CROSS COUNTRY NEWS
WHAT'S HAPPENING ON THE ROAD FOR JESUS WITH THE ROWES February - March 2005
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!
Thought I better write and update everyone as to what's been happening lately, and how the Mardi Gras outreach went.
Angel's Defense Of Attack On The Cross
Before we left for New Orleans, Pastor Nick Bergeron of Zachary, Louisiana built me a sound system cross made of PVC which I took out on Bourbon Street almost every night of the outreach. The cross is twelve feet high, and weighs approximately 80 pounds. Because of its size, I was concerned about the possibility of it being pushed over and falling into the crowd, and injuring someone so I tried to figure out how I could construct some kind of stand to make it safer. There is always someone who tries to knock the cross over every year, so I wanted a safeguard against it.
The first night I couldn't make anything effective enough, so I took the cross out as it was, and didn't have any problems. I played praise and worship music over the sound system in the midst of the revelry. The sound system worked wonderfully, and I thanked the Lord for Brother Nick's ingenuity.
The second night I really felt like I needed a stand for the cross, and the Lord blessed me with an idea (with the help of my brothers and sisters) to buy four 20 inch steel shelf supports to bolt on the bottom of the cross. It worked beautifully. Someone would carry the brackets out to the street with me, and then we would stand up the cross and they would bolt the brackets in place while I held the cross.
Again, I played the Praise and Worship CD's and ministered to all who were drawn to the cross.
At about 3:OO in the morning, as I was ministering to a person, I felt someone pushing against the cross. I wasn't really concerned about it at first - the cross sometimes gets bumped and accidentally pushed in the midst of a crowd like that, and when that happens, I just draw closer to the cross! No complaints there!
Within a few seconds I knew that there was someone pushing against the cross who was intent on knocking it down, so I looked away from the person I was ministering to, in order to see who it was that was attacking me. I saw a huge man that looked like a linebacker from a professional football team. He looked me square in the eyes with a determined glare that said "Your cross is going down, buddy!"
I grabbed the cross and pushed against it, but the man was far bigger than me and I really was no contest against him, but the stands gave me a little bit of an edge. Although I was able to resist him to a degree, he was succeeding in tipping it over despite the stands, and I moved back, still pushing against the cross, and his brow furrowed deeper as he exerted more strength against the cross, until the cross was at a 45 degree angle above the crowd. I struggled with all my might, and this man did as well - and though it seemed like minutes, the battle only lasted about 15-20 seconds, when Brother Al Gauzer saw what was happening and ran to my aid to get the man off me. But before he could do anything, the man's friends pulled him away, and I was able to erect my cross again.
I looked him in his glaring eyes, and said, "The Lord Bless you, man!" Then I turned to the man who I had been ministering to, and continued to do the work the Lord called me to. The rest of what happened was related to me by Brother Al. I was unaware of the fact that the man who had tried to push my cross over was standing back in the crowd intently studying my cross, trying to figure out the best way to tip it over.
When Al saw that this man was not going to give up until he succeeded, he went over to a group of police and told them that there was a man who was trying to push a cross over into the crowd. They told Al to show them the man, so Al led them through the crowd and pointed at him, saying, "That is the man who is trying to knock down that cross, officers." One of the officers confronted the big man, and told him that if he tried to knock the cross down, he would be arrested and taken to jail.
After the police left, the big man found a new target to concentrate on. He walked over to Al, and attempted to grab Al's arm. Al jerked his arm away from the man, and walked away from him into the crowd. The man followed him and again attempted to grab hold of him, but Al jerked away from him one more time, and walked through the crowd toward two police officers. The third time, the man tried to grab Al's sign that he wore around his neck, and Al called out to the police and told them that the man was trying to violently assault him.
One of the police officers told the big man that if he touched Al, they would arrest him. The man got defiant with the police officer, at which point the two officers attempted to arrest him, but he wouldn't cooperate with them. They left him and came back with two other officers. Four police officers couldn't arrest him, either. Soon three more joined the fray, and eventually they succeeded in cuffing him and carrying him through the crowd to their holding pen. In the process, Al said that he kicked the police car that was there, denting the roof and the door.
After Al finished telling me the story, I marveled at the Grace of God.
I said, "How about that, brother. It took seven cops to subdue him, but he couldn't knock down my cross!" There was little doubt in either of our minds that an angel had been helping me when he was trying to knock my cross over. Al said that when he was eyeing my cross in the crowd, he was looking at the top of the cross…maybe he was trying to figure out whether there was a wire attached to the top of it and tied to a balcony or something, that made it so difficult to knock over! Glory! What a wonderful Savior we have!
PLEASE PRAY FOR THIS MAN'S SALVATION…USUALLY WHEN PEOPLE COME AGAINST US IN THAT MANNER, IT IS BECAUSE THEY ARE BEING CONVICTED AT THE PRESENCE OF THE HOLINESS OF GOD THE SHEDS LIGHT ON THEIR SIN. ALSO PLEASE PRAY THAT THE LORD WOULD BLESS BROTHER AL GAUZER AND HIS MINISTRY.
Deliverance of the wheel demon
Most of the cross carriers that I know (including myself) utilize a wheel on their cross that makes it easier to pull the cross and helps them to maneuver more easily than if they drag it down the road. It's just practical to have a wheel if you are going to carry a cross. One of the drawbacks to having a wheel on the cross is that we hear the same line over and over almost on a daily basis: "HEY! JESUS NEVER HAD A WHEEL!", at which point I generally say something like: "Well, I'm not Jesus, so it's all right if I have a wheel!" Or, "You're right, man. But Jesus was more of a man than I could ever be, so I NEED a wheel!" It is such a common occurrence to hear "Jesus never had a wheel", that I and some of my fellow cross carriers have come to the conclusion that it must be a wheel demon that inhabits the hearts of the mockers that we encounter.
When we take a new recruit out on the streets to witness for the very first time, we usually explain that in a short period of time they will see a particular demon manifest himself, and that we call that demon a "wheel demon!" Sure enough, the wheel demon will manifest himself, and the new recruit will generally say "I see what you mean!"
I painted Ezekiel 1:19 on the wheel of my cross specifically for the benefit of any wheel demons I may encounter.
One translation of Ezekiel 1:19 says "When the living creatures moved, the wheels moved with them".
At about 4:30 Sunday morning, we decided to call it quits for the night. We hadn't walked more than half a block, when a wheel demon manifested himself through a group of revelers who were sitting on some steps outside a house. "Hey, Jesus never had a wheel!" one of them shouted. I stopped and set my cross down, and said, "I suppose you think that is an original statement, don't you, man?" The reveler came up to me, and asked me what I had just said, so I repeated myself, and he said, "No, I suppose you hear that a lot." I assured him that it was a very common occurrence, and asked him if he knew what I called that.
He hesitated a moment, and then said, "Hypocrisy?"
I replied, "No, man, I call that a wheel demon, and you must be inhabited by one as well." He looked at me, and said, "You're right". I continued to minister to him, explaining to him that although Jesus never had a wheel, He also bore the sins of the whole world on His cross, and that He didn't require me to do that, and since I wasn't Jesus, I need a wheel to carry my cross. I asked him if I could pray for him.
He said I could, so I proceeded to pray a blessing over him. I pled the blood of Jesus over his life, that the Lord would draw him into His Kingdom, and that one day he would be used of the Lord in a mighty way to preach the gospel to a lost and dying world. As I was praying for him, someone walked by, and shouted, "Hey, man, Jesus never had a wheel!" I paused in my prayer, and said, "See, man? They're everywhere!"
The man (Dean) looked up from our prayer, and shouted to the mockers who had just passed: "Hey! Come back here!" One of the mockers came back, and Dean rebuked him, saying, "Why do you want to give these guys a hard time like that? They are out here doing the Lord's Work, and all you can do is mock them? You need to give them some respect!" Dean went on to explain to the man that Jesus' followers need wheels, because they aren't Jesus, and that Jesus did all the Work for us. By this time the man's friends had come to join him. Dean then told them they should respect us, because we have more guts than any one of them, to go out there and witness for our Lord!
All of us Christians were marveling at how this man who had mocked us just a few minutes before was now standing to defend us. Then pretty soon it started to get ugly as Dean began to call them out to fight with him, and they began to yell and scream at Dean, then Dean raised his hands and shouted "Peace, be still!", and everyone quieted down! We were all chuckling at what was taking place.
Eventually, the yelling began again, and I stepped in and was able by the Grace of God to encourage the new wheel demons to go about their business. After they left, I asked Dean if I could continue to bless him in prayer, and he said I could, and soon he was asking Jesus Christ to come into his heart and to allow him the privilege of serving the Almighty King of kings and Lord of lords! Glory! God is such a wonderful God!
PLEASE PRAY THAT DEAN WOULD BECOME THE MAN OF GOD THAT THE LORD DESIRES HIM TO BE, AND THAT HE WOULD FIND A GOOD PLACE TO FELLOWSHIP AND BE DISCIPLED.
ANY SMOKERS OUT THERE?
After Mardi Gras, we went back to Marksville to continue the prayer walk up the Mississippi River. As I walk on this prayer walk, I will often notice things lying on the ground, or certain billboards, and will make them the object of my prayer for the area. A discarded beer bottle will remind me to pray against the drunkenness that may prevail in the area. A string of Mardi Gras beads will prompt me to pray against the spirit of revelry that rules in that neighborhood. A discarded condom will remind me to pray against immorality, and so on. Often I will also pray for the salvation of the person or persons involved with those items I see.
I don't always pray against drunkenness when I see a beer bottle or some other thing on the side of the road, but I do try to be sensitive to the prompting of the Holy Spirit as to how I should pray. One such example is fresh on my mind.
One day I got a late start on my prayer walk, and only had a couple of hours in which to carry the cross, but the Lord had impressed upon me an urgency to get out there and carry it. It was about 3:00 pm when I began my walk. I hadn't walked far when I noticed an unsmoked cigarette laying on the ground. A few steps later, I noticed a couple more, and then a few more, and then even more, and finally, a Marlboro Lights cigarette pack. I guessed that someone had resolved to quit smoking and had thrown their cigarettes out the window of their car, so I lifted up a prayer of intercession on behalf of this person. I prayed a prayer something like this: "Lord, You know the person who threw these cigarettes out their window…Lord, if the person is a Christian, and if they are quitting for You, I plead the Blood of Jesus Christ over them, and I pray that You will give them victory over these cigarettes. I pray that You will take the craving away from them and that You will bless them in a mighty way. And, Lord, if this person isn't a Christian, and they just decided to quit smoking for health reasons, or whatever other reason they may have, I plead the Blood of Jesus Christ over them, and I pray that You will draw them into Your Kingdom, and that You will send a laborer across their path so they will hear the gospel, and that their eyes will be opened to Your Truth, so they can be delivered form the power of sin in their life. In Jesus Christ's Name I pray, amen."
After that, I continued on my walk, praising the Almighty God, and praying for the Body of Christ in America, and for America in general. During the walk, a lady stopped to ask me for prayer, and I prayed for her brother, who was preparing to go to Iraq.
The rest of the walk was uneventful for about an hour as far as ministering opportunities were concerned, but I had a wonderful time just fellowshipping with the Lord.
At around 4:00, a pickup stopped, and I was privileged to meet Jimmy and Irlene. Irlene was driving, and when they pulled off the road to talk to me I walked over to the passenger side of the truck where Jimmy was sitting. Jimmy told me that they had seen me walking several times since I walked through Simmesport a couple of months ago. He said they had always meant to stop, but either they were in a hurry to get somewhere, or I was busy ministering to somebody else, and they "didn't want to interrupt the Lord's Work." He said that when they drove by me today, and saw that I wasn't busy, he told Irlene to turn around so they could meet me. Irlene said that they thought what I was doing was a wonderful thing…I assured them that what Jesus did was the wonderful thing…I am just doing the follow up!
Upon further discussion, I discovered that Irlene came from a Pentecostal background… she had been brought up in the Pentecostal church, but had gone away from the faith because of various offenses. Jimmy was a Catholic, but "not a good one. I don't go to church like I should." I ministered to them both about being Born Again, and of their need of a relationship with the One Who had created them for Himself.
Jimmy saw himself as an honest, hard working man who did more good than he did bad, so I explained the Holiness of God, and our utter moral failings in the Light of His Holiness. When Jimmy saw himself as being in need of the Grace of God, he decided that he needed to get right with the Holy God through the Mercies of the shed Blood of Jesus Christ. Jimmy and Irlene both prayed to give their lives to Jesus Christ, and asked Him to be the Lord of their lives and of their marriage. We had a wonderful time of fellowship, and I exhorted them to get plugged into a church that I was familiar with in Simmesport. Jimmy informed me that he had been a close friend with the pastor's father. What a wonderful rejoicing that was going on in Heaven over these precious souls! GLORY!
After Jimmy and Irlene left, I called Michelle and told her that she could come and pick me up now, as it was approaching 5:30. About three minutes after I called, a vehicle stopped on the road, and the man in the passenger seat asked me if he could do anything for me. I told him that "I was set," and asked him if I could give him something to read about Jesus…He said "All four of us in this car know that if we died today, we would have a place in Heaven, because we are Born Again, but I will take your tracts, anyway!"
We fellowshipped a little while, and after I explained the purpose of my walk, the passenger (Danny) asked me once more: "Are you sure there isn't anything we can do for you?" I then said, "Well, come to think of it, brother, if you wouldn't mind, I could stash my cross somewhere here, and I would appreciate a ride to my car, which is about two miles down the road. It would save my wife a trip, and she has to drive about ½ hour to pick me up." Danny said, "I'll do one better. We'll go home, and I will get my pickup and come back and give you and your cross a ride." I told him that would be a blessing.
After they left, I called Michelle and told her that she didn't have to come and pick me up, because I had gotten a ride.
A little while later Danny came and picked me up, and drove me back to the Suburban. He asked me if I had about 10 more minutes, because he needed to talk to me about something. I said, "Sure, bro. I've got as much time as we need." Danny's family had experienced a catastrophe in their lives, and as a result, Danny had begun smoking. Now he was addicted to cigarettes, and these cigarettes were a hindrance to his Christian witness. He said "Brother, I would appreciate some prayer regarding this bondage. I have been struggling with this issue all through my Christian walk." I told Danny about my testimony of my struggle with cigarette addiction, and how I had broken my promise to God several times as I would give in and pick them up again after I told God I was going to quit. I told him about my guilt and conviction I would feel every time I lit one up, or bought a pack of cigarettes. I told him how the enemy of my soul would accuse and condemn me, reminding me what a miserable Christian I was.
Danny wept as I related my testimony to him, and hung his head, and said, "That's me, brother. I am guilty of lying to God too many times! I have been without a cigarette for fourteen hours so far, and I don't want to fail God again."
And then I told him how God gave me the victory. Some people are delivered just like that! Others take a while, but the Lord is faithful to meet us where we are at, if we draw near to Him. I told him that as we hunger and thirst for righteousness, He promises us that we will be filled. He is our Fortress, our Strong Tower, our Deliverer. He is the Author and Finisher of our faith, and what He has begun, He will be faithful to complete. Then I remembered the discarded cigarettes I had seen at the beginning of my walk.
I said, "Danny. The Lord loves you so much that He even prepared our meeting together." Danny said, yes, he knew that…But I said, "No, Danny, let me explain something to you. God knows your struggles and your heart's desire to be free of this bondage and He prepared me for this meeting. You see, as I began walking today, I saw a bunch of Marlboro Lights that someone had evidently thrown out of their car, and I prayed for that person, that the Lord would set them free from their bondage. He was setting us up for this meeting today, and He wanted me to be prepared to tell you just how much you mean to Him, and that He is with you through this."
Danny wept openly as the realization of the depths of God's Remarkable Love began to hit him. He said, "Brother, I smoke Marlboro Lights!" "Not any more, brother. Praise the Lord!" I prayed for Danny, and I believe he received victory that moment. GLORY!
But that's not the end of the story. The next day I related that testimony to the Body of Christ at the church we are fellowshipping at. After I was done, Susan said to me, "Pray for me. I just quit smoking yesterday".
Another sister came up and said that she was a Christian, but lately had been losing her temper and had been cursing. She told me she needed prayer so she wouldn't slip back into the world. Another person came up to resolve an issue she had with her husband. A few other individuals came forward and received prayer from the pastor for some issues in their lives. GLORY!
I believe that whoever threw those cigarettes out the window is set free, and because of their desire to be free, unbeknownst to them, several people were touched as a result of their obedience. Isn't it absolutely awesome to see how God works? We may never know what our obedience accomplishes in the realm of the Kingdom of Heaven, but we can be sure that as we obey the Almighty God, even the smallest act of self denial will have a rippling effect for the furtherance of the Kingdom of God.
PLEASE PRAY FOR JIMMY AND IRLENE, THAT THE LORD WOULD BLESS THEM IN A MIGHTY WAY, AND THAT THEY WOULD FIND A PLACE OF FELLOWSHIP WHERE THEY CAN GET FED THE PURE WORD OF GOD. JIMMY ALSO HAS ARTHRITIS AND GOUT, AS WELL AS A BAD BACK, AND HIS LEGS ARE NOT STRONG BECAUSE OF ALL THIS…PLEASE PRAY FOR HIS HEALING.
AND PLEASE PRAY FOR DANNY THAT THE LORD WOULD BLESS HIM AND HIS FAMILY ABUNDANTLY, AND ALSO THAT THE LORD WOULD BLESS THE PERSON WHO THREW THOSE CIGARETTES AWAY. AND PRAY FOR ALL WHO READ THIS NEWSLETTER, THAT THE LORD WOULD GIVE EACH ONE VICTORY IN THOSE AREAS OF THEIR LIVES THAT THEY ARE STRUGGLING IN.
The Lord has been putting "Tent Meetings" on my heart the past few months, because of the awesome harvest of souls and wonderful ministry opportunities I have had in this area. The only problem is that I don't have a tent! But Brother Burton Dodge has a tent, and God provides what is needed if He calls us to do a particular thing, and on March 10-13th, we had a tent meeting in Marksville.
Bro Burton is a local evangelist who is involved in prison ministry, and after the Lord gave me the desire to have a tent meeting, He brought the two of us together and we put the tent up, and had a wonderful time Glorifying the Name of Jesus Christ. Each night we had a different speaker, and on Saturday, we had the meeting from 12:00 noon until about 10:00 at night.
Various area preachers preached the Word of God throughout the day. George and Lawri Chiasson of Testimony Band came all the way from Montegut, LA to minister with us on Saturday, and they did a wonderful job! Souls were saved, and many Rededicated their lives to Jesus at these meetings.
Brother Burton and I are planning some more meetings in the near future, if the Lord so wills. I will keep you posted on what happens.
PLEASE PRAY FOR BROTHERS BURTON DODGE, CURTIS BENSON, EMMIT GAGNARD, MARK CRAWFORD, RANDY NORMAND, CHRIS KELONE, ROGER AND DEBRA FREDIEU, GEORGE AND LAWRI CHIASSON, FRANK BRIGGS, AND EVERYONE ELSE WHO HAD A PART IN THE MEETINGS, AND THEIR FAMILIES; THAT THE LORD WOULD CONTINUE TO BLESS THEM IN EVERY AREA OF THEIR LIVES AND THEIR MINISTRIES AS THEY SEEK HIS KINGDOM AND HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS.
PLEASE PRAY FOR THIS AREA AND ALL OF AVOYELLES PARISH AS WE CONTINUE TO WORK THE GROUND HERE. THE LORD IS DOING A WONDERFUL THING IN THE PRISONS OF THIS PARISH, AND HE IS USING BROTHER BURTON DODGE, BROTHER RANDY NORMAND, BROTHER CHRIS GINTZ, AS WELL AS MANY OTHER LABORERS IN THE FIELD TO IMPACT THE LIVES OF THOSE WHO ARE BEHIND BARS.
AGAIN, I WOULD ASK YOU TO LIFT PASTOR CHRIS KELONE, HIS WIFE RHONDA, AND CORNERSTONE MINISTRIES IN PRAYER. THEY HAVE BEEN A HUGE BLESSING TO US, TRULY GIVEN TO THAT WONDERFUL CAJUN HOSPITALITY THAT WE HAVE COME TO KNOW AND LOVE IN OUR YEARS OF MINISTRY IN THE STATE OF LOUISIANA. CHRIS HAS A REAL HEART FOR ESTABLISHING THE KINGDOM OF GOD IN MARKSVILLE.
Brian O'Connell has joined me for a season to carry the cross throughout Avoyelles Parish. I am expecting many wonderful things to happen as we minister together here in Avoyelles. The Lord has kept me in this area for a while, and we will continue on the Mississippi River Prayer walk as soon as He says the same. But the harvest field here is ripe, and the Church in Avoyelles Parish has been praying for laborers…
We celebrated Michelle's fortieth birthday March 12th, and the day after that, we celebrated Hoshea's first birthday. I have been abundantly blessed to have a wife who has been willing to live such a non-traditional lifestyle in support of the ministry the Lord has called us to. There simply aren't too many women in America who would forfeit the dream of a home and the comfort of a steady income in order to see the Kingdom of God established in the hearts and lives of people throughout this nation.
As we travel and minister and meet people, I don't think many can really grasp what an unsung hero my wife really is. Often times the children and I forget. It is easy to fall into the trap of taking God's precious gifts that He has bestowed on us for granted.
PLEASE PRAY FOR MICHELLE AND OUR CHILDREN, THAT THE LORD WOULD BLESS THEM ABUNDANTLY FOR THEIR OBEDIENCE AND FOR THEIR INDIVIDUAL SACRIFICES THEY HAVE MADE FOR THIS MINISTRY.
AND PLEASE PRAY FOR US FOR WISDOM, THAT WE WOULD NOT STAY ANY LONGER THAN THE LORD WOULD HAVE US TO STAY, NOR LEAVE ANY SOONER THAN WE ARE SUPPOSED TO LEAVE.
AS ALWAYS, PASTOR DENNIS WATSON, CHRIS AND CINDY MEILLEUR AND OUR FAMILY AT CELEBRATION CHURCH WERE A HUGE BLESSING TO US DURING MARDI GRAS.
PLEASE REMEMBER TO LIFT THEM UP IN PRAYER, THAT THE LORD WOULD BLESS THEM AS THEY STRIVE TO ESTABLISH THE KINGDOM OF GOD IN NEW ORLEANS.
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