Unto the upright, light ariseth in the darkness.
Let a standard be raised against the evil of our day.
Will we enter the darkness to seek and save that which is lost?
The story continues…Chapter 15…“God has Heard”.
Unto the upright, light ariseth in the darkness.
Let a standard be raised against the evil of our day.
Will we enter the darkness to seek and save that which is lost?
The story continues…Chapter 15…“God has Heard”.
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 heart saying, “Gotham needs You?” This is one man’s attempt to take up the mantle of being a Caped Crusader. I am caped in God’s Covering, and Indianapolis is my Gotham.
Don stood there on the cold sidewalk and staring at this strange parking meter device. He had already swiped his card twice and then proceeded to do something wrong, something out of order, only to have to start over again, and it was very cold! “When did parking become so complicated? Am I going to figure this out or not? If I can just get past this stupid meter the Library is right behind me and I can get inside. How is it we hear your voice, Lord? What made me think of Chris? How is it I find myself “downtown”, learning about this new place I do not know, and yet I sense it is going to play a part. Okay, machine, this is your last chance. It’s you or me. One of us is going to die here and it’s not going to be me! Finally! I’m not sure what I did, but it shows two hours of time. I’ll take it. And look who just pulled up behind me. Chris.”
It was a great reunion on that cold city sidewalk. The sun was shinning and made you feel good even if it was cold. “Hey, Chris, what is all that stuff packed in your minivan?”
“That’s our food pantry. It’s part of the outreach we do. Lets get inside and I’ll tell you all about it.”
Don was amazed as Chris escorted him into the renovated Central Library. He remembered the old Library and it was nothing to brag about, but this! This was awesome! The entry opened into a big gathering area complete with snack and coffee shop and tables. So they each ordered a coffee and sat down at a table to catch up on what had been going on with each of them. Chris was amazed to find out that due to a back injury, Don had been on a one year sabbatical with God and was just now beginning to venture out in what God was showing him.
Likewise, Don was amazed to find out Chris had become a “Church Planter” with Southern Baptist and currently had an outreach developing in an inner city apartment complex. In no time at all Don had found an open door to inner city ministry by aiding Chris in Church Planting! However, he also knew God had planted something of his own in him, and somehow these two visions could aid each other. Before they knew it an hour and a half had already passed and they had not even explored the Library yet.
From the open coffee shop area he could see the Library rising up six levels, but he had no idea what Chris was about to show him. As the tour began, Don was amazed. First he was shown probably five hundred computers with Internet access, and all of it free for the using! This was middle of the day and most of the computers were in use. These same people could just as easily go to his blog site! The one God had him specially prepare, “Broken Wings that Soar!” The potential was obvious! Chris pointed out that most inner city people have their day at the Library to do all their on-line business. He also explained how all the city Libraries are strategically located near IndyGo bus stops, which gave easy transportation to all the Libraries. Anyone could get there whether they had a car or not.
As excited as Don was, the tour was not over yet. On at least three of the floors were very nice meeting rooms, that could seat eleven at a time, complete with a large table and white board for teaching, and completely free for the use! What a facility to aid his outreach to inner city! But how would it happen? How would it work? As yet he did not know, but God had just added a new dimension to things, and if God had so easily and quickly done this, he would also do the rest.
When Chris and Don parted that day, Don was set to help Chris at his next meeting at the apartment complex. He was looking very forward to already having opportunity, and with a young man he had relationship with from many years ago as a youth minister. “You’re amazing, Lord. You had all this planned, didn’t you. How is it we hear your voice even though it is not an audible thing, and yet we do, there is no denying it. Unbelievers think we are crazy. Imagining things. But look what those crazy imaginings has led to. The chess board has moved again. Two more very important things coming up though. One, I need a job. The right job. Something that will be an aid to ministering, not a detriment. That won’t be easy, Lord. And two, my meeting with Pastor tomorrow. If something drastic don’t change there soon, I’ll start the new year in a new church. Let me hear your voice, Lord, so I can follow. Gotham needs me. Yes, even me.“
“THE ENCOUNTER III” > This story is written as if fictional, but it is not, I’m living this every day. Do you know your specific assignment from God? Have you heard a call in your heart saying, “Gotham needs me?” This is one man’s attempt to take up the mantle of being a Caped Crusader for God. I am caped in God’s covering and Indianapolis is my city.
Two days later Don felt led to do a daytime trip downtown. It would be another scouting mission as he still had no idea how to enter his Gotham and begin to battle the darkness so deeply rooted in today’s culture. Is Christianity really about just being a “good person”? Is that a Christian? No! It was actually closer to becoming a Batman, than just another good person, and yet how many of God’s children had such a vision? How many really understood this powerful Priesthood they were born-again into?
Don was not expecting what was to come. The bus ride went smoother now that he was an old pro, and being daylight he could see exactly where he was going. He even went farther back into the bus like he had wanted, and sat in the elevated seats. It was actually a relief knowing it was the bus driver flying down these narrow streets and his 1990 Dodge Ram was safely parked.
Once downtown he began to haunt the same familiar areas. His answer was here somewhere. More time was spent setting in the Garden Center, sipping on coffee and snacking on a hot pretzel. Unknown people continued passing in the street below, but everyone of them was known by God.
Walking through the mall he eventually reached the theater on the third floor, and found himself attracted to a movie playing. “Hhmm, this is interesting. I wonder?” It had been a long time since he had been in that theater, and what was this attraction to this one show? It was called “Maze Runner”. Before he knew it, he bought his ticket and headed in.
A week prior to this, at Wednesday night Church, a woman had stood and shared a very vivid dream she had and believed was a word from the Lord. In this dream the lady saw a pool of water, and a friend was with her. In the pool they saw snakes swimming all about and it frightened her friend, but she had advised, “It is not the snakes we can see that are so dangerous, it is the ones we cannot see. She said as they stood before this pool they realized they were boxed in by four tall cement walls representing the Church. And then she found herself saying to her friend, “We need to call for the men, the snake-killers!” And the dream ended. Don had written every detail of the dream down in his journal.
Don knew this movie had something to do with people trapped inside huge cement walls and the only way out was a maze full of danger. As the movie played he felt God speaking to him. He was having a God Encounter right there in that theater! These young men were trapped inside cement walls and there were no snakes, but the maze was full of spider/scorpion type monsters! The woman had said call for the men, the snake killers, but in this movie no hero had yet arrived. Everyone lived in fear, confusion, and no one dared to break the rules! They were trapped by a bunch of rules and a belief they could not kill the spider/scorpion creatures! To be trapped overnight in the maze was certain death! But then one man shows up who is willing to question everything, break rules, and even dare to fight.
It was discovered that the spider/scorpion monster could be defeated and people could survive a night in the maze. However, the monsters may not be their greatest threat, because these young men are being lied to in ways they cannot yet even imagine. The deception of smoke and mirrors are deeper than the ocean, and even when they think they have finally found truth and freedom, they are still in a web of falsehood, lies, and illusion, and they do not even know it yet.
IS THIS WHAT OUR SOCIETY HAS BECOME? The answer was yes. How can anyone find their way through such a maze of deceit? How many layers of smoke and mirrors are we trapped in? No wonder our youth are turning from God’s word in droves! And where are the snake-killers? Where are the David’s that slay Goliath? Where are the Yodas ready to train a young Skywalker? Why is the Church afraid to break culture’s politically correct laws? Are we afraid to run the maze and fight the monsters? Is Gotham not crying out? Lost in a maze of lust and corruption?
After the movie Don made his way straight back to the Garden Center, found his bench and wrote many notes in his journal. His soul was still listening, but had yet to share what it knew. The next day he woke up with the first piece of his puzzle dancing in his head! Immediately he discovered his Batcave, and got to work!
<Do you have your Gotham?> The following events are written in fiction form, but they are real. I am living the events in this story, one day at a time. Every serious Christian should know their target, assignment from God. God has not given us a Bat-a-rang, or Batmobile. The weapons of our warfare are not carnal. But every Christian should find their Batcave and get into it until you hear a call from God saying, “Gotham needs you!” And then, with the dedication of a Caped Crusader, we should take on the evil of our day. We should be as devoted as any superhero to the cause! Maybe you need to find your Batcave. Let this real live story inspire you.
It was still dark as Don penned the final words into his journal, and took another sip of coffee. The house was quiet, very quiet, his wife still peacefully sleeping away. The Lord had woken him, he was sure, it was the Lord’s heart he felt breaking, causing him to rise very early from bed today.
He knew what to do. Pray.
And so he had, and when a peace finally came he knew even more of what to do, and he wrote the vision down, what an interesting challenge lay before him. His twelve month sabbatical was nearing an end. It had taken that long for him to see through all the grayness everyone was preaching. The back pain was so severe, and no one really knew how much he suffered for a couple months, until the surgery relieved the pain, and he was mostly normal now, except his truck driving days were over and he couldn’t do a lot of heavy lifting.
Yes, God yanked him out of truck driving and secluded him away for twelve months of seeking, study, praying, asking, to see clearly. It was as if God said, “You need a spiritual detox, or you will never see the evil of your day.”
“Are you tired of all the evil?” God asked him.
“Yes, Lord. You know I am, but what can anyone do?”
“The Master’s training wheel,” God said, “nothing exist for you outside this wheel until I say it does. You will detox. You will pray through. You will see clearly, and then I have a mission for you.”
The first six months of detox had been the most difficult, but after that, greater and greater revelation. In his old life of long hours and hard work, he never would have seen through the half-truths of his day. He never would have broke free of spiritual chains that still bound him. He never would have seen clearly enough to walk in what he was now prepared to walk in. He had been a sparrow flapping flapping flapping, lost in all the grayness, unable to soar. So God put the sparrow in a spiritual cocoon, reduced his flapping, and slowly transformed him to an eagle, with eagle eyes, living in high places, and seeing much more clearly.
Twelve months ago he would not have felt God’s heart breaking, it would not have woken him, stirred him from bed, and caused him to pray. Now he understood such things. He understood what put the “super” into “natural” so it became “supernatural”. Now he was ready for a mission. He had been breaking through the gray areas for many months now, and bathing everything in prayer. He understood how powerful his priesthood was. Spiritual sacrifices lifted up by a true priest of God opened portals. His days of living an ordinary life were over, God invites his children to the supernatural.
God had somehow stretched the part-time wages of a waitress, his wife, to carry them for twelve months, but now the bills were starting to add up, God was pulling the feathers from the nest, the sabbatical was over, God was on the move! He read the words in his journal one more time and then he summarized it in his mind. “I have an assignment from God, a city to invade, a target to focus on. Indianapolis is my city and they need God’s light, but how shall I enter in? How do I invade this darkness, Lord?”
Don laid the journal aside and took a long slow sip of his hot dark brew. “It’s time. It’s time to walk the streets of downtown Indy and see where God leads. There are demons to fight and people to save. You know, I have not ridden a bus since my school days, Lord. Sounds like a good place to start. Tonight. After Church. Let’s do it.”
“The Encounter III”
Here is where our story becomes a REAL LIFE REALITY SHOW.
If you have read The Encounter I & II, then you know that Dan has a father-in-law named, Don. In the story, Cathy’s dad, Don, used to be a truck driver until a back injury ended his career at the age of 58. After surgery he spent time with two books while he was recovering, his Bible, and a book called: “Soar More / Flap Less”. His twelve month sabbatical with God, and the help of these two books changed his life, and like a caterpillar changing to a butterfly, in his cocoon a sparrow became an eagle! Don gained a supernatural perspective and his life would never be the same!
He was so impressed with the book that he bought a copy for Dan, but it sat for two years on a shelf unread, and Dan and Cathy did not know what to think about her dad’s new outlook on life. He was happier than ever but also said strange things, and took his life an unexpected direction. No longer a truck driver, he was destined to lower paying jobs, but why go downtown and work in a mall for minimum wages when he could have done security work making ten to twelve dollars an hour? Shouldn’t he go where the money is? Why stand at bus stops waiting on a Metrobus full of unknown, possibly dangerous people, when he had a vehicle of his own?
If you have read The Encounter I & II, then you know Dan finally ends up reading the book and it changes his life too. He found answers, and then God led him to write a story called, “The Little Bird that Couldn’t > Flapless”, which is what The Encounter II consist of, but now our story turns to DON. YOU SEE, DON IS NOT A FICTIONAL CHARACTER, DON IS ME! SURPRISE!!!
DON IS NOT A FICTIONAL CHARACTER. OUR FICTIONAL STORY JUST BECAME NONFICTION AND IS NOW A REAL LIFE REALITY SHOW!
AND HERE’S THE TWISTER. IF YOU’VE READ MY “ABOUT PAGE”, YOU KNOW DON GREW UP LOVING COMIC BOOKS. DON HAS ALWAYS WANTED TO EXPERIMENT WITH USING A COMIC BOOK ANALOGY IN WRITING A CHRISTIAN ADVENTURE STORY, AND I’M FINALLY GOING TO DO IT! 🙂
“DO YOU HAVE YOUR GOTHAM?” GOTHAM NEEDS YOU BATMAN, AND INDIANAPOLIS NEEDS ME!
So how is this going to work? I have been on a twelve month sabbatical with God. Much has been revealed to me during this time. I am about to invade downtown Indianapolis on a mission for God. I have a vision from God of being a “Caped Crusader”, to save the once holy lands from the enemy. My cape is the “covering” of God. He shall cover me with his feathers, and under his wings shall I trust.
It is my goal to keep these articles somewhere around 750 words, or less, but I may sometimes do more than one article in a day. I have already made scouting trips downtown, in the night, seeking God and the way he would have me enter in. The IndyGo- Metrobus adventure was a story in itself. I had never ridden one before, and I must say I was the only “white spot” on that bus that night, and during a time when racial tensions are, shall we say, rising?
My word count is at 570 and I must begin going. I will write my story as the fictional character “Don”, but know it is REALLY HAPPENING. I AM LIVING THIS. I’m on a mission from God to invade a city with God’s light, a Sword, a Light Saber if you will. I have a target from God. We’re making this personal!
After much walking around and prayer, I have a leading on the job I plan to target for employment and have begun to prepare. My employment will be kept “SECRET” until I am well established, so my employer can trust me that I won’t be “preaching” while he is “paying” me to do something else. Once I am established and have proven myself, I will reveal the “SECRET”.
I hope to have fun with this but at the same time it is a very serious endeavor. I will be a Caped Crusader for God, but what does it require to live that spiritual heroic lifestyle? Where does our “SUPER” come from that we might do exploits for HIM?
Let the adventure begin!!! When I next return, the style will be fictional, but the story will be REAL. Hope you enjoy, but more than that, I hope we all grow. Let us be inspired!
To be continued…
Staying with our comic book subject for one more article, I’ll never forget when I saw the first “Thor” movie. I went to it not really expecting to like it very much because I was never a Thor fan as a young man. I didn’t care for superheroes who were too “super”. I never read Superman. I wanted heroes who were really risking something. Ironman had a bad heart and his suit had limited power. He came close to death many times. I liked guys like Batman, Spiderman, Captain America, Hawkeye, and so forth. But Thor was just a little too super for me.
Now fast-forward a few decades and the child has matured in his Christianity. He goes to see a movie about “Thor”, because it just looks like a fun show, but not expecting anything significant. Boy, was I surprised! I was very aware of a scripture in Jeremiah 23, verse 29, where God’s Word says: “Is not my word like as a fire? saith the Lord: and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?”
When Odin, Thor’s father, stripped him of his hammer and flung it out into space, because Thor was a self-centered ego-driven idiot, no longer worthy; that whole scene went all through me. And everything that followed, because he was now weak like an ordinary man. I pictured what God’s Word means to me, and how without it, I am stripped to stand against Satan as an ordinary man. I watched Thor as he wrestled with this breaking process his father had put him in. I felt like I was living that movie, and when he could not lift Mjornl (I’m probably spelling that wrong, sorry.), but when he discovered he could no longer handle the precious hammer that had been his life? His heart broke within. It was so powerful! I was there imagining that same pain!
I thought about if I had to live without the powerful promises of God, as found in my Bible? I would be utterly lost. I would see no meaning to life, no reason to fight hard against evil, after all, everything dies and turns to dust! What is pleasure, happiness, good deeds, love, joy, or anything, if it all ends in broken defeat, and I don’t even remember I ever lived? What meaning or purpose would anything have? In a few years I’m dead and don’t exist anymore? In the end nothing matters? All is death and decay? All is darkness and nothingness!
I now have a poster hanging in my den that shows Thor holding his hammer up. For me, the picture is not about Thor, but it is about that precious hammer he is able to hold in his hands and fight evil with. The hammer that makes him not an ordinary man living an ordinary life. That picture inspires me. It is a picture of my Bible, God’s precious Word to me.
When the giant robot sent Thor’s broken body flying through the air, and as he lie there dying, but a much different man, and that hammer that no one could move, finally began to move? I was in tears. When it went streaking through the sky racing to Thor’s aid? I was in tears. When Thor then stood up, a humble warrior worthy of the hammer, and he took Mjornl and defeated the enemy? I was in tears. And when his girl asked him if this is what he normally looked like? I was not only in tears, but I was so happy that there is a future, and life does not end in death and decay.
I now have a few special pictures of Thor and his Hammer taped in some of my journals. For me, it’s all about that hammer, God’s Word to me. I’m very picky about the artwork in the pictures I choose. 75% of comics do not meet my standard, and I don’t buy them.
I’ll share one more comic book character. He is not as easy to find. He does not have his own comic, and when you subtract 75% due to art, I am very limited, but I have a few. When I see him I think of the spiritual armor, and God’s Word, the Sword of the Spirit, all listed in Ephesians. This character is the “Silver Samurai”. When I tape a picture into a journal, it does not matter what the character may have been doing in the comic. All that matters is what that picture means to me when I look at it combined with whatever is going on in my journal. Even “silver” itself, has meaning in scripture.
Okay, that is two examples of how a very few comic book heroes affect me. I was never so surprised when I found myself deeply touched, and in tears at a Thor movie. I walked out of that theater feeling like I had gotten a lot for my money that day. So far I’ve only had one other Christian share that superheroes affected him when growing up also, and I know that man to be above average in his faith. Maybe a Batman, or Captain America had something to do with that? I don’t know, but I know I want to be one of God’s warriors, not just a ‘citizen’ of heaven, enjoying the benefits while others do the heavy lifting. As God’s children we all should desire the heroic, to be eagles, not sparrows. I see that in certain comics. I grew up with that and it has never left me.
Scripture says there is nothing evil in and of itself. It all depends on what we do with it. Some people use a gun to save and protect, or provide food. Others use it to steal, or commit murder. God looks at our heart, and that is one more reason why He alone can be judge. Amen.