Thursday, April 17, 2014

2061  NOTE- I’ll be flying into Newark aiport Saturday- April 26th- for my first visit of the year. I’ll be in North Bergen- making trips to New York city and stuff. For my friends in the area- if you want to get together- either call- text- or message me on Facebook. I’ll be at the White Castle in North Bergen just about every day- hope to see some of you.  John.  361- 461-0588.

FRIDAY-

John 12:23 And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified.
John 12:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.

Yesterday I did a meeting in Alice- I took a few guys from the Bluff- Albert- who I haven’t seen since I got back from N.J. - showed up at the mission.

He thought I was still in the NYC area- he reminded me that he called me one day when I was still there- thinking I was in Texas.

I told him ‘No- I’m in N.Y. right now’.

I forgot about that call.

Anyway- while sitting at the mission- I engaged in some deep teaching with a guy I met a few years ago- but forgot.

I’m sure he remembered me- and the last few weeks he has been wanting to have some talks.

He’s a nice guy- I remembered him when he mentioned he has taught university classes in the past- on ancient history/documents.

Then I remembered he was at the mission a few years ago- kind of refuting Christianity- to the homeless Guys!
At the time- I rebutted what he was teaching [in a nice way] and I don’t think he ever heard the other side- I remember- that day as he left- he said ‘I think I’m going to go put a bullet in my head’.

Now- why did he say that?
I guess he never thought about the things I brought up- and I guess he never thought that it would come from some ‘homeless guy’ sitting at the mission.

What I ‘corrected’ him on was the other view- found in ancient documents [The Epic of Gilgamesh- which was the course he taught- I think in Cal Berkeley]

There are other recorded writings of the ‘great flood’ which in the Christian bible we know as the story of Noah.
Now- many ‘scholarly types’ when they find these things out- they assume that the bible is sort of a copycat version of other religious writings- because to them- how else would you find the story of a flood- in a writing- that predates the bible? [when you study this stuff- there are always questions of which writing actually did come first- but for the purpose of this post- I’ll leave that out].

So- I told him that if the bible is recording true historical events- like a global flood.

To the contrary- the fact that this same event- told with another spin by the way-might be found in other writings- in no way means the bible is wrong.

But- if a world shattering event did take place in time- you would expect it to show up in other writings- because it was indeed a true event!

Now- there was a bit more to my refuting the guy- but I guess he never heard this [I teach this stuff under a section called Apologetics- it’s a field of study that deals with the objections to the faith- both in science- philosophy- and a few other areas].

Anyway- the last few weeks he has enjoyed the ‘re-starting’ of the conversation.

So- Albert was listening- and he wanted to hear more- so I took him and Matt to the Alice meeting.

I have decided to extend my week- do some evening as well as weekend meetings.

At first- I was hesitating to go every day- thinking I might take one day off.

When I was in North Bergen last year- one of my new friends [Heroin addict] said ‘John- I hate Saturdays’.

I told him ‘yeah- me too’.

I always struggled to have a day- or weekend- off.

I would try and rest- sit around- read- do anything- and wait for Monday to get here.

But as I was reading in the gospel of John- Jesus ‘observed’ the Sabbath all the time- and yet was out healing- raising the dead- on the Sabbath.

In the book of Hebrews it says that the Sabbath is a symbol of us today- living under the New Covenant of grace- we have ‘ceased from our works [the law covenant] and have now entered into God’s rest’- the Sabbath day.

As I read John’s gospel- I realized that to be out- every day- doing God’s will- that is ‘my rest’.

It was kind of a relief to see this- now I don’t have to ‘dread’ Saturday anymore.
So- I just added 2 more weekly meetings- I will do a Wednesday night one at Angel’s halfway house- and keep the Alice one as well.

If the door opens- I will start a Kingsville one every Saturday.

Ok- keeping with the theme of last week- Jesus spoke about the kingdom in interesting ways.

He said stuff like ‘the kingdom is within you’.

There was an early church Father [Bishop] who said that Jesus was the kingdom.

The bible talks about the Rock- being ‘pierced’ and water flowed out [the story of Moses].
The seed- dying- and bringing forth much fruit.

There is a verse I pray and quote a lot ‘Thou art worthy to open the book and to loose the seals thereof- for thou wast slain and has redeemed us unto God by thy Blood’- Revelation.

Jesus influence and authority came thru the act of his death for us- him being the rock that was pierced on the Cross- and the water flowing out.

The prophet Zechariah says ‘they will look upon him whom they pierced- and mourn for him’.

It even says some women watched from afar off- even though people might be at a ‘distance’- sort of not wanting others to know that they are intrigued about the whole process of someone being crucified- yet they too want to see the end result.

We are drawn to great stories- great romantic love stories- or stories of heroic courage- I like movies like Gladiator- as a matter of fact at the end you see the hero- Russell Crow- giving his life and moving on to be with the wife and child that were killed earlier in the movie.

These themes pull us in- and Jesus himself was in the middle of a great romance- in a sense he was giving his life for the love of his life- the Bride.
Ok- this really isn’t the teaching for this week- but as I’m reading Johns gospel- I have been coming across this theme a lot.

Oh- almost forgot.
When I got back from Alice- I was sitting at Angel's little halfway house in the Bluff- and Albert started telling me a story- about his life.

He had no idea that he was prophesying- I mean it was like he was ‘reading my story’ back to me.

Whenever I get words like this- they have a great effect on me- because I know they are not contrived- not someone who knows me well- and is trying to ‘slip in’ some advice.

No- after Albert finished- I told him how it related- a lot- to my present situation.

Albert- who has a brother named Lazarus- has a different ‘sexual’ orientation then what I’m usually comfortable with.

But- this has come up more than once in the last month or so- and the Lord has been telling me to be more open- on this specific issue.

As a matter of fact- God spoke to me this day- in a stronger way then others- who have the ‘right’ orientation.

SATURDAY

John 13:1 Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.
John 13:33 Little children, yet a little while I am with you. Ye shall seek me: and as I said unto the Jews, Whither I go, ye cannot come; so now I say to you.
John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
John 13:35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
John 13:36 Simon Peter said unto him, Lord, whither goest thou? Jesus answered him, Whither I go, thou canst not follow me now; but thou shalt follow me afterwards.
John 13:37 Peter said unto him, Lord, why cannot I follow thee now? I will lay down my life for thy sake.
John 13:38 Jesus answered him, Wilt thou lay down thy life for my sake? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, the cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied me thrice.

Let me say- it’s actually Friday night- and I’m simply adding these verses in- not because I’m ‘obsessed’ with death- no- I’m simply doing my evening bible reading- and as I go thru John’s gospel- these themes jump out at you.
Just look at the role that the imminent death of Christ played in the conversation- Jesus uses language about his death in a major way- it’s not simply a side issue- and at times- it’s almost like he’s drawing his men into this challenge- Jesus says to Peter ‘Oh- you will lay down your life for me- ok big shot- here’s your chance- you will deny me 3 times before the rooster crows- because in fact you are still afraid to ‘follow me’ [in death].

Simply read the context of these verses ‘he knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world’ ‘where I go- you cannot come’ ‘love one another as I have loved you’ How did he love us? ‘Greater love has no man than this- that he die for his friends’.

Ok- that’s enough- I don’t want to be accused of being obsessed with this subject- the problem is- the bible is filled with this language- if you have a habit of reading the thing- it’s hard to not become ‘obsessed’.

John 21:15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.
John 21:16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
John 21:17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
John 21:18 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdest thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.
John 21:19 This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.
Ok- it’s Saturday morning- just a few comments on the above- then we need to move on from the ‘death’ subject.

Notice how Jesus never tried to dissuade the guys away from the talk of dying for ‘the cause’.
When Peter said ‘I will die for you man!’
Jesus almost challenges him to do it!

There’s no talk about sending him to MHMR for a mental evaluation [MHMR is the mental health clinic in Texas].

Not only does Jesus kind of challenge Peter- to die- but we read this strange dialogue at the end of John’s gospel.

Peter is given his wish- Jesus reveals to him ‘what death he should GLORIFY God’.
Huh?

Yeah- there is a type of death that glorifies God- and in Peter’s case it was being martyred.
It’s almost like Jesus gave Peter a second chance- to go thru with the thing.

Ok- Yesterday I had a full day- and I want to re-cap the week.

This week I have had lots of good talks with some good friends- many of them are smart- have a good background- and even though I don’t usually teach Apologetics on the street- yet- in these cases it came up.

Ok- let me try and cover- again- some of these issues.
Over the years I have taught these things- and to be honest- I haven’t brushed up on this field in a while- but let me try my best.

One of my friends- like a lot of educated people- has read/been influenced by the strain of thought that came up a few years ago [it’s been around for longer than that by the way].

But when Dan Brown popularized the Holy Grail thing- it made a comeback into the public consciousness again.

One of the objections that good people have to Christianity is they feel that the early church rejected the writings of women- and that because of this bigoted mindset- books attributed to the women at the time of Jesus were left out of the bible [what we call the canon of scripture].
Actually- the early writings [2nd-3rd centuries] that were attributed to women- were not left out of the bible because they were written by women.
No- these books were left out- along with others that were written by men [the gospel of Thomas- or Judas- stuff like that] because they were deemed spurious- or fake.

One of the forms of writing in the first few centuries is called Pseudopigrapha [no spell check- as far as I know- has this word- so it might have a letter or 2 off]- meaning people would write stuff- and to gain a bigger audience- simply attributed the book to another person.

Ok- you also had the Gnostic writings- which I actually do read these other books- and I in no way condone the churches past acts of burning certain writings because they were ‘fake’.

No- even the fake ones do have stuff to contribute- because they reveal what Bart Erhman [a liberal new Testament scholar- whom I studied] refers to as ‘competing Christianity’s’.

Now- I don’t hold to Erhman's views- but I try and keep an open mind to other people’s views.

But- the books attributed to women- were rejected- just like the ones attributed to some men- on the grounds that they were deemed fake- not because the church didn’t want the woman’s voice to be heard.
As a matter of fact- if you read the gospels carefully- Jesus did lots of things that were a big ‘no no’ for his day.
He let hookers kiss his feet- he hung out with women of low reputation- the first witness of the resurrection was a woman.

Now- there are few- if any- other documents that come from the first century that would have a woman as a witness- especially of such a major event [the resurrection].
Why?
Because yes indeed- the first century culture was ‘anti women’ in a way.

And if you were recording some great historical event [like the resurrection] and you wanted the record to sound reliable for the time- then YOU WOULD NOT HAVE A WOMAN as the first witness.

See?

So- I’m just giving you a very short version of how the popular concept that the reason the early writings of women were not accepted into the bible was because the early church fathers simply did not want their voice to be heard.
No- that’s just not true [even though some good friends of mine believe this- they- like my other friends- have been influenced in a wrong way- good people- but mislead- by others- that’s all].

SATURDAY NIGHT-
John 13:7 Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.

John 14:7 If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.
John 14:8 Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.
John 14:9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?
John 14:29 And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe.
John 14:30 Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.
 The next few weeks I’ll share what happened today- but let me comment on a few things.

One of the reasons many reject Christianity- is because they have a skewed view- well- of God.

There are various reasons for this- but in the verses I quoted above- I want you to see that the purpose of Christ coming- was to correct this view.

When Philip asked ‘show us the Father [God]’ Jesus said ‘I have been with you for a while- if you have seen me [got close enough] then you have seen God’.

The purpose of what we call the Incarnation [God becoming man] was so that we- people- people who struggle thru life- often not knowing the reason for our existence- that we can get a close up look at who God is.

The ministry of Jesus was strange to say the least- I mean he offended the religious leaders of his day- because he was so accepting- and loving- of those deemed unworthy of love.

The thing is- he knew people- yet he spoke to them as people of value.

It’s not that they were able to hide their true self- no- that’s the thing- he loved them anyway.

When I was teaching about John the Baptist the other day- I left something out- I mean I had it in my notes- but decided to not tell it.

Why?
To be honest- it sounded too self-serving.

But- it was true- and I think I’ll tell it now.

Over the years I have had many ‘unique’ experiences to say the least.

When I first got into the Baptist church [I’m not Baptist by the way] some of my friends called me ‘John the Baptist’ you know- I’m sure all the other ‘John’s’ have gotten the same treatment.

But- I never liked it- to be honest.

One year my mom came to visit- from N.J.

She saw all the ministry stuff I was doing- how I was into God and all.
And she tells me ‘John- I never told you this- but something strange happened when you were a little boy’.

Ok- what?
She said I was in some school play- and out of the blue I said ‘My name is John- and I was named after John the Baptist’.

I asked her ‘was it a church thing- I mean was the play About God or something’

No- that’s what was strange- it had nothing to do with the play.
Nor did my parents name me after John the Baptist.

I guess I was around 6-8 years old- she said I was young.

Now- of course I’m not John the Baptist- but when God ‘calls’ us- he had that purpose for us from the start.
What was Johns purpose- do you remember the recent teaching?

He pointed people to Christ- he was the forerunner.

Now- when they ‘met’ Christ- what was his purpose?
To show us God- like the verses quoted above- to give us the true picture of God- his compassion for us- his love- yes- for men and women.

How he is not the ‘god’ that the media portrays- or the ‘right wing fundamentalists’ no- if you want an accurate picture- look at Jesus.

This is not even the teaching for the week- the last few days as I have been reading at night- I am trying to get as much in when I have the chance.

I think this post- when I post it Thursday- might be it for a bit- You’ll see what I mean when you read the one after that.

But for now- read what you have- it’s important that you guys see this.

SUNDAY-  AND THE WINNER IS?
I planned on not taking any more days off- I’m scheduling weekend- and weeknight meetings now.
But the contact person for what I think will be our Kingsville meeting- didn’t text me back till Saturday morning ‘the meetings a go’.

I texted David- told him it was too late- most of my street crew have no phones- so I need to know a day or 2 before- to give them a heads up.

So- I took yesterday off- it did not go well.

Don’t get me wrong- like last year- it seems like when the stuff hits the fan- that’s when the ‘plan’ takes shape.

Anyway- I did drive to the Island and jumped in the ocean- for the first time in a few years.
I was surprised- the water was still cold.

The other day at the mission- a guy I don’t know came up to me- he said ‘hi John’.
I told him I don’t know him- but sure- we can talk.

He heard me speak at the street church last week.

And the message- about Adam choosing of his own free will to walk away from God because he loved Eve.

He began to tell me his story- after a while I did remember him- he’s been around a while.
His dad used to work at the mission- and I remembered Dirk told me he had his van parked at his house for a while.

Dirk said he was a Christian and knew the bible- but I guess they were both doing Meth at the time.

So- my new friend went on and told me what he really wanted to talk about [he started by asking if I knew where Justin was- Justin is a new kid I just started working with- and he was doing work with this new friend].

But then he told me how the message I preached- especially the verse from Timothy- was his experience.

The verse from Timothy that I used said the man was not deceived when he ate of the tree- but did it eyes wide open.
So- he told me he met a girl a few years ago- who I know- and he willingly did Meth with her- though he knew the danger- he did it because he wanted her.

Now- he does know the bible- and I can tell he is a Christian- struggling with this stuff.

We had a good talk maybe- for around 2 hours- just sitting there at the mission.

Earlier in the day I also saw another young kid [25] who I have been trying to work with.
I’m trying to be careful with the names on this- because of stuff.

But he showed up at the mission- I always ask him ‘where's Huey’?

He hangs with Huey- and though I’m friends with Huey- I have told the kid ‘look- Huey's a friend- but you don’t need to be hanging with him- do you want to end up like him kid?’

The kid [25] is a good looking kid- life ahead of him- yet- throwing it all away on Meth.

He just started dating a cute girl from the mission- they make a nice couple.

They rode up together on their bikes the other day- I gave him some advice ‘hey- when you get your income tax check back- use it for a place to live- work a regular job [he works on and off] and get off the street’.
I told him if he really loves the girl- then focus on having a good relationship- get away from Huey and that crowd.

Now- after a while I do sort of learn the profile of these guys- and it seems as if this kid has a pretty violent history.

Sad to say- this was the same kid I ‘went after’ a few weeks back- because I thought he stole something [Nothing happened by the way].

So- the other day he takes off his shirt- and you can see he might be one of those MMA type guys.

Some tat’s- and sort of like a bodybuilder.

I think he took the shirt off for that reason- to let everyone know ‘don’t mess with me’.

So- as I talked with him- I did ask him how he’s doing ‘have you seen so and so’.

He told me he went on a rage last night- sounded like he threatened so and so’s life.

He’s been up for days- doing Meth- and from what I heard- he seems to be pretty ‘unstable’.

He had a belt with him- in his pocket- he told me if so and so shows up- he’s gonna wrap it around his neck and drag him thru the parking lot.

Now- I talk almost like a Father figure to the younger crowd- and I told him ‘don’t do something stupid kid- and get arrested on a serious charge’.

We talked for a while- he also was threatening a new guy who sat next to his girl- I guess she broke up with him and this guy sits next to her.

The kid went and sat on the bench- Mark came out ‘John- he’s a big kid- all cut up and stuff’ [meaning built like a brick house].

Now- for some reason- it reminded me of a firefighter who right before I retired- we started doing Arm Wrestling matches.
Yeah- over the years we did various stuff like this.

And one year the young guys said ‘John- Don said you hold the record for chin up’s’.

I laughed- I told them I don’t even remember- that was years ago- but I guess they wanted me in the ‘young’ group of guys doing these challenges.

So- at the time [years earlier] I did have the winning record for arm wrestling.

But- I was about 46 when they asked me- and these guys were young [like my friend here at the mission].

So- it was funny- but I got into the arm wrestling challenge- guys on all the shifts would arm wrestle- and the best of them would go up against each other- and whoever won the final- was the champ.

Now- for some reason- who knows- a freak of nature thing.
[I have not worked out in 30 years- at all- but- I eat little- and pray?]

I became the new champ- it was funny- I would tell the guys ‘geez- you can't beat an old man!’.
Mike Cavazos- who I used to work with his dad- his dad was a captain.

Mike was the number one challenger- and Mike was a body builder- about the same age as the kid at the mission.

But Mike was actually bigger than this kid.
So- we had 3 famous matches- Mike won the first- but made the mistake of giving me a re-match- and I won.

Then- he wanted to do a 3rd- I told him ‘not yet- I’m the title holder- you guys will have to wait’.
So- I made Mike wait- for about a year!

It was funny- I would kid him ‘you guy's ain't worthy of a challenge’.

So- one day- after about a year- out of the blue I walked into the room and said to Mike ‘let’s go’.

Really!

He was elated- but you shouldn’t count your chickens before they hatch.

So- we went at it [I think the poor kid was in training for this day- I mean it looked bad that the tile holder was an old man- me!]

I’ll never forget- we went at it for about 25 minutes- yeah- these were long matches- where you try and wear the guy down- and I’ll never forget the look on Mike's face- when he started to go down.

He said ‘OH NOOO!’.

I mean I was laughing- because he knew he would never hear the end of it till I retired.

After the loss- I told him ‘you know what you need to do’.

He did.
He called the other station- on the loudspeaker- and said ‘John won’.

He knew word would get out- and the poor kid waited so long to redeem himself- I kinda felt bad to be honest.

But not that bad.

So- I retired with ‘the belt’.
Ok- said all that to say this.

For some reason I thought ‘let me challenge so and so’ [the MMA looking kid- who wanted to strangle Huey].

So- I walked to the bench and told the kid ‘let’s go at it’.

We did- and sure enough- after about 10 minutes- yeah- I’m still the champ.

Now- how did he respond [being he was waiting to choke out Huey if he showed up].

Heres the thing- he said ‘John- that’s not my best and- I have a wrist thing…’

‘Let’s do another- we can use our left hands’.

‘No way kid- I’m the champ- and when I get the title- I hold it- you guys can challenge one another- and whoever winds up on top [I’m sure it will be him- he is a big kid] then we’ll go at it’.

I hung with him for a while- walked inside with him- I drank a tea- he ate.
He left.

Huey showed up with Art.

I told him ‘you know the kid was looking for you- he had a belt- was gonna wrap it around your neck’.

I heard the story- and yes- there was some dangerous stuff going on.

I told him ‘I actually challenged the kid to an arm wrestle’

Art asked ‘who won’.

I told him the kid gave it his best shot but no- this old man came out on top.

Art said ‘good- maybe it will teach him a lesson’.

Now- I thought about it later- I mean the whole challenge came out of the blue.

But if this silly thing- I mean 'the kid’ even said maybe we can set up a ring and do some MMA stuff [I did tell them I boxed in the Golden Gloves as a kid].

These guys are strung out on Meth- fighting- sometimes in a deadly way- and in them is still the desire to compete.

No the kid wasn't ‘mad’ that I won- nor mad that I kidded him about it.

I told him ‘don’t feel bad- Mike [at the fire dept.] was bigger [more muscle] than you- so it’s not that bad- you’re a tough kid’.

I would prefer them getting their stress out like this- then wrapping belts around each other’s necks.

I actually resent the fact that Huey- who has chosen his path- lets this kid ‘ride the path’ with him.

I think these younger kids need to get out- while they have a chance.
 If Huey isn’t careful- he might lose the next match [to this kid] in a much worse way.


SUNDAY NIGHT-  Just finished a busy day- but it seems as if I might do these evening posts a bit more.

I get certain insights into things at night- different than in the morning- and it’s better to just write about them when they are fresh in my mind.

As I have been reading thru the gospel of John- trying to ‘see’ the story- we have a tendency to read the gospel as a ‘religious’ book.
But when we do this- we don’t fully see the drama- and I think one of the things that has been happening with me the past few weeks- without fully realizing it [though now I think some of my readers have seen it] is that in a way- thru lots of my own struggles with stuff- that maybe God has allowed a certain drama to play out.

How?

Say if you knew someone- who- as sincerely as possible has tried to do the things that he loves the most.

He tries to help people- he really does not see it as some type of ‘job description’ you know- Pastor- etc.

But no- he has convinced himself that to do these things- is really God’s will.

Now- say if others realize that yes- this person is not fake- he might have flaws- which he has been very open and honest about- but no- he really believes in what he’s doing.

Ok.

Then say- maybe because he really thinks he’s hearing God- say if this person thinks [even if he’s wrong!] that it’s possible that God would redeem- or ‘save’ others- if he were to die.

Maybe he thinks- even if he’s wrong- that thru his death others would some how benefit.

Now- how would his closest friends view this?

They would of course be very worried about him.

We actually read stuff like this in the bible.

When Jesus made certain statements ‘where I go you cannot follow’.

If I remember right- at one point they said ‘will he take his life’ [I might be wrong- but his family did at one point believe he went mad].

Ok- now- those around him would have actually experienced the same feelings that you would- if you simply knew a person who too felt this way- in our day.

It’s strange- but God often does things that we don’t understand- we refer to the death of Christ as The Passion.

I mean- look at the scene- thru the lens I just showed you.

If you have a friend that maybe thought things like this- maybe even verbalized it- then the same way you would feel- is the same way Jesus closest friends felt.

A true concern that he might be seeing things wrong- but yet- they would see that somehow he has gotten to a point where he thinks that if his death would help them- he is kinda of flirting with that being ok.

I don’t know if you’re getting this- but maybe God allows us to know someone like this- so for the first time they would be able to see Jesus in a way that they never ‘saw’ before.

In reality- God might have worked certain circumstances out- for them to see this.

Now- maybe the person who was used in the Play- didn’t realize how his own struggles with this- being openly expressed- could really affect his closest friends.

That’s the same basic effect that those around Jesus too would have ‘felt’.

A true concern for their friend- and maybe a real doubt about his own mental health.

See- God goes to great lengths- even if it’s for the benefit of just one.

Because in realty- in the actual story of Jesus- all this did happen- for the benefit of one.


Luke 15:1 Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him.
Luke 15:2 And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.
Luke 15:3 And he spake this parable unto them, saying,
Luke 15:4 What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?
Luke 15:5 And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.
Luke 15:6 And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.
Luke 15:7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.
Luke 15:8 Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it?
Luke 15:9 And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost.
Luke 15:10 Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.


John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
John 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.


MONDAY- I visited Dirk in jail yesterday- he seems to be doing ok.
But- I don’t think he understands the seriousness of the charges against him.
I talked with him for about an hour- he asked if I could help him get his 3 guitars out of the pawn shop- he signed over his stuff to me- his debit card.

He wants me to take out 400 and get his stuff- he asked me to help with a few things.

I told him sure- I let him know that I’m leaving back to North Bergen [NYC area] soon- so he might not see me for a while.
He said ‘Then how will I get my money’ He offered to pay me for gas and stuff- I told him ‘no way’.

I let him know that whatever money is left- I’ll leave it at the house in an envelope- my wife will give it to him.

He’s still planning on stuff- like he’ll be out soon.

Even if the case gets dropped [from what I understand- the friend who was stabbed wants no part of it- he told me he won’t even go to court if they subpoena him].

So- who knows?

Either way- he won’t be getting out any time soon.

After the jail visit- I went to Church without Walls- and saw the guys.

Huey was there- and Lance.

As soon as Lance saw me- he said ‘Hey John’!
I of course say hi to all the guys.
But he acted different- like he has just been waiting to see me since the other day [the arm wrestle day].

He walked passed Huey- and they didn’t say anything- but I could tell the kid wanted to talk to me.
Being I was sitting with Huey- I know he wanted to avoid us.

So- I got up and stood in the food line and asked Lance how he was.

He took my advice- told me ‘John- I’m getting away from all ‘that stuff’ [drugs] I talked to Destiny [the little love of his life- for now- poor thing- she broke his heart].

He told her that he’s going to try and get clean- work a job- basically all the advice I gave him the other day.

It’s funny- every other time I’ve seen Lance- I mean I like the kid- but he was sort of like someone who everyone knew was out on the rough road- sort of ‘watch out for that guy’.
But today- it was like a dad talking to a son- he told me he’s looking forward to coming to the first meeting I will be doing at Angels halfway House.

This week I will start a Wednesday night meeting in the Buff- I will also start one in Kingsville Saturday.

I really hate to leave for North Bergen at this time- because I like to have the meetings established first.

But thats ok- I’ll pick them up when I get back.

The other week I finished the book of Genesis- I mentioned how Jacob- when he knew his time had come to die- he called his sons in and gave them some final ‘blessings’.

I put blessings in quotes because if you read some of what he said- well- they sound more like curses.

He told Rueben ‘you will be as unstable as water’.

He rebuked some other sons because of their anger- they ‘killed a man in their wrath’.
To be honest about the thing- I feel like the ‘unstable as water’ son myself.
Last year- actually even the year before- when I ‘broke ground’ and started going back north- I mean these trips were hectic- I felt like I was ‘on the run’ but wasn’t- not in the way you might think.

But yes- I wanted out- bad.

So- over time I settled down [some] but I never could really get away from stuff- it’s like stuff just followed me- even when walking thru NYC- trying to get lost in the crowd.

When I got back to Texas- I wanted to move the ‘heck’ out [still do] but the year when I gave lots of my stuff away- I also put some stuff on the streets- some of my favorite crosses and stuff- I would just place them all over town- on a corner- wherever.

I figured people would see the stuff- and get blessed- and of course take the stuff.

So- I had a white Cross- about 3 feet high- that I made years ago at the Fire Dept.

I have a verse written on it ‘A PLACE PREPARED FOR ME BY GOD’.

I’ve had the cross for years- I would throw it in the back of the truck and when we had a fellowship at a park or something I would set it out- so if the cops saw a bunch of the guys at the park- they would know we were doing some ‘church thing’ [which we were].

But last year I set this cross on Laredo St.- in some broken down fence in front of a pawn shop type thing.

Over the weeks as I was waiting to leave Texas- I would pass by it on the way to our halfway house.

I mean it was cool- you could read the verse from the street.

I wondered how long it would last- I mean this is a drug area of our city and all- surely someone would be able to get 5 bucks for the thing.

But no- every time I passed that way- I would glance over- sure enough it was there.

Cool.

But- after I got back from North Bergen- one day as I was driving down Laredo St.- I noticed that they mowed the lot- and the little wooden fence was gone.

Oh well.
But wait- as I passed the spot- the Cross was moved into the window of the broken down business [this street is in a low class area- all the shops and stuff are kind of rickety].

I guess whoever mowed the lot- and tore the fence down- had respect for the Cross and put it in the window.

You can actually see it better now- I just saw it the other day.

The Cross- with that verse on it- meant to me that the ‘place of crucifixion’ is indeed the place God prepares for us.

In Zechariah [I think chapter 12] it talks about looking upon him who they have pierced.
You get the picture that when people see you go thru stuff- it benefits them to continue to see the end result.
When I first got back to Texas last year- after 3 months away- on the way into the Bluff I saw a new hotel going up right as you get into my area.
The first verse that came to mind was ‘Where is the house that you build me and where is the work of my hands- have not my hands made all these things- and all these things have been’.

To be honest- I felt like God was saying this was the ‘place prepared for me by God’.

What place?

Meaning he wanted me to walk thru stuff- not try and run away- so people could still see stuff.

To be honest- I’m very uncomfortable in Texas- If I had my wish- I would leave.

I did seriously think of moving last year- and even when I got back- I told my wife ‘well- I guess I can maybe stay one month in Texas- and go back north for the rest’.

As time progressed- the ‘timing’ changed.

‘Ok- maybe 6 months here- 6 in Jersey’.
I felt like- at least for now- I needed to try and settle down- I still feel very much Like Jacobs son Ruben ‘unstable as water’.

But I made a decision a while back- I’m going to be ‘on the go’ every day.

I’m excited about the 2 new meetings I will start this week- I’m looking forward to seeing my friends in North Bergen in a few days.

Rick called me the other day- before I bought the plane ticket ‘when you coming’.

I told him soon- now- I didn't think this soon.
Like the last 2 trips- they seem to come in the middle of personal firestorms- the day I got the ticket- some stuff happened- I flew off the handle and about 10 minutes later started booking the flight.

I thought after ‘maybe I should cancel’ but I paid it on the card and figured what the hell- lets go.

I hope all my future trips are not like this- don’t get me wrong- after I make the trip- things work out well.

But this ‘unstable as water’ thing will have to pass- I don’t like it- at all.

 

Genesis 49:1 And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days.
Genesis 49:2 Gather yourselves together, and hear, ye sons of Jacob; and hearken unto Israel your father.
Genesis 49:3 Reuben, thou art my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power:
Genesis 49:4 Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel; because thou wentest up to thy father's bed; then defiledst thou it: he went up to my couch.


TUESDAY-  ONLY IF ZAVALA KNEW!

Went to the mission yesterday- and Cindy [the secretary] handed me a letter- from Whistler.

He’s been in jail for a few weeks- when I saw Dirk Sunday- he told me Whistler is still ‘off the wall’.

 

He told me they had to remove him from the population- put him in solitary confinement.

 

Ok- the letter addressed to Timons- said ‘Please give this to retired fireman John- we call him Preacher John- the guy with the long hair’.

It’s kind of funny- I guess I’ll post the stuff he wants me to ‘expose’- but Whistler is smart.

 

He reads my site [when not in jail] and he saw how I posted all types of stuff last year- talking openly about the cops- you know- even sending letters to the U.S. attorney General- yeah- I go for broke!

 

So- when he saw me doing this- he started doing it himself!

 

Taking phone pictures of Mark- the cook at Timons [by the way Mark and Whistler used to be good friends on the streets- Mark- like many- had a drug problem for many years.

 

He and Whistler were tight- Mark got off the stuff- and works a regular job at the mission].

So- being I hang out with Whistler- and am friends with Mark- I have asked them ‘what’s going on- why are you guys at each other’s throats’.

I got a few ideas.

So- Whistler wrote me some of the ‘abuse’ that’s going on in jail- for him- I’ll post a few-

 

‘4-11-14- 8:30 am- asked officer Zavala when I could shower- was told all bottom has to go first. Was told [quote] 'shut the fuck up’.

 

‘Picked up on bogus misdemeanor- won’t let me call or find your address- already been banged around and hit by guards in solitary since Sunday- 3-30-14’

Ok- he’s got a few more- but you get the gist of it.

 

Poor officer Zavala- if he only knew Whistlers buddy posts stuff like this- oh well.

 

It’s funny- I’ll show up at the mission- and I either get a letter from a friend in jail- or they tell me ‘John- Dirks lawyer was here looking for you’.

 

Today I’ll see the guy- he has some of Dirks stuff- I’ll get it.

Actually- this public defender is good- most would not run all over town- doing favors like this for one of their cases.

 

The guy has already come looking for me a few times- calling and stuff.

Dirk called yesterday while I was at the mission- will call today.

 

I’ll do him these few favors [getting his stuff out of hock] but he’s trying to ‘keep control’ of what life he has- worried about his stuff in storage- making plans on getting out- soon.

 

He needs to realize that his charge is serious- his lawyer tells me he will get anywhere from 5-99 years- and will have to serve at least half of what he gets before he comes up for parole.

 

I mean he almost killed Tennessee- he might have to do some time.

 

When I saw Dirk Sunday- we talked for about an hour- just like old times- I have spent many hours just listening to Dirk.

 

He’s one of the guys who talks- but it helps the guys when I just listen to their life story.

 

A lot of people don’t have the patience- or time for this- but its ok with me- it’s true ministry to me.

 

I told Dirk that Gunner- his dog- is doing fine.

 

My daughters gave him a bath- he lays next to me on my bed [actually I sleep on a couch- in my office- not too comfortable].

 

As I told Dirk how happy Gunner is [his dog knew me from the streets- Dirk used to say ‘Gunner likes you John’]

 

Dirk cried- he was worried about the dog- and to him- in a way- when you’re in jail you worry about how everything  on the outside will go- and it was a relief to know the most important thing- Gunner- is ok.

 

A few people at the mission have told me- ‘we don’t care about Dirk- just the dog’.

I also notice how to many people- when the guys get in trouble- jail- whatever- it doesn’t bother them- life goes on.

 

I of course love the dog- but in the mind of God people have much more value- they were created in the image of God.

 

So- I realize that the street crew don’t care much about Dirk- but I see these things in a different way- I too am an advocate for these people- so I take the person more serious than the dog.

 

Sad to say- I’ve been in this jail [County] and believe it or not- the first night there- I told the guys [there were about 15-20 guys in one cell- the conditions were deplorable- I slept on the floor- no bedding or anything- under the toilet bowl- I mean I was shocked that it was like this].

 

I actually held a meeting in there- told the guys ‘I pray for you guys every week’- I quoted the verse ‘let the sighing of the prisoners come before you’ and the cell went silent.

 

I talked about the ministry and stuff- and the guys had questions about the bible.

 

Some guy asked about Gabriel the angel- and another older Mexican brother answered!

 

I mean it was cool- a few of the guys showed me their cases- asked some questions [these were serious cases- armed robbery- kidnapping- etc.].

 

I did my best- read the wording- they had some confusion- I told them what it meant.

 

As I slept- under the toilet- did I pray ‘Lord- get me out!’.

 

No- I prayed the verses I use for the prisoner- this time sitting in a cell with them.

 

As I get ready to back North- the last few weeks I have reconnected with 3 of the main guys form the Kingsville years.

 

I always felt these 3 were to still be involved with this journey- and on my way back out- I thank God that we got back together before I go.

 

The bible says a 3-fold cord is not easily broken.

Now- they can- and do break- but it ‘takes effort’ [you know- we do burn bridges- especially when you’re drunk].

 

But over time- the cords can be fixed.

 

I ran into Steve the other day- I have only talked to Steve a few times over the last few years.

 

He comes from Cali- and was [is] an alcoholic.

 

Yet- we became friends in a way.

 

I haven’t seen him in a while [year?] and when he showed up at Church Without Walls- he said ‘John- great to see you- your one of my few- real- friends. You Know- I have acquaintances- but few friends’.

 

It reminded me of Nick- from North Bergen.

 

When I first met these guys- I mean they are all in the same situation as my Texas friends- Nick would tell me ‘John- you refer to us as your friends- I don’t have friends- I have acquaintances’.

 

After 3 months with these guys- who I will see soon- Nick started referring to me as his friend.

 

I see ministry as a brotherhood- Proverbs says there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother.

 

Yeah- to be honest- doing all these errands for Dirk- at this time [I’m very busy] is a bit of a pain ‘in the ass’- but- he’s my friend.

 

Sometimes you get into it with your friends- and yeah- at times you ‘fight’ with your brothers.

 

But if it’s a brotherhood- you ‘mend’ the cords- over time.

 

Genesis 50:20 But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.
Matthew 21:25 The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men? And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say unto us, Why did ye not then believe him?
Matthew 21:42 Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes?

Sometimes things happen to us- in the case of Joseph [above] he recognized that even though people thought to ‘harm’ him- yet what they meant for evil- God used for good.

 

The ‘Baptism of John’ [by fire- if you will] was it from heaven- or from men?

 

It was ‘from heaven’ that is- God was behind it.

 

Often times God allows you to be rejected- go thru stuff- so at the end you might be able to help more people.

 

In Jesus case- he became the corner stone- in the end- he was the man who held the Plumb line [a prophecy from Zechariah].

 

He gained influence with God and men- because of the fire he went thru.

 

At these times- it’s important to see that your ‘baptism’ might have been ordered by men- but if it came from God [permitted- read Job chapter 1] then in the end- it will work for the salvation of many.

 

WEDNESDAY-  DEEP WATER

Had a good meeting in Bishop yesterday- I was worried that I didn’t have enough room in the car- had more people than usual who wanted to make the drive.

 

Then Andy showed up at the mission- with the van that I sold to him last year.

 

Great!

We traded vehicles for the day- worked out well.

As I get ready to ready to go back to North Bergen- I want to cover a few things.

 

One of my new friends- an older guy- John.

 

The past few months I have had him and some new friends come over- use the shower- attend some meetings.

 

I usually sit with John in his car at the mission- have spent some time with him.

But- his days are consumed with his ‘on line’ relationships.

 

He has cried- moaned- complained about why one girl wont text him- the other gets mad- his whole day is spent consumed with this stuff.

I had to stop sitting in the car with him- or having him at the house too much.

Why?

 

To be honest- he brings me down.

Yesterday he walked up to me and again had a sob story about one of the girls.

 

It was funny in a way- Art- who has been to the meetings a few times- said ‘Hate to say I told you so John [not me] but she’s using you for your money’.

 

Actually John has no money- but I remembered when we were at the house a few weeks ago- John was going thru his story- again- and Art gave him some advice- that he needs to wake up and live in the real world- and break this obsession with these women [3 at this time!].

Yeah- Art- who has his own troubles with addiction- was right.

 

Ok- my friend Lance- going thru the same thing with his girl- she broke up with him- he has been on the verge of wanting to beat the hell out of some guy who has been sitting next to her at the mission- the same thing.

 

I’ll be doing a meeting tonight at Angels- a girl I have known for years- she has been asking me for a while to help her- she runs a little halfway house in the Bluff.

 

She tells me ‘Just don’t bring any girls’.

 

What?

I had no plans on bringing any girls.

She said ‘yeah John- girls are trouble- the guys are all fighting- stabbing each other- over Clare’

Clare is one of the girls who lives on the streets with the guys- and yes- lots of the guys get in fights- get thrown in jail- over her- just to impress her I guess.

 

Clare comes up to me often- gives me a big hug- actually got a kiss on the cheek the other day.

 

I ‘kidded’ her- told her ‘only one kiss a day- don’t want to get into the cycle’.

 

Now- Clare's not ‘my type’ but- that’s her thing- she wants the attention.

 

This- the whole ‘girl/boy’ thing- takes place in the middle of all these guys doing Meth- getting drunk- and it’s almost as in if the drug addiction and the codependency thing- go hand in hand.

 

Why?

All people want to be ‘wanted’ it’s in our nature.

We do things so others will ‘want us’- it comes from a basic need to be loved- which is not wrong.

A few weeks ago I posted about relationship- how co-dependent ones [I can’t live without you type things] are dangerous.

But- interdependent ones are good- meaning when we are grounded in a ‘higher power’ [God] then we can have true love for people- without the sense of having to do things to try and get others to love us.

 

In reality these types of relationships are much stronger- because the love comes from a mature mind- not out of a need to seek the attention of someone.

 

As we drove back from Bishop- I took a new road that was built a few years back- the Joe Fulton corridor.

 

It gives you a great view of all the big ships [tankers] that come thru the Port.

 

Lance and Matt were sleeping in the back of the van- me and Whistler were up front.

OH yeah- almost forgot.

 

Whistler just mailed me the letter from jail- I was on my way to get an envelope and stamp to write him back.

 

Sure enough- I saw him walking!

 

He got out of jail- great- didn’t have to get the stamp.

 

So as we rode the street right off the Port- we got to see all the ships that were docked form various parts of the world.

 

At the Bishop meeting I talked about when I swam out into the deep water many years ago- and almost never made it back to shore.

 

Whistler recounted a story- one night he was on the harbor bridge- a famous suicide bridge for our town.

 

He was hanging under the bridge- and jumped on some ships pole- went into the harbor- and the tide was carrying him out- he was at the point of drowning- and something bumped him from under the water- the next thing you know he was on shore.

 

He told me he thinks it was a dolphin- I told him it might have been an angel.

 

He brought up the incident because he said when he heard me tell my story- it was the same thing.

 

I’m glad Whistler is back- I’ll be heading out soon- and wanted to ‘run’ with him the last week before I go.

 

Tonight I will talk about my story some more- and talk about the dangers of Meth.

 

Most of the guys who will be there use Meth.

 

I have been warning the guys all year- time is short- some of you will die if you don’t get right now.

These guys tonight are the younger crowd- but I know the older crowd well.

 

The other day a friend- from the older crowd- tipped me off about another long time Bluff guy.

 

He just got out of jail- went to do some Meth- and killed himself.

 

Ok- can’t give names here- but this is the warning- if you ride the edge too long- you might wind up- in water too deep- and you might make it back to shore once- or even twice- but the 3rd time might kill you.

 

Yeah- tonight I will talk serious- no ‘preaching’ games- but real life issues- the type of ‘preaching’ Jesus is famous for.

‘I TELL YOU THE TRUTH- SOME OF YOU STANDING HERE WILL NOT SEE DEATH- UNTIL THE KINGDOM COMES’.

Some- not all.

 


In the day we sweat it out in the streets of a runaway american dream
At night we ride through mansions of glory in suicide machines
Sprung from cages out on highway 9,
Chrome wheeled, fuel injected and steppin out over the line
Baby this town rips the bones from your back
Its a death trap, it's a suicide rap
We gotta get out while were young
`cause tramps like us, baby we were born to run

Wendy let me in I wanna be your friend
I want to guard your dreams and visions
Just wrap your legs round these velvet rims
And strap your hands across my engines
Together we could break this trap
Well run till we drop, baby well never go back
Will you walk with me out on the wire
`cause baby Im just a scared and lonely rider
But I gotta find out how it feels
I want to know if love is wild, girl I want to know if love is real

Beyond the palace hemi-powered drones scream down the boulevard
The girls comb their hair in rearview mirrors
And the boys try to look so hard
The amusement park rises bold and stark
Kids are huddled on the beach in a mist
I wanna die with you wendy on the streets tonight
In an everlasting kiss

The highways jammed with broken heroes on a last chance power drive
Everybodys out on the run tonight but there's no place left to hide
Together wendy well live with the sadness
Ill love you with all the madness in my soul
Someday girl I don't know when were gonna get to that place
Where we really want to go and well walk in the sun
But till then tramps like us baby we were born to run

NOTE- I’ll actually drive down highway 9 in a week or so- cool!

Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John. Don’t forget to scroll down on the timeline [FaceBook#] - I have posted lots.