How a wonderful miracle in San Francisco gives us hope for change in America.
We all know America needs change… but how do we change America? Doesn’t it amaze you how fast and how far our nation has fallen? Here is something even more amazing. Try to imagine the kind of change that must take place to save our nation.
At home, we are bitterly divided. The forces that hate God have seized the corridors of power. Our economy has been destroyed by the mad scientists of leftist socioeconomic theory.
Abroad, we face unparalleled hatred. We are an island floating in a rising sea of hostility.
The change that we need is so complicated, so massive, and so astonishing that we cannot begin to wrap our minds around it.
Jesus gave us a parable about the extraordinary and unpredictable way that the Kingdom of God brings about change. Matthew 13: 33 says, “Another parable He spoke to them: “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened.” How did something that was hidden and an unsuspecting force expand to transform the entire loaf? Read on.
He lived in a refrigerator box 4 blocks away from our tent. He was only 16 years old.
This was a night that will echo in my soul forever. We had fought for a permit to set up a 1500 seat tent in the China Basin section of San Francisco, California. After a long, arduous and sometimes seemingly futile battle…we won. Night after night, lost souls, addicts, prostitutes and gang members streamed into that tent and found Jesus to be real.
On this special night, the Holy Spirit gave me the strangest command: “Turn up the volume!” We had a powerful sound system, so this request was easy to obey; but I was very concerned that we would offend the audience. The last thing we needed to do after getting souls to enter the tent was to drive them off with ear piercing volume.
Nevertheless, I obeyed the Holy Spirit and turned the volume up to an almost unbearable level. What I did not know is that a 16-year-old boy was just waking up inside a refrigerator box four blocks away.
His story is one that tragically is becoming all too common in America. His father was a drill Sgt. who lived 100 miles south of San Francisco. One day, he admitted he was gay to his father. Immediately his father began to punch him in the face and physically threw him out of the house. His last words to his son were, “don’t ever come back here or I will give you an even worse beating then this one.”
This hurting, ostracized young man took a bus to San Francisco. The city by the bay was not the paradise he had been told. To survive, he began to sell his body to older men. He could only find shelter in a refrigerator box in the China basin.
He slept all day until early evening.
Then one night he heard the music. Thank God that it was loud enough to be heard four blocks away. The boy wandered into the tent and heard my message on the love of God.
He joined the others who were streaming to the front to kneel before God and receive eternal life. The Holy Spirit came and overpowered him with love and conviction. He felt hope for the first time in his life. He raised his arms to God and received all that Christ wanted to give him. He became a new creation.
The next day he returned home. The youth walked up on the porch. His father saw him, made a fist and smashed it into the face of his son screaming, “I warned you never to come back here again!” With that the dad slammed door.
Power from the Spirit kept the boy from leaving. He sat on the porch until the sun went down. When the old man fell asleep in front of the television, the mother quickly went out to the porch and snuck her son into his old bedroom.
The next morning, the father got up and demanded his usual breakfast from his wife. Before he could lift his fork, something overwhelmed him. He got a tray and put all of his food on it and walked down the hall to his son’s bedroom.
He propped up his son on pillows, brushed his hair back, kissed him on the forehead and served him breakfast in bed. Then he said to his boy, “Son, I do not know what has changed you, but it is changing this whole family.”
The next day, I received the strangest phone call that I can ever remember. A gravel-toned voice was barking at me and spouting swear words. “I do not know who the %#@!* you are. Something changed my son, and I have got to have what he has. So don’t give me any &%#@ Religion. Just pray with me to have Jesus!”
The story of the 16-year-old boy is the miracle of the leaven. It tells us that no tragedy is beyond the scope of God’s aggressive love. It gives us a picture of the countless ways that God can insinuate Himself into any tragedy.
This change…this inexpressive miracle…can save America. Sometimes the power of God will waft gently over circumstances too horrible to describe. At other times, it will suddenly and forcefully inject itself in a soul. It is able to seep hope into any and every crevice of despair. And yet, at the same time, it can quake to the core even the most arrogant of souls.
No one said it better than the father: “Son, I do not know what changed you but it is changing all of us.”
A miracle came that night because of obedience to a strange command. There is no way that I could have foreseen the astonishing change that God would create. It is like that now.
In the face of the towering challenge to win America, we must do what we are told and leave the results to Christ. Simple acts of raw obedience will release the leavening power of the Kingdom of God.
So…Let us turn up the volume. 2 Corinthians 3; 12 says, “Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech.” The volume of American preaching has been turned down to almost a white noise. Many of today’s sermons make one think that Americans only have superficial problems.
The fact is the audience is in a desperate state. People are going through things right now that are too horrible to describe. We should not be giving them a pat on the head and say to them, “there, there, take these two religious aspirins and call me in the morning.”
Americans are due for a fiery living proof experience with God that drenches them in love while it breaks the chains on their souls and empowers them to face their lives in total victory.
But turning up the volume also means to hold the feet of politicians to the fire for destroying America. We dare not sit back and just let America go down the drain. We must take a stand.
Another parable of Jesus says, “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, 32 which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.” Matthew 13:31, 32
The Kingdom of God today is the least of all the seeds, but it can grow to embrace the whole nation, if we stand our ground and obey our Commander in Chief.