Monthly Archives: February 2015

“The Horrendous Thing that Shaped Your Life”

Batman

Nobody has a perfect life. We live on planet earth where there is no such thing as perfection. When I look back on my own life I see 2 things that affected me in a major way, things that had to be overcome in my pursuit of God, and it was God that enabled me to overcome, so that I could pursue him more. I will share those 2 things shortly, but first I want to talk more about “GOTHAM”. Because some of you still don’t get it, and if you read this article, maybe you will “get it”.

If we take the fictional story of Gotham and make a life metaphor of it, certain things immediately rise to the top. Of course, the horrendous thing a boy experienced as his two parents were shot dead right in front of his eyes. This was a young Bruce Wayne, and it shaped the course of his life. This was a defining moment for him. For many people in our day and age, this might not be fictional. Their parent, or parents, died in a violent way when they were young, maybe even right in front of their eyes.

Bruce’s parents were not themselves violent, but violence came upon them. Some of you may have had parents involved in bad things and violence came upon them as a result of that, but still…which fork of the road will you choose? To become one who fights against evil for the sake of the weak and innocent, or one who decides to turn to evil, because of the violence that invaded your young life?

I want to stay in this time period of the young Bruce Wayne, because Hollywood has allowed us to do so, and given us another hero in Detective Gordon. It has been interesting watching very imaginative writers create this world of a young Catwoman, Penguin, Riddler, Ivy, and others, including Detective Gordon. Of course I am talking about the T.V. series “Gotham”, and if you haven’t seen it, you might want to check it out.

Gotham was such a “Snake Pit”! And into this world comes a young, brave, heroic, and honest Detective. Can he be corrupted? Can he be broken? Can he be bribed? Can we entice him from his high-ideas to join us in our bed of snakes? Oh what a world of evil and corruption Detective Gordon takes on, before there is any Batman to help him.

Detective Jim Gordon. Talk about peer pressure! The police department is so corrupted that he is practically taking on the whole mafia alone! And the Penguin comes to him saying: “There’s a war coming, Jim. There will be so much blood in the streets!” In our day today, there is a war already raging between God and evil.

Yes I said God and evil, not good and evil. There are plenty of good people fighting evil in the way good people do, BUT… God’s people are called to fight evil in a different way, in a Priestly way, and if you claim to be a God people, have you obeyed that way? Or will there be so much blood in the streets, AND ON YOUR HANDS.

There is so much more I could say about this, but I believe I will let the Holy Spirit finish that conversation. As for the 2 horrendous things in my life? I am fortunate, raised in a Christian family my “horrendous events” would not be considered “horrendous” by most people, but they did have a major affect on me and the course of my life. So I will quickly share these 2 things in very “short form”, so as not to bore you.

ONE: I was popular in school until the fifth grade, when my parents moved to an isolated farm in the country. I was so isolated that I became extremely introverted. I didn’t know how to talk to people. Bad part was, I was comfortable that way and didn’t want to change. I didn’t realize how much this was affecting me in a bad way. I was deathly afraid of speaking in front of people. So…when it was time to graduate I should have went to college and probably become a teacher, or journalist. Something to that affect, but I was so afraid of standing in front of people, how could I be a teacher? So I eventually wound up a truck driver. Go figure. The point is, when God started moving on me to teach his word? Wow…I’m telling you, you don’t know how real the power of God became to me when I finally broke free of my introversion. People today are amazed I was ever an introvert to the extreme, but I was, and God delivered me as I obeyed him. There were some good points to my seclusion. I probably would not be the “spiritual” teacher I am today, had it not been for my isolation in nature with God. But had I not fought the battle to overcome my greatest fear, I would have missed so much God was offering me.

TWO: As a young man riding my bicycle down a two-lane blacktop, which I did a lot of bike riding to escape the farm, but one day, I just happened upon a very colorful magazine lying in the middle of the road, pages flapping in the breeze, and as I rolled by, I looked down, and saw it was a “PLAYBOY Magazine”. I know I should have kept on rolling, but I didn’t, and thus began a porno addiction which led to stealing, because I was too young to buy. They say Prono is an addiction as strong as cocaine. I’ve never had the drug, but I know it was only the power of God, seeking more of God, that finally delivered me from the Porno. It was not an easy battle, but I chose to, with the help of God, fight evil, rather than join it.

In conclusion: The personal story I am currently writing called: “Gotham”, should be a must read for every Christian who considers themselves “average”, but wonders what might be possible if they truly surrendered their will completely to God. For one thing, God will COVER you with his anointing, and the average Christian can be a Caped Crusader for God, fighting evil not in the way good people do, but in “the way” that ONLY God’s people can do.

Christians were originally called people of “The Way”.  Do you get it now?

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“Do you have your Gotham?” > Chapter Twelve

THE ENCOUNTER III > This story is written as if fiction, but it is not. Fellow Christian, have you heard a call in your heart saying: “Gotham needs you?” Has God challenged you to take your city and your neighborhood very “personal”? That is what happened to me. I am caped in God’s Covering, and Indianapolis is my Gotham. Who’s yours?

CHAPTER TWELVE

The computer screen still glowed in front of him as Don relived that night with Chris. It was very simple and basic. How has Church become so complicated? After that first contact, Chris had begun to win some favor with the Apartment complex. This  was a “Point of Pain” area, so it was not hard to find ways of helping, and showing the love of God. He turned his minivan into a food pantry, and now, once a month, he was allowed to come to their monthly meeting in the Apartment Community Center and set up his food pantry. After the one hour meeting, people were allowed to sign up and come through the tables one by one.

Don remembered how the place was all abuzz when he entered the building that night. The tables were set up with food, but the meeting had not started yet. In the meantime he found Chris talking to a man named Charlie, and he was showing Charlie God’s plan of salvation by using a special phone app. Charlie found the diagrams very interesting, but was not ready to make a full commitment to Christ at this time. When Chris got called away to other things, Don found himself left there with Charlie, and an open opportunity.

“Charley”, he began, “Do you know that the Bible says God loves you?”

“Yes,” he answered. Charlie was well aware of what the Bible said about this.

“Do you understand that the Bible says God loves you so much that he was willing to come and die for you?”

“Yes,” the answer came again.

“Do you love God, Charley?” Don found himself asking.

“Yes,” Charley said.

“Well then, the question becomes, do you love him enough to give your life to him, like he did for you?”

Charley was very quiet. It seemed apparent he had accepted Christ many years ago but had drifted far away. Don could feel a heaviness on Charley’s spirit as he thought about these things, but he was not ready, so he prayed a short prayer with him, and knew God would speak more to Charley that night, as he pillowed his head.

After that, Chris and he had stood in the back for an hour while the meeting went on. A chair to sit would have been nice, but somehow that never happened and Don was happy just to be there. After the meeting people signed a card and lined up at the first table where Chris and Don stood waiting to pray. As each person approached and handed their card to Chris, he asked them, “Do you have a need we can pray about with you?” Amazingly, most of them did. Many of the people had already begun to look upon Chris as their Pastor, and they called him Pastor Chris.

Don was still amazed at the power he felt when praying for these people. How quickly words had come. How precise had been the prayers. How powerful they had felt, God doing a quick work, one by one, as Chris would pass a person to Don, and then he would take the next, and so it went one by one, powerful, precise, anointed. God was there! He was almost tangible!

“Did that all really happen?” he asked himself again as he sat in the glow of the blank computer screen. Yes it did. He knew it did, but still could hardly believe it. So different than what goes on in the comfortable and safe confines of the Church building. Simple Christianity, in a place of needs, meeting needs, both physical and spiritual, and God showed up in a special way in that difficult environment. The woman whose child had been killed in the playground, confessed she still wrestled with depression over it, and Don watched as Chris prayed for her. You could feel her sincere gratitude.

Big changes were coming Don’s way. He had answered God’s call to take his neighborhood and city very “personally”, like a Batman saying: “Gotham needs me!” But what would that mean? What would be the personal price to pay? Where would it lead? What kind of training? It is not like in the movies where everything happens in a nice package of two or three hours. Gaining an open door to an apartment complex, a community, a workplace, the lost, the streets, can take many months of prayer, training, and sacrifice. Are we willing? Are we willing to say, “Here am I, Lord.”, when God is asking, “Who will go?”

Don was about to leave the church of forty people he had been so involved with for three years, but it use to be two-hundred people, something was not working, and God was calling him away to a Church of six-hundred, to start from scratch again, and all this at the age of fifty-nine? But he needed a Church that was daring enough to embrace this vision, not only in word, but also in deeds.

Still unemployed and living on the part-time wages of a Cracker Barrel waitress, God had blessed their money to survive on for one year, but this was about to change too. So many changes to walk this path, so many adjustments to reach this new level, so much renewing of the mind, thinking outside the Church Box, submitting and obeying God’s revelation as it came, ordering his steps into a greater realm. Christmas was almost here, and after that 2015. Don already knew that 2015 was going to be something special…something radical…something like a Caped Crusader saying: “Not in my city, devil. I arrest you in the name of Jesus. And I will put works and obedience with my words. Show me the way, Lord. Here am I.

Batman? Maybe we need to learn something from the comic books. Stories of “super” heroes. Where are all the super-heroes of God? It does not come by us becoming super ourselves, but by us tapping into the One who is. Are we willing to pay that price? In comic books we see super heroes willing to defeat the super bad guys and save the people, save the city. We do have a super bad guy and his evil legions. OF COURSE, GOD’S TRAINING IS DIFFERENT THAN BATMAN’S, BUT ARE WE WILLING TO ANSWER SUCH A CALL?

This is the story of one who said yes, and these are the things that happened after I did. And God led me to others already saying yes, so I in turn could lead others to say, “YES”.

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“Do You have your Gotham?” > Chapter Eleven.

THE ENCOUNTER III > This story is written as if fictional, but it is not, I’m living this every day. Have you heard a call in your soul saying, “Gotham needs you?” This is one man’s attempt to identify and answer that call. To take up the mantle of being a Caped Crusader. I am caped in God’s Covering and led by his Spirit. Indianapolis is my Gotham. Where and what is yours?

CHAPTER ELEVEN

December 17, 2014. Don sat in the darkness of his God Cave pondering. It was still early and he had not prayed yet, but his mind was filled with thoughts of last night. So he sat in his special place, his Batcave, his place of ministry and focus. Only a computer screen glowed in front of him for some lighting. His Bible lay open in that glow.

“What was that? What just happened last night? Was that real?” But it was so simple, and it was so powerful. He could still feel God moving through him as he had prayed for those people. And what about Charlie? “I never witnessed to a person in such a simple way before, and yet I think it was the best witness I ever did. What was that, Lord? I want more.

His thoughts continued to roll as he replayed last night in his mind. “Points of pain” the Southern Baptist had said. And now this young man that he had had the privilege of mentoring when he was young and growing up, now this young man had become a connection point to everything God had revealed to him in his one year sabbatical. That one year was racing towards an end, soon he would find a job and get back into the workforce, but not quite yet, and God’s leading was getting stronger every day!

Chris, the young man in mention, had become a Church planter for the Southern Baptist denomination. They had a mandate to target “Points of Pain” all around and within the city of Indianapolis. He had literally started from scratch with this inner city apartment complex. He went in there praying and seeking a way to connect and minister. There had been resistance from the apartments in the beginning. They did not know him, his wife, and his five daughters, three of whom are foster children. They did not know this strange white person coming in wanting to plant flowers and do simple landscaping and property clean-up for them. They were suspicious, and thought he might pose a threat. It was a rocky road in the beginning, but Chris had heard God’s voice and he kept praying and obeying in simple faith.

Then a Southern Baptist Ministry team came up to help him for a day. They drove a long ways to get there and now Chris had them helping do landscaping. A leader on the team wanted to have a word with him. “Look, Chris, I didn’t drive all the way up here to do landscaping. Isn’t there something more going on here?”

Chris had no answer, because as of yet no one in the complex had opened up to them. He walked away to his car and began to pray to God. “Oh God, I know you led me here, but how can I answer these people that have come so far to help? I need something from you God.” He poured out his heart for a few minutes, not knowing what he was going to do. When he finally turned around to go back to the work, he discovered that the very first person had made contact, and she was talking to the very man who had been asking is there no more than this? It also turned out that this lady had a son who was killed in the very playground they were working, and she just wanted to let them know she appreciated what they were doing. Now Don knew he had just seen what this grassroots outreach had grown to. It was still very fragile, but it was definitely growing! It was alive! And God showed up there!

And then there was the witnessing encounter with Charlie.

“Hhmm, wow Lord. What a special night.” Don thought about his next blogsite article he needed to write. This story of “Do you have your Gotham” was very alive and well, and it was going somewhere. He also felt like he had a lead on the job he should apply for. A place working downtown with opportunity to meet people and make connections. After much walking around and praying, it seemed to make logical sense, and so it was time. It was time to make a decision and move in that direction. He would send out four applications by way of Internet. He had four places already picked out to target. The thought of it scared him a little, no… who was he kidding… it scared him a lot! But if this was the path, God would help him. He was poised and ready to make applications to become… a “STARBUCKS barista”.

“Lord help me. It’s time to pray.”

(I promise the next chapter to come soon, and more details of that night will be given. The apartment complex will not be named, but this is an evangelistic outreach you don’t want to miss. We ask the question of W.W.J.D? What would Jesus do? But I have been asking the question of: W.D.J.D? What “did” Jesus do? He very plainly showed us the discipleship method he used with his home in Capernaum as his home base. This story is still a month behind and I can tell you there are great details of this journey yet to come. Thanks for reading. 🙂

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