- Wednesday, September 8, 2010
1).There is a monster living within each of us. To see it will change your reality. It blinds us from God’s reality and traps us within our own. It wears a face to appeal to our particular nature while hiding its work to deteriorate our lives. It is called SELF-PITY. It is a useless emotion. Yet, it presents itself like a king. It insists that it does not deserve your circumstances. It demands complete rule of your mind and time. It requires the daily mantra of “No one knows how bad I got it!”
Its victims are many. It holds billions captive. How many slump in front of a TV and stuff the face with food trying to suppress the flames of anxiety and stress? Others consume themselves with a job or activities. Months and years go by and life becomes one downward spiral. The older one becomes the less change becomes a real option. Anther soul bites the dust. Every aspect of our personality and life is affected by self-pity.
It is the hidden master of daily thought. It tells you that you can not do what you want to do and that you can never become a meaningful person. It feeds your mind with nothing but despair and laziness. It keeps you from tapping the one ultimate power at your finger tips; FREE WILL!
To begin real change starts with transparency. We must become totally honest about this destructive cycle. Honest with Who? God! It is nothing to hide. We all deal with self-pity. It is Satan who tells us that the reason for our inner anxiety is because of some bad situation or relationship. He gets us all caught up with complex circumstances. We rant and rave at others about nonsense and slowly realize our situation is out of control. Exactly! God wants control.
We must deal with the real root issue. All things in this world are mere a distraction from our lack of standing with God. In reality, THIS is the source of all our anxiety. Once one of our problems fade away another one quickly arises. Once the source is dealt with, God promises to resolve all other issues (Mt.6:33ff). The source of the problem is that our heart is “desperately sick” (Jer.17:9). We have NO answers within ourselves. We are nothing but the problem is, we think we have something.
I remember when I first read Romans 3:10ff. I was shocked. I had grown up thinking all men were basically good. That there was something within me that I could tap to help get me through life. So there was never any thought that everything within me was terribly wrong. You’ll never hear on the eleven o’clock news about the horrendous sickness or destruction caused by ….SIN.
The source of all your problems is your separation from your Creator God. This deep anxiety can not be healed by church attendance or repeating thousands of prayers or Bible verses. It burns on. On the cross Jesus dealt with it all. He dealt with the root problem of sin. It permeates every aspect of your life. Space does not permit me to here expound. I will do so in other places on this website.
Once you are willing to identify sin as the root of all your misery, the solution of what Jesus did on the cross can slowly become understood. The idea of metanoia (change of mind) is what God requires. Self-pride is synonymous with sin. So a simple way of beginning to change is the simple way of love. To get your eyes off of yourself and love someone else!
A friend of ours, named Carolina, is dealing with the terrible struggles of divorce. She met another friend of ours, named Guillermo, who is blind and homeless. He plays a shabby guitar, all day sitting on the street, hoping for even a dollar, which he rarely receives. He is a remarkable individual. Carolina talked with Guillermo for an hour one day.
This little conversation changed her reality. The pain of the divorce was put into a new perspective. She began to realize that the divorce is not the source but, in God’s reality, a huge distraction from her deeper problem of lack of fellowship with God. She stopped the crying that stemmed from self-pity. Carolina touched the reality of a devastated man yearning for someone to care about him; to touch another reality.
Just on the outskirts of our insulated American lifestyle are scores of people facing insurmountable suffering! You already know this. So what do they have to do with you? Everything! Our culture is obsessed with self-comfort and self-pity is the immediate by-product.
Every day, from TV to school and work you are bombarded with the hype to make money and make your life better. So when you see others have more you feel sorry for yourself. In reality, God sees the grand picture of the entire world where there are millions crying to Him, out of their poverty and starvation. While one man wishes for new shoes, a man without legs prays for a way to get around.
Like the many gears on a mountain bike, reality has many stages and choices within choices. Life is not a choice between yes or no or black and white. Life is like the spectrum of colors where you can choose from many hues, which can blend into one grand picture, of which you have no idea.
The dream of the ultimate life started with an old man named Jacob, who was struggling with many deep problems. He was convinced that his brother was about to kill him out of jealousy. One night, he had this awesome dream in which he actually beheld spiritual beings! These things were far beyond anything he had ever known. Never before had a man even imagined such a reality of having eternal life existed!
Jacob ‘climbed’ out of his reality by a “ladder” into another dimension. In the midst of his nothingness, Jacob turned to God. In response, God imparted to him the reality a blessing of phenomenal proportions! Jacob was never the same. His entire character was changed. This dream was so significant, that from all the history of the world, Jesus recalled this one dream to present a picture of what someone could find in Him (Gen.28:11ff/ Jn.1:51).
If you will defy every molecule of self-pity and all the excuses that go along, and be willing to admit your nothingness and sin, God is waiting to grab you. A simple act of self-less love can give you a remarkable change of perspective. This is a promise of God. It is…repentance! The repentance of love will lead you into a NEW LIFE! You CAN live twice (Jn.3:3ff)!
The ultimate dream is to behold the living Jesus (Jn.6:40)! It is the ultimate transformation of love. Thus, today, my ultimate dream is to do something, anything, to bring another person into the reality of Christ. This is why I live. Share in my dream. God wants to make you different than anyone else. Imagine direct access to heavenly reality (1 Cor.2:9)!
LIVING THE DREAM
It began the summer afternoon when I met the living Jesus! I was a young twenty year old attending a conference at The University of Notre Dame (see Crazy War).
7). Great things began to happen within me! Something very real had entered my life. It lifted me out of my own little self-centered modern-day world into a divine sense that I was being given a divine privilege of becoming a part of something from ancient times. It…HE… permeated every facet of my thinking. As I began to read the New Testament my ears and eyes were opened to this new birth into eternal life (Jn.3:7-8)!
A few months later I was standing in the hallway of Sax-Herring dorm at my alma mater Central Michigan University. I was explaining to my beautiful little wife-to-be, Rachel, that I was not going to live like others. We had met and became close friends over time. I was telling her that if we were to ever get married, I could not assure her of where we would go or even what we would do. For most women this would be enough to inspire an immediate exit strategy. Not Rachel!
It suddenly dawned on me that saying such things proved that God really had taken control of my life. I wasn’t looking for a wife. I wasn’t looking for acceptance. I was looking for God. I really was going to live on the edge, whatever that might mean. I remember reading a poster that read “Faith is the vision seeking paths to new life” (Heb.11:1,6)! Jesus says anyone who is born of His Spirit becomes like the wind (Jn.3:8)! Rachel and I did ultimately get married and the only “roots” we have are in God’s Word (Psalms 1:1ff).
Today, six beautiful children, now adult individuals, and fifty states, forty nations travelled later, we all realize what my feeble words were trying to express. Waking up each morning to seven awesome best friends is beyond description. We have seen beautiful places and experienced phenomenal things. The great sufferings we have borne are not even worthy to be compared in view of them (2 Cor.4:16-17).
Throughout our ministry, we have endured hard times of great persecution and difficulty. There are terrible times, when everything in us wants to give way to self-pity. We are constantly harassed, just because we stand openly for Jesus. Many times and in many places we have borne great affliction. When we first started out, we dealt with several arrests in my home town for disturbing the peace (like outside an insane rock concert).
Some of our greatest persecution has come from “Christians”. We simply do not adhere to status quo Christianity. Sometimes we are called us “radical fundamentalists”. Whatever that means, I don’t know. Sometimes, someone will call us a “cult”. It used to bother us until we realized it really is no different then the early days when people threw stones at the Christians. It can sometimes be quite humorous when those who do not obey the gospel, and in fact hold to some cultic rational, label as a “cult” those who are following Christ. Jesus was called many such things, such as a demon and a drunkard, because He did not conform to traditional Judaism (Mt.11:19/Jn.8:48).
Travelling throughout the states, and the world, we have experienced countless situations. It requires extraordinary grace to deal with so many different people, many of whom are not mentally stable. (This is the only reason we protect ourselves from copyright infringement.) A few people have gone to vast and vicious efforts to vent their misguided minds through the use of the Internet. The Internet labels them “cyber bullies or stalkers”. They distort our message and manner of ministering. They don’t care how much harm they bring to my children and wife. If one were to meet this individual face-to-face one would immediately realize what’s going on here. Anyone can portray a sense of normalcy through cyber communication.
One time, about ten years ago, as we were ministering on college campuses, we met a college student who later married a woman who became mentally ill. This condition combined with her misuse of psychotic drugs led her to commit a terrible crime.
In the few times we met with them, over twelve years, we were not able to detect the severity of her condition. We have a high-profile ministry in that we are constantly in public places sharing Jesus. So when the media, along with certain unstable individuals, who had previously rejected us, were now informed that we had met them, they spread a demented image of us to the public, and through media frenzy, depicted us as extreme cult-like radicals who told her to commit the crime.
We forgive and pray for them. God knows our only efforts were to love this couple in the truth of Jesus Christ, just as we do with the countless individuals we deal with. Hindsight always offers other options in the way one could have done things better. We are a broken people. We constantly transform our ministry so as to be more compassionate and wise in dealing with individuals.
At the time we heard of the terrible situation, we were ministering in Mexico City to tens of thousands of people, some of whom were mentally ill, handicapped and homeless. So while our heart goes out to this American couple, the fact remains there are literally millions of people all over the world in need, some who have far more complex problems.
Our message is the same to everyone. Satan owns this world (1 Jn.5:19)! Jesus is the only One Who overcame all that this world can throw at you! You must break with the realities of this world. Discover God’s dream before you become a victim of Satan’s endeavors. We are all vulnerable to Satan’s bizarre schemes and no one is able to cope with them outside the Spirit of Jesus. Satan is real and his only intention is to destroy your life in any way he can, whether this be through self-pity, lust, greed or any other sin (Jn.10:10).
One of our biggest challenges is dealing with Muslims. It is very demanding to deal with things concerning Islam. People have said that we hate Muslims because of what happened when we were arrested in the African city of Casablanca. We shipped a van to Europe, crossed Gibraltar then drove to Morocco. Our intention was to witness for Jesus in a country which everyone, both at seminary and in my home town, had said was forbidden. I had to know for myself.
We made a sign which read “JESUS IS THE SON OF GOD!” When we lifted it on the downtown street, we were immediately surrounded by an angry and violent mob. The police took us away and interrogated us for seventeen hours. After searching our tent and determining that we were not American agents, they decided not to imprison us.
We had a tremendous opportunity to reason with the Islamic people. They saw our love and sincerity. Rachel had a tremendous witness for Jesus to the Islamic General. He laughed at her simple faith in a “dead man” that she said “always provides”. The Koran teaches that God had no sons (SURA17-verse110/SURA5-verse10 and verse70/SURA4-verse1 and verse 160 also SURA 2-v110/ SURA 3-50). Yet the very essence of the gospel is“God sent His only begotten Son”(John 3:16).
In truth, we love Muslims, just as we do all those in great need (Mt.25:40). Even the most evil ruler of Al Queda is someone for whom Jesus shed His blood. However, truth is not an opinion. Truth is absolute and we must stand in Him (Jn.14:6)! It is our deepest desire to have opportunity to reason with all men, in a considerate manner, to share dialogue over the revelation of the New Testament.
Jesus IS God! He is God’s only begotten Son (Jn.10:30). Mohammed, Buddha, Siddhartha, Joseph Smith, Confucius or any modern day preacher can not provide the salvation from sin which all men need (Acts 4:12). We have to constantly deal with these issues from the University of Texas to Budapest, Hungary.
The answer is not yelling and name-calling but close serious examination and comparison of the New Testament with the Koran; comparing the teachings of Mohammed, or any other religion, with those of Jesus. This is a matter of God, eternity and heaven or hell! I would say to any Muslim reading this, that I know what it is to be a “radical fundamentalist”. I ask you “Why spend your passion and life on something that can be clearly proven to be based on a distortion of facts and deception?” Let’s talk! What do you have to fear?
There are multitudes of situations and relationships over some thirty-five years that have beaten us down. We have been struck down and heard the boxer’s 10-count many times and in many places. Yet, the power in God’s dream has not only lifted us to our feet but caused us to ‘run so as to win the prize’! Eternal life is an ever-flowing fountain out of our “innermost being” (Jn.7:37). We are willing to pay any price to live for Jesus. He is worthy of everything.
We have never owned a home, had medical or life insurance, sent our children to any school, sought a career or done any of the multitudes of things “they say” you must do to live in this world. Not that any of these things are wrong in and of themselves. We are not anti anything. It’s just that we chose not to do them. Yet, we have been living in a joy inexpressible! We carry the banners for Jesus that Rachel and Elizabeth hand sew with great boldness and honor!
We have not isolated ourselves on some mountain land waiting for the end. Nor do we sit around in a house, pretending to be authorities, by a “life” or “ministry” through a computer. We go out into the real world and stand for Jesus toe-to-toe with many hostile forces in this country and as far away as Moscow. It is no little thing to live and travel as a family of eight as we do! Our lives testify to the absolute power of the living God in Jesus Christ!
We have never been sponsored nor do we represent any organization. We have never asked for money but rather help those who are in need. Yet, we would not be too proud to accept support from anyone who may care because of the great needs we constantly encounter. We have to work for the money that is needed to do what we do!
We share our ministry as His church to manifest His Spirit so YOU may access this same Spirit for your life! Our lifestyle is not for everyone and we do not think of ourselves as the only ones or better than anyone else. We pray that you will see beyond us to the One Who offers you the same love, grace, creativity and inspiration that we find to do the things we do.
Our lives are an outflow of thousands of choices we have made by faith, from the endless possibilities cascading out of the streams of “living water” (Jn.7:37)! It is not a question of “how” or “what” but WHO is this? Do not restrict your decisions to either a yes or a no. Like I said about a 20-speed bicycle, life offers a variety of choices within a decision. You must simply bring forth the skill and creativity to find and use them. You may not be ready to do one thing but there are other things which you can do to get started.
This is not about playing “Church” for an hour on Sunday or some legalistic and boring religion. So please, don’t cop an attitude thinking “Oh you’re one of them”. No. We are not. We understand the grievous hypocrisy in this “Christian” culture and that when someone mentions “Jesus”, they are seen as just another phony who can’t relate to the real world.
Some have said we are not Christians because we do worldly things. We ride motorcycles (how terrible), are into bicycling places like slick-rock Moab, all live in one RV and in our street performances do magic, write music for our break dancing and do martial arts. Oh, and of course we don’t “go to church on Sunday”. We do not live according to the opinions of men or by the law but by the Spirit (Jn.1:17/ Gal.2:16)!
Some of our antagonists have said it is hypocritical for us to objectively deal with all sinners, without simultaneously confronting them with the issues we preach on the streets of sin and hell. On the one hand, they say we are too condemning, then they say we are too accepting.
We agree that we are not always as loving as we should be or that we are too judgmental at times. We are sinners learning to be His disciples. When the disciples of Jesus wanted to call down fire on a city, Jesus did not give up on them, because He knew it is no little thing for a sinful vessel to rightly disperse the treasures of God (Lk.9:54/2 Cor.4:7). The worst thing one can think is that they must be perfect BEFORE they can come to Christ or become His witness. We are not witnessing to our perfection or morality but to His work on the cross!
The ministry of Jesus involves both open-air preaching to the masses and one-on-one relationships. Jesus has no pat ways of dealing with all things or with all people. We are not led by an image but by His Spirit. Things like sin, judgment and hell cannot be separated as isolated issues from the whole revelation of God’s love in Christ. Such things can only be dealt with under the anointing and leading of the Spirit in the true knowledge of God’s Character (Isaiah 55:8-9/ 1Cor.2:14)!
We want to be clear on why our language may seem harsh in some places. This is no game, my friend! It is warfare and it involves great deception. If you find yourself offended, we ask you to contemplate the deeper issues at stake. Is not God becoming a man and walking on this earth the most profound mystery in all of life? Could it really be that God cares so much about you that He really does want to impart a dream of things your eyes have never seen (1 Cor.2: 9)?
Does not such revelation demand the contemplation of your entire life? Maybe you accept the pat answers of deluded culture or a preacher whose life is no different than any successful car salesman. Does He really have your best interests in mind as he begs for money and expounds on the building of his religious empire?
We are simple Christians whose lives and teachings are openly displayed as we minister in the public gatherings across this country and throughout the world. We want no one to follow us. (It would be impossible because we are constantly travelling.) We have no hidden teachings or meetings in the dark under a full moon. We are not starting any kind of mystic-group. Just as we have friends who serve Jesus, we also have friends all over the world who do not share our commitment to Jesus. It is our hope to break down any barriers between you and God through our transparent communication of the dream.
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