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There but for the grace of God...

This past week, Terri was driving me down to preach in Penrose. When we came onto
I 25 heading south, almost immediately, a white SUV started weaving in front of us and other cars with their emergency lights flashing. The driver was making no attempt to get off the road, rather, she was moving across all four lanes repeatedly! She brushed up against the median and then started swerving through the lanes again. It was 7AM in the morning! There was no doubt in my mind she was impaired in some way. So, I called 911 and reported her to the State Patrol and to Douglas Co Sheriff's department and told them what was going on. Everything in me was screaming “Idiot!”, “Moron!”, “Do you know how close you are to hurting other people including yourself?!” Then a different thought came over me as it usually does at that point. The reality of how bad she was driving, more than likely drunk or stoned, was a stark reminder to me of another idiot driver... This one was arrested in 1971 for being completely drunk and stoned and weaving all over the road, on New Years Eve no less! That idiot was me. I lost my license for six months and of course I learned my lesson. NOT!!! I continued to get drunk and stoned week after week, month after month, until I finally got my license back. But then shortly after, I smashed my stepmoms car and again I was drunk as could be. I went through the windshield twice and was arrested again just six and a half months after my first DUI. I lost my license again for another six months. I had learned nothing. In the meanwhile, I had moved in with my dad who clearly informed me that it would not go well for me if I started drinking again. One did not mess with my dad so I did not drink again... I just started using even stronger drugs than before. I was complying with my Dad’s commands you see? This charade went on until just after New Years of that year, when I had taken acid/LSD for the first time and two days later the Lord entered my heart and mind and sobered me up big time!

In First Corinthians 4:7 Paul says “For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?” I have been given many gifts by the Lord - a clear mind, a caring heart, a lovely wife, kids and now grandkids. I have received an amazing education in several places and have been blessed to serve as a Deputy sheriff and then as a youth pastor. And for the past 28 years as a missionary sharing the grace of the Lord Jesus. Not one single bit of any of that is due to my innate abilities. Not one single shred of that came about because I had “gotten my act together due to my strength of will”. Not one iota of that came because I was such a smart guy. I flunked several classes in high school and I was forced to take summer school two years in a row in order to graduate. I was chosen and blessed by God to be adopted into His family and even though there have been several bumps, large and small, it has been amazing. The Apostle Paul is admonishing the Corinthian church, which he had in essence started, to come down off their high horse and come to grips with their incredible arrogance. They no longer needed the Apostle who had taught them about Jesus. They were the wisest and brightest bulbs in the package! They knew all things to be known, and made sure that everyone else knew how special they were. They were so wise that in their brilliance they were allowing an incestuous/adulterous relationship to be front and center in their church! Let no example of “love” be frowned upon! They were so ahead of the curve that they were suing each other in secular court over all sorts of little things. Let no loss be incurred! They were the best and brightest! Just ask them! Paul was all the things that they thought of themselves, but he counted all of it as garbage because none of his top flight education and upbringing had meant anything. In his zeal for God, he had become a murderer of those who disagreed. His education in the Mosaic law apparently had not stopped him from anger and hate and murder. But then the Lord put the hammer down on him (I always cringe when Christians say what a gentleman the Holy Spirit is... Perhaps they should read the numerous accounts Paul gives of getting knocked on his butt, literally!) and his world was turned upside down.

Paul has the right in all sorts of ways to slam the Corinthian church but he uses satire and encouragement to show the church how to properly assess themselves. The city of Corinth prided itself on its worldly wisdom. The old Greek sophists’ (the wise ones) tradition had come down from the days of Socrates to the time of Jesus. The sophists would speak for hours and hours and people would travel for days to hear their oratory.

The not quite so gentle “encouragement” in verse 7 is a cold slap in the face. “What do you have that the Lord did not give you? What has so blinded them, and perhaps us, into thinking that we are “all that?”. Are you smart? The Lord made you and gave you any and all physical and mental gifts that you have. Jeremiah says that the Lord knew and made him in his mother's womb. A great image of what we all have had done. Are you wealthy? Did you somehow, like the fool in Proverbs, think that your money was the work of your hands? Do you think so little of the Lord in your life that the blessing you have received is due to your incredible wisdom? Perhaps like Zuckerberg you deceived a friend or two. Perhaps like so many politicians (too many to mention) who magically created millions of dollars out of thin air during their time of “service”. Perhaps like Osteen and Copeland you cruelly and callously preyed on the greed and gullibility of millions, and sold them the notion that God was a slot machine just waiting for the right amount of seed money.

I was that driver this past week. I was the idiot who could have killed someone and probably not even remembered it. I was the clueless angry kid who was flunking and didn’t even show the slightest concern. If the Lord doesn’t grab me and turn me inside out, I am still that person. I know exactly who and what I am without the Lord. Like Augustine so long ago, I believed that I might understand! The Lord sobered my mind and allowed me to become a student. The Lord calmed my anger and taught me to forgive (something that has come up over and over again through the course of my life!) and even healed my relationship with an abusive stepdad! The Lord took a messed up kid from a messed up family and He gave me a lovely wife and kids and taught us the joy of adoption! The Lord gave us a home that we might be a blessing to others. He gave us supporters of our mission work so we would never forget that we are always in His sovereign plan and dependent upon Him. He gave us friends and encouragers from all over the country and outside of the country. We are truly blessed by Him in so many ways.

I started praying for that woman after I called 911. I prayed that the cops would pull her over and save her from the destruction that she was headed for. More than that I prayed that the Lord would grab her and give her the gift of Jesus because ANYTHING is possible then!


 

Coming Events

June 20 – June 26 – Mission trip to Manti Mormon pageant, Manti, UT

June 30 - July 20 - Speaking to churches and supporters in Nebraska

July 3 – Morning service at Calvary Chapel Lincoln, NE

July 10 – Morning service at Community Bible Church, Central City, NE

Evening service at Evangelical Free Church, Aurora, NE

July 13 – Speaking for the youth/adults at Evangelical Free Church, Central City, NE

July 17 – Morning service at Stockham Community Church, Stockham, NE

Evening service at Pleasant View Bible Church, Aurora, NE

July 24 – Morning services at Calvary Chapel Brighton, Brighton, CO

July 25 – Aug 5 – Evangelism trip to Israel

Aug 14/Dec 17 - I teach Intro to Philosophy and Comparative Religions at CECP.

Sept 8/9 - Body-MInd-Spirit festival (psychic fair) Denver Merchandise Mart.

Sept 9 - I preach at True North Church in Grand Island, NE.

Sept 18 - Our home Bible study starts up again! This fall we are going through the Gospel of John.

Oct 13/14 - Body-Mind-Spirit festival in Colorado Springs Auditorium.

Oct 31/Nov 10 - Parliament of the World's Religions in Toronto, Canada. (See below!)

Nov 3/4 - Body-Mind-Spirit festival in Loveland, CO.

Dec 1 - HAVEN MINISTRY CHRISTMAS PARTY - OUR HOUSE!


 

Prayer Requests

We thank the Lord for the gracious giving that He has given us through so many of you. We thank y’all for your continued prayers and support. Please continue to pray and seek the Lord’s will concerning giving to the ministry of Haven. We are currently way down in our support. Please pray and consider helping us at this time. Lots of amazing ministry opportunities are in front of us! We hope to have more impact as we are enabled through the prayers and support of our Haven folks!

1)  We continue to thank the Lord for His goodness. The Doctors have put Terri on a gluten free, dairy free and perhaps ultimately sugar free diet to help her with the Hashimoto’s disease and inflammation. She is not liking the changes!!! Scott, Savanna and Conrad are doing well and baby Carmina will be with us all soon! They are praying about a work from home opportunity for Scott. Shawn, Kelly, Tegan, and Apple are doing well. Shawn is well loved at his job. Andy is still happy going to his day program. Some gracious friends donated tickets to the Huskers vs CU game so Andy is very excited to go back to Nebraska in September! Gabe, Shaina and Kaylee are doing well and Gabe is now a fireman with Aurora Fire Department. They just moved into their new house this week! Joey and Johanna and her kids have just moved into an apartment together where she works. Kevin and Kirra are enjoying going back to school and all sorts of other activities. Joey is doing well and meeting with us regularly now. Rose, Austin, CeCe and Bella are doing well and looking to buy a house. Jon is not doing well. The move was a disaster and he was arrested. Please pray for him! Pray for all our kids to honor the Lord with all that they have! My uncle George just died. This was a wonderful man whom was great to everyone. Interestingly enough, his death seems to have opened a big door for me and my father who has had no use for me for the past 8 years. So y’all, please keep praying for our family and especially those who need the Lord!

2)  Please pray for some friends and co-workers who have serious health issues. Pray for many who have pressing chronic issues such as Sherri C, Rose R, Liz H, Sheila H, Joanna V, Charlene E, Jason G, Zach M, Duane E, Noah G, Tracie P, Pepper W, Susan L, and others. Our friend Doug Groothuis has just suffered the loss of his dear wife Rebecca. Pray for mercy for him and their family. The same week that happened, I also saw the loss of my Uncle George, my good friend growing up Gary Steiner, who lost his little brother and our friends Ray and Sheila lost their young adult son Zachery to cancer. This was a hard time for many of our family and friends. Pray for all the families involved. Pray for dear friends and mentors Jim and Ossie who have had a terrible struggle with their adult daughter and her extreme health problems. Pray our Father shows mercy! Pray for the daughter of a pastor/friend of ours. Her name is Amber and she is still struggling with a terrible stroke! There are many others of you who are in this audience who have major health issues. We pray our Father shows mercy in all these things. Pray for our dearest friend Susan who has some frustrating health conditions and lost her husband this past year!

3)  Pray for the miracle of repentance and reconciliation in the marriages or now ex-marriages of Debra, Mike, Cheryl, Leon, Susan, Janelle, and way too many others.

4)  Pray for the salvation of the Scientologists, Muslims, Gnostics, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Hindus, Buddhists, and many others that we have talked to. Please pray for all the people that we have witnessed to over the years, whom can be referenced in the past Haven Newsletters. Please pray for Michael and Miguel, both of whom are Urantia readers. Continue to pray for my atheist student Ben who is meeting again with me soon! Some really good things going on there I think. We met with the family of Brendan - the Mormon missionary who had come to our house several times. We had a good talk with them and find a good balance between trying to get them to see the issues with Joseph Smith, and the reality that the family had just had a son commit suicide. It was a good talk and we anticipate meeting with them again next year. We also went to a local Mormon church for a concert with Brendan and several of his missionary friends. So Terri and I were there with several hundred Mormons and a lot of missionaries - many of them had been to our house over the past two years. Lots of good talks. Terri and I had good talks with three different kinds of Mormon in Independence recently. One of them Ken had been raised a Christian and just moved to Chile where he is going to a Christian church again, so please pray the leaders will disciple him well. We are continuing to talk to him as well. Pray for Jewish New Ager Ron whom I had a great talk with recently. Pray for all the folks!

5)  Pray for the Haven staff. Pray for their support raising efforts. Pray for their ministry and for all of us as we go to different events. Pray for the Lord’s grace and mercy to mark everything we do. The staff continues to grow with new associates and interns. Pray especially for one of our staff - Rose – who has some difficult health concerns. Pray for her husband Mark and all the family please. The staff is up to 21 with new staff and another new intern! So we thank the Lord for the fellow workers and we all thank you for your prayers!

6)  Please pray for our many friends and their children who are serving with our military. The reality of militant Islam is that we are now in what many think is another chapter of a very old war. This sadly is getting much worse lately. Hardly a day goes by without Muslims killing innocents somewhere in the world. Pray for soldiers like Miguel, Matt, Josh, Nick. Heath and Will. Pray for the Marines like our nephew Eddie and Matt. We thank the Lord for all of them and so many others who serve us. Pray for soldiers like Chung as well as military folks serving as 1st responders such as Donavan and Gabe!


 


 

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