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  • The Healing of the Home

     

    David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

    Date Preached: 
    November 20, 2019

    Although it may seem impossible to come back from certain marital hurts, God can heal what is broken but it will require intentional work. In this honest and transparent teaching, David Wilkerson speaks to those marriages needing a special touch from God and shares five steps on how to bring healing to your home.

    David Wilkerson: Every head bowed please. I speak to you tonight on the subject The Healing of The Home. Heavenly Father, never have we lived at a time like this, the ends of the world coming apart. We begin to rejoice as we look up and see our dear redemption drawing nigh. Lord, our homes are falling apart, millions being divorced. Millions of children living in broken homes. Never has this message has been so desperately needed. Oh God, give me the courage, the anointing, and the unction of heaven. Speak loud and clear to our hearts, that no one leave this building tonight without being met solidly straight on by the ministry of the Holy Spirit. I pray in Christ's name, amen. The Healing of The Home. I'll never forget as long as I live a visit in our home by a well-known country western singer. In fact, she has two songs in the top 20 right now. And this young lady's a beautiful young Christian, but prior to her conversion, she'd been divorced two times. Since coming to Christ, she'd found a very fine young man who was anticipating getting married.

    David Wilkerson: I think she may have been a little apprehensive about it, and I'll never forget what she said to my wife and I sitting in our living room. She said, "The thing that bothers me, of all my acquaintances, I don't know of one happy marriage. I don't know anyone who's happily married." And that shocked me because she attended a "Full Gospel" church. An evangelical Full Gospel Church and her Pastor happened to be a friend of mine. Over 300 members, I was told, in the church. I said, "Well, what about the deacons? Surely you've got some well-adjusted happily married deacons in your church." She said, "I can't think of one." She said, "They almost all have been divorced at least once." She said, "One family's been divorced five times. One Deacon." I said, "What about the pastor? Surely your Pastor has the example for you." She said, "Haven't you heard? They've separated and filed for divorce." And since that time, that Pastor has been divorced. I said, "Would you please then meet your first happily married couple?"

    David Wilkerson: She said, "Well, Mr. Wilkerson, you're not like the rest of us. You live in a different world. We're out there in the front lines of this world, and it's life and making a living and you don't face the same pressures." And I made a confession to her that I'm about to make this evening later on in this service why or how my wife and I just about did not make it. What I speak to you tonight about has been very well tested, I'm just not talking theory. My wife and I have been through it, and I want to share it with you tonight before the service is over. I remember being in Chicago number of years ago for one of these all-night talk shows. Five or six guests. H. L. Hunt was one of them, this is before he died. I was one of I think five guests. It was an NBC show, if I recall, and one of the guests was a well-known comedian who had been divorced 10 times.

    David Wilkerson: He was getting married for the 11th time, and his bride-to-be was waiting in the little greenroom listening on the monitor. It started about 11 o'clock, it would last till 4:30 in the morning. For the first two hours of that all-night talk show, I listened to the worst filth and garbage I've ever heard in my life. I listened as a comedian mocked his 10 former marriages. And what he was saying, "Well, I've tried it 10 times, and it didn't work. I'm going to try it again. I got another girl on the line. If it doesn't work, there's a million more where she came from." Or words to that effect. And I thought to myself, "That poor girl sitting in the back room listening to that, she probably loves him. And even though she's the 11th, one she thinks she can make it work." I've never felt so sorry for anyone is I did for that young lady listening to that man put her on the spot.

    David Wilkerson: For two hours, the host to this show and everybody but Mr. H. L. hunt ... Mr. Hunt said he didn't like it. In fact, he left early. For two hours I sat there with a stone face with my hands folded listening to this garbage. Finally, the host of the show looked at me with a frown on his face. He said, "Mr. Wilkerson, you don't seem to be in with this. What do you think of what's been said here?" He shouldn't have said that. I'd been sitting there two hours waiting my time. I pointed a finger at the face of that poor comedian who had been divorced 10 times and laughed and mocked about it. Mocking the institution of marriage. And I point a finger right in his face. I said, "I think I have just met the saddest loneliest man in the world. That man puts on a big front, and he laughs and he jokes." But I said, "I think he cries himself to sleep. And I have nothing but sorrow and pity for you, sir." And it was like dropping a bomb. I mean, they changed the subject.

    David Wilkerson: The comedian tried to laugh it off, and they started talking about world affairs and politics. Not another word about marriage or divorce. 4:35 or so, I was outside of the NBC studio waiting for a cab to go back to the hotel room. And here comes the comedian and his wife-to-be, and I thought he was ready to rip me off. He came up beside me, said, "Mr. Wilkerson, please don't take a cab. Let us take you back to the hotel. Please, we've got to talk to you desperately." I followed that man around the corner and got in his car in the parking lot, and I saw that comedian, a well-known comedian, who still travels around the country today. I saw him bow his head over the steering wheel and cry like a baby. He said, "Sir, you're the first man that's had the courage to put me on the spot." He said, "Boy, did you hit the nail on the head. Sir, you have met the loneliest, saddest man in the world." He said, "I do cry myself to sleep."

    David Wilkerson: He said, "I haven't been fair with this young lady. She loves me, and I've made a fool out of her tonight and I'm so sorry." He said, "I have an itch in me that can't be scratched. There's a loneliness in me, and I go from one woman to another trying to satisfy that empty feeling inside of me. When she can't touch that spot in me, I go to somebody else. It's not their fault." He said, "10 women couldn't be wrong. It's me. Would you please mind praying for me?", Would I mind praying for him? I had been itching to do that the whole night. Boy, I prayed up a storm. Got ahold of God for him. Now, he didn't get saved, but I know I gave him some good advice. I don't know what's happened to that man since, I've lost touch with him. But when I went up to my room, going up the elevator I thought, "Oh, God, there it is. The big front, and that phony smile of all the loneliness inside."

    David Wilkerson: I'm going to talk very plainly tonight about marriage and divorce. Now, I've never done that in 18 years of preaching to young people. I've always thought my call was to young people. But friends, something's happening in America that alarms me. Something is happening to the American home. For that matter, homes all across the world. Not just the sinner's home, but the Christian's home. And it's an alarming thing that's happening. There was a song a few years ago, country western song and they spelled out the title D-I-V-O-R-C-E. They spelled it out, divorce, so the kids couldn't understand it. But friends, you can't hide from the little children today the dissension we have in many of our homes. You can't hide it when things begin to go wrong. Even in a Christian home. I was visiting, for example, in a home and the parents, the husband and wife, evidently thought I had left and they started a royal argument in the kitchen. And finally, they almost came to blows.

    David Wilkerson: This husband came at his wife, and a little boy who couldn't have been more than two years old had just learned to walk. He couldn't talk. That little boy ... And I was watching from the corner. That little boy went up to his dad and grabbed his leg and his trousers, and started biting and screaming and kicking trying to beat his dad up. He knew something wrong, he sensed it. I'm not saying that all children of divorced homes or broken homes turn out bad. But think of it now. Newsweek projecting 1 million new divorces this year, 10 million more American kids living in broken homes. And oh, the tragedy. Now, friends believe me, divorces caused more kids to go to sex and drugs and alcohol than all the pushers in the world combined. I'll repeat that in case you didn't hear it. Divorce has caused more young people, primarily teenagers, to run off to drugs and sex and alcohol, than all the drug pushers, and bad kids, and influences combined. A mother called me recently to talk to her 13 year old daughter who'd just been released from a mental institution.

    David Wilkerson: She said, "Mr. Wilkerson, the psychiatrist can't find anything wrong with her. She sits like a vegetable, just with her hands folded looking out into space. She won't answer questions, you have to feed her." And I got the story of a very well adjusted 13 year old teenager, who loved her dad so much. That girl outgoing and full of fun and by basis suddenly overnight, turns into a vegetable. Goes for six months into a mental institutions, is released. They can't put their finger on any physical or emotional reason why it should happen. And I said, "Mother, I can't get through to her." She was just like an animal. I said, "There's got to be some reason why this was triggered. A girl just does not call into a shell like that." She said "Mr. Wilkerson, the only explanation I can give you is that this happened the week my husband ran off with another woman. And this girl idolized her dad." And friends, there's a girl right now down in Denton, Texas who has just been released from the Terrell mental institution that I can't touch.

    David Wilkerson: And while I'm talking to you, she's sitting looking out the window staring into space like a vegetable, and nobody can touch her. It makes my blood boil because one day that Dad's going to stand before Almighty God an answer, not only for his own sins, but going to answer for messing up the life of a 13 year old girl who so idolized her dad. She's in a shell and nothing can bring her out now. And friends, that happens now all over the country. Now, I know some of you as Christians sit here right now abhorring the word "divorce." You say, "I even hate to sit in a service and listen to a man preach about it." Because you've been programmed against the word itself. You say, "I would never allow it. Now, my husband I may not have a perfect marriage. But even if we did split up, I'd never allow a divorce. I don't believe in it. My Church teaches against it. I am against divorce." But sadly, friends, this is dropping like a bomb and surprising many, many Christian homes.

    David Wilkerson: Almost daily now Christians come home and the good wife says, "Honey, have you heard the latest news? Guess who's getting a divorce?" And it's usually somebody you never could imagine it happening to. Someone you thought so well adjusted, a minister and his wife. I picked up Time Magazine a few weeks ago and there was a little article. It was amusing, yet it was sad. It said, "Joseph Alioto, Mayor of San Francisco, divorce action sought by his wife, Angelina, after 33 years of married on grounds of irreconcilable differences." Now, here's the catcher of it. At first I laughed, and then I wanted to cry. It said the divorce action evidently took Mayor Alioto by surprise, because he had just left his driveway and a half an hour later after waving goodbye and kissing his wife Goodbye, walked into his office and his wife's lawyer was waiting and handed him the divorce papers. Now, get the picture if you will. His wife knew all the time that her lawyer was in the office waiting for him to serve divorce papers. She kisses him goodbye and waves him off to work, "Bye dear, see you for supper."

    David Wilkerson: Bam. Divorce by surprise. Well friends, that's exactly what's happening now. People say, "It could never ever happened in my home." And yet it is happening. Happening all over the world. Some of you sitting here tonight may be a part of that statistic. Follow me, if you will, please. I believe the Church of Jesus Christ must take a new look at the divorce problem. First of all, let me tell you tonight if you've been divorced, I'm not about to put you down here tonight. There's been enough of that in the church. There are some people who've been victims of divorce. Jesus made exceptions to this problem. For example, in the case of adultery. Also I have found from practically experience after being on the streets for 18 years and working with some of the most troubled cases in the world. A woman who suddenly discovers she's married to a homosexual is in a hopeless situation, unless that man turns to Christ for a cure. Now, friends for the past 10 years, we've supported a home for homosexuals in New York. Upstate New York, we have an estate.

    David Wilkerson: We have a young man there and a beautiful wife who's been delivered from homosexuality. This past month, we baptized seven homosexuals who have been delivered and set free. I know it, their testimony rings clear. There's a witness of the Holy Spirit. Friends, I believe Jesus Christ cures, and saves, and sanctifies homosexuals who are desperate for a cure. There is nothing in the Bible that can prove to me otherwise. Paul, the apostle said, "Some of you were feminine or homosexual, you've been justified and set free." But if a man does not turn to Christ for healing, that marriage is absolutely hopeless. There is no hope. It must inevitably, eventually, end in divorce. There's a Scripture also that suggests that if a man departs from the home and he runs away, don't let him depart. Now, some of you who are here tonight as victims of divorce. You could not help what happened. Probably 10% of the divorces in the world today are cases just like the exception to the general rule.

    David Wilkerson: I'm not about to put you down because the Church of Jesus Christ has done a pretty good job of making second class Christians out of many victims of divorce. We treat them like they have leprosy in the church. We have special classes for them called mates without partners, or parents without partners. We don't allow them to have activities in the church, we want to keep our kids away from the lest they contaminate them. But friends, I think it's wrong. There are people sitting here right now listening to me preach who have tears in their eyes, I'm sure enough, hurt deep in their heart for the way they've been treated. Even though they know before God they've been victimized by a terrible situation in their home, and yet they have been put down and put down and trampled pulled on. And I say it's time we stopped that foolishness in the house of God. But friends, at the same time, something is happening that is absolutely frightening. You see, there are only two restraining forces left against pandemic divorce rate.

    David Wilkerson: And that was the fact that society did not really accept it, still frowned on it. And the church preached against it as being immoral. And now friends, those last two restraining forces are being removed. Society now accepts it. It's no more sinful in many circles to get a divorce when they split across the street. Think of it. Do you know that New York City this past month, there were more applications ... listen to it. More applications for divorce than there were applications for marriages. Think of it. For the first time in the history of New York City, more people filing for divorce than filing for marriage licenses. Frightening. Absolutely frightening. Now, I say that we have to face it head-on, and I have never in my life preached on this subject. Never. But I've been forced to because of what is happening to the kids I work with, because over 95% of all the kids who eventually wind up with us in the Teen Challenge centers, at least where I've been working, always look back to a broken situation in their home. Always goes back.

    David Wilkerson: I've made the full circle, and I'm right back there. And God's beginning to say to me, "David, if you really want to help the kids, get back to talk in some sense to their parents." Yes, we have pandemic divorce rate. We've got situation ethics and people trying to condone it and say it's all right. I had a young Assembly of God minister stop me not too long ago after a crusade, want to walk me back to my motel room. He said, "David, I've got to talk to you. I've just graduated from seminary." And he said, "I'm Pentecostal." But he said, "I work with high school and college students." And he said, "Something's wrong. We have got to come up with an alternative to marriage." And I was so shocked. I said, "Explain what you mean." He said, "Well, Mr. Wilkinson, the kids I work with see their parents go to the altar and go through the formality of saying, 'Till death do us part.' And they go right out and get a divorce.

    David Wilkerson: They see them stand there and spend thousands of dollars and stand there in their beautiful gowns, and then wind up in disaster. And they say, 'Marriage isn't working.' They want to live together just to prove that they love one another." And he said, "Perhaps we should come up with some kind of a spousal ceremony, so we could take the guilt problem out." And I said, "How many young ministers are thinking like you?" He said, "Almost every one of my friends my age thinking the same thing, that's marriage is not working. We've got to come up with an alternative for them." It shocks me friends. If that's the attitude, what happens five years down the line when they start taking their place in our pulpits and pastoring our churches? Now friends, I tell you that God has not changed His mind about the divorce problem. For the Lord God says He hates divorce, Malachi 2:15, "For the Lord God says He hates divorce. Guard your affections, let there be no divorcing of your wives. Let there be no divorcing of your wives."

    David Wilkerson: If you want to see that very clear, get the Living Bible and see how very clearly it's made. "For the Lord God says He hates divorce." God has not changed His mind. I don't care how many church denominations change their stand. I don't care what anybody else tells you in the way of being a Christian psychologist. The Bible says God still hates divorce. "Let there be no divorcing of your wives. Guard your affections. Let there be no divorcing." Now, I've heard all the excuses why a divorce is inevitable, why people are headed for divorce court. You've heard them too, haven't you? It goes something like this, "Well, Mr. Wilkerson, we just don't talk anymore. We've outgrown each other. We're in two different worlds. We don't communicate." Oh, the excuses that I hear all over the country today, and those judges would sit there and listen to all of it. And it's, "Well, she's gotten fat. He's got a potbelly, he doesn't take care of himself. He's always put me down in front of people. He doesn't love me, and we've fallen out of love."

    David Wilkerson: I've heard them all, but you know the number one excuse that you hear? Here it comes. Are you ready for it? "Nobody understands me anymore." And everybody and his brother running around looking for some understanding. If they don't get it from their mate, by golly, they're going to go out and get it somewhere. "I want to be understood." I had pastor of a well known large Pentecostal church ask for an appointment. He said, "Brother Dave, I heard you preach." But he said, "I can't help it. My wife and I are headed for divorce court." I said, "Why?" He said, "Frankly, I've outgrown her. I've been fasting, and praying, and seeking God, and I'll tell you brother Dave, God has shown me revelation and my wife is so materialistic. All she wants to talk about the drapes, and the car, and the kids. I've outgrown her. We don't communicate anymore. If she'd been a little more spiritual, she'd understand my problems in the ministry, but we're not communicating."

    David Wilkerson: I said, "Oh, come off it, Pastor. I've learned something and I'm going to tell you what it is right here and now. I've always learned there's a third party involved." And he didn't like that at all. He said, "No. No. No. No. Well, there is a lady in the church that I've learned to talk to, but that's all." I said, "Oh, come off it. Come off it, sir." Now listen to me, friends, I'm going to preach like you've never heard any preacher preach in your life from this pulpit. I don't care if it's my last invitation to this camp, God told me to preach it and I want you to listen. Right here and now, you leave to normal people alone who have problems and they're really in love, and they could work on any problem in the world. But you introduce a third party, then there's no hope. There is no hope whatsoever. You tell me you're not understood. You tell me you're not getting along. You tell me he's always putting you down. I tell you there's a third party involved.

    David Wilkerson: Now, you would be surprised and shocked at how the Holy Ghost must be grieved at the kind of flirtatiousness happening in the Church of Jesus Christ. And beginning mainly in our church choirs when there are idle moments after practice, and if there is not a spiritual choir leader, and if the pastor is not there to see that things are done right. I have seen all kinds of hell happening. Breaking out through flirtatiousness in the Church of Jesus Christ. Our little social clubs now. And we are beginning to breed inside of our churches, some of these little platonic relationships, especially when there's an unsafe husband sitting at home watching TV. Now friends, I think it's time that every minister, every man, every woman of God, takes a good hard Look at his or her life right now and say, "God, is there any kind of a thing happening in my life that could eventually drive a wedge into my home and my marriage?" How many people are going to stand before God and find out that this is one sin that you do not get away with.

    David Wilkerson: My Bible said, "Be sure your sin will find you out." And sir, ma'am if you've gotten away with it this far, watch out. You're on a powder keg, this is one sin that God always exposes. It has never once in the history of the world dawn unexposed. Never. And if you do not take it to the cross of Jesus, if you do not forsake it and get it under the blood and run from the for your life, you are headed ... my brother and my sister, you are headed for exposure. And then your whole life comes tumbling down. The Bible says, "Why be led away into incredible folly? Why embrace that which is not truly yours?" My brother and sister it's time you and I looked ourselves right in the mirror. And I feel the Holy Ghost right now pulling off and covering off the leads of some of us who think we've got some little secret thing down there. Nobody knows about it.

    David Wilkerson: But my brother and sister, right now the Holy Ghost says to those few that are here right now. "Get it out. Pluck it out by the roots now before you lose your home, your children, everything. Get it out." I'm not playing games, man. I'm on a life and death mission across the United States and God warned me to say it and say it loud and clear. You be careful. My brother, my sister, be very, very careful. The devil is out to destroy every godly home in the world. The pressures are mounting. And oh my minister brother, my minister sister, walk softly, reverently before God and say, "God, guard my steps. Don't let it touch my life." Plead the blood. Now, it's not always a secret affair. That third party can be another person. It could be an in law, like a mother-in-law. Now, don't wink at me like that. I had a beautiful Black couple come to see me for counseling recently, and they had three lovely little children.

    David Wilkerson: The man said, "Brother Dave, in spite of your message tonight, we're headed for divorce." I said, "Why?" He said, "My wife hates my mother, calls her a witch." I turned to her and I said, "Is that right?" She said, "She is a witch. Every time something goes wrong, he runs off to his mother. He spends more time with his mother than he does with me." And I said, "Isn't it a shame that you people are going to allow your home to be broken up over a third party?" And I turned to him and said, "Do you love her?" He said, "Yes, I do." I said to her, "Did you love him?" She said, "Certainly.", "And yet you're allowing a third party to destroy your marriage?" And I got so indignant. I laid hands on them and started praying. I said, "God, break that."

    David Wilkerson: And suddenly a smile broke out in her face and she shook her head a bit. She said, "Mr. Wilkerson, something's happened." She said, "I may never be able to love her like a should, but at least I don't hate her anymore. I can put up with her." He turned to her. He said, "Honey, that's good enough for me." He walked out and he looked at me. He said, "Dave, we're going to make it. We're going to make it." Why some of you men spend more time with your buddies on the job than you do your wife. You never take your wife out once. You say, "Oh, I love her cooking." Folly, you're a cheapskate. That's all. You may laugh about that, but you know there are many wives that are saying, "Amen." To me right now. Just think. This buddy asked me to go fishing, and he'd go a whole week and stick a little thing in the water there without a nibble for a whole week and come over and say he enjoyed himself, and his wife can't even get to go out shopping with him.

    David Wilkerson: This is plain old peanut butter preaching, but that's what God told me to preach. Now friends, it's not only a person. It can be a job, it can be a disease. I'm going to give a testimony at the end of this message on how a disease became the third party that almost wrecked our marriage. It can be sickness that changes the lifestyle. It can be the loss of a job, financial pressures. Recently, 15 couples that came to me for counseling, seven of those 15 just a few weeks ago were headed for divorce court because the husband had lost his job and the financial pressures could not be coped with. It caused such tension in the home, they said they just couldn't possibly make it. That's the third party that I'm talking about. But friends, I can tell you something far worse than divorce. Some of you people sitting here now abhored by the word "divorce", you would never even think of it. But you're guilty of something far worse as far as I'm concerned, as far as God's Word is concerned, and I call it divorce by default.

    David Wilkerson: Those are two people who live together, claiming to be married ... and at the sight of God and the law, they are. But in all practical purposes in the sight of God, they're divorced. Because though they live together under the same roof and are legally bound together, in the sight of God they're strangers and they're divorced by default. They live together as a lie, an abomination unto the Lord. They fight, and they bicker, and they hate, and they cheat. And yet they say, "I would never get divorced." A lot of Christians like that that I know all across the country would never think of allowing a divorce in their home, and yet there's no love in their home. There is no peace. There is no quiet, there is no joy. And if you could just look on a woman and commit adultery in your heart, you can be a stranger in your home and be and be divorced. In your mind. The same practical way.

    David Wilkerson: I think kids in high school or college who just go out live together without a marriage license are far more honest, than Christians who live together without love and understanding and the peace of God. They're more honest. There a lot of you people sitting here right now that need this more you need a psychiatrist or anything else, you need to hear it right now. Mm-hmm (affirmative). You say, "Well, brother Dave, certainly, if you're going to preach like this, you've got to have some plan from God, some message from God in how I can avoid living a lie. How I can bring healing to my home." I do. And I didn't get it out of a book, I got it on my knees and out of the Word of God. Five simple little steps God gave me on how to bring healing to your home and to avoid divorce court. Are you ready? So simple, you probably missed it. But I've got Bible to back it up. I'm not a psychiatrist, and I'm not about to play one either. But I've got some plain old plain English right out of the Word of God.

    David Wilkerson: Are you ready? Step number one, turn down the volume at your house. The Bible said a soft answer turneth away wrath. A soft answer turneth away wrath. The Bible said anger causes mistakes. And look what's happening, our homes like Madison Square Garden Fight Night. Oh we've got people to go to church carrying those big Bibles that look like suitcases, go around waving to Jesus, "Hi." Teaching Sunday school. And I'll tell you, they've bicker and fight all the way to church, and get in their car, and jab, and yell, and scream at each other in front of the kids. But as soon as they step out of the car in front of the pastor, they hold hands and put on that big Colgate smile. They go in there and sing Oh, How I Love Jesus, and talk in tongues. Talk about being filled with the Holy Ghost. Put their money in the offering. Get in a car, and roll up the windows, and bam. Bam. Bam. Go home and gossip about the preacher. I know some people tongue's big enough to lick their way three times around the Statue of Liberty without stopping.

    David Wilkerson: And they wonder why their kids grow up to have disrespect for the house of God. Come on. A soft answer turneth away wrath. But sadly, too many mothers think that loudness is a badge of authority. In other words, the louder you get, the more power you have. That's foolishness. The Bible said a soft answer turneth away wrath. And you know why mothers say, "Well, I yell at my kids all day and they never listen. Dad comes home, snaps his finger, and off they go." You know why? Let me give you a case in point. "Now Johnny, you do that one more time, and so help me, you're going to get it." And he knows. Johnny knows her bark's worse than her bite. She's just making wind with her mouth, and he knows. So he does it again. "One more time." So he does it again. "I'll tell your dad." At the 99th time, he's still doing it, "One more time." Mama says, "One more time." And dad comes home and mom tells him all about it.

    David Wilkerson: And dad looks at that little boy right in the eye and say, "Now son, I'm going to count to 10 and you better move." He gets the tune and that boy is gone. Why? Because she knows he going to do just like my dad. My dad had no better sense than to raise me by the belt and by the Book. My dad taught me two Scriptures before I could quote anything else, two Scriptures. I had to memorize. "Spare the rod and damn the child." And another Scripture, "Foolishness is bound in the heart of the child and the rod of correction will drive it far from him." And when I did wrong, my dad would take me in the room, he called it a personnel meeting. He always waited till the next day when I thought I'd gotten away with it. And then he sent me down his room. He said, "Now David, you know you did wrong, don't you?" And I'd say, "No, sir." He said, "Well, I'm going to show you what you did wrong." And then he'd get his Bible out and show me that.

    David Wilkerson: He said, "Now David ..." and my dad had a great big leather strap, they used to strap razors with. Great big four inch strap, about a foot and a half long. He'd hang it on a nine Penny nail going down the basement, and that was his badge of authority. My dad never talked much, he just had that leather strap. And boy, he'd say, "Now David, here's what the Bible says. Here, see it. Read it for yourself if you want to. Foolish This is bound in your heart and this rod in my hand is going drive it far from you." Then he'd make me kneel over the bed and it went something like this, he'd come down across my backside, "Now David." Bam. "This hurts me worse than it hurts you." And I could never understand it. The worst part of all was next, he'd made me get up and hug him. Then made me get down and pray, "God forgive me." And then we go out and play ball. Now listen friends, if you just spank your kids, that's child beating.

    David Wilkerson: But if you show them from the Word of God what the Bible says about foolishness bound in the heart of the child of the rod of correction, and you spank that out ... and don't spank them, anywhere except where they're well padded. That's right. None of this business across the face or the head, you can injure a child. God especially prepared the child right on the upholstery. I'm not trying to be facetious friends, I'm trying to give you something practical from God. Now you spank that child, then take that child in your hand love out the hurt. That's Bible. That's how to raise your kids the Bible way. You know what you to do with Dr. Spock's book? Put a handle on it and use it. He sent more kids to hell than anybody I know. We've got some friends of ours that we don't even allow in our house anymore. They're raising their kids by the book, all kinds of books. And I'll tell you, they've got three little white tornadoes.

    David Wilkerson: They come in the house, and they look one way and the other, and boy, down comes everything off the coffee table and then down comes up pots and pans. I want to spank those, that dad and mom. If you say something to that mom, she says, "Oh no." She said, "I don't want to hurt their expression patterns. They're developing their expression patterns." I thought to myself, "Boy, if they can't handle the expressive patterns at six years of age, how are they going to handle at 16 when they're really expressing themselves?" A lot of dads and mothers need the spanking. That's right. Turn down the volume at your house. Oh, the arguing and the bickering. I've had drug addicts come here and say, "Don't ever raise your voice at me again, sir. I've had all that my life, I don't want it anymore." All the screaming, and the yelling, and the bickering in some of our homes. Turn down the volume. The Bible said a soft answer turns away wrath.

    David Wilkerson: All right, step number two ... And I'm going to give you something from the Word of God that could save 95% of all the marriages in America and around the world. It's so simple. I call it the sorry secret. Learn the sorry secret. There was a movie out called Love Story and Time Magazine in a review said that the essence of that movie is love is never having to say, "I'm sorry." Well, friends, that's a lie from the pit of hell. Love is learning how to say, "I'm sorry." Someone asked Jesus, said, "How many times do I forgive the person who wrongs me? Seven times?" Jesus said, "No, 70 times seven." Now, that's 499 times in one day, and that's only the beginning. And furthermore, it says if someone wrongs you, you go to them and you'll be the one that says, "I'm sorry." Now friends, here's a secret that must be learned by every husband and wife in America within the sound of my voice right now. If you master this secret, you will never ever wind up in divorce court. Never.

    David Wilkerson: Learn how to say, "I'm sorry." And be first, and do it often. Oh, but you know how it goes. Come on now. I'm going to give you some red hot truth, "Me? Say I'm sorry? I always have to say I'm sorry. He's never wrong. He's always right, and I always have to take the blame. This time, oh no. Not this time. Well, I've had it with him. I'm telling you if I give in this time, there's no hope. I'm always having to give in. He runs off and gets mad. Now I have to go and say, "Honey, I'm sorry." Oh, no friends. That's not the way. That's not the way. My Bible says even if you're the one who's been hurt, you're the innocent party, you take the step. And I've had married couples say that doesn't make sense. I'm not saying it makes sense, I'm telling you that's what Jesus said. Jesus said, "You go, and you say, "I'm sorry." Not like the lady said to her husband ... This is supposed to be true from what I hear.

    David Wilkerson: She heard me preach like this. She went home, she said, "Well, I know I'm right, but brother Dave said to say I'm sorry. So, I'm sorry. So there." Well, now that's not saying, "I'm sorry." From the heart. The Bible said never go to sleep on your wrath. Never go to bed angry. Well, how many homes there are right now ... How many people are sitting here right now saying, "Brother Dave, I've been deeply hurt." Yes, you have. But if you want your marriage to work, you're going to work at it. There is no well adjusted happy marriage that just happens. This crazy king and a queen living in a castle syndrome has ruined so many of us. You're not a king. She's not a queen. You're not living in a castle. It's an everyday hard full-time job you work at. Boy, my wife and I have learned that. We're always ... she comes and, "I'm first.", "No, I'm first honey. I'm the one that's sorry, we're both sorry." We never go to sleep on our anger, it's been so beautiful. Learn that now. Learn to say, "I'm sorry." First and as often as necessary.

    David Wilkerson: Step number three, quit your jealousy. The Bible said jealousy is more cruel than anger. That suggests to me that it's better to slap your mate across the face and send them reeling across the room in anger than to be jealous over them. Because the Bible said jealousy is more cruel than anger. It's more cruel. How many marriages have had this cancer destroy? Oh, listen, if there's jealousy in your heart towards your husband or your wife, pray for a miracle. Say, "God Deliver me." This is a cancer that must be plucked up. It'll destroy your marriage. The Bible says so. More cruel. That's a cruel thing. You're absolutely cruel against your mate if you have jealousy. You say, "I've reason to be jealous." Take it to God. Pray for a miracle. "Oh God, once and for all, take this spirit of jealousy from me. Pluck it out by the root and bring peace and trust in my heart." Number four, quit being so cranky. I'm going to give you a Scripture you never thought was in your Bible right out of Proverbs. "The constant dripping on a rainy day and a cranky woman are just alike."

    David Wilkerson: All you men smile and you're the one who made her cranky. The Bible say, "You can no more stop the complaints than you can stop the wind." Crankiness. Now, wait just a minute. You know I'm telling the truth. Your wife, if you would get up in the morning, no matter how you feel, you're the one who starts the day. If you could get up and pray that God give you that grace, just a little bit of sweetness, that's all. Just a little bit of tenderness. Now, my Bible says, "Be ye tenderhearted one to another." And that's the word that's missing today in our marriages, tenderness. Tenderness. My wife and I have been working on a case. In fact, we just quit this case recently. A pastor about four months ago called us, pastor of a rather large church. He said, "Brother Dave, I don't know what I'm going to do. My wife ran off, went back to her mother. She's been gone two weeks and I'm about to lose my mind. I'm afraid I'm going to have to leave the ministry. I don't understand for the life of me why my wife left me."

    David Wilkerson: And he said, "The thing that bothers, I me understand that she's swinging a little bit. She's taking karate and jujitsu. I call her and she won't let me in the house. She lived with her mother, she won't answer the phone. I love that woman dearly, and I don't know for the life of me why she's left." And that man called and called for two or three weeks, and the poor man was really upset and I felt sorry. He said, "Brother Dave, please call my wife. She's read The Cross and the Switchblade and you're the only one she'll probably listen to. You can get her to come home." So my wife and I called, and we got a different story from his wife. She said, "I think I could have loved that man." But she said, "I just lost everything, and I'll tell you why. That man is mean and cranky as the devil. Stands in the pulpit oozes love to everybody else. Preaches love. But that man was absolutely mean, always putting me down. I couldn't do anything right for that man.

    David Wilkerson: And that man was absolutely mean, he even slap me in the face and that did it." She said, "I think I could have learned to love that man, if he'd just showed me a little tenderness. If he hadn't been so cranky and so mean." Boy, we got the other side of the story. And boy, a couple days later, he called me back again. And I mean, he was crying. He said, "Brother Dave, I'm going to have to quit preaching. I'm losing my mind. That woman has left me and I don't know why." I said, "Oh, quit your crying." I said, "You're mean. Sir, your wife doesn't want you to come home and flip the keys to a $10,000 sports car at her and say, 'Honey, I love you. There's my poof.' Your wife wants a little act of tenderness. Little bit of kindness. Not some big fancy gift. Quit trying to buy your wife off, show a little love and tenderness. When's the last time, sir, you brought your wife home some flowers for no reason at all?

    David Wilkerson: Because you loved her, nothing else.", "Who me? Flowers?", "Yeah, you. My wife is here and she'll tell you, I've got all kinds of occasions I dream up for sending flowers, and potted plants, and little love poems. Everything else. But don't look at me like that. A woman wants just a little bit of tenderness, sir. Why don't you take out the garbage once in a while, for example? Without complaining about it. Quit yelling at her for three hours watching As the World Turns, inside out upside down when you spend five hours watching football." Are you ready for the last one? All right, right out of God's Word. Quit dancing to somebody else's tune. Jesus said, "How shall I liken this generation? They're like a bunch of little kids sitting in the marketplace and we pipe to you our tunes, but you don't dance." Jesus said, "That's your generation." Everybody's got a tune, wanting somebody to dance to it. And I'm going to tell you why, and here's where I'm going to add a little to what was said this afternoon about women's liberation.

    David Wilkerson: Now, listen to me, I'm not trying to be smart or facetious. I'm on a life and death mission. We've got all kinds of tunes being played to us today through radio, and television, and the written page. And there's a mind programming on right now undermining something godly and holy. You know why we're headed for pandemic divorce rate in America and the world? We're reversing the Bible roles. We are breaking all the barriers that God set up. We are reversing the roles in our homes. Now, my Bible says the man is the head of the house. Jesus. Listen, the Word of God, Paul said this. Listen very closely, "Even as Christ is the head of the church, so is the man the head of the wife. And so let her be subject in all things, even as Christ is the head of the church." Now, many things that are being said by the women's liberation movement need to be heard. Did you hear me? Because too long, we have mistreated women. We have put them down, we've had a bunch of little Napoleon's running around, barking, "Hey Mabel, I want a drink."

    David Wilkerson: So she jumps and has to go get the man a drink of water. I've seen that all over the country. Mistreated them, and wiped our feet on them, treated them like dishrags. And friends, I'm one of those preachers who believe it's possible for a woman to have a career and be a good wife and mother. Thousands and thousands of wives have proved that. In fact, I've seen them grow so much in God because they've had a goal and they've had a purpose in their life, and that's beautiful. But friends, what I am against is this programming that's happening right now the demeaning being a wife and a mother. It comes over the Dinah Shore, the Mike Douglas, the Tonight, Today, Tomorrow, all those shows. And it goes something like this. "You housewife there in the Duz with the Hoover sweeper, isn't it a shame you becoming a vegetable?

    David Wilkerson: Your husband's out there growing, expanding his consciousness and you're stuck there with the diapers and the kids with your hands in the dish water. Why didn't he do the dishes? Why didn't he clean the room? Why don't you vote on it?" Now, hold it just a minute. What I am against with all my heart and soul is the demeaning one of the highest callings of the world, and that's to be a housewife and a mother. That's the highest calling on earth, better than the presidency of the United States. And woman, dear sister, housewife, mother, don't let anybody put you down for being "just a housewife", or just a mother. In the sight of God ... Listen, who can find a virtuous woman? Her price is above rubies. She rises early, feeds your household. Beauty is deceiving, vanity passes away. But a godly woman is much prepared. A godly woman. A housewife. I wish I could say it and scream to the microphone, it is not just a housewife. That's calling in Christ Jesus.

    David Wilkerson: God has a job for you to do. And there will be many that will come to dear housewives, and I don't think God's going to take a male like me, preacher to give you the vision. God's raising up handmaidens and sisters of the Lord, giving the vision and trying to get into you, instill it into your heart. There's wonderful concepts of usefulness and vision to be used of God, and our women today are expanding and doing some marvelous things in the sight of God. And I'm for that 1,000% and I believe in that with all my heart. But at the same time, I am totally against, and I believe the Holy Ghost is against any demeaning of this calling and any reversing of the godly holy roles that He has set. The man is still the head of the house. That role must never be reversed. Never. All right. I told you, I wanted to share with you a confession. Now, my wife and I agreed she would allow me to share with you what I'm about to share.

    David Wilkerson: And though this happened years ago, we felt at this critical time that we should share it because would help a lot of others who are going through something very similar. Because my wife and I just about did not make it. That's right. It began one day when I walked into the kitchen, and I saw Gwen leaning over the kitchen sink, grabbing her side and screaming in pain. And she said, "Honey, come here. Put your hand here." There was a big lump. I panicked. I said, "My goodness, how long have you had that?" She said, "A couple months." She said, "It's like a knife. I'm so tired all the time, and I get these weak spells just drain my strength." She said, "I'm afraid there's something there." I took her to our physician the next day. He probed around a bit and he said, "Mr. Wilkerson, it's just a swollen over. It's infected. Here's some medication. I'm sure it'll dissolve, it'll go away." We were relieved, went home. The medication help for a couple weeks. It was a second or third week after, we were in Pittsburgh visiting her mother.

    David Wilkerson: We were at Gimbels department store, I'll never forget it. She was buying a pair of stockings and all of a sudden that scream, she bent over in pain. She said, "Honey, it's bigger and it's worse than ever. It's like a butcher knife cutting me." I really got scared. I called her mother. We got the name of an internist, a specialist. I took her in. He programed and he called me the next day. He said, "Sir, you get your wife back to New York immediately. Demand the bare minimum x-ray. You've got serious problems, you're in trouble." I start playing a game with Gwen. I just told her a lie, and that's where it all the trouble begins when you're dishonest. When you cheat. Despite being dishonest, even about this kind of a third party, even a disease. Few days later, she's in the hospital. It's 10 o'clock in the morning the following day, the doctor called me up and he said, "David, I'm really sorry I missed it." I said, "What are you talking about?"

    David Wilkerson: He said, "Your wife, sir, has a cancer on her little bow the size of a lemon. I want permission to prepare for surgery. She should be operated on right away." I was angry. I blew up. I said, "What do you mean you missed it? You told me it's just it affected ovary." He said, "Well, we're human, sir. We do make mistakes." Boy, I slammed the phone down. When I went into the hospital, I start playing a game with Gwen again. I said, "Honey, the doctor said that the ovary is infected. It needs to come out, lest it affect the other ovary. So you're going to have to go into surgery." She agreed. The doctor let me wait in the little outer room. He said, "David, I'll be in there about four hours. I'll tell you what happens as soon as I get out." He was in there six hours, and I knew there was trouble when he was two hours overdue. Came out and pulled off that green mask, and I can still see him. He shook his head.

    David Wilkerson: He said, "Sir, it's a shame that a 32 year old woman should have such a black ugly thing like that in her." He said, "I had to cut out all the lymph glands, half her bowels." And he said, "We hope we got it. We don't think it metastasized, but we had to take out all the lymph glands and midsection." He said, "it's in God's hands now." When I saw Gwen at the recovery room, she was coming out. I tried to lie to her again, and this time she said, "David, stop." And she said, "It was cancer, wasn't it? I've known it all the time." I said, "Yes." So the tension was gone. But friends, that was the beginning of a third party introduced in our home that was absolutely devastating. I had no way ... neither of us had any way of knowing how low it would take us in despair, despondency. Some of you people here tonight may have been through it, and maybe you're going to have to go through it, the Holy Ghost is trying to prepare you. And this is very, very difficult for me. But we've lived through it.

    David Wilkerson: My wife and I both agree that so many people could be helped if you could just listen. Because when I was in Bible school, we'd have ministers come and they'd stand there. And I'd be sitting in the chair with all my problems. And all these evangelists, they talked about all the great victories and all the things that they'd accomplished. I sit there with all my problems. I said, "That doesn't make sense. They can't be all right and I'm all wrong." And I thought, "Lord, if You ever give me a ministry, I want to get up and confess some of my problems so that the people who go through it like me can relate to it." That's the reason I'm like this, I can't help it anymore. Friends, she got along for a year or so and regained some strength. But boy, those tired spells would hit her again and then another lump. In the next five years, Gwen had I think, five operations. Three malignancies, two non malignant. The goiter, other midsection problems.

    David Wilkerson: She was cut four times across, crisscross the stomach. And after the fourth operation ... I think it was the fifth operation, she seemed to be gaining strength and becoming very weak. We lived in ... At night, she used to like to walk around the block. We were taking a walk one night, and she really shocked me. She said, "David, they cut me so much, I don't feel like a woman anymore. I want another child." Well, I almost passed out. I said, "That's the worst thing in the world, honey. All you've been through, now to carry a baby." She said, "I want child." And I know now why God put that in her heart because soon after that, she'd not be able to have any more. We planned our fourth child, that's Gregy back there, now 10 going on 11. Healthy and strong, and call of God in his life. He will be a preacher, he said. It was a year later after that, she seemed regaining strength. We were so happy.

    David Wilkerson: We're coming home from Memphis General Counsel, and on the way home, she had one of those attacks. Started to bleed. We rushed her into the nearest town into a hospital, they sedated her, stopped the bleeding. Said, "Get her to a hospital, you've got problems." Once again, dear Gwen was down. This time a surgeon friend of mine did the operation. A very fine Christian, spirit-filled man. Thought it would make a little easier. This time a radical hysterectomy. And I mean that it was radical surgery this time. When Gwen came up this time she said, "They'll never lay another knife on me ever. I don't care, they'll never." They used to greet me. People would come to me and say, "David, you've got faith to believe God for miracles, for drug addicts, alcoholics, prostitutes. Why can't you believe God to heal your life of cancer?" And it hurt us because God had done something wonderful for us. He had given us what I call the faith of the Hebrew children.

    David Wilkerson: The Hebrew children stood in front of the fiery furnace and they knew in their heart God was able, and their message to the whole world was simply this, "We know our God is able. But if we have to go through the furnace, He'll take us through." And friends, God saw fit to take us through the furnace, but it was in the furnace that we came out with His hand on ours. That's where we met Him in the furnace. God takes you through the blood, He doesn't bypass it. You go through the wilderness, through the fire, through the flood and that's where He makes you. This time, a surgeon calls me in the next room and he said, "Brother Wilkerson, you're man of God, but you've got to know something. We've taken two of the three lines of defense against disease away from your wife. She has no more hormone system being produced, no more goiter. So there's no thyroid, she has to take thyroid hormone." And he listed all the medications she'd take the rest of her life.

    David Wilkerson: He said, "She's going to go through massive sudden changes in her body and in her psych. And she's going to feel depression like she's never felt. She's going to feel fits of jealousy and temper. She's going to go through every range of human feeling so high and so low, it'll be devastating. And unless you're prepared, unless you're patient and understanding, you can only make it more difficult on her and yourself. Sir, be prepared. I'm just telling you, you're in for it. You're going to see things you've never saw before, and your wife's going to be another woman." And I couldn't understand then what he was talking, I couldn't even begin to comprehend it. The first three months, we were able to take it pretty well. When I come home from Teen Challenge and walking the streets, and walk in the house and see her hand shake when she's is drinking coffee, I could take her the room and pray with her and she was relieved. And friends, it went downhill. Downhill. For the next six months, it got worse and worse, until finally it got on my nerves.

    David Wilkerson: I'd say to myself, "Now, look I'm walking the streets, I'm giving my life and to come home to that tournament. Maybe she's not trying." Because I came on one time and she was screaming at the children, and I couldn't understand that. And she'd run to the room and say, "David, why do I do that? You know that's not me." And we prayed. But after a while, friends, the depression got so bad. She slipped so low physically. She said I'll never get it. Came home one day and she said, "You don't love me. The kids don't love me. Nobody loves me. I don't want to live." And suddenly got loss of a will to live. "Nobody cares." And friends, I'd be going around the country preaching and asking prayer, and she had more people praying. We had flowers and telegrams, and people praying, and more friends she'd ever had her life. But the enemy trying to say, "Nobody cares. You don't care, nobody cares."

    David Wilkerson: And boy, I would come home and go into the garage where I had a little prayer room and say, "God, it's not great. I can't care this kind of a battle." And friends, for a whole year I traveled around the country preaching crusades, and have to stand and hearing in my subconscious mind, "David, you're a phony. You preach deliverance, and yet you can't solve your own problem. You're going to wind up in divorce court, and the millions of people who read The Cross and the Switchblade are going to laugh. You're going to bring reproach on the ministry." And one night in California, I was preaching for Miss kathryn Kuhlman, 4,000 people. In the middle of the sermon, it ran through my mind, "You're a phony, you have no right to preach. You're a phony." And I was paralyzed. I couldn't move. I grabbed the pulpit, and nothing came out. I stood there for three minutes, just petrified. And suddenly turned and walked off the stage. Walked off in front of 4,000 people right in the middle of my message. Miss Kuhlman had to take over the service.

    David Wilkerson: I went up to the side, and brother Aaron Vic was there. He said, "Dave, what's wrong?" I said, "I'm a phony." He didn't know what I was talking about. I just walked out. I said, "I can't preach. I can't stand up anymore and tell what God can do until God heals our marriage." Because we were not making, we were arguing now. We were not understanding, we were not communicating. I knew she loved me and I knew I loved her. There was no other third party, but this disease that it was crippling. I knew the enemy was going to use this, try to destroy our home and marriage. Our children knew it, and some of our closest friends knew it. I went home and did what most people do when they're headed for trouble, they think a second honeymoon will solve everything. As if geographically removing yourself from the area of your problem would solve it. Friends, you take your problem with you. You don't solve it by going somewhere, you solve it right here in your heart.

    David Wilkerson: And so I went home and I said, "Honey, I've got to go to California for crusades next week. Let's get somebody to watch the kids. Let's take a second honeymoon." She said, "We need something David." We flew to California, arrived at Friday. Checked into the hotel in Anaheim, and I had a Saturday afternoon banquet for some 400, 500 ministers and their wives. The Southern California District. And then a big crusade that night at the Long Beach auditorium, thousands of people expected. It was Saturday afternoon, I was dressing to get ready for the crusade. I don't know what triggered it, but for some reason or another, we started arguing, and I blew up. I said, "That does it. God doesn't expect out of me." I said, "We're not making it. We came here to California. We're not solving our problem. I said, I'm having a hard enough time preaching. I feel like a phony now. I've lost the victory. You're not coming in the car with me."

    David Wilkerson: I slipped through a telephone number, I said, "Here, you call Ralph and Eileen. If you want to come, you come with them. You're not coming in a car with me." I got in my Hertz rental car and drove off in a huff to the banquet. They had my book set up down in the lobby, and when I appeared kids came running up wanting to autograph The Cross and Switchblade. And if you'd have seen me then, you would have never know with that phony smile on my face that I was dying inside and going through a ravishing period in my life. 10 minutes before the banquet was to start, here comes my wife with the pastor and his wife. And we'd learned by now to put on a big front, so she smiled and side up to me. We walked in hand in hand, and sat at the speaker's table at the banquet. Friends, I felt like I was in an echo chamber. I didn't hear a word for the first hour preliminaries, I was in an echo chamber. I was so low.

    David Wilkerson: I reached in my pocket and I had $500 in traveler's checks. Now, it's not because I carry a lot of money, but the tickets alone were $300. And we were going to be there for a week, we thought. And suddenly a Scripture came to me. It's a scripture that David used. It was what David said when he was going through a trial, and he wanted to run away from it. He said, "Oh, that I had the wings of a dove, that could fly off to some distant wilderness and escape this tempest and storm. Oh, that I had dreams of a dove, I could fly away to the wilderness." And on my way to the meeting that afternoon, I'd seen a bus pull out of the station there. It said, "Mexico City." And all of a sudden it hit me. "God doesn't expect this of you. You got $500 in your pocket. Just get up, walk out, go to the bus station. Get a ticket, go to Mexico City.

    David Wilkerson: Take your Bible and your clothes. And check into a hotel down there and write another book, maybe on family problems, because now you can relate to them. Fast and pray. Call New York and tell Paul the treasurer to give your paycheck to your wife and take care of the family. Don't let anybody know where you're at. And one of these days when she really tries, when she starts praying and seeking God like she should, then she'll come crawling back to you. Then you can come home." God doesn't expect it. Friends, I did the stupidest thing I ever did in my life. I got up, put the chair under the table and walked out. People must have thought I was going to the restroom. I headed for that bus station feeling sorry for myself, and hurt, and depressed. The lowest I'd ever been in my whole ministry. I got that bus station. I'm standing there getting ready to lay money down for a ticket. And friends, all of a sudden I begin to shake and tremble because the fear of God came on me.

    David Wilkerson: The Holy Spirit fell on me, and I heard it ringing through my subconscious mind, "David, what a fool. What a fool. You talk about being hurt. You talk about not being understood. And yet you haven't had the knife laid on you. You haven't had the tubes down your throat. You haven't had to face the trauma of cancer. She has done all the suffering. You don't even begin to know what suffering is. She's gone through it all. If anyone has a right to run away, she does, not you. Get back before it's too late." Now, I tell you I literally ran. I remember jumping over a car. I put my hands to the front lead right over the front of it, over a fire hydrant. I huffed and puffed my way back, and I got there five minutes before they introduced me to speak. My wife later said she knew what I'd tried to do. She wanted to do the same thing. I don't even know what I spoke, friends, I got through it.

    David Wilkerson: But after the banquet about 5:15, 5:30, I handed my wife the key to the room they'd given us there at the hotel. I said, "Honey, we're not making it." And I said, "I can't go in, I'm at the end of my rope." I said, "You go to the room. You know I love you, and I know you love me. But I can't go on another day." I said, "Now, I've got to preach to thousands of people tonight and I'm not going to do it unless God leads me, unless God heals our marriage, and our home." I went up to a little dressing room, it's still there, up at the Long Beach auditorium. Dirty old filthy dressing room. I slammed the door and I pounded my fist against the wall almost till I bled, and said "God, like Jacob wrestling with the angel of God, I'll not let You go until You answer prayer. God, You've met me all these years, You've met my financial need.

    David Wilkerson: You've healed boys like Nicky Cruz, I've seen Your miracle working power. This burden is too much." And I'll tell your friends, He said you'll make a way of escape. Hallelujah. God said He'd make a way of escape that we may be able to bear it. And friends, after an hour or so, something happened in that little room. God poured on me a fresh anointing, an anointing like I had never experienced all my life. Even fresher than when God first called me to the streets of New York. And suddenly, all that poison was washed out. Glory to God. It doesn't take that all night, it just takes God a few moments. He washed out all the fear, and He washed out the depression. I knew God was going to bring healing towards wife and our home that night. Friends, at 7:30 I walked out, and the place was packed and jammed. I didn't even have my Bible with me, I didn't even know where I'd left it. Didn't even have a note. All I remember, I was in a daze, I was in the Spirit and I heard someone introducing me.

    David Wilkerson: I stood before thousands of people. I remember for just a half an hour I preached on love. If God marked iniquities, who among us could stand? He remembers our frame, He remembers that we're but dust. Oh, I began to just pour out of my heart the love that I felt for Jesus, and the love that He was giving back to me. All the love. I spoke for half an hour through tear stained eyes, and halfway through my message ... And I'd never experienced such anointing, it was as though I'd stepped out of my body and, and the Lord Himself just speaking through my lips. Just pouring out. I couldn't wait to hear what the Holy Ghost will say next. Just poured it out and halfway through my message, the Lord let me pick up Gwen space. Way in the back of thousands of people I could see her and her hands were raised, and tears streaming down her cheeks. And suddenly, I had a Holy Ghost premonition. God is healing your wife right now. God is healing, the miracles happen.

    David Wilkerson: And boy, it rolled off of me and I knew it. I knew it. I gave an invitation that night, and over 1,000 people came forward. I'd never seen anything like it. People were crying and making up with each other, it was a beautiful experience. And about 10 minutes later into the altar service, I heard somebody going, "Psst, psst, psst." I turned and there's Gwen behind the curtain going like this. Most informative, "Come here." Boy, and I walked away from thousands of people. I went over and I picked her up and hugged her, and she said, "Dave, I feel like a 13 year old girl. I have never felt like this in all my life." She said, "Do you know you preached your whole sermon right at me? I said, "Honey, there's 1,000 others that are thinking the same thing." She said, "No."

    David Wilkerson: She said, "Halfway through your message tonight, the anointing of God came on you so, your face lit up." She said, "I saw a ring around your face." She said, "And God took that anointing and broke the yoke in my life, the anointing on you touched my life and broke the yoke." She said, "The depression snapped." She said, "The glory of the Lord filled my heart." And she said, "God told me I'm healed." She said, "I am healed." She said, "The depression is gone." She said, "Let's get out of here." And we got out of there. We walked away from thousands of people, didn’t tell anybody or friends, that second honeymoon was 10 million times better than the first. We've been going on it ever since. Hallelujah. It's just been absolutely beautiful. You say, "You got no more problems?" Oh, yes. But we always make sure, "I'm there first, honey. I'm the one that's sorry." We've learned the sorry, secret. Hallelujah. Glory to God.

    David Wilkerson: Let me tell you something, you tell me your marriage is hopeless. You say, "Well, it used to be nice." Come on. You stood one day ... With this, I close. You stood one day with your husband or your wife before an altar. I don't know whether you were in a white dress or not, but you stood there either before a judge, a priest, or a minister the gospel and you said, "I love you, until death do us part." And you were married in the sight of God. I don't know what's happened in the meantime, I don't care if you're retired. Maybe you say, "The magic is gone, David. I'll never be able to sense what I had before." Well, friends, we don't live by feelings. We live by faith. But if by faith you'll come to Him now and pray for a miracle, God can heal you. God can heal your marriage. And He said ... here's what the Bible says, "I've got something against you because you left your first love. You didn't lose it, you left it.

    David Wilkerson: So remember how it was, and repent, and go back and do it all over again." Come on, remember how it was and go back and do it all over again. Now. I used to have people come forward that wanted their marriages healed, and I'd have to repeat the marriage vows until I saw how stupid that is. Those are just words, that doesn't mean anything. It's the act of kindness. It's determining in your mind, "I'm going to make this work. I believe in miracles. I believe in God. I believe God can keep my home. I'm not going to give up, I'm not going to let the devil destroy my home and ruin my kids. Break up my husband and my wife. I'll not allow it. Never." Some of you young married couples needed this so much tonight. Look what's happened, all the pressure in this age. Father, I've made a confession. Now, we've all got to make a confession. Lord, I needed this tonight. This is exactly what I need. I need it. I acknowledge it. I admit that I need help. That's where it begins. Amen.

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  • The Communion of the Holy Spirit

     

    Claude Houde

    Date Preached: 
    November 15, 2019

    Communion with the Holy Spirit is your supreme calling, the source of supernatural service for God, and what the enemy will attack most in your life. Claude Houde inspires us to seek a daily walk with the Holy Spirit because only though him can we see, speak, stand against and shine for Christ supernaturally.

    Claude Houde: The big question in conferences like this is, how can the touch that we receive become transformation? How can the touch become transformation? We're all busy. We're all working, around the world. We have no interest in coming, speaking, being touched, going home, and things don't change. You have a giant in this nation, with the thousands of churches and the tens of thousands and millions of believers. You have a giant, you have a responsibility. You may not realize this, but in any nation, the people of God are the most important people in the nation. You are the people that hold the keys to eternal life. You are the people and the mass of believers in this nation, you can change this nation.

    Claude Houde: So how can this not just be another conference? How can the touch become transformation? How can the blessing we experience become a break-through that makes a difference in your life, in your family, in your children, in your church, in your city, and together in our nation, the nation that God has called us to touch. How can a conference really bring change? How can we possess, protect, and possess what we feel God has promised? Yesterday the ... hundreds of us that God has been writing His promises again in our hearts.

    Claude Houde: How can we not see them go through our fingers in the next few weeks? How can we not come back next year to another conference, and do it again and again without change? For the younger ones that are here, how can my aspirations become accomplishments? How can I fulfill what I'm feeling in my spirit is from God? To the older ones, the fathers and mothers in the faith, how can I recapture, how can I reproduce, how can I make real, how can I make reality, some of the revelations that I am hearing here in this conference? How can the glory we felt together, how can the glory become growth and fruit in our lives? In our churches? How many of you are like me, like us this morning? We have one heart. We're not interested in just feeling better for one day or two. We want change. We want transformation. We want growth. We want souls, and we want breakthrough in our nation. If that's your heart, I want you to shout yes.

    Congregation: Yes!

    Claude Houde: So how? How can these moments together, as Bishop Noel said, how can the moments become a movement? How can the moments in the Holy Spirit become a movement? So today, I want to share a message, and it'll be a two part. I'm just doing the first part now, and then Pastor Gary will come, and Evangelist Nicky Cruz will come, and we'll flow through the day together. But I want to call you to something that has been the pursuit of my life, and the key, the difference between promise and possessing in ministries around the world, whatever the culture, wherever ... all 50 countries where I've ministered. I want to call you to a fresh commitment to the communion of the Holy Spirit. I want you to say it out loud with me. The communion of the Holy Spirit.

    Congregation: The communion of the Holy Spirit.

    Claude Houde: When the apostle Paul under ... writes 1st and 2nd Corinthians to a large body, to the largest body of believer, the most influential body of believer in the New Testament era, he ends the 1st epistle to the Corinthians with these words. "The grace of our Lord Jesus, and my love, be with you." Grace and love. And we are to walk in grace and love, and be renewed in grace and love. And when he writes the 2nd epistles ... it is a formal way in which he ends many letters, "Grace and love be with you." And we are called to walk in grace and in love. But when he finishes his 2nd epistles to the Corinthians, there's a prompting, there's an urgency, there is a shaking, there is a fire of the Spirit, a warning. There is an admonition of the Holy Spirit upon him, so he writes, last words of the 2nd epistle, "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all."

    Claude Houde: The communion of the Holy Spirit. This is a supreme calling. This is a supreme calling you are to pursue. This is the source of all supernatural service. Your communion with the Holy Spirit. This is what the satanic will most attack in your life, will attack your communion with the Holy Spirit. This is what the satanic will most attack. It will attack it through temptation, through sin. It will attack it through pride. It will attack it through bitterness, and division, and a harshness of heart. It will attack it through offenses that become prisons, and it will attack it through sheer busyness, when you're running around with your phone in your hand everywhere you go, and you little by little forsaking your communion with the Holy Spirit. Please understand. That is a supreme calling, that is the source of all supernatural service, and that is what the satanic will most attack in your life. If you receive and keep one thing from this conference, your future will depend on you cultivating, protecting, and you fighting for your communion of the Holy Spirit.

    Claude Houde: When the band dismantles the instruments and the stage is gone, and we go back to our island, it's what happens tomorrow morning, and the next day, and the next day, between you and God, and your communion with the Holy Spirit, or not, that will determine how much of an impact you will have. The apostle Paul uses an amazing word. He says that's ... communion with the Spirit will be your supreme calling, the source of all supernatural service. This is what the satanic will attack in your life. And this is the communion of the Spirit that will sustain and strengthen you. Sustain and strengthen you.

    Claude Houde: One of my privilege in ministry, 35 years of full-time pastoral ministry, is three decades of service, but to be surrounded and having the privilege of being around men that have served for years and years and years, and to see them being refreshed and being renewed. It is something amazing for me. I'm 57 years old. I am 57 years old. I know you're saying, "That's impossible. You look so young." I know that's what you're saying. I'm 57 years old, and I'm serving God with all my heart, and God gives me health and energy. But I think of my brother. I think of Pastor Nicky, who's a little bit over 57. Am I allowed to say? Last time he almost punched me out when I said his age. And he can do it. So let me say ... can I say 80, at least? Can I say 80? Let's say that I need to serve for about 20, 25 more years of ministry. To those of you who were there at the crusade, he's standing there in the anointing of the Holy Spirit. I want to warn everybody over 50, there's no retirement for you. There's no settling for you. There's no, "I'm just going off to my retirement." No. You need today to call out and say, "O God, come and renew me by the communion of the Holy Spirit." Fresh oil! Fresh fire, fresh wind.

    Claude Houde: And the apostle Paul uses something very ... an amazing word. He uses the word koinonía, the communion, the fellowship, the partnership. It is often used and taught in the New Testament as the communion that God calls us to have between believers, when we speak with one another and share deep things with one another. We open our hearts, and we listen, and we hear, and we are close. We're in communion. We are in union. How sweet it is for brethren to be in koinonía, to be in communion together! God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, who calls us to be in communion with one another. Paul says, "You are to be in communion with the Holy Spirit."

    Claude Houde: Your experience with the Holy Spirit is not a one time. It is not only at salvation. It is not only a one-time event. It's not only at a certain moment. It is a communion. It is a Him speaking to you and you to Him. I would say it this way, and not at all in a denominational sense, but we need a fresh Pentecost. Not a denominational Pentecost, where all the arguing is about exterior, external evidence. I'm speaking of an internal Pentecost. Do you understand that Pentecost, the word Pentecost, means 50? It was one of the feasts of the Old Testament. You had a sequence in the Old Testament where you have the angel of death going across the country, and the blood is put over the doors, foreshadowing what Christ will do for us. And whoever is found under the blood is saved. 50 days later, Pentecost, 50, 50 days later, the law of... God gives this law. It's commandments. He gives them on tables of stone on Moses. That's Pentecost.

    Claude Houde: New Testament. New covenant. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Lamb, is offered, and He sheds His blood once and for all. And whoever is found under the blood will be saved, will have eternal life. Nothing can separate you. Shout yes, please!

    Congregation: Yes!

    Claude Houde: 50 days later, the day of Pentecost, they were all in one place, in one accord, and there came a sound from heaven, and cloven tongues of fire came, and God says, "Now I will not write my desires, my plans, my heart, my convictions, my destinies, on tables of stones. I will write them on human hearts." Pentecost is not a denomination. It is an experience for all of us, day after day, to say, "Lord, come and write your laws, your desires, your plans, your warnings, your admonition, your corrections, your renewing. Come and write that on the tables of my heart." Can God still write something new on your heart? Can God still say to you, after all these years, "That attitude is wrong? Be careful. You have to be more grateful." The Holy Spirit can still write to you. "You have to let go of that offense. It's not about you. It's not about your kingdom. It's not your position, it's not your title."

    Claude Houde: Can God still say to you by the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit, in your communion with Him, can still give you a sensitive heart to someone next to you that you are to speak about Jesus to? Or someone that you are to call that's a backslider, that's hurt you so much, and caused you so much trouble, but the Holy Spirit, can He still speak to you to reach out with the hand of Christ? Can the Holy Spirit still reach a leader, the leaders among us, to be models of unity, as Bishop Noel preached? Can we cry out together for the Philippines, "O God, bring us again. Renew us again. Bring me back in that place of communion with the Holy Spirit. In Jesus' name."

    Claude Houde: And there's many pictures of the communion of the Holy Spirit in the two epistles to the Corinthians. We're going to look at one. I'm going to start this morning, and sometime during today do the second part. But I want you to look with me at 1st Corinthians chapter 2. Many pictures, incredible pictures. Very practical. Very ... exactly where we live as leaders, as to how this communion is manifested and unfolds, and is alive, and is bearing so much fruit.

    Claude Houde: 1st Corinthians chapter 2, and we will look together at verse 9. 1st Corinthians chapter 2 and verse 9. "But it is written, as it written, your eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man, the things that which God has prepared for those who love Him. That God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of a man which is in him? Even so, no one knows ... no one knows, no matter how educated, no matter how trained, no matter how professional in ministry you are, no matter how adept at leadership you are, no one knows the things from God but by the Spirit of God, the Spirit that is from God, that we might know ... would you say out loud with me? That we might know."

    Congregation: That we might know.

    Claude Houde: "That we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. And these things now we speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches, but which the words ... with the language that the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual things. But for the natural man does not receive ... doesn't even see them. He doesn't receive, doesn't understand. He doesn't discern the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, nor can he know them, for they are spiritually discerned." In the Greek, they are spiritually possessed. They're only possessed by the Spirit of God. I would like to propose to you, first thought this morning, we'll continue on later on during the day, that through the communion of the Holy Spirit, and only through the communion of the Holy Spirit, can we speak supernaturally. Only through the communion of the Holy Spirit can we see supernaturally, speak supernaturally, and stand against everything the enemy throws our way, and shine supernaturally. By the communion of the Spirit we see supernaturally, we speak supernaturally, and we stand against hell itself, and shine supernaturally, in the name of Jesus. Would you say yes, please?

    Claude Houde: So by the communion of the Holy Spirit, we can see supernaturally. Your eyes has not seen. Your mind cannot conceive. Your heart cannot produce the things that God has prepared for those who love Him. Where there is no vision, the people perish. I thank God for the leadership, what I heard this morning, in these few minutes. I thank God for the vision of your leaders. You have leaders that stand here, and they have a vision for the coming years. The word of God says where there is no vision, fresh revelation ... in the Hebrew it's chazon. When there's no chazon, the people perish. The people cast off restraint. When there is no vision, the people cast off restraint. The people go in any direction. They're like sheep scattered.

    Claude Houde: Whether you have a large church or you are in charge of a youth group, or you have a small church on an island, you are called to be a man with spiritual sight. To be a woman and man of vision, that will see supernaturally. That sees supernaturally. Because your eye cannot see ... we sing it as a salvation experience. "I was blind, but now I see." But the opening of your eyes to salvation is only the beginning. God is calling us in every season of our lives to see supernaturally, to see with the eyes of God. Seeing supernaturally, seeing past the impossible, into what is right now invisible, but is what God calls you to be.

    Claude Houde: To see supernaturally is to see beyond our fears. In every season of fears, where fear is grabbing you by the throat, you see supernaturally beyond your fears into faith. You see supernaturally His promises, so you're not defeated in the seasons of pain, in the seasons of pressure. You see supernaturally His love, His light, in the darkest season of loneliness. Through the eyes of faith, through the communion of the Spirit, you see the potential in people. You don't only see their past and their problem.

    Claude Houde: It's not supernatural to see people's problems. How many of you have great discernment to see other people's problems? You just see it right away? That's not very supernatural. What is supernatural is to see their future in God, it to see beyond their fault, is to see beyond what they are not. Actually a shepherd is called, and a visionary leader is called, to see in people that God confides to us, what they don't even see in themselves. As Jesus looks at you. To see them as Jesus sees them. Supernaturally see His will, and walking in His will through our own wilderness. When you're in a wilderness, and when you're in a season of woundedness, it's only your communion of the Holy Spirit that keeps your eyes open to who He is. To my purposes, to my destiny, to who God has called me to be. It's only through the communion of the Spirit to see and stand for the true measure of success in His sight.

    Claude Houde: It's only through the eyes of the Spirit, and the communion of the Spirit, that you keep your eyes on what is the true measure of success. Before God, not before men. As a servant of God, as a shepherd. All through the Scripture ... we could go all through the Scriptures, and we have these warning ... what I call the Zechariah warning. In Zechariah chapter 11 verse 17, I'm reading it for you, he says, "Woe unto the shepherd." Leaders. "Woe unto the shepherd who does not see, who does not cover, who does not fight for those and does not care for those that are cut off. Woe unto the shepherd who does not heal those that are broken. Who does not feed those that are starving before him. Woe unto the shepherd with a sword in his hand, but he will not fight for the sheep." Why? Because "he turns his back on the day of battle, because his eye has dried up."

    Claude Houde: The eye has dried up. The eye has lost it's spiritual sight, so he's not ... he's concerned about many other things in ministry, but he's not concerned about the sheep. I shudder, as I travel in the nations, to see oftentimes leaders in the highest places tearing each other up, and the whole body of Christ watching leaders that are so ... let me say it this way. Show me a man who's preoccupied with his position, his title in his ministry, and I'm showing you a man that is not in communion with the Holy Spirit. Because if you are in communion with the Holy Spirit, there's something in you that says, "What's important is the sheep, is the people, is the witness, is my testimony, is the kingdom of God, is the name of Jesus that is upon us before the nation." Would you say yes, please? Communion with the Spirit.

    Congregation: Yes.

    Claude Houde: In Mark chapter 9, Jesus touched a blind man. Mark chapter 9. Just like all of us, he was completely blind. Didn't see anything. And he comes to Jesus. Jesus touches him, and He says, "What do you see?" "It's a miracle!" I was completely blind before, like you and me, completely blind to things of God, to the principals of God, to the heart of God. And now, he says, "I wasn't seeing anything before, but now I see men like trees, walking." And the Bible says Jesus touched him a second time. Touched his eyes a second time. Say out loud with me, a second time.

    Congregation: A second time.

    Claude Houde: He says, "What do you see now?" "I see people as they really are." I want to propose to you that all of us need a second time, and a second time, and a second time. That without the communion of the Holy Spirit, we just see people as trees walking. We don't see their need. We don't see how God wants us to serve them. We don't see our situation. We don't see our family. We don't see our marriage. We don't see our spouse. We don't see our kids or grandkids. We don't see our nation as God sees it. We don't see ministry as God sees it. Only when He gives me the second touch. I cry out, after 35 years of ministry, "God, give me the second touch again! Touch my eyes! If my eyes have dried up, come by your Spirit! I want to see what my eyes cannot see, what only the Spirit of God can show me and reveal to me." Would you say yes?

    Congregation: Yes.

    Claude Houde: I will see supernaturally. Jesus and the blind man. In Jeremiah chapter 1, second touch again. God says, "Jeremiah, I have called you. You will go." And He says, "What do you see?" He touched him, and He says, "What do you see, Jeremiah?" And Jeremiah says, "I see a branch like the Olive tree, the saqed in the Hebrew." It was the announcer, the Hebrew word meaning, "That's the announcer of life." When everything was frozen and cold and sterile and lifeless, the branch would spring forth. It's announcing life. Again, he's announcing Jesus Christ. He's announcing the Life. And He says, "Okay, Jeremiah." He touched him a second time, and He asked him what do you see a second time. He says, "I see boiling pots of burning waters about to tip over."

    Claude Houde: And that is the reality! That is the reality of what was happening in the nations. That is the reality of what will increasingly happen in these last days. We will be called to be the announcers of life in the midst of death. The announcers of life in the midst of boiling pots, and the boiling pots of burning water in the nations will never stop the gospel of Jesus Christ. But without the communion of the Spirit, you have ministers ... I was watching ... you have many many Christian programs here. It's a blessing. I was in the hotel last night, watching different preachers on at every hour, and Filipino preachers, and all types of different ministries. And many of them with an emphasis on this is the last days, and this is the dark days, and this is the end of things.

    Claude Houde: All this is true. The burning pots of boiling waters are real. But we are not called to go into a bunker until Jesus comes. We are called to announce life. We are called to announce a new life in Christ. We are called to stand in a stadium, as you did a few days ago, and proclaim the life of Christ. [inaudible 00:23:35]. We are called to 21 days of fasting and prayer. We are called to months where each of us share our faith. We are called to see supernaturally, that we would serve Him supernaturally. Would you say yes?

    Congregation: Yes.

    Claude Houde: I'm going to close with this, and continue on, because He calls us to see supernaturally, that we would speak supernaturally. I want to close with one last verse. I want you to turn with me to the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 16. I close with this. Matthew 16, please. This is a passage that you know well. This is a passage where Jesus will ask His disciples. Matthew chapter 16. And Jesus came into the region, verse 13, into the region of Caesarea and Philippi, and He asked His disciples, "Who do men say that I am?" I, the Son of God. So they said, "Some say you're John the Baptist." Some praise. That's purity, that's repentance. That's the message of John the Baptist. The message of purity, very important. "And some say Elijah." That's the prophetic. The prophetic nature of our message. "And others they say is Jeremiah." Elijah is the power, and John the Baptist is the purity, and Jeremiah is the prophetic.

    Claude Houde: And He said to them, "Okay, but who do you say that I am?" And Simon Peter answered and said ... and Simon Peter is amazing. He has the capacity in the same day to be inspired by the Holy Spirit and to be rebuked because the enemy is also inspiring him. How many of you love Peter? You just love Peter? So Peter goes ... this is so inspired by God. He goes, "You are the Christ. You are the Son of the Living God." And Jesus answered and said, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah. Flesh and blood has not revealed this unto you, but my Father has revealed this unto you." The Holy Spirit, the communion of the Father revealing, causing him to see and to speak supernaturally. "And I say to you, you're only a pebble. You're only a small stone. But on the rock of revelation that I give you, I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys." Say out loud, the keys.

    Congregation: The keys.

    Claude Houde: "The keys to the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and what you loose on earth will loose in heaven." Look up for a second. "Who do men say that I am?" And after 2,000 years, we can reduce Jesus to just one portion. "Some say you're John the Baptist." It's all about sanctification, and purity, and holiness. And it's so important, but He's that and beyond. "Some say you're Elijah." It's about the power. It's the power. Yes, it's the power, it's Elijah. But He's more. "Some say you're Jeremiah." It's the prophetic. It's all about the prophetic. It's all the signs, it's the date, Jesus is coming back at that date. No it's beyond that. "Who do men say that I am?" "You're the Christ, you're the Son of the Living God." Oh, Simon Peter. "It's not flesh that has revealed that to you, but my Father in heaven. And as long as you walk in the communion of the Holy Spirit, I ... you're just a pebble. You're just a little stone. But on the rock of revelation that I give you, I will build my church in the Philippines, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. And I will give you keys."

    Claude Houde: Here's what happens as we travel the world, literally, as we go to nation after nation after nation after nation. Someone is fasting and praying somewhere, and God gives them a key. Some keys are universal. They're for the whole world. It is praying, it is fasting, it is serving Him with all our hearts, it is compassion. It is the grace of God. Some keys are universal. But then we have a group ... somewhere in the nation, we have men fasting and praying, and God gives them a key for their city, for their nation. And in our day and age, the key becomes a book. The book becomes a web series. The book becomes a conference. It becomes a methodology, and pastors come from all over to now study this key. And let's take this key now, whether it be one technique ... and I'm not even going to mention any, because ... one technique, five steps to this five steps to that. The only problem is you go back home and that key wasn't for your city, it was for theirs. You needed to seek God for yourself. You needed to be a voice, and not an echo.

    Claude Houde: This is something the Lord said to me years ago. I'm going to close with this this morning. Be a voice, not an echo. Say it to somebody next to you. Be a voice, not an echo.

    Congregation: Be a voice, not an echo.

    Claude Houde: I will tell you in what context. I will tell you ... I'll close with this. I will tell you in what context the Lord gave me this, and it became something important in my life. As I mentioned yesterday, I have preached over a thousand times to 50 people or less. I was an evangelist in the French world. If you go in the dictionary and you look up the word "extreme poverty," there's a picture of an evangelist in the French world. That was me. Extreme poverty. Going to churches of 50 people, and just my whole life preaching to them. That's all I was doing. But, because I could interpret from English into French ... this is before interpreting for Pastor David Wilkerson.

    Claude Houde: I'm just beginning in ministry, and I get this call for what was, at that time, the most well-known Pentecostal evangelist in the world. Stadiums of hundreds of thousands. His television program was world-wide. And I'd just got married, and we were very ... we have this tiny little apartment, we have this car that only starts by faith. You have to lay hands on it to make it go. My wife married me, I had Bibles, books, and a smile. That's what I had to offer. And preaching 300 times a year in these tiny churches, and no offerings.

    Claude Houde: And I get this call from this American organization, and they call me downtown Montreal into a skyscraper. I showed up, and they're very American. Americans are more in your face. I sat there and they said, "We saw some tapes of you interpreting, and the evangelist wants you to be his voice to the French world. You're going to stand with them in French Africa and Europe and France, six or seven crusades. You're going to do one week a month. You're going to go to Louisiana. You're going to go to their studios. You're going to be the voice and the face in the French world." And they're so American that as I sat there, without me asking anything, he showed me. He says, "This is the salary we will give you monthly." I say before God, no exaggeration, what they were offering me monthly was more than I was making in a whole year.

    Claude Houde: Oh, you should say, "Hmm." Say something. You're all pretending you don't care, but you know what I mean. So I'm thinking, "Wow." But I said what I should say. I said, "Well, let me pray about it." But it was pretty exciting. So I get home, and I'm jumping. I get home and I'm thinking, "I'm going to buy a car, I'm going to buy a house. I'm going to do this. I'm going to be traveling the world. I'm going to be on the stage. This is going to send me in front of nations." And I get home, and I tell my wife, and she says, "Mm. I don't feel it." "You don't feel it, honey?" "No, I don't feel it. No, I don't feel it." I said, "Wait until we get the first check. You'll feel it. You'll feel it." Oh, don't look at me so legalistic. Don't look at me so Pharisee. You know what I'm saying.

    Claude Houde: But I did go pray. And I took a week to pray. And the first day ... the Lord didn't take a week. The first day I was walking, and I came to this passage that I had read so many times before. John the Baptist. A voice in the wilderness. And the Holy Spirit dropped in my heart, "Be a voice, not an echo." It doesn't mean I'm not going to translate. I interpreted many times. But it meant I'm to say no to this. And I remember shaking, picking up the phone and saying, "Thank you for the offer, but it will be no." And they were offended, and they thought ... and I remember the guy saying, "Boy, you just ... I don't know if you should ask counsel of somebody, because you're ruining your life."

    Claude Houde: I hung up, and I would love to tell you that the week after the blessings opened. No, the week after, I was preaching to 30 people again, and just continuing to just serve God. But three months later, that evangelist fell into immorality and became a scandal to the whole world. And I would have become the face and the voice of immorality, and of a man visiting prostitutes, and bringing shame to the gospel.

    Claude Houde: In the communion of the Holy Spirit, there will be protection. In the communion of the Holy Spirit, sometimes there will be God calling you to what no one else is seeing. There will be God looking at somebody no one else ... you think that when Nicky Cruz showed up as a young man from the streets into a Bible school somewhere in California, you think they all looked at him and said, "Oh, this young guy, he's going to go around the world, and 50 years from now he will be in the Philippines with thousands?" No, they were scared of him. There was things that God put in his heart that no one ... he couldn't see it in himself, no one could see it, but the Holy Spirit whispers it in your heart, and He puts a conviction in your heart, and you walk, and you develop.

    Claude Houde: I want to say to someone, be attentive to counsel, yes, be attentive to wisdom, yes, but you must listen to God. You must hear God. Don't seek ... that's why in this conference we're not giving you a methodology. I'm not giving you the seven steps, how we grew our church in Montreal. We grew it on our knees, calling on God, and He gave us keys, one year at a time, one blessing at a time, one ministry at a time, one devil at a time. And the key for yesterday is not even sometimes the same as the key God wants to give you today, in this generation, in this season of your life. O God, I want to see supernaturally, in Jesus' name. And all of God's people shout amen and amen.

    Congregation: Amen!

    Claude Houde: I want the musicians to come. We're not going to have a long time. Just have a moment of prayer, and then we'll have a five-minute break, and continue. But this is the beginning of the day. This is how a conference becomes change. This is how a moment becomes a movement. This is how a blessing becomes a breakthrough. This is how the glory becomes growth and fruit. This is how it's not just a conference. It could be a moment. It could be ... I'm asking you to build an altar where you are. Say, O God, I must renew my communion with you, Holy Spirit. Communion with the Father. Communion with the Son. My eyes cannot see.

    Claude Houde: I'm speaking with love to a mother and to a father in the ministry, and you say, "My eyes cannot see how the situation can turn around for my son anymore. Oh, when I look at my son, when I look at my daughter, when I look at my church, when I look at my marriage, when I look at what I'm going through right now, my eyes cannot see it. But I'm asking you, Holy Spirit, come and show me. Fill me again. The communion." And I want to call a moment of repentance this morning, and say, precious Holy Spirit, if I have been neglecting your presence, if I have been neglecting to seek you ... the satanic has been attacking your communion with the Holy Spirit. He's been distracting. He's been confusing, through sin, or through condemnation, or through busyness, or through bitterness, or anger, ungratefulness. But today, he's exposed. The enemy is exposed. And we lift our hands and we say fill us again, Holy Spirit. Oh, I'm not speaking of a denominational experience. This is for all of us. Not one of us think we have something the other doesn't have. We all just long ...

    Claude Houde: Would you begin to pray out loud? Then pray in your language, pray, and say, "Lord, I pray, fill me. Fill my eyes to see, in this season of my life." I pray for Bishop Noel. I pray for all the leaders. I pray for the Jesus marches. I pray for the fasting and prayer in this nation coming up. I pray for this vision for every believer to share their faith once a month. The potential. I pray for the month of October, 2020. I pray by faith for 500 thousand baptisms of new souls that will have come into the kingdom of God through ... and Lord, it begins with leaders. It begins and ends with us. Our church will not go further than us. Our city will not go further than we go. It all rises or falls on leadership, and we are called to be leaders. We are called to be your man, your woman, in this nation. Lord God, the church in the Philippines must not be a sleeping giant. By the Spirit awaken the giant, O God, that we would rise in unity.

    Claude Houde: Lord God, I want you to call out for unity, not at a superficial level. We are praying for miracles. Miracles of unity. Miracles of repentance. Miracles of reconciliation. Deep conviction of the Holy Spirit upon leaders that fall to their knees, fall to their knees and say, "Forgive me." Fall to their knees and say Jesus first, the people of God first, the church first. I am praying for each pastor to be on his knees and to say, "O God, I want to see. I want to see with the eyes of the Spirit. I want to see my town. I'm praying for every marriage, every couple, and I want to see my wife, I want to see my children, I want to see my husband, as you want me to see him, or her." In the name of Jesus, let me hear the heart-cry of the Filipino leadership. Let me hear the voices rising up to Jesus. Call out the name of your city. Call out the name. Call out the name.

    Claude Houde: Spirit of God, speak to your leaders. Speak to your pastor. Speak to bishops. Speak [inaudible] men and women are here, and some that are not here. Reach them by your Spirit. Awaken their hearts. Awaken their minds to your will and your purposes. We declare your purposes over the enemy's purposes for our nation. We declare justice, when there is only corruption. We declare healing, when there is only division. We declare the purposes and the power of God. O Lord Jesus, give us keys. We believe you are giving us keys. O God, give us keys. Give me keys for my city. Give me keys for my family. Give me keys for my own kids. Give me keys for my own children.

    Claude Houde: Lord Jesus, we come to you today. As this day begins, we are opening our hearts to everything you will say to us. We believe by faith that this conference will make a difference, that things are moving in the heavenlys. That darkness is pushed back. That lies are exposed. We received a vision from one of our bishops today, and we are receiving it. But now we pray, O God, that you would write your vision on our hearts. That you would write by your Holy Spirit, not on tables of stone, but on the tables of our hearts.

    Claude Houde: I pray, O God, for each man and woman of God in this place. Every island, every village, every city, every church, every ministry, every family. Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, the things that God has prepared for the Philippines. They are not understandable, they are not discerned, they are not see-able humanly. But they will be revealed by the Holy Spirit and accomplished. We will see supernaturally, so we will speak supernaturally and stand supernaturally, and sow supernaturally, and shine supernaturally, in the name of Jesus. And all of God's people shout amen and amen. 

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  • A Way When You See No Way

     

    Gary Wilkerson

    Date Preached: 
    November 14, 2019

    How do you find a way when it seems there is no way? Drawing from Mark 2, Gary Wilkerson shares four things to encourage your faith when the circumstances before you appear too hard. It's time to get up in faith and watch God make a way in your life!

    So today I wanted to have you turn with me to Mark chapter two. Mark chapter two. I'm going to talk to you about "A Way When You See No Way". Let me repeat that, "A Way," everybody say that. "A Way When You See No Way." When it seems impossible. When it seems difficult. When it seems you can't go on. When it seems you have no hope. When it seems your future is not as bright as you'd hoped it'd be. How do you find a way when it seems there is no way?

    Mark chapter two verse one. First verse says, "And when he returned to Capernaum," this is Jesus, "after some days, it was reported that he was at home." He came back to this city called Capernaum, it was his hometown as he got older and then the headquarters of his ministry. It was his home where Peter lived, so he would visit Peter and Peter's mother quite often. There was many times where you would find him at Peter's home. If you remember, it was where the first disciples were called. The first disciples were called by Jesus at Capernaum. It was where Peter, James, and John, and the sons of Zebedee, where Andrew and Philip were called into the ministry. So this was a hub of great activity, great things happening for the kingdom of God, very much like Cebu, right? Where God is doing great things and God is on the move.

    This is where, in chapter one verse 30, if you back up, there was a revival, a spiritual awakening taking place in Peter's home. Peter's mother was sick, Jesus was in the village teaching. Peter's mother got sick and when she got sick, Jesus came home and touched her and she got up and made them food. How many say amen for some food? Made them some food. They were so excited, people found out that Peter's mother was so sick and Jesus touched her, she got up. So people started coming knocking on the door. "We heard there's a guy that does miracles here. Can we come in?" So Jesus would pray for them and they would get healed. Then her friends came and they would get healed. There was this massive move of God because of the healing power of God. How many of you know that where the spirit of the Lord is there, there is the presence of the Lord to heal? And when the Lord heals, amazing things happen.

    This house became full of people thrilled to see this move of God in Capernaum. And Jesus, in the middle of this awakening, revival, miracle-working moment, says, "I need to go pray." He spends the night in prayer, and after spending the night in prayer he says, "Hey, you know what? I've got to leave Capernaum. There's other cities I need to go to." Now, the night before, the Bible says the whole city, chapter one, the whole city, almost the whole city had gathered to come here Jesus preach. Almost the whole city brought lame, and sick, and deaf, and blind, those who were paralyzed, those who could not walk, those who had skin diseases like leprosy, those were demon-possessed. They brought them. It was just this amazing time. Wouldn't you love to have been there? Yeah. Wouldn't you love to have been there to see what Jesus was doing? You would hate to miss that meeting, right? I mean, this is a good meeting, it's going to be good. You missed the opportunity to say Amen there. This is going to be a good meeting. Thank you.

    But this one that Jesus was at, you don't want to miss that. If you lived in that village and you missed it, it's what we call in the United States, that's a hot ticket. It's a hard ticket to get, but they got in, they crowded around the house. And in verse 34 chapter one says, "And many of them were healed." And now in chapter two, it says, "And when Jesus returned to Capernaum," he came back to his hometown, came back to Peter's house, and it begins to tell the story of a man who lived in Capernaum, and the Bible says he was paralyzed. He couldn't walk. I'm going to suggest maybe later that he might have been a paraplegic. Couldn't even move his arms. His legs and his arms were immobilized and he had to have other people carry him around. He couldn't drag himself, he couldn't walk on crutches or in a wheelchair, he had to have someone else help him.

    There's this man in the city, it appears to me that he missed the first meeting. Jesus had just been there maybe a couple days before and he heard about this awakening and he heard about all these people healed and he heard about the power of Jesus, but he was laying there on his bed, on his mat, immobilized. He seems to have missed this first miracle-working crusade. He might have been hearing the amazing stories, maybe some of his friends who were paralyzed had been at that meeting and now they were walking around. They were like, "Look. Look. I can walk." He's going like, "Good for you." Wouldn't you feel bad if you missed that meeting?

    So Jesus comes back to this town and he's still in his bedroom. He's still on his mat. He still can't move. He missed the first meeting, now he hears Jesus is back. What's happening here it says, verse two, "And many were gathered together so that there was no more room, not even at the door, and he was preaching the Word to all of them." That's Mark chapter two verse two. "They gathered together, no more room, even at the door, and he was preaching the Word to them. And they came to him bringing a paralyzed man." The crowd started gathering again. Revival number two. A second chance. Another awakening. They bring the masses to him again, but here's this man and he's lying in his bed again, and he's hopeless again, and he's unable again. There's no way for him to get up and go.

    Could you imagine if you were him? I like to use my imagination when I read the Bible. Could you imagine him lying on the floor or maybe he's able to sit up a little bit and he looks out his window and there's crowds of people running and he's yelling out, "What's going on? What's going on?" He doesn't know what's happening. They're running by, and all of a sudden he hears the news, "Jesus is back. He's coming to heal again. He's coming to preach again. He's coming to deliver again. We're so excited." And he's going like, "I can't move. I can't go." All these years, I picture him as being a man who, maybe his mother had to take care of him. Washing his clothes, bringing him food. She couldn't carry him there. Everybody was at this awakening except for him, so his heart says something like this, "I keep missing out. There's great things happening, but I keep missing it. Maybe I'm not called. Maybe I'm not chosen. Maybe I don't have a purpose. Maybe God doesn't have a good plan for my life. Maybe I have expected much and now I'm going to receive little." He was missing out on his miracle. He could have been saying to himself, "I'm a two-time loser. I lost out on the first miracle, now I'm going to lose out on this one because I can't move. I can't go. There's a commotion in the city. There's another opportunity for revival, but things will never change for me. The way it is now is going to be the way it will always be." My marriage will always be the same, my sickness will always be the same, my finances will always be the same. The problems I have in my church will always be the same. My inability to reach out to the lost, my powerlessness will always be the same. Praying for the sick and seeing them not healed, that's the way it's always been, that's the way it's always going to be. I tried once and I couldn't get there, now the second time opportunity comes up and I still can't get in.

    There's something missing in his heart and he can't seem to experience the fullness of what God has for him. He probably is saying to himself, "Nothing changes, no matter how much I hope for things, I don't change. No matter how much I dream about things, I don't change. No matter how much I pray about things, I don't change. No matter how much I desire a new chance to come into this revival awakening that God has, I can't move. I'm paralyzed. I'm stuck. I'm unable." And I have met pastors all around this globe who love Jesus with all their heart. Who pray, and fast, and seek his face, but nothing seems to be moving. They seem to be paralyzed. Seem to be stuck. They're wondering, "When can I get into the house? When can I get the touch of God? When can he move in my life? When can I see miracles take place? When can I see revival? When can I see awakening? When can I see more than I'm seeing right now?"

    And there's this hunger in our heart for more, but we feel like the paralytic. I'm just lying here. Day in and day out, I'm just lying here wondering, "When is it going to happen? Isn't there more than this for me?" And I picture him lying on that floor, maybe tears in his eyes. Sad, broken, crying. "I can't get in. I can't move." And all of a sudden, his door opens and it's four of his friends. Could you imagine that? "What are you doing here?", he says. "I thought you would be at the revival. I thought you would be getting touched, but you care about me? You stopped for me. You came to pick me up." And the Bible says, "They picked him up and they carried him to Jesus. They took him where he couldn't go himself." Here's a man who couldn't see a way ahead and now God sends him a way maker. Somebody to bring you to that place of your revival. That's what this meeting is about.

    Pastor Claude who is going to preach this next session, and myself and Kelly, as she sings, and Tina, as she helps lead these conferences, we hope to be four friends to you today. To lift you up when you are paralyzed. To speak hope into your life when your dreams seem dashed. We're bringing you to Jesus because it's at Jesus's feet you can be touched, you can rise, you can walk, you can stand, you can become whole. Somebody shout Amen for me today. Do you believe that? One more time, come on, let's give him praise. Thank you, Jesus, that you're a miracle worker. You're a way maker.

    He's thinking to himself, "What kind of future do I have?" And his friends show up and now all of a sudden there's miracles taking place. There seems to be a little ray of hope. There's a way when there's no way. There's a breakthrough of God's promise. There's a way out of discouragement, my friends. Did you hear me? There's a way out of discouragement. There's a way out of feeling like you're an underachiever, lying down, can't get up. There's a way out of that. There's a way out of not accomplishing the things that God has put in your heart to accomplish. There's a way out of that. Even when there seems no way, God is making a way for you to rise up and possess all that he has planned for you. Somebody say amen one more time, are you ... 

    So I've got four things I want to tell you real briefly and then pastor Claude will come. Number one, sometimes we need someone in our life who believes there's a way when we see no way. Amen. Sometimes we need somebody to pick us up when we can't pick ourself up. Sometimes when we don't believe anymore, we need somebody in our life who believes for us. When we've lost hope, when we've given up, when we say we're not able anymore, we are paralyzed. We can't move. God will send somebody in your life to say, "It's time to move. It's time to go. It's time to get up. It's time to get up." And they pick him up. They pick them up and they carry him to Jesus, and he's all excited like, "I missed the first meeting. I thought I was going to miss the second meeting, but I'm not missing the second meeting. I'm going in. I'm going." But he gets there and there's no tickets left. No tickets left.

    It's almost like ... You heard of Kanye West? Who's heard of Kanye West? Wave at me if you've heard of Kanye West. Okay, four of you. Wow. Okay. He's this world known singer, particularly in America, and he is right now doing every Sunday because he got saved, supposedly. They said he got saved. He's one of the number one rappers in the world. He got saved and now he's, instead of doing rap concerts, he's doing a thing called Sunday Service. So every Sunday he's meeting in the largest auditorium in Los Angeles, it's called the Los Angeles Forum and he's having Sunday Service. A big choir, 150 voices. He's rapping, and he's singing, and he's preaching, and you can't buy a ticket for it. It's like 17,000 people fill this auditorium almost every Sunday now, and you can't get a ticket. So your four friends came and picked you up and said, "We're going to go hear, Kanye. It's going to be hot ticket. We're going to get in that thing. It's going to be rocking and jammin'.

    It's going to be music, and testimonies, and a powerful story of this top singer getting saved on fire for Jesus. We're going to go in, man." And you get there and they're sold out, and you're just thinking, "Man, I wish we had got her earlier. I missed the first meeting, now I'm going to miss the second one. I can't get in." There's even a crowd at the door. The house was packed and even around the outside you couldn't even get to the door, it was so packed. And his friends have an idea. "Let's go up to the roof and break a hole through the roof and let's lower you on your bed right in front of that." So you went from hoping you could get into through the balcony, sitting in the very back hoping just to get a seat, maybe you can see the little speck down there on the stage of Jesus. And instead your four friends say, "When there is no way, we're going to make a way for you.

    When you can't do it yourself, when you can't get up, when you can't get in, when you can't make it work, we're going to have faith for you." Not only just to get near Jesus, but you know what they do? They open up the hole, and I don't know how they knew where Jesus was. But it was perfect because when they opened the hole, it was right at Jesus's feet and that's what good friends of faith do. They don't get you just in, they get you near. They don't just leave you laying on the side over there. They say, "We're bringing you right to the feet of Jesus. You're going to get closer than ever before. You're going to have the greatest awakening you've ever had. You're going to see supernatural things like you've never seen before. You're going to see the glory of God if we have to break down this roof. If we have to yell, 'Fire.' And everybody runs out the building and then we'll bring you into Jesus, we're going to do it."

    You need friends in your life who have so much faith they say, "We're going to get you in no matter what. We're going to get you up no matter what. Your miracle is not going to be delayed any longer, you're not going to get stuck in your paralysis. God is going to move in your life." So they open up and they get at Jesus's feet. Sometimes we need someone in our lives who believes there's a way when we see no way, four good friends in your life. I want to encourage you, faith needs friends and friends need faith. You can't do it on your own. You were never meant to do it on your own. So many of us are struggling in our ministry not seeing success because we want to be the man. "It's all on me. It's up to me. I'm the one." And you become an individual rather than a team. All the faith that you have is all about your faith and not relying on the faith of others. Sometimes we need someone in our life to pick us up when we can't get up on our own.

    Secondly, they lower Jesus. This man gets to Jesus's feet and his friends are still up on the roof and they're so excited. "Jesus has been healing the sick, raising the dead, casting out demons, and now we lowered this man and He's going to touch our friend. And our friend's going to get up and he's going to dance. We're going to meet him later on at the party. We're going to dance and celebrate." But Jesus doesn't heal him right away. You know what Jesus does? He reaches out and touches him and says, "Son, I see these brothers of yours, their faith." And they're going, "He saw our faith. He's going to do a miracle, he's going to get healed.", "I see your faith, so son, rise up." ... No, excuse me. He says, "Son, your sins are forgiven." The guys on the roof were saying like, "We didn't bring him here to get his sins forgiven, we brought him here to walk. You're missing the mark, Jesus. We didn't break that roof ... I mean, You could yell out the door, 'Your sins are forgiven.'.

    But we wanted You to touch him and make him walk, and You didn't do it." You see, there's something that you need to know, that Jesus ... Listen to this carefully. Jesus makes a way in you before He makes a way for you. That's my second point. First, when you need others to bring you in. The second one is He makes a way in you before He makes a way for you. You see, we want Him to make a way for us, "Give me a revival in my church. Let there be a hundred souls saved this year. Fill the baptismal tank. Let there be such an awakening that when we open the lid on the baptismal tank, people just start jumping in like fish." That's what we want. But sometimes Jesus works on the inside before He works on the outside. Sometimes He says, "There's some things in your heart that I need to look at. There's some issues we need to deal with. There's some habits and patterns." There are some leaders, I meet them all over the world, they're so passionate that that passion often turns into anger.

    And they're frustrated with people and are angry, and they're barking orders and commands and trying to make things happen in their own strength. And they want to have a revival and they come and say, "God, maybe this conference we're going to could be the awakening of revival. I'll finally stand and the revival will come into my church and my city." And you come to a conference like this and God says, "First thing we need to do is take an inside look to look at the heart. And so there are there some things that I need to deal with to prepare you to walk, to prepare you to run, to prepare you to have wings like eagles and fly. First I have to prepare something inside of you." Amen. And so He's preparing this man by forgiving his sins. Jesus makes a way in you before He makes a way for you. His four friends were thinking, "Walk." And Jesus was thinking, "Live." His four friends were thinking, "Run." And Jesus was thinking, "Be whole spirit, soul and body." Jesus might've made the man walk, but the man might have walked right out the door into his sin. And so Jesus was not just interested in him being able to walk. He's not just interested in you having a church that grows ... although He's interested in that for sure, but He's interested in as that church grows, it grows holy. It goes powerful. It grows sound in doctrine. It grows in good discipleship. It doesn't excite you like, "I can walk and run now. My church can do fun things." It's a church that has depth to it. It's a church that knows how to pray, get ahold of God. Through the storms, through the difficulties, through the times where you don't feel like you can walk anymore, you're still holding on to God because something inside of you has changed. He works on the inside before He works on the outside. Number three. All right. "Now, some of the scribes ..." this is verse 6, "Now, some of the scribes were sitting there questioning in their hearts." I hope you haven't come to this conference like that, "Is this thing going to be any good?

    I got on a boat and came all the way over here. I don't know who these guys are, I never heard of them." When I was a little boy, everybody read The Cross and the Switchblade. Now we ask, "Who's read The Cross and the Switchblade?" And like six people will raise their hand. It's old school kind of, in some ways. It's a great message. And so when you come to a meeting like this, what is your expectation? Or when you pray, what is your expectation? When you fast, what is your expectation? What are you believing God to do? To be in your life? The Pharisees were sitting there questioning, "Is this going to work? Should this work? This isn't my theology. I don't yell, 'Amen.' At the preacher, I don't clap my hands. I don't sing." I was in a country that used to be a former Soviet Union country, and I was doing a conference like this on a Saturday night. And on Sunday morning I was supposed to go to a church to preach. The pastor of that church was there. And in this country, they don't believe in clapping their hands.

    I didn't know that, so I told everybody, "Clap your hands. Let's rejoice in the Lord." Everybody kind of clap their hands. And that pastor came up and said, "You can't preach at my church because you told the people to clap hands." And let's put our hands together and thank the Lord that you're allowed to clap your hands here. Right? Amen. So the leader of the conference said, "Don't worry Pastor Gary, that church won't have you, but this other church will have you." And so I said, "Okay. Yeah, I'll go that church instead." Well, that pastor came to hear me preach that night and at the end he came up, said, "That man can't preach at my church." And I think it was Bettina or some other said, "Why not?" And they said, "Because he has long hair." I'm like this guy in the Bible. Oh for two, I can't get up and get into these churches. I need somebody to help me in, maybe with that haircut or teaching me not to clap hands. I was in an environment where there was opportunities for miracles, opportunities for awakening, opportunities for revival, for God to do great things. And they were sitting there with their hands crossed saying, "We have questions about your motives. We have questions about the way you operate, the way you look, the way you talk." You can miss a lot by getting stuck in your own way of doing things, your own denominational style. The way you dress, the way you talk, the way you sing, the instruments you use or don't use. You can get stuck in a pattern of history that becomes dead tradition rather than the life of the Spirit. And the Holy Spirit wants to bring life. He says, "Unfold your hands and be open to Me. I have miracles for you, I have glorious things for you. Open up your hands." So this third point is there's always someone to tell you there's no way. Have you noticed that in your life? There's always someone who will fold their hands and tell you, "You can't do it. It's impossible."

    When my father first went to New York City when he was a young pastor, he was pastoring a small church in a very rural farming community and he saw these gang members in New York City and drug addicts in New York City that no one was reaching. He went to go to New York City and a revival broke out. Thousands of young people got saved, gang members, drug addicts, alcoholics, street kids, homeless kids coming to Jesus by the thousands. His own father was the head of the denomination in that whole region where he lived, and his own father said to him in the middle of this revival, "You're wasting your time. You shouldn't do this. Those kids don't want to hear about this. You need to get back to your church." What his father thought was if you walk the streets of New York City, just reaching out the gang members, you'll never rise up through the denominational ranks. So he told my father, "You can't do it. You shouldn't go. Don't waste your time." There's always someone in your life to tell you, "There's no way, this is not going to work."

    There are people in your own church who will tell you, "Pastor, that's not going to work. You want us to pray for 21 days straight? You want us to fast for a week? That's not going to work. Nothing's going to change. Our city is too difficult." When I go to different cities, you know what things I always watch for in the leadership? And I am so thankful for the leadership here because I did not hear this here. But in a lot of places I go, they give you the bad report. Do you know what I mean? "The Philippines, it's so bad. It's so hard. We have so many street kids here. We have so many alcoholics here. Demonic possession is so strong here. Religions are so dead." And it's almost like a report of what God can't do. But I'm thankful for men like this and the bishops and the leaders here, is that I'm hearing them say, "I believe God can do it. I believe God can do good things. I believe God can change our nation. I believe God can change our city. I believe God can change this whole environment."

    We don't need people who can tell us there's no way, we're already wondering at ourselves. We need people who can tell us there's a way, "Hold on, you can go." Last thing number four, your way requires your weight. I know that may sound strange when you hear that. When you're taking notes, write that down and it'll make sense in just a moment. Your way, the way ahead, the way up, the way of healing, the way of revival, the way of miracles requires your feet to get up and go to do something. Kelly, if you can hand me that. This is the mat. That's good. Just like that. All right. This is the man's mat. The men, they came down from the roof. He laid it down on the ground. The man was laying, he was ... You can't see me, but I'm still here. Okay? He's laying there. I told you earlier, I'm not sure he could even move his arms.

    He's laying there. I told you earlier, I'm not sure he could even move his arms because if he could move his arms, he probably would have put just two guys, one carrying one arm. His arm around one man, his other arm around another man, he probably would carry them in. Because he was on a mat, he was probably laying there and so it's a ... Hello, everybody. I have never done this in my life. I've never laid down while I was preaching.

    I've been tempted to lay down while others are preaching. This is the first time. He's laying there. It's one thing to get near Jesus. He's thinking, "This is so sweet. I didn't think I'd get into this house. Man, my friends, they love me so much. I got everything I need now. I'm just so happy to be here. I got Jesus preaching to me. I've got good friends who are up on the roof, cheering me on. I got my sins forgiven." Then all of a sudden Jesus says something. " Get up. Get up." The man says,

    "You don't understand. I actually don't walk. I don't know if you knew that or not. I thought you could tell from the mat and the floor, but I can't walk." Jesus says, "No, you get up." Now he can't rely on his friends. Your friends can get you near, but your friends can't get you up. You can get close. You can have the emotions, you can have the songs, you can have the good vibes from Jesus, the good feelings, but at some point in your life and in your ministry, he's going to say those words to you.

    "All right, now. You got in. You're close. You're near, but now you got to get up." This man has to make a decision because he has to start putting weight on something now, right? He has to, "Man. Look. My arms. They're holding me up. I haven't sat up in a decade. Look. I got strength in my back." Jesus says, "No. Come on. I told you, I didn't say get halfway up. I told you to get all the way up. I didn't say go into halfway revival, halfway spiritual awakening, halfway faith. I said, get up!"

    The man starts putting weight on his legs and he's getting to his knees and all of a sudden he's getting, and he's standing up. He's standing up. He's standing up. He's healed. Jesus tells him to ... You see, sometimes you just have to get up. You're tired, but sometimes you have to get up. You're frustrated, but sometimes you have to obey the command of Jesus. Get up and go again. Sometimes you don't feel like walking the next mile, but Jesus says, "Keep walking. Keep moving. Keep believing. Keep trusting."

    Your church feels like it's dead. Get up and believe there's a revival coming! It's been years since you've seen souls in mass come to Jesus. Jesus doesn't say, "I'm so sorry. Just lay there and I feel bad for you. Let me encourage you. Let me sing a praise song over you." No, he says, "Get up! And believe me! That I am about to move in your church, to move in your city. You have to put weight on your feet. You have to start walking. You have to start believing."

    You can't rest on your friend's faith. You can't listen to the doubters anymore that says there's no way. You can't listen to the doubt in your heart that says, "I don't know if I can stand up." Jesus says, "Stand up." I want to tell you, stand up when your church seems to be failing. Stand up when your marriage seems to be falling apart. Stand up when you don't feel like you have any finances. Stand up when you don't feel like you have the energy to go on.

    Stand up. Keep walking, keep believing, keep trusting because God is about to move through you, in you, and because of what you're doing. He tells him, "Pick up your mat." The man picks up the mat and he's going, " I don't want to pick up this mat. I want to burn this mat. I want to burn my history. The thing I trusted, the thing that I was comfortable with." You see, some of us need to get up off that mat of addictions. To get up off that mat of pornography. To get up off that mat of selfishness, of laziness, of helplessness, of hopelessness, of despair.

    Because we've been laying on the thing for so long, it actually becomes like a comfort blanket to us. "I like my mat." You know what? A lot of people like their mat because people give them sympathy. "Oh, you're married to that woman? We need to pray for demonic ... Get rid of that thing." "That feels so good to have these people comfort me." "I'm struggling in the hardest area of the Philippines. There's no way revival is going to happen here."

    It feels comfortable just to tell that to people. They say, "I'm so sorry you're working in this area of the country." Pastor Claude is about to preach in just a moment, works in one of the hardest, most devout Catholic areas in the world. 99 point something percent Catholic. It's not Evangelical. People don't get born again. If you have a big church in Quebec, Montreal region of Canada, you have 100 people maybe, and maybe five of them got saved in the last ten years.

    He could have sat on the mat and said, "Our church in the first few years grew to 150. That's comfortable. I don't have to walk anymore. I don't have to get up anymore." But he got up and said, "There's more." Then his church grew to 200, then 500, then a thousand. Now it's one of the largest churches in Canada. 5000 people. People are being saved. 180 people got saved last week. 180 got saved last week. He's not relying on his old mat.

    We pick up the mat and Jesus says, "Pick it up." Why does he say, "Pick up your mat?" You want to burn your mat. You want to burn your history of failure. You want to burn your history of not being able to get up, your history of paralysis. You want to burn it. Jesus says, "No. Carry it with you. Take up your mat and walk because your mat becomes your message." Your mat is your message. Look what God has done. I used to lie on this thing day and night, and now I'm just carrying it around.

    It used to be what I would cry myself to sleep on at night because I couldn't get up. I was paralyzed, but now I carry it around and say, "Look what Jesus has done for me. He touched me. He cleansed me. He washed me. He made me whole. He made me free. He set me free. He's delivered me. He called me. He chose me. He put me in a place of authority in his Kingdom," but I came from this. I came from a drug addict. I came from a broken home. I came from a rough marriage. I came from all kinds of problems, but now I take up my mat and walk.

    The last thing Jesus says in the middle of this meeting, okay? This man got the hot ticket and he's there. Everything's happening. He stands up. It's exciting. He hears Jesus. He says, "Get up." He gets up and he says, "Take up your mat." "I take up my mat. What's next?" Jesus goes, "Go home." "What? The meeting's not over. We haven't even had the closing song yet. There's more miracles that are going to take place." "No," Jesus says, "Go home." What this man has to do now is take his mat and he has to work his way through the crowd.

    Where's he going by? He's going by ... Forgive me for, I'm going to let you guys be the Pharisees here for a minute, okay? How many of you know these aren't really Pharisees? These are good men, these are real men of God. All the Pharisees were in the front row with their hands crossed questioning whether this has happened. Jesus says, "Take up your mat." He takes up his mat and he goes, "Now go home."

    He's looking at, "How do I get home?" He couldn't get in the front door. He can't climb up back up to the roof, so he has to take his mat and he's going by all these Pharisees. He's like, "Excuse me. Sorry. Sorry." This smelly old mat that he's been lying on for 20 years. "Sorry. Excuse me, can I get through here?" I think Jesus is laughing like, "Isn't that great? Look at that." He's rubbing it in their face. He's getting out of this building, but there's something else he's saying to him is, and I love this. He says, "Go home."

    This boy, he walks home. He walks home. Isn't that great? "There's a meeting going on still, but I don't care because I can walk. How many times have I been carried through these streets? Look at me now, I'm walking. I'm walking." Then he gets to his house and he goes, "I've not walked through this door ever in my life. I was born this way." He opens up the door. He's never opened up the door himself. He opens up the door, this thing works.

    His mother's probably in the kitchen. Or maybe, "He's gone right now. Let me clean his room." Because how many of you know boys don't clean their rooms? All right? I got three boys and I know what it's like. She's cleaning his room and she says, "Honey, are you home?" "Yeah, Mom." "Did your four friends bring you home?" "No, they're still at the meeting. They're on a roof." "I told them to get off that roof. What are they ... " She's rebuking them and she's still cleaning.

    Oh, man. Then she turns around. In the doorway, she sees her son and he's standing there.  "Mama, thank you for taking care of me. You don't have to anymore. Thank you for bringing my friends around to carry me, but you don't have to carry me anymore. Look, Mama. I can walk. Look, I can move my legs. I'm free. Look. We don't need this mat anymore. It's my message. It's my testimony. I'm going to keep it, but I don't need it anymore because the thing that I longed for is now here. The forgiveness of sins is mine. The healing of my body is mine."

    I want to say to you in closing today, that thing that you were dreaming about, that you are dreaming about. The purpose of God, his plans for your life. You know you're called to it. You're desperate for it and you're hungry for it and you want to see God move! But you're lying there saying, "I don't know if this mountain's ever going to move. I don't know if this healing will ever come. I don't know if this revival will ever come."

    You're laying there and I want to say to you today, Jesus says for you, "Get up." Your church is down? He says, "Get up." Your body's sick? He says, "Get up." Your mind is depressed? He says, "Get up." Your emotions are depleted? Get up! You can't go on? Get up! You seem like there's no way when you're trying to find a way? He says to you, "Get up." Start believing him. Start trusting him. Start saying, "I believe that he has a place for me."

    "I believe he has a plan for me. I believe he can make me walk. He can make me run. He can create a revival, a supernatural awakening." He is going to use you. I believe this. All's he's asking is put a little bit of weight on your legs to believe in him. Stand up and say, "I'm going to stand when I don't feel like standing. I'm going to walk when I don't feel like walking. I'm going to run when I don't feel like running. When I feel like giving up. When I feel like I can't go on, Lord, I'm going to listen to your voice. I'm going to get up again."

    I want you to do that right now. Just get up while you're standing. Just get up and as you're getting up, almost picture this being like, "Okay. I was paralyzed when it came to what I was dreaming about. My destiny, my future, his plans for me. I was stuck. I couldn't get up, but I'm going to put some weight on it and I'm going to believe God now for the awakening." What are you hoping for? What do you dream about when you're laying on your mat at night? When you're crying out to Jesus, "Touch this area of my life. Touch this area that is so in need. Touch my life."

    Some of you have experienced what I and my wife experienced in our life, is children who ran away from God. Some of them actually got involved in drugs. One of my sons became homeless, and we were lying on our mat of despair saying, "Is there any hope?" Then Jesus touched our son and rose him up. Maybe it's a prodigal son. Maybe it's a difficult ministry task you're in. Maybe it's things that I couldn't even begin to describe, but it's a dream that the Holy Spirit put in your heart, but you've not experienced it yet.

    This is your get up season. This is your get up touch. You've come into this place. It's not enough just to get near Jesus. It's not enough just to be near. You need to get up yourself. Others can get you in, but it's up to you to get up. I'm here to call you in, but you have to get up. It has to be your faith. Holy Spirit right now in the name of Jesus, do what we can't do ourselves here. Let us hear what we can't hear ourselves.

    Let us see through the eyes of vision that we can't see through ourselves. Let us believe things we can't believe for ourselves. Let us go places we could never go by ourselves, and let us get rid of that mat mentality. That bed mentality that says, "I'm too small. I'm too young. I'm too old. I'm not a big enough name. I don't preach well enough. I don't have enough money.

    I don't have enough of this or that." We forget all that and say, "Jesus, we're getting up now. We're getting up today. We're going to believe you for great things today. We're going to stand strong today. We're going to run and not grow weary today. We're going to believe you for mighty things, God. We will not be sidetracked. We will not be put off. We will not be delayed in the mission and the task that God has for us. We believe." Say that with me. We believe.

    We believe. One more time.

    Now one more time, like you really believe it. Like you really believe it. We believe!

    Hallelujah. Let's put our hands together. Thank the Lord. Amen.

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  • It's Time to Believe

     

    Carter Conlon

    Date Preached: 
    October 17, 2019

    At times, we put parameters around God's power and abilities with our own limited belief, but the truth is, God can do whatever he wants to do. It's time to believe that God is able! In this powerful sermon, Carter Conlon challenges us to ask the question: What am I willing to believe God for in my life?

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  • Head to Foot

     

    Tim Dilena

    Date Preached: 
    October 17, 2019

    Every day you battle thoughts that want to derail your purpose and value. If you allow those thoughts to take root, they will begin to control your actions. In this powerful teaching, Tim Dilena encourages you to confess your thoughts and struggles within godly community so that you can overcome your rogue thoughts and stay on purpose.

    Finally, listen, this wouldn't be possible without the vision of Pastor Gary and Kelly Wilkerson and World Challenge who literally had the vision for this, not only here in Jacksonville, but they're doing this all over the world. And so, I've had the privilege of not just growing up with them, but also seeing what God is doing through World Challenge and through their leadership. They have come behind this, supported this. And so, it is just an absolute blessing.

    Gary and Kelly took the baton from Pastor Dave Wilkerson and Gwen Wilkerson, and World Challenge is doing a phenomenal, phenomenal job. I want to encourage you, when I'm working on the elliptical, I'll download and listen to Gary's podcast. If you've not done that, it is tremendous. His new book that just came out, this is just so important. So I really encourage you just to get connected with World Challenge. And don't let it just be what happens here. Let it go beyond this place. So thank you to Pastor Gary. Thank you, Kelly, for what you've done for this conference.

    Okay, let's date ourselves. I know we dated ourselves, I mean, when we heard Pastor Matt go, "I can't take notes fast enough on my phone," we already know that's a young guy. So let me date ourselves for just a second. How many remember, I just want to make sure. How many remember the days the TV was like the size of the stage. Anybody remember those days?

    Yeah.

    Okay. How many remember this terminology, rabbit ears on top of the TV. Do you guys remember those? And if you couldn't get a picture, you put aluminum foil. How many of you remember those days? Okay. And then the upper class people had an antenna on the house. And so, some people would be moving the direction of the antenna just to make sure.

    I mean, when you turned it on, let me just tell you something. There was a white dot and I remember the white dot that kind of turned into a... So in those days, there was no remote control. There was a knob that was always lost, and so there was a pair of vise grips that you'd always turn. How many remember the vise grips. You're going like, "Can somebody put the knob back?" If it falls off, put it back on.

    When you look at TVs today, I mean, it's 4K now, high-def, that you get to see every bead of sweat. You get to see every line in every old person, the crow feet around their eyes, everything on high-def comes on. This is really important because when you think about it, and you think about high-def, there's no better place or no place that we need to make sure that we're allowed to go high-def than in the church.

    Now, let me just be honest. The church cannot just be a place to succeed. It also has to be a safe place to fail. Let me say that again. It cannot be a place that you just applaud success. It has to be a safe place to fail, because if I have a family that only... As a father, if all I do is applaud my kids when they do well... My son last weekend was swimming at the... He swims for Liberty University, was swimming at the regionals at University of Maryland.

    North Carolina was there. Penn State was there, all these head schools. And so we were so excited. He prayed. He goes, "Hey, just pray. I'm swimming 500 breasts. I'm swimming 200 breasts and the IM, could you just pray?" Breaststroke is his stroke. So we prayed. Our prayer for him Is always, "God let them swim like sharks are chasing him." That's what we pray every single time. And so, we were so excited. He made it to the finals. Didn't win, but made it to the finals.

    But if that's the only time that I can applaud him, but it's not a safe place. And college, his first semester with calculus and all this stuff has been a real difficulty. But if we're not a safe place to fail, then we're an unhealthy family. Because if you want this to be a healthy church, it has to go high-def. It has to be a place that people can be real, show the lines, show the sweat, and show the pain that goes on.

    Great things happen. There was an amazing revival that took place in the Book of Ephesians, in the book of Ephesus... in the City of Ephesus. But in Acts 19, a revival started because people went high-def. Let me give you this two really important verses because I want you to see, when people find a safe place to be real, it's amazing how contagious it is.

    This is the revival of Ephesus that rocked the city. Listen to these words. It says, verse 18, said, "Many of those who believed..." Now that watch this, believers about to go high-def, 4K, "... now came an openly," this is a key word, "confessed." Keep that up there for just a second, "... what they had done." This is high-def, I believe, let me be real. Let me say that again. I believe, let me show you the lines and the sweat. They confessed what they had done.

    Watch the ripple effect. This is verse 19. "Then a number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together, burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to 50,000 drachmas." Did you see what just happened? The Christians went high-def and then the occult people started confessing their stuff because they knew this is a safe place.

    They knew that there was a moment here that they realized that this was a place we could be honest, because what we start to figure out is this. We have mistaken the church, we've mistaken sometimes a conference. When you see pastor Gary or Kelly singing or myself, and Pastor Carter and Pastor Gary. This is not a museum or a hall of fame. Let me just tell you this. Listen to me close. This is a hospital where people get better. It's a hospital where sick people get better. And starting with me as one of the sick patients in here, that is getting better.

    When you come to the Springs Church, it can't be a hall of fame that nobody can measure up. It has to be a hospital where we're all getting better, and we realize that it's a high-def place, that we can celebrate the successes, but we'll also say, "It's safe to fail here." Does that make sense?

    Yeah.

    And the place, wherever church you're from, if we don't have that, then what it does, you're creating a hall of fame that's not even real. It's not even real because none of us can live up to that. Let me tell you why. A.W. Tozer, one of the great Christian Missionary Alliance writers writes these words. Let me read them to you, and you can get down as much as you can. But this is what he says. "10,000 thoughts a day pass through our minds, and they try to predict what we will become."

    Let me say that one more time. He said, "10,000 thoughts a day pass through our mind." And he says, "And every one of them are trying to predict what we will become." I am telling you that's true. I don't care what position you hold. I don't care if you're a senior pastor, worship leader, volunteer, whoever you are, watching on our webcast, or maybe you're downloading this, you're going to see this a week later, every day there's 10,000 thoughts that pass through my mind trying to predict what we will become. And this is so important because it's that mind battle that we're always facing.

    This is what I want to do in the next few moments. I want to tell you two crazy stories, one biblical, one personal, and then I want to just give you a New Testament principle. So I'm going to tell you my personal crazy story, then David's crazy story, then I'm going to give you the New Testament principle. We're good with that? Everybody good? So you have a chance to write some things down.

    When I first went to Detroit, I told you, that was Gary and Kelly, when we went up there, many people don't realize this about Detroit. The second targeted place by the FBI and the federal government after 9/11 was Detroit, because many people forget this, is that though most of the attacks happened in New York City, and then also in Pennsylvania towards going to DC, Detroit is the second largest Arabic population in the world, only second to the Middle East.

    We have whole sections of Detroit that streets and signs are all in Arabic. Where I lived in Detroit, there were sections that they got legislation passed that every day they'd have a call to prayer from the mosques, that would be all over Detroit. Some of my favorite food is Lebanese food when you go around there. But it was amazing to see the Muslim and Arabic influence in Detroit.

    I have friends that have given themselves literally for decades, learned Arabic, and instead of going to the Middle East, like our sister that Pastor John talked about who's doing an amazing work there, these folks have given themselves to a city within the city called Dearborn, Michigan, where Ford company is, and are pouring into the learning Arabic and ministering on a slow, but watching people's lives change there. It's pretty amazing to see what's happening.

    Well, let me tell you a crazy thing that happened. One of our music people met this woman named Minas from Iran. I'm sorry. Yeah, Iran, at the university there, one of the University of Michigan satellite campuses. During the break of this night class, she sees our music person reading their Bible. She goes, "Oh, you must be a Christian." She goes, "Yes." She goes, "I need your help." She said, "Since being 13," she's now in her late twenties, "I've been receiving visions of this resurrected Jesus who is speaking to me. I come over to this country. I don't know what to do next. And so I know he's resurrected. I know he's alive. Tell me what to do."

    And folks, can I just tell you. That's not uncommon in the Middle East, because you always need to remember, though men shut doors to the gospel, that doesn't affect God at all. He can come in any way He wants to come in. So I'm listening to our music person tell us the story. So Minas is getting these visions of resurrected Jesus, wants to know what she's supposed to do next.

    So the person goes, "Well, come to the church and talk to Pastor Tim." So I'm thinking, "Okay." So I'm talking to somebody who's had visions of Jesus, resurrected Jesus. And she goes, "What do I need to do next?" And I thought, "If Jesus has been witnessing to her, don't mess this up." That's what I thought. I could just see the resurrected Jesus doing a great job. And then all of a sudden he has her on the line, and Tim comes, snip, and so messes the whole thing up.

    I was so proud of myself. I said, "I have nothing to say. Do exactly what he tells you to do. If he's talking to you, you don't need to hear from me right now. You need to keep talking to Jesus." This woman, literally born and raised in Tehran, seen Jesus and is now a follower. So she then asked me, she said, "Well, Jesus told me I'm supposed to be water baptized. I said, "Yes." So we water baptized her, which is a huge deal in that community, a huge deal. Water baptized. And these are the words that she said.

    I said, "Anything you want to say before we baptize you?" She said, "I know one day I'll go back to Iran, and I'm ready to die for my faith." And I'm sitting there going, "Would you baptize me?" At that point, I'm going like, "I don't talk to resurrected Jesus. I'm not into death. And so this is just not going really well, this water baptism." And this is genuine sold out... I mean, I'm looking at a sold-out person that already has given everything to Jesus.

    All good. Fast forward, just a couple of weeks later, we have morning prayer meetings at our church. And then on a one cold Monday morning while I'm praying, this is the day after, or a couple of weeks after her water baptism, we released the church to pray. Everybody comes in, it's cold morning. We start praying, and I watched this man come in from the back. He comes in. I've never seen him before, or at least I couldn't recognize him or I didn't recognize him.

    And he was wearing, I think they call it like a keifa, wearing it around his face and he's walking and I'm going, "Oh my goodness. This is it." I said, "If she was prepared to die, am I prepared to die?" I've been talking to my Minas. She's born again, I'm baptizing her. 9/11 just took place recently, so, I'm in this mode. My mind is going crazy. And I watch him walk in, stop at the front, look around, and go kneel at the front seat.

    I don't know what to do at this point. We have no security. It's early in the morning. This is it. I'm not going to be able to do Springs Conference. I'm not going to do anything here. It's all done at this point. I really wasn't thinking about you. I just want to tell you. And so, I was just thinking to myself, "What in the... I didn't know what to do.

    My mind, I'm going like, "I'm going to die. Okay, let me just make sure I'm saved." And so, I'm going through everything in my mind because I'm going, "After this meeting, it's over." So I'm just going, "Let me at least get one good prayer in before it's done." Then it was just like so gnawing at me that I wanted to see if I can provoke it to happen faster just to see if this is... If it's going to happen, let me at least go...

    So this is high-def, I'm going to go 4K with you. This is honest confession. So I was walking by him and I would say phrases loud as I was walking by him. Keep this in mind. I'm the senior pastor of the church having mind problems because one of those 10,000 thoughts got in there. He's been sent here to kill me because I baptized Minas. So I'm walking by and so I'm just going, "Jesus, I thank you that you are Lord." And so I would just kind of go, and I just keep going. Nothing. Nothing.

    So I'm going, "Okay, so let me get a little bit more specific." So I go, "Thank you that you are greater than Allah." And so I'd walk by at that point, nothing. I mean, I just hear this mumbling that he's praying, I'm going like, "He's not hearing anything that I'm saying." And so I'm just going by and I'm just going, "Your word is true. Jesus is resurrected, Jesus is King, and Jesus is the only God," and nothing.

    And so I'm going like, "Okay, he's cool cucumber right there." This is not going the way I... he must be a professional. So I'm thinking to myself, when it's all said and done, we call everybody in a circle and I just figure there's power in a group of us that we can take him. And so, we call everybody together. And all of a sudden, I see the keifa come off, and it's one of our college students. And I'm sitting there, and he goes, "Pastor, why are you yelling at me during the whole prayer meeting?"

    And I'm going, "What are you wearing that thing for? He says, "One of my roommates had it," or something. I didn't even know what he found. He said it was cold outside. I could not go 4K on him and high-def going like, "Well, I thought you were here to kill me and I thought you're Al Qaeda." I didn't have that. I wasn't 4K-ish at that time.

    And I'm looking at that going, "How does one of those 10,000 thoughts lodge... Okay, listen close. And how does it go, you're pastoring in a ministry, here it is, from head to foot? That literally you start acting out what you're thinking. I'm acting out the fear. I'm acting out what was going on. And then as I read the story of David and thought to myself how he goes from an amazing moment, a miracle, and then finds one of those 10,000 thoughts lodging in his head, it's exactly what happened to him.

    And all of a sudden, from miracle, where he experiences God doing something, excuse me, in chapter 26 where he sees God put 3,000 men to sleep, that he was able to, with Abishai, walk into the center of Saul's camp, take his water jug, take his spear, come out, and God put them all supernaturally to sleep to show David, I got you. I'm protecting you. My hand is upon you. An incredible miracle.

    He was being hunted down. Think about this for a second. Saul has hired 3,000 men to kill one kid. Now, you know that's an anger issue. When you're paying 3,000 salaries and health insurances to kill a kid, you know you've taken this to the wrong... You have blown up this narrative. So 1st Samuel 26 is God showing kind of like the Minas moment. I'm talking to somebody. I've only heard stories and I'm talking to somebody, a woman from Iran, from Tehran, Iran, who has heard and seen Jesus, saved, has a heart that is not afraid to die.

    And I'm watching this, and how do I go from watching a miracle into head games? Because every day, 10,000 thoughts, whoever you are, will pass through your mind trying to predict what you'll become, every single day. And if we don't get high-def and go 4K, then what we do is, listen close. When we don't get high-def and 4K, it goes from head to foot, and you start playing out the stuff that you are thinking and you're going like, "Really, does that really happen?"

    Let me show you. So David has just experienced the miracle. That's chapter 26. God shows up. He shows him that I got you covered. Saul is not going to win this thing. And literally, here's what's crazy. I want you to get this. He is just a few chapters away from putting the crown on his head, a few chapters away. So he's on this journey, has seen the miracle of God. And now I want to read to you his Monday morning prayer meeting moment. His Jesus is Lord to the guy with the keifa on.

    I want to read to you what happens. Miracle, chapter 26. Chapter 27 starts. Let me read to you these words. Here it is, verse one. "But David thought to himself," here's the mind part, head to foot, thought to himself, "One of these days I'm going to be destroyed by the hand of Saul." Well, he just got delivered. Where does that come from? 10,000 thoughts. He said, "The best thing I can do," really, this is the worst thing he could say, "The best thing I can do is to escape into the land of the Philistines."

    This is really gone south. "Then Saul will give up searching for me anywhere in Israel and I will slip out of his hands." Verse two then says, "So David and the 600 men with him left and went over to Achish, son of Maoch, King of Gath." And then I will skip over to verse 7. And it just says that David lived in Philistine territory for a year and four months. Talk about going from a miracle to a mind battle from head to foot, after seeing that.

    I thought I had problems on that Monday morning prayer meeting. That's problems when you look at this, and you think to yourself, "How does that happen?" It all starts with the mind. David thought to himself... It's when those mind battles begin to come, those rogue thoughts that are telling you, "You're not supposed to be here. This is not where you're supposed to be. This is not ministry. Your kids are going to fail. Your marriage is in trouble."

    Here's the part I want you to write down. Jot this down now. I want to give you just a couple of quick thoughts. Number one, David keeps silent about that thing he should have confessed. David keeps silent about the very thing he should have confessed. People are afraid to tell others their battles because of what they're afraid they'll think. One of my friends always says this, jot this down. You're only as sick as your secrets. You're only as sick as your secrets.

    It's that moment that those mind battles start creating some narratives, that if it doesn't go 4K and if it doesn't go high-def, that it's going to find its way from head to foot. Listen really close. This is the part. Now some of you may get angry with this, but my flight's at 1:00, so it's okay. So I'm not really afraid, well, maybe a little bit still from the guy of the prayer meeting. But let me say this.

    I want to say this to you, and instead of getting religious about the semantics of it, listen really close because I'll give you the scriptures to it. If you want forgiveness, we confess our sins to God. Is that a problem? If we want forgiveness... Let me read it to you. 1st John 1:9. "If we confess our sins," is 1st John 1:9, "he is faithful and just or righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

    Let me say that again. I want you to write that phrase down. You're going like, "Well, that doesn't sound..." The next thing I'm going to say is where you're going to get angry? Let me say it again. If you want forgiveness, you confess your sins to God. Okay. Listen to me close. If you want healing, you confess your sins to godly people. Okay. You can get his ticked as you want, but you're only as sick as your secrets. If you want forgiveness and go to heaven, confess your sins to God, and God has set up the body of Christ, and he says, "If you want healing, we confess them to godly people."

    James 5:16, "Therefore, confess your sins to God." No, no, no. It doesn't say that. "Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another so that you can be," what? "healed." What kind of person should I talk to? The effective prayer of a righteous man or woman can accomplish much. Some people are sitting here that have been forgiven but have never been healed.

    Pastor Gary preaches one of the most amazing messages. I don't even know if he's going to be doing it today. When he speaks about trauma, the things that happen. Are you doing that? Oh my goodness. Okay. Is that two o'clock? Whenever it is. Whenever it is, that means you have to show up. He doesn't know when he's doing it. So you better be here. It could be Sunday, it could be tonight. And you'd better buy all the videos. $25, $25, you buy all the videos.

    So here's the deal. There are people, and... Listen, I've heard him. We've done things around the world, and I've heard this message probably four or five times. And every single time, it has done something to me. Every single time, I know there's healing in that. And I'm just telling you, most of us here know how to get forgiveness, but many of us here have never gotten healing, because we have never gone 4K or high-def, which not only brings healing to us, but according to the Acts 19 revival, begins to send healing and ripples to your entire church.

    When you have a safe place that you can begin to confess. Healing does not come from the church. Healing comes from the people you are honest with. Just because you showed up at church doesn't mean you get healed. Healing comes from the people you're honest with. Let me say that again. Healing doesn't come from attending church. Healing comes from beginning to be transparent with godly people. That's what it is.

    You're just going like, "I've been in church, I'm still the same way." That's not what James 5:16 is talking about. Pastor Gary and I do this all the time. We talk about this because we're part... We always say this to each other. And we've talked about this in different parts of the world. We've talked about it in Finland and in Sweden and all over, and we'll say this.

    Now, this is where it's going to get a little crazy, but we'll tell people all the time is you can read your palm and decide what your future is going to be. Now you're going like, "Okay, now this is weird." Okay. Stay with me for just a second. Okay. I want you to tell your future. You can post this. You can go, "Pastor Tim's reading palms." Okay. Get ready because you're going to read your own palm. Hold your hand up right now because you're going to read your palm.

    This is it. Hold it in front of you. Hold it in front of you because I want you to see it. Get ready to read it. Here's how you could tell your future. Tell me the five most important relationships in your life and leave out your wife and your kids, or your husband and your kids. Tell me the five most important people in your life. Think about them just right now. Who are they, the five most important people that you can go high-def and 4K with because here's the deal. You can put your hands down. It's starting to look silly.

    Everyone's going like, "What's up?" Listen to me. My friend used to say it like this. "Show me your friends and I'll show you your future." This determines your longevity in ministry. Let me say that again, this determines... I just read your future, because if you couldn't fill that in, it is a real rocky road ahead for all of us.

    Gary and I talk about this all the time. He just goes like, "Yeah, you're one of my fingers." I call him up and go, "You're one of my fingers," because it's that important. If you can't think of... And it's not your spouse. If there's someone you cannot go high-def and 4K, listen to me close, then it's going to go from head to foot because one of those 10,000 thoughts every single day is trying to predict your future.

    It tried to do it with David. It tried to begin to challenge his future. According to James 5:16, when you connect honesty and transparency, that's the confession part, listen to me close, when you connect honesty and transparency with a praying godly person, effectual, fervent prayers of a righteous man. So let me say that again. When you take honesty, transparency, 4K, high-def, and begin to connect it godly praying person, that's the second part of the verse, here's what's amazing. Healing is close by. Healing is close by.

    4K, with a godly person, not just anybody. When you connect those two things together, then healing is close by. Someone asked me, a leader asked me in New York City not too long ago. They were talking about there's been a little bit of a stream from singers, and worship leaders, to authors who have kind of chucked the faith. I'm not saying anything that hasn't been gone public, but it kind of started a little bit with Joshua Harris, the guy who wrote, I Kissed Dating Goodbye. And now thinking through...

    Someone asked me, he goes, "How do you write a book that, man, I read as a teenager growing up in my youth group, as a youth pastor, you're giving it to all your kids, going, "We kissed dating goodbye," and all of this stuff. How does a guy like that all of a sudden go rogue? Then he said this to me. He goes, "Should I be afraid of this?" I said, "Let me just tell you something. Hold your hand up, because if you can't..." I said, "The problem with Joshua Harris is this. He had no fingers that he can talk those thoughts through."

    Folks, listen to me just for a second. This is really important because this is huge. And this is what I told him. I said, "Who Joshua Harris processed with was with the trinity, me, myself, and I. And when you process with you, here it is. David thought to who? Himself. David started processing with himself. That's not where it happens. When you start processing those 10,000 thoughts with you, I'm telling you, you end up, verse two, crossing over.

    I'll get to this in a second. But here's what's crazy. It cost him a year and a half of his life, a year and a half of Philistine territory because he had no one to go public, to go 4K with the rogue thoughts. And this is so huge for us to understand because it's in those moments that this is what it's going to take, both humility, and it's also going to take some security in us to go, "It is a safe place for me to talk this through and for me to say this."

    When I was going through one of the hardest and darkest seasons of my ministry life... I'm so grateful for Pastor Gary and Kelly. We've sat in restaurants, in different spots of the world that I'm able to, there's a safe place to process. Pastor Carter is one of the fingers. I don't know which finger Gary is, but he's a good finger. Pastor Carter just thought about that. I was going like, "No, no, keep going. Okay. Okay. Good. Good. Get that out. Okay. Of those watching online, get rid of that one.

    When I was going through one of the darkest moments and feeling like, "Oh my goodness, what am I going to do?" At that time, it wasn't life-giving until I came to one spot. I just happened to be reading. I was reading the letters of C.S. Lewis from his atheist and young days all the way to the days he's got married, Joy Davidman, and all the great things. Reading someone's letters is like reading their text messages. It's like you're getting raw stuff.

    And I read something that I just go, "These were the thoughts that were going through my mind." I want to read something to you that I literally wrote this in my journal. I said, "That is me. That's me." Listen to this. C.S. Lewis wrote this in his journal in February 9th. The date's important, 1923. And I want to read to you what he said because, when he writes this, he's bookless and jobless. He hasn't written one book. He has applied to teach at Cambridge, couldn't even get into Cambridge.

    My kids thought this was fantastic. Do you know C.S Lewis failed the entrance test, in his biography, failed the entrance test to get into Oxford twice. He couldn't pass the math part. And so, the only way he got into Oxford's is because he served in the military, and on the third round they just go, "If you served, you get to go to Oxford." And so my kids are going, "See, you don't have to be good at math and you can still go to..." I said, "Let's all relax, okay?"

    Here's what's crazy. Hasn't written a book. He's jobless. It's not the C.S. Lewis we know today. He's a C.S. Lewis in training. And here's what he wrote in his journal. Listen to these words. He said, "I was getting into bed and was attacked by a series of gloomy thoughts about my professional and literary future." And this is what he said. He said, "At that moment I started to realize I may not be that great of a man after all."

    I'm just telling you, I read that and it became emotional to me, because I'm going, "That's what I think. I'm going... I feel like everything's closing in on me, going like, "Man, I thought I was something." And all of a sudden you go, "I may not be that really good of a guy after all." And it wasn't until, you're ready for this, 10 years later that all of a sudden he starts to write. In fact, it wasn't even 10. It wasn't until 19 years later that he begins to write some books. After that, you start to see Screwtape Letters, the Narnia series, and finally Mere Christianity. But to think about that battle that was trying to go from his mind to his feet to go, "I can't get a job. My writings, nobody even wants it. I may not be that great of a writer and great of a man after all."

    Pastors, leaders, look at me. We all go through this. This is the man that Time Magazine says is the most prolific Christian of the last century, is C.S. Lewis of the 20th century. To think what his writings and what his work has done, from apologetics to children's books, of what it's done, we all face those 10,000 thoughts. But the goal is when it goes from head to foot and then all of a sudden the rogue thought begins to start controlling our actions.

    And here's the part that's crazy. Last thing I'll say, and then I'll just give you a great principle. The problem was when David doesn't go 4K, when we don't go for 4K, the Bible says this, "He crossed over with 600 men." Think about this for a second. David crossed over, but not just David. David and his men, 600 men, that doesn't even include the families that had to go with them because he wouldn't be honest. Everybody had to be in the wake of his destruction, for the next year and a half because David wouldn't be honest, because David wouldn't be transparent, because David wouldn't begin to go 4K.

    Then all of a sudden, when we begin to either confess to one godly person, if we don't confess to that one godly person, to that James 5:16 person, then we can take unsuspecting people over to a place that we would never want in our heart, but they go with us. It's not just our feet that go, it's their feet that goes.

    And here's what's crazy. Can I just tell you? I don't know if you caught this, the crazy region where his feet go, do you remember what it said in verse 7? They went to Gath. How insane is that? Some of you are going like, "What do you mean, Pastor Tim?" Listen, do you know what Gath is? Do you remember the name of the giant that David killed with the stone? What was his name?

    Goliath.

    Okay, but he wasn't called Goliath. He was called Goliath of Gath. Do you know where David goes? He goes for a year and a half to the city of the giant that he killed. I want to go, "You're out of your mind." David goes, "Mm-hmm, I am." That's what it does. The rogue thought now puts you in Goliath's home town. I wanted to go, "Are you serious?" David's thoughts now, I don't even know how you process that, because now you're at a point...

    I want to share something with you and then give you this principle. Next month, Cindy and I are going to celebrate 23 years of marriage. I'm so excited. 23 years, and I probably learned... We have probably learned one of the greatest things, the healthiest habits for our marriage in the last year. We're slow learners. So it's taken us 22 years to learn this. One of the great things in our marriage is this. We're good apologizers, because we...

    This is our rule. If anybody comes and apologizes, it's not your place to defend it. It's your place to go, "If it's big to them, it's big to me and I need to apologize." I'm not there to defend it or explain it. I'm there to apologize for it. When you start defending your actions, whether with your spouse or with leadership or a friend, let me just tell you something, you're going to have real shallow relationships, because if it's big to them, it needs to be big to you.

    So when she comes to me and she says, "Hey, when you said it with this tone of voice," I'm not going like, "Well, you just misunderstood. You didn't understand. I was having a hard day." Okay? It's about to go real south at that point. What you need to remember is this, if it's big to them, it's big to me. I don't need to defend it, explain it. What I need to do is I need to apologize for it. Baby, I'm sorry. Even though that wasn't my intention, I was wrong. If that's the way it came across, I'm wrong. Please forgive me. We're good apologizers. But let me tell you where it came to. A confrontational apology, we'd been good at for the last 22 years.

    Let me tell you what's changed us. It is what I call conviction apologies. That's what's changed us. It's apologizing before the person comes to you. It's beginning to speak things before you get caught or confronted. It took our marriage, and even the way we lead our staff and our people to a whole new thing. I'm not waiting for a person to come to me so I can apologize. But when I'm living under the conviction of the Holy Spirit, one of those 10,000 thoughts going like, "I shouldn't have said that to Cindy." That's the Holy Spirit. That's not the devil. That's the Holy spirit, and that's when I'm able to go to her and say, "Babe, I'm sorry."

    I'm not waiting for her to confront me. I'm moving based upon what I'm feeling and sensing in my heart that's sensitizing us. That's developing a habit not only to strengthen our marriage. Listen to me close. But, man, that could develop a habit right here in a church and with your leadership, that you're not waiting... That when you can come off a stage or come out of a meeting or come and say, "Hey, Pastor John. I'm so sorry. I said something this way. I should have had a better tone of voice in saying it. Please forgive me on that."

    Do you know what that does when it's a conviction apology instead of a confrontational apology? Man, you are training yourself for high-def. You're training yourself for 4K when we could begin to move upon... And I'm telling you, young married people, if you can get that now, oh my goodness. Don't wait for year 22 like Cindy and I, because the issue is, I don't want to be a good apologizer. I want to be a good confessor. I want to make sure that my life is beginning to go that direction, because when you confess, you're taking the legs out from something growing that wants to grow bigger inside of you.

    When you confess, you're shedding light on something that incubates and grows in darkness. When you confess, you're building trust from vulnerability, not portraying invincibility. So let me close with this, and if we can get a keyboardist up here, we'll close at this and I'll be done. The spiritual warfare chapter that is considered of the New Testament, would be something like Ephesians chapter 6, put on the full armor of God, and we're supposed to fight the principalities, powers of dark.

    I want to show you a principle that's easily missed from that. I want to show you something that I've learned even with those five fingers in my life. What's interesting is that there's a couple of contrasts here. The first contrast, the Bible says that we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, powers, darkness, high places, spirits in high places, all those things. And we understand that, that our battle's not people, our battle is what we're facing.

    My wife just said to me last night, was just posted. I don't know what it was. One of the democratic nominees for president was asked this question. He says, "Will you revoke," just sent to me last night. "Will you revoke..." What's is it? What is his name?

    Yeah, it's something like that. What is it? No, it was Beto. It was Beto who said this, from Texas. Beto said this, from Texas, who was kind of the star guy, said this is, "Will you revoke the churches non-profit status if you become President that will not marry same-sex marriages?" He says, "It will be the priority of my administration." That's what he said, the priority. And then you understand, our battle's not Beto. We're fighting principalities, powers of darkness.

    That being the case, that's the first contrast that we see in there. But there's another contrast that we forget. And let me tell you what that contrast is. It is how we fight those 10,000 thoughts, how we wrestle and fight this, because it's not people. It's a fight every day in leadership with those 10,000 thoughts that are trying to predict our future. And here's what's crazy. This is what it says. It says, "When we're dealing with spiritual warfare, this is what we think."

    Let me do this. Let me explain it to you this way. Worship guy. I'm going to need you. Okay. So here it is. Tell me your name again. We met last... Sheldon. Okay, Sheldon, it's great. Go stand over here. You're going to be the devil. You are the devil. Okay. Sheldon's a... Okay. Take the coat off. I want you to be all in black. So here it is. Sheldon... Yeah, play godly music. Don't play evil music. I don't want to hear any evil music. Okay. Sheldon's... how old are you?

    23.

    Okay. Sheldon's a pretty big boy, okay. So, mean, I'm a little... So let's pretend this is ministry, family. This is the stuff that I have to protect. So Sheldon, I want you stand over there. I want you to try to get through me. Okay. Tonight, my daughter has a production. I've got to get to it. So I just need you to go just a little bit... So let's not get really into it, but for just...

    I want to apologize to everybody online that you have to watch this happening here. Okay? I need you to try to get to that. Okay, so Sheldon, you ain't so bad. What are you going to do? Sheldon? Okay. Come on. What are you going to do? Oh my God. Okay. All right. That's the devil. I'm just going to tell you that right now. Okay, Sheldon, give me this. Go back over there, devil. Okay. Here's the part. Stay over there. Don't go anywhere. You're not going to be able to lead worship ever again when I'm done with you.

    Okay, so here it is. Here's the part I want you to get. The other contrast that we miss is the most important, and this is what it says in the Bible. It says this, "We wrestle not," is what it says. What that means is it's not mano-a-mano. That word wrestling was used for two men going back to back. In fact, it was the wrestlers of that time. It's not what you see on TV. It was literally they oiled their bodies down and fought till you killed somebody.

    And this is what the Apostle Paul says. He says, "You'll never win, if it's me and Sheldon, devil Sheldon, I'll never win this battle. I mean, he's throwing me off. I mean, takes the microphone off. And so you're sitting there, "I can't win this battle." But here's the deal. Look at me folks. I'm not a wrestler. I'm a soldier. I'm not a wrestler. One of the greatest thing... Okay. Argue what you want. Greatest man movie ever, Gladiator. Greatest man movie ever. Let me just tell you something.

    So Russell Crowe, people are going, "Oh, Braveheart." Okay, whatever. So here's what happens. Men walking around in dress? Please. Here's what happens. Devil, okay. No, take that off because I need you to be at full strength. So, Russell Crowe, when he finally gets to Rome, it's their first time during the Gladiator games. And he's in there. They still don't know. Commodus, that still doesn't know that that's Maximus. And so this is what he does.

    He has his mask on. He's the Spaniard, has the mask on. And all of a sudden, he says, "We don't know what's going to come out of those doors. But he says this, "If we fight together, we will win. And what they did was they pulled a move that was known only to the Roman soldiers. You would see that you saw it in the first battle and you see it there. When the shields come down and they become as one, what they call that is locking arms.

    He says, "If you fight alone, you will die. If we fight together, we will survive." And so, that tells me. I can take... Okay, Skinny Matt, come on up here right now. Tall, skinny Owen. Come on up here. Okay. Look at these guys. They're nothing. You can blow them over. God forbid if they ever wrestle. God forbid if they ever wrestle. Thank God they got saved. And could I say something? Can I say something really cool? I just heard this, 20th anniversary, that Pastor John Bailey led Pastor Matt to the Lord 20 years ago just recently. If he didn't, he'd be a horrible wrestler.

    But we're not wrestlers, we're soldiers. And as wicked and evil as Sheldon is, we can't... He'll never be able to sing. He's going like, "Oh God." He's going to have 10,000 thoughts. I'm a wicked man. I want you to think about this. I'm not a wrestler, I'm a soldier. So, as soldiers, because that's when Paul says we wrestle not, but put on the full armor of God. He goes, "Wrestling is not it? You've got to go Roman on this thing. So Pastor Matt, get on this side. Pastor Owen, we lock arms.

    Okay, devil, let's come on now. See what you can do. You can't do anything at that point and everything changed. Thank you, devil. Thank you, skinny guys. Okay, listen to me close. Stand with me for a second. You can't do this by yourself. Here's our Pentecostal roots. Come to the altar and just confess to God. That's okay. But let me just tell you something. That doesn't send healing to our lives.

    It can kickstart something. Maybe it can kickstart the honesty, kickstart the transparency. But today, man, I want you to take a real good look and go, "Man, I've been going all wrestling with this stuff. I need to be a soldier on this, because I'm telling you, Pastor Gary and I, and Kelly, when I think of the season they have gone through, the season I have gone through, can I just say something, I couldn't have made it by myself. I couldn't have. I'm grateful for the fingers that I can go to and say, "Talk me off this ledge because I'm about to jump."

    Well, Pastor Tim, like Joshua Harris, have you ever gotten atheistic thoughts? Look at me folks. Yes, absolutely. Put yourself in a painful situation. You're going like, "Does God even exists and you're going like, "Man, I preach every single Sunday, four services every single Sunday." I do. But you know what I get to do? I get to begin to go to people, go 4K, high-def with them and going, "Hey, pray for me. I'm battling this."

    The church is not a hall of fame. The church is a hospital with people just getting better. So can we close with this? Can we move closer? I want you to not hold hands, lock arms with somebody as we get ready to close in prayer. Reach across the aisles. Don't be alone over there. Reach across those aisles, east and west. Move in close towards Des Moines, Iowa, here. Could you just look to the person on your right, left, and just go, "Hey, we're in this together."

    We're in this together.

    I want to pray for you. Man, if there's ever attack on music, you guys have to learn to lock... Not now, but you have to learn to lock arms together. You really do, because you're going to face rogue thoughts. You're going to face those things. And so, today, as I pray for you, that doesn't mean you're healed. It just means, God, give me the right people in my life. Give me the right people. Man, I'm so grateful I'm forgiven, but I want healing today.

    Right now in the name of Jesus, as we end this session, Lord God, I just want to kickstart healing. I want to kickstart soldiers here, Lord God. I pray you raise up men and women, raise up leaders and students here today, those listening live and those who are going to download this and listen to this in the days to come, I'm asking, Lord God, that you would bring soldiers together, Lord God, locking arms to say, "I can't do this without you. I can't do this."

    Too many things have come out of those doors like the gladiators that have killed too many leaders and believers and led them to everything from suicide to atheism. And, God, I'm just telling you, we've all faced those thoughts. We've faced suicide. We've faced atheism. Those are the 10,000 thoughts. And every one of these leaders, starting with me, have faced those 10,000 things trying to predict my future. But God, today, when we hold arms, we say that, no, we're not going to let these things predict our future. We let God predict our future. We let your scriptures predict our future.

    Would you give them ministries and churches and places that is not only a place that celebrates victory, but is a safe place to fail? Let our ministries and churches be high-def. Let us not be afraid of the beads of sweat, the sores, the pains, and the hurts. But God, let it be a place that sick people are getting better because we are connected together. God, forgive us for crossing over, David, taking his family for a year and a half.

    Forgive us, Lord God, of taking people because we wouldn't be humble enough, and we wouldn't be transparent enough to go, "This is who I am. This is what's going on." God, help us. Help us, Lord God. God, do such a great work here amongst these leaders that the greatest thing that can happen is then the move from forgiveness. Some of them have been forgiven for 20 years, but have never been healed. But God I just pray today, fill up their hands with godly people that will pray for them. We are your soldiers, in Jesus name, and everybody said, amen?

    Amen.

    God bless you. God bless you, leaders. Bless you

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  • Shipwrecked Under His Sovereignty

     

    Claude Houde

    Date Preached: 
    October 9, 2019

    Do you face a storm that threatens to shipwreck your life? Reflecting on Acts 27, Claude Houde shares God's plan for your storm and encourages you that there is a miracle waiting on the other side.

    Claude Houde: It all began when in 1985, I was asked to in Canada to be pastor David Wilkinson's interpreter. I think they're going to show a picture of me and brother Dave when we were together in 1985 and all these years, 34 years together, ministering, yes.

    [applause]

    Claude Houde: I was waiting for the picture to come up. I know I looked like a Latino narco-trafficking on that one.

    [laughter]

    Claude Houde: I was formerly a French narco-trafficking. It's very different. 34 amazing years coming every year to bring the word here we've been set good and close friends with pastor Carter and pastor Theresa, for all these years. Pastor Carter and I have preached together all over the world. This is pastor Carter and I in Ivory Coast. Say it to the person next to you, they look good. Say that to the person next to you.

    Audience: They look good.

    Claude Houde: Ivory Coast, Ireland, Haiti, Canada, Burundi and many, many French countries together. Actually pastor Carter and I were also preaching a few years ago to over 2,000 pastors and leaders for three days in the center of Paris at a theater called the Bataclan. You might remember that just after a few weeks after we were there, preaching salvation and forgiveness and love, and the full life of Christ, a terrible terrorist attack occurred at the very place where pastor Carter and I preached the word. Over 130 were killed. 90 in that very building at the Bataclan. 413 were seriously wounded.

    A massacre, one of the worst in France's history, and in the days that followed while I was watching the news and I saw was I was struck by the testimony of this young man who was in that theater where we preached and prayed in the same room, same stage. He witnessed many of his friends die right around him. He just threw himself to the floor and his friends fell over him and he actually would see the terrorists walk by and the boots and the machine gun and he actually said, I was watching it on TV, French TV and he said, "I was saved because I was covered with the blood of an innocent man."

    I thought we're all saved because we're covered by the blood of Christ. Would you say, yes, please? Pastor Carter, I come to you today, they have rebuilt, they have cleaned up and reopened the Bataclan. I come today with an invitation from over 100 French pastors. They want us to go back. They want you and I to go back to preach. How many of you think we should be there to preach God's love, salvation, forgiveness? Would you give a shout out to the love of God that overcomes all things?

    [applause]

    Claude Houde: I want you to turn with me to Acts 27:28. The title of my message today is shipwrecked under His sovereignty. Shipwrecked under His sovereignty. You may feel you are shipwreck, but you are always under His sovereignty. There's a kingdom sequence, there's a kingdom principle that I actually taught here last time I was here, that as we follow Jesus through the gospels, we see this chapter by chapter.

    You will see this in your life, you will see this in the life of a ministry, the life of the church. In a family where we go from a season of multiplication under the blessing of God right into storms and sometimes can be from multiplication to multiplication right into storm. The sequence is from multiplication into storm into greater measures of the miraculous in His purposes.

    If you're in a storm right now, on the other side of that tumultuous sea, there is a bank of God's blessing and deeper blessing and deeper miracle. In that, we see the secret in all four gospels, but we also see it in the book of Acts. I've been teaching for weeks on the book of Acts. When we go through the book of Acts, we see the exact same thing.

    We see the church that is born and multiplication, but then there are seasons of storms, but on the other side of the seasons of storm there is always a deeper work deeper purposes and we could actually, when we look in the book of Acts, it's actually closer in a certain way to our reality, the disciples and the gospels walked with Jesus. In the book of Acts in the 30 years span covered by the book of Acts, it's so much closer to us because we know they just like they, we know is immutable, he doesn't change, but he's invisible sometimes.

    We know His promises, but we don't have His physical presence. We believe in His deity, but there are delays in his answers. He's our Savior, we know he’s our Savior, but sometimes we are shipwrecked. We have his instructions, but sometimes we suffer injustices that are simply incomprehensible. That's where we find Paul. We find him in the book of Acts.

    Over the book of Acts Chapter 26:27, we find him. We look at his condition, his circumstances and they're so close to ours. He's going to be shipwrecked under his sovereignty, but he's done nothing wrong. In Acts 26:31, the Governor and Agrippa and Festus actually say, Acts 26:31, "This man has done nothing deserving of death or chains." This man could've been set free, but he asked to go to Rome and I'll get to that again.

    You will find yourself and I'll find myself in storms or I've done nothing wrong. Where I've wanted was to serve God and honor Him and yet I'm shipwrecked, yet I'm in a storm, yet insane opposition come conflict, nasty conflict and opposition. Acts 27:4, "We sailed but needed shelter for the winds were contrary." May I say today, the special weekend with all the events of the weekend right here in Times Square at the crossroads of the world.

    When we stand for truth and for the sanctity of life, for God, for the defenseless inside and outside of the womb, there will be fierce opposition, but we must stand with love for truth in Jesus’ name.

    [applause]

    Claude Houde: Here they are shipwrecked on their sovereignty, the context of injustice of opposition. There's the context of impatience. In Acts 27:7, He says, we write, we read, "We sailed slowly for so many days. The winds would not allow us to advance." For many of us, we have been in these moments where we think it’s just going too slow. The situation not changing fast enough. My husband, my wife, don't look to the side, look at me, my husband, my wife-

    [laughter]

    Claude Houde: -is not changing fast. My kids aren't changing fast enough. This breakthrough is not coming. This healing is not coming. Our ministry is not changing, is not growing, is not evolving fast enough. The fulfillment of the promise is not coming fast enough. In the seasons of it's not fast enough, it can become very dangerous spiritually. In Acts 27:9, "Now when much time had been spent, and sailing was now becoming dangerous, and in these times of waiting, these times of storms there's dangers because these seasons of storms can develop us, they can define us, we can discover deeply our destinies, we can deepen ourselves in His desires, but they can also diminish us because they are dangerous.

    Our deployments and development depend on our decisions. During these storms, I would say this way Pastor Theresa, Dr. Conlon, said it beautifully yesterday, she said to the students. "You are born looking like your parents, but you die looking like your decisions."

    Audience: Wow.

    Claude Houde: Like the decisions you took your life through your storms. There's injustice and opposition and impatience and danger and there's also frustration. If you look at Chapter 27 and verse 10, Paul said to them, "Advise them, warn them, saying men, I perceive this trip will end with disaster and much loss, not only of the cargo but threats to ships and also our lives."

    Nevertheless, the centurion was more persuaded by the helmsman and the owner of the ship than by the things spoken by Paul. Sometimes we are in storms because people around us ignored our warnings. Parents are in storms because their kids did not listen to the ways of the Lord they taught them. We suffer sometimes because-- Paul found himself completely innocent in a storm because they actually ignored what he had said.

    A nation can be in a storm because it ignores the voice of God, the message of God, the law of God. They're in a storm, family members, spouse, children, friends, parents, people were trying to help, minister to and brings us in their storm because they're ignoring and there's that frustration that could very easily turn into hopelessness. If you read Verse 13 to 17 of Acts 27. "When the south wind blows softly, supposing that they had obtained the desire," actually said, "supposing the thinking they had their destiny in their hands." Would you say to somebody next to you, "You're not controlling anything". Say that to the somebody next to you.

    Audience: You're not controlling anything.

    Claude Houde: You are not in control of anything. We are only in control of ourselves before our God. He's in control of all things. Not long after a tempestuous head wind arose called the Euroclydon and they have myths, they have legends, they have history, historians of the day. Poem were written about that storm that brought death. That type of storm we would call it in modern days a perfect storm, a deadly storm.

    When the ship was caught, they could not head into the wind. We let adrift and running under the shelter of an island called Clada, we secured the skip with difficulty. There's hopelessness. They began to drift. Let me ask you a question, "Have you ever underestimated what began like a soft wind in your life?" A soft wind of rebellion, a soft wind of discontentment, a soft wind of criticism, a soft wind of murmuring, a soft wind of a hidden sin that nobody sees nobody knows.

    It began like a soft wind and they were saying we can handle this but it actually began to lose such control. It was so hopeless, they had lost every hope of coming alive and they began to let themselves just drift. That is the question of the Holy Spirit for each of us in certain seasons of our lives and maybe for you today. Have you been allowing yourself to drift? To drift away from God's principles in your life, from His commands, from His love, from His purposes, from your very identity.

    Have you allowed a storm that is incomprehensible to bring you into a place where you are drifting? Do you ever face a storm that threatens to shipwreck you? That shipwreck is that place in our life when it's too much, too late, too far gone. We had to unload too much, too painful, too desperate. Let me share with you from this passage some principles, some keys, some revelations from the word of God this morning for you that will strengthen you and root you as you walk out of the building today by the grace of God and the anointing of the Holy Spirit with a sense of when I am in a shipwreck, I'm always under His sovereignty.

    The first thought, the first anchor is that the revelation is more important than the reasons. Your revelation of God is more important than the reasons you are in the storm.

    Again, look with me at Acts chapter 27 and verse 18, "Because we were exceedingly Tempest tossed, the next day they alighted the ship. On the third day, we threw the ship's tackle."

    Verse 20, "When neither sun or stars appeared for many days, all hope that we would be saved was given up." After long abstinence from food, Paul stood in the midst of them and said, "Men, you should have listened to me." He couldn't help himself, "You have listened to me." How many of you have been in moments where you've told people around you, 'You should have listened to me?" He adds a ‘but’ don't stay and you should have listened to me. He goes on. "You should have listened to me but--"

    He says, "Men, you should have listened to me and not have sailed from Crete and incurred a disaster. Now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you but only the ship." For there stood by me, that's the revelation, there stood by me, this night an angel of God of the God to whom I belong, and whom I serve, saying, "Do not be afraid, Paul, you must be brought before Caesar."

    And indeed, God has granted you all that sail with you, therefore, take heart for I believe God that it will be just as it was told to me. However, we must run aground on a certain island. Paul says that I don't know all the reasons but the God who I serve, Paul is saying you can't go down because I'm on this ship. I'm under orders from God. I am on my way to Rome. Say that a person next to you, "You're so lucky to be sitting next to me."

    Audience: You're so lucky to be sitting next to me.

    Claude Houde: You're so blessed, you're so protected to be sitting next to me.

    Audience: You're so blessed, you're so protected to be sitting next to me.

    Claude Houde: Years ago, I was flying to Europe and at the airport in Montreal, I was in line waiting to get on the plane the young man came, "Hi Pastor Claude unbelievable we're on the same flight. I'm going to France and God bless you. Safe travels to you." We get on the plane I'm sitting I see him walk by he taps me, praise God and I say yes praise God safe travel.

    He goes back to his seat and this young man, he's not from my church, this young man knew me and the people are filling up the plane, he gets up, "Attention everybody. I want you to know this plane is safe. This plane cannot go down."

    [applause]

    Claude Houde: Air Canada flight to France, this flight is safe. There's a man of God on board, Pastor Claude is on board. Have a safe trip. I'm watching people around me, "Hello, hello, hello."

    [laughter]

    Pastor Claude: The God to whom I belong. The God that I would say this way the revelation is more important than the reasons. Whom I belong is more important than the beatings the ship was beaten. I want you to know and that's hard for us because we always want to know the reasons. I want to know why and why this and why so long, and why not, and why and why?

    I want you to remember today when you feel you’re shipwrecked, when you feel you've lost control of an area of your life, I want you to know that God to whom you belong, the one that you serve has a plan, has a direction, has his hand over your life, and you are on your way to where He's calling you to do, and to be, and whatever it will be done unto you as he has promised. That is your revelation, that erases all reasons. Would you applaud the revelation of God in your life?

    When you are shipwrecked under sovereignty the revelation is more important and the reasons and Malta prepares the miraculous. When they had escaped chapter 28:1, when they had escaped, they found out their shipwreck, they found out that the island was called Malta, and the natives showed us unusual kindness. For they kindled the fire and made us all welcome because of the rain that was falling, and because of the cold.

    This is a man of God and he finds himself, he's done nothing wrong. He is on his way to Rome. He's on his way to his destiny. What is he doing in Malta? Malta is that place. This is Malta there's barbarians, there's a ship wreck, they barely escaped their lives. We lose everything. It's cold, it's raining on them. The chains, the unknown language. I don't understand anything, and those seasons we often feel nobody understands me and trying to explain I can't make myself understood anyone. I'm suffering alone.

    Nobody understands me. It's also scary. It's threatening. It's so far from my destiny in Rome says, Paul. "I'm so far from why I thought I should be on my way to in my life."

    Here's the question. Have you ever found yourself in a place in your life you absolutely had not planned? Never thought I'd be here. How did my family end up here? How did my marriage end up here? How did my kids end up here? How did my ministry? How did our church? How did my service? How did my career end up here in Malta?

    Malta is the place you never expected to be. Malta is the place in our lives, it's that place in our life that we never thought would last this long, but I want you to hear the Spirit of God saying to you today, "Malta is the place that prepares the miraculous in your life." I see many students, I see many graduates, I see many people out on this graduation 25th graduation weekend.

    Can I say this? We're going to have our graduation in a few weeks in our Bible school in Montreal, with 300 students from all over French countries, and I will say to them, after 30 some years of ministry, the Malta's of questions and doubts in our lives, is exactly the place that prepares us for ministry that prepares the miraculous in Malta. Where everything seems dead, everything is incomprehensible, you are letting go of your assumptions, and of your timetables, and of your plans and your capacities and all of your well-set ideas, strategies, knowledge, and you stand in a place of nakedness before God.

    All I have is you. All I need is you. You are my all-sufficiency. I want to tell you that God says in Malta, God wants in Malta, God wants your trial to become your testimony, really. He wants that season of suffering to become a story of grace that you will minister to other, he wants to grieve and the fear to cause you to grow in faith under his favor.

    The ship that I've sunk will become your season of the supernatural in your life. That the worst valleys will become shouts of victories and of worship before him. Say yes please. That's Malta. Years ago I preached in California and after a week. They took me visiting some sites in the area and they took me to a place I'd never seen before. It's called Death Valley. It is the driest, deadest, most suffocating and lifeless desert in America. Nothing leaves nothing grows year after year.

    Here's what happened one time in a winter 2004 record rains results of El Nino inches and inches of water came over a few months. For a while nothing seemed to show nothing changed but-- And this is history, you can look it up. On Easter 2005 on resurrection weekend 2005 a phenomenon the Valley of death began to bloom. Miles and miles of flowers of every color. I want to say to somebody here today you think you're in Death Valley you think you're in Malta of misery? I'm here to tell you today let him feed you let him quench your thirst let him water your heart right now.

    You say yes, but nothing is changing. I see nothing changing. The water of his spirit is watering your soul and the miraculous is being prepared. Death Valley will find life again say yes please.

    Audience: Yes, please.

    Pastor Claude: I know we're a few weeks after Easter but Easter is not an event on the calendar. Easter is the call of God the Angels did not roll away the stone to allow Jesus to come out. He rolled away the stone so we would come into resurrection. That we would come in and experience the resurrection so that the same spirit that raised Christ from the dead would dwell in us and Malta and prepare the miraculous in our lives.

    Romans chapter four our faith is a faith that calls to life what was dead, that calls to hope when there was no hope and that calls to existence what did not exist. I want to declare your valley of death will blossom again under the power of God say yes please.

    Audience: Yes, please.

    [applause]

    Pastor Claude: Shipwrecked under sovereignty. The revelation is more important than the reasons. Malta prepares the miraculous. Here's the third thought. You must shake off the snake to experience the supernatural. Acts 28:3 and when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire. A viper came out because of the heat and fastened on his hand. When the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand they said to one another no doubt this man is a murderer whom though he had escaped the sea he had justice and that'll help them to live.

    He off the creature unto the fire and suffered no harm. Please let's recap. Paul's in prison for the gospel and he's done nothing wrong on completely false accusations. He should have been free. His captor said he's under chain on a ship. He warned them they don't listen he is there accused condemned unjustly chains at his feet. He is there because of the stubbornness and stupidity of those who would not listen to him but preferring to listen to fools.

    He's a prisoner in Malta, there's rain it's cold he's judged by pagans, forgotten in the rain and in the cold but here's what he's thinking. He's saying even in all of this, just like you sometimes and me sometimes. Even in all of this I'm going to continue I'm going to help them with the fire. Have you ever been in a place where everything you're shipwreck on Malta but you say, "I'm going praise God anyway. I'm going to serve him anyway I'm going to help to this fire. I'm going to continue upbringing my part to the Times Square Church fire. I'm going through so much but I'm going to come and offer the sacrifice of praise before God I'm putting my piece in the fire."

    Say to the person next to you bring your piece to the fire. We need to you. Say that to somebody next to you.

    Audience: Bring your piece to the fire. We need you.

    Pastor Claude: This the place where he's saying, "I'm going to serve God anyway I'm going to go on. Okay, I'm the apostle Paul I'm called to preach in a Colosseum in Rome.

    I'm on this barbarian Island in the cold and the rain but I'll serve. I'm going to bring a piece of wood that the fire because the worst has to be behind me." A viper comes down and attaches itself to him. A viper can you imagine Paul a viper?

    [laughter]

    Pastor Claude: The heat always brings out the viper. We're in the heat, shipwrecked in the heat of temptation and the heat of pressure or of being forsaken or unjustly accused of being abandoned, being betrayed. Heat of sickness, the heat of losing. [sobbing] Oh beware of the viper, that is trying-- The viper who's trying to attach itself to your hand. The viper of unbelief, the viper of these secret thoughts of sin you would have never imagined you would have.

    The viper, the viper of doubting the whole thing. Is there even the viper of bitterness, the viper of letting your hands go down. Let me ask you a question, have you allowed the viper to attach? Psalm 91 says, "You will trample over the lion and a viper you will keep under your feet." What do you do? Here's the question, what do you do? Vipers will come out of the heat in every situation, at every one of us, but what do you do? What is the strategy for the vipers? Only one thing to do with the viper, shake it off.

    I want everybody to go like this. I want everybody to shake it off, shake it off. Do you understand that Paul preached the most powerful sermon in the New Testament without saying a word. He preached the most powerful message in the New Testament. He shook it off into the fire. Somebody is watching your life as you go through the fire and a viper tries to attach itself to you. My God, we are living epistles, shake off, shake it off, whatever it is, and lift your hands unto Him.

    [applause]

    Claude Houde: Would you give Him praise, shake it off with your hands.

    [applause]

    Claude Houde: Shipwrecked under his sovereignty. The revelation is more important than the reasons. Malta prepares the miraculous. You must shake off the snake to experience the supernatural. Here's the other thought or one or two more. Being approved of God counts more than the acclaim and the attacks of men. When you are going through this, don't you keep-- Don't you, have your eyes on what people are saying because you see what happened to Paul. It is almost comical.

    When Paul gather, he shook off the snake, verse four of Chapter 28. When the natives saw that the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, "No doubt, this man is a murderer." Though he escaped the sea, justice does not allow him to live, but he shook off the snake, the viper into the fire, suffered no harm. However, they were expecting him that he would swell up or suddenly fall down dead, but after they had looked for a long time, and saw no harm coming to him, they changed their minds and said, "Well, he's a god."

    [laughter]

    Claude Houde: Nothing has changed from those barbarians on that island to social media today.

    [applause]

    Claude Houde: To your Facebook “friends”, to people that are closest to you that should know you, that should know who you're, they should know your character they should know that when you are under attack, that when you are shipwrecked in an area of your life or what they think you're out of God's will or shipwreck or things are not going like they thought it should. Just move away from you and start to murmur to one another and then all of a sudden they come back. Please, whatever you go through don't pay attention to the acclaim and applause of men. Don't pay attention to the attacks of man.

    [applause]

    Claude Houde: Do you remember His revelation? Remember what Paul said, "Angel of the God to whom I belong, whom I serve." Said, "Do not be afraid." I believe God that will be just as it was told, may the only audience I care when I'm shipwreck and I'm stuck on the island of Malta and I'm shaking off the vipers, that the only audience I care is my God. Let my the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in your sight, my God, my strength.

    [applause]

    Claude Houde: Not everyone's acceptance is a blessing and not everyone's rejection is a curse. He who is approved by God has nothing to prove. Your Maker is your mirror.

    [applause]

    Claude Houde: Your Maker is your mirror, the only one that you look at to see where should I be? I want you to know that wherever you go through as your heart stays to Him, just let Him put his approval. Let him put his favor. Don't defend yourself. Don't fight it. Don't argue back. Don't respond back, just trust him and let Him put His hand a favor on you and His favor would throw down every wall, every enemy, every snake, every viper, and every storm say, Yes, please.

    Audience: Yes please.

    [applause]

    Pastor Claude: Let me close with this. The revelation is more important than the reason. When you're shipwrecked under sovereignty you understand that the revelation is more important than the reasons. Malta prepares the miraculous. You must shake off the snake to experience the supernatural. Being approved of God counts more than the acclaim or the attacks of men.

    Here's the last thought. The pain and the pressures you're going through, they're preparing you for Publius. Say, "Who's Publius?" I'll tell you in a second. On April 15 of this year in the week before, the Monday before Easter, the whole world stopped because of the fire destroying the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. It was a historical tragedy and one of the headlines that was translated in languages around the world was the tower has fallen.

    I've been to Notre Dame many times and preached in churches all around. They actually had a tower that fell and over a billion dollar was raised over the first three days to rebuild it and president Macron said, "We shall rebuild it." I'm all in favor of rebuilding it. It's a historical site that has great historical significance, but let me say a few things. So much has been-- Let me say three things. The religious and religion can never rebuild lives, whether it is Catholic or Protestant or evangelical or Pentecostal or whatever it is.

    That cathedral never built life, rebuilt life before and it won't rebuild life again. Relationship with the living God will rebuild life, only that. The second thing I want to say is there are towers that have fallen in your life and you found yourself shipwrecked on Malta. There are towers that fall in our lives that don't make the headlines, that nobody talks about and nobody raises money to help us, but are very, very real to us that nobody sees.

    Of course, you understand that on that Island Paul, even with all the doctrinal knowledge he had, and the knowledge of deep revelation of God that he had, must have had every demon in hell saying, "You're forgotten. You're finishing there. You're dying there. There's nothing good that can come out of this." Whatever tower fell in your life, God sees it today.

    Whatever Malta you find yourself in, he sees it today and the pressures and the pain are preparing you for Publius. The third thing I want to say about Notre Dame, we were astounded to see a billion dollars come in three days. One French family gave a 100 million Euros another French family gave €200 million and they're sitting on the platform right here. Thank you Patrick, we appreciate it so much.

    You understand that no billionaires became poor because they gave. No billionaires ended up at the food bank the following week because they gave a 100 million, but Easter and today and every day of our lives is the reminder that when towers fall in our lives, the Son of God made himself poor. The son of God gave everything, stripped himself of heaven to come to your rescue, to come on your island of Malta and to turn it into his purposes. Say, "Yes please."

    Audience: Yes please.

    Pastor Claude: Last verse. The pain and pressures are preparing you for Publius. Acts Chapter 28 and verse 7:10."In that region there was an estate of the leading citizen, the King of the Island whose name was Publius who received us and entertained us courteously for three days." He was generous in the original. "And it happened that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and dysentery. Paul went unto him and prayed and he laid his hands." This is so beautiful. "And he laid his hands on him and he healed him. And when that this was done, the rest of those they started coming from all over the Island."

    There's a multiplication, there's a storm, a shipwreck, but on the other side of the shipwreck is the miraculous. When this was done, the rest of those on the Island who had diseases came and they were healed. Then they also honored us in many ways and when we departed, they provided such things that were necessary. Understand Paul had not chosen. We don't choose to end up on Malta.

    Paul did not choose to be in Malta, but he had to choose what he was going to do and what he was going to be in Malta. Am I going to be miserable in Malta or I'm going to be fulfilling my mission in Malta. Just in passing that just stay with me was so beautiful that while he was in Malta, and Luke writes about this years later and he says all these people were there and they were kind to us and it took care of us. Are you grateful to God and to them? Do you remember the people that when you were in trouble were kind to you, were around you to provided for you and helped you?

    Let me ask you this, are you one of those people believer, Jesus follower that when somebody is shipwrecked around you or are in trouble around you, open your not your arm not your finger in judgment, not your-- I understand an entire circle of Christianity, the Christians move away from people that look in trouble. They are been-- They're fair weather friends and when trouble comes, they're like no, I say, God, thank you. I want to be like you, when I was in my worst trouble you came to me. I want to be that man or that woman. Say yes, please say.

    Audience: Yes please.

    Pastor Claude: Say that to the person next to you, when I'm shipwrecked I need you. Say that to the person next to you please.

    Audience: When I'm shipwrecked I need you.

    Pastor Claude: That's the church. This this so beautiful? Can you imagine shipwreck where the rains, the fire and they're surviving? They can't even understand each other and when the snake hits, he doesn't understand what they're saying but he could feel their anger and their judgment and he's going to die and the gods are against him and what's going to happen to me but then he shakes it off and they all look at him for the longest time scripture longest time and when he's not swelling up or dying, they turn and maybe they fall on their knees and say he's a god.

    I don't know how they make themselves understood. You can see him just sitting in Publius' house, the king of their village comes and says, "You come in and be-- " Nobody couldn't even tell them, there is no translators. How can we go about this? But somehow Paul sees and motions and this is my father and he's dying of dysentery. This is Paul. This is you and I please understand that the place of Malta is not the place to just turn on yourself and focus on your misery and pain. How come I'm not in Rome and where is Rome?

    No, where you are in Malta God wants to lead people your way that you will minister to. This is so beautiful. The Bible says that Paul, your pain and your pressure it had to happen. Your pain and your pressure are preparing you for Publius. The hand, the very hand, the very hand with the snake bite wound on it still fresh was laid by the power of God on the sick man and healing began to touch the entire island. Would you say yes, please?

    [applause]

    Audience: Yes please.

    Pastor Claude: I want to be that man. I'm going to ask the musicians to come. I was yesterday so honored to be at the commencement 25th year of and to and I'm saying this I'm so keenly aware of the scripture says, the Bible warns us against flattering lips but asks us to give honor to whom honor is due. She's not here today. She'll be here in the next few weeks but I just wanted to-- If you allow me pastor Carter, I just wanted to honor pastor Theresa and honor Doctor Conlon and I was watching her lead. Maybe she's watching the service.

    [applause]

    Pastor Claude: I was Just watching her lead and in humility and simplicity, but it's such a lead and you could feel that love of the students and everyone that were there and in her leadership and the anointing God gives her and behind that, there's a lot of sacrifice. A lot of just listening to God. There's a lot of Malta's. There's a lot of-- There's a lot of I'm listening to God. There's a lot of I don't know, the reasons but I have a revelation.

    There's a lot of I'm in Malta, but God is speaking preparing me for the next season of ministry. There's a lot of snakes that try to come but I'm shaking them off. There's a lot of all kinds of reactions of men around us but I'm looking for the approbation of my God and to be obedient to Him. There's a lot of pain and pressures that we preparing her for Publius.

    When I was watching her and thinking of my friend, my brother pastor Carter and thinking-- I didn't know all this presentation was going to be made today on the book. It's time to pray that I've read over and over and this book is going around the world and God is using it. Why? Because when they were in Malta when they were in Canada when in his 30s, the physical breakdown and moments when he walked in fields screaming out the God why are you doing this to me but he held on and the revelation was developing in them.

    The reasons are given back to God and the Revelation grows and Malta prepares the miraculous and whenever snakes try to hang on, they shake them back, throw them back in the fire and lift their hands onto God. The Bible said that Apostle Paul said, you follow me as you follow Christ and pastor Carter and Teresa are our friends but they're also models to me, models to so many of us and the reason why there's voice of prayer is resonating around the world now and this book is going through radio around the world and now and this message is going around the world is because when nobody watched nobody see, I've traveled with them all through nations, 6:00 in the morning with elders, wherever we are in the world seeking God.

    When nobody sees, nobody knows, nobody understands. But the ministry was being prepared, the supernatural was being prepared. Whatever Malta you're in now surrender to his purposes. The revelation of the God to whom you serve and whom you belong to is more important, do you understand? Than the reasons, leave the reasons to God. Malta will prepare your ministry, your future, your future page of ministry.

    The next season of your life, whatever snake tries to hold onto your hands, shake it and into fire because the pains and the pressures you're going through now are preparing you for Publius, are preparing you for the purposes of God in your life. In 1985, when they asked me, yesterday was a very emotional day for me, very honored, just be the commencement speaker at Bible school.

    1985 I was invited, I was asked to be an interpreter for pastor David Wilkerson and I was just 20, 21. The reason why I was chosen was very particular. This was a different era of time. Pastor David Wilkerson came to Canada for five weeks on a bus and they are looking for an interpreter to be on the bus with him for five weeks in hockey arenas all over Canada, all over our nation.

    When they gathered all the religious leaders and all the pastors and their superintendents to choose the interpreter and sometimes movements are like that men are men and they would say, "Who would be the interpreter?" Well, somebody would say, "Well, I would propose this brother. He's got so much experience as a great interpreter." People would say, "Well, no. If it's him, we're not participating."

    Then they would say, "What about this one?" "Well, if it's him, we're not participating." Finally, some men inspired of God. I wasn't even in the room. I was just starting out. I was preaching then. I preached over those years 1,000 services to 50 people or less. I was nobody and they, just coming out of Bible school, just a young guy, just coming out of Bible school off the streets and just Bible school and now I'm preaching to 10, 20, 30. We had revival. We had 42 people on Wednesday. It was amazing.

    Then somebody in the back room said, "Hey, why don't we ask the young guy, that Claude pastor. He can translate. Nobody knows him so he has no enemies.

    [laughter]

    Pastor Claude: My only claim, my only qualification was my insignificance.

    [laughter]

    Pastor Claude: Say to somebody next to you, "So is yours." Say that to somebody next to you.

    Audience: So is yours.

    Pastor Claude: I was the interpreter for David Wilkerson. I'm on stage with him, the first-- One of the first rally in a hockey arena in Montreal. Well, I'm just streets away from the neighborhoods, the project in which I grew up in Montreal. A few years before selling drugs, collecting and beating people up and collecting and then I'm standing on stage.

    He put a suit on me and a tie, I'm standing on stage interpreting for David Wilkerson and there was a guy in the back that started yelling. He was agitated. He was a young man about my age, from my neighborhood who had become a Christian and he could not even imagine that I had become a Christian.

    [laughter]

    Pastor Claude: He started yelling, "Stop this. Stop this. This is an imposter. This is Claude Houde. Don't you know?"

    [laughter]

    Pastor Claude: At the end of the service, they brought him to me and he kept the-- I did the whole service interpreting prayer. It never occurred to him, "Maybe he got saved." I grabbed his face and said, "Brother, I became a Christian too." He's like, "Well." Just a couple of weeks, during that same trip, nobody knew on earth, not even my best friend. I was single when I was preaching in very small places, living in a one-room, just a studio, one-room apartment. I had a piano player to travel with me in that same room.

    We would just small, very poor. The ministry was so hard in French, Quebec and because I could preach in English, I was invited to go preach many times in this large church. I'm not going to say where, this message goes everywhere, but they invited me to come and be an evangelist attached to that American church. Americans being Americans, they put, “This is going to be your salary. This is your apartment. This is a Christian with a car dealership. Which car do you want?” It was all that. I was 21 years old, and I just thought, “I'll go live in the states and I'll come back to Quebec once in a while.”

    On a service in a city in Quebec just before the big hockey arena filled with people, we were going over to message, brother Dave and I, and no introduction, nothing preparing. Nobody knows I got my briefcase with the letter saying, "I'm just about to say yes. I'll be there in January. I'll move to the States." It's too hard in the French. Brother Dave gets up and he goes, [sobbing] "This is a word from the Lord for you. You will be lured. You will be tempted to be lured away from your people. If you do, you'll remain serving me but you'll be out of my will, out of what I've prepared for you.”

    Then he went on. “If you stay, it will be hardship, and deserts, and accusations, and lonely.” I'm thinking, "When's the good part coming?"

    [laughter]

    Pastor Claude: "There will be time when you feel like you're dying. It will be time when you feel-- God will break you, and mold you, and shape you. God will--" I'm weeping and I’m just-- "But if you stay, there will be a wave to the French world, and you'll be at the center of it."

    When he was saying, “You will go from Malta to Malta, to Malta, but if you hold on to the revelation that is greater than whatever reasons you go to, every Malta will mold you into the ministry I've called you to be in. Many snakes, many vipers, will come and attach themselves to you, but if you shake them off by the grace of God, and you lift the wounded hand to Him, the wounded hand will become the hand of healing, and I will use you in ways you can never imagine.”

    [applause]

    Pastor Claude: Yesterday when I stood there so proud, so honored, so privileged, so undeserving to speak at that commencement and they told me, "You're wearing pastor David's robe." From the streets wearing his robe and that not because I'm in any way-- No, just one of many sons from around the world. You don't know the mantle, the robe that God has prepared for you. As you hold on to His promises, through your shipwrecks of your life, and you remain under His sovereignty, He will use you, prepare you, mold you, change you for His purposes. In Jesus name, and all of God's people say Amen and Amen, and Amen.

    [applause]

    Pastor Claude: From the very last row of the balcony to the very first here to every seat in the attics, to the thousands who will download this message by streaming, and Facebook Live, God is speaking to us today. If you’re here and you say, “God, I've been shipwreck but I'm releasing the reasons. I am leaving the reasons to you that I’m leaving the wise to you. I'm surrendering to your purpose."

    I want you to lift your hands to Him and say, "God here it is. Oh God, I've been in Malta. I’ve been in Malta but I believe that Malta is molding me for what you're preparing me to become. I surrender to your purposes." Come on, people of God. In Acts 4, "They lifted their voices together." Can we begin to lift our voice together? Speak to your God. I've had a snake try to attach itself to my hand. I've had a snake of unbelief, and doubt, and fear, and hurt, and bitterness maybe.

    I'm shaking it off by your power and your grace. The wound, I'm declaring by faith that the wounded hand, my woundedness you will use for your purposes in Jesus name. The wounded hand will become the healing hand in Jesus name. You have a Publius of your purposes waiting for me. In Jesus name, would you lift your hands? For a moment even before we sing, and Greg will lead us and pastor Carter will come, as our Shepherd, as our pastor, and our leader, our general, to come and lead us in this closing moment.

    Before we do as Times Square Church can do, would you lift your voices all over the place? This becomes a prayer meeting, a commitment moment, an altar-building moment, where we are surrendering. We are under His sovereignty no matter the shipwreck. I am under God's sovereignty. Come on all over the place, voices up. You from New York, you came from all over the US, you came to speak for God. You came to defend life. You came to stand, and it was such opposition.

    There was such ugliness. Today you need to be renewed in love, and in strength, and empowered, and encouraged to stand. Every man and woman, to the sound of my voice, let me hear the volume of prayer go up for a minute today in Times Square Church. In the name of Jesus, Hallelujah.

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