Saturday, March 30, 2013


Put cursor on top of video until "Christ is Risen Easter Video" appears or is highlighted, then click on title. Then click on box in lower right hand corner.

One evidence that Jesus Christ rose from the dead are the changed lives of the individuals who have placed their faith in Him.  My life is a good example.

I was raised in a typical blue color home on the outskirts of Philadelphia. My dad and mom both worked long hours in the steel mill across the street. They had a cultural belief that God existed, but it didn’t impact their day-to-day lives. We never went to church growing up even on Christmas or Easter.

Dad and mom grew up in dysfunctional great depression era homes. Dad was raised by his older sister due to his father’s early death and mother’s full-time job. My mom’s father was an alcoholic who went on periodic binges. A lot of her upbringing took place in the home of her mother’s sister and uncle. My dad and mom fought like cats and dogs until the day they passed away. I hated being around them when they fought and came to believe I was unwanted and unimportant.

When I barely graduated from High School, I was clueless regarding what I wanted to do. First I flunked out of community college and later got a job as an auto mechanic. To avoid the draft I enlisted in the Army with a friend and ended up in Vietnam during the second TET offensive from 1968 to 1969. I got heavily involved in drugs during my year in Vietnam. As I look back I was medicating the pain I carried inside. I saw myself as such a loser: insignificant, purposeless, and powerless.

After Vietnam I began to deal drugs while stationed at Ft Riley, Kansas. My life was going downhill faster than a tomahawk gunship with a broken rotor 1. With only 8 months left in my enlistment, the Army sent me to Okinawa. While stationed in Okinawa, I saw an article in the “Stars and Stripes” newspaper that two of my Ft Riley friends were apprehended by the FBI robbing a bank. Had I stayed at Fort Riley, I would have been with them.

In my first month in Okinawa I met Robin. He smoked grass with us in the evenings in an apartment I rented off base. After not coming to our nightly meetings for a week or two, one afternoon he came by my apartment with a Bible under his arm. When he told me that Jesus Christ had changed his life, I though he had gone crazy. I argued with him about all of the inconsistencies in the Bible that I had never read. Undeterred, he came back evening after evening until one night in late 1969 I surrender my life to Jesus Christ and invited Him to come into my heart and take control. The resurrected Christ met me in a powerful way and began to transform me day-by-day into the man he created me to become.

Fast forward to 2013. Today my intimate relationship with Jesus is at the center of who I am and how I live my life. I’ve ministered on college campuses and military bases across the US. I travel around the world helping individuals one-on-one, as well as teaching and training others in the area of discipleship from the inside out.

How is it possible that a lost loser from a blue-collar family from Philadelphia could end up giving his life away to the princes of God’s people around the world? Is it because I was born into a privileged family or gifted with a magnetic personality? No, it’s in spite of my humble beginnings and many personal deficits. What made this possible is Jesus paying the price for my sin by dying on the Cross and then rising from the dead to give me a brand new life. It’s possible because He saw me in my depravity, chose me to belong to Him, and called me to Himself. My life is living proof of the reality of the resurrection of Jesus Christ!
1968 Vietnam: I'm the guy in the middle without a shirt
“Some skeptic is sure to ask, “Show me how resurrection works. Give me a diagram; draw me a picture. What does this ‘resurrection body’ look like?” If you look at this question closely, you realize how absurd it is. There are no diagrams for this kind of thing. We do have a parallel experience in gardening. You plant a “dead” seed; soon there is a flourishing plant. There is no visual likeness between seed and plant. You could never guess what a tomato would look like by looking at a tomato seed. What we plant in the soil and what grows out of it don’t look anything alike. The dead body that we bury in the ground and the resurrection body that comes from it will be dramatically different.” 1 Corinthians 15:35-38 The Message

“This image of planting a dead seed and raising a live plant is a mere sketch at best, but perhaps it will help in approaching the mystery of the resurrection body—but only if you keep in mind that when we’re raised, we’re raised for good, alive forever! The corpse that’s planted is no beauty, but when it’s raised, it’s glorious. Put in the ground weak, it comes up powerful. The seed sown is natural; the seed grown is supernatural—same seed, same body, but what a difference from when it goes down in physical mortality to when it is raised up in spiritual immortality!” 1 Corinthians 15:42-44 The Message

1. Rusty Rustenbach, “A Guide for Listening and Inner-Healing Prayer,” (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2011), p 23.