CROSS COUNTRY NEWS

WHAT'S HAPPENING ON THE ROAD FOR JESUS WITH THE ROWES August - November 2004

 

PRAISE THE LORD! GREETINGS, MY PRECIOUS BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST! I HOPE THIS NEWSLETTER FINDS YOU ALL WELL AND BEING ABUNDANTLY BLESSED BY OUR LORD!

 

As most of you know, we left the Church at Riverbend in August, and moved to Baker, Louisiana, where we have been parked in the back yard of Todd and Tuesday Netherland and have been blessed by their hospitality. I praise God for this place of refuge as I continue my prayer walk up the Mississippi River, because from here to Natchez, I haven't found any churches that would be big enough to accommodate our equipment.

With a motorhome, a bus, a Suburban, a van and a trailer, not to mention seven children, it is getting to be a real challenge to find places to park on this journey. But Jesus is Lord, and He has opened up this spot while I walk between Baker and Natchez on the East side of the River, and between New Roads and Vidalia on the West side.

PLEASE PRAY THAT THE LORD WOULD ABUNDANTLY BLESS BROTHER TODD, SISTER TUESDAY, AND THEIR TWO CHILDREN, COLE AND CLAIRE. TUESDAY IS CARRYING THEIR THIRD CHILD - PLEASE PRAY THAT THE PREGNANCY AND THE BIRTH ARE COMPLICATION FREE.

I will tell you a couple of testimonies just to let you in on what has been happening on this Mississippi River prayer walk. I have recently written a book that I am handing out on my journey up the Mississippi River. Its title is 'ONE NATION UNDER GOD?" and it is a call for reform and reconciliation to take place in the Church as the people of God in America sincerely respond to the call of God to humble themselves, to pray, to seek His Face, and to turn from their wicked ways so that this country can experience a Healing touch from God.

There are a lot of voices out there in Christendom that are speaking to condemn the Church in America, but I believe that God's desire is to see the Church restored to it's rightful place of Authority and sincerity before God. He is seeking a people who will worship Him in Spirit and in Truth, and that is why I am on this prayer walk in intercession on behalf of the Church in America.

Many people say that it is too late for America, and that there will be no widespread revival in these last days. But I don't want to be accused of saying that the Lord is not able to do a Wonderful Work in the People of God in these days that seem to be so overtaken by wickedness. I sincerely believe in the truth of 2 Chronicles 7:14, and that is why I am on this prayer walk.

2Ch 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

And I am seeing glimmers of hope as I hear news accounts that the people of America voted for moral issues more than for the economy. Glory! But we don't have time to sit back and say "Well, everything is going to be okay, now". We need to be about our Father's Business more than ever before.

What a wonderful thing it would be if this Nation became known for the Righteousness of its people because the Christians let the Righteousness of Jesus Christ shine through them. It's time for us Christians in America to get our priorities straight, and that is the intent behind the book that I have written. Now don't go ordering any of these books from me yet, because I haven't found a reasonable printing company, and I am not going to take out a loan to get this printed and published. It is VERY EXPENSIVE to print and publish a book!

So for now I am printing it at home, and distributing it by hand as I walk up the River. I am trying to get it in the hands of as many people who are in leadership in the Church. So far I have given 100 books away. Someday if it's the Lord's Will, I will get it really published, but for now I will be faithful in a litte…

Anyway, this first testimony is recorded in the book as an illustration of how God doesn't just give up on His children, but how He goes to extremes to get us back into His Will. This testimony took place as I carried my cross outside of Woodville, Mississippi. What follows is an excerpt from my book:

It is my prayer that the things I write here will shed some light on our need as the Church in America for genuine reform. There are some voices that cry out against the wrong of the Church, and who advocate a forsaking of the "organized" Church. They identify the Church in America as the "Babylon" of the Book of Revelation, and urge Christians to heed the call to "Come out of her, my people, and be not partakers of her sins". They denounce every effort being done by these churches to spread the gospel, and call it a "Man-centered" gospel.

Some Christians believe Babylon is Roman Catholicism, and many books and videos have been written to prove it. Others believe it is the apostate Church in general. I personally believe that just as Egypt in the Old Testament is seen to be a type of the world system, so too, is Babylon. If we call ourselves the "Spiritual Israel" and partakers of the New Covenant of Faith toward God, then we must also understand that the Babylon spoken of in the Book of Revelation would be the world system.

The Word of God warns us that we are not to become conformed to this world, but to become transformed by the renewing of our mind. By teaching Christians that Babylon is the Church, Satan diverts the Christian's focus from the call to being separate from the world, and encourages them to be separate from each other! I believe that Satan would love you to think that Babylon is the Church in America, and NOT the World system, because as long as you join leagues with him in pointing your finger at your brothers, you won't be about standing in unity as one Body against the works of the devil. And a house divided cannot stand.

The ways of the world are not God's Way. The world teaches us to render railing for railing. Jesus teaches otherwise. The world teaches to fight back, but Jesus says to turn the other cheek. The world system (or the Babylonian system) points fingers and accuses and blames others. Another characteristic of those who embrace the Babylonian system is that they are hateful and work division and splits, and hold grudges, being consumed with bitterness.

Babylon teaches us that we are to "look out for number one", to be lovers of ourselves and our prejudices more than lovers of God. While the messenger to the Church in Ephesus was very diligent in standing up for the Truth, and wouldn't tolerate lies and false apostles, he lost his first love. When you lose sight of love, then everything you do in ministry is no longer to serve and to encourage others - instead, it is to exclude and criticize others.

1Co 13:1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

I believe that the cry to come out of the Church in America because of its compromise and its watered down gospel is just what Satan wants. Rather than working toward reformation and reconciliation, Christians have become critical and have joined league with the Accuser of the Brethren and are forsaking the assembling of themselves together with one another. Because of the cries of divisiveness, the Love of many is waxing cold, and the Church cannot unite in Power and Authority as a result. God is about restoration.

Gal 6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such a one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.

The problem is that there are a lot of carnal Christians who have been given over to the flesh in being critical of their brothers, and they are not spiritual enough to understand the importance of laboring to see their brothers restored from their error or to have the wisdom to enter into that labor. It is harder to work toward reformation and restoration than it is to point fingers and to call names, so most people opt for the latter choice.

The chances are very good that the person who calls for reformation and restoration of the Church will receive all kinds of opposition and alienation for his efforts. They did the same thing to Jesus as He sought reformation and restoration for Israel.

I am not advocating a watered down gospel. I am not pleading for tolerance of error by the ministers of the Gospel. There is much that is wrong with the Church in America today. There is much that needs to be repented of. The Word of God teaches us that the Day of the Lord will not come, except there be a great falling away (apostasy) first, and I believe that unless we get serious with the things of God, that apostasy is just around the corner. There are indications of it happening even now.

Homosexual ordination, Church sanctioned same sex marriage, divorce and remarriage running rampant in the Church, and interfaith ecumenism are just a few of the indications that the Great Falling Away spoken of in 2 Thes 2:3 is beginning to take place.

But those who have called with a sincere heart on the Name of Jesus Christ to save them from their sins are my brothers and sisters in the Lord, regardless of their mistakes and flaws, and I believe that REFORM and RECONCILIATION is the call that needs to be made to the Church in America.

We need to repent of preaching a watered down gospel.

We need to repent of becoming conformed to this Babylonian world system.

We need to pursue after Holiness and Righteousness.

But pointing fingers and playing the blame game isn't going to accomplish anything except division and animosity. As each individual pastor and minister of the gospel lead their congregations in the Way of Holiness, seeks the good of the community, and gets behind other churches in an effort to win their city for Christ, then reform and reconciliation will take place in the Church in general.

I believe that God's Hand of Grace and Mercy is still extended to His Church, but He is calling us to respond to His plea to repent.

In September, I had a wonderful experience while carrying the cross on my prayer walk for the Church that will illustrate the depths of God's Mercy and Grace toward His People. On this particular day I had prayed with six people to receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and was able to counsel two other individuals on separate occasions.

One of those individuals was a man who pulled up beside me and got out of his car. He told me that he had passed me by but the Lord spoke to his heart and said "That's a man of God. You need to turn around and talk to him." I said "Praise the Lord, Bro. Are you born again?"

He immediately began to reply in the affirmative, but then he stopped and hung his head and said, "I really don't know how to answer that question. The truth of the matter is, I'm just a liar. You see I'm a pastor, and three years ago my wife and I were separated because of my infidelity. Since that time, I have had affairs with two other women, and each of those women have had a child by me. And I continue to preach from the pulpit and to tell the congregation what they're NOT to do, all the while knowing that I am being a hypocrite.

"I was driving down this road today contemplating ending it all because I can't go on like this. And that's when I passed you and the Lord told me to come back. So I really don't know what to do, man. I don't know how to answer your question. I thought maybe if Iturned around, you'd have an answer for me."

I looked at him and said, "Well brother, it might seem from your perspective that it's really hopeless, but the answer is really simple."

He looked at me and said, "What is it?"

I said, "All you have to do, man, is repent and be reconciled to your wife and be the husband and father that the Lord wants you to be."

He replied, "I know that's the answer, but I have a problem. The problem is that when I was a child I grew up without a father and I never knew who my father was. I can't do that to these other two children, and my wife is willing to be reconciled with me, in fact she's carrying our third child, but she won't have anything to do with the other two children, and I can't do that."

I said, "Well, bro, the truth of the matter is you just need to repent, be reconciled to your wife, seek first the kingdom of God and His Righteousness, and with time God may work on your wife's heart and she may accept the other two, but you've got to get your priorities right."

He said, "Man, look, I need some prayer. Now I know that if you pray for me there's nothing special going to happen, unless I act on that prayer. It's up to me to take action. I'm responsible to respond to the Lord's Will. I understand that, but I do need you to pray for me anyway. Will you pray for me, please?"

I said, "Sure, bro." And we bowed our heads to pray. I prayed that God would have mercy on him and help him to make the right decision. I pled the blood of Jesus Christ over him and asked Jesus to recover him from Satan's snare. As I was praying, I heard a vehicle pull up, and then I heard footsteps approaching us so I changed the prayer into more of a generic prayer because I didn't want the person who was coming up to us to know what was happening. I concluded by asking the Lord to bless him and help him in his situation and that he would walk in victory from this day forward.

After we were done I looked up and saw a man in a Department of Corrections uniform. He was driving a van used to transport prisoners and when I looked up at him, he said, "Man, I passed you a while back and I got twenty miles up the road and the Lord just kept on dealing with me to turn around and talk to you and the conviction got so bad that I just had to turn around. I don't know what you're about and I don't know why I'm here, but I can at least pray and give you a bottle of water."

I said, "Great, man. I'll accept the prayer and the water." I remembered when he drove by about fifteen minutes before the pastor pulled up. He had honked his horn so it was easy to remember the van.

We bowed our heads and the brother prayed a wonderful prayer of blessing for me. As he was praying I heard another car pull up on the other side of the road. After he was done praying, I thanked him, looked over at the driver of the other car, put up my index finger to ask him to wait one moment and then I prayed and asked the Lord to bless this brother who had responded in obedience to His Prompting. After I got done praying I felt like I needed to explain to him what my mission is and I figured that the man in the car would get out and come over if he really wanted to talk to me. I couldn't just ignore this brother.

As I was talking to him the pastor decided he'd go over and visit with the man in the car. I could hear him telling the man that I was carrying the cross up the Mississippi River and praying for our country. It seemed like he had it pretty much under control so I spent another five minutes with the brother encouraging him in the things of the Lord.

After he left, I crossed the highway to visit the person in the car. His name was Reginald. It turned out that he had passed me as well and felt the Lord telling him to turn around and talk to me. He told me that he works for the Department of Corrections as a rehabilitation counselor and in his words, "I take wayward boys and make them into men of God." He said he came back to ask me for prayer concerning his program. The funding was to be up by the end of the month and he explained to me that he had been having great ministry opportunities and success with these young troubled youth, getting them saved and teaching them how to be men of God and he didn't want the program to end. So we prayed that the Lord would bless my brother and that the funding would come through for the ministry that the Lord had called him to.

We talked a little bit and then he explained that he had a meeting to go to, so he drove away and the pastor and I walked back to the other side of the road.

I told him, "Man I don't know if you realize it or not, but God just did an awesome thing." He looked at me and asked, "What do you mean?"

I told him, "Well, brother, here you are, a prisoner to sin and you're driving down the road thinking about ending it all because of the condemnation the enemy has you under. Then the Lord orchestrates something beautiful.

"First of all He tells you to turn around and talk to me, and then I give you advice from the Lord of how you should handle this situation. Then along comes this brother that works for the prison system transporting prisoners. He's Holy Spirit filled and loves the Lord. The Lord is letting you know that even though the prodigal son walked away from his father, he was still his father's son and his father was watching for him every day, waiting for him to come to his senses.

"Just as this Christian brother transported prisoners God wants you to know that even though you're a prisoner to this sin, He's still with you.

"And then the Lord brought another brother that works with prisoners as well, and by his own testimony, he takes wayward boys and turns them into men of God.

"You are a wayward child, and God wants you to be restored to be a man of God. But what you need to do is respond to the Will of the Lord, repent, and be reconciled to your wife."

His eyes lit up and he almost lost his composure as the Truth of the depths of God's Grace and Mercy registered in his mind. I encouraged him a little bit more in the things of the Lord and I believe he left, a changed man.

The decision to respond to the Will of God was up to him, and I have no way of knowing whether he did the Will of God or not, but the opportunity was presented to him beyond a shadow of a doubt. It's the same way with the Church in America today. Although we have strayed far away from where we need to be, and have been caught up in spiritual adultery by chasing after the things of the world more than we do after God, God is calling us to repent and to be reconciled to Him and to experience His Mercy and Grace for our lives. The decision to respond to the Will of God is up to us.....

If you haven't guessed by now, I have a real burden to see individuals become overcomers in their walk with Jesus. I believe that is also Jesus' Desire. He didn't just go to the cross to die for our sins, only to throw us aside when we fail to live up to His Standard. THANK GOD FOR THAT! IF WE WERE HONEST WITH OURSELVES, WE WOULD HAVE TO ADMIT THAT IF THAT WAS THE CASE, ALL OF US WOULD BE HEADED FOR HELL RIGHT NOW!

But He also didn't go to the cross to die for our sins so we could wallow in them, either!

HE HAS DEPOSITED IN EACH OF US THE ABILITY TO OVERCOME THE WORLD, AND THAT IS DONE THROUGH OUR FAITH IN HIM!

Since Jesus has invested so much in each individual, think of what He has invested in us collectively as the Church! He said the gates of Hell would not prevail over His Church, and that is why I am standing in the gap in intercession on behalf of His Church - because I sincerely believe that God is in the Restoration Ministry.

I NEVER want to be seen as being on the side of the Accuser of the Brethren as I behold all the motes that they have become infested with…I'd rather be occupied in concentrating on getting out these beams in my own eyes that have been threatening to hinder my sight, and as a result my personal walk with the Lord! Every once in a while, with the Lord's Help, I succeed in getting a beam out of my eye, and then I am able to see clearly enough to help my brothers and sisters with removing their motes! Glory! It's wonderful to do the Will of God!

PLEASE TAKE TIME RIGHT NOW AS YOU READ THIS, TO INTERCEDE ON BEHALF OF THE BODY OF CHRIST IN AMERICA, THAT WE WOULD ALL RETURN TO OUR FIRST LOVE, AND THAT WE WOULD VIEW ONE ANOTHER AS THE FAMILY OF GOD, AND AS SUCH THAT WE WOULD HONOR EACH OTHER ACCORDINGLY….

On the East side of the River, I have been blessed to share my vision for this prayer walk with some churches in Natchez, and have even had the opportunity to minister in a Christian School to four different classes of students! Glory! What an honor to sow seeds of the gospel to the up and coming generation.

I have been blessed with ministering to all kinds of souls on the East side of the River, but when I crossed to the West side, and began to walk from New Roads toward Vidalia, the response of the people has been wonderfully overwhelming. A couple of weeks ago, in one day I only walked about a half-mile through Simmesport, and ended up ministering to between 75-100 people. At one time I had six cars lined up waiting to talk with me! I use all those occasions of people's curiosity to preach the gospel and to minister to people's spiritual needs and to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the lost, and what a wonderful opportunity I have had on the West side of the Mississippi River.

For the past three or four weeks as of this writing, I have enjoyed the privilege of having many souls to minister to. I believe that people are hungry for the Truth that can only be found in Jesus Christ. The hardest part for me about this walk is what I mentioned earlier - since I have found no church to park at yet, I have been camping out in my Suburban away from my family for about three days at a time each week.

I have been blessed these past couple of weeks in that I met a couple who own a Christian retreat called "Prayer Lake". They have seven cabins that they use for Christians to get away from it all and to get intimate with God. It's a wonderful place well out in the country, and the cabins are beautiful. Any way, Johnny and Joy have blessed me with their hospitality by allowing me to stay in the Cypress Cabin while I have walked in their area. You can check out their website and get more information about Prayer Lake at www.prayerlake.org.

PLEASE PRAY FOR JOHNNY AND JOY MOUNGER , THAT THE LORD WOULD BLESS THEIR MINISTRY, AND THAT HE WOULD BLESS THEIR PHYSICAL HEALTH, AS WELL. DAVE AND CINDY MACFARLAND ALSO OWNED A CHRISTIAN RETREAT FOR SEVERAL YEARS IN PANAMA CITY BEACH CALLED SURFSIDE CHRISTIAN RETREAT…THEY HAVE RECENTLY SOLD IT AS THE LORD MOVED THEM IN ANOTHER DIRECTION IN MINISTRY. PLEASE PRAY FOR THE LORD'S ABUNDANT BLESSING ON THEM, AS WELL.

But even though Prayer Lake is a wonderful place to stay, I still have to be away from my family for three days at a time, because of the distance factor. But God is in charge of this ministry, and every day I ask Him to direct my steps, so if He isn't opening the doors for us to move yet, there is a reason.

And we know that ALL things work together for GOOD for those who love God and are called according to His Purpose! We pray that each of you who receive this newsletter will be blessed during this Holiday season as you reflect on all the things you can give thanks to the Lord for, and that this season of celebrating Christ's Birth will be just that! A Celebration of the Birth of the Only Hope for all mankind!

PLEASE CONTINUE TO LIFT US UP IN PRAYER AS WE CARRY THE GOSPEL UP THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER, AND AS WE INTERCEDE ON BEHALF OF THE CHURCH IN AMERICA AND OUR COUNTRY. WE ARE VERY MUCH IN NEED OF YOUR PRAYERS…

We love you all…

Lance, Michelle, Talitha, Feather, Elijah, Grace, Noah, Abigail and Hoshea…

 

 

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