Dis-Integrating

Dis – Integrating – Falling apart from Sin, without Christ.

disintegrate

No matter how hard you work, how fast you run, you will not be whole without Jesus, but are falling apart over the years, for there is a law only Christ can break, the law of sin and death. We are all tainted by original sin, there are no exceptions. It is not your upbringing, environment, your controlling parents, your poor genes, your culture, your economic problems, the ‘oppressive’ regime – it is something much more insidious and evil inside of all of us – our fallen nature – We need more than mere forgiveness and mercy, we need a new nature, and power to overcome the greatest of enemies – ourselves.

Here I sit, studying for my systematic theology midterm here at seminary, and as I read of the doctrine of ‘original sin’, I see afresh and anew, our great need for  a Savior.

There is an itch that nothing in this life can scratch, an inner lonliness, that even though surrounded by people, you are alone. Career, marriage, sex, academic success, family, friends, entertainment, hobbies, or long walks in nature will meet this deep hunger in your heart. I know – I’ve tried.

Wanna be whole?

Give everything to Jesus, and He will forgive, come into your life with power to overcome, put you together again.

https://chrisaomministries.com/2017/02/27/do-you-want-to-go-to-heaven/

need-prayer

https://chrisaomministries.com/2016/08/06/the-purpose-of-this-blog/

How Bad is It?

how-bad
Reading the words of the prophet Jeremiah today, and thought about some really bad days I have experienced…

Jer 20:14 ¶ Cursed be the day wherein I was born: let not the day wherein my mother bare me be blessed.
15 Cursed be the man who brought tidings to my father, saying, A man child is born unto thee; making him very glad.

Here we see the heartache of a man of God, at the hands of wicked man, that had obeyed God!

This is no politically correct preaching, but is the Word of God!

How about Job in his affliction:

[ Job Laments His Birth ] After this Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth

Joseph in prison?

The apostle Paul after being beaten, put in jail and in chains?

I think he wrote these words, back down through the corridor of time, so that we might understand his pain and desperation, we are not alone, and Jesus is worthy of it all…

2 Corinthians 1:8

For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself.

deliver

Truly, they all found victory in God, eventually, but they each, at some point despaired even of life itself.

I am not preaching to everyone today, I am here for someone: Is it you?

I know where you are at. Not specifically, but I think of the years praying for my family through cancer, and then having them die. Shattered, my faith in tatters, pain beyond belief, numb.

Yet, God was with me, and had my resurrection in mind.

He has yours too.

This is not the end of the story, simply a dramatic chapter of your life. Here’s a verse not commonly preached:

Ga 6:17 From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.

There is a place in Jesus, where you realize that no matter what any person might say or do, you are going to live for Jesus. This was the verse the Lord gave me coming off the mission field, after five brutal years. One by one, the people and ministries I had believed in, let me down, and I was left with Jesus, who will never leave nor forsake me.

He sent a servant into my pain, pastor Billy Joe, and somehow he knew, he understood, and he loved me and believed in me, when I did not believe in myself.

I had obeyed God, and lost everything, persecuted, betrayed, abandoned, and broke. Yet, God had my resurrection in mind!
Billy Joe
I know I am speaking to someone here today. He will never leave nor forsake you either. What He said, shall surely come to pass, He cannot lie. People may come and go, but He will remain, and He will bring faithful people to your side, to walk with you throughout this life, and I’m sure, in eternity.

Some old saints used to call these seasons, ‘the long dark night of the soul…’ It will end. There is light at the end of the tunnel, that is not an oncoming train. There is joy and intimacy with Jesus in this place. Talk to Him about it: He knows, He understands, and He loves you.

I am praying for you today, you are not alone. I love you, and I remain, faithful to the call…

Identity Crisis!

Identity Crisis!
In Christ identity

It is of the utmost importance to understand who we are in Christ, how God see’s us. In this fractured, broken society, where the family unit is ever under attack from all sides, this is critical information. Why?
4 life change to happen, we must apply the power of our identification to Christ @ the specific point of temptation.

Because now matter how dysfunctional your upbringing, or how messed up your parents were, you need to understand that God, the Creator of the universe, created you, and the you are not a mistake, an accident, a mess going somewhere to happen.
mistake

When that sperm hit your mothers egg in her womb, your immortal spirit was given to the earth, with unique DNA, destiny, plan, and purpose. As flesh and bone formed around your spirit, your soul and body were formed, but you, the real you, are a spirit, and your Father, your Creator, is the Father of all spirits.
you-are-a-spirit

Psalm 13913 For You did form my inward parts; You did knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I will confess and praise You for You are fearful and wonderful and for the awful wonder of my birth! Wonderful are Your works, and that my inner self knows right well.
15 My frame was not hidden from You when I was being formed in secret [and] intricately and curiously wrought [as if embroidered with various colors] in the depths of the earth [a region of darkness and mystery].
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance, and in Your book all the days [of my life] were written before ever they took shape, when as yet there was none of them.
17 How precious and weighty also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them!
:
Even if you are the product of a rape, or come from a mom who had multiple partners, and you have never had any real family unit, you are not an accident.
accident

God saw all this, and in His sovereign love, grace, and plan for this plan, He gave you as a gift to this planet, He is the one who gave you life!

Ps 40:2 He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.

In order to experience that life, and life more abundantly, you are going to need to meet Jesus. Your heart, spirit and soul may be ravaged by the trauma and tragedy you have experienced. You may be an orphan in the eyes of the world, but you can be adopted into a loving family, the family of God. You have a Father, and He loves you. He is Almighty, and Jesus is not only the way, but the way-maker for your life. He is a Father to the fatherless, a friend to the widow an orphan, an ever-present help in time of need.
father-to-fatherless

Ps 27:10 When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up.

Today, He wants to take you up into His arms, and teach you some things. Nestled in His love, He would show you the reason you are here, the purpose for your life, the life you were born to live.

not-orphan

Let’s look at the Word of God for a minute. Why? Thought there are many voices in the earth, there is One that will never change, and His Word is forever established in the heavens. He is One that, if you receive Him, will never leave nor forsake you, and He can and will give to you, your deepest needs met for affirmation, acceptance, approval, love, instruction, discipline, nurture, provision, direction, purpose and absolute truth and trust, that cannot be broken. He cannot lie, or betray you, for He is holy!

Ps 138:2 I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.
no lie

Nu 23:19 God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?

He is your Father, and He loves you. He has a place for you, in the family of God.

Psalm 68:6  (AMP)
6 God places the solitary in families and gives the desolate a home in which to dwell; He leads the prisoners out to prosperity; but the rebellious dwell in a parched land.

Ps 107:41 Yet setteth he the poor on high from affliction, and maketh him families like a flock.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y2oW4ZD-0LI

He is the King, and the Church is an expression of His Kingdom, here in the earth.

Eph 3: 14 ¶ For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,

If you have received Jesus, as your Lord and Savior, He adopts you into His family, and reveals to you your place on this planet, a far great place than you could ever ask for or think.

John 1: 12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons or daughters of God, even to them that believe on his name:

13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

I have prepared series of teachings, on who we are, in Christ, in Him, Christ in us, the Hope of Glory. I pray that you take these, personalize these, and put your name in each verse, and meditate upon them, as the truth of these loves out your deepest pain and heartache.

https://chrisaomministries.wordpress.com/2015/02/06/in-him-we-live-and-move-and-have-our-being/

https://chrisaomministries.com/2016/04/28/in-christ/

https://chrisaomministries.com/2016/04/30/in-whom/

https://chrisaomministries.wordpress.com/2015/02/10/seeing-ourselves-as-god-sees-us/

https://chrisaomministries.wordpress.com/2015/02/11/youre-who-affects-your-do-until-we-are-through/

https://chrisaomministries.wordpress.com/2016/02/25/all-gods-promises-are-ours/

Faith: https://chrisaomministries.wordpress.com/2015/05/07/where-god-guides-he-provides/

https://chrisaomministries.wordpress.com/2014/01/16/the-spirit-of-faith/

https://chrisaomministries.wordpress.com/2014/02/06/not-by-works-its-all-about-love/
God plan
Let’s Pray:
‘Father, I receive Jesus, and your adoption into your family and kingdom. Place me, by your own hand, into the position you have ordained from me, from before the foundation of the world. Destroy in me, the lies, of my worthlessness, my pain, my past, my shame, and reveal to me the life I was born to live. Speak to me, lead me, guide me. In your name I pray Lord Jesus. Amen’

Grief

Grief

I remember the death of my mother and father, after months and years of anguished prayer for their healing. I was devastated, feeling betrayed by God, and went numb inside.

I just gave up on my passionate pursuit of God. Still attended church, and fellow-shipped with friends, but felt like a spectator, totally dis-attached from any feelings. Numb. Then, I was invited to a healing circle with a group of Inuit women.
inuit

Felt really out of place, being the only man there, but they were elders in their community, and I was a spiritual leader there, so out of respect for them, I went. We sat in a circle in a classroom in an Inuit school, and someone had brought a boom box, and put on a worship CD from Benny Hinn. We all held hands, and began to pray in tongues, to see what Holy Spirit had in mind for that meeting. One of the elders began to gently weep, then sob, then spoke in Inuk-tutu, that they needed to pray for me, for my broken heart, my ministry.

Someone translated, and I allowed them to gather around me, and began to pray. Gently, they laid hands upon my shoulders, and began to weep, then sob, then groan and wail with an intensity that was pretty freaky at first. Still, I was like a spectator at the event, totally detached from the proceedings. Then as the intensity of their prayer reached a level I had never seen before, the Holy Spirit touched me, and a dam broke over my heart, and a savage river of God’s love and comfort rushed into me, and I began to shake, then sob, then fell on the floor weeping and wailing as God removed mountains of grief, and anger, and stress, and frustration, and misunderstanding from my heart, bringing His comfort, peace, and life to my heart. I knew that I didn’t understand yet, but that I would, and He would explain, and that my calling and election were sure. I walked with these elders for five years of my life, where the deep waters of Gods Spirit live, and miracles are as conman as breathing. Now, it is my turn to groan, weep and wail, for I see again the depth of pain that comes from grief. And so we bear one another’s burdens, so fulfilling the law of Christ.

Let’s Pray:

‘Father, for those who are where I was at, numb from the brutality of trauma, loss, and life, may You meet them in power, in a savage breakthrough of Your love. Just as You raised Jesus from the dead in power, reach into the tomb of where they are, and raise them again into life, love, and passion again. I ask, because You did it for me, and I know I am heard, for I ask in Your name Lord Jesus.’ Amen.

Seven Ways That God Speaks to You: Part 3 -VISIONS

Seven That Ways God Speaks to You: VISIONS

vision0

God speaks through Visions!

Let’s look at a couple of Scriptures, cause faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God….

2Co 12:1 It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.

Acts 2:17 and your young men shall see visions,

Ac 16:9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us.

Ac 16:10 And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them.

Ge 15:1 After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.

Nu 12:6 And he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the LORD will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream.

2Sa 7:17 According to all these words, and according to all this vision, so did Nathan speak unto David.

2Ch 32:32 Now the rest of the acts of Hezekiah, and his goodness, behold, they are written in the vision of Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, and in the book of  the kings of Judah and Israel.
Jer 23:16 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you:they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the LORD.

Eze 8:4 And, behold, the glory of the God of Israel was there, according to the vision that I saw in the plain.

Eze 11:24 Afterwards the spirit took me up, and brought me in a vision by the Spirit of God into Chaldea, to them of the captivity. So the vision that I had seen went up from me.

Da 10:16 And, behold, one like the similitude of the sons of men touched my lips: then I opened my mouth, and spake, and said unto him that stood before me, O
my lord, by the vision my sorrows are turned upon me and I have retained no strength.

Na 1:1 The burden of Nineveh. The book of the vision of Nahum the Elkoshite.

Hab 2:2 And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.

Hab 2:3 For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.

vision Habbakuk

Many of you know my story, my testimony. How I graduated college and went to work as a mechanical designer. I had served on the Carleton University swim team for my time at college, and in my final year, served on student government. Then, upon graduation, I was hired at Robotic Systems International in Sidney, BC, then when things did not work out there, went across to Vancouver, on the UBC campus, to work in the cyclotron for Nordion International, as a mechanical designer, helping design targeting stations in the cyclotron, to produce I123, a radioactive isotope, used in treatment of Thyroid cancer, that was shipped all over the world.

At school, I had studied under Dr. Marvin Glass, philosphy of atheism, and had pretty much discarded my Roman Catholic, or Christian upbringing. If God was real, and good, and all powerful, why did He allow so much evil in the world?

No, God could not be real, I reasoned, He was simply a crutch for the weak, an  opiate for the masses.

religion

Yet, I had rented a room in a Baptist bed and breakfast in Sidney, British Columbia and the very loving older couple that ran it, invited me to church several times, to hear an evangelist. I dutifully went, and even went up to the alter call several times, but felt nothing….Religion I thought…

Then, a missionary named Louise, stayed a week. She was a missionary to the Aleutian Island Indians, and she spoke little when she visited with me, yet emanated a peace, joy, and unruffled calm in the face of my academic arguments, that stopped me in my tracks. She gave me two books: ‘Mere Christianity’ by CS Lewis, and ‘Prison to Praise’ by Merlin Carruthers. I read them, and they made sense.

CS Lewis

I said the prayers at the back, but still, felt nothing. The older couple gave me a Bible, that I began to read.

Yet, suddenly, I was unemployed, and needed a job.

One of our suppliers, Mantek, a machine shop in Port Coquitlam, hired me to install a CAM system on one of their 4 axis mills. Four months of intensity, but got it done. During this time, I had found a basement apartment with a Eastern European couple, and began to work out in the pool in North Vancouver.

I had just ended a 4-1/2 year relationship through college to my fiance, in a messy break-up (is there any other kind?).

On the rebound, I met a blonde bombshell of a lifeguard, who was taking her pschology degree at Simon Fraser University.

Within 3 weeks we had moved in together, and then broke the lease on our basement apartment, to rent a loft in Kitsalano. Her dad was a stock broker, so we started to hit the trendy places around town, the wine tasting shows, dinner up on Grouse mountain, coffee on the boardwalk, trendy.

I was still attempting to read my Bible, and she would watch Dr. Robert Shuller, and we would talk Jesus, but our relationship was not working. The cyclotron where I worked, busted a water line, and to avoid a potential water leak of radioactive water into the city sewage system, our team of seven men worked a 40 day turn-around, ordering meals in, only coming home to sleep a couple hours. Because of the sensitivity of the repair, we were instructed to not tell anyone why we had to work such long hours, to avoid some sort of Media scandal. So, I did not explain my long absences to my fiancé’. Her way of dealing with this period, was to hit the clubs, get drunk, and go home with several other men.

Even in my madness, my parents had set the example of monogamy, and I was always a one woman man.

My way of dealing with pressure at college, was to blow it out in the pool, and then triathlon.

reality

So, in my sleep deprived state, I tried to blow it out running, and tore out the patella tendon in my knee again. I had done this previously competing for triathlon, and had been in a tensor bandage and on crutches for nine months, wondering if I would ever walk pain free, much less compete triathlon, but God, through a Christian acupuncturist healed my knee, and I got a couple more seasons of competition in.

Well, my fiancé and I had no where else to go, but our relationship had degenerated from screaming fits, to simply hugging each other and weeping, as we could not speak without fighting.

After the turnaround, instead of being rewarded as conquering hero’s and promoted, our team was put in a basement lab, my boss was used as the scapegoat for this mess, and we were expected to come to work quietly, and make no waves.

I resigned, the pain too great for words, my idols shattered.

I believed that if you worked hard, got the degree, and got a job, that you would make a good living, get married, and have a happy family.

Believed that if you trained hard in sports, you could excel…

Yet, did not figure Jesus into the equation, nor the Word of God.

My engagement was doomed, for we violated about every rule in the Bible regarding relationships. My career was doomed, for except the Lord build the house, we labor in vain. My sports career was doomed, for our bodies are designed as temples of the Holy Spirit, not to be abused…

Well, the worst part, is that this season of my life was four months long. When I would come home, to discover my fiance out partying with her friends, I would try and read the Bible, and often hurl it against the wall in frustration. It just didn’t work…

Then, one dark night, when I drove across Lions gate bridge, I asked my fiancé why they had chain-link fence all the way across. She said that was because so many people had committed suicide by jumping off there. A seed had been planted in my thought life…

Night after night, I would walk Kitsilano bike path in the dark, quietly praying, and often ended walking all the way to Burrard street bridge. I liked standing there over the wind and the waves, the ocean often bringing peace to my troubled soul…

Yet, my engineering mind would not stop. I looked at how this bridge was built, and saw the massive concrete footings that ran deep down to the ocean floor.

A thought crossed my mind: I wonder why they don’t have chain link fence on this bridge? Someone could jump, and if they hit the footing, surely they could kill themselves here? The seed had taken root….

So, over the next four lonely months, almost nightly, I would find myself limping out into the darkness, alone, always ending up on Burrard street bridge, the seed had become a plan….

Well, as my knee healed, I insisted on following the running circuit, running 10km runs on Saturday mornings when I was able. In April of 1989, there was one in Victoria, B.C. and though I worked late, I decided to catch the ferry across, and run it the following morning. My fiancé had a night class anyway, and I would see her for brunch Saturday, I thought.

Yet, as usual, I worked longer than I planned, and traffic was slow, so, as God would have it, I missed the last ferry across. So, I called my fiancé on her cell, to discover that she was not home as we discussed, but had gone over to one of her ex boyfriends apartments.

In the pained silence, I asked her if she was coming home that night, and she said, she would think about it.

I remember, that we had that poster on our wall: ‘If you love something, set it free, if it comes back, it is yours, if it doesn’t, it never was..’

love set it free

I quoted that to her, and told her to make her own decision, for I honestly believed that I loved her….

Yet, I got back to the apartment, went to the 24 movie rental place, rented a VCR, and a couple of movies, expecting her home any minute. Yet, midnight turned into one o’clock, then two, then three.

One of the movies I saw had Mel Gibson in it. I think he had been to Vancouver to film during that time, and his movie, Lethal Weapon, really spoke to me.

In one of the scenes he stuck a pistol in his mouth, planning to kill himself, and the phone rang, and he said: ‘Okay, not today…’, in another scene, where he was having flashbacks from the war, he was crucified on the mast  of a ship in the desert someplace, and somehow, I saw Jesus on the cross in that scene. Yet, as the clock ticked on, it became obvious that she was not coming home, and I switched into numb, analytic mode.

One by one, I evaluated my reasons for living, and they all came up short. Robotics, my belief that I could automate the mundane jobs of slavery, drudgery, that freed up more time for people to exercise, spend time with their families, and pursue higher education: destroyed when an automobile plant automated in Canada, and laid off 1500 employees, some of whom who had been there for over 20 years…My experience watching my intellectual physics professor boss get betrayed and spit out by the corporate machine.

Sports, having trained for seven years for an Olympic dream, to discover that the sport of triathlon was not accepted in Seoul, Korea, so it would be another 4 years for a potential chance to go…My dream of marriage, family, career shattered, and I knew I was in trouble. I thought of my friends and family, that I had isolated myself from in my tunnel minded pursuit of my goals, and there I was alone, with no God….

I was in trouble, and I knew it. I remembered that when my dad had been posted to Victoria, BC as a naval officer, as a young teen, my mom had volunteered on ‘Crisis Line’, a suicide intervention line, and she had always told us to call it if we were in any trouble. Had thought about calling her, but they had come to Vancouver some months earlier to meet my fiancé, and there had been a cat fight between both her and my mom, they did not approve of us living together, nor my marriage.

Bitter waters run deep, and we were not speaking…

lonely

So I called “Crisis line.” Looked it up in the telephone book. There were three of them in Vancouver. One was busy, one was out of service, and on the third, I reached a stressed out woman, who told me to call back later, as there were more serious cases on the line….The seed suddenly bore fruit…

With a sigh. I hung up the phone, and picked up a pen, explaining to my fiance and parents that I loved them, forgave them, but that I could not take the pain anymore, and I carefully placed it on the night table by the bed….

I guess, in a twisted cry for help, I even returned the videos, and VCR, but even in the business of street night life, no one seemed to notice nor care….

lonely

Truly there is no lonelier place, than to be surrounded by people, totally isolated, totally misunderstood, and totally alone in your pain…

I walked to my usual place on the bridge, and stood, above the wind and the waves, enjoying the breeze upon my face, carefully planning my trajectory unto the concrete footing that I was sure would end my life, when I thought to breath one last simple prayer: ‘God, if you are real, I am coming to meet You….”

Suddenly, my darkness was shattered by a blinding light, and Jesus, God the Son stood before me, in midair:
high above the wind and waves. His hair glowed, and His eyes looked right through me. He cared, He was not angry, He understood, and He spoke: “Chris, you have been an athlete all of your life, if you jump right now, could you handle the rest of your life in a wheelchair?”

I quickly replied: “Lord, I don’t even believe in You!”

He said, ‘Call Chappy!” and disappeared, but there was peace in that place.

I have thought back many times about this event, for a man with an experience, is never at the mercy of a man with an argument. I believe I had either an open vision, or Jesus literally appeared to me, it doesn’t matter. He knows my name, He knew what I was doing in my life, and He is Lord, for He told me exactly what would have happened had I jumped. I would not have died, but spent the rest of my life in a wheelchair.

Out of the mouth, the heart speaks, and in hindsight, I saw my problem. I did not believe.

Romans 10:10

For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

I had said the prayers before, but I had not believed them. Evidently though, Jesus had…He loves us!

nothing

So, I walked back to my apartment, thoughts still screaming in my head, but the experience revolutionized my life.

When I got back upstairs, the phone was ringing. It was my mom. She was crying and said: “Son, come home!”. I was so tired of her emotional outbursts, I said: “Why would I do that, I have to go to work on Monday?”

She replied: “Son, this is more important than work, I just had a nightmare that you killed yourself tonight, and I have been praying for you…”

Perhaps, when I come to speak in an area near you, the Lord will let me tell you the rest of the story, but for the sake of this lesson, let’s just say: Jesus is Lord, and He is well able to speak through visions and dreams…

In summation, a vision may be as simple as a mini-pic that flashes across your mind, or a movie explaining supernatural events, but visions are part of what God has surely promised for us that believe. I remember some years ago, a series of all night prayer meetings, we would all meet for dinner at 6PM, and would eat together, then would begin to worship God until midnight.

We had learned that we were the ‘Bride of Christ’, so we called these meetings ‘date nights with Jesus’. Now, any good date would include dinner and a movie. We cooked the dinner, and fell in love with Jesus, in worship. He would supply the movie, with many, if not all of us experiencing some sort of supernatural visions during those times…

He still gives visions!

vision

Let’s Pray:

“Father, please grant me heavenly visions, for You promised that Your young people shall see visions. I ask in Your name Lord Jesus, Amen”
If you need prayer, right now, there are several 24 hour prayer lines here in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Here are some telephone numbers:

Abundant Life Prayer Group 918 495 7777
Victory Christian Center Prayer Line 918 496 0700
After Hours: 866 295 8442

Or simply email me at chris.aomministries@gmail.com

Wisdom of the Elders

Bucket-of-crabs

The Wisdom of the Elders

Some years ago, up in Canada, I was driving to work, and happened to tune the radio into CBC to catch the morning news. Instead, I heard a wonderful interview with an Ojibwa elder, an older women who was being interviewed, about some of the high suicide, alcohol, and abuse rates that were being reported on the ‘Grassy Narrow’s’ reservation. Seems that a social worker had reported that eight infants, had been literally dropped in the snow, in sub-zero temperatures, on ‘check-day’ on the reservation, while their mothers and fathers, were getting drunk and high at some party.

The interviewer was trying, with some degree of compassion, to understand the dynamics that would cause such behavior, and had quoted some serious statistics regarding alcohol, drug abuse, domestic violence, and suicide and substance abuse related deaths on the reservation.

The interviewer asked: ‘With so much money, and resource available to help your people, why is this so?’

The reply of this wise woman, has stayed with me all these years, and as a minister, I have used her story, several times over the years. She replied:

“Let me tell you a story. There were four Canadians who had travelled all the way to the Pacific ocean, to walk the beach. There was a black man, a Chinese man, a white man, and a native American Indian. It was the time of Spring solstice, when the moon is full, and tides are great, and this particular afternoon, the tides were especially low, exposing miles and miles of tide pools, as far as the eye could see along this great beach. They decided to take advantage of this, and each grabbed a bucket, and headed out on the beach to attempt to catch crabs for an evening meal. Several hours later, they came together again, and the white, black and Chinese Canadians had empty buckets, while the Indian had a full pail! The white guy immediately exclaimed: ‘I don’t believe it! How did you catch so many crabs? Seems every time I caught one, and then turned around, it quickly climbed up the side of the bucket, and escaped to freedom, hiding under a rock before I could re-catch it!’ The black and Chinese men nodded with understanding, having had a similar experience, when the Indian exclaimed: ‘Well, I only catch Indian crabs.”

“Indian crabs? What on earth is an Indian crab? They all look the same to me!”

“Well,” the Indian continued, “All I do, is catch two crabs at once, and put them in the bucket together. When the first one tries to climb out to freedom, the other one grabs his back legs, and pulls him back into the pail!”
Wisdom of the Elders
This elder then went on to say, that this was the plight of her people. Yes, there was great poverty, substance abuse, and heartbreak on the reservation, but when a young person decided to try to escape, and to get a job off the reservation, or go away to school, that when they came home, they were usually called ‘a disgrace to the race, a red apple, red on the outside, but white on the inside,’ That unless that person was exceptionally strong, they were rarely if ever able to escape the peer pressure and ostracization of family and friends, and usually fell back into the cycle of partying and substance abuse.

I have used this illustration over the years, as I taught an alcohol drug rehabilitation course.

In the Bible, we learn that close relationships have the power to either promote, drag us back into our horrible habits. That it is important to make a clean break with people, places and things, that would bring us down, and until we are strong and healed enough, certain people needed to leave our lives, whether friends or family, in order that we get free of our addictive and destructive lifestyles.

Yet, over the past year, I have been studying intensely, the history of the North American First Nations peoples, and it is a story that needs to be told. Horrible atrocities have occurred in terms of broken treaties, genocides, forced removals from tribal lands on to reservations, and children placed in boarding or residential schools, where dehumanizing things occurred.

As I listened to Ivan Doxstator speak, an Iroquois counselor to First Nations people’s, he made a statement, that is a far deeper answer to that question that many white people ask, with respect to suffering Indians living in dire circumstances upon reservations. “Why don’t the leave the reservations?” Ivan replied: ‘Because they feel that the government will take their land.”

This is no nebulous fear, if you understand the history of broken treaties, in the occupation of traditional Indian lands by treachery or the power of the cavalry across North America, and one that needs to be addressed adequately by both the church, and the US and Canadian governments, if we are to see justice, healing, and true reconciliation come to the Indian reservations of North America.

Let’s pray:
‘Father, forgive us for destroying our lives away from You. Where we need to leave unhealthy relationships, places, or spaces that are destroying us, give us strength, courage, wisdom, direction, and provision to get to where we need to be. Deliver us from our fears, and grant to us healing, true justice, grace, and protection. We choose to forgive those who have lied to us, stolen from us, and tried to steal our destiny, language, culture, lands, and identity in You. If there be any real danger, of predatory businesses, or corrupt governments still attempting to steal from me, my family, or my people, STOP them, in the name and authority of Jesus I pray, Amen.’