California produces a sizable majority of the United States fruits, vegetables and nuts. So much so that it is responsible for more than half of most produce found in stores across America. California simply beats out pretty much any US state’s output of produce per acre largely due to it’s ideal soil and climate.
With all of California’s crazy huge produce production capabilities and economic influence bearing fruit has brought them there still is so many in need. Even in places you would least expect like San Diego or Long Beach.
I recently visited Southern California for a week in mid July as part of a mission trip / conference in San Diego and Long Beach with my church’s youth group. We partnered with New Vision Urban Missions in San Diego on Monday the 14th and Tuesday the 15th in helping with meeting physical and spiritual needs in both the local community and greater San Diego area.
Both days were amazing and I could go on and on how beneficial it was for everyone but there were a few things that stood out that I felt like sharing.
Monday we went to down town San Diego and visited the Plaza Hotel where we distributed food, played live music and prayed for people. This was a hotel that provided very inexpensive housing opportunities for those in need. Lots of people in hard places. We prayed for a lot of people! The place had a very interesting feeling about it. Sort of reminded me of the Twilight Zone. There was an old school elevator with an expanding and contracting gated door so you could watch the walls pass by as you ascend or descend. Sadly I was not able to ride it as it was currently down for maintenance. The hallways were narrow and seemed to twist and turn like some sort of labyrinth but it added to the adventure we were on of knocking on doors and handing out plates of food. Super fun! But the coolest stuff for me happened towards the end.
I noticed one of the youth hanging out by the entrance so I went over there and gently reminded him we couldn’t go out onto the sidewalk. Well that quickly changed. A few more youth joined us. Then things changed. A homeless man came up and asked for food. So I directed one of the youth to get some. We asked if we could pray for him and he agreed. We all laid hands on him and he began to feel the power of Holy Spirit and tears came to his eyes. Then another man came and asked for food too. We prayed for him too. Then we were all talking and blessing these two men. At this point we were well out of the hotel and on the sidewalk praying, blessing and handing out food to people. I guess we didn’t follow that rule to well 🙂
Being out away from the hotel entrance I noticed a lady sitting a short distance off to the side of the door. I went over and asked if she was hungry and would like some food. She agreed and we got her some food. Then I asked if she was experiencing pain in her stomach and she looked at me with astonishment and said yes. I just got out of the hospital. She had been administered there due to the negative affects of alcoholism. I ended up praying for her and Holy Spirit came upon her with such peace and warmth she started crying. The words of her Father brought encouragement and a bold reminder of who she was. Alcoholism was broken off her by her desire and declaration which almost brought her to the ground. She was touched by the Creator of the Universe.
We ended up speaking for a while about identity and the power of Jesus and Holy Spirit and all the while Hope and Love and Faith began to grow up in her bringing a peace and smile to her face and body. What was once rigid was now relaxed. While we were talking she saw a friend she hadn’t seen in quite some time.
Turns out her friend was suffering from a large amount of pain and was scheduled to see the doctor the next day, Tuesday. The pain was in his lower back and legs. With the power of Holy Spirit I commanded the pain to go and back and legs restored. I didn’t even have to ask him to check it out as he started to test it. He bent over multiple times and looked at me and said the pain was pretty much gone. So I prayed again and he said he really couldn’t feel it any more. So I told him to be very aware of his condition tomorrow when he visits the doctor. He said don’t worry. I have been living with this condition for many many years. He was a veteran.
At this point it was time to get ready to go and wait for the vans that had dropped us off to come pick us up. Some of the youth in their creative awesomeness started tapping with drum sticks on the sidewalk. Then more joined. Before long we erupted in full praise to the King of Kings. It resonated off the walls of the 5 star hotel across the street and perked the interest of every one passing by. Some even recorded it! It was truly a spontaneous worship moment that has forever shifted the atmosphere there!
Salvation Arm KROC Community Center – image courtesy of Google
At the end of the day we were scheduled to take showers at the Salvation Army. Now that was one of the nicest Salvation Army centers I have ever been too! After all the youth were pretty much done and gone my friend Steve and I were the last in the locker room, not by accident of courese. God had some cool stuff to do.
I notice there was a man by the sink who had an ace wrap on his left ankle. So walked over to him and asked what was up with his ankle. He explained it was an old high school injury many many years ago. The man must have been in his late 50’s. I asked if I could pray for it. He looked at me and said “What are you some sort of healer?” I said, “No, but Jesus is.” He replied, “I’m a Christian Buddhist.” Then he began to tell me about his past life with his brother and friends and Jesus and healings and salvations.
After his story I prayed for his ankle. He said it felt a little better but not much. I said,
“No worries. Just keep an eye on it as I believe it will be healed.” At this point Steve and I had to go so we blessed him and parted ways.
Youth helping feed 73,000 people at Feeding America!
Tuesday was a fun day but sadly I ended up working most of it 😦 In the morning, we helped a non-profit called Feeding America with feeding over 73,000 people (I think I have my numbers right. It was a lot of people)! Then headed back to New Vision Urban Missions where the youth helped distribute food to hundreds of people that wrapped around their campus. Later that evening we were invited to Point Loma Nazarene University for the Move conference they were hosting. It turned out to be a very amazing time. A time of new things. A time of break through!
I had brought my flags, cause you never know when Holy Spirit prompts you to express His Kingdom in a manner for all to see. The worship was well laden with Holy Spirit and the words of the songs just encouraged what was about to happen. I felt like Holy Spirit wanted to show off. He wanted to release something. Something fresh and new to those who were so hungry. So I grabbed my flags and clamored over to the back of the bleachers and began to flag. I was soon joined by my friend Bayleigh who also felt moved. We flagged back there for a while during one of the songs. Then I felt led to go down and move to the front but off to the side of the stage. Not directly in front but stage right which is the audience’s left. It was very open with no chairs and plenty of space to move. Down I went. I was soon joined by Bayleigh. The two of us unleashing the Kingdom in a manner not accustom to many there. It was amazing. I felt His presence strongly. My focus was so One on one. He captivated me. I was lost in Him.
We flagged and danced in that open spot just left of the giant screen.
Every so often I would get glimpses of what was going on around me. Bayleigh and I were not alone. More youth had come down and were expressing their love for their King! We were all on God’s great dance floor giving Him our everything! It was beautiful. It was humbling. It was freedom!
The flow of the conference was interesting to me. We would worship with a song or two then there would be speaking. Then worship then speaking. I think this happened about three times. I just remember it being very distracting as I didn’t want to exit the worship. But the youth were not as distracted. They didn’t care. Give them the opportunity to worship. They worshiped. They would run down to the “dance floor” just right of the stage every time a song was played and release their praise! I would eventually get over my distraction and join them. They were such a blessing. Still so much to learn from them in being child like 🙂
After the conference we arrived late at New Vision Urban Missions where we were all soon to discover the initial impact our freedom to worship would have. Mike explained that in the past when they had tried to worship freely in similar conservative venues they were quickly shut down. It could have even been a Move Conference too but I don’t recall. But he pointed out that we were not shut down. No one was approached to stop our worship. In all his years he had not seen anything quite like this. I may be so bold to say I believe that history was made and we were a part of it!
Holy Spirit is breaking down our limited understanding of who He is. He is showing us that our understanding of who He is does not limit what He does or how He does it! Things are moving. Things are changing! Are you a part of it?
Wednesday was beach and shopping day and our last day in San Diego. The beach is always awesome to me so that was a blast and a blast to the youth as well. Most of us will forever remember that day as the sun was not so kind to our skin. My face had gotten scorched even after 3 times of sun screen application 😦 But it’s the price you pay when you are out in the sun for over 5 hours and miss the beach!
Shopping was fun. I tend to shop a little different then most people. Instead of getting something I like to give something. This led me to three people to bless. The third person just touched my heart deeply. I noticed her walking in the opposite direction away from the beach while we were walking back to the vans toward the beach. She was stumbling across the cross walk when we all passed her. As I reached the other side of the street I knew in my heart I had to turn back. So I informed the guys that I would catch up with them. I ran back to her, which didn’t take long as she wasn’t moving very fast.
I asked her if she was lost. She replied, “Yes.” So I asked where she was trying to go. She didn’t know. She was bewildered. Maybe from shock. Maybe from drugs. Maybe from abuse. I wasn’t all sure but I was completely sure that this was no accident our paths crossed. We got to talking and I discovered she was trying to get away. Away from something horrible. I asked if it would be ok if I prayed for her. She agreed. That is when everything changed. Her Father began to reveal things about her and tell her who she was. She was not forgotten. That a stranger from hundreds of miles away just so happened to come in contact with her and encourage her and lift her with the power of Jesus. She began to sob and like a good Father was received with open arms. She must have cried for a good 5 minutes on my shoulder all the while words of Love broke down her walls of defense to heal her wounds. It was beautiful!
She was a victim of an abusive relationship and she was running away from it. She wasn’t even from the States but from Canada. So this older woman from Canada meets a guy from New Mexico just a block or so off the beach in Encinitas California where her heavenly Father revealed how much He loves her regardless of her past.
I offered to make a phone call to my friend Mike from New Vision Urban Missions in San Diego to see if there was anyone up in Encinitas that could help her. She declined. I pushed a little more. I felt like she needed to know that this was a critical moment in her life where everything could change for the better if she wanted. I explained that she had a choice to make – Continue living in the abuse or leave it and get help. I could see she wanted to leave but was afraid. We prayed more. Prayed for lies to end. Fear to leave, clarity to set in and what ever substance or thing causing confusion to leave. I asked again if I could call my friend. She hesitated. You could tell this was not easy. She declined again. So we talked about how she was not powerless. She held the most powerful thing in the world at that movement that no one could take away from her. Her choice. Prayed for her some more and asked again if she would like a new life. She had said she believed in Jesus. I explained that she is not alone. Holy Spirit will be her guide bring her comfort. She won’t be lost anymore. Regardless of her decision her Father will not abandon her. That seemed to help. A weight seemed to have lifted from her and I asked a third time if I could make the call. She declined. I told her she was loved and a beautiful daughter but I had to go. I remember walking away, crossing the crosswalk, looking through the palm trees and seeing her gaze back at me with a look that broke my heart. I prayed she would be safe and find peace. Till this day I see her face and pray for freedom from her situation.
After a long day of fun, encounters and In n Out burger we headed back to the Salvation Army to clean up. Well wouldn’t you know the man I prayed for on Monday was there with no ace wrap on his left ankle! I asked him how his ankle was doing. He didn’t reply but began flexing it and moving it pain free with a huge smile on his face! I said, “Isn’t Jesus cool!” He nodded and we talked a bit more and affirmed the pain was gone! God is good!
Thursday, Thursday, Thursday.
The drive up to Long Beach for the Jesus Culture Los Angeles conference was pretty uneventful for the most part that is until we lost the main caravan! We had a caravan of three fifteen passenger vans and two SUVs. I was the tail end following Tim and Patrick in their van. We ended up loosing the main caravan and found ourselves some where on the 605. After driving around a bit we were realigned and arrived safely at the Performing Arts Center.
The conference was pretty amazing. My favorite part was hearing over 3,000 people praising God! It was out of this world good!
Ran into many different people of all types and was given the privilege to Love them. One particular time that was simply unbelievable happened on the last day, Saturday and I warn you I am gonna get detailed here.
I was in need of some chapstick to treat my severely sunburned lip. The sun had kissed me good Wednesday at the beach, real good. I wasn’t looking for any ordinary chapstick I was looking for Burt’s Bees cause it is simply amazing. Burns at first but soothes just right for a long period of time 🙂 I had been borrowing my friend Steve’s. But in order to express how cool our God is I have to start from the beginning because it is just so awesome to be a part of something so beautiful.
Friday night was a long night. I was bunked with 4 younger youth boys in a hotel room. You know ages 11-12. You’re probably thinking, oh wow sounds rough! Actually, honestly it was pretty cool. I would so do it again. So one of my son’s friends, who voluntarily wanted to sleep on the floor was about to crash for the night when he spotted something dash under the bed I was sleeping on. He was quickly jolted out of any hopes of hitting the hay any time soon. He speaks up and says, “Mr. Daniel, I think I just saw a mouse!”
I was like, “Dude, you’re tired it’s been a long day you’re seeing things.” Then I started to probe his brain a little more and the more he described it and how he described it the more I began to believe. So I looked under the bed. No mouse. Then no sooner then 5 minutes later one of the other boys exclaimed he just saw something small and gray run from under his bed over to my bed. I look under the bed. Nothing. I am thinking . . . Something is up. I get my phone, tap the flashlight app and illuminate the situation. Sure enough! A little gray mouse no bigger then the size of a quarter was trying to jump up into the box spring of the bed. It was obviously failing. Then it shot off towards the foot of his bed and back under my bed.
Now I was a believer. The five of us tore up that innocent hotel room looking for this mouse. Finally narrowing it down under my suitcase we thought we had it trapped. We put towels under the door, grabbed cups and were ready to pounce once I lifted the suitcase.
Bam, suitcase lifted and the mouse darted for the sink. I missed catching it with my cup. The boy who first saw it was up on the sink. My son was at the front door the other two boys were desperately trying to catch the thing darting all over the place in our little circle of friends. It finally darted up My son’s leg, over his leg into the towels and out the front door. We opened the door and looked up and down the hall but no mouse. It had escaped!
Our room was a mess, we are all jazzed up and it was midnight. Almost an hour and half later. The room was set right and four boys were finally asleep with one no longer on the floor 🙂
So that is how my Saturday started 🙂
Image courtesy of Google
After checking out of the hotel we all headed to the conference at the Long Beach Performing Arts Center, about 0.6 miles away. A worship song or too later I get a call from Garrett, one of the youth pastors who help make a huge part of this trip possible. He called to inform me that I needed to move my SUV at the hotel. I had been wondering what we were going to do with the vehicles after check out. Now I knew. So back to the hotel I went. But before I moved my car I walked on over to the Chevron station by the hotel to get some chapstick. I really wanted Burt’s Bees but all they had was, well, Chapstick, the brand. Something inside said don’t settle for what they got go get what you really want Burt’s Bees. So I moved on. Hopped in the 4runner, drove around a bit to find a parking spot and ended up finding a Vons grocery store instead. Thinking that they may have the chapstick I really wanted I decided if I park close I could check and see. A parking space just opened up right across the street from the hotel as I was driving by. So I parked on E 1st St. walked West took a right on Lime Ave to go to Vons and met a homeless man. He said he needed money for soap. Turned out he need money for special black soap for black people. I told him I didn’t have any money to give him, which was true because the money I did have I was not going to give it to him. I felt in my heart it was going to a bad cause. But I offered to buy him soap instead. He finally agreed. I said I would meet him right were we met. Off to find the entrance to Vons. I take a left on East Broadway and find the entrance. In I go. I couldn’t find chapstick but I found a great deal on 8 bars of soap!
With soap in hand I ask the woman manning the self checkout lane where the chapstick was located. She lead me right to it. They ended up having Burt’s Bees! Super cool. I know I am Loved! Back in to the self checkout. The woman who helped me turned out to be the manger who also helped me get a killer deal on those 8 bars of soap. She asked one of the ladies in line at the self checkout if I could borrow her card. Apparently Vons has those shopping cards you have to use to get the deals. It was all cool. I got to bless her too with adding points on her card. God loves her too!
Out the door I went to find my friend. I didn’t have to go far because right out the door across the street he was pushing his cart. I called to him! I don’t think he thought I would keep my word. I ran across East Broadway and gave him the soap. Told him he was super blessed because he didn’t just get 1 bar but 8! Also, told him I am a man of my word and God loves him. Ended up praying for him.
Off I go south on Atlantic Ave towards the Performing Arts Center. Little did I know what adventure would unfold before me.
Not more then 300 feet I passed a man standing off to the side of the side walk by Vons. I looked at him but he was looking at another person heading the opposite direction on the sidewalk as me so we never made eye contact. So I kept walking thinking how I better get back to the conference. But Holy Spirit tugged at my heart to go back. So I did. Here is the paraphrased version so not all the dialogue is 100% accurate but definitely reflects pretty close the conversation and adventure we shared.
I walked up to him and asked him how he was feeling.
He said, “ok.” Then I asked him his name. He said
“No way that’s awesome. Do you know of a story in the Bible about Shadrach Meshach and Abednego?”
“Not really, but sounds vaguely familiar.”
“Well, my name is Daniel and Daniel in the Bible was friends with Shadrach Meshach and Abednego. That’ts pretty cool. Cause here we are now!”
“Yeah, that is pretty cool.”
We talked a little about how I was from New Mexico and how we “just so happen to meet” and that our names have some ancient ties in the Bible. Then I asked if he had any physical pain I could pray for.
“May I pray for you?”
“Throughout the past couple days I have been prayed for and instead of good things happening lots of bad things happened. I was kicked out of my favorite pan handling spot and the cops called on me which never happens. My stuff was taken. That rarely ever happens. I don’t feel so good.”
He started listing off all the bad stuff that had happened to him in the past few days.
I said, “Oh, wow. That’s not good at all. Hey I promise you that when I pray for you bad things will not happen and you will find peace!”
“Yes! I believe what Jesus did made it possible.”
“I don’t believe Jesus is what he is all made out to be. I have read a lot on it. I have a lot of doubts.”
“Oh, that is ok! I am not here to convince you to believe that Jesus is real. He’ll prove to you He is. I believe He is alive and well and with the power of Holy Spirit you will be set free!”
“Can you tell me more about Holy Spirit?”
So I began to explain to him that what Jesus did made it possible for the Spirit of God to dwell in people, a fleshly temple. That I have no power on my own but it is Holy Spirit living in me that flows through me to do signs and wonders. He was very interested now. So I asked if he would let Jesus prove to him He is real.
“Shadrach, will you let Jesus prove to you He is real? Will you let me pray for you?”
“Ok, you can pray for me.”
“This is going to be amazing. Do you have pain in your feet?”
“Why, yes I do. It hurts all the time. I take medicine for the pain.”
He also had open sores on his face and arms but I felt that his feet were really bugging him. So I got on my knees and put my hands on his ankles and prayed for restoration in nerves and the pain to go. I asked him how it was.
“How are your feet feeling?”
“Actually the pain is worse! Really bad now!”
“That’s not good. I am gonna pray again and it will get better.”
“It better! It hurts real bad. Do mind if I sit down?”
“Oh no, please sit down.”
Now we were both sitting on the ground and I touched his feet again and prayed a second time.
“How are you feet doing now?”
A slight smile begins to take shape, “Yes it does. Like really really good, but . . .”
“The pain is now in my knee?”
“Oh ok. I am gonna pray for your knee then, Ok?”
I prayed for his knee and then the pain went into his side. I stopped and asked him a few questions.
“Shadrach, I believe there is a spirit that is afflicting you. When you said bad things were happening to you did feel any thing different?”
“I do feel like maybe demons or satan is doing things to hurt me.”
“Would you like freedom from that?”
“Ok, lets pray for that too! But what’s gonna happen is that you will need to be filled with Holy Spirit to make His home in you for you to have complete freedom. How that is possible is to believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that He came to set us free and to make communion possible with God. Do you believe Jesus is the Son of God who came to earth to die to set us free?”
“I don’t know if I believe that.”
At this point I was a little hesitate. A question came to mind about things that I had understood about God. What if he did not end up believing? Would he be left open? Would more demons torment and afflict in greater number than before? I honestly thought about all this. I didn’t want to hurt him. But as quickly as I hesitated I felt a peace and Holy Spirit reassured me He knew what the best and most perfect solution was to bring His lost son Home. All I had to do was trust Him.
So I did.
I said, “That’s ok. I believe Jesus is gonna set you free of all this pain and affliction no matter if you believe or not. Jesus’ power is not dependent upon if you believe or not. He is greater then your situation and knows what to do to bring you peace! I believe He is gonna take all this pain away and heal your ankles and knee and stomach and sores.”
“I don’t know.”
“How about Jesus prove to you His power that He is the Son of God?”
“I don’t want that bad stuff to come at me though!”
“I believe Jesus is greater than those bad things!” I began to tell him of the testimonies of Jesus that happened earlier this week.
I said “Shadrach, I am now gonna pray for you and Jesus is gonna heal you.”
I prayed and Holy Spirit cast out those demons and Jesus became real. I wish I could remember all that was said but many times I do not. It wasn’t a lengthy prayer but to the point and with power. I could see on Shadrach’s face he could feel the power of Holy Spirit too! Suddenly, his whole demeanor changed. From fear to peace. Like a giant weight had just been lifted from his shoulders. He perked up both physically and emotionally. The heaviness had gone.
I ask him, “How are you feeling?” We were still sitting at this point.
“Oh wow! Oh wow! I feel really good! No I feel really really good. I don’t feel pain!”
“How about your ankles?”
“That’s just the thing. I don’t feel that always present pain!”
He had mentioned earlier that he was on pain meds as he was denied full coverage to fix the physical problems in his body. He wasn’t a fully disabled veteran. He had tried to apply for greater disability but was denied and had to wait before he could apply again, which he wasn’t hopeful of getting.
I asked Shadrach, “Hey why don’t you do something you couldn’t do before without causing pain!?”
“Ok!” So he got himself up and stood there for moment lifting each leg, pressing into each foot, moving each ankle around and all the while this beautiful look of surprise was all over his face.
“What do you think, Shadrach?”
“That is crazy! That is really crazy! It doesn’t hurt! It really doesn’t hurt!”
“What do you think of Jesus now?”
“I really don’t know.”
“This is the power of Jesus that healed you! I didn’t pray in the name of Buddha, Muhammad or some Hindu god but in the name of Jesus.” He stood there thinking for a bit.
We ended up talking for a bit about Jesus. He said I talked about Jesus very differently then other people who have spoken to him about Jesus. He said I didn’t try to prove to him that Jesus was the Son of God with the Bible. He said he had never heard Jesus like this before.
I believe what he was saying is that he never had been introduced to Jesus without someone manipulating him or reasoning with him to convince him he needed to be “saved” or needed Jesus. I told him I didn’t need to prove to you that Jesus is real. He doesn’t need me to defend Him. He is fully capable of demonstrating Himself like He just did with you.
He was amazed. We talked for a little bit about Jesus and Holy Spirit.
Then he asked, “Would you mind getting me some food?”
At this point it had probably been a good hour. “You bet! Anything you want except alcohol :)”
“Anything, it’s a gift from you Father! Jesus loves you man! Let’s go.”
Off we went North on Atlantic Avenue to the entrance of Vons.
As we were walking I noticed that he was not fully weighting his right leg. So I asked him if it was still hurting?
“Yeah, it hurts but not hardly as bad. It’s ok :)”
“That’s good to hear, but Shadrach, I believe you will be fully healed and the pain is going to leave your entire foot!”
He looked at me a bit funny and said, “Ok.”
In Vons he filled one of those hand held shopping baskets up with sandwiches, cookies, water and some chips. He was like a little kid in a candy store. All the while his limp was improving. It wasn’t until we got to the soda aisle that I asked.
“Hey, I noticed you’re not limping any more. How’s that foot?”
“You know, a lot better. It hurts just a little bit.”
“Isn’t that awesome! You’re pain is almost gone and that even in your unbelief Jesus is healing you right now! Isn’t Jesus amazing!?”
“Yeah, He is!” with big smile on his face.
We finally get to the check out and who would you know was there. The same woman who had helped me earlier with the chapstick.
She recognized me and I explained to her that I needed to get another card so I could pay for my friends food. She looked awkwardly at Shadrach and I explained to her what happened. She just stared at me for a few minutes. I remember telling her that the power of Jesus was working a miracle in my friend. Still a little bewildered she said something like, “Praise God!” and asked the lady next to us if she could borrow her card so I could purchase the groceries. The woman agreed and we quickly checked out and blessed the manager of the store and the lady whose card we had used!
On our way back to the place I first met Shadrach I noticed there was no limp at all. I asked him again how his foot was feeling.
With a huge smile on his face he said, “It doesn’t hurt at all!”
“That is awesome! No pain what so ever?”
“Seriously? You’r not trying to hurt my feelings, right?”
“No, it doesn’t hurt. I can walk with no pain!”
“I told you Jesus was real man! He loves you so much!”
I was super excited. We finally arrived at the place where we first met.
I asked him, “Now do you believe in Jesus, Shadrach?”
“Man, I don’t know?”
“I don’t know?”
“Shadrach, is being healed possible?”
“But you were just healed, man! So the impossible just happened!”
“Who healed you?”
“So Jesus healed you?”
“Are you sure?”
“Sounds like you believe in Jesus now, brother!”
“You’re right! I do believe in Jesus!”
“Shadrach, do you believe He is the Son of God?”
“Yes, I do. I do now!”
“So all that other stuff we talked about Jesus, He is that too! He came down and shed His blood so we could have restored relationship with Him. That is the Jesus you believe in?”
That is when it all made sense to him. His whole countenance changed. He truly realized what was happening. Then he said . . .
“Yes! I believe in Jesus! He is the Son of God!”
My heart leaped with Joy and I responded, “Welcome into the Kingdom of God, my brother!”
We ended up talking in great length about his life. He wanted to know more about Holy Spirit so we talked about Him and who He was. We talked personal things. Family things. How he has a daughter and an ex-wife. Problems on the street. Up coming financial decisions. Pretty much everything one could talk about we talked and prayed about.
I remember discipling him on being a Christian and what comes with that. I talked to him about his identity and who he was in Christ. Taught him tools to use to defat the enemy and how to truly live. I told him, “It won’t be easy. It will actually get harder but the One who now dwells in you will always be there to give direction and comfort and peace.” I ended up taking his picture so I could remember him and pray for him. He asked me not to share it publicly but I think he won’t mind this one 🙂
As our conversation came to a close he asked me one last favor.
“Daniel, could you get me a Bible?”
“Shadrach, I will do my best to get you a Bible. How will I get it to you?”
So he took me to where he was planning on sleeping that night and showed me a place under some bushes where I could stash it and he would be able to find it. We embraced with a huge hug, now as brothers!
Off I went. Back to the conference. The whole ordeal took about 2 hours. I couldn’t believe it had been about 2 hours. Seemed like 30 minutes.
When I arrived at the conference I asked every booth if they had a Bible. Not one had a physical Bible. I couldn’t blame them. I only had an electric version on my phone too. I remember thinking well. I tried. Then a thought entered my mind out of the blue. “Why don’t you Google if there is a Christian books store near by?” So I did and that is when my next adventure began.
I let everyone know what I was doing and I would be back soon.
So off I went North again. This time to Alabadle Christian Store at 505 E 4th Street about half a mile away. On the way I greeted people with a smile and a good afternoon. Some I got to bless while others looked at me oddly. It was all good. I didn’t mind at all 🙂
Alabadle Christian Store Long Beach CA – image courtesy of Google
Finally, I made it to Alabadle Christian Store where I asked the wonderful store clerk for a Bible for someone who just gave his life to Jesus. She pointed me in the right direction but all they had were King James. After some assistance she found an NIV version. I quickly purchased it, blessed her and went on my way.
No sooner then I was maybe 10 feet out the door I saw a rather tall black man coming my direction. So I asked him if the street behind him that crossed East 4th street would get me to Vons. He said yes. Then I walked by him and felt I needed to pray for him. So i quickly turned around and ask, “Real fast, I wanted to know if there was anything I could pray for you for?”
He said, “Actually, there is. I just got out of a job interview and I could really use prayer in that.”
“Awesome! What’s your name by the way?”
So we prayed. It was a good powerful prayer. We talked about about God and how he was a Believer and regularly read the Bible and was involved in a really good Bible study but was struggles finding work. Then for “some reason” I asked him if he was satisfied with his walk with God. He said he enjoyed reading the Bible and learning it’s truths but felt like there was more to being a Christian. Then I knew I needed to share with him what was on my heart. What had just happened with Shadrach and that is when James discovered Holy Spirit in a very different way.
I explained to James how I had been in a very similar spot with my walk with God looking for more. I felt like there was more. I was hungry for more. I told him I had read Acts countless times but it wasn’t till about three and half maybe four years ago that I read it again and my heart was unsettled. I asked one question. Maybe one you have asked too James, “Why aren’t we seeing the things that happened in Acts today?” I mean, I have read the entire New Testament multiple times and I couldn’t find any place that it said the Holy Spirit had left. If He was here why are we not seeing or experiencing the things they saw and experienced in Acts?
He looked at me and said, “Yeah, I have been wondering the same thing.” I told him it didn’t stop. Let me share with you what happened early today with a man I just met named Shadrach.
I ended up telling him the amazing things God did and then showed him the shiny new shrink wrapped Bible in my right hand. I told him that right at that point in time I was in the process of delivering to him. James just looked at me in awe.
I said, “James, its all possible. All of it. Everything in Acts. All possible, man! Holy Spirit is alive and well doing the same things He did over 2,000 years ago!” He continued to stare at me almost in disbelieve but you could see in his eyes he believed it. He knew it was true. He knew this is what he needed. He needed to experience Holy Spirit. I knew he needed to experience the New Testament. Most importantly above all our Father knew he needed to witness and be a part of a story so commonly found in Acts.
I said, “James! Would you like to experience Holy Spirit like you have never experienced before?”
“I want to pray for the Baptism of Holy Spirit upon you. Is that ok?
So I prayed and Holy Spirit was alive and well. The presence of God was there. He felt Him. I felt Him. It was amazing. We couldn’t contain ourselves and we lifted our voice in praise shouting out to our Savior, our God, His Spirit! It was unbelievable. Man, all of this seems unbelievable when you think about it but it really happened. It’s crazy!
We hugged and blessed each other. He thanked me and we both went separate directions. Him West with now an extra jump in his step. Me East. As we distance ourselves we both almost simultaneously yelled, “JESUS!” It was beautiful. I felt like Philip and the Ethiopian sharing the Good News! Super cool!
Image courtesy of Google
I was on fire. Holy Ghost was upon me. I was superman. Suddenly I realized there was a 7-Eleven right on the corner of Atlantic and East 4th Street. Thinking I better get a snickers bar for my secret servant duties I walked on over. As I was walking into the parking lot a black car with a big black man pulled in and parked right in front of the store entrance. I felt in my heart God was gonna do something with him.
In the store I find the snickers bar and get in the checkout line. Who would be just before be in line? That big black man. I could easily hide three of me behind him. He was big because he was built big.
So I am standing by this huge man and I turn to him and say, “hey I am gonna buy what your buying.” He looked at me and sort of shrugged and did something with his face to indicate that he had heard me but wasn’t taking me serious. He pulls out a twenty and slides it up on the checkout counter to the clerk. I reach over and grab his twenty dollars. Ok, remember this guy is huge and I just put my hand on his money. They guy could have easily broken my arm. But I wasn’t thinking about that. I was so in tune to Holy Spirit I honestly didn’t even think about the consequences.
So my hand is on his twenty dollar bill. I slide it back to him and say, “No man, I’m buying!”
He looked at me and said, “Seriously! Noooo.”
“Yes, seriously. I am buying!”
“What? Why would you do that?”
“It’s a gift from your heavenly Father. He just wants to let you know that He loves you right where you are right now!”
This huge man quickly became a teddy bear. He grabbed me and gave me a giant hug. I am not 100% sure if he lifted me off the ground or not but I remember thinking wow he’s got big arms! He thanked me greatly with what looked like tears in his eyes and that was that. He was touched and taken off his guard and the Creator of the Universe encountered him! It was pretty cool. The clerk just sort of stared at me for a minute somewhat shocked. Then cool and collectively took my money for the snickers.
As I walked out of 7-Eleven, I quickly noticed a man wobbling on the sidewalk heading East on 4th street. I went over to him and also noticed he had an issue in his left eye. It was like a bulging Exotropia. I asked him if he was ok. He said he was hungry. So I offered him a snickers bar that I had just purchased.
He replied, “I can’t eat that. I am diabetic.”
“Oh, shoot! That’s not good.”
Then he began to tell me the plight of his condition.
“Can I get you something else?”
“Nhaw, but I could use some bus fair.”
Then I realized I was standing by a bus stop. “How much do you need?”
I think he said, “50¢” – I gave him a $1.
“Hey, do you mind if I pray for you?”
“No, I don’t mind at all.”
“Just, curious? Do you know Jesus?”
“Actually I do. He is my Lord and Savior!”
“Man! That’s awesome. That means we are brothers!”
“I guess you’re right!
So I prayed for healing for his body and diabetes to go. I prayed for his eye and identity. Then he almost fell over and I had to hold him up with my right arm. I asked him if he was ok. He replied, “I am reeeaallll good!” After I made sure he wasn’t going to fall I double checked with him to see if the street Atlantic would get me to Vons. He agreed and off I went.
I finally reached Vons and meet the same homeless man I bought the soap for. I asked if he was ok, blessed him and walked on. I was on a mission to give Shadrach his Bible. I looked throughout the alley and no sign of him. So I placed the Bible under the bushes we had agreed. Prayed he would find it and headed back to the conference.
Ended up meeting more people that day and praying for them with the youth group. It was a wild adventure in the Kingdom.
Sunday, on our way home from California my son and I stopped at Beach Break Cafe for breakfast were we had the opportunity to pray for our waitress. I just felt like she was experiencing pain of some kind.
I asked her, “Are you experiencing any discomfort or pain?”
“What? Are you some kind of healer?”
“No not me! I sometimes feel like people are in pain or hurting and I ask if I can pray for them.”
“Oh. Well, actually my Uncle just passed away today and it has been very difficult.” She said this holding back her emotions.
“Let me pray for you.”
Then her Father touched her with His Love giving peace and comfort. He had not forgotten her. She was greatly touched and thanked us with such a genuine look in her eyes you just knew something shifted. Something changed. Something powerful had taken place. We ate the rest of our food left her a very nice tip and drove to the beach for an hour of enjoyment.
At the beach, we made a little reminder to all that day that they are loved. Then it was off to meet some family at Legoland. What good times!
My trip to, in and from California was simply amazing. Being open and free to go where God wants is such an adventure. I encourage you to tell your Father you are willing to take an adventure with Him. He will not let you down and you will be forever changed!
If you made it this far leave a comment below as this was a pretty lengthy post!
God bless you and enjoy His everlasting kindness!