had respect for the Cross and put it in the window.

 

You can actually see it better now- I just saw it the other day.

 

The Cross- with that verse on it- meant to me that the ‘place of crucifixion’ is indeed the place God prepares for us.

 

In Zechariah [I think chapter 12] it talks about looking upon him who they have pierced.

You get the picture that when people see you go thru stuff- it benefits them to continue to see the end result.

When I first got back to Texas last year- after 3 months away- on the way into the Bluff I saw a new hotel going up right as you get into my area.

The first verse that came to mind was ‘Where is the house that you build me and where is the work of my hands- have not my hands made all these things- and all these things have been’.

 

To be honest- I felt like God was saying this was the ‘place prepared for me by God’.

 

What place?

 

Meaning he wanted me to walk thru stuff- not try and run away- so people could still see stuff.

 

To be honest- I’m very uncomfortable in Texas- If I had my wish- I would leave.

 

I did seriously think of moving last year- and even when I got back- I told my wife ‘well- I guess I can maybe stay one month in Texas- and go back north for the rest’.

 

As time progressed- the ‘timing’ changed.

 

‘Ok- maybe 6 months here- 6 in Jersey’.

I felt like- at least for now- I needed to try and settle down- I still feel very much Like Jacobs son Ruben ‘unstable as water’.

 

But I made a decision a while back- I’m going to be ‘on the go’ every day.

 

I’m excited about the 2 new meetings I will start this week- I’m looking forward to seeing my friends in North Bergen in a few days.

 

Rick called me the other day- before I bought the plane ticket ‘when you coming’.

 

I told him soon- now- I didn’t think this soon.

Like the last 2 trips- they seem to come in the middle of personal firestorms- the day I got the ticket- some stuff happened- I flew off the handle and about 10 minutes later started booking the flight.

 

I thought after ‘maybe I should cancel’ but I paid it on the card and figured what the hell- lets go.

 

I hope all my future trips are not like this- don’t get me wrong- after I make the trip- things work out well.

 

But this ‘unstable as water’ thing will have to pass- I don’t like it- at all.

 

Genesis 49:1 And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days.

Genesis 49:2 Gather yourselves together, and hear, ye sons of Jacob; and hearken unto Israel your father.

Genesis 49:3 Reuben, thou art my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power:

Genesis 49:4 Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel; because thou wentest up to thy father’s bed; then defiledst thou it: he went up to my couch.

 

 

TUESDAY-  ONLY IF ZAVALA KNEW!

Went to the mission yesterday- and Cindy [the secretary] handed me a letter- from Whistler.

He’s been in jail for a few weeks- when I saw Dirk Sunday- he told me Whistler is still ‘off the wall’.

He told me they had to remove him from the population- put him in solitary confinement.

Ok- the letter addressed to Timons- said ‘Please give this to retired fireman John- we call him Preacher John- the guy with the long hair’.

It’s kind of funny- I guess I’ll post the stuff he wants me to ‘expose’- but Whistler is smart.

He reads my site [when not in jail] and he saw how I posted all types of stuff last year- talking openly about the cops- you know- even sending letters to the U.S. attorney General- yeah- I go for broke!

So- when he saw me doing this- he started doing it himself!

Taking phone pictures of Mark- the cook at Timons [by the way Mark and Whistler used to be good friends on the streets- Mark- like many- had a drug problem for many years.

He and Whistler were tight- Mark got off the stuff- and works a regular job at the mission].

So- being I hang out with Whistler- and am friends with Mark- I have asked them ‘what’s going on- why are you guys at each other’s throats’.

I got a few ideas.

So- Whistler wrote me some of the ‘abuse’ that’s going on in jail- for him- I’ll post a few-

‘4-11-14- 8:30 am- asked officer Zavala when I could shower- was told all bottom has to go first. Was told [quote] ‘shut the fuck up’.

‘Picked up on bogus misdemeanor- won’t let me call or find your address- already been banged around and hit by guards in solitary since Sunday- 3-30-14’

Ok- he’s got a few more- but you get the gist of it.

Poor officer Zavala- if he only knew Whistlers buddy posts stuff like this- oh well.

It’s funny- I’ll show up at the mission- and I either get a letter from a friend in jail- or they tell me ‘John- Dirks lawyer was here looking for you’.

Today I’ll see the guy- he has some of Dirks stuff- I’ll get it.

Actually- this public defender is good- most would not run all over town- doing favors like this for one of their cases.

The guy has already come looking for me a few times- calling and stuff.

Dirk called yesterday while I was at the mission- will call today.

I’ll do him these few favors [getting his stuff out of hock] but he’s trying to ‘keep control’ of what life he has- worried about his stuff in storage- making plans on getting out- soon.

He needs to realize that his charge is serious- his lawyer tells me he will get anywhere from 5-99 years- and will have to serve at least half of what he gets before he comes up for parole.

I mean he almost killed Tennessee- he might have to do some time.

When I saw Dirk Sunday- we talked for about an hour- just like old times- I have spent many hours just listening to Dirk.

He’s one of the guys who talks- but it helps the guys when I just listen to their life story.

A lot of people don’t have the patience- or time for this- but its ok with me- it’s true ministry to me.

I told Dirk that Gunner- his dog- is doing fine.

My daughters gave him a bath- he lays next to me on my bed [actually I sleep on a couch- in my office- not too comfortable].

As I told Dirk how happy Gunner is [his dog knew me from the streets- Dirk used to say ‘Gunner likes you John’]

Dirk cried- he was worried about the dog- and to him- in a way- when you’re in jail you worry about how everything  on the outside will go- and it was a relief to know the most important thing- Gunner- is ok.

A few people at the mission have told me- ‘we don’t care about Dirk- just the dog’.

I also notice how to many people- when the guys get in trouble- jail- whatever- it doesn’t bother them- life goes on.

I of course love the dog- but in the mind of God people have much more value- they were created in the image of God.

So- I realize that the street crew don’t care much about Dirk- but I see these things in a different way- I too am an advocate for these people- so I take the person more serious than the dog.

Sad to say- I’ve been in this jail [County] and believe it or not- the first night there- I told the guys [there were about 15-20 guys in one cell- the conditions were deplorable- I slept on the floor- no bedding or anything- under the toilet bowl- I mean I was shocked that it was like this].

I actually held a meeting in there- told the guys ‘I pray for you guys every week’- I quoted the verse ‘let the sighing of the prisoners come before you’ and the cell went silent.

I talked about the ministry and stuff- and the guys had questions about the bible.

Some guy asked about Gabriel the angel- and another older Mexican brother answered!

I mean it was cool- a few of the guys showed me their cases- asked some questions [these were serious cases- armed robbery- kidnapping- etc.].

I did my best- read the wording- they had some confusion- I told them what it meant.

As I slept- under the toilet- did I pray ‘Lord- get me out!’.

No- I prayed the verses I use for the prisoner- this time sitting in a cell with them.

As I get ready to back North- the last few weeks I have reconnected with 3 of the main guys form the Kingsville years.

I always felt these 3 were to still be involved with this journey- and on my way back out- I thank God that we got back together before I go.

The bible says a 3-fold cord is not easily broken.

Now- they can- and do break- but it ‘takes effort’ [you know- we do burn bridges- especially when you’re drunk].

But over time- the cords can be fixed.

I ran into Steve the other day- I have only talked to Steve a few times over the last few years.

He comes from Cali- and was [is] an alcoholic.

Yet- we became friends in a way.

I haven’t seen him in a while [year?] and when he showed up at Church Without Walls- he said ‘John- great to see you- your one of my few- real- friends. You Know- I have acquaintances- but few friends’.

It reminded me of Nick- from North Bergen.

When I first met these guys- I mean they are all in the same situation as my Texas friends- Nick would tell me ‘John- you refer to us as your friends- I don’t have friends- I have acquaintances’.

After 3 months with these guys- who I will see soon- Nick started referring to me as his friend.

I see ministry as a brotherhood- Proverbs says there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother.

Yeah- to be honest- doing all these errands for Dirk- at this time [I’m very busy] is a bit of a pain ‘in the ass’- but- he’s my friend.

Sometimes you get into it with your friends- and yeah- at times you ‘fight’ with your brothers.

But if it’s a brotherhood- you ‘mend’ the cords- over time.

Genesis 50:20 But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.

Matthew 21:25 The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men? And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say unto us, Why did ye not then believe him?

Matthew 21:42 Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes?

Sometimes things happen to us- in the case of Joseph [above] he recognized that even though people thought to ‘harm’ him- yet what they meant for evil- God used for good.

The ‘Baptism of John’ [by fire- if you will] was it from heaven- or from men?

It was ‘from heaven’ that is- God was behind it.

Often times God allows you to be rejected- go thru stuff- so at the end you might be able to help more people.

In Jesus case- he became the corner stone- in the end- he was the man who held the Plumb line [a prophecy from Zechariah].

He gained influence with God and men- because of the fire he went thru.

At these times- it’s important to see that your ‘baptism’ might have been ordered by men- but if it came from God [permitted- read Job chapter 1] then in the end- it will work for the salvation of many.

WEDNESDAY-  DEEP WATER

Had a good meeting in Bishop yesterday- I was worried that I didn’t have enough room in the car- had more people than usual who wanted to make the drive.

Then Andy showed up at the mission- with the van that I sold to him last year.

Great!

We traded vehicles for the day- worked out well.

As I get ready to ready to go back to North Bergen- I want to cover a few things.

One of my new friends- an older guy- John.

The past few months I have had him and some new friends come over- use the shower- attend some meetings.

I usually sit with John in his car at the mission- have spent some time with him.

But- his days are consumed with his ‘on line’ relationships.

He has cried- moaned- complained about why one girl wont text him- the other gets mad- his whole day is spent consumed with this stuff.

I had to stop sitting in the car with him- or having him at the house too much.

Why?

To be honest- he brings me down.

Yesterday he walked up to me and again had a sob story about one of the girls.

It was funny in a way- Art- who has been to the meetings a few times- said ‘Hate to say I told you so John [not me] but she’s using you for your money’.

Actually John has no money- but I remembered when we were at the house a few weeks ago- John was going thru his story- again- and Art gave him some advice- that he needs to wake up and live in the real world- and break this obsession with these women [3 at this time!].

Yeah- Art- who has his own troubles with addiction- was right.

Ok- my friend Lance- going thru the same thing with his girl- she broke up with him- he has been on the verge of wanting to beat the hell out of some guy who has been sitting next to her at the mission- the same thing.

I’ll be doing a meeting tonight at Angels- a girl I have known for years- she has been asking me for a while to help her- she runs a little halfway house in the Bluff.

She tells me ‘Just don’t bring any girls’.

What?

I had no plans on bringing any girls.

She said ‘yeah John- girls are trouble- the guys are all fighting- stabbing each other- over Clare’

Clare is one of the girls who lives on the streets with the guys- and yes- lots of the guys get in fights- get thrown in jail- over her- just to impress her I guess.

Clare comes up to me often- gives me a big hug- actually got a kiss on the cheek the other day.

I ‘kidded’ her- told her ‘only one kiss a day- don’t want to get into the cycle’.

Now- Clare’s not ‘my type’ but- that’s her thing- she wants the attention.

This- the whole ‘girl/boy’ thing- takes place in the middle of all these guys doing Meth- getting drunk- and it’s almost as in if the drug addiction and the codependency thing- go hand in hand.

Why?

All people want to be ‘wanted’ it’s in our nature.

We do things so others will ‘want us’- it comes from a basic need to be loved- which is not wrong.

A few weeks ago I posted about relationship- how co-dependent ones [I can’t live without you type things] are dangerous.

But- interdependent ones are good- meaning when we are grounded in a ‘higher power’ [God] then we can have true love for people- without the sense of having to do things to try and get others to love us.

In reality these types of relationships are much stronger- because the love comes from a mature mind- not out of a need to seek the attention of someone.

As we drove back from Bishop- I took a new road that was built a few years back- the Joe Fulton corridor.

It gives you a great view of all the big ships [tankers] that come thru the Port.

Lance and Matt were sleeping in the back of the van- me and Whistler were up front.

OH yeah- almost forgot.

Whistler just mailed me the letter from jail- I was on my way to get an envelope and stamp to write him back.

Sure enough- I saw him walking!

He got out of jail- great- didn’t have to get the stamp.

So as we rode the street right off the Port- we got to see all the ships that were docked form various parts of the world.

At the Bishop meeting I talked about when I swam out into the deep water many years ago- and almost never made it back to shore.

Whistler recounted a story- one night he was on the harbor bridge- a famous suicide bridge for our town.

He was hanging under the bridge- and jumped on some ships pole- went into the harbor- and the tide was carrying him out- he was at the point of drowning- and something bumped him from under the water- the next thing you know he was on shore.

He told me he thinks it was a dolphin- I told him it might have been an angel.

He brought up the incident because he said when he heard me tell my story- it was the same thing.

I’m glad Whistler is back- I’ll be heading out soon- and wanted to ‘run’ with him the last week before I go.

Tonight I will talk about my story some more- and talk about the dangers of Meth.

Most of the guys who will be there use Meth.

I have been warning the guys all year- time is short- some of you will die if you don’t get right now.

These guys tonight are the younger crowd- but I know the older crowd well.

The other day a friend- from the older crowd- tipped me off about another long time Bluff guy.

He just got out of jail- went to do some Meth- and killed himself.

Ok- can’t give names here- but this is the warning- if you ride the edge too long- you might wind up- in water too deep- and you might make it back to shore once- or even twice- but the 3rd time might kill you.

Yeah- tonight I will talk serious- no ‘preaching’ games- but real life issues- the type of ‘preaching’ Jesus is famous for.

‘I TELL YOU THE TRUTH- SOME OF YOU STANDING HERE WILL NOT SEE DEATH- UNTIL THE KINGDOM COMES’.

Some- not all.

In the day we sweat it out in the streets of a runaway american dream
At night we ride through mansions of glory in suicide machines
Sprung from cages out on highway 9,
Chrome wheeled, fuel injected and steppin out over the line
Baby this town rips the bones from your back
Its a death trap, it’s a suicide rap
We gotta get out while were young
`cause tramps like us, baby we were born to run

Wendy let me in I wanna be your friend
I want to guard your dreams and visions
Just wrap your legs round these velvet rims
And strap your hands across my engines
Together we could break this trap
Well run till we drop, baby well never go back
Will you walk with me out on the wire
`cause baby Im just a scared and lonely rider
But I gotta find out how it feels
I want to know if love is wild, girl I want to know if love is real

Beyond the palace hemi-powered drones scream down the boulevard
The girls comb their hair in rearview mirrors
And the boys try to look so hard
The amusement park rises bold and stark
Kids are huddled on the beach in a mist
I wanna die with you wendy on the streets tonight
In an everlasting kiss

The highways jammed with broken heroes on a last chance power drive
Everybodys out on the run tonight but there’s no place left to hide
Together wendy well live with the sadness
Ill love you with all the madness in my soul
Someday girl I don’t know when were gonna get to that place
Where we really want to go and well walk in the sun
But till then tramps like us baby we were born to run

 

NOTE- I’ll actually drive down highway 9 in a week or so- cool!

 

 

 

 

 

 

2062 – THURSDAY NIGHT- [This will be the last post till I arrive in New Jersey- for my Texas friends- I’ll try and post pictures daily- or let’s say more than usual- so you can see the great shots from the area]

 

I was debating on whether or not to post these next few weeks.

 

Why?

 

Last year I took a few months off- and I do feel there are times that we should all do that- ‘that’ being take a break from social media.

 

But- as of now- I think I’ll write/post during my trip.

 

Today was a real interesting day- I’ll talk about that in the morning.

 

For now let me continue this unofficial study thru the gospel of John.

 

I have simply been reading thru John- and the progression- both of the ‘thought’ of Jesus- as well as his interaction- you could call it his struggles- with not only what’s going on around him.

 

But with God himself- I find fascinating.

 

‘What do you mean- struggles with God’?

 

Ok- in the field of Theology [scholarship] there has been an ongoing debate about just how much Jesus knew about his mission from the start.

 

For example- we know Jesus was/is God in the flesh- but the bible also tells us that he grew in wisdom and understanding.

 

So- some surmise that he began to progressively see the whole picture- as time went on.

 

John 18:11 Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?

 

What cup?

 

Jesus drank the sin of the world into himself- he spoke of his soon demise in terms that showed he did indeed struggle with the inevitable- he said stuff like-

 

‘If it be possible- let this cup pass from me- never the less- not my will [not what I want] but your will be done’.

 

He finally passed the point of ‘no return’ that is he settled within himself that he would indeed follow the path that God gave him.

 

But- it seems as in if he went back and forth at times.

 

Why even pray for God to remove it- if he knew from the start that he had to die in Jerusalem?

 

He struggled- that’s why.

 

John 18:14 Now Caiaphas was he, which gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people.

John 18:32 That the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled, which he spake, signifying what death he should die.

 

The next few weeks- in between the normal posts- I will try and also follow the story of Christ-

 

I do realize that we are one week away [wow- I just realized one day away] from Good Friday- the day the church ‘celebrates’ the death of Christ.

 

Someone just asked me why they call this day ‘good’.

 

I told them- in the eyes of man- it might seem ‘bad’.

 

But- It was the predetermined plan of God- and the fact that Jesus chose to go thru with it- well- indeed- in the end- it was GOOD.

 

 

GOOD FRIDAY- yesterday I had an interesting day.

 

I have decided that I’m going to help Angel with her halfway house in the Bluff.

 

At the mission one of the guys who was in the first meeting I did at the new halfway house [New? I have been working with ‘ours’ for a few years now- the Bluff one is new ‘to me’]

 

Anyway- the first meeting went real well- Angel made my meetings mandatory for the guys to attend.

 

Geez- I have a hard time rounding up the guy’s at our halfway house!

 

So we had a small ‘crowd’.

 

At Timons I saw Shaky- one of the ‘mandatory attendees’. Shaky [gets his name from severe shakes- the guys are not allowed to start drinking till 3- and he shakes bad. I noticed In the mornings I do have pretty bad trembling in my hands. Mark- the cook at Timons saw me trying to pour coffee into the cup- for some reason at that time- around 10 or so- I do have the effects of my years of drinking- I have to put the cup down and pour].

 

Shaky told me ‘John_ I’m an agnostic- and Angel threatened to kick me out if I didn’t attend your meeting [CooL!].

 

‘So- I just paid my rent- and that’s the only reason I went’.

 

I talked to Shaky during the lunch- and told him I’m ok with Agnostics- Atheists- I have friends who come from all sides.

 

Now- he started enjoying the conversation [warning Shaky- this is usually how it starts- I’ll sit- listen- and over time the guys do indeed bond. It’s strange- but my ministry is a real life brotherhood- I’m not doing this stuff with the mindset of being some type of Preacher. As a matter of fact I’m tired of people asking me if I’m a preacher- I’m dropping that title as of today].

 

So- we talked a bit.

 

Now- Lance- the kid I’m working with- he’s still upset about Destiny breaking up with him.

 

And- he’s back into the fighting mode- yeah- he told me ‘If Huey shows up- I’m gonna kick his ass’.

 

Frankly- Huey probably deserves it [long story] but my worry is that the kid might get arrested for assault.

 

Sure enough- Huey showed up.

 

Now- Lance did sort of drop kick him [remember- the kid is an MMA type].

 

Huey got scared- you could tell Lance was at the edge.

 

I’ve been there- done that- and when you’re at that point- you could almost feel it- like you know it’s ‘going down’.

 

I stood right there during the encounter- had no plans on breaking it up- unless the kid was going to hurt Huey real bad.

 

Huey managed to talk him out of it- but it came close.

 

I Told Lance ‘ride with me- I’m going back to Angels- gonna hang out with you guys today’.

 

He rode his bike back- I gave Huey and Tim a ride to try and get the phone that they took from Lance.

 

Anyway- it worked out ok- and I sat with the guys at the halfway house.

 

By the way- Huey knows the kid can ‘take him’ so- he tries to protect himself by telling the kid he has connections [brothers and street guys] who will ‘do the work for him’.

 

Sad.

 

So- as I got back to the halfway house- all the guys were there.

 

Shaky- already becoming a friend- was there.

 

Now- this is the way it works.

 

I don’t really bring up God or the bible- no- In these settings I’m really one of the guys.

 

But- the guys themselves will usually bring it up on their own.

 

And Shaky- he had tons of questions about God and the bible.

 

Danny Gil had some good responses- Albert told me he feels that God wants him to be my ‘right hand man’ and work with me in ministry.

 

I mean we talked for about 5 hours- and no joke- this was the whole conversation.

 

Shaky even said ‘John- I know this isn’t bible stud time- but do you mind that we keep asking you these questions’?

 

I mean- it’s funny- the poor guy got ‘hooked’ [you know- fishers of men] and he was the one who came to the first meeting- under great duress!

 

Now- the rules of this halfway house are different- the guys kept saying ‘how long till 3?’

 

For some reason they were all checking the time.

 

Hmm?

 

I could tell they really didn’t want to say why- and Angel and her boyfriend were there [by the way- Jesse- her boyfriend really enjoyed the first meeting I did].

 

So- the 3 o’clock bell sounded- and yeah- they broke out the 40’S.

 

The rule is no drinking- till 3. [40’s are the big beer bottles- my old addiction].

 

I said ‘Oh- that’s why you guys looked so eagerly for 3- I thought maybe it was prayer time?’

 

They said ‘John- don’t sit with us- we don’t want to tempt you’.

 

I told them ‘look- I’ll be in NY in a few days- hanging out with Heroin addicts- trust me- I have no problem with it’.

 

I noticed Shaky- who had the most questions about God- after his first 40- the shakes stopped.

When your body becomes addicted- as well as your mind- then the alcohol is in a sense your ‘medication’.

 

After he drank the first 40- I was shaking worse than him- something.

 

Before I took off, Lance borrowed my phone to call his mom in Pennsylvania.

 

Lance reminds me of myself- when I first ‘landed’ in Texas- I was living the life that he lives right now.

 

I’d call my dad in N.J. – not even knowing what day of the week it was- they of course worried.

 

So- Lance hasn’t called/texted his mom since the last time he borrowed my phone [remember- Huey ‘had’ Lances phone].

 

So- he told me I might get a text later from his mom- I said ‘fine- I’ll tell you when I see you’.

 

Before I saw Lance at the house- he and Huey did leave together to get the kids phone.

 

Now- when I left- Lance was there- Huey was gone.

 

Lance told me ‘John- don’t worry- me and Huey made up’.

 

I think Huey mentioned me- when he was with Lance.

 

Sort of like ‘Lance- I have connections- preacher John will defend me if he has to!’

 

Being I just won the arm wrestling match- I think Huey might have pulled this rabbit out of the bag- sad- I know.

 

I told Lance ‘kid- I really don’t care If you kick his ass- I was going to do it myself when I thought he stole my shotguns- I just don’t want you getting arrested for an assault’.

 

Later that night- lances mom did text back.

 

I told her ‘This is John- your sons friend- I’ll relay the message later’.

 

I said ‘I take Lance with me to my bible meetings’

 

She texted back ‘Thank you so Much!!’.

 

Yeah- she’s worried about the kid.

 

All in all it was a good day- Shaky ‘bonded’ in just one day.

 

Bonded?

 

In the bible it talks about the church as a brotherhood- you become friends first- then the ‘God thing’ becomes a natural part.

 

Even if the person is not into God- when they bond- it becomes part of the relationship.

 

See- God is smart- Jesus said if we followed him- we would become ‘fishers of men’.

 

Yeah- people get ‘hooked’ to you first- then without realizing it- they get ‘caught’.

 

SATURDAY- I have decided to have a full week before I take off to New Jersey.

At first I debated about just using this trip as a vacation- doing nothing- and getting some needed rest.

 

But- the plan changed- and I want to maximize the time.

 

Ok- yesterday was busy- I am starting a couple of new meetings at a bad time- because I’ll be gone soon.

 

But- the doors opened up so to speak- and I have found over the years that when you see a ‘chance- take it’.

 

Now- this week I talked to my friend Dirk [in jail].

 

To be honest- I’m not sure if all the running around were doing [me and his lawyer] is really helping the guy.

 

He was supposed to call me this week at Timons.

 

I told him that if I’m on the road I don’t answer the phone [it’s now illegal to do that].

 

So- call me at 12:15- when I’m at the mission.

 

I waited for the call all week- nothing.

 

So- he calls me on Good Friday [my only day off for this week].

 

And he asks if I got his bank card and possessions.

 

He released them to his lawyer- to give to me.

 

The lawyer got a hold of me at the mission- and the ‘plan’ was a go.

 

Plan?

 

Yeah- Dirk wanted me to pull out 400 bucks form his account- get his guitars and stuff out of the pawn shop- put the left over money in his jail account.

 

I told him that I went into the bank- told them I’d rather do it inside- then drive thru- so it would be on the up and up [ I didn’t want to be in NY- and find out I have a warrant for my arrest because they have me on video- with someone else’s card- taking cash out].

 

The bank teller told me they could not give me money from another person’s account- unless my name is on the account.

 

I figured this already- that’s why I went inside.

 

So- they said it is still illegal to do it thru the drive thru- but ‘they won’t say anything’ if I do.

 

No way hon- not doing it.

 

Why?

 

You would have to read all the posts from last year- but basically I’m not in good with the local cops.

 

To be honest- I think they deem me as a threat- to them- because of certain stuff that went on last year.

 

So- I’m not gonna take the chance- and be in a position where I’m needing them to ‘give me a break’.

 

No- I don’t expect any breaks- nor should they.

 

So- I told Dirk the story- and that was that [I thought].

 

Then he called his lawyer- got the guy to come to my house- get the bank card- I miraculously remembered his pin number [Geeez- I forget my own!].

 

He got the cash out- I met him at the pawn shop- took about 45 minutes to check his 3 guitars and stuff out.

 

Then had stuff to do- I am busy.

 

He called back later- when I was busy- who knows- maybe another thing he needs. [As I type- my phone is ringing- I bet it’s him!]

 

I told his lawyer ‘He’s lucky we are doing all this- usually a public defender won’t go out- on Good Friday- to do this’.

 

The guy asked me when I’m leaving to N.Y. – and when I’m returning.

 

I gave him the scoop- then realized he might be intrigued a bit- about the whole ministry thing- so- maybe this is a witness in a way- who knows?

 

Anyway- as things go- when you running around like this- you make mistakes.

 

I spent about 100 dollars at Lowes- money I don’t have right now [I charged the plane ticket to my credit card] and was going to use the credit card- not my debit card.

 

I need what little cash I have to last till my retirement check comes in [once a month].

 

But- I used my debit card by mistake- bad move.

 

I bought about 50 dollars of paint for Angel’s halfway house.

 

She’s painting the trailer/house- and I wanted her to know I’m behind her.

 

The other night after the meeting she told me how the guys needed a sort of man/Father figure to do the teaching and stuff.

 

I already work with a few of the guys- and she said they all spoke well of me.

 

So- I saw right away that this would be a new open door- yeah- I walked thru.

 

I’ll drop off the paint later- today I will take some guys to our first Kingsville meeting.

 

Then have another full day- I told the guy’s if they want to come back to the house later- they can spend the night and we will wake up early and make the Sunrise Easter service at Cole Park.

 

I have been to it many times- it’s a passion play right off the bay- very nice.

 

I have been wanting to take some of the guy’s over the years- but it never happened.

 

This year it will.

 

I think I will teach on the story of Joseph this week- I try and do at least some bible theme both on the Blog as well as at the meetings.

 

I was also going to teach some on Philosophy and Apologetics- but that will have to wait.

 

Yesterday- as well as the past few months- I have felt like one of the characters in one of my favorite movies.

 

What movie- some Jesus thing?

 

Sorry to disappoint- but I’m talking about Goodfellas.

 

Yeah- I’m a mafia nut [Actually Donnie Brascoe is my favorite].

 

In Goodfellas Old Liotta is driving around- paranoid- thinking some helicopter is on his tail [Hmm?- Paranoid?]

 

He’s rushing around- Listening to some classic rock [I love the soundtrack to this flick].

 

In between all that’s going on- he’s cooking some fine Italian food.

 

Yeah- the scene is cool- even though in my case the busy days are not around Coke deals.

 

But yeah- I like being on the go- doing what you can- hoping to not make too many mistakes [like the charge card].

 

But yeah- it’s good to fill your days with good stuff.

 

As I talked with the guys at the Bluff halfway house.

 

We had some things- well let’s say- in common.

 

As they pulled out their beers [40 ounce bottles].

 

I told them I used to have a system at the house- I would fill up 2 trash cans with my empties- and dump them into the bin in the front.

 

I mean I had so many beer bottles- I had to have a system.

 

I would even try and dump a few every day- before the trash cans got full- I mean they were heavy.

 

But- as things go- I often dumped them when full [or overflowing].

 

I would sit in my yard on trash day- and man- when the truck dumped my bin- all you heard were those beer bottles clanging- for about a block.

 

So- as I talked with the guys- they mentioned how so and so [Roger] drinks the beer- even if flies got in it.

 

I told them I did this many times- I mean the flies get into the bottle- and I wasn’t going to throw it out- it took too long to strain them [which I attempted a few times].

So- yeah- I drank the flies- spit them out if I could- but the beer was ‘more valuable’ then avoiding the taste of the fly.

 

They said ‘yeah Roger drinks them even with roaches’.

 

Ok- there were times where I couldn’t get a beer [too early to buy one].

 

So- I went into my stash- the empty bottles- some half empty- yeah- in those trash cans.

 

And yeah- they had those big roaches in them.

 

NO WAY- YOU DIDN’T!

 

Well- no- I didn’t drink the roaches- but yes- I poured what little I could find from those bottles- roaches and all- and picked them out- and yeah- downed the thing.

 

So- in a way- I told the guys we had a lot in common.

 

But now- I hope some of them follow my new path.

 

Yeah- some have already.

 

But I’m afraid the others will keep swallowing the flies.

 

SATURDAY NIGHT- Just a few comments about today- then in the morning I’ll do the teaching for the week.

 

We had a real good meeting in Kingsville today.

 

For the first time in a long time- I saw my good friend David.

I taught a little- not too long- but the best part was the guys sharing with one another- as I sat back and listened.

 

I had Lance with me- and a few other guys.

 

I see lance as a son in a way- and even though he has a long way to go- that’s ok.

 

David is doing real well- he was an addict for many years- I used to preach at the jails 25 years ago- and that’s how I met his dad.

 

David and his brothers came to me this way.

 

David- like Emit the other day- has moved on with his life.

 

He’s a family man- and like Emit- these are not the things that occupy their lives- which is ok.

 

I realized that I in a sense have never stopped the ‘outreach’ part of my life.

 

No- when I ‘left’ this original group in 1992- all thru my years of struggles- yet- I continued to do my best to keep going.

 

I saw today that I’m the ‘different’ one in the group.

 

I was never happy- just being a family man- in a way I have been obsessed with having to go out- reach out- keep the mission going- even at times during what most would call ‘a complete breakdown’.

 

Why?

 

I see this as my purpose- not a job- or ‘ministry’ per se-

 

But my purpose.

 

My old friends- like David today- have told this new crew- that we go back a long ways- and they vouch for me.

 

As we got back to Corpus- I spent the rest of the day with the guys at the halfway house.

 

We all had some good fellowship- in the mix of it all- someone mentioned ‘preachers’- Lance- who I call ‘kid’ said ‘Johns a good preacher’.

 

Funny- he’s on a road that you would never have thought he would be hanging out with some ‘preacher’.

 

But I have sort of adopted this kid- and the reason he said this- I think- is because he sees I ‘love’ him- for real.

 

I realized today that I have to do this stuff- I don’t think I could live life- simply being a family man.

 

Don’t get me wrong- my old friends are doing real well- they are in a way a result of me ‘doing this’ with them- some 25 years ago.

 

And to be honest- it’s great to do this- I see it as an honor.

 

Today was a good day- much has been accomplished this past year- today was a big part of ‘finishing’ well.

 

EASTER SUNDAY-

 

Let’s try and do the story of Joseph.

 

The last week or so I finished reading the book of Genesis- we find the famous story of Joseph- one of the sons of Jacob- here.

 

Joseph was the youngest son of Jacob- and Jacob showed special favoritism towards him. He made him a coat of ‘Many colors’ and his brothers saw how his dad treated him.

 

This made them jealous of course.

 

One day Joseph had a dream [actually 2] he dreamed that he was to have authority over his brothers- and parents [I’ll try and paste the dreams at the end].

 

His brothers resented this and they hatched a plan to kill him.

 

But 2 of his brothers- Rueben and Judah tried to spare him. They instead sell Joseph to some merchants- and he winds up in Egypt as a sort of slave.

 

He gets a job at the home of Potiphar- a big man in the govt. of Pharaoh- and over time Joseph’s gifts shine forth.

 

He excels in Potiphar’s house and he puts him in charge of his entire household.

 

 

Now- the bible says Joseph was a good looking guy- and the wife of his boss wants to sleep with him.

 

Joseph refuses- and she eventually frames him for rape.

 

Once again- he ends up on the wrong end of the stick- and gets thrown in jail.

 

Now- the bible says ‘a man’s gift makes room for him’.

 

Joseph had a gift- the interpretation of dreams.

 

In jail he meets 2 of Pharaohs chief officers- a Butler and Baker.

 

They have these dreams- and Joseph gives them the interpretation.

 

One is told ‘in 3 days you will be restored to your previous position’

 

The other is told that he will die.

 

Sure enough- the butler [cup bearer] gets out- and the baker gets hung.

 

Now- Joseph tells the Butler ‘when you get out- please recount my story to Pharaoh- so he can do what’s right and get me out of here!’

 

The Butler gets out- but forgets to do this favor for Joseph.

 

Over time Pharaoh himself has 2 dreams- he awakens and is disturbed by them.

 

He gathers all his magicians and stuff- and no one is able to tell him what the dreams mean.

 

At this point the Butler remembers Joseph- and tells Pharaoh about him- that he knows someone who can interpret dreams.

 

Sure enough- they get Joseph and he reveals the meaning of the dreams to Pharaoh.

 

The dreams mean that there will be 7 years of plenty- followed by 7 years of famine.

 

Pharaoh places Joseph over the economy of Egypt- and Joseph caries out a plan to save food during the 7 years of plenty- and then when the famine hits- all the ‘world’ will come to Joseph in Egypt- and eventually ‘sell their souls’ for some food.

 

Over a period of time Jacob- Joseph’s father [who thinks he’s dead] will come to Joseph and buy some grain.

 

His brothers make the trip from Canaan to Egypt and when Joseph sees them he recognizes them.

 

But they don’t know who he is.

 

He finally tells them that he is their brother- and they are shocked to say the least.

 

They of course fear for their lives- I mean they did do him wrong- he tells them ‘What you meant for evil- God meant for good- to send me before you to save your lives’.

 

Joseph spent much of his life in great difficulty- yet he understood that God permitted these things to happen to him- so in the end he would be able to help people.

 

The dreams he had early in life- were indeed true- he rose to prominence over his brothers and they did indeed come and bow down to him.

 

They did this willingly- for their own sakes.

 

The story of Joseph is a famous one- the most important aspect [in my view] is that he understood that the stuff that happens to you in life should be seen with the ‘end in mind’.

 

The true purpose of God for him was that he would someday be in a position where he would be able to do much good.

 

The way he would arrive at the place- was thru great suffering.

 

Today we celebrate the resurrection of Christ.

 

He had to suffer first- be buried- and on the 3rd day rise again.

 

Like Josephs brothers- many don’t see him for who he is- yet.

 

But there will come a day when their eyes will be opened- then they will see.

 

Genesis 37:3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours.

Genesis 37:4 And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him.

Genesis 37:5 And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren: and they hated him yet the more.

Genesis 37:6 And he said unto them, Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed:

Genesis 37:7 For, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf.

Genesis 37:8 And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words.

Genesis 37:9 And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me.

Genesis 37:10 And he told it to his father, and to his brethren: and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth?

Genesis 37:11 And his brethren envied him; but his father observed the saying.

Chapter Thirty Nine

Genesis 39:1 And Joseph was brought down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him of the hands of the Ishmeelites, which had brought him down thither.

Genesis 39:2 And the LORD was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian.

Genesis 39:3 And his master saw that the LORD was with him, and that the LORD made all that he did to prosper in his hand.

Genesis 39:4 And Joseph found grace in his sight, and he served him: and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand.

Genesis 39:5 And it came to pass from the time that he had made him overseer in his house, and over all that he had, that the LORD blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and the blessing of the LORD was upon all that he had in the house, and in the field.

Genesis 39:6 And he left all that he had in Joseph’s hand; and he knew not ought he had, save the bread which he did eat. And Joseph was a goodly person, and well favoured.

Genesis 39:7 And it came to pass after these things, that his master’s wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me.

Genesis 39:8 But he refused, and said unto his master’s wife, Behold, my master wotteth not what is with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand;

Genesis 39:9 There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?

Genesis 39:10 And it came to pass, as she spake to Joseph day by day, that he hearkened not unto her, to lie by her, or to be with her.

Genesis 39:11 And it came to pass about this time, that Joseph went into the house to do his business; and there was none of the men of the house there within.

Genesis 39:12 And she caught him by his garment, saying, Lie with me: and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out.

Genesis 39:13 And it came to pass, when she saw that he had left his garment in her hand, and was fled forth,

Genesis 39:14 That she called unto the men of her house, and spake unto them, saying, See, he hath brought in an Hebrew unto us to mock us; he came in unto me to lie with me, and I cried with a loud voice:

Genesis 39:15 And it came to pass, when he heard that I lifted up my voice and cried, that he left his garment with me, and fled, and got him out.

Genesis 39:20 And Joseph’s master took him, and put him into the prison, a place where the king’s prisoners were bound: and he was there in the prison.

Genesis 42:6 And Joseph was the governor over the land, and he it was that sold to all the people of the land: and Joseph’s brethren came, and bowed down themselves before him with their faces to the earth.

Genesis 42:7 And Joseph saw his brethren, and he knew them, but made himself strange unto them, and spake roughly unto them; and he said unto them, Whence come ye? And they said, From the land of Canaan to buy food.

Genesis 42:8 And Joseph knew his brethren, but they knew not him.

Genesis 42:9 And Joseph remembered the dreams which he dreamed of them, and said unto them, Ye are spies; to see the nakedness of the land ye are come.

Genesis 45:3 And Joseph said unto his brethren, I am Joseph; doth my father yet live? And his brethren could not answer him; for they were troubled at his presence.

Genesis 45:4 And Joseph said unto his brethren, Come near to me, I pray you. And they came near. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt.

Genesis 45:5 Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life.

Genesis 50:15 And when Joseph’s brethren saw that their father was dead, they said, Joseph will peradventure hate us, and will certainly requite us all the evil which we did unto him.

Genesis 50:16 And they sent a messenger unto Joseph, saying, Thy father did command before he died, saying,

Genesis 50:17 So shall ye say unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin; for they did unto thee evil: and now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of thy father. And Joseph wept when they spake unto him.

Genesis 50:18 And his brethren also went and fell down before his face; and they said, Behold, we be thy servants.

Genesis 50:19 And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God?

Genesis 50:20 But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.

 NOTES- It was Joseph’s perspective that ‘saved’ him- he saw the things that happened to him thru the paradigm of ‘God was behind it all’.

 

The coat of many colors showed special favoritism to one son above the others.

 

Though in the story it has meaning- God the Father did indeed favor the Son above all others [he has given him a name above every name].

 

Yet- in a practical way- Parents need to be careful when they show favor to one child above another- this was the cause for the brother’s hatred of Joseph.

 Joseph was a type of Christ in many ways- more than I am covering in this short post.

The apostle Paul says in the letter to the Romans that the Jewish people will one day see/recognize Jesus Christ as the Messiah-

 

But as of now- they don’t ‘recognize him’.

 

In the story of Joseph- he recognized his brothers- yet when conversing with them spoke the Egyptian language and used a translator.

He was ‘hidden’ from their eyes- yet they were known to him.

Much like Christ ‘he came unto his own [the Jews] and they knew him not- the world was made by him- and he was in the world- yet they knew [recognized] him not’.

 

So- these are just a few nuggets at the end- I would suggest you read the whole story in the book of Genesis- chapters 37-50.

 

TUESDAY-

Had a full day yesterday- met the younger kids [25- kids- to me] at the Halfway house and spent most of the day with them.

 

I gave Joshua a ride to the hospital- he had to get checked for some stuff.

 

Took Lance with me.

 

The guys know I’m going to New Jersey Saturday- and Lance asked me if I knew a town called Seaside Heights.

 

‘Yeah- I walked the boardwalk last year- those are some of the pictures I have hanging on the wall in my office’.

 

Lance is from Pennsylvania- spent a few years in Montana- and like a lot of my friends- wound up in the Bluff.

 

Our area is right off the Gulf of Mexico- you could walk to the ocean from my house [over the bridge]. So- in a way- it’s like living on the Jersey Shore.

 

So Lance told me he went out with some girl from that area- her name was Libuti.

I told him ‘one of my friends from Jersey had the same name’.

 

Lance said he met a family member- some guy with a missing leg- and arm.

 

Huh?

 

I asked him ‘what’s was his first name’?

 

‘John- yeah- John Libuti’.

That’s my friend- we grew up in North Bergen- Libuti is a friend on Facebook- and some of the old war stories I have told- well John was friends with some of the guys at the time [Cheech- an older post].

Lance said ‘wow- what a small world’- yeah.

 

I spent most of the day with Lance- before I head out I think this kid needs the time the most.

 

Where I live- I know the older guys on the streets- and all of the ‘new kids’ are really a whole new generation- and my goal is to reach them before they too become ‘the old crew’.

 

I saw Jason [Denis] a week or so ago- I was taking Lance with me to the Bishop meeting [which we will do again today].

 

Jason said ‘good John- you’re doing a good thing’.

Jason- the ‘old crew’ knows Lance.

 

After a full day- I now have a habit of driving to the Island- I park next to Bob Hall pier- and finish the day just watching the waves roll in.

 

Over the years I never really enjoyed the Island- I was always drunk when I was there.

 

But now- everything looks different to me- like I’m seeing the world thru a different lens- and it feels good.

 

So- at about 4 o’clock I told the guys ‘I’m heading to the island- gonna get some r and r’.

 

I stopped at the store to get some cigarettes- as I got out of the car I heard ‘John!’

Sure enough- it was Jason.

 

He always greets me with a hug- we go back a long way- and he is simply a good friend.

He’s living the rough life- has been for years.

He and Andy are close friends- and I’m close with Andy.

 

One day Jason even told  ‘I have Andy’s new phone #- you want it?’

They usually don’t just give them out- but Jason knows Andy and I are good friends.

 

So- I gave Jason a hug- told him I’m heading to the island for about an hour.

 

As I walked in the store- I had the thought ‘Why don’t you by him a beer’.

 

You know- I did.

 

It’s the first beer I have bought n a year and a half- and I normally [Never?] do this.

 

But- I just felt like I should [beer is not Jason’s ‘main’ problem].

So- as I walked out I gave him the can of Beer- he said ‘hey wait- say hi to someone on the phone- surprise him’.

 

Yeah- it was Andy- on his way to pick up Jason in the van I sold him last year.

 

I told Jason ‘hey bro. I wanted to tell you something and hadn’t had a chance’.

 

A few weeks ago the local cops put out notices in the camp sites that the homeless guy’s live in- these are illegal spots in the Bluff where the homeless set up makeshift camps.

They were nice about it- gave everyone a week’s notice to move out.

They could have kicked them out on the spot.

 

The cops have to do this- the stabbing of my friend Tennessee just took place there a few months ago- and the cops can’t just let this go on.

 

So- lots of the Homeless were pissed off- trying to get petitions going and stuff.

 

But I noticed Jason defended the action- and said the cops are just doing their job- and he ‘toned down’ the rhetoric of the people who were ‘talking smack’.

 

I noticed this- and saw that even though Jason is ‘one of them’ yet- he has tried to keep the guys from doing wrong.

 

This is not the first time I have seen him do this either.

 

So- I have been wanting to tell him that I respect that- I told him ‘Jason- your are an elder in a way- your doing good when you do stuff like this’.

 

He asked me to pray the Lord’s Prayer- out loud- with him in the parking lot.

 

I have done this many times with him over the years- It’s not a game- he does indeed have a real spiritual side to him.

 

We prayed- Jason cried.

 

I told him I spent the day trying to help Lance out.

 

This time- the response about Lance was not good.

 

Jason just said ‘John- in the Bluff- as you know- we go back a long way. And here we have a community [even among the users]. But you can’t cross too many lines’.

 

I knew what he was saying- Lance is new- he’s a fighter [I’ll get to this in a moment] and I think he’s on the edge of getting into trouble- either hurting someone- or getting hurt himself.

 

As I talked with Lance earlier in the day- I found out more about his story.

 

He did some time for a very serious federal crime.

 

In another state- he was involved with some bad people- and they committed some bad crimes- which got him some federal time in prison.

 

Lance told me how one day his dad came to see him- visit him and his mom in Montana.

 

His dad- as well as Lance- are competitive Kick boxers [I thought MMA at first- but it’s sort of the same thing].

He grew up in it- his father also competed.

 

So- one day he fought with his dad- and Lance told me ‘he choked me out’.

 

Lance woke up- with his dad doing a ‘ground and pound’ on his face.

 

Broke his nose.

 

Lance was one of the top fighters in Montana- I think he was in the top 3 for the whole state at the time.

 

So- I knew he had some experience- but didn’t know this much.

 

Because of his past- doing time in federal prison- he is very paranoid.

He has [had] PTSD and he’s on meds for various things.

 

Lance is dangerous- and in a way Jason ‘tipped me off’ that he has crossed too many lines.

 

Something interesting happened this day.

 

I remember when Dirk stabbed Tennessee- lance told me that he was with Dirk the night before- and he knew there was something wrong with him.

 

He was acting strange- and saying some off the wall stuff- but also some good stuff.

 

Lance told me at the time that he wrote down some of the stuff Dirk was saying.

 

Yesterday he showed me the notes- I asked him if I could take them and read them.

 

‘Sure’.

 

These were some of the things he wrote-

 

‘Try to look deeper into others means of communication to gain a better understanding of how others interpret your intentions’

‘Accept fault on yourself- accept new ideas- think outside your box’

‘talk about related topics- avoid unnecessary extra talk’ [I have known Dirk for a long time- and to be honest he struggles with this- he does talk- nonstop- and has a hearing problem. Lots of people don’t like him around because of this- we became good friends because I learned to listen to him- not get inpatient. I never knew he was working on this- till I saw these notes].

 

‘set goals- plan ahead’

‘take enough time to think thru life changing situations’.

There are a few more like this.

 

I found this last one to be prophetic- Dirk stabbed Tennessee the next day.

‘Your life can turn around at any moment’.

 

Yes my friend- it sure can.

 

NOTE- When I talked with Lance- realized why he is paranoid- he told me ‘John- I don’t tell people too much- I’m always worried that they might be undercover FBI- if your one- then I’d rather it be you- then someone else’.

 

It reminded me of a line from Donnie Brascoe- Al Pacino [Lefty] said the same thing to Johnny Depp.

 

It took some time- not much- to become good friends with Lance. He has not told me anything that rises to the level of a serious crime. His past is on record.

 

But I did tell him ‘Kid- I’ve been around here a long time- I’m not about that [I think he knows- the old crew vouch for me- that yeah- John believes in what he’s doing- for real] I’m doing this stuff- well- for God’.

 

WEDNESDAY- Had a good meeting in Bishop yesterday- tonight I will do my last meeting in the Bluff till I get back.

 

While in Bishop- I got a text.

 

I usually don’t read them until later- but I figured I’d look.

 

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I held a short meeting at our halfway house on the other side of town.

 

For the first time- Chris Mcusker attended.

 

He and his brother studied for the priesthood at Notre Dame- and lots of times guys with this background avoid ‘bible studies’.

 

But John David told Chris ‘look- John is not like the usual type preacher- he really gets into this stuff- peaches Catholic theology and all- you need to attend’.

 

So- I did a short meeting- talked about how Jesus called his men- and how thru the gift of prophecy he ‘lured’ them in [gave the examples of Jesus saying to Nathanael- I saw you when you were under the fig tree- stuff like that].

 

At the end- I closed with a short prayer- and Chris ‘crossed’ himself [did the sign of the Cross].

 

Cool!

 Later that night got a text from David that Chris collapsed- again- and was admitted to the hospital.

 

He has been on life support about 5 times in these past few years since I’ve known him.

Lots of the guys at our halfway house come to us- well- on their death bed.

 

Many have bad livers- getting biopsies- some have had cancer of the liver.

 

Lots of long term affects from drugs and alcohol.

 

So- the text I got while in Bishop read ‘Chris died’.

 

This year one of the themes has been ‘time is short- some are going to die this year if they don’t get clean now’.

 

And this ‘prophecy’ has come to pass [I have seen more people die this year- from the streets- then any other year- that is people I knew from the streets].

 

I’ll see David in a bit- these last few days I’ll spend some time with the crew from the West side.

 

At the meeting I taught the story of Joseph- the teaching for this week.

 

Henry was there- and Henry is smart- we can talk theology- scholarship- lots of stuff I normally don’t bring up with the regular crew.

 

Henry mentioned Judah- one of the brothers of Joseph.

The prophecy that Jacob gives over his sons- one of the things he said to Judah is pretty famous.

 

‘Out of thee shall he come forth who shall be ruler of the people- the scepter shall not depart form Judah’ [I’ll try and copy the whole thing below].

 

Yeah- this prophecy speaks of Christ- in the book of Hebrews it says that the reason Christ came from a ‘non priestly’ tribe [ Judah- not Levi] was because the New Covenant is not based upon the Law.

 

The Old Covenant [trying to please God thru works- keeping the 10 commandments] had their own priesthood- the Levites.

 

So- this prophecy that Jesus will come from Judah- not Levi- showed us that today- in the New Testament church- we are no longer under a law mentality [trying to ‘save ourselves’ thru works].

But no- we have a high priest who came from a different tribe- the family of Judah.

 

This signifying that there was indeed a change of the priesthood- and a change in how we now approach God.

The bible says ‘the law came by Moses- but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ’.

 

So yeah- the prophecy about Judah has a lot of deep truths in it- and me and Henry both talked a bit- maybe on a ‘higher plane’ then usual- for my meetings- but it was good.

 

The other day I spent about 2 hours talking with Joshua- the house leader at Angel’s halfway house.

 

Josh does not hang out on the streets- he is sort of an intellectual- has studied world religions- all sorts of stuff.

 

He told me ‘I don’t want to sound arrogant John- but I don’t like hanging out with uneducated people- it doesn’t benefit me’.

 

Talking about the street crew.

 

Well- once again- I found a person who has real objections to the faith- and these friends of mine [Josh, Nikki, the guy who taught at Cal Berkley, etc.]

 

They are smart- so- it helps for them to talk to a ‘preacher’ who has a background in a lot of the stuff they too know.

 

So- I talked to Josh for a while- engaged in a serious discussion about world religions- Greek philosophy- Cosmology [How Ptolemy had a pretty accurate idea of the Solar System- a few hundred years before Christ].

 

Talked about Alexander the Great- the Hellenization of the Roman Empire- and how that was the reason our New Testaments were written in Geek- not Latin.

 

Ok- wanted you to give you an idea of how the conversation went.

 

After about an hour and a half- one of the guys walked in and said ‘its 3’ [for them- drinking time].

 

Josh said ‘I can’t believe we have been talking for almost 2 hours- it seemed like about 10-15 minutes’.

 

Now- the reason it ‘seemed’ short- was because Josh was engaging in a conversation- who by his own testimony [I hate talking to ignorant people] that he normally would not engage in.

 

Now- I did indeed share scripture- and showed him how some of his ideas were in line with the historic faith- something that he was not aware of.

 

Some of what he thought were objections to the faith [certain beliefs he held] were not objections to the faith.

 

He did not realize that he was actually holding to the Christian Worldview- as opposed to a non-Christian perspective.

 

Josh offered to download a bunch of bible stuff for me- he has studied Christianity as well as other religions- and at the end of our conversation- well- he became a new friend.

 

One of the biggest surprises has been Danny Gil.

I have known him for years- he is an alcoholic- and gets in lots of fights.

 

We almost got into it a few times ourselves.

 

Danny has been hearing me talk to the guys- and he has a real good background in the bible.

 

He knows a lot- this really surprised me.

 

And he did not attend the first meeting I did in the Bluff- but after hearing me talk- he has opened up.

Once again- he knows a lot- and people who are ‘smart’ often have disdain for uneducated ‘preachers’.

 

I shared a story with the guys the other day- Danny was there.

 

My hands shake- sometimes pretty bad.

 

Every so often someone will notice ‘hey John- I thought you quit drinking- why are your hands shaking’.

 

I tell them I did quit- it’s the after effects of all those years.

 

So- somehow the guys were talking about blaming others for stuff- when they are drunk.

 

Then later they realize they were wrong.

 

I told them one time I came back from the store with my two 40’s of beer.

I was in a rush to ‘start on them’ so I got out of the car- I hid the beers in one of those HEB bags- so people wouldn’t see me walking in every day- at 7:00 am- with my beer.

 

So- I got drunk- did the normal routine- and crashed out on the couch.

 

The next day- I couldn’t find the keys to my car- my classic  Mustang.

I looked all over- no where to be found.

As the day went on- I thought one of my kids took them [or my wife] you know- maybe to keep me from going out and getting more beer?

 

So- I had my daughter empty her purse- I accused everyone of  ‘hiding my damn keys’.

 

And- the way things go- I decided to ‘hot wire’ the car.

 

Yeah- I went into the garage- cut the ignition wires- and screwed up the car- for good.

 

So- now even if I find the keys- the car won’t work.

 

So- after a day or so- I think ‘geez- I was in such a rush to drink the beer- maybe I dropped the keys in the HEB bag’.

 

Sure enough- there they were.

 

So- I had the keys- but already tore up the ignition- sad- I know.

 

Danny did almost the same thing- but he left the keys in the freezer.

 

So after relaying the story- yeah- me and Danny have something in common.

He too accused his family of hiding the keys- thinking they didn’t want him to drive drunk.

 

He did the same thing as me- and found the keys in the freezer a day or so later.

 

The apostle Paul said ‘I have become all things to all men- that I might save some’.

 

I’m grateful that I can discuss stuff with intellectuals- or have common ground with drunks- or simply talk theology with Henry.

 

God uses us- our good- and bad experiences- to draw others in.

 

Like the story of Joseph- stuff happened to him- bad stuff- but in the end it worked out well.

 

If you remember- he said ‘you meant it for evil- God meant it for good- so I would go before you- and save many lives’.

 

Yeah- amen.

 

Genesis 49:8 Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father’s children shall bow down before thee.

Genesis 49:9 Judah is a lion’s whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up?

Genesis 49:10 The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.

Genesis 49:11 Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass’s colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes:

Genesis 49:12 His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk.

 

THURSDAY- I want to do some teaching on Philosophy- and the development of Western Thought- maybe I’ll get to it tonight.

 

Last night we had a good meeting at Angel’s halfway house here in the Bluff.

 

This is turning out to be one of the most effective meetings yet.

 

Why?

 

Because the atmosphere is really what I wanted form the start- the halfway house I do with David is good- but too strict.

 

At the one in the Bluff- it’s more of an open door feeling- the guys can drink and stuff after a set time- and I rather be ‘in the mix’ like this.

 

Ok- we had a new guy show up- he’s not a street guy- but a Christian who angel invited.

 

I did the teaching on Joseph- Danny said I was a good speaker [I just quote and talk- very open- I do use street language too- so- for the ‘high class’ bible study types- it might be a bit much].

 

But- I’m not there for them.

 

So- Angel’s friend James- after I was done teaching- he had lots of questions.

 

He saw me smoking- then talked about people being demon possessed- and how nicotine is a ‘demon’.

 

Ok- I wasn’t offended- but he did have a lot of other ‘strange’ beliefs- things that I am capable of ‘correcting’ in a nice way.

But to be honest- I wanted to hang with the guys- that’s where I do my most effective work.

So James had me for about an hour- asking all types of stuff- I mean ‘the crew’ wanted to hang- and Shaky even came outside- after James had my ear for an hour- Shaky said ‘John- before you leave don’t forget to talk to me’.

 

‘Ok’.

 

Yet- James wanted my time.

 

I did my best- I also noticed he is an ex Catholic- and lots of times these guys are the most anti Catholic of all.

 

During the meeting I prayed for Angel- she has some very serious health issues.

 

I anointed her with some Hoy Water that I got from Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City last year.

 

I didn’t say where I got it from- because I knew James was anti Catholic.

After the meeting he asked- so I wouldn’t lie- I told him where it was from.

 

He talked about all the ‘idols’ and demons in the Catholic church- I mean I’m able to correct a lot of this stuff- but I didn’t want to get into it now.

 

I finally had to walk inside- and get with the main group- the guys I’m really there for.

 

Shaky [the severe drinker- agnostic] has been coming to Timons almost every day.

 

He usually never goes.

 

But in the short few days I have known him- we have become friends.

So- I think he started going more to hang with me.

 

Good- that’s the way this stuff works- I’m not ‘preaching’ to these guys- no- they know my story- many of my drinking experiences they identify with- and this has been an open door.

 

Ok- let me do a little teaching- maybe finish it tonight.

 

Christianity is not simply ‘made up stories’ from some bible.

 

No- the history of Western Thought- Philosophy- ideas- all of the various World Views are imbedded with God- our concepts of God- and ask the ultimate question ‘where did all this come from- and why are we here’.

 

We usually trace the beginning of Ancient Philosophy to the 6th century BCE.

 

A thinker by the name of Thales sought to find ways to describe natural phenomena without the use of Greek Mythology.

 

Even though Philosophy deals with Metaphysics [things beyond the natural- physical realm- Physics] yet Thales wanted to find explanations for existence- without leaning on Myth.

 

He is considered a ‘Pre Socratic’ thinker [before Socrates] and espoused an idea that water was the key source of all things.

 

These guys were looking for a singular thing to explain stuff.

Sometimes referred to as a unified theory- the same thing that Einstein was seeking to find some 2 Millennia later.

 

So- Thales surmised that water was the key thing.

 

There are various ideas of why he came to this conclusion- but one reason might have been the idea of motion.

 

Many Geek thinkers were looking for the source of motion- where did it come from?

 

And to the natural eye- if you observe the ocean- rivers- etc. – there does seem to be no cause for the moving of water- so to these guys it seemed like water itself was the source- motion came from water.

 

Now- there were other religions who taught a sort of idea along these lines.

 

Some pagan religions said that the ‘god’s’ moved upon the water- and life came that way.

 

If you read the Christian account of creation in Genesis- you will notice that God did move upon the waters- and the account in Genesis does indeed say that he brought forth life from the water.

 

Thales came from for Miletus- in Asia Minor.

 

He was famous for the prediction of a Solar Eclipse that occurred on May 28th– 585 BCE.

 

The earliest account of this is found in the writings of Herodotus.

Thales is considered one of the 7 sages of the time.

 

Christianity was born at a time where Greek thought/ideas were a big part of society.

 

We do find the early apostles using the language/ideas of the Greek philosophers when describing the reality of Christ.

 

The apostle John refers to Christ as THE LOGOS- The word Logos- is a Greek word for ‘word’.

 

Jesus is called ‘the word of God’.

 

Now- the Greek thinkers were in fact seeking for the Logos- they used this term to describe the ultimate answer to all tings.

They were on a search for some Divine principle that could explain things.

 

So- the writers of the New Testament were in a way saying ‘look- we have found the Logos- the thing that you guys are looking for- it is Christ- the Divine Logos’.

 

We also see the apostle Paul debating with the Greek thinkers in the city of Athens [the seat of Geek philosophy- the city/state where Socrates was forced to drink cyanide].

 

In Acts chapter 17 he is preaching to these guys on Mar’s Hill- he says ‘In him we live AND MOVE and have our being’.

Now- today as we read this- we don’t get the full import of what he was doing.

 

But- to the Greek mind- the source of motion was a big thing.

 

Paul was a smart guy- and he was saying ‘in him we move’ showing that yes- the ‘source of motion’ [Thales water] is not found in the natural world [Physics] but the source comes from the Metaphysical world [God].

 

He also says ‘when I was walking thru your town- I saw one of your altars- to the unknown god’.

 

At the time many believed in a Pantheon of gods- and to cover their bases- they had an altar for any god they might have missed- smart thinking!

 

So Paul says ‘him I declare unto you’.

Notice how Paul was able to debate- converse with them- and at the end actually use their own ideas- to present the gospel.

In this chapter- Acts 17- we read of the only 2 groups of philosophers mentioned in the bible.

 

The Epicureans and the Stoics.

 

The Epicureans were an early form of what we call Hedonism today- the idea that pleasure is the principle purpose of man.

 

The Stoics believed in ‘stoicism’ that man should have no emotional response to pain or pleasure- that’s why we call people today ‘Stoics’- when they seem to not be moved by anything.

 

Ok- that’s it for now- might make some comments tonight- but I’m getting ready to fly out soon- and trying to wind down before I leave.

If I don’t write tonight- I’ll talk again when in North Bergen- God bless you all.

 

1Corinthians 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

1Corinthians 1:19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.

1Corinthians 1:20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?

1Corinthians 1:21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

1Corinthians 1:22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:

1Corinthians 1:23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;

1Corinthians 1:24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.

1Corinthians 1:25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

1Corinthians 1:26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:

1Corinthians 1:27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;

1Corinthians 1:28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:

1Corinthians 1:29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.

1Corinthians 1:30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:

1Corinthians 1:31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.

1Corinthians 2:1 And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.

1Corinthians 2:2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.

1Corinthians 2:3 And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.

1Corinthians 2:4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:

1Corinthians 2:5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

1Corinthians 2:6 Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought:

1Corinthians 2:7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:

1Corinthians 2:8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

1Corinthians 2:13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth.

 

See? Paul the apostle had the intellectual capacity to engage with the best of them- but he knew that the core issue- was sin. That is those who reject Christianity on the basis of ‘it’s a religion of foolishness’- in reality- even if you win the intellectual argument- yet for the most part people will still not believe. In the end it is always a matter of true repentance- being honest with ourselves- and others. So- Paul didn’t rely on the ‘wisdom of men’ but the power of the Cross. When needed- he would ‘use it’ [men’s wisdom- Acts 17- Mars Hill] but he closed his argument by declaring Christ.

 

2063- NORTH BERGEN- N.Y. AREA TRIP- APRIL- 2014.

 

 SATURDAY-NOON- STUCK AT HOUSTON AIRPORT.

 

Ok- being I have a 3 hour layover- might as well write a little.

 

I’m sitting at the airport- reading a few papers- and might comment on some world issues.

 

But first- yesterday I went to one of the first AA meetings in a while- just wanted to touch base with a few friends.

 

The meeting consisted of about 3 people- good people mind you- just talking for the whole time.

 

Didn’t seem like much was accomplished [but that’s ok- that’s not the point here].

As I have been reading the book of Romans- there are many themes that contrast law and grace.

 

I’ll quote just a few ‘Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to those who believe’.

‘Those who sought it by works [effort] did not find righteousness [freedom] but those who sought it not- found it by faith’. [Funny- it says some people found God- and they weren’t even looking! God works out stuff- where people- whose last thing on their mind is God- wind up finding him- cool!]

 

In Galatians it says ‘the law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ- but after we arrive at the true teacher- then the law has accomplished its purpose’.

 

The other day at the halfway house- Shaky- the agnostic- had a question.

 

He didn’t understand why the bible has both an old and new testament.

 

I explained why- but told him that the main reason is the old ‘way’- called the law- has passed away as a means to achieve salvation by our efforts.

 

And the New Way [New Testament] has now been established by the Blood of Jesus- a way of grace.

 

For centuries Gods people sought to change themselves thru the implementing of a program [the law- 10 commandments].

During this whole time- no one ever accomplished it.

 

The apostle Paul teaches us that the purpose of the law was to reveal sin to man [us!].

 

Ok- that’s the term ‘schoolmaster’ that I quoted above.

 

Now- Schoolmaster does not mean ‘teacher’ no- he was the guy who escorted the kids to the school- the real place of learning.

 

Now- after the kids get dropped off- he leaves.

 

His purpose was served.

 

Paul is showing us that we are now in a new time period [age of grace] where we are no longer in need of the schoolmaster [meaning the stage of trying to reform ourselves thru some program- or thru self-effort- that stage has passed].

 

‘So John- how do we then change’?

 

Good question.

 

That’s the whole reason for Christ dying on the Cross- he took our sins with him- died with them on him- and rose again.

 

Ok- now the way this new system works- is when we believe this [you mean it’s that easy?] we then receive ‘change’ [called the gift of righteousness] as a free gift.

 

I mean this is really basic- but we often miss the simple stuff.

 

At the AA meeting I mentioned above- some of my friends were there- good friends- people I am helping [thru the bible studies I do].

 

One of them told me how he argued with a relative the other week- he told the person that even though they were free from substance abuse- and doing real well- yet because this person never completed some steps- they are still not ‘right’.

 

Now- this friend of mine is doing ok- with his past substance problem- but has many other problems.

 

I have tried to help him learn to manage his life- with simple tools I learned over the years.

 

But- he refuses to listen- and says ‘everything he needs is in the big book’.

 

I have seen some friends struggle [like I do at times] but sometimes we fall into the legalism category- meaning we can take a good program- and it can become bondage over time- just like the Old law covenant.

 

Those who rely on any covenant/program- for change- without having the free gift of grace- can never truly achieve change.

 

That’s just the way the free gift of ‘change’ works- it’s a gift.

 

Ok- obviously there’s a lot more to this but being I’m here at the airport- figured I do something-

 

So- I did.

 

Ok- still have about an hour to board- let me do a little on world affairs.

I was reading Isaiah earlier- and it spoke about the judgment of God on nations that at one time were feared.

It said the adversaries began to see the once ‘feared nation’ as vulnerable- as one of them.

 

This pretty much has been happening with the standing that we now have in the world.

 

I could give many examples- but the present situation in Ukraine fits.

 

As of today [ 4-26] Russia has been making inroads into eastern Ukraine [they recently annexed Crimea] and the way the West [us] has responded- sort of shows how we have indeed lost our credibility among these nations that once feared us.

 

We also see how the nations of the world have adopted ‘our language’ when trying to justify certain actions.

 

The Kiev government just killed a few ‘protestors’ and called them ‘terrorists’.

 

Then Putin said ‘if the Government is killing its ‘own people’ this is a grave thing’.

 

This is indeed the language that we have used- many times- to justify military action around the globe.

 

All of this language simply depends on the perspective of those who use it to justify action.

 

One persons ‘terrorist’ is another one’s ‘freedom fighter’.

 

Ok- the statements from John Kerry- well to say the least- seem strange.

 

He has said that ‘time is running out for Putin to do the right thing’.

 

His ‘window to change course is closing’.

 

It’s quite obvious Putin is not looking for a window- no- he plans on taking Ukraine [at least the eastern half].

 

As I read thru the Old Testament prophets- there are many judgments pronounced on nations once considered ‘just’ and good.

 

But over time- they come under judgment because they no longer do what is just.

 

Now- I’m not one of those end time prophecy guys- by no means.

 

But- if you simply look at the state of world affairs right now- it’s about as bad as it has ever been [minus an actual war].

 

The leaders in Ukraine do believe that Russia is on the verge of repeating what Hitler did in Poland- they have said Putin is on a path to WW3.

 

Now- I don’t go that far- yet.

 

But what we are seeing- not only in Ukraine- but in other spots as well- is a bit ominous.

 

Like I said earlier in the year- I think the global situation is worse off than many believe.

Hope I’m wrong.

 [just got delayed one more hour- never planned on sitting in the airport for 4 hours- o well].

 

Might as well write the verse in ‘All they shall speak and say unto thee, art thou also become weak as we? Art thou become like unto us? Thy pomp is brought down to the grave’ Isaiah 14: 10-11.

 

MONDAY NIGHT- Ok- let’s talk a little about this visit.

2 of my 3 buddies from the area are locked up- the sad thing is they just got locked up a week ago- just missed them.

 

Last year- before I left Jersey- I wrote a note to each of these guys- talked real life stuff.

 

I did tell Billy ‘Billy- I was glad to meet you- become good friends- but- if you don’t change your ‘business’ you are going to get busted’.

 

His ‘business’ was taking the bus to Hackensack- picking up his ‘order’ and then taking the bus back- and selling his stuff.

 

Now- I did write about this stuff last year- in a way- it was funny [not his business]- but- it was so obvious- I mean his purchasers would wait for him at the bus stop.

 

My other friend- who is more careful- would sit with me outside White Castle and he would say ‘look John- those guys are like rats- they can’t even wait for him to get off the bus!’

 

So- in my note to Billy I did say ‘it’s obvious Billy- your gonna wind up getting busted’.

 

He did.

 

Ok- I ran into my atheist friend at White Castle the last few days.

 

We became good friends last year- and because of that- he speaks highly of me.

 

I do know some in the area of dealing with atheism- and I do it in a respectful way.

Today as I walked in- he told his friend ‘here’s John- he’s a biblical scholar- really- and I’m saying that as an atheist’.

He said ‘John’s a better atheist than me’.

 

Not really- but I have read more of the most popular books that have been put out in the last 10 years- Chris Hitchens [who has died]- Sam Harris and a few more.

 

He was not aware of these guys- so- he’s a nice older guy- but not really up on the latest stuff.

 

In Church Sunday- they talked about the recent canonization of Pope John Paul and John the 23rd.

I have written about Vatican Council 2 before [held between 1962- 65].

 

I liked the change the church made at the time- and the Pope made an effort to reach out to the other Christin churches- for the first time the Catholic church referred to these as ‘separated brethren’.

So- efforts are/have been made to try and reconcile the divisions in the church- which I like.

 

So- the priest mentioned a point I never knew- when the Pope invited these other churches [the heads of these churches] he welcomed them by saying ‘greetings- I am Joseph- your brother’.

 

I found it interesting- because I just taught on Joseph- and how he received his brothers with grace- after they did him wrong.

 

So- my atheist friend used to be Catholic- and is a staunch liberal [common for the North East].

 

And I covered a lot of church history- got into some deep stuff- and he is a smart guy- and really has complimented me on these discussions.

 

I told him that on my Blog- I try and teach in a way that Muslims- Jews- even atheists- could join the conversation- without feeling unwelcomed.

He said ‘that’s what I like about you- you’re the only one that has ever done this’.

 

Now- I’m not the only one- but the ‘only one’ he has met.

 

He kids me ‘John- I might convert you’.

At one point during our talks- I said ‘Christians should respect other groups- other religions- and even those with no religion’.

 

I said ‘because all people- even atheists- are created in the image of God’.

 

He agreed [or let’s say- didn’t disagree]

 

Hmm- image of God?

 

Yeah- he needs to be careful- I might just ‘convert him’ [he agreed that yeah- he too was created in the image of God- Jesus said be WISE as serpents- but harmless as doves].

 

It’s important for us to ‘be wise’ to have a background in many fields- not just the bible [I talk philosophy with him as well].

Because when people- atheists- whoever- feel like what they are hearing [in my case- a defense of the faith] is coming from someone with a wide range of study- not just ‘religion’ then they listen more- they feel like the other points- about the validity of the church- may also be valid.

 

I try and do all of this in a spirit of meekness- trying to be open- listen to the points they make- and then share my view.

 

Wise? – Yeah- but harmless too- it does work.

 

Note- 2 guys have died since I was last here- Mario and Ed.

 

Mario was about 45- he was an alcoholic- but not on the street.

 

He used to sit at White Castle every day- and drink hard liquor from a bottle.

 

Ed was a vet- a POW from the famous Battle of the Bulge.

 

He was a decorated vet.

 

My friend Rick used to get a kick out of him- Ed would sing in White Castle- he was a real character.

 

I don’t know what type of ‘spiritual’ condition these guys were in- and I’m not one to judge.

 

But- when I have my talks in White Castle- everyone does hear.

 

I just saw the one friend- who is not in jail- a couple of hours ago.

 

He’s a nice guy- but he- like the others- are suffering from addiction.

 

Because Billy is not around- I’ll be standing outside White Castle- and they are all trying to find someone else to ‘purchase’ from.

 

It’s sad- but I’ve of course seen it before.

 

So- for this short trip- I’ll do my best.

This was an unplanned trip- and in one week- just not enough time to try and start new meetings.

 

Maybe next time- maybe.

 

TUESDAY-

The weather in N.J. is nice today- was up early in the yard- nice and cool.

Just talked to a few friends from Texas- all is well.

 

I will try and go to the city [NY] at least one more time before this short trip is over.

There is a verse that comes to mind ‘the kingdom of heaven suffers violence- and the violent take it by force’.

 

Jesus said this at a time when the Jewish people were under Roman occupation.

 

There were some Jews who embraced a zealot mindset- that is they wanted to mount an actual guerilla war against Rome- and throw off their oppressors.

 

Jesus had one of these guys in his group- Simon [not Peter- who also goes by that name].

When Jesus talked about violence- in the above context- he was not talking about an actual overthrow of Rome- in a violent way.

 

But he was showing his guys that thru a new way- which to him would end up in a violent crucifixion- he would accomplish the overthrow of Rome.

 

3 centuries after Christ the emperor Constantine would declare Christianity the religion of the empire.

 Jesus was no pacifist- no- he believed that the mission he was on did require violence- but it wasn’t against people.

 

When they came to take Jesus in the garden- Peter drew his sword and cut off a guy’s ear.

 

Jesus rebuked him ‘put up the sword- they who live by the sword will die by it’.

 

Yeah- he put the guy’s ear- who Peter cut off- back on the guy!

 

Now- there might have been a purpose to this- everyone did not see all the miracles Jesus did.

 

Many heard about them- and I’m sure some doubted.

 

After Jesus healed this Roman soldier- by putting his ear back on.

 

Then he said ‘if you are here to take me- then let these guys go’.

There was a scripture that said none of his men would be taken- so as you can imagine- after the soldiers actually saw one of the miracles- I’m sure they were quick to do what he said.

 

Yeah- they let the disciples go.

 

See?

 

Violence was involved- but the kind of ‘violence’ Jesus used- was a radical showing of the kingdom.

 

He did real miracles- showed compassion- and yes- at times got mad- not in a self-righteous way- but because he had a zeal for the kingdom of God.

 

The first little book I wrote was called ‘House of prayer or Den of thieves’.

 

The title came from something Jesus said.

 

One day as he was walking thru the temple area- he saw the merchants selling stuff- he walked up to the table and flipped it- he was mad.

 

He said ‘My father’s house is to be a house of prayer- but you have made it a den of thieves’ [in context- he was yelling this!]

 

This is the only recorded incident where he got mad- and did a ‘violent’ act.

 

Jesus had a rough group of men- yet he was the leader of the group- and they listened to him.

 

Why?

 

Were they afraid of him?

 

No- I don’t think so- but for the short time they were with him- for about 3 years- they saw he was on a God ordained mission.

 

They did indeed see miracles- and in a way this small group was the beginning of a movement that would later take the world.

 

Yeah- in the end he won the war- without firing a single shot.

 

TUESDAY NIGHT- 

Had an interesting day today- spent the morning with the senior crew at White Castle- was going to cover some interesting talks I had- with Ted.

 

An older guy I met last year- but today we hit it off well.

 

Maybe I’ll get to that tomorrow.

 

I just got back from spending about 3 hours with the guys who use- Heroin.

 

Now- 1 week is too short to gain trust- and the only friends from last year- 2 are locked up- but the closest friend is not.

 

So- I guess he ‘vouched’ for me- I’m not going to use names this time- like I did last year.

 

But today- all the guys that were leery of me the other day [I’m sure they thought I was a Narc].

 

Today they were real open- talked openly about their ‘dealings’- funny in a way- the one friend I made from last year- well- he’s sort of the ringleader of the new group.

 

And I mean I do laugh- as well as some others- they were arguing over why one guy was taking so long [he had to go to NYC- because Billy- the old ‘business’ guy- is in jail].

 

So- the past few days these guys have been in disarray- they are having a hard time- well- getting stuff they ‘need’.

 

I mean it’s funny- my buddy told the other guy ‘talk to me like that again- and I’ll slap the ^%$# out of you right here- in White Castle!’

One of the other guys says ‘no there are kids in here!’

 

I haven’t spent too much time with this friend this time around.

 

The old crew is missing ‘2 members’ and I have just run into my buddy a few times.

 

But after a few hours of being in the mix- meeting some new guys- I told my friend ‘hey- I’m heading out- see you tomorrow- I’m going to DePalmas to get some bread and Italian cold cuts’.

 

‘Wait- I’ll go with you John- I need to get cigarettes’.

 

He was still in the middle of a deal- yeah- he dropped it- and we took off.

 

He went out of his way to go with me- I mean you wouldn’t walk 5 blocks for cig’s- you normally get them at one of the 3 stores right there.

 

But he wanted to hang a bit- good.

 

As we walked- he told me ‘John- I’d like to get out of New Jersey too- like you did. You know- good people like you- they always leave- I wish you did move back’.

 

We had a good talk- I did tell him I’m going to the NA meeting tonight at Our Lady of Fatima [which is me throwing out a lifeline- these guys are all doing Heroin].

 

We went into the Italian Deli- I told the owner ‘yeah- I grew up here- wanted to get some good Italian stuff- can’t find it in Texas’.

 

I bought about 29 dollars of stuff- my buddy is the classic N.J. type talker- just like you hear in the mob movies- he said hi to all the Italian guys at the deli- they know him well.

 

When the owner rang up my tab- he didn’t add the total up- just said ‘give me 25- that’s all’- yeah- he did one of those old Italian things- gave me a deal.

 

As I was walking out- going a different way- my friend said ‘Wait- I’ll walk with you’.

I told him I’m headin’ in- then going to the meeting.

 

Now- I would have invited him- but I know he wouldn’t have gone tonight.

 

But he did ask me the street the church is on- and wanted to make sure he had the right one.

 

Yeah- haven’t really done any ‘preaching’ to this friend- just restarted the friendship we had last year.

 

But he sees that the road I’m on now is better- I’m glad I spent some time with him today- some good seeds were planted.

Plus- he helped out- these new guys would have never talked so openly in front of me. My friend- who last year did indeed think I was an undercover cop- this time he vouched for me- yeah- I needed that.

 

WEDNESDAY-

 

Ok- yesterday morning- till about noon- I had some good talks with the senior guys that I met last year while hanging out at White Castle.

 

Last year I hung out with guys my age- Heroin addicts- and these older guys saw me with them for 3 months.

At first I’m sure they thought I was simply some addict on the street- but over time they heard I was up here- back in my home town- doing ministry.

 

I’m not sure they believed me- I have had friends who didn’t believe ‘my story’ – Retired from Fire Dept.? Many don’t think I look old enough to have done 25 years at the Fire Dept. – but- I did.

 

So- I talked with Ted for about 2 hour’s yesterday- I remember last year- when I spoke to my atheist friend- who is also part of the senior crew.

 

He would talk ‘bad’ about the church- and even though these old guys are friends- Daniel- the atheist- would say ‘Ted doesn’t like it when I criticize the church’.

 

So I realized Ted must have some sort of faith background.

 

 [Funny- the other day Daniel- the older atheist- he sells stuff- lighters- whatever- to Nick. Nick says ‘John- he wants to sell me an ‘8-ball’- but he wants too much for it’.- Now- an 8 ball- usually means you’re buying a certain amount of Cocaine- and I don’t know if people misunderstood- so I said ‘you mean an 8 ball lighter’. Daniel had a lighter- that looked like an 8-ball [from a pool ball] – One of the new guys I met- laughed out loud. He is using- and yeah- he thought the same thing- that Daniel was trying to sell Cocaine!]

 

Yesterday we talked for a while- Ted is around 75- single- and taught school for 35 years in Union City.

 

I think the name of the school is Edison- but he said it was the most populated grammar school in N.J.

His family immigrated to this area from Albania- and they have a Greek Orthodox background.

 

I talked well about the Greek Orthodox church- kind of got into some history- and a little ‘intellectual’ stuff- being he’s a smart guy- he got what I was saying.

 

He told me an interesting story- his brother worked at a restaurant in Paramus- the Steak Pit.

 

This was many years ago- he said one day the mob guys walked in [mafia] and they decided that his would be a meeting spot for them.

 

The told the owner ‘when we come in- we want this waiter only- we don’t want people coming in- and we will eat- do our business- and leave’.

 

He said every time these guys came- that’s what they did.

 

His brother said they treated him fine- and it was real open- everyone knew they were mob guys.

 

Ted said he will never forget the stories his brother told him from this time.

 

I also spent about an hour talking to Bob.

I too met him last year- and Bob likes to reminisce about the schools that we both went to.

 

He went to my grade school- Horace Mann- in the 60’s- I went in the 70’s.

 

Now I don’t ‘preach’ to these guys- but I do talk about God- the bible- I ‘slip it in’ along the way.

 

Bob was talking about some people who died recently.

 

How life is short- that we often don’t realize how time is slipping away.

 

I told him that was a theme I have been speaking on all year.

 

I quoted a few verses ‘hey Bob- the bible says ‘teach us to number our days that we might apply our hearts to wisdom’.

I said there is a bible book- part of what we call the Wisdom literature of the Old Testament.

 

It’s named Ecclesiastes- meaning ‘the preacher’ it was written by King Solomon.

 

I quoted from the last chapter- it speaks about remembering your creator in the days of your youth- then uses poetic language to describe the frailty of our human condition.

 

How our bodies break down over time- we lose teeth- legs don’t work- yeah- it’s kind of coming from a ‘blues’ mentality.

This book was written during a time when King Solomon was depressed- questioning the meaning of life.

 

I mean he had a lot going for him- was wise- the richest king that Israel ever had.

 

Yet- he went thru a stage where none of this had any real meaning to him- he even uses a phrase ‘there is nothing new under the sun’.

 

Ernest Hemingway wrote a book titled ‘Under the Sun’- it actually came from this verse.

 

Hemingway [like Hunter Thompson] was a talented writer- I love the Old Man and the Sea.

But he too struggled with the meaning of life- much like Solomon.

 

Now- Hemingway was in a way like Hunter Thompson- the writer who Johnny Depp portrayed in the movie ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’.

 

These guys struggled with the meaning of life.

 

They both had the same perspective that I spoke about last month- when I talked about the Nihilistic philosophers- Sartre and Camus.

 

Hemingway and Thompson killed themselves- yeah- they stayed true to form.

 

As I spoke to Bob- and quoted the last chapter of the book of Ecclesiastes- I said ‘Bob- Solomon came to this conclusion- Remember your creator in the days of your youth- when you have your health- because the days are coming- soon- when we will start falling apart’- Bob agreed.

 

Solomon did not take the road of a Hemingway- or Thompson.

 

His conclusion was- the end purpose of man was to obey God- keep his commandments- do what’s right in life- honor God.

 

As I spoke- of course all the other people in the restaurant hear- and even though these are not official meetings- still- the seed [of God’s word] gets planted- and the bible says it will not ‘come back void’.

 

Ecclesiastes 12:1 Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;

Ecclesiastes 12:2 While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain:

Ecclesiastes 12:3 In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows be darkened,

Ecclesiastes 12:4 And the doors shall be shut in the streets, when the sound of the grinding is low, and he shall rise up at the voice of the bird, and all the daughters of musick shall be brought low;

Ecclesiastes 12:5 Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail: because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets:

Ecclesiastes 12:6 Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern.

Ecclesiastes 12:7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.

Ecclesiastes 12:8 Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all is vanity.

Ecclesiastes 12:9 And moreover, because the preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yea, he gave good heed, and sought out, and set in order many proverbs.

Ecclesiastes 12:10 The preacher sought to find out acceptable words: and that which was written was upright, even words of truth.

Ecclesiastes 12:11 The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd.

Ecclesiastes 12:12 And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.

Ecclesiastes 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.

Ecclesiastes 12:14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.

Ecclesiastes 9:9 Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity: for that is thy portion in this life, and in thy labour which thou takest under the sun.

Ecclesiastes 9:10 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.

Ecclesiastes 9:11 I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

Ecclesiastes 9:12 For man also knoweth not his time: as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare; so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them.

Ecclesiastes 9:13 This wisdom have I seen also under the sun, and it seemed great unto me:

[Solomon uses the pharse Under the Sun a lot- these are just a few examples]

 

 

Ecclesiastes 3:1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

Ecclesiastes 3:2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

Ecclesiastes 3:3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

Ecclesiastes 3:4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

Ecclesiastes 3:5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

Ecclesiastes 3:6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

Ecclesiastes 3:7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

Ecclesiastes 3:8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

 

These famous words were put to song by an old rock group.

 

WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON-

Had a productive day today- was going to make a few notes [reminders] and then talk about it later- but figured I’d’ better write it now [there is more than one reason- if I REMEMBER- I’ll try and get to it].

I spent about 2 hours at White Castle- spoke to Bob- and then talked for a while with one of the new guys I met this week.

 

He’s one of the guys who waits for his connection- to bring him heroin.

Now- like I said- normally just meeting a new guy for a day or 2- no- they don’t trust you- or talk.