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.