Posts Tagged With: Dallas

My Hitchhiking Adventure With God – The Journey “Home” (Part 4)

As with any story, it is best to start at the beginning:

Here is Part 1 of My Hitchhiking Adventure With God (not to be missed!)

PART 4 – the final chapter:

The YWAM directors (a husband/wife team) just so “happened” to be going on a vacation the following day to Monroe, Louisiana (though I suspect they formed their plans around me). They gave me a ride north to Highway 20 to a rest area on the way to YWAM in Lindale.

While waiting by the ramp at the rest area, a woman walked up to me and propositioned me for a threesome sex with her and her boyfriend. She had such a look of shame on her face and could hardly get the words out that she came to ask me. She told me that her boyfriend had put her up to it.

I talked to her about Jesus and prayed with her and she went back to tell her boyfriend that I was some sort of preacher. A few minutes later I went over to their RV not knowing what exactly I was going to say but wanting to say something to them both that might make some difference in their lives. What came out my mouth surprised me. I said, “Do you know why Jesus was baptized? He came to identify with us as sinners. He came to save us sinners from all our sinful ways. He came for all the sick and broken people like you and me.”

As a side note, I have since come to believe that everything Jesus has done is on our behalf. His was a substitutionary life for all of us. He kept the Father’s law of love on our behalf. His baptism was also on our behalf. For everyone who failed to obey his command of baptism, or couldn’t for whatever reason, do not fear, for he was! His death became our death to sin! His burial became our burial to the old sinful life! And best of all, his resurrection became our resurrection to new life in the Spirit! It’s all about Jesus! Everything he did, and everything he is becomes our salvation. Just as his name “Jesus” means: “I AM salvation”! – I just googled “I Am Salvation” for an image, and the image of my video popped up:

I caught a ride with a truck driver back to the YWAM ranch in Garden Valley. As I walked back into the camp I saw a few of the friends I had met. They were happy to see me and I related to them how the trip went. Maybe an hour passed and then my mom showed up to give me a ride home. Had someone called her? I still don’t know how she knew to meet me there. But I figure that she had told them to call her immediately if her crazy son ever showed up there again.

Everyone had indeed thought I had lost my mind and gone off the deep end. Of course I knew I hadn’t so it didn’t really matter what anyone else thought. I knew I was following Christ. One of the ladies back at GFA was praying for me and received the following Scripture for me:

images-2“Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.” Romans 14:4 NIV

This Scripture has helped me through the years not to judge other servants of God. It isn’t our place to judge and the Lord is able to make them stand. That goes for you and for me.

What I haven’t mentioned thus far is that I had been in a long distance relationship with a young lady named Catherine at the time of this little adventure. We had met about nine months prior and we both knew from the first day that we were destined for each other. Catherine was the daughter of a long time friend of my moms when we had lived in Wisconsin some 18 years earlier.

God had made it clear to the both of us that we had found our perfect God-ordained match. But, at the time, I was resisting this. I wanted to please God (and was afraid of God) so desperately that I wanted to forsake marriage altogether for the sake of service to God. I was convinced that this would please God more. I had to have a life that pleased God to the utmost or I was convinced my life was a waste and that God would just move on to someone else who would be willing to give everything up to follow him.

A month passed after coming back to the Dallas area. I tried teaming up with YWAM in Dallas but it seemed like a mess. They weren’t really doing much of anything except trying to convert the Mormons who would come to visit and try to convert them. I would often go down to Deep Elum or places like that to witness on the streets. I would talk to anyone on the street about Jesus and ask to pray with them. I remember one time at a stoplight getting out of my car and witnessing to the people in the car behind me. At the time I was making plans to go to Mexico on another crazy mission for God, and then later to Sydney Australia to the YWAM base there to evangelize at the upcoming Olympics.

In March I finally got around to obeying what the Lord had told me while walking toward Shreveport. He had told me to buy a one-way bus ticket to Wisconsin. I bought a round trip ticket for two weeks (I never did use the second half of the ticket). The clerk at the Greyhound bus station in Dallas couldn’t spell Manitowoc so I just had them send me to Milwaukee instead. I had never discussed with my mom or anyone else what God had told me about going to Wisconsin.

Meanwhile back in Manitowoc, Catherine was praying for me and for our relationship.  God told her, “Daniel is coming on April 5th.” She marked her calendar and believed God all the while in spite of all my rejection and resistance (we were not on speaking terms at the time). Her mom tried to tell her not to get her hopes up.

I called up Cindie, Catherine’s mom, a week or so prior to my trip and said, “I know something you don’t know.”

She said, “No you don’t. You are coming on April 5th.”

I had to look at my ticket and sure enough it had me arriving on April 5th. I asked her, “How did you know that?” Then she told me her side of the story.

So I came to Wisconsin on a Greyhound bus with my $100 guitar and some clothes and belongings in some very ugly luggage that my mom was glad to part with. I never did use that second ticket and that is how I came to live in Wisconsin.

God works in mysterious ways.

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My Hitchhiking Adventure With God – Part 2

As with any story, it is best to start at the beginning:

Here is Part 1 of My Hitchhiking Adventure With God (not to be missed!)

PART 2:

too funny

too funny

The first ride, oddly enough, took me from the Colony, where we lived, and placed me just a few blocks away from the church where my mom was at her Bible study. I thought for a moment how easy it would be to give up and just catch a ride home with my mom, but I pressed on, walking down the side of Interstate 75.

(My mom told me later that some friends of hers from that Bible study drove past me as I was walking and thought I looked like an angel.)

The next person to pick me up swerved across a few lanes of traffic in his old beat up Volkswagen. He was nice enough to take me to the East side of Dallas to Hwy 80. Once there I didn’t have to wait long before a van stopped.

I had recently read No Compromise, which is the biography of Keith Green (Which I would recommend you read – it looks like you can pick it up for a penny at Amazon). Keith and his wife had started a ministry called Last Days Ministries near Tyler, Texas (about 80 miles East of Dallas). I felt that the Lord was telling me that this was my next stop.

Well, after asking directions I ended up at the place where Last Days Ministry used to be and where Teen Mania now is. This was the ministry I had mentioned where my friend Neal had found the Lord and freedom from drugs. I was turned away immediately at the front gate and was directed down the street to the YWAM (Youth With A Mission) Mercy Ships Ministry.

The YWAM Mercy Ships training facility was fairly empty at the time because all the students had just left for a mission. Two women named Marilyn greeted me. I thought this was funny because my mom’s name is Marilyn as well.

After explaining my story, one Marilyn thought I was off my rocker and needed to go home. The other Marilyn actually believed I was following God’s call, even as crazy as it seemed.

Finally they drove me over to the other YWAM Twin Oaks Ranch in Garden Valley and got me set up in a bunk house and introduced me to some of the guys in the Discipleship Training program.

We had some really great fellowship for the rest of the day. When I shared what I was doing they were excited for me and told me about the YWAM base in New Orleans. They called them up, told them I was coming, and gave me their address. Then they invited me to join them on a witnessing mission they were planning for that evening.  They were planning a trip to downtown Dallas to witness on the streets in Deep Elum.

I then called my mom. When she heard I was coming back to Dallas, she said, “Great, I will come and pick you up.” I told her that I wanted to see this thing through to the end and that I couldn’t back out now.

So there I was, back in Dallas, witnessing on the streets with my new-found friends. We had such amazing fellowship that night! Let me tell you that the friendships we can have with other believers are like no other friendships you will ever have. With Jesus as the bond between you, friendships can happen quickly just like when you made friends as children. It’s such an amazing thing when the Holy Spirit brings us together in perfect harmony!

The next morning I set out on the road once again. The first ride took me as far as Shreveport. But this was only after I walked a long time. As I walked, I talked with the Lord, and sang Christian songs. It was then, as I walked along that road that the Lord told me to buy a bus ticket and move to Wisconsin when I get back home.

Once I made it to Shreveport, getting a ride South out of Shreveport proved difficult. I walked for most of the day and I was exhausted. As the sun was setting, a man finally stopped to pick me up. He was on his way to an evening worship service at a Pentecostal church in Alexandria. I agreed to go with him and he said that he would do what he could to fix me up with a place to stay that night at the homeless shelter called the Grace House.

The church was bizarre to say the least. There was a woman playing the keyboard with several other people dancing around on stage. As she played, there was another woman saying something about Ruth’s sister-in-law becoming the great-grandmother of Goliath while Ruth went on to be the great-grandmother of David (which is pretty ridiculous).

There were a large number of people at the front of the church all jumping up and down and yelling, supposedly speaking in “tongues”. Though “la, la, la, la” doesn’t really seem to say much of anything – not even for a toddler. Forgive me for saying so, but it just seemed like madness to me. While all this was happening on stage, there were many people in the back just looking on seeming disconnected. I went back to visit with them.

After the service another man drove me to Grace House. Along the way he asked me the details of how had I been baptized. He wanted to know what was spoken over me when I was baptized and I told him, “In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” He then went on to explain to me that this wasn’t good enough and that what needed to be said was, “In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

He then offered to take me to get baptized right then and there so that I could get my salvation put in order. As I started to decline his gracious offer of salvation, he became quite hostile with me just as we were walking into the Grace House. I started to try to explain where I was coming from but he cut me off and started yelling at me. “If you don’t let me baptize you proper, then yer faith is worth less than a nickel!” he told me.

Exhausted from the day’s walk as I was, this confrontation put me over the edge emotionally. I pulled out my Bible and was starting to share with him what Peter had to say on the subject. “But Peter says, baptism is not the removal of filth from the body – about taking a dunk in some water – but of an answer of a clean conscience toward God.”

“…and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ…”  (1 Peter 3:21 NIV)

(Even as I write this I am struck with a new insight into the significance of what Peter has to say and what this means. I remember the apostle Paul talked on several occasions that he strove to maintain a clean conscience before God. It seems to me that this is the essence of healthy spirituality – maintaining a clean conscience.)

On the verge of tears, I finally found and read the Scripture verse in 1 Peter. I looked up, however, to see that the man had already left and that about twenty guys were staring at me wondering what in the heck I was ranting about. It was in that moment that the subject of baptism became very important to me.

To be continued…

Stay tuned for a blog on Baptism and then the continuation of the story. If you have enjoyed this story, feel free to share it and subscribe to this blog! Leave me a comment below!

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My Hitchhiking Adventure With God – Part 1

My new found friend Neal wanted to hear my story. He was interested in a particular story from my past about a hitchhiking adventure to New Orleans during Mardi Gras to share Jesus with people on the street. Neal and I had just met one week before at church and became instant friends. We were out for lunch with some other friends one Sunday and my journey to New Orleans had come up in conversation. A few details of the story intrigued Neal. First, that I had worked at Gospel for Asia, and the other was that one of the places I had stopped along my journey just so happened to be the same place where Neal had found the Lord, found freedom from drugs, and found his wife.

coffee-cup-kittensBefore meeting Neal for coffee, I was nervous about talking about this particular story. It had been awhile since I had even thought about it and I feared that this particular story would give this much younger brother in the Lord a false impression of how faith is fundamentally expressed. (God’s Word tells us that faith expresses itself through love.) And so, after a bit of soul-searching and thoughtful prayer, we met for coffee and I shared the following story:

It was 1998 and I was 21 years old. I had been serving full time on staff at Gospel for Asia’s home office in Carrollton Texas for the past nine months. I ran errands, worked in the mail room, and answered phones. Gospel for Asia is an organization that connects sponsors to native missionaries in India and the surrounding countries.

I was involved with a few other ministries as well. I played bass on the worship team at my church (Calvary Chapel of Dallas), and I had also just started playing bass with a band that played at nursing homes and prisons.

41oeS7FjeEL._SY355_It all started on February 15th, 1998. I was at the end of my rope and feeling the burn around my neck. I felt like there was no one who I could talk to or relate to. I was an outsider, disconnected. It seemed like everyone else knew how to be a Christian but me, and honestly, being a Christian seemed pretty lame.

I was growing desperate, and struggling with my identity as a Christian. I had no one to confide in – and certainly no one to help me through the issues every young man faces. What was the worst, however, was that I felt so disconnected from this God I was trying so hard to serve and to please.

Well, that February night I was heading home after playing a concert at a nursing home and feeling so desperate that I knew I couldn’t go home. So I drove to my church and parked in the empty lot. As I sat there all the anguish and frustration boiled to the surface and I screamed and hit and shook the steering wheel in frustration, “God, please help me!”

Though the lot was empty I decided to walk to the church anyway. I needed to talk to someone. I knocked loudly and waited – not expecting anyone to come, but then someone did come. A man I had met before was staying at the church. I had remembered him from a Bible study and I felt I could trust him.

4b6c508eeab84c264b20954e598777a4He invited me in and we talked. I told him about all the stuff I was feeling and struggling with and about how desperate and depressed I felt. He encouraged me with a Scripture in John 3 about how those who come to the light love the truth, while those who hate the truth avoid the light. He said, “Daniel, you are coming to the light. This is good.” And then, he prayed for me.

Honestly, I didn’t feel any better at the time. I left still feeling depressed.

dcc285366742676e28ac32c0e7d12a61Later that night I was in bed and began praying. I prayed for a neighbor girl and a few others and then something amazing and miraculous started happening. The Lord’s presence come into the room. I can’t express to you how tangibly real this was. God was in my room! All my burdens lifted in a moment and I started praying in a different language. The praying grew more and more intense and it got so loud that I thought for sure I would wake my mom and brothers.

I then felt what I believe now to be the Lord’s presence (Holy Spirit) course through my body starting at the top of my head and moving to my toes and back again. It was in that moment that Jesus then commissioned me and gave me my calling, namely, “to proclaim his name.” With the commission came the understanding of what he meant. This was Jesus calling from Psalm 22:22 “I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters – I will praise you among your assembled people.”

This is all about glory – representing God in all his glory. Carrying His aura if you will. Living it. Moving in it. Breathing it in and out to the world. His glory.

It’s hard to explain if you haven’t experienced it. I just knew that His name was His presence and that is what my calling is. To share His name – His presence with others.

As I lay there he also told me that the next day I would be going to a certain building to make a delivery. He gave me a vision, a picture in my head, of a man standing outside the building smoking a cigarette. I was to give this man a simple message: “Tell him that I love him”.

Then the sad normal state of my self-conscious crashed back upon me like the Red sea on Pharaohs army and I went to sleep. I wished I could have stayed in His presence, it was so amazing.

The next day I didn’t remember what He had told me about the man and the message I was to deliver until I arrived at the building. I had never been there before but I recognized it from my vision. My heart began to race as it all came back to me. ‘Will he be there?’ I thought. “If he is here, I will do it”, I told myself. I parked the truck and approached the building excited and nervous.

Sure enough, there he stood smoking a cigarette just as the Lord showed me he would be. His name was Jacob and I said to him, “You will probably think I’m crazy, but I am a Christian and last night the Lord told me to tell you that He loves you.” Jacob seemed to take it seriously and I truly do hope it made a difference in his life. I then walked inside feeling a bit silly but also knowing that something quite amazing was happening here.

Later that same day my good friends Rob and Katie McCall invited me to join them for a road trip to New Orleans to share Jesus with people at Mardi Gras. “Wow!” I thought. “Of course I will go!” I was really excited and at worship practice that night I shared the news of my upcoming adventure with an older brother Rich that I served with on the worship team.

(How I started on the worship team: My brother was a talented keyboard player and since he didn’t have his driver’s license yet, I would drive him to worship practices. After a few times of just sitting out in the audience while they practiced, the worship leader finally says to me, “Why don’t you come up here and play bass for us?” So I came up, they hooked up the bass and handed it to me. I just stood there wondering what to do with the thing. I had just started playing guitar a few months before and didn’t know the first thing about bass.)

The next day Rob approached me and informed me that the plans had fallen through for the trip to New Orleans. Just after he told me this I heard the Lord whisper to me, “But I have called you to go.”

I was so excited! I didn’t know how I was getting there but I knew that in a week or so I would be in New Orleans. So help me God.

During that week I had some really wonderful times with the Lord. The day before I was to leave I was back at worship practice again. By this time I had decided that I was going to be hitchhiking. Without explanation I told Sandy, the worship leader, that I wouldn’t be playing that Sunday. Rich, still assuming I would be traveling with my friends to share Jesus took me aside and prayed for me and for God’s anointing on my journey.

And so, instead of participating in the worship practice, I got alone with God. I read the book of Acts and talked with God. It was then that the Lord told me to leave the next morning at 4:00. I told him, “Lord, if you get me up at four in the morning I will go.” I didn’t set an alarm that night.

My mom woke me up the next morning – sun shining through the window. She told me she was going to a bible study at church. Church was across town and would be a much better place to start hitchhiking from so I told her of my plan and that I still felt the Lord wanted me to go and asked for a ride to church. She told me, “No, God has closed that door. You can just pray from here if you feel that strongly about it.”

That took the wind out of my sails. I sat there in my room not knowing what to do next. I looked over at my alarm clock and it was blinking 3:45. Apparently sometime in the night the power had gone out and the clock started over. Oh my goodness, 15 minutes to go.

I looked in the mirror after brushing my teeth and knew I just couldn’t face myself in the mirror again if I did not join the Lord in this adventure. So I picked up my New King James New Testament and flipped through it looking for some encouragement. I finally stumbled on a verse that simply said, “You are Christ’s.” – 1 Corinthians 3:23

That was all I needed. If I belong to Christ – then he has the right to do whatever he pleases with what is his. Even if it means to send them on dangerous missions to dangerous places… all alone. But I wouldn’t be alone would I? Christ was with me! The clock was now blinking 3:55.

kitten-rainI wrote a hurried note to my mom that read, “Where God closes a door, he opens a window.” I then took my bible, a map, an apple, and all my money (all 11 dollars) and to avoid questions from my brothers who were in the living room, I left out the window.

(to be continued…)

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Read next post for Part 2! Be sure to subscribe, and leave a comment below!

Here is the video version of this story:

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