Where is the Kingdom of Heaven
Looking back at where I started in my walk with God, I would’ve never seen a future that included being called out by Jesus to be a part of the revival of a city. I was a messed up man, struggling to find hope in a life made of my own decisions. Jesus set me free from the bondage of 10-year gambling addiction that overwhelmed my thoughts and actions. The decisions I made based on that addiction almost brought my life to an end on September 8th, 2012. Thankfully, however, I called out to God, and instead of ending my life in the present, I heard the words that started my future.
“The Kingdom of Heaven is upon you”
The moment I heard those words my new life began, one I knew almost nothing about. I didn’t know what it meant to worship or praise God. I thought churches were unnecessary, and I thought tithing to the church even more so. I didn’t know about the purpose, or the power, of the Holy Spirit. I didn’t even know I was saved right away, all I knew was I heard from God, and my life began to change when I began chasing after Jesus.
God would eventually speak to me again, in the same way He spoke to me in September revealing to me that I would quit my job to follow Him, that I would be a soul-winner, and that my faith would encourage others. I am often asked, “How do you know you are hearing from God”? In this instance, it was easy to know it was God because I had never heard the term soul-winner before. (Soul-winning is simply a term used to describe someone who shares the gospel in the hope to lead others to Christ.)
The words I heard from God were in complete contradiction to my circumstances. I was no witness to Christ. In fact, at the time I heard those words I was still working in a casino, hadn’t told more than two people about my experience with God, and I wasn’t even attending a church. I was excited God was revealing plans to me, but I thought He dialed the wrong number. I was supposed to be a rock star, or a famous poker player, I’m not called to be an evangelist. God wasn’t making sense to me. How can I be an evangelist when I didn’t even know what that meant!
God uses the weak to confound the wise someone later told me (1 Cor. 1:27), and that sentence rang in my head for days. I knew I was weak because I couldn’t beat my addiction, I couldn’t let go of unhealthy relationships, and my life never amounted to anything. I finally understood that God didn’t call me to be an evangelist because I had some great life he wanted to let everyone see, but rather the opposite. God didn’t ask me to share the gospel because He knew I would be good at it, but because I wouldn’t be. The evangelist is Jesus Christ that is in me. The revelation that Christ uses people, places, and opportunities that seem unlikely to produce great fruit for the Kingdom, in order to prove that God is in control, made sense to me.
Around nine months after I asked God to deliver me from my addiction, God asked me to quit my $60,000/year job, start a ministry without any experience, and begin sharing the gospel with the world for $0/year. I was confronted with the choice to take the narrow road, or continue down the wide and easy road. With Jesus calling me, I decided to take my first giant walk by faith, and I stepped out of the boat of my old life and onto the waters of my new life. I can only sum up what followed because to mention every move of God would fill a book.
I can tell you there is plenty of evidence to prove God was in control. I went almost 18 months without a paycheck, I never missed a meal, and I was never in lack. I was blessed with miracle checks from strangers in the mailbox, blessed with a wife, and blessed with a firm foundation in faith walking.
All the while I was learning, and still am, how to be what God was calling to be. Since the day I left my job to start God’s job I have been completely unprepared for all He has asked of me, but I continually watch things unfold as if I had the perfect plan in place. God has used me, to speak to, pray for, and love on people that are hurting and lost. I have been humbled to see God work through me to see people ask for God in their lives, call out to Jesus, and recognize their need for change. I am continually overwhelmed by the big results God has used this ministry as a vessel to provide.
God called me, a man with a troubled background and no expertise, to run a ministry, and I did so because I knew I wouldn’t actually be doing any of the hard work. Jesus saves lives, not me. Holy Spirit convicts, comforts, and wins souls, not me. All I do is pray, and try and walk in faith, it’s that simple.
The point of all of my experiences is this. God is not done calling out the weak to confound the wise. God isn’t just calling out weak people, but God is calling out weak churches, weak communities, and weak cities. I believe everyone in this city is about to be faced with the same decision I was. Do we take the narrow road, or the wide road?
Revival is coming to St. Louis, in fact, it’s already started. St. Louis is weak, we cannot make wise decisions, we have no hope in our future, and we are soon going to have to decide if our city is going to amount to anything.
Thankfully, God is calling out to dead churches and drawing out dying cities so that He can revive them all. God is going to use our city to amount to more than we could ask or think, but our response is critical. Will we choose paths that seem easy but lead to the destruction of our lives, or will the people of St. Louis abandon what they think they should be doing to follow behind Jesus?
God is going to revive churches that seem like they have no life, and use them as a place where the Holy Spirit manifests during every service! God is going to revive cities that no one wants to go to, and make them places where people want to come and live!
Jesus has called me again, asking me to share this message. St. Louis is in revival! Jesus Christ will transform lives. There is no end to the love of Christ, and it can be poured out without measure onto this city if we ask for it, and it seems like we have. Why would Jesus come to St. Louis? Since St. Louis has been in the center of national attention, it has in turn, been the attention of prayer for the nation. I believe God has heard our cries for the presence of Jesus, and we are about to see a revival in an unlikely place. We are about to see God use our city as a vessel to hold big results of His glory!
If I could fill a book with the stories of God’s work in my life after I followed Jesus, imagine the scope of stories that will be written after an entire city decides to change direction and follow Jesus as well. All we have to do is pray, and walk in faith, and Jesus will do the rest.
Imagine what would happen if the “Kingdom of Heaven was upon St. Louis”!