“The Servants of the Lord” Part 10: “The Lord working with them…”

There was even a time when the Lord led me into an empty parking garage. As Bro. Tony and I were walking down the sidewalk; suddenly the Holy Spirit said, “Turn here.”

Without thinking, I immediately turned to the right and found myself walking into a downtown-parking garage. Where are you going?” Tony asked. “I don’t know” I replied, halfway laughing. “The Holy Spirit said to turn in here.”

About that time, a door opened and a gentleman walked into the garage. He looked at me with a surprised expression as I walked toward him saying, “Excuse me sir, but do you know that Jesus loves you?”

I assumed that he was the attendant as he glanced nervously at another man that was standing in the doorway behind him. The Holy Spirit was giving me the words to say: “Don’t worry about him; you’re not going to get into any trouble talking to me. God sent me in here to tell you that He loves you.”

“He sent His only Son to die for you, to forgive you of your sins and save you.” The man in the doorway stood reverently silent as I continued to share the Gospel with this gentleman and lead him in a prayer of salvation. I left him looking at the Gospel tract that I had placed in his hand.

We met people in the big city of Dallas, in the heart of the “Bible-belt”, that actually did not know who Jesus was other than just a word they used when they swore. We met people who had never heard the phrase “born again”, although Jesus said in the Gospel of John that this is the ultimate requirement for any man to see the Kingdom of God.

As I was crossing through a busy crosswalk one day, a gentleman in a suit was approaching me and the Holy Spirit said “him”. I quickly handed out a Gospel tract as we passed and said “Sir, do you know Jesus loves you?” He glanced at the tract as he reached the sidewalk, turned and said, “What did you say?”  I hurried back to where he stood and I said, “Do you know that Jesus loves you?”

He said with a smile, “I sure do. I’m a Presbyter of the Presbyterian Church here downtown.” My natural instinct was to say “Wonderful” and go my way, but instead I heard myself saying, “That’s great! Have you been born again?”

He said, “I don’t know what you mean. What do you mean by born again?”

I shared with him what the Bible says about being born again: Jesus said that you must be born of the “water and the spirit”. That when you are born again the Spirit of God comes and lives inside you; that the Bible says “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.” You must invite Jesus in. Jesus said, “I stand at the door and knock. If any man opens unto me, I will come into him…”

I said “Would you like to pray with me now and ask Jesus to come and live inside of you through His Holy Spirit and be born again?”

He said “Yes”, and there, on a downtown sidewalk in one of the busiest cities of the world; out in plain sight of everyone, possibly even members of his own congregation, this humble leader of the church prayed out loud and asked Jesus to come into his heart and be born again.

We began to go out at night as well as in the day. The first night we went out, we decided to go downtown and start at the Greyhound Bus Terminal. As we parked and walked toward the terminal, the others that came along that night all went inside to witness to the passengers waiting for their buses; but the Holy Spirit was directing me toward the area in the terminal where the buses were loaded and unloaded.

As I rounded a parked bus, I saw three men in work uniforms sitting on the dock talking to each other. I handed each one of them a tract and began to tell them of the love of Christ, when suddenly one of them got an unusual look on his face as he spoke up and said “You’re not going to believe this, but not over ten minutes ago I put my girlfriend on a bus going out of town, and her last words to me were “I’m going to pray for you that you get saved tonight.”

I said “God heard her prayer and He sent me in here to pray with you; so that you can be saved and her prayer be answered. The other people that I’m with went inside, but God sent me out here to you because He loves you and wants to save you now.”

I explained the Scriptures to him that were printed in the Gospel tract, we prayed together, and he received Christ.

After witnessing to others, we left from there and made our way over to the area of downtown where the clubs and bars are located, as we wanted to be there when they closed at 2:00 A.M. and the patrons begin to leave.

(To be continued…)

Next: “With signs and wonders and with divers miracles…”

Available for $2.99 at bn.com for the Nook, amazon.com for the Kindle, and the iBookstore on iTunes for the iPad

“The Servants of the Lord” Part 9: “And they went forth everywhere…”

Not long after this, Bro. Tony and I had gone downtown to hand out tracts as usual.

We would often stand at Akard and Elm, handing out tracts to the lunch crowd as they hurried about their business, rarely actually praying with anyone to receive Christ, but content to know that we were sowing seeds for the harvest.

Oftentimes, after the crowd had dispersed, many of our tracts ended up on the ground and we would retrieve what we could.

On this particular day, the Lord put something in my heart, and I turned to Bro. Tony and said, “You know brother, as I read the Bible, the disciples were constantly going: they went, they didn’t just stay in one place, and the Lord confirmed His word with signs following (Mark 16:20). Instead of standing here in one spot, let’s start walking and see what the Lord does.” 

We started walking and instead of handing tracts out to everyone we saw, we would approach people as the Holy Spirit would lead us, and begin to talk to them on a one-to-one basis.

After several hours, and after walking around much of downtown Dallas, we realized that we had prayed with over 30 people to receive Christ in their hearts. We were ecstatic as we headed back to the Outreach Center.

From that day forward, we never stayed still, but we went. It became miraculous the way that the Holy Spirit would lead us. Some days, we would walk together and some days we would split up and then meet back together at a certain time.

We began to see 50, 60, sometimes over 70 people come to Christ after just a few hours of walking around downtown. God was truly bringing in a harvest of souls.

We began to see many miraculous conversions as well: drug addicts, prostitutes, alcoholics, and religious folk: anyone whose heart the Holy Spirit had prepared to receive the Gospel. As we became more sensitive to the voice of the Holy Spirit, He began to lead us into places and to people that we would never think to go to.

It might be a lady all alone, having her lunch break, reading a book under a shade tree: the Holy Spirit would say “Go to her, she’s the one.” and instead of being afraid of a stranger approaching her alone, she would accept the tract and the good news of Jesus and pray on the spot to accept Christ into her heart.

Or perhaps, a group of people sitting at a bus stop. Once, the Lord had it all arranged for one individual sitting there. As I approached the bus stop, I came to the first person and said “Hi. Do you know that Jesus loves you?” “Oh my, yes” he replied, “I go to the Baptist church.” “Great!” I said, “Praise the Lord!”

As I spoke to each individual in order, they each one replied similarly. They all knew the Lord, had been born again, and each attended church. The only difference was that each one belonged to a different denomination.

My reply was the same for every person: “Great! Praise the Lord!”

As I came to the last one and began to speak to him, he stopped me and said, “Wait. Before you say another word, I want to ask you a question. I listened as you spoke to each of these people, and each one told you that they attended a different type of church, and yet you said, “Praise the Lord” to everyone. Why is that?”

I replied, “Because there’s only going to be one heaven. It doesn’t matter what denomination or church you belong to, what matters is whether you have been born again and have asked Jesus Christ to come into your heart and save your soul. He will write your name in the Lamb’s Book of Life and give you eternal life with Him.

How about you, have you been born again?” “No” he said, “But if that’s the kind of God you serve, then I want to be.” He bowed his head and asked Christ into his heart while everyone at the bus stop looked on.

(To be continued…)

Next: “The Lord working with them…”

$6.99 at barnesandnoble.com for the Nook, amazon.com for the Kindle, and the iBookstore on iTunes for the iPad

“The Servants of the Lord” Part 8: “The devil is a Liar”

Bro. Tony and I began to go and hand out Gospel tracts on a regular basis. As more tracts were distributed, the 24-hour prayer line was becoming more active.

God even opened doors for us to have a public service announcement about the prayer line to run on some local television and radio stations.

People were calling in not only to ask for prayer, but to share how they had prayed the sinner’s prayer on the back of the tract and had accepted Christ.

Bro. Tony would always instruct them in their need to begin reading the Bible, talking to their Heavenly Father, and to start attending a local Bible-believing Church of their choice.

The prayer line was becoming so busy, that oftentimes they would call-forward the line to ring at my house so that I could answer it when they needed to be away.

On one particular evening, Bro. Tony had call-forwarded the line to my house so that he could attend some other ministry requirements, and then he would transfer the line back to the Center when he returned. I went to bed as usual, and awoke about 2:00 A.M. to go pick up my newspapers downtown, and run my route.

As I went out and tried to leave, my brand new truck would not start. I tried again, praying, “Lord, please help me. I’m already running late.” but the engine would not turn over: it was as dead as a doornail.

It was then that I looked up and saw my porch light flashing off and on, off and on. As I stepped out of the truck, my wife stepped out on the porch and said, “There’s a man on the phone and he’s threatening to commit suicide!”

I ran back into the house, took the phone and said, “Jesus loves you. Can I help you?”

He answered, “ I have a gun in my hand and I was about to pull the trigger, when I looked down and saw this paper that someone had given me laying on my table. I decided to give it one last chance and call this number on the back, but if you can’t give me a reason to live, then I’m going to take this gun and kill myself.”

Not knowing what to say, I started to open my mouth to say something, anything; when suddenly that same feeling of power, which I had felt at the motel fire, seemed to fill me, and I heard myself saying in a loud, firm voice “You’re a liar, and the Devil is a liar.”

“What?”’ he said, “I tell you I’m going to kill myself, and you call me a liar?”

I replied, “The Bible says that the thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy; but that Jesus has come that you might have life, and life more abundantly. The Bible says that the devil is a liar and the father of it.

He’s the one that’s trying to talk you into killing yourself, but I rebuke him in the Name of Jesus Christ! You’re not going to kill yourself. Jesus loves you and has a plan for your life, and wants to save you and set you free.”

He started to cry and said, “I wish I could believe that.” I said, “You can. You didn’t call this number by accident. God ordained for you to have that tract, and call this number, and that I should talk to you. He wants to save you now, forgive you of your sins, and give you a new life.”

We prayed together, and he invited Christ into his heart and was born again. He began to laugh and rejoice. I told him that the angels in heaven also rejoice over one sinner that comes to repentance.

I hung up and called Bro. Tony. He had forgotten to transfer the prayer line back to the Outreach Center. I went outside, got in my truck, and, to my amazement, it started right up.

I began to praise God as I realized that He had caused my truck not to start in order to keep me there and lead this man to Christ. By the time I got down to the newspaper, everyone was gone and my papers were stacked up on the dock. I had to climb up on the dock and load them myself by hand, but I didn’t mind one bit.

God was beginning to teach me just exactly how much He has everything in control. This would not be the only time that I would see a vehicle not start in order for God to save someone‘s life.

(To be continued…)

Next: “And they went forth everywhere…”

Available for $2.99 at bn.com for the Nook, amazon.com for the Kindle, and at the iBookstore on iTunes for the iPad

“The Servants of the Lord” Part 7: “And ye shall be brought before Governors…”

It wasn’t long before a crowd started to gather around and listen, when all of a sudden, we could hear a brass band coming down Elm St. and drawing nearer. The people turned to see what was happening as the band and a group of men shaking hands approached the intersection.

As I continued to read, I heard someone in the crowd ask another, “What’s going on?”  He answered, “The Governor is in town campaigning, and that’s him with a brass band.”

As they crossed the intersection to where we were standing, Bro. Tony said something to the leader of the band and they broke out into a loud rendition of “When the Saints Go Marching In”.

Everyone started clapping and singing, and the next thing I knew; Bro. Tony was standing in front of the Governor of Texas, handing him a Gospel tract, and asking him “Governor, do you know Jesus loves you? Have you been born again?” He seemed flustered and didn’t know what to say, so he turned away and began talking to other people, as his aides surrounded Bro. Tony.

They started explaining what charities the Governor supported, what Denomination he belonged to, and all that he had done to help those in need.

Then the reporters covering the event chimed in, asking Bro. Tony “What did you ask the Governor that seemed to upset him.”

Tony answered, “I just asked him if he knew that Jesus loved him, and had he been born again. How about you boys, have any of you been born again?  Jesus said, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

At that remark, the reporters seemed to scatter and head up the road where the Governor and his entourage were going; and then as quickly as it had begun: the Governor was gone, the band was gone, the crowd was gone, and we decided to call it a day.

As we were walking back to the van, I thanked Bro. Tony for praying for me that God would give me boldness. He said, “I didn’t ask God to give you boldness. The Bible says, “The righteous are bold as a lion.” I just asked God to help you to have faith to believe it.”

The Lord had arranged for me to go from being afraid to talk to a stranger about Jesus one moment, to preaching in front of the Governor of Texas the next.

Bro. Tony believed that these events transpired that day for the Governor to take a public stand for Jesus. The Bible says in Psalms “…he putteth down one and setteth up another.”

The next day in the Dallas newspaper, there was an article entitled “Governor breaks up downtown revival meeting”. By the way, the Governor lost his re-election bid that year.

(To be continued…)

Next: “The devil is a Liar”

Available for $2.99 at bn.com for the Nook, amazon.com for the Kindle, and the iBookstore on iTunes for the iPad

“The Servants of the Lord” Part 6: “Whatsoever ye do, do it with all thy Might”

After my encounter with the miraculous power of God at the motel fire, it was as if everyone that I cared for had cancer, and I had discovered the cure.

I couldn’t wait to tell friends, relatives, acquaintances- anyone I knew that might listen to me about how Jesus Christ would save, set free, and deliver them from sin: that we didn’t have to be lost or sinners anymore! I couldn’t understand why they weren’t as excited as I was to find this out.

I had yet to understand about the gentle leading of the Holy Spirit; that He would lead me to the ones whose hearts He had already prepared to receive the good news of Jesus Christ, even as He had to prepare my heart before I could receive.

The night DJ at the Christian radio station had announced that if anyone wanted some Gospel tracts to distribute, they should contact him and he would be glad to provide them. I thought that I could insert these Gospel tracts into the newspapers that I sold and this would be a great way to spread the Gospel.

His name was Bro. Tony, so I called and he remembered me from the conversation we had the night of the fire. He said that I could come by the next day and pick up the tracts from a Christian Outreach Center that he operated in the Oak Cliff area of Dallas.

I went the next day to pick up the tracts, and was surprised to find out that the Outreach Center was a humble house in a modest neighborhood, not some big church-type edifice as I had expected. They didn’t even have a sign on the building.

I was to find out, that from this simple frame house a great ministry was going out into the Dallas area. They had a 24 hour prayer telephone line, held a gospel singing every Friday night, showed Gospel movies every Saturday afternoon, and printed their own Gospel tracts to distribute.

They went out witnessing on the streets of downtown Dallas, and even went yearly to the State Fair of Texas giving out Bibles and sharing the saving message of Jesus Christ; all with no charge to anyone.

They truly believed the Scripture, “Freely ye have received, freely give.”

He gave me all the tracts that I asked for, and was thrilled that I was going to put them in the newspapers. He wouldn’t even take an offering for the tracts, but I left knowing that I had to do something for this mild mannered servant of God.

Little did I know how entwined our lives would become.

I began to insert the Gospel tracts in the newspapers, and whenever I needed more Bro. Tony would provide them for me.

They were a simple tract: no man’s opinion or theology, just simply “Do you know Jesus loves you?” written on the front, with short Scriptures on the inside about the need for being saved and “born again”; along with a simple prayer for salvation on the back, the address for the Center, and the number of the 24 hour prayer line.

I felt like I had begun to do something to spread the Gospel, but I still wanted to do more: I envisioned a sign for the Outreach Center.

Made from 4×4 wooden posts, it would be in the shape of the Cross, six feet tall, with a metal sign hanging down from one side of the cross saying “Christian Outreach Center”, where additional signs could be added to describe that night’s activity.

My wife helped me to construct it, I had the signs printed, and I carried it over to the Center and installed it in the front yard by the street.

I began to attend the Gospel singing and Christian movies, and then one evening Bro. Tony announced that if anyone wanted to go with him and his wife to hand out tracts downtown, they should meet at the Outreach Center on Monday before noon.

I knew that I had to go. We met at the Outreach Center and rode together in Bro. Tony’s van, parked on a side street near downtown, and began walking to the corner of Akard St. and Elm St.

It was at this intersection in Dallas that thousands of people from the office buildings crossed each day at lunchtime.

As we were walking, Bro. Tony and his wife began handing out tracts to people we passed, asking if they knew that Jesus loved them.

I just could not bring myself to talk to someone I didn’t know, and soon I drew Bro. Tony aside and said, “Brother, you’re going to have to pray for me that God will give me boldness!”

He said that he would, and soon I felt emboldened to start handing out tracks and saying, “Jesus loves you!” to perfect strangers.

By the time we reached Akard and Elm, I was so energized and on fire, that I told Bro. Tony “I’m so excited, that I believe I could preach!”

He pointed to a marble planter about two feet higher than the sidewalk and said, “There’s your pulpit, preach.”

With a lump in my throat that seemed the size of Texas, I opened my Bible that I had brought, turned to the Gospel of John where Jesus told Nicodemus “…Ye must be born again.”, stood upon the planter, and began to read out loud.

(To be continued…)

Next: “And ye shall be brought before Governors…”

$6.99 at barnesandnoble.com for the Nook, amazon.com for the Kindle, and the iBookstore on iTunes for the iPad

“The Servants of the Lord” Part 5: “Go and Tell”

The first thing the next morning, I couldn’t wait to tell my wife Glenda what had happened to me. “Guess what, Honey”, I told my wife, “Last night I got saved.”

I told her about the dream and what had happened. She was thrilled for me, but I think also a little skeptical. I had gone through so many phases in our marriage and tried so many different things, only to give them up after a short time: nothing ever really seemed to satisfy me, so who could blame her.

After all, this wasn’t your “run of the mill”, walk down the aisle, and shake the Preacher’s hand type of salvation story. But this time, that emptiness I always felt was completely gone, and over the next few weeks, she began to realize that something genuine had happened to me.

I looked up Calvin as soon as I got to work. “Hey, Calvin. Last night I got saved.” He was excited for me as I told him my story. “The only thing is”, I said, “I don’t know what to do next.”

He suggested that I get a Bible and start reading it, and “Oh yeah” he said, “You might start listening to this Christian radio station that I’ve started listening to. It’s really helped me.” I turned the dial on my radio when I got back into the truck, and I bought a paperback Bible on the way home.

I started reading the Bible instead of watching television. Calvin had suggested that I start in the Gospel of John. It was amazing. I had tried to read my wife’s big coffee table Bible in the past, when I would go through one of my “turning over a new leaf” phases, but I would lose all interest when I would get to the “begets” in Genesis and that would be the end of that.

But this time it was different: I couldn’t seem to put it down. It was as if I was living it instead of reading it. It seemed as if I could hear the people when they talked; as if I was walking on those dusty roads with Jesus, watching Him perform the miracles, listening to His teaching.

I would stay up most of the night reading before I had to go to work, and then while working I would listen to the Christian radio station as I distributed my newspapers.

One day, as I was servicing my newspaper racks, I stopped at a pay phone to call my wife.

“What’s that loud noise in the background?” she asked. “That’s this preacher on the radio.” I replied. “When I first heard him, I thought ‘You don’t have to shout like that when you preach’, and it really annoyed me, but I just can’t seem to turn him off.”

Little did I know that it was the anointing of God that was drawing me to hear this preacher full of the Holy Ghost.

He preached about a Jesus that “…was the same: yesterday, today, and forever.” A Jesus that still does the same miracles today that you read of in the Gospels and the Book of Acts. A Jesus that still heals the sick, raises the dead, causes blind eyes to see, and fills people with the Holy Ghost.

His motto was, “You don’t have any trouble, all you need is faith in God.” I knew that Jesus could change a person’s heart, could make him brand new from the inside out, but I was beginning to believe in a Jesus that could do much more.

Another preacher on the radio did a week long teaching series on “How to receive the Baptism of the Holy Ghost”. He said that Monday through Thursday he was going to be sharing the Scriptural basis for this experience, and then on Friday, how to receive it. If it was Scriptural and came from Jesus, I wanted it.

That Friday, he shared the Scripture from the Book of Acts 2:39-”For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.”

I knew that God had called me, so that meant this promise was for me also, and then he said how to receive it.

I turned the radio up louder and leaned close to listen as he said, “Just ask and believe.” Luke 11:13- “…how much more shall your Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?”

You mean it was that simple? Just ask? I believed that the words of Jesus were true, so I asked in prayer for Him to baptize me with the Holy Ghost.

After I had prayed, I didn’t feel any different and nothing unusual happened, but God’s Word said that if I believed, then I would receive: Acts 1:8- “But ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you…”

It was not long after this that I came upon the woman in the fire, felt the power of God, saw God raise her from the dead, and experienced my first miracle.

(To be continued…)

Next: “Whatsoever ye do, do it with all thy Might”

$6.99 at barnesandnoble.com for the Nook, amazon.com for the Kindle, and the iBookstore on iTunes for the iPad

“The Servants of the Lord” Part 4: “I Will Come to Visions and Revelations…”

As time went by, I began to think about that article less and less, but God was orchestrating all of the things in my life that would bring me to a crossroads, a turning point, and a decision from which there could be no turning back.

I had just gone to bed, and for some reason on that particular night I remember being extremely tired and discouraged, as if I had hit rock bottom and didn’t know why.

It wasn’t long until I was in a deep sleep and began to have a dream, or a vision, or whatever else you might want to call it. All I know is that it was as real to me as the bed that I was lying on.

I was walking down a typical neighborhood street. It was a beautiful, sunny spring-like day. I could feel the warmth of the sun on my face, I could hear the birds singing, and there was not a cloud in the sky. I could even hear what sounded like music coming from radios through the opened windows of the houses as I walked by.

Then suddenly, it began to slightly rain, like sprinkles on a sunny day. However, as the raindrops hit my arm, they burned my skin like acid.

I started rubbing the spots on my arm where the raindrops had landed, thinking “What in the world is going on?” when all of a sudden there was a rumbling noise louder than thunder, and a portion of the blue sky in front of me began to open and peel back from top to bottom, like a two handle scroll when it is opened up.

There stood Jesus, radiant in white, with the expanse behind Him in the opening pitch black. And in a mild, loving voice, He said, “Accept me or reject me now. This is your last chance.” 

I fell to my knees and said, “Lord, I accept you. What must I do?”  He said, “Get your family, find a boat, and sit in it.” Then the opening rolled back together, and the sky was blue and clear as before.

I started to run home as fast as I could, and as I ran, I could hear the radios through the windows of the houses. The announcer was saying that there was a problem with a cloud of acid rain, there was a mass hysteria, and that some people had said that they had seen Jesus; but not to worry, everything was alright and under control.

I ran into my house, got my wife and daughter by the hands, and said “Hurry, come with me.”

We ran down the sidewalk, looking in between the houses, trying to find a boat that someone had parked there. We finally found one, crawled up inside it, and sat down.

As soon as we had sat down, it began to pour down rain. As the water fell upon us, we started to get drenched, soaked; but as the rain touched the ground and houses around us, everything began to burst into flames and be consumed by the fire.

I started to feel the heat, when suddenly; I awoke drenched in sweat and out of breath. As I lay there panting, it seemed a small voice spoke in my ear, “Go back to sleep, it was just a dream.”

I lay there and thought, “What if it wasn’t just a dream? What if this really is my last chance?”

I crawled slowly out of the bed, so as not to wake up my wife, and knelt down on my knees. I didn’t know how to pray, so I just began to say what I felt from the bottom of my heart.

“Dear God”, I began, “I’m sorry for the way I’ve lived my life. I believe that this dream was from you, and that this really is my last chance. I accept you now, and I want to change my life and live for you. But, I don’t want this to be a game or something that I just try for a while; so no matter what it takes, or what it costs me, or what I have to give up- I’m going to live for you with all my heart, and do whatever you tell me to do, and never go back. Amen.”

When I said “Amen”, it was as if someone had hit me with the proverbial “two-by-four”.

A presence, a power came over me, and as I crawled back into bed, there was a peace and happiness inside of me that I had not known in a long time.

And something else, which I had never felt before: clean, from the inside out.

I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I had just been saved.

(To be continued…)

Next: “Go and Tell”

$6.99 at barnesandnoble.com for the Nook, amazon.com for the Kindle, and the iBookstore on iTunes for the iPad