Monday, June 9, 2008


Yesterday we got together with Dave and Geri Parker. As a background reference, they are the special people we are connected to at the Worship Center in Lancaster, PA.
How wonderful it is to talk to people who understand and know what you’re going through. From ministry to parenting, they knew what we were talking about.
In so many ways, they related to our feelings and frustrations. This was indeed a great moment of settling some issues in my heart and mind.

As we sat and talked at the restaurant table, I was reflecting back on our first years in Harrisburg when “mom” as we like to call her said to me, “It was not a mistake and it was not a failure. You had to find out and see what would not work here.”

All I could was just say, “Yes, ma’am…you’re right. I receive that.”
With just those few words of encouragement, the past two years of feeling like a failure and fraud, were wiped away. It was like the final page of a chapter in a book was turned for me. I cannot put it in words right now, which is unusual, but it was as if though God used her to turn the page for me. I had become so trapped by the outcome of all that happened, that deep inside, that page of the story was still open.
Even though a lot more has been written, and a lot more has been said and done since that time, it’s been like having a bookmark set in that one place, so that every time I come to the book, the story always opens up to that page.

God used mom Geri to remove the bookmark and turn the page. That chapter is closed. I told her, Carol has always told me the same thing to which she said, “God has sent confirmation.” Then Dave told me a couple of stories of his own both concluding with, “lesson learned.”

I feel like I’ve been set free from a heavy steel ball that had been chained to my leg. Over the past few months, some of my blogs have been filled with venting, ranting and crying. It was basically because this page had never been turned.

God is doing something special in Fruitful Life right now. Carol and I are ministering to an expressed need in this community. People are actually asking for help regarding relationships and marriage. When it happened and we realized God had literally placed a legitimate ministry in our hands, it was like the V-8 commercial where the person is popped on the head because they should have realized what was available to them.

For us, this is our V-8 moment. But before I could venture too far down that path, Dave told me, “But you weren’t ready to receive this ministry at that time.” And he was so right. I was so focused on ministering to the community from the church and the pulpit that I was not ready to address the real need that God was going to bring before Carol and me.

So God took us totally out of the church world, gave us secular jobs, and let us live a typical life and lifestyle of a citizen of Pennsylvania. He let us experience their frustrations, disappointments and pain.

Now that we KNOW AND UNDERSTAND, God has suddenly released people to come and receive what He has for them, through us.

Everything is new. Everything is fresh. I’m writing again and the text is flowing like never before. I’m literally writing four books at the same time. There is not as much music coming, as in times past. I feel some songs stirring within me, but they will come forth as we get into the flow of ministering to those that come on our Friday night sessions. O’ how we look forward to that.

Carol and I are video taping teaching sessions and re-writing materials. All I can say is that by the grace of God, “WE’RE BACK!”

God has just been so faithful to us. Everything is not what we’d like to be, but we’re so thankful that it’s not what it used to be and certainly not as bad as it could be.

In every way, we can just sense that the new thing has already begun. Our main focus is to stay in the place of rest. God is doing this, so we’re just staying out of His way. As mom Geri told us yesterday, we just need to be available to Him.
She said, “Now God has your ear.”

When she said it I thought to myself, “You got that right, mom. I don’t want to make a move unless I hear from Him.” Then I also thought about making sure I don’t get too busy. Even though we’re writing, and teaching, the point is for us to stay open and available to the Lord. We have to minister from hearts and lives that are connected to a fresh resource and supply of His spirit.

I just thank God for yesterday. It was such a closure that when I woke up this morning, it was the beginning of not just a whole new chapter, but a whole new story. This is the beginning of a new book in this on going journey with the Lord.

Purpose will be enough

This has been a very emotional time for Carol and me. Our youngest sons just graduated from high school and we’re filled with mixed feelings as we transition through this summer and go through the process of preparing them for life after high school.

Now it’s their turn to enter the most difficult season of one’s life and we find ourselves praying and hoping they can get through it without too many distractions and detours.

It was the time of life that knocked me off course for over ten years and our oldest son is in the midst of his detour recovery. It’s just a real difficult transition to make in life. That was the reason I wrote the What Now book. Now my sons are in it. I hope they can pick up some of the words of wisdom that I have passed on to others.

I look back over the past four years and I realize that they have been a part of shaping who my sons are today. They are stronger and full of purpose. They are not wavering from that point of view. As parents, our concern is for the people and ideas that will now be bombarding their lives. The promise we have from God is that we would give them purpose, and that would be enough.

Okay Lord, we hold on to Your promise.

Thursday, April 3, 2008


Following our wonderful anniversary celebration, we received the following letter:

Dear Mr. & Mrs. Green,

This letter is your official notification that your Van needs to be removed from constantly being parked on the street.

It must be parked in your driveway when not in use for long periods of time. If it cannot be kept in your driveway then it would need to be kept somewhere out of the development.

If it is not removed from the street within 10 days from date of this letter then I will need to go through the proper process to have it removed at your cost.
I do regret having to send this notice out, but when I receive complaints about things like this I need to take the proper action.

I want to thank you very much For your cooperation in this matter.
I was very angry and upset for several days. I tossed and turned all night and the right words finally came to me in how to respond, so I wrote the following:

Dear Sir:

I am writing in response to your letter dated March 24, 2008 which we received on March 28th demanding that we move our vehicle, a 1990 Ford Passenger Van, from street parking in the community. What I find disturbing is that you felt you had the right to threaten to have the vehicle towed at our expense simply because of a complaint that you received. There has been no due process. There has been no conversation or discussion. There has been no citing of any violation of a city ordinance or law regarding parking on the street. I find it reprehensible that you would feel you have the right to present an ultimatum like this to the only African American family in the neighborhood, where EVERYONE else is allowed to park their second or third vehicles on the street without complaint or discussion.

So, in response to this ultimatum, that you would not dare present to any other family in this neighborhood, I have video taped the neighborhood parking situation clearly showing how others families are parking their vehicles on the street.

The video clips show that one vehicle, regularly parks directly across the street from our driveway and we have never raised the slightest complaint because that neighbor, like us, has a large vehicle and he has no where else to park it. Out of good neighborly spirit and for the sake of getting along, we have never said anything to him or anyone else that does this from time to time, even though it makes it difficult for us to get in and out of our drive way when this happens.

It also seems that whoever made this complaint has given you the impression that our vehicle is some type of derelict abandoned piece of junk that is broken down and is never used. The vehicle in question is our church van that we use to haul our equipment and supplies as well as to provide transportation for those who desire to attend some of our special meetings and activities. You see, I am a bi-vocational pastor. I work for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania through the week, and I work on weekends as a pastor. Through the week we use our personal vehicle to get to work, and on weekends, we use both vehicles for our religious activities.

Where is the law or ordinance that says I cannot park the vehicle on the street, just like everyone else? Where is the ordinance or law that says I must park the vehicle only in the driveway? If you enforce some type of rule on us, I expect to see EVERYONE IN THE ENTIRE NEIGHBORHOOD IN COMPLIANCE WITH THIS RULING AS WELL!

All of this could have been avoided if you had simply placed a phone call or asked a few questions before jumping to conclusions and presenting an ultimatum. Now that you have backed us up into a corner as if though we have no legal rights or without following some type of protocol, you leave us with no other choice but to pursue media awareness or legal action to protect our interest.

We will consider the towing of our vehicle, without due process and without documented violation of any ordinance or law regarding neighborhood parking, a deliberate and vicious act of racism against me and my family and interference with the religious activities of a church by illegally moving the vehicle owned by the pastor. The said action is in lieu of a threatening letter to tow the vehicle based upon a complaint that was not investigated or validated.

I find this to be VERY serious because this means ANY neighbor can make ANY complaint against me or ANY member of my family for ANY REASON and you think you have the right to respond this way. This is a MAJOR issue to a minority family because this was the way we have grown up. White people can make any accusation against us and anybody can act upon that accusation without due process.

Well, this is not the 1950’s and 1960’s. It’s the 21st century. My wife and I have raised three sons and have striven to be model citizens. We have one adult son, and 17 year old twins who are preparing to graduate from Central Dauphin High School.

They have never done drugs. They have never smoked or drank alcohol. They have never been arrested. They don’t have babies outside of marriage. They have not terrorized this or any other neighborhood. They are not in any gangs. In fact, they have assisted us in the ministry in our headquarter church in St. Louis, Missouri, as well as in our assignment here in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. My wife and I have worked very hard to try to be role models and good citizens in every community that we have lived in. In spite of losing our home last year, like so many people across the country, due to the increased interest rate on our adjustable rate mortgage, we have held together as a family and done our best to remain productive. That’s how we came to live in this neighborhood.

We are not some uneducated, inner city-ghetto stereotype, Beverly Hillbillies family that has invaded the West Hanover Township. I’ve been a homeowner for ten years in St. Louis, Missouri, situated in a very nice middle class neighborhood. It was considered a historical structure and was so nice that we once hosted the mayor of St. Louis in our home. We moved to Harrisburg and qualified for and moved into a home in Forest Hills, a very nice development in northern Harrisburg. So not only are we appalled at your actions, but we are offended by your assumptions. And yes, assumptions have been made or we would have been granted the dignity and courtesy of a phone call or a letter of inquiry, rather than a threat and an ultimatum.

Aside from this issue, which is rooted in racism in its purest form, this is a matter of setting an example and instruction for our sons. I cannot allow them to see their father bow to this. I raised them to be men of dignity and to respect others. And through this situation, I must show them that they cannot allow anyone to walk over them.

I am a husband and I have been faithful to one woman for the entirety of our 27 years of marriage. I laid down my life for this woman who is my best friend, partner, and mother of my children. In a day and time when African American men are only known for imprisonment, infidelity, and irresponsibility, I have tried to be the best man she could ever hope for. I cannot become anything less in her eyes. I am her protector as well as her partner. I will never allow her to experience one minute where she is ashamed of me and embarrassed by me. That’s why I must take this stand. It’s about what is right. I do this as an African American husband and father who is setting an example for my sons and being a true husband to my wife.

I am genuinely connected with countless people who happen to be white, who are indeed my brothers and sisters. They have stood beside us in good and bad times and would be absolutely shocked and embarrassed to learn of this treatment we are receiving. They are not token friends. They are the kind of people who I am proud to say, when we see each other, we see no barriers of color. So these are not the words of an angry black man waiting to pull out the race card for everything that has gone wrong in his life. I say these things knowing that it might make some of my closest relationships a little uncomfortable, but because they know me personally, they will understand and even support this stand I am taking.

Finally I do this because of our church family. I cannot, in good conscious, tell them to stand up for what is right, if I back down from such issues. I cannot lead them, where I’m not willing to go. I must be a man of integrity. I was watching the Civil Right baseball game this past Saturday and the commentators talked about the fight that African Americans had in the past. Well, this kind of attitude, that you have displayed, has taken me back to a time in which I was a kid and did not always understand all that was going on. I thought that much of this was behind us. I thought wrong.

I do this because I refuse to plant a seed of cowardice and compromise in my sons. This is not about the van. This is about the way you approached us. This is about the way you chose to communicate with us. You don’t have to like us, but we will be respected as human beings, and as citizens of this commonwealth and these United States of America.

Christopher G. Green
One Concerned Husband and Father

I made a PDF of the letter and it emailed it to the Neighborhood Association. I received a phone call shortly afterwards. The gentleman attempted to make some excuses and then suddenly humbled himself and said, " I didn't handle this situation the right way. I apologize."

It all came down to exactly what I stated in the letter. Assumptions had been made. By the time we got off the phone, he was making concessions and saying he hoped we can be friends.

At first I thought I had gone over the top and overreacted, but the response from those who matter, my wife, my children, and our church family, let me know that this was about the pulling down of a stronghold. I was not bluffing, boasting or making idol threats. All I knew was that I could not submit to the spirit of intimidation. That would be like yielding to witchcraft.

Well, I don't know what else to say. I'm just glad to know that we win, we win, we win!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Changing The Airwaves

I recall the prophetic dream that the Lord gave me so long ago and somehow, our return to the radio has prompted something in my spirit. Our radio broadcast was launched again, today, and I keep seeing the portion of the dream where I had control over the atmosphere.

The more we move forth with the strategy of the Lord, I'm inclined to believe that HE is leading us in a very carefully marked out plan. HE has us announcing a monthly meeting to invite people to come and worship, pray and receive healing for their lives.

At the same time, HE's directing us to start a little radio broadcast. As today's broadcast began, I saw myself in the dream with my hand outstretched controlling a whirlwind in the sky. I was standing on the west shore, looking toward the city, facing a tower of religion, but I had control of the airwaves.

GOD has given us a prime radio spot and it seems this is a very key part of what we are supposed to be doing at this season. I'm expecting God to send more people to pastor and nurture, but HE's also directing us to reach many more than we can see right now. The atmosphere must be changed because that is a part of prophetic call on this ministry.

God said we would interrupt the enemy's communication in the airwaves. Now GOD has given us a means to accomplish that assignment. We are trusting the Lord to provide the resources to accomplish this mission.

I'm very encouraged. I can see God giving us more people. This will be the third group of people to come to Fruitful Life. Most of the first group walked away. Only mom and Gary remained. The second group (the Carters, Bobbi, Danelle, Maria), have been given a season of preparation and healing. Now we are getting ready for the next wave. I expect more than what we had in the first group which got up to about 30people at one time. I even expect some who were in the first group to return.

Somehow, God is going to help this next group to help us build and establish a foundation to change the atmosphere. Of course it's their choice submit to the will of God and I'll talk about that a little more in my next blog. For this blog, I just wanted to express how exciting it is to watch the prophetic dream beginning to come to pass.

Friday, February 22, 2008

It's Our Turn

Over the past few months, several precious men and women of God have been called into heaven, leaving a new generation to carry the torch. As I read through some of their stories, I was amazed to find that some of them were younger than me when they started. By the time they were in their 50’s they were in full swing with the ministry and the calling on their lives.

For that reason, I feel like that young person who started late in music or sports. When you start late, you always feel like you’re running behind everyone and else and that you’ll never really catch up.

I look back over key moments in our ministry life and I wonder if we missed our open windows and doors of opportunity. I know we’re in the right place, at the right time, but I feel so ill-prepared for the task ahead.

I didn’t personally know Dr. D. James Kennedy, Dr. Adrian Rogers, Jerry Falwell, Ruth Graham or Evelyn Roberts, but we were deeply impacted by William Saunders, John Gimenez and Val Melendez. It wasn’t often that they spoke into our lives, but when they did, we received wisdom and strength for the hour in which we live right now.
Suddenly, we’re on the front lines. We’re in a pioneering work in a region that is hard and difficult. There is resistance to the presence of God that is so entrenched in the people that the land and the weather even reflect the spirit and atmosphere of darkness and sinister evil.

Never in my wildest dream did I ever expect to find myself living, working and ministering in Pennsylvania. I read about some of the great revivals that have broken out across America in various times. From 1900 until the 1990’s there have been powerful outbreaks of the presence and power of God and they always seemed to happen in remote, hard and difficult places. If that is the qualification for the move of God, then Harrisburg and south central Pennsylvania is ripe for revival.
In so many ways though, I feel like Fred Hammond. On one of his concert videos, he said that even though people are complimenting him for what he’s doing, the truth is that he really didn’t want to do it. He wanted to stay with Commissioned and do “cool music.”

But the Lord promised him that HE would send the people that were suppose to help him to do what HE had called him to do.

That’s definitely how I feel. God has called us to do something different. It’s not even like the way we did things back when we had a “cool’ youth and young adult ministry. It’s got some old school in it and it’s got something that we’ve never seen before. I don’t know how to describe it because the words haven’t been invented that describe what I see. The music hasn’t been written that describes what I hear. The stories haven’t been told that describe what is about to happen.

I am humbled to now stand on the front line and take my place, assume the post, and hold a position that has been left vacant by men and women who held it down for 40 and 50 years. If I could do half of what they’ve done, I would be doing great.

I’ve also watched many men and women fail in this battle. So God has carefully and patiently worked on my behalf to help me walk in truth and integrity. I have a wife, a wonderful woman, who was hand picked by God. He had her born and raised in the land in which He would send me. Then He sent her to me and allowed us to grow and learn together under the hand of His servant, Raphael Green. GOD gave us three strong sons. They are warriors in their own rights; each uniquely equipped and gifted to carry a different aspect of the vision that is in my heart. For their places of weakness, they have the same flaws that we carry as parents, so that we could nurture them with love, patience and understanding.

Next, God has been bringing others to help us do what HE has called us to do. He sent Carol’s mother who is a strong intercessors. She has walked with God. She has been through so much in her life and God assigned her to us to help us with the women who would come that would need a mother who understands.

God sent a mother and her two children (Traci, Javan, Jessica). They are a family with the same gifts and goals as ours. That was not a coincidence. Of all the families in all of Harrisburg to come into our lives, God sent a family, just like ours. We share the same sense of humor and the same passion for Jesus Christ alone. We believe, and I mean truly believe, in being real.

If we had the funds, they would be the first people we’d actually hire on staff to help us do this great work. They have committed without any compensation. They have remained faithful even though we know they were in great pain.

God said that HE would test the hearts of those who would come to help us. They have truly passed the test. We did not test them. We’re not qualified to test anybody. Our job is to receive the people that come. God will do the testing. This family has passed the test.

God has sent many others who are fighting their way through personal trials and trauma. We refuse to give up on any of them. However, I refuse to play the pastoral game of reaching out to people and making them feel obligated to attend our church. It seems cruel sometimes, but I have to do what Jesus did. He went up on a mountain to teach and that forced people, who wanted to be healed and delivered, to have to climb up after Him. One unique aspect of the ministry here is that God is forcing us to do things in such a way that people have to go out of their way to get it. If they really want it, they have to fight for it. It’s not Carol and me, but God is causing it to be this way.

We just want to see God breakthrough for all who have connected and committed. I long to see recovery and restoration take place for everyone that has come to Fruitful Life. If we get the first spark, it will mean an instant explosion. The air is thick with the presence of God just waiting for the spark that will ignite a massive explosion of God’s power.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Bishop John Gimenez Dies

CBN Coverage
John Gimenez's Testimony
Bishop John Gimenez Dies
CBN News
February 13, 2008 - Bishop John Gimenez, a powerful, charismatic, Christian leader and organizer best known for his Washington for Jesus rallies, has passed away. He was 76.
Gimenez was a long-time friend of The Christian Broadcasting Network and its founder Dr. M.G. "Pat" Robertson.

The Death of a Saint
"My heart is deeply saddened at the passing of my dear friend, John Gimenez. I first met John in 1965 in London, England where he was performing with a Christian singing group called The Addicts," Robertson said in a statement following his friend's death. (Dr. Robertson's full statement on Gimenez's passing is below).

Rock Church
640 Kempsville Road
Virginia Beach, Virginia
VIEWING - Monday, February 18, 2008, 4 to 6 p.m.
WAKE - Monday, February 18, 2008, 7 to 9 p.m.
VIEWING - Tuesday, February 19, 2008, 11 a.m.

MEMORIAL - Tuesday, February 19, 2008, 1 p.m.
GRAVESIDE - Following Memorial at Woodlawn Memorial Gardens, 6309 E. Virginia Beach Blvd., Norfolk, VA 23502

In lieu of flowers, donations are being accepted for Rock Church International Missions.

He was also founder of Rock Church International in Virginia Beach, Va., which his wife Anne Gimenez now pastors, and overseer of Rock Ministerial Family Fellowship.
A Life Devoted to Serving God Around the World

Gimenez's Rock Church ministry has planted more than 500 churches internationally, many of them in Africa. In his works, he urged everyone regardless of age, denomination or race to pray for the healing of God's people and the spread of His word.

Gimenez was born in 1931 in Spanish Harlem. A former drug addict and prisoner, he turned his life around in 1963 to serve the Lord wholeheartedly. After hearing God's voice in 1980, he went on to found American for Jesus, Inc., calling the nation to fast, pray and be obedient to the Lord.

Gimenez said the Lord called him to gather America for His purpose, leading to the bishop's development of more than 200 rallies across the U.S.

Three of the most noted ones were Washington for Jesus meetings. They involved millions of believers gathering at the U.S. Capitol and crying out to God on behalf of the nation, her leaders and people.

The Bishop often attacked "spiritual wickedness in high places" and was an avid believer of prayer in schools and teaching of the Ten Commandments.
"Prayer never hurt nobody," he once said.

Pat Robertson's Complete Statement:
"My heart is deeply saddened at the passing of my dear friend, John Gimenez. I first met John in 1965 in London, England where he was performing with a Christian singing group called The Addicts.

"I later invited him to come as a guest on my 700 Club television program, then to a ministry trip to Bogotá, Colombia, and then to a pastorate of what became one of the largest churches in Virginia.

"John and his dear wife, Anne, have been close friends for over 40 years. We served together in the ground-breaking Washington For Jesus in 1980.

"I have seen in John a heart filled with faith, a heart filled with love for America, a heart of compassion for the less fortunate in our society, and a heart of love for all people. Words fail to express the sense of loss that I feel at the knowledge this great gospel light has been extinguished.

"The Bible tells us, "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints." I know that God's angels have stooped down to welcome into heaven a champion of the faith.

"I was on the telephone talking to John's wife, Ann, when news came that he was dead. I extend to Ann and to John's family my deepest sympathy and prayer that the comfort of the Lord might surround them."

Sources: CBN News, Rock Church International,
A Prophet in His Land

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

God's Chosen Foolish Things

Today, my daily Bible Reading included one of the scriptures that is part of the foundational make up of my heart and life.

1 Corinthians 1:26-29 (New King James Version)
For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence.

I just sat and worshipped for a minute after reading this word. I was preparing for an extremely busy day: Three briefings including two sessions with high power people, were awaiting me. In a couple of hours, I would be sitting in rooms with some of the most powerful and influential people in the state of Pennsylvania. They are power brokers. They have money, reputations, influence, affluence, education, and skill.

Me, I have a little bit of college. I have no degrees. I have none of the things that they have. I will sit at a desk and advance the slides of a Power Point presentation. I will most likely be the only person of color in the room. I will say nothing, because I have nothing to say.

I'm not belittling myself. It's just a reality for the day that awaits me. But the Lord took the time to remind me that it's not many earthly wise, noble or mighty people who are called. He has chosen the foolish, weak, base and despised things. That's how I've always felt about myself.

How good it is to know that from the criteria of God, I qualified to be one of His choices. I must share this with the Fruitful Life family this week.

Monday, January 14, 2008

I am content...

Philippians 4: 11-13 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

This profound scripture has come to reality in my life. God has driven, beaten, squeezed and crushed a whole lot of pride, selfish ambition, and even those hidden faults of 'people pleasing', out of my soul. It’s been a difficult process, but I thank God that I can honestly say what Paul said to the Philippian church family.

The first weekend of 2008, I was directed to fast on my own behalf. The second weekend I was directed to fast for my wife and children. During the second fast, the Lord brought this word to my heart and has opened a new understanding about it.

I appreciate so much more what HE has given me. I have all that a man could ever want in this life. I have a beautiful and devoted wife. I have three sons who make a father so proud that there aren’t enough words to express how I feel. They are young men, in preparation to take the baton that was handed to me so many years ago. It took a long time for me to actually realize what I had been given. I got off track for a long time. After moving to Pennsylvania, I was given another chance to genuinely be with my sons and prepare them for life after high school. Now they can face the world with the purpose of God branded on their hearts and minds.

After three years in this wilderness and testing ground called Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, I’ve been brought to a place of contentment. I’m not complacent or stagnant. That’s not what contentment means. I think I understand what the apostle, Paul, was communicating.

I’m not searching for fame and glory. I’m not looking for wealth through money or recognition. I am really content with my life and ministry. Many years ago I wrote a song called Nobody Will Know. After living here, I need to rewrite the verses, but the chorus and bridge would remain the same:





When I consider these words, I realize that I’m the most blessed man in America. I don’t have a big business and I don’t need it to make me content. I don’t have a big church. I don’t need it to make me content. I don’t need to push and drive my family (and those around me) to fulfill some inner quest and dream.

When I think about it, I realize that I just wanted to be a husband and father. I always wanted to be a writer. I later came to receive the calling to be a producer. Then came a calling to be a pastor. Like most young men, I thought the callings might bring the resources and support needed to take care of a wife and children.

However, the Lord turned it all around. I now live and work in the marketplace and my role as a pastor and producer is being fulfilled in that arena. I’m in my career and doing the things I thought I would never be able to do. After dropping out of college, I never knew I would still end up in the place God wanted me to be.

For the first time, we’ve been able to be a regular family. Carol and I go to work and we come home. Our children get to see, talk to and play with their parents on nights and weekends. We are with our sons and we are together. The time we have spent has been the most meaningful experience of our lives.

I gave a lot of my life and time to other people’s children and I almost lost my own. I'm not resentful of that. It was just a reality. I still love doing that, even today. But I was tired of the pearls being thrown... (well you know the scripture).

Most of them appreciated what we did, but we lost a lot on those who didn't appreciate it. So, God sent us to Pennsylvania so we could capture what we would have lost. There is no way we would have the testimony we have, right now, if we had stayed in St. Louis.

However, we thought our move to Pennsylvania was to establish a church called Fruitful Life, but we now understand that we were sent to Harrisburg to discover a Fruitful Life for ourselves and then impart that Fruitful Life to anyone that was willing to partake of it for themselves.

We didn’t need a church building to do that. We didn’t need a praise team or staff to do that. Yet, God let me go through the painful process to discover that truth for myself.

Now, all Carol and I truly desire is just to see our children (natural and spiritual) go forth with the purpose of God for their lives. I don’t need a ministry to fulfill me. I don’t need applause to validate me.

All I ever wanted to be was just a good husband and a good father. When my wife looks at me and there is no fear or insecurity in her eyes, I am content. When my sons call me ‘dad’ and tag me because I’m “it”, I am content.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Fasting and Prayer

I spent the weekend in fasting and prayer and the Lord met me in a very special way. It all began with my wife speaking into my life. She reminded me of who God had made me to be. She reminded me of who God had called me to be.

Then I spent most of Saturday in worship and prayer. I listened to songs like Renew Me and I Believe God from Martha Munizzi and was in tears many times.

The Lord is settling so many things in my heart right now. He is especially dealing with me on the real reason HE sent us to Harrisburg. He keeps placing the emphasis on the dreams and prophetic words that constantly talk about rescue, rescue, and rescue. Rather it's the prisons I dreamed about or the tower of religion HE showed me, there seems to be a video playing over and over again: We were sent to rescue people. The Lord has never shown me how many people would be rescued and I made many assumptions about the strategy to do this, but He's reminded me of some things that have happened in my life.

I remember the rescue mission we went on to get my sister's children back. I remember the rescue mission when I helped a woman who was choking in a restaurant. I remember the two times I had to move fast to prevent our home from being burned down. This season has done a lot to change our motivation. I recall how my bishop was told to get out of the fame game, by the Lord. Now GOD has taken us out of it, too.

I now know, with great assurance, that we are not to do anything to try to draw attention or big crowds to ourselves. Everything we do, rather it’s on the website or the radio, is to put people's attention and expectation in the Lord Jesus Christ.
God is giving me a very radical strategy. It's not radical because it's bold or innovative. In fact it's not spectacular or dynamic in any earthly of man-made sense of the word.

The Lord is instructing us to fast and pray as a church family. Then, we are calling our family members to come to the prayer meeting.

After that, we will pray again as a church family, and then we'll call our friends to come to the prayer meeting. We're calling the prayer gatherings, Prayer Dates for 2008.

All this prayer is leading up to a time in which we're going to send out and cry out to the city, calling all who desire prayer for themselves and their families, to come to a prayer gathering. It's radical because it's not a secret fund raiser. It's not a prayer conference. It's not a prophecy show. It's not a secret plot to get people to join our church. It's a call to prayer. We're going to worship and we're going to pray.

I can see the Hand of God in this strategy. It's our last push in this city in this season. There is no fall back plan and no plan B. It's all or nothing this time and you know what: I believe God!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Poured Out

I know I've been really down the last couple days. Mostly, I'm just venting. There's no way I'm going to give up now that we've come this far.

Last night I listened to an audio CD in which my Bishop recounted the journey of our home church from 1987 until 2007. He doesn't know it, but he reminded me how I used to stand in faith along side of him. I believed God no matter what He told us to do. No matter what obstacles we faced, we believed God would come through for us.

I found myself weeping and laughing as he went through story after story. My God, I'm still that same man, so what has happened to me? Why do I struggle to believe God will come through for me, like He did for my bishop?

Then I watched a DVD from a Teaching Series called The Seven Laws of Teaching. In this particular lesson, the instructor talked about several key things that happen to be the very things I've been struggling with the last couple of days.

He said people learn based on how they feel; therefore, people don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. He said you have to be willing to be transparent and open with people. He said you have to be willing to be poured out like a drink offering.

Wow! Talk about being socked right between the eyes. That was the very thing I was tired of doing. I was tired of pouring everything out and seeming to never get nothing in return. Don't get me wrong. I don't do this, just to get something back. It's just that you cannot give and give and give and never get filled back up.

But the speaker reminded me that you cannot ever become self focused. If you turn your attention on yourself, you'll begin to die. I must keep my attention outward and not inward. He confirmed the stories my bishop had just recounted by audio CD. Our attention has always been outward and God kept us prosperous as long as we did that.

The same must be done here in this region. God sent us here to be poured out. Okay Lord, I'll do that. I'll be poured out. Like the other night, at Zion Assembly, I'll be spent. If it takes three years to set up three minutes of prophetic ministry, then okay...Yes Lord!

If it takes six months to set up a six second impact on someone's life, then okay...Yes Lord.

I don't know what this confession will cost me, but I guess it really doesn't matter. I'm not my own. I've been bought with a price. I will be poured out for you.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Guard Your Heart

I got home from work last night and after pulling the SUV into the garage, I looked at my wife. She gave me that look that only a wife can give a husband. I asked, "What's wrong." She said, "It's in your eyes." She's always been able to see me when I'm hurting.

After we got into the house, Carol put her hand on my chest and said, "Guard your heart man of God." I knew she was right. This is the hardest battle I've ever had. I can't preach something that isn't working for me. If this don't work, I can't preach it."

Today is our 27th wedding anniversary and we have nothing. It's a very frustrating time. We have given and sown, tithes and offerings for months and months since we've been here and we've come to this point of lack and loss once again.
The Lord just reminded me of the song HE gave me from Psalm 27
The Lord is my light and my salvation
No fear today, No fear today
He is the strength, the strength of my life
Won't be afraid, won't be afraid
My one desire, to dwell in His house
All of my days, all of my days
He Hides me in a higher place
A secret place, a secret place
I offer up, a sacrifice today
I sing His praise, I sing His praise
Lord to you, I lift my voice
I seek your face, I seek your face
Lord lead me around the enemy
Teach me your way, teach me your way
Wait on the Lord and be of good courage
Wait I say, Wait I say
No matter what in this world I face
I Give Him praise, I give Him praise

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Priority Alert

Last night I dreamed I was lying down on the passenger seat of our SUV and someone else was driving. Our vehicle had our sons and number of other young people in it. It was morning and the driver was preparing to take everyone to school, but they were going to take everyone to their place of responsibility first. I could tell by the street they were taking, and I identified one of the streets, that they were going to go to their job first. I knew we were on our way to south county in St. Louis.
They wanted to be dropped off first and then I would have to drive all the way back to take the young people to school, including my own children. If I went along with this plan, then everyone would be late for school.

So I sat up and asked the person what they were doing; to which they disclosed the plan that I was already suspecting. I became very angry and said, "Get the young people to school first." They argued with me and I woke myself up saying “The priority goes to my children and all the other children who have been entrusted to my care."

This dream followed a long night of tossing and turning due to a very heavy heart. Carol and I prayed together and I simply told the Lord, "I'm tired...I just don't feel I can do this any longer."

My heart has been breaking because of what feels like a waste of so many years. Carol and I poured out everything for others and now we have nothing left for our own children in many ways.

I brought them all the way out here to Pennsylvania and my sons still have nothing. We have invested thousands of dollars in the ministry and in other people and now our sons face high school graduation and we have nothing to give them; not even the funds to apply for schools or take the college entrance exams.

We cannot lose our children because of the ministry. So now it's officially time to let it all go and plug everything into preparing our children for their future.

On New Years Eve, I spontaneously prophesied over the congregation of Zion Assembly, the most effective ministry in the community on the east shore of Harrisburg; at least as far as we have seen in three and half years. After I finished, I was totally exhausted and spent. I knew that I had given the one word I was sent to bring to this church family. Our task has been completed there. It feels like our task is nearly done in this area. I used to tell my bishop that we were going to be in Harrisburg between 3 and 5 years. Now it seem like it's coming to pass just as I told him. In six months, it’ll be 4 years and a season is coming to an end. We can see it. We can feel it. We just know it.

Earlier this week, I picked up the last of our equipment and furniture from Zion Assembly. The next thing I knew, I was giving, what felt like, one last final word of encouragement, through us, for our adoptive family. They have embraced us and held us up through our darkest days. We are forever in their debt.

Now we face the next six months leading up to our son's graduation and I feel that this season is over. I simply cannot lay around waiting for something to breakthrough. I cannot sit back and be led by the priority of others. My children cannot be late in getting their start because I allow the priority and plans of others to send me and my family into endeavors and efforts that will ultimately delay, detour and destroy my children. I cannot allow the ministry to do that any longer.

One of my spiritual sons called me on New Years day to thank us for ministering to him and his family through the years. He confessed that he and his peers was so messed up that our efforts to help them (back when we were youth pastors) were only met with their lashing out at us. I was speechless as he disclosed what was already a point of great frustration and disappointment for us anyway.

I thanked him for sharing it with us, but I found myself fighting the urge to just be indifferent and hard because now that he and a few others understand it now, it hasn't seemed to reap much benefit for us and our kids. I’m not angry with him or any of the people we were able to minister to over the years, but now we are watching our children and it feels like we have nothing left to give them because we gave it all for the sake of others.

A lot of those others have thrown away and squandered what we gave. I realize there are many more who have received what we gave and they have even begun passing it on to their children. However, for all the wasted efforts, I wish I had something of that time, energy, money and resources to give to my own children.

I also wasted a lot of money when we moved here, trying to establish a ministry when I should have been establishing our family. Lord, is there anyway for me to recover what was lost over the last three years?

So at this point, our children's welfare has the priority. We've cut the church services back to only once per month. I' just can't keep dragging my family out to a near empty hotel room every week.

We're not going to waste any more time, money and resources by repeating the same thing every week and expecting different results. My Bishop once quoted that kind of behavior pattern as insanity.

I'll be pushing and helping my children to finish strong in this last year of high school and we'll be taking our funds and helping them apply for schools and buy the necessary things they'll need. There's no more time to wait. They've missed most of the deadlines and we have very little time to catch up.

As things continue to unfold, it looks like the purpose for coming to Harrisburg was never to establish or build a church, but it was to come to rescue certain people from the prisons that they were in. Like Jesus going to the pool of Bethesda, we were sent to bring healing to one specific body and walk away.

I will never assume what the prophetic utterance means, ever again. It seems this was not a season to establish Fruitful Life. This was the season to build us and our family. I wish I had understood that before pouring out thousands of dollars into a pointless effort of trying to start and build a church.

I guess I'm speaking out of frustration and I don't mean everything that I'm writing. It’s just that it hurts to see how much I've handicapped my own children while trying to pursue what I thought was the will of God.

I still made the typical mistake pastors make with their kids. I pray that they can forgive me for that.