Sunday, March 12, 2006

Consider the Birds of the Air

I would like to give you a little background to my life. When I got out of school I moved to New York to make my mark like we are raised to do and landed a high power job in Wall Street as a trader. I used to know Michael Bloomberg back in those days he was a trader on the desk at Solomon Brothers now he is the mayor of New York City. I was hanging out with many of the very rich and famous and was doing very well with my career. The love of money was our common God. My friends were very rich but very selfish, self indulgent and not very happy. It was the beginnings of our “Me first generation” 2Tm:3: 1: This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2: For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3: Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4: Traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; This was the real reason God judged Sodom and Gomorra. Ezek:16:49: Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.
I began to realize the emptiness of their money. In the midst of this I found a rare Christian friend, Don. We became close and we had planed to share a large apartment together off of 5th av. A few days before we were going to move in he had gone over to the Apt to do some cleaning. He was trying to clean behind the refrigerator, and by a freak accident, he was electrocuted. I found him there cold and dead. I was devastated.
I had considered myself to have been on a spiritual quest, learning about eastern religions and other philosophies; and I kinda thought I had my act together, but when I found him my world came crashing down. At Dons funeral I met a man of God that I would consider to have been a prophet. He was the first man I had met that I thought really had some answers to the truth of Christianity. Some of what you see coming from my ministry has been a result of his influence. He had given me much to think about before I finally gave my life to the Lord. About a month after Don's death I was still very torn up. One night I was laying in my bed saying to myself "Why? Why? Why? What difference would it have made if he had never lived." and I heard a voice. At the time I heard it I thought I heard it audibly, though because of my state of mind I wouldn't swear to it. I looked around my apartment and under my bed to see where the voice came from and there was no one there. So I sat back down on my bed and thought about what the voice had said “Profit by it". I said to myself "WOW wouldn't it be incredibly selfish of me to profit by such a loss". Then the voice was clearly inside of me and said " if you don't profit by it then it really is a loss" and at that moment as in a vision I saw like a pebble drop into a pond and the ripples went on out into infinity. I realized that in taking Don God reached me and I would reach others and on and on. Everything that happens is an opportunity to grow. I could have hardened my heart, or let even more love flow through me. By the grace of God I believe I made the right choice. I could now see that Jesus was the whole purpose of life. My Wall Street friends thought I was nuts. I then resigned my job and moved to Virginia to a Bible training center to study under this man I had mentioned before. God did many mighty things through him.
I got married and we had three children. I was ordained by this ministry and had hands laid on me and was sent out and moved to Danville Va. It was there that Sonshine Farm was born.
As we grew in size and recognition in the community around us, more and more of the people that came were professionals and a wealthier class began to come to the meetings and services as well. I allowed myself to name some as "Elders" solely because of their money and position in the community. In the back of my mind I knew this was wrong, but I rationalized it. I wrongly thought that we needed what they could put in the collection plate. They were not Elders spiritually. They wanted to take the church in a different direction and I was against it. After all the miracles that God had shown me in His ability to provide for His will, I had apparently still doubted Him. I then realized that if I ever gave them the opportunity to stab me in the back, they would. Well I gave them that opportunity. I fell into a sexual sin. It came to the surface, and they along with some pastors from other communities where I had traveled to teach came together and were incredibly hateful to me. I am sure that if it had been legal to put me to death they would have. They told me I had never met the Lord or I could never have done such a thing. I was devastated and disgraced. I left and moved to Durham to be under a ministry that I thought was trying to be of help. Well he also kept crushing me. I finally just said Lord I have got to just think about taking care of my family. I went back to work as a Stock Broker, because I knew that field.
God then seemed to remove his anointing from Sonshine Farm and many in the fellowship moved away and fell away, and the church is now kind of like a denominational church being pastured by a former Baptist minister. As a community we had been networked with several other similar Christian communities in and around cities across the country. Several had been patterning themselves after what we were doing, and I had taught at most of them. Even the “Heritage USA” (founded by Jim Baker from PTL Club fame), disaster originally got its twisted vision from what they saw and heard about at Sonshine Farm. Strangely at about the same time they all seemed to collapse for one reason or another. It was as though God had given us a glimpse of what was to come, a taste of how “Good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity”; and then blew upon it and said this is yet for another day.
I believe that perhaps I needed to be put on the shelf for a season. We see this in scripture in several cases. Paul had a vision from God and immediately had to run out and be the manager of the Universe telling all the other elders in Jerusalem how things should be done. God had to put him on the back side of the mountain for a while maturing him and refining him as an instrument in Gods Hand. Moses was raised in Pharaohs house; surely he was qualified to lead Gods people. Well not exactly. He was smart in a worldly way, but He had to be taught that God’s ways are not our ways. God put him on the back side of a mountain for 40 years. God had to break him of any desire to be great among the people. He had to be taught what a Shepherd was. As long as we have a desire to lead, we are not able to. The way up is the way down. Mt:23:11: But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.
Well after leaving this ministry I just wanted to take care of my family and pursue my own financial success; the same struggle that all mankind is caught up in. One day after having started my new job I was walking down the street reflecting on all that had happened, and asked God “Why” again. Why was it that the principals of capitalism seem to work so well and the ways of your kingdom seemed to have fallen apart? God answered me and said “because capitalism is based on mans primary sin, SELFISHNESS and GREED. The Kingdom works on the opposite, SELFLESSNESS and GIVING. In this fallen creation, man lives according to his bassist desires and needs. He lives for self. In the Kingdom, we must die to self and live for others. This is completely contrary to the ways of this world. In order to walk this walk we must have trust and faith in our heavenly Father. The more you trust in your own abilities the more insecure you become and the farther you are from God. We are all wondering where is the power of God in the Church? Why are we in this mess in the world? I will quote again the verse that God gave us when Sonshine was born. Hag:1:9: Ye looked for much, and, lo, it came to little; and when ye brought it home, I did blow upon it. Why? saith the LORD of hosts. Because of mine house that is waste, and ye run every man unto his own house.
I had struggled for years with guilt over my sins, and my marriage failing. I did believe that regardless of what happened to the relationship between me and my wife, I was still responsible for taking care of them. I felt that if I had to sleep in the street I would, but I wanted to make sure that my children were taken care of and had the opportunity to go to college. Hopefully I didn’t train them to well in the way of this present world. I now try to show them there is another Kingdom that is coming.
I never turned my back on the Lord but was living for my self. I suffered through many hardships, but God was faithful through it all. I had to see that God meant business when he said He would take care of us. He proved it to me over and over through the years. Sometimes I felt I was about a quarter of an inch before hitting the concrete, but He always caught me. Then I saw the Truth of what had happened at Sonshine Farm. My real sin was not my sex failure, but that I had seen God provide and I still did not trust Him. I put people in leadership that the Lord did not, so I didn’t need to quite live by faith; I new that these wealthy people would put money in the church. Heb:10:38: Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. My failure came as a result of my pulling back from trusting in God.
Mt:6:26: Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? 27: Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
28: And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
29: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
30: Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
31: Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
32: (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
33: But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
I must say that my life has been rerevolutionized since the events of 9/11. The Lord has also used the insight that has been shown in what Stephen Hanchett has written in his book. I had a new fire lit under me as a result of seeing the deceptiveness of evil. The devil knows his days are numbered. As the darkness gets darker the Light of God will get brighter. I do believe that Jesus is building His Church which is the Temple. (not the one in Jerusalem) The Body of Christ will come together. We will not be running to accomplish our own plan for our life. Most that come to Jesus just add Him to their plans but God wants us to drop our plans and seek His plan. I do believe that a form of what you read about in Sonshine Farm is already beginning again. I see the pieces starting to fall into place; and I am quite certain that this vision is being given to many again in this day. I can not make anything happen, I have no ambition to make it happen, But the Lord knows I am available. It is His Church, and His body and He will build it. Mt:6:10: Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.