- TABLE OF CONTENTS
- WAR ROOM -
STUDY - MORAL
ISSUES - KING
JAMES BIBLE - CULTS
The point of the article is this..... God leads us, on some unusual occasions, into contact with people he is working with in some way. The reason is that we are to either plant seed, water seed already planted, or take the harvest. Sometimes, God just needs a Bible believer to cheer on and encourage someone fleeing from evil and heresy to Christ.
You will notice that most of my experiences led me to be a friend and encourage people already headed in the right direction in some way. God simply allowed me to help them along.
find these stories hard to deal with because they have it all worked out in black
and white, that is, how salvation or victory is supposed to come to a person.
Any contacts with other people that do not fit the legal structures of John Calvin
are assumed to be invalid.
Calvinists will find these stories hard to deal with because they have it all worked out in black and white, that is, how salvation or victory is supposed to come to a person. Any contacts with other people that do not fit the legal structures of John Calvin are assumed to be invalid.
be troubled also because they will not like the fact that I did not grab every
one of these people by the collar and demand that they make a decision. Arminians
will tell me, "They may be burning in Hell because you failed to demand a
verdict." I am all for going for a verdict, but give the jury enough information
to work with first.
Arminians will be troubled also because they will not like the fact that I did not grab every one of these people by the collar and demand that they make a decision. Arminians will tell me, "They may be burning in Hell because you failed to demand a verdict." I am all for going for a verdict, but give the jury enough information to work with first.
My Lord did not hammer every person he met in Galilee. He gave them the
truth, and he let them decide what to do with it. Some believed his message, some
walked away, and some hated him. If you don't have all three of those responses
to the life you live before men, you are not much like my Jesus.
My Lord did not hammer every person he met in Galilee. He gave them the truth, and he let them decide what to do with it. Some believed his message, some walked away, and some hated him. If you don't have all three of those responses to the life you live before men, you are not much like my Jesus.
1 Corinthians 3:5 Who then is Paul, and who is
Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?
6 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.
7 So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.
1 Corinthians 3:5 Who then is Paul, and who is
Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?
I consider pastors and zealots, who demand a verdict right now from every
unsaved person they meet, to be a large offense and a lot of bother to Christ
and his Church. I have found that the patience and confidence to let God decide
when to call the sinner to a decision is often critical to their salvation. But,
the hardest thing is to keep out of the way when the Holy Ghost is working with
a backslider. We want to step in and explain why that person needs to repent right
I consider pastors and zealots, who demand a verdict right now from every unsaved person they meet, to be a large offense and a lot of bother to Christ and his Church. I have found that the patience and confidence to let God decide when to call the sinner to a decision is often critical to their salvation. But, the hardest thing is to keep out of the way when the Holy Ghost is working with a backslider. We want to step in and explain why that person needs to repent right now.
Ed would not stop smoking, though he was attending a Bible church and
spoke often about the Lord and his faith. No one rebuked him, and he was careful
not to offend by smoking in inappropriate places. One day Ed was walking downtown
smoking. He met a lady with her young son, and they stopped and greeted one another.
As they turned to walk on, the little boy said, "See, uncle Ed smokes, and
he's a good Christian. It must be all right." Ed had not gotten the message
before that moment, but the little boy did what many preachers and sermons could
not do. Ed was smitten with regret, and he stopped smoking cold turkey at that
moment. He was terrified of what God might think of his impact on the boy and
the teaching from his mother.
Ed would not stop smoking, though he was attending a Bible church and spoke often about the Lord and his faith. No one rebuked him, and he was careful not to offend by smoking in inappropriate places. One day Ed was walking downtown smoking. He met a lady with her young son, and they stopped and greeted one another. As they turned to walk on, the little boy said, "See, uncle Ed smokes, and he's a good Christian. It must be all right." Ed had not gotten the message before that moment, but the little boy did what many preachers and sermons could not do. Ed was smitten with regret, and he stopped smoking cold turkey at that moment. He was terrified of what God might think of his impact on the boy and the teaching from his mother.
I guess if there is a metanarrative here, it is, "Get your Baptist
rule book out of the way of the Holy Ghost."
I guess if there is a metanarrative here, it is, "Get your Baptist rule book out of the way of the Holy Ghost."
Stop trying to get sinners sanctified before they are justified. Leave
Mount Sinai in the desert where it belongs.
Stop trying to get sinners sanctified before they are justified. Leave Mount Sinai in the desert where it belongs.
If this article is used for a teaching situation in a church Bible class,
here is the key verse for this lesson:
If this article is used for a teaching situation in a church Bible class, here is the key verse for this lesson:
Revelation 3:1 And unto the angel of the church
in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and
the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and
2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.
Revelation 3:1 And unto the angel of the church
in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and
the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and
Stop being an ANT Christian..... Automatic Negative Thinking. Instead
of thanking God you are not as wicked as some compromised Christian, or even a
lost sinner, see if you can help them up out of the ditch onto the narrow way
with you. And, by the way, there will be other groups beside Baptists in Heaven,
contrary to what your pastor may tell you.
Stop being an ANT Christian..... Automatic Negative Thinking. Instead of thanking God you are not as wicked as some compromised Christian, or even a lost sinner, see if you can help them up out of the ditch onto the narrow way with you. And, by the way, there will be other groups beside Baptists in Heaven, contrary to what your pastor may tell you.
Episcopal denomination in southern USA- Bible Institute
While I was in the US Army from 1968 to 70 I met an Episcopal Chaplain's assistant. I was a chaplain's assistant also, and we got to talking about where we came from. He was from the deep South of the USA. I made mention of the drift into liberal Christianity of the Episcopal Church, and this guy got a bit agitated. He then assured me that the southern division of the Episcopal Church was not Liberal. He also told me they had a Bible Institute in the South which was very conservative. I still find that hard to believe, but his following discussion of spiritual things fit well with his claim. He showed every sign of being born again.
I have learned over the years to not assume 100% of any branch of Christendom is fully godless and on the way to Hell. What finally tells me about anyone is their confession of faith in Jesus Christ alone for salvation. After seeing how many members of Fundamental Baptist and Charismatic churches are living like dogs spiritually, I have come to believe that God is calling out sinners from the most unlikely places to confess Christ. We also need to understand that a confession of faith in Jesus Christ is the ONLY thing that is required by God. If heretical conditions and actions are added by any group, they are not living by faith alone. That is reason to assume they are not truly born again. But it is time to recognize that God has his people in many unlikely places.
Romans 11:2 God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying,
3 Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life.
4 But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal.
5 Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.
Beware of preachers who try to convince you that your local church is the only place God is doing his work and saving souls. You will read more about this below.
Zobos was a witch. He lived in the Northwest of the USA, and he was a clever jolly intellectual on the Internet. His site had all sorts of articles which were clearly meant to make witchcraft look innocent and fun. In one of my articles on Satanism and witchcraft I reviewed an assortment of his writings showing that witches tried to give dignity and innocence to their evil cult.
I had used a graphic in one article on witchcraft, and I had linked to the URL of a graphic of witchcraft on Zobos' site. In the 1990s we who were on the web early with journals used this trick to embed photos in articles, and we usually gave credit to the source. Zobos knew a little trick I did not know.
He made a photo in Coral, a photo editing software, in which he had a woman who looked witchy, and he edited the photo to give her enormous breasts. In the Graphic he added the line, "Come and get some Stevie." He then posted the graphic to the URL of the graphic I used.
Some Bible believer reader alerted me to the thing, and I at once replaced the graphic. I then got an email from Zobos in which he apologized if I was offended and told me he was just having a bit of fun at my expense. It was really a decent email, and I could not bring myself to hammer him. What was even more startling was that he pointed out some weak areas of my web page design and offered to do a web page for me if I wanted him to. He said I could then include his innovations in my future articles.
You just never know when your enemy will offer to prepare a table before you instead of attack. I wrote Zobos back, and I could not bring myself to go on the offensive since he had apologized. I pointed out that I could help him if he ever decided that witchcraft was not doing him any good, and that was the end of it.
Just because you have the biggest hammer in town does not mean you have to smash every nail you see.
While I was a Chaplain's Assistant in the US Army at For Knox, Kentucky, we had Sunday services in the morning, but we had no evening service. My wife and I usually visited other churches, but some Sunday evenings we went for rides in the country. One Sunday evening we were wandering along country roads in a very remote rural area. We came along a road with the windows rolled down to get the cool evening air. As we rounded a curve we saw a sign for a Methodist Church. Also, we heard them singing, and they were singing Power In The Blood. We were downright shocked. The Methodist Church, even in the 1960s, was a dead church dominated by Liberals who had no use for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Methodist theologians made very clear that they did not talk about blood in their version of Christianity to the extent of openly mocking at any Christians who preached the shed Blood of Jesus.
I still feel bad about that evening. We drove on down the road rejoicing that there was still one Methodist Church that was singing Gospel hymns about the Blood of Jesus. But, we should have pulled in and joined them in the service.
The lesson is this. When you meet someone, or find a group of people showing godly zeal, don't walk on by. Stop and have some fellowship with them. They may need your encouragement as they try to stay on the Narrow Way.
I tuned pianos for a living in southeastern Arizona in the 1990s. One of my customers lived about half way between our home and Nogales, Arizona in desert hill country. They had a straw bale home, and it was a landmark to architects who came from all over America to see the home. The walls were straw bales piled up and plastered inside and out. The structure was barn style beam and post design, and it was a very luxurious looking home. With the outside temperature at 110 degrees, they did not turn on the air conditioning until 2 or 3 PM.
The first time I tuned there, these people asked me to stop tuning and have lunch with them. I was delighted because they were fascinating people. Before we ate I asked if I could pray before the meal. They were delighted. They were Catholics, and as I ended my prayer, they crossed themselves. From that point on, they became very personal and learned that I had been a missionary. I ended the visit with them both telling me that they were deeply blessed with my fellowship. That somewhat startled me, but I have had that happen before, especially with Hispanic people. These folks were not Hispanic though.
The next time I came, the man asked me if I would be done by some time in the late afternoon. I told him I could be. He then told me that he and his wife went to "prayer meeting" at their Catholic church at that time..... on Thursday evening. I innocently asked, "What do you folks pray about." The answer blew me away, and you may have a hard time to believe I am not making this up. The man said, "We pray that Roman Catholics will be born again." I asked him to explain what that meant. He then told me that their priest was very troubled that most Catholics had never really believed in Jesus Christ as their Savior. He said they are just following rituals and have no real faith that would save their souls.
I told them that I was delighted to see their zeal for seeing souls saved, and I asked how I could find their priest. They told me what church he was in. A couple of weeks later I went around to find the priest, and he had resigned his church and gotten permission from the Catholic diocese in Massachusetts to start an order for priests. I asked my customer later about it, and they said he wanted to start an order for priests to reach Catholics with the Gospel and seek to lead them to real faith in Christ. The order he started had one main requirement. Every day, after breakfast and devotions, all the priests in the order had to hit the streets of Boston and seek Catholics and ask them for a confession of faith. If they could not give one, these priests were to give them the Gospel and seek to lead them in confession of Christ as their Savior.
Again, I told you these stories would be strange. This story is 100% true. I have no idea what the order is called, but I sure would love to find it and learn what is happening. What really startled me is this..... the Catholic diocese in Boston approved of the order to be started. That means there is a Cardinal or Bishop somewhere who agrees that many Catholics are not born again, or he would not have approved of the priest's efforts.
When you get to Heaven, you must brace yourself my friend. You will meet people there who came by paths that you assumed were locked down solid and owned by Satan. A small dose of Calvinism is in order here. When God elects someone to salvation, the gates of Hell cannot prevent Christ from finding and saving that soul.
I found it very hard to call him "Father Garcia," but if I did not, his church workers, whom I had to deal with while tuning their piano, would have thought I was an idiot and crude. So, like Naaman, I declared that the idol was nothing. Garcia was a Hispanic priest of a church in a border city in Arizona. I have changed his name for this story to protect him. He had an upright Steinway that I tuned for him in his church office. Never buy a Steinway upright. Spend the cash, and buy a grand.
On my first visit, Garcia learned I had been a missionary and pastor, and he at once dove into some doctrinal discussion in which he was clearly troubled at the Catholic Church's position. It was not something very important to me or particularly heretical, but he was highly motivated, so I tried to hold up my end of the discussion and give him a gentle shove in the direction he was going.
I always take a break during a tuning to keep from getting too strung out in the work. I walked into the sanctuary of his church, and there, hanging from the ceiling, was a huge cross. What startled me was that it was not a crucifix of the normal type. There was no Jesus figure on the cross. It was empty. I went back to the office, and I told Garcia, "I am delighted to see your cross in the sanctuary. Jesus is alive in Heaven, not dead." Garcia grinned from ear to ear and told me that was his feeling exactly, and that he had changed the cross as soon as he was sent to the church.
Another time, when I went there to tune the piano, I saw a statue of "Our Lady of Guadalupe," which was about six feet tall, and sitting on a table in the office. This statue of Mary is the one used by all Mexican churches. Pope Leo XIII granted "coronation" to this image in the big church in Mexico City, and it is the most visited Catholic shrine in Mexico and third most visited religious shrine in the world.
I had seen many of them in Hispanic homes where I tuned pianos, and I had always wondered about those horns at the bottom which look ominous. Also, the image of a man at the bottom, what is that? I asked my priest friend what the image represented. He admitted the horns looked ominous, but he said they were from the Bible verse that says a woman is standing in the moon. Revelation 12:1 And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: He said the man at the bottom is actually Jesus. He sounded grumpy, so I asked him what he was going to do with it. "I would stuff it into a closet if I had my choice, but someone donated it to the church when their family member died. If I don't display it somewhere they will think that their dead family member will not get out of Purgatory sooner." Ugh. I felt sorry for Garcia. He hated images, and there was another one, and there was no place left to put it. He also told me that when he visited the Vatican years before he saw a statue of Mary which was covered around the bottom with skulls. He said no one could explain to him why it was that way, and he was openly disgusted with it.
Antonio Garcia told me that on Sunday mornings the Hispanic members came to church, walked right to the image of some saint, kneeled, and started long prayers. He said he had to wait way too long for them to get done doing this, and he did not have enough time to preach. So, he made a rule for that particular church which was not an official Catholic rule. He told the people that they could not pray to the images until he had read the Bible text for the day. After that, they were reluctant to interrupt him to get up and walk over and pray to the statues. I really caught a spirit of sacred rebellion from Garcia when he told me this.
Garcia then asked me what I thought would help his situation. I prayed real fast, asking the Lord for help, and I told him, "Preach longer during the Homily" which is what Catholics call the sermon. Most priests are much too bored with all the ritual to prepare anything more than a five minute sermon. Garcia loved to teach the Bible. He had ten Bible studies a week in the homes of church members in the city.
Several months later I was in the home of a member of Garcia's church. I asked the lady how things were going at the church. She exploded with delight and told me, "Father Garcia is preaching longer and longer messages, sometimes forty five minutes long. I never knew why I was a Catholic, but now I am learning from the Bible what I should believe." She also said that Garcia would take the huge Spanish Valera altar Bible in his arms and walk up and down the aisles preaching his heart out. She said that if someone dozed off, Garcia would walk over next to them and preach good and loud until they woke up. He did the same if kids got to whispering to each other.
This lady also told me that Garcia visited all the homes of the members regularly, something most Catholic priests fail to do. She said he would not come unless the husband was home, or one of the older sons, so as to avoid the appearance of evil. Good man. Some Baptist preachers are not that smart. She said the kids all looked forward to Garcia's visits because of his way with the kids. He was very personal in his interest in their lives and troubles. But, she said that when she told her kids that Garcia was coming to visit one day, the kids would all get together and try to remember what he preached about last Sunday. The reason was that, during his visit, Garcia would turn to one of the kids and ask, "What did I preach about last Sunday?" The kid would tell him, and he would then ask, "What does that mean to you"? Garcia's zeal was clearly to see that his members knew what they believed.
At one tuning at his office I asked him if he had ever heard of the life of Father Charles Chiniquy, the Canadian priest who converted to faith in Jesus Christ and left the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church excommunicated him and then set him up with a morals charge and sued him in an Illinois court. Abraham Lincoln, during his career as a trial lawyer, defended Chiniquy, and the case was withdrawn by the Arch Diocese of Chicago when the witnesses were found to be lying. I had found an early printing of Chiniquy's autobiography. Most of those books were burned by Jesuits. I asked Garcia if he would like the book to read. His eyes lit up, and he said he would love to read the story. I took the book around one day in a brown paper bag and gave it to him. He started walking into his office with the book, and I suggested he not take it in there because one of his members might see it and wonder if he were becoming a heretic. He agreed at once and went and put it in the trunk of his car.
I never got to the end of the story with Garcia. I most certainly pushed him over and over on down the road of rebellion against Catholic superstition and heresy, but I never felt compelled by the Holy Spirit to go for a verdict. I had the clear impression that God wanted Garcia to work out his final act in the same way Martin Luther did. I do believe I will see him in Heaven though. All the indications of zeal for the plain teachings of the Bible were in him, and he hated the Catholic system. Also, the Bishop in Tucson assigned him special projects, instead of giving them to other priests in that city, because Garcia would do the projects. The other priests, with one exception, would go off and botch the projects. So, Garcia was over worked, and he was tired of that also. If you want to win a priest to Christ, invite him to your home for dinner so that he can relax and get a break from the chaos of his work.
Don't expect to find this sort of priest very often, but I assure you, they are out there. There are many Catholic priests who vigorously believe that Pope Francis is the Antichrist, and many priests have given up on the Vatican and will tell you outright that it is full of Freemasonry, pedophilia, and Satanic rituals.
Why don't more Catholic priests come out of that church? The answer is a sad one. Catholic priests have very little to offer the job market, and they know they will probably end up in borderline poverty if they leave. Some are able to get jobs teaching in public school, but there is little else they can do. They also have a great retirement in the Catholic Church, but only if they stay in it. If you seek to win a Catholic priest to confess faith in Jesus Christ, you are duty bound to help the man make a new life for himself. He will leave that horrible church a beggar in most cases. I thought often about Garcia and what I could do to help him if he left the church officially.
I mentioned another priest in the same city as Garcia who was an exception to the pattern of lazy priests. That priest became upset over the Satanic rock music being played by Hispanic kids in the public schools. The public school principals of the city were also very troubled by the Satanic rock, and they asked the priest for help. He ordered a tape on Satanic rock from Chick Publications, a Fundamental Baptist source of tracts and videos. He showed it to the principals, and they were delighted. But, they told the priest that the end of the tape, where the Gospel was given, would have to be deleted when it was presented in schools because of separation of church and state. The priest told the principals he would not show the video in the schools unless he could play the whole thing, including the Gospel. He ended up getting the message to the kids through his church activities.
I know some Fundamental Baptists reading here are now assuming I am making these stories up. Why in blazes would I do that? If you don't like to read about the unpredictable ways of God the Holy Spirit, get out of this journal. You will only have to read more. These stories are here to show you how God led me along through life to learn that his ways are not my ways, and he will do his work just as he pleases. Frankly, these are some of my choicest memories. In fact, I fully believe that because I did not panic when I met up with my first couple of encounters like this, God seemed to take delight in sending me more and more of these experiences, and I love him for that. Nothing beats back the boredom of life like God hitting you with another surprise encounter.
Have you ever wondered what God has in store for us in Heaven which he did not tell us about in the Bible?
This is a short one. There is a church in eastern Michigan which is American Baptist. This Baptist denomination is more liberal than the Episcopal church or the Unitarians. The American Baptists, generally, believe just about nothing. The Bible is used only by cherry picking proof texts out of context to promote feminism and political correctness and sodomy.
This one American Baptist church in Michigan decided they wanted a pastor who would actually preach from the Bible instead of preaching social reform and telling hunting stories. They called a man who was a graduate of Moody Bible Institute, and for the life of me, I cannot tell you what made them do it. Moody is not quite as narrow as we would like it to be, but it is a conservative Bible Institute where the Bible is preached.
When we see this sort of thing, we need to just be thankful for it. I once read an article by a Baptist pastor who was called to an Episcopal church. He said that he realized that his first job in that church was to get all the men on his vestry (church board) born again, and he set out to do just that. The last he reported, people were being saved, and they had not run him off. You just cannot predict what God will do, and when it results in saved souls, we must rejoice.
I must add another story here. I got a report of a Catholic priest in Mexico who had gotten rid of the Mass and liturgy. He was allowing only worship singing, Bible teaching, and baptism. The Vatican ruled to leave the priest alone and let him do as he pleased. The Catholic Church is running very short of priests because new young men are not joining the Catholic ministry. They are watching the pedophile scandals and deciding they do not want to be sucked into it. I have wondered when we will hear of the first Independent Fundamental Catholic Church.
Black American Pastor in Arizona
We lived in a city in Arizona where the only Methodist church in the town was pastored by a Black American. I met him one day, and after talking with him, I was convinced he was born again. He preached the Word of God, and he used the King James Bible. He told me that the Methodist Church leaders sent him to that city because they wanted him out of the way where his Bible believing message would not stir up trouble. They were terrified he might accuse them of racism if just busted him out of the Methodist Church. All the members of his church were White, and they loved him.
Every Methodist pastor is required to attend an annual gathering of pastors at Southern Methodist University where they are given the latest social Gospel topic to rage and rant about. In the past it was apartheid in South Africa and the Vietnam War. Today, it is feminism and transexualism. This Black pastor simply ignored the propaganda, but he went every year to the gathering to avoid being dumped out. I asked him how he survived the sessions without getting upset by all the dead messages. He said he just sat and read his Bible. He preached the Gospel clearly, and I wished he had not been in the Methodist denomination, but I could not complain that there was a whole church full of Methodists who were hearing sound Bible teaching every Sunday.
Another story comes to mind. I tuned the piano of a General Association of Regular Baptists Church in Howard City, Michigan. Right across the street was a Methodist church. I was called one day by the new lady preacher of that Methodist church to tune their two pianos. When I got there, on the outdoor sign was the message, "The Blood, the Cross and the old black Book." I was flabbergasted at seeing this. I wondered if the church had been bought by some Fundamental group.
I started tuning, and the lady preacher and her husband preacher came to chat with me. I soon told them I was delighted to see their sign message. I commented that most of the Methodist denomination was not using that message anymore. They at once were all over me asking if I believed the simple Gospel and if I preached the Bible literally. We soon were rejoicing in the Lord.
I asked them how they came to be in that church. The story was astounding. It turned out that the District Superintendent of western Michigan was a lady bishop. This lady had decided that she was going to force her area of rule back to the old time preaching of Christ and the Gospel. This lady preacher I was talking to said that the first Sunday she preached in that church, she preached the simple Gospel of Jesus Christ. She reported that a very old lady came up to her after the service and said, "That was very refreshing to hear a message about Jesus again, we have heard nothing about Jesus for many years."
It turned out that the men of the church were all Freemasons. None of the other churches in town would admit them as members. These men were enraged to have to listen to the Gospel, so they made a deal to starve the lady preacher out in the offering plate. This lady preacher told the District Superintendent about this, and the Bishop told her she would pay her a salary out of the funds of the District Office and have a show down with the Freemasons. By the time I left Michigan, the lady preacher reported that the Masonic men had caved in and decided they liked her after all.
So, while I believe that ladies are not permitted by the Apostle Paul to preach and teach, especially men, I rejoiced that the Gospel was being preached in that church. The pastor of the Baptist church across the street told me the same thing. He was delighted that those Methodists were getting Bible teaching.
I am sure there will be Fundamental Baptist preachers who read this article who will roar with condemnation..... that I should be pleased to see a lady Methodist preacher preaching the Gospel to lost Methodists. That is why people are fleeing from Fundamental churches these day, especially millennials. They are fed up with the black rage of preachers who attack any time they see something that does not meet with Baptist Standards. Well, by the grace of God, our Lord is not so limited in what he can do. He said he would build his Church, and neither the gates of Hell, nor the local blow hard Baptist preacher, would prevail against it.
Robert's first email was to ask for help restoring his piano. I had an online business selling piano tools and parts to do-it-yourselfers and helping them work on their own piano. Robert told me he was a Catholic priest working in India in a mission with an orphanage and school. I sent off the order of tools and parts and gave him online help in doing repairs on his piano, and Robert used my tutorial to restore his aged upright piano.
I finally asked him about his work. He had quite a tale to tell. This is a quote from his first letter in which he vented about his situation as a Catholic missionary in India. While we know he had doctrinal errors he needed to deal with to be right with God, this horror story shows us that many Catholic priests are bearing burdens that don't show to the average person. The Satanic invasion of the Vatican is on the mind of many Catholics.
You know, the Vatican is really filled with iniquity, these decades. It wasn't always like that, and I have hope that it will change in the (distant) future, if there is a future. Now that the Church is dispossessed of temporal power, she will either do her job, or wither. We are witnessing the withering part, right now.
I used to read Malachi Martin religiously. (Maybe that's the wrong term, but...) His book on the Jesuits is really worthwhile. Hostage to the Devil was gripping, but I found the last "story" a little lewd. I started Keys of This Blood by Martin, but lost interest after about 100 pages. I would really like to know the truth, but he himself avows that he mixes in fiction with history, so I am never sure what is true, and what comes from his Irish imagination. Besides, if you read that massive book before going to sleep, it will give you a concussion on the head!!
Other sources of information confirm, though, that a combination of Freemasonry, "New-Theology", and the "One-Worlders" has derailed the Roman Catholic Church at present. To a Catholic priest, like myself, that's depressing news, but I am willing to acknowledge it as a punishment for our own sins. Catholics for the last 100 years have flirted with liberalism, and secretly wished their Church was not so "outdated". God heard their cries, and in punishment thereof, gave them a Church so updated that it was no longer even Catholic. He is separating His flock, even now. Anyone who wants a life of money, sex, pleasure, sensuality, no responsibility, with a window-dressing of respectability, well, its just around the corner at your local modern man=centered Church.
If you hold to the inviolate Scriptures, unchanged Tradition, and strict Christian morality, you will have to go elsewhere, friend. (Let me tell you: this business of "Ecumenism" is a fraud-- it was a cheap trick thought up by ecclesiastics with too many diplomas to lure Protestants into the Catholic Church by downplaying the doctrines Protestants find objectionable.) What actually happened? All the Catholics have marched over the bridge "in the wrong direction", or out of the Church altogether. The modern "Catholic" church opens its arms to all religions: a stinking heresy if ever there were one.
Witness the abomination of desolation set up on the high altar of the church of St. Francis, in Assissi: a Buddha on the altar, with the baldo bonzes ringing their bells and dancing. Its not the only time, either. Here in India, the Catholic priests think it is cool to dress like Brahmin priests, and offer Mass squatting at a low table, with all the appearances of Hindu "pooja". One "missionary" (of the Devil), made a Tabernacle (where you might know, we Catholics believe the Real Presence of the Hidden Body of our Lord is placed), a Tabernacle modeled after the Shiv Lingam. Shiva is their god, and the Lingam is literally his male organ. I think they are still discovering deeper recesses of Hell for people like this.
Anyway, to get to the point, the Society I belong to thinks the Council of Trent was the greatest thing to ever happen to the Catholic Church (you must admit, it draws the lines in double black: no "identity crisis" here!) We say the Mass in Latin, facing the altar, we profess it to be a true sacrifice for the living and the dead, just as our ancestors did. We believe that outside the Church there is no salvation, and that Hindus had either be baptized or perish. Baptized with water and the Holy Spirit. Listen to the funny part, Steve-- the Modern "Catholic" Church falls all over themselves to embrace Protestants, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, animists, worshippers of the "Great Thumb". But WE, who are exactly what they USED TO BE, are "excommunicated"!!
Such stories I could tell you! We "Latin Mass people", are the only ones locked out of heaven. The bishops and priests will do any favor at all for their separated brethren like you, but for us? They put us in a unique category, for especially bad treatment. You know what we call that? Apostasy. The whole church turning its back on its own past, renouncing what it used to be, willing to be anything for anybody--- except what it was. In earthy language, that is what a whore does anything for anybody.
What are we waiting for? Realistic people wait for Armageddon. Dreamers like me wait for the next Pope-- he will either be a Saint, and immediately martyred, or a Devil. If the latter, then we promptly become realists, and wait for Armageddon. Fortunately, the fate of the Church is not my personal problem. I know what I need to do to save my soul, and I am making my best effort. It is a pity, though, to see so many well-meaning people led astray. As an "excommunicate", though, there is little I can do to convince them that they are on the wrong path. However, God has inspired many people worldwide to stand up for the Truth. These are the people we serve-- those who are determined to live a truly Catholic family life, with the support of Catholic priests like---- us.
In a later letter to Robert I talked about faith in Christ alone, and he got the impression I was faulting him for his definition of being right with God. He then told me he wanted me to know what his faith was so I would not think of him as a heretic. He then gave me a confession of faith in Jesus Christ without exalting Mary or talking about the Mass. He claimed his faith was in Jesus Christ alone.
If he was trying to deceive me into thinking well of the Catholic faith, he would not have told me all the evils of their church and his frustration over the wickedness in the Vatican. So, I believe he really has faith in Jesus Christ. Is he born again? I do not know, but his dedication to the old traditions of Rome is suspect at best. But, I ended my communications with him feeling like God was making his soul deeply troubled with the Whore of Rome. When we meet someone like this, we must approve of what they get right, and push them away from the error toward the door. Martin Luther did not leave the Roman Church suddenly. He made a pilgrimage to Rome thinking he would find pure Catholicism in the Vatican. What he saw enraged him, and he returned to Germany determined to leave that church. Never give up on people like this until they actually run you off. Remember, Jesus was the friend of sinners.
Matthew 11:19 The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children.
My uncle showed he had faith in Christ
My uncle and aunt were Lutherans. During the 1960s most Lutheran churches were rather dull and going into the ditch as to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I attended a Lutheran church during those years once, and I saw only one older lady carrying a Bible as she entered the church. Like most Reformed denominations, the Lutherans are satisfied with their Heidelberg Confession, and the Bible is incidental to their daily lives.
Well, my uncle was an old time Lutheran, and he was the silent type. I always wondered if he had any real faith in Jesus Christ because he never talked about it. One weekend I went across the Los Angeles area to visit them for a couple of days. On the coffee table lay the book by Hal Lindsey, The Late Great Planet Earth. I was startled. This book was written by a Bible believer about the prophecies in the Bible of the End Times.
The Lutheran doctrine of the End Times is Millennial with no Tribulation. Some Lutherans believe that Christ will come and establish his thousand year reign, and other Lutherans believe the Church will bring in the Kingdom, and Christ will come back when we get it ready for him. Hal Lindsey's book was both pre-Tribulation and premillennial. My uncle had never heard any End Times teaching in the Lutheran Church, and he became convinced of the teaching from Lindsey's book, and furthermore, my uncle was very excited to think that Christ would soon return. This excitement in an aged man was a blessing indeed, for it is not possible to get excited about the return of Christ unless we believe who he is and what he did on Calvary. The End Times become a terror to anyone not confessing Christ as Savior. I realized that, all along, my uncle had believed Christ was his Savior, but the Lutheran Church failed to tell him he was asked by Christ to tell the world about it.
Later, my aunt and uncle asked me to meet them in Norwalk at the Lutheran church to hear Pastor Miller preach. I was not impressed because I doubted if I would appreciate the lukewarm preaching common in most Lutheran churches. I went though, and I was blown away. Pastor Miller used as his text,
Philippians 3:17 Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.
18 (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:
19 Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)
He used Martin Luther's plan for preaching. He read the text in a good clear voice, he explained what the text meant in ordinary English, and he illustrated from that Sunday morning's Los Angeles Times. He then made a statement I never thought I would hear in any Reformed church. He said, "You can be born into a Lutheran home, be raised Lutheran, be catechized, confirmed, and baptized, and you can still go to Hell when you die." He then gave a Lutheran version of an altar call. He said that anyone who was unsure if they were really born again could come to his office Monday morning, and he would help them confess their faith in Christ.
After the service, some of the old men walked to the front steps, lit up cigarettes, and were talking about the great preaching of Pastor Miller. Amazing. Life in a denomination nearly 500 years old!
I asked Pastor Miller later about the church and how it had grown. It was at 75 when he took the church, and in six months it was running 350 in attendance. He said it was from Lutherans getting saved, and from his visitation. He used his most zealous high school kids, and they went visiting homes in the neighborhood on Thursday night. He chose that night because only kids motivated to succeed would study ahead of Thursday night for Friday exams. That was his test of zeal.
Remember Pastor Miller the next time you make the broad assumption that Christ is not building his Church anywhere but in Fundamental Baptist or Pentecostal churches. You have no idea what may be going on down the street, and when you find one of these bright spots in an unlikely setting, would you have the grace to encourage the brother to keep on preaching the Word of God? Better yet, how about asking him how you can pray for him?
Sodomite that came off the railroad in Yermo.
He came into town on the Union Pacific train that stopped there. Our railroad town was the end of a shift, and the train stopped to change engineer and brakeman to finish the run to Las Vegas. Somewhere there was a mark telling drifters riding the rails that there was a preacher living in the town, and hundreds of men came knocking at our door asking for something to eat. I fed them and gave them the Gospel.
One day, a young man knocked at the door, and I at once knew he was not really a Ho Bo or typical rail rider, He had on a white shirt and black dress slacks. My wife started making him a lunch, and we talked for a while. I asked him why he was riding the rails, and I could tell that he was not there for the usual reasons.
He told me he had been born again at the altar at Moody Church in Chicago, of which I was familiar. He said he was a sodomite, and when the people of the church learned that, they welcomed him in and were only kind to him as he started his new Christian life. He said the men helped him get victory over sodomy, and he was having joy as a new Christian.
Then, one day he got the urge back, and he decided to take a trip to San Francisco and see what that city was like. He took a bus, and when he got to SF several other sodomites at once got friendly and helped him with his libido, and they one night rolled him and stole all his money. He realized that he was far from God and in deep trouble. So, being penniless, he hopped a freight train and headed for home. That is what brought him to my back door.
I told him that he needed to confess his sin to Christ, and believe he was forgiven. We both prayed in that context, and he was both broken and relieved of his horrible guilt. I told him that if he decided to stay in our town and attend our church, our people would receive him the same way as the folks back at Moody Church. But, I then showed him the account of Abraham leaving Bethel and going down to Egypt. I told him that things went badly for Abraham in Egypt, and he went back to Bethel. I showed him that Abraham did not have the peace of soul to offer sacrifice to God until he was back to the altar under the tree at Bethel where he worshiped God.
The young man got the point, and he said, "So, I will not get complete peace until I am back in Chicago and at the altar of Moody Church, right?" I told him that seemed to be the way God would be pleased to bless him. I loaded him with water, food, and something to read, and he hopped back on the freight and headed home.
When we get to Heaven, there are people we all want to meet. I want to see that young man pretty soon after I arrive in Heaven. I prayed he would not lose his way home, and I want to find out how it all ended.
Khalils in Ethiopia- her father in Coptic church going around Egypt preaching the Gospel and they let him.
Sanet Khalil was an architect in Addia Ababa, Ethiopia. The Khalils were originally from Egypt, but they had become well known and loved in Ethiopia. Sanet and his wife were zealous for Christ and frequently opened their luxurious home to Christians to fellowship and eat fantastic Middle Eastern dinner. This couple, and their children, showed real zeal for the Gospel to be preached. Mrs. Khalil's father was a priest in the Coptic Church in Egypt. While the Coptic Church has doctrinal issues we do not approve of, Mrs. Khalil said her father was a traveling preacher, and he wandered all over Egypt preaching the biblical Gospel message. The strange thing was that the Coptic Church did not forbid him doing this.
Sanet Kahlil was affected badly by the intrigue of a Marxist coup in 1974. He was a building engineer, and he had worked for the Government of Emperor Helie Salassie before the coup. So, the Communist regime made him an enemy. He was not executed like other business men, but he was totally marginalized and physically tormented by the Marxists, and due to the stress and accusations Sanet had a heart attack and died. His family fled from Ethiopia to the USA.
When you sit in the home of someone who is wealthy and influential, you never know what torments they suffer because of their success. The memory we have of these kind and godly people is just another bright spot in our own personal history.
Testimony of Bill who got saved in a bar on Supulvada Blvd.
This encounter is given exactly as Bill told me this story. You may not like it, but I defy you to tell God he was not in it. One reason for this article of my encounters with unlikely people and in unlikely events is to help you escape the notion that God is a Fundamental Baptist or a Lutheran or an Anglican. He warned you that you might hear things that offend you and see him doing things that you do not approve of.
Isaiah 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
I walked out of HEB supermarket on my way to my car, and I saw a Harley Davidson motorcycle parked at the front of the parking lane. I intentionally navigated that way so I could admire my mental symbol of big power in toys. As I looked the Harley over, I saw a man sitting in a pickup truck right next to where I was standing, and I turned to him and said, "That there is a piece of real iron." He laughed, and said, "I know, I used to race those Hogs."
Bill then went on to tell me how he raced motorcycles in the Los Angeles area in California, and he said his racing days ended when he wiped out and injured his back so badly that it left him partially handicapped.
Bill said he hung out in one particular bar on Sepulvada Blvd in San Fernando Valley in his earlier days. Bill admitted he had been a rough character at that time.
One day he was shooting pool with some buddies at the bar, and one of the men made a comment about God. Bill announced to the men that he did not believe in any God, and he boldly dared God to knock him dead if God really existed. One of the men who had some fear of God cautioned Bill to be careful because God might take him up on it. Bill laughed and cursed at the man.
Later, Bill left the bar, and he was walking down an ally when it suddenly hit him that he might be in deep trouble with God, if there was a God. Bill then fell under the fear of God in a big way, and he ended up on his knees, in the ally, crying out to God. The bar maid had told Bill she was praying for him, and she had told him he needed to repent of his sins and cry out to Jesus for forgiveness so he could be born again. Bill did that in the best way he could with his limited idea of who God was. He said a great burden was lifted off of him, and he at once walked back to the bar. He told the men there he had gotten saved. They were confused at first, and he finally explained that he had repented and believed in Jesus. The men told him it was an emotional thing, and he would soon get over it.
He kept the faith, and the bar maid was delighted. Bill wanted to know what he needed to do next, and the bar maid told him he needed to study the Bible. He got a Bible, and he took it around to the bar. Soon, he was gathering the men in the bar around to read the Bible and discuss it. This turned into a real Bible study, and other men in the bar started getting saved. The bar maid was also witnessing to the bar manager, and he was a tough nut. But, eventually the manager got saved, and nearly all the regular customers got saved. They had a discussion one day about the music in the juke box, and they decided to change all of it to Christian music.
I know you are having a hard time to believe this, and I don't blame you. But, what would you have done? Would you tell them to stop studying the Bible? Bill said there was no pastor involved with this scene for a long time.
One day the owner of the bar came in, and he heard the Christian music. He blew up, and he demanded the music be put back to the usual bar music. The men told him they would have to change bars if he did that, so the owner gave up and let them keep the Christian music. The second bar maid had gotten saved, and both bar maids told the owner they were praying he would get saved. He laughed. Then, somehow the Gospel sunk in, and the owner did get saved.
Bill said the owner soon came to the conclusion that he could not be a very good Christian and run bars. He owned three. So, the owner sold them all and got out of that business. At that point Bill said the group of men from the bar all agreed that they needed more Christian fellowship and teaching. Every man went his way to find a church to attend.
Again, this is a strange story to say the least. But, as I listened to Bill tell the story, I did not have any indication from his eye contact and demeanor that he was making it all up. I had to conclude that God's Spirit was doing something that I could not explain, but I refuse to degrade the thing. It simply shows that God can do his work on the steps of Hell if he so chooses, and it is not my job to question him.
Psalms 115:3 But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.
Proverbs 21:2 Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts.
Psalms 25:8 Good and upright is the LORD: therefore will he teach sinners in the way.
9 The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way.
Faith healer in the donut shop.
While pastoring a church in Yermo, California, I often found myself twelve miles away in the city of Barstow. When I did substitute teaching or visitation in Barstow, I would take a shopping list for my wife, and I would do the shopping for us. After a day of teaching, I figured I deserved a cup of coffee and a donut. Thus, on one particular day I was sitting in the donut shop collecting my self-appointed reward before I actually did the shopping.
Along the side of the room sat a whole family. They looked like the king of Siam and his court lined up to address the peasants. The father was waxing eloquent and telling a lady sitting nearby about his exploits as a faith healer. The lady who was listening was enthralled and appeared to be believing the man's insane boasting. He was being loud in order to make sure we all heard how wonderful he was. He declared that all other faith healers were frauds, and he alone was the only true healer.
I soon decided to keep my mouth shut and mind my own business. I figured that if I addressed his claims, we would have a horrible scene, and I felt that keeping silent was prudent. The Holy Spirit had other ideas. I watched the woman's face who was transfixed with the faith healer, and something in me snapped. In a very pleasant voice, I asked the man if the Bible taught that he could heal anyone he wanted to. The man smiled on me magnanimously, and told me the Bible taught all about his healing ministry.
Politely I asked him if he would be kind enough to show us in the Bible where he got his authority to heal and boast about it in public. His whole facial expression changed suddenly to rage, and he sat up tall and said, "You are a Catholic priest, aren't you?"
I was on a roll, but I was not in control. The Holy Spirit was clearly moving me along. So, I said, "What if I am a Catholic priest? Does that give you an excuse not to prove yourself with the Word of God?"
He then rose way up in his seat, pointed his long bony finger at me, and he bellowed. "I knew you were a Catholic priest," and then he went into a rant about the lack of faith and power of Catholic priests.
Down a dead end I lead him, and I raised my voice some, "I am not a Catholic priest, and your false accusation shows that you do not have any gift of discernment from the Holy Spirit."
The man then demanded to know what church I pastored. I mocked him for again avoiding proving the Bible or God had appointed him a faith healer.
At this point his whole family were looking at one another and rolling their eyes and snickering. In mock sincerity, I asked the man, "Do you love me, sir?"
He then got some control of himself and sweetly assured me he dearly loved me. I then blasted him with, "So, if you love me, why are your whole family laughing at me and mocking me?"
The old boy went into a panic and glared at his wife and kids all the way around. They all stuffed a donut into their mouths and got sincerely serious. At this point, the faith healer seemed to have lost control of himself and the situation, and he told his family they needed to leave, and he made a snide remark about people with a lack of faith.
Looking at the lady whom the faith healer had been schmoozing with his boasting, I could see that she was in shock. I went to her table, and I asked her if she was a Christian. She said she was, and she attended the Methodist Church. I told her that whenever a man claimed to be the servant of God, and when men made claims about what God would do or not do, she must demand that they produce texts from the Bible to prove their claims. She then went to pieces and started thanking me for stopping the man. She seemed to have figured out by then that the dude was a fraud and had been messing with her mind.
I went to the serving counter, and I apologized to the owner for disrupting his donut shop. He was all over me at once thanking me for getting rid of the man because the creep had been at it for some time, and the owner wanted to get rid of him.
Leaving the shop, I headed for my car. The fake healer was getting into his car. He stood up on his toes, pointed that long bony finger at me, and bellowed, "You have sexual sin." Obviously, he thought I would be terrified of this. There was a gas station next door, and everyone there looked at him, and they all laughed heartily.
As I drove away, I realized two things:
First, the whole event had not been by my choice. I wanted to keep quiet and mind my own business. But, the Holy Spirit had taken charge and he MADE me dive in and go to war. I was somewhat in awe at this thought because the clever things I said were not me being clever. They were the Holy Spirit moving me along to battle.
Secondly, I felt filthy. I had just been wrestling with a slimly Satanic hog in the mud, and the hog loved it. Spiritual warfare often leaves you feeling dirty because of the close encounter with devils, which the Bible calls UNCLEAN spirits. I needed my feet washed, the way Jesus told his disciples to wash one anthem's feet.
I rolled into Von's supermarket to do the shopping for my wife. As I walked across the parking lot, I saw a car with a Pennsylvania license plate that had a bumper sticker that said, "Jesus is my pilot." I hate the "Jesus is my copilot" signs. That denies Christ the first place. So, I walked up to the man, as he got out of his car, and I thanked him for putting the sticker on his car that exalted Jesus. He went into a totally Pentecostal praise mode, including a little bit of church house soft shoe dancing, and he bellowed, "You must be my Christian for the day."
That set me back a bit. But, he at once explained that, when he left home in Pennsylvania, he asked God to give him a Christian every day to charge his batteries in the Lord. He had not yet met a Christian that day until I walked up. He then told me he was a Pentecostal. I had just been wrestling with a Pentecostal hog in the donut shop, and I did a double take. As the brother rambled on and on, and as we walked to the door, I could almost hear the Lord audibly telling me, "I have some true sheep in the Pentecostal Church..... don't throw them all away carelessly."
I thought that this brother had been also put there to help wash my feet from the filth of the faith healer. But as I started down the aisle with my shopping cart, around the end of the aisle came Chet Boyd. He was a leading men in the church I pastored, and he too was shopping for his wife. I was blown over by what God was doing. He had both those men planted in my path to be ready to wash my feet. I started weeping, and I had to tell the story to Chet so he knew why God had lead him into my path that day. God sure knows how to set us up with his precious love.
John 13:14 If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet.
15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.
16 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.
17 If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.
Never pass up the opportunity to wash some other saint's feet in this way. If your brother of sister has just wrestled with some hog in the mud, they will feel creepy and dirty. Stop, take some time, and talk about the Lord and quote Scripture to help them get the crud off of their soul.
priest of America- Stand against sodomy and lady preachers-
Leading the battle against the Church of England.
Stein Stevens was an Anglican pastor. He was a champion of the old paths of Anglicanism, which means he would not use any other Bible but the King James Version, and he was leading the denomination in taking a stand against sodomy, and he did not approve of women preaching and pastoring. Because of these stands, the Anglican Church of the USA was considering splitting from the Anglican Church of England. This was traumatic because England has been the father land of American Anglicanism.
Stein called me one day, and he wanted to talk about a lady who had confessed her faith in Jesus Christ who had been a Muslim. The reason he called me was because of my research into the origins of Islam and the name Allah. He told me the lady was a young adult who had come to the US for university, and she had earned her degree and was looking for employment. She met Christians who gave her the Gospel, and she confessed Christ. But, the most startling thing was that she had been eager to be baptized. Stein had baptized her, and she changed her first name to Elizabeth. She had changed her name to a Christian name. She also abandoned the Muslim Sharia Law regarding dress and diet.
The thing that made this experience special to me was the price this young lady would very likely pay for becoming a Christian. She said her father back in Malaysia would definitely put out a contract on her life to kill her. She obviously had totally lost any contact with her family. The added problem was that US law enforcement make no effort to protect such people. God is not high on the agenda of the average law enforcement agency, and another dead body from Asia would not be of much interest.
In the face of this picture, Elizabeth refused to look back or change her new way of life in Christ. She went on looking for employment, and she openly fellowshipped with the local church. When you find a Muslim who has become a born again Christian, consider the price they paid, and give them any help you can to survive.
Temple Immanuel in San Bernadino
One day, while pastoring in the California High Desert, I got a nice card in the mail inviting me to come to San Bernadino, to Temple Emmanuel, and find, "the historic roots of your Christian faith." The event was being sponsored by a Liberal Jewish congregation. The guest speaker was to be Dr. Trudy Weisrosenman, and that sounded impressive.
I decided that I would learn some useful things if I attended the event, so I went. When I got there, the synagogue had been totally prepared to treat all the ministers attending like royalty. What startled me at first was that, unlike most Jewish denominations, the Liberal Jews have a very tolerant attitude toward Christians, seeing them as allies in many political and cultural issues. While I had heard this in the past, I was not prepared for the way these Jews treated us.
All of the education rooms of the synagogue were transformed into models of Jewish holidays and biblical sabbaths. The Feast of Booths and Purim were fascinating. I saw one Jewish man going about talking to Jews from the staff, and I noticed the Rabbi of the synagogue avoided this man. I introduced myself, and it turned out to be Mike Pearl, a convert from Judaism to Christ. Mike was finding Jewish people from the synagogue and giving them the Gospel. We spent some priceless time together, and he explained to me what was going on.
Pastors from all sorts of denominations where there, along with several Catholic priests. Dr. Trudy Weisrosenman was eventually introduced at a lecture session. She was a Liberal Jew with a journal she published for Jews. Her talk was brilliant, but it became clear as she spoke that Liberal Jews do not have a clue if there really is a God, much less if he is known as Jehovah. She said that in Liberal Judaism the ordinary members are given Bible based concepts and doctrines to believe in because they are not as intellectual as the leaders of the sect. I thought this was a bit arrogant, but she tried to make it clear that Liberal Jews who believe in a real God, and biblical events, might just possibly be right, and the leading thinkers of Judaism try to tolerate what faith Jews may have.
Dr. Weisrosenman made a comment, when trying to explain how ordinary Jews are treated by their Rabbis. She said that this was much like many of the Christian ministers present gave their people concepts of Christian experience, "like being born again," so that the believer has something tangible to believe in. She then made the observation that many Christian ministers did not take these faith experiences literally themselves, but their members were blessed to have something to hang on to in their religious experience. I was sitting next to Mike Pearl, and he audibly groaned.
At this point, a Catholic priest stood, and he asked to make a comment. Dr. Weisrosenman asked him to speak, and this priest told her, and the whole room of pastors, that in Catholicism, he and other priests no longer talked about literal faith in Jesus Christ, and he pointedly denounced the teaching of the Gospel and being born again.
I was amazed at the gall of the man. I knew very well that the Gospel was still part of the canon of Catholic teaching, and I realized this creep was some sort of rebel maverick trying to display his hate for conservative Catholic doctrine.
Well, what happened next was amazing. A tall thin pastor unfolded like a pocket knife and asked to say a word. When recognized, he said that he still believed and preached the Gospel in his Lutheran Church and that his fellow pastors did as well. He spoke rather apologetically, like he was a bit intimidated, but he got it out, and I am sure God was pleased with his open stand. Mike Pearl was wiggling around and grinning with delight at the Lutheran pastor.
Then, across the room, a little lady preacher stood and asked to speak. Once invited to, she said, "I am not ashamed to confess that I love Jesus. He died for me on the cross, and he took my sins away. I certainly do preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ." She was a lady preacher from a Pentecostal Church, but I was proud of the lady, my friend. She was sweet in speech, and her words were well chosen. The Jewish Dr. was polite, and she told the woman she respected her faith. But, the Jewish Dr. went speechless. Whatever she was about to say next would fly in the face of the faith she had just seen in the two pastors, and she totally changed the subject.
By this point, I realized that the day was rapidly turning to spiritual warfare. I had become enraged at the Catholic priest for denying Christ and the Gospel so boldly. So, I decided to give the "bastard son" a fright. I was, or course, well dressed and looked convincingly like some visiting bishop. I went up to the Catholic priest, and I said, "Well, father, you certainly did trash the Gospel didn't you." He gave a jolt, and I plowed onward, "If Pope John Paul had been here today, do you think he would be proud of you for denying our faith?" The priest went into total panic. I could see in his eyes that his mind was racing, and he was thinking, "Who is this? Cardinal who? From what diocese?" The priest then did an amazing waffle job and managed to claim he really believed the Gospel after all. I told him that I expected that, one day, he would get to explain his conduct during that meeting to God personally. I then told him I was not impressed and walked away, leaving him mentally blubbering and wondering what Catholic potentate had just blasted him.
The Lord also put it in my heart to talk to the President of the synagogue, Rabbi Cohen. I told him that all the Liberal Christian pastors he had invited to the meeting were behaving very well and seemed to be charmed by the event. But, I told him that Bible prophecy spoke of a day when the world would again turn viciously against the Jewish people, and I told him it would dwarf the days of the Nazis in Germany. I told him this would happen just before their Messiah returned, and I assured him that every one of those faithless fake Christian pastors schmoozing him that day would turn in hate against him and all Jewish people. I told him that, in reality, Liberal Christians would one day be the most dangerous enemy the Jews would have.
I gave the Rabbi a tract I had that was aimed at Jews, and I asked him to think deeply about what was coming in the future of Israel and for the Jews before Messiah returned. He listened to everything I said, and he even thanked me for caring about the Jews. I ended by telling him that the only people in that synagogue that day who were real friends to the Jews were the ones who believed that Jesus Christ was the Messiah and Savior of the world.
I went home with much on my mind, and the day was not wasted. I gained an understanding of how absolutely without hope most Jews are when they face death. A couple years later my wife and I were members of the Republican Club in the High Desert. We met a couple in which the husband was an Episcopalian trained for the ministry, and his wife was a Liberal Jew. The wife passed away from cancer, and I decided to attend the funeral out of nothing but compassion. When I arrived, the Rabbi asked me to be a pall bearer because he did not have enough men to help. He handed me a yarmulke, and I was a Liberal Jew for a few minutes I guess (the idol is nothing). The Rabbi tried to comfort the family in his remarks, and he said, "We don't know exactly where Connie is, but somehow, we can believe that she is at peace where she is." Again, I saw how utterly hopeless Judaism really is.
These evangelists and prophecy teachers who claim that Jews do not need the Gospel because they already belong to God..... these men will all burn in Hell for denying the Gospel, "to the Jew first." And, that includes John Hagee.
Lady in Green Valley who prayed for me.
Green Valley is a retirement community about sixty miles south of Tucson, Arizona on I-19. The city is designed to be a playground for retired spoiled brats. There is tremendous pressure on people there to keep up and to make displays of "gracious living." One lady whose piano I tuned had bought a retirement home in Green Valley, only to find out later that her cash flow later would not even buy her enough food to live. She resorted to eating canned dog food in order to hide her poverty from the neighbors.
The city was a miserable place, in that, there were no children in the community. There was an association rule that no one under 18 could live in the homes. I had one customer who had moved into the senior age part of the city, and they were lonely to have kids around. They moved into a part of the city where people who worked in businesses could live. Most of my customers in Green Valley were grumpy and lonely. I learned from that city that I would never move to a retirement city, even if someone gave me a home there.
I went to a piano tuning appointment one day, and a lady named Ruth was in the condominium. She was quite old, and she had moved from Santa Fe, New Mexico. She said she had gotten tired of living in a city full of New Age witches and rabid Liberals.
When I went into her home I saw piles and piles of sheet music and music books and hymnals. I realized Ruth was a serious musician. She had an old upright piano that had a light touch and an exceptional quality of sound. I enjoyed the tuning because the piano responded to tuning so well. After I had been tuning a while Ruth announced that I would be having the evening meal with her. During my piano tuning years I found quite a few widows who missed cooking a meal for a man. They would tell me not to carry a lunch so they could cook for me. That was often a great meal because these widows came from an era when woman were fantastic cooks. Cooking is a burden and bother to many women today, which is one sign of the death of our culture. The best widows for cooking were the Hispanic grandmas who insisted I eat their tamales or pozole.
Ruth loved to talk about the Bible and discuss Christian issues. The thing that moved me the most was that, when I got ready to leave and go home, it would be well after dark. I usually tuned Ruth's piano the last in the day so I could have enough time to get the piano perfect and make any adjustments needed on the action. So, Ruth would say, "Let me pray for you before you leave for home." She always asked The Lord to," Deliver Steve from any distracted or unreasonable drivers." I had never heard anyone put it that way before, and I realized that Ruth knew how to nail the real problem when she talked to God. She also asked the Lord to watch over my wife since I would be getting home a bit late.
The bright part of this story was the blessing of being able to work for a Bible believer who was on very good speaking terms with God. Such people are a delight to have go before you to the Throne of Grace. I hope you have a friend like that. If you don't, you need to ask God to give you a Christian friend to watch your back in life. But, I need to warn you, again, these kind of people may not be from the same associations you are from. Ruth had been a United Methodist all her life.
Visiting the Kenya African National Union local office
I was in eleventh grade, attending a boarding school for missionary kids named Rift Valley Academy and located in the highlands of Kenya. I was also in a naughty mood to break one of the school's rules. I loved to get on a bike, which I had to borrow, and ride far from the mission station and school. The African rebellion against British rule, called the Mau Mau, was officially over, but there were still a lot of Mau Mau terrorists who had never been caught. The school principal knew there could still be some danger in wandering around the forests and in local towns. So, he made a rule that we could not wander far away from the school.
Well, on this particular day, I headed down the road to Kijabe town where there was a train station. We were allowed go about a half mile down the road when hiking, but no further. So, I set my face to the west and peddled merrily the three miles to the town of Kijabe.
About the time I got to town, I realized I was not necessarily as brave as I imagined. I also heard someone yell, "Eh, Mzungu, kuja hapa (Hey, White man, come here). I decided that if I started peddling hard and fled, they might chase me, and I would be overwhelmed. So, I got off the bike and walked it into the shop and sat down at a big table covered with newspapers and magazines. It was the local office of the Kenya African National Union, which was the political organization in Kenya which was agitating for independence from England. Most Whites in the country assumed that KANU offices were hang outs for some former Mau Mau terrorists, which was probably true.
My mind raced, but I decided that being friendly would go over a lot better than being defensive. I greeted the men, and they seemed reasonable toward me. They were all drinking Fanta (orange soda), and it was cold from a refrigerator, something not often seen in African shops. And I was thirsty. The men started asking me questions about America. The thing I had going for me is that Africans, long ago, admired the USA for running the British off in 1776, and that seemed to be showing in their conversation.
One of the young men asked me why American Whites still killed Black Americans. I asked him where he had heard that, and he handed me a small pink pamphlet. On the front was a Black man hanging from the torch of the statue of Liberty and a caption claiming this was an actual killing. I at once saw that I needed to help these young men get the truth. I told them that I had climbed into the top of the Statue of Liberty, and it was taller than any building in Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya. I told them that the man hanging in the picture would be about fifty feet tall if it was a true photograph. They were astounded, and I explained how trick photos can be made.
Then, I opened the pamphlet, and inside were a couple of stories of lynchings which were for real. By then, I had a good idea that this was USSR propaganda, which was flooding Kenya. So, I used some African logic. I asked them if there were still Mau Mau about. They said there were. I told them that one day a Mau Mau could come by with a machete in a rolled up newspaper, a common trick during the recent emergency. I told them the man might whack my head off, and then I asked them if that meant every member of the Kikuyu tribe in Kijabe town wanted to kill White people. They assured me that violent Mau Mau were very rare. I then told them that the killing and offending of Black people was also very rare in America.
I then asked the young fellow who seemed to be in charge to open the East African Standard newspaper laying on the table in front of us, and see if he could find out who published it. He soon found the frame telling about the publisher. I handed him the Time magazine laying on the table, and I asked him to do the same with it. He again found the publishers box of information. Then, I handed him the pink pamphlet with the propaganda in it, and I asked him to find the publisher. He looked and looked, and he said he could not find it. I told him that someone wanted him to believe the propaganda inside, but they wanted to hide their identity. I then asked him who wants Kenyans to hate America, and who tells lies about America. I also asked him what nation was known as pink or red, the color of the pamphlet?
The young fellow's eyes got big, and he said, "The Soviet Union?" I told him he had figured it out for himself. The whole room went bonkers jabbering about what they had just been shown. The young fellow in charge turned to one of his helpers and said, "Get the man a Fanta." I had suddenly become the bearer of great revelation, and any skeptical feelings toward this Mzungu (White boy) was gone. I finally realized that this was a great time to exit while I was a bit of a hero. They bid me farewell, and they made me promise to come back for more discussions.
I got on my bike and headed back to the school. I felt a bit heroic for defending America, but I also decided God had been merciful to me. The story could have ended rather badly. I decided the principal was right, and I never went back to that town. I will not say I totally abandoned my wandering, but I stayed away from large settlements.
Rothbury, Michigan Asparagus Farmer
Al Freeman and his wife had an asparagus farm in western Michigan. They also had a cherry tree orchard. They made a good living from what I saw of their home and farm. I had gone to their home to tune their piano.
Asparagus farming is pretty big in Michigan, and it is seasonal. The asparagus can only be picked a few times each year. The man in the photo is harvesting asparagus. The Freemans had a different style of picking machine than the one you see. It was more like a very long go cart on which the picker laid like he was in a banana style lounge chair. He picked as the cart poked along driven by a small engine.
Asparagus cannot be picked to the end of the growing season. The last growth must be left to finish out so that the crown of the plant will grow larger each year. The crown is about twelve inches below the surface. This depth lets the farmer disk the field in the spring to turn under weeds without damaging the asparagus.
The Freemans had hired a team of Hispanics who lived near El Paso, Texas for most of the year. The family had gardens outside of El Paso growing during the off season. This team was really an extended family under the oversight of an uncle. The Freemans had a second home on the farm where the Hispanic family stayed while they worked the farm in the summer. Al Freeman told me they would arrive in the early Spring, let themselves into the house, settle in and turn on the utilities, and then they would prep the farm for the summer season.
They would service all the picking machines and make sure all of them were ready for the first picking. Then, they went to the cherry orchard and picked up all the branches of trees that had fallen or broken during the winter. And then, the Hispanic gentleman would call Al and say, "We are here, and everything is ready." All of this was done without Al even knowing they had arrived.
Al paid the family members at the end of a pay period. One time, Al said that he was about to pay one of the Hispanic gentleman's nephews, and the man told Al not to pay him. Al asked why. "He did not work hard, and he does not deserve to be paid anything. He must prove that he wants to work during the next pay period." Al was astounded.
Years after I left Michigan I heard that Al and his wife invited the Hispanic family team to visit their church nearby. They agreed, and the whole family started attending the church. There was a Gospel preaching meeting one Sunday, and at the invitation time the whole family responded to the invitation.
There are many things about this story that give me choice memories. And much of it "will preach," as they say back in Tennessee. But, the sweetest memory is to think of the faithfulness of Al Freeman and his wife to Jesus Christ and the priority of keeping your testimony clean and keeping the Gospel in first place instead of making money. I expect to see our Lord hand out quite a crown of glory when the Freeman's step forward at the judgment of our works. Oh, I imagine you are now thinking about some flame throwing evangelist whom you believe has brought several thousands people down the aisle with his rowdy preaching. I will tell you where the biggest load of diamonds and jewels will be handed out. They will go to the working man who lived the Christian life the evangelist only talked about. And, if the Freemans only got that one Hispanic family to their record, it is priceless to our Lord.
Luke 19:17 And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities.
Think about that the next time you hear some preacher introduce some high rolling Baptist evangelist as if he were a member of the Godhead.
In the area where I pastored in Michigan for twelve years, there was an inordinate level of Satanism and witchcraft. I regularly had to listen to tales of evil. Dogs were found skinned and in trash cans, Catholic priests had killed a boy as a human sacrifice, water witching was rampant, even among Christians, and this is only a fraction of the tales of evil. We also experienced direct Satanic attacks on our church and on me personally. So, it was no surprise when we heard one day that a teen age girl had been sacrificed in the woods nearby and skinned. The Lord allowed me to run into the whole story in bits and pieces, and the police were not interested. The worst of the thing was that the girl's father had been in on the event.
The local Michigan law enforcement, along with the public school officials, must have been infiltrated by Satanists because they at once tried to debunk the rumors going around that Satanists and witches did human sacrifices. By this time, people were becoming convinced that great evil was afoot, and law enforcement were looking the other way. So, the Satanists called in an "expert" on the topic of human sacrifices. He was on the San Francisco Police force.
Story within a story: About ten years previous to this Michigan era, I had been pastoring in the California High Desert. As mentioned elsewhere in these tales, I had learned of an extreme level of Satanic ritual and activity in the desert around us, including human sacrifices. After calling Jack Chick, the tract publisher, he had suggested I contact a lady who had been deep into Satanism in the San Francisco area. She was on the run because she confessed faith in Christ, and the Satanists in San Francisco wanted to sacrifice her. She had been a member of a Satanist coven. She was one of triplet sisters, and the SF Satanists had sacrificed her two sisters and wanted to sacrifice her for a full set.
After a phone conference with the lady, I got a phone call out of the blue from a lady lieutenant on the San Francisco police force. The lady whom Jack had sent me to said the SF Police were deeply involved in human sacrifice and Satanism. That was very believable. The lady cop was demanding I tell her where the lady, with whom I had talked about Satanism, was hiding. The lady cop even tried to tell me it was my Christian duty to tell her where the lady was. I refused and told the lady cop to run along. This finally blew over because the SF Satanists did not dare subpoena me for fear I would tell the world about human sacrifices they had done. The former Satanist lady told me about them in some detail.
So, years later, after moving to western Michigan to pastor a church, and after the sacrifice of the girl, I was notified of a meeting for pastors, school officials, and interested citizens in which a fellow police office of the San Francisco lady lieutenant would be the expert speaker on human sacrifice. I had learned that he was from the San Francisco Police Department, so I knew what the story line would be. The propaganda story was that there has never ever been a proven human sacrifice done in America which was strictly a religious event. Ironically, the Captain of the Sheriff's sub-station near us in Barstow, California, back when we were in California, told me personally that he had had to arrest a witch and her coven friends who had sacrificed the witch's husband and burned him to ashes.
As the "expert" waxed on and on about the research he and a lady cop had done (turned out to be the lady cop who called me in California), he claimed they proved there had never been a ritual human sacrifice done anywhere in the USA. Afterward, they had a question and answer time. I did not ask any questions because I did not want to risk talking and opening up myself in some dangerous way. After the talk though, I went to the "expert," cop and I told him I knew very well that he was lying, and I told him that he and his friends on the police force of San Francisco were involved in Satanism. He pretended to be very concerned, and he asked me if I could prove it. I told him I had had to deal with people who had done human sacrifices, and I knew he had an ulterior motive for his lies. The viper then got a sincerely concerned look on his face, and he said, "Have you been involved personally in human sacrifices?" I did not duck and cover. I blasted him right back and told him I knew very well why he had been imported from SF to tell his lies. I then turned and walked away to let him stew in his juices.
Enter Mrs. Sampson. This lady was in her early 90s, and she called me and asked me to come and tune her piano. I tuned pianos on the side to earn extra income. I realized her last name was identical to the name of the teen age girl who was sacrificed in the woods. Her name has been changed here to protect the innocent. But, I decided I had no reason to avoid the lady. When I got to her home, her grandson, the father of the teen age girl-- the father who was at the Satanic ritual event when she was killed, was sitting on the front steps of Mrs. Sampson's home. It is a very creepy feeling to have to be civil to a Satanic murderer. I went into the home, and Mrs. Sampson had both a church size organ and a piano. I tuned the piano, and while I stopped tuning to take a breather, the lady showed me some old song books she had used in her school days. We actually had a very nice visit because I felt no indication of evil in her.
After I finished tuning the piano, I asked her to play something for me, which most tuners do so we can hear our tuning make music. After playing some of her old school songs, she moved over to the organ, and she said, "You are a Baptist. You will like this one." She then lit into a Baptist convention style rendition of Power in the Blood. She played several other hymns, and then she told me she played the organ at a very spiritually dead liberal church in town. This church was totally dominated by Freemasons, and the pastor was suspected of knowing all about the human sacrifice of the girl. Members of the Satanic group were said to be members of that church.
I then told Mrs. Sampson that I could tell she was a true Bible believer, and I asked her if she would like to play the organ for a church that was not dead. She admitted her church was dead, but she said that she had attended that church since she was young, and she felt she needed to be loyal. I offered to talk to the pastor of the Baptist church and see if he would let her play the organ some Sundays. She played very well. She still declined.
This story does not have an ideal ending. But, I wanted to include it because it was one of those bright moments in life that virtually creep a person out. Imagine, sitting there, listening to Power in the Blood, being played by the mother of possibly the most blood thirsty Satanist in Michigan, AND, he was sitting on the front steps smoking. God lets us have those moments when he chooses to bless us while the wolf is at the door.
This man is a classic example of making very sure God wants you to call for the verdict from a sinner. If you have ever been a runner in competition, especially in a relay race, you know the deadly results of bad timing. So does God. When God is working, and the seed has been planted, woe unto the pastor who gives the candidate for salvation the bum's rush to the altar. We have too many Christians today who cannot be content to plant the seed, water the seed, and let the Holy Ghost decide the day of salvation.
This is a story about a man we will call Fred Stoner. Fred was a professor in a community college near the town where I pastored. He was also on the local public school board and had been for a good number of years. Fred had a home out in the desert away from civilization, a sort of oasis hacienda surrounded by oleanders and other desert friendly trees and shrubs. Fred also had a hobby of restoring ancient engines from the industrial revolution era. I love to be around people who restore old engines and automobiles. So, Fred and I hit it off.
I got to know Fred because I attended the public school board meetings. My main motive was to know what the kids in our church were dealing with. This was the 1970s, and sick liberal notions were already creeping into public schools in California. Fred would resist the evil and encourage the good, and certain liberal teachers, and some other board members, hated Fred. When Fred stood against some godless innovation, I looked into it, and I often defended his position by speaking from the floor. My involvement in the community was rather busy, and when I spoke many parents were influenced. Woe to you preachers who never spend time at the round table at the local cafe or at a school board meeting. I have been bluntly told, by Fundamental Baptist preachers, that they are too busy to hang out at the cafe with the good old boys or at community meetings. Well, the carpenter of Nazareth sure did have time for publicans and sinners, and Paul spent his mornings in Ephesus in the market place among the businessmen of the city, according to the early Church fathers. I know you, preacher..... you ARE busy..... blowing up that belly at McDonald's.
The school board was not happy with my intrusion into their empire, and they went into asymmetric warfare mode. We had prayer meeting at the church on Wednesday evening, and the School Board meetings were on Thursday evening. So, they voted to move the board meetings to Wednesday evening, assuming that would prevent me from attending. About this time I paid Fred a visit at his home just to see what he was like at home. He asked me to please attend the school board meetings to back him up. So, I asked the church to let me move prayer meeting to Thursday evening, and I started attending the school board meetings again. The liberal creeps caught on real fast. They could not get rid of me.
In visiting with Fred, he talked about the seeming presence of evil in the schools, and even in the community at large. I just about started listing all the Satanic things in the High Desert that I had run into to assure him that what he was seeing was a huge attack on our area by Satanic forces. But, I held back. Later, I wondered if I had wimped out in not using this opportunity to witness to Fred.
Time passed, and I was doing a lot of substitute teaching in the schools of the area. I saw a lot of evil things going down, and I saw a few good things happening. One day Fred waylaid me in our parking lot, and he told me his family had been affected in something. He said that he and his wife and kids got along great, and I mentioned that I had noticed that as well. He then told me that a period of change came over them all. They started having rage feelings toward one another. This was always taken care of with apologies, but they all started wondering why they had changed. They sat down and talked, and they decided that, whenever these rage points manifested, they should run together and ask, "What would Jesus do?" He said that they would try to recall the teachings of Jesus and how he would answer the situation. This took care of the problem, and it had mostly subsided. Fred then told me he had decided that Satan was very real, and that they were under Satanic attack.
This was the first time I had heard Fred come up with anything to even hint at his really being a born again Christian. Though he was a very decent man, had a great loving family, and though he was an Episcopalian, I had seen nothing that spoke to me of salvation.
I told Fred that the reason he was under attack was because of his stand against evil on the school board, and also Satan knew he had a literal belief that Jesus Christ answered our life issues. Satan wanted to destroy his family and hopefully destroy his marriage.
Fred then went on to tell me that this experience had affected his soul so much that he visited his Episcopal priest, and he told the priest that he really had come to believe that Satan was very real, and that Satan was very busy in the High Desert. The priest told Fred that he had been watching the same thing and that he had heard many accounts of witchcraft and Satan worship and general filthy sinfulness in people in the desert. The priest told Fred he had never been taught anything in seminary about Satan, so he had concluded Satan did not exist. He said he had changed his mind and come to believe that Christians were at war with evil.
This all blew me away. I then told Fred that I had wanted to talk to him long ago about evil in the High Desert, especially in the context of his battles on the school board and the attack of Satan on his family. What Fred told me next was rather shocking to me. Fred said, "Steve, if you had told me about all the evil you have seen in the desert and about the reality of Satanic attacks on us two years ago, I would have decided you were crazy, and I would have shucked you off as a friend." Fred then thanked me for not rushing him to revelation so that he could go through the process of dealing with evil and spiritual attacks on a personal level.
We all have those moments when we feel we can almost audibly hear the Holy Spirit speaking to us. I had such a moment, and the Holy Spirit told me that I was not a timid failure for not challenging Fred about spiritual realities when I first talked with him. God was the one keeping me from trying to rush Fred to the Altar. The end of the story with Fred is that his whole family became personally and emotionally convinced that Jesus Christ was real and Lord of their lives and home, but even more urgently, they had matured to the point that they had become warriors for the faith.
But, that was not the end of this tale. The Episcopal priest became troubled that he was not doing anything to promote the knowledge of the Word of God in his church. We had a lady in our church who had left that priest's church and had come to join our church in order to hear Bible teaching. I am mainly an expository Bible teacher in the pulpit. The Episcopal priest was aware of the lady's zeal to study the Bible, and he contacted the lady and asked her to ask me permission for her to come to a Bible study he was starting with the members of the Episcopal church during the week. What he wanted her to do was teach him and his members methods of studying the Bible. I was impressed that he sent the lady to ask my permission. This showed me the man was sincere and not trying to just get the lady back. He had also told her that she needed to only do this for several weeks and then they would go on their own.
My first instinct was, a lady should not be teaching men. Then, I remembered where I had recently learned to get out of the way of the Holy Spirit when he was doing something I didn't understand. This lady was very diligent in personal Bible study, which is rare in any church member today. I knew she could handle it. I warned her to keep herself gracious with the pastor so that he was not intimidated, and I encouraged her to do this for several weeks. I believe the pastor wanted this lady to do this, rather than ask me to, because his church members respected the lady, and I would have been intimidating as a pastor from another church.
In the end, an Episcopal priest, and members of his church, were digging into the Bible learning about who Jesus Christ was, and I knew, from Fred's remarks, that the priest knew he was also at war with Satan. There is no better formula for another Martin Luther moment as the Word of God is entering.
Be very careful when you hear from someone that they are dealing with something in their life. If they are moving toward Jesus, shut your mouth, encourage them to keep going, and stay close to see if there will be a point where God does actually want you to strengthen that which remains.
Revelation 3:1 And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.
2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.
3 Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.
4 Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.
Also, do not assume that these dead denominations are 100% lost. You might be shocked if you knew how many in them have not defiled their garments. God told Elijah he had thousands who had not bowed the knee to Baal. You and I who rejoice on the narrow way need to always be eager to blow on the coals that have been banked up through the long winter of liberalism. A fire of zeal for Christ might be brought back. And, do not demand they have to join your church if they really want to get right with God. You never know where the Holy Ghost is heading when he does something unusual.
Catharina at WalMart from the Dominique Republic.
In a Wal Mart we sometimes shop at, there is a lady employee who comes from the Republic of Dominique. We met her one day by just praising the Lord for something, and she jumped in and took charge of the conversation. She could not say enough about how blessed she was and how she loved Jesus. We talked all around the barn, always about the Lord and Bible issues. When we had found out where she came from, we asked her what happened to Dominique during the hurricane. She said the whole island was destroyed, and she did not know if any of her family had been hurt or killed.
We then asked her what church she attended. Folks, when you meet someone who shows all the signs of being born again, DO NOT ask them where they go to church. That can ruin your day. She said she had looked and looked for a church, and the nicest people she had found were at the Mormon Church. I don't know what that says about all the other churches in the area, but it was a kick in the stomach to hear that. All we can do is tell her to check everything they tell her with her King James Bible, which she had, and hope the Holy Spirit can show her the truth.
Jesus is not angry at any sinner who is tired of his sin and is looking for help. Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling the weary one home. Are YOU not home yet? When you see a whipped person, maybe heard their tale of distress, and you can see that they have taken a look at Jesus..... maybe because of you, do you instinctively call them home? Oh, it may be a vile sodomite, an unwed mother, or a tired overworked Catholic priest. They sure have been in an evil place until now. But, what if the moment that counts most was when they talked to you? Will you call them home?
Or, will your walk over on the other side? After all, you don't want one of your friends to see you talking with a faggot, or Heaven forbid, a deacon may see you having a good time talking with a Catholic priest.
And, before we part company today, please let me caution you about judging your brother who is having a bright moment in life in the company of someone you do not approve of. What would a man like you think of the good Rabbi from Nazareth having his feet washed by a fallen woman? "Does that preacher know what kind of creep he is talking to?"
I am reminded of Eli when he rebuked Hannah for being drunk. He must have felt horrible when he realized what her problem really was. I wonder, when you get to Heaven, how you will feel when you see the man whom you condemned for talking to the town whore, and the lady is standing next to YOU singing praise to God?
One last story: I was tuning a piano for a retired businessman. I took a break, as I usually do to get the kinks out of my back and shoulders, and I talked with the man about his career. The conversation moved on to his family, and he told me one of his sons was into some moral or emotional issue I cannot remember right now. The man asked me to pray for hin and made some comment about me being a pastor.
This is very common. Some people who are God fearing, but are obviously not born again, think that preachers have a direct line to God, and they must have more power in prayer than other people. I told the man I would indeed pray for his son, and I asked him if I could pray right then. He said he would like that. I prayed for the son and the customer also. When I ended praying, the man had tears in his eyes. The usual comment is, "What a lovely prayer. Thank you." This man said, "I think that is the first time in my life that someone prayed for me." I hurt for that men all the way to the core of my being. He excused himself, and I finished tuning the piano.
What came next? Only God knows, but I was so glad I did not simply go home and add him to my prayer list.
Could you do that? Are you scared you will cause an offense. This is the truth I tell you. In thiry five years of piano tuning, I prayed many times for customers who shared their burdens with me. It is a strange thing about piano tuning..... customers get very personal with their tuner. In all those years I never once had a customer get offended because I offered to pray with them, and I never once had them decline prayer. You have no idea how praying for someone can make you a personal friend instantly. But, you have to make the investment of your time and friendship up front. Do not walk up to a strange door on "visitation night" and suddenly ask to pray for a stranger. That is a cheap Jack Hyles trick, and those people may let you pray for them, but they will mock you after they close the door.
Compromised friendships based on good intentions
I was thinking again about this article, and it occurred to me that the whole thing could be taken incorrectly and harm the reader.
The point here is not to run out and makes a close friend of any heretic or godless person in the misguided notion that God will turn every such friendship into a glorious God honoring victory. I have known people to do that and destroy their testimony with other Christians and do themselves serious harm.
If you have had a number of victories for Christ in making odd friendships, you can get to where you imagine the power and cleverness is coming from you and your fantastic personality. This arrogant conclusion will send you right into the ditch one day.
Here are two texts I want you to use to thoughtfully examine ALL your friendships:
1:20 But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying
in the Holy Ghost,
21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
22 And of some have compassion, making a difference:
23 And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.
Verse 22 clearly implies, in the word choices of the Holy Spirit, that you are to have compassion on "some," not all. There are sinners who are not worthy of your time. The other way to say this is, there are "some" who are safe and worthy of your efforts, while the rest will either destroy and wound you, or they are simply beyond help. Do not waste your time and God's on them.
You will piously tell me that God never gives up on anyone. You are wrong.
1:21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither
were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart
22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
Certain wicked sinners have made their perversions and filthy lusts so open and shameless that you ought to be able to tell they are NOT among the "some" of Jude 1:22 above. The only exception would be if such a wretched human beast asked you for help SOLELY because they knew you were a born again Christian. They also must show clear signs of remorse and repentance.
Please keep this in mind when you meet someone who seems to be turning toward the truth or is seriously seeking.
5:13 But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever
doth make manifest is light.
14 Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.
15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,
16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
Shine the light of the Word of God on any person you are considering befriending. Does the light of God show you any potential to make progress in dealing with that person in regard to biblical truth? If not, shuck them off at once. You are not in a popularity contest to see how many friends you can collect. You are at war for the souls of men.
A pastor called me one day because he heard that I was a King James only person, and he also heard that I taught that remarriage after divorce is adultery. The pastor also told me he had been severely mocked and persecuted by other pastors in his denomination for his stand. He told me he was looking for fellowship with some pastor who was like minded. I was at once moved in sympathy, and I asked him where he was pastoring. He told me in a Church of Christ church. We talked for a while, and I realized as we talked that there was no way I could have real fellowship with the man. His denomination taught that water baptism was an essential part of the salvation experience. Baptism is certainly commanded to the new believer, but nowhere in the Bible is baptism made a part of, and essential to, salvation. The Church of Christ is totally sound in all other areas of Bible doctrine, but in adding works to salvation, they make themselves heretics. Anyone in that church that really believes that their salvation is by water as well as the Blood of Jesus will one day be sent to Hell for heresy. I felt sad for the man, but I had to tell him that both of us would be forced to set aside an essential doctrine of our faith to have fellowship, and God commands us not to do that. He agreed sadly, and we parted not hating one another, but we parted nonetheless.
Here is a second experience of mine that shows where we cannot go to find friendship.
The pastor of the private school my kids went to was with the Church of God. This denomination is quite sound in almost all things, though they are in the ditch on the gifts of the Spirit. I do not consider this a heretical situation most of the time. When a Charismatic becomes a heretic, it is usually because they start claiming that their tongues speaking is new revelation from God, and THAT is damned to Hell doctrine. This pastor was not into the extreme teachings of spiritual gifts.
He called me one day about some issue in the city of Barstow, and he then asked me to join the Ministerial Council of the City of Barstow, a desert city near our own home. He said he needed a friend on he council who was biblically sound. I knew all too well about this ministerial group, and I told him there was clearly a Satanic aspect to the group. I told him I knew for a fact that the council had accepted a New Age female witch onto the council. Furthermore, the pastor of the Christian Church was having an affair with the witch. I asked the pastor on the phone how he could join this council while such people were a part of it. He did not defend himself, which was a good sign. He was silent for a long time, and he than said, "Steve, have you thought of forming a pastor's fellowship that is not corrupted by these things?"
Right then and there temptation presented itself. The old ego says, "Here is a born again man. You could start a pastor's fellowship with this man, and you could be doing a great work for God that way." I at once realized I wanted no part in such a arrangement. So, I told him, "You start such a fellowship, and if it is clearly made of only sound Bible believers, I will join you." That put the ball back in his court, and it left me with the clear option to reject his version of a pastor's fellowship if it was too ecumenical.
Compromising your place in the will of God in order to make a new friend is not alien to the wisdom of man and the Word of God.
A Russian Parable tells about the danger of compromise.
One day, a hunter raised his rifle and took careful aim at a large bear. Just as he was about to pull the trigger, the bear spoke in a soft, soothing voice, "Isn't it better to talk than to shoot?"
"What do you want?"
"Let's negotiate the matter."
Lowering his rifle, the hunter replied, "I want a fur coat."
"Good," said the bear, "that's a start. I only want a full stomach, so let's negotiate a compromise."
So they sat down to negotiate, and after a time, the bear walked away alone. The negotiations had been successful.?
The bear had a full stomach, and the hunter had his fur coat.
Here is an exact duplicate of this offer to negotiate as found in Nehemiah 6:1-4
6:1 Now it came to pass, when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and Geshem the Arabian, and
the rest of our enemies, heard that I had builded the wall, and that there was
no breach left therein; (though at that time I had not set up the doors upon the
2 That Sanballat and Geshem sent unto me, saying, Come, let us meet together in some one of the villages in the plain of Ono. But they thought to do me mischief.
3 And I sent messengers unto them, saying, I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you?
4 Yet they sent unto me four times after this sort; and I answered them after the same manner.
A lonely troubled pastor calls you, and he is seeking comfort and help to keep from going crazy over some rebellion in the pews of his church. You are moved by his plight, and you may be careful enough to realize he may be causing some of the trouble by his actions or preaching. But, if you decide to help the man, you may be drawn into an evil trap of Satan that will destroy YOUR ministry also.
All of this sub-topic I have added because I want to urgently warn you about the trap of making friends, though your intentions may be good,..... friendships that will drag your down and possibly destroy you.
So, what is the key test in all potential friendships?
This answer works with pastors, ordinary relationships, in the work place, with teachers and students, and on the block.
WHICH WAY ARE THEY MOVING? TOWARD JESUS OR TOWARD THE WORLD?
As you befriend someone who is not born again, regularly take stock of the thing, and decide if they are coming your way or pulling you their way.
Need I say more? The thing is boldly obvious. If you are making no progress with this friendship, in which the friend is showing more and more zeal to know the truth from the Word of God, shuck them off at once.
James 4:4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
If your friend is showing no inclination to become the friend of God, the whole friendship is not static. Either your friend will be coming toward God and the Bible, or YOU will be turning away from God. This will make you the enemy of God. No one who is born again is in a holding pattern waiting for some good thing to happen later. Either the friend is coming to Christ, even if it is by very small steps, OR, you are turning against God.
God was about to take Elijah to Heaven in a chariot, and he told Elijah to go to Bethel to catch the bus to Heaven.
Kings 2:1 And it came to pass, when the LORD would take up Elijah into heaven
by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal.
2 And Elijah said unto Elisha, Tarry here, I pray thee; for the LORD hath sent me to Bethel. And Elisha said unto him, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they went down to Bethel.
Bethel was where Abraham, many years before had worshipped and done sacrifice to God. Bethel was where God and his people met. Bethel was the place where God spoke to his people. Because Elisha would not stay back, as Elijah suggested to him, God moved Elijah to cast his mantel over Elisha and pass on to him the power of God.
If you have a friend who will not go with you to Bethel, they are of Satan and are being used to call you away from God. If they will not go to the Bible with you, if they will not go to prayer to God with you, if they will not go to the local church to be with God's people with you, and if they will not freely talk about the matters of life as God sees them with you, that friend is a wolf sent to you by Satan to destroy you. The best you can say about such a friendship is that they are keeping you away from another person whom you should befriend who is ready to be turned to Christ from darkness, and you are AWOL.
So, make you weird friends, take risks for the Gospel's sake, but.....
Ephesians 5:15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,
THERE IS ONE KIND OF PERSON WHO IS HOPELESS
It is not possible to save a man who denies his sin and calls God a liar.
1 John 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
This sort of person needs to be abandoned. They are totally deluded. I have had to deal with several people in my life who claimed to be sinless. They were full of themselves, they were proud, and they offended every Christian and sinner they were near.
DO YOU EXPECT SINNERS TO GET ALL CLEANED UP SO YOU WILL NOT GET DIRTY AS YOU GIVE THEM THE GOSPEL? I FIND THAT A NEAT AND TIDY SINNER IS USUALLY POSSESSED OF DEVILS. LIKE..... MORMONS.
SEND MAIL What is your situation? Can I help?