Thursday, August 11, 2016

The Jesus Movement

     Before I begin my story here I would like to state that todays date is Aug. 11,2016 and we are in a very sad state of affairs as far as the Christian church and the world as a whole is concerned.  I will go into more detail later on this, but for now I will back track to 1965.

     It seems  that time moves at a snails pace, but truly as I look back it is frightening how fast we are actually moving by 10 year increments.  Just from the 40's to the 60's our identity as a country and a world changed immensely.  In the middle of all that we are sentenced individually to creep along day to day trying to discover our own destiny and meaning of life.   The 60's were very turbulent times.  It seemed that every solid structure was being shaken and changed especially in the area of human rights, religion, music, government, etc.  The age group just a little older than myself was not happy with the status quo.  It seemed that all the young of America were unhappy and searching for new meaning and experiences in life.   Of course everything seems to start in the larger cities.  New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco.   The bohemian lifestyle adopted by many college students in these cities, was starting to evolve into what became the Hippy generation.  Drugs became the new doorway to spirituality creating  the new thought that was the most controversial ever, and rock and roll was pounding in the background creating a gap between the older and younger generations like an earthquake on the San Andreas fault.  On another canvas we had the structure of Christian America divided into countless denominations throughout the country structured comfortably by the older generation, raising their children in their own definition of God.  In the background our unseen God was getting ready to lay a new foundation in preparation for the fulfillment of prophecy leading up the the last of the last days we are in now.  


     This phenomenon was definitely not just a "fad".   Looking back it was solid evidence of God's Holy Spirit descending on mankind suddenly within his time frame as the second coming will also be.   It seems to have begun in widely separated areas, completely independent of each other at exactly the same time.  All over young people were having radically life changing experiences with Jesus himself.  Total strangers were sharing these experiences with each other in parks, coffee houses, and homes.  Driven by this invisible hunger to know more about God, the hippies began to invade the established churches and create their own small bible study groups.  All the way from Hollywood to New York.  Costa Mesa, California to Canton, Ohio.  All of a sudden some of the faithful street preachers of the Old Time Religion were finding their words were no longer falling on deaf ears.  Instead God had renewed his message and they became the beacons to thousands of young people who were strung out on drugs and exhausted from living the street life they once thought was new found freedom from "The Establishment".  Personally I already had a love for God and faith through my birth religion of the Catholic church, but I was also a 17 year old youth enthralled with the 60's and 70's and a chronic user of LSD, and whatever experimental psychedelic drug was on the market.  Little did I know my secondary school in God was just about to begin also.


Sunday, May 3, 2015

Las Vegas ... May 1969

     Las Vegas ... What an experience.   Funny the photo says the Fabulous Strip.  I guess we "thought" this was fabulous back then.  I really wasn't sure what I was going to do there.  God knows I miss those simplistic days in that small personable town of 1969.  Population 125,000.  I had an aunt, uncle, and a first cousin and his wife that lived in Henderson, Nevada 12 miles down the road from Fremont Street.  All of my years  from the age of 17 to the age of 42 was influenced by the state of Nevada and California to the west.  

     During the time I was raised in Winslow, Az.  My predominant influence was the Catholic church.  I had been to a few Mormon dances mostly because of my love of dance, and no one really paid attention to me.  I later learned it was because I wasn't white or from a high income family, and  I didn't really pay much attention to other denominations in the area.  Besides from other Latino families it was always the same story at that time.  "If you were born Catholic, you died Catholic".  So to my surprise there was a big family scandal happening when I arrived.  My first cousin and his wife had converted from Catholicism to a Foursquare Pentecostal church in the Henderson area.  This is where it all began.  This was my first school of the Spirit that God had planned for me.  I could have never fathomed the scope of what that new world was going to be.  

     The Foursquare Pentecostal church was founded by Aimee Semple McPherson.  That particular side of Christianity was controversial as the background of the tent revivals of the early 1900's. These people were what were generally called "Holy Rollers"... Born an Aquarius naturally nothing about life seemed bizarre to me, and anything that was connected to me learning more about God would be a natural step.   Simultaneously I was also coming from a background of being called a Hippie back in Winslow, as that also caught my attention.  The whole country was in flux, and I wanted to be in the middle of all of it.  Aquarians very naturally absorb any and all information and experiences that they can in order to truly understand the meaning of life.  I had come from a small town to a small city that was connected through it's own controversial nature to the whole world.  The expansion of what was really happening in the world on the level of war, racial riots, rock and roll, drugs, etc. was all now at my fingertips.  There was something else happening in the whole world on a larger scale that I had no clue about.   It was the outpouring of God's Holy Spirit scripturally called the former rain coming down to prepare the world for It's Last Days.   It was coming down everywhere all over the world and in America it was going to be called "The Jesus Movement" .....

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Lord is My Shepherd


     In January of 2012 I was hospitalized for 10 days.  During that time I either had a near-death experience or a vision.  I was sitting on top of a sort of plateau with a view of a canyon valley below.  It took a moment for my vision to focus on exactly what was happening around me.  I was seated on a large rock comfortably with someone else sitting to my left with his arm around me.  I looked over and saw that it was Jesus.  I couldn't see his full face and he seemed to be much taller than me, and I was nestled more or less below his chin.   I wondered If I had crossed over, but looking to my right I saw a canyon wall like a barrier that was going straight up into the sky.  At the very top of that wall was a very bright light at it's edge, and I somehow knew heaven was up there.   Then I looked down into the valley and noticed the path going through it.   On the path it grew darker and darker as it continued on. It seemed he spoke to my mind and said "That is the Valley of the Shadow of Death".   Don't be afraid.  I came to understand in May of 2013 just what that meant.  It seemed as if he spoke to me of many things that were placed in my mind that I don't remember.

     I then looked over around him farther to my left and saw that Lucifer was seated there also quietly facing away from us.  He wasn't the fearsome, ugly devil you see in paintings.  He was a very beautiful dark Angel.  I could only see the back of his head with long black hair lying over the top edge of his beautiful black wings that were encrusted with thousands of tiny precious gems.  He was not "allowed" to speak to me or look at me.  His side of the mountain looked out into night.   Out before him were all the kingdoms of the world lit up and layed out in splendor before him.  I saw there were kingdoms from the past to the present.  I didn't know the names of many, and Las Vegas was definitely one of them.  Somehow I knew this was the same view he showed to Jesus during the temptation in the wilderness.  I felt it was meant to teach me something about his nature.  Then Jesus gave me a little cake to eat that tasted like honey and words.  (That is the only way I know how to describe it).  he said, "This is for another time," and then I was back in my hospital bed.

     Once you've been taken to a high place and see everything from God's point of view it forever changes how you see things.  I've always had the gifts of being able to see, hear, and feel in the spirit.  Combined with this new learned promontory point it is amazing and a bit frightening.  It comforts me to know God really does have a plan from beginning to end.  One thing that stands out very clearly to me now is how this world is a proving ground for man.  Battleground is actually more correct for the "perfection" of the human soul.  The importance of the human heart to God and how we respond to the light and darkness we are born into.  It is God's presence and his love in this world that helps us to reach for the light when instinctively we want to reach out and embrace the darkness.  There is much more I would like to say right now, but as he said "it is for another time".

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Before we go on to Vegas..

     Before I continue with the next leg of my life journey I would like to interject something very important that happened around the age of 11 or 12.  I can't divulge the why's at this point in time because of a legal situation, but I can share how the unrequested powerful intercession from God happened to me.  I'm also sure that if you take time to search your memory some of what I call "saves," and "divine proofs" have taken place in your life also.

     I attempted suicide at that very young age.  It wasn't because of a family situation.  The reason and everything attached to it was hidden in some dark crevice of my memory till just recently.  What's more important is that I wasn't just a kid playing around with the idea.  I made a solid plan, and I wanted out of here.  One of my uncles came down with Malaria while stationed in the Philippines during the war.  Often if he stayed over our house while he was sick, he would leave his large bottle of Phenobarbital  in the medicine cabinet.  My dad was at work, and mom left to go shopping for a couple of hours.  I unplugged the telephone from the wall, locked the doors and downed at least 30 Phenobarbital.   I lay down to sleep around 4:00 in the afternoon.   The next thing I knew I came to in the hospital having my stomach pumped.  There still isn't memory of much, except one of my cousins telling me the story of how I wound up in the hospital.   Apparently God, and my cousin are the reason I'm still alive to tell the story.  She told me she received a phone call in the afternoon and all she could hear was very bad static on the line.  She hung up the phone and it rang again.  This time when she answered she said a young man's voice clearly said to her "go over to Randy's house now, and break down the door to get in if you have to.  So she and her younger sister ran over to my house.  The doors were locked and I guess the younger sister climbed in through a window.  She said the phone was unplugged.  The rest is history.  

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The World is Calling

     The home I was raised in from birth was two doors down from my grandmother's home.  The Santa Fe railroad was the life blood of the community, and we lived on the street right next to the train tracks.

     It's funny how you get used to the noise of the trains banging together and slowly moving out in the middle of the night.  The tracks stretching out as far as you could see to the east and west.  The train whistles far in the distance at night would call my soul.  I wanted to travel.  I wanted to see the world, and  I knew someday I would move away from Winslow, Arizona.   My father worked for the railroad, and because of that I had a free pass to travel until I reached the age of 18.  So I traveled as much as I could during summer vacations.  I had relatives in East Los Angeles, and Albuquerque.  I traveled alone since I was 12 years old.  I don't remember much verbal conversation with God except to ask for his protection during those years, and protect me he did.  In retrospect his angels were working overtime when I was on the road.

     I was born into a fascinating time in history.  World War II and the Korean War were over, and the world was on the mend.  The world was hungry for a lasting peace and the new prosperity seemed to give everyone a feeling that everything was going to be alright now.   I was caught up in homework and music.  T.V. and movies.  (The Good Old days).  Is there really such a thing as the good old days?  In all honesty no I don't think so.  Not on a world scale.  On the individual scale yes, to a degree based on a few key ingredients.  1. Childhood and the nievete of youth. 2. A comfortable national and personal family economy, and 3.  A family environment that is loving, nurturing, and positive.  I am grateful to God I had all 3.  Life, however,  never allows one to be unaware of the reality of the two edged blade it wields for very long.  My father was in Germany during the war and his company was responsible for liberating the death camp at Auschwitz.  He had a book with pictures of all they saw.  Around the age of 5 I would sneak his book into my room and look at the pictures of Germany, the ovens, the bodies.  It didn't frighten me though.  I guess I really did come in with an older soul and somehow it gave me an understanding of this world I was just born into.  Television also brought the world into our living room when I was only a year old.  Dad watched the news every night and in October of 1962 we were dragged  into our first experience of global fear as a family.  Our new President Kennedy was saving us from the Cuban Missile Crisis.  As they tucked us into bed I remember mom saying..don't be afraid.  Just say your prayers, and tomorrow everything will be fine.  (I still live my life that way).  Then there was the assassination of our President Kennedy, and his brother Robert.   Vietnam, Selma riots, Watts riots, on and on and on.  I graduated in 1969.  I had relatives in Las Vegas and I left my home town to fully immerse myself in all the world had to offer in that city.  Little did I know that God had his own plan before I could carry out my own. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Before I continue....

     Before I continue on to Testimony 2, I would like to interject something here.  If you are following, it seems to be taking awhile to get to what I promised in the beginning of this blog in regards to connecting you to God.  My apologies, but I don't want to be some random stranger to you.  I want to give you a small window to who I am and how God reached down and lovingly taught me the lessons I will be passing on to you.  There are many other personal stories I will share along the way in accordance with how they pertain to the lesson I was learning at the time.  If you are reading this blog, then God has drawn you here, and he has a plan for your life.  No matter who you are, you are important to him.  No matter what you've done or how beat up from life you are, you can change the whole direction of your life just by starting to talk with him.  The miracles that have happened in my life can and will happen in yours if you just give him a chance.  Again as I have said before...I didn't say "Church"...I said "God".  

Monday, June 20, 2011

Testimony Part 1

     During my first exposure to a Pentecostal church service I heard a word I didn't know.  That word was testimony or testify.  I saw it used when individuals would come up to the podium and tell the rest of the congregation some physical proof of God moving in their life or answering a prayer.  I am 59 years old at the time I am writing this, and I am coming to an understanding that my whole life has been a testimony. 

     I was born in 1952 in a small town in northern Arizona created by the railroad  on the famous route 66.  I had one brother 7 years older than myself, and a younger adopted brother that was actually a first cousin.  I guess we were poor by some standards, but I never felt that way.  My father worked 2 jobs in order for us to never be without, and now that I look back I realize we as children really didn't want much.  Those were the days that life was filled with adventure  just sitting in a big empty  refrigerator box in the back yard with a few toy cars and soldiers.  Most importantly my house was filled with love.  I don't ever remember hearing my parents argue about anything, and well into old age my mother and father treated each other like newlyweds.  So caring and respectful to each other.  We were raised Catholic, but my parents were not religious in a church sort of way.  Instead I saw God in a daily way of my parents expressing thanks, or in some difficult situation my mother would just say "It's o.k.  God knows what he is doing".  She had such a childlike faith.  I remember often this 5 inch crucifix hanging in the kitchen window, and during the winter she would put a little cloth over it so Jesus wouldn't be cold.   I fulfilled my childhood sacraments in this little neighborhood parish a few blocks away from the house.   Baptism,  First Holy Communion, and Confirmation.    I knew I was different from other kids by what I heard others say about me.   Looking back from this vantage point, I never even imagined how different I actually was.  I heard grown ups saying "Your son has a heart of Gold" , "He seems to be so much older",  "He is such a smart boy".    I also heard words that we meant to be hurtful by some because I was also obviously  "way too sensitive for a boy".   In the 90's I learned the word for that type of sensitivity.  I am an  "empath".     I never really cared what others said in the negative about me,   I was already walking in a spiritual strength I didn't know I had till I was much older in life. 

     There was a playground and a grotto to the Virgin Mary next to the Catholic parish in my neighborhood.   I had a fascination with everything connected to the church on my own.  I also noticed that this was different from the other kids I was playing with outside the church.   "I loved to go to mass".  I believe my first meeting with God was during one of these play days.  I never had walked into the church without a grownup  prior to that day.  I remember I decided to venture in alone while the other kids were playing.  I thought the door would be locked, but it wasn't.  I poked my head in and no one was there.  I walked over to the holy water and made the sign of the cross, and I remember saying "Jesus are you here"?  Suddenly I knew I was in God's house.  I felt him there and everything in the church suddenly seemed like magic to me.  I sat down and started talking to him.  I remember feeling like I was home and this is where I wanted to spend the rest of my life.   Then the glow started to fade and I guess I felt it was time to go.  From that day on I spoke to him always throughout my day.  My older brother was busy with his life and I was always mostly alone.  So Jesus became my invisible everyday  friend.  I walked home that day and promptly told my mother I wanted to be a priest.  She said "that's nice", and continued listening to my story.  There is another of my stories tied into this time in my youth called "Florentino Salazar".   It was a story from our friendship.   He apparently had the same calling as I did, and we shared Jesus in our own way.  He went home to be with him at the age of 10.  I still think of him often.    Along with my studies I spent as much time as I could reading about the church.  I memorized the mass in Latin and would go home and give my little cousin mass and communion.  It also seems interesting to me that  during that time I never wanted to be an altar boy.  I wanted to wait till I was grown up and just go straight into seminary. 

     Shortly after that personal revelation,  I received the sacrament of Confirmation.  (To me this felt like a coming of age as a grownup into the church).   During that summer there was going to be a seminary camp for a week so I signed up to go.   It was interesting, and fun.  Then came the day that I went wandering on my own into the rectory of the resident priest.  I walked into a room that was like a great  library.  In the center as you entered was a podium with the bible openly displayed on it.   The priest came walking in and I asked him if all these books were what we learned in seminary about Jesus and the bible?  He said, "No these are all the doctrines of the Catholic faith that you will learn".  I decided that wasn't enough for me.   I went home and told my mother I no longer wanted to be a priest.  She said, "That's o.k.  I'm not sure the church is ready for a dancing priest.  I think you'll only get in trouble".   (I was also gifted in dance and very interested in music from the age of 5).  We laughed, and I went on to explore other churches with friends along with the rest of my life as a youth.  I went to mass on special occasions, and I always stopped in whenever the parish was alone, to talk to Jesus just like when I was a small child.  To this day whenever I visit back home, I always stop in to talk to him and remember days so long ago.

     I have other daily stories that happened on my journey through life that I will post elsewhere.  These writings of testimony are the places in my life where God intervened to shift my direction and remind me of our personal relationship and "who I really belonged  to".

Psalms 22:10  I was cast upon thee from the womb:  Thou art my God from my mother's belly.
Revelation 12:11 And they overcame him ( the devil)  by the blood of the lamb, and the word of their testimony, and they loved not their lives to the death.