Friday, September 28, 2007

Back In The Saddle Again – Part II

I told you that I would tell you about Sona. Here’s what we found out about her. Sona was born in Thailand to Phillipino parents. Now here Mom lives in Kentucky where she is very ill with advanced diabetes and for some reason she has ended up in the hood with her cousins. I got the impression just walking by Sona that she would hurt you if given a reason, any reason! She is a tough kid, probably near 20 years old who h as lived hard her entire life and had to adapt to it. When we ran into her, everything in the natural would have told you, RUN AWAY! But I was drawn to her, I just KNEW that God would have something for her… and He did!

We’ve learned something in the last few years preaching in dangerous places. If you go for the strongman in a neighborhood or group situation, everything else is easy and just falls like dominos. I’d describe the strongman as the person ruling an area or arena thorough intimidation, witchcraft, manipulation or demonic control. In a group setting, it’s the baddest, meanest and most demon possessed person. Sometimes in a neighborhood setting it’s the neighborhood violent drunk, drug dealer or math-head.

Jesus talked about the strongman here:

“Or else how can one enter into a strong man's house and spoil his goods, unless first he binds the strong one, and then he will plunder his house.” Matthew 12:29

The only way to plunder that sucker is to bind him. Practically, we are searching out the strongman and going after him, FIRST. William Booth said, “Go for sinners and go for the
worst!” The worst sinners many times make the best disciples! Even if they don’t bow the knee to Jesus, they control people through their intimidation and behavior. When you confront that and defy their control or intimidation, the people around them see them as frail and human and are set free. But as you can imagine, it can make some situations get a little hairy. The person acting as the strongman in a household or neighborhood likes their control and is used to their control. Sometimes they defend that house violently! Maybe that’s why we’ve been in more than a few altercations and riots?

Anyway, we walked up to a group of men and women on the sidewalk. There were about 4- guys, dressed all thuggish with their 40oz. beers in their hands and 3-4 Phillipino girls talking out with them on the sidewalk. As we walked up to them I’m thinking, “Ok now, in this group, who is the strongman?” What you can count on is that many times the strongman has a big mouth! Everyone normally jumps when they say something. So we walked near them real slowly. They were all checking us out and it felt pretty uncomfortable. So this girl, Sona, takes a look at my shirt which says on the front, “got power?” and on the back, “For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of talk, but of power. – I Corinthians 4:20” and yells at me saying, “What, you think you got power or something?” Invitation received. That’s our cue to move in, seek out and destroy the Kingdom of darkness.

Instantly I could just tell that Sona was the strongman holding the little band of thugs and immoral women together. I could also tell that out of everyone standing around, Sona would be the one at her high school voted “Most likely to shank you in the prison yard”. This girl had anger and hate all over her face. She was hurting and all that it took to understand that was for her to challenge us. I turned to her and her friends and addressed her very simply, “I sure do.” I went on to tell them, “Jesus is with us and His power is at work in and through us. We see sick people healed and lost people such as you rescued from lives of sin!” They all went into “oh great, what do we have hear mode”. A couple of the guys scattered and scampered away, I called after them “where are you going? What are you afraid of? Get back here!” Sona was like, “So what, you here to preach or something?” I replied, “Oh yeah, you need what I’ve got!” Sona’s girlfriend, who I later found out was her cousin stood there and just said, “Don’t waste your time preaching to her, although she needs it the most (pointing to Sona).” Sona took a hard swig of her 40oz. beer and I could tell that she did not relish the thought of being the “hard case”.

So I focused in on her.

I just stood there in front of her, looking at her and silently asking the Lord for something that would break her hardened heart. As I looked, the Lord began to show me that in her past she had to resort to violence to protect herself and the violence had become an addiction, she liked to inflict pain on others. I then saw a picture of her being pulled from either arm, one by the Lord and His Kingdom and one by the enemy and his kingdom. The enemy had been puling harder and she was about to completely give in to the dark side and just go with it. I started by telling her, “Listen, I have to tell you that Jesus is King! That means that He is the boss and we have to serve Him. You have to serve Him!” She rolled her eyes and backed up a little. I continued, “I also have to tell you that His Kingdom, a Kingdom of righteousness, peace and joy is here, right now!”

I was about to lose them, they were backing away and losing interest, so I quickly said to Sona, “Look, sometimes Jesus shows me stuff about people and He’s showing me some things about you right now, do you want to hear them?” She just kind of stared. I took it as a yes and proceeded. “The Lord is showing me that you have been contended for. Both the Lord and the enemy have been working to gain your life. The Lord has saved you from certain death more than once and the enemy has really played his hand in your life. I believe that the Lord is showing me that the enemy has been pulling at you much harder than the Lord, but I am here to announce that it’s God’s turn! He’s going to start winning you over to Himself!” Tears welled up in her eyes and she started power drinking, just guzzling that booze. I told her, “I’m taking your swigging the beer that I’m on track?!” She nodded and so I continued. “The enemy’s work in your life has produced anger. Anger that seeks relief and you have found your relief through inflicting violence, but we’re here tonight to set you free of that anger. Do you want to be free?” She took another hard swig, this time tears streaming down here face and nodded, “yes”.

We asked if we could pray for her and lay hands on her and she said yes. All of her friends, once mocking, just sat there in stunned silence watching their partner in crime break in front of us. She was a little girl again, vulnerable and needy. We laid hands on her and broke the demonic power of anger. We released her from all of the spiritual garbage she had attained while walking in darkness. Tears streamed down her face and she was shaking softly under the presence of God. I didn’t ask, I just instructed her, “Say this with me, Jesus” She said instantly, “Jesus”. “You’ve got my attention tonight and I now realize that you are King and Lord.” She repeated. “I tonight, repent of my anger, my violence and my walking apart from Your Kingdom and rule. I, tonight, ask forgiveness for the wrong I’ve done.” Without hesitation she said what I told her to say, growing stronger with every sentence. “I feel Your presence and Your peace right now and I want more of it! I submit to the Kingdom of God and commit my life to you in service.”

The Presence of God overshadowed her and she was weeping and trembling under His presence. When she looked up from the prayer she smiled! She had this huge, ear to ear grin across her face. All of her friends were staring, mouths open at their hardened friend, weeping like a baby! I couldn’t resist and used her countenance as a testimony, calling them to change the way they thing (repent) for the Kingdom of God is on the earth! The night ended with us prophesying to three of her friends and relatives, calling all of them to serve Jesus. One of them made Jesus her King and all of them witnessed the power of the Kingdom!

Bind the strongman, plunder his house… It’s as easy as that!

PS - We start our UMT - High School/College INTENSIVE tonight! ( I'm excited!

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