Wrapped in mystery and secret things, the Caped Crusader overlooks his Gotham? What might a Priest of Christ have in common? Read on if you dare.
Posts Tagged With: Superheroes
THE ENCOUNTER III > The real life saga of one man leaving the safe confines of his Church building to make a difference in the streets. Like Batman saying, “Gotham needs me.”. In this day we live, there will be many hearing this call of the spiritual Caped Crusader, to leave the safety of the four walls of our building and venture out into exploits, but do not go without an understanding of what it means to be “Caped”, God’s COVERING. Only God knows what your experience will be like, but this is an account of mine. Hope you enjoy.
The back injury which had pulled Don out of truck driving, leading to surgery and many months of healing, had also led to unexpected things. He did not know that on January 1st, 2014, he was beginning a one year spiritual journey, a one year sabbatical with God. And now that one year was nearing and end, it was time to find a job. But once again, there were unexpected things coming. Events that would seem to have no logical explanation, and yet leading somewhere.
The night of ministry with Chris, “Oasis of Hope” Southern Baptist Church, was behind him. He now understood what was meant by a “Point of Pain”. Not that he did not mentally understand before, but now he had lived it. It had affected him. A part of him needed to be involved in the pain of this city. The big production of what went on in the safety of a Church building now left a bad taste in his mouth. He knew he would likely not preach another message from a pulpit until he was also successful in the streets. He felt he had no right to teach others when he himself had such a great lacking.
It was ironic that the last message his Pastor had let him preach had not gone over well. It was a message about true Priesthood and sacrifice. In this message he had stepped on a sacred cow. He did it respectfully, pulled his punches, dared not attack God’s anointed, but he had dared to say it. He had pointed out the unbiblical message of a Joel Osteen concerning money and having your best life now. As Priest we were called to sacrifice, not live like kings. Jesus laid that aside for later, and we are not at that “later” yet. The Jews also wanted “King” Jesus, but rejected the Priestly servant Jesus. Don had dared to say it, and he felt the ruffled feathers. He knew it was his last message, and it was time to go seeking. God was calling him to something different, but where would he find it?
The Southern Baptist were reaching out to him with a different way of doing things. A very basic and simple way with an emphasis on the streets, reach and teach, go to them, and disciple. But Don had been praying with some men in a large Pentecostal Church, and he loved their fellowship too. He would try there first.
However, a storm was about to hit again, one that would seem very confusing, one that would challenge the Prosperity teaching again, evidently there was more he needed to see. It was time to find a job. The right job. So he sent out four applications to some downtown Starbucks! This was just before Christmas. It seemed logical. If God was calling him to downtown inner city, then why not work there, and find a job in which to make “contacts”. So he took the first step that direction and then got sick!
Yup, that is what happened. With everything just ready to come rushing in, a new Church, a ministry calling, time to get a job, money beginning to run out, hospital bills beginning to mount, after almost 12 months of God providing in a miraculous way, Don began to job hunt, but was suddenly hit with a virus that would not go away! His lungs were so full of congestion and coughing, that he certainly could not do a descent interview! Christmas of 2014 came and went. Then his wife got it too! Now she was missing work and only half performing when she did go! All emergency money quickly dried up and the bank account dropped into the red! 2015 came and they were both still sick! What’s going on Lord? Do we not have a work to do? I don’t know Lord.
In desperation, Don started dropping strong hints to his Church friends who were well-off financially. For the first time in his life he was in real need, confused as to the reason why, and feeling led of God to “test” the Prosperity teaching that some are gifted in making money so they can help those in need. He didn’t doubt that some were called and gifted of God to make money, but it’s the giving part of which there seemed to be a real problem. A blindness…a deafness…a preoccupation with doing their own thing…and they do not see all the needs right under their own nose. This story will continue.
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?
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?
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”.
<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 MOCKINGJAY movie may come a little too close to reality for some people’s taste. In our day of “self-serving leadership”, instead of “self-sacrificing”, we want our heroes to end up rich, fat, sassy, and happy. However, Christ showed us true leadership involves paying a high price of dedication, love, and many sacrifices.
I had already read the book and was hoping the movie would stay true to the author. I think for the most part it did. The movie fails to show how much Katnis was struggling with mental, physical, and emotional scars. They give you a glimpse of it at the very start of the show, but then she seems to pull herself together much quicker than in the book. Part I has set the stage for what is an extremely high action and intense Part II. I think Part II will deliver everything it promises.
But the point is we see so many of our leaders today that bare no resemblance to the leaders we had of the past when our country was truly great. Their eyes are more on money than what is true and right. Their eyes are more on what will make them fat, sassy, and happy, rather than your best interest. How did we get here? We can see it in every walk of life, entertainment, politicians, big business, but worst of all… our pulpits across the face of this nation.
The pulpits have always been a “rudder” to steer a great ship, and our Pastor’s are the ones who have their hand upon that rudder. So I ask, where is America going today? A post-Christian nation? Why? Jesus was the ultimate example of self-sacrificial love. If we should see an example of that anywhere, it should be from the pulpits of our Churches. From our Pastor’s who claim to be examples of Christ. Then perhaps there would be more people wanting to follow such an example of true leadership.
I think when the entire MOCKINGJAY package, (all 4 movies), have been delivered, we will look back on the entire package and see that this is a very powerful story with a very powerful message for our time. I expect Part II to be “heavy” also, but you will be so on the edge of your seat from the intense action that you will know it was worth it, and a good taste of reality is what we need. That’s my humble opinion anyway. 🙂
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.
It’s time to take a short break from our developing story, “The Encounter”. At the top of my side bar you might notice a title of Comic Books, God, and Nature. Some might find fault that I put comic books before God in the title, but that is intentional, and for a reason. I have plenty of articles in which God is the main subject, and Christians the target, but I’m targeting a different audience with this one, and comics are the leading subject.
This is a conversation I wouldn’t mind having with other people who love comics and superheroes. I’m not talking about Archie, here. I grew up on a strange spiritual diet of comic books, my Bible, and isolation in nature, which meant these things just about had my undivided attention. Now as a Christian, I wonder how that affected me?
To this day I am adventurous, even at the age of 59, and I am adventurous for God. I still buy certain comics just to cut pictures out of them. Why? I tape them in my journal next to my accounts of the things I am doing. Why would anyone do a crazy thing like that?
Well, I happen to love things that inspire me to be disciplined in my goals for God. Batman may be fictional, but what he stands for is a hero very disciplined to saving his city. (He’s not perfect, and neither am I, but he tries hard.) Such a lifestyle inspires me, and I love the artwork. This is only one example. Most will probably write this practice of mine off as a very crazy thing, hopefully harmless, and definitely ridiculous, but I disagree. (About the ridiculous part, that is. LOL.)
If any one would like to have a conversation around this topic, the floor is open. If you want to know more of my story, I have written it on my “About Page”. Just hit the “About this site” button in the header bar. I’m just throwing this out there to see what might pop up. Curiosity getting the better of me.