My parents were good parents.
My dad had been wounded by his very
religious parents, and as a result he found a church which allowed him
to be the 'good man' he wanted to be. My mother's father was a
member of a fraternal lodge, and she was raised in a church which
allowed her to be the 'good woman' she wanted to be.
So I was raised to be good, to be
helpful to others. Then I
joined the Boy Scouts. I learned that to be a good citizen I need
to be 'trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind,
obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.' And 'to
obey the laws of the pack'.
These principles were the foundation
stones for the first 26 years of
my life. They worked to a degree. I didn't murder
anyone. I didn't rob banks. But I did not know God, and I was not
living for God and His
plans and purposes for me. I was living for myself. I was
able to get through high school and college, and to get a job as a
manufacturing engineer. I made decent money, was married and had
a son. But I was not living a fulfilling life. I worked for
a copier manufacturer, helping to make copiers run properly.
My dad was a lawyer, and he had
become a lawyer in order to help
people. I eventually decided that making copier machines run
properly was not my life's calling, so I took the Law School Aptitude
Test, was accepted in a law school with my dad's help, and moved our
family back to Ohio from
Chicagoland to go to law school to become a helpful lawyer.
About that time Richard Nixon
resigned as President of the United
States, and it depressed me because here was a lawyer in a position to
do as much good as any lawyer in the world, and he was as messed up as
the rest of us! I was disillusioned.
Then I met a bunch of Christians who
were involved in an organization
called Campus Crusade for Christ. They started to tell me that I
should live for God rather than for myself. I thought that was
pretty unrealistic. How could I successfully live for God
if I could not successfully live for myself?
One Crusader, who was a management
student, told me that what I really
needed was new management
for my life. He said, "If there
was someone who would micromanage your life, who cared for you and knew
everything, would you allow him to manage your life?" I thought
about this, and realized that I would be a fool to turn down such an
arrangement. The management Crusader said, "His name is Jesus."
So I spent about two weeks trying to
figure out how to surrender my
life to Jesus while still maintaining enough control to avoid being
foolish. I eventually realized that I could not have both Jesus
as Lord and me as lord.
The Crusaders had brought me to this
point in my life, but they didn't
seem to have to ability to bring me to the 'leap of faith' that I
needed to make. So they foisted me off on one of their
'Charismaniac' friends named Lynn.
About half way through law school I
discovered that I was an
unsuccessful husband and father, and I was further disillusioned.
We looked to the church for help, but did not find it there.
I vividly remember arriving at the
library one day, opening a law book
at 8:00 a.m. and realizing that I was on the same page at 4:00
Life had come to a stand-still for me.
So I called Lynn and asked her what I
should do. She had a verse
of Scripture for me. It was Psa_46:10
"Be still, and
know that I am God. I
will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!"
I didn't know what 'being still'
meant, so I looked that verse up in a
variety of translations. One translation said it meant, "Stop resisting, and
know that I am God."
I had no idea that I was resisting
God, but that idea took a deep root
in my heart. So I asked Lynn how to stop resisting. She
said, "Get down on your knees. You need to surrender to The
King of Kings and the Lord of Lords!" I was duly impressed with
the gravity of this situation.
The moment my knees touched the floor
26 years worth of accumulated
tears were released. I cried like a baby. Lynn was praying
something that I could not hear, but it apparently was the right
prayer, because when the tears ran out I got up off of my knees, walked
outdoors, and found that the sky had never been bluer, and the grass
had never been greener, and that I had received what I needed to have a
changed life - the love of God!
The next day I ran into Lynn and the
library, and she had another verse
of Scripture for me. It was a verse from the Apostle Paul's first
letter to the Corinthian Christians:
Or do you not know
that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have
from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price.
So glorify God in your body.
That day I took a study break, and
meditated on those verses. I
thought, 'temple of the Holy Spirit' - that sounds good. 'Bought
with a price' - hey, wait a minute! I know what that is - that's
slavery!! Lord, what's the deal? Yesterday You set me free
from my sins, and today I am a slave?"
God spoke to my heart, and said, "I
have an all volunteer army.
You had to be free to be a volunteer." I thought, 'That
makes sense.' So I meditated further on those verses. I
realized that the essence of slavery is that there is only one right
answer to whatever the Master tells you to do - 'Yes.'
Immediately the worst-case scenario
came to my mind. I had a
vision of me preaching on the four corners of Timbuktu, North Africa,
to a group of locals who understood just enough to get really angry at
me. I saw myself in the vision dying with a spear in my back on
the hot sands of Timbuktu, North Africa, having accomplished nothing
with my life.
The Lord interrupted my thoughts and
said, "Not your life. My
life. You belong to me. I bought you with a price."
I told the Lord, "That is not very
appealing! What could be worse
than that. He replied, "There is something much worse. You
could continue to tell me "No". He then showed me all of the
times He had called me, and every response of 'Yes, later' or 'No way'
or "Yes, if...' is really 'No'.
So I said, "Lord, You have me stuck
between a rock and a hard
place. This is not appealing at all, but I am going to say 'Yes."
to you because it's the right answer and I have never tried it
before. But I have heard that You are kind and merciful, so
please remember to be kind and merciful to me."
I dozed off (this was a study break,
after all) repeating the Name of
Jesus with every breath, and awoke saying 'Olah' at the rate of my
pulse. That seemed odd, and I didn't understand what had happened.
When I went home that day I told my
wife about the 'Olah'
experience. She said that maybe that was 'speaking in
tongues'. We had heard about speaking in tongues being a prayer
language, and I replied, "That is a pretty short prayer
language.'" She responded, "Why don't you call Lynn and ask her
what that means?"
So I called Lynn. She said,
"Two thoughts come to my mind.
First, 'Don't despise small beginnings'. Be faithful with what
you are given, and you will be given more. Second, besides the
gift of speaking in tongues, another spiritual gift is the
interpretation of tongues. So, ask for the interpretation of
That evening I prayed and said, "Lord
Jesus, what does 'Olah'
mean?" I remember hoping that it would be written in the sky or
something else unmistakable, but just got the impression that it was an
'expression of praise'.
I continued to 'Olah' for a while,
but then gave it up as a figment of
A year later I had read in the New
Testament of the Bible, and then
began to read the Old Testament. I soon got bogged down in
Leviticus, and began to look up terms in a Bible Dictionary. When
I looked up 'Burnt Offering' I found this: "Burnt Offering -
Hebrew 'Olah'. There are two connotations to a Burnt
Offering. First, it is a complete sacrifice to God, nothing
withheld, nothing left over. Second, when it is burnt is it
completely consumed and leaves only a puff of smoke which is a
'fragrant aroma' to God."
So, there was 'Yes.", and it was
indeed an expression of praise which
THE MORAL OF THE STORY:
Few people, including Christians,
have received a call to unconditional
surrender to God and His plans and purposes for each of our
lives in spite of the fact that this is an essential part of the Gospel
of Jesus Christ. The devil has clearly stolen this vital truth
from the church, and we are too blind to discover it for
ourselves. I see responsibility for this grievous error almost
universally with church leadership, as well as with so-called 'laity'
for relying too much on church leadership to teach them everything they
need to know. As a result few people have experienced the
contrition which are the only sacrifice we can make to God. I
across this passage the first time I read the Old Testament:
The sacrifices of God
are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not
This failure to call people to
unconditional surrender to God has
resulted in a
lukewarmness which permeates the church.
I believe that when God confronts His
people with this call to
unconditional surrender, the result will be that many will fall away
from Him, but after that 'falling away' the 'church' will become
the 'outcalled' body of Christ which we are supposed to be, ready and
willing and even wanting to allowing Him to do everything necessary and
proper to carry
His plans and purposes for all of His creation!!
We will then be able to read and obey
the following passages of Scripture which describes the basic
requirements of living for God and abiding in Jesus:
14:25 And great crowds went with Him. And He turned and said to
Luke 14:26 If anyone comes to
Me and does not hate his father and mother and wife and children and
brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My
Luke 14:27 And whoever does not
bear his cross and come after Me, he cannot be My disciple.
Luke 14:28 For which of you,
intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost,
whether he may have enough to finish it;
Luke 14:29 lest perhaps, after
he has laid the foundation and is not able to finish, all those seeing
begin to mock him,
Luke 14:30 saying, This man
began to build and
not able to finish.
Luke 14:31 Or what king, going
to make war against another king, does not first sit down and consult
whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him
with twenty thousand?
Luke 14:32 Or else, while the
other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks
conditions of peace.
Luke 14:33 So then, everyone of
you who does not forsake all his possessions, he cannot be My disciple.
John 8:31 Then Jesus said to
the Jews who believed on Him, If you continue in My Word, you are My
John 8:32 And you shall know
the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
John 8:33 They answered Him, We
are Abraham's seed and were never in bondage to anyone. How do you say,
You will be made free?
John 8:34 Jesus answered them,
Truly, truly, I say to you, Whoever practices sin is the slave of sin.
John 8:35 And the slave does
not abide in the house forever, but the Son abides forever.
John 8:36 Therefore if the Son
shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.
Luke 6:46 And why do you call
Me Lord, Lord, and do not do what I say?
Luke 6:47 Whoever comes to Me and hears My Words, and does them,
I will show you to whom he is like.
Luke 6:48 He is like a man who built a house and dug deep and laid the
foundation on a rock; and a flood occurring, the stream burst against
that house and could not shake it; for it was founded on a rock.
Luke 6:49 But he who hears and does not perform, is like a man
who built a house on the earth without a foundation, on
which the stream burst, and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that
house was great.
people think that they are disciples of Jesus Christ when in fact they
are only disciples of some person or denomination or movement.
This is because the church is quick to quote some verses while ignoring
other verses which pertain to the same truth. For example, the
church is quick to proclaim that every believer is "crucified with
Christ" based on the apostle Paul's statement in Galatians 2:20
Gal 2:20 I have been crucified
with Christ, and I live; yet no longer I, but Christ lives in me. And
that life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith toward the Son of
God, who loved me and gave Himself on my behalf.
while ignoring another statement of Paul's in 1 Corinthians 15:31:
1Co 15:31 I protest by your
rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.
This, I understand to mean that he denied himself and took up his cross
daily in obedience to the requirements which Jesus laid down concerning
his disciples, quoted in Luke 9:23:
Luk_9:23 And he said to them
all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up
his cross daily, and
Only those who diligently and intentionally satisfy the requirements of
Jesus listed above are real disciples of Jesus and will be able to
avoid the tribulations which are coming on the world, and to stand in
I suggest that you ask Jesus to show
you if you will pass His test!!! After all, He Is the Righteous
Do not be deceived or deceive yourself! If you are not dying
daily by denying yourself and taking up your cross daily, you are NOT a
disciple of Jesus Christ! But do not take my word for it, examine
yourself to see if the fruits of righteousness, peace and joy are
abundant in your life, and if you are doing the will of God. And
what is the will of God, you may ask?
1Th 5:16 Rejoice evermore.
1Th 5:17 Pray without ceasing.
1Th 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God
in Christ Jesus concerning you.
Paul also made the following statement:
Gal_6:14 But God forbid that I
should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom [or
by which] the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.
Are you glorying in the cross of our Lord Jesus so that the
world is crucified to you and you to the world? Here is another
weapon we have to overcome the world, and few, I fear, actually use
it! The result is the terribly worldliness found in most
Christian's hearts and minds.
Paul was not very diplomatic with the 'foolish Galatians' when
addressing these issues, and I suspect that was by the leading of the
Holy Spirit, Whom I suspect is tired of being quenched and grieved by
I have often wondered what it would be like if the Holy Spirit were
un-quenched and un-grieved! Let's un-quench Him and un-grieve Him
and see what happens!!