The Crossroads Of Dreams Part 6

Before God gave His dream to Danny Shelton for 3ABN, He gave a dream to a little lady who attended the First Christian Church in Thompsonville, Illinois—and it was a dream about cows!

Her name was Fonda Summers, and she had accepted an invitation to attend a prayer meeting at a Seventh-day Adventist church in West Frankfort, not realizing she was there to hear about another dream that would come to a divine crossroad with her own.

At prayer meeting that Wednesday night, Danny knew he had to step out in faith and share the dream God had given him. The burden to find land was heavy on his heart that night because he knew he needed the right property for this project. He had already contacted someone that owned land near Thompsonville about selling it; however, the landowner had been reluctant to do so. (Thank God!)

As he stood up in front of a handful of people in that little church that night, he took a deep breath and said, “I’m asking you to pray about something with me. We have a very special need.” Danny didn’t ask them to pray for the money needed to get this station off the ground; he asked them to pray for the land to build it on. God had chosen the right man for the job—one who was a builder, and who also knew the proper way to build something; the land must come before the building.

That night they prayed for God’s will, which is always the best way to pray. Fonda Summers was sitting in that Wednesday night meeting with a dream of her own.

Two days later, Goldie Shelton called her son.

“Danny, doesn’t God work in marvelous ways?”

“Yes, He does,” Danny replied.

“Do you remember Fonda Summers, a lady in her mid-70s from Thompsonville?”    

“Yes,” Danny answered, “I know her.”

“Well, last Wednesday night, she was at our service when you shared your dream about the satellite station. She went home and prayed until God impressed her to give you some of her land to build on. She just called me, and wants you to call her, if you’re interested.”

Danny called Mrs. Summers and discovered the land was in the vicinity of where Clarence said it needed to be. Surely, the Holy Spirit was in control of this thing. Then she said she had told the Lord she wanted to help, but didn’t have anything to give. That was when God asked her the same question He asked Moses: “What is this in your hand?”

“Lord,” she said, “all I have is eight acres of land.”

Then it dawned on her. Land! That’s what Danny needed! So she decided to give him two acres on the back of her property.

Later Mrs. Summers told this story: “Forty years ago, my husband and I were going to sell off some of our land, but before we did, I had a dream. In it I saw a fence encircling our property. The south gate was opened and the most beautiful fatted cattle came in from every direction until the back of the property was filled with them. It seemed to me the Lord was going to use this property for something special, and through the years I’ve had this dream on two other occasions. Then, last night the dream came back, only this time the Lord showed me the cattle represented people coming from all over the world—won to Christ by the spirit of truth coming from the back part of my property. This land is yours to build God’s television station.”

Wow, God, thought Danny, this is way too good to be true, and it’s all so easy!

However, the easy part was over, and the “living by faith,” the “trusting God daily,” and the “lots of hard work” part was about to begin—five gallons of diesel fuel at a time. But that’s another story.

Pastor Hal Steenson

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The Matter Of The Gray Matter

When someone says “gray matter,” what’s the first thing that comes to mind? It’s the brain of course, that jelly-like, wrinkled-up glob that fits snugly in our cranium. It’s our head computer that bosses around all our muscles, all our extremities and controls all our bodily functions.

However, if something goes wrong with our “gray matter,” the signals sent from our brain to our body may become distorted or confused. This is when someone wants to speak or move in a certain direction but his or her body doesn’t respond as it should. What’s worse is that sometimes your “gray matter” will fire neuron signals correctly and at other times, it will only fire blanks. Our brains can be a complex blessing and at other times a confused curse.

Have you ever thought about how your “gray matter” doesn’t only affect you in the physical realm; but it also has the potential of destroying your spiritual destiny and swinging wide the gates of hell. Now if you think that I’m referring to the unregenerate man, the one that has never made Jesus Lord, I’m not. I’m discussing the person that attends church, pays his or her tithes and has a relationship with the Lord.

You’re probably wondering where is this going. Well, it’s headed toward discussing “The Matter of the Gray Matter.” However, the “gray matter” in this scenario is not our carnal minded brain. It is the black sin that we committ and then convolute by mixing black and white together to produce a gray sin. The Word of God is never gray; it is always either black or white and our prayers must also be either black or white—no gray prayers allowed. The “gray matter” sin evolved from black to gray because of a sin that was not confessed before the Father quickly and for what it was, it was black. It is only when we confess our sins in their blatant blackness that we will receive full forgiveness for that sin.

Nevertheless, some will play the “gray matter” game and begin to chase that sin in the merry-go-round circles of their “physical gray matter” mind. They convince themselves that if someone else hadn’t done what they did, then you would have never said or done what you did. The next move in the “gray matter” game is to rationalize our motives, which gives birth to the righteous indignation that we believe we deserve.

This is when we water down our Black sin prayer with little White lies and end up only asking God for Gray forgiveness. What should have been an “Oh God, please forgive me because I have sinned prayer,” has now become a watered down ‘powdered milk prayer’ that has no power to release you from that original sin.

God can only forgive us of what we ask Him to forgive us for—if we repent to some extent, then we will be set free to some degree. We must reconsider the “matter of the gray matter” and humble ourselves before our Lord and ask Him as King David asked, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23-24

It is only when we sincerely pray and ask for forgiveness according to the truth of our sin, that we will be forgiven according to fullness of God’s grace.

So, let me ask you once again, “What about the Matter of the Gray Matter?

One John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Pastor Hal Steenson

The Hitchhiker

The last half of the three hour drive from Memphis to home would be picturesque as I skirted the Ozark National Forest. The pines, the oaks and a dotting of birch here and there as I passed 60 foot cliffs just feet away from the highway. I had just one more town to pass through before I would cross the bridge of the Buffalo River. I had visited the river before and I felt the anticipation of this visit because in the flow of the river I felt a peace that brought me closer to God.

I began picking up speed as I moved pass the third and last stop light in town. Ahead of me and on the right side of the road was a young man carrying a paper grocery bag with his right thumb out as he walked backwards hoping for a ride. “This is great”, I thought. I would have a captive audience as I witnessed for Christ. I pulled over to the side of the road, just in front of the young man, and stopped. I could see in the rear view mirror a smile as he trotted toward my car. He opened the door of the front passenger side and I could see a small bag of charcoal briquettes peeking over the top of the grocery bag.

We started with the usual small talk and I mentioned I was returning home after visiting some Christian friends in Memphis. I wanted to open the door to talk about the Lord but not be brash about it. I had some Christian tracks and booklets in the back seat that could do most of the witnessing for me after we parted ways. He told me he was living on the Buffalo River under a bridge since he was without work at present. I knew where this conversation was going and sure enough just before we reached the Buffalo he said, “Mitch, I hate to do this, but could you spare some money so I can buy some food tomorrow.” I had already steeled my heart because I knew the question was coming. “No, I can’t right now” I said, feeling that this guy was just lazy and didn’t want to work. We continued on with the small talk for only a couple of minutes before we arrived at the bridge that crossed the Buffalo.

The young man exited the car after I stopped just before the bridge. My heartbeat sped up as I knew this was my opportunity to witness for the Lord. I reached in the back seat and picked up a small book called Steps to Christ handing it to him and saying I would like to share this book. “No”, he said, “what I need is food for the belly, not food for thought”.

Conviction pierced my heart so deeply I could only shake my head affirming he was correct. He closed the door and walked down the embankment to the river. I had money I could have given but I made the assumption he was lazy. His words, “What I need is food for the belly, not food for thought” continued to ring in my ears as I drove over the bridge.

I learned a valuable life-lesson that day. I drew closer to the Lord while next to that beautiful river; however, it was not from the physical flow of the Buffalo. The lesson I learned was from the flow of divinely appointed spiritual words, spoken to me by a nameless hitchhiker. Those words, “What I need is food for the belly, not food for thought”, challenged my heart to strive from that day forth, to minister to the whole man. In addition, somewhere in that life-lesson the Father taught me that I must always walk by faith and never by sight. Who knows, I may have been entertaining an angel unaware.

Happy (blessed, fortunate, enviable) is the man who finds skillful and godly Wisdom, and the man who gets understanding drawing it forth from God’s Word and life’s experiences.” Proverbs 3:13 Amplified Bible

  Mitch Owen – 3ABN

Hey Houston, We’ve Got A Problem Here

The church Jesus established when He dropped His head in the locks of His shoulders and died, is on a mission—a mission from God. The mission is to go into the entire world and preach the good news to every nation. If you are a child of God, then it becomes your mission, not just a mission. The mission began with the great commission, which sadly for the unsaved world, is now becoming the great omission. We are tumbling through eternity with little direction or purpose.

As the Apollo 13 spacecraft rocketed toward the moon, the astronauts had high hopes and great expectations for their lunar landing. Everything had been checked and rechecked and NASA had given them the green-light. It seemed that nothing could stop them now and they would return with the mission accomplished.

“Hey Houston, we’ve got a problem here,” got everyone’s attention at Mission Control as Jim Lovell tried to describe that problem. Now it was up to home base to define and correct that problem if this undertaking was to continue. NASA experts at home were awakened out of their sleep with a loud cry for help. They now realized it was not just a matter of completing a project, but now a matter of saving the very lives of those involved in the mission. The space capsule was leaking oxygen–leaking it badly. Could they somehow get a crippled vehicle back to its origin? If they couldn’t, would the blood of those lost astronauts be on their hands because they had used faulty parts from Apollo 10?

“Father, we’ve got a problem here.” The mission we’re on is in big trouble unless those who are sleeping awake from their slumber and start doing all they can to bring Your church under control. She’s leaking power badly and things don’t look too good for Her. Lord, will You sound a loud cry and call in all the evangelists, pastors and laity back to Mission Control? Sir, will you allow your Holy Spirit to get everyone’s heads and hearts together and bring this church back to the standard that You established on the original launching pad of Calvary? Will you call all your children out of their lethargic darkness and into Your fields white with harvest? Father, help us to get past our programs and projects and turn to the true cause of Christ. There are lives that depend on us as never before, lives that will go tumbling out of Your divine orbit if we don’t do something. Father, unless we do something quick, their blood may be on our hands because we’ve lost sight of the great commission. “Help us Father, we’ve got a problem here.”

Revelation 14:18
“And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe.”

  Pastor Hal Steenson

The Bomb Catchers

It was 1985, and it was my first visit to London, England. My first day there, I was given a whirlwind tour by car through downtown London and past many world-renowned sites. We almost flew by Buckingham palace and the House of Commons in a mini-car traveling on the wrong side of the road in three lanes of traffic packed in like sardines. By the time I arrived at my hotel, I was distressed and very nauseous, but still excited about being in Europe. I was there to hold a seminar on praise and worship; however, I definitely wanted to see all the beautiful sites that I had only seen in pictures or on television. The seminars were in the evenings, so I had each day to return to all the places we had zoomed past the day I arrived. I saw the Tower of London where the Crown Jewels are kept, Warwick Castle, London Bridge and I even got to go to Harrods department store where the royal family shops. The only thing I left there with was a free empty bag. Maybe the people on the plane home would think I had actually purchased something from the famous high price store. However, almost everyone on the return flight had the same free bag.

Everything I saw was nice, but my heart raced as I approached Saint Paul’s Cathedral. It was magnificent—all the sculptures and ornate artwork were as overwhelming as was the vastness of the interior and the dome with the whispering room. When I walked through the entryway, I was greeted by the Vienna Boy’s Choir, practicing for a program that evening. Their voices echoing through the magnificent corridors sounded like angles singing praises to the Lord. Then there were the marble floors, the centuries-old fixtures adorned with gold and the magnificent windows that could make a little country-boy like me gasp.

I was impressed, and I’m not easily impressed. I was impressed with all of the surroundings; that is, until something else caught my eye. I’ve never been able to forget that moment or even tried to forget it. It was just a little picture close to the entryway. It was a little picture with a mammoth meaning. The picture was captioned “Saint Paul’s Bomb Catchers.” As I began to read the article, I continued to glance back and forth from the article to the picture comparing the two. I stood in awe as I read how the people in the picture had vowed to stand in shifts atop Saint Paul’s Cathedral as London was bombed by the Germans during World War II—the picture showed what appeared to be men and women surrounding the dome and the upper perimeter of the edifice. When I looked closer at the picture, I saw what was apparently burning pieces of wood from houses exploding in the air and possibly fragments from bombs being dropped on London at that very moment. These people were risking their lives to save something they held so precious. The statement read, “As the burning pieces hit the building, the “Bomb Catchers” would risk lives and limbs to keep those fragments from destroying their house of worship.

I couldn’t help but think how wonderful it would be if we were all “Bomb Catchers” in the Kingdom of God. What if there were “Bomb Catchers” who would rush to the defense of a brother or sister that was under attack by the fiery darts of Satan, because they vowed that their brethren would not be destroyed? What if there were spiritual “Bomb Catchers” that would pick up blistering hot bitter words that had been thrown at a helpless child of God while he or she was under a demonic attack? Suppose there were “Bomb Catchers” in the Church that were willing to lay down their very lives, so their house of worship would not be damaged.

The Cathedral suffered some damage during those bombings; nonetheless, it did not burn to the ground. The needed repairs were made after the war, and today, Saint Paul’s Cathedral stands as a monument to the “Bomb Catchers” character. There were no heroic names of individuals listed in the information below that picture, but I can’t help but believe they are famous in the Kingdom of God.

Since the birth of the church; it has been under a constant attack; however, there’s another little picture we may be overlooking—maybe we should take a closer look at that little picture hanging in the halls of heaven. We may see thousands of nameless Christian “Bomb Catchers” throwing back all the fiery shards Satan has thrown at the Bride of Christ from the beginning of time. God might be turning to His angelic host saying, “Look at all My “Bomb Catchers;” aren’t they all magnificent. See that “Bomb Catcher” over there, he just restored a brother overtaken in a fault and kept him from burning down—add that “Bomb Catcher” to our little picture.

1 John 3:16 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

Pastor Hal Steenson

What’s A Satellite Station? Part 5

When Danny accepted the call to build God’s television station, his technical prowess was roughly limited to the operation of his remote control—that is, if he could find it. However, he would soon realize he’d bitten off quite a chunk.

A few days after he promised the Lord he’d build a television station, he decided it might be a good idea to see what one looked like. So he took his brothers to “spy out the land,” but unbeknownst to him, Danny was about to encounter another divine appointment.

At the station, he saw their television engineer, Clarence Larson, with whom he had a casual acquaintance. He wasn’t about to     share his entire dream with someone who knew his background, because he’d probably laugh at him! So Danny casually asked Clarence if he could show them some of the technical stuff. He did, but this was where God took over, and a Baptist engineer would be the second person to witness that Danny’s dream was from God.

Cautiously, Clarence pulled him aside and said, “I don’t understand why, but I feel compelled to tell you something.” He paused, took a deep breath and said, “I believe a satellite uplink station could be built here in southern Illinois, out near Thompsonville.”

“What’s a satellite uplink station?” Danny asked.

Clarence was shocked. It wasn’t until much later that he began to understand that God had used him to support the building of a television network which would eventually reach the world with the three angel’s messages of Revelation 14.

“How far will a satellite station reach?” Danny asked.

“Well,” Clarence replied, “how far do you want it to reach?”

“The world!” Danny proclaimed.

Clarence affirmed it by saying, “Well, the only way to reach the world is by satellite.”

Just a few days earlier, I had agreed to give Danny all my television equipment. Now, he’d discovered that a satellite uplink station could be built near Thompsonville, just a few miles from where he lived. Nevertheless, he still didn’t have the entire picture. He wanted to know why a satellite station couldn’t be built just anywhere.

Clarence tried not to get too technical as he explained an uplink satellite station’s protocol, but I’m sure that to Danny, it probably sounded more like, “the hipbone is connected to the leg bone.” One thing he did understand was that because terrestrial communication used microwaves, the satellite uplink had to be located in an interference-free location. And Clarence had just recently discovered a spot in southern Illinois where a new satellite uplink could be built! With God, all things are possible.

Danny is not someone given to emotion; however, if he’d ever felt like jumping up and shouting, it was then, because everything that needed to be done, could be done—just a few miles down the road from his home. It was becoming clear to him why God had chosen him—an unlikely carpenter in an unlikely place like West Frankfort, Illinois—to do this work.

God must be involved, or else how could this be happening? Danny thought to himself. This is certainly bigger than one church—or even one denomination! First of all, God sends me to a charismatic pastor, who confirms my calling and then commits all his television equipment. Then, suddenly, there’s a Baptist engineer who works for a charismatic Christian station saying, “The Lord’s compelling me to tell you this information.”

This was Danny’s first glimpse at the magnitude and global scope of the work God had called him to do. He saw God was using His people—from all faiths and backgrounds—to encourage him in this massive undertaking.

Danny’s next thought was, What I need now is some land in Thompsonville. I wonder what denomination God will use next?

  Pastor Hal Steenson

Can You Say Shibbloleth?

Learning “Christianese” isn’t always so easy. I learned the Southern Baptist vernacular, and then I became skilled at speaking the Assemblies of God dialect. After learning to speak both of these languages, I felt confident that any Charismatic communications would be easy enough, but found that it was a little harder because of the twisting of the tongue required to pronounce some strange words. I did learn to speak it, however.

But that was not the end. There was to be one more new Christianese assignment, and it would prove to be the most complicated one of them all—the inflexible enunciation of the Seventh-day Adventists denomination. 

The Baptists expected me to use street language, because that’s where I’d been most of my life. The Assemblies of God crowd was tolerant, because they figured I’d never been this deep into the “Spirit Realm.” The Charismatics didn’t really care, because there were so many denominations represented, that the Christianese spoken there sounded like the Tower of Babel.             

However, it was a different story with the Seventh-day Adventists (SDAs); I had to learn what not to say to an Adventist member. I was afraid to open my mouth for fear that everyone would realize I couldn’t speak their language, or that the language I used was of a foreign denominational descent. I still had the flavor of my previous associations with non-Seventh-day Adventist Christianity on my tongue. Alas, what to do? There was no Rosetta Stone CD on how to learn to speak “SDA!”

This may sound ridiculous to a second or third generation Adventist, but it’s not so funny when you’re outside the denominational language barrier. Even though someone has made Jesus Christ Lord of their life and served Him to the best of their ability and knowledge, they often feel their fellow members think that if they can’t say it right, then they must not have it right.

Although it really shouldn’t matter if you say you were “Born-Again, Saved or baptized into the Church,” for some reason it does matter to some people, and if we’re not careful, we can do great harm to those who fervently seek the truth our denomination has to offer.  We must be aware that they’re in a learning process. I’ve been a Seventh-day Adventist for close to twelve years now, and I still hear new terminology periodically. 

There’s a story in the Bible that speaks directly to this issue—a story of how words can wound, discourage, and even destroy lives.

“The Gileadites seized the fords of the Jordan before the Ephraimites arrived. And when any Ephraimite who escaped said, ‘Let me cross over,’ the men of Gilead would say to him, ‘Are you an Ephraimite?’ If he said, ‘No,’ then they would say to him, ‘Then say, “Shibboleth!”’ And he would say, ‘Sibboleth,’ for he could not pronounce it right. Then they would take him and kill him at the fords of the Jordan. There fell at that time forty-two thousand Ephraimites.” Judges 12:5-6.

How very careful we must be with those who are trying their best to walk our walk, but are still unable to talk our talk. They may come through our doors wearing wedding bands and dripping in diamonds and pearls, but we must be conscious of a simple but beautiful truth—at least they came through our doors! They’re looking for truth, not a lecture—they’re looking for Christ, not criticism. We must allow them the opportunity to come in just as they are, and permit the Holy Spirit time to change them. I’ve caught a lot of fish through the years, but I’ve never caught a filet. Jesus said, “I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19), but He is the only one that can “clean” them—never us! If we’ll just catch them, and allow God to clean them, it will make it a lot easier on everyone involved—especially for those who can’t say “Shibboleth.”

  Pastor Hal Steenson