Supreme Ambition Ministries

To Know Christ and to Make Him Known – Philippians 3:10

MY JOURNEY 18

…WHY WAS I SPARED?

There are no words to express the sense of purpose and destiny I experienced as I walked with my brothers and sisters in Christ all the way from uptown New York City to downtown toward the place known then and now as…’Ground Zero’.  It was as though we were making our way to a funeral.  All along the way people stopped us asking the same question, “What do you mean about these sticks?”  Police officers, Wall Street Lawyers, homeless, business men and women, each from varied tribes, tongues and nations, all stopping us wanting to know the story of the sticks.  Each time we took a few moments to give witness to our Lord, and give the message that ‘God wants us to be one nation united under one God’.  We asked those to whom we witnessed to take a stick and spread the message.  How thrilling it was to watch hundreds of people walking away from us into the massive sea of people carrying the Gospel message. 

ground-zero.jpgDuring the four trips we made to NYC we gave away  between 1300 and 1500 sticks, and each one taking a vital message for our nation to people who were desperately trying to find their way.    It was a crisp October morning and had the sky not been obscured by the smoldering ruins of Ground Zero, I’m sure it would have been very blue.  All around us were the unmistakable smells of smoldering death.  The closer we got to the place where the Towers had fallen the more it felt as though we were going to a funeral.  As we approached Ground Zero we came upon a Baptist group, who had set up a Prayer Station on the street corner.  We paused to have prayer with them and to tell them why we were there.  We joined our hands in a circle very near where the towers had fallen and began to pray for the suffering family members left behind, our wayward nation, and for those who were to find Christ through this horrible ordeal.  When we opened our eyes, there was a great number of people who had joined us in prayer.  One was a man from China, who was working in NYC, and who had been on the 40th floor of the South Tower.  At the end of the prayer, he said, “Why was I spared?  Why did I get out, when so many thousands lost their lives?”  One of our brothers took him aside and shared the Good News with him that Jesus came to save sinners and that Christ had a wonderful purpose for his life.”  This precious Chinese man bowed his head and in a very sacred moment he received the Eternal Life of the Father and the Son.  He was transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the Kingdom of Light. 

There are numerous stories such as this of people, whose lives have been transformed because a few Christians cared enough to go to a hurting city and nation and carry ‘sticks’ with a message.  In fact, we became known on the streets as ‘THE STICK PEOPLE’. alisha-nyc.jpg  Sounds like something out of a Sci-fi movie, doesn’t it? We wore the name, however,  as a badge of honor. 

On another occasion   We were standing with hundreds of others looking over a baracade towards the smoldering ruins.  It was so quiet that one could almost here a mouse sneeze.  Hundreds of people standing, looking and yet each one alone with his/her private thoughts.  Suddenly, the Lord led for our group to begin to sing.  We were not a choir, but God anointed our singing in such a way that people were weeping.  All at once a young woman approached me with tears in her eyes.  Her name is Alicia.  She was in her apartment several floors above us and heard us singing.  She ran down the stairs and onto the street.  Breathlessly she asked who we were and why we were singing.  I tried to tell her of our and God’s  love for the nation and our participation in the grieving of the city and the nation over this tragedy.  I also shared with her how we had come to bring a little hope  in the midst of tragedy.  She related the account of that awful day when her husband had gone to work  in the North Tower.  She continued her story between sobs to say that the explosions had been beyond something she could explain.  The terror was still fresh upon her face and in her voice.  She spoke of trying desperately to find her husband and fearing the worst.  Thankfully, her husband made it out safely, but both  had been left with questions, doubts and fears that would be impossible to explain to anyone.  She said when she heard us singing that God put hope in her heart.  and she thanked me over and over for coming to NYC to share the love of God.  She said, “We need it now!”  In the picture above I have just offered her the opportunity of being an ambassador of hope to her city by taking an Ezekiel Stick and the blessed message of hope it represented.  She was amazed  I was giving her an Ezekiel Stick, but she received it with gladness and went forth to share the love of God. 

Watchman Nee, the humble Chines Evangelist,  once said, “To be used of God once in a lifetime is worth a lifetime of living.”  I am a very blessed man.  My times of being used by him are too numerous to count.  In the midst of tragedy it is human nature to ask, “Why?”  Many of the people we talked with asked this question.  Most wanted to know what such an even meant for them personally.  Suffering without reason gives hopelessness, but, if man can find a reason for his suffering, then he usually becomes more the person he was meant to be.  Thankfully, we had a message to give that offered hope beyond reason.  As we walked those human-laden streets those days,we offered not an abstract hope, but rather a God of hope, who has suffered as we have and has become victorious through it all.  

Why some made it out of the Towers alive and others didn’t, I do not know.  I do know that after September 11, 2001 I have never been the same, not just because I have suffered, but because I have found hope and meaning for life beyond the typical, daily, ‘grind-it-out’ stuff for which most people live. For what are you living today? God forbid, if tragedy should strike our nation again, and threaten the very foundation of our lives, do you have a hope beyond what this world can offer?  How deep does the reason for your living go?  Does it go beyond the daily, ‘gind-it-out’ stuff? Selah!  Think about it.

April 20th, 2009 Posted by | Biographical | one comment

MY JOURNEY 17

WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY THESE STICKS?

ezekiel-sticks.gif

     On September 11, 2001 I was on vacation with Kathi in Pigeon Forge,TN. Our daughter, Stacye, called to tell us that the United States had been attacked and the towers of the World Trade Center had been the target.  Later, of course, we found out about the Pentagon and the downed plane in Pennsylvania.  Just as December 7, 1941 is a day that will live in infamy and June 6, 1944 stands as one of the most significant and bravest events of WWII, so does September 11th tower on the horizon of American history as a day, which marks a significant change in how Americans and the rest of the world live our lives. 

    The day was filled with sunshine and puffy clouds, the last throws of summer beamed from the heavens, but the atmosphere was one of gloom, fear, and confusion.  People were fightened, angry, and some even thought the end might be near.  As I watched the responses of people on the news and observed with keen interest the rescue workers desperately digging through rubble trying to find survivors, my emotions were  vascillating.  The predominant thought on my mind was:  “Is there something I can do?”.  I’m a Christian so I knew one of the most important things to do was to pray.  America needed prayer then and needs prayer more now than any time in history.  We are a nation who has lost her way.  So I began to pray…But I wanted to do more.  However, it seemed as though there might be something more I could do.

     It wasn’t long before I received a call from Steve Coder, the President of Hand to the Plow Ministries.   He said that he was going to go to New York City and invited me to go.  Kathi and I prayed about it and determined I should go.  I took one of the men in the Church with me and we joined a group of about 15 others…What was our mission?  We were going to hand out sticks…Yes, you heard correctly…sticks.

 

alisha-nyc.jpg

     In Ezekiel chapter 37, the prophet is told to take two sticks of wood (walking sticks).  On one stick he was to write the name, Judah(meaning, ‘Now I will praise the Lord’).  On the other he was to write the name, Ephraim (meaning, ‘God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering’).  God then told Ezekiel to bind the two sticks together into one and hold them before the people.  Then God said, “When your Countrymen ask you, “What do you mean by these sticks?  You should tell them that you are no longer two nations but you are one nation united under one God.”  

     We purchased some very fine walking sticks and proceeded to New York City a mere 3 weeks after 9/11.  Upon arrival at our hotel we met together the evening before for a time of prayer, and worship.  Quite frankly I was not all that excited about taking a bunch of sticks out onto the streets of New York, if you know what I mean.  Really..come on…those people have a reputation for beating people up with sticks and other such things.  So, I decided  the next morning when we started walking the streets with sticks  I would place myself at the back and let folks who were all fired up about this thing  do what they wanted while I just watched.  I think I mentioned before that I am very shy by nature.  What I had failed to take into consideration was those in the front of our group served as the lure on a fishing line.  They got the attention of the people on the street…The succeeding ‘stick carriers’ only enhanced their curosity and by the time I came along…well, I caught the fish, so to speak.  We were walking along Broadway and 34th Street when the Bell Captain at the Holiday Inn looked at me and said, “WHAT DO YOU MEAN ABOUT THESE STICKS”.  Yes, he used the very words the scripture talked about.  I turned towards him and told him the story from Ezekiel.  His name is William.  I said, “William, if you will pass the message along that God wants us to be one nation united under one God, I’ll give you this stick.”  He said, “Praise the Lord!”.  I said, “Glory to God!”  He took the stick and lifted it high over his head with both hands and brought it down hard upon the sidewalk and said, “I claim in the name of Jesus that He will bring people back to NYC and this hotel.”  We went back to NYC about 3 weeks later william.jpgand he told me God had answered the prayer and that the hotel was full. 

This was only the beginning of a grand adventure that came out of a national tragedy.  We gave away thousands of Ezekiel Sticks on four separate trips to New York City.  I will share more in the next edition.

  

April 14th, 2009 Posted by | Biographical | 2 comments

MY JOURNEY 16

“ARE YOU SMARTER THAN AN… AVERAGE CHRISTIAN?”

  test.jpgKathi and I spent from April 1996 – November 1999 living in West Virginia.  During that time we were meeting with a small group of people in our home.  Meeting with Christians in a living room has, perhaps, been some of the most meaningful times in our Forty-year ministry.  We will always cherish those moments and when we think of those who shared that time with us, we shall do so with only the fondest of memories. 

            In November 1999 the Lord led us to a small church in Louisville, KY, which had just recently lost their pastor of sixteen years.  Complicating the situation was the fact that the Church split before we arrived and we were left with half the previous number, many of whom were reeling from the experience.  Our assignment upon arrival was very plain.  We were to help these people walk through a much needed healing experience.  As I write these words we are in our tenth year at this little Church called Ecclesia Fellowship.  Our walk of healing is not completed but we are well along the way..  Sadly, once a Church goes through something like a split, it is difficult for those who are left to see past their hurts and be willing to stay long enough for God to do a deep and abiding healing within them.  Of course, there are always others who feel the need to move on because theirneeds are different and their goals do not fit with the new vision.  Such has been the case at Ecclesia.  As each person has left, a period of further grieving and healing  has been required. Each of these experiences has become the building blocks upon which our faith in Christ and our walk with him is built. Hopefully, we are becoming a living Temple, a proper habitation for our great God. 

It has been my desire since April 1995 to get to know my Lord and to help lead any, who might have the desire to experience Him in his depths .  I claim no special revelation, nor do I hold to the allusion that I might possess something others do not.  I simply want to know Him; His passion, His presence, and His purpose.  Let me state, “I love the Church, the Bride of Christ”.  Many of the experiences I have passed through, both negative and positive have brought me to whatever level of Christian maturity I have.  Some of the experiences Kathi and I have had in Louisville have assissted in that shaping.  It is our prayer that this shaping will always be to the image of the Son of God. 

          scholar-cat.jpg One of the major burdens of my heart in the last forty years has been the shallowness of many in the Church.  A couple of years ago I gave a test of 100 questions to the brothers and sisters of Ecclesia fellowship.  The test covered basic Bible information which should have been known, especially by people who have spent most of their adult lives in the Church.  I didn’t grade the tests (I was tempted).  Instead, we went over the test on a Wednesday evening and I let them give their answers as they could.  Sadly, a few of the youth could answer some of the questions more accurately than could some of the adults.  Of course, I have to take a portion of the blame.  I felt it was important for me to examine my preaching to see if I were delivering Biblically based messages, and if I were doing so in a manner that fostered a proper retention among my people.  While being willing to take some of the blame myself.  I also realized that listening to one man preach a Biblically based message once per week (month, quarter, etc.) will never get the job done.  The popular movement afoot is to do away with Sunday School, and in doing so a generation of Christians has been raised up, who knows little about the Bible and basic doctrine. However, I’ve also discovered that simply obtaining and parroting Biblical information does not a disciple make.  Christians should know the Bible, but Christians should never fool themselves into believing that good Biblical knowledge is not necessarily a sign that one knows God any more than sleeping in a garage makes one a car. Yet, much of the fault cannot be laid at the feet of the Church, but rather at the altar of the Christian home.  I maintain that God spells “Sunday School”  ‘D-A-D’ and ‘M-O-M’.  Many parents have abdictated their role, and wanted to hire a job done that God intended be theirs.  

           discipleship.jpg I have a friend who related the following story.  Apparently, he had the opportunity to spend some time with the Worship Leader of one of the largest churches in the United States.  In the course of the conversation the Worship Leader asked my friend how things were going in his church.  My friend replied, “Well, nothing like what’s going on at your church.  I’m just trying to love my people and take them deeper with Christ.”  To which the Worship Leader said, and with great thought, “Deeper….Deeper….I surely would like to see some Christians go deeper with Christ.  We have (so many thousand) Christians at our church and every one of them is about one inch deep.”  The brother confessed later to my friend that they just didn’t know what to do with them once they got them saved.  He said, “We have discipleship ‘classes’ (misnomer), but the reality is we just don’t know what to do with them so we just move on to get the next one saved.”

      It seems that present day Christianity has learned well how to get people to come to our Churches…Now, if we can just learn how to get God to come, we’ll be doing well. ARE WE SMARTER THAN THE AVERAGE CHRISTIAN?  Maybe that’s the wrong question.  The tell-tale question is, “Do we know our Lord…not know about him, but do we truly know him?”  I may be able to recite all 66 books of the Bible.  I may even know who was the third king of Israel, or the Apostle who replaced Judas.  But, if I don’t know the heart of my Lord, it really doesn’t matter, if I’m smarter than…an average Christian.

April 13th, 2009 Posted by | Biographical | 5 comments

DOES JESUS CARE?

waterfall.jpgThe following is a copy of a dream by Cynthia Nichols.  I don’t know Cynthia.  I normally wouldn’t publish something by someone I do not know, but the words of this dream pierced the spiritual hardness of my heart.  As I read it, the words to the old gospel song came to my mind: “Does Jesus Care”.

Today as I meditate upon the tremendous sacrifice of God in His Son, Jesus Christ, upon the cross, I am made more keenly aware that God showed in a most extravagant manner how very much HE cared.  Sadly, We, His church, may have some rethinking to do on just how much ‘we’ care.  After all, the world will never know how much HE cares, if they can’t see that We care.

christianity-for-dummies.jpg

THE LOST.. The LOST…

-Cynthia Nichols.

Going With The Flow

I saw a wide stream flowing past where people stood on either side.  As the murky black water neared a precipice it flowed faster and ran deeper.  A strong undertow drew it to the point where it roar headlong over the edge.

In the gathering darkness, which made the stream appear even blacker, a girl came drifting past.  Those watching saw her, and from where they stood, could quite easily have grabbed her before she reached the rapids above the falls. But they didn’t…

They murmured and pointed, even referred to her by her name, but no one ventured to help pull her out of the currents’ ever increasing strength. They were still pointing and murmuring when she tumbled over the falls and was gone.  One piercing scream drifted back to their ears and for a brief moment, they looked a bit distressed.  But, it was a very brief moment indeed and then they simply picked up where they left off -murmuring and pointing as yet another person drifted into view…..

April 9th, 2009 Posted by | Church, Revival | comments