Josh wrote down many of his thoughts. We have decided to share some of these with you over the course of the next months to let you get a glimpse of the relationship between the Heavenly Father and him. You will notice his unmistakable belief in God. He avoided many snags and dead-ends in his walk with the Lord by fixing his eyes on Jesus. In fact, he left a number of post-it notes on which were written those words from Hebrews 12:2: "FIX YOUR EYES ON JESUS." Here are various "snapshots" along his journey of life.
Spring, 1997 (22 years old)
I had a talk with God today about my lack of peace which I get from time to time about my life in general, not necessarily to do with money, school, etc. He made me to understand how the peace I was searching for was not the real thing. True Peace NOES NOT come with the removal of all one’s problems. It comes DESPITE them! But, this is a “Peace which passeth all understanding” since it comes ONLY from God. Thus, there is nothing that I can do BY MYSELF, i.e., WITHOUT GOD, to obtain this peace. The best that I can do is to call out to Him and ask that He put His Spirit in me and comfort me. This is ALL that I can do: to offer up my life as a sweet sacrifice to my Saviour and Lord and trust Him for the rest (two meanings of ‘rest’). Then, He helped me to see how this type of desire to know what to do to fix the problems AS AN INDIVIDUAL comes from our science. Our science ignores the deeper questions about how things behave in truly free conditions; which is, they behave just fine. However, when our focus stays fixed upon such a narrow scope of problems, we begin to think that, in theory, we can predict anything if we simply know the initial conditions. But this simply does not work in the God-Man relationship. I must, therefore, constantly remind myself (Ah! --there goes the problem in my thinking, even as I write) that I have a RELATIONSHIP with a REAL, LIVING, SPIRITUAL GOD, which means that I cannot predict His actions. Thus, I do not know the outcome. Too often, science discounts the existence of the Spiritual. This is a major flaw. Many men have tried to support their pride with this “implicit” assumption in science.
Truth and Life
Nov. 17, 1994 (19 years old)
Truth and Life, I believe, are the two ingredients of this universe. Statements asserting Truth now or in the past, I believe to be absolutely True or False. However, statements asserting Truth about something which is not already determined to be true or false, are neither true nor false. Such is the case with our lives. The statement, “I will be God’s child,” and “I will go to heaven,” are statements whose truth value has not yet been determined. If I do continue to follow God and what He tells me to do, then I will go to Heaven. However, I will not go to Heaven if I forsake Him. This does not mean that He will forsake me, for in fact, I know that HE will NEVER leave ME nor forsake ME, but I may, indeed, forsake HIM.
The Truth value and unvacilating quality of God has already been set down: “I Am the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End,” or “God was, is, and will be.”(Rev. 1:8). The human has been given a truly spectacular gift: that of life. Man has the choice to serve either God or Satan, but not both. Once the choice is made, there is no turning back. Perhaps Time is a creation which allows for the modification of Truth Value with respect to the future, but denies any possibility of changing that which has already happened or is. Though my choices are limited, either God or Satan, and not both, it is truly amazing that I have even those two choices.
If one believes in Truth, but not also in Life, they are doomed. To believe that we can choose is to believe in Life and Time. So, I believe at this time, that a person’s problems are a result of their not believing fully in both Life and Truth and their implications. Remember what Christ said, “I Am the Way, the Truth, and the Life....” (John 14:6). In light of that scripture, I must say that there are three foundational beliefs one must have in order to be one of God’s children:
1. They must believe in Truth; that everything which is NOT predestined is either True or False and NEVER both.
2. Life is God’s gift to us, giving us the power to choose either Christ or Satan, thus allowing us to determine to some extent the outcome of our lives.
3. They must believe that Christ IS, WAS, and WILL BE, and that He gave Truth and Life, and therefore, is THE WAY.
Life is much like a one-way road with many turns onto other smaller roads all along the way. The truth is, however, that there are only two destinations in life: Heaven or hell. The road does not lead elsewhere.
Sowing and Reaping
Dec. 15, 1994 (19 years old)
I believe that in many places in America today, the Harvest is UNPLENTIFUL; the reapers are plentiful, but the sowers are few. Plants are God's model of the human soul. The seed must be planted, tended, watered, and patience given in order that it give its fruit in due season. Perhaps one reason that many in this country seem to be every now and then obsessed with reaping, is perhaps due to their little or lack of understanding of agricultural practices. Most of the farmer's job entails preparing the crop for harvest, while very little time is actually spent reaping what has been sown. Helping others to come to Christ is a process that requires much patience. If the reapers decide prematurely to take up what is not yet fully ripe, then theirs, as well as the sower's work will have been in vain. Timing. The timing MUST be right, or else the crop will be lost.
Perhaps the hearts of America can be thought of as not simply an empty field, ready to be planted, but one that is rocky, full of weeds and thistles, and needs desperately to be fully cleared before any seed can even be sown. So then, what is this notion that the harvest is so plentiful, when in fact the field is not yet ready to be planted, let alone harvested? Maybe there are many that have not yet learned to distinguish between the unwanted weeds and the ripened crop, and so mistake un-nurtured souls for ones that are ready for Christ. No wonder then, that many are gathered into the Church as unripened crop, or even as a weed, and not even prepared to have the seed of Christ's Truth planted within their hearts.
Just as there is a time to reap, so also is there a time to sow, and as there is a time not to reap, there is also a time not to sow. The hearts of those who heed Christ need first to be prepared, cleared of encumbering weeds, then the Word of Christ sown into their hearts. It is only after the seed has been sown and care taken to feed properly the potential believer, that the time for harvesting has come. Then, when that blessed time has come, what a joyful time it will be, when a new Child of God is brought forth in his proper time from the fertile womb of Christ's Grace. But even after the times of jubilee and thanksgiving have passed, the young child of God must be nurtured and taught even more to bring him into the maturity that God requires of those who are reaped from His fields. Perhaps we might think of the harvested soul as being transplanted from the shallow soils of the world-though able to support the initial seed of Christ, it is not sufficient, and so the plant must be placed where Truth abounds.
8/1/2000 (25 years old)
There really is something within me now to write about evangelism. We, the church in America, are BLIND, and are exerting SO much effort to LEAD the BLIND!!! There are MANY who want our INHERITANCE (the nations) BUT are NOT willingto go THROUGH the DESERT to GET TO the Promised Land! We CANNOT SKIP to EVANGELISM without FIRST having REPENTANCE!!! Why was John the Baptist sent BEFORE Jesus?! John had NOTHING to do (directly) with EVANGELISM, but WITHOUT him, the way would NOT have been prepared!!! Yes, Jesus DID tell the disciples to preach in ALL nations, but it was UNDERSTOOD that it was to be SUBJECT to the LEADING of the Holy Spirit! Look at Paul himself: he wanted "to preach the word in Asia," but was "forbidden of the Holy Ghost!" (KJV) If somebody were to assert that the HOLY SPIRIT were KEEPING them from spreading the Gospel in a certain region, I would expect that MOST Evangelicals in America would say he was DECEIVED!!! But this was the APOSTLE Paul!!!! Oh, we LOVE to pull out the potions of scripture which adjure us to spread the word, but then, AT LEAST soft peddle, if not IGNORE, the sections which speak of judgement BEGINNING with the house of God! Judge NOT that you be not judged -- take the PLANK out of your OWN eye BEFORE you try to take the SPECK out of your brother's eye! I TRULY believe that WE THE CHURCH have the PLANK and the WORLD has the SPECK! Listen to what Jesus HIMSELF says: "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in Heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your Name, and in your Name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!' "(Matt. 7:21-23) I'm sure that Jesus would add, "Lord, Lord, did we not lead many to Christ?" Just as I Cor. 13 states, we are WORTHLESS if the GOOD DEEDS we perform are WITHOUT LOVE! WHO CARES if we preach the Gospel, if we do NOT do it IN LOVE! Perhaps it is GOOD that much of the church is HESITANT to share the Gospel -- maybe something DEEP INSIDE of them TELLS them that it is SIMPLY EVIL to PREACH the Gospel when THEY do NOT LIVE by it!!! Oh, that the LEADERSHIP of the Church in America would wake up and REALIZE that THEY are MOST RESPONSIBLE for the problems in the church, and hence MANY in the ENTIRE COUNTRY! But so MANY of them CONCENTRATE on SPREADING a WEAK Gospel instead of PURIFYING the Church to present a Gospel of POWER!!! How we are DELUDED! In the account of the sheep and goats, I find it INTERESTING that the SHEEP were SURPRISED to be numbered as SHEEP! They DID the Father's WILL WITHOUT EVEN REALIZING IT!!! Oh, that we would GET IT!!! If we but DREW CLOSE to GOD, how is it POSSIBLE that we would NOT have HIS heart for the LOST???!!! The REASON the church has to be PUSHED to GET OUT is that it does NOT spend time with JESUS!!! God wants OBEDIENCE, NOT SACRIFICE!!! Don't you see! SACRIFICES were instituted by the Law indeed, but they were of MUCH LESS importance to God than OBEDIENCE of the WEIGHTY COMMANDMENTS, namely, LOVE GOD, LOVE PEOPLE!!! If THESE are the TWO GREATEST commandments, AS STATED BY OUR KING, then WHY are THEY NOT the TWO MOST taught-about things in the Church? How did the Great Commission --- so named NOT by Jesus, NOR ANY of the Apostles, but by man -- become the GREATEST COMMAND?! [Note-This was really a PROPHECY, a prediction spoken to the eleven disciples, not a command: "You will go..." (Check it out in the Greek.) It was SIX or SEVEN YEARS before circumstances forced them out of Jerusalem.] If we would but KEEP the FIRST TWO, ALL the REST would AUTOMATICALLY FOLLOW! Or is Jesus a fool when He said that ALL of the Law and the Prophets HANG upon these TWO!!! What again did Jesus say to them? "Depart from Me for you did not share your faith?" NO! "Depart from Me for I NEVER KNEW YOU!!!" Jesus wants a RELATIONSHIP with His church MOST of ALL! We are, after all, SUPPOSED to be His BRIDE! The Groom could care LESS what GOOD the Bride DOES, if she NEGLECTS HIM to do so!!! I think we REALLY do NOT have the BOLDNESS to FACE our SIN and ADMIT that our relationship with God is TERRIBLE!!! INSTEAD, we try to cover it up with GOOD WORKS!!! But GOD sees THROUGH that thin lace, for HE looks on the HEART -- at the INSIDE of the cup, NOT the OUTSIDE!!!
Church, we need to GROW UP and put FIRST what JESUS HIMSELF put FIRST, put SECOND what HE put SECOND, and LEAVE the rest for HIM to direct us to do! When we walk by the SPIRIT, ALL of these things JUST HAPPEN! I know MANY would say, "No! People will NOT get OUT unless they are TOLD!" True, they must be lead, but lead by WHAT? MAN or the HOLY SPIRIT?! If by MAN, then YES, they WILL need MUCH prodding, but if the SPIRIT then a GENTLE NUDGE. When we put the HORSE BEFORE THE CART, it is ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE to get the burden to MOVE! There is MUCH BAD FRUIT which comes from this disobedience of God's GREATEST COMMAND. One is that the QUALITY of our WORK is VERY POOR! Sure, we may preach the Gospel to our neighbors, but how GOOD is the salvation that they are receiving?! ALL of the Gospels show that when the Gospel was preached CORRECTLY, there were ALWAYS MANY attesting signs and wonders! Now, to say that what we REALLY need is signs and wonders is almost like saying that the GREATEST part of a car is the INSTRUMENT panel! NO!!! Signs and miracles are a THERMOMETER which WITNESSES to the VALIDITY of the work of those that preach! Thus, when we see the Gospel go out WITHOUT these, we KNOW we are MISSING the SEAL OF APPROVAL! Neither is it cogent to assert that we merely need to get OUT there and preach the Gospel and THEN the miracles will come! What were the miracles for in the FIRST CENTURY?! The BELIEVERS? NO! They were MAINLY for those that did NOT believe! Otherwise, why did Jesus tell His disciples at LEAST to believe Him for the WORKS that He did, if NOTHING ELSE?! FROM THE VERY FIRST DAY THAT THE GOSPEL WAS PROCLAIMED AFTER YESHUA LEFT, THERE WERE SIGNS AND WONDERS! WE MUST NOT SKIP THE FIRST PART OF ACTS WHERE THEY WAITED UPON GOD TO SEND THEM OUT!!! Yes! From the FIRST DAY that the Gospel was proclaimed miracles ATTESTED to its validity! NO WONDER it is hard to call the ENTIRE NATION to repentance when we are NOT in GOD'S WILL!!! Wouldn't you RATHER WAIT upon God, seek His FACE, until HE sends us out, and have HIS APPROVAL? Or do we have SO LITTLE LOVE for God that we like the Israelites want ANOTHER to go to Him on our behalf???!!! Oh, America! YHWH LOVES YOU!!! He JUST wants to spend TIME with YOU!!! Oh, you nation of MARTHAS! SIT AND LEARN AT HIS FEET!!!!! BE an UNPRODUCTIVE, REPULSIVE Mary!!! So, you can say to me WHATEVER you want about spreading the Gospel, but until I SEE signs and wonders ACCOMPANYING, I KNOW that ALL involved are NOT in GOD'S WILL!!! Oh, do NOT think that TIMING is NOT important, America!!! Remember Saul! Remember Saul! He WAS called of God to do something, but he just could NOT WAIT!!!! It COST him his KINGSHIP! And is it NOT INTERESTING that it was to SAUL that he said that OBEDIENCE is BETTER than SACRIFICE!!! Yes, America, you wish to bring God the SACRIFICE of the LOST, but what about His BRIDE?! Haven't you been sleeping around a bit too much to appease your Husband's wrath by this?!
HE WANTS YOU!
Wed, 02 Aug 2000
Subject: American Evangelism: cont.
There was a verse that I thought of shortly after I finished writing that last piece that I thought extremely pertinent: "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel about on sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves." (Matt. 23:15; NASB) "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, pretenders (hypocrites)! For you travel over sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes one [a proselyte], you make him doubly as much a child of hell (Gehenna) as you are." (Matt. 23:15; Amplified) "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are." (Matt. 23:15; NIV) "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves." (Matt. 23:15; KJV) As can be PLAINLY seen, the scribes and Pharisees were ALSO VERY EVANGELICAL! Many times I believe people like to broadcast the Gospel to make OTHERS feel BAD so as to make THEM feel LESS SINFUL! The WORST part of it is that the CONVERTS were WORSE AFTER EVANGELISM than BEFORE!!! We, the Church of America, ought to SEEK GOD to make SURE that WE ALSO are NOT worthy of this reproof!
Fri, 04 Aug 2000
Subject: More on Evangelism
As I continue to search the Scriptures and ask for God's guidance regarding evangelism, I've discovered more. I've heard reference to the following passage: "My food," said Jesus, "is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish His work. Do you not say, 'Four months more and then the harvest'? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. Even now the reaper draws his wages, even now he harvests the crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. Thus the saying, 'One sows and another reaps' is true. I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor." (John 4:34-38; NIV) Here is a similar passage from Matthew: "Then He said to his disciples, 'The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field.'" (Matt. 9:37,8; NIV) "Then He said to His disciples, 'The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore, beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.'" (Matt. 9:37,8; NASB) "Then saith He unto His disciples, 'The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth labourers into His harvest.'"(Matt. 9:37,8: KJV) "Then He said to His disciples, 'The harvest is indeed plentiful, but the laborers are few. So pray to the Lord of the harvest to force out and thrust laborers into His harvest.'"(Matt: 9:37,8; Amp.) "'What a huge harvest!' He said to His disciples. 'How few workers! On your knees and pray for harvest hands!'" (Matt. 9:37,8; The Message) The first thing to note from BOTH passages is that the HARVEST IS RIPE! Now, it could be argued that Jesus spoke of that particular time and place.
For Chico, at least, this is irrelevant -- I've SEEN the READY HARVEST! Just as Jesus said, if we will but OPEN our eyes and LOOK, we will PLAINLY SEE if there is indeed a harvest. The second passage says further that the LABORERS are FEW. Again, it could be argued that this is not ALWAYS the case. What DOES seem clear, however, is that there are FEW EFFECTIVE LABORERS in Chico, otherwise the harvest would be COMING IN QUICKLY! Thus, whether or NOT Jesus intended these to be for ALL times and ALL places, they FIT Chico CLOSELY ENOUGH. Thus, we may safely APPLY them to Chico. What now is the COMMAND that Jesus Himself gives in such a situation? Does He tell His DISCIPLES to find laborers? No. Does EVEN HE, the Son of God, set about to SEND laborers out? No. Jesus, the Only Son of God, who had POWER to do ANYTHING, is CERTAINLY more qualified than ANY other human else to send out laborers; yet this is NOT what He does! EVEN JESUS chooses ANOTHER course! Jesus Himself tells His disciples to PRAY! Yes, OUR MASTER HIMSELF commands them to PRAY FIRST -- NOT to ACT FIRST! Notice to WHOM He tells us to pray: the Lord of the harvest. But this is JESUS speaking! By this He recognizes ANOTHER as Lord of the harvest. Thus, if JESUS HIMSELF calls out to ANOTHER for the harvest, so much MORE should WE! If JESUS' FIRST command was to PRAY, what ought to be OURS? Did He not tell them similarly when He ascended? "And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high." (Luke 24:49; NASB) Perhaps Jesus did NOT intend for them to be in prayer while they stayed in the city. Their RESPONSE, IMMEDIATELY AFTER given "The Great Commission" ELIMINATES this possibility: "Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day's journey away. And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying; that is, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James. These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers. (Acts 1:12-14; NASB) Notice that this group was NOT ONLY the INTERCESSORS! ALL of the APOSTLES were there as well! In fact, it would SEEM that the WHOLE CORE of the Church, if not MORE, was assembled! But this is not all. It says that they were CONTINUALLY devoting themselves to prayer -- NOT just a BIT here and there -- CONTINUAL DEVOTION TO PRAYER!!! ....CONTINUAL PRAYER BY ALL OF THE KEY LEADERS, AND OTHERS, OF THE CHURCH!!! But from Matthew, we KNOW that they had ALREADY received "The Great Commission"! So WHY CONTINUALLY DEVOTE THEMSELVES TO PRAYER?! It is because they had LEARNED from the EXAMPLE set by their Beloved: PRAY FIRST. Yes, they heard "The Great Commission," but they recognized yet a GREATER COMMISSION: PRAY BEFORE ACTING! How fitting then is the name of God's House! A House of PRAYER! It is NOT called a House of EVANGELISM!!! Perhaps we can reap the harvest WITHOUT FIRST PRAYING HARD, but this is NOT what JESUS did, and it is NOT what the FIRST CHURCH did. Do NOT forget the EXTENT of this prayer: ALL OF THE KEY LEADERS OF THE CHURCH AND THOSE CLOSE TO JESUS IN FULL AGREEMENT CONTINUALLY DEVOTED FOR ABOUT A WEEK! There is still MORE that they did, as recorded at the VERY END of Luke: "And they returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple, praising God."(Luke 24:52,3; NASB) "Then they worshiped Him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God." (Luke 24:52,3; NIV) "And they, worshiping Him, went back to Jerusalem with great joy; and they were continually in the temple celebrating with praises and blessing and extolling God. Amen (so be it)." (Luke 24:52,3; Amp.) "And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy: and were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen." (Luke 24:52,3; KJV) "And they were on their knees, worshiping Him. They returned to Jerusalem bursting with joy. They spent all their time in the Temple praising God. Yes." (Luke 24:52,3; The Message) Amidst PRAYER they spent MUCH time in PRAISE and WORSHIP! So, if they were CONTINUALLY DEVOTED to PRAYER AND CONTINUALLY in the temple PRAISING and BLESSING GOD, then WHAT ELSE did they have time for? Probably NOT MUCH! THEY SPENT MUCH TIME IN PRAISE AND WORSHIP BESIDES PRAYER!!! Yes, indeed, there has been MUCH PRAYER for Chico. However, has it been of THIS CALABUR? Has there been PRAISE and WORSHIP of THIS kind? Perhaps THIS is why we are STILL WAITING to REAP Chico! It was VERY OBVIOUS when the HOLY SPIRIT SENT them OUT! In fact, it almost appears that they could NOT HELP but GO OUT!!! THAT is what MIGHT be called FORCING OUT and THRUSTING laborers into the Harvest!!! So, again, we can do it OUR way, and get SOME of the Harvest, or we can do it GOD'S WAY and see the Gospel go forth in POWER! And, if indeed we ARE going to FOLLOW -- COMPLETELY -- the example of the early church, then the WHOLE CORE, PLUS those CLOSE to JESUS, IN FULL AGREEMENT with each other, ought to DEVOTE CONTINUALLY themselves to PRAYER, PRAISE, AND WORSHIP. WE OUGHT TO DO IT GOD'S WAY OR NOT AT ALL!!!
To repeat: Jesus wants a RELATIONSHIP with His church MOST of ALL! We are, after all, SUPPOSED to be His BRIDE! The Groom could care LESS what GOOD the Bride DOES, if she NEGLECTS HIM to do so!! Oh, America! YHWH LOVES YOU!!! He JUST wants to spend TIME with YOU!!! Oh, you nation of MARTHAS! SIT AND LEARN AT HIS FEET!!!!! BE an UNPRODUCTIVE, REPULSIVE Mary!!! Oh, do NOT think that TIMING is NOT important, America!!! Remember Saul! Remember Saul! He WAS called of God to do something, but he just could NOT WAIT!!!! It COST him his KINGSHIP! And is it NOT INTERESTING that it was to SAUL that he said that OBEDIENCE is BETTER than SACRIFICE!!! Yes, America, you wish to bring God the SACRIFICE of the LOST, but what about His BRIDE?
HE WANTS YOU!
"Be still.........................and KNOW... that I am God." (Psalm 46:10)