About 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.
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. My inner torment forced me to search the Scriptures and find individual words with which to talk directly to God. His Personal response to me was 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 over 45 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)!
If you want to know the love God has for you let’s talk… Read More
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Like through a keyhole
I am trying to see now,
is anyone home?
A face like stone I am looking in your eyes,
and I see stormy skies
how can I break down those lies?
I see beyond your walls
and hear a dying pulse
from the poison of a hope that’s false,
your panic sends out calls
but the echo is lost
too many boundaries crossed.
I try to stand here and knock
but the door is yours to unlock,
I know I seem like an outsider
but it’s the same battle and I am fighter
I want to make your burden lighter
but life is on a timer
it is your map to decipher.
Find the pathway through,
that’s what I am here to do.
So let me in, let’s begin
I am no salesman but traverse the world within.
Breaking the silence is hard
but if you open what is barred
and drop your guard
I have the missing part
inside the place of hurt
you see you define my art
sink below the surface and let us find a deeper heart.
David, 28 yrs. old, carrying a sign in a busy downtown center. You can see four signs around him if you look closely. It read: "For All Who Suffer-Don't Give up-Seek Jesus-The churches are false"
THIS BLOG IS JUST STARTED AND IS UNDER CONSTRUCTION- I will be updating it regularly as I have the time.
Below is a one of the several crowds of a few thousand very poor people who live in terrible conditions to whom we are being offered by the city to reach in the living Jesus.
We had just finished our "performance" in a maximum prison here in Brazil. As we were putting away the equipment I noticed an older and younger man at the back end of the courtyard. They were holding each other and crying. I walked over and talked with them via Sarah. When we realized their story our hearts dropped. The older man was visiting the younger man and was his father. He had beaten his son so bad, when he was young, that the young man had brain damage and had committed a horrible crime. Did you hear that?
One guard came up with a big sigh and said "you brought us back to life...thank you...we can breathe again". Another told me it was the best day of his life. It was, as they say, surreal. An atmosphere you'd never imagine. In all my years I have never seen such a thing. These are military police.
At first the Director kind of laughed us off. Then he saw our connection with these men. It was amazing. Big, macho tough guys broken and so open to Jesus. A prisoner asked for the microphone at the end to tell us "In this place where nobody else wants to be, you will always be welcome". So many stories of guys with bullet holes from gang warfare. Others wrongly imprisoned. The Director came out and apologizes for his previous bias said "I am so sorry. I had no idea". Not about catholics or evangelicals. It was about Jesus. I shared at length from Romans 7:19ff/1 Pt.5:5/Jn. 13:35.
Hey man, how's it going? Michael here. Such are the stories we touch. Men who had killed men because of what other men had done to them. When you hear the background it blows your mind. Don't waist your life. God can powerfully use your life. Through having an accurate understanding of the Word of God we can become equipped to lay down our lives for real and truly help others. Not out of obligation but out of heart desire. Big, big, big difference. The greatest problem we face, which we all clearly see, is our extreme selfish nature because of sin. It manifests itself in thousands, if not millions, of ways.
When you deal with as many people as we do, on a constant ongoing basis, you learn a lot about your own weakness and how it is the very key into the hearts of men's pain (2 Cor. 12:9). We are looking for heroes. Men and women who will be brave and stand for Jesus, willing to face their weakness that He might show Himself strong. The eyes of the Lord search the earth for such heart (2Chronicles 16:9). To rescue orphans. To love prisoners. To care for the lost. Opportunities of service abound for one who is selfless. The rewards are enormous.
Feel free to jump around what I write. I realize there's far too much here for the typical person to read. I know I can become a bit wordy. I know it can get a little "heavy" here and there. Maybe come back to parts.
It's important to realize this is not just about right doctrine. I'm not looking to dump a bunch of lofty theology on you. So much of today is about appearing "Christian", by "righteous" rhetoric and doing some occasion 'good work'. This is about how to just be real with God; a heart relationship with the Father. Like David, whose love and understanding of the living God drove him to a life of love, praise and conquering impossible situations, both inward and outward. (Below is a school we presented Jesus yesterday, the 16th)
I can admit that, below my smile, and "I'm fine" image I suffer from a sinful nature. I hide deep emotional pain and conflict. Because we think that admitting our struggles renders us a defeated man or woman; a "loser". Transparency does just the opposite. It puts us in the position of broken and contrite to win God's favor. If you can begin to understand the real nature of sin, and faith, you can gain a handle on this enigmatic monster and actually learn to walk in the Spirit of the living Jesus. Things can change.
Paul says, he does the very sin he does not want to do. Then, at the very end of his life, says he is the chief of sinners (Rm.7:20/1 Tim.1:15). Yet Jesus says "Go and sin no more...the truth will set you free...so those who do not see may see...where there is no law neither is there violation...he who has died is freed from sin...he who is born of God can not sin... (Jn.8:11,32-34,9:39/Rm.4:15,6:7/1 Jn.3:9). You've got to understand the Biblical revelation on sin if you want to enjoy true salvation. It is not a contradiction. It is the marvelous mystery Paul recognizes (Col.1:27). (Below Joshua walking a dangerous place)
One fine beautiful day, when the birds were singing, and all creation radiated with it's glory, Adam exploded with a wicked outrage against the Father. The consequences defiled our humanity with depravity. Sin destroyed us. So today the crazy and deceptive ways of sin play with our mind and emotions. Satan entangles us in his web of condemnation. We need "discernment" (Heb.4:12). How do you deal with sin? We can't escape it's effects, but we can avoid it's end game. Sin is not an act. It is "the principle of evil" in our blood (Rm.7:21). Satan uses it to stalk our vulnerability and manipulate our stupidity.
How often have you felt the sigh; "Why? Why? Why do I feel like this? Why did I do that? Will anyone ever truly love me?" You don't trace this to an objective"sickness" of sin (Jer.17:9). Rather, you blame yourself or your personality or a hundred other things. We are infected with a poison that makes us cry, rage, pout, fantasize for no reason. It's not "being nuts". It's being a sinner.
You think it's because you're all alone or dealing with some specific issue. But the fact is, it's always there in varying degrees. Satan lies to your mind and feelings. This is where knowing what God says, about His love, is to be your alternative choice of faith. We look for a quick-fix to stop the deep-cycle of frustration, anger and depression. Entertainment, food, booze, drugs, sermons and therapy offer passing appeasement.
But Adam knew he lost the love of his life forever when God turned away. Everything comes down to a question of LOVE. Are you loved, despite your sinful ways? If you are how does it change your behavior? We have this hole in our heart and nothing, including salvation, can ever repair our sinful nature. That's right. Divinity was ripped from humanity. And it ain't coming back up. It was killed on the cross. Salvation is not in ourselves. It is outside of ourselves accessed by faith in the Word of God.
We hide our sin, both in ignorance and deliberate effort, with layers of lies. We tell ourselves "Oh ya, I struggle with this and that but I'm ok. I'm good". No. You're not. We blame this or that, him or her for our problems. Anxiety is far too often, and in us, when no one else is around, to have any other source other than the sin we carry within. It burdens us with inexplicable stress. And we can not resolve it by self-strength.
Anxiety spirals into anguish, grief and guilt for no reason whatsoever. We get frustrated over what we should do and could be. We feel we never will be, because hopelessness, based on our past failures, seals us with condemnation. Cries for help bounce around in our head that we know no one will ever hear. And none of them even accurately describe the complexities of our pain.
I used to think it was just me. "Why me Lord? How can I feel like this if I'm saved. Shouldn't I always feel happy". Then, through extensive research, called praying, reading the Word and talking to multitudes, I uncovered sin is a well-kept secret hidden by "Christians" out of ignorance. Of course everyone in a conspiracy denies a conspiracy. They perpetuate the fantasy of a religious "La, la land". A thousand excuses for their pain but not one real answer. No smile or chitter chatter can hide or heal this screaming wound.
There are 198 deaths a day from drug over dose. That's 73,000 a year. Think America needs help?
God says "Your wound is incurable And your injury is serious There is no one who cares No healing for your sore, No recovery for you Anyone who would love you has forgotten you...For I have wounded you with the wound of an enemy...Because your sins are great and numerous Why do you cry out over your injury? Your pain is incurable...the heart is desperately sick' (Jer.30:12/17:9/Jn.9:39-41/Rm.5)
THE HOPE IN HOPELESSNESS
Hopeless? Indeed. Paul explains about the hope "against hope" (Rm.4:18). It is not a hope defined by any dictionary. You can't see it or feel it. It defies all our thoughts. It implodes the human paradigm because hope beyond hope is the place where faith is born.
There's no physical scar or cage into which we can look to touch or view SIN. We can't point to it and say "Oh wow. Look how hideous". Faith is the only way to deal with our sin. God says it corresponds to the punishment of hell and I believe Him. Our attitude about sin is 'foot loose and fancy free'. But what Eve and Adam did was not a 'whoops' mistake.
Sin is a deeply calculated defiant rebellion, blinded by the stupidity of self-reasoning. Sin is the idolatry of self. It gave reign to the anarchy of ego. The 'me' of 'it' in you is extremely offensive to God; a Father Whose intention for mankind was profound love relationship of fulfillment.
In His crucifixion Jesus bore and displayed it's impact.
There is a little bridge called presumption, which Satan offers, at this juncture of your hopelessness. It goes from desperation to pretense. There is a DETOUR sign set up, so you don't miss it. Be careful, the path is extremely worn down because most every one chooses it. Men despise the humiliation required to face the actual state of their wound.
But for those who are willing to recognize their pain there is an answer. You can label it "SIN" and be done with the agonizing search for reasons why. In the very same passage God unfolds His ultimate response to our sin:
"For I will restore you to health And I will heal you of your wounds...Because they have called you an outcast saying; It is Zion, no one cares for her...
People often ask us how and why we came all the way from the states to their country. We shipped a van from Miami to northern Columbia and have driven through the countries of South America. Now, somehow, in our own very feeble ways we grapple and groan to tell men of the love of Jesus. Men are ignorant of God, heaven, hell and death". Just like I was.
I tell them "I am here because my Father put the cross of Jesus in my heart many years ago. It solved sin once and for all. Jesus died so I can live. Now I carry this 'concealed weapon'. It is not a symbol of religion. It is sign of the ultimate power of love (1 Cor.1:18). He shaped me through it, in pain and stark reality. I am driven by it to tell others about it.
(They asked us to share with a large group of workers before an event for a local village.)
When my mom died of cancer the reality of time struck my heart with a terrifying blow. "Hey Dude. You are on the clock". What was, what is, will not always be. I cried so hard it hurt. I was awakened. And now, 40 years later, I'm blown away by what that moment caused. A sullen man walked into our house with a large black vinyl bag. He walked into my mom's room, zipped her inside and walked away with my best friend thrown over his left shoulder. That ten minute experience drove it's harsh reality in me and ruined my life... but it released His.
God knew how that moment, and many others, would send His compassion, to those who would otherwise never know. What is God doing in your life, right now, to prepare you for His purpose five years from now? I graduated from the largest seminary. Wealth, comfort and reputation were at my finger tips. But I hoped for more.
Yesterday we were performing in a High School in the middle of pigs-on-the-street poverty. Afterwards many kids, teachers and administrators came up to talk, to hug, to listen about Jesus. These are true riches of the more I was hoping for. They were touched by our touch. Nitty-gritty Reality. Jesus. They actually 'got it'. People here look up to Americans. An American family, who could have anything, "all together", come to their destitute out-in-the-middle-of-nowhere village . This is "no greater love" (Jn.15:13).
I love you man. I want you to know the joy I know. That's the only reason I talk the way I do. I'm trying to 'get to you'. We are searching for heroes. In these days of self-obsession and horrendous delusion God is searching for anyone with heart for Jesus. What is He doing in you right now to take you someplace in five or ten years from now? Opportunities are endless for those who are selfless.
You could say "Well I'm just not that kind of guy to be into God like you are." Brother, Let me tell you, He is the "kind of" God to be into YOU whoever you are. The truth is there is no one who is "into God". I am a wicked scumbag. I deserve hell-fire. I simply choose to act on the magnificent love the Father has revealed.
Life flashes by, like a shooting star across the night sky. Suddenly you are old. It's gone. Over. Done. No one talks about death. Yet sickness or an accident can kill us at any moment. On the other side is hell. No second chance. Yet nobody, except the weirdos, talk about torment, gnashing of teeth and eternal horror in a lake of fire. But either it's true or Jesus is a liar.
The sole reason for the death of His Son was to offer salvation from the horrors of hell. A "lake of fire". This alone is reason for me to give Him everything. The most loving man ever to walk this earth warned over and over about death and hell. An intelligent person would conduct their entire life, every moment of every day, with eternity in mind.
"No. Not me. I know all about Christ".
Really? So are you really going to blow off a broken heart in an obvious response of pride? Don't do it. Please. Don't do it. The one proof of a person who seeks God is a broken and contrite heart, transparent of his own fear of presumption (Ps.19:13/ 1 Cor. 9:27).
Imagine a 'log jam' on a river. Branches and debris back up in one place because of an obstacle. The obstacle can cause a dam from all the debris backing up and ultimately destroy the land. Until that obstacle is removed the river is blocked. It can not flow.
It is tragic to talk with so many "Christians" who refuse to face the hazard of their own pride. "How could I be the obstacle to my own life?" And the more years that go by the bigger the obstacle becomes. "I could never have been wrong all those years". Regret festers denial. This one issue; the number of years wasted, is the common stop gap to reason. The hope for true redemption is negated by a fool-hearted fixation on justifying the past.
What sense does it make to value to the past, so as to prevent the repentance necessary, to discover a life yet unknown? Obstinance is the obstacle to "rivers of living water" (Jn.7:37). Satan tells the "Christian" that he must hold fast to his unflinching pride because it is a commitment to the Lord. But this paradigm is clearly exposed as a fallacy to the Biblical priority of humility (1 pt.5:5).
Your life is not over my friend. Who knows how long you have left? So don't be a proud fool. You still have a chance. Right now. On the other side of death is no place for excuses. Hell is the just recompense of rebellion. What matters is that you do not squander the moments that remain. God doesn't esteem the existence of our years, but whether there is an existence of "spirit and truth" within us (Jn.4:24). Jesus explained how God thinks quite differently than man (Mt.20:1-16).
A claim of "Christian" experience does not render a noble value to stubbornness. Satan spins his web of delusion and stupidity to take men to hell. Would you not rather have the truth, and go to heaven, than hold to a lie and go to hell?
You’re not going to hear this love in nominal Christianity They don't talk about death or hell because all they want are smiles and small talk. 'Let's all pat each other on the back and say nice things to each other.’ It's crazy. It's madness. It sure ain't love.
There is nothing more despised by men than humiliation. Yet this is the only way out.
63,000 murders in this city last year. More people died here than in the entire war in Syria. It is the highest per capital murder rate in the world. We do not feel it is a coincidence for us to be here. Not a coincidence for us to be allowed into the prisons and villages where millions of men are slaves to lethal gangs. So who does God send? A family of eight? We've heard our share of "No." "Never." "Impossible".
Over our travels God has opened up doors into schools of all ranges of children and background. This is a school we did in Columbia a number of years ago.
One time my family and I were traveling past the Grand Canyon. We wanted to walk from the top to the bottom and back up the same day. Everyone, including Park Rangers, told us it could never be done in one day. Obviously, this motivated us to do it. And we did. Of course, the next day we could barely walk. (Below is a picture of a village here and a school in Chile.)
You gotta go. You gotta be. You gotta do... what everybody says you can't and nobody wants you to do. You're on the clock. Some forty years ago "Christians" I knew in Grand Rapids, Michigan accused me of being "driven". They meant it to accuse me and I felt defensive. But as I matured I realized... Of course I am absolutely driven...by the blood of Jesus! (They've lived in one city forty years. God has led me to hundreds of cities in 60 countries.) Ya. I'm driven. Thank you Jesus. And thousands have benefited.
Been that way since the moment I was reborn at Notre Dame. They, of course, settled down in nice comfortable living. I never owned a house. Never want one.
In that "little" Grand Canyon excursion my family and I realized an enormous principle of life. Always challenge the motives of the naysayers. People without a heart for God will pull you down and step on you, all the while smiling, and acting like they agree. What exactly was the source and background of those Park Rangers? What is their basis of being "experts"? Do they know my family? Of course not. All they know is the response of the typical overweight, out of shape American tourists (no offense intended-just fact). The fact is people have no idea who you are and what you can do.
Likewise, all the people who tell you "No way", "Can't be done", "Shouldn't do that". Do these "experts" live the truth, know the word and have a heart for God? So many of my "friends" and relatives whose lives are anchored in comfort and laziness say "No way". A relative and a "close friend" both told me I could never raise a family in an RV on the road, as Rachel and I have done for the last 40 years. Pretty awesome children. If love is the measure....let's measure. Pretty awesome God. Quite lame source of viewpoint. (My relative got divorced and destroyed his family. My "friend" gave up on Jesus and became a pharmacist.) If you look closely below you can see our signs outside this massive soccer stadium.
Nothing more Satan wants than to keep you bound in one place to a group of people all your life. What a disaster. New furniture and new cars are about the extent of anything new you're gonna know. My friend, forget listening to the "Park Rangers". They got no authority. Other than what they get from others who live in total denial of the impossible. God wants to blow your mind. It's kind of the attitude we have had all our life in response to "Park Rangers" and anyone in life who tells us we can't, or God can't do something. This is God's attitude. He loves to defy the limitations of men.
"Thus says the Lord, 'Because the Arameans have said, 'The Lord is a God of the mountains, but God is not a God of the valleys, 'Therefore I will give all this great multitude into your hand, and you shall know that I am the Lord," (1 Kings 20:28).
In the descent and ascent of the Grand Canyon we realized the huge advantage an army would have over an enemy stuck in a valley. Ever feel stuck? Of course you do. We all do. And God has revealed Himself as One Who promises victory to the disadvantaged. Jesus was in the ultimate valley of death. So how'd that work? Not bad hey?
As we walked into this "valley" (above) the people in the village told us to stay close. They said it was dangerous. It was actually kind of funny because that's what others had said about them. Sure, they got guns. But they also got heart and this is our specialty. God did a mighty work. We carry a weapon with us for protection in such places. I display it to all when I put our cross together and show them it.
David says "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me" (Ps.23:4).
David revealed the secret to his dynamic heart is "a broken and contrite heart" (Ps.51:17). The world despises the idea of being "broken". They think "loser". They have no problem spending enormous energy and money on being "driven" by the world to do what the world says is worthwhile.
But Jesus says "he who loses his life shall find it" (Jn.12:25). I have met many a “broken” heart full of self-pity, a forlorn spirit, cynicism and unbelief. This is not the broken heart of which I speak. Adam broke our humanity with depravity. God sent Jesus into our broken humanity to rescue us from depravity. It is all about something so simple; being real.
The valley held a sweet memory to David. It is where he pulverized the giant Goliath, twice his size. Surely he knew fear like any young man who faced an ultimate warrior from a foreign land. Yet the weapon of heart David had was so superior. His love for God left the giant laying in the valley, after he had cut off the head, to drop it at the feet of Saul.
We each live in "valley" in which we walk each day. It is the inner turmoil of emotional pain, grief, guilt, anxiety, etc. etc. We are not to avoid it or deny it. We are to walk through it with Him. Learning to do this is no small thing. It doesn't happen overnight. But it doesn't happen at all if we do not seek, with all our heart, to grasp the magnitude of His provision in the work of Jesus.
People here are terrified of the ghettos into which we go. Even the police have told us they can't go there or they'd be killed or kidnapped and tortured. No exaggeration. But what is the background out of which they speak? People have told us "No way" will they ever let your family into the prison system. Really? Cuz they just welcomed us in. If you want to know the reality of David "because You are with me" it requires HEART. If you want excuses they are a dime a dozen.
David had a major "Breakthrough" in a valley (2 Sam.5:18). He was frustrated by his outward responsibilities and his inward inadequacy. He could not find any answers within himself. The Great Eagle from on high swooped down into his valley. He meets us at the cross. We give up our excuses. We give up our very nature. He gives us resurrection hope and life. He makes our old heart new. The gloomy defeated attitude of "the valley" rules the heart of all men who walk in the shadow of the valley of death; which is the curse of sin pulsating in our flesh.
What is the shadow in which you walk? How does your job or relationships cast a shadow on you? Could you possibly believe there is a way God could walk with you, into a place of redemptive joy, praise and thankfulness?
"Passing through the valley of Baca (Hebrew-bewail-mourn-with tears) they make it a spring; the early rain also covers it with blessings. They go from strength to strength, every one of them appears before God in Zion (Hebrew- praise) "(Ps.84:6). Don't ya just love such a God Who speaks in such a way?
The longer I live, and the more we proclaim Jesus, I realize how everything is about the Father's depth of compassion to touch our pain as sinners through His Son by the Holy Spirit. This may sound lofty and vague. The reality is comprehending the nitty gritty suffering of Jesus, as revealed through the Scriptures. Then personally responding to His love with a heart of praise befitting His momentous work of the cross.
Then, face to face sharing this personal touch of the gospel with the world. With gentle tone of compassion Jesus confronts our inner state of shambles. Like standing at the foot of the Twin Towers just after 911. That's us inside. Ezekiel described us as a valley of dead bones. No hope. Like a hundred year old woman thinking of having a baby (Sarah-Rm.4). The prophet was gripped by the deep sense of hopelessness. Absolutely devastated and destroyed by Adam's sin. We are experts on hiding these "dead bones"; sin and anxiety. Why? Because we don't want others to think we are what we are.
It is fascinating to see God move, despite my "911". God looked into that valley and asked Ezekiel if the dead bones could live. I just love to imagine the thought process behind his answer. He didn't say no or yes. Because just when you think you know how God is going to work He humbles you in a totally unexpected manner. Ezekiel wisely, from experience said "You know" (Ez.37:3). Then, came the glorious command on the winds of the Spirit "LIVE!". This is who we are as the army of God. Warriors put together in the valley of death. Paul says if we die with Him we shall also live with Him (Rm.6:6).
Jesus uses "Father" 184 times to describe the Character of God. It's not hard to love people. It requires no schooling or degree. Just you being you learning how to transmit His love to them.It has been an absolute joy to be here.
God has gone before us because we believe He has a large amount of people in this city. It just makes sense. Jesus says "Blessed are the poor..." because their attitudes are like no other. Our new CD is titled "Looking for Heroes" because in a world where everyone is looking for purpose and love our hope is to fill someone with His vision to love others . You may think “Well I’m just not the ‘kind of’ person for God”. No one is. But He is the ‘kind of’ God for you. Jesus walked around and rubbed shoulders with people in all walks of life for this very reason; to show everybody God is for you.(You can find CD on line at ancient boom
So much suffering every where. And so many doors to anywhere. Yesterday our minds were blown away by the things we saw. A lady asked us to come to her "event". When we arrived my mind was discombobulated (don’t know if this is a word). But it’s what I felt. I have seen a lot over my years in many countries. I have never seen anything like this. It’s one thing to drive by such a place. It’s quite another to walk in and touch the reality in which these beautiful people must suffer every moment of every day.
It was a village of cardboard huts with filth, trash, pigs, and stench.As we entered “the village” (absolute dump) children came running out to greet us. Beautiful children. So simple. So normal. As we walked into the “event” we wanted to both weep and rejoice. So, so sad. Just unimaginable sorrow. It was the look on everyone’s face. It was like everyone was humiliated knowing that we were seeing into their humiliating circumstances and looking into their soul.
Below is a picture of one of the marvelous opportunities we had to speak and perform on a stage set up by the government to a huge gathering of a large ghetto. As we turned a corner to drive up the hill of entry two women were fighting all out. As we entered the gathering numerous teenage kids were walking around with machine guns.
What you see is how they live. And they know it is dangerous and disgusting. We really didn’t know how to act. So as always we just were who we are and loved as we can. No forced smiles. Because everything wasn’t “ok” and everybody knows it.
As we were driving here down the main expressway off to the side of the road we see a military police holding a rifle pointed at four other kids getting out of a taxi. He is accompanied by several other officers with guns drawn and pointed. As we tried to digest this tragedy we realize we are to take the very next exit. As we exit we see a truck of military police guns drawn on a group of kids. We got out to ask instructions and three guys tell us about a forty year guy who was just killed in a fire fight with police.
We watched five truckloads full of men in full military swat gear, each armed with a machine gun, enter the neighborhood. One of the guys who was in our performance took out his gun and followed the trucks. All the children standing around took off running, screaming and crying. We were informed of the constant gun battles where neighbors are shot and killed in plain sight in the middle of the day.
Every person you start to talk with usually ends up pouring out their soul and crying. A big strong guy came up after we were done sobbing. He said so many thing about how Jesus touched him. He said he would never be the same after he heard our message of the living Jesus.
Paul says the goal of our instruction is love and when you understand this love to be of such a manner it makes you gulp. To be with someone in their moment takes one thing; heart. Why? Because we are so selfish. Instead of relating your experience to him could you just be there with him. What we usually do is water down their moment by sharing our experience of such moments. The results are they receive no compassion. The outcome of divine empathy is not us or them. It is Jesus.
As we left this place here on the right a Director walked us outside this facility. As we stood in the large courtyard he said “Shhh. Listen…”. We looked at him with a puzzled look. “Hear that silence? Your message has gotten in.” You’d have to be familiar with the chaos and insanity of a prison to appreciate this statement. He explained it is not merely momentary. That never happens. It implies the size of the rock was huge for the ripples to be so big.
We are so thankful to have finally gotten into the huge prison system here. It is massive. There is something about working with prisoners like nothing else. It is in our blood because it is in His blood. To realize these men are trapped in the same rotten building structure and stench every moment of every day with no hope of anything else is just so grievous. We've all done something terrible for which we could have go to jail. If not a crime against men, surely we have sinned against, which bears horrendous penalty. Here then is where compassion is found.
Aside from the terrible living conditions, and being taken from their family, they must carry the deep weight of their crime against men and the guilt for their crimes against God. It is our job to bring them the vision of the dry bones. They walk in a very dark shadow in a very dark valley. Jesus walked in their valley. He carried the entire pain of all men for all time in those three hours of agony. He held the bars contemplating the monumental torture on a cross yet before Him. Yet He believed in the Father's promise that death itself must obey the high command of His Father; "LIVE!".
We try to enter into the shadow of men to declare another shadow in which they can walk. It is written "He walks in the shadow of the Almighty shall dwell in the shelter of the Most Hight' (Ps.90). He overshadows our shadow. Think about it in the way the shadow of the sun overrides the cool shadow of cold day. He is so much greater.
We’ve been so touch by the young gangs in the Delinquent Centers. The last one housed a very dangerous gang called The Red Command who had recently killed someone in their cellblock because there just wasn’t enough room for him.
Despite how you may feel right now, or how others make you feel, you are not worthless or alone. The Father says “Fear no one. I love you, forgive you and have a plan for your life.”. Within you is a brilliant ‘mechanism’ waiting to be released. It is called heart. It doesn’t require some profound moral or physical strength. Just one turn of humility to tap the incredible and beautiful life of Jesus that will change the world in you and through you.
No, I’m not trying to make you feel good about yourself. Quite the opposite. I’m trying to get you to go beyond yourself to Jesus. I’m not looking for money or offering a self-help scam. Just a fact about you that people do not want you to realize. Why? Because it exposes the laziness in them. People absolutely love to find excuses to avoid doing what they say they want to do or what they know they should do.
It is so easy to hide fear with an excuse. I’ve done many times and every time I hate the weasel I see myself to be. The truth will always set you free. We must realize that until we are able to lay bare the truth of our every motive we remain in bondage to a lie. It is written “The sluggard says ‘There is a lion in the streets’” (Proverbs 22:13). It doesn’t say the coward. It says the sluggard. The gut motive of most excuses is laziness. So many times I can make an excuse not to do this or that but I know it really comes down to just not wanting to spend the energy. I'm lazy.
This problem always comes down to an ignorance of God. We continually think He demands more than we can give. The truth is He demands only what Jesus already gave. This is why Paul makes a very big deal out of freedom.
Never has there been such a time when despair or thoughts of suicide permeate a culture saturated with opioids and umpteen drugs. Men are in a frenzy and panic to find personal love and happiness. But one day each person comes to the tragic awareness that no one cares and aloneness is a terrifying reality.
Madness is accepted as normal. Hate is defined as personal preference and the reality of God and church is so corrupt only a fool takes it seriously.
Your life does not have to go the way you do not want it to go. You can yank it back from the edge of the abyss of mundane robotics. I speak from absolute certainty, documented facts of history and personal experience.
In today’s society the idea of God is personal morality, churches, sermons, preachers, doctrines, sinner’s prayers and vivacious personalities. All of this in realty produces nothing more than all these doctrinal complexities constituting “another Jesus” (2 Cor. 11:1-4 ). Things and stuff. Rather than simple devotion to Jesus. Being real, being broken and contrite is like a far off distant galaxy to the hypocrites of today. If you have heart it's cake. No bragging. Just a fact.
Faith in the finished work of Jesus yields a character of resolute and intelligent security and love. No matter how much the hypocrites think they got us all figured out, they don't have a clue. And God keeps it hidden (Mt.11:25). They say "Oh you think you're the only ones" or "You are not what you say you are". It used to bother me. But then I realize you can't change the mind of someone who has no mind to change. If someone is bound by conformity to the system of Christianity he can not think independent in his own God-given intelligence. He is a slave to his own self.
It is quite amazing how Jesus was such a gentle man Who spoke in such compassion. Yet when it came to the hypocrites He sounded like a different Person (Mt.23). Why? Until you deal with a hypocrite you will never understand how both wrath and compassion work in the justice of God.
Don't listen to those hypocrites my friend. They don't care about. The rest of your life is before you. No matter how you have live, no greater love than when you die (Jn.15:13/Rm.6:6). Don’t live the rest of your life without the Father’s love and blessings. It's going to fly by.
He does not require we reach to Him with some self-purification. In fact He has proven this, very clearly, by coming down to reach us right here on earth. He exchanged eye contact. He felt and gave a common hug. He wore our clothes and was bruised by our pain. He heard our words as He will hear yours right now. There is nothing you or I could do to live up to His eternal holiness. Every day we break another of the ten commandments. Our impulses and instincts of anger or lust constantly tick away in us like seconds on a clock.
There is nobody Who has shown the absolute kindness and friendliness as Jesus did. He is a man for all men. Because when Jesus became man He became like all men. For three hours on the cross Jesus bore every foul, bitter thought and feeling, common to every ‘kind of’ man and woman. He succumbed to the valley of dead bones so that in three days He might hear that glorious command of His Father "Rise up My Son. LIVE".
Ruth has a new arsenal in her bag of weapons. I don't know whose cuter the bunny or her with it. We call her Gracie. It is an extremely fluffy tiny rabbit. It is phenomenal how powerful it works with people. Not only the handicapped and elderly but the hard ass gang members. An old woman in a wheel chair started weeping when she held it. She said she was taken back to when she was a little girl. Could tell you so many stories. Ruth can actually make her appear and disappear. It’s quite amazing and always gets a genuine gasp.