|Through The Cracks Ministries!
It is through the cracks in our humanity
that the light within often shines brightest
-- Randy Constan
So Who Is Randy Constan?
I believe it is both healthy and wise for anyone starting any kind of public ministry to share some history about themselves. I run two risks here, the first being that in providing enough detail to be meaningful, I could quite easily bore the reader to the point of fatigue. But a second more serious risk concerns the perception of my premise, that "It is through the cracks in our humanity that the light within often shines brightest". This quite frankly is not a statement that strikes a chord of agreement with mainstream Christianity. More often, we expect those in ministry to have lived a "reasonably" conventional life, free of as much worldly influence as possible. If there were any periods of "wild" living, these should be long gone memories from which sermons about repentance and victory may be drawn. No current "cracks" of any significance are expected. Hence, we have the stereotypical minister in his classy 3 piece suit, always accompanied by his lovely wife and 2.4 children, each with their own activities and interests to meet our expectations of a model family.
Because of this pattern, I do need to warn the reader that I do not consider myself a role model of anything. Plenty of cracks here. I praise the Lord for everyone who has dedicated their lives to the Lord's work, whether or not they fit any expected mold. As for me, my life's spiritual journey has led me through quite a few paths, through which the Lord has clarified many things. I have not attended any bible college, hold no formal theological education, and have no "Dr." in front of my name. I make no claim to being a prophet or special messenger, beyond believing that the Lord has both inspired this work and is also my ultimate editor. However, one of my goals is for every believer to hear from the Lord for themselves, and it is ultimately left to YOU to seek the Lord as to whether my words have any value.
Some of the things I've come to believe are outside the boundaries of conventional Christian teaching. But as conventional teaching results in people falling through the cracks and being excluded, I believe there is a dire need for the things I will be sharing in this site. Many miles I've walked with the Lord as my shepherd, and each one has left me less encumbered by these man made doctrines and belief systems. God really is very very good, and I am eager to share the very personalized lessons the Lord has taught and continues to teach me over time. So in the spirit of friendship and openness, let me begin by taking you on a tour of my life. In the interest of completeness there is quite a bit here. So feel free to skip anything you find putting you to sleep!
From Now, back to then... my Childhood
As I begin this work I am 46 (though I may be 48 by the time this site is done), love the Lord, and live in Tampa Florida. I'm a self taught computer programmer, electronics designer, part time jazz guitarist, and a lover of nature, creativity, and freedom. I spent my childhood in Staten Island, New York. Outside of a condition of asthma which kept me ever mindful of having an inhaler on hand, I was a pretty happy Child. My Father, now deceased, was an extremely creative man who could carve a good likeness of your head out of a bar of soap in minutes, and think nothing of it. He was also a top toy designer at several major companies, back at a time when such things were actually manufactured in America. Needless to say, I got many of the early prototypes, and a kid could not ask for his dad to have a better profession.
I think very highly of my dad. Looking back, there were probably many times he could have thought me a very strange boy. Like the time I announced I wanted to be a fairy (OK, so I WAS strange!). No problem, he just took me down to his very amazing work shop, where he proceeded to make me a huge magic wand with a big sparkling star. It was no different from when I wanted to build a "soap box derby" car. No hang ups at all. I had many interests, from taking apart old TVs, to scouting, to guitar playing, and had a fair amount of friends. My Father was also a Christian, Lutheran specifically, and he did teach me about God and Jesus Christ, and took me to church and Sunday school much to the dismay of my Jewish mother and her side of the family. I am also infinitely grateful that my Father taught me about the Lord, but did not ram religion down my throat.
At age 12 I lost my Mom. It was a suicide, and though my parents had been having a lot of trouble getting along, no one knows for sure what made her do this. My dad had the good sense to keep the fact that it was a suicide from me until I was much older, or I'd likely have spent my teenage years blaming myself. Smart man. Now around that time and in the years that followed, during that magic age when most young boys were beginning to think about girls and talk about sex, I realized that I was somehow different from the others, and I did not understand why. In time I began to see my own sexual thoughts as not very manly, and actually somewhat girlish. Naturally this scared me quite a bit. Was I gay? (actually that was even before that word existed!). I did not know. But I did have some feminine preferences. It did not show up in my speech patterns or anything obvious, and there were plenty of boyish things I liked anyway. But in my high school years, I started straightening my hair into the "bowl cut" style I still wear today. In a way I was very fortunate, because during that hippie era of the 70's, boys were permitted to express many styles that at any other time would not have been acceptable. That plus the fact that I became a reasonable decent guitar player allowed me to fit in fairly well anywhere.
Drugs... my ACID era
Somewhere around maybe 17, I became very interested in LSD, largely due to all the publicity it was getting on TV as "the new drug". The TV reports described how it made people see colors and rainbows and put them into a fantasy world for 8 to 10 hours at a time. "Sounds good to me!!!" I thought, and I made it my business to get some. I did a lot of reading about it, and did everything by the book... including having at least one friend in the room that was not using the drug. To those that don't know, LSD is a tremendous mind altering drug. It does indeed cause what I can only describe as all encompassing hallucinations, in which the mind will convert music into the most amazing patterns of light and color. It also puts you (or at least it did me) into a very childlike state, and if you are not mentally stable or the environment is bad, it can turn into a nightmare experience that we referred to as a bad trip, or "flipping out".
LSD is on a certain level anti-addictive. First of all, if you take it less than 12 days apart, it will lose most of its effect. Second, the experience is so profound that most people would not want to use it again anytime soon. For me however, it marked the beginning of a lifestyle of progressively frequent drug use, with LSD and other hallucinogens at the top of my list. As a single parent, my dad was not able to police me as he probably would have otherwise. It was far too easy for me to have people over the house to trip out and get high anytime. I was also a pretty smart kid, so that unlike many of my friends, my schoolwork was not being affected at all by these drugs. In fact, I remember scoring a 94 on my Physics regents exam, which I completed in 1/3 the allotted time, after having used LSD for the first time just 2 nights before. But the lines between fantasy and reality were beginning to blur in my life. The effects of LSD lend themselves quite well to spiritual openness and curiosity. Around that time, a band called the Moody Blues became my favorite group. With their great blend of Rock and Orchestral music, and lyrics that always hinted at the greater realities of God, Love, and Hope, I was becoming a very philosophical kid.
A trip unto death. The point of no return... RIGHT HERE!
It is bound to happen. Sooner or later you will take that chance. Just eat the whole pill. The whole hit of what we then called "double barrel sunshine". Probably at least 4 times more LSD then I ever had all at once. And, I was NOT in a good environment, and was NOT with the friendliest people. Suddenly, I found myself in a state of mind where I could literally sense the "ticks"or perhaps the "frames" of my consciousness slowing to a halt. Each "tick" seeming to mark the possibility that this instant in time might be my last. Naturally this would scare the wits out of me, which no doubt forced a little adrenaline to my brain, which would start the wheels spinning again, for a few more seconds. But just a few! Again and again.... my consciousness would.... almost.... come.... ... to ... ... a ... ... .... halt .... RIGHT .... .... HERE!!!
|Side Note: All this may sound very foreign, and I confess to using certain language that may be recognised by others who have been down this road. What I'm describing is the dissolution of consciousness one can experience by taking too much LSD. It is the ultimate close up awareness of our own mortality. Of course we all know we are mortal, yet few would argue that coming face to face with death does not have significant impact. To realize and see first hand the fragile nature of my own consciousness... my very self, certainly impacted me. We seem to exist only in instantaneous "frames", with each new frame joined to the last by the lingering and fading memory of the last one. The apparent continuity is a fragile illusion. All that is needed for us to cease conscious existance is for the instants of awareness to slow to a stop. Then, the reverberating memory of our last fragment of thought fades into nothingness. (Sleep is actually a miraculous process in that we literally forget our own existance for a time, and in forgetting, blissfully slow down to a different level of consciousness without apprehension). There are others I know who have had this experience, and what is scary is the similarity of their descriptions. There always seems to be an immensely bright light that is off to the corner of your eye sight... but in all directions. It really is not to the left or right, it is at that moment... RIGHT HERE! And the sound is as a thundering chorus of 10000 voices marking the last place in time you ever will exist, that actually sounds like the words: RIGHT... HERE!|
Nothing like Death... to remind us of God!
I did not "flip out" as a result of this experience. But it affected me profoundly. It was the ultimate deception that takes many forms, and yet is unfortunately all too common. That is, we believe we are seeking infinity, but it is zero that we are actually persuing. I had always believed in God, from the time I was a young child. Even the music and drugs always seemed to reinforce my belief. But with all the different philosophies I'd been involving myself with, from Buddhism and Zen to auras and austral projection, I did not know very much about who God really was. Yet I still did believe in Him, and knew it was time to seek him. I remember questioning Him about all kinds of things, including what would have happened to me if I had not come back from that death trip. Then just about a week later, two friends were coming over who I hadn't seen in a long time, and we had planned on tripping. I remember praying to God before they came, and telling him that I really didn't want to continue using LSD anymore, and that this would probably be the last time. I also asked him to reveal himself to me and perhaps give me some kind of sign, if there was anything he needed to show me.
My friends Mark and Joe did indeed come that night, but only Mark wanted to trip. That night proved to be one of the more memorable turning points in my life. During the evening, we began one of those spacy discussions about life, the universe, and everything. At one point in the discussion, I commented on something not being right, and one of my friends challenged me saying: "right? right in whose eyes" Immediately I found myself replying "in God's eyes". What I had not known was that these two friends had recently become involved with some kind of bible study, and so this exchange started some very interesting conversation. They told me of many things I didn't even realize, starting with the fact that the bible actually might be a good place to learn some things about God. Well DUH!!! But as obvious as that may sound to some, it was news to me! They also made me aware of something I'd only thought of as a cartoon character: the devil. Looking at the world, it is actually easier to make a case for the existence of a devil then it is for God sometimes. But this too was news to me. Important too was their sharing that this was not a 50/50 "yin/yang" kind of balance as I might have thought. God and the devil were not equal and opposite forces. Unlike God, the devil was in fact a created being who will in time be destroyed.
God!! So much new insight!
I was awestruck by all the new information I was receiving. And my friends were not actually a part of any church, at least not yet. Rather, they had just gotten involved with a bible study offered by "Jehovah's Witnesses". While that may raise several flags to anyone who has been involved with them, you must understand how minimal my knowledge of spiritual things was at that point. It would be nearly impossible for anyone's biblical information to be less useful then my own! My friends told me of how there would ultimately be a day of reckoning according to bible prophesy, an Armageddon or judgment day, and that this was an event that was surely coming soon. But the most important thing they shared came when I explained how I had been trying to "get to" God... through my drugs, meditations, and attempts to understand the universe. They shared with me that I could not "get to" God. It did not work that way. Rather, I had to open my heart and let Him come in to me!
At that moment, I did open that door, and friends... there are simply no words for what happened. I called it pure spiritual contact, and it happened to both my friend Mark and I at the same time. For me, it was a point in time where God's spirit touched mine. It was as if God had been waiting at the door of my heart for a very long time waiting for that invitation ( Rev 3:20). In that instant... all the garbage in my head; the lingering effects of the drugs I was on, the convoluted thinking, the confusion, all my life's fears and concerns, everything in that instant was pushed out and replaced by clarity... like a cloudless and open blue sky. At that moment I went from believing in God's presence to knowing it, and was filled by an all encompassing Love. And in that instant I could see that unlike my own consciousness, God's spirit was indeed continuous, eternal, and always present.
Nothing in my human experience since that day has ever come close. It was several minutes (perhaps longer) before I could even utter a single word of intelligent speech. Yet all the affects of the drugs were gone completely, and we talked and shared well into the wee hours of the morning. Later, after everyone was gone and I was alone with the Lord, I spoke to Him about everything in my life that ever disturbed me or caused me to be fearful. And the Lord continued to minister to me, encouraging me as a good Father would, and letting me know that I needn't be concerned about any of these things, and to simply trust in Him. Ahh... looking back! If only I'd listened to His simple words. How much grief I could have been spared!
To whom much is given
There is a scripture that warns us that " to whom much is given, much will be required" ( Luke 12:48). Looking back over the years, I can see that indeed the Lord gave me this powerful sign and confirmation for a reason. First and foremost, that reason included an immovable anchor for my faith, in the light of all the discouragement that both life and religion would bring my way in the years to come. I too began studying with these "Jehovah's Witnesses". I must tell you outright that I consider this group to be very destructive and would openly and publicly warn anyone away from their influence, just as I would never encourage anyone to take LSD to seek God. The fact that the Lord uses something to accomplish His plans does not substantiate the value of that thing!. In this case, the Lord was indirectly using this group to teach me some very important truths about handling the bible, and thus accomplished His goal. It was a hard lessons, and an insight so important, that I need to emphasize it:
It is essential for every seeker and child of God to learn for themselves what the bible says and does not say (Hos. 4:6), to listen to others but seek the spirit of God for personal revelation on all matters in or out of scripture (1 John 2:26-27), and to resist a yoke of bondage to any man's interpretation of scripture (Gal. 5:1).
As I said, this was a hard lesson, and it was learned very indirectly because you see, the JWs did not intentionally teach me these things! Rather, it was learned through the spiritual equivalent of the "school of hard knocks". To their credit, this organization did alert me to the treasure trove of good information, history, and understanding about who God was, found in the bible. They also, having many teachings that go squarely against much of the Christian religion in which I was raised, made me realize how many ways there were to interpret scripture. So many traditional Christian beliefs we take for granted today are at the very least questionable, regardless of what bible translation is used! Most lay people realize this just by looking at the many bible based religions whose beliefs are in conflict. But here I had been exposed to several specific teachings, doctrines and beliefs, and was able to clearly see this process in light of what I could see for myself in the bible.
Unfortunately, despite their sincerity, this organization fails miserably in several essential ways, most of which are similar to the very ministries they themselves condemn. First, like all the religions over which they claimed superiority, they too think themselves to have the grand monopoly on truth. All understanding and interpretation of scripture was dispensed from their central organization, the "Watchtower Society", and few if any challenges to any teaching were ever considered, accepted, or condoned. The concept of an individual hearing a God given personal word for their lives was not recognised, and if that personal direction contradicted their teaching, you were eventually "dis-fellowshipped", or more simply: kicked out. This is a very powerful tool when you consider how members are encouraged to sever all ties with "worldly" freinds and even family. Second, like most religions, the biblical concept of a loving God treating us as a patient Father treats his children was hardly a consideration at all. Instead, followers were given the sole responsibility of purifying their own lives to meet God's standards, (which of course usually meant their standards), and again, any failure to conform was met with intimidation, and eventual "dis-fellowship" if the person in question would not turn around.
Many changes... but sorry... I won't Cut my hair!
Naturally, my new found relationship with God had a profound affect on my life, but not in the same way perhaps as other new "converts". I probably got many of my friends sick of me using every opportunity to speak about God and how good He was. But I never developed that "sin centered" mentality common to the usual religious evangelizing. Rather, I was much more interested in sharing about how wonderful it was that God really was there, how wonderful a personality he really was, and how they could know Him for themselves. As a child of God, there was definitely more attention given to the difference between right and wrong which I found myself applying more and more to my life. But I don't recall ever "preaching" to people or looking down my nose at anyone. I did find myself becoming more honest, friendly, and peaceable in my dealings with people. I also came to see the balance: That anything that had control over me, whether it was drugs or sex or music or peer pressure, had to be put back under my control by way of God (1 Cor 6:12). But I also learned that no thing is evil in itself (Rom 14:14), and that it was all a simple matter of living, learning, using your heart and head, and trusting in God.
Along with the many changes the Lord was bringing about in me, there were also many teachings from the JWs that I instinctively disregarded. Notions of abstaining from celebrating various holidays to me contradicted the bible (Col. 2:16-17), and the notion of refusing blood transfusions regardless of life or death urgency never made any sense at all (yes... they actually do believe such things). Dozens of stupid rules. But in the end, the final thing that caused me to cut my ties with the JWs was their insistence that I cut my hair. Now depending on who you are, you're either judging my petty "selfishness" and vanity in agreement with them, or you're applauding me for that choice. Hopefully you are in the latter category if you've read this far. What disturbed me was not the notion that it would be a praiseworthy sacrifice to keep one's appearance acceptable in order to reach more people. That concept, though wrong when universally applied, at least has the merit of a good motive. Rather, it was the lack of choice, and the whole manner in which things were done within that organization, which made any resistance futile. I already knew that God could not care less about my hair (Sam.16:7) Eventually, I would need to conform to all their teachings, interpretations, and lifestyle details, or I would not be allowed to be baptized and hence join their club. I knew that for all my life, it would always be one issue or another with them. In the end, I saved them them the trouble, discontinued my fellowship with them, kept my cute bangs, and continued to love the Lord.
No matter where you go, you take yourself
My faith was still strong and leaving the JWs did not affect my desire to remain centered in the spirit of God... at least not initially. But the bible warns us not to be forsaking fellowship with other believers (Heb.10:25), and I was certainly very alone spiritually. In addition, even in the nearly asexual atmosphere in much of the early 70's culture, I could not escape the growing influence of the underlying sexual pressure. Remember that issue? Yes, there still was that whole "feminine" part of me. It was as though I was, in my heart, both male and female, and growing up would at some point mean coming down off this fence. So I basically stayed a child, and began to see myself as a kind of "Peter Pan", a self image I have kept to this very day. Skipping ahead to the present, my self image now is one of confidence, and centered in the grace of God. But as a teenager growing up, there was little in either mainstream secular society or any church or religious body to foster such confidence. Absent was the awareness available today about the wide range a different feelings people have related to human sexuality and gender identity. In the mind of a teenager in those days, you were either straight, or you were gay, and in the absence of ongoing evidence of sexual activity in your life, there was a good chance you would be assumed gay... and few would use a pleasant sounding word like "gay" to describe you.
It was somewhere in my early 20s that I made a decision to look into the gay lifestyle. I was not actually attracted to anyone of my own sex at all, and if anything I considered myself to be asexual. But still the fact remained that a gay "club" was a place where I perceived a male could be anything from a rugged macho man to an outright sissy, discussing anything from football to ballet, and all without any feeling of exclusion. That notion proved true to a large degree. As a side point, it is an extreme shame that such acceptance is more widely available in such clubs then in church. I often seriously wonder whether Jesus, if he were walking the earth today, would be more likely found ministering as a bartender in a club than in church. Religious organizations with a particular axe to grind against homosexuals might do well to consider how many kids they actually push in this direction, by their intollerance of "crossover" behavior. But I digress. I felt at ease in these environments and even identified myself as gay for a time, if only to belong, seeing this world as a new found place of acceptance. This as you can imagine, led to the loss of many of my so called friends.
Now I was very aware of some passages in modern bible translations that did not seem to speak well of homosexuality. While any serious study of the word reveals God's grace is actually available to everyone equally, the fact is that I had all but forgotten the simplicity of my relationship with God... to just trust and seek a personal word from Him. Instead, I let the devil's religious people, disguised as angels of light (2 Cor.11:14), convince me I was in just another sinner headed for judgment. I began to hate God. Yes, I hated Him. I cry now just to think about it. How badly God must have felt at my turning my back on Him. But I was deceived into thinking that the only reason God revealed himself to me was so that I would be without excuse at my ultimate condemnation. I was angry, and not just for myself, but for all the people I'd met in that gay lifestyle. People who through no fault of their own were automatically condemned, while a world of religious zealots pointed fingers and persecuted them at every chance, even to pass legislation allowing them to be thrown out of their homes and jobs, to live like stray dogs in the street.
Marriage... a new phase, and a return to God
Around that time I became friends with a lady with whom I felt very comfortable and at ease with myself. It is not proper for me to discuss details of her life in detail, as we're no longer together at present. But suffice to say that she seemed to understand me and liked me for who I was. Having such acceptance and strong affections for each other, we became very bonded and soon married. Perhaps too soon. The marriage was certainly not without it's problems. Though we had similar life experiences that brought us together, we were in fact a very ill matched couple and had not really taken the time to know each other, and unfortunately did not get along very well. With God's help however, we did manage to bring some joy into each others lives for many years.
My marriage was in 1976 and in the years that followed, I began sensing the Lord knocking once again at the door of my heart. Through his own spirit, and with no help at all from religion, the Lord caused me to return to that bible and directed me to what he wanted to show me. The spirit just led me to scripture after scripture of encouraging words. Words describing how he would never leave or forsake me (Heb.13:5). Of how He remains faithful even when we are not (2 Tim.2:13), and of how He had loved me with an everlasting Love (Jer.31:3), even as He loved Israel after the nation had turned it's back on Him Gradually, I began to get it! I realized afresh that it is the grace of God and not our performance that saves us (Eph.2:9). The whole of Christian teaching on the matter of "sin" had become so lopsided as to exclude everyone outside the "cookie cutter" mold of religion's comfort zone. I was fooled once, and in the words of an old rock and roll song, I "won't get fooled again!" As you can well imagine, I have much more to say on this subject.
Despite my renewed acquaintance with God, The late 70s began a somewhat dry and spiritually uneventful era, in which I regained my trust in the Lord, but remained quietly unattached to any spiritual activities or organizations. Perhaps as a couple we were focused more on ourselves then on anything specifically spiritual.
The beginnings of Change. New light
Several years later, still not affiliated with any Christian organization, The Lord caused me to learn of an absolutely wonderful radio and counseling ministry called Loving Grace Ministries. They are still around today and now even have a Webster from which both live and recorded broadcasts may be heard. Their URL is http://www.lovinggrace.org. The founder's name was Wayne Monbelau, and to this day I am grateful for His work. Here was a man who's ministry was centered in encouragement, and whose core experience with God reflected the same ongoing grace that the Lord had ministered to me. I have to confess that I listened to at least 80-90% of the broadcasts and taped teachings from this ministry for the better part of a 10 year period from the mid 80s' to the mid 90's, and any similarity you see in some of the works available on the Through the Cracks Ministries" site and the teachings of Loving Grace Ministries are Not coincidental.
This was not the only outside influence the Lord brought to my attention. A transfer at my Job I didn't ask for brought me into the company of two believers involved with what was then called the "faith" movement. Their Church, led by a Pastor named David Demola (then and still called "Faith Fellowship") was based on many of the Pentecostal/ Charasmaic beliefs, especially in God's moving in peoples lives today as He did in biblical times. This included miracles of healing, prophesy, the infilling of the Holy Spirit, and the authority of the believer. At the same time, they had become "non-denominational" in their self description, and had left most of the religious baggage of their root Pentecostalism behind. Any group involving human beings will be less than perfect, but the fact was that they had indeed created an environment where you really could come and be yourself, without most of the maladies that I've described concerning religion. My wife and I both were able to share quite a bit of our personal experiences with that Pastor, and we were always made to feel welcome. No wonder that little church has now grown to a congregation of thousands. Had I not moved several times since then, I've no doubt I'd still be involved with that ministry.
Like all new influences the Lord brings to one's life, this one was not without purpose. While I always knew the Lord could intervene with the miraculous, I had never really learned the principals of faith on this level before. There is a certain spiritual confidence that the Lord wants us to have despite circumstances we see with our eyes, and this was a key thing the Lord wanted me to learn. It was that very faith along with God's confirmations that allowed us to purchase our first home in Long island, NY, with hardly $500 in the bank. And the same faith that 10 years later allowed me to pursue my dream to move to a warmer climate, despite all the fear of economic plight so many tried to put on me. The non denominational "faith movement" indeed taught me many good things, and to their credit, churches in this movement did at least for a season put quite a bit of religious baggage behind them.
Still some cracks to fall through
Despite the ground broken in leaving much of religion behind, many people still fall through the cracks in these Charismatic, or simply "non-denominationa" churches. As I've indicated early on my home page, they often fall into the trap of creating new religion while throwing out the old. People in these churches who do not receive miraculous healings, or do not show some specific manifestation of God's spirit that they have become used to, are often left between a rock and a hard place. At best, people will continue to pray for them, but the prayer is often that they will become like them. At worst, the old judgment side of human nature rears it's ugly head, so that people who do not manifest the evidence of God's supernatural touch in exactly the same way are assumed to be at fault. Perhaps there is a secret sin, or maybe they are not really committed to God at all. You can see where this can become a major trapping if not quickly corrected my a leader that knows better. But too often that is not the case. So again the cracks widen and people fall through.
Now I have to pause here to reemphasize an important point. Throughout this rambling story of mine, my own falling through the cracks in religious systems is certainly obvious, and one may get the idea that my purpose is to stand around and point out flaws in every Church. That is not my purpose at all. Rather, it is to testify of the continuing revelation of God's Love, comittment, grace, and forebearence with me, in hopes of ministering a clear message to others whose experience with religion has been less than joyous. That message very simply this: If the Lord has chosen to remain faithful and comitted to a fool like me, then anyone surely can also enjoy such a relationship with their creator, regardless of what they've heard to the contrary. In fact, the bible is full of examples of God purposly choosing what man rejects!
But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong; He Chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things -- and the things that are not -- to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him
(1 Cor 1:27-29)
It is not the cracks of interest to me, but the people falling through them! And I am convinced that part of the reason the Lord allows some of us to get beaten up so much by religion is so they will realize, as I have, the tremendous need to minister to these people. That is why I'm creating this site, and why I'm painstakingly describing my experiences, some of which are obviously "political suicide" to reveal in ministry. If after reading my history (and there is more to come here), you come to the conclusion that "If THIS guy can be blessed of the Lord, certainly so can I!", then I will rejoice with you, shake your hand, and tell you with a big glaring smile: Yes! YOU sure can!
Coming toward the present
It was around 1990 that I took my first trip to Florida on an excursion to the 'other' Kingdom (Disney's of course!). In addition to the reality of the warmth in the Month of March, I also noticed for the first time that my asthma was not bothering me. After being prayed for, having hands laid on me, "confessing" healing as if it already were, and following all the so called faith formulas without success, here I was breathing normally just because of a visit to Cinderella's Castle. Well the bible says every good gift is from above (James 1:17), and I already know God has a sense of humor every time I look in the mirror.
I spoke to God that evening about the possibility of my moving to Florida. I knew I could not afford it and it did seem like a typical hair brained "mid life crisis" scheme. I also knew that although I had some good job skills, I had very little formal education to use in getting a new job. The Lord's answer was almost immediate. First, he drew my attention to a radio program that just happened to come on. It was a pastor speaking, and his message was all about how we believers put our dreams up on the shelf of doubt, because of concern over jobs, money, possessions, and security. In fact, he explained, it is the Lord that is our security, and we should rather be pursuing our dreams with vigor, and faith in the Lord. Then, the Lord caused my attention to focus on a picture on my motel wall of sea birds flying carefree into the sunset over Clearwater beach. At that moment, I knew the Lord was with me in this crazy notion of mine to move south.
As with many of God's plans, it took some time to manifest. 5 years transpired before everything came together, and I could see that the Lord was preparing me. At my job, I had been given a project that would actually require me to advance my programming skills significantly, at the company's own expense, and this ended up preparing me for a future job after the move. But there came a time when I was communing with the Lord in the woods one day as I often did, and the Lord gave me a vision, and to this day I'm not sure exactly what it will lead to, but I will share it with you now:
I remember seeing a parade in the streets of the city, where all manner of people were marching, chanting and carrying signs. Then off to the side I saw other huge crowds holding up Christian symbols, shouting, and carrying signs of their own. As I looked closer, I saw sign after sign saying "You're all going to hell", and " Repent now all you sinners!" Then it slowly became quiet and It seemed like the Lord was whispering through tears, saying "will someone please just tell these children of mine that I love them?" I cried too. I didn't know what to say except, "I will Lord"
From then till now
I do not know how or what I can ever accomplish for the Lord, but I do know that all he needs is willingness. It was soon after this that my house in Long Island, New York was sold, and I left my job and come to the Tampa area. True to his word, the Lord was faithful to provide a job that used many of my newly sharpened skills, and which has lasted for 5 years at this point. The move and the many life changes also had the unfortunate affect of exacerbating problems between my wife and I. Despite all the prayers and faith, she recently decided to divorce me, and I no longer had the emotional energy or faith to try to change her mind. This is purely our own failing and neither of us blame God or anyone else for our shortcomings. Yet it is one more serious crack in my life, for anyone wishing to make the case that I am far too flawed to serve the Lord. I'm sure that you and I know better, but if it is true as I say, that the light often shines out brightest through the cracks, then I should have been a veritable lighthouse at that point, because I do not remember ever feeling so broken as I did when this occured.
A year ago I'd asked the Lord for some directions as to what I could do for Him. He told me quite pointedly to do some writing and in particular, to write some tracts (hand outs). As with many of us, the concerns of this life caused me to put this off until recently when I once again asked the Lord if there anything I could do, to which he quickly responded: "have you done any writing? and how are those tracts coming along?" Gulp! Well, here now is the beginning, and this brings me to the present. At the point of writing this bio, I do have one tract written which I'll make available on this site, and I will continue to write more. In addition, I will be sharing on many subjects that have been a cause for "crack falling" for many people. It is my hope that something here will bless you and help you gain a glimpse of how Good God is, in spite of all the "cracked vessels" that represent Him. I also encourage you to write me, and even consider ways in which we may help each other. If you live around the Tampa Bay area, I hope we can meet someday.