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The Journal of A Son


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Michael WoronieckiAbout Michael Woroniecki:

… I don’t know how others throughout my life perceived me but I always felt like I never fit in. From childhood I remember a constant awkwardness in my surroundings, haunted by a searching for something I could not find. No matter if I appeared ‘squirrelly’; when I was little, or ‘macho’; when I was older, I was always a scared wounded soul within. 

 

I kept searching and hoping for some kind of special thing to happen to me. Something to take away my emptiness and fill me with happiness. But besides the “success” of winning All-City honors as a high school fullback, and later receiving a football scholarship, I had nothing. But a giant empty heart. 

 

 Never could I have guessed that I was searching for SOMEONE; not a best friend, or a dream girl, but for my Creator; my heavenly Father. Never could I have imagined that the strange pain within me was due to what the first man, Adam, passed onto me, in my sinful human nature.

 

My inner torment forced me to search the Scriptures and find understanding. His Personal response to me came my second year in college. It was the revelation of the living Jesus. While sitting in, of all places, a football stadium during a Charismatic Catholic conference at the University of Notre Dame, His Holy Spirit filled me with  profound sense of deep security. For the first time in my life I felt like I belonged. Destiny replaced chaos.

 

It was after one Autumn football practice in college when I read His perfect answer to my new found turmoil from dealing with guys, on the football team, who wanted nothing to do with Jesus. He explains “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies…” and “the wind blows where you do not know” (Jn.12:24,3:8).

 

 I slowly began to understand that  my ego had to be broken  in order to find a truly new life (Gal.2:20/Lk.9:24).  Just the opposite of what I had always been taught. No persecution or any crazy stuff that opponents may say,  then, now or in the future, can budge me from this indescribable reality of Jesus in Whom I am rooted. I was an orphan who was granted sonship.

 

Today, after sharing Christ with many people in every state and in many countries around the world for the past 40 years, with my wife and six (now adult) children  I have come to know the joyful laughter of yielding to that verse so long ago so that today I know “… if it dies, it bears much fruit” and “so is a man born of the Spirit” (Jn.12:24,3:8)! I marvel when I consider how God has opened countless doors into the prisons throughout the world. It is my utter joy and privilege to bring the living Jesus to these forgotten and suffering men and women. 

 

As a result of working with prisoners, the homeless, the mentally ill and so many on the streets, I have been identified with them and consequently falsely accused by those who do not know me and use an evil media to slander my reputation. People unknowingly have accepted what others have said or written about me and I can do nothing to correct any of it. I can only love and forgive my enemies.

 

I really don’t care about what others say because there are so many multitudes in such profound need. My life is consumed with caring about them and trying to help them. Not what a few people may say against me. Jesus is coming soon and then all things will be laid bare and His justice will rule. Blessed be His holy Name! If you want to know the love God has for you let’s talk… Read More


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The Bridge

THIS IS MY NEW BLOG AND IS IN  CONSTRUCTION-no12

As we have now arrived here in Brazil, looking forward to the vast ministry God lays before us, I pause, to look back on a mere three months we just spent in the states. It seems like five years. It was profound ministry to so many precious people on the streets, campuses, football games, homeless and most of all prisons. And oh, how we learned to explore our moments. We worked the eternal 'clock' and God did so many wonderful things.

Life flashes by, from the womb to the tomb.  Instead of living our moments, with each other, as if they are nothing, let us stop and explore.  Let us learn, as children, how to heal and cherish each other. God's love is not just a smile, a word and a gesture. It has dimensions of  height and depth and length and width and breadth (Eph.3:18). It is ever-forgiving and always new. We can settle for where we have come, but the Father's disposition inspires us to run (Lk.15:20).

One moment of thought or experience can 'lock down' our personality,  as with a loud slam of prison door. Something happened to us in the past to shut us down deep within. We go on, but who we were to become, is left behind.  It could be from something little,  or something big. It could be a divorce, accident or a death. It could be the regret traced back to a single sentence, act or words you or someone else spoke. Maybe a terrible mistake or failure. Maybe a sin you committed or was committed to you.  It happened so long ago and yet here you are still suffering from it. Maybe not even aware of how it shut you down.

The past can hold us "frozen" from new life in the present (Phil.3:13). I see this with thousands of people on the street and in prisons. Men and women captured by one single moment of time. A moment, in which a person can't escape.  I know this so very well. I've had my share. Every day it pushes you where you don't want to be.  It leaves you fearful and alone.  Every time you are alone with your thoughts, it "freezes" your life.  Depending on it's severity, is how much it bears upon your moments.

So many memories, that help you run through life, but there are those, like sand, that slow your steps to a stop (2 Cor.10:3). The Father does not want this for you, my friend. He offers a wonderful resolution.   You may have never really even considered such things, but yet find yourself thinking “Why God, why? Must I live with this same way of thinking all my life? How do I go on from here? Can I find a true new way of thinking?" (Rm.12:2/2 Cor.5:17).

Life is regulated by a thing we call TIME; seconds, days, months and years. But Jesus actually broke all powers of time by rising from the dead to offer eternal life.  It is as if our Creator put a clock within us called a heart.  Through Christ He can now put an eternal sense in each moment. The average tick of the heartbeat is once a second. Just like a clock. It measures our daily activities and then, all at once, it stops our existence at precisely one tick, determined by God. 60 heartbeats a minute, and 60 minutes an hour times 24 hours a day equals 86, 400 moments a day. How many of these moments are special? How many spent on meaningful expressions, love, prayer, concern for others. Or are they all just randomly subject to circumstances? How many of these are "frozen"? How many moments waste away because your mind is frozen by bad moments of the past?

Multiply  the ticks of each day times one year and you have 31, 536,000 million moments a year. How many of these have we distributed to and intersected  with the moments of another person?

What if there is a bridge to access the best of the past, present and future? How many people have you heard regret how much time they wasted? The elderly, coaches, business men, actors, etc. look back on their life with remorse because the speed of time now leaves them with nothing. The Father sent Jesus Who sends His Spirit to teach a man how He has provided a bridge to go back, while in the present and to redeem the past and then walk on into the future with a profound wisdom from experience. Jesus wants us to learn how to live in the moment; His moments of non-time; i.e. eternal life. To become subject to understand the operation of destiny and meaning.

Hearing "the voice" of the Shepherd is not an audible sensation. It is to gain His perspective (Jn.10:3,16). To understand how the variables of forgiveness, grace, faith, the blood, wisdom and love all function by His Spirit is the voice of the Shepherd. In every moment, of every day, the Father is speaking to us in the majestic work of Jesus. It is for us to explore. How we respond depends on whether our ears are trained to "Listen" (Lk.8:18). A masterful musician hears ethereal frequencies. It requires a stillness of spirit.

The Scriptures declare 'All day long God stretches out His arms...The heavens are speaking of the glory of God...day to day pours forth speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor are there words; there voice is no voice...yet there utterances are heard throughout the world' (Ps. 19:1-2).

When I was in seminary I had a teacher who would fill large blackboards full of diagrams of Scripture verses in Greek. It was extremely insightful. If you could diagram a moment, what would it look like. One moment would suddenly encompass multitudes of moments and involve multiple dimensions. Can you imagine if one of your worst memories could become one of your best?

We must not fear any moment or sin. It is the whole purpose Jesus sacrificed Himself. We must be willing to face the most frightening moment in our lives. How? Only one answer; faith in Jesus. On the cross He provided real power to overcome all of life. The most profound but practical revelation is that "Faith comes by hearing" (Rm.10:17). Will you choose to "hear" His revelation? We are so quick to "hear" bad voices, lies and accusations. But we must learn to "hear" God's promises. To believe He work is sufficient. He  yearns for us to find His healing and victory in the most deplorable moments we face.

As we travelled to a prison, we stopped off in my hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan. It was like crossing the bridge from the present into the past and actually into the future.  I returned to Saint Adalbert grade school  (these stairs). We took the time to explore moments of the past. And in this time we discovered a wealth of joy.

I ask you to look at the building in the background and stairs upon which this football team is standing. Notice little duff in number 14 on the top row. That's me.  I was 14 yrs. old.  A few months earlier I was shot in the eye with a BB gun.

My heart was shattered by that one moment. But "where" did it come from? Could it have been from my future?  I ran in the house screaming in pain and fear.  My mom took me to the hospital where I had to lay on my back for a month completely still. Hmmmm. Sounds a bit futuristic to me now, that I know how crucial it is to have such a posture before the Lord.

How many moments are being sent to you from the future, but you do not "listen", so you do not understand? Instead contemplating these as future moments, they become frozen by lies.

I couldn't play football, but the coach, very kindly, put me in the picture. We won the championship so it just killed me not to play. The doctor warned I could go blind. The future was giving me a special gift; how to be alone.

Since then, my "clock" has ticked away some fifty years. In the picture below my family and I stand on these same exact stairs.  Never could I have imagined, back then, that in a 'trillion' blinks of an eye, I would  be standing in the same exact place with a wife and six marvelous children.

I returned to a place from my past, St. Adalbert's,  but indeed, was it not from my future? I revisited that "frozen" moment of great pain, isolation and hopelessness. Only to discover His redemption had melted my character into the future of God's destiny. What made the difference between me and a million others is that I chose the cross of the bridge of faith in Jesus Christ.  He alone causes "all things" to work together for good (Rm.8:26/Eph.1:11). Truth comes by revelation. It is the only thing to stabilize our fragile and erratic nature in a world of hypocrisy and madness.

If we learn to comply with balance in our thinking and articulation we will find the peace "that passes all understanding" (Phil.4:7). Not to be erratic or headstrong. Not to be giddy or sullen. To find balance and maintain an equilibrium of pure and secure faith will bring to us the fulfillment of our moments. All my life I was obsessed with finding meaning. I found it.

 

 

 I took my children to the cemetery to plant a rose on my precious mother's grave. Her name was Rose.  It was like entering an actual Time Machine.

THE HIT: I heard a knock on the front door as the doorbell rang.  I ran down the front stairway. I saw,  through the door window, a spooky looking older man in a black suit. As I opened the door I noticed his Hearst parked in our driveway. I quickly concluded he was the undertaker I had just called to come for the body of my mother.

Less than an hour earlier she had died, in her upstairs bedroom. In one short month intestinal cancer had literally eaten her alive. Her body shrunk from a somewhat pudgy frame to look like a Holocaust survivor.

I open the door and we barely greet. I walk him up the stairs. He is carrying a large vinyl black bag. My mind does not connect that the bag is for my mothers' body. A bag?!

THE BLACK BAG: As we approach my mother’s bedroom, I point to her lying on the bed. He coldly walks into the bedroom and lays the black bag next to her. The opening of that loud zipper echoes in my memory to this day.  He awkwardly works to maneuver my mother’s limp body inside that black bag.

My mind was having trouble trying to process what my eyes were seeing.

Slowly my heart is gripped by a deep sorrow. In a matter of minutes, I again hear that huge zipper closing around my mother. My 'mom' is inside that black bag. A reality of extreme pain, I had never before known, invaded my conscious existence. The moment was frozen. It was seared into my memory. It was the finality of death. Unlike physical pain, I could not fathom any remedy for this extreme pain. No doctor's visit. No pills, no bandages, no crutches, no answer.

THE TOSS: My heart was sunk into a quagmire of darkness and sorrow.  The man, nonchalantly, picks up the black bag, with my mother inside. Then, he makes a very awkward toss of her over his left shoulder. Is was like a work man's toss of a cement bag. He walked out of the bedroom and back down the stairs. I'm thinking “That’s my best friend . How dare you treat her like that.” But I realize she is dead….actually dead. Gone. For good. It is something all men  refuse to think about yet is inevitably coming for each of us. (Is it not bizarre that the human race pretends they will never die? No man, but Jesus, made this subject His life focus.)

The undertaker walked down the stairs, out the front door, and to the back of the hearse. He opens the door and throws the bag inside.  As he walks to the drivers door, he looks up at me and waves good bye. He gets in the car and backs onto the road to drive away. We did not exchange more than two sentences. Yet he just took away the love of my life. We never said even three sentences to each other.

THE DESTINY OF MOMENTS:  I could never have known in the living of those moments how much I would share about them here and now.  One incident in many, many days to follow was that life changing.  I was just with her a few hours earlier, giving her ice to ease the burning pain of the cancer eating away her internal organs.

That's my buddy. My fellow comedian with whom we shared a "Groucho Marks" routine. We shared my deepest words and so many tender hugs. This is the woman who gave meaning to our dysfunctional "family". Without her what reason was there to live? My beloved precious mother of 25 years.

My heart was shattered. Something told me to chase the car, to scream, to stop him... but none of these actions were consistent with reality. I headed to the basement, to be all alone. I wept harder and longer than I ever have with such pain my stomach had cramps the next day. How could I ever find the motivation and the vision to live on?” Exactly what I felt.

Let me tell you, that you can go on. Your heart can be melted. Not by a little formula. No little prayer. No token words. But, if you really want what God offers you, it is worth all the understanding and heart needed to find redemption,  freedom, resolution and the true joy offered in the healing of the living Jesus.

My mom died forty years ago but it is an incident I constantly use today in many places to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. That one moment has produced decades of life for multitudes. It came with no instruction booklet. It was up to my faith in Christ to unravel it's significance. It touches the common suffering we all experience.

It happened five years after my salvation but it was a major thing God used to break me. There are countless such moments of which I could share. As hard as it was to explore, once I chose believe that I could face it in His Spirit, He utilized this  incident of enormous suffering and confusion to bring about His glorious destiny (Heb.12). Destiny is fluid thing. It doesn't come to us as an iceberg but as the wind (Jn.3:8).

It opened up my cold heart to a heat wave of wisdom.   I could begin to learn how to tap all my moments of life to His supernatural grace. To go beyond my own selfish shallow life to care about others with the comfort He began to show me. The living Jesus lifts our life to the Father as His work of the cross.

 

My mom always had a dream of me becoming a priest. If only she could see eight priests today. Back in 1976 she took me to a Catholic Charismatic Conference at the University of Notre Dame. It was here, in the football stadium, that I gave my life to Jesus. We visited the university this past fall, to witness at the Michigan/Notre Dame football game, which was the first of the season. We not only had a tremendous witness with our signs for Jesus, but I was able to recapture the greatest moment of my life I shared with my mom, so long ago, and with my family now.

I had no car but I had a thumb. So I "hitchhiked" from Grand Rapids to Mt. Washington in New Hampshire to see a mountain and spend time on top of it to read the New Testament. Upon my return, this very empty  man was transformed in one day, at one moment, in one place; Notre Dame.  Eternal life drew me into the meaning I so longed for. My moments were like dark caves that suddenly became exposed to the light of redemption. From a rag tag lost soul, wandering about in the wasteland of the world,  I chose to believe in Jesus. I sat in the Notre Dame football stadium staring at "Touchdown Jesus". My Father's humor did not go unnoticed. It was here and now that I was born again. Slowly I cultivated a focused vision of loving the world in and by the marvelous Spirit of the living Jesus.

Below we visited "The Grotto" where I preached to all the visitors of how special that place was for me. They all applauded. Of course, any hypocrites who read this may have a problem with the whole catholic thing but as Jesus says "they strain at a gnat and swallow a camel". I thank God constantly for how, where and why He saved me. 

To watch our six children carry on HIs Legacy of Love is a fulfillment of indescribable joy. Mercy here Downtown Chicago.

While in the states we were invited into a number of prisons. It was nothing less than amazing. And the men, oh, the men. So precious and in need of the Father's love and understanding. We went to a prison in New York on an island that is considered one of the worst in the country. Someone, at some time, was looking for a good spot to dump unwanted material. So horrible it had to be put somewhere out-of-sight, out-of-mind. So bad they actually purchased a landfill for it. Not just any landfill but a landfill on an island so no one would be bothered in any way. It is tragic that we are not talking about some dangerous chemical or a massive amount of trash, but human beings. It is to these men that we go to explain the bridge of Jesus Christ.

There are so many guys from gangs called "the bloods" and "the cryps". There focus is murder and death. Yet who thinks of how they became like this? They grew up in utter hell, treated like animals, whose parents were drug addicts. Their memories are filled with nothing but nightmares. Real nightmares. We did everything the Spirit led us to do to enter their moments with the hope of a new tomorrow in Christ.

People just like you and me. Sons of fathers and mothers, brothers to sisters and fathers to children. People who grew up laughing and playing with toys and hoping to buy ice cream from the truck in park. But now put on an island and locked behind not one, or two or three, but five layers of barbed wire. This prison is consider one of the most dangerous in the country.

It seemed we were going to be very late because the New York traffic was it's usual horrid condition. But, as the wind blows, God led my amazing son, Abraham, to navigate our ("compact car") huge semi-truck,  around the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Bridge, to make us on time. It was all so planned to fulfill our Father's profound destiny. I owe the heart  I have for these prisoners to the destiny of that incident of enormous breaking.

We must learn to revisit moments, not alone in our emotional scars, but  in faith with Jesus Who bore ALL our pain on the cross, and by His resurrection power can free you from it's misery into the destiny of redemption. God can use this life to break our ego and to create in us the one thing He will never despise, a broken heart (Ps.51:17).

 

 

Downtown New York is like another country. So many homeless people sitting by the ways of walking rich people. The Father took my mother, in such a way, of such shock,  so that my heart would be of such character that I could give a depth of  love of Jesus to thousands and millions of suffering all over the world.

Rachel is pure Irish. Put her Irish fight with my Polish fight and you have children with a nobility, recklessness and fight to "attack" the world with love for the homeless, the prisoners, the orphans, the sick and  the forgotten far greater than any football team attacks its opponent.  The blood of an Irish woman and Polish man covered by the Blood of the Lamb produces a heart of pounding love. We have a 'game plan' of rhyme and reason to lift those on the bottom to the top.

 

The woman to our right was one of the many homeless we were able to reach in New York. Just think of her moments. What she must go through so as to go home and write such words on cardboard then take them out to sit on the street. One moment came to us with the idea to witness at the New York Marathon. While there we realize all the affluent runners were leaving clothes along the route. We went along and picked up bags of very expensive sweatshirts and pants. We then passed all of them out to the homeless.

Joshua talked to a man who had killed over a hundred soldiers in Afghanistan. He was devastated and frozen in time. He said no one knows whats going on me. Everyone thinks I'm just another tough guy but I can't bare to live. Joshua spent a long time sharing with him and the guy just broke down to tears in finding the moment where Jesus could come to him.

If you would like to hear of an amazing moment of destiny let me tell you about our arrival at a prison in Michigan. When we arrived the man in charge had attended CMU the same year as my wife. The security number he gave us was 33 which was my football number. He had us perform for several groups and the men were so very open. I have never met a man so loving and caring. He invited us to his home for a meal and gave boxes of food and provisions.

 

Below is a picture of the house in which I grew up and my mother died.  The present owners allowed us to freely walk about. So I could walk through the past, or should say, the future  with my children. Everything seemed so full of flashes of very specific things I now clearly see as preparing me for who I was to become.  The bridge of as if a bridge allowed us to walk there in the marvelous love of the Father's predestined plan.

 

It was in this mail box that the future sent me  the scholarship to attend CMU and the destiny to meet Rachel. Little did I have any idea that I was not going to CMU to play football but to be schooled in the rejection of the cross of Jesus amidst the football team. I would begin to access the character God had built in me through the suffering I endured at Saint Adalbert grade school. Living in a house, day after day, for 18 years, was for me like a bird in a cage.  My dad was a cruel man so he made our lives quite unbearable at times. My mother often cried. It was hard to endure his heartless ways. I did not know Jesus all those years but my soul craved a freedom.

So when I left Grand Rapids I was ecstatic. So much so I became entangled in wild ways of booze and marijuana. I lost myself in lifting weights and developing an image of a 'bad ass'.  I had gotten arrested from a drunken brawl which fostered my image. But slowly injuries brought me into a cocoon... awaiting the release into  butterfly freedom. It was in my sophomore year that I went with my mom to N.D. and met Jesus.

When I returned to college at CMU I became the president of Fellowship of Christian Athletes. This was not about THEN but about LATER when, upon graduation, I would attend Fuller Seminary. God had to hone my leadership skills and discernment of the Spirit for all the many challenges I faced there. Again, and again, and again I had learned to explore moments from the past, and those coming at me in the present, both of rejection and pain, that became so wonderful my words fall far short of expression.

In the past, in the present and awaiting us in the future is the bridge to the enormous capacity  of the living Jesus to redeem all our moments in life.

 

 

Listen

“Come”, I say, “Come!”

"Where is that voice heard from?"

"I am your invitation,
an invisible publication,
in suspended animation,
like an inconclusive equation,
a language lost in translation.
I am taught by the clouds,
the thought on the sprouts,
reached out in the boughs,
as spoke like the river flows,
the oak that grows,
a signal like the smoke,
spread like a dandelion blows,
as bold as the golden hour glows,
covering like winters first snow.
I am breaking down the walls,
My voice gone out
never to exhaust,
calling to the lost,
to come without cost,
to the light of the dawn
given through the cross.
I am heard in the moment,
known by the one who will own it,
My voice is petitioning,
My words riveting,
My call ever witnessing,
the only question left is...
are you even listening?"

My precious Rachel working the harvest all by herself, out of her individual love for Jesus, downtown Chicago. She is a hundred pounds of heart. One man, one woman, all alone,  can 'change the world' of so many into His eternal kingdom.

 

 


 


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